• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

SPRING FUNDRAISER

Is it time for our Spring fundraiser already? If you enjoy what we offer, and have the means, please consider donating. The sooner we reach our modest goal, the faster we can get back to business as (un)usual. Please, stay safe and we’ll see you down the road.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

A Dark Corner of Hell

Photograph Source: Los Angeles Times – Public Domain

Thou shalt not kill. Right! That admonition is one of the few things that organized religion got right over the past few thousand years. Their spokespersons on Earth soon began to give that advice from above lots of shades of gray and began to make it okay to kill in wartime, but only under some circumstances that few remember, or care to remember today.

The religious right, the largest organized group of hypocrites in the U.S., makes murder by the state one of their principles. They love the unborn, but for most intents and purposes are ready to cast away the born once they see the light of day and cast off those who have gone astray in twisted ways, such as those who murder.

State murder is bad business and the hallmark of rightwing, authoritarian societies. It allows the state to premeditate the murder of its members, especially those who are poor, mentally ill, and castoffs who are of no practical use. Executions also make for a good show in a society trained to watch screens without any critical analysis.

There are heinous crimes and victims of crimes and heinous people. One such person sits in the Oval Office today. He’s responsible for the deaths of immigrant children at the U.S. border with Mexico, but I don’t hear any uproar of those moral leaders of the right calling for the full legal weight of the government to be brought against him. The law loves the foreseeable and it’s foreseeable that caging immigrants and especially immigrant children will lead to some kids dying.

His Justice Department, in the person of William Barr, is now going to put the machinery of death at the federal level into full swing (“US justice department resumes use of death penalty and schedules five executions,” Guardian, July 25, 2019) and murder five of those heinous actors who will serve as symbols of the government’s right to kill. They’ll throw in a white supremacist or two to prove that they, the federal government, are equal opportunity murderers. And their base will love the death chamber scenes with some inmates strapped to a gurney not very different from themselves in terms of social and economic class, except for mental illness in some cases and some very bad luck. But this so-called twist of justice will be served.

Revenge is the key emotion that Trump hopes to tap into with the resurrection of the death penalty at the federal level while the death penalty is losing adherents in states. Revenge is a very powerful human emotion, but soon exhausts itself, leaving the victims of heinous crimes revictimized and possibly more at risk for emotional turmoil.

There are those who have committed heinous crimes and need to be separated from society, but the death penalty goes much further than that separation.

Over 50 years ago, I taught at the junior high school level and had a class of eighth graders, one of whom liked to express his outrageous sentiments (about gruesome methods of execution) in class during a unit of study about the death penalty. I think that the student was trying to draw attention to himself, rather than taking part in intelligent discussions about the topic.

Looking back at his behavior in class, I think of today’s circus-like atmosphere of the application of the death penalty in places like Saudi Arabia and the Philippines. Now, the US will once again join this parade of the uncivilized and shove what remains of civil society into a dark corner of hell.

More articles by:

Howard Lisnoff is a freelance writer. He is the author of Against the Wall: Memoir of a Vietnam-Era War Resister (2017).

May 25, 2020
Marshall Auerback
If the Federal Government Won’t Fund the States’ Emergency Needs, There is Another Solution
Michael Uhl
A Memory Fragment of the Vietnam War
Anthony Pahnke – Jim Goodman
Make a Resilient, Localized Food System Part of the Next Stimulus
Barrie Gilbert
The Mismanagement of Wildlife in Utah Continues to be Irrational and a National Embarrassment.
Dean Baker
The Sure Way to End Concerns About China’s “Theft” of a Vaccine: Make it Open
Thom Hartmann
The Next Death Wave from Coronavirus Will Be the Poor, Rural and White
Phil Knight
Killer Impact
Paul Cantor
Memorial Day 2020 and the Coronavirus
Laura Flanders
A Memorial Day For Lies?
Gary Macfarlane – Mike Garrity
Grizzlies, Lynx, Bull Trout and Elk on the Chopping Block for Trump’s Idaho Clearcuts
Cesar Chelala
Challenges of the Evolving Coronavirus Pandemic
Luciana Tellez-Chavez
This Year’s Forest Fire Season Could Be Even Deadlier
Thomas Hon Wing Polin
Beijing Acts on Hong Kong
George Wuerthner
Saving the Lionhead Wilderness
Elliot Sperber
Holy Beaver
Weekend Edition
May 22, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Hugh Iglarsh
Aiming Missiles at Viruses: a Plea for Sanity in a Time of Plague
Paul Street
How Obama Could Find Some Redemption
Marc Levy
On Meeting Bao Ninh: “These Good Men Meant as Much to Me as Yours Did to You”
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Shallò: 120 Days of COVID
Joan Roelofs
Greening the Old New Deal
Rob Urie
Why Russiagate Still Matters
Charles Pierson
Is the US-Saudi Alliance Headed Off a Cliff?
Robert Hunziker
10C Above Baseline
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
The Fed’s Chair and Vice Chair Got Rich at Carlyle Group, a Private Equity Fund With a String of Bankruptcies and Job Losses
Eve Ottenberg
Factory Farming on Hold
Andrew Levine
If Nancy Pelosi Is So Great, How Come Donald Trump Still Isn’t Dead in the Water?
Ishmael Reed
Alex Azar Knows About Diabetes
Joseph Natoli
Will Things Fall Apart Now or in November?
Richard D. Wolff
An Old Story Again: Capitalism vs. Health and Safety
Louis Proyect
What Stanford University and Fox News Have in Common
Pete Dolack
Work is Inevitable But its Organization is Not
David A. Schultz
America and the Rise of the Chinese Century
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Fears the Nakba: How Memory Became Palestine’s Greatest Weapon
Heather Gray – Jonathan King
Coronavirus and Other US Health Threats? Fund Public Health Not Foreign Wars
Brian Cloughley
Don’t Be Black in America
Kenn Orphan
A Pandemic and a Plague of Absurdity
Matthew Stevenson
Our Friend Eugene Schulman
Richard C. Gross
The Man Who Cried Wolf
Ron Jacobs
Road Trippin’
Robert P. Alvarez
A Simple Solution for the Coronavirus Crisis in Prisons
Aadesh Ravi
The Long March of the Locked-Down Migrants
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Proliferation of Conspiracy Theories & the Crisis of Science
Nilofar Suhrawardy
The Other Side of Covid-19
Binoy Kampmark
Battles Over Barley: Australia, China and the Tariff Wars
Cesar Chelala
Donald Trump can Learn Something from Mao Zedong’s Mistakes
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail