MAGA: Amnesty – It’s Not a Border or an Immigration Problem.

More than two million people tried to cross the US-Mexico border in 2022, according to officials. They want to make this sound like a large number. It would be a large number, if these people were migrants and expected to go back and forth across the border each year.

These people are not migrants though, no matter how many talking heads call them migrants. They aren’t moving back and forth across the border several times a year, what migratory means. They aren’t just coming here because they want to move to America, what the word immigrant means. For the most part, these people don’t want to be here, they were forced to come here out of fear of where they were.

Allusionist 53: The Away Team – March 31, 2017

They are not immigrants beyond the fact that they want American protection from persecution (as foolish as believing that America will value the lives of refugees may be) and so want to become American citizens, with all the baggage that comes with being brown-skinned people in the original home of White Supremacy.

These people are refugees. That’s how you get two million people crossing a border into another country in a year. They are not invaders, drug runners or any other kind of criminal. They are poor, desperate people and we are using them as pawns in our political battles. We should be ashamed of ourselves.

texasstandard.org

Americans are outraged about the influx of refugees at the Southern border; at least, that is what Greg Abbott and the Texas GOP would like you to believe. They are betting on you being willing to torture poor refugee families in the name of your own security. That is the bet they are making in 2022. Will you do it? Will you go down to the border and use a cattle prod on these poor people in order to drive them back to their countries of origin, or will you be happy to allow the Texas and Mexican governments do your dirty work for you?

What needs to be done is to fix our amnesty rules, fix the injustices in Venezuela and Brazil and half a dozen other countries South of our border here in the United States. Injustices that we helped to create with decades of money to banana republics that we helped to create in the first place. South America is the way it is now largely because we made it that way, because it suited our corporations commodity-extracting needs. Now that these refugees from our policies show up on our door, we need to torture them some more? I think we’ve seen enough depravity now.

Lawyers for Martha’s Vineyard Migrants Call for Criminal Probe
facebook.com/Stonekettle
New York City considers legal action against Texas over migrant buses

There isn’t a problem on the border that passing legislation that fixes the immigration system won’t address. That isn’t a presidential problem, that’s a @SenTedCruz problem.

The biggest problem with immigration is Republicans cowardice in dealing with immigration. @marcorubio is the poster child for this cowardice, scuttling his own bill in the face of grassroots Republican xenophobia.

These cowards have no room to complain now. We cannot just close the fucking border. That isn’t a possibility and these Senators have to know this. We need immigrants. They do most of the shit jobs in this country, so keeping them out hurts the Republican capitalist religion.

This self destructive bullshit fear mongering has to stop. There is blood on all Republicans hands now. The El Paso shooting, the Uvalde shooting, etcetera. Republicans created the environment where these events take place and so all of them are to blame for those deaths.

It sickens me that I am represented in the Senate by these cowards. That my governor is no better than a coyote exploiting the desperate people who show up at our border seeking help. That Republicans in Texas would encite this violence in their pursuit of power.

I will vote for anyone who has a workable humane solution to this problem that has festered since long before I was born. The problem for Republicans is that they don’t have any proposals that are humane and workable. Which means they won’t be getting any sympathy for from me.

twitter


The midterm elections are over. Texas has spoken; and Texas as a whole is every bit as xenophobic and racist as most of us liberals feared it was. Texas has re-elected not only the grandstanding demagogue that is Governor Greg Abbott, but they also re-elected the only Attorney General in the United States that was under felony indictment at the time of their election, Ken Paxton.

Texas has declared its intentions to flaunt the law and common decency for the extent of the foreseeable future, and so I think the United States should answer the declared intentions of the citizenry of Texas. If Texas thinks it can get by without the help of the United States, the federal government should kick out the props that keep the Texas economy afloat and see how well the state really does without that federal money.

There are many ways this can be done without harming the day to day life of the average Texan directly, and yet starving the criminal enterprise that is Texas state government under Greg Abbott and single-party Republican rule. I would start with the money that the federal government gives to Texas to cover the costs of border security and immigration.

The US government pays Texas to deal with immigrants and asylum seekers. This is the second largest income that Texas gets (21 billion in 2004 from the feds) it’s probably not enough given the drain that refugees exact on the governments who wind up sheltering them; but still, Texas is paid to deal with the refugee problem itself and not to spend that money shipping asylum seekers to other states and contractually gagging the contractors that are illegally transporting non-citizens across state lines. Not only should charges be brought against Greg Abbott and the transportation operator for the crime of moving non-citizens across state lines (basically, Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis are coyotes) but I think that the US government should go even farther and take back the money that Texas is misappropriating and put it to use in solving the problem.

The US and Mexico should just designate an area along the Texas-Mexico border as the place to go to apply for asylum, to apply for entry into the United States, the way that Ellis island was used a century ago. Some portion of Texas and some portion of Mexico should just be federalized and set aside to deal with this growing problem of amnesty and climate refugee status, some place large enough to house these people for as long as it takes to resolve their cases and find them permanent shelter somewhere else. Staff these new facilities with enough judges and US attorneys as well as beds and commissaries to house and feed the people that Texas just leaves out in the cold, pretending they don’t have the funds to fix the problem.

Stop paying Texas to play with the lives of the innocent victims of abusive governments we helped to create, stop paying Texas to keep out migrant labor that the rest of the country needs. It’s time to meet Greg Abbott on the hill he has chosen to die on, politically. If he wants to ally with the White Nationalists and xenophobes that back Trump today, he’s going to have to do so at the cost of Texas land itself and Texas’ economic prosperity.

reddit

Featured image: https://graphics.reuters.com/USA-IMMIGRATION/MEXICO/mopankddwva/

Texas is a Tossup

Marist is out with a new poll today. They put this headline on the news:

Abbott Edges O’Rourke in Texas Governor’s Race

In any other state, at any other time, this poll would have deemed the race a toss-up. The spread between candidates is less than the undecideds in the race and that is the definition of a toss-up. The sad part of this poll is that there are such low numbers of undecideds and/or that there isn’t a double-digit lead for the Democrats in all races.

The Republican governor of Texas, our governor, has wasted a billion dollars pretending that there is an invasion from Mexico for the better part of a decade now. There is no invasion from Mexico. There are economic upheavals all over the world and the US remains a beacon of hope, and, the Southern border is where everyone thinks they should go to get in. I remain mystified why you wouldn’t go to Canada instead and just stroll across the border there. Avoid the crowds, go to Canada. That is, if you aren’t just walking North until you hit the United States. If you are, you have my sympathies.

The explanation for why this ineffective milksop of a man, Greg Abbott, is popular in Texas is easy to understand. Republicans have been brainwashed for forty years now and their insanity has reached the new low of declaring everyone that opposes them a child molester. Remember Pizzagate? That sort of shit still goes on all over the Republican sphere. Accusing people of being groomers. Targeting trans children and their caregivers. How do you reason with people like that? How do you take them seriously?

Marist is well respected, but who commissioned this particular poll and who released it? Those factors play into what we are shown as news. I’ve been floored by the amount of news in this election cycle that insists on treating these midterms as normal or acting as if there is no downside in projecting Republican strength at this juncture in time.

There is no Republican strength. This needs to be stated bluntly. Republicans are actively at war with themselves, even in Texas. They can’t see a way forward from the trap they’ve made for themselves other than to hold on tight to Trumpism, which is a losing bet to make for everyone concerned.

The news media should be making this very, very clear, but they don’t do it. They don’t do it out of fear of Republican reprisals or they don’t do it out of fear of violent reactions from the Republican base. Maybe it is misunderstanding what objective reporting means. In any case, they are doing us all a disservice. The Republican party is not a serious opponent in the here and now. They are an active threat to the American experiment and should be treated as such until their criminal leaders are brought to justice (yes, I’m looking at you Ken Paxton) This fact needs to be made explicitly clear to the American people so that they can adjust their expectations accordingly.

Reddit

Postscript

Greg Abbott won by about 10 points. Pandering and grandstanding still works well in Texas. The most unfortunate result was the Texas AG office being retained by the indicted Ken Paxton. He’s going to be doing the AG’s business from prison, I guess.

Texas, Bloody Texas

Greg Abbott has blood on his hands; and not only Greg Abbott, but every voting Republican in Texas has blood on their hands today. Eighteen children and three adults are dead in Uvalde (Texas Standard) and these additional victims can be added to the numberless other people killed as a result of the Texas Republican party’s reckless actions last summer. Numberless dead because there is no way to keep track of all the people killed as a result of constitutional carry.

These results were predicted when Governor Abbott signed the law:

House Bill 1927 eliminates the requirement for Texas residents to obtain a license to carry handguns if they’re not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a gun. The signing was reported by the Texas Legislature’s official website, which tracks the progress of legislation. Abbott’s office has announced a ceremonial signing of the bill and other gun-related legislation at 11 a.m. Thursday.

Abbott’s signature seals a win to conservative activists who have long sought the measure without success. Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and other Republicans who were initially noncommittal about the bill were under immense political pressure this session from conservatives and gun rights advocates, who have long lobbied the Texas Legislature for permitless carry but historically struggled to win support.

texastribune.org

Anyone can carry a gun in public anywhere in Texas for any reason and no one can stop them. Even the perpetrator of this latest mass shooting in Uvalde had every right to carry his weapons, right up to the point where he shot his first victim. Anyone who tried to stop him would have been violating his rights.

There’s no vetting whatsoever. None at all.

Mike Taylor, Texas Standard

Everyone who backed the constitutional carry law is guilty of murder now. All of you have blood on your hands. Governor Abbott might as well have gone to that school and shot those children himself for all the difference it makes. All the thoughts and prayers are wasted. Your god is vengeance, and these dead children are his vengeance on your stupidity.

It’s time we left the death cult that is the belief that more guns will solve a problem. More guns are the problem. We need there to be fewer guns and those guns in the hands of people who are trained, licensed and insured against accidents. Until that happens there will only be more senseless death at a rapidly increasing rate. I will be keeping my children as close to me as I can until these cruel Republican bastards are removed from office.


twitter

The 2022 NRA Annual Convention will take place at the George R. Brown Convention Center May 27-29 in Houston, Texas. Among those people confirmed to be attending the convention are: Donald Trump, Greg Abbott, Ted Cruz, John Cornyn and Dan Crenshaw. All of these people should be up on charges right now as accomplices to murder. Actual children, not the imaginary children that they run around saying they want to protect every day, but actual children lay dead in Uvalde because of their actions, and they are going to have a convention before the bodies of their latest victims are even in their graves.

There should be mass protests in Houston. Access to the convention center should be blocked by chains of people handcuffed together. This murder of innocents has gone 0n long enough. Action is what is required now, and not the hateful action of the people who buy their murder tools. We Texans must stand up and put things right. The time is now.


There is a tendency in media these days to stampede to the location of the latest atrocity and then blanket cover the minutest detail of everything about the subject; as if there is any story deep enough to bear the scrutiny of the entire world twenty-four hours a day or that the bereaved parents and families in a small town in Texas will welcome your invasion of their backwater community in this time of tragedy.

Where was the interest when the interest could have made a difference? When the independent school district appointed the security chief that kept parents and officers out of the school building for an hour while the shooter continued to rampage?

Arredondo believed that the shooter had barricaded himself and that the children were not under an active threat.

nbcnews.com

That would have been the crucial moment when something might have been done that would have changed the outcome on that fateful day. There is no point in asking these suffering people about their opinions of State politicians right now. No point in torturing them with what if questions. You are just adding insult to injury.

Those are questions for the rest of us to ask ourselves and find our own answers:

On the Media – Again and Again and Again and Again (and Again) – May 25, 2022

There are several good answers to many questions we might ask ourselves in that episode of On The Media. Will we ever tackle those tough conversations?


A citizen of Uvalde has come forward to speak on the subject of what we need to do next:

C-SPANMatthew McConaughey Complete Remarks at White House Press Briefing – Jun 7, 2022

We want secure and safe schools and we want gun laws that won’t make it so easy for the bad guys to get the damn guns

Matthew McConaughey

I refuse to accept that there is nothing we can do about this subject. I know what I think should be done to stop mass killings and maybe even impact the even greater number of individual gun deaths across the nation. I’m going to vote to do something different:

This is on you [Governor Abbott] until you choose to do something different. This will continue to happen. Somebody needs to stand up for the children of this state or they will be continue to be killed just like they were killed in Uvalde yesterday.

Beto O’Rourke

To the Republican politicians who lashed out at Beto for his interruption of that news conference, and to their self-satisfied base of voters who see nothing wrong with the way the the death toll is mounting, I only have this to say; your time is coming to an end. There will come a day when the people you have abused and mislead will wake up and realize that they have the power to fix their own government and that they don’t need guns to do it. All they have to do is stand up and act as one. Act as one indivisible unit. That day will come. I hope I live long enough to see it.


These are the kinds of school programs that need to be spread throughout school systems so that these disaffected teens can find the help they need instead of burning out and lashing out:

NPR: Short Wave – Can The Next School Shooting Be Prevented With Compassion? – June 16, 2022

The boy in that story, Mishka? That boy was another version of me, another version of so many children who are overlooked by education systems too overloaded to have time to avoid injustices like multiple injuries inflicted on a child that just happens to be the target of physically aggressive bullying. If you want to stop these children growing up into violent adults (if they are lucky enough to grow up at all) you have to intervene when the problem starts, not after it explodes in blood and violence.

As Texas Goes, So Goes the Nation

The Supreme Court has decided that they like more shootings in public places. They want the rest of the United States to be more like Texas, overturning a century of legal precedents when it comes to the carrying of firearms:

Since 1911, the state of New York has required individuals who would like to carry a concealed weapon in public to show a need to do so for the purpose of self defense and to require a license. More than a century later, the United States supreme court has chosen to strike down New York’s long-established authority to protect its citizens.

Joe Biden

Now you can’t stop mass shooters from massacring, you can only respond after they open fire with volleys of your own. You can’t stop them because there are no laws that stop people from carrying weapons into places where weapons don’t belong.

Make no mistake here. Unless we both limit the access to guns; train, license and insure gunowners, as well as start caring for the abused and mistreated among us, we are going to see an increase in gun violence. In every town, in every city and basically anywhere a disagreement occurs and one of the parties has access to guns and violent tendencies at the same time. This is inevitable and has been inevitable from the very beginning. We are trying to deny human nature when we act like everyone is reasonable and rational and can be trusted to not blow up the world if we give them access to the power to do so. This is simply not the case.

Libertarian Vaccination Lunacy

I was rooting through my email today looking for spam. I don’t mean the ads for prescription drugs that you can’t buy legally; no I mean the daily if not hourly emailers that you have unwittingly asked to send you messages, and then they drown you in more information than you could possibly synthesize.

I found quite a few of those. Then, at the bottom of the barrel, I see a note from the Travis County Libertarians letting me know that they’ve moved their newsletter from the old Yahoo!Groups site to the new Google Groups site. Well bless their little hearts!

Being bored, in the middle of a task that I had put off for months if not years, I decided to see what was in the latest issue of the newsletter. Ah, the usual. Chat and chews are scheduled. I’ll be skipping those. I’d skip them anyway but I’ll definitely be skipping being face to face with the unvaccinated. The kind of people who think this ad represents any kind of deep thinking:

twitter.com

We can’t force people to get vaccinated? Tell that to the TB-tine scar on my arm. Not only can we force people to get vaccinated, we have before and we should be doing it again. That is how you get to herd immunity successfully, for fuck’s sake. That’s how we wiped out small pox and polio. We could have wiped out the measles, but antivaxxers like the ones that the Libertarian Party is appealing to in that ad have set us all back decades on that goal.

The Experiment Podcast: The Original Anti-vaxxer – SEPTEMBER 23, 2021

I mean, if they want to thumb their noses at Biden’s policies, Abbott has them beat:

Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday issued an executive order prohibiting any entity in Texas from mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for employees or consumers, an expansion of a prior order limited to government entities.

Abbott also asked lawmakers to tackle the issue during the current special legislative session, ensuring that “no entity in Texas can compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine.”

statesman.com

Why does Abbott have them beat? Because he has the office of the Governor, that’s why. Something they will never have because they will never be serious about winning races instead of grandstanding during the race. The libertarians that were serious about winning races became the Tea Party back in 2008, and they have made the Republican party the lunatic fringe that we all know and love today. They are all Trumpists, almost to a man now. The kind of people who will have to be lead to the end of the pandemic at the point of a gun, apparently.

Greg Abbott doesn’t have the power to stop Biden’s orders. Only the Republican delinquents in the Senate stand between effective governance and the anarchy that libertarians crave, and they hope like hell that the citizenry is dumb enough to keep voting Republican so that the government will finally crumble. Here’s hoping they are denied their wish, or if not, that they turn out happier with the results than the anarchists were who backed Stalin’s bid for power in Russia. They didn’t seem too pleased with being sent to the gulag for all their troubles.

Draconian Voter Restrictions

And Draco himself, they say, being asked why he made death the penalty for most offences, replied that in his opinion the lesser ones deserved it, and for the greater ones no heavier penalty could be found.

Plutarch, Life of Solon (wikipedia.org)

As we headed into summer of 2021, Democratic Texas senators fled the state in protest of Greg Abbott’s drive to stop people from voting for Democrats in the state. This isn’t the first time that Texas legislators have broken quorum, and it didn’t end any better this time than it did last time, which is too bad because being a good citizen in Texas is already hard enough to do. We don’t need more laws keeping people from the polls and that is what this latest effort from the Trumpists who run Texas amounts to.

In the 2020 general election 60% of Texans showed up to vote, and the Republican oligopoly that runs Texas came closer to loosing control of the state than it has since Rick Perry took the Lt. Governor’s office from Bob Bullock in 2000 and flipped the last statewide office to Republican hands. 60% is one of the highest ever modern turnouts for Texas voters, and yet that is just barely over half of eligible Texans taking the time and the risk to go out and do their basic civic duty. Barely over half, and still the Republicans think that is too many people voting.

Finally facing the long-predicted blue wave surging across Texas, a blue wave fueled by young people of color swelling the ranks of minorities across the state, Republican leadership panicked. They panicked just like any threatened dictatorial regime would, and they passed even more restrictive laws to keep even more people from voting for their opponents in the next election. They passed these new laws over the steadfast opposition of the entire Democratic caucus; Democrats who are finally waking up to what it is that they will have to do to win in the South.

They have to win at the ballot box with new voters, and Republicans are dead set against allowing the formerly oppressed minorities the liberty of the ballot box, raising legal threats against anyone who dares to vote against them:

Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday called for Texas lawmakers to increase the penalty for illegal voting — less than a month after he signed a bill that lowers the maximum punishment.

texastribune.org

The reduced penalties were part of amendments that Democrats negotiated with Republicans to get into the bill in an attempt to soften the impact on citizenry who are caught up in the draconian new laws Republicans put in place this summer. Mercifully, the Democrats managed to get the provision to allow the Texas State legislature to reverse the will of the voting public removed from the bill, as well as softening punishment.

This was Texas voting law before this summer:

It’s harder [to vote in Texas] than in 49 other states, according to a “cost-of-voting index” compiled by political scientists at Northern Illinois University, Jacksonville University and Wuhan University in China.

texastribune.org

Now there are whole new classes of illegal voting created by the new laws demanded by Greg Abbott and his Trumpist cronies in the Texas state government, and the few things that Democrats managed to get changed in order to soften the burden on Texas voters are now being targeted for reversal.

Make no mistake here, Greg Abbott wants to force Texans to reelect him. That is his goal right now in pandering to the Trumpist voters that make up the majority of Texas Republicans. “Don’t primary me, I’m on your side. Nominate me again and we’ll stick it to those softy Democrats by hook or by crook.” This drive to increase penalties is just another attempt to terrorize Texans into voting for him. Vote for me or face punishment. Vote for me because I will make sure your voice is not heard no matter what you do:

“The story in Texas is very similar to the story across the United States. You’ve got urban areas that are increasingly disproportionately Democratic. And you’ve got rural areas that are disproportionately decreasing,” said Stephen Klineberg, a demographer at Rice University.

“You can’t prevent it. So redistricting becomes one of the major mechanisms by which the party that is in control of the senate, the house, and the governorship has really free rein now to redraw the districts to minimize the power of non-Anglos for the Republicans.”

theguardian.com

Greg Abbott say support him and his boss Donald Trump, or else. Support him the twice-impeached insurrectionist that created the pandemic we are still suffering under and currently is directing the actions of our Texas state government from his hideaway in Mar-a-Lago Florida. Are we Floridians now? Are we New Yorkers who must bow to the will of the corrupt land developers that own the government?

No. We are Texans and we have made it our mission to resist government in all forms since the day we told Santa Anna what he could do with his demand that we declare allegiance to him. Therefore, it is our patriotic duty to kick Greg Abbott and the rest of the Trump-loving fraudsters out of our state government. Wake up Texas and see just what the hell is really going on here.

reddit.com

Regression to the Mean

Republicans:

facebook.com/Stonekettle

They have made their way for so long on the mantra of resistance and regression that they can’t comprehend a change that is necessary for thier own survival. They would rather die than admit that a tradition was wrong.

The tradition in this case being that the individual is paramount. There can be no such thing as a legitimate public health concern if the public is subservient to the individual. This is the error in accepting individualism as your only ideology.

Vaccine mandates are how this civilization will survive this crisis. It is the only way we will survive and not be swallowed up by the other societies who are instinctively capable of subsuming the individual to the will of the group.

We either force the insanely individualistic to submit to majority will in this instance, or we will devolve into small islands of localized authority that will be gobbled up by the next society to gain dominance in the new reality. The new reality that Donald Trump and his Republican party have made necessary by failing to stop the SARS-CoV-2 virus from spreading across the world.

This isn’t just about vaccine mandates, either:

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed a bill that aims to stop social media companies from banning users or nixing posts based solely on political opinions — the latest salvo by Republicans, who claim that these tech giants are censoring conservative users.

cbsnews.com

The Trumpists that run the Republican party are intent on seeing that their particular brand of insanity can’t be removed from the public arena. They have now given up on the idea of businesses being allowed to go their own way, the unbridled worship of the free market. Businesses must now strictly conform to Republican views or they will face dire consequences:

If these companies comply with the Democrat order to turn over private information, they are in violation of federal law and subject to losing their ability to operate in the United States,” McCarthy said in Tuesday’s statement. “If companies still choose to violate federal law, a Republican majority will not forget and will stand with Americans to hold them fully accountable under the law.

Kevin McCarthy via politico.com

This is terrorism, no different than the terroristic threats issued by violent extremists and dictatorial governments elsewhere in the world. Republicans have proven themselves over and over again to be the kind of vicious bastards that would do the things that they threaten to do. Which is exactly the reason why the United States government should act to protect itself now, not wait for the next Congress or the next President to be elected from the Republican party to act in the manner they have already promised to act, and then have the gall to feign surprise at the promised retribution being delivered.

They are threatening us with violence, have been threatening us with violence for decades. These are the same people whose grandparents and great-grandparents joined the KKK and terrorized minority communities in order to get their way. The same people who filibustered against civil rights legislation and voting rights legislation before they switched parties and became Republicans.

They are the direct descendants of terrorists, and we cannot allow them to compete for power in this country any longer unless they are willing to renounce terror as a method of governing. Either they submit to the current government and its completely legitimate concerns for public health, for civil discourse; or the government should use its equally legitimate control of the use of force to ensure that they comply with the needs of society.

Enforced compliance, up to and including the disenfranchisement of the Republican party itself in favor of a party-less system that makes no allowances for party affiliation in the rules of government. The way that representative government in the United States should have been arranged for in the first place. The least amount of party interference in active government that can be achieved; through conscious, objectively designed rules that minimize factional disfunction in favor of just getting the necessary shit done.

The House passed a bill Tuesday that would both prevent a government shutdown and suspend the debt limit in a step toward preventing possible economic calamity.

The chamber approved the plan in a 220-211 vote. All Democrats voted for it and all Republicans opposed it.

As the bill heads to the Senate, Republicans are threatening to block it, which could leave Democrats scrambling to find another way to avoid a federal funding lapse — or even a first-ever default on U.S. debt. Worries about a looming default and the economic damage it would cause contributed to a U.S. stock market drubbing on Monday.

cnbc.com

Conservatism has now resumed it’s traditional place in the United States. It has regressed to its mean; blind support of tradition for tradition’s sake. Pursuit of power for power’s sake. The Republican party has ceased to function as a party that can govern and so consequently should be relegated to the back bench. We should allow some other party to take its place, or allow a combination of parties to vie for the prime opposition spot.

We cannot allow public health to be treated as just another thing that we should expect the government to argue with itself about. The average American just wants to be allowed to live their life, and enforcing minimal public health standards will let that happen. Can we all just be allowed to go outside again, please? Get your damn shots.

Delta Breakthrough Infections Are Transmissable

Delta breakthrough infections are transmissable should have been the headline on the new Coronavirus/SARS-2 masking rules. It should be a phrase in every leading paragraph in every news story about new CoVID-19 outbreaks.

If you are vaccinated and you catch the SARS-2 virus (and a small percentage of people, including the partially vaccinated, can catch mild versions of the infection) the Delta variant is still transmissable, not to mention the new Lambda variant and whatever comes after that. If you are infected and you pass that virus on to other people, you have created a new variant that could possibly bypass the vaccination in other people and start the entire pandemic all over again.

TRMS – Fauci worried about delta variant spread ‘if we don’t do the right thing’ – Aug. 10, 2021
(youtube)

I’d like to thank Texas Governor Greg Abbott for leading the way towards making the SARS-2 pandemic a two-year flirtation with complete social collapse. He is the apple in the eye of anarchists everywhere. It is no surprise that Abbott and Texas conservatives don’t believe that they are committing acts that are tantamount to treason in their negligence of public health issues like this pandemic we are still in.

They reject the findings of science. This includes the veracity of vaccination programs and the need for public health action, and even the basic understanding that viruses evolve based on the pressures we subject them to. If evolution is a myth then of course everything that follows from it, including genetically engineered vaccinations, have to not only be false, but dangerous flirtations with the devil.

It is important to understand what it is that your enemies believe; and if you are a thinking person then today’s conservative movement is your enemy.

Postscript

Greg Abbott is potentially a superspreader. He has been infected under the exact conditions I just mentioned. Vaccinated, now testing positive for infection. How ironic would it be if he was the one infected Texan who starts the pandemic all over again? Would the average Texan recognize that this is a sign from their god that they should stop voting Republican, if what they say about every other act of god is also true here? I doubt it.

He’s also an idiot. He is attempting to take on the US government in the form of dictating that no government offices under his control will be allowed to mandate vaccination or masking requirements. He is working hard to make sure that the SARS-2 death toll in Texas is as high as possible.

As if we aren’t already the laughingstock of the nation. As if the US isn’t the laughingstock of the world over the Trump fiasco and his handling of the pandemic. Any Texan that isn’t outraged at our governor right now doesn’t understand a thing about public health. Greg Abbott is showing the world just how stupid the average Trump supporter is; and since that group represents the majority of Texans who voted in 2020, he is also proving just how stupid the average Texan is. Think about that when you go to the polls in 2022.

The Enron Legacy

there were many factors that went into creating the energy disaster with which Texans are now dealing. But at least in one respect, the problems in Texas are a product of an approach to the energy business that Lone Star State companies like Enron pursued at the end of the 20th century.

wapo

Ken Lay was George Bush’s best friend, back when George Bush was governor of Texas. That was what Ken Lay would tell you, if he was still alive today. The story is more slanted now that Ken Lay has been convicted of felony crimes and his flagship business, Enron, went bankrupt and took $40 billion dollars and the fortunes of thousands with it. Also, Ken Lay is conveniently dead of natural causes, so it is easy to blame him for all of the greed that was behind the drive to deregulate the energy sector in the United States.

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (book) (movie)
Movieclips Classic TrailersEnron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005) – Nov 20, 2013

It is because of Ken Lay’s friendship with Governor and then President Bush that the Texas and California electrical grids ended up being the mess that they are today. It’s just taken longer for Texas’ grid to fall apart than it did California’s, which has been on the ropes since Enron arranged for it to start suffering rolling blackouts back at the turn of the century.

I watched/read The Smartest Guys in the Room when the movie/book came out back in 2005. The story itself was just another nail in the coffin of my belief in market solutions, the death of my libertarian delusions. Every time that the fraudsters finally convince someone in authority to deregulate, it doesn’t take long to prove that government regulation had been there for a very good reason after all. Enron bought energy companies and then created energy markets for their power to be sold on. That was what those regulations stood in the way of, huge profits on Wall Street.

One of the last acts of desperation in the failing business that Enron became after its meteoric rise on the stock market was to turn off power generation in California’s electrical market in order to drive up the price of electricity and put money in the pockets of Enron executives and traders. Enron created rolling blackouts on purpose in order to profit from the suffering of California citizens. One of the last acts of desperation of the Texas Public Utility Commision during the recent winter storm was to set the price of electricity high enough on the Texas market to inspire power generators to turn on their excess capacity and flood the Texas power grid in their time of need. It’s just too bad that there wasn’t any capacity to be had because the power generators hadn’t bothered to insure against freezing by weatherizing their supply systems. Just too bad that electric energy generators and their investors were more interested in profiting off of the suffering of Texas citizens than they were in spending money weatherizing against winter storms that they hoped would never show up, but still manage to show up about every ten years anyway.

KUT 90.5 – Texas’ Power Grid Was 4 Minutes And 37 Seconds Away From Collapsing. Here’s How It Happened – February 24, 2021

Millions lost power. Hundreds died. How did this happen? KUT’s Mose Buchele explores what happened during the worst blackout in Texas history, how we got the electric grid we have today and what could be done to fix it.

kutkutx.studio/the-disconnect
kut.org

Shares of Macquarie rose 3.4% in Sydney on Monday after the company raised its profit outlook. They are now down 2.8% over the past 12 months.

One customer told the Dallas Morning News that his electric bill for five days stood at $5,000, the amount he would normally pay for several years of power. Another told the Dallas-Fort Worth NBC affiliate that he had been charged more than $16,000 for February.

wsj.com

It is also too bad that Texas’ hostility to federal regulation caused it to seek an isolated grid through ERCOT, which meant that most of Texas went without power when it’s isolated grid went down and no one could send it power to keep it afloat. Unless you were lucky and lived around El Paso, which (along with Amarillo and the panhandle) are not under ERCOT and consequently only saw minor interruptions in service.

This is what happens when you make the essentials for survival into profit-driven commodities; commodities that no one can understand how to profit from unless they are scarce enough to drive demand over available supply. When there is more demand than there is supply of the essentials some people won’t survive. The death toll across Texas due to the winter storm and resulting power outages is still unknown but is likely to be well over 100 people, and a bank in Australia made 200 million off of those deaths.

Texas is misnamed. Texas (tejas) supposedly means friend or ally. Nothing could be further from the truth than seeing Texas as your friend or ally. That is the ploy of the confidence man, the demand to trust him even though he seems to be oilier than all get out. The Texas mascot should be the irresponsible teen who wants to shirk all the day long because he can. It should be the grasshopper that whiles the summer away instead of storing food for the winter. Like the grasshopper and the irresponsible teen, Texas is always unprepared for adversity because of these infantile behavior patterns. Texas is a great place to be young and healthy, because there are no worries about tomorrow here, and no requirement to save anything for that day of need. Texas is a horrible place to be old or sick in because there is no place to go when you reach your hour of need. No allowance for the slackers that we pretend to be fond of, but throw out in the cold the minute that things get tough.

The true beneficiary of Texas largesse is the corporate raider, the false priest, the con artist. Texas is made for thieves. Personal and corporate greed are rewarded here, rewarded more highly than any human virtue. Just look at Ken Lay. He understood what Texas was for. He rode that pony hard and put it up wet counting on not being there when the tax man came for his cut. He died a millionaire, of the diseases of old age he could have avoided if he had straightened up and flown right. Why bother? No one gets out of this life alive.

The Enron legacy is ERCOT and every other Texas boondoggle ever hatched. Every scheme that amounted to nothing more than stealing from public coffers and crafting a golden parachute for yourself. If we had those billions that Enron stole from us, that the deregulation scheme stole from us, we wouldn’t need to go without water or power, the average Austinite wouldn’t have to be out there hand-delivering necessities to people on the verge of death during a pandemic. This lunacy has to stop. The question is, will we pay attention long enough to make it stop?

Featured image from twitter.com/austinenergy

Postscript

The BBC on the subject of the legacy of Enron:

spotifyBBC Business Daily –
The collapse of Enron: Did we learn the lessons? Dec 2, 2021

They don’t go into the facts of Texas’ continued reliance on power systems that were set up for Enron to make profits from. The fact that power systems in all areas where Enron was active are still suffering from the after effects of Enron’s malfeasance.

Governor Greg Abbott made off like a bandit after the legislative session that did not fix the Texas power grid, but not nearly as much of a bandit as one of the owners of Texas’ power generation facilities:

Winter Storm Uri cost us an estimated $293 billion in damages and some estimates put the actual death toll closer to 700. Nearly 5 million Texans lost power; many more went days without water. Remember?

One Texan who hasn’t forgotten is Dallas resident Kelcy Warren, although not because he worried that he and his family were in any danger. Warren, co-founder and now executive chairman of Energy Transfer Partners, lives in a 27,000-square-foot ivy-covered stone castle on nine acres in North Dallas. He bought his humble abode in 2009 for a reported $29 million. We can imagine that the heat stayed on in the Warren manse (or perhaps the family repaired to its private island off the coast of Honduras.)

What the pipeline tycoon remembers, we suspect, is not the nearly $300 billion that the storm cost Texas. It’s the figure $2.4 billion. As Justin Miller reports in the current issue of the Texas Observer, that’s the profit Warren’s company collected during the blackouts, a sizable portion of the $11 billion profit the natural gas industry as a whole collected by, in Miller’s words, “selling fuel at unprecedented prices to desperate power generators and utilities during the state’s energy crisis.”

Warren, a hefty donor over the years to former Gov. Rick Perry, former President Donald Trump and other Republicans, made sure that Gov. Greg Abbott didn’t forget either.

On June 23, Warren wrote out a check to Abbott’s reelection campaign in the amount of $1 million. That’s the biggest check Warren has ever given a Texas politician, according to campaign finance reports. And it’s four times the usual $250,000 gift that Abbott has gotten from his reliable Dallas benefactor nearly every year since he was elected governor in 2014.

houstonchronicle.com

This is the Enron legacy, in spades. This is what the for-profit power generation scheme that Ken Lay wanted put in place is there for. It is there to make billions of dollars for people who control access to the power of the state. We are fools to continue to allow this fraud to continue at our expense, at the possible cost of our own lives. If you vote for Republicans in Texas, you are the biggest fool of all.

Abbott’s War on Absentee Voting

Local officials in Texas say they plan to fight a new order from Gov. Greg Abbott to limit the number of places where voters can hand deliver mail-in ballots.

Abbott announced the order Thursday, the same day local election officials opened the drop-off sites.

NPR.org

I’ve been of the opinion for decades now that the governor’s office has overstepped its constitutional bounds. It started with Pointy Boots, err, Rick Perry, but Abbott has stretched the areas that the office was intended to govern into areas that are far beyond constitutional intents. I know that interfering in city and county business was exactly what the writers of the Texas constitution were trying to prevent, and yet Abbott has done this routinely over the last few years with the legislature’s help.

Local officials, both county and city, should call his bluff this time. Tell him that he can either get the Secretary of State to issue a guideline that makes that limitation on balloting official (but still questionable) or he can drag the legislature back into session to make the voting changes he calls for a legislative directive that is demonstrably constitutional. Otherwise, tough. The counties make those kinds of decisions and the counties have already made their decisions.

Greg Abbott is not the dictator of Texas, he’s just the governor. His job is to look pretty, sign bills and cut ribbons. That is the extent of his power. That he can only do two of those things is not our problem.

Facebook

The district court was wrong to rewrite Texas law. But the distinguished judge who did so was simply following in the Governor’s footsteps,” Ho wrote. “It is surely just as offensive to the Constitution to rewrite Texas election law by executive fiat as it is to do so by judicial fiat. Yet that is what occurred here.

statesman.com

Essential Services?

Governor Greg Abbott has fumbled the ball again.

Turner and others did express concern about Abbott’s decision to include religious worship as an essential service, leaving open the possibility of large gatherings at churches. At the news conference, Abbott encouraged churches to conduct their services remotely but said that if they must meet in person, they should follow the federal social-distancing guidelines.

“I’m unaware of a church that would want its constituents, its parishioners, to be exposed to COVID-19, and I think there’s enough public information right now for them to be aware of the practices that are needed to make sure that their members don’t contract COVID-19,” Abbott said in the interview.

There has been controversy, particularly in the Houston area, over church closures in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Pastors are in court challenging a stay-at-home order that Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced a week ago that restricts churches to online-only services.

To that end, Abbott’s latest executive order overrides “any conflicting order issued by local officials,” including those related to religious services. At the news conference, Abbott said local officials “still have flexibility to impose standards that they consider to be more strict” — as long as they do not conflict with his latest executive order.

There are at least 3,266 coronavirus cases in Texas, including 41 deaths, according to the most recent figures from the Texas Department of State Health Services. The cases are spread across 122 of the state’s 254 counties.

There have been 42,992 tests done in Texas, according to the latest numbers.

Texasstandard.org

Churches are essential services when schools are not? This conclusion says more about Texas than most thinking Texans are going to be comfortable admitting. It also says a lot about Gov. Abbott’s ability to be an effective leader; that he is more afraid of the religious right than he is of the plague that is sweeping across the country. He also continues down the path that he has set himself on, thinking his state government is more understanding of what Houston, Austin and Dallas citizens need than the governments we have put in place to govern our cities.

If Harris county leadership says the churches are closed, then the churches are closed in Harris county. Look to see that provision of the order reversed, along with a lot of the bullshit his Republican legislature has passed over the last year hamstringing local governments. It won’t happen soon enough to stop the landslide of coronavirus cases that will stem from letting people gather in churches because church services are essential.

The number of tests conducted in the state are pathetic. 42k? The number of asymptomatic carriers that will be at church spreading the disease to other parishioners will ensure that the wildfire of COVID-19 will continue to burn out of control in Texas until hopefully the summer months bring it to an end. If we are lucky.

…also? Women’s health is an essential service. This means that abortion services are essential services. Pretending that the procedures you don’t like are not essential and then banning its practice during this crisis is the essence of making something that shouldn’t be political, political. I want this on the record for the next time that Abbott and his Christianist cronies start tearing their hair and pretending that they want to avoid making this crisis political. Pot, meet kettle. Kettle, meet pot.