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Executions

The carrying out of a sentence of death imposed by either a court or a jury following a conviction for a capital offense.

Since 1976 when the U.S. Supreme Court effectively reinstated the death penalty after a 10-year moratorium, all 1537 executions carried out since then have been for the crime of murder.

The American death penalty is inextricably woven, as it has always been, in the failed religious concept that murder can only be revenged through murder. The commandment that “thy shall not kill” inevitably introduced the revenge notion of an “eye for an eye.”

That is pretty much how the American death penalty works. The State commands that “thy shall not kill” while the murder victim’s family and friends demand “eye” of revenge.

On October 21, 2021, Willie B. Smith became the 1537th person put to death in this country since 1976. He was an African-American man put to death for the 1991 murder of a white woman in Birmingham, Alabama.

The Equal Justice Initiative informs that more death sentences are imposed per capita in Alabama than in any other state.  The state has executed 68 men and 1 woman since 1976. Thirty-one of those men were black. African-Americans make up 27 percent of Alabama’s population yet comprise nearly half of the state’s executions.

The EJI also reports that one-third of the death sentences imposed in Alabama came out of three counties: Etowah, Houston, and Mobile—all of which are predominantly white counties.

Gov. Kay Ivey, a white female, released a statement after Smith’s execution that, in part, read: “The carrying out of Mr. Smith’s sentence sends the message that the state of Alabama will not tolerate these murderous acts.”

There’s a problem inherent in Gov. Ivey’s statement.

The Death Penalty Information Center reports that only 21 white man have executed in this country since 1976 for killing black victims while 295 black men have been executed for killing white victims. In other words, the DPIC reports that 75 percent of executions in this country involved white victims while only 15 percent involved black victims.

Against the backdrop of these numbers, what can be reasonably read into Gov. Ivey’s statement is this: Alabama “will not tolerate” black people killing white people, especially black men killing white women.

Numbers don’t like.

In 1989, University of Florida sociologist Michael Radelet examined roughly 16,000 executions in America—of which only 30 involved the executions of white people killing black people.

And Alabama does not, as a rule, execute black people for killing black people.

This is evidenced by the fact that white male Alabamians have lynched 347 people—299 of whom were black. None of the black men lynched by these white male Alabamians were lynched for crimes against other black people. Those 299 black men were murdered because they were either involved or suspected of being involved in crimes against white people.

That is the Confederate execution mentality. Roughly 3 out of every four of the 1537 executions carried out in this country since 1976 have been carried in the former southern Confederate states.

It did not matter to the proud Confederate state of Alabama that Willie B. Smith was intellectually disabled with an IQ range of 70-75—a disability previously called “borderline mentally retarded.” All that mattered to Alabama was that Willie B. Smith, a black man, killed a white woman. For that, he had to die—the State wanted it and the victim’s family demanded it.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall made this clear in a post-execution statement:

“The family of Sharma Johnson has had to wait 29 years, 11 months, and 25 days to see the sentence of Sharma’s murderer be carried out. Finally, the cruel and unusual punishment that has been inflicted upon them—a decades long denial of justice—has come to an end. I ask the people of Alabama to join me in praying for Sharma’s family and friends, that they might now be able to find peace and closure.”

Revenge never brings “peace and closure.” It accomplishes one thing and one thing only: the perpetuation of violence, murder upon murder.

That’s what really happened to Willie B. Smith.

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Billionaires

Don’t know any, have never shaken hands with one, and don’t expect I ever will.

Two billionaires, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, have been on the world stage recently flaunting their wealth as they wage a public “dollar war” to see which one will be the “richest man on earth.”

While these two physically unattractive dingbats flaunt their naked wealth in public, one in 6 Americans live in poverty—many of whom do not know where they will sleep tonight while others know that a $300 emergency could move them from a cheap motel room to a tent under an interstate overpass.

There are 11.5 million children living in poverty in the U.S. while Bezos and pals take Clem Kadidlehopper billion dollar rocket ship journeys to the outer edges of space just so they can look down on an impoverished, dying planet while Musk goes hunting for more riches in the tech friendly Austin, Texas capital where he can wear cowboy boots, a white cowboy hat and yodel to the moon at night.

If by now you have the impression I do not like billionaires, you’re right. Let me explain.

In 2020, Bezos’s tax rate was 0.98 percent. Translated, that means he paid $983 million on an income of $99 billion that year. Musk got an even better deal from the IRS. Between 2015 and 2017, he paid just $70,000 in taxes and paid not one dime in 2018, despite having a net worth at the time of $152 billion.

In June of this year ProPublica identified Bezos and Musk, along with 23 other “richest Americans” (billionaires) who paid little if any taxes under the last administration.

Filing jointly, my wife and I paid more than $7,000 each year after the heralded “Trump tax cut”—roughly $2,000 more each year than we paid during the Obama presidency, according to H&R Block.

Fifteen of the nation’s 258 richest corporations did not pay a penny in taxes during the eight years between 2008 and 2015 while another 50 paid taxes at a rate of 10 percent of their income during that same period.

What kind of government permits a system where a working man pays $7,000 a year in taxes while 15 of the nation’s richest corporations, including General Electric, do not pay a single penny in taxes? My tax bracket in 2020 was 22 percent while Amazon’s (the richest company in America) tax bracket was 9.4  percent.

Why should I really give a fuck that 90-year-old William Shatner went to Space on a Bezos rocket, and got all teary eyed about it, while 13 million children were hungry in America that same day—some of whom were lucky if they got a peanut butter n’ jelly sandwich that day?

It’s idiotic that the nation’s news outlets were fixated for hours about Shatner and Bezos in a west Texas desert hugging and crying because the old Star Trek icon got to really see the blackness of space.

“Beam me up from this stupid shit, Scotty – please.”

All these super rich mother..kers, who place profit before people, are the reason why man must now try to establish human colonies on the Moon and Mars so they can plunder the rest of the solar system.

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Two faces of American justice

One is White, one is Black.

Dawn Bancroft was part of the insurrectionist mob that violently stormed the nation’s Capitol Building on January 6, 2021. She said she was there with the mob to shoot House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in her “friggin’ brain.” She sent a video to her children showing her engaged in the violent insurrection that left five people dead, 140 police officers severely injured, and millions of dollars in property damage.

The FBI arrested Bancroft and then let her return home in Pennsylvania to be with her family pending disposition of her case.

Bancroft became one of the more than 570 people arrested in connection with the violent attack on the Capitol. As part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors, she recently pled guilty in federal court to one misdemeanor count of illegally “parading, demonstrating, or picketing” in the Capitol Building.

Bancroft is one 29 Capitol riot defendants who have pled guilty through plea deals to misdemeanor charges in connection with their violent participation in the insurrection. Eight other defendants have pled guilty to felonies through plea deals as well.

The longest prison sentence handed down thus far was eight months in prison for a felony charge while five misdemeanor charges resulted in time already served in jail or placement home detention.

In accepting Bancroft’s recent plea deal, U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan described the Capitol insurrectionists as law-abiding citizens who “morphed into terrorists” on January 6.

That is about one of the dumbest judicial assessments ever made in a courtroom.

The people who went to Washington, D.C. on January 6 with plans to disrupt a constitutional process of government by any means necessary, including shooting Nancy Pelosi in her “friggin’ brain” and lynching  Vice-President Mike Pence, had terrorism in their hearts and minds at the outset. They left their homes and families to travel to an event they knew had been pre-planned for violence. To this day, they remain unrepentant “domestic terrorists,” despite being hailed as “patriots” by right wing lunatics.

Bancroft’s case is the face of White justice in America.

The face of Black justice can be found in the case of Dayonn Davis.

This Georgia teenager was set to graduate from high school in 2018 when he and a friend took a pair of Nike Air Jordan Fives (valued at $180) from another teenager. The friend brought a gun to the robbery without Davis’ knowledge. The friend was arrested but not charged in the incident. The weapon was not used in the taking of the tennis shoes.

The White state prosecutor took a harsh stance in plea negotiations with Davis’ attorney, saying the teenager “could have killed” the acquaintance from whom he took the tennis shoes. The prosecutor insisted that Davis plead guilty to robbery since a weapon was present when the tennis shoes were stolen.

In jail, Davis ultimately pled guilty a non-armed felony robbery charge, and a White judge sentenced the teenager to a mandatory minimum of five years in prison followed by ten years of probation. A local ACLU attorney said the “harsh” sentence received by Davis was not an “outlier” for young Black men in Georgia.

Young Davis was hauled off and placed in one of Georgia’s many violent prisons—a prison system that is currently under U.S. Department of Justice investigation for violence against inmates. 26 inmates were murdered by other inmates in Georgia prisons in 2020 and 18 have been murdered thus far this year.

That is the face of Black justice throughout America.

White adult domestic terrorists are allowed to serve their misdemeanor sentences in their homes for a violent crime that left five people dead, resulted in the suicide of four police officers, and severely injured 140 more while a Black teenager in Georgia is sent to a violent adult prison for the non-violent offense of stealing “Oreos” tennis shoes for five years.

Two faces of American justice.

That is what we see here.

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Colors

There are roughly 10 million colors known to man.

But only two of them have everlasting human significance: black and white.

The murder case of Gabby Petito clearly illustrates this point. T

he nation’s primary media outlets and the cable news networks have filled American homes and workplaces, almost ad nauseam, with coverage of her domestic disputes with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie, her murder in Wyoming, and his subsequent disappearance in Florida.

This is a white murder case whose interests have been fueled by white peoples’ interest in it. It is the kind of case that lights up social media and gives the aging hawkish crime fighter John Walsh another chance to insert himself in a crime limelight.

But why should a white murder case garner such a dominating share of media coverage and public interest when a black murder case, arising in a similar context, rarely makes the evening news unless it a slow weekend 30-second spot.

Let’s look at the facts here because “Black Lives Matter.”

The National Center for Victims of Crime reports that black women are 2.5 times more likely to be murdered than white women—92 percent of whom are killed by someone they know with 52 percent of this number involving a current or former intimate partner.

When was the last time you heard about a murder case in which a black man killed a black woman that garnered as much media attention and public curiosity as the Petito/Laundrie murder case?

You haven’t and I haven’t – unless it is a case that escapes my memory.

The difference is color: white is preferred over black.

In the early days of his legendary boxing career, Muhammad Ali expressed one of his many gifted social observations (and I paraphrase here) that the color white has always been associated with good like toilet paper while black has been associated with bad like blackmail.”

Why not whitemail?” Ali asked.

You might say people, especially white folks, prefer the light of day to the dark of night—the former signifying the happiness of day while the latter signifies the gloom of night.

Black people have always come up short in their dealings with other races.

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History reports that the Atlantic Slave Trade between 1536 and 1867 saw some 12.5 million slaves shipped from Africa with 10.7 million being shipped to the Americas, both North and South, where they served white and brown masters.

And white Australians committed colonial genocide for years against black Aborigines through government sanctioned massacres.

And let’s not forget the racism and human mistreatment Asian people like the Chinese, Japanese and Korean people have inflicted upon Africans and black Americans. The same is true in all Nordic countries and in all the countries that once formed the Soviet controlled communist nations.

So, again, let’s look at the facts.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported that in 2018 some 613,000 people went missing in the United States with 60 percent of them being people of color. The Black and Missing Foundation in 2019 put the total number of missing black women and girls at 64,000.

Writing in the February 20, 2020 edition of Women Media Center, Treva Lindsey reported that:

“The tens of thousands of Black women and girls who are missing include abductees, sex trafficking victims, and runaways. Black women and girls exist at the intersection of racism and sexism, and quite often poverty. These barriers contribute to disparate and poor outcomes in many arenas, including but not limited to health, wealth, housing, education, employment, food security, access to water, and violence. It is therefore unsurprising that Black women and girls would be overrepresented among people missing in the U.S. They are uniquely vulnerable and too easily erased from public discussions about the alarming trend of missing people.”

There are legitimate social reasons for giving media coverage to the Gabby Petito murder case but not at the scale at which it has been covered, particularly given the fact that women of color, especially black women, comprise the lion’s share of those who endure domestic violence, murder, and go missing.

The Gabby Petito case underscores the horrific reality that women of color are marginalized by a biased media covering crime and criminal justice issues.

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Hunt and rut

When man chose to leave the relative safety of the tree for an existence on the ground below, he had two primary survival objectives: hunt and rut. Hunting was necessary for the survival of the group while rutting was necessary to preserve the species.

Two things happened to man during the first couple thousand years of living on the ground.

First, hunting was so plentiful that man developed an instinctive desire for greed—the more he had, the more he wanted. Gradually the individual began to emerge as being more important than the group.

I once saw an experiment with chimpanzees. Researchers began putting bananas in a pile. As long the pile was small, the chimps shared the bounty. The researchers began to put more bananas on the pile. The chimps began to squabble and fight over the increased number of bananas. In the end, there was one dominant, aggressive chimp at the top of the pile fighting off any attempt by other chimps to take a banana. The problem that ensued was simple: Chimp King could not enjoy the full bounty of the bananas because his time was consumed defending the pile.

Second, rutting transformed itself from necessity to pleasure. The greater the pleasure, the more enhanced the desire for it became.

I saw another experiment. A monkey was in a cage. Researchers had to two red buttons: one gave the monkey a cocaine injection while the other button gave him pellets of food. The end result is that the monkey began to choose the cocaine/pleasure button over the food/necessity button. The monkey became so addicted to the pleasure/cocaine button that it abandoned the food/necessity button to the point that it just kept hitting that pleasure/cocaine  button.

So here we sit in America—arguably the most modern society in the world—still very much as hunters and rutters. The human with $50 billion wants a $100 billion and humans of every stripe seek to satisfy their insatiable appetite for pleasure through sex, drugs, alcohol, sports, parties, lounges and a thousand other outlets.

The end result?

We have hunted the world’s resources into near depletion and we have rutted to the point where there are nearly 8 billion humans on earth—more than the planet’s resources can accommodate.

Humans are sitting on the precipice of extinction. Colonies on Mars and the Moon will not save us from this inevitability.

Hunt and rut.

We do what we do—more to the point, it is all we know to do.

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