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Texas Gov. Rick Perry's mugshot from Tuesday, August 19. 2014
The past week has been very kind to Texas Gov. Rick Perry and the Republican Party.

That might sound like an odd statement to make after one of the GOP's 2016 highest-profile White House hopefuls was indicted for abuse of power back in the Lone Star State. Nevertheless, there are three reasons to believe it also happens to be true. First, nothing unites conservatives like the specter of one of their own supposedly under assault. (If you had any doubts on this score, Perry's 2016 rivals Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, and Jeb Bush were among those circling the wagons on his behalf.)  Second, the editorial pages of the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post—along with many liberal commentators —oined their right-wing counterparts in brushing off the charges against Perry as "ridiculous" and "flimsy" and "politically motivated." As Kevin Drum explained, this is yet more evidence of the "Hack Gap" in which left-leaning pundits can and do break from slavish adherence to their side's party line, something now almost unheard of among the right-wing purveyors of propaganda. (You wouldn't need a large room to hold all those in the GOP's amen corner who refused to regurgitate Republican talking points on the stimulus, Obamacare, the Halbig lawsuit against it, Benghazi, the House lawsuit against the president or almost anything else.)

But it is the Republicans' third windfall this week that promises to be its biggest of all. Whether or not Rick Perry is vindicated in Travis County (as most, though not all, observers expect), the decades-old conservative "criminalization of politics" scandal defense apparently already has been. Voices as diverse as Alan Dershowitz, Ruth Marcus, Eugene Volokh, and Richard Hasen have all labeled Perry's prosecution over a veto threat an example of the "criminalization of politics," a smokescreen the GOP has used since before the Texas governor first crawled out from under a rock on his family's ranch. From Iran-Contra and Plamegate to the Bush administration's prosecutors purge and regime of detainee torture and more, Republicans have long turned to their tried-and-untrue sound bite that conservative criminality is merely an example of their Democratic opponents trying to "criminalize politics" and even conservatism itself.

Follow below the fold for more.

As this month's 40th anniversary of Richard Nixon's resignation reminds us, the idea that liberal elites were criminalizing politics as usual has a long heritage among the conservative faithful. Nixon himself described Watergate as "politics pure and simple." Right-wing radio host and former first director of the Nixon presidential library Hugh Hewitt offered an even more sinister explanation. As the Los Angeles Times explained, Hewitt's version of history described Watergate as "a 'coup' engineered by Nixon enemies."

But it is President George H.W. Bush who is most widely credited for formally introducing the criminalization of politics canard after the Iran-Contra affair.

In justifying his Christmas Day 1992 Iran-Contra pardons, Bush the Elder used the talking point that would come to define the discourse of his son's 21st century water carriers. Much like his son's defenders, Bush 41 sought to recast rampant Republican lawlessness in the Reagan White House as mere political disagreement. As the New York Times reported at the time:

Mr. Bush said today that the Walsh prosecution reflected "a profoundly troubling development in the political and legal climate of our country: the criminalization of policy differences."

He added: "These differences should have been addressed in the political arena without the Damocles sword of criminality hanging over the heads of some of the combatants. The proper target is the President, not his subordinates; the proper forum is the voting booth, not the courtroom."

The Iran-Contra scandal, as you'll recall, almost laid waste to the Reagan presidency. Desperate to free U.S. hostages held by Iranian proxies in Lebanon, President Reagan provided weapons Tehran badly needed in its long war with Saddam Hussein. In a clumsy and illegal attempt to skirt U.S. law, the proceeds of those sales were then funneled to the Contras fighting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. And as the New York Times recalled, Reagan's fiasco started with his emissary to Tehran, Robert McFarlane, bearing a cake and a Bible as gifts from the Gipper himself.

The rest, as they say, is history. After the revelations regarding his trip to Tehran and the Iran-Contra scheme, a disgraced McFarlane attempted suicide. After his initial denials, President Reagan was forced to address the nation on March 4, 1987, and acknowledge he indeed swapped arms for hostages:

A few months ago I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that's true, but the facts and the evidence tell me it is not. As the Tower board reported, what began as a strategic opening to Iran deteriorated, in its implementation, into trading arms for hostages.
Of course, the sad saga didn't end there. Then Lt. Colonel and now Fox News commentator Oliver North saw his Iran-Contra conviction overturned by an appellate court led by faithful Republican partisan and later Iraq WMD commissioner Laurence Silberman. And in December 1992, outgoing President George H.W. Bush offered his Christmas pardons to Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger and five other Iran-Contra scandal figures. Among them were Elliot Abrams and John Poindexter, men who eight years later reprised their roles in the administration of George W. Bush. And as it turns out, it was Rep. Dick Cheney, later Bush 41's secretary of defense and Bush 43's vice president, who authored the sneering 1987 Congressional Iran-Contra Committee minority report:
The bottom line, however, is that the mistakes of the Iran-contra affair were just that - mistakes in judgment, and nothing more. There was no constitutional crisis, no systematic disrespect for 'the rule of law,' no grand conspiracy, and no Administration-wide dishonesty or coverup. In fact, the evidence will not support any of the more hysterical conclusions the committees' report tries to reach.
The "criminalization of politics" arrow has been the first one pulled from the Republican scandal quiver ever since.

Take, for example, the outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame by the Bush administration in July 2003. After her husband, Ambassador Joe Wilson, wrote his New York Times op-ed about the yellow cake uranium he didn't find in Niger, Americans learned his wife worked for the CIA on, of all things, WMD proliferation issues. Neither Karl Rove nor others were ever charged with the technical and narrowly defined offense of revealing the identity of Valerie Plame to Robert Novak and others. But Cheney's chief-of-staff, Scooter Libby, was convicted on four counts of perjury and obstruction of justice. But to the shock troops of the conservative movement, Libby the felon was a victim of the criminalization of politics.

The usual cavalcade of apologists for Republican law-breaking swarmed to Libby's defense. With his looming indictment in the fall of 2005, Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison compared Libby to Martha Stewart, and offered a new variant of the old sound bite, the "perjury technicality." Hutchison said she hoped:

That if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn't indict on the crime and so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation was not a waste of time and taxpayer dollars.
Hutchison, of course, had plenty of company in offering the criminalization of politics canard in the CIA leak case. On October 14, 2005, Bill Kristol complained, "I am worried about what happens to the administration if Rove is indicted," adding, "I think it's the criminalization of politics that's really gotten totally out of hand." In succeeding days, Kristol's Fox News colleagues Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Stuart Varney, and Chris Wallace joined the chorus. On October 24, Kristol took to the pages of the Weekly Standard to denounce a supposed Democratic strategy of criminalizing conservatives. When Libby was later convicted, the Wall Street Journal editorial page called for a pardon. The WSJ cited grave dangers if the Libby verdict were to stand: "Perhaps the worst precedent would be normalizing the criminalization of policy differences."

Fox News regular Tucker Carlson tried to normalize a precedent of his own. While failing to mention that his father, Richard, was on the board of the Scooter Libby Legal Defense Fund, Carlson launched a smear campaign against special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. In November 2005, he insisted Fitzgerald was "accusing Libby—falsely and in public—of undermining this country's security," adding, "Fitzgerald should apologize, though of course he never will." Reversing his past position in support of independent counsels, Carlson in February 2007 blasted "this lunatic Fitzgerald, running around destroying people's lives for no good reason." After Fitzgerald in a May 2007 court filing confirmed Plame's covert status, Carlson called the Bush appointee a liar:

CIA clearly didn't really give a shit about keeping her identity secret if she's going to work at f**king Langley...I call bullshit on that, I don't care what they say.
Former House Majority Leader Tom Delay called bullshit, too, when he was indicted on money laundering charges. Delay, who had previously been reprimanded by the House and saw several of his aides convicted in the Jack Abramoff and other scandals, declared as early as April 2005 of the ethics charges then swirling around him, "Democrats have made clear that their only agenda is the politics of personal destruction and the criminalization of politics." Amazingly, that comment came before Delay's own October 2005 indictment in Texas for money laundering in association with his Texans for a Republican Majority (TRMPAC).

Unsurprisingly, the conservative echo chamber rushed to Delay's defense and amplified his talking point. Days after Delay's indictment by District Attorney Ronnie Earle, Robert Novak penned a column titled Criminalizing Politics, concluding:

Democrats are ecstatic. The criminalization of politics may work, even if the case against DeLay is as threadbare as it looks.
Tom Delay, who on the day of his booking said, "Let people see Christ through me," had a similar message following his conviction in November 2010:
This is an abuse of power. It's a miscarriage of justice. I still maintain my innocence. The criminalization of politics undermines our very system.
Two days ago, Delay warned Gov. Perry about the Travis County prosecutor's office, "This is what they do, this is how they intimidate the elected officials in the state Legislature and the governor and around the state." As for The Hammer, he claimed vindication when a Texas appeals court by a 2-1 vote threw out his money laundering conviction last year. But he's not in the clear yet: In March the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals announced it would review that decision. Either way, the two Texans will be singing from the same "criminalization of politics" hymnal.

So, too, did congressional Republicans during the imbroglio surrounding the politically motivated firings of U.S attorneys in 2006. In May 2007, Republican California Congressman Dan Lundgren was only too happy to offer the criminalization of politics ruse for Monica Goodling and Alberto Gonzales alike. Just moments after acknowledging Goodling's admission of violating civil service rules and Hatch Act prohibitions ("she did admit that she made mistakes in that regard"), Lundgren returned to the script:

Let me just say this -- and I think it's an important point -- there is too much of a tendency in this environment to try and criminalize political disputes. That's been the effort here. They have found no basis for criminality, so the suggestion is now a vote of no confidence. Who knows what is next?
But it was Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) who beat Lundgren to the punch, defending Goodling in the opening moments of her testimony. Pence, who famously compared his March 2007 visit to a Baghdad market to shopping in his home state of Indiana, trotted out the tired GOP talking point for her:
I'm listening very intently. I'm studying this case. And I want to explore this issue of illegal behavior with you. Because it seems to me so much of this—and even something of what we've heard today in this otherwise cordial hearing—is about the criminalization of politics. In a very real sense, it seems to be about the attempted criminalization of things that are vital to our constitutional system of government, namely the taking into consideration of politics in the appointment of political officials within the government.
Later that morning, of course, Monica Goodling admitted her own law-breaking and suggested that Attorney General Gonzales may have obstructed justice in trying to coach her. Acknowledging, "I believe I crossed the line, but I didn't mean to", when screening out civil service job applicants who happened to be Democrats, Goodling clarified for all why she sought immunity in the first place:
I do acknowledge that I may have gone too far in asking political questions of applicants for career positions, and I may have taken inappropriate political considerations into account on some occasions, and I regret those mistakes.
As it turned out, the DOJ's own inspector general later rejected Goodling's criminalization of politics maneuver. But in a July 2010 report for the Department of Justice, Bush appointee Nora Dannehy effectively brushed the prosecutor purge under the rug, concluding the Bush administration's actions in sacking seven U.S. attorneys were inappropriately political, but not criminal.

The same, however, cannot be said of the President Bush's regime of detainee torture implemented after the devastating attacks of September 11, 2001. As I have documented elsewhere, U.S. and international law not only define waterboarding as torture, but require the legal prosecution of the torturers. As Scott Horton explained after Vice President Cheney (soon followed by President Bush) boasted of their support for waterboarding and other so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques:

Section 2340A of the federal criminal code makes it an offense to torture or to conspire to torture. Violators are subject to jail terms or to death in appropriate cases, as where death results from the application of torture techniques. Prosecutors have argued that a criminal investigation into torture undertaken with the direction of the Bush White House would raise complex legal issues, and proof would be difficult. But what about cases in which an instigator openly and notoriously brags about his role in torture?...

What prosecutor can look away when a perpetrator mocks the law itself and revels in his role in violating it? Such cases cry out for prosecution. Dick Cheney wants to be prosecuted. And prosecutors should give him what he wants.

Alas, it was not to be. Despite the agreement by President Obama, Attorney General Holder, and the Senate Intelligence Committee's John McCain that waterboarding constitutes torture, Bush, Cheney, and their henchmen never faced justice for authorizing torture and forever staining the honor of the United States.

As a candidate for the presidency, then-Sen. Barack Obama denounced waterboarding as torture: "It's time to stop the political parsing and to close the legal loopholes," Obama said on October 29, 2007. "Waterboarding is torture, and so are other 'enhanced interrogation techniques' like 'head-slapping' and 'extreme temperatures.' It's time to reclaim our values and reaffirm our Constitution." As president, Obama reiterated his belief in the illegality of the Bush administration torture techniques. As recently as his May 2013 speech at the National Defense University, President Obama declared:

In some cases, I believe we compromised our basic values -- by using torture to interrogate our enemies, and detaining individuals in a way that ran counter to the rule of law... We unequivocally banned torture, affirmed our commitment to civilian courts, worked to align our policies with the rule of law, and expanded our consultations with Congress.
Yet even he before he was sworn in, President-elect Obama made it clear that the Bush torture team need not fear punishment from him:
We need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards.
From a political and economic perspective, Obama's fear of looking into that rearview mirror was understandable. After all, the economy he inherited from President Bush was in free fall. In the last quarter of 2008, GDP collapsed by 8.9 percent; 2.2 million jobs evaporated in the first quarter of 2009 alone. With the economy requiring immediate action and his ambitious agenda for 2009, President Obama was afraid to risk a total political conflagration in Washington by launching the kind of investigation the Bush administration's possible war crimes demanded.

So Obama signaled to Team Bush and its Republicans allies there would be no accountability for their high crimes and misdemeanors. And he did so by reducing war crimes to a talking point conservatives love most: criminalizing politics. During his confirmation hearings on January 16, 2009, Attorney General nominee Eric Holder declared, "Waterboarding is torture." But he also reassured Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee about something else:

I think President-elect Obama has said it well. We don't want to criminalize policy differences that might exist between the outgoing administration and the administration that is about to take over. We certainly don't want to do that.
Ultimately, President Barack Obama never prosecuted anyone involved in the design and execution of President Bush's program of detainee torture. While the memos authorizing these potential war crimes have seen the light of day, those who ordered and perpetrated them did not. Attorney General Holder announced, "It would be unfair to prosecute dedicated men and women working to protect America for conduct that was sanctioned in advance by the Justice Department." (Ultimately, none were, as Holder in August 2012 ended his last investigation into two detainee deaths.) President Obama went further in seemingly backing away from any legal action against the Bush torture team:
In releasing these memos, it is our intention to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice that they will not be subject to prosecution...

This is a time for reflection, not retribution. I respect the strong views and emotions that these issues evoke. We have been through a dark and painful chapter in our history. But at a time of great challenges and disturbing disunity, nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.

But spending that time and energy was never about "laying blame for the past," but redeeming American values by holding America's leaders to account for failing to uphold those values—and the law. As George Washington University Professor Jonathan Turley, now a supporter of the House GOP lawsuit against the president, put it in 2010:
Because it would have been politically unpopular to prosecute people for torture, the Obama Administration has allowed officials to downgrade torture from a war crime to a talking point.
And a Republican talking point at that. After all, what Eric Holder called "criminalizing policy differences," is the standard defense Republican miscreants have used for decades to fight off scandals, including Iran-Contra, the Valerie Plame affair, illicit domestic surveillance by the NSA and the Bush administration's prosecutors' purge. And when the Obama administration in April 2009 released those four torture memos authored by Bush attorneys Jay Bybee, Stephen Bradbury, and John Yoo, Republicans in Congress and their amen corner in the media charged that the new president was "criminalizing conservatism."

Powerline's John Hinderaker made that exact charge in a piece by the same title. "Many liberals don't just want to defeat conservatives at the polls, they want to send them to jail," he wrote, adding, "Toward that end, they have sometimes tried to criminalize what are essentially policy differences." In a scathing editorial on April 23, 2009, titled, "Presidential Poison," the Wall Street Journal went on the attack using the GOP's tried and untrue criminalizing politics canard:

Mark down the date. Tuesday, April 21, 2009, is the moment that any chance of a new era of bipartisan respect in Washington ended. By inviting the prosecution of Bush officials for their antiterror legal advice, President Obama has injected a poison into our politics that he and the country will live to regret...

Above all, the exercise will only embitter Republicans, including the moderates and national-security hawks Mr. Obama may need in the next four years. As patriotic officials who acted in good faith are indicted, smeared, impeached from judgeships or stripped of their academic tenure, the partisan anger and backlash will grow...

Mr. Obama is more popular than his policies, due in part to his personal charm and his seeming goodwill. By indulging his party's desire to criminalize policy advice, he has unleashed furies that will haunt his Presidency.

But over five years later, no "patriotic official" has been indicted, no judges have been impeached and no professor has been stripped of his academic tenure—not even the one who defined torture as "equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death." In June, John Yoo was awarded an endowed faculty chair at the UC Berkeley School of Law. Bush appointee Jay Bybee remains on the federal bench. Cheney's legal alchemist David Addington is now creating alternative realities at the Heritage Center. Psychologist James Mitchell, one of the consultants who helped the Bush administration render the Geneva Conventions quaint, didn't lose his professional credentials, even after claiming, "I'm just a guy who got asked to do something for his country." Jose Rodriguez, who as head of the CIA's clandestine service personally ordered the destruction of dozens of interrogation videotapes, is a conservative hero who has smeared the soon-to-be-released Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA torture program despite having never read a word of it. Meanwhile, Dick Cheney appears regularly on your television screen to accuse President Obama of treason. As for Cheney's former Oval Office sock puppet, George W. Bush, he's free to paint himself in the shower and give speeches to "replenish the ol' coffers."

All of these Republicans—and more—have joined Bush in laughing all the way to bank. The "criminalization of politics" defense not only works for conservatives, it pays well, too. Former Bush GSA chief Lurita Doan, forced from office as a result of her Hatch Act violations, is a columnist and Fox News regular paid to attack the congressional Democrats who uncovered her wrongdoing. Conservatives pointing to the new GAO study concluding President Obama violated the law when he ordered the prisoner swap that resulted in the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had no issue with the Bush administration's program of illicit domestic surveillance by the NSA, a program that flouted the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Many of its architects, like Michael Hayden and Keith Hayden, are now enjoying life in the private sector. (Ironically, most of Bush's Justice Department leadership did have a problem with it, and threatened to resign en masse in March 2004 over the program.. Then again, in their defense, Republicans like Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Pat Roberts (R-KS) and John Cornyn (R-TX) used a different—if similarly disgusting—talking point to explain it away in December 2005:

None of your civil liberties matter much after you're dead.
Cornyn, like his fellow Texans Poppy Bush, Dubya, and Tom Delay, knows a good sound bite when he hears one. And for decades, Republicans and their conservative defenders have reflexively turned to "the criminalization of politics" scam to successfully politicize their actual crimes. (It is worth noting that Republicans were not so generous as to use it on behalf of former Democratic Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.) But with the puzzling prosecution of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, that most cynical of GOP talking points might—for once—actually be true. And that is very good news for Perry and his Republican Party. As for Democrats, well, Rick Perry himself probably said it best.

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Comment Preferences

  •  All you have to do is ask what Republicans would (11+ / 0-)

    do if Blago had done what Perry did.

    "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 06:08:34 PM PDT

  •  Criminalization of voting is fine with these folks (15+ / 0-)

    but the minute they cross the line, it's the "criminalization of politics/policy differences".

    Yet at the same time, the President is called a "criminal" for simply using his constitutional office in the same way his predecessors did.

    "To take another person's life from the bench is no better than to take another person's life from the street"

    by commonmass on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 06:12:32 PM PDT

  •  Few pols and public servants survive (8+ / 0-)

    a major scandal these days. However, there's ample opportunity in the private sector for them now, from journalism to punditry to the book and speech circuit to being a "strategic consultant". So while their prides might be hurt (and don't think they put these scandals and the humiliation they caused them behind them, because they don't--we're talking about some immensely vain and petty people), their bank accounts usually do quite well.

    Myself, I think one's public reputation is worth a lot more than a yacht and mansion, but that's just me. I'm old fashioned that way. I'm not in politics.

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 06:14:18 PM PDT

  •  "Some" "Democrats" "are" "Outraged" @Perry (11+ / 0-)

    Prosecution

    It seems to me that the "Outraged" are the DLC third way Ilk Dinos like Joe Trippi and the likes of Harold Ford

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 06:16:21 PM PDT

  •  I love seeing perry embarrassed and irritated (6+ / 0-)

    especially if he insists on running for president.

  •  From closing bridges to conspiring (7+ / 0-)

    with super-pacs to illegally terminating an elected officials department, everything is okay if you're a republican.

    Wanting to own a gun is an immediate indicator that you should be the last person to have one.

    by pollbuster on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 06:31:57 PM PDT

    •  Republicans never do. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kay3295, pollbuster

      They're always done unto.

      They never commit crimes. They are criminalized by others.

      They've got that persecuted-victim schtick down, and they've got a dedicated audience of suckers who fall for it every time. No surprise that they're big proponents of faith and not big on science and critical thinking. A well and accurately informed electorate of critical thinkers would be the end of conservatism and the Republican Party.

      Marx was an optimist.

      by psnyder on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 09:37:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Criminalization of politics" AKA (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        psnyder, hypocrisissy, pollbuster

        committing crimes for political purposes has most likely been around since the first politicians.

        What Republicans want to do is make it a crime to PROSECUTE Republican politicians -- and Republican business leaders.  Not to mention Republican religious leaders.  Oh hell, might as well make it a crime to prosecute Republicans period.

        "Whadda ya mean, 'the emperor has no clothes' ?  You some kind of commienist or something ?"

  •  The "criminalizing politics" defense (11+ / 0-)

    seems to be basically an admission that "politics as usual," at least as practiced by the Republican Party, is criminal behavior.

    But not criminal behavior that should be prosecuted, of course.

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

    by TDDVandy on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 06:34:59 PM PDT

  •  Sometimes it's true and sometimes it's not. (10+ / 0-)

    That's why we have trials for individual allegations of criminality rather than scooping up decades of unrelated cases and putting them  on trial together.  Most or all of the people mentioned in the diary actually committed a crime in their respective cases, but it's not at all clear to me that Perry did in this case.

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 06:37:48 PM PDT

  •  Selling vote is a crime. Its the quid pro quo. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Libby Shaw, TDDVandy, Karl Rover, bjhunt

    If Perry promised to give the Travis County DA $10 m if they fired a particular prosecutor that would be a crime.  If he threatened to cut their budget if they did not, that would be a crime.

    Federal law is no different.  Its the quid pro quo that makes it criminal.

  •  The arrogant bastard will get his come-uppance (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GrindtheHills

    soon enough in November.

  •  Perry should be the LAST person to complain (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GrindtheHills, kerflooey, TDDVandy

    about an unfair judicial system.

    While he was governor, Texas executed an innocent man:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/...

    I would love to be on the team that produces an attack ad against Perry for this hypocrisy.

  •  Except in this case it is true (4+ / 0-)

    You cannot find a reputable expert who is willing to defend this indictment. While you can find plenty of Democrats who have condemned it. And the comparison with all the others in the diary is ludicrous. Iran-Contra? The AGs firing? Torture?

    Announcing a veto threat? Really? That is not criminal.

    •  What it really compares to (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Karl Rover, TDDVandy, Mgleaf

      is the Saturday Night Massacre.

      When Richard Nixon ordered Archibald Cox to be fired, that was an entirely legal action, which was also profoundly corrupt: he was using his power to halt an investigation into his own misconduct.

      When Perry used the veto threat to extort an investigator's resignation, so he could appoint the investigator of his choice to oversee an investigation into his own misconduct, the action was also profoundly corrupt. But a Republican judge and prosecutor have found what they believe to be applicable Texas law which the governor has broken. They know the law better than you or I do, and have less of an axe to grind than kossacks do. They are in fact "reputable experts".

      The real USA Patriot Act was written in 1789. It's called the Bill of Rights.

      by nicteis on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 07:09:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  nope, you are wrong (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pi Li

        Totally. It's apolitical preemptive strike. Setting a dangerous precedent.

        ""Any suggestion that Governor Rick Perry or anyone associated with him was being investigated is untrue," Walling wrote."
        "“At no time in CPRIT investigation was Governor Rick Perry or anyone from the governor’s office a target,” Walling wrote."
        No one who is legit defends this.

        http://www.usnews.com/...

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

        And for your last point: no, politicians are politicians, not political experts.

        •  His lawyer says (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mgleaf, nicteis

          that the allegations are untrue.

          In other news, the sky is blue, water is wet, etc.

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

          by TDDVandy on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 07:51:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  His lawyer- and everyone else (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pi Li

            whats your point?

            •  And how many of "everyone else" (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              enemy of the people, bjhunt, Mgleaf

              have actually seen the evidence against Perry?

              You seem to ignore the fact that many of the people involved in bringing this prosecution were Republicans and some of them were even Perry appointees.  Where are the politics in this?  Unless it's Republicans who have an ax to grind with Perry (possible), then you're still failing to show that this is any sort of criminalization of politics, because Democrats' involvement in bringing this indictment were minimal.  (But I guess because the DA in question was a Democrat, that makes it "political.")

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

              by TDDVandy on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 07:57:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Tell me (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Pi Li

                Who, of any legal reputation, has applauded this? I'll wait ...

                And tell me, how is a veto announcement criminal? Again I'll wait.  

                And as for political?  No one who broth this was Republican. It was a progressive political action group who brought the complaint.  

                •  Tell me (0+ / 0-)

                  Have you actually seen the evidence in the case against Perry?  Have any of the people of "legal reputation" seen the evidence against Perry?  Have you even bothered to read the statutes under which he's charged?

                  Based on what I know about the evidence, my reading of the statute, and as a member of the Texas Bar, yes, this seems a little bit sketchy.  But then, I was not sitting in the grand jury room, and I am not privy to all the evidence the prosecutors in this case have at their disposal.  Neither are the "legal experts" whose word you seem to take as gospel.

                  As for "no one who brought this was a Republican," you seem to be failing to remember that a special prosecutor who worked as an AUSA in the Bush 41 Administration was the one who's prosecuting the case, which was heard by a Republican judge -- hell, a Rick Perry appointee! -- and the grand jury, given that this is Texas, was likely made up to be primarily of Republicans.  Having seen all the evidence, they decided to bring an indictment against Perry.  A progressive political action group bringing the original complaint means nothing.  Any number of Republicans were in a position to put a stop to it and almost certainly would have had they thought that this prosecution was bogus.

                  Now, given your commenting history, Rick Perry is happy for your support.

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

                  by TDDVandy on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 08:09:53 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  yes you can read the indictment here (0+ / 0-)

                    as have "legal experts".

                    http://www.cnn.com/...

                    And as you say it is "sketchy" to say the least. Maybe you read it again.

                    When I say "brought" I mean who filed the complaint. The people in charge may not be Dems but the (political) office has very long history of political shenanigans and state/County conflict. Delay, Hutchison, etc.

                    And this?

                    and the grand jury, given that this is Texas, was likely made up to be primarily of Republicans
                    .

                    Please, I'm not an amateur. Nice try.  The grand jury in heavily Democratic austin was almost assuredly heavily Democratic.

                    Rick Perry is happy for your support.
                    This has nothing to do with him. Only with ethics and fairness and retribution politics. Remember this stuff sets precedent and can bite us in the butt.

                    More importantly, the diarists attempt to compare this real, serious and heinous crimes is s both incoherent and appalling. And thus, delegitimizes  his entire case.

                    Again again, no additional support can be found...I'll wait.

                    •  Again, have you actually seen the evidence? (0+ / 0-)

                      Unless you were actually sitting in the grand jury room, please don't come in with this bullshit.

                      Tom DeLay was convicted of a crime, in case you missed that salient fact, so you may not want to go comparing this prosecution of Rick Perry to the prosecution of Tom DeLay.

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

                      by TDDVandy on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 08:44:14 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Oh and Delay's (0+ / 0-)

                        conviction was overturned. Again, you read the indictment- and the evidence is pretty much IN the indictment- there's no mystery or unknowns about what they charge. I'm sorry but there is no "there" there.

                •  Michael McCrum (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Glenn45, TDDVandy

                  McCrum is a respected San Antonio attorney, a former assistant US attorney for the Western District of Texas, and the pick of both Texas senators (Republicans, as it happens) for the post of US attorney. And he's seen the evidence -- he's the prosecutor in the case.

        •  "Everyone"? (0+ / 0-)

          Ed Rogers, the Washington Post columnist, has a day job as a Republican campaign consultant.

          The author of the US News & World Report piece is a regular contributor to Fox News and National Review, and fellow of a couple of right wing think tanks.

          Doesn't mean that they aren't honestly expressing their views, though I reserve the right to prima facie skepticism about anything they write.

          What neither remotely constitutes, is a proof that "no one legit" defends the indictments. Unless you consider strong right wing credentials as the only acceptable proof of legitimacy.

          Finally - assuming Walling is being honest in his protestations, and here (since it came in the form of an affadavit), I think the presumption has to go in favor of that - it isn't necessary that Perry be a current target of the investigation. It is only necessary that he be worried about becoming one, and eager to get someone in charge who won't let it expand in that direction.

          Again, he didn't show any evidence of caring about other officials with DUIs. Just this one. So it takes great credulity to think he was insisting on a resignation out of goo-goo motives.

          The real USA Patriot Act was written in 1789. It's called the Bill of Rights.

          by nicteis on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 08:58:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Again (0+ / 0-)

            you have Axlerod, Chait and Melber

            None of whom are rw, saying the same thing. And I have yet to find any defense f the indictment outside partisan blogs such as this.

            And this?

            It is only necessary that he be worried about becoming one, and eager to get someone in charge who won't let it expand in that direction.
            is a remote possibility in your imagination - but we don't charge people with crimes because political opponents might imagine them possibly thinking something. Do we?
            •  Pithily objected (0+ / 0-)

              Nevertheless, his associates were already targets, and cutting off investigations for their benefit would be sufficiently corrupt. I would agree that the fact Perry himself seems not to have been a target weakens the analogy to the Saturday Night Massacre. But I still think it presents the closest parallel, when set among the instances of corruption presented in the diary.

              I was aware that there were center-left pundits decrying the indictment, though as a decrying Axelrod's tweet is a bit, shall we say, sketchy.  They all argue by stacking the deck - none of them mentions the other DWIs that Perry hasn't bothered with, none of them mentions the fact that the decision to bring the case to a grand jury was made by Republicans, presumably because none of them can suggest a motive for that judge and that prosecutor to engage in a partisan witch hunt. Of the three you cite here, only Melber's more thoughtful piece even addresses the fact that it is not the veto or the veto threat, but the purpose of those actions, which prompts the indictment.

              I'd be more impressed if they were to attempt to address the strongest arguments against Perry, not just the talking points Perry himself asks them to focus on. Absent that, it looks to me like another day, another set of pundits happy to earn their "even-a-liberal" attaboys.

              There are certainly worse instances of winked-at corruption out there. If a jury decides to let Perry off this hook, I will waste little energy second guessing them.

              The real USA Patriot Act was written in 1789. It's called the Bill of Rights.

              by nicteis on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 06:19:44 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Whatever (0+ / 0-)

                let me know when sone actually DOES defend this hatchet job

                And again, just because one might think that there might be someone in his circle who might one day be subject an investigation on some thing is not criminal. That is pure fiction.

    •  Well, maybe because it's premature. (0+ / 0-)

      I think we always have to take the possibility of political motives when a politician is indicted for actions he's taken in office. We'd be hypocrites not to consider that just because we don't like the politician in question.

      But on the face of it the political calculation makes no sense to me.   They're going to put him on trial on politically motivated charges in a state where he was elected governor three times in a row and won the last election by a wide margin?  And as a Democrat I want to keep Perry on the national stage; he's an embarrassment to the Republicans anywhere outside the deep red states.

      So aside from satisfying irrational, personal vindictiveness I see little political upside in bringing these charges against Perry.  People who hate him and are celebrating are counting their convictions before they hatch.

      On the other hand the prosecutor doesn't seem to be a partisan Democrat. And from his background he doesn't appear to be an incompetent or a fool.  So apparently he thinks he has someting that will stick.  As for respected analysts, John Dean and Jeffrey Toobin are taking a wait-and-see posture.  That's pretty much where I stand.  It looks like a tough row for the prosecutor to hoe, but he thinks he can do it so lets see what he's got.

      A governor has wide discretion in using his powers. That includes the low political purposes of sticking his thumb in an opponent's eye.  If that's what the prosecutor is going after him for then maybe he is a fool.  But a governor's right to use his powers isn't unlimited.  Some purposes such as personal financial gain or shielding cronies from prosecution go beyond hardball politics and enter the realm of corruption.

      I've lost my faith in nihilism

      by grumpynerd on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 09:31:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  From the reporting I've seen in Texas (0+ / 0-)

        it seems that Texas has its own set of laws regarding these issues.  

        So pundits spouting off on what governors can and can't do are not taking into account how each state actually operates.

        "The Fight For Peace Just Got Fightier" John Oliver (Last Week Tomight)

        by Texnance on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 09:58:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with this (0+ / 0-)

        'Some purposes such as personal financial gain or shielding cronies from prosecution go beyond hardball politics and enter the realm of corruption."

        Except that isn't what is charged.

        As for motive, this effectively ruins his presidential run, which while good, isn't a very ethical manner to do it. "indicted for abuse of office" will the by line in every single story about him if runs.

        •  Well, I've read the indictment; (0+ / 0-)

          ... all two paragraphs of it. It just charges him with something everyone agrees he did and claims, uncontroversially, that it was an intentional act. Since everyone agrees on what he did, this is going to be an argument about why he did it, and the prosecution is playing its cards close to the vest.  We don't know why he chose these statutes and not others to charge Perry with, or the argument he'll surely make that this act was not constitutionally protected free speech.

          So I stick with what I said: it's premature to be too sure about how this will play out.  If the law isn't thrown out as unconstitutional, this is unlikely to be a slam dunk for either side.

          The idea that the Democrats engineered a weak indictment to spoil Perry's chances seems farfetched to me. If Perry is acquitted, or the charges are thrown out, or the law declared unconstitutional, then nobody is going to care that he was indicted. The claim that this was all just a political hatchet job will stick.  At present that sounds like a conspiracy theory, because the judge who appointed the special prosecutor is a Republican.  

          I've lost my faith in nihilism

          by grumpynerd on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 11:12:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nope (0+ / 0-)

            This could take a year or longer depending on the circumstances.

            And as you say everyone knows what he did and it is legal. He Can veto funding for specific items in the budget including that office. The claim that by announcing it he was abusing his office is as lame as anything I have ever heard.

            it isn't the Judge- that was his job, once that got to his desk-  it was the grand jury itself and the group that brought the complaint.

            •  Nope. (0+ / 0-)

              The whole concept of abuse of authority is about doing something you are legally empowered to do, but for an improper purpose.  This is often contrasted with abuse of power (a.k.a. "malfeasance in office"), in which someone uses his office to commit an act that is illegal per se.  These terms are often confused or used interchangeably, but it's important to keep them separate.   In fact the title of the section named in the first count is "Abuse of Official Capacity."

              And as you say everyone knows what he did and it is legal.
              Basically you're quibbling here: talking as if Perry was accused of malfeasance in office (which would clearly make no sense) when in fact he's accused of an abuse of authority.

              Saying that the charge is "lame" isn't an argument. It's just posturing.

              it isn't the Judge- that was his job, once that got to his desk-  it was the grand jury itself and the group that brought the complaint.
              You forgot the prosecutor, who was selected by the Republican judge. It's at the prosecutor's discretion that the matter is brought to the grand jury.

              I've lost my faith in nihilism

              by grumpynerd on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 02:25:46 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Ok i keep asking (0+ / 0-)

                find someone who DOESN'T think it is lame? If saying you do something that is legal is an abuse of office everything is.

                •  You're confusing yourself (0+ / 0-)

                  It's not clear that the act was in fact legal. That's the whole question this indictment raises. Can the governor use his veto authority for any purpose whatsoever? You are presuming the answer to that is "yes". Clearly the prosecutor thinks not.

                   It wouldn't be unusual for a specific use of an official's normal authority to be unlawful depending on for what purpose he used it.

                  I've lost my faith in nihilism

                  by grumpynerd on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 05:49:53 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  nope (0+ / 0-)

                    The charge is that he abused the office by threatening to veto the budget item. HE said it was because of her improper behavior. The indictment also says that is what and why he did it. He did it because he is allowed to. That's pretty much it. Right?

                    •  Incorrect. (0+ / 0-)

                      The indictment says nothing about why Perry wanted Lehmberg out.  In fact it doesn't mention the veto itself, just the threat of a veto. It isn't the veto they're going after him for, it's the interference with the county prosecutor's office, although you have to read the indictment itself carefully to see that.  Texas has a post-Reconstruction weak governor constitution in which officials who would in other states be appointed by the governor are elected by and answerable only to the voters.

                      Frankly I wouldn't be all that surprised if this gets dismissed on US constitutional grounds before it goes to trial.  But if it doesn't, this isn't going to be the slam dunk for Perry you think it is. The idea that this is just a partisan hatchet job doesn't hold up to scrutiny; you can't get an indictment without the collusion of the prosecutor, and in this case the prosecutor has impeccable partisan credentials. Apparently he's never even voted in a primary election.

                      I've lost my faith in nihilism

                      by grumpynerd on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 09:51:23 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  no (0+ / 0-)

                        I realize were getting into semantics but I said what you said:-)

                        I you said:

                        The indictment says nothing about why Perry wanted Lehmberg out.  In fact it doesn't mention the veto itself, just the threat of a veto.

                        I said:

                        The charge is that he abused the office by threatening to veto the budget item.
                        You said:
                        it's the interference with the county prosecutor's office, although you have to read the indictment itself carefully to see that.
                        I said:
                        The indictment also says that is what and why he did it.
                        I keep asking if there is any reputable scholar or news outlet that has supported this and the answer? None.

                        It is blatant prosecutorial overreach. And as always I urge my fellow progressives to be careful what you wish for. Goose, gander & all that.

  •  it's the criminalization of criminality (12+ / 0-)

    The farther away people are from Travis County, the more confidently they tell us that this is the "criminalization of politics." But here in Austin, it just looks like the criminalization of criminality. We know the indictment was not brought by Democrats, but by a special prosecutor (Michael McCrum) known for his lack of partisanship, who was appointed by a Republican judge (Bert Richardson) from San Antonio. McCrum and the grand jury have seen the evidence against Perry; the pundits haven't. McCrum and the grand jury looked at that evidence and concluded that Perry very probably committed a crime or two and deserved to be indicted. When the pundits have seen some actual evidence, I'll listen to what they have to say; until then, they can just put a sock in it. And that goes for Democratic pundits as well as for Republican ones.

    •  Exactly. (0+ / 0-)

      The "criminalization of politics" defense here relies on the assumption that it is Democrats with an ax to grind against Perry who are railroading him through the system when, in fact, there are Republicans at every step of the way (and that includes the grand jury, many of whom are quite likely Republicans themselves given that this is Texas) who could have put a stop to it.  And they didn't, which says a lot.

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

      by TDDVandy on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 07:54:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  3 or 4 Democrats, 1 or 2 Republicans, the rest ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TDDVandy

        The Austin American-Statesman looked into this back in April and checked voting records. Since we don't register by party in Texas, the only way to assign a party label to a voter is to look at what primaries they may have voted in. Of the 12 grand jurors, 3 or 4 had voted in Democratic primaries and 1 or 2 in Republican primaries. (Two of them have the same names as other voters, making it impossible to nail down exact numbers.) Four of the others haven't voted in primaries, and the last two don't appear to be registered at all. Not a very partisan bunch, I'd say -- and the grand jurors who have spoken to the press since the indictments came down are pretty unhappy with the way Perry and various pundits have painted their proceedings as partisan. They said they just looked at the evidence and looked at the law and concluded the indictments  were warranted.  The "partisan witch hunt" charge just doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

    •  It isn't a case for the pundits anyway (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TDDVandy, Glenn45, Mgleaf

      it is a case for the jury

      Barack Obama for President '12

      by v2aggie2 on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 08:05:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Aren't booking photos supposed to have (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    certainot, Karl Rover, TDDVandy, Glenn45

    a background with lines showing the defendant's height, and a booking number in front of the defendant?

  •  another big success for republican radio, from (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Karl Rover, TDDVandy

    enabling the hypocrisy, intimidating and scolding media, making excuses, distorting with lies, diverting blame, rewiting history

    limbaugh constantly complains the left politicizes everything!

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 07:02:58 PM PDT

  •  You are absolutely correct (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tailfish, Jon Perr, Pi Li

    The "criminalization of politics" meme has been overused to cover up GOP crimes in the past. It's an absolutely bullshit excuse... most of the time.

    However, in Perry's case unlike the others, a case can be made that this is exactly what is going on. It is unclear in this instance what crimes Perry has actually committed or whether these actions aren't "normal things you do when you are a governor".

    I am absolutely in favor of prosecuting all crimes by government officials, whining excuses or otherwise. But it is not clear that this is what we actually have here, and as always the system is more important to me than that any side "wins".

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 07:14:54 PM PDT

  •  meanwhile, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TDDVandy, Bryce in Seattle

    Repubs attempt to criminalize "Governing while Democrat/Black" with frivolous lawsuits and non-stop obstruction.

    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

    by Karl Rover on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 07:17:27 PM PDT

  •  and, it was very nice of the police (0+ / 0-)

    to pose a studio shot of the perp for his "mugshot"

    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

    by Karl Rover on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 07:24:01 PM PDT

  •  I just wonder (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TDDVandy

    How it passes muster that a Republican could be prosecuted for a political vendetta in TEXAS.

  •  There are a lot of examples of criminal conduct (0+ / 0-)

    in this diary.  But I still can't see Perry's conduct as criminal.  He vetoed an agency's funding as a way to pressure the head of the agency to resign, when she was very arguably unfit to be in the position of prosecuting other people for violating the law.  

    Hardball?  Yes.  Politically motivated?  Yes (like most uses of the veto).  Criminal?  Can't see it.

    This prosecution appears to be adding to the precedent of politically-motivated uses of criminal law by prosecutors.  I think that's dangerous.  It can go both ways.  Will we go along when a Democratic executive is indicted for nothing more than a veto?

    •  It's not the veto, it's the threat. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Edward Song

      The offense was the quid pro quo. And the grand jury saw plenty of evidence of exactly how Perry and his minions tried to coerce Lehmberg. There was a lot of maneuvering both before and after the actual veto, and it was evident to lots of people at the time that Perry was going over the line from mere hardball politics.

      •  Vetoes are threatened all the time (0+ / 0-)

        There was nothing inherently evil or wrong with the reason Perry threatened this veto.  He wanted Lehmberg out, and had a valid reason for his position.  He couldn't force her out, so he used the next best option within his powers, and defunded her agency.  It was coercion, but it was also legal and politically-based.  This kind of maneuvering goes on all of the time in Washington.  It's not criminal.

  •  Politicans who pander are criminals (0+ / 0-)

    Pandering and pimping are similar activities. Politicians who pander are criminals. Period. End of story.

    But having said that it must be understood that in the history of our nation there have been political leaders with very high integrity. Unfortunately, one of our democratic heroes, Jefferson, was not one of them. Off the top of my head comes Washington, Lincoln, and the Roosevelts as those political leaders we should be emulating as having high integrity but even Franklin Roosevelt had his faults.

    Again, unfortunately, today, with our system of money buying votes, pandering has become an art form. Even Bernie Sanders, who we see as someone with high integrity, panders to the Israel lobby. Hopefully in the future one thing we will see is that the money on the margins from families like the Koch brothers will become less of a factor.

    Knowledge is Power. Ignorance is not bliss, it is suffering. If you like hypocrite Obama, you'll love hypocrite Hillary.

    by harris stein on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 07:57:35 PM PDT

  •  Dershowitz? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bjhunt

    "Voices as diverse as Alan Dershowitz, -- "

    Say no more.  Doing and believing the opposite of whatever Dershowitz tells you is the beginning of wisdom.

  •  Rick Perry Broke the Law (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, bjhunt, Texnance

    Unfortunately, the Republicans blew out the Democrats in the debate because of Democrats inability to frame the debate.

    In Texas, its against the law for a governor to coerce a public employee into quitting his or her job. That's exactly what Perry did.

    Unfortunately, the Republicans won the debate by saying because the governor has the right to veto, he did no wrong. Furthermore, the DA needed to resign her job anyway.

    But its not the veto that makes Perry's conduct legal. What makes it illegal is the "DO A or Else E" statement. A is a specific demand, and E is an act that gives Perry the leverage to make the DA to do A. In this case A is quit your job, and E is I'll defund the department you work in (and by the way, the department that is investigating corruption, which may include me).

    The fact that the DA is unfit for the job is a red herring. Perry has no authority to remove her from the position.

    If Perry did nothing wrong, then Andrew Cuomo did nothing wrong in NY when he dissolved the investigation unit he set up early. But somehow, I think Perry's political  fortune is soaring, and Andrew Cuomo is in deep legal and political trouble.

  •  If You Don't Want To Be Called a Criminal (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    getlost

    don't be a criminal.

    Seems simple to me, Rick.

  •  So, if the President holds the opinion that (0+ / 0-)

    he can impeach the House and Senate and order the FBI to arrest anyone who objects, then he is legally justified because opposition would be criminalizing political opinion? And if the Speaker of the House holds the opinion that he can assassinate the President in response to said policy, then he is legally justified because opposition would be criminalizing political opinion? Are we a nation of laws or opinions?

    What if both parties decide to brake the law and not hold it against each other? How would they justify it to the public?

    If we abandon our allies and their issues, who will defend us and ours?

    by Bryce in Seattle on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 10:26:08 PM PDT

    •  Tricky Dick probably pissed off his colleagues. In (0+ / 0-)

      Texas, always follow the money. A lot of cities were built on the sex trade here and it's hard to be a pimp in Texas. Perry is quickly being placed in the forefront for abuse of power while the real beef is about ganking cash from CPRIT. Being that Abbott could very likely be the next Gov. Dick gets to be the guy caught with the cookies, take umbrage with all this hoohaw about retribution and then go run for president. (Seriously, though? I'm thinking America has had their fill of Texans for a bit.) In any case, he'll still get to wander around in his Foster Grants and wax whateva for sick money.

      I just wish the asshole would use that skim to pay for his GD lawyer.

      There is no spoon.

      “...I'm glad I'm not afraid to be lazy!” ― Augustus Mc Crea, "Lonesome Dove"

      by nutherhumanbeing on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 12:59:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  And yet, (0+ / 0-)

    The Speaker of The House (R.), is considering moving forward with a lawsuit against The President (D.), for the high crime of Doing His Job.

    "These 'Yet To Be' United States" --James Baldwin-- -6.75, -5.78

    by kevinbr38 on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 03:14:47 AM PDT

  •  oink, oink... (0+ / 0-)
    the editorial pages of the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post—along with many liberal commentators —oined...
    When I first spotted this typo in the second paragraph, I thought the word was "oinked," as that, in the context of a bunch of pigs, seemed to fit.  

    All of the pigs, and that's what they are, conveniently forget that the indictment was issued by Republicans, not Democrats.  And they seem content to suggest that the Texas governor should not be subject to any sort of review or sanctions, since only the Travis County office Mr. Perry's veto defunded has the legal right and responsibility to investigate improprieties of the governor's office; only that office provides oversight.  

    Mr. Perry's veto -- and the consequent defunding of the office meant to provide the appropriate oversight of his acts -- must not be allowed to stand.  Whatever any one of his peers or the paid pundits may think, the Texas governor is not allowed to engage in illegal acts without threat of censure.  

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