Friday, August 15, 2014

Last Call For Gov. Rick Perry's 2016 Hopes

Thanks for playing 2016 GOP Clown Car, Texas GOP Gov. Rick Perry!  Last time we checked on the 2016 hopeful, he was having some serious problems with a grand jury convened in April over a veto that slashed funding for the state's anti-corruption office, the Public Integrity Unit, because it was headed by a Democrat.

Rick Perry—Republican Texas governor, failed 2012 presidential candidate, and potential 2016 retread contender—is battling legal trouble at home, thanks to his controversial veto that demolished the state office tasked with investigating political scandals. On Monday, a Texas judge convened a grand jury to probe Perry's decision last year to ax funding for the state's Public Integrity Unit. The special prosecutor investigating the case, Michael McCrum, has not filed any charges. But earlier this month he said, "I cannot elaborate on what exactly is concerning me, but I can tell you I am very concerned about certain aspects of what happened here."

Perry's troubles started when he attempted to to displace the government official in charge of the Public Integrity Unit, a state-funded watchdog agency that investigates charges of public corruption. The unit is led by whoever is serving as the Travis County district attorney, who is based in Austin. The current DA is Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat. Last April, she was arrested for drunk driving.

After Lehmberg's arrest, Perry called for her resignation, claiming that the public could no longer place its trust in an official who herself ran afoul of the law. But the governor has no direct control over her job, a locally elected position, and a grand jury rejected a former opponent's attempt to have Lehmberg removed from office. For her part, Lehmberg refused to resign, though she said she won't run for reelection in 2016. That wasn't enough for Perry. With Lehmberg holding on to her job, the governor decided to cut off the $7.5 million (over two years) in state funding for the watchdog unit with a line-item veto. "Despite the otherwise good work the Public Integrity Unit's employees," a Perry statement said after the veto, "I cannot in good conscience support continued State funding for an office with statewide jurisdiction at a time when the person charged with ultimate responsibility of that unit has lost the public's confidence."

 Well, four months later, the other shoe dropped.  On Rick Perry's head.

A Travis County grand jury today indicted Gov. Rick Perry on two charges related to his effort last year to force District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg to resign after her drunken driving arrest.

Grand jurors charged Perry, 63, with abuse of official capacity, a first-degree felony, and coercion of a public official.

The indictments stemmed from Perry’s threat last summer to withhold $7.2 million in state money from Lehmberg’s office unless she step down – a threat he later carried out by vetoing an appropriation in the state budget. The money was earmarked for the state’s Public Integrity Unit, which is housed in Lehmberg’s office. Perry’s veto forced Travis County taxpayers to partially fund the office, but several prosecutors and staff lost their jobs or had to be reassigned.

Lehmberg supporters said Perry’s actions constituted political retribution; Many Republicans have said the Public Integrity Unit has unfairly targeted their party for prosecutions. The Travis County District Attorney’s office has for decades been led by Democrats, including Lehmberg.

Had Lehmberg resigned, Perry would have named her replacement.

Travis County deputies arrested and charged Lehmberg with DWI in April 2013. She later pled guilty and was sentenced to 45 days in jail – an usually harsh sentence for a first-time drunken driving charge. She later prevailed in a civil lawsuit to remove her from office.

Remember, that's a first-degree felony if he's convicted.  And his 2016 career?  Done.

Bye, Rick.

The Bridges Just Got Burned In Ferguson

Thursday night the sense of relief in Ferguson, Missouri, the St. Louis suburb (where the police shooting of unarmed Michael Brown on Saturday unleashed a wave of community protests and police responded with massive overreaction with military gear and vehicles) was palpable.  President Obama called up Gov. Jay Nixon and they had a little chat.  The result was that the Ferguson PD and St. Louis County PD were taken off security for the city and it was turned over to Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol.

County police in riot gear and armored tanks gave way to state troopers walking side-by-side with thousands of protesters as the St. Louis suburb where an unarmed black teen was shot by a city police officer overwhelmingly avoided violence Thursday after nearly a week of unrest and mounting public tension. 
The dramatic shift came after Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon assigned oversight of the protests to the state Highway Patrol, stripping local police from the St. Louis County Police Department of their authority after four days of clashes with furious crowds protesting the weekend death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. 
"All they did was look at us and shoot tear gas," said Pedro Smith, 41, who has participated in the nightly protests. "This is totally different. Now we're being treated with respect."

That was Thursday.  On Friday, that respect vanished as the Ferguson PD released the name of the officer responsible for the fatal shooting.

Police have announced the name of the officer who shot and killed an unarmed teen in Ferguson, Missouri -- an incident that led to days of clashes in the streets of the St. Louis suburb. 
Darren Wilson was revealed today as the officer who shot Michael Brown, 18. Officials have moved the six-year police veteran and his family from the town as a safety precaution. 
Wilson does not have any history of disciplinary action, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson said.

Which is what people expected.  Then the Ferguson cops played their trump card.

Jackson also noted that Wilson was "treated for an injury." When he announced Wilson's name, they handed out copies of a police report relating to a convenience store "strong arm" robbery that took place in the area shortly before Brown's fatal shooting, showing that the police see the two events as connected. 
"After viewing Brown and reviewing this video, I was able to confirm that Brown is the primary suspect in this incident," the police report about the convenience store robbery stated.

So suddenly, Mike Brown became a "primary robbery suspect".  Possibly dangerous, too.  Now he's not an "unarmed black man" but a "black criminal."  Instant justification for his murder.  No mention of the robbery was made in the last five days.  This is the first we're hearing of it.  It's such an egregious cover-up that it would be laughable if it weren't for the fact that Mike Brown is dead as a result, and the fact that the Ferguson PD has framed black men for crimes before.

But the usual narrative is now complete.  Mike Brown was just another "black thug", a "rabid animal" who deserved death by cop. Officer Darren Wilson is a hero, and he'll almost certainly be back on the job soon. I have no hope that he'll face justice.  Not in America.

We're all just animals who haven't been put down yet.

GOP Minority Outreach, Barmy Miller Edition

Republicans have finally gotten to the point where they just don't give a damn if anyone black or brown votes for them anymore.  Remember our old friend, Alaska GOP senate hopeful Joe Miller?  Turns out his fascist, reporter-arresting instincts are just as finely honed when it comes to Latino voters.

An inflammatory mailer sent to Anchorage, Alaska residents over the weekend by an anti-immigrant, Tea-party backed Republican primary Senate candidate features shirtless, tattooed men making gang signs with their hands, and a message that condemns the Democrat primary opponent for wanting “20 million illegals” to vote. Candidate Joe Miller’s mailer comes at a time when he’s a distant third in Republican primary polls and his state’s three Republican Senate candidates are emphasizing immigration to win their party’s nomination ahead of next week’s GOP primary election. 
Tying the issue of immigration reform and gun rights, the mailer quotes Miller as saying, “And if 20 million illegals vote, you can kiss the 2nd amendment goodbye. I am the only candidate who favors the Voter ID.” The back of the mailer features photos of “Miller firing a handgun and teaching shooting to a boy and girl identified as his children,” the Alaska Dispatch News stated.

During a heated televised debate over the weekend, Miller defended his mailer, stating, “There’s a clear correlation, and the clear correlation is this: If you end up granting amnesty to those who don’t value gun rights, who have not been raised in an environment where the Second Amendment is cherished — is considered to be a God-given right — the reality is over a generation or two, the likelihood is very strong that the Second Amendment will not be here.” The Alaska Dispatch News reported that Miller stated, “We have violent thugs coming across our border and doing violent things.”

To recap, the gun happy guy who had his private security goons beat a reporter who asked too many questions about Miller's nasty, secessionist past and compared our border to the good old days of East Germany, after declaring his election loss ax example of fraud thinks undocumented immigrants are "thugs".

Oh, and here's the mailer:

joe miller ad

"Latinos are all criminals, and I'm going to shoot them because MURICA and EAGLE and FREEDOM.  Vote for me!  BANG BANG BANG BANG!"

Can't figure out why this guy's in distant third in the GOP primary polling, gosh.


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