October 7, 2009
So what happens when we die?
1) Baha’i’ teaches a central principle of one religion – that is that all great seers and prophets alike have come from the one Light, the one God, as humanity has engaged in an evolution corresponding to that of an individual the attributes of each religion have met the requirements of their age with equal validity. They believe that the true nature of a human is spiritual with an everlasting soul that is the seat of one’s character and consciousness. That the purpose of life is to cultivate the soul’s growth through love for God, moral self discipline and service to human kind thus enabling society as a whole to advance. Death is described as different from this life as the womb is to this world with the afterlife a timeless spiritual journey through many planes of existence where progress is likened to heaven – a state of nearness to God and failure to progress, as hell – or remoteness from God.
2) Buddhism teaches that individuals do not posses eternal souls rather a bundle of habits memories sensations desires etc which delude us into thinking that we consist of a lasting stable self. This false self then hangs together as a unit and transmigrates or reborn in body after body. Life in a body is seen as source for all suffering due to always trying to get or attain something and the aim is to obtain release by way of detachment from this false self – Nirvana. According to Tibetan Buddhism after death the spirit of the departed goes through a process lasting 49 days that is divided into 3 stages called ‘bardos’. Only the most evolved individuals can skip bardo and transit into Nirvana. However in general Buddhists don’t believe in an afterlife only in the now – “you don’t need to come to death in order to be reborn. You are reborn in every moment; you have to see your continuation in the here and now. There is no before and after just as there is no birth and death. We can be free of these notions in a moment and filled with the great joyful silence of all that is.” – Thich Nhat Hanh – Vietnamese monk. ‘To know the self that is asking the question’ – is said to be the essence of Buddhism.
3) Christianity – it’s very difficult to do a short summary due to the vast amount of denominations – it would actually make a list in itself but I wanted to include it here for context. So to be general and brief Christianity teaches that there is only one earthly life and that we have a body and a soul. When we die the soul goes to ‘heaven’ that is a place of eternal life for those who have done good deeds and in which there is great peace and love in the presence of God. Or to hell which is a place for punishment and can be for infinity. Or in the case of Catholicism to purgatory a temporary place where those who have died without confessing their sins go to repent before being allowed into heaven. There is also the teaching of Christ’s second coming, the Day of Judgement and Salvation. All of which again vary in detail. The basis is if you are good the afterlife will be joyous – the difference is what constitutes the attainment of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ behaviour.
4) Existential Nihilism begins with the idea that our lives have no absolute meaning, purpose or value. It’s not that one can’t apply meaning to it just that there is in and of itself no intrinsic reason for being. That an individual or entire human population for that matter does not and cannot make a significant difference that could impact the enormity of the Universe and its existence. This can be viewed as depressing – what’s the point – or liberating; freeing the person from obligation to traditional assumptions social prejudice and requisites. Needless to say there is no belief in a separate consciousness, soul or afterlife but more a belief in biological and chemical functions that are activated at birth, encounter and respond to external stimuli throughout life and ultimately cease at the time of death.
5) Hinduism teaches that we all have a soul which is immortal, and that this soul is part of Jiva or the limited being. The Jiva under goes cycles of birth and death. Where the soul goes after death depends on [amongst other things] our deeds in life. Hinduism also teach that there are many ‘causal planes’ and that if a person has behaved well they go to a higher plane, bad to a lower plane. The reason for death is for the Jiva to rest, reenergize itself and review its policies and plan for the next phase of life. When a person is reborn how they behaved in their past life will affect their position in the new life by way of Karma – as you sow, you shall reap. The purpose of this journey is to learn by our mistakes and ultimately for the soul to be liberated which means liberation from the cycle [Grand Illusion] of birth and death and from duality and separation and to be in union with Brahman, the supreme soul.
6) Islam teaches that there is only one physical life, and that every human is born with a pure spirit given to them by God. This spirit is like a seed that grows within and each deed whether good or bad moulds the spirit accordingly. Or put another way it is like God has given each person a lump of clay which they are able to mould in any way they choose. After death the spirit remains as it was moulded in life and finds itself in heaven [Jannat] or hell [Jahannam] not as a place but as a representation of the way a person has behaved in life. Ultimately there will be a Day of Judgement which is when the entire physical world will end and the spiritual world will come into full manifestation, everyone will be awakened and raised to the higher spiritual life – becoming fully conscious of the effects of their deeds and have a ‘body’ made out of those deeds. Simply put Islam teaches that the purpose of life here is to be kind to others and to worship Allah, life on Earth being a test to determine one’s ultimate reward or punishment in the afterlife which is eternal.
7) Judaism teaches that the soul is Godly and that this is the only earthly life. The existence of the afterlife is not stated explicitly in the Torah but rather the focus is on action in this life and fulfilling ones duties to God and to ones fellow man. Succeeding in this brings reward and failing at it bringing punishment in this life. Certainly though it seems that the overall opinion is that there is an afterlife but that there is no one official version leaving it open for the individual to decide. In traditional Judaism there is the belief in the eventual resurrection of the dead, when the Messiah comes to initiate the perfect world of peace and prosperity, the righteous dead will be brought back to life to experience the perfected world that they helped to create. The wicked dead will not be resurrected. In the afterlife – the World to Come or Olam Ha-Ba – Is a higher state of being and your place in it determined by the merit gained by your actions, not by who you are or what religion you profess. There are 3 levels here Gan Eden where righteous people go directly. Gehinnom where the average person goes for purification before moving up and then those that are too evil are punished eternally.
8) Kabbalah teaches that there is no absolute certainty in reality and that wisdom is split into two divisions – the revealed and the concealed – not as absolutes but as in our limited capacity towards higher consciousness. The Creator created 600 souls that went on to divide into billions of souls – the body existing as merely a vessel for the soul. The purpose of creation [called the will to receive pleasure] is to attain eternity, perfection and equality with the Creator a state called “Good and Doeth Good.” To reach this state one must correct all 613 desires given to the soul – also called the 10 sefirot. In order to accomplish this we are reincarnated numerous times to make corrections in this world and the ‘other world’ – as above so below. As we advance we connect with progressively more souls and begin to realise the unified, complex, interconnected system that brings all still, vegetative, animated and speaking levels of nature together, And ultimately reach a state of being whereby all souls are united without the need to incarnate and reach an eternal and perfect state.
9) Scientology teaches that man is an immortal, spiritual being whose experience extends well beyond a single lifetime “simply living time after time, getting a new body, eventually losing it and getting a new one.” They also teach that man consists of 3 parts; the body the mind and most importantly the spirit or Thetan – which is who we actually are. When a body dies its Thetan forgets the details of the former life, though painful engrams [memories] remain in its unconscious. In order to move up the path of spiritual progression these scars must be removed by auditing [a type of counselling] and when this is complete a person is said to be clear – manifesting a very high degree of personal integrity and honesty without the dysfunctional thought aspects of fear and anxiety – and helping everyone on the planet to become clear thus removing all of the pain from engrams that perpetuate war, crime, addiction etc. Rebirths continue until ones true nature is realised – Thetan – thus enabling it to operate independently of the physical universe and become one with God [Infinity / The Creator].
10) Sikhism teaches that each individual has many reincarnations, that a soul is present not only in humans but in all living creatures, therefore one can be born into any life form depending on the actions he or she committed in their past life, being born a human means the soul is nearing the end of rebirth. The focus though is not on salvation or liberation after death but on being God like now – ceaseless action and love – liberating one in this life. At the time of death it is said that God judges each soul [Atma], demonic ego centered souls may be destined to suffer great agonies and pain in the dark underworld of Narak. A soul fortunate enough to achieve grace overcomes ego by meditating on God. Such a soul may attain liberation from the cycle of reincarnation experiencing salvation in Sachkhand the realm of truth, where it exists eternally as an entity of radiant light connected to God [Parmatma].
October 7, 2009
From conspiracy to murder, serial molestation, indecent assault, battery, child pornography, fraud, extortion, money laundering, tax evasion, soliciting prostitutes, drug talking and the list goes on. I think the words arrogance and irony sum up this list, but maybe not in all cases ……
1) Cardinal Groer & Bishop Kurt Krenn [1936-].
Groer was Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna from 1986 – 1995. Just as he was about to retire Greer was engulfed in a sex scandal when 13 young men lodged charges of sexual abuse against him. He refused to make any comment and left to become a Prior of a Benedictine Abbey. Krenn ran a priests seminary – Sankt Polten Diocese – near Vienna. Both men were controversial for their ultraconservative views Krenn defended Groer during his abuse allegations and later refused to appoint an independent ombudsman to investigate any future cases. In 2003 the body of a church seminarist was found floating in the Danube. Following which police seized a computer from the church and found immoral videos and 40,000 disturbing images of child pornography, bestiality and photos of seminary priests in homosexually suggestive poses. Krenn downplayed the whole uproar and called the poses childish pranks. Krenn very reluctantly resigned in Oct 2004.
The Roman Catholic Church officially requires its clergy to be celibate. The religion deems homosexuality – including between consenting adults – to be a sin. At the US conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002 Bishops voted for all allegations of a sex crime, by a priest against a minor, to be reported to the police. They also voted that anyone found to have committed these acts should not be given a ministry although they were not to be defrocked.
2) Henry Lyons, born in 1942 a former president of the National Baptist Church 1994-8 the largest Afro-American religious group in America. Problems began for Lyons in 1997 when his then wife set fire to a $700,000 house he owned with another woman. From here investigations were made into his finances and in 1998 he was charged with 1 count of racketeering 2 counts of grand theft, fraud, extortion, money laundering and tax evasion. He initially protested his innocence and claimed the charges were racially motivated. However in 1999, he was sentenced to 5 ½ years for misappropriating over 4 million dollars from the NBC. After 4 months of his release in 2003 he returned to preaching and has repeatedly tried to regain his position of president of the NBC with his latest attempt in Sept 2009; when Lyons was in office at NBC he had made it an infringement for anyone to sue the church, however he brought a law suit against the 2009 election due to its alleged violation of the group’s constitution.
In 2007 he was a founding member and subsequently president of the General Baptist State Convention of Florida. One of the core value statements listed on their web site is credibility; we value the need to restore credibility to the church’s work to bring salvation and healing to the world with pure hearts and motives.
3) Jimmy Swaggart, born in 1935 a Pentecostal Preacher and Televangelist Swaggart started preaching from a trailer in 1955, became a licensed preacher in 1959 and by the 80’s had grown his following by way of radio and TV to a peak of 8 million weekly viewers across the globe. Swaggert spoke very forcefully against sexual sins and gave his own particular thoughts on what the bible was saying by way of what he called ‘divine revelation’ stating “That which the Lord gave to me, which I believe sheds more light on that which was originally given to Paul, pertains to the manner in which the Holy Spirit works within our hearts and minds.
In 1988 he was accused of soliciting a prostitute which he vehemently denied until the evidence was so strong that he admitted to some of the claims. Seemingly overwhelmed by remorse he gave a tearful 1,900 word apology speech on a TV broadcast. Swaggart left the church he was with and after a 3 month break from preaching returned declaring “if I don’t return to the pulpit this weekend, millions of people will go to hell.”
In 1991 he was again caught with a prostitute but this time rather than apologise he took to his pulpit and said “the Lord has told me it is flat none of your business.”
4) John Geoghan 1935-2003 a former Roman Catholic priest in Boston Mass. Geoghan was defrocked in 1998 after a 30 year career and in 2002 found guilty of indecent assault and battery. The scandal surrounding the case was very much concerned with how Catholic dioceses throughout the USA had covered up a serious number of cases of sexual abuse on young boys. In the case of Geoghan he had been sent to 6 new parishes following accusations of child molestation, with his past hidden and victims secretly paid off. Although he was sent for counselling and rehabilitation during this time he had an estimated 130 credible accusations against him by the end of his priesthood. In Sept 2003 the newly appointed Archbishop in Boston authorised payment of $85 million to 552 victims of molestations by priests in the Boston Archdiocese.
Geoghan was murdered in his prison cell by a fellow inmate.
5) Mary Sue Hubbard 1931 – 2002 Mary Sue was the 3rd wife of L Ron Hubbard marrying him in 1952. She was a leading figure in the Church of Scientology which Hubbard founded in 1953. In 1966 in response to extreme negativity from press and government officials Hubbard created the ‘Guardians Office’ [GO] whose job it was to tackle any “threat of great importance” by way of gathering intelligence from perceived enemies taking legal action and balancing public relations. Mary Sue was enlisted as controller and issued hundreds of writs against the media, raised a campaign against psychiatry, Interpol the IRS, numerous other government agencies and dissident scientologists. In 1976 in an operation named ‘Snow White’ Mary Sue wrote a letter approving the theft, by one of their agents, of IRS files regarding litigation strategy and non FOI [freedom of information] data regarding the Church of Scientology and tax exemption claims. The agent was caught and later made a full confession. This led to a raid on GO by the FBI and subsequent conviction on the grounds of conspiracy to 9 members of the Church of Scientology including Mary Sue who received a 5 year sentence eventually only serving 1 year and a $10,000 fine.
Mary Sue remained as controller of GO until 1981 when a Messenger of her estranged husband told her that her position was untenable.
6) Prem Kumar later ‘Swami Premananda of Trichy’ born in Sri Lanka in 1951. Kumar was a well known spiritual teacher in Sri Lanka starting his 1st Ashram there in 1972 before moving to India and setting up an Ashram in Tamil Nadu, India in 1989. The Ashram declared itself to be a place where anyone could qualify for the spiritual life and learn to live simply, giving service and doing good to fellow human beings. For the next 5/6 years the Ashram welcomed many spiritual seekers and visitors, it also took in several hundred destitute children who lived and studied there. However in 1997 after an investigation and trial Kumar and 6 others were convicted of several counts of rape and a single count of murder. Kumar was given a double life sentence.
Kumar maintains his innocence and it is claimed by some eminent officials that the judgement is highly controversial.
7) Rabbi Fred Neulander born in 1941 a 6th generation Rabbi and founding member of M’Kor Shalom Reform Temple in New Jersey which opened in 1974. A husband, father of three and respected member of the community Neulander returned home from his synagogue on Tuesday 1st November 1994 to find his wife Carol beaten and lying in a pool of blood. He called 911 but at no time made any attempt to go near his wife or help her. A lengthy investigation ensued with Neulander as prime suspect, eventually he was brought to trial on the grounds that a woman with whom he had been having an affair testified that she had insisted that Neulander leave his wife but that he had complained that divorcing his popular wife would compromise his credibility and authority as a spiritual leader even possibly causing him the loss of his job as a Rabbi.
On the eve of the trial the actual killer confessed stating that Neulander had paid him $18,000 which he had divided between himself and an accomplice. Although always claiming his innocence in 2003 Neulander was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and sentenced to 30 years life imprisonment.
8) Sun Myung Moon born in North Korea in 1920 also known as Father Moon, Rev. Moon & Dr Moon. In 1954 Moon founded the Unified Church and declared that – he is the Messiah and the 2nd coming of Christ and is here to fulfil Jesus’ unfinished mission. He teaches the ‘Divine Principle’ which is his own interpretation of the Bible. He also states that he is the True Father that his [3rd] wife is the True Mother and his children are the True Children. He is described as massively wealthy to the tune of 3 billion dollars, but with no obvious means of obtaining this much income. In 1971 he moved to the USA and was considered somewhat of a religious lunatic / cult leader of the ‘Moonies’ – who allegedly brainwashed teenagers & college students draining their funds and cutting them off from their families. There are also suggestions that some were beaten. In 1982 he was jailed for 18 months for tax evasion and conspiracy. In the same year he started the right wing conservative Washington Times newspaper which he owns and funds. Controversy has always surrounded Moon but this hasn’t deterred congressman and presidents [Nixon Bush Clinton …] from engaging in his company with father Bush going on a ‘world tour’ with him in1996.
In 2004 at an Ambassador for Peace Dinner a coronation of himself and his wife was held with both being [literally] crowned and Moon donned the King of Peace. In his speech he said “…..have declared to all Heaven and Earth that Reverend Sun Myung Moon is none other than humanity’s saviour, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent.
9) Ted Haggard was Head of the National Association of Evangelicals from 2003 -2006 and senior Pastor for the New Life Church. Haggard it appears was clear about his position on many issues of morality including homosexuality declaring “we don’t have to debate about what we should think about homosexual activity. It’s written in the bible.” In Nov 2006 he was leading a charge to ban gay marriage in Colorado when the gay prostitute he had been seeing for the previous 3 years stepped forward apparently having just become aware of who his client was and being appalled by his hypocrisy. Initially Haggard denied all allegations against him including taking methamphetamine until the evidence was overwhelming. At this point he resigned all his positions of power and agreed to undergo counselling for his sexually ‘deviant’ behaviour. In 2007 Haggard sent an email, where he asked for donations to be made on his behalf to ‘Families with a Mission’ this was to help him support his family whilst he and his wife were pursuing degrees.
On a CNN interview in 2009 Haggard admitted to having had a second sexual relationship with a male church volunteer. When asked whether he considered himself to be heterosexual or gay he said that his therapist had described him as a heterosexual with complications.
10) Warren Jeffs born in 1955 and former president of the Fundalmentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints based in Utah. Jeffs followed the FLDS tenet of ‘Celestial Marriage’ and taught that a church member needed at least 3 wives to get into heaven and that the more a man had the closer he was to heaven. It is claimed that Jeffs had around 70 wives some of which were as young as 12 when they married. In addition Jeffs was the only person in the church allowed to perform the marriage ceremony and was responsible for assigning wives to husbands plus he had the authority to reassign wives and children to other families if the men did not fully conform to the church beliefs. In 2006-7 he was charged with allegedly arranging marriages with adult men and underage girls and 8 additional counts of sexual misconduct with minors. He was found guilty of 2 counts of rape as an accomplice and was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. Jeffs later admitted to committing immoral actions with a sister and a daughter.
In 2007 he resigned as leader of the church and confessed to his followers that he in fact was not the chosen prophet.
October 7, 2009
Psychopaths lack empathy and guilt, are egocentric and impulsive, and do not conform to social, moral and legal norms. Psychopaths often follow a distinct set of rules in which they have created for themselves rather than following social norms set in place by society. They may appear to be quite normal and often even charming, a state of adaptation that psychiatrist Hervey Cleckley named the “mask of sanity”.
Does that describe Hitler? Well I think it’s possible. I choose these quotes out of the vastness to show how he believed in himself as utterly moral and the others for their chilling likeness to what conspiracy theorists are telling us is happening now.
I. I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator.
2.How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don’t think.
3. Humanitarianism is the expression of stupidity and cowardice.
4. I do not see why man should not be just as cruel as nature.
5. Universal education is the most corroding and disintegrating poison that liberalism has ever invented for its own destruction.
6. The great masses of the people will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one.
7. Sooner will a camel pass through a needle’s eye than a great man be “discovered” by an election.
8. All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach.
9. Demoralize the enemy from within by surprise, terror, sabotage, assassination. This is the war of the future.”
10. The leader of genius must have the ability to make opponents appear as if they belonged to one category.
11. The art of leadership consists in consolidating the attention of the people against a single adversary and taking care that nothing will split that up.
12. And I can fight only for something that I love, love only what I respect, and respect only what I at least know.
13. It matters not whether these weapons of ours are humane: if they gain us our freedom, they are justified before our conscience and before our God.
14. I use emotion for the many and reserve reason for the few.
15. Great liars are also great magicians.
October 6, 2009
Ideas opposing the death penalty….
1) Concerning the claim of justice for the victim’s family, I say there is no amount of retaliatory deaths that would compensate to me the inestimable value of my daughter’s life, nor would they restore her to my arms. To say that the death of any other person would be just retribution is to insult the immeasurable worth of our loved ones who are victims. We cannot put a price on their lives. That kind of justice would only dehumanize and degrade us because it legitimates an animal instinct for gut-level blood thirsty revenge…. In my case, my own daughter was such a gift of joy and sweetness and beauty, that to kill someone in her name would have been to violate and profane the goodness of her life; the idea is offensive and repulsive to me.
Marietta Jaeger, whose 7 year-old daughter Susie was kidnapped and murdered in the US in 1973.
2) Can the state, which represents the whole of society and has the duty of protecting society, fulfill that duty by lowering itself to the level of the murderer, and treating him as he treated others? The forfeiture of life is too absolute, too irreversible, for one human being to inflict it on another, even when backed by legal process. And I believe that future generations, throughout the world, will come to agree.
Kofi Annan, Ghanaian diplomat and Secretary General of the United Nations 1997 -2007.
3) Judicial execution can never cancel or remove the atrocity it seeks to punish; it can only add a second atrocity to the original one… So long as one sees killing as wrong there is no need to waste time with the deterrent argument, since it would be nonsense to try to prevent a theoretical evil in the future by perpetrating an actual one in the present.
Auberon Waugh, 20th Century British author & journalist
4) The death penalty is wrong. It is inhuman. It is degrading. It is an atavist relict of a pre-civilized past in which justice was dispensed with a sword, to avenge, never to prevent. To kill, not to heal. The death penalty does not deter violence. It perpetuates it. It does not do justice, it denies it. The death penalty violates human rights, in a ruthless, absolute and irreversible manner.
Lord Russell-Johnston, British President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe 2001
5) There is a very broad theory that society gets the right to hang, as the individual gets the right to defend himself. Suppose she does; there are certain principles which limit this right. Society has got the murderer within four walls; he never can do any more harm. Has society any need to take that man’s life to protect itself? If any society has only the right that the individual has, she has no right to inflict the penalty of death, because she can effectually restrain the individual from ever again committing his offence.
Wendell Phillips, 19th Century US lawyer & politician
6) People who are well represented at trial do not get the death penalty … I have yet to see a death case among the dozens coming to the Supreme Court, on eve-of-execution stay applications, in which the defendant was well represented at trial.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, U.S. Supreme Court Justice 2001
7) From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death. For more than 20 years I have endeavored…to develop…rules that would lend more than the mere appearance of fairness to the death penalty endeavor…Rather than continue to coddle the court’s delusion that the desired level of fairness has been achieved…I feel…obligated simply to concede that the death penalty experiment has failed
Justice Blackmun, Supreme Court Justice quoted in1994
8) Nothing would be lost if death penalty statutes were repealed… The process is so fatally flawed that the only solution lies in abolishing capital punishment. Most nations with which we share a common heritage have already taken this step. The relatives of the victim have the right to demand swift and sure punishment, but they do not have the right to demand death when the process is so severely flawed.
Charles B Blackmar, former senior judge of Missouri’s Supreme Court 2003
9) With every cell of my being, and with every fiber of my memory, I oppose the death penalty in all forms….I do not believe any civilized society should be at the service of death. I don’t think it’s human to become an Angel of Death.
Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1986
10) Those resources could be spent in better ways if death eligible killers were sentenced to life without parole. Law enforcement programs that work might have prevented the tragedies we suffered at only a fraction of the cost. A legal system free from the resource drain of the capital punishment system could find, prosecute, and sentence countless other criminals and even take dangerous people of the streets before they commit murder.
An extract taken from a letter sent to Montana House of Representatives signed by 35 families of murder victims seeking for the death penalty to be replaced by life without parole. March 2009.
October 6, 2009
Some ideas put forward in support of the death penalty both recent and historic…
1. While the evidence tells me that the death penalty does little to deter crime, I believe there are some crimes–mass murder, the rape and murder of a child so heinous that the community is justified in expressing the full measure of its outrage by meting out the ultimate punishment. On the other hand, the way capital cases were tried in Illinois at the time was so rife with error, questionable police tactics, racial bias, and shoddy lawyering, that 13 death row inmates had been exonerated
Barack Obama President US 2009 to date – The Audacity of Hope 2006
2. If an offender has committed murder, he must die. In this case, no possible substitute can satisfy justice. For there is no parallel between death and even the most miserable life, so that there is no equality of crime and retribution unless the perpetrator is judicially put to death.
Immanuel Kant, 18th Century German philosopher.
3. All grandeur, all power, and all subordination to authority rests on the executioner: he is the horror and the bond of human association. Remove this incomprehensible agent from the world and at that very moment order gives way to chaos, thrones topple and society disappears.
Joseph De Maistre, 19th Century French diplomat & philosopher.
4. Personally have always voted for the death penalty because I believe that people who go out prepared to take the lives of other people forfeit their own right to live. I believe that that death penalty should be used only very rarely, but I believe that no-one should go out certain that no matter how cruel, how vicious, how hideous their murder, they themselves will not suffer the death penalty.
Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister UK 1979 -1990
5. If we execute murderers and there is in fact no deterrent effect, we have killed a bunch of murderers. If we fail to execute murderers, and doing so would in fact have deterred other murders, we have allowed the killing of innocent victims. I would much rather risk the former. This, to me, is not a tough call…..All over the country news stories bemoan and hype the countdown to execution number 1000, but where are the stories regarding the ripple effect of the heinous crimes that these murderers were executed for committing?
John C McAdams, 2009 associate Professor of Political Science. Marquette University US.
6. If Capital Punishment is state sponsored murder, then any lesser punishment is a state sponsored murder of Justice…. It is Justice, not Laws that cures the society. And Capital Punishment is the only Justice that suits a murderer.
Saqib Ali, Democrat State Delegate, Maryland, 2006 to date
7. I have also seen it stated that Capital punishment is murder in its worst form. I should like to know upon what principle of human society these assertions are based and justified.
Benjamin Tucker, a leading proponent of American individualist anarchism in the 19th century.
8. In the New Testament God directs the government to strike the criminal with terror, wrath and vengeance without mercy. Watch in amazement as you see that Jesus commanded the death penalty! And the Apostle Paul said he did not object to capital punishment. Then see other Bible characters directly affirm the death penalty.
Bob Enyart, US Pastor promoting his DVD God and the Death Penalty. 2009
9. I think capital punishment works great. Every killer you kill never kills again.
Bill Mayer, TV host, standup comedian and political commentator.
10. The American people have determined that the good to be derived from capital punishment in deterrence and perhaps most of all in the meting out of condign justice for horrible crimes — outweighs the risk of error. It is no proper part of the business of this court, or of its justices, to second-guess that judgment, much less to impugn it before the world …
A single case—not one—in which it is clear that a person was executed for a crime he did not commit. If such an event had occurred in recent years, we would not have to hunt for it; the innocent’s name would be shouted from the rooftops.
Antonin Scalia, US Supreme Court Justice, 2006 Scalia regarding questions of uncertainty about innocent people being sentenced to death by the modern judicial system.
October 6, 2009
10 Medical Profession Aptronyms [Apt-Names]
An aptronym or ‘apt-name’ is a name that fits some aspect of a person whether it’s their occupation or personality. This is also referred to as nominative determinism – the idea that there may be a subconscious compulsion to take up a profession or characteristic linked to your name. The Romans called it ‘nomen est omen’ – your name tells your future.
The New Scientist and its readers have considered the matter many times and provided hundreds of examples including:-
A paper on incontinence written by JW Splatt and D Weedon. Director of penal reform Frances Crook….. Senior researcher for children in foster care Patrick Fagan…. Chief police officers spokesman on knife crime, Alf Hitchcock…. Not so popular UK education minister Ed Balls….. FDA drug certification director of viagra Janet Woodcock …ex Royal Bank of Scotland boss getting a 16 million payoff despite the bank’s collapse, Sir Fred Goodwin.
Psychiatrist Carl Jung wrote “Are these whimsicalities of chance….or are they meaningful coincidences?”
Who knows but there does also seems to be a kind of anti–aptronym whereby really the name could not be more unfortunate e.g. Dr Burns-Cox a UK consultant urologist & Mr Penaisbreath in Australia, both absolutely true – as are apparently the ones below…
Dr Mistry – Dr Ether – Dr Comfort – Dr Knapp
Dr Spot – Dr Rash – Dr Skinner – Dr Whitehead
- Obstetrics & Gynecology:
Dr Wiwi – Dr Beavers – Dr Ono – Dr Vulva – Dr Bush – Dr Kuntz – Dr Love – Dr Storck – Dr Hatch – Dr Heinie – Dr Lipps – Dr Bonnie Beaver – Dr Fingers
Dr See Wong – Dr Steven I Ball – Dr Kevin Blinder
Dr Randall Toothaker – Dr Fillmore – Dr Ken Hurt – Dr Puller – Dr Yankum – Dr Les Plack – Dr De Kay – Dr Nasti – Dr Eke – Dr Au [pronounced Ow] – Dr Tom Fillar
Dr Strange – Dr Dippy – Dr Moodie – Dr Nutter – Dr Bummer – Dr Looney – Dr Quirk – Dr William Dement – Dr Jules Angst
Dr Donald Duckles – Dr Tickles – Dr Kidd – Dr Jelley – Dr Elfman – Dr Bunny – Dr Babey
Dr Russell Brain – Dr Henry Head
Dr Mes – Dr Rush – Dr Hackman – Dr Kutteroff – Dr Slaughter- Dr Mallett – Dr Truluck – Dr Gore – Dr Payne – Dr Risk – Dr Fear – Dr Yell – Dr Savage – Dr Killam – Dr Graves – Dr Stopp [vasectomy specialist] Dr Feinmesser
10. Urologists / proctologists:
Dr Weiner – Dr Richard [Dick] Finder – Dr Richard Chopp – Dr Richard Tapper – Dr Slocum – Dr Gehrkin – Dr Whang – Dr Cockburn – Dr Dickoff – Dr Blank & Dr Seed [fertility specialists] Dr Ima Assman – Dr Hardman – Dr John Thomas – Dr Pokemon
Dr Nicholas Burns-Cox
Source: wordsmith.org u.arizona.edu / maxfaxgp.blogspot.com / slate.msn.com en.wikipedia.org / science-frontiers.com / anorak.co.uk
October 6, 2009
10th October 2009 is the annual ‘World Day Against the Death Penalty.’
It’s a hot topic of debate around the world both with staunch supporters for and strong opposition against. The number of countries currently supporting the death sentence is below 25% and appears to be falling. China has by far the largest figures for execution but the exact number is considered a state secret, this being a familiar trend – although some countries are transparent most are not. Information therefore with regards to exact statistics is unknown and estimates can only be gained in an unofficial capacity some more reliable than others – inside reports from families, witnesses, government mediators and informers, lawyers, victims, various political and medical documents, publications, news and social media phone cameras internet sites and so on. Where the number of executions is unofficial a minimum figure has been used with a + sign. The figures used here are from amnesty.org and handsoffcain.org
1) Of the world’s population over 60% live in a country with Capital Punishment
2) In 2008, 26 countries carried out between an estimated 2,393+ executions.
3) The 5 countries with the highest execution rate and making up 94% of all executions in 2008 were
- China 1,718+
- Iran 346+
- Saudi Arabia 102+
- USA 37
- Pakistan 36+
4) The methods of execution currently in use are: Beheading – Electrocution – Hanging – Gas Chamber – Stoning – Firing Squad – Shooting – Lethal Injection
Methods of execution the process and who authorizes their use.
5) With regards to the use of the death penalty countries & territories are categorized into 4 groups:
- Abolitionist for all crimes – no death penalty by law applies in 95 countries. See List
- Abolitionist for ordinary crimes – the death penalty may only be considered in exceptional cases applies to 10 countries. See List
- Abolitionist in practice also known as ‘de facto abolitionist’ – the death penalty is retained in law but no executions have been carried out in the past 10 years, applicable in 35 countries. See List
- Retentionist – the death penalty is practiced as part of common law and applied in 45 countries. See List
6) Of the 45 retentionist countries 36 are dictatorial, authoritarian or illiberal states. Of the 10 remaining all are considered liberal democracies including the 6 who carried out executions in 2008 – USA, Japan, Indonesia, Botswana, St Kitts & Nevis and Mongolia.
7) Some of the most recent moves towards the abolition of capital punishment have been:
- Japan – on Sept 17, 2009 Capital Punishment was effectively suspended by the newly appointed Minister of Justice Keiko Chiba.
- Kenya – Aug 03, 09 President Mwai Kibaki commuted all 4000 death sentences in the country to life in prison.
- Uganda – in January 09 Uganda ruled that all death sentences should be commuted to life.
- Lagos – Aug 09 commuted all death sentences to life.
- Countries that abolished the death penalty in 2009 Burundi, Kazakhstan and Togo
8) Some recent moves away from abolition:
- St Kitts & Nevis did not carry out any executions for 10 years prior to 2008.
- Thailand had not executed anyone for 6 years until Aug 24, 2009.
9) After the handover from British rule to the People’s Republic of China in 1997 Hong Kong & Macau maintained their own legal systems which do not support the death penalty
10) The only country to carry out Capital Punishment in Europe is Belarus they consider the number of executions to be a state secret but it is known that at least 4 were carried out in 2008. The condemned are shot in the back of the head, no information is given to the prisoner or families with regards to the date of the killing – families are informed afterwards to collect belongings and the whereabouts of the bodies remains confidential to officials.
Chart showing all Retentionist countries and executions carried out in 2008 + population figures.
Chart showing retentionist countries last execution.
Sources: reprieve.org.uk stopchildexecutions.com Wikipedia.org Geography.about.com stop-stoning.com deathpenaltyinfo.org