Welcome to the late great United States – a country in economic and moral free fall. A country in thrall to a cult of greed, selfishness, and ignorance.
A country that is trying to hold onto its belief in its own ‘exceptionalism,’ even as it rejects the very forces that made it exceptional.
Once, the US was a leader in science. Today, most Americans are scientifically illiterate and one of the major political parties — Republicans — largely rejects science and scientists as ‘elitist’…
Once, US infrastructure was the envy of the world… Now, it is a crumbling punch line to a tragic national joke.
Once, the US system of laws and regulations was recognized as the pre-requisite of a civilized and prosperous society…
Once, the US educational system was the preeminent model for educating the populace…
…At the Republican Tea Party debate, a cheering jeering crowd supported the idea that a man who didn’t get health care insurance should be allowed to die. Meanwhile, the Census Bureau reported that … In absolute terms, more Americans are below the poverty level than at any time in our history.
These events are connected. When greed becomes our moral compass, then tolerance and humanity die, and prosperity is a casualty.
Troy Davis execution goes ahead despite serious doubts about his guilt, The Guardian, Ed Pilkington in Jackson, Georgia
…In the final gruesome hours of waiting, the American judicial system at its very highest echelons was involved – including the US supreme court, which issued the decisive final ruling. The decision to press ahead with the death sentence despite serious doubts over Davis’s guilt drew accusations that this was the system at its most grotesque.
…After the execution, Davis’s lawyers lamented what one described as a “legal lynching”. Thomas Ruffin said that the execution was “racially bigoted”.
In the state of Georgia 48.4% of people on death row this morning were black males, and in Georgia they make up no more than 15% of the population.
Ruffin said that seven of the nine witnesses at Davis’s 1991 trial had since recanted. They included a man who said under oath that he had seen MacPhail being killed, and that it was not Davis who shot him but another man called Sylvester Cole.
“Another witness said under oath that she had heard Coles confess three times to killing MacPhail and using Davis as the fall guy…”
Murder Is Good Politics, Bad Justice, Robert Scheer, Truthdig:
I don’t know if Troy Davis was innocent, but I do know that the evidence for demanding a re-examination of his conviction, including the recanted testimony of most of the witnesses against him, was overwhelming. But of course that is now beside the point, which is exactly what is so wrong about the use of the death penalty. No matter what evidence of innocence might be produced in the future, it is of consequence no longer.
That is a compelling argument against the death penalty—no room for correction—but there are others…
Troy Davis, victim of judicial lynching, The Guardian, Amy Goodman
…Troy Davis has three major strikes against him. First, he is an African American man. Second, he was charged with killing a white police officer. And third, he is in Georgia.
More than a century ago, the legendary muckraking journalist Ida B Wells risked her life when she began reporting on the epidemic of lynchings in the Deep South. She published Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All its Phases in 1892 and followed up with The Red Record in 1895, detailing hundreds of lynchings. She wrote:
In Brooks County, Georgia, 23 December, while this Christian country was preparing for Christmas celebration, seven Negroes were lynched in 24 hours because they refused, or were unable to tell the whereabouts of a colored man named Pike, who killed a white man … Georgia heads the list of lynching states.
The planned execution of Davis will not be at the hands of an unruly mob, but in the sterile, fluorescently lit confines of Georgia diagnostic and classification prison in Butts County, near the town of Jackson. The state doesn’t intend to hang Troy Davis from a tree with a rope or a chain – to hang, as Billie Holiday sang, like a strange fruit:
Southern trees bear a strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black body swinging in the Southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.