No, we will not have a serious discussion about the death penalty. In fact, if you want to be exceptionally horrified, check out this Kay Bailey Hutchison statement referencing Rick Perry’s actions:
“As hard as Rick Perry’s office and his campaign may try to divert from the issue, this is not about one man or one case. The issue is Rick Perry’s heavy-handed politicization of a process and Commission established by the legislature to provide critical oversight. First, Rick Perry delayed the formation of the Texas Forensic Science Commission, then he tried to ensure it didn’t have funding and when all else failed, he fired everyone he could. The only thing Rick Perry’s actions have accomplished is giving liberals an argument to discredit the death penalty. Kay Bailey Hutchison is a steadfast supporter of the death penalty, voted to reinstate it when she served in the Texas House and believes we should never do anything to create a cloud of controversy over it with actions that look like a cover-up.”
She’s not concerned that an innocent man might have been killed by the state. She’s concerned that evil liberals might get in the way of killing more people.
And she is the “moderate.” These people are fucking sociopaths.
I’m reminded of the time a couple of weeks ago when Matt Welch finally, for a brief moment, mused that gun nuts attending Presidential events might not be a good thing, but only because Justin Raimondo pointed out that if someone did pop a cap in someone, it would be bad for… libertarianism. Again, you can’t make this shit up.
*** Update ***
Sorry, Publius. Kay is running to the RIGHT of Perry on this one. The real problem is not the possible execution of an innocent man or Perry’s apparent perversion of the investigation. The problem is the hash you goddamned liberals will make of the death penalty.
It isn’t a few bad apples with the GOP. The whole damned barrel is rotten to the core.
I’d vote for Bill the Cat before I ever could for either of these moral imbeciles.
Deep thought: being a Black Sabbath fan is a capital offense in some states.
Lizard People gets my vote in a matchup between those two. At least Lizard People act according to biology when they kill humans.
General Winfield Stuck
Jesus Christ on a ladder. Let’s fucking invade Texas, please, can we?
And we might as well go for Oklahoma too.
The Very Reverend Crimson Fire of Compassion
Yes, these people are sociopaths. But isn’t the more interesting point here that being sociopaths works for them? It’s gotten them elected and re-elected, and they count on the popularity of their sociopathic world view to ensure their job security. The really terrifying thing is how many of “us” turn out to be “them”, as well.
Whut, u wont us to stop killin’ people down here in Texas. Don’t you no bout th 10th Mendmant. We’s gott Staatees Rites on or sidee.
Ya’ll yankees betr leave us a lone. Dont mess wif Texas.
That’s the feeling down here in the Lone Star State, if you have any doubt just take a look at some of the comments on this Austin American Statesman article today.
No, liberals are not responsible for discrediting the death penalty, Texas is. Perry and his predecessor spent about twenty minutes total reviewing hundreds of death warrants. They packed the courts and the parole board with the dumbest crackers they could find to ensure that there were no pauses in the death march.
They are sociopaths. Anyone who has worked in the criminal justice system knows the tremendous power that prosecutors wield. Unless you have a top-notch defense counsel (expensive) and an honest, sharp-as-a-tack judge (they are more common in some states than in others), it is very easy to get a conviction on pretty flimsy evidence. Prosecutors build their reputation on the number of convictions they get, especially high-profile ones. Even an honorable prosecutor will be tempted to dismiss any suspicions that the person they are trying to convict is not, in fact, guilty.
General Winfield Stuck
Blackstone’s ratio is now kill ’em and let Gawd sort “em out.
Welcome to the land of the free.
All you need to remember is: Texas is BIGGER than FRANCE!
Interesting contrast with former (Republican) Illinois governor George Ryan, who was corrupt as all hell, but at least had enough of a moral center to commute the sentences of all of the people on death row here because of strong concerns about the judicial process.
@Rekster: If they secede does that mean we can occasionally shock and awe them when they get too obnoxious?
Seriously, we’d be screwed if we tried to invade Texas. We have what, 3 million or so people in the armed forces. There are 24 million people in Texas. Estimates have it about 3 guns per Texan.
Unless we bomb the population or start a draft, we’d lose an invasion of Texas. Badly.
The GOP turned full-blown sociopath under Ronnie Raygun.
Lots of bad, paradigm shifting shit happened since St. Ronnie. The crushing of labor unions reignited under St. Ronnie. Absolutely uncalled for growth in defense spending coupled with criminal foreign meddling went off the rails. On the domestic front, Reagan’s era marks the beginning of exploding prison populations, a ramping up of the “War on Drugs” and throwing the mentally ill and poor under the bus. This is also when median wages became completely decoupled from GDP growth, which, in turn, led to stagnation of middle class wages.
Most ominously, I think, is the fact that the GOP began dissociating itself from facts and reason to the point that they began to believe their bullshit–think trickle-down economics, deficits don’t matter, etc.
Personally, I think there have only been two decent Republican presidents since 1900–TR and Ike. The rest were either thieves, incompetents, sociopaths or a combination.
The clown car called America is heading towards a cliff. Don’t know that we’ll get the thing stopped this time.
@beltane: That’s fine with me is there is some way you can let me know so I can pack up and head out of here!
Unfortunately, I am confident that Perry and Hutchinson are an exact reflection of the views of their constituencies. And, while I do not claim to be anything remotely resembling Nate Silver, I would be willing to bet my German Shepherd and my pickup truck that it is also reflective of the majority of the citizenry of every state McCain won, as well as the vast majority of Republicans.
We be one fucked up country.
General Winfield Stuck
I say we drop tons of Tofu on their happy asses. They’d give up in a heartbeat. If that don’t work, we pipe in New Age music and turn it up to boogaloo. Hearts of Space ought to do it.
No, we will not have a serious discussion about the death penalty.
Not in a country where people still doesn’t really accept that it started an entirely unnecessary war, that’s for sure.
@Jorge: Yeah but you’ve got to figure we’d capture the capital right off the bat–Austin is about as blue as it gets.
In all seriousness, though, this is yet another bit of proof that Texas Republicans are unfit to govern anything.
And Bill Clinton, depending on who you ask. /snark
you got that shit right, Incertus.
That’s it, in a nutshell.
Chad N Freude
I’ve always respected Kay BH. I didn’t think I could be so gullible, blind, stupid. [Begin saving face] Of course, she is pandering to the string-em-up populace. [End unsuccessful saving of face]
kommrade reproductive vigor
By all means, let us be civilized. One should be subtle when rigging the game.
@beltane: I suggest tying a big bow around it, ringing Mexico’s doorbell and running away real fast.
Chad N Freude
@Jorge: Simple. Draft Texans.
@JR: Everyone who wants to get a tattoo of a skull should be informed that it could be used as evidence that they’re dangerous psychopaths who might end up torching their own kids.
At least it would cut down on ugly tattoos.
@Chad N Freude: @JR:
Draft Texans? Who the f**k do you think you are, the Oklahoma Sooners?
Yes, bad for libertarianism.
Because the state needs more power to kill people in order to further libertarian goals.
No contradiction here.
KBH doesn’t give a rat’s ass about innocent men in the execution chamber. She doesn’t even care about the fact that Perry is breaking the law and fucking up the system. She only cares about not giving the death penalty a bad name and that the left might score points off it.
Don’t we have some double-agents down there that can arrange for Perry’s recently-arrested cousin to end up on death row?
We live in a PRcracy.
Not that I want to give you warmongers any ideas, but the closest thing Texas has to an army is the Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets. Here they are being rallied to action by one of their leaders. (Hint…Rick Perry was one of the guys in white and he is now Commander in Chief of the Texas National Guard).
Mr. Furious, the Governor’s cousin was himself shot dead by a deputy sheriff in Montague County. The Governor’s compassionate comment was that he hardly knew his cousin.
“I don’t think I could pick him out in a line-up,” he said.
Texans often have to finger their own family members it would seem, judging by this comment.
Oh yeah, right. MEXICO beat Texas in a war, but we couldn’t. Sure!
“The only thing Rick Perry’s actions have accomplished”
The ONLY thing?
What Hutchison really thinks is speculation. What is chilling is that this kind of dish water demagoguery is that this is what it takes to win in a GOP primary in Texas. That makes me scared to visit Texas. But it is very probably the same thing it takes to win in a California GOP primary, so who am I to talk trash about Texas?
@Notorious P.A.T.: Texas progressives are a tough bunch. Few, but tough. They will hold the crazies until they are relieved (if we can get help quick!).
Many eons ago in high school, I absolutely hated Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” because I was convinced that people would not act like that.
I now think that in certain parts of the country you could probably sell Lottery franchises.
I wonder if Texas got a good harvest out of the trade-off.
I believe they will. It must take a lot of guts to be a progressive in Texas. And considering the leader of Texas’s best feature is his hairdo. . .
I think a lot of Americans just don’t hear the phrase “executed an innocent man” as some sort of really bad thing.
I really don’t know what you do to re-acquaint people with basic principles of civilization.
Yeah, Mexico beat Texas in a War. And when they found out exactly what they had won they begged the US to take Texas off their hands. To get the US to take Texas, they had to give us New Mexico, Arizona, California, and the better ski resorts of Colorado.
@kommrade reproductive vigor:
I know people around these parts are generally cynical about human beings, but I don’t think you can say a “lot” of Americans just don’t care.
Welp, having exhausted the charms of microwave s’mores, I bid you all a fond — and slightly sticky — good night.
If you ring Texas’s doorbell a Mexican will answer.
@Svensker: Microwave S’mores? That is depraved. S’mores are made over campfires. If you made s’mores in a microwave, why, they… they might be OK. Hmmm… chewy s’mores…
Uh oh. There goes my diet.
Naw, I’m pretty sure we’d be greeted as liberators.
You know, I’m not usually tempted to assume negative motivations on the part of political opponents. I’m one of those guys that think wingnuts by and large have a good faith (although incorrect) opposition to health reform, for instance. They honestly do believe that it would make the country worse off.
But this – I cannot possibly begin to comprehend what on earth would motivate a politician in a democratic society, particularly one where the “culture of life” is emphasized to the degree that it is, to block an investigation into whether the state murdered an innocent man.
If Willingham indeed was innocent, it doesn’t even reflect that poorly on Perry if an investigation says so. Sure, Perry saw the 11th hour report and could have acted on it, but he’s not an expert in this stuff. I would have erred on the side of caution and spared the guy’s life, but Perry acted within the law and probably, at the time, according to his best judgment. So personal preservation can’t be a huge motive here.
I’m really forced to conclude that John is right and that Rick Perry really does believe that maintaining the social institution of the death penalty is more important than investigating one instance in which it clearly was applied in error. The Hutchinson response is maybe even more bizarre.
I really just don’t know what to make of this. It’s just so – alien to me.
@Ash: I’m not just making this up because of the news. I’ve had discussions with friends and coworkers and though they would agree that they would prefer that innocent people not be executed, they generally aren’t worried enough about it that the process of executing people gets interrupted, particularly given how skeptical they are that anyone on death row is really likely to be truly innocent.
Just Some Fuckhead
Have you seen the iron lady’s charms
Legs of steel, leather on her arms
Taking on a man to die
A life for a life, an eye for an eye
And death’s the iron lady in the chair
Stop the murder, deter the crimes away
Only killing shows that killing doesn’t pay
Yes that’s the kind of law it takes
Even though we make mistakes
And sometimes send the wrong man to the chair
In the death row waiting for their turn
No time to change, not a chance to learn
Waiting for someone to call
Say it’s over after all
They won’t have to face the justice of the chair
Just before they serve him one last meal
Shave his head, they ask him how he feels
Then the warden comes to say goodbye
Reporters come to watch him die
Watch him as he’s strapped into the chair
And the chaplain, he reads the final prayer
Be brave my son, the Lord is waiting there
Oh murder is so wrong you see
Both the Bible and the courts agree
That the state’s allowed to murder in the chair
In the courtroom, watch the balance of the scales
If the price is right, there’s time for more appeals
The strings are pulled, the switch is stayed
The finest lawyers fees are paid
And a rich man never died upon the chair
Have you seen the iron lady’s charms
Legs of steel, leather on her arms
Taking on a man to die
A life for a life, an eye for an eye
That’s the iron lady in the chair
-Iron Lady, Phil Ochs
Well, to be truthful, a few rich men have got the death penality. VERY few.
Besides that it pretty accurate (except even if you DO change… you’re gonna get executed anyway)
That Raimondo comment section is a freak show. They need to either keep their heads a bit lower or admit they are a bunch of bullshit.
If you joined any sort of peace group during the Bush years you had a better than average shot of having some sort of law enforcement minder joining up with you and keeping notes.
My guess is they go about their business and can masturbate about “watering the tree of liberty” over a health insurance bill and go unobserved and unmolested. They almost have to know it or they wouldn’t be bullshitting around about revolution with each other in the open.
I’m pretty sure it’s not just Texas.
What pansy motherfuckers have you been estimating it with?
Three? Hell, I take more than 3 guns to the potty with me.
@Just Some Fuckhead:
This is along the lines of what I said the other night. Gov Perry hasn’t ever paid any price for his disgraceful actions during the whole stimulus bill, secession BS, etc.
He’s being primaried but Kay has moved so far to the right that no one can fucking recognize her.
Which is not to say I ever gave a shit about her since she’s a Repub, but it’s crazy that she wants the Gov job and the path she sees to that job is to be to Perry’s *right*.
WTF does that say?
…don’t answer that.
@Incertus: Austin is blue to a certain point.
Two words, dude: Texas Republican.
Everyone from Austin who told me to hold on hope for Texas needs an escape plan?
@Chad N Freude: Chad…Chad.
Unfortunately I don’t think you can compile a string that’s gonna save your face on this one.
She’s just fucking vile and has always been a pandering MF’er.
General Winfield Stuck
But it is their turn.
Re: Texas Progressives. Molly Ivins were one. Rep. Jack Brooks, as ornery as he was, stood up to Oliver North.
I wish there were some more LBJs down there to shake those idiots in the statehouse up.
@Ed Marshall: Nope, they all need to buy more townhomes SoCo and hold on.
They’re going to be very happy in 3 or so years.
KBH only seems “moderate” because she doesn’t get a lot of camera time.
@Corey: “Culture of life” is nothing more than a political slogan. No one on the right, and still not enough in the center or on the left, really acts on it. People rail against abortion but don’t lift a finger to get at the root causes of it and actually reduce the numbers of abortions. (Hint: It has nothing to do with closing clinics, shooting doctors, or outlawing the practice.) People are terrified of any increase in government funding of health care. Gun ownership is virtually worshiped. Hunger is rampant. Child care and elder care are catch as catch can.
Small wonder there are so many people who don’t just tolerate the death penalty, they celebrate it. “Culture of life” my ass.
Listen up, Texans. How long before Perry leaks word that Willingham was responsible for the fire at the Governor’s mansion?
One of the regular posters at Balkinization, Professor Sandy Levinson, is forever whining about how dysfunctional our Constitution is.
Here’s a suggestion, Sandy: an Amendment that would allow the expulsion of a state, on the same vote needed to amend the Constitution, i.e., both houses of Congress and the Legislatures of 38 states.
Texas would be gone in 90 days.
And the irony: Levinson teaches at UT Law School.
General Winfield Stuck
The newly haunted one, with any luck.
Where is Ann Richards when we need her?
The only time LBJ tried to shake anybody up at the Texas statehouse was when he needed legisaltion to let him run for Vice President and re-election to the Senate at the same time in 1960.
@Ed Marshall: To add onto this:
Tejas isn’t exactly “purple” as a lot of prognosticators have boldly stated. Yes, there are a lot of Blue voters in Harris County (Houston), Austin and parts in the Valley (McAllen near the border).
But strongholds exist in all the other rural areas. As I’ve mentioned, Austin County is one of the poorest counties in the state yet you can not spit in any direction during daylight without hitting 2 or 3 deep Republican idiots.
The real problem lies with the TX statewide Democratic Party. Bunch of old school Harry Reids.
They’ve been beat down so long that they seem to be happy just running their shops instead of pressing any advantage. Corrupt as all fucking get out as well.
Let me try to be a little more articulate here. What Perry and Hutchinson are implicitly saying here is unrecognizable to me as a political ideology. I mean, if you were to ask Stalin why the Soviet Union killed dissidents, he’d say it was to protect the Soviet society and the revolution. Che would say the same thing. Hitler would say that he killed to protect the Aryan volk from the undesirables and promote the master race.
But what Perry is saying by his cover-up and what Hutchinson is saying with this ridiculous press release is that the state’s power to kill is inherent and non-negotiable – that the state is permitted to kill simply because it is the state, and examples of the state’s misuse of that power do not discredit the state.
I just didn’t know that we grew people like that in America. John’s right – it’s sociopathic, that’s the only word that can be applied here.
Wile E. Quixote
Well it’s natural that wingnuts love the death penalty; their religion demands it. Think about it, if it weren’t for capital punishment we wouldn’t have Easter and Jeebus!
@burnspbesq: Yeah. Expel TX.
I was speaking more in terms of how LBJ was able to button-hole folks in general (on the federal level). Heck, I think we need someone like that now instead of that weak-kneed “leader” Harry Reid.
General Winfield Stuck
@Wile E. Quixote:
I think the death penalty is Old Testament when Baby Jeebus was just a twinkle in God’s eye.
When Ann Richards vacated the office of State Treasurer, she was replaced by Kay Bailey Hutchinson. When Ann Richards appointed Bob Kruger to replace Lloyd Bentsen in the US Senate, he was defeated by Kay Bailey Hutchinson. When Ann Richards got beat by George Bush, it ushered in Rick Perry as Lt. Governor.
Where is Ann Richards? Dead, gone, missed.
Better to ask What Up, Texans?
Exactly. But of course Conservapedia says that whole “he without sin cast the first stone” doesn’t count. I’m a bit more Sinopian myself.
@arguingwithsignposts: The more Rick Perry shows is face the more I miss Molly Ivins. Tragic loss that one.
Chad N Freude
@Corner Stone: I think that should be “Chad … Chad … Chad”. Gimme a break, I did use the past tense.
I forgot to note that Wikipedia says that Kinky Friedman, some rancher businessman, and Tom Schieffer are running in the Democratic Primary.
Tom Schieffer is Bob Schieffer’s younger brother, who Wikipedia says is a long-time conservative Democrat of the Bentson wing.
Can you imagine if Schieffer won, and his older brother interviewed him on CBS, the old persons’ network?
The whole airwaves, and all the TVs would congeal into lime jello. At least unless Tom is livlier than his older brother. The whole country would be courtlied and dignified to death. Probably would happen in 1212. Hoocoodanode the Mayan Prophecy would hold such a horrible fate for us.
Schieffer worked with GW when he ran the Texas rangers. Looks like Schieffer was one of the people tapped by GW when something actually had to get done.
You don’t think your constitution is dysfunctional?
General Winfield Stuck
I’m personally more Gospel of Thomas, the gnostic hippie Apostle.
Of course, the wingnut preachers have labeled him heretical.
Chad N Freude
@ricky: Not to mention the Reichstag fire.
Killing innocent people is just the price you have to pay for society to get its bloodlust on.
I sure remember that sparkle Shrub got in his eyes when he talked about signing them death warrants….’Feels Good!’
@ricky: We need some more Ann Richards around to kick some A in state governments.
@70 corey: Perry and Hutchison represent the oldest political ideology in the world: ruthlessness and abandonment of any principles at all for the sake of power. Democrats do it to.
General Winfield Stuck
Fiber, lots of fiber.
@General Winfield Stuck: Paul had a strong gnostic streak, which is carefully avoided or explained away by the Xtianists (who tend to ignore the Gospels in favor of the epistles. Paul is their main man, properly re-interpreted and carefully hedged and explained away.)
Why would you want to do that? Maybe we’ll get lucky and they will secede.
Probably. But it’s the form of the comment that interests most. Could be adapted for all kinds of situations, couldn’t it? Morality/Ethics/Human decency subsumed by politics.
All depends on whose ox is being gored at the moment. Fair play’s a jewel.
Hey Rekster, a lot of the commenters there were very good. I think one of Gov Goodhair’s claims was that even Willingham’s defense attorney thought he was guilty. Well one of the commenters posted the addy for the attorney’s blog. The verdict: The Governor is lying.
The blog is fascinating.
Actually, although true, Paul’s gnostic streak is far less important than his misogyny. He writes nicely, but it’s no wonder they threw him out of so many places.
@Corey: I should clarify that I didn’t mean to imply that I thought you didn’t also know that the “culture of life” stuff was bunk. I just used your post as a springboard for my rant. Apologies if I came off as condescending; it wasn’t directed at you at all.
Chad N Freude
You’ve read him in his original language?
Aw, you only need one word. Try Republican or Philistine. Either will work.
@El Cid: What I see/hear is that if someone hears an innocent man was executed they just rationalize it by saying “Eh, he was a shithead anyway” or some other variation of “He had to be guilty of SOMETHING”. In other words: I’m sure it’ll never happen to me.
What strikes me about the Welch part is that it really showcases the differences in the parties.
Republican/Glibertarians define right and wrong based on whether it advances the party and its ideology.
Democrats in Congress define right and wrong based on whether or not they get attacked for their position.
The rest of us have a firm (and correct) grasp of right and wrong that aligns with most if not all of the developed world, and are either mocked as Dirty Fucking Hippies or ignored altogether.
When they can continue to insist that the best healthcare reform is none whatsoever…or *at worst* to give a bajillion dollars to the insurance industry and let them run amok anyway… When they KNOW frackin’ well that every year another 45,000 people will die due to lack of insurance.
Yeah, they’re sociopaths. They truly don’t care if people suffer and die — just so long as a few political points can be scored and the plundering of America can continue unchecked.
I don’t think the Constitution is inherently dysfunctional, although I will concede that large parts of the Constitutional mechanism have malfunctioned.
And this is where I live. It is very hard to cope.
J in WA
Holy fucking shit.
Didn’t read the comment thread. Just need to say that state-sanctioned murder is WRONG.
Holy fuck, we have so far to go.
At least some of the natives would greet us with candy and flowers. And in the Austin area, weed(s)!
Also, I’m waiting for one of the gubernatorial candidates to out-RW the others by pledging to swap lethal injections for pay-per-view ChiCom-style bullet-to-the-head executions. Then if the state budget goes kulifurniya, future Texanators will be able to raise extra funds by auctioning off firing-squad privileges.
OT, but …
Just when you think that the right has gone completely bat guano crazy with no hope of salvation, you stumble across two stalwart right-wingers (Bartlett and Frum) having an intelligent conversation about taxes, the relative merits of carbon tax vs. cap-and-trade, and several related issues.
If guys like this are not completely irrelevant in the twisted world of Wingnuttia, perhaps we are not completely and irretrievably fucked, after all.
YES, We Can!
Seriously though, Innocent man excuted by corrupt pols or Innocent man stuck in prison until he dies of old age with the ‘”hope spot” of being proved innocent that never comes until after he’s dead because said pols shit on the process of justice.
Personally, I’d like prosecutors to have some skin in there, at a minimum they gotta personally put down some serious money if they fuck it up, or ideally be willing to suffer the same sentence.
Arm Mexico and invade by proxy.
Nitpick alert. They aren’t technically sociopaths. Sociopaths suck, but they don’t choose that condition. It’s pathological, hence the -path.
You have to choose cognitive ignorance (even if only choosing to accept what others tell you to believe), to advocate the death penalty.
Or, in this specific case, to defend the judicial murder of a factually and legally innocent man, in order to preserve your ancient tribal blood magic.
That’s a choice. They work and act towards a political end.
Let’s not give them a pass by treating with their political position as if it were a passive pathology, about which they have little personal control (sociopaths don’t choose to be sociopaths).
They actively pursue it, in order to preserve a very particular worldview, and a defined social order.
That’s orders of magnitudes worse than sociopathy.
@The Very Reverend Crimson Fire of Compassion: Sadly, I must agree with you. Who are all these people? Well, some of them posted today on Garrison Keillor’s article at Salon.com on the current state of the GOP, some of them write ignorant, stupid, ranting, fact free letters to my paper. Most days my blood pressure won’t stand the reading of them.
Seriously, how can any person of conscience and good will be a Republican? I happened to catch Rick Perry on Anderson Cooper’s show tonight and he is in massive self-denial, cover up mode: “Cunningham was an evil evil man, who was guilty of killing his kids, and deserved to die.” Then there was the female reporter Cooper was talking to who went to great pains NOT to appear to be taking a stand or of accusing Perry of wrongdoing. All I could think of was Jon Stewart’s show 2 or 3 nights ago. That induced a smile or two.
I have not read the whole thread because I am just too disheartened by this case and by the death penalty in general. I have to agree, though, that they (the pols in Texas) haven’t suffered for their amoral behavior–indeed, they have been rewarded for it. It makes me ill.
I see your point, but it’s possible that a politician can also be a sociopath (see Cheney, Dick). And I wouldn’t put it past Perry, either.
Since Texas isn’t eager to drop their bloodlust, I say to at least do it right. If they insist that it’s a deterrent to crime, then they’re doing it wrong. The fact that people die isn’t a deterrent – people die doing all manner of things that we voluntarily choose to do for entertainment, even. The deterrent is the experience of death – and that’s being hidden, so it’s ineffective.
If I were governor of Texas and the legislature insisted on continuing with this, I’d just tweak it around the edges.
First, all executions would be fully public. No hoods, and crap like that. All television stations in the state would be required to carry the execution live on TV as a public service. All schools would be required to show each execution to children, so that they can see the consequence of committing these acts in the future.
I’d expand the execution chamber substantially. Anyone convicted of a lesser violent crime would be required to attend at least one live execution. Any state politician convicted of a crime would be required to actually assist with the execution.
I’d hire Jerry Bruckheimer to do cool illustrations of what’s happening in each execution and get the guys that call the Cowboys games to do color commentary during the execution. I’d turn it into a memorable spectacle befitting the desires of a bloodthirsty populace.
What’s this “you”, Kemosabe? You’re one of us now.
Hello fuck you too, pal.
You wanna start again without poisoning the well first?
I believe that was the editorial third person speaking for the subject.
It would be nice to believe that all the evil in the world is bottled up in the Texans, but if you read the comments on any local newspaper or TV station after any crime, not only murder – and in the UK too, not merely the US – you will find that the bloodlust which the journalist descried in 1840 is indeed still common to the entire human race regardless of locale. Residents of the other 49 are simply deluding themselves if they think that their neighbors aren’t getting hardons en masse at the thought of strangers being killed under a judicial seal of approval.
California is just as crazy about the death penalty. Democrats and Republicans alike do everyone but execute small retarded children on camera during the debates.
We put tons of people on death row. The difference is that the state rarely actually performs the executions. The appeals process can last decades.
I assume it’s because we don’t have that crazy statewide elected judges system.
If we did I’m pretty sure judges would be squeezing three executions in before every sundown, just to prove their toughness to voters.
DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal)
If a pardon comes back to bite a politician then they are dead (politically). It is far easier to put an innocent to death rather than risk their political skin. Covering it up is easy since the governor holds the levers of power in the state, as evidenced by Governor Goodhair of Texas.
When I heard the guy was poor, the first thought through my mind was ‘here come the justifications’. He was poor, ergo: he was not of any worth to society.
The death penalty is a political tool, much like three strikes laws and other feel-good measures. That they don’t work for society is beside the point.
The point is that they work for politicians. Sadly, that’s all that matters.
Oh, agreed entirely. I wasn’t ruling out that there are sociopaths in politics. Cheney is famous example. I’m just wary of giving a political agenda and a chosen worldview the pass of pathology.
I don’t understand your objection. Are you a death penalty advocate? If so, you have to ignore the disconnect between the arguments about functionality/process/legal merit and the ineluctable fact that the executed person’s death does not and cannot alter the past. Human sacrifice might feel good (that’s the emotional point of vengeance and lawyerly cousin, punishment – to feel good about hurting someone with the sanction of peers, to get away with violence against those who “deserve” it). It might allow the beneficiary of that violence, or the one committing it, to feel as if order is restored. But it doesn’t erase the actions which allegedly merit punishment. Because we cannot alter the past.
No debt is paid. No balance is restored. No past acts are eliminated or erased. It’s just another de-animated corpse where a person once was. Because, while the magical thinking is real, the magic itself is not.
DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal)
If you want to go that route, if death is supposed to be considered punishment then make it a true horror of a death. Crushed by monster truck, wrestling hungry polar or grizzly bears, slowly submerging in acid or lye, burning at the stake, draw and quarter, crash test dummy, drop from 120,000 feet with only a sponge to land on, some lions and a stadium (charge admission!) and on and on. Make each execution a new level of horror to behold. Make every station carry it and make viewing mandatory.
Sadly, there are far too many people in our country who would actually like to see something like this. We really are a bloodthirsty country, no doubt about it. Violence is a way of life here and we have few qualms about exporting it. In the name of capitalism of course.
Bob (Not B.o.B.)
Why do the people who have the least confidence in Government most support the ability of the Government to legally kill Americans?
@Jorge: Realizing this is sort of a silly subtopic, but while the number of Texans with guns is rather amazing, I have yet to find the handgun, shotgun, hunting rifle, assault rifle, etc., that can equal the sheer firepower of Tanks and Bradleys. Outnumbered yes. Outgunned, no.
@Cassidy: Not to be parochial here, but tanks and Bradleys are popguns compared to the firepower of the artillery.
What really galls the the “True Christians” of Texas and other States is that if a convicted murder is ONLY sentenced to life in prison without parole there is the possibility that the Jeasus’ “Get out of Hell for Free Card” may be found by the murderer. If the murderer truly accepts the Grace of God and are forgiven. The bitterest pill for them is that as good Christians, they are supposed to hope for that the sinner will be saved!
@DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal): Yes, in Texas politically it’s far, far safer to risk killing an innocent man than to allow someone who’s been found guilty of capital murder, however flimsy the case, to get off death row. And if you look at the GOP primary voters you will see immediately why Goodhair and KBH have staked the positions they have. Goodhair would certainly be in a worse political position if he had let that report go forward unchallenged, and even the very clumsy way he has handled it has been a political benefit inasmuch as it has allowed him to show the lengths he is willing to go to defend the death penalty. Fucked up. You betcha. Also.
The forensic panel was to look over the case and determine if arson was involved in the fire. If there was no arson, there was no crime (no one is saying that Willingham threw his children in an accidental fire). So to maintain the dignity and purity of the death penalty, you have to undermine the panel that looks to see if there was a crime in the first place. The grotesque part of the Willingham case is there was no crime but they executed the guy anyway. At least that’s my read on it – the “expert witness” at the trial was not competent to determine if arson was involved in the fire.
Cheryl from Maryland
The death penalty in Mr. Willingham’s instance ups the ante, but very important point is his conviction based on junk science. No one at the original trial questioned the expert; no one. And they were wrong. This isn’t cutting edge science like the rise of DNA testing, this is continued reliance on incorrect analysis, and it could happen to any of us.
Also, I question those who say the death penalty is necessary to protect society. Is it a deterrent? Not in Texas with its large number of executions. Is it wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars in each case, money that could be used for health care, fixing bridges, etc? Yes it is. The death penalty wastes public capital for no good reason.
How many tanks per Texan?
Your calculus also forgets to take into account that, while each Texan may have three guns, very few of them have three hands. Plus, Texans’ favorite targets to date do seem to be other Texans. So there’s that.
Shorter KBH: Rick Perry’s obvious actions are alerting everyone to the whitewashing, which is bad. The whitewashing needs to look more legit.
You are, sadly, probably right. But… it is a GOP primary. So she really can’t say anything that sounds remotely sane on capital punishment, or else she risks rock salt.
But, I think it depends on what she emphasizes in future. If she lets this issue drop or she just demagogues the whole “Perry threatens the death penalty,” then you’re clearly right. If, however, she focused more on Perry’s mismanagement, etc., and drops the other crap in the future, then that’s more promising.
But I”m not hopeful
@AnotherBruce: Thanks much for the link. I have been busy trying to get my fallout shelter fitted for the coming invasion. Should I fly my ‘Merican flag upside down or my Texas one?
Mike in NC
Don’t forget Jesus, or you might piss him off.
Okay, this might be a rant, but I feel pretty stongly about it.
@jenniebee: Of course, Fort Hood, home of the 1st Cav (choppers), The 3rd armored Cav (tanks and Bradleys), and the 41st Fires Brigade (artillery), not to mention the significant Air Force presence in San Antonio. It stands to reason that If Texas was suddenly no longer part of the Union, that the Governor-turned-commander-in-chief would…appropriate those assets. Add crazy assholes with their own private arsenal to the equation, and you have one horrible conflict, with massive losses on both sides, and a horrendeous “collateral damage” death toll. Mind you, in the end, it would still be a US victory.
<blockquote cite=”Oh yeah, right. MEXICO beat Texas in a war, but we couldn’t. Sure!”
Ah, no You might be thinking of the Alamo, but San Jac proves what a handful of determined gun lovers can do when you corner them.
Too. Damned. True. Of the ones currently in office, at least. Milquetoast and lame ducks, as far as I’m concerned.
The really tragic part about all of this is Texas was a bastion of progressive ideals until relatively recently, and there is still a significant portion of the Texan populace that are here, feeling like hunted fugitives in Cold War era East Berlin. If you look at the district map from the Presidential election, you can see that every major population center is in the blue. The four little blue districts off by themselves there are Houston, San Antonio, Austin, and (part of) Dallas. The cities here are mostly progressive, a fact the conservatives think
is due toblame on brown peoplea strong ethnic population.
The problem here is the same problem everywhere else: rednecks and Jesus freaks who think Rush is RightTM, and anything not on the far right or in the BIBLE equals SATAN. It is not a coincidence that all that red in that map up there is rural country. Any views that might challenge anything Limbaugh has ever said is met with metaphorical fingers in ears and the loud chanting of ‘la’ over and over. It makes any sort of meaningful discourse or intelligent debate
I know you people are joking when you say “turn Mexico loose on ’em” and “invade”, but there are still a lot of people here who hate these thieves and criminals who have hijacked our home and turned it into their own personal toilet of greed and murder, and want to see them run into the hills tarred and feathered like the traitors and bloodthirsty racists they are. Progressive Texans feel right now the way the rest of the Progressives in the US felt for the last eight years, and with all the redneck stupidity and big-money greed polluting the system here, we don’t trust much in hope.
When GWB took the governorship from Ann Richards, he had the bloodiest term in Texas history, killing someone every 9 days on average. Perry, a sniveling little weasel and shoe-sniffer (citation needed), is just pandering to the frothing madmen that Rush’s minions are solely composed of, by continuing the policies of the wannabe cocaine cowboy.
If I thought it could be done without any attrition or loss of life, I would welcome an insurrection with open arms, as long as it would result in Texas, still part of the union, once again a haven for progressive reason and idealism.
I want to see Perry and GWB run off in chains, shitting themselves in gibbering mindless fear, their faces a reddened snot soaked blubbering mess, facing the gallows for sedition and war crimes. (which would happen for Perry if he tried to secede) Let the both of them face the kind of Justice they have been mindlessly forcing on the rest of us.
I would wager that the GOP might change their stance on the death penalty overnight.
In conclusion: Fuck KBH. Also.
That is what I was trying to quote up there. Ah well.
Neither does imprisonment following that line of thought.
On the other hand, 100% of the people executed never commit a crime again. /deadpan snark
So wanna try again without coming off as a complete hypocrite?
I guess I still don’t understand your objections, or the baseless charge of hypocrisy. The word has no meaning, as you’ve used it.
If you’d care to explain what’s so objectionable that you felt it imperative to namecall, I guess I’ll have something with which to work.
Bruce (formerly Steve S.)
I agree, but please keep something in mind; whenever the U.S. gets done murdering another wedding party in Afghanistan or Pakistan the first thing out of the mouths of mainstream liberals is not that it is, you know, wrong to murder wedding parties, but that this will be used as anti-american propaganda.
Irony of the Day.
Death Penalty taken to its worst extreme, an innocent man is executed.
Life without parole taken to its worst extreme, an innocent man dies in prison while having a “hope spot” that only makes the ending worse when it never happens.
So but me no buts. If you want to make an argument against the death penalty using rational arguments, fine. I will happily argue in favor of keeping the death penalty as an option.
But do not play games with “magical thinking” that is pure bullshit.