Posts Tagged ‘Death Penalty’

Trump-Caligula copy

The latest fascist scapegoat from the extreme-right playbook…

President Trump regularly makes statements indicating he would like to emulate policies of China, the Philippines, and Singapore by executing drug sellers, according to a report by Axios.

Given Trump’s embrace of the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte, who has overseen a large-scale campaign of state-sanctioned murder, it’s no surprise that Trump is saying he wants to execute drug sellers. But executions are not only barbaric and illegal under international law—they also don’t work.

It’s appalling and shameful that in the midst of a major overdose crisis, Trump continues to ignore proven policies that save lives, and instead seeks to emulate the behavior of killers. 

Tell Congress it’s time to embrace evidence-based policies and to resist any attempts to escalate the failed war on drugs.


This just in…

An evening in Beverly Hills wouldn’t be complete without a few celebrity sightings. By attending the 24th Annual Death Penalty Focus (DPF) Awards Dinner on May 7 you will not only be supporting our efforts to end the death penalty, but you will also get to meet celebrities who share the same commitment to justice as you.

Hollywood often plays a significant role in bringing awareness of important social issues to the general public. Whether it’s TV shows and movies exploring our criminal justice system, or celebrities speaking out against injustice, Hollywood helps bring life and death issues into the public consciousness.

Death Row Stories, an 8-part CNN series produced by Jigsaw Productions and Sundance Productions, is a wonderful example of a show that explores the most serious questions about crime and punishment. Each episode profiles a different capital murder case, all of which raise concerns about capital punishment and the justice system in the United States.

I am honored that executive producers Alex Gibney, Brad Hebert and Laura Michalchyshyn will be representing Death Row Stories at our Awards Dinner to receive our Justice in the Media Award.

The DPF Awards Dinner attracts a lot of big time supporters who want to add their name, and where possible, their presence to the premier anti-death penalty event of the year. The list of dinner committee members this year includes Matt Damon, Russell Crowe,Alfre Woodard, Bryan Cranston, Bonnie Raitt, and Harry Belafonte. They are showing their support in the hope that you will join them in opposition to the death penalty. To see the entire list of dinner committee members click here.

Celebrities who have already confirmed their participation include DPF President Mike Farrell, Dinner Co-Chair Shelley Fabares, Master of Ceremonies John Fugelsang, and Award Presenter Amy Brenneman. Other distinguished honorees for the evening include Dale Baich, Assistant Federal Public Defender; the late Rabbi Leonard Beerman, founding DPF board member, and our special recognition recipients.

Seats are selling fast, so I hope you can reserve your place today. 

By attending our Annual Awards Dinner, you will directly contribute to our efforts to end the death penalty not only in California, but around the world. I hope you can join us.


Matt Cherry
Executive Director


How immoral does one have to be to support a system that regularly kills people who are later found to be completely innocent?

It’s not such a rhetorical question, as this is reality today.

40 Years of Death Row: 1,359 Executed; 890 Convictions Overturned


King Abdullah’s Saudi Arabia: Slavery, Terror & Women as Property




Explorer V: Inside Death Row NGC-US: Ep. Code 4082




Roger Ebert once called Fight Club a “fascist movie.”  Although that might have been misplaced, it may apply more aptly to these murder is fun films, Kickass and Kickass 2.

It’s so frustrating when the ideas are so nakedly presented to offset the other malignant ideas that were just presented moments ago.  The level of manipulation reaches schizophrenic heights when torture is fun, but all of a sudden another character pretends to have a moral conscience.  We have a battle of marketing manipulation memes, selling fascist ideas, but trying to also wrangle those peacenik dollars and assuage the consciences of parents who let their kids watch these assaults.

I was shocked at the prospect of “Hit Girl” (Chloe Moretz) the moment I read about the first film in production.  This was a kind of line that had to be crossed, inevitably, but for what purpose?  What is the meaning of Hit Girl?  She’s some kind of super enforcer freak show that could never exist in real life.  She’s also a bloodthirsty mass murderess, with flashy colors and makeup to sell killing as cool.  Of course a collection of lowlifes are presented for her to mow down.  What are people to make of this murder as fun and games, it’s all part of the modern lifestyle, kind of vibe?

The society has drifted quite a bit from the times of peace protests and antiwar movements.  We’ve regressed to a kind of infantile love of mindless violence.  Meaning and consequences are stripped away in favor of blood and circuses.  Now in Amerika it’s easy to sell violence as the solution to just about anything.  Little girls playing dress up is now little girls playing dress up with hollow point rounds and machetes.

The title character, Kickass (Aaron Johnson), represents the common knave. He’s brought into the world of murder for fun and Hit Girl, as a way of establishing his own identity as a superhero.  He’s a scaredy cat and inept.  The contrast between the two remains throughout.

With Kickass attempting to bring balance to the vigilante ideal, the films meander toward gore and death and back toward justice and forgiveness.  The people behind it coldly manipulate the storylines to sell death and supremacy one moment and high school innocence and the rule of law the next. 

Vigilantism is pitted against a useless law and justice system that essentially does nothing positive, ever.  This is an ideological attack on the idea of a justice system at all.  Never are the police called or do they do anything positive.  The only solution is massive force and violence by unaccountable individuals.  Similarities to other vigilante comic book stories (Batman) are intentional, but to what end?  What is it these people think they’re saying in the end?

My guess is that they’re saying: ‘we put x in there to counter y, so give us lots of money, assholes.’

Sounds about right.

No trailer.  Fuck you, Kickass.