Our own self-satisfied cant: Oh what the heck! Let's journey with Rachel Maddow to the "killing" fields, as inspired by recent events in Arkansas.
For ourselves, we're opposed to capital punishment. We can't recall ever making that decision. It seems that we have always been opposed to capital punishment.
Rachel Maddow seems to oppose capital punishment too. We say "seems" because, as part of her devolving post-journalistic style, she rarely develops information or arguments concerning the practice.
A few years ago, it became clear that Maddow opposes botched executions. But does she oppose executions in general, and if so, why? In place of presentations which would speak to such questions, Maddow simply tends to emote, as she did, one week ago, in a trademarked Maddovian manner.
Note the brave, and highly dramatic, exciting choice of words. This is standard practice for Maddow:
MADDOW (4/21/17): And thanks to you at home for joining us for the next hour.To watch this full segment, click here.
So this was supposed to be the week when Arkansas held two back-to-back double-header executions. Arkansas has not killed any of its prisoners in more than twelve years, but they decided that that they would try to kill eight of them in a row, all in a rush, eight men, eight prisoners. They were going to kill eight of them, two per night, in four different doubleheader executions spread across a week and a half.
And the urgency for that was because one of the drugs they wanted to use for these executions is getting close to its sell-by date. It will, it will not be legal to use that drug to kill people after the drug expires at the end of this month.
And you know, from a bureaucratic perspective on the part of the state, that must make some sort of sense on paper, right? You know, "Oh, hey, got to hurry, we can't use this stuff to kill anyone after April. So let's kill everyone in April then. Let's kill them all. Now."
From the perspective of one of the people who's going to be killed though, you could see how that might seem like a fairly random factor deciding whether you are going to live or die, right? If the state didn't have this expiration date thing going on in that one drug that they didn't notice before, there'd be no chance that all of these guys would be on deck to be killed all at once. But that's the reason they're trying to kill 'em all right now.
Stephen Breyer is a moderate liberal justice on the Supreme Court, but he has decided to make a real hollering legacy out of his time on the Court by dissenting and dissenting and dissenting again when it comes to the vagaries and the strangeness and the bias in our nation's system of killing men and women who are prisoners.
So that's where we were as of last night. Arkansas wanted to kill eight men over the course of ten days. They wanted to have already killed four of them by this time tonight. But over the course of this week, three of their four planned killings got blocked by the courts.
And then, last night, as the U.S. Supreme Court weighed in on the fate of the fourth man, at the very last minute last night, a few landmarks were reached.
Number one, the new justice, Neil Gorsuch, voted to kill his first man. He voted to kill, and it was a deciding vote, and that was his first significant vote on the United States Supreme Court.
Number two, Justice Stephen Breyer dissented again, short, sharp and to the point. It was less than two pages. It's pretty remarkable stuff, very straightforward, not particularly legalistic argument. He just puts it out there.
But Justice Breyer's opinion was a dissent. His side lost. The Neil Gorsuch side won, and Arkansas went ahead with one of the four killings they wanted to accomplish this week. The death warrants to kill Ledell Lee expired at midnight Central time. Less than an hour before that warrant expired, the United States Supreme Court voted five to four to let them kill him.
By 11:26 Central time, the Supreme Court decision had been conveyed to Arkansas and announced to the people who are at the prison. Eighteen minutes later, they started injecting Ledell Lee at 11:44. And then by 11:56, they said he was dead.
So that's important, that timing there just made it. The warrant that made it legal to kill him expired four minutes after they said he died.
Now Arkansas still wants to kill all the other prisoners that it can next week, before the expiration date on one of their drugs makes the rest of those executions illegal too. So they're hurrying.
And one of one of the things we'll be watching in the news this weekend is the continuing legal wrangling to see how many more of these guys they're going to be able to kill.
For ourselves, we're opposed to all executions. But do you see the way this lazy corporate multimillionaire works?
Rachel Maddow thrills us rubes by saying "kill," not "execute." That's as far as her ultimate laziness seems to take her.
Presumably, we're supposed to get a tribal charge by hearing her talk that way. What we hear when she stages these screeds is a multimillionaire corporate star who's too lazy to do real work.
We're opposed to capital punishment. Other people—Barack Obama, let's say—are not.
Rather than develop information or marshal arguments about the practice, Maddow tends to posture and preen. We're supposed to get a special thrill when she says things like this:
"The new justice, Neil Gorsuch, voted to kill his first man."
Yay yay yay yay yay yay yay! Presumably, that's supposed to give us rubes an especially big tribal charge.
Maddow's work gets worse and worse all the time. (Did you see her flip, this Tuesday night, on that "Flynn was on the Turkish government payroll" matter?) Plainly, we liberals aren't able to discern this fact, and our career liberal pundits are never going to tell us. Dearest darlings, use your heads! It simply isn't done!
Watching her show, we liberals get ourselves Hannityized. Her devolving work is making it clear:
In the end, We simply aren't much sharper than They are. This helps explain how we've ended up with Donald J. Trump where he is.
Question for the fourth graders: Children, please address these questions:
Does the Supreme Court "vote to kill people?" Or does the Court vote on the constitutionality and legality of some such decision?