| A guide to|
|Hail to the Chief?|
|Persons of interest|
“”Something, some force, some gathering of sane, rational, authentically concerned human beings generally at peace with reality must emerge in the next four to six years from the right, or our opportunity will be lost for a long generation. Needless to say, Greg Abbott and Jodi Ernst are not that force.
Greg Abbott (1957–) is the
creepy current Governor for the state of Texas, taking office in January 2015. Prior to this, he served as Texas's attorney general, beginning in 2002; and prior to that, he was actually an associate "justice" on the Texas Supreme Court.
Abbott attempted to use federal anti-terrorism law to justify denying the Texas chapter of Planned Parenthood funding through the state's Women's Health Program, because there was no guarantee that such funds could not be used to fund elective abortions, and because the "First Amendment does not prohibit application of federal material-support statute to individuals who give money to 'humanitarian' activities performed by terrorist organizations." The hole in this argument is that Planned Parenthood's voluntary provision of completely legal abortion services (or other, less controversial "humanitarian" services including pap smear and breast cancer screenings) seems quite unlike real terrorist acts undertaken by Al Qaeda or even certain extremists affiliated with Operation Rescue.
Establishment Clause follies
Abbott (along with his political ally Rick Perry) stuck his nose in a First Amendment case after a letter of complaint was sent by the Freedom From Religion Foundation to the Kountze Independent School District, after the FFRF became a little concerned that the banners the football team ran through at the beginning of games might be a bit, well, proselytizing in nature. After a temporary restraining order overturned the prohibition of display of such banners, Abbott made predictable noises about how the Wisconsin-based FFRF was engaging in all sorts of "menacing and misleading intimidation tactics" and was probably going to attack Kountze with cheese-festooned tanks any day now. Abbott might think that he's well within his rights to inveigh against "secular beliefs," but one or two documents seem to contradict his views on the issue.
Dumb international incidents
Abbott also took issue with
those damn foreigners election observers from the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights over actually coming to Texas in order to observe their 2012 election. As a matter of fact, he even threatened to prosecute any ODIHR observers who stepped within 100 feet of a Texas polling place despite the fact that the State Department invited ODIHR observers to not just Texas but to the rest of the United States as well. Needless to say, ODIHR director Janez Lecarčič wasn't in on the joke, and neither was the Washington Post (which went so far as to compare Abbott with the likes of Vladimir Putin and Kazakhstan's Nursultan Nazarbayev).
2014 Gubernatorial Bid
It's early, but an article in the Dallas Observer noted that Abbott's Facebook page was displaying all sorts of posturing noise after Obama's re-election, namely referring to how "Texas remains one of the reddest states in the country and is the last bastion of conservatism" and that "now more than ever Texas must lead the nation" and that Abbott will "continue to fight every day against an overreaching federal government to protect the liberties that Texans hold so dearly".
All of this may come off as beyond the pale sabre-rattling until you realize that a Gubernatorial election (or another run for Texas AG, at the very least) is in the offing in 2014. It also panders nicely to fringe political groups like the Texas Nationalist Movement and other pro-secession types who then linked a petition (created by the TNM) to secede to Abbott's Facebook wall.
He did end up running for Governor in the 2014 Midterms and (surprise, surprise) flattened opponent Wendy Davis 59%-39%. Mere hours after being elected, he's already promised to sign open-carry handgun laws and to continue to defy the government's current stand on same-sex marriage. Will he be worse than Ricky-boy?
Time will tell. Yes.
Abbott's Tenure as Governor
For the first few months, Abbott said very little, and simply kept spouting the usual nonsense, until he was one of the many idiots who thought the United States military's Jade Helm operation was an excuse to invade Texas. And then from there, it started snowballing.
Shortly after, in mid 2015, scientists at OGE at the University of Oklahoma released a report that supported a direct link between fracking and an exponentially increasing frequency of earthquakes in the state. Oklahoma's government responded by implementing a bill to prevent towns from imposing any kind of fracking regulation. Down in Texas, the city of Denton passed an ordinance that prevented fracking within city limits, and within a week, Abbott signed into law a bill that prevented Texas cities from banning fracking in any sense. Like any real Republican governor, his COVID response neatly straddles the line between stupid and murderous. He would get another chance to fiddle while Rome burned during the power crisis of February 2021 (damn wind turbines! It's not the deregulated power grid, it couldn't be!).
Other weird shit
The day after Obama's re-election, Abbott made some comments on his Facebook page pandering to in-state wingnut secessionist organizations like the Texas Nationalist Movement. As governor, he hasn't brought back up the idea of secession, and secessionist fervor has generally died down around the country. At least, for now.
In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling narrowing the scope of the Voting Rights Act in June 2013, Abbott seemed quite gleeful about imposing Texas' voter ID requirements (i.e., the same ones previously mentioned above) and — as usual — made it all about Texas vs. The Federal Gummint (as embodied in this case by Eric Holder and the Justice Department). No word on whether he'll challenge Holder to a Mixed Martial Arts event yet.
Jade Helm conspiracy theory
It is important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed upon. By monitoring the Operation on a continual basis, the State Guard will facilitate communications between my office and the commanders of the Operation to ensure that adequate measures are in place to protect Texans.
- Clearly a RINO
- Texas AG Uses Anti-Terror Law on Planned Parenthood, Dispatches from the Culture Wars
- http://ffrf.org/uploads/legal/kountze_letter.pdf FFRF letter to the Kountze ISD
- http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2012/09/23/texas-town-rallies-for-christian-hegemony/ Texas Town Rallies for Christian Hegemony,] Dispatches From the Culture Wars
- Texas AG stirs up wrath against atheists, FFRF.org
- Texas Attorney General Threatens Foreign Poll Watchers, Talking Points Memo
- Threat of criminal prosecution of observers at odds with established co-operation on United States elections, ODIHR Director says, OSCE web site
- Texas, an election model for autocrats, Washington Post
- The Washington Post Sees Striking Similarities Between Greg Abbott and Vladimir Putin, Greg Abbott, Dallas Observer
- Federal Court Rules Texas Voter ID Law Is Discriminatory, Talking Points Memo
- Never mind all those other southern states that voted for Mitt Romney; obviously, they don't exist
- Texas Nationalist Movement Would Like to Secede Now, Please, Dallas Observer
- Texas Nationalist Movement Would Like to Secede Now, Please Dallas Observer
- Texas Advances Voter ID Law After Supreme Court Strikes Down Voting Rights Act, Talking Points Memo
- "Texas Governor Deploys State Guard To Stave Off Obama Takeover", Wade Goodwyn, NPR.