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Tom Coburn
Hmm.
Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn said Thursday that he still supports the death penalty, even in light of the botched execution in his home state.

“I think it has a deterrent capability,” Coburn said on “Morning Joe,” while also acknowledging that he still doesn’t “like” capital punishment.

First, I would like to direct the nation's attention to the plain fact that we are debating whether and how best to kill people on something referred to as "Morning Joe." This is the sign of a declining empire. This is akin to when Rome chose lowering of the capital gains tax over continued scrubbings of the vomitoriums. We're debating our methods of killing people on Morning Joe. Again, I mean—it does tend to be a subject that comes up quite a lot in other guises. Second, is this like a Cliven Bundy thing, where if you believe something to be true, that makes it true?
Coburn, a physician, said the Oklahoma execution this week in which the inmate died after 43 minutes was the result of human error.

“Anytime you’re doing anything with the body, things can go wrong,” he said.

Good to know. Now if we could just find a senator-lawyer who could tell us that "things can go wrong" when convicting people of capital crimes in the first place, oopsie, spilled milk, etc., we might be getting somewhere.
Pressed on “Morning Joe,” Coburn conceded that the episode raises questions “about the death penalty and whether or not that, in and of itself, is appropriate and whether you can do that humanely.”
Wait, this horrific episode got even Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn contemplating on humaneness? That itself may count as a miracle. If you ever find yourself up for Catholic sainthood and need to write down your bonafides, tell the Church that one was your doing.

Originally posted to Hunter on Thu May 01, 2014 at 09:57 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Of course he does; he's a republicon monster nt (8+ / 0-)

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Thu May 01, 2014 at 10:00:08 AM PDT

  •  political malpractice (9+ / 0-)
    Coburn, a physician, said the Oklahoma execution this week in which the inmate died after 43 minutes was the result of human error.
    “Anytime you’re doing anything with the body, things can go wrong,” he said.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Thu May 01, 2014 at 10:06:15 AM PDT

  •  if an innocent is executed by state authorities, (10+ / 0-)

    all those directly involved -- prosecutors, jurors, etc. -- should be tried for murder.  the notion that we can execute a few innocents along with the guilty is repugnant.

    •  in fact, it's the reasoning behind much in our (0+ / 0-)

      constitution.

      But that seems to be quite thoroughly lost on these idiots.

      Fear is the mind-killer - Frank Herbert, Dune

      by p gorden lippy on Thu May 01, 2014 at 10:55:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The fundamental objective... (0+ / 0-)

      ...of the Constitution, and Anglo-American law generally, is that always getting the bad guy is not the primary objective of the criminal law system.  The intent is to trade off between two reasonable goals: maintenance of public safety and protecting citizens against government overreach.

      And the primary goal of law enforcement is to maintain the peace.  Usually, taking bad guys off the street (the high secondary goal) is a good way to go about this, but the end measure is how safe people are on the streets.

      •  so you're ok if innocents are executed (murdered) (0+ / 0-)

        from time to time.  

        •  To the contrary (0+ / 0-)

          There is utterly no reason for the death penalty.

          The positive (to the extent that it's a positive) of the death penalty is that a few deserving miscreants die a horrible death.  There are no other benefits (no deterrence, high expense of executing people, disparate racial impact, morality of state-sanctioned execution, etc., etc.)

          But the most important problem, by a mile, is that 10% of the people executed (at least 10%) didn't do it, and a lot more are really dubious, even if someone did advocate for the death penalty.   If people can't comprehend that on the grounds of societal sanity, at least they should try to understand that this means hundreds of perps are walking free planning their next murder.

          So, no, I'm not OK if innocents are executed.  The death penalty is a farce that has no place in a civilized society.

    •  Jurors? (0+ / 0-)

      Often, jurors are intentionally misled and/or denied facts that might cause them to conclude someone was not guilty. Or they're given questionable jury instructions. Or defense counsel is overwhelmed, inept, drunk or literally asleep.

      Prosecutorial misconduct is more common than we like to think, and certainly more common than is investigated.

      I think this is a bad idea. For one thing, good, decent, smart citizens will absolutely find a way to not serve on murder trials.

      I know I wouldn't. I'd rather just risk a contempt of court charge for refusing to appear at jury duty -- like ha! That ever happens

      © grover


      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Thu May 01, 2014 at 11:27:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  it should apply to jurors -- they don't have (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite, Matt Z

        to vote for the death penalty.  If a juror is uncomfortable with the evidence, he/she should vote to keep the individual alive so that a wrong can potentially be corrected in the future.

        there is no law that would require a juror to vote for the death penalty in any case.

        •  Jurors are sworn to uphold the law. (0+ / 0-)

          They are specifically told that they need to disregard feelings of sympathy they might have for either party and follow the law.

          If they refuse to vote for death penalty, they should never serve on a capital crime jury. This question is specifically asked. Jurors are sworn to answer questions honestly.

          Have you never served on a jury?

          © grover


          So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

          by grover on Thu May 01, 2014 at 12:16:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  ... (6+ / 0-)

    That includes using your thinkin' organ, doesn't it, Mr. Coburn?

    “Anytime you’re doing anything with the body, things can go wrong,” he said.


    Some days it just makes more sense to climb out of the window when I leave my house.

    by glb3 on Thu May 01, 2014 at 10:13:55 AM PDT

  •  He is disturbing to listen to. Especially when he (11+ / 0-)

    says "God bless you," when he's through with his propagandizing and lies.  

    It's scary that he's a medical doctor--- but even scarier that he's in Congress.

    If the plutocrats begin the program, we will end it. -- Eugene Debs.

    by livjack on Thu May 01, 2014 at 10:23:01 AM PDT

  •  "First, do no harm..." (8+ / 0-)

    So, when Tom Coburn, M.D., presides over capital punishment, is it OK because he's doing it as a governor and not a doctor?  There goes that old "compartmentalization" thing again.

  •  Deep thoughts (9+ / 0-)

    From the shallow end of the gene pool...

    "the northern lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see was the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge when I cremated Sam McGee" - Robert Service, Bard of the Yukon

    by Joe Jackson on Thu May 01, 2014 at 10:53:23 AM PDT

    •  Seriously. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joe Jackson

      This has been proven not to be the case:

      I think it has a deterrent capability
      If society decides that there are people who have committed such atrocious crimes that they shouldn't walk another step in earth, then don't sugarcoat it with "deterrent" arguments.

      I'm tired of people from the lowest citizen to the most powerful pretending that a greater social good is served when convicted murderers are executed. The evidence overwhelmingly disproves this.

      © grover


      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Thu May 01, 2014 at 12:08:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yea grover (0+ / 0-)

        After Caryl Chessman's controversial execution in 1960 in California (he was a "drifter" (who may? have been guilty of two counts of sexual assault? He was not convicted of murder) Chessman who, on death row became a celebrated author prior to execution, had no effect on public opinion because the MSM at the time rendered him invisible, he and the injustice committed on him became a non-event. What should have ended this barbarity sank from public notice and California maintains this stain on its soul.        

        "the northern lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see was the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge when I cremated Sam McGee" - Robert Service, Bard of the Yukon

        by Joe Jackson on Thu May 01, 2014 at 04:03:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Remember. 50% of all physicians (8+ / 0-)

    graduated in the bottom half of their medical school class.

    Corollary:
    Q: What do you call the physisicna who graduated LAST in his med school class?

    A: Doctor

    Fear is the mind-killer - Frank Herbert, Dune

    by p gorden lippy on Thu May 01, 2014 at 10:54:29 AM PDT

  •  The death penalty has deterrent capability (13+ / 0-)

    It deters other countries from taking anything seriously that the US promotes about human rights.  We're not in good company with our  barbaric ways:

    http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/...

    There is no rational reason for the death penalty to exist.

    I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

    by Satya1 on Thu May 01, 2014 at 10:55:18 AM PDT

    •  apart from that, it only deters the person (5+ / 0-)

      being executed.  Everyone else either thinks they'll get away with it or simply doesn't care if they do or not. Capital crimes are not rational acts.

      This...

      There is no rational reason for the death penalty to exist.

      A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

      by dougymi on Thu May 01, 2014 at 11:15:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The death penalty is always wrong. (4+ / 0-)

    As for "human error", it seems to me they were using untested drugs because other countries have cut off our supply in protest of our continuing to practice state murder.

    Totally disgusting remarks from Coburn.

    SPES MEA IN DEO EST.

    by commonmass on Thu May 01, 2014 at 10:58:34 AM PDT

  •  I think he is wrong on everything he said (7+ / 0-)

    Even the reason Coburn gives for continuing the DP is wrong: I am firmly convinced the DP does not deter crime.

    Here is a good page with lots of accurate information for the Death Penalty Research Institute: Facts about deterrence and the death penalty.

    One link debunks the studies that claim to have found that the DP does deter crime. Another area outlines how 88% of the country’s top criminologists do not believe the death penalty acts as a deterrent to homicide, according to a study published in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology and authored by Professor Michael Radelet, Chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Colorado-Boulder.

    So nearly every word Coburn uttered was wrong, which I am sure comes as a shock to no one.

    Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves. -Thoreau

    by CenPhx on Thu May 01, 2014 at 11:00:57 AM PDT

    •  Ah, CenPhx, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CenPhx

      You're bothering with those things called "facts."

      And Coburn and his ilk see facts as the annoying mosquitos that buzz your face until you swat them down and kill them.

      © grover


      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Thu May 01, 2014 at 12:19:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Republicans are missing empathy in their psyches (6+ / 0-)

    I truly believe this. It is a higher brain function and they just weren't born with it.

    Which makes them exactly the people Jesus spoke against.

    It's amazing how they don't get this.

    O great creator of being grant us one more hour to perform our art and perfect our lives. ::: Jim Morrison :::

    by Kevanlove on Thu May 01, 2014 at 11:03:07 AM PDT

  •  From the mouths of wingnuts (4+ / 0-)
    “Anytime you’re doing anything with the body, things can go wrong,” he said.
    That's right.  That's why the death penalty does not mete out swift, honest judgment.  It has nothing to do with whether the recipient deserved it or not.  To the rest of the world, Oklahoma looks absurd and rather medieval.
  •  N.B., original dispute was over KNOWING HOW (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    the state was going to kill someone.  So there's the end of civilization, when we are debating whether the convicted should just take it on faith that one of those mistakes Coburn mentions as shit happening isn't going to happen.

    Making the prisoner sit on death row and wonder if he's going to have a suffering death for a period of days, months, years is cruel.

    The dossier on my DKos activities during the Bush administration will be presented on February 3, 2014, with an appendix consisting an adjudication, dated "a long time ago", that I am Wrong.

    by Inland on Thu May 01, 2014 at 11:05:45 AM PDT

  •  This execution was "humane" (0+ / 0-)

    in that it's kinda sorta more humane than hangings or beheadings or the like.  I guess.  Remind me, again, why anybody is surprised that the State of Oklahoma couldn't get something right?

    29, white male, TX-07 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

    by TDDVandy on Thu May 01, 2014 at 11:06:06 AM PDT

    •  "Humane" for whom? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grover, a2nite

      Even with a botched hanging resulting in strangulation, it's over in about 4-6 minutes. (Faster in a botched hanging resulting in decapitation.)

      Who it's more "humane" for is the executioners, any observers, and the public - all of whom can pretend that it was nice and clean and tidy because there was no blood splashing all over them.

      I bet they would just loooove a disintegration chamber - wouldn't leave any mess at all.

      But it doesn't begin to address the fundamental issue that killing people who kill people, to "teach them" that killing people is wrong - is CRAZY.

      If it's
      Not your body,
      Then it's
      Not your choice
      And it's
      None of your damn business!

      by TheOtherMaven on Thu May 01, 2014 at 11:20:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oklahoma is a barbaric society (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Joe Jackson, The Termite, Matt Z

    They execute more people per capita than even trend setting Texas.

    They are #3 in incarceration rate even though they are "average" in violent crime statistics.

    States like Oklahoma give America a bad name.

    Oklahoma is far from OK.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Thu May 01, 2014 at 11:06:15 AM PDT

  •  I'm sorry for the Dems who live there nt (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Satya1, furrfu, Matt Z

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Thu May 01, 2014 at 11:09:46 AM PDT

  •  just like that the (0+ / 0-)

    haters of gay citizens get more empathetic when they find out a relative or someone they like and respect is gay, when someone has a  close friend or relative facing the death penalty they all of a sudden get the anti death penalty religion, hypocritical is another way of describing this transformation.

  •  So what are they going to try next? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    "In whose delusional mind is democracy made better by allowing wealthy people to control more of it?" -Jon Stewart

    by radabush on Thu May 01, 2014 at 11:12:26 AM PDT

  •  Er, um... (0+ / 0-)

    “Anytime you’re doing anything with the body, things can go wrong,”

    That's kind of a point against these executions, Senator Dumbass; anytime, it can go wrong, resulting in an inhumane and cruel termination of a person's life.

    So the imperative is to discontinue the practice, right?

    Either that, or the Senator should just come out and say that since these inmates were going to die anyway, it doesn't really matter how they go. That sounds barbaric, but at least Coburn would be honest about this.

    "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."

    by grape crush on Thu May 01, 2014 at 11:21:14 AM PDT

  •  Vomitoriums? (-toria?)... (0+ / 0-)

    ...They don't think what many, many people have been told they mean. They were not places for the Romans to purge between feasts. All a vomitorium was was an entrance in a theatre or arena. Technically, most modern sports stadia (those tricky Latin plurals!) have them. If you ever walked through a kind of tunnel into a stadium, emerging from an entrance which had seats surrounding it even on the top, then you came out of a vomitorium. The name comes from the sense in which the audience is, well, kind of spit out into the seats. Greek theatres were limited to two entrances for the audience, right up at the stage. The Roman design allowed for more entrances, hence larger audiences and quicker seating. I suppose, to continue the analogy, that after the performance the audience was chewed back up again...oh well. Never mind.

    I don't mean to be hopelessly pedantic, but the little purging fake factoid bugs me. The Romans probably did scrub the voms, but they didn't have as much need as many think they did.

  •  What's wrong with revenge? (0+ / 0-)

    I am an extremely progressive gay man but I have absolutely no problem with the death penalty being used simply for revenge.  I know our death penalty disproportionately affects minorities and I think everyone on death row should have dna tests done to ensure (as much as possible) that they are guilty.  

    After reading what he did to get the death penalty, I have no problem with the suffering Clayton Lockett went through.  He got what he deserved.

    It disgusts me that I agree with the Erick Ericksons of the world but I don't have a problem with revenge.

    •  lockett (0+ / 0-)

      was not innocent. he was GUILTY. he deserved to die but not the way it went down.  

      i am for justice but against REVENGE.

      there needs to be dignity and respect in the process.  Oklahoma screwed this up.  

      this was bad luck for the state having granted him a stay previously and battled in court to use the drugs they were using.  

      The Senate has no guts. The House has no brains.

      by gossamer1234 on Thu May 01, 2014 at 11:26:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The 8th Amendment protects all of us, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mjd in florida, TheOtherMaven

      Not just people we like.

      It's the same reason that Westboro Baptisr Church was affirmed its First Amendment rights by the Supreme Court.

      We don't want convicted murderers to have anything but humane deaths (if they must be executed)  not because of who THEY are but because of who WE are.

      © grover


      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Thu May 01, 2014 at 12:29:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Revenge is personal and justice is not (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite

      I would encourage you to think it through, perhaps by looking at examples of societies who solve their problems through interminable cycles of vengeance.

    •  Okay, Clayton Lockett "got what he deserved" (0+ / 0-)

      Now, there's an argument to be made that society lowers itself to Lockett's standards by executing him, but let's put that aside for the moment.

      Any way you want to look at it, Lockett paid the ulimate price for his crime, and in your words, "got what he deserved." So, what is the appropriate punishment for his executioners, who subjected Lockett to pain, suffering, terror and agony before finishing him off? Or are they absolved from punishment or responsibility? In which case, I would argue that Lockett has actually met a higher standard than we have, in that he "got what he deserved," but we, his executioners, did not.

      Unless we want to start rating the heinousness of murder based on the perceived worth to society of the victim?

  •  Mornin Joe (0+ / 0-)

    Hopefully the host was having none of the humaneness BS offered up by this shining example of the conservative movement! Not the Joe would not be all in if he were still guiding Merica through these tough times.

  •  As Coburn is a doctor (0+ / 0-)

    maybe he can assist at the next execution.

  •  They claim the executed died of "heart attack" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Matt Z

    I wish there were a serious investigation of that finding with an autopsy done.  Sounds like the state of Oklahoma might have just finished him off by some other means after the lethal injection failed and the curtains were closed to viewers and called it a "heart attack."  A coverup wouldn't surprise me.

  •  The Starks got it right in Game of Thrones. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Matt Z

    Eddard Stark believed that if you were going to condemn a man to be executed, you should do the deed yourself.

    Since Coburn votes for the death penalty, maybe he should be required to carry them out personally.

  •  Trust government? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    Do you have total faith and trust in the government? If you answered, “No,” you are foolish to support the death penalty.

    The evidence is overwhelming that we cannot trust our government to administer executions fairly. The racial bias was so overwhelming the Supreme Court halted executions from 1972 to 1976 until States could put safeguards in place. Those safeguards reduced, but did not eliminate, the racial bias. They also raised the cost of executions to ten times to cost of life in prison.

    In addition to racial bias, innocent people have been executed. DNA analysis and the Innocence Project have freed over 200 innocently convicted individuals. A recent study by the National Academy of Sciences, estimates that 1 in 25 persons on death row is innocent.

    Our police, courts, and prisons are not perfect. Justice is not always fair or just. While we must live with some level of uncertainty, we are fools to trust the government with the ultimate power to legally kill its citizens.

    I don't know what consciousness is or how it works, but I like it.

    by SocioSam on Thu May 01, 2014 at 11:39:51 AM PDT

  •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

    “I think it has a deterrent capability,” Coburn said on “Morning Joe,”

    Once faith based reasoning takes hold, anything one believes, no matter what the real evidence says, is fact. One might expect a physician to rely upon empirical fact, but that would be itself an act of faith.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Thu May 01, 2014 at 12:02:23 PM PDT

  •  I'm not surprised by Coburn (0+ / 0-)

    I've actually been expecting right wing nuts like Coburn to say that he thinks it was great that it took 43 minutes for an inmate to die.  I'm surprised that Limbaugh or some other blowhard hasn't crowed that it was fine for capital punishment to be cruel.  Supposedly, Scalia has said that death was supposed to be painful, so what is the problem with a little pain for an inmate being put to death?  I remember seeing the former DA who prosecuted Richard Hickock and Perry Smith, the Clutter Family killers, on a TV show saying that he was OK that it took Hickock and Smith 17-19 minutes to die by hanging.  So I am waiting for some on the right to perk up with, "Good!  I hope he suffered!"

    Don't get me wrong.  It is never easy to advocate for some who have been given a death sentence.  Except for those wrongfully convicted, death row inmates are not innocents.  However, if there ever was a humane way to kill someone, it is the government's duty to utilize those methods, especially since the government is reserving to itself the right to take a human life.  And I know for a fact that it does not make us a better people to cheer on cruelty.  

  •  Dr. Coburn abides by the Hypocritic Oath (0+ / 0-)

    As do all his Republican mates.

  •  Read up on the way the victim died (0+ / 0-)

    Buried alive after being shot by the murder. Must have been fun to suffocate in the dirt

    My heart doesn't bleed for the scum - glad the earth is rid of him

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