Tag Archives: Greg Abbott

Let Lieutenant Dan be the First in Line

Red admits he was conflicted by the rolling shutdown of businesses in Texas and throughout the country.   First it was AustinDallas and then San Antonio issuing shelter-in-place orders.  But when Waco  and McClennan County officials announced a closure of all non-essential businesses, Red began to realize that we are in some seriously deep doo doo with this COVID-19 crisis in Texas.   When the heart of Texas and the heart of Texas conservatism (sorry Tarrant County – you’re getting kind of squishy) is taking this matter seriously, then something is really up.  Red doesn’t not pretend to be privy to the expert medical advice given to such officials, but if Waco is shutting down then the reports must be ominous.

Our Poor Idiot Governor Greg Abbott (and don’t take particular offense at this characterization as, in Red’s humble opinion, Abbott is just one in an almost continuous line of OPIG’s dating back to at least whoever came after Alan Shivers) has refused to do much of anything other than close schools and mumble something about gatherings of more than 10 people.  Even worse, Abbott has laughably claimed that he likes to defer to local authorities in such times of crisis.  Curious, how he and the GOP controlled legislature have repeatedly railed against local authorities when they have addressed relatively minor issues like plastic bag bans, tree protection ordinances and some more important ones like fracking bans.  His message has consistently been “I love local government – except when it goes against my right-wing Trumpian dogma.” But now it’s- “Hey, local guys you do what you think is right so that I can have my political cover come next election and say I didn’t destroy the Texas economy – it was all those local Democrats who overreacted.”  It must be tough to maintain a straight face . . .

And speaking of overreaction, here is Red’s take on the issue.  We will never know if the current measures being adopted were needed or effective.  Or at least there will never be an admission from the opponents of such measures that the a general shut down prevented thousands or perhaps millions of deaths.  If such shut-downs stop the spread of the virus, it would seem there is no real way to actually measure the effectiveness of such measures – other than maybe compare us to Italy or Spain.  Red did not do well in probability and statistics and will leave that to others.

However, if the naysayers get their way – maybe we will be able to tell if they were right or wrong.  If we all just go back to normal shoulder-to-shoulder daily life and work and play and COVID-19 kills off no more of us than might bite it in a typical bad flu season, then one could rightfully argue that a shut-down was not needed.  But here’s the kicker – if the let’s’-just-keep-rolling-along-as-if-this-is-no-big-deal crowd is wrong, really wrong, then the consequences could be catastrophic.  This is life and death folks – who wants to gamble?

Okay, so back to the real point of this little diatribe.  This morning Red awoke to the pronouncement of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick that our senior citizens should be willing to go down taking one in the gut (or the lungs as the case may be) in order for their grandchildren to have a fully functioning economy.  Red will let Lt. Dan speak for himself here.

No one reached out to me and said, ‘As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?’ And if that’s the exchange, I’m all in. And that doesn’t make me noble or brave or anything like that.

I just think there are lots of grandparents out there in this country like me … that what we all care about and what we all love more than anything are those children.  And I want to, you know, live smart and see through this, but I don’t want to see the whole country to be sacrificed, and that’s what I see.

The message here seems to be pretty clear – Screw the old folks, we’ve got shit to sell.  And as an old man himself, Lt. Dan is taking the supposed high road.  In effect, “I’ll roll the dice because otherwise my political party and career are probably headed for the crapper.”

So while Red was conflicted (remember that’s how this all began), once he heard Lt. Dan’s noble gesture, Red knew that this was a serious problem and that any measures we take should not be half-hearted.  Stay at home as much as possible, wash your hands, maintain “social distance” (we really need a new name for that), enjoy your family, exercise, pull some weeds, have a nice drink, watch some Have Gun Will Travel reruns (highly recommended).  Do the right thing.

And while we are at, Red has some Kool-Aid ready for  Lt. Dan just in case he wants to be the first in line.  Take one for the team buddy!  One potential infection vector down!

P.S. –  On the way in, Red heard right-wing radio bloviator Michael Berry going on about what a crock these shut-downs are – effectively a Commie plot to destroy his beloved Republican Party and force everyone into government servitude.  If Red had any lingering doubts about whether a shut down was the right course of action, hearing Berry’s lying, fear-mongering rant removed any doubt.  A rule that is without exception:  When an utter POS like Berry is against something, it must be the right course of action.

Someone finally came to their senses and guess what, it wasn’t Our Poor Idiot Governor

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Despite repeated warnings, crowds of spring breakers still flooded into South Padre Island earlier this week as our State government did nothing to prevent such mass gatherings.  Our youths were not about to let the fear of COVID-19 stop the partying because – well, their brains are still forming and those judgment regions are still a work in progress.  That’s why sometimes you have to exercise some authority.  Our Poor Idiot Governor took no action and crowds of several thousand SBers were seen at venues across SPI.  Fortunately, some less idiotic heads prevailed and county officials in south Texas banned gatherings of more than 50 people.  This cut down the crowds considerably in the last day or two, but who know if the COVID-19 cow has kicked down the barn door.

The GOP Solution to Gun Violence – More Guns

Our Poor Idiot Governor Gregg Abbott signed some new guns laws this week.  Texas gun lovers will be glad to know a few new things they can do with their favorite toys:

  1. For a full week after a natural disaster strikes, you can now openly or sneakily carry a handgun.  Before you could only tote around your rifle, shotgun or Chinese made A-47 (When you absolutely, positively got to kill every motherf#(ker in the room – with apologies to Q. Tarentino).  Red supposes this is supposed to allow folks to protect their property from looters.  So great idea here – have a bunch of tired, upset and totally stressed out people who are grieving over the possible loss of family, friends and stuff armed and dangerous and licensed to kill.  What could possibly go wrong?
  2. Landlords can no longer ban guns in their apartment complexes.  Red was once sitting in his friend’s apartment when the gun nuts next door accidentally discharged a .44 through the wall right next to where Red was sitting.  They came running around in a panic with the exclamation, “We f#(ked up, man!” To which Red replied, “No shit!” Apartment walls will not stop a bullet.  The stray one that very nearly took out young Red went through 3 walls.  Brilliant legislating here.
  3. Places of worship will now have to post the standard (and overly complicated) notice to ban guns from their premises.  Red for one can’t wait to attend services at the Holy Ghost House of Prayer and Rifle Range.   Our Father (Bam!), who art in Heaven (Bang!), hallowed be thy Glock (K-zing). Thy Smith&Wesson come (Boom!). Thy will be done on Earth as it is in the holy rifle range (Ackackackackack!).  Give us this day our daily round of ammo (armor piercing please), and forgive us our missed targets (Zing!) as we forgive those who don’t load properly, and lead us not into poor marksmanship (Kboom), but deliver us from Commie gun haters (Bam, Bam!).

Abbott’s Phony List of Illegal Voters Falls Apart

Greg Abbott’s most recent choice for Texas Secretary of State, David Whitley, put out a list of 95,000 Texas voters which it claimed were not U.S. citizens.  Upon even slight investigation, the phony list – obviously intended to pump up Abbott’s Tea Party bona fides – began to quickly fall apart.  In announcing the list, Whitley and indicted Attorney General Ken Paxton claimed that the list was put out as part of a fight against fraudulent voting.  Individual 1 a/k/a Trumph – the Insult Comic President and other denizens of the far right have insisted that illegal voting and voter fraud are serious problems despite the lack of any real evidence of in-person voter fraud and the Texas GOP is obviously eager to back him up.

It turns out that many names on the list were of people who registered when getting a Texas Driver’s License – a process that requires applicants to establish their citizenship –  or registered at a naturalization ceremony – which should need no explanation, that is  to anyone other than Our Poor Idiot Governor.  When that was revealed, the list quickly started falling apart.  In Harris County, almost 60% of the names on a 30,000 voter list were almost immediately removed.  Odds are that the vast majority of the remaining names will turn up nothing as well.

To their credit, most of the local county tax-assessor collectors (still in charge of registering voters as a legacy of the Jim Crow era poll taxes) have tread very carefully and seem intent on protecting the rights of Texas voters – unlike OPIG and his flunkies.

So OPIG has spent a lot of taxpayer money and effort in a process which might reveal that a handful of Texas voters were not actually authorized to vote.   If the Texas GOP clearly stands for one thing – it stands for voter suppression.

Plaque in Texas Capitol Lauds Rebellion with Distorted and False Version of History – Why is it Still There?

The Texas Capitol Building prominently features a plaque honoring the Confederacy and proclaiming that the Civil War was not a rebellion and not about slavery.  As Red has pointed out several times, all one need do is read the Texas Ordinance of Secession – a vile racist screed – to determine that the only reason Texas seceded was to protect its white citizens’ ability to own black slaves.  And a lot of folks sure got killed in the non-rebellion that was the U.S. Civil War.

Rep. Straus Wants the Misleading Confederate Memorial in ...

Red and others wonder why this disgusting piece of utter racist bullshit and revisionist history still has a place anywhere in the public space in Texas.  Apparently former speaker Joe Strauss and incoming boss Dennis Bonnen both agree it should go.  The hold up is likely our Poor Idiot Governor Abbott who is terrified of doing anything that might affect his right wing bona fides.  The Texas Tribune has the full story.

Jade Helm Russian Hoax Fools Our Poor Idiot Governor

Almost every day Red wonders – is Our Poor Idiot Governor really the pathetic and pitiable idiot constantly pandering to the GOP’s basest denizens that he appears to be?  The answer turns out to be yes.

Long time readers will remember the public freakout over the routine military exercise dubbed Jade Helm 15 that was displayed by such apparently all-too-easily fooled notables of the Texas GOP establishment such as OPIG, Lyin’ Ted Cruz,  the moronic Louie “Kablooie” Gohmert and the always disappointing John “Pandermaster” Cornyn.  At the urging of them and a host of fanatic right wingers convinced that jackbooted federal troops under the command of that Muslim Kenyan terrorist (who somehow managed to win the presidency in a landslide) were coming to Texas to take away their women, children and most importantly guns, OPIG called out the Texas National Guard to keep an eye on our heretofore most worshipful military.  Well, it turns out that much of the Jade Helm hype was the work of – wait for it – Russian trolls and bots.  So yes, OPIG is just that – a pitiful excuse for a state leader. The Texas Observer has the full story.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s willingness to pander to the manic extremism broadcast through AM radio airwaves and streamed on the margins of YouTube apparently has him playing right into the hands of Russian disinformation campaigns.

At least that’s what former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden said on a “Morning Joe” podcast about the governor’s decision in 2015 to deploy the Texas State Guard to monitor federal troops.  Hayden said, “There was an exercise in Texas called Jade Helm 15 that Russian bots in the American alt-right media convinced most — many — Texans was an Obama plan to round up political dissidents.”

Abbott fell right into the trap, Hayden said, by legitimizing conspiracy theories with official state action. “At that point, I’m figuring the Russians are saying, ‘We can go big time,’ and at that point I think they said ‘We’re going to play in the electoral process.’”

If Hayden’s report is right, then the governor of Texas was fooled into siccing the Texas State Guard on U.S. troops by Russia.

George P. – Can’t make up his mind on Special Session for Harvey Relief

Bush family scion – and less importantly Texas Land Commissioner – George P. Bush thought that a special session for the Texas Legislature to appropriate funds from the Rainy Day Fund would be a good idea – at least until he didn’t.

In an interview with the hardly left-wing Bryan-College Station Eagle, GPB was quoted calling for a special session.

“The Legislature needs to take a deep look at the Rainy Day Fund. We need a special session, and the governor needs to call it.”

That was Sunday. It didn’t take long for GPB to change his mind.  “I clearly misspoke” Bush said later this week when pressed on the issue.  Bush’s convictions apparently run about as deep as a stern phone call from the Governor’s office.  Gov. Abbott has resisted any call to use the RDF for Harvey relief despite the projection that the hurricane is a $120 billion disaster. Red doesn’t call him “Our Poor Idiot Governor” for nothing.  In fairness to Abbott, Red hasn’t yet met a Texas Governor undeserving of the title.

Message to Greg Abbott: If you don’t like Austin, why don’t you get the f#(k out

Our Poor Idiot Governor Greg Abbott has made Red long for the days of our previous PIG Rick Perry who seems to have disappeared in DC.  Abbott was recently spotted unleashing a tirade against the city where he has been sucking on the state teat for the last 20 some years while continuing to collect money from the massive personal injury settlement that he has spent the rest of his life ensuring that no one else would ever get.   Speaking to a Tea Party crowd in Bell County, Abbott disparaged the Capital City.

“As I was coming up here from Austin, Texas, tonight, I got to tell you, it’s great to be out of the People’s Republic of Austin. As you leave Austin and start heading north, you start feeling different Once you cross the Travis County line, it starts smelling different. And you know what that fragrance is? Freedom. It’s the smell of freedom that does not exist in Austin, Texas. That said, with your senators and legislators, I can tell you that today, Austin is more free than it was before the legislative session began because the state of Texas passed laws that overrode the liberal agenda of Austin, Texas, that is trying to send Texas down the pathway of California.”

First of all, OPIG Abbott is all about local control until it doesn’t fit within his grand scheme.  After all, this is the guy who wants to blow up the union as it has stood for more than 200 years, so that individual states have more control.  But if a city in his state doesn’t tow OPIG Abbott’s hard Tea Party line – well that’s just undemocratic and must be squashed.  What a complete and total hypocrite.

OPIG Abbott needs to clean up his own house before complaining about Austin.  The state he supposedly leads has the second highest percentage of uninsured children,  ranks number 4 for women living in poverty, number 44 for high school graduation rates, is dead last in percentage of people with at least a high school diploma (that explains a lot right there), dead last in spending on mental health (again explaining a lot), and near the bottom in people with retirement plans and financial net worth of households.  And that’s just a few things.  Texas ranks near the bottom in almost every category involving education, the environment, social welfare and standard of living.

So what can OPIG Abbott brag about?  Where does Texas rank No. 1 among the states? Here’s where.

Highest number of uninsured people

No. 1 emitter of carbon dioxide

No. 1 generator of hazardous waste

No. 1 in executions

No. 1 in percentage of voting age population that doesn’t vote (why bother in Tea Party Republic of Texas)

But you know what, OPIG Abbott is right –  the air is different when you leave Austin.  It’s often filled with the smell of ignorance, bigotry, poverty, pollution, intolerance and untimely death.  Not everywhere – but in way too many places.  So OPIG Abbott, how about this? Why don’t you work on  cleaning up the mess that you and your party have made of Texas over the last 25 years before you start talking trash about one of the most successful, prosperous, vibrant, fun and attractive communities in the entire country.  Red knows you would tackle those issues if you weren’t so busy worrying about who gets to pee where and attempting to upset the constitutional order that has served our country fairly well for about 225 years. So once you have legally cemented LGBT bigotry and have torn apart the basic contract of the union, you might consider getting to work on making things better for the people you supposedly represent.

And one last thing, if you don’t like breathing the air in Austin, please resign and go get a real job.  You won’t be missed.

Today in Texas History – March 21

From the Annals of the Losing Litigators –  In 2010, then Texas Attorney General (and now Poor Idiot Governor) Greg Abbott made the following statement regarding the passage of the Affordable Care Act: “The federal health care legislation passed tonight violates the United States Constitution and unconstitutionally infringes upon Texans’ individual liberties. To protect all Texans’ constitutional rights, preserve the constitutional framework intended by our nation’s founders, and defend our state from further infringement by the federal government, the State of Texas and other states will legally challenge the federal health care legislation.”

Abbott  completely failed in his attempt (and wasted a bunch of Texas tax dollars) to have the ACA overturned in federal court.   In National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, the Unitied States Supreme Court upheld Congress’ power to enact most provisions of the ACA and Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act including the individual mandate requiring most Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty.  The Court upheld the mandate as a constitutional exercise of Congress’s taxing power.

Texas Loosens Voter ID Requirement

Texas agreed Wednesday to significantly weaken its voter ID law, which federal courts have said discriminated against minorities and the poor and left more than 600,000 registered voters potentially unable to cast a ballot.

Faced with a direct rebuke from the Fifth Circuit and a complete lack of evidence of in-person voter fraud, Texas has loosened its voter ID requirements for the November election.  Voters without one of the absurd list of seven forms of suitable ID — which includes  concealed handgun permits, but not college IDs —  can now sign an affidavit and vote.  And that vote will be counted.  This provision essentially guts the law.  This is a remarkable failure of the Texas GOP’s attempt to suppress voter turnout – an effort that likely failed anyway.

The state also agreed to $2.5 million on voter outreach before November pursuant to the settlement submitted to U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, who must still approve the changes.

Red can already hear the outcry from Our Poor Idiot Governor Greg Abbott about how this will allow massive voter fraud at the polls despite the utter lack of any such evidence.  Republicans can take their cue from nominee Donald Trump who is already claiming that  the presidential election will be “rigged” against him. No sir, it is your party who has repeatedly attempted to “rig” elections by enacting numerous state laws designed to suppress voter turnout.