NewBlackMan: What I Learned This Summer (or What I Already Knew): The Uncompassionate Conservative Movement

What I Learned This Summer (or What I Already Knew):

The Uncompassionate Conservative Movement

by David J. Leonard | NewBlackMan

Kids have made their way back to school, with many writing and reporting about what they did last summer. I thought I would do something similar, writing about what I have learned about “conservatives” in the last few weeks.

Lesson (1) At a recent Republican Debate, audience members made their support for state-sponsored executions clear. What I learned is that they think it is a beautiful thing that Texas executes so many people; the mere mention of execution resulted in cheers and ovations. They must think that being part of a group of nations (including China, Iran, North Korea and Yemen) that carries out a great number of the world’s execution is worthy of applause. I guess some find pride in the fact that Texas executed more people in 2010 (17) than Bangladesh and Somalia and as many as Syria (one less than Libya and about 10 behind Saudi Arabia). While I am appalled by the barbaric practice of state-sponsored murder, I am equally disgusted by the reaction that I witnessed that day. I would guess many of them are unhappy with the U.S. Supreme Court, who issued a stay of execution for Duane Buck, who was convicted of double murder in 1985. According to Tim Murphy:

In order to “secure a capital punishment conviction in Texas they needed to prove “future dangerousness”—that is, provide compelling evidence that Buck posed a serious threat to society if he were ever to walk free. They did so in part with the testimony of a psychologist, Dr. Walter Quijano, who testified that Buck’s race (he’s African American) made him more likely to commit crimes in the future. (Quijano answered in the affirmative to the question of whether “the race factor, [being] black, increases the future dangerousness for various complicated reasons.”)

Governor Perry’s death penalty record (particularly questions raised about his execution of an innocent man) and the applause given for executions give me pause. It is yet another reminder of the hypocrisy in the term “compassionate conservative.”

Lesson (2) The members of the Republican Party think a person without insurance in need of health care should be left to die because “choices have consequences.” Danielle Belton, from The Black Snob, describes the situation in the following way:

The most startling moment was during a hypothetical question posed by Wolf Blitzer about a 30-something, once healthy uninsured guy who didn’t buy insurance when he could afford it, but got really sick and might die. Should we let him die? While Ron Paul was trying to give his “go to a church for help if you’re uninsured and dying of an illness answer” (more on that later), the crowd got a little restless and cheered for letting the dude die.

On top of the last debate where folks cheered Gov. Rick Perry’s death penalty rate in Texas — even when some of those folks killed were likely innocent — has demonstrated a bloodlust among the conservative, “pro-lifer” crowd. Once again proving, the best thing you can do as a human being with these folks is stay a fetus as long as possible.

I guess executions (of some people) are good and allowing some people to die is also fine. These first two “lessons” were just from this month, followed-up on lessons learned throughout the summer

Continue reading at NewBlackMan: What I Learned This Summer (or What I Already Knew): The Uncompassionate Conservative Movement.

“I am Troy Davis” – Jasiri X

From Description on YouTube

Jasiri X uses Pete Rock’s classic beat, “They Reminisce Over You” to shed light on the case of Troy Davis.

The state of Georgia plans to execute Troy Davis on September 21, 2011. There is still serious doubt as to Troy Davis’ guilt, and by putting him to death Georgia runs the risk of killing an innocent man. Please call on the board to save Troy Davis’ life.The fact is, no physical evidence connected Davis to the murder. Seven of the original nine witnesses have recanted, with many saying their testimony was a result of law enforcement pressure. Of the remaining witnesses, one is highly suspect and the other could be the actual culprit in the officer’s murder.Now, despite these and other facts, the state of Georgia has taken the final steps toward Davis’ execution — and only the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole stands between Davis and the lethal injection chamber.

Take action by going to:

Sign a petition,

Send a tweet, post on facebook, or organize an event.

NewBlackMan: “I Am Troy Davis” (video)

Grassroots International Rally to Stop the Execution of Troy Davis September 20th!!!

We are calling on All Activists, Artists, Grassroots, Secular, Non-secular and Every Day People to Organize and Take to Streets in Solidarity to Stop the scheduled execution of Troy Anthony Davis AN INNOCENT MAN who is scheduled to die on September 21st at 7pm in the State of Georgia!


On March 28, 2011, the US Supreme Court failed to take up the appeal of Troy Anthony Davis, the Savannah, Ga. man whose scheduled execution has been halted three times in the past because of the growing evidence and public belief in his innocence.

Chatham County Superior Court Judge Penny Freesemann signed the death warrant for Davis on Tuesday Sept. 6th, marking the fourth time since 2007 that the state has a scheduled an execution for Davis. The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for the execution in March by rejecting an appeal by Davis.

Department of Corrections Commissioner Brian Owens has set 7 p.m. at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson to carry out the sentence.

Meanwhile, the state Board of Pardons and Paroles has scheduled a 9 a.m. Sept. 19 clemency hearing to allow Davis’ attorneys one final attempt to delay or commute the sentence, board spokesman Steven Hayes said Wednesday.

Troy Davis is an African American on death row in Georgia. Davis was convicted in the 1989 killing of a police officer despite what Amnesty International calls “overwhelming doubts about his guilt.” No physical forensic evidence was presented at Davis’ trial, and 7 of the 9 non-police witnesses have recanted their testimony, with at least two saying they were pressured by police to finger Davis as the killer.


1. Organize Rallies in you area

2. Set up teach-ins

3. Sign the Amnesty USA petition, asking the GA Board of Pardons & Parole to grant Troy clemency, and forward it to others :…

4. Set up vigils

5. Call Georgia Governor Nathan Deal’s office and ask him to grant Troy Clemency (404)656-1776

6. Call Georgia Board of Pardon and Paroles ask them to grant Troy Clemency (404) 656-5651

Who are some of the supporters:

Well known individual such as Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond

Tutu,singer Harry Belafonte, actress Susan Sarandon, Congressman John Lewis, and author and activist Angela Davis, to name a few—have voiced support for Troy.

For more info on the case of Troy Anthony Davis go to

via NewBlackMan: “I Am Troy Davis” (video).

NewBlackMan: “Our Justice System at Its Worst”: Date Set for Troy Davis Execution

“Our Justice System at Its Worst”:

Date Set for Troy Davis Execution

by David J. Leonard | NewBlackMan (#TooMuchDoubt)

This week, Georgia announced its plans to carry out the execution of Troy Davis. While there remains time to thwart this miscarrying of justice, the planned execution should give pause to us all.

In absence of forensic evidence or a murder weapon, an all-white jury convicted Davis of the 1989 murder of a police officer in Savannah. The basis of the conviction was the witness testimony of nine individuals (7 eyewitnesses and 2 “jailhouse snitches”), many of who have subsequently spoken about police pressure. In fact, since his conviction, all but two of the prosecution’s non-police witnesses have recanted or contradicted their own testimonies, leaving the conviction in doubt. At the same time, 9 individuals have signed affidavits implicating another individual who happens to be one of the two witnesses who have not reversed on original testimony. Notwithstanding these significant doubts raised during the appeals process, one that has never allowed for his defense team to fully explore the recanting witness testimony, Davis’ conviction has remained, resulting in the issuing of his death warrant yesterday.

As part of its announced plan to stop the execution of Davis, the NAACP described the injustice in the following way: “This is our justice system at its very worst, and we are alive to witness it. There is just too much doubt.” Calling for people to take action to save Troy Davis’ life, his case points to larger racial issues that demand action as well.

His conviction and the decision to proceed with his execution should give pause given the research on race and witness identification. According to the Innocence Project, 75% of wrongful convictions overturned by DNA were the result of witness misidentification. “While eyewitness testimony can be persuasive evidence before a judge or jury, 30 years of strong social science research has proven that eyewitness identification is often unreliable” reports the Innocence Project. “Research shows that the human mind is not like a tape recorder; we neither record events exactly as we see them, nor recall them like a tape that has been rewound. Instead, witness memory is like any other evidence at a crime scene; it must be preserved carefully and retrieved methodically, or it can be contaminated.”

One of the sources of contamination is clearly race and the myriad of assumptions that result from an institutionalized system of stereotyping. In “Cross-Racial Identification Errors in Criminal Cases,” Sheri Lynn Johnson highlights the unreliable nature of “eye-witness” testimony, a fact that is exacerbated in cross-racial situations. Evidence from actual cases and in research studies elucidate the ways in which race and the larger social meanings attached to blackness play a significant role within the process of witness identification. In a study conducted with white students at University of Illinois and black students at Howard University, researchers showed them pictures of 10 white and 10 black individuals for a second and half; then, they were are asked to recall the pictures from a series of other photos. According to Elizabeth F. Loftus, in Eyewitness Testimony:

[T] he subjects were clearly better able to identify members of their own race. This study was later duplicated with the addition of Asian students. Again [African Americans] had greater difficulty recognizing faces of whites and Asians. Interestingly, however, whites and Asians had relatively little problem in identifying members of each other’s race – though both had trouble identifying [African Americans]. (from review of book)

The psychological obstacles facing witnesses along with the ways in which race further complicates the process is well documented. Yet, we continue to rely on witness testimony within the criminal justice system. The power of the white racial frame illustrates the reasonable doubt inherent in eyewitness testimony. In a society where black is akin to criminal, so much so that within the dominant imagination there exist a distinct category, the “criminalblackman” (Russell, 1998, p. 3), it is crucial to reflect on what is at stake with Troy Davis: his life and so many others.

The planned execution of Troy Davis also points to a larger question of the racial application of the death penalty within the United States. According to David Dow, 35 years into the return of the death penalty “It remains as racist and as random as ever.” Referencing the often-cited Baldus Study, which “found that black defendants were 1.7 times more likely to receive the death penalty than white defendants and that murderers of white victims were 4.3 times more likely to be sentenced to death than those who killed blacks,” Dow highlights the racist application of the death penalty. Cases involving an alleged black perpetrator and a white victim are far more likely to result in the death penalty. Although, “nationwide, blacks and whites are victims of homicide in roughly equal numbers . . . 80 percent of those executed had murdered white people.”

PLEASE CONTINUE READING @ NewBlackMan: “Our Justice System at Its Worst”: Date Set for Troy Davis Execution.