Today, enlightened thought has eliminated most "cruel and unusual" punishments, but this is not universal - in present-day China, for example, corporate criminals have been executed, and stories of beheadings of women for adultery in Muslim countries have made the headlines in recent years.
In ancient Greece, political malefactors were ostracized by democratic vote, banished from Athens for terms of ten years to life. In Rome too, they were exiled, and this often placed them in an safe environment where they could plot further mischief or return at the head of an army. The punishment for a person who murdered a close relative was to be enclosed in a sack with a rooster, a viper, a dog, and a monkey, then tossed into the sea.
Other punishments in olden days included tar and fathering, burning at the stake, beheading, disembowelment, being sent to the galleys and other boundage, being stretched then drawn and quartered, working in chain gangs(, beatings, whipping, poisoning, eye gauging, water boarding and other tortures, branding with a hot iron, cutting off of a body part a hand for a pickpocket, an ear, eye, or tongue for a spy), the stocks, ducking, being pressed to death under the weight of heavy rocks, sent to the guillotine, hanging, and crucifixion.
Modern-day methods of execution include electrocution, chemical injection, the firing squad, and hanging. (It is NOT necessary to email me with other remedies that I may have missed.) To deter future criminal conduct, arguments over which is best for society - rehabilitation or punishment - abound. Punishment is favored by today's Conservatives, but of course most would opt for rehabilitation if they themselves were deemed to be the lawbreaker.
So what should the penalties be for convicted Conservative bosses - fines, jail time or worse? Is a dealer in heroin ultimately responsible for the deaths of his customer-addicts? Since many believe that the "punishment should fit the crime," there are monetary repercussions of Conservatism crimes to be considered, as well as the loss of human and animal lives generated by Conservative mobsters. Should Exxon-Mobil or BPS just be fined for oil spills caused by cost-cutting or should imprisonment or the final penalty be imposed as a punishment for lives ruined by loss of jobs and the deaths resulting from eating sea food at the Red Lobster? Should Wall Street option traders profiting from manipulating oil prices resulting in the winter deaths of our senior citizens be penalized accordingly?
Conservatism's policies are derived from the single-minded devotion to profit no matter what the cost to human life, and their political activity is confined to their relentless drive for total power The linkage of state and corporation and the uncoupling of labor unions in Germany, Japan, and Italy in the last century culminated in the world-wide loss of millions of lives. But corporatism today is more subtle in so many instances: the poisoning of our air, ground, water, and food has been complemented by man-made climate change, all due to corporate excess--the placement of profits before people.
A plausible argument against execution of Conservative Syndicate bosses has been the discoveries of DNA-based evidence that has freed over two thousand innocent death row inmates. So to many, death by execution may not be the answer to deterrence.
Some who deem the call for the Final Remedy to be a justifiable act of retribution higher in importance than methods of rehabilitation call for the following judicial remedies, judged at least to be more humane than those measures imposed in ancient times, in relative order of severity:
2. Life or extended prison term, with hard labor.
3. Enhanced Persuasion.
4. Lobotomies or other neurosurgical or biochemical techniques.
5. Shorter jail time and fines.
6. Loss of civic privileges and rights.
8. Voluntary Deportation, an option for punishments #3 to #7, above.
9. Forfeiture of Property To The State Or Restitution To The Victims.
10. Community Service.
11. Shunning. (For the most minor of, or unintentional offenses.)
12. One Strike And Your Out.
Being a wife or child of a funeral director hardly predisposes one to wish for the deaths of our neighbors, but as to the rest of us punishment is a different matter when we examine the sufferings of citizens who have suffered at the hands of Conservative policies and actions.
For the misled Conservative Stepford sheep and sheeplets, the Limbaugh self-described ditto-heads, and other extremists, many of these penalties might be considered rather extreme, pun totally intended. Some of these True Believers provide essential service to our good citizens - the sporting goods salespeople, the septic tank cleaners, the physicians and lawyers, and re-education camps might correct their wrong-headed thought and allow their re-entry into society.
Even something as easy as taking and passing a Critical Thinking course at the local junior college might rehabilitate the followers of average intelligence, though the IQ-challenged might prefer imprisonment. As smart pills are still on the horizon, paycheck reductions for convicted or suspected Conservatives might be options to pursue to prevent the re-emergence of Conservative conspiracies.
"When a man causes a disfigurement in his neighbor...it shall be done for him, fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth."
For certain political crimes today, punishment takes a different turn:
"Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.
"The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted."
(from The Constitution, Section 3.)
If treason is associated with levying war against the United States, then the GOP through its spokesman Grover Norville has treasonously declared war on his own country when he says, "My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub."
From the Wiktionary: "Formerly, the punishment for high treason was of a most barbarous character…. Women were burnt. A male traitor was dragged or drawn to the place of execution and hanged; but while still alive, he was cut down and disembowelled. His head was then severed from his body which was quartered. The head and quarters, which were at the Kings disposal, were usually exposed in some conspicuous place—the Temple Bar being a favourite spot—after being boiled in salt to prevent putrification and in cumin seed to prevent birds feasting on them." A televised reality show featuring Grover Norville being disembowelled might be incentive to cease and desist for many of the others.
"If a subversive act has any tendency to weaken the power of the United States to attack or resist its enemies, aid and comfort has been given.
"The Treason Clause applies only to disloyal acts committed during times of war. (And since pundits from both sides have maintained that we've been at war since the Iraq invasion, this could be interpreted by a non-impartial judge to apply Conservative "evildoers.")
"Under Article III a person can levy war against the United States without the use of arms, weapons, or military equipment. Persons who play only a peripheral role in a conspiracy to levy war are still considered traitors under the Constitution if an armed rebellion against the United States results. After the U.S. Civil War, for example, all Confederate soldiers were vulnerable to charges of treason, regardless of their role in the secession or insurrection of the Southern
"Treason is punishable by death. If a death sentence is not imposed, defendants face a minimum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine (18 U.S.C.A. § 2381). A person who is convicted of treason may not hold federal office at any time thereafter." *http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/_/dict.aspx?word=treason)
Sedition may be the more proper definition of Norquist's action than treason, but sedition is a also a crime.
Under 18 U.S.C.A. § 2384 (2000), a federal statute punishes seditious conspiracy, and 18 U.S.C.A. § 2385 (2000), outlaws advocating the overthrow of the federal government by force and a person may be punished for sedition when he or she makes statements that create a Clear and Present Danger to rights that the government may lawfully protect (Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47, 39 S. Ct. 247, 63 L. Ed. 470 ).
"Congress enacted the Smith Act (18 U.S.C.A. §§ 2385, 2387), which outlawed sedition and seditious conspiracy. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the act in Dennis v. United States, 341 U.S. 494, 71 S. Ct. 857, 95 L. Ed. 1137 (1951)."
"Sedition prosecutions are extremely rare, but they do occur. Shortly after the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City, the federal government prosecuted Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, a blind Egyptian cleric living in New Jersey, and nine co-defendants on charges of seditious conspiracy. Rahman and the other defendants were convicted of violating the seditious conspiracy statute by engaging in an extensive plot to wage a war of Terrorism against the United States. With the exception of Rahman, they all were arrested while mixing explosives in a garage in Queens, New York, on June 24, 1993.
"The defendants committed no overt acts of war, but all were found to have taken substantial steps toward carrying out a plot to levy war against the United States. The government did not have sufficient evidence that Rahman participated in the actual plotting against the government or any other activities to prepare for terrorism. He was instead prosecuted for providing religious encouragement to his co-conspirators. Rahman, like Limbaugh who argues that he is "only an entertainer," argued that he only performed the function of a cleric and advised followers about the rules of Islam. He and the others were convicted, and on January 17, 1996, Rahman was sentenced to life imprisonment by Judge Michael Mukasey.
"Following the September 11th Attacks of 2001, the federal government feared that terrorist networks were very real threats, and that if left unchecked, would lead to further insurrection. As a result, Congress enacted the Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act (USA PATRIOT) Act of 2001, Pub. L. No. 107-56, 115 Stat. 272. Among other things, the act increases the president's authority to seize the property of individuals and organizations that the president determines have planned, authorized, aided, or engaged in hostilities or attacks against the United States.
"The events of September 11 also led to the conviction of at least one American. In 2001, U.S. officials captured John Philip Walker Lindh, a U.S. citizen who had trained with terrorist organizations in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Lindh, who became known as the "American Taliban," was indicted on ten counts, including conspiracy to murder U.S. nationals. In October 2002, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison." (http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/_/dict.aspx?word=treason)
Conservatives have insisted that life imprisonment and other lengthy sentence and rehabilitation programs are too costly for the taxpayer, so in the interest of fairness the debate over capital punishment for Conservative criminals will certainly continue in these pages.
While no one other than the most sadistic of Conservatives would ever advocate torture as a viable punishment of criminals in the 21st Century, the use of the pillory and stocks, a favorite form of punishment in Colonial days - with roots going back to the medieval period - was used to engender a feeling of embarrassment, if not humiliation, in recalcitrant criminals.
Stocks, made out of wood, were restraining devices for the wrists, ankle or neck; the pillory, also made out of wood, only held the wrists and neck but offered little protection against tomatoes - fresh or rotting - or other objects hurled at them by the populace. Wikipedia notes that the prisoners were placed in the stocks but that "(e)ither before or after this the wrongdoer might have their footwear removed, exposing their bare feet. Exhibiting an offender's bare feet was considered a form of humiliation and often led to the victim's feet being tickled, usually by children."
"In being forced to bend forward and stick their head and hands out in front of them, offenders in the pillory would have been extremely uncomfortable during their punishment. However, the main purpose in putting criminals in the pillory was to publicly humiliate them. On discovering that the pillory was occupied, people would excitedly gather in the marketplace to taunt, tease and laugh at the offender on display.
"Those who gathered to watch the punishment typically wanted to make the offender's experience as unpleasant as possible. In addition to being jeered and mocked, those in the pillory might be pelted with mouldy fruit and vegetables, rotten eggs, bad fish, mud, offal, and animal excrement. As a result, criminals were often very dirty by the end of their punishment, their faces and hair begrimed with the smelly refuse with which they had been pelted."