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Claxton

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Posted on Monday, March 10, 2003 - 12:18 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It's been a little while since I last posted on Thumper's Corner. I've been a busy man lately, and the pace doesn't show any signs of slowing down. But as I wait for the cold medicine to kick in and take me off to La-La Land, I figured I could use the time constructively.

1) Having this new area of the board is a brilliant idea. It seems almost tailor-made for me, in fact. I'll be the first to admit, I add little value in the way of literature here, but I do like to speak my piece about things going on in the world. Whoever thought of this should probably get consideration for some sort of medal.

2) If George W. Bush isn't careful, he's going to end up involving us in a two-front war we won't win. It's one thing to tangle with Iraq, which is smart enough to know we can wipe it off the map. It's another to go toe-to-toe with North Korea, because they don't care what happens. Think we've got problems getting support to go to war with Saddam Hussein? Nobody will back us against North Korea, especially not the Japanese (they want no part of it) or the Chinese (they like our consumer goods, but not us). The only allies we'd have in that region of the world would be South Korea (of course!) and Australia.

3) I keep hearing people grouse about how our friends from Mexico are taking over our communities. Funny, a lot of those same folks are the same ones tooling around town in SUVs built in Mexico and other points around the globe because the car makes don't want to pay Americans to do the work. If I were Mexican, I'd come here too. Why work for peanuts at home when you can come here, make a decent living for yourself, and have some money left over to send those family members who can't make it over here?

There is a follow-up to that. I was watching an old episode of "Let's Make A Deal" recently, and as a prize, they gave away a fully-loaded 1973 Chevy Caprice sedan (told you it was an old episode). With tax, tag and license, it retailed for just over $5,000. Scary thing was, it wasn't part of the Big Deal, which that day was over $9,000. A car like that now, 30 years later, would be worth nearly $30,000 easily, no matter who builds it or where. The cost of materials can't have gone up that much over time.

4) Which leads me to another point. Looks like the terrorists who took out the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon are still at work, even in death. The Justice Department is trying to get the death penalty on anyone or anything it thinks is a threat to national security--even when no sensitive information is passed--and now wants to profile everyone who buys an airline ticket. Now, I'm not so naive as to believe this will have a snowball's chance of working. How would the TSA fund it? How would they manage it? The TSA has a hard enough time finding people who don't go to sleep on the job, let alone taking the time to figure out whether I'm an at-risk passenger.

What makes me maddest about this is that they didn't pull this out when the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was bombed. If the Justice Department had started calling on U-haul, Penske, et al to start profiling, and paying particular attention to white men, there'd have been holy hell to pay. And what Timothy McVeigh was executed for pulling (anyone else besides me believe he didn't do it?) was ten times worse, though much less dramatic, than taking out a couple skyscrapers. It's one thing for foreigners to take shots at us. It's another when it's someone supposedly a dyed-in-the-wool patriot.

5) Texas governor Rick Perry is following right in George W. Bush's footsteps. The next execution in that death machine will be the state's 300 since the Supreme Court upheld capital punishment in 1976, and the 59th under Perry's tenure.

The battle for to abolish the death penalty in the United States is not being led by the bleeding hearts, as the media would have you believe. There is a vocal minority across the country, led by a number of families victimized by brutal murders, that wants to put an end to the death penalty. The assumption is that every family so wronged wants to see the maximum sentence imposed on the perpatrator, that "eye for an eye" justice is always the desired outcome. Not so. In one case not long ago in Ohio, one family asked a jury to spare the man who killed their daughter because the girl didn't believe in the death penalty. There was a similar occasion, some years ago here in North Carolina, where a Christian family also requested the killer of one of its own not be put to death.

Until I grew up and began to understand the system, I, too, believed in "eye for an eye" justice. But the fallacy here is that all eyes are not equal. The death penalty, as practiced, is elitist, racist and sexist. It can't be mandatory for murder, and there's no way to enforce impartiality. It's also much more expensive than a life sentence, though death penalty supporters tend to want to sacrifice the dough that could be going to educate their kids, improve their roads (for those honkin' SUVs!) and supporting pro-active programs that help people put their lives on track, just to prove how tough they are on crime.

Okay, I think the medicine's kicking in now...Better shut it down before I fall asleep. Peace!
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Crystal

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Posted on Friday, March 14, 2003 - 02:13 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hey Claxton! Hope you're feeling better.

1) I agree. I usually don't have much to say to these types of posts but I love reading the opinions.

2) Thank You! North Korea ain't no joke and you're right, they ain't scared of us. And seeing as how I'm in L.A. where there is the biggest concentration of So. Koreans outside of that country I'm guessing we'll be the first to be bombed. Well, I don't really think that's gonna happen but I'm more worried about ole boy over there than I am of Saddam.

3) Again, being in L.A. I see this as a BIG problem. Black folks around here act like they HATE Latinos, commonly referred to as "mescans", more than anybody else on earth. Why is this??? A common complaint is "they've taken all the jobs". But if you ask somebody who says this, and it's usually someone on the lower end of the economic scale, if they will take a job cleaning houses and mowing lawns the answer is "hell no". I've asked black business owners why it doesn't seem to be many Black people working in the neighborhood mom and pop places and the answer is always, "Blacks don't want these jobs". Another common complaint is that the Latinos come here already prejudiced against Blacks and don't give us any respect. Well, my thoughts on this are that people in other countries, especially our closest neighbors, see the same media coverage we see of Black folks: drug using, gangbanging, hoochiefied idiots with no respect for anything or anybody. So, what else are they supposed to think? Then, they get here and the Black people around them are downright nasty to them. Here's the thing: they were here first, they got kicked out and now they're coming back and since there's more of them than there are of us we'd better find a way to work with them. I'll take my chances with Sr. Jose before I will with Mr. Charlie any day.

5) The death penalty - HATE IT! I guess I'm one of those bleeding hearts because I'm against it for the very simple reason that I believe it's wrong for anybody to kill anyone. I've been asked - what if some sick dog kidnapped your son, tortured him and killed him - would you want that person killed? My response is - initially, probably, but I'd be wrong for thinking that way and I'd really hope I wouldn't. Big kudos to those families you mentioned in your post.

Crystal


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Claxton

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Posted on Saturday, March 15, 2003 - 04:32 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Crystal, I'm going to work on Point 3 a little further. Certainly, I can understand the Hispanic influence in Los Angeles. That dates back to the time before white man hit this continent. And of course, it's such a sprawling city that it really shouldn't be an issue of who is living or working where. And you're also very much right; there are black people who wouldn't take a job at a pie factory tasting pies! The Mexican people I see do work hard, and they try to have some fun when they're not working. One of the middle school football fields near my home is a soccer haven on the weekends. They are as passionate about their brand of football as we are about ours.

Unfortunately, I live in Charlotte, a city that, despite its desire to be a world-class city, still has to deal with racial discord on a routine basis. Even worse, my wife's family lives in Winston-Salem, an even more conservative city that relies on its ties to banking and tobacco to survive. Many Hispanics have flocked here, and there has been some backlash against them for it in some quarters. Things are much better in the South than they were in my parents' day. And this area is still one of the best in the country as far as its location and its climate--although we don't typically see 60 and 70-degree days like LA does in January.

But as I said before, I have no problem with them being here. To think otherwise is to be opposed to the long-standing ideal that America is a true land of opportunity. It's an ideal that, if left in the wrong hands, will eventually dry up.
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Yukio

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Posted on Saturday, March 15, 2003 - 04:12 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

1. I agree with you about the forum. Great idea!

2. Bush is stupid, but not so stupid that he would offend N. Korea. Their presence, however, sheds light on the selectivity and inconsistency of US foreign policy.

3. Also, most people complaining about Mexicans taking jobs would not do the jobs that Mexicans are taking, mostly service sector positions as Crytal has mentioned.

4.& 5. Well, this is another case of racial profiling, now including middle east and anyone that, such as East Asians, that look like they're from the middle east. It is clear that the death penalty is racialized and that it facilitates the prison industrial complex, which makes money off of imprisoning black people that school systems and the economy are unable to help.
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Claxton

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Posted on Sunday, March 16, 2003 - 01:02 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yukio, I'm going to come back on Point 5 for a minute. As you've already seen, the death penalty is very much a hot-button issue with me. Having at one time been in favor of it--and still having strong feelings about those who deserve it--I cannot, in good conscience, support what amounts to be a political punishment. It's not a fair system, no matter how it stacks up, and it is a clear violation of civil rights.

Here's an excellent case to illustrate my point. Pope John Paul II, in his quarter-century of service, has only been successful in gaining a commutation of a death sentence. It happened in 1998, when Missouri governor Mel Carnahan commuted the sentence of convicted murderer Darrell Mease. In a case that was considered airtight--Mease had confessed to killing three people in an ambush--commutation didn't seem likely. But this time, the Pope did something he had never done before; he made his plea in person, as he just happened to be in St. Louis as part of his visit to the United States. Carnahan, sticking to his guns in support of the death penalty, commuted the sentence of a confessed murderer, but proceeded to allow other executions to occur before and after this particular event. In my humble opinion, I don't think that Mel Carnahan's death in an airplane crash, while he was running against our current attorney general, John Ashcroft, for a US Senate seat, was an accident. I think God took Mel Carnahan away from his family and his friends for being both arrogant and self-serving in making such an obviously bone-headed decision.

There are 12 states in our Union that don't practice the death penalty (Alaska, Hawaii, North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine). It also isn't practiced in the District of Columbia or any of our outlying territories. But our federal government is authorized to carry out the death penalty, and of the states that practice it, Texas is far and away the leader, with almost 300 executions since the Supreme Court cleared the way for the death penalty in 1976. That number alone says to me that the death penalty doesn't deter crime. And to many of those who have lost loved ones in violent manners, they don't feel that sense of closure and justice that pro-death penalty advocates claim comes with carrying out the sentence.


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yukio

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Posted on Sunday, March 16, 2003 - 10:17 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Interesting examples.

I don't think any law is fair nor just. Law is about order, and politics determine how society and therefore, legisilation, elections, etc..., should be ordered.

Politics ultimately is about how politicians can facilitate economic and political growth, domestically and internationally, through satisfying their party first and then their constituency. Obviously, Carnahan's decision was a politically one, and probably, if he lived, a savy decision. I don't know.

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Claxton

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Posted on Tuesday, March 18, 2003 - 08:36 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Actually, yukio, Carnahan's decision had all but cost him the election...Very few people were happy with it, not even the death penalty opponents who had enough since to know their dog wasn't in the hunt. He would've been better off commuting all sentences or respectfully declining to commute Mease's sentence altogether. If there had been some holes in the case that had left doubt in the minds of observers or jurors, the decision might not have been met with such grief. What's worse, Carnahan didn't change his stance on the death penalty one iota. The decision to commute was purely political. And as I said before, I believe it cost Carnahan his life.

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