Rick Perry vs. the D.U.I. D.A. - Corruption at the Lowest Levels

Sat, Aug 16, 2014 - 2:53pm

I'm no fan of Texas governor Rick Perry. But as a resident of Austin, Texas, I am so outraged by the indictment against him that I'd be happy to pick up a placard and protest this insanity. Here's the story in a nutshell, in case you missed it:

  1. Last year, the Austin District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg (a Democrat) was caught driving the wrong way with an open bottle of vodka in her car. She was almost three times above the legal limit.

  2. Brought to jail, she became erratic and violent, and kept trying to abuse her position to be released.

  3. She then refused to resign.
  4. Only upon public calls for her head on a platter, did she arrange for a 45-day "harsh" sentence to somehow "prove" that she was contrite and fit to remain in office.
  5. The Democrats in Texas did not want her to resign because Perry could replace her with a Republican. So they have fought to keep her in office.
  6. Rick Perry then responded by demanding her resignation, and in the event that she did not, he would de-fund her office with a line-item veto (allowed by the Texas Constitution).
  7. This is apparently an "abuse of power" and he has now been indicted by a Travis County Grand Jury. (Austin, Texas is in Travis County, and Austin is the capital of Texas.) If D.A. Rosemary Lehmberg is the driving force (ahem) behind this indictment, she is an idiot. She is now going to suffer having her DUI videos resurface and become fodder for national debate. Real smart.

Local talk radio was all abuzz when the Lehmberg story initially came out. Almost universally, everyone wanted this woman fired. Granted, the talk radio in Austin skews towards the right, but I cannot remember one person defending this woman. No-one wants a D.A. who so wantonly flaunts the law - well, maybe a few, apparently.

What angered a lot of folks was that she refused to resign - and that she seemed fairly unrepentant of her actions. She acted she like a victim of everyone else.

So we complain a lot about corruption at the top, but what about corruption at the bottom? Clearly, the Travis County justice system has lost its impartiality and now runs based on partisan politics, and not what is good, fair, or right.

You might remember the old show "The Dukes of Hazzard." In it, the Duke boys were constantly on the run from the corrupt sheriff, Roscoe P. Coltraine, and the mayor, Boss Hogg. Boss Hogg had his fingers in every pie. He loved money, and he wanted more of it.

Funny. Boss Hogg's brand of corruption was fairly benign - TV's romanticized version of corruption. And you never actually saw Boss Hogg endangering lives through drunk driving - though of course, all the crazy driving around Hazzard County was probably not very wise either.

So the Austin District Attorney - let's call her "Bessy Hogg" - has decided that she's above the law, even as she is tasked with prosecuting and upholding the law.

There seems to be a conflict of interest here.

Consider the following points:

1) Just because you are a woman, doesn't mean you are going to be a kinder, gentler politician than a man. Let's stop with this stupid idea that if women run the world, it would be better. No, if women ran the world, they'd be the corrupt Bessy Hogg's of the world.

2) Once people put political party above laws, character and ethics, we have a recipe for a Banana Republic. I could not believe a lot of the comments I read on the Austin-American Statement cheering Perry's indictment. These folks could care less that their own District Attorney goes out and risks their lives on the road with her open bottles of vodka. Destroying Perry is more important to them.

3) As noted in Dinesh D'Souza's film "America," we have so many laws on the books now, that on any given day, each one of us probably commits a felony and doesn't even know it. At what point will the surveillance state make it extremely easy for Big Brother to target you personally because of your opposition to a government policy or an official? If you think these types of politically motivated prosecutions are just limited to the D'Souzas, Perrys and Scott Walkers of this world, think again.

The thing is, I'm not naive. I don't think Rick Perry is as clean as a whistle. If he should be investigated for anything, it should be those donations from Big Pharma that might have influenced his campaign to force young girls to take the HPV vaccine.

But what he did in regards to Bessy Hogg was 100% right in my book.

Unfortunately, some people who are completely blinded by partisan hatred will simply try to abuse the legal system in any way they can to gain power. I find this despicable. It takes political power from other people and imposes your will upon them. It destroys democracy.

Look, I don't want Rick Perry to be president, but I would never stop him from running. Let him run and let the voters decide.

You may have heard the saying "As above, so below." Some people have suggested that the lawlessness of the Obama administration has or will trickle down to the local levels, because if he flaunts the law, everyone will.

I disagree. I think the saying needs to be changed to: "As below, so above."

Our federal government isn't out of control and lawless because it has somehow imposed this on the people. On the contrary, a good section of "the people" have become out of control and lawless, and they are now demanding government officials who enact their agendas.

Dan Calabrese is a conservative columnist for Herman Cain's website. He's often very dismissive of libertarians, and I generally disagree with him. In fact, I disagree with a good portion of his article "Bill Bennett: This notion that marijuana isn't that harmful is just plain wrong." Yet, he wrote something in there that really made me stop and think about where our country is headed:

"There is also this: I do think American culture has changed in the sense that when lawlessness is rampant, we used to blame the lawbreakers. Now we are increasingly willing to blame the laws, figuring that if that many people are violating the law, it must not have enough public support to remain in place. I would suggest that in this case the problem is not the law but the denigration of culture such that people simply no longer care if what they're doing is legal or not - often to the point of self-destructive irrationality."

Wow. I really hope you think about what he said, no matter how much you might be bristling about his anti-marijuana position.

I do disagree with him that we should never "blame" or look at our laws. What I think is happening is that we have such a mix of ridiculous, overbearing laws (like those that restrict the size of a soda) along with laws that really should be followed (such as not driving while intoxicated), that people have started to pick and choose which laws should be followed or enforced.

When this selective enforcement is used for political payback, and that becomes the norm, or laws are flaunted at will, there can be only one of two results in the long run:

America, the Banana Republic


Total Anarchy

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Aug 16, 2014 - 11:30pm

@libero - Texas is not the federal government

(Lucky you, I wouldn't normally be arguing with you on a Saturday night but I have some work to do on a deadline. So thanks for the break.)

You wrote: "No elected official should designate a single person as the "baddie" and therefore, and because of this dislike, not fund the whole agency she was in charge of."

Says who? Says you? What an official "should" or "should not" do in your opinion is not the same thing as what is legal.

You don't understand how Texas government works, do you? First of all, the legislature meets every other year. We don't have our representatives in session all the time. We have a line-item veto, which the federal government does not have. We have no state income tax, and generally speaking, the idea is to have less government, not more.


(Clinton, BTW, was more than happy to use the line-item veto until the Supreme Court overturned it - see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clinton_v._City_of_New_York - but please note, our states have the right to set up their own laws and constitution regarding how the state is run.)

The DA proved herself to be unfit for her job, and willing to corrupt the law to protect herself. In refusing to step down, she totally called into question the entire integrity of the Public Integrity Unit.

This is not just a case of a "single person" being out of line. We're talking about the person running the entire "Public Integrity Unit" demonstrating willful and abject corruption of her own. Irrefutable, since it is recorded for posterity.

If anything, the charges against Perry have to be held in high suspicion because, given her behavior, and the behavior of the state Democrats who are going after Perry, it seems highly probable that any investigation of him was politically motivated.

Either way, he had total cause to shut down the funding given that she completely betrayed the public trust. It's not like he shut down the school system. He shut down funding for a non-essential department that could not be trusted to be run properly.

And damn you for making me defend Rick Perry. :-)

Aug 16, 2014 - 11:36pm

This is the point Stephanie

that the indictment revolves around, from https://www.cnn.com/2014/04/25/opinion/moore-rick-perry-grand-jury/index... "Any attempts to characterize the investigation of Perry as a political prosecution are uninformed. Texas law is clear on official abuse of power: Prosecutors would only need to show that Perry was offering considerations in return for actions by District Attorney Lehmberg. If there is evidence of any additional conversations after Lehmberg's original refusal and the formal veto, and evidence that Perry or his representatives attempted further negotiations for her resignation in exchange for anything, McCrum's presentation to the grand jury could become more compelling in convincing members that Perry was coercing another officeholder. A Travis County judge said it was communicated to him that Perry's representatives told Lehmberg, even after the veto, that money for her office would be restored if she resigned, actions that could easily be interpreted as bribery or coercion by the grand jurors. The special prosecutor appears to have confirmed that he is looking at whether Perry's office made such potentially illegal representations by acknowledging that he is looking at everything "before and after the veto." Anyways, it's been nice talking with you again.

Aug 16, 2014 - 11:57pm

Once upon a time

Policemen were our friends. Everyone kept an eye out to help the po, because the po were out there helping you. These days, as should be evident to anyone, crimes are committed helter-skelter - very likely most of you have committed a crime today that you know of and certainly have committed a crime whether you know or not. Very likely a felony.

So, does that help you feel like you did in the good old days - ready and willing to help the po at any turn? Well I know I'm not. Even if it wasn't for the utter certainty I cannot possibly benefit from interaction with the po, I am also aware that the po does NOT consider it his job to help me and also the po have been trained by his handlers to seek me out for taxation opportunities.

Send a hosanna of delight if you are only targeted for taxation. You might have been targeted for help. Help is where it is decided that substance X is bad for you, and that they're going to help you by removing that pesky right to vote, stripping you of your right to own a gun or hold elected office (or even to hold the exalted position of real estate agent) in order to help you beat your 'addiction' to substance X.

Or maybe, just maybe it's not you that needs 'help'. Maybe they decide the snail darter needs their help and therefore the 200 acre farm you just spent your life savings on is not allowed to have irrigation or to have the land plowed.

But hey, that's all just best case scenario. Suppose they somehow decide you're dangerous? That's too bad, because the NDAA says no trial, no accuser, no evidence, nothing.

By the way, if you say you 'never commit felonies' that's a joke. Just federal laws and regualtions now measure not by the book, but by the metric ton. You don't know what the law is. Even lawyers have no idea of ALL the law, they MIGHT be knowledgeable in their specialties but there are simply too many laws to be cognizant of them all.

In the final analysis, it's the same as if there were no laws at all. If it's not possible to know an obey them, in what way do laws actually exist?

Seriously, I could do an hour on this.

Spartacus Rex
Aug 17, 2014 - 1:12am

Screw Austin Politics! It's The Weekend, So...

Let's talk about Best /Favorite restaurants in Austin.

I nominate:

1) Congress

2) The Carillon

3)Hudson's on the Bend

Can anyone else beat those?

Cheers, S. Rex

Edit: Oh, and Hook 'Em Horns!

Aug 17, 2014 - 1:38am

Uchiko, Odd Duck, Salty Sow,

Uchiko, Odd Duck, Salty Sow, and Barley Swine are popular with the kids these days, and Wink needs to be on the list. I'd agree with Carillon, but Hudson's needs a refresh. Plenty of interesting food trucks around.

The bbq places Kimmel went to are considered the Big 4 right now, but I'm just as good with Rudy's or visiting Lockhart.

Video unavailable

Or if you're Obama, you can be the first person to ever skip the 2-hour wait line at Franklin.

Obama skips the line, dines at Franklin Barbecue
Spartacus Rex
Aug 17, 2014 - 1:45am

@ admin...

"Plenty of interesting food trucks around."

Oh come on! R U Kidding Me?

If I were ever stupid enough to take my better half to eat at a food truck, I would be sleeping in the garage for a whole year!

Cheers, S. Rex

Urban Roman
Aug 17, 2014 - 2:01am

Maudie's on North Lamar.

Maudie's on North Lamar.

Cheap, good, Tex Mex.

Aug 17, 2014 - 2:02am

Absolutely not kidding.

Absolutely not kidding. Plenty of gourmet trucks in town that eventually secure funding and build physical restaurants.

Odd Duck and Barley Swine are perfect examples. Chef-owner of Barley Swine was just named a James Beard finalist a few months ago: https://www.austin360.com/weblogs/the-feed/2014/mar/18/barley-swines-bry...

There are at least five other trailers straight on the path toward opening physical buildings. I'd much rather get to those places when they're not as well known, rather than dealing with sky high prices and four-week advanced reservations.

If you want to pass by them, no problem by me. More for the rest of us. ;-)

Aug 17, 2014 - 2:06am

My Austin local favorites...

In no order, just what comes to mind

Guerros (tex mex)

The Hoffbrau steak house (60 some odd years I believe)

Shoal Creek Saloon ( great lunch specials, Cajun fare)

Magnolia Cafe (tex mex and great breakfast, get Mag Mud quesso)

doughnuts at Gourdoughs

​The Salt Lick


​South Congress Cafe

Homespun ( out in Dripping Springs)

Pieious (homemade bread, cheese, pastrami and, PIES!

bon apatite Ya'll. :)


Spartacus Rex
Aug 17, 2014 - 2:21am

O.K. Then, What About...

Foreign & Domestic over on E 53rd?

Cheers, S. Rex

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