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OPINION

Trump Is on a Killing Spree Unparalleled by Any President in 131 Years: Signorile

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This article first appeared in Michelangelo Signorile’s Substack newsletter. To see the article in its original location or to subscribe, click here.

A rush of federal executions during the transition — of mostly Black men — unparalleled by any president in 131 years

While much of the country was swept up in the horrors of the escalating coronavirus pandemic, or focused on the unprecedented assault on the election by Donald Trump and his GOP enablers, the U.S. government has been carrying out more executions than at any time since the federal death penalty was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 1988.

Last night 40-year old Brandon Bernard was executed after the Supreme Court refused to halt his death by lethal injection. He’d been convicted of being an accomplice to a crime in Texas at age 18. The three liberal justices dissented, with Justice Sonja Sotomayor writing in her opinion:

Today, the Court allows the Federal Government to execute Brandon Bernard, despite Bernard’s troubling allegations that the Government secured his death sentence by withholding exculpatory evidence and knowingly eliciting false testimony against him.

Jessica Schulberg at HuffPost covered the story and the aftermath:

Bernard, who is Black, was sentenced to death by a nearly all-white jury in 2000 for his role in a botched car-jacking that ended in the killing of married couple Todd and Stacie Bagley. Bernard was not present when his friends abducted the Bagleys and he was not the one to shoot them dead. Christopher Vialva, the man who shot the Bagleys in the head, was executed in September. Prosecutors claimed Bernard was the one who set the car on fire with the Bagleys inside, although the government’s cooperating witness admitted at trial that he didn’t actually see who lit fire to the car.

At 18 years old, Bernard was just barely legally eligible for the death penalty. The teens who participated in the crime and were under 18 received more lenient sentences, even those who were more culpable than Bernard in the Bagleys’ deaths. Two have completed their 20-year sentences; a third is serving a 35-year sentence.

In 2018 Bernard’s lawyers found evidence that was covered up by government prosecutors and would have helped his case, as Justice Sotomayor noted. A majority of the jurors who sentenced him have now said it would have changed their minds. But Bernard was turned away by courts from presenting that evidence before being put to death.

The Justice Department, with Trump’s urging, had scheduled 13 executions beginning in July, in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. Since the federal death penalty’s reinstatement in 1988, there had only been three federal executions, all under George W. Bush’s administration — one of them Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. There had been no federal executions since 2003.

Bernard is one of five men — four of them Black — to be scheduled to be executed by the federal government since Trump lost the election. With the scheduled execution of Alfred Bourgeois today, Trump will have executed more people in a year than any president in 131 years. No president in more than a century has carried out executions after losing an election and during the lame duck period, traditionally a time when most major actions are put off until the next administration.

To read the remainder of this article, visit Michelangelo Signorile’s Substack newsletter.

Image: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead via Flickr

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OPINION

Former Trump Official Claims Biden Choosing First Black Woman Justice Bars ‘Hispanics, Asians and Gays’

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A highly-controversial former Trump official is claiming President Joe Biden’s promise to seat the first Black woman on the U.S. Supreme Court is discriminatory.

Richard Grenell, who served as Trump’s Acting Director of National Intelligence, and as Trump’s  Ambassador to Germany, was seen by at least one lawmaker in Berlin as a “biased propaganda machine.” On Thursday Grenell attacked President Biden by attacking another Democrat, former White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart.

Lockhart served as President Bill Clinton’s White House Press Secretary. On Thursday he tweeted, “Ahead of the midterms, I look forward to watching every Republican Senator oppose the first black woman to the Supreme Court.”

Earlier in the day Grenell posted a similar tweet:

Conservatives, including on the far right which Grenell has been accused of having ties to, have been falsely claiming it’s “racist” to choose a Supreme Court Justice who is Black and a woman.

Those same conservatives are apparently ignorant of the fact that smart presidents, like smart managers, create a Supreme Court team. There’s no such things as “the most qualified,” nor is there any way, any right way, to measure. Presidents, smart presidents, want justices who are young so they can have a decades-long impact on the nation and its future. They want great minds who are able to work behind the scenes to win over their colleagues. And, unlike Republicans, they want justices who have the lived experiences of more and more Americans –because the law is not stagnant, despite what the originalists and textualists falsely claim.

Here’s Grenell, attacking President Biden through Lockhart:

Some responses to Grenell’s tweet:

 

 

 

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OPINION

‘Never Forget’: Critics Blast ‘Senator Sedition Fist’ Josh Hawley on Anniversary of His Fox News Insurrection Threat

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U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO), whose fist-in-the-sky photo taken in front of the Capitol January 6 became emblematic of Donald Trump’s insurrection, is being raked over the coals as Americans remember the threat he delivered in a Fox News interview just one year ago today.

Here he is, talking on January 4 last year with Fox News’ Bret Baier, who bluntly told him “Congress doesn’t have the right to overturn” the election.

Hawley then countered with a misreading of the Constitution, but his claim that Trump could remain president depending “on what happens on Wednesday,” January 6, is to many chilling:

That video, first posted one year ago today, has gone viral:

“Never forget exactly 1 year ago today, Josh Hawley was on Fox spreading the big lie for Trump,” wrote on social media user. “He’s as guilty as anyone when it comes to the insurrection & if we lose the house in ’22, people like this Hitler wannabee will be first in line to overthrow democracy.”

“Hard to believe Senator Sedition Fist, aka Josh Hawley, is still a sitting Senator after this,” said another.

Other responses include:

“Josh Hawley is a dangerous fascist and he needs to answer for his crimes from January 6th.”

“Raise your hand if Josh Hawley is a seditious traitor who should be expelled from Congress ASAP!”

“We don’t talk about it enough, but Josh Hawley attempted to stop the certification of a presidential election and incited the attack on the U.S. Capitol.”

“A year isn’t enough time to forget that Josh Hawley (along with Grassley, Cruz, and others) spread misinformation about the election and even made statements implying that they expected it to be overturned. All of them traitors!”

A few more:

 

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OPINION

Don Jr. Suggests Trump’s New Social Media Site Was Created to Help Republicans Win Elections

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Donald Trump, Jr. is appearing to suggest his father’s new social media platform, Truth Social, was created to help Republicans win elections.

Appearing on far right host Sebastian Gorka’s Newsmax show that aired Sunday, Trump Jr. was asked in a segment about the new social media site what his “specific message” is “to those who had just kind of given up on the idea of America and free and fair elections.”

Trump Jr. did not hesitate.

“Let’s stay in the game,” he replied, after discussing Truth Social for several minutes and urging viewers to join. “I mean, you know, these are all steps that we’re taking to make sure that we can level that playing field, the playing field has been so biased for so long, right?” he claimed.

“We’ve been playing T ball while the other side has been playing hardball and doing whatever it takes,” Trump Jr. said, despite some Republicans working to overturn the free and fair 2020 presidential election.

“You know, Donald Trump opened the door for conservatives to start pushing back, to play the game the way the other side has done it. We need to keep doing that, we need to stay in this game. They would love for us just to tuck tail to run to turn the other cheek to be dejected, to take our ball and go home. We can’t allow that to happen, we have to stay in the game we have to stay involved we have to be vocal and we have to be unafraid.”

And even though Facebook was formed in 2004, Twitter in 2006, Microsoft in 1980, and Apple in 1976,  he also seemed to suggest that “Big Tech” or social media platforms have been working against Republicans for 50 years.

“And if we do that and you look at what’s going on right now with the insanity of this administration and all of the leftist agenda, you realize, Americans are waking up. It’s about time, but they’re finally doing it and we’re actually able to put up a front against a huge, huge platform that has been working against us, for half a century.”

Watch:

 

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