Wednesday, April 30, 2014

State-Sanctioned Killing

Roman execution methods achieved their ultimate expression in crucifixion - a long, slow, painful, death, in public, to intimidate the population (never really worked all that well, as Rome constantly dealt with rebellion). Rome loved to kill people, and killed them by the thousands - and why? Because they could.

And just because they could, they did.

There is something terribly wrong with state-sponsored executions. And what happened in Oklahoma is a terrible example of state-sanctioned killing.

America doesn't need capital punishment. It corrupts our spirit, and what about those who are called upon to kill? What about them and their families. Can we dress it up and make it more acceptable because the state is doing it? Does legal sanction make killing anything more than just plain killing? Finally, what is the difference between a criminal who kills and the state that kills?

Does it bring back to life the one who was murdered by the criminal now executed? Does it heal the victim's family? Does it make anything better?

I suppose some might satisfy themselves with the murderer's death. Perhaps I would, too.

But this much I know, it's all blood-lust! And terribly cold-hearted.

I don't know what I do, or want, or feel, if someone killed one of my family members. I have to be honest - I don't know.

I would hope that I could find the grace practiced by the Amish and others who eschew such vengeance. The nations of Europe have found ways to cut crime and punish the murderer without a death penalty.

I think we can do the same here in America. America the Beautiful we sing. I want to keep my nation beautiful, and be done with the stain of state-sanctioned killing.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Corporations, Greed and Henhouses ...

Corporations are not persons, but they have personality - and, let's face it, it's all pretty much about profits.

While some in the corporations may have other things on their mind, and even though corporations can fund laudable causes, the heart and soul of a corporation is the acquisition of power and money.

I wouldn't want any different, and even if I did, it wouldn't ever be different. I want corporations to excel in their drive for power and money - to make the best play they can for their stockholders, and to challenge every restraint.

But here's the point: who plays the other side of the table? Who offers the restraint, the challenge?

Without firm controls, without restraint imposed by outside sources, corporations are like drug addicts, and they eventually kill others for their own gain, even as they self-destruct.

It doesn't pay to be naive about corporations - anymore than it would be wise to trust the fox in the
henhouse ... but the fox has a life to live - no sense in destroying the fox - and that's why we need sturdy fences and vigilance, and certainly to never ever make the decision to trust the fox with the hens. Go ahead, toss the fox some food - why not? The fox has his own beauty and place in the scheme of things - in field and forest - but when it comes to the chickens, which feed millions of hungry people, let's keep the fox in its place.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Free Market Will Correct Itself???

Expecting the "Free Market" to correct itself and stop the rapid flow of cash out of the economy into the pockets of the few is like ...

Expecting a raging forest fire burning out a village to change
course and put itself out before destroying more homes.

Well, a forest fire IS likely to burn itself out, after devouring thousands of acres and who-knows how many homes.

Yes, the forest fire will stop, when it has no more fuel ...

The Free Market will "correct" itself when it crashes, after enormous damage to the nation, to the economy and to millions of people who've been "burned out" by the conflagration fueled by the greed of Wall Street Jockeys, the vanity of the hyper-rich and the wannabe desires of millions more who believe themselves to be "just a heartbeat away from being a millionaire."

The economy, like forest fires, needs regulation ... too much, and the economy slows down, of course ... too little, and the economy runs wild and consumes everything in its path.

Those who believe the Free Market will correct itself are idealists, dreamers and romantics, assuming that the Market and the forces of greed driving it will somehow suddenly develop a conscience, a heart, something loftier than its own aggrandizement.

History stands against these utopian dreams.

Theologically speaking, those who believe in a Free Market Utopia need a good dose of Calvinist reality - sin drives remorselessly toward absolute dominion, and without regulation, restraint, management, will devour everything around it, including itself.

FDR understood this ... and the best and wisest economists also know this to be true.

Like a Fire Jumper, FDR got ahead of the flames, cleared a firebreak, and brought it to a halt, after the crash and burn of a Free Market feeding frenzy.

Good economies have plenty of regulatory devices to keep the economy, like Goldilocks' porridge, not too hot, not too cold, but just right.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Breaking News: Hobby Lobby Takes Firm Stand Against War, Poverty and Monsanto

The latest news coming out of Hobby Lobby ...

In order to be faithful to it's pro-live stance on contraception, the owners of HL have declared themselves opposed to

War ... 

How many pregnant women have been killed in war? they ask.
How many injured women delivered a child without adequate medical attention?
How many fetuses were harmed and deformed by concussive explosions and the ruined nerves of the mother?

So, we the owners of HL, because we're all for the fetus, we now take a stand against war ... all war ... anywhere and any time.

And poverty, too ...

Poverty means a poor diet, and that means the fetus is threatened, and so is the mother. Without adequate nutrition, fetuses are mistreated horribly, often ending in still birth or "natural" abortions. We can't have the fetus starving. We must feed it, and that means feeding the mother. Good food, safe food, must be provided to the mothers of the world.

And furthermore, speaking of nutrition, we're opposed to the wholesale use of pesticides and herbicides, as well as genetic manipulation. All of this has created a serious decline in food nutrition, another cause that threatens the fetuses of the world.

Yes, we stand against contraception ...

And we now stand against War and Poverty ...  and will henceforth devote ourselves to peace and to all programs that promote healthy economies around the world.

And with our growing interest in food value, we're putting ourselves on record as opposing Monsanto - fetuses need good food, and we're determined to stand by organic farmers and the effort to keep America's food, water and air clean. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

On Bonhoeffer's Date of Execution, April 9, 1945

From his "Ethics" ... something I have relied upon since the early 70s ...

The responsible man acts in the freedom of his own self, without the support of men, circumstances or principles, but with a due consideration for the given human and general conditions and for the relevant questions of principle. The proof of his freedom is the fact that nothing can answer for him, nothing can exonerate him, except his own deed and his own self. It is he himself who must observe, judge, weigh up, decide and act. It is man himself who must examine the motives, the prospects, the value and the purpose of his action. But neither the purity of the motivation, nor the opportune circumstances, nor the value, nor the significant purpose of an intended undertaking can become the governing law of his action, a law to which he can withdraw, to which he can appeal as an authority, and by which he can be exculpated and acquitted. For in that case he would indeed no longer be truly free. The action of the responsible man is performed in the obligation which alone gives freedom and which gives entire freedom, the obligation to God and to our neighbour as they confront us in Jesus Christ. At the same time it is performed wholly within the domain of relativity, wholly in the twilight which the historical situation spreads over good and evil; it is performed in the midst of the innumerable perspectives in which every given phenomenon appears. …. … responsible action is a free venture; it is not justified by any law; it is performed without any claim to a valid self-justification, and therefore also without any claim to an ultimate valid knowledge of good and evil. Good, as what is responsible, is performed in ignorance of good and in the surrender to God of the deed which has become necessary and which is nevertheless, or for that very reason, free; for it is God who sees the heart, who weighs up the deed, and who directs the course of history.