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MARX: A HERO FOR OUR TIME? — Suddenly, everyone from the Wall Street Journal to Rolling Stone seems to be talking about Karl Marx. Louis Proyect delves into this mysterious resurgence, giving a vivid assessment of Marx’s relevance in the era of globalized capitalism. THE MEANING OF MANDELA: Longtime civil rights organizer Kevin Alexander Gray gives in intimate portrait of Nelson Mandela and the global struggle of racial justice. FALLOUT OVER FUKUSHIMA: Peter Lee investigates the scandalous exposure of sailors on board the USS Reagan to radioactive fallout from Fukushima. SOUTHERN DISCOMFORT: Kim Nicolini charts the rise of Matthew McConaughey. PLUS: Mike Whitney on the coming crash of the housing market. JoAnn Wypijewski on slavery, torture and revolt. Chris Floyd on the stupidity of US policy in Ukraine. Kristin Kolb on musicians and health care. And Jeffrey St. Clair on life and death on the mean streets of an America in decline
A Nation Condemned

On the Execution of Jonathan Green

by ELIZABETH ANN STEIN

I slept fitfully Wednesday night after Texas’s Herculean and ultimately successful efforts to execute Jonathan Green on the appointed day.

One of the most troubling aspects of the event was the intense personal involvement of some of our nation’s finest legal minds.

Lawyers in the attorney general’s office in Austin toiled late to compose counter-briefs while, 1,300 miles away, Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court burned the midnight oil to give instant consideration to a barrage of last-minute appeals by Green’s attorney, James Rytting. The high court ultimately rejected them all in time for Texas to beat its midnight deadline to execute Green.

Death warrants authorizing Texas prison officials to kill a prisoner typically expire at midnight.

“It’s hurting me bad,” Green cried out from the gurney in Huntsville as he looked at the intravenous needle in his left arm. The drugs began to flow around 10:30 p.m. – four and a half hours after the 6 p.m. execution time. Eighteen minutes later, he was dead.

Had the justices not ruled so quickly, Green would still be alive today, though in all likelihood his execution would have been rescheduled for a later date and carried out.

So why did I feel so sickened, I wondered, by the intensity of coordinated effort required to carry out his execution on the intended date?

Then I flashed on the last nation to become famous for using its considerable brain power to deal death efficiently.

The United States is far from becoming the Third Reich, but the spectacle accompanying Green’s execution convinced me that the death penalty is harmful not just to the condemned but also to the nation that uses it.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan said, “The calculated killing of a human being by the state involves, by its very nature, an absolute denial of the executed person’s humanity.”

I worry where our country is bound as, execution by execution, we move away from, rather than toward, a fuller recognition of each citizen’s humanness.

Elizabeth Ann Stein is the producer and co-founder of Execution Watch on the nonprofit Pacifica Radio Network’s flagship station KPFT FM 90.1 Houston.

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THE ARAB SPRING AT A CROSSROADS — Esam Al-Amin surveys the new Middle East, from the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, to the aftermath of the overthrow of Qaddafi and the civil war in Syria, and outlines the economic and political challenges facing the fledgling Arab democracies; THE BI-PARTISAN PLAN TO GUT MEDICARE: Dave Lindorff digs beneath the rhetoric to expose the grim similarities in both Obama and Romney’s schemes to degrade Medicare by cutting spending, reducing eligibility and privatizing services. KAFKA IN SEATTLE: Kristian Williams details the surreal ordeal of Matthew Duran, thrown into federal prison even though prosecutors admit he committed no crime.