Why a GOP governor’s pardon of a far-right murderer is so chilling

“in Texas, you can commit murder without suffering the legal consequences of that crime, so long as your victim’s politics are loathed by the right and your case is championed by conservative media. Or at least, this is the message sent by Gov. Greg Abbott’s pardoning of Daniel Perry.

“In the weeks after George Floyd’s murder in 2020, the proliferation of Black Lives Matter protests had filled Perry with apparent bloodlust. Then an active-duty Army officer, Perry texted and messaged friends, among other things:
“I might go to Dallas to shoot looters.”
“I might have to kill a few people on my way to work they are rioting outside my apartment complex … No protesters go near me or my car.”
“I wonder if they will let [me] cut the ears off of people who’s decided to commit suicide by me.”
When a friend of Perry asked him if he could “catch me a negro daddy,” Perry replied, “That is what I am hoping.”

Weeks later, Perry was driving an Uber in Austin, Texas, when he came upon a Black Lives Matter march. According to prosecutors, Perry ran a red light and drove his vehicle into the crowd, almost hitting several protesters. Activists gathered angrily around Perry’s car. Garrett Foster, a 28-year-old Air Force veteran who was openly carrying an AK-47 rifle, approached Perry’s window.

Perry then shot Foster dead.

At trial, Perry’s defense team alleged that Foster had pointed his rifle at the defendant. But witnesses testified that Foster never brandished his weapon, only carried it, which is legal in Texas. And Perry corroborated that account in his initial statement to the police, saying, “I believe he was going to aim at me. I didn’t want to give him a chance to aim at me.” A jury convicted Perry of murder last year.

But..the governor of Texas used his pardoning power to release Perry from prison.

In a statement, Abbott said, “Texas has one of the strongest ‘stand your ground’ laws of self-defense that cannot be nullified by a jury or a progressive district attorney.” He noted that in the Lone Star State, a person is justified in using deadly force against another if they “reasonably believe the deadly force is immediately necessary” for averting one’s own violent death. The Texas governor argued that it was reasonable for Perry to believe his life was at stake since Foster had held his gun in the “low-ready firing position.”

Yet this claim is inconsistent with Perry’s own remarks to the police, which indicated that Foster did not aim a rifle at his killer, but merely carried it. Needless to say, seeing a person lawfully carrying a firearm cannot give one a legal right to kill them.

But pesky realities like this carry less weight than conservative media’s delusional grievances. Shortly after Perry’s conviction in April 2023, then-Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson aired a segment portraying Perry as a helpless victim of “a mob of rioters” and a “Soros-funded” district attorney. Carlson decried the jury’s verdict as a “legal atrocity” and lambasted Abbott for standing idly by while his state invalidated conservatives’ right to defend themselves. “So that is Greg Abbott’s position,” he said. “There is no right of self-defense in Texas.”

The next day, Abbott pledged to work “as swiftly as Texas law allows regarding the pardon of Sgt. Perry.””

https://www.vox.com/politics/2024/5/17/24159084/daniel-perry-pardon-greg-abbott-samuel-alito-flag

Are Gavin Newsom’s Presidential Aspirations Limiting His Progressive Instincts?

“Progressive Democrats who control California are intent on regulating our lives and raising our taxes, which leads to a sense of vulnerability as hundreds of intrusive bills head to the governor’s desk.
This year, however, Gov. Gavin Newsom pulled a few surprises. He insists that he’s not running for president, but his vetoes of the fringiest measures suggest his promises aren’t ironclad. He rejected nearly 20 percent of bills that reached his desk, which is an “unusually large percentage,” per CalMatters. Many veto messages, it noted, include boilerplate language warning that some bills would add to the state’s deficit. He seems to be channeling his predecessor, deficit-weary Jerry Brown.”

https://reason.com/2023/10/20/are-gavin-newsoms-presidential-aspirations-limiting-his-progressive-instincts/

3 winners and 1 loser from Election Day 2023

“Democrats did well.
Gov. Andy Beshear (D) won reelection in deep-red Kentucky. Democrats seemed set to hold onto the Virginia state Senate and take over the Virginia state House, blocking Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s hopes of passing conservative policies (and perhaps his ambitions in national politics). Meanwhile, Ohio voters enshrined the protection of abortion rights in the state constitution and legalized recreational cannabis.

Strangely, all this happened while President Joe Biden has been getting some of his worst polling numbers yet. As in the 2022 midterms, though, national dissatisfaction with Biden did not lead to a red wave sweeping out Democrats across the country or to wins for conservative policy proposals in ballot initiatives.”

https://www.vox.com/politics/2023/11/8/23951783/election-day-2023-results-analysis-winners-losers-beshear-cameron

Newsom urges SCOTUS to consider encampment ruling that has ‘paralyzed’ California cities

“Gov. Gavin Newsom is pressing the U.S. Supreme Court to review a controversial ruling that has prevented cities from clearing homeless encampments.
In a brief filed to the high court Friday, Newsom’s office warned a ruling invalidating anti-camping ordinances in Grants Pass, Ore. had “paralyzed” cities around California by imposing an “insurmountable roadblock” that effectively bars cities from moving people from parks and sidewalks.”

https://www.politico.com/news/2023/09/22/newsom-scotus-encampment-california-00117762

DeSantis voted against Sandy aid a decade ago. Now his state needs the help.

“Ron DeSantis had just been sworn in as a member of the House in 2013 when he voted against sending $9.7 billion in disaster relief to New York and New Jersey, two states still reeling from the damage of Hurricane Sandy.
“I sympathize with the victims,” the Florida Republican said at the time, but objected to what he called Congress’ “put it on the credit card mentality” when it came to government spending.

Now, a day after Hurricane Idalia pummeled Florida less than a year since Hurricane Ian’s destruction, DeSantis is not objecting to federal borrowing when it’ll help his disaster-stricken state. As Florida’s governor — and a 2024 White House contender — he is in regular contact with President Joe Biden as the state seeks dollars from Washington to rebuild from the storm wreckage, assist rescue efforts and aid displaced residents.”

” DeSantis’ vote a decade ago was based on his opposition to the Sandy package’s “additional pork spending,” a spokesperson for his presidential campaign said”

https://www.politico.com/news/2023/08/31/desantis-florida-gop-sandy-disaster-aid-00113627

By Trying To ‘Move On,’ DeSantis Admits His Fight With Disney Was a Political Stunt All Along

“The fact that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is now trying to back away from his fight with the Walt Disney Company should confirm at least one thing about the whole ugly mess.
It was never a principled fight against special privileges granted to a private company. It was a political stunt meant to raise DeSantis’ profile on the national stage.

That mission having been accomplished—and with the prospects of a legal battle against Disney looming—DeSantis told CNBC on Monday that he has “moved on” from the issue. He also encouraged Disney to “drop the lawsuit” that it filed in April against his administration.”

” it would be useful for reporters to ask DeSantis whether he would take similar actions against other businesses whose executives criticize his policies. Disney obviously has the power to fight back, but others might not be able to do so. Is DeSantis willing to admit he was wrong to retaliate against Disney? The answer would be instructive for voters weighing his candidacy for higher office.”

How Wisconsin’s governor bested the GOP and secured education funding for 400 years

“Evers pulled these changes off by leveraging a tool known as the line-item veto, a power granted to governors in 44 states, which allows them to veto parts of a budget bill instead of the entire measure. Wisconsin, in particular, gives governors “uniquely powerful” line-item veto authorities for appropriations bills that allow them to target “sentences, words or in some cases even a single character or digit,” according to WisContext’s Will Cushman.”

Texas’ Harsh New Border Tactics Are Injuring Migrants

“For more than two years, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas has pursued an increasingly aggressive approach to the border, sending thousands of National Guard troops and police officers to patrol the Rio Grande and testing the legal limits of state action on immigration.
But in recent weeks, Texas law enforcement officials have taken those tactics much further, embarking on what the state has called a “hold-the-line” operation, according to interviews with state officials and documents reviewed by The New York Times. They have fortified the riverbanks with additional concertina wire, denied water to some migrants, shouted at others to return to Mexico and, in some cases, deliberately failed to alert federal Border Patrol agents who might assist arriving groups in coming ashore and making asylum claims, the review found.

The increasingly brutal, go-it-alone approach has alarmed people inside the U.S. Border Patrol and the Texas Department of Public Safety, the agency chiefly responsible for pursuing the governor’s border policies. Several Texas officers have lodged internal complaints and voiced opposition.”

Florida Legislature Passes Immigration Crackdown, Authorizes $12 Million for Migrant Relocation

“Among the more controversial measures is a section authorizing another $12 million for the “Unauthorized Alien Transport Program,” which will fund stunts like last September’s migrant flights to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Notably, it’ll authorize transport “within the United States”—nothing saying that relocation must begin in Florida, or even involve migrants present in the state.

The bill’s more mundane measures will affect far more people, however. Under S.B. 1718, private businesses with 25 or more employees will be required to use the federal E-Verify system to ensure that workers may legally work in the country. Once a business learns that an employee is unauthorized to work, it must fire him or her. Multiple violations in a 24-month period may result in the suspension of state-issued business licenses. Businesses may also lose their licenses based on the number of unauthorized people they employ: Employing between one and 10 will lead to a suspension of up to 30 days, escalating to full “revocation of all applicable licenses” for employing more than 50 unauthorized people.”

Greg Abbott’s Pardon Promise Ignores the Shakiness of Daniel Perry’s Self-Defense Claim

“a Texas jury found Army Sgt. Daniel Perry guilty of murdering Garrett Foster, a protester he encountered at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in July 2020. Less than 24 hours after that verdict, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he would pardon Perry if asked.
Abbott’s hasty announcement, which seemed to be driven by conservative complaints that Perry had been unjustly prosecuted for shooting Foster in self-defense, illustrates how political prejudices convert empirical questions into tests of team loyalty. That bipartisan tendency is the antithesis of what jurors are supposed to do when they are confronted by the clashing narratives of a criminal trial.

Abbott took it for granted that Perry’s account of what happened the night he killed Foster was accurate. Texas has “one of the strongest” self-defense laws in the country, the governor wrote on Twitter, and that law “cannot be nullified by a jury or a progressive District Attorney.”

Contrary to the implication, the jurors who convicted Perry did not ignore the state’s self-defense law, which allows someone to use deadly force when he “reasonably believes” it is “immediately necessary” to protect himself against the “use or attempted use of unlawful deadly force.” The jurors simply did not believe the circumstances of Foster’s death met those requirements.”