Category Archives: Republinuttiness

Abbott Is Taking Donations For His Welcome Wagon

Well, those taxpayer-paid “free” bus trips for migrants did not sit well with Abbott’s base.

But the shift to ask private donors to pay for the charter buses comes as his plan has been increasingly praised as an act of generosity by Democrats, immigration rights groups and even the migrants who rode the buses, while those further to Abbott’s right politically have panned it as a misuse of taxpayer dollars that incentivizes migrants to cross into Texas.

How does one fail at being an asshole? It’s the easiest thing for Republicans, but this time, Abbott really screwed up at the task of “sticking it to Biden.”

Thus far, the Trib reports, Abbott has collected over $60K for the welcome wagon, which also provides meals for migrants. One must ask, though: Why isn’t he using some of that $55 million in donated border wall money? And who is accounting for all this donated money? And can people even write it off at the end of the year?

Tony Payan at Rice’s Baker Center gives us a little truth: “It’s a political circus,” Payan said. “It’s going to have no impact whatsoever on the conditions on the ground.”

So, again, I ask: As much as Dems are praising Abbott for his failed assholity, where’s the action from a Democratic majority in DC to fix this broken immigration system? Obviously, we have some assholity issues on our side, too, and their names are Machin, Synema, and maybe even the astronaut dude from Arizona.

Abbott’s Free Ride on a Welcome Wagon

Greg Abbott’s free ride program for migrants to points Northeast is getting accolades from the migrants and their supporters, according to Texas Monthly.

His side-show to stick it to Biden for trying to cancel Title 42, a health-related anti-immigrant policy, which buses migrants released by DHS to America’s front porch, is actually a welcome wagon.

Asylum-seekers’ trial locations are usually based on the region where they settle as they await the hearings—which could make the prospect of an expenses-paid bus trip out of Texas to D.C. appealing. Asylum judges in districts around the nation’s capital tend to grant refuge more readily than do judges in most of Texas’s thirteen immigration courts. In the Houston court, for instance, some judges denied 100 percent of asylum claims in 2021; a judge in El Paso denied 99 percent. By contrast, in a Baltimore court, where D.C. asylum seekers often appear, one judge denied just 10 percent of claims last year. 

and

The capital is also a more welcoming locale for migrants in other ways. D.C.’s mayor has affirmed the city’s status as a “sanctuary,” and a bevy of nongovernmental organizations and private citizens in the capital stand ready and eager to aid the migrants. Furthermore, immigration experts say most asylum-seekers arriving in the U.S. already have family living here, and many, especially Guatemalans, Hondurans, and Salvadorans, might try to reach D.C., where there’s a large Central American population. Even those trying to reunite with family in New York or elsewhere on the East Coast might happily accept Abbott’s offer to bus them most of the way, a trip that otherwise would cost them around $350. 

Bottom line: When the Feds release migrants, they never pay for much of anything, including travel to their destinations. So, Abbott’s “volunteer” busing program is spreading the migrants around on Texas taxpayers’ dime. And groups like Catholic Charities are enjoying spending some of their own help resources at those end points of Abbott’s bus trips.

I’ve been wanting to take a trip to DC to visit the sites. I wonder if I’d get a free trip if I turn myself in. Abbott is one of those kinder, gentler coyotes, apparently.

Meanwhile, Republicans in Texas want Abbott to declare an “invasion” and begin the deportation of migrants to home countries. Because, apparently, Texas has money for this, but no money for schools, health care, and infrastructure.

The Center for Renewing America, a conservative think tank led by Ken Cuccinelli, a former Homeland Security official under Trump, has been leading the charge to get Abbott to declare an invasion, criticizing his border-security efforts as inadequate so far. And Brandon Judd, the head of the National Border Patrol Council — one of Abbott’s most visible endorsers for reelection — recently said Abbott should “absolutely” declare an invasion.

An angry bunch of white supremacists, huh? Unfortunately, there are enough Trump judges to back them up with no basis of law.

In other news, Texas Republican AG Paxton was trying to stop Title 42 from ending, but it looks like other states found a Trump fed judge in Louisiana, of all places, to stop its end, as Kuff tells us about it.

The lack of leaders pushing back against the right-wingers is a bit sad. Thankfully, the Mayors of Brownsville, TX and Tucson, AZ backed the Biden administration ending Title 42. Mayor Trey Mendez and Mayor Regina Romero stated:

“We support the Biden Administration’s decision to repeal Title 42 and uphold our legal and moral obligation of providing the fundamental right to seek asylum. It is the smart thing to do and it is the right thing to do. A fair and humane immigration system should be a priority for all of our leaders, not just those such as us who see the effects of a broken system every day,”

Because it’s about the broken system. And that never makes it into the news, like Republican racism.

Thoughts on Viernes-Sabado Edition-42322

Abbott Policy Is Killing People

There is a Texas National Guard soldier missing in the Rio Grande after attempting to save a migrant who was crossing the treacherous river to the US. This is the latest tragedy caused by Greg Abbott’s border militarization, which has included migrant deaths, soldier suicides, government corruption, and failed administration of this policy.

There is no logic to Greg Abbott’s border folly. The National Guard (and DPS and local sheriff’s offices enlisted by Abbott) block the border, force migrants to cross in more dangerous crossings only to have to try and save the migrants from drowning. It’s all theater by Greg Abbott and Republicans while endangering even more migrants and guardsmen.

On top of all of this, it is also costly as Greg Abbott has wasted billions of dollars on this failed operation which hunts brown people escaping violence and poverty.

Meanwhile, Ken Paxton is now suing to stop the Biden administration from ending Title 42, which is a health-related policy and not a migration policy. Funny how they like this COVID policy but whine over masks and vaccines. If only we had a Democratic President and a Democratic majority in Washington DC to pass immigration reform and stop the theatrics. Oh wait!

State-Sponsored Killing Is Not The Answer to Crime

I’m not here to defend any killers. But I am here to say how wrong the death penalty is.

As we await Greg Abbott’s decision on whether or not he will commute the death sentence of an innocent woman (Melissa Lucio) railroaded by bad police and DA investigations, yesterday we witnessed the state’s first vengeful killing of the year (Carl Buntion). To say the least, I am sickened by the political theater of the death penalty, whether it is by blood-thirsty DAs and cops or politicians that feel the need to be begged to do the right thing as in the case of Melissa Lucio. What should be about justice turns into revenge porn for right-wingers.

As a reminder, here are ACLU’s objections to the death penalty, chief among them is that this cruel and unusual punishment is NOT a deterrent to crime and a waste of resources. But it is a great opportunity for law enforcement and political theater, while victims of crimes are used as props. And the media gladly promotes it. That people think the local “crime stopping” group is anything but partisan is laughable.

The death penalty is not a solution to crime and it certainly isn’t a road to closure for crime victims. And because of the political theater that comes with this punishment, overzealous DAs have been known to push for the execution of innocent people. Almost 200 humans have been killed by the government wrongfully. This isn’t justice and it is treated by politicians as collateral damage.

This thirst for revenge needs to stop.

I Know We Are Happy, But…

Kuff tells us about the indictment of the local right-wing purveyor of hormone and “Low-T” shots whose involvement in the vehicular assault and illegal detention in the name of voter fraud by a former cop he hired now has him indicted for the same crime.

From the Chron:

Through a group called Liberty Center for God and Country, Hotze funded a private investigation into a conspiracy theory that Democrats had collected hundreds of thousands of fraudulent ballots, prosecutors have alleged. The group paid (Mark) Aguirre, a disgraced former Houston police captain, $266,400 to investigate the claims.

and

The vast majority of the money from Hotze’s group, $211,400, arrived to Aguirre one day after the alleged assault, previous grand jury subpoenas showed.

Needless to say, a lot of folks are happy to see one of the wealthiest and whiniest republinuts in town in trouble for something after bankrolling all sorts anti-Dem, anti-LGBTQ+, anti-COVID Vax, and anti-anything progressive campaigns and conspiracy theories.

The problem is when you have a local DA who’s in the news for using her office for political purposes whether against the County Judge or a local District Judge, well, cases in which gun violence and politics mix are sure to get tainted, or questioned before the public square.

Still, I’m sure all sorts of folks, including republicans who want some sort of “normal” right-winger behavior, will be watching this story intently.

Judge Hidalgo Puts Us Back At Yellow

Congrats to all those who are not at-risk or immunocompromised and have been given the green light to move about unmasked at mass events. County Judge Lina Hidalgo has lowered the color code to yellow. People have been living on green, attending unmasked events, and not really paying attention to anything regarding COVID, though. But, congrats anyway.

Me? I look forward to my almost weekly visits with a family member who is immunocompromised, so, I do everything possible to not get infected. That means no mass, unmasked events with people I don’t know or trust to be safe. That means masking up with KN-95 and KF-94s at work, at the store, amongst people, etc. That means if you must see me, I’ll probably be double-masked!

Thankfully, I really like my family members. We make great food together. We even have our own house band and make great music. Studio quality if the booze is flowing. It’s what’s important to me.

Anyway, back to my normal. As, the Judge said, “stay vigilant.”

COVID Happenings

CDC will extend mask mandate on public transport (planes and trains and buses) through April 18. Republinuts are suing, obviously, since they don’t care about anyone. Unfortunately, they cite “science” in their defense. The same science that leaves at-risk and immunocompromised people vulnerable with weakened color codes, I guess.

Anyway, good luck to all.

Isabel Longoria Resigns As Elections Chief

After County Judge Lina Hidalgo made it clear that she preferred someone else in charge of elections, Isabel Longoria submitted her resignation, effective July 1.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Houston Chronicle reported that Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, a Democrat, said she wanted a change in leadership and intended to replace election administrator Isabel Longoria. Shortly after, Longoria announced she would step down on July 1.

Her resignation came after Harris County Democrats called for a comprehensive post-election review, while Republicans — regular adversaries of the county’s Democratic leadership — simultaneously sued the county and demanded Longoria’s resignation.

Also…

Ultimately, the county commissioners court voted to bring in a third-party consultant to review the county’s elections operations and make recommendations for improvement for the remaining 2022 elections.

I guess that the consultant will work double-time so the office can be ready for November. That’ll be a nice vendor contract.

County Commissioner Adrian Garcia supported Longoria’s resignation and defended the creation of an election administrator’s office stating the current system allows for accountability. Also, that an elected official running the elections would have an unfair advantage in their own race.

County Commissioner Rodney Ellis expanded on the fact that Longoria had to face an “unprecedented amount of obstructions aimed at her office and Harris County voters.” That would include anything from frivolous lawsuits to SB1 to no guidance from the Secretary of State. Ellis also stated that the real threat to voting rights are barriers to voting and other voter suppression tactics.

Back when the office was created, I defended our Democratic majority doing so since we elected them, and despite opposition from the Tax Assessor-Collector to the idea. What I did prefer at the time was a lengthy discussion on how it should be created and run and that a national search be done for someone to lead the office. Someone who knew the new voting system and could hit the ground running. Something that would not have taken two years, as Garcia mentioned in his statement. And look at where we are now.

Like Kuff, I was happy with the choice of Longoria because I knew her as a hard-working, open-minded person who would get the job done, if given the freedom by all sides. So, I appreciate Isabel Longoria’s commitment to remaining for the next two elections in May, though, I do remind her that this is a right to work state and loyalty is a two-way street. Whatever errors occurred happened within the entire office, so, I hope that all those involved are held accountable. That’s if all the hubbub wasn’t “political,” right?

Something else I said about the creation of a “non-partisan” elections office that would take out the politics from elections is that these offices are always political, no matter who is in charge. And with republicans continually tossing around voting conspiracy theories, it will be hard for anyone to run this office. And that’s exactly what Republicans want. So, best to keep a Democratic majority at Commissioner’s Court.

Kuff has his take and smacks the local news a bit for basically misleading viewers on how the “missing” votes could have affected the outcomes of some close races without context on the data. As Kuff (and many of us who follow vote counts as hobbies) expected, no outcomes were affected.

Those Litigious GOPers

Republinuts have been lawsuit filing fools recently. One lawsuit against Beto O’Rourke because of a billionaire’s hurt feelings and the other against Harris County because they didn’t like the election.

[Kelcy] Warren, the co-founder of Energy Transfer and chair of its board, filed the lawsuit last month in state district court in San Saba County, accusing O’Rourke of a “relentless and malicious attack” on him. The lawsuit alleges defamation, slander and libel, and it seeks over $1 million in damages.

At first, I thought it said “definition” of character. I agree with O’Rourke, it’s frivolous and pretty whiny. Kelcy is just a poor little rich man.

Speaking of whiny, the local republinuts filed a lawsuit against election chief, Isabel Longoria, for a variety of reasons.

The lawsuit, which lists Longoria by name, claims she interfered with the Republican chair supervision of the primary election by “failing to abide the county chair’s appointment of Presiding Judges and alternate judges” and interfered with “the county chair’s supervision by electing to treat a 10,000 vote discrepancy in the county as a matter ‘for further investigation rather than providing the county chairs and the presiding judges the underlying data suggesting that Defendant could not get those votes counted before a court-imposed deadly.”

So, instead of trying to seek facts, the GOP is putting out all sorts of conspiracy theories to see what sticks, or not. It’s the usual playbook of questioning the legitimacy of elections, including the republican primary which was run by the republicans. All of this with the purpose of attacking County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Democrats. I hope the lawsuit is dismissed.

Bottom line: The votes are being counted and finalized, including the 10,000+ that were scanned but not tabulated. A review of the process is being done. The County Commissioners will get to question the election administrator this week. Answers are coming. Anything else the local republinuts do is just to add a very annoying smokescreen to the facts and more delays.

Kuff has more.

Are You Ready for the Democratic Run-Offs?

Well, the vote counts are in, despite the whining of the Trumpy, Abbott-appointed Secretary of State and republinuts who probably started all the whining, and we can see who will be facing off in the run-off in a couple of months. This is what we see, so far, locally.

US Rep, District 38 – Diana Martinez Alexander, Duncan Klussman

Lt. Governor – Mike Collier, Michelle Beckley

Attorney General – Rochelle Mercedes Garza, Joe Jaworski

State Comptroller – Angel Luis Vera, Janet Dudding

Land Commissioner – Sandragrace Martinez, Jay Kleberg

SBOE – 4 – Staci Childs, Coretta Mallett-Fontenot

State Rep, 147 – Danielle Keys Bess, Jolanda Jones

Judge, 185th District – Jason Luong, Andrea Beall

Judge, 208th District – Beverly Armstrong, Kimberly McTorry

Family Judge, 312th District – Clinton “Chip” Wells, Teresa Waldrop

Judge, County Civil Court #4 – Treasea Trevino, MK Singh

County Commissioner, Pct. 4 – Lesley Briones, Ben Chou

Justice of the Peace, Pct 1-2 – Sonia Lopez, Steve Duble

Those in italics are not on my ballot, but maybe they are on yours. Either way, all of us will have a busy run-off ballot. Those in bold are folks I’m voting for and/or rooting for. Those races I haven’t picked, well, I haven’t learned anything about them, yet.

Outside of Harris County, eyes will be looking toward South Texas where there will be some interesting run-offs, including CD28 where Jessica Cisneros gets one more chance to unseat the old, searched-thru furniture that is Henry Cuellar. Kuff has a good round-up on all of the run-offs in Texas.

Kuff also expands on the coverage of the printer/paper ballot issues at Harris County. I agree that more voter education and election worker training is needed to ensure people don’t scuff their paper ballots while voting. Hell, even I held my paper ballot sheets gently and from a corner while voting on the machine because I worried about it folding or whatever. Ultimately, less that one percent of ballots were damaged, but counting them just added to the delays in results because Longoria and her staff are trying to ensure actual vote security.

What we really need less of is voter suppression from the Lege with laws like SB1, whose mail ballot issues caused even more delays for election staff. And maybe local news media that treats this story in an educative manner (Miya Shay), rather than in a sensational manner (the other reporters).

It’s Dem Primary Election Day 2022!

OK, folks! If you didn’t vote early, today is the day to VOTE so you can pick your choices for the November ballot! Print out your sample ballot here. Find a polling location here. Remember you can vote at any polling location in Harris County. Take a photo ID, your sample ballot, (AND A MASK), because there are too many names to remember.

Also, the 2022 Stace Slate is available for printing. (For those races not on my ballot, here are my choices for those.) There are a lot of slates out there–some are pretty dangerous anti-Democratic ones, too. I think mine are the best.

All that said, I’m glad it’s over today. As Dem primaries go, this one didn’t have too many explosive happenings. Sure, County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s Dem opponents came off as Republican-Lite in their attacks. And the dude wanting to unseat County Commissioner Pct 2 Adrian Garcia came off as the typical angry dude, but that may have been his target audience.

In the Pct 4 Commish race, Leslie Briones and Ben Chou and the rest ran races about who was the best for the job. I was hoping to have seen a response to Chou’s pothole vid-ad using one of those pothole patching trucks that are the rave, though. In open seat races, it’s all about introducing ones self and stating ones case. Not too much controversy.

But in the judicial races, particularly the Criminal Courts, there was talk of opponents to incumbent judges being recruited by the local DA, using bond reform and crime as a scare tactic. Of course, it doesn’t help when people who bond out are committing crimes once back on the streets, thanks to bail bondsmen discounting the cost of bail bonds instead of keeping the cost at 10%. It never fails that those who rake in the cash from the criminal justice system are the least blamed or reformed by the system. And the ignorance among the voters continues and is exploited by bad people, especially republicans. It was hard to figure out who was whom on the Dem side, but if you voted for all or most of the incumbent judges in the criminal courts, then you came out pretty good. Let’s hope that this is the result tonight.

The best thing about the end of the primary is the end of republinut ads. From blaming migrants escaping poverty and violence for their suburban kid’s fentanyl and other drug addictions, to labeling a right-wing zealot former justice as “woke” when she’s pretty sleepy, to some pendejo riding daddy’s 4-wheeler from the huntin’ ranch at the border wall, to a threat by a nut-job running for Congress against people protesting police violence, to demeaning and violent right-wing statements flashing on screen, the republinuts took fear-mongering to new levels.

Republinuts have always been about fear-mongering; unfortunately, Dems not of color have been in denial about this for decades. (My guess is they were defending their nice, yet racist, neighbors and relatives.) Dems who vote in the republican primary for the “better” nut-job are the worse. And look at where all of us are now. On top of being constantly attacked, it’s the policies that are taking effect that are hurting people. It’s weak Democrats who use the same scare tactics who weaken the Democratic message.

Anyway, the state of Texas keeps digging itself into a bigoted hole that will be harder to dig out of. We have good candidates in Beto O’Rourke, Mike Collier, Rochelle Garza and others to offer a real alternative. Despite the failures of Greg Abbott, County Judge Lina Hidalgo and a Democratic majority on Commissioner’s Court have led us through a pandemic while keeping their promises of transparency and open-government–the two things that scare republicans the most. We have a good team for the most part. But we need to VOTE to keep them.

So, get out there, make your voice heard. And don’t fall for the republican bullshit.

The Weather Changes; COVID-19 Remains

As one more weather change hits us today, after a few that have kept our coat closets confused, this is a reminder the COVID-19 is still among us.

Yes, as the Texas Trib Coronavirus tracker tells us, cases in schools have dropped dramatically, as have hospitalizations. Unfortunately, the City of Laredo is going through a fourth surge and deaths have reached 82,000 statewide. Also, thanks to Greg Abbott and Republican spread of misinformation, Texas is still less than 60% fully vaccinated, with nine million Texans walking around unvax’d.

Meanwhile, Ken Paxton is suing the Biden administration to end the mask mandate on airplanes, thus making them flying death tubes again. All in the name of “freedumb” with no regard for the lives of other Texans.

The CDC, though, does not fall far behind as the warnings are going out that they may change mask guidance as they try to take credit for the numbers decreasing. 49 out of 50 states have weakened their mask requirements and states like California are now moving toward an endemic response to COVID-19, admitting that COVID-19 is here to stay.

A disease reaches the endemic stage when the virus still exists in a community but becomes manageable as immunity builds.

Unfortunately, there are no plans on how to keep the immunosuppressed safe. It’s all about money and keeping whiny, uncaring people unmasked and/or unvax’d, and happy.