Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dead Man Walking

Amy Goodman always brings stories to light that the mainstream media ignores. Today she talked about the inmate on death row for a crime he did not commit. His cousin did it, he shot the man behind the counter at the convenience store. Woods, outside in the car, heard the gunfire and ran in. The cashier died instantly and was most likely already dead before Wood even entered the store. By a draconian law in Texas, the Law of Parties, Wood is guilty by association. He was driving the "get-away car". Here is the law's wording:

Section 7.02 of the Texas Penal Code outlines the following:
A person is criminally responsible for an offense committed by the conduct of another if "acting with intent to promote or assist the commission of the offense he solicits, encourages, directs, aids or attempts to aid the other persons to commit the offense" or "If, in the attempt to carry out a conspiracy to commit one felony, another felony is committed by one of the conspirators, all conspirators are guilty of the felony actually committed, though having no intent to commit it, if the offense was committed in furtherance of the unlawful purpose and was one that should have been anticipated as a result of the carrying out of the conspiracy."
Article 37.071(b)(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedures permits the infliction of the death penalty only if the jury believes beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant "intended to kill the deceased or another or anticipated that a human life would be taken."

The US Supreme Court held that imposition of the death penalty on a person who aids and abets a felony in the course of which a murder is committed by others but who does not himself kill, attempt to kill, or intend to kill violates the 8th and 14th Amendments of the US Constitution. (Edmund v. Florida 458 US 782, 1982)
Five years after the Edmund decision the Supreme Court created an exception to this general rule for those guilty of a murder that occurs in the commission of a felony who do not kill or intend to kill, but who have major personal involvement in the felony and display a reckless indifference to human life. (Tison v. Arizona, 481 US 137, 1987)

The Delaware Superior Court observed:
"Major participation and reckless indifference to human life are more likely to be found where an accomplice defendant is present at and before a killing which involved considerable deliberation and the killing is preceded by physical or psychological abuse of the victim, including assault, torture or other acts of cruelty. Such a finding is less likely where the killing is sudden or impulsive and it is unclear that the defendant actually caused the victim’s death."
The application of Texas Penal Code 7.02, in combination with Texas Code of Criminal Procedures Article 37.071(b)(2), is unjust and unconstitutional because it permits the death penalty to be imposed for complicity in a capital crime without requiring a finding that the person intended to kill or that he was a major participant in a crime where he showed reckless disregard for human life. In other words, neglecting to anticipate another actor’s commission of murder in the course of a felony is all that is required to make a Texas defendant death-eligible, thus immensely lowering the standard the US Supreme Court has set. This is allowing the death penalty to be applied in a most immoral and liberal way.

Texas loves the death penalty. Governor Dubya certainly proved that. This Law of Parties is a barbaric, shameful and horrific piece of legislation. Texas needs to rethink it's place in the 21st century. Will they continue on the path to totalitarianism? When a time for peace and harmony is so desperately needed, it is sad to see so many Orwellian laws go into effect.
Jeff wood, I will light a candle for you today and continue to call Texas Governor Rick Perry's office. If you wish to call, here is the info:

Please call the Governor of Texas at 512-463-2000
Office of the Governor Fax: (512) 463-1849
Tell the Governor to Issue a 30-day Stay of Execution to Jeff Wood

Jeff is Scheduled for Execution Thursday, Aug 21 at 6pm, THAT'S TODAY, so CALL NOW!

Monday, August 4, 2008

What Happen's When There Is No More?

I've taken a few weeks to reflect on all the things going on in the world and in our town. From the watch on the 100 year old magnolia sitting on death row in our own town square (see Asheville on the Ground blog for daily updates), to the election and the two front runners, each with their own major faults, if that were the only things happening, I would be more at peace. The drumbeat to war is getting louder, and they are playing the same tune as they did in 2002-2003. War with Iran seems imminent. The push to drill for more oil continues despite the catastrophic effect on our fragile earth. The thing that makes me cry is that they are all connected.
I recently heard about this disaster in the Amazon in Ecuador. Actually I had heard but had no idea of the scope;

What Exxon/Texaco says via Faux Fox News;

While trying to talk to my brother about it this morning, I had tears in my eyes. (Sometimes talking to him is like talking to a rock.) Tears as I thought about our Mother Earth and how She is raped on a daily basis and in Her most intimate and fragile spots. Think about Tropicana and their new juice which describes in a sensuous voice about a berry from the Amazon rain forest. Think about the medicine ingredients big pharmaceutical use which some are rare and endangered.
I subbed for Cecil Bothwell for Blows Against the Empire on WPVM a few weeks ago and played the song More by Madonna. She sings about wanting more, when you have a little you just want more and more. I have added bold to the phrases that catch me;


Once upon a time I had plenty of nothing,
Which was fine with me.
Because I had rhythm, music, love,
The sun, the stars and the moon above,
Had the clear blue sky and the deep blue sea.
That was when the best things in life were free.

Then time went by and now I got plenty of plenty,
Which is fine with me.
'Cause I still got love, I still got rhythm,
But look at what I got to go with 'em.
"Who could ask for anything more?", I hear you query.
Who would ask for anything more? Well, let me tell you, dearie.

Got my diamonds, got my yacht, got a guy I adore.
I'm so happy with what I got, I want more!

Count your blessings, one, two, three
I just hate keeping score.
Any number is fine with me
As long as it's more
As long as it's more!

I'm no mathematician, all I know is addition
I find counting a bore.
Keep the number mounting, your accountant does the counting.
(More! More!)

I got rhythm, music too, just as much as before
Got my guy and my sky of blue,
Now, however, I own the view.
More is better than nothing, true
But nothing's better than more, more, more
Nothing's better than more.

One is fun, why not two?
And if you like two, you might as well have four,
And if you like four, why not a few
Why not a slew
(More! More!)

If you've got a little, why not a lot?
Add and bit and it'll get to be an oodle.
Every jot and tittle adds to the pot
Soon you've got the kit as well as the caboodle.
(More! More!)

Never say when, never stop at plenty,
If it's gonna rain, let it pour.
Happy with ten, happier with twenty
If you like a penny, wouldn't you like many much more?

Or does that sound too greedy?
That's not greed, no, indeedy
That's just stocking the store
Gotta fill your cupboard, remember Mother Hubbard.

(More! More!)

Each possession you possess
Helps your spirits to soar.
That's what's soothing about excess
Never settle for something less.
Something's better than nothing, yes!
But nothing's better than more, more more
(Except all, all, all)
Except all, all, all
Except once you have it all (have it all)
You may find all else above (find all else above)
That though things are bliss,
There's one thing you miss, and that's
More! More! More! More!
More! More! More!

I have always heard this song with an environmental message rather that materialistic, but then again, they are all connected. Our "undying need to consume and create things we can consume". I believe we are at peek oil. Oil is destroying our earth, air and water. The demand for clean energy is now. I will end with the lyrics to another song. This one by Melissa Etheridge;

What Happens Tomorrow

I believe if I look hard enough
I will see
That there can be enough
I believe I can think clear enough
To conceive
A place where there's enough

If not now, when
If not today then
What about tomorrow
What happens tomorrow

I believe a woman can work hard and succeed
And we could be content
To believe that she could be in charge
Of the free
And be the president

If not now, when
If not today then
What happens tomorrow
What happens tomorrow
If you become the change
You want to see you change
What happens tomorrow
What happens tomorrow

I believe that we are waking up from the spell
That those that profit from the fear
Cast so well
And good people of the earth now can tell
There is no us and them

If not now, when
If not today then
What happens tomorrow
What happens tomorrow

All is love
All is choice
Everyone and every voice
All of life that you see
All are possibilities
As above so below
To wed the sense into the soul
This is truth I believe
I believe I believe

Truth is of the people
By the people
For the people