That Shalt Not Kill

Johnny Depp is a non-Capitol Punishment Activist

As stated on my seventh blog post, Arkansas is getting ready to execute eight death row inmates in ten days because the pharmacology to kill them is going to expire. These executions are going to occur at the end of April.

Johnny Depp joined several former death row inmates in protest of these scheduled executions in Arkansas. He spoke before signs that said “Thou Shalt Not Kill,” and “End The Death Penalty.”

Damien Echols, former Arkansas death row inmate, said, “I don’t believe the death penalty can be called justice.”

Amnesty International says, “If Arkansas goes forward with #8in10Executions, it will be a blot on Arkansas and America.”

Arkansa Governor Hutchinson of Arkansas has a laissez-faire attitude about the situation that only he can change. Or the voters can vote him out after his first term in office. It’s as if an “eye for an eye” and not “thou shall not kill” along with “love one another” is the mantra of so-called Christians in Arkansas and America.

What happened to the message of love and nonviolence of Jesus Christ, Pope Francis, Dorothy  Day and Mother Theresa? This is Holy Week, after all. That goes for you, @realDonaldTrump, as you continue to drop bombs on innocent people.

Damien Echols credits Johnny Depp for saving his life. Here they are both making their case against the death penalty.

A Real Antiwar Movement

Love Is The Spirit Of Aloha

One of my friends recently told me that the biggest Antiwar Movement in America happened during WW1, led mostly by women. 

In this exact moment in time, becoming an Antiwar activist entails becoming a lie detector. We automatically separate the wheat from the chaff. Anyone who joins the movement is repelled by neocons and neo liberals. We can’t be hoodwinked by the Corporate democrats who are faux appalled by the immigrant ban, yet support Trumps bombing airfields with tomahawks on April 6 and beyond.

Hillary Surrogates like Howard Dean and Neera Tanden are calling for Tulsi Gabbard, member of Hawaii Congress,  to step down because she is anti war and against regime change. Tulsi is on the right side of history. She is an Iraq War Veteran. She has seen the consequences of war and wants to be sure others won’t have to.

Here are some of her recent tweets:




Tulsi Gabbard was a Bernie Sanders Surrogate and is highly revered amongst his supporters. We hope she will run in 2020 for President.

If she does, Trump will lose. If a Corporate Dem is chosen to run in the ilk of the Clintons, or Clinton herself, Trump will win.

Meanwhile, let us join together and with Tulsi to resist all war. We will sleep better at night if we do.

Death Penalty Politics

We need ethical guidelines in order to live sanely.

Why is the death penalty still an agreed upon torture and punishment method for American prisoners?

I heard a news story this morning on NPR about states finding lethal injection to be unconstitutional and are backing off from using it. Although death penalty laws are on the books in thirty-one states, only five carried out executions last year.

Arkansas has always been on the forefront of killing more people on death row than any other state. Now Arkansas is planning to kill as many as eight on death row before the state’s supply of lethal injection expires later this month.

Some pharmacies are flat out refusing to provide these lethal drug combinations. Kudos to them. 

If lethal injection is unconstitutional, what makes the electric chair, hanging, or firing squad a better alternative? Believe it or not, law makers are considering these alternatives with a straight face because these methods still remain legal in their  states. 

On another topic, kudos to Ron Paul for standing up and questioning  whether Bashar al- Assad was responsible for the recent chemical explosions killing untold numbers of people. Paul doubts Assad is responsible, because of a number of factors explained in this article. The neocons want war and regime change in Syria and will go to any lengths to oust Assad. The Neocons are moving in. I doubt Trump has the guts to stand up to them, thus breaking yet another campaign promise. Many people I know who voted for Trump did so thinking he would adapt noninterventionist policies.

In the correspondence between Thomas Merton and Albert Camu, they agreed on this: the societal propaganda for Capitol Punishment justifies and mirrors the drive to wage war. The last statement says everything about the values and ethics of our society.

Pope Francis says there is no excuse for Capital Punishment –or war–for that matter. He also said the only true purpose for prison needs to be strictly for rehabilitation and education, not punishment.

He said thou shall not kill applies to both the innocent and the guilty.

This is why I avoid any overtures to serve on jury duty. Who am I to play God with people’s lives?

“We are all implicated when we allow other people to be mistreated. An absence of compassion can corrupt the decency of a community, a state, a nation. Fear and anger can make us vindictive and abusive, unjust and unfair, until we all suffer from the absence of mercy and we condemn ourselves as much as we victimize others. The closer we get to mass incarceration and extreme levels of punishment, the more I believe it’s necessary to recognize that we all need mercy, we all need justice, and-perhaps-we all need some measure of unmerited grace.”

Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

Check out my companion blog, Prayer Prescriptions. Today’s post is called, Capturing The Essence.

Spirituality and Politics

The Old Growth Brown Locust, Along The River Bank.

Those who have been or are engaged in spiritual community are not traditionally into politics. Those who are engaged in politics are not likely to call themselves spiritual. This is a broad generalization, but something I’ve observed over the years.

People are often given the advice to drop the news altogether, and I am likely to agree, if by news they mean mainstream media, Fox News, MSNBC, CNN.

As mentioned previously, I get my news from independent media, which by any account, lacks a spiritual perspective, perhaps because the news itself is devoid of empathy of compassion.

As I was growing up, our household was into spiritual studies, while also engaging in left wing political activism. These two activities rarely merged. They were mutually exclusive.

We have reached a spiritual crisis in America. The rate of heart disease has skyrocketed in part because people have shut down their ability to accept and love one another, or themselves.

The high fat American diet plays a major role in heart disease, as well as a sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise.

I just resurrected my old blog Prayer Prescriptions. As much as I am able, I will post on both blogs and link them heart to heart. Politics and matters of the spirit benefit from prayer, meditation and a contemplative daily life.

Each day is an opportunity to begin anew: to laugh, love and grasp the beauty that everywhere surrounds us. 

Throughout the day, let us remember to say special prayers for the people affected by the chemical poisoning in Syria. Their pain is our pain. Their liberation is also ours.

May the benevolent spirits make the journey between worlds a fearless one.

On Peace Amen

The Politics of Homelessness

This picture accompanied an article on homelessness in the New York Times.

Father Nathan Monk, author of Chasing The Mouse, describes in his memoir what it was like growing up in poverty. Most of his childhood was spent living in cars, abandoned homes, or rundown motels.

He went on to become a Roman Catholic Priest whose ministry is homelessness, saving people from the streets and prison. I just finished his book and highly recommend it.

Here is his interview with Max Keiser of the Keiser Report. Is homelessness a racket in America? Is it big business? When the rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer, I surmise Nathan Monk is on to something, from someone who experienced poverty and homelessness first hand.

Loving vs the State of Virginia

The Lovings had an amazing and enduring Love Story.
     When I was growing up, my mother told me and my siblings that all the Lovings in America and throughout the world are related. William E. Loving was my grandfather. When he and my grandmother divorced, he moved back to Virginia.
     I thought my mother was an only child, but W.E. Loving went on to have seven more children, a total of eight.
     I met the youngest of W.E.’s children in the 1990’s. Her husband was doing the Loving genealogy, and they wanted to meet me. So we had a reunion in Lancaster, PA.
     Some years later, I became aware of Loving vs the State Of Virginia, of the profound love story between Mildred and Richard Loving.
     They were first arrested in 1958 for the then crime of interracial marriage, outlawed in Virginia. They exiled to Washington DC  and fought to bring their case to the Supreme Court. They succeeded. And they won.
     This case set a precedent for striking down the Defense Of Marriage Act, or DOMA, making marriage between LGBT couples legal. The ACLU was strategic in winning both cases, bringing both to the Supreme Court.
     I recently became a member of the ACLU. It’s the least I can do, under the present circumstances gripping America. We have many battles to fight, and the ACLU has always been on the right side of history. May they continue to wage peace and speak truth to power, as is their way. May we the people support their efforts.
     Another interesting Loving tidbit: Robert Duvall played my great great grandfather, Oliver Loving,  in the mini-series, Lonesome Dove. Names were changed to protect the not so innocent. Lonesome Dove spiced the characters up. I doubt Oliver Loving was as colorful a character as Augustus McCrae–or was he? Thanks to the creative imagination, I can pretend he was.

How Are Refugees Made?

A man for all seasons.
     We had the pleasure of going to a talk today given by Ray McGovern, former CIA operative and counsel to Presidents Kennedy, Reagan and George H W Bush.
     As a result of his experience watching US Imperialism first hand, he is now a committed Anti-War Activist.
     Ray McGovern leads the “Speaking Truth To Power” section of Tell The Word, which is a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Savior in inner-city Washington. He currently teaches a course called “On The Morality Of Whistleblowing,” at the Servant Leadership School.
     He gave us the following statistic: USA holds 50% of the world’s wealth and is 6.5% of its population.
     He said Americans have a responsibility to pay attention to the horrors of war. For instance, in WW2, 27 million Russian people were killed, as compared to 850,000 Americans. You can see why Russia is not buying all the war mongering coming from the Democrats and Mainstream Media.
     The refugee crisis is directly related  to the regime change policies of our country. We created it. No one talks about it, not news outlets, not our elected officials.
     We have a responsibility to help refugees in our communities, and we must do everything in our power to face the suffering they have had to endure.
     We must not turn away.