Friday, April 27, 2012

An Interesting Scenerio-Courtesy of Daily Kos

WE'd Love to hear your opinions about this!

An innocent man is sentenced to death, and is led into the death chamber on the appointed day.  At the very last minute, he manages to escape from the restraints using a weapon he smuggled in and kills the guards present who are trying to assist in his execution.  Just seconds later - so that there is no time for the prisoner's execution to be carried out by other guards - a reprieve is called in, which would have been too late if the prisoner had cooperated.  The prisoner surrenders and is returned to his cell, and during the course of the reprieve, he is proven innocent and all previous charges against him are dropped.

Now let's assume the prosecutors and judges in his state are conservatives, and decide to charge him with 1st degree murder for defending himself against the guards who were trying to murder him.  Let's further assume the juries in the state are conservatives and convict him, sentencing him to death.  The Supreme Court upholds his conviction and death sentence 5-4, ruling (as Antonin Scalia actually has in real life) that proven innocence is not a legal basis to avoid punishment and thus the prisoner was obligated to die from the original conviction, meaning that he had no right to defend his own life and is therefore guilty of murder.  I.e., he must die now because he would not die before when the state wanted to kill him, even though their justification was proven false.

What we find in this all-too-plausible scenario is that the true nature of capital punishment is revealed - it has nothing to do with criminal justice, and everything to do with asserting the power of the state to take the lives of its citizens.  Now, a practical politician would probably not allow such an execution to take place because there would be significant public sympathy for the guy - a pardon would be likely, if not from a governor, then from a President.  But the logic of capital punishment nonetheless would assert that the state would have the authority to kill him for defending his own life, because he allegedly had no right to do so when the state had ordered his original execution.  And it boils down to whether or not a human life is state property, or indeed property at all - a question that additionally reveals the unmitigated hypocrisy of conservatives and most libertarians who are in favor of or indifferent to capital punishment.

I will say it clearly: Defending one's own life is a fundamental, absolute human right not subject to any conditions.  That can lead to real complexities in war or other scenarios with armed combatants who are free to act and threaten each other, but there is no imaginable scenario in which a prisoner who is in custody and under restraint may be legally or morally killed - there are no ambiguities to that.  It is cold-blooded murder for a person in custody deprived of any capability of defending themselves to be strapped down and their life taken.  To argue otherwise is to claim that the immorality of private murders is only because they lack state approval, which is an inherently nihilistic and totalitarian argument.

But let us extend the scenario even further, and say that the prisoner did not defend his own life - let's say a member of his family killed the guards to prevent the execution taking place.  If the executioners were home-invasion robbers, no one would dispute the family has a right to defend its members.  But is the action illegitimate simply because a killer wears a badge and carries a piece of paper allegedly giving him the authority to commit cowardly, cold-blooded murder?  Or let's say the execution does take place and the innocent prisoner is murdered by the guards - something that has happened several times in the past few years - would it be legitimate for the family of the prisoner to seek revenge on the guards, or would their desire for revenge be less legitimate than the families of the other victims who had originally demanded the prisoner's death out of a false belief in his guilt?  Does the grief of a convicted perpetrator's family entitle them to less sympathy than the grief of victims' families - does the guilt of their family member transfer to them by blood or emotional connection?  No moral person would claim that, and yet our "justice" system implicitly holds that to be true.

A capital murder trial is basically the other 300 million people of US society appointing 12 of their members to decide whether to kill 1 of their members.  How is this legitimate?  Let's reduce it to the absurdity that it is: Instead of 300 million, what about a group of 10 million?  Or 1 million?  Or 1 thousand?  What about two people in a group of three deciding to kill the third?  At what number of participants does a conspiracy to commit murder become a function of "justice"?  How do twelve people have any greater claim to such authority than two?  If the claim is made that the social contract implicitly agrees to give other citizens this power, then it must also be argued that it is legitimate for the Mafia to kill its own members since their social contract also implicitly acknowledges this authority.  In fact, we must say that about all criminal organizations engaged in murder, and also extend the logic to people who merely associate with them in any way since they're aware of what could happen.  

OR we can say that human life is an absolute right beyond any authority to destroy, and the only situations where lives can be taken is where the only other choice is to allow other, less culpable lives to be taken - defense of life.  Granted, conservatives in their infinite perversity will often try to twist this principle into arguing that making an example of convicted killers saves lives, but aside from being objectively untrue, they betray once again how they think: They do not place any inherent value in a human life, only in its utility to themselves and to groups they identify with.  But this is not part of any remotely defensible definition of justice: A person's right to exist is not predicated on their political utility in keeping others in line, and they cannot be punished for the suppositional future crimes of others.  Once again, we see the deranged hypocrisy of the right in its love for collective punishment and objectification of individuals in order to control groups.

Basically, capital punishment is indefensible on every level there is, and its level of tolerance in a society indicates how advanced or how degenerate it is.  Those who have abolished it - and I mean sincerely abolished it, not merely substituted extrajudicial killings for overt process - prove themselves among the most civilized.  Those who have followed a trend of increasing restrictions and rare practice are at least proving their commitment to progress and decency.  But those parts of our country who have been unrepentant state killers of people in their custody, let alone reveling in it, prove themselves barbaric and unaccountable, and will likely threaten the safety and security of the rest of the United States as time goes on.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

100 Things You Can Say To Irritate A Republican (HUMOR) Courtesy of Irritating Info

Conservatives are so easy to anger these days. Even the most insignificant statement can set off their tempers. If you want to enrage a conservative, I suggest saying the following:

1. A Socialist wrote the Pledge of Allegiance.
2. Jesus healed the sick and helped the poor, for free.
3. Joseph McCarthy was an un-American, witch hunting sissy.
4. Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee were traitors.
5. The South lost the Civil War, get over it.
6. The Founding Fathers were liberals.
7. Fascism is a right-wing trait.
8. Sarah Palin is an idiot.
9. The Earth is round.
10. Reagan raised taxes eleven times as President.
11. Reagan legalized abortion as Governor of California.
12. Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency.
13. Ronald Reagan supported gun control.
14. Global warming is real.
15. Republicans hate illegal immigrants, unless they need their lawns mowed or their houses cleaned.

16. The military is a government-run institution, so why do Republicans approve the defense budget?
17. The Cold War is over and the Soviet Union no longer exists.
18. Paying taxes is patriotic.
19. Republicans: Peddling the same failed economic policies since 1880.
20. The Republican Party began as a liberal party.
21. The Presidents’ full name is Barack Hussein Obama and he was born in the United States of America.
22. George W. Bush held hands with the King of Saudi Arabia.
23. President Obama saved the American auto industry, while Republicans wanted to destroy it.
24. Hate is not a Christian virtue.
25. Jesus was a liberal.
26. Republicans spend MORE money than Democrats.
27. Tea parties are for little girls.
28. Public schools educate all children; private schools are for indoctrinating children.
29. The Constitution is the law, NOT the Bible.
30. Sharia law doesn’t exist in America.
31. The President is NOT a Muslim.
32. Corporations are NOT people. People are people.
33. Fox News isn’t real news, it’s just a racist, sexist, hateful, right-wing propaganda machine.
34. The Federal Reserve was a Republican idea.
35. Women are equal citizens who deserve equal rights.
36. Women control their own bodies.
37. Abortion is a relevant medical procedure, just ask Rick Santorum.
38. Please use spell-check.
39. It’s “pundit”, not “pundint”.
40. Social Security is solvent through 2038.
41. Health care is a right, not a product.
42. Roe v. Wade was a bipartisan ruling made by a conservative leaning Supreme Court.
43. G.O.P also stands for Gross Old Perverts.
44. The donkey shouldn’t be the Democratic mascot because Republicans are the real jackasses.
45. Barack Obama ordered the killing of Osama Bin Laden. It took him two and half years to do what Bush couldn’t do in eight.
46. Waterboarding IS torture.
47. 9/11 happened on George W. Bush’s watch, therefore he did NOT keep America safe.
48. Republicans invaded Iraq for oil, so Iraq should be allowed to invade Texas to get it back.
49. Separation of church and state is in the Constitution, it’s called the First Amendment.
50. Muslims are protected by the Constitution, just as much as Christians.
51. Barack Obama is the first African-American President, get over it.
52. The Oval Office is NOT a “whites only” office.
53. America is a nation of immigrants, therefore we are all anchor babies.
54. The white race isn’t disappearing, it’s evolving.
55. God is a particle.
56. Evolution is real.
57. The Earth is 4.54 billion years old, not 6,000.
58. The Founding Fathers did not free the slaves.
59. The Revolution was NOT fought over slavery.
60. Paul Revere warned the Americans, NOT the British.
61. Federal law trumps state law.
62. The Civil War was about slavery, NOT state’s rights.
63. Corporations care more about profits than they do about people.
64. Getting out of a recession requires government spending.
65. Glenn Beck is a nut-job.
66. Republicans: Paranoid since 1932.
67. Republicans don’t want to pay for your birth control, but they want you to pay for their Viagra.
68. Republicans actually NEED Viagra.
69. Fox News is owned by an Australian and has a Saudi prince as an investor.
70. Republicans complain about immigrants taking American jobs, then freely give American jobs to foreigners overseas.
71. Republicans hate communism, so why do they refer to themselves as red states?
72. Labor unions built this country.
73. Republicans hold America hostage as a political strategy; the temper tantrum throwing kind of political strategy.
74. Jesus was a Jew, not a Christian.
75. When Republicans see black, they attack.
76. Inside every Republican is a Klansman or a Nazi waiting to bloom.
77. Republicans only care about children BEFORE they are born.
78. Republicans are hypocrites, they’re just too stupid to know it.
79. The Christian-Right boycotts movies that have violence, and then promotes guns and insurrection.
80. I think therefore I am NOT a Republican.
81. Republicans that oppose gay marriage are most likely in the closet themselves.
82. Churches should stay out of politics, or be taxed.
83. People are too poor to vote Republican.
84. Democrats think for themselves, Republicans form think tanks to do it for them.
85. Republicans hate education because they couldn’t hack it in school.
86. Greed is one of the seven deadly sins and Republicans wallow in it.
87. A little socialism on the Left is better than a little fascism on the Right.
88. The current corporate tax rate is the lowest in 60 years, so stop whining about it being too high.
89. Republicans: Anti-Gay Marriage, Pro-Lesbian sex.
90. Republicans: Terrorizing the American people since 1981.
91. Republicans have their own terrorists, just look up Timothy McVeigh.
92. Republicans love outsourcing, just ask the Chinese Communists.
93. The Republican answer to the oil spill was to apologize to BP, a foreign oil company.
94. Democrats will be working hard to bring jobs to Americans, while the Republicans tea bag each other in the middle of the aisles.
95. Voter disenfranchisement is immoral and un-American, that’s why Republicans do it.
96. Republicans would let your house burn down unless you pay them to put it out.
97. Democrats want to take care of the sick. Republicans take their credit cards and then deny them medical attention.
98. Republicans say teachers are union thugs, then proceed to rape and mug the entire middle class on behalf of corporations.
99. Republicans think rape isn’t a crime, but miscarriages are.
100. Republicans are idiots and arguing with them is a waste of time!

Bottom line? If you want to anger a conservative, tell them the truth.

Survey: Religion a key factor in determining support for Obama vs. Romney From CNN

Survey: Religion a key factor in determining support for Obama vs. Romney – CNN Belief Blog - Blogs


Do You Believe In Them?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Tips For Saving Gas

Gas prices are climbing these days, so here are 12 tips for conserving gas courtesy of

We can conserve gas with some car maintenance steps. For example, we can get 6 to 20 percent higher mpg with a properly tuned engine. Keeping a mileage record will tell us when our gas mileage is slipping, which is a signal for a tune-up.

Here are 12 more tips for how to stretch a tank of gas.

1. You can easily take care of a few items without going to a service station. One of them is the air filter. A clogged air filter leaves your engine gasping for breath and means you’re probably running with a “rich” mixture, that is, more gas and less air. Many department and auto stores carry air filters, and they are simple to change. A clogged air filter can cost you 1 mpg. Replace your air filter regularly.

2. Dirty oil cuts back engine efficiency, so make sure your oil is changed according to the car manufacturer’s recommended schedule. You can change your own, and buying your own oil is much cheaper. There’s a drain plug under your engine that will come out readily with a wrench. Have a bucket ready to catch the dirty oil, and remember to dispose of it safely.

3. If your fan belt is too tight, your engine is working too hard and wasting gas. The belt should give a little to finger pressure when the engine is not running. if it doesn’t, you can easily adjust the tension with a wrench.

4. Badly worn spark plugs can cost you as much as 2 mpg. This is probably a job for a trained technician.

5. The car has been a way of life for most Americans. There are alternatives. These include mass transit, bike paths, and carpools.

6. Heavier cars are more costly to run. A reduction of 200 pounds in automotive weight typically improves fuel economy by nearly 5 percent.

7. Use the air conditioner in your car as little as possible. It uses a lot of gas. Roll down the windows and get some fresh air!

8. Using cruise control can save gas. If you drive on the open road often, staying at a constant speed will save fuel.

9. If you are taking a trip, start early in the day while traffic is light. Plan to stop for meals at times when traffic is heavy.

10. Don’t let your car idle for a long time to warm it up. Also, don’t let your car idle for more than a minute after it is warmed up—this idling wastes more gas than restarting your car.

11. Do not rev the engine and then quickly shut your car off. This wastes gas. It also pumps raw gasoline into the cylinder walls. This can wash away a film of oil that protects the cylinders and will increase engine wear.

12. Check your tires. Your owner’s manual has important information on your tires, including the correct air pressure that should be in them. Underinflation of your tires can cost you as much as 1 mpg. Radial tires have 50 percent less road resistance, so they give you 3 to 19 percent better mpg.

Read more: Life, Reduce, Recycle & Reuse, Transportation

Adapted from 547 Ways to be Fuel Smart, by Roger Albright.Copyright (c)2000 by Storey Communications. Reprinted by permission of Storey Books.
Adapted from 547 Ways to be Fuel Smart, by Roger Albright.

Annie B. Bond

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