Part of The Lighthouse’s celebration of its fifth birthday includes celebrating Black women, and this summer there were four glorious women who swung them knuckles and put some folks in their place. This includes …
U.S. Rep Ayanna Pressley, who got up in President Joe Biden’s DOJ for trying to bring back the death penalty.
Even though candidate Joe Biden came out against the death penalty during his campaign last year his Department of Justice asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate executions for the sole purpose of giving Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev a dirt nap.
A judge sentenced Tsarnaev to death for bombing the Boston Marathon in 2013 and injuring more than 200 innocent bystanders and killing three others, so we get why some folks want him dead. Nevertheless, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed his death penalty because the trial judge had failed to give Tsarnaev a fair and unbiased jury. (After injuring enough folks to fill a Kardashian wedding it probably wasn’t easy to land an unbiased jury, but not impossible.)
The Lighthouse knows what all can go wrong when the state carries out a death sentence and the wrong person gets executed. National Geographic claims almost 200 of the 8,700 people executed in the U.S. since 1973 were innocent, and there are countless examples of the death penalty being wielded disproportionately and wrongfully against non-white suspects. University of Iowa law professor David Baldus discovered that Georgia prosecutors sought the death penalty for 70 percent of Black defendants with white victims, but for only 15 percent of white defendants with Black victims throughout the 1980s. Put all this together and you’ve got some very unseemly behavior from a president who won a very high percentage of the Black vote.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Massachusetts, was having none of that. She issued a statement blasting the DOJ request.
“State-sanctioned murder is not justice, no matter how heinous the crime. President Biden has repeatedly expressed his opposition to the death penalty and has the historic opportunity to finally bring an end to this inhumane, racist and flawed practice,” Pressley said. “I am deeply disappointed that the Department of Justice would move in conflict with the President’s stated policy position and abandon promises made to voters.”
She pointed out that the Trump administration, the crackiest president who ever cracked, had virtually weaponized the death penalty and had launched “an unprecedented execution spree.” She asked Biden to aim higher than his gross predecessor because “no just nation should be in the business of executing people.”
Taking the hint, DOJ head Merrick Garland ordered a moratorium on executions pending review.
“The Department of Justice must ensure that everyone in the federal criminal justice system is not only afforded the rights guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States, but is also treated fairly and humanely,” Garland stated in his memorandum, because no just nation should wage a sneaky war on its own people either, which is why…
U.S. Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman and Cori Bush filed a bill to kill the “war on drugs.”
United States Representatives Cori Bush, D-Missouri, and Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-New Jersey, launched their Drug Policy Reform Act in the House this month. If implemented, that bill would put an end to federal criminal penalties for drug possession for personal use. This isn’t just a bill to put medical marijuana in your medicine cabinet, mind you. This thing dumps penalties for things like cocaine, opioids, psychedelic mushrooms and every other thing in Keith Richard’s bedside table. This is pretty much everything banned under the Controlled Substances Act.
While filing the bill the women let loose on how the alleged “war on drugs” was really a war on the non-white people who used them.
“… The War on Drugs stands as a stain on our national conscience since its very inception,” said Watson Coleman. “Begun in 1972 as a cynical political tactic of the Nixon Administration, the War on Drugs destroyed the lives of countless Americans and their families.”
Rep. Bush was even more blatant in her accusations.
“Growing up in St. Louis, I saw the crack-cocaine epidemic rob my community of so many lives,” she said. “I lived through a malicious marijuana war that saw Black people arrested for possession at three times the rate of their white counterparts, even though usage rates are similar. As a nurse, I’ve watched Black families criminalized for heroin use while white families are treated for opioid use. And now, as a Congresswoman, I am seeing the pattern repeat itself with fentanyl, as the DEA presses for an expanded classification that would criminalize possession and use. … It’s time to put wellness and compassion ahead of trauma and punishment.”
Critics are quick to back these claims with facts proving the drug war has produced profoundly unequal outcomes across racial groups. The ACLU even describes the drug war as “the new Jim Crow” because of how transparently the “war” skews toward Black incarceration.
The policy should’ve never begun, and we cheer these strong Black women who are fighting to end it, just like we cheer …
That Black chick who called Putin a coward to his face.
Even though Russian President Vladimir Putin tries to sell himself as a winking, jovial rapscallion, the whole world knows he’s a shameless authoritarian and sneaky poisoner who routinely executes and kills his political opposition. Putin and his cronies have been in power in Russia for decades, and he and his family have sucked the nation dry while imposing stupid laws that decriminalize wife beating to make Russian men feel better about starving to death and dying early.
Our last president couldn’t get enough of Putin’s toxic masculinity, and most of the world is afraid to say anything to him because of Putin’s record of killing people who speak out. Last week, though, a Black woman stood up in a crowd and basically called him a li’l whiff-cake. To his face.
ABC News congressional correspondent Rachel Scott had a surprise for the microphone when it rolled around to her during a press briefing at the international summit between Putin and President Biden.
“The list of your political opponents who are dead, imprisoned or jailed is long,” she told Putin. “Alexey Navalny’s organization called for free and fair elections and an end to corruption, but Russia has outlawed that organization, calling it ‘extremist,’ and you have now prevented anyone who supports him to run for office. So, my question, Mr. President, is what are you so afraid of?”
Putin looked stunned a moment after the interpreter completed his translation and then attempted to compare the legitimate politicians and opponents he’s brutally murdered or imprisoned, like Navalny, to the Black Lives Matter movement. It did not matter that BLM is a crusade against police brutality against Black Americans. Putin demonized it as a political force that supports “lootings and violations.”
This was not the thing to say to an African-American reporter who’d extensively covered BLM and knew the truth, so when Putin asked Scott to hand off the microphone to the next reporter, she refused.
“You didn’t answer my question, sir.” She insisted. “If all of your opponents are dead, in prison or poisoned, doesn’t that send a message that you do not want a fair political fight?”
Putin responded by launching into a dopey, desperate tirade of whataboutism and did his best imitation of your white co-worker’s crazy, racist uncle. He compared all the innocent people he’d assassinated, jailed or poisoned to the hundreds of racist insurrectionists who’d tried to steal a legitimate U.S. election on January 6.
“Four-hundred people are now facing criminal charges,” Putin said of the vicious MAGA crowd that had shattered windows and doors, stolen items, injured numerous police officers and ultimately brought about the death of five people. “They are facing prison terms of up to 20 or maybe 25 years. … on what grounds? Not quite clear.”
This easily-debunked garbage was, well, easily debunked by Biden just a few minutes after Scott laid down the heat.
“I think that’s a ridiculous comparison,” Biden said of the insurrection/Black Lives Matter comparison at a follow-up press conference.
Personally, we would be surprised if Putin has the strength to allow Scott to be embedded with Russian reporters again.
The world is tough, so it’s nice to be able to celebrate a few Black women who are demonstrating courage and working for change.