FROM PHOENIX, ARIZONANORTH AMERICAN AFFAIRS
Phoenix 1. Capital Punishment: Justice or Revenge?
Stock-option Accounting Distorting the Economy
Shows Death Penalty Is Ineffective as Deterrent to Homicides
PHOENIX, Sept. 28 - A condemned man, who won an unprecedented reprieve last June from the Texas governor George W. Bush, was executed Wednesday (Sep. 27) for killing his 12-year-old stepdaughter. Ricky McGinn, 43, received a lethal injection at the Huntsville, Texas, prison. He had insisted the evidence was planted or tampered with, but DNA tests completed in August again linked McGinn to the 1993 crime.
Justice served? Henry VIII would have replied in the affirmative, as would have the Wild West lynch-mob posses. And so did Janet Roberts, McGinn’s ex-wife and the girl’s mother, who said after watching McGinn die: “Good job, Mr. Bush. I think I can go home and sleep real good tonight. “I feel relief ... he will not breathe our air anymore. My daughter can rest in peace.”
McGinn was indeed convicted of heinous crimes - rape and homicide. But is capital punishment really justice, or is it revenge? After all, such an “eye for an eye; tooth for a tooth”-kind of justice is being shunned by most European countries, for example. Even the UN War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague, a court that prosecutes crimes like mass murder and genocide, cannot convict anyone to death. Yet 24 years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the death penalty was constitutionally permissible, capital punishment - a state-sponsored homicide by another name - is now being practiced in 38 of 50 American states.
In Texas alone, McGinn’s was the 232nd person executed since 1982, when the Lone Star State resumed carrying out executions. And the pace of executions is accelerating. This year, Texas is on track to execute 40 people, which would break the record of 37 prisoners executed three years ago. There are 454 death row inmates in Texas awaiting executions, according to a Sep. 22 New York Times study.
Nor is Texas the worst state in this respect. There are 576 death row inmates in California, 391 in Florida, 235 in Pennsylvania, 232 in North Carolina, 200 in Ohio, 184 in Alabama… (see the map).
Some proponents of the death penalty have argued that it serves as a deterrent to future homicides. The Times study, based on the FBI statistics, has shown such arguments to be patently false.
“Ten of the 12 states without capital punishment have homicide rates below the national average,” the Times said, “while half the states with the death penalty have homicide rates above the national average.” In a state-by- state analysis, the Times found that during the last 20 years, the homicide rate in states with the death penalty has been 48 percent to 101 percent higher than in states without the death penalty.
The homicide rate in North Dakota, for example, which does not have the death penalty, was lower than the homicide rate in South Dakota, which does have it, according to FBI statistics for 1998. Massachusetts, which abolished capital punishment in 1984, has a lower rate than Connecticut, which has six people on death row; the homicide rate in West Virginia is 30 percent below that of Virginia, which has one of the highest execution rates in the country.
Other factors affect homicide rates, of course, including unemployment and demographics, as well as the amount of money spent on police, prosecutors and prisons.
But the analysis by the Times found that the demographic profile of states with the death penalty is not far different from that of states without it. The poverty rate in states with the death penalty, as a whole, was 13.4 percent in 1990, compared with 11.4 percent in states without the death penalty.
Yet polls show that a large number of Americans support the capital punishment. But some politicians and law officials dismiss such statistics as irrelevant on moral and pragmatic grounds. Michigan governor John Engler, a Republican, told the Times that he was not swayed by polls that showed 60 percent of Michigan residents favored the death penalty. He said 100 percent would like not to pay taxes.
Here’s an excerpt from the Times’ report:
think Michigan made a wise decision 150 years ago," he said. Michigan
abolished the death penalty in 1846 and has resisted attempts to reinstate
it. "We're pretty proud of the fact that we don't have the death
penalty," Gov. Engler said, adding that he opposed the death penalty
on moral and pragmatic grounds.
Detroit, John O'Hair, the district attorney, similarly ponders the role of
the state when looking at the death penalty. Borrowing from Justice Louis
E. Brandeis, Mr. O'Hair said: "Government is a teacher, for good or
for bad, but government should set the example. I do not believe that
government engaging in violence or retribution is the right example. You
don't solve violence by committing violence."
has one of the highest homicide rates in the United States — five times
more than New York in 1998 - but Mr. O'Hair said bringing back the death
penalty is not the answer. "I do not think the death penalty is a
deterrent of any consequence in preventing murders," said Mr. O'Hair,
who has been a prosecutor and judge for 30 years. Most homicides, he said,
are "impulsive actions, crimes of passion," in which the killers
do not consider the consequences of what they are doing.
Minnesota, which abolished capital punishment in 1911, 60 percent of the
residents support the death penalty, said Susan Gaertner, a career
prosecutor in St. Paul and the elected county attorney there since 1994.
But public sentiment had not translated into legislative action, Ms.
Gaertner said. "The public policy makers in Minnesota think the death
penalty is not efficient, it is not a deterrent, it is a divisive form of
punishment that we simply don't need," she said.
In addition to Michigan, and its Midwestern neighbors Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin, the states without the death penalty are Alaska, Hawaii, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts, where an effort to reinstate it was defeated last year.”
you saw in a May
TiM Bulletin, the U.S. prison population now exceeds
1.86 million, according to an April 20 Reuters report, filed from
prison population, long the largest in the world, increased even more to
1.86 million inmates in 1999 and may surpass 2 million next year,
according to a Justice Department report," the Reuters said.
The report said
the nation's prison and jail population at 1,860,520 inmates at the end of
June 1999 was up 4.4 percent from the year-earlier level, the equivalent
of adding 1.122 inmates each week. From
the end of 1990 to mid-1999, the prison and jail population swelled by
almost 712,000 inmates, resulting in an incarceration rate of 1 for every
147 Americas, up from 1 in every 218 residents.
report did not give any comparative prison figures for foreign countries,
private experts have told Reuters that the United States has been followed
by China with an estimated 1.2 million inmates, and Russia with about one
million inmates. But China's
population is almost five times bigger than the U.S.
Which means that even this communist country's incarceration rate
is about one-fifth that of the U.S.
Like the U.S., China is also another country that uses the death penalty liberally. most executions is China are carried out by a bullet in the back of the head. Whereupon the prisoner’s family is billed for the cost of the bullet. The next phase of Klinton’s Amerika, as “birds of a feather flock together?”
Furthermore, China sometimes even applies the death penalty as a means of population control and intimidation. Here’s an excerpt from Clinton-Gore-Bush’s Baby-Killing, Christian-Hating Chinese Pals:
only for the innocent Chinese infant who was murdered by the
Bush-Clinton-Gore-Cheney... Beijing communist pals.
Weep for all mankind for whom the bell tolls any time an innocent
life is taken, as Ernest Hemingway put it in his best-selling novel about
the Spanish civil war. For, “it tolls for thee".”
And just think… in a bipartisan vote, the U.S. Senate recently passed the legislation with an overwhelming majority granting such a China special trading privileges. Its message? In a society where money rules, human rights and compassion are the first victims. And “justice” is just another dirty word used to justify the crimes committed by the state against the people. If in doubt, just look at Janet Reno’s record.
PHOENIX, Sep. 28 - We invite your participation in today's TiM poll on the death penalty. Just keep in mind that the results of any on-line poll depend on the integrity of respondents. Which is why we ask you NOT to vote more than once. Let’s leave the cheating to the New World Order pollsters. Thank you.
(This TiM poll was started on September 28, 2000. Please do NOT vote more than once.)
Stock-option Accounting Distorting the Economy
SAN DIEGO, Sep. 24 - A San Diego Union-Tribune business columnist said in his Sep. 24 piece that stock-option accounting “overhang is an economic hangover. Or perhaps a cancer.”
Here are some excerpts from the Don Bauder Sunday column based on a study by a Wall Street research firm:
options -- and the dubious accounting behind them -- are distorting the
stock market, corporate balance sheets and the overall economy. That's the
inescapable conclusion from a study by Wall Street's Bernstein Research.
to Bernstein's Michael L. Goldstein, the intrinsic value of outstanding
options at the end of last year was half a trillion dollars, equal to 35
percent of corporate debt. Gulp.
grants were up a whopping 57 percent last year to $101 billion, which came
to 13 percent of corporate earnings. Whew!
been discussed in previous columns, corporations do not take these options
as an expense, except under certain circumstances. Authorities such as
Graef Crystal, the San Diego-based columnist for Bloomberg News, and Omaha
multibillionaire Warren Buffett have railed against this accounting
mirage, but to no avail.
techs, which abuse options the most, have too many friends in Congress.
how much this accounting abuse has inflated earnings: Bernstein figures
that, over the last three years, had the 45 percent annual growth in
option awards been expensed, earnings growth would have been 5.3 percent a
year, not the 8.7 percent that was reported.
this accounting treatment added 8 percent to 10 percent annual earnings
growth over the period to high-tech stocks -- representing half the growth
rate of that sector.
in-the-money value of unexercised options outstanding now equates to 22
percent of book value of equities," Goldstein says. "And in
technology, the share is over 80 percent."
options were treated as a liability, the debt-to-equity ratio of high
techs would zoom from 16 percent to 99 percent, he says.
is clear that the profit growth rate in recent years has been
overstated," Goldstein says. Also, "the options boom is a new
source of leverage" that could boomerang if the economy turned south.
says that since 1993, unrealized gains embedded in in-the-money options
has risen from 2 percent of private sector wages and salaries to 14
value of stocks underlying the in-the-money options that are not
outstanding is $1 trillion. That's equal to half the stock holdings of
non-millionaire households. If those in-the-money options become
out-of-the-money options, the economy would certainly feel it.”
To read the rest of the Sep. 24 Don Bauder column, check out - http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/uniontrib/sun/business/news_1b24bauder.html
Also, check out... Djurdjevic's WASHINGTON TIMES columns: "Christianity Under Siege," "Silence Over Persecuted Christians", "Chinese Dragon Wagging Macedonian Tail," "An Ugly Double Standard in Kosovo Conflict?", "NATO's Bullyboys", "Kosovo: Why Are We Involved?", and "Ginning Up Another Crisis"