Do You Condone Capital Punishment?

The controversy surrounding capital punishment is once again in the news. It is one of the most complex social issues in America.

There are compelling reasons why a society might feel the need to have a protocol to kill members of its community for commission of heinous crimes. Correspondingly, there are legitimate reasons why an advanced and highly educated society should denounce the killing of anyone for any reason.

This essay will present both sides of the capital punishment issue.

The arguments for capital punishment include a strong desire to root out the most dangerous members of society. Hammurabi, a Babylonian King, indicated in 1755 B.C. that a legal system should be based upon an eye for an eye. If you kill someone without cause, you should be put to death. The principle is based upon revenge against others that have done you harm. So, a person who takes the life another without cause does not have the right to live.

The whole concept of fairness and retribution is particularly important to survivors of a crime, specifically family and friends. I suspect that an individual who is appalled by capital punishment would change his mind if a relative or friend was to become a victim. Giving closure to someone whose life has been destroyed by a senseless crime would appear to be a justifiable and noble ending.

Keep in mind that capital punishment is reserved for the most outrageous crimes against humanity. They include premeditated murder, kidnapping, serial killings, torture, child abuse etc. Capital punishment is not justifiable for lesser crimes, which have a far less impact on individuals and society in general.

The second issue is the value of life. If a person has made a career of murdering others, what use is he to society? Is his life important to others? Do we really want it to be possible for a murderer to have an opportunity to be freed in the future and kill again? Wild animals are captured and killed if they are a danger to society.

A murderer certainly has the same impact on the community. Execution is the only way to be sure a rogue is no longer a threat. Of course, if it is determined that the convicted murderer is not guilty in the future, his execution would have been a terrible mistake. There are no mulligans for capital punishment.

The execution of serious criminals is as old as man himself. From the beginning of time, individuals were put to death for crimes. Nevertheless, there is a lot of moral and religious precedent supporting societies that believe that all killing is sinful, but capital punishment advocates have significant legal history supporting their perspective. Have societies around the world suddenly awoken with a new sense of mortality about killing a rogue member of society.

Probably the worst outcome is a situation wherein a man is not put to death for murder, for whatever reason, is released from captivity at some point and ruins another life and family. To be soft on crime is potentially disastrous.

If an individual, including a policeman, kills someone who killed another unjustifiably, he is likely to escape prosecution. So, there is a loophole for those who kill for their own protection or that of others.

One final comment about executions is the long history of wars between countries. Millions have been killed in battle for causes right and wrong. Seldom do soldiers get prosecuted for killing when ordered to do so.

Let’s turn to those who oppose capital punishment. There is a long list of objections that the opposition has accumulated overtime. Here is a short list:

  • You cannot reverse an execution.
  • Evidence may arise later that vindicates a convicted killer (new science).
  • Killing is not sanctioned by any legitimate religion.
  • Capital punishment is more prevalent among people of color. It’s unfairly applied in our society.
  • The judicial system is more favorable to white criminals than criminals of color.
  • Legal representation of people of color is not as proficient as counsel for white people.
  • Revenge does not undo the acts of a criminal.
  • A sentence of life imprisonment is just as effective as an execution.
  • Capital punishment is cruel and unusual punishment period
  • The whole system of capital punishment and the years of jockeying before the final event is a waste of time and money.

The people who decide to mete out capital punishment, juries, have no legal experience to make such a grand decision. What can be done to make this situation better for our society? Frankly, the easier road is to ban capital punishment because it is generally applied unfairly in America. Letting someone live but in confinement for life for a serious offense is safe for everybody. The criminal has lost his freedom and can no longer hurt others. And perhaps, our society should a eschew Hammurabi forever.

On the other hand, there are many Americans who favor capital punishment. They say the people involved are generally bad actors and to make an error about their lives would be no big loss. This perspective is abhorrent to the author. But I do not believe capital punishment should be banned without further investigation.

If SCOTUS reiterates that capital punishment is constitutional with proper controls, executions will continue. If SCOTUS says it’s up to states to make their own decisions, capital punishment will continue.

In this case, it would be worthwhile to have judges decide whether to apply capital punishment rather than laypeople. At least we would be giving the appeal process head start.

Biden Is Challenging Voter Integrity

Regarding voter rights, President Biden has taken a forceful approach in recent days, recognizing that a Senate filibuster threat and Republican appointed SCOTUS justices will not allow the federal government to ride roughshod over state influence on elections. But many opponents resent the tone of Biden’s comments and the accuracy of them.

Biden has resorted to name-calling and inappropriate rhetoric about Republican state efforts to ensure our elections are fair. He says the GOP is attacking our democracy, and that the current situation is tantamount to a Civil War (a terrible reference, the Civil War ended slavery). What the president doesn’t do is apply common sense or moderation to his approach. For this reason, he will fail in his efforts to increase voter participation with his misdirected proposals.

Notwithstanding Democratic accusations that Republicans are trying to tilt elections in their favor, do they really believe that they are the only party taking the high road? Do Democrats believe only they are trying to streamline elections and ensure they are fair? Liberals are trying to convince the public that conservatives would trash our democratic ideals to win an election. Funny, this is exactly what the previous president accused Democrats of doing during the 2020 election.

There is plenty of voter reform that should be considered by federal and state regulators and Congress. Our election systems are falling behind and creating doubt among some voters, as to their accuracy. Myrna Perez, a Biden judge appointee said the following before she was recently installed on the bench: “Our democracy works best when we believe that everybody should have free, fair and accessible elections.” All Americans, regardless of political affiliation, should agree with this pronouncement. But freedom, fairness and accessibility have practical limitations.

Let’s analyze the situation in another way. What should every American want on Election Day? Every qualified voter should be able to be able to find time to go to a polling place or fill in an absentee ballot at home, and vote. Every voter must be qualified meaning that the person is alive and resides in a certain voting district.

Regarding absentee ballots, they make the process more universal, but there are major issues that need to be considered. Are ballots only going to qualified voters? Are they being sent to correct addresses? Are cheaters collecting absentee ballots and voting illegally? How can we be sure that the person submitting an absentee ballot is the one actually voting?

The system was far from foolproof before all of the grandiose Democratic efforts began in recent years to improve our voting system. That’s not to say change was not needed. Previously, in New York, a voter went to the polling place, signed in, entered a voting booth and cast a ballot. Now voters may vote early, days and months before Election Day. Blank absentee ballots are being mailed without any verification. Poll hours have been increased. Photo ID’s are not required in some places. Ballots can be deposited in drop boxes located throughout the voting area. There is a great deal of opportunity to cheat. What is troublesome is that some elections are being decided by a few hundred votes, so that just a little bit of malfeasance can change a campaign result.

Common sense has to reign over decisions to change our voting system. Some proposals will be beneficial to Democrats and some to Republicans. It’s nonsense to say that Republicans benefit by low turnout, and so they are working to cause voters to stay home. The fact is, most changes have come from Democrats up to this point. Republicans are responding to Democratic proposals to increase voting that make no sense and/or creating a dangerous opportunity to cheat.

I want more voters and more integrity of their votes.

The Human Race Needs Consensus To Thrive

Have you noticed lately that our federal government is incapable of getting anything done without strong opposition from one group or another? Even the most insignificant items are intensely opposed around every corner.

For the past half century, our country has faced many trying moments. Nevertheless, our leaders and lawmakers were able to conduct routine government business and debate, tooth and nail, on a number of great social and political issues such as abortion, gun ownership and war. The point is our government never stopped operating, even during stressful moments. Obstructionism by the minority party was focused on grandiose changes, not every-day operations of the government.

The problem may be that many Americans have been very unhappy with our presidents no matter which party they represented. Jimmy Carter was incapable of leading the country through the Iranian hostage affair. Ronald Reagan slept at cabinet meetings. George Bush 1 didn’t keep his promises. Bill Clinton was more concerned about satiating his libido than anything else. George Bush 2 was not intelligent. Obama was a political novice. Donald Trump is a wingnut and should never have been elected in the first place. Biden is too old and tired to be president. Is it possible that the US has not had one commander-in-chief in all this time that was supported by a large majority of the country?

The problem with all this political infighting, name-calling and gamesmanship is that the country is no longer able to unify when it really counts. Every American should be concerned with our defense, China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, high tech influence over our country, cyber-attacks, inflation, income inequality, immigration reform, diversity, too many guns, voting reform, etc. They are very complex subjects, but together, they constitute huge existential risk to our democracy, our great lifestyle and our freedom. We need to come together to meet these challenges.

What is particularly troubling is the controversy over vaccination of our citizens. Unbelievably, our leaders have not been able to muster a strong consensus to protect us against sickness that has the potential to wipe out mankind. For 100 years, our researchers, scientists, doctors and gurus concerned themselves with one off diseases like cancer and such. And they, for the most part, ignored the risks associated with a pandemic. Moreover, some nations have not been helpful in the process to defeat COVID. Is there any issue that would result in 70, 80 or 90% consensus? Would an invasion by aliens bring Americans and the world together?

I believe in individual liberties. And so, I respect the decision by some Americans to not be vaccinated. However, I don’t understand how they can make such an uninformed choice. It is not their fault that our leaders have not been able to convince them of the benefits of immunization.

Far worse, some politicians and medical people politicize COVID. Are the people who lead us and care for us unable to layout the risks to Americans so they can make a sound decision? It should not be a federal mandate. Our leaders should convince us, in layman’s language, of the health benefits of being vaccinated.

COVID is mutating. Other germs are creeping around looking for victims. The world is fraught with disease and starvation, that need to be addressed now. Teamwork and tolerance are important for the preservation of the human race.

It Hasn’t Been Easy For Biden

President Biden has had a hell of a difficult time over the past few weeks. His inability to deliver promises made is based upon several issues that are getting worse with each passing day.

The main problem is Biden has yielded to the most radical elements in his party. Pelosi, Sanders and AOC are driving the government further left each day. But the administration cannot legislate in such a progressive fashion because of the composition of Congress and the reticence of critical senators.

It’s been difficult for Democrats to accept that the House is divided, almost equally, and their mandate is not overwhelming. The left has only a small majority, so that the liberal base is in jeopardy on every important bill proposed.

Further, the Senate is split evenly at 50/50, so Democrats have a majority only if every Democratic senator votes with the caucus and the vice president joins them. Sen. Manchin and Sen. Sinema have resisted attempts by Senate Leader Schumer to pass legislation that is partisan on major issues such as social entitlements and the filibuster, which has been driving the Democratic leadership mad.

Regarding major funding for social entitlements that could be upwards of $4 trillion, the aforementioned Senate outliers have balked, so its passage has been effectively blocked

A “nuclear change” that would decrease the number of yea votes needed to pass laws from 60 to a simple majority (the filibuster) is not feasible because Manchin and Sinema oppose it.

The ultimate effect of all this is that true infrastructure legislation for bridges and roads and the like, which is supported in a bipartisan fashion is being held up because Democrats are linking it to passage of a human infrastructure law. No doubt this legislation would dramatically increase inflation resulting in a weaker dollar. But progressives care not about the financial implications of income redistribution.

That is not all that is impacting Biden’s overall ratings, which are dropping as of late. The crisis on our southern border is reaching a boiling point. The performance of US border agents has been hampered by an extraordinary flow of illegals across the border. The imprisonment and horrible conditions that we see on TV are similar to that what we’ve seen in Syria and Africa. It’s a humanitarian crisis that unempathetic countries to our south are perpetuating in response to the bizarre comments of our president.

There are many other issues that are dogging the administration, which are related to saving face. America would be better off focusing on things that will make America safer and more prosperous.

Really! A Building Falls In Miami

Can you imagine being asleep in your Miami co-op overlooking the ocean and having the building crash down on top of you? It’s like a horror movie that has come to life.

I didn’t realize Miami is located in a Third World country? Buildings just don’t just fall down on inhabitants in the US. Who’s responsible for this catastrophe? Will it impact the negotiations of the infrastructure deal currently being discussed in Congress?

I’ve heard the opinions of some experts, and it appears that the Miami co-op debacle occurred because of one of the following factors: negligence on the part of the original builders, negligence on the part of the current owners who are responsible for maintaining the building and/or the humidity and heat in Miami that seeped through concrete and caused steel beams to corrode. Terrorism, a bomb and an accident in the garage have pretty much been eliminated.

Humidity and heat seem like the most likely culprits, if you assume that Miami has had more than ample building codes for at least a half century. I admit, I have no clue whether this is true, but we’re going to find out. It should be noted that there have been numerous new residential high-rise buildings erected on Collins Avenue along Miami Beach during the last 50 years (the location of the current tragedy).

Building inspectors and structural engineers need to put their heads together to answer all of the questions about the recent tragedy and ensure that it doesn’t happen again in the future. If it is a systemic issue, the cause of the disaster could prospectively affect a number of buildings on the Collins Avenue strip. What are the costs of refurbishing these structures? Who is going to pay for structural changes that are mandated? The whole eco-system known as Miami Beach could be in jeopardy.

Ironically the geniuses in Washington are presently squabbling over an infrastructure program that will identify and repair our roads, bridges, etc. nationwide. Will the urgency of this legislation grow because of the Miami experience? Should we add all skyscrapers to the list of potentially dangerous places to work and reside? I do.

 Our country cannot effectively deal with a disaster such as a major bridge collapsing, killing thousands and crippling a major city. It could be 10 times worse than the 911 calamity, if a bridge falls in a populated area.


If I were president, I would review the maintenance records of every major building and large structure in the country. Every state, supported by the federal government, should be put on notice to inspect their infrastructure systems.

The ridiculous Kabuki dance starring our elected leaders is giving me little confidence. They need to stop bickering and enact the $1.4 trillion infrastructure bill and deal with human infrastructure issues later. Part of these funds may be needed to help the people impacted in the Miami situation. None of us wants to be in a building or on a bridge that collapses.

Biden Tries To Pull A Fast One

The liberal media is lauding a compromise deal in the Senate to provide $1.4 trillion to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure. It is a legislative effort that has bipartisan support and is a long time in coming. It would address a plethora of programs to revitalize the nation’s crumbling system of roads, bridges, tunnels, rail and broadband.

It sounded great, and all the politicians seemed to be on board. But nothing is easy in Washington because of the deep-seeded venom that exists between Democrats and Republicans. So what is so wrong with all the liberal back-slapping over the past 48 hours?

After flaunting a great legislative breakthrough, the president effectively threw cold water on the deal. After all the hard work by senators, he said he would not sign the bill unless Congress approves an additional $4 trillion economic program that would fund healthcare, childcare, higher education access and climate change programs.

It was a brazen move to slam unaffordable entitlements down the throats of Americans. It actually looked like Biden was trying to pull a fast one on his opponents and the public. Republicans immediately called out the president and his sycophants in Congress.

The trillions in this proposed package would supposedly be funded by what else- a change in the tax code for the super rich and multinational corporations. The problem is that Republicans are not going to vote yea on the second half of the overall proposal. So Biden and the federal government have made no progress.

To make matters worse, Democrats are threatening to eliminate the filibuster in the Senate to facilitate their ultra radical agenda. This would enable passage of any law with a majority in the Senate. The problem is that two Democrats senators, Manchin and Sinema, have said they would not vote for costly economic programs without participation of Republicans. So, the legislation is doomed.

 The whole dog and pony show on Thursday was a farce. Nothing is going to happen unless Biden signs an infrastructure bill without getting his $4 trillion spending program approved.

The nasty rhetoric emanating from Democrats is going to result in a do-nothing congressional session. The Democrats are in a bind because they really don’t have a majority in the Senate without the aforementioned rogue Democratic senators. Note: Softball Politics has proposed Sen. Manchin change parties and vote with Republicans. Also, the senator would be in a position to possibly run for president.

The liberal media is lauding a compromise deal in the Senate to provide $1.4 trillion to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure. It is a legislative effort that has bipartisan support and is a long time in coming. It would address a plethora of programs to revitalize the nation’s crumbling system of roads, bridges, tunnels, rail and broadband.

It sounded great, and all the politicians seem to be on board. But nothing is easy in Washington because of the deep-seeded venom that exists between Democrats and Republicans. So what is so wrong with all the liberal back-slapping over the past 48 hours?

After flaunting a great legislative breakthrough, the president effectively threw cold water on the deal. After all the hard work by senators, he said he would not sign the bill unless Congress approves an additional $4 trillion economic program that would fund healthcare, childcare, higher education access and climate change programs.

It was a brazen move to slam unaffordable entitlements down the throats of Americans. It actually looked like Biden was trying to pull a fast one on his opponents and the public. Republicans immediately called out the president and his sycophants in Congress.

The trillions in this proposed package would supposedly be funded by what else- a change in the tax code for the super rich and multinational corporations. The problem is that Republicans are not going to vote yea on the second half of the overall proposal. So Biden and the federal government have made no progress.

To make matters worse, Democrats are threatening to eliminate the filibuster in the Senate to facilitate their ultra radical agenda. This would enable passage of any law with a majority in the Senate. The problem is that two Democrats senators, Manchin and Sinema, have said they would not vote for costly economic programs without participation of Republicans. So, the legislation is doomed.

 The whole dog and pony show on Thursday was a farce. Nothing is going to happen unless Biden signs an infrastructure bill without getting his $4 trillion spending program approved.

The nasty rhetoric emanating from Democrats is going to result in a do-nothing congressional session. The Democrats are in a bind because they really don’t have a majority in the Senate without the aforementioned rogue Democratic senators. Note: Softball Politics has proposed Sen. Manchin change parties and vote with Republicans. Also, the senator would be in a position to possibly run for president.

Abortion and Joe Biden

The Catholic Church is once again proving that its existence is teetering on obscurity. An effort to deny Joe Biden Eucharist, thereby making it impossible for him to practice his religion, because he refuses to endorse the Church’s opposition to abortion is a travesty, and frankly medieval.

While thousands of young boys, seminarians and nuns have been and are being sexually assaulted under the care of Catholic priests, an angry and ultra conservative group of American clergy is denying our president his rights as a Catholic.

The president accepts the will of a majority of Americans and the Supreme Court to allow women freedom of choice even though he is personally against abortions, a courageous position. The Church hierarchy should spend more time rooting out predators in their midst rather than trying to stymie women’s rights.

In the meantime, Pope Francis has not been strong enough to keep his priestly conservative followers in line. He should put his foot down and acknowledge that abortion is often the right decision for women under a plethora of different scenarios.

Finally ending the controversy by negotiating a compromise with pro-lifers should be high on the pontiff’s agenda. I suggest he consider a compromise that includes ending abortions after a certain period of time, so we can finally put this nagging social issue behind us.

The pontiff still has a lot of work to do to end the sex scandal that has destroyed the reputation of the Church for hundreds of years. Related to this is the male domination of the Church and the inability of women to become priests.

Currently, priests must be celibate. By depriving them the opportunity to raise a family, the Church is making it difficult for these men to fulfill their personal needs and to be effective advisors for their followers. Why ask a priest for advice about marital issues or problems with offspring when they must not marry and may not have children?

No wonder there is a Catholic revolution in the US. The religion is outdated in countries with advanced technologies and missions to control overpopulation, disease and poverty. How can the Church denigrate efforts to make the world a healthier place by claiming abortion is a mortal sin?

The Pope has been ineffective because his priorities should be Catholicism per se, not global warming and meddling in the affairs of state around the world. His sect will be a dying breed if he does not take action to deter the unproductive and antiquated men who put him into office. As pontiff, he should disavow those that want to live in the 20th century and not consider the world as it exists today.  

Good Billionaires

On Monday a person named Anand Giridharadas wrote a scathing New York Times op-Ed piece about “good and bad” billionaires. Actually, he considers all extremely wealthy Americans to be scalawags, who don’t give a damn about anything but accumulating wealth.

I enthusiastically want to express my disagreement with this man’s uninformed, and poorly researched perspectives. The Times should be more discerning about sensational essays that misstate the actions of others in an effort to appease the most radical left-wing elements in the country. The paper will never change its stripes.

Yeah, his concern is that many billionaires have increased their wealth over the past few years, while paying relatively minimal taxes to the government. [You guessed it. They don’t pay their “fair share of taxes!” Whatever the hell that means.]

The author spends little time explaining the nature of Warren Buffett’s wealth and the that of others in his stratosphere. It’s really pretty simple. Billionaire investors like Buffett have accumulated wealth on a pretax basis in the form of assets that will eventually be taxed when sold for a profit. They usually have relatively little current income. Someday the government will receive a large payment if the money is not given away to charity.

Also, Mr. G did not focus on the amount that Buffett has donated to charity. He pointed out that Buffet’s wealth “soared” by $24.3 billion from 2014 to 2018, but he paid only $23.7 million in taxes. However, it was not mentioned that Buffett gave $37 billion to charity since 2006. And he is the founder of the Giving Pledge and promised to give away 99% of his fortune before he dies. This year, Buffett is donating another $2.9 billion worth of Berkshire Hathaway stock to the needy.

“The Giving Pledge is an effort to help address society’s most pressing problems by inviting the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to commit more than half of their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes either during their lifetime or in their will.”  As of 2020, 211 individuals signed the Pledge representing approximately $600 billion.

Buffet, Gates and Bezos really don’t need me to shield them from overzealous, ill-informed commentators. None of them have anything to be ashamed of. Since when is success a deadly sin? Why do people write things that are misleading and besmirch the reputations of the most generous people in the world? At least, this guy should have Googled Buffett to see that maybe Buffett is not rolling around in a pile of Benjamins. But rather, he’s trying to figure out how to give away his wealth before he dies.

Just so there is no misunderstanding, simplistically, when Buffett dies, the remaining money in his estate will be taxed at over 50%.

Progressives are revving up to try to enact a law that taxes the wealth of billionaires as opposed to their current income. They have every right to pursue such a strategy. I hope that before they embark on this unfair odyssey, they calculate and recognize how much billionaires donate on top of the actual tax payments they do make each year.

I Repeat, Manchin For President

Senator Joe Manchin III (D-WV) is the most powerful person in Washington. His support is critical to Joe Biden on several fronts. His potential value to Republicans could be astronomical. Note: This essay was inspired by a New York Times article on Manchin.

Softball politics recently suggested Manchin should consider changing parties giving Republicans control of the Senate, and then run for president as a Republican. This suggestion is becoming a more a viable option for the lawmaker with every passing day.

Currently, the Senate is evenly divided among Democrats and Republicans, 50 each. The former is in a control position because the vice president votes when senators are deadlocked. Manchin is one of the Democrats, but he has stated that he is against enacting certain legislative initiatives unless there is bipartisan support for them.

In particular, Manchin will not vote for a bill by Democrats to battle alleged voter suppression. These would include mandates for early voting, absentee ballots, voter ID’s, gerrymandering and such. Democrats say they want to make it easier for every American to vote, while Republicans want to ensure that elections are fair without a bias towards Democrats.

By not supporting the bill, the vote would be 51 Republicans against passage and 49 Democrats for passage. The bill would be defeated. Moreover, even if Manchin would vote for the bill, Republicans could filibuster which would necessitate 60 votes for passage.

Regarding the last issue, Manchin continues to be in favor of most Democratic initiatives, but not elimination of the filibuster. It is feasible that Democrats would attempt to eliminate the filibuster so lawmakers dealing with policy issues would no longer need 60 votes, but rather only a majority for passage.

At this time, the filibuster is no longer available to the opposition for Supreme Court justice confirmations, confirmations of judges on lower courts and cabinet selections by presidents. By eliminating the filibuster for all legislation, a party that controls the presidency, the Senate and the House would be able to pass all legislation with no recourse by the opposition. Note: Bills involving taxation and the like are also not subject to filibusters.

It is likely that any number of Democratic initiatives dealing with immigration, voting rights, treaties, entitlements, redistribution of wealth, forgiveness of student loans, commerce, union rights, civil rights and so on would be very difficult to pass unless the filibuster is eliminated. Manchin is the key to this drama.

Metaphysically, Manchin’s heart is in the right place. He longs for the days when senators debated and passed legislation without the venom mistrust that exists in Congress at this time. Members would orate and disagree and have a cocktail after legislative sessions ended. No more.

Washington is partisan and members are power hungry. Manchin is risking his career trying to bring comity back to Capitol Hill. If he is successful, he should be rewarded. And the only way he can be successful is if he changes parties and forces all lawmakers to work together. Think about Manchin. He really does have all the chips and could very well be our next president.