Random Monday Morning Thoughts

A charter bus in Irving headed to Oklahoma.

  • The nuttiest and scariest event I've ever seen in Texas criminal justice history happened this weekend, and the press is slow to understand the gravity of it: Less that 24 hours after a jury convicted a man of murder in Austin, and even before punishment has been assessed, Gov. Abbott announced he will pardon the man.  Why? The victim was a part of Black Lives Matter. It is stunning. 

    • The basic facts are that an Uber driver, Daniel Perry, drove into a Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Austin. Some of the marchers, including a guy who will soon be dead, approached the vehicle. The victim, like everyone and their dog these days, was carrying a weapon. Without even the gun being pointed at him, Perry opened fired five times at close range and killed him.  Perry then fled. 

    • The trial took over a week. And more than 40 witnesses were heard from. The jury rejected self-defense and found him guilty of murder after after 18 hours of deliberations. It wasn't unexpected. Perry had written on social media of his desire to kill protestors. From the Fox affiliate in Austin covering the trial:

    • The deceased victim, in case you care, with his fiancĂ©: 

    • Hours after the conviction, the far right-wing "law and order" crowd amazingly started calling for a pardon of Perry. The reason was simple: A white guy on "our side" killed a BLM protestor. Tucker Carlson went all in. 

    • And then Saturday afternoon, Gov. Abbott, a former Texas AG and Supreme Court judge, stunned me when did just that as he instructed his self-appointed parole board to recommend a pardon that he would rubber stamp. The trial was not televised. There were no transcripts yet to review. No appeal had been filed. Hell, the trial is still going on until a sentenced is assessed and the judgment signed, and that hasn't even had time to happen. We don't know if the killer is getting 5 years or 99 years. Nevertheless, an edict was issued to overturn the jury's less than day-old verdict.

    • Let's call this what it is: This is now state sanctioned murder and a call to arms for others. It's the authorization of a private army of storm troopers, Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and the like. Remember "Stand back and stand by"? They now have their marching orders: We've got your back if you just "happen" to kill the other side. 

    • This is the absolute conduct of a fascist state.   I cannot scream the alarm louder than this. 
  • More lawlessness of a different nature: As expected, a Trump appointed district judge decided Friday night that, despite an abortion drug safely being on the market for 22 years after FDA approval, in his medical opinion it wasn't safe and banned it nationwide.   By the way, the judge is the kind of guy who puts his toddler in an anti-abortion t-shirt. From the Washington Post:

    • So now in Texas, a woman can't get the abortion drug, can't get a medical abortion under any circumstances, and there's a $10,000 Bounty law out there to make doubly sure it doesn't happen. 
  • The Pantego standoff, which turned out to be a 72 year old woman who had some kind of warrant, came to end Friday morning this way:  "She was observed smoking a cigarette on the back porch with a gun sitting beside her. As she was outside, SWAT officers moved in with less lethal rounds and took her into custody." But before that, police used a tank to punch a hole in the side of the house. That's very Waco-like.   ,


  • Weird Easter messages.
    • Wise County's troubled representative, Ronny Jackson, posted an Easter picture on Twitter but for some reason said the stock photo was "paid for" by supporters.

      • Trump was in the Easter spirit:

    • And he later in the day got even more in the spirit. He just posted this without any context or explanation:

  • One of my favorite representatives was really mad on Friday that the Texas House voted on a budget which prohibits school vouchers:

    • In case you have forgotten, this is Briscoe Cain:

    • They won't quit on school vouchers though. Kudos to the front page of the Dallas Morning News pointing out that school vouchers is a thinly veiled attempt to fund private Christian schools with taxpayer money with no strings attached.

  • You've probably seen the trees fall at the Masters. But here's one showing how close a photographer came to death as trees fall on both side of him. Video.

  • You might guess I'm really torqued up over the forthcoming pardon in the Austin case. But just look were we are in the last two years.  A jury's verdict now doesn't matter if the killer is on "our side."  If that side loses an election, they lie about the election being stolen and try to overturn it. In Tennessee, two minority duly elected reps on the "other side" are thrown out because of rules of "decorum."   And books are being banned and librarians threatened. We are headed to a dark, dark place.  Look at every graphic I posted above (but for the trees). They could all be from a Christian Nationalist Authoritarian State.