Death Penalty

If you’re looking for a charity to donate to, I’ve included links to the donation pages of the charities listed under each category. Most of these originally were posted as part of my 2016 holiday wishlist. Abuse and Sexual Assault 1in6 National Coalition Against Domestic Violence RAINN Animal Rights ASPCA Antisemitism ADL Capital Punishment National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Civil Liberties ACLU Disability Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund Environment/Science Clinton Foundation EarthJustice GreenPeace NRDC Union of Concerned Scientists Human Rights Human Rights Watch USA for UNHCR Women’s Refugee Commission Islamophobia CAIR Journalism ProPublica RSF LGBTQ Human Rights Campaign Lambda Legal SPLC Trevor Project Poverty Alabama Arise Clinton Foundation Racism Black Lives Matter Mexican American Legal Defense Fund NAACP and its Legal Defense Fund SPLC Reproductive Rights/Feminism Center for Reproductive Rights Clinton Foundation EMILY’s List Guttmacher NARAL National Abortion Federation National Organization for Women Planned Parenthood She Should Run Women’s Refugee Commission If you have any suggestions for this list, please let me know.

Charitable Shortcuts

Another day, another detailed list of why Trump should not be President. And guess what else happens today? The Democratic National Convention starts. Yay! If you’re surprised that I’m a Democrat, you’re obviously new here. And if you’re new here, then you don’t realize that I’m posting 21 reasons every day for 99 days to show why Donald Trump should never be the President of the United States. I’m not trying to push any of the other candidates in these posts, even if I do prefer one party to all the others. Now that I’ve gotten through with the disclaimer-esque statement, let’s get on to the discussion of Trump’s failings. Let’s see, we left off with Donald Trump allowing a racist gambler to dictate how he ran his casino, so let’s go to a similar claim about Mr. Trump and his casinos for number 43. 43. When Donald and Ivana would go to the casino, the bosses would order all black employees off the floor. For a man who vehemently denies racism, he’s done a lot of racist stuff. No one knows if it was just the bosses at his Atlantic City properties who made the order or if it was an order from the boss-man himself, but Kip Brown, a former employee, told The New Yorker about the “policy” last summer. 44. Donald Trump called black people lazy and said he only wants Jewish people counting his money. In Trumped!: The Inside Story of the Real Donald Trump — His Cunning Rise and Spectacular Fall by John O’Donnell, one-time president of the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, says that Trump once told him: “Yeah, I never liked the guy. I don’t think he knows what the fuck he’s doing. My accountants up in New York are always complaining about him. He’s not responsive. And isn’t it funny, I’ve got black accountants at Trump Castle and at Trump Plaza. Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day. Those are the kind of people I want counting my money. Nobody else.” Trump continued with, “Besides that, I’ve got to tell you something else. I think that the guy is lazy. And it’s probably not his fault because laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is, I believe that. It’s not anything they can control…Don’t you agree?” When interviewed by Mark Bowden for Playboy magazine in 1997, Trump responded that the account was probably true; but in 2016, he said that it was fiction. Are you starting to get the feeling that his claims of not being racist are a little disingenuous? 45. Trump was sued for lack of diverse employees in 1996 at a riverboat casino. Trump was sued by 20 African Americans in Indiana for failing to hire mostly minority workers for a Lake Michigan riverboat casino. Trump had promised that 70% of his workforce at the floating casino would be made of members of the minority community and 52% would be women. The lawsuit also alleged that he hasn’t honored commitments to steer contracts to minority-owned businesses in Gary. 46. Donald Trump is supported by Vojislav Šešelj. Admittedly, in late May 2016, Šešelj was acquitted by the Hague of crimes against humanity and war crimes in Croatia and Bosnia in the 1990s, but that doesn’t make his January endorsement of Trump any more acceptable. His acquittal was blamed by the ICTY’s judges on the prosecution causing confusion over his role in the ethnic cleansing of Bosnia. If Trump is being openly supported by people who are linked to ethnic cleansing and is refusing to disavow their support, then what does that say about Mr. Trump? 47. Trump is also supported by the Daily Stormer, Richard Spencer, Jared Taylor, Michael Hill, and Brad Griffin. If Donald Trump was a shepherd, white supremacists would be his flock. It’s not a coincidence that white supremacists want Trump elected. He “speaks to” them, their hatred, their ignorance. The Daily Stormer’s publisher, Andrew Anglin, announced the support of Trump for his anti-Muslim plan with statements like “Heil Donald Trump — THE ULTIMATE SAVIOR” and “Make America White Again!” Anglin also appreciates that Trump has spoken negatively about Mexicans. Richard Spencer, who is “dedidcated to the heritage, identity and future of people of European descent” sees Trump as the candidate “bringing identity politics for white people into the public sphere in a way no one has.” Spencer said, “Identity is the most important question to answer. Who are we racially? Who are we historically? Who are we in terms of our experience? Who are we in terms of our community?” He appreciated that Trump “seemed to understand and echo many of his group’s ideas intuitively, and take them to a broader audience.” He also pointed out that “there’s no direct object” in Trumps’ statement relased disavowing David Duke’s endorsement. Spencer also believes that Trump will encourage more people to turn toward his beliefs. And while he used to believe that Trump might not share the beliefs himself, he now believes that “Trump thinks like” him and that that’s why people like him love and support Trump. Donald #Trump makes us feel alive. — Richard B. Spencer (@RichardBSpencer) July 22, 2016 We The Right-Wing Now. #GOPinCLE #Trump #BlackLivesMatter — Richard B. Spencer (@RichardBSpencer) July 22, 2016 Jared Taylor was featured in pro-Trump, pro-white, anti-Muslim robocalls in Iowa by a super PAC. Taylor also appreciates Trump’s anti-Mexican rhetoric and said, “Ordinary white people don’t want the neighborhood to turn Mexican.” Trump failed to distance himself from the calls made on his behalf and even suggested that his supporters had “legitimate anger” behind their actions. Taylor has never supported a presidential candidate before, but he believes in Trump and thinks “someone who wants to send home all illegal immigrants and at least temporarily ban Muslim immigration is acting in the interest of whites, whether consciously or not.” Founder of the hate group League of the […]

2016 Reasons to Oppose Trump: Reasons #43-63

via Instagram “Shortly after John’s arrest, and his diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia, he was put on several medications. He told me he was taking Prozac, for depression, Benadryl, and Risperdal, an antipsychotic. This made it hard for me to know what an unmedicated John sounded like. He said he had occasional visions, what some might call hallucinations, but these days he tried to ignore them, a self-preservation technique schizophrenics sometimes use to deal with an illness that can be manageable but is never curable. He said that the two years following the crimes, the visions were much worse, and his sincere wish was to die and join his children in heaven. “I did not get the sense that John was trying to manipulate me, but I’m not a psychiatrist.” How is it ethical or moral to execute a man with severe mental health issues? How is it ethical to put him in a prison and not a hospital setting?

The man described is on death row, which bothers me.

WHNT News 19 – Timeline Photos | Facebook: STATE EXECUTIONS ON HOLD: An Alabama lawmaker says it will be next spring before the state can resume executing death row inmates. Pharmaceutical… I was going to post captures from this post, but there is just so much hate and ignorance going on that it’d be better for you to see this way. You know the phrase lynch mob? Well, that’s what they’ve turned into. They are actually volunteering rope and bullets to execute the death row inmates in the state. via Tumblr

“In any case, frequent punishments are a sign of weakness or slackness in the government. There is no man so bad that he cannot be made good for something. No man should be put to death, even as an example, if he can be left to live without danger to society.” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract “But secondly you say ‘society must exact vengeance, and society must punish’. Wrong on both counts. Vengeance comes from the individual and punishment from God.” ― Victor Hugo, The Last Day of a Condemned Man Luther Strange, the attorney general of the State of Alabama, wants the state to be able to expedite the execution process. There have been 56 people executed in this state since April of 1983, and 30 of those have happened since 2003. We have the highest execution rate in the United States, a rate of execution 6 times that of Texas. With 194 people on death row, we house 6% of the national death row population. In 2010, more people were executed in the state of Alabama than in Georgia, Maryland, Virginia, Arkansas, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Louisiana combined. In the US, 139 people have been exonerated, but only eight have been in the state of Alabama. And he wants execution to be easier? Has he forgotten how easy it is to get a death verdict in this state? If a person is convicted and the jury doesn’t recommend death, then all you have to do is have a judge decide death instead. Alabama is the only state where judges can sentence you to death even if the jury says you should get life in prison. It’s called judicial override and it does happen. It even went before the Supreme Court after happening in 95 cases. The following is from the linked article: The case, Woodward v. Alabama, No. 13-5380, concerned Mario D. Woodward, who was convicted of killing Keith Houts, a police officer. By an 8-to-4 vote, the jury recommended a life sentence without the possibility of parole. The trial judge rejected the recommendation and condemned Mr. Woodward to death. Alabama law allows judges to override jury recommendations in either direction: from life to death or from death to life. But Alabama judges have overridden recommendations of life 95 times and of death just nine times. Florida and Delaware also allow overrides, but they are subject to strict standards. No one has been sentenced to death in Florida as a result of a judicial override since 1999, and no one is on death row in Delaware as a consequence of an override. The way that we so willingly execute in this state has alarmed human rights activists and even members of the Supreme Court. It’s also one of the best ways to win an election in this state. If you run for a judicial position and proclaim yourself “hard on crime, then promote the idea that you’ll be even tougher on crime, you have to deliver…or someone else will. And, as I’ve pointed out from Facebook posts before, people around here like to advocate killing people for just about any crime, including flag-burning cases, crimes that involve juvenile perpetrators, crimes committed by the mentally ill and by those with varying levels of mental retardation, and random crimes that were committed by people of minority races and religions. This state lacks things like a proper public defense system, thus “public defenders” are often private attorneys who are only paid $1000 by the state. There is also a $1000 cap for each appeal filed, which means that people who are defended by state-paid counsel may be denied proper resources to mount a defense. We are the only state that lacks a state-funded program to assist inmates in wrongful conviction cases, which means that people could be executed unjustly. According to the Equal Justice Initiative, there’s another major issue that exists when it comes to the defense provided to those on death row: Many death row prisoners were represented by attorneys who have since been disbarred, suspended, or disciplined for misconduct. Some lawyers were found to have been intoxicated or impaired during the capital trial. There are also, as I hinted at earlier, issues when it comes to race and the death penalty. Eighty percent of death sentences involve white victims, even though 65% of the murder victims in the state are black. None of the state’s 19 appellate court judges is black and only one elected district attorney is black. The state has a population that is 27% black, but almost half of those on death row currently are black and 83% of the people who have actually been executed have been black.1 Strange claims that expediting executions and appeals processes would be more just for everyone, and that it wouldn’t step on the rights of anyone. How can expediting an already unjust process and speeding the executions along be more just? That just doesn’t make sense. Yeah, it might help the families feel better, and some families may not care if the wrong person dies for a crime, but I bet the families of the inmates would. And I think that everyone in the state, the country, and the world should care when someone is wrongly convicted, and should definitely care when they are executed for crimes that they didn’t commit. Admittedly, I think the death penalty sucks. There are very few people who I think it is appropriate for, so it would make sense that making it an easier, quicker process would piss me off. I guess that’s why I hope that the law won’t pass, even though I’m sure that it will–after all, the same electorate picks the state legislators that pick the judges and that elect the district attorneys and the State Attorney General. “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement.” ― […]

A Sign of Weakness or Slackness in the Government

It’s no shock that after I responded to whatsherface yesterday about her advocating the executing of fourth graders that I am the person who has been called naive or told she must be living in a bubble. Yep, that’s what I love about this area. I don’t like the idea of killing kids for their crimes so that makes me the whackjob. I’m sure that if I coated my anti-death penalty commentary with comments about how it goes against my strong faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and peppered it with misspellings and grammatical errors that I could gain a bit more respect. Alas, that just isn’t my style. They should just be glad I’m not calling them a bunch of right wing nut jobs with a fucked up sense of morality. That’s what I’ve felt like saying and that, sometimes, is my style. I don’t phrase it that way because WHNT has a history of taking commentary off of its page if it uses obscene language. (This is where I shall lament that, yet again, they continue to leave up commentary that involves a reference to lynching, but will quickly find and delete anything that so much as hints at a four-letter word.) Oy. Vey. I wonder if these wonderful God-fearing people realize that, when it came right down to it, Jesus probably wasn’t a very big fan of capital punishment. It was, after all, his cause of death. He was believed to be a big bad and had to pay the ultimate price for that. It’s like the best proof that the death penalty isn’t really that great of an idea. Then again, these are people who believe in celebrating Good Friday, which is basically an anniversary for his death sentence, and in wearing necklaces that have shiny versions of his method of execution (The Cross) on them. Sometimes Christianity can seem truly fucked up. No, wait. Maybe its just Christians who can seem truly fucked up. Jesus himself seemed like an okay dude. (As he wore sandals & preached peace/forgiveness, I feel that the use of the term dude is not sacrilegious. Let’s face it: Jesus was a hippie.) Anyway, I’m sure that tomorrow there will be people saying that they’re praying for my immortal soul while preying on my naïveté and tendency toward disagreeing with everything that comes out of their mouths. Eh, it doesn’t really bother me. It’s frustrating and annoying on a certain level. It is scary that people like this exist, but it really doesn’t bother me that they do because I’m just so used to this kind of attitude in this area. Have I mentioned lately that I really wish I didn’t live in this part of the country anymore? Because that is pretty much what I’m always feeling.

Southern Justice

Oh, Newt, how do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways. I could say it is because you are a big schmuck and just leave it at that. That would be true, but it wouldn’t be worthy of a blog entry.  I could also say that I have disliked you for so long (since I was around 10 years old) that it is just impossible to start liking you, but that wouldn’t be completely true.  People could change, but I don’t know that you are capable of any kind of meaningful chance.  Honestly, when I look at you, I think of a a conservative Dennis the Menace or, possibly, a robot; and I just don’t like robots.  But these are not the reasons that I will not vote for you.  No, the reasons are numerous and varied, and might contribute to some people think that this whole post is just too long to read. Though I don’t want to judge the private lives of others, Newt Gingrich is one that begs to be judged. I don’t particularly like the idea of divorces, and that is probably one of the only things that people might think me as conservative on. (Actually, my issue with divorces is when people don’t take their marriages seriously, so it isn’t really a conservative thing as much as a frustration at folks thing, but I digress.) First, he marries and (eventually) divorces one of his former high school teachers, which I could almost forgive him for, as those types of relationships are often (on some level) a form of authoratative abuse—especially when they start (like his did) by secretive dating. Now, I might have let it slide because of the circumstances related to the start of the marriage, but because he chose to leave his wife while she was being treated for cancer makes this personal decision of his a very disgusting decision. It is even more disgusting, if the allegations by Jackie Battley are to be believed, that he wanted to discuss the terms of her divorce while she was recovering from having surgery (her third related to uterine cancer) to remove a (benign) uterine tumor. Even more disgusting was that he refused to pay alimony and child-support while marrying Marianne Ginther, whom he’d been having an affair with. I have a hard time forgiving any person who cheats on their sick spouse. Adultery is bad enough, but to do it when a spouse is sick is just, in my mind, unforgivable. Of course, his morally-deficient personal decisions don’t stop with his dumping of a wife with cancer for a younger, prettier version that he’d already proposed to during his first marriage. No, Newt was so into family values that he chose to browbeat Bill Clinton for his cheating ways, even though he had cheated on his first wife and was cheating (again) with who would become his next wife. And when he left Marianne for Callista Bisek Gingrich, it was a surprise to Marianne. Not only did he file for divorce from Marianne, he asked the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta for an annulment based on the fact that Marianne was previously married. He not only chose to divorce her, but to say that their marriage never existed. That alone would be proof of his lack of a conscience, but he left her eight months after she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. As is true with many chronic illnesses, the symptoms of and problems related to Multiple Sclerosis get worse with stress. It is important for people who have Multiple Sclerosis (or cancer) to stay as relaxed as possible to keep their diseases from worsening. It shouldn’t have surprised Marianne that Newt would do this to her, since it was virtually the same thing that he had done with Jackie. It also shouldn’t surprise her that he has never expressed regrets or apologized to her for the choice to leave her or cheat on her, since it looks like Mr. Gingrich has no moral compass. So, why do these immoral decisions impact why I wouldn’t vote for Gingrich? Well, it’s a couple of things. In general, people who divorce their chronically ill spouse end up not only dissolving a marriage, but stripping a person of income, health insurance, and a good enough support system. Usually, the divorces come about because of the stress of caring for a disabled spouse or stress over the family’s finances. As the former probably isn’t true since, at least in Marianne’s case, the chronic illness was a relatively new diagnosis and the latter is likely not the case for Newt Gingrich because of his financial status, then it makes it seem like he doesn’t want to take care of someone in need. That is not a personality trait that should be admired or coddled in a politician. It is bad enough when politicians lose their moral compass because they are bought and paid for by corporations, but when they have no moral compass to begin with, it makes me wonder what kind of decisions they might make when given a great deal of power and authority. Another reason that I would not vote for him based on this issue alone is that if he abandons someone when things are stressful, then will he be able to handle one of the most stressful jobs in the world? What will he do when he has to make a decision and someone’s life is on the line? Will he be able to make it or will he just go find something easier to do? Now, I shall devote my anti-Gingrich opinion to the typical issues that impact many voters on their way to the polls. First of all, Newt Gingrich is, against federal funding “abortion providers” which is a fun and inflammatory way of saying that he doesn’t like Planned Parenthood. Despite the fact that he knows that it is already illegal for organizations like Planned Parenthood to use federal money for abortions, he still […]

Why I Wouldn’t Vote For: Newt Gingrich

“If I’m innocent, I go home. If I’m guilty, I die. What’s so hard about that?” So says Hank Skinner, a Texas inmate who is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Wednesday. He maintains that he is innocent, untested DNA evidence might exonerate him, but officials in Texas are fighting his request for DNA testing. Why are don’t they want to test the evidence? Let’s ask them: [Gray County District Attorney Lynn] Switzer’s office refused comment on the case to CNN on Thursday. [Governor Rick] Perry’s office referred questions to the attorney general’s office, which also denied comment. In court, “Texas state attorneys argued … that the testing should not be conducted because there was not a reasonable probability the trial jury would have found Skinner innocent if the testing had been done for his trial.” In other words, if DNA testing put someone else at the scene of the crime, as Skinner has maintained for years, these attorneys believe that the jury would still have found him guilty of the murders and sentenced him to death. Why would they have done that? A female friend of Skinner’s who lived four blocks away testified at his trial that he walked to her mobile home and told her that he may have kicked Twila Busby to death. Pretty compelling. Except that “evidence did not show she had been kicked.” And “The neighbor has since recanted parts of her testimony.” So … less compelling, then. By the way, Skinner and opponents of the death penalty aren’t the only ones who want the evidence tested: [The victims’] family has also pressed state officials to do the forensic testing, saying it would end the years-long delay while Skinner has pressed his legal claims. The family, including Busby’s surviving daughter, believes Skinner is guilty. Petition Governor Perry to withdraw Skinner’s execution warrant and order DNA testing here. Much more here, here, and here. (via kohenari)

Alan, I should start this by saying that I don’t agree with the death penalty. Sure, there are some people who I sometimes think that (if it were a moral form of punishment) it would be appropriate as a punishment for them. But I don’t really think that it is an appropriate punishment, since it does not deter crime, costs taxpayers more (in the long-run) than life imprisonment, is more likely to be used as punishment against minorities and the poor, punishes more than just the criminal, there are deeper reasons for many crimes, and since there are innocent people who could be put to death for crimes that they didn’t commit. In this case, though, I am especially upset by the use of this penalty because so much of the case was based upon the testimony of 7 individuals and not on anything that actually proves his guilt. These witnesses amended and/or recanted their testimony, which means that the basis for the conviction was no longer as steady. Some of these witness even implicated another proseuction witness. No physical evidence from the crime was retrieved, apart from the bullets and shell casings. The next day, the witness who was later implicated by other witnesses, told police that Davis had a gun matching the one used in the shooting and that he’d assaulted the homeless man that Officer MacPhail was called over. Many judges (including ones on the Supreme Court) have expressed their concern throughout the whole appeals process that this man may not have been guilty or that there wasn’t enough to prove that he was, in fact, the shooter. Many religious and political leaders have also expressed concern, and the former head of the FBI even expressed his opinion that he shouldn’t be killed. There has been so much doubt in this case that it seems like a grave injustice that he was executed. Now, as for the whole, let’s execute cop killers sentiment, I have to ask one thing: What makes a cop different than any other human being? There aren’t automatic calls en masse for executions when bank tellers get killed. There aren’t any for convenience store clerks or others in retail who are killed and they have dangerous jobs, too. There aren’t ones for paramedics or for social workers, who all can be placed in dangerous situations by the very nature of their jobs. What makes a police officer’s life worth more vengeance than that of someone else? They know they work in a dangerous job and that their life could be ended because of their job, and, unlike the other jobs I listed, they get to carry a weapon to protect themselves while on duty. So, why is it that their life gets the respect? Oh, and so you know, the original status that I posted was made because late last night, I got the wonderful opportunity to see others from this area start accusing the black community of being more prone to violent behavior, calling for actual lynchings, and promoting absolutely abhorrent behavior. my long ass response to a friend who said, “Cop Killers should die….” in response to my FB/Twitter status about my frustration with the Troy Davis execution