Tag Archives: biden

Inaction Claims Migrants Escaping Violence and Poverty

The media reports that at least 46 human beings were found dead and another 16 barely alive in a semi trailer in San Antonio. All were migrants escaping poverty and violence in their home countries, exploited by traffickers who continually exploit the US political weaknesses of Republican hate and Democratic indifference.

Gustavo García-Siller, the Roman Catholic archbishop of San Antonio, wrote on Twitter: “Once again, the lack of courage to deal with immigration reform is killing and destroying lives. We do not learn. God teach us to change.”

Scenes with stacked bodies will provide fundraising opportunities for Democrats and masturbation material for Republicans (because they get off on the suffering of others). Greg Abbott, in all of his racist glory, chooses to make a political statement blaming others, instead of taking responsibility for his bigoted border policies which force migrants to choose alternate, more dangerous routes to get to this side of the river. Failed policies that hand out money to local law enforcement agencies who love participating in migrant chases, rather than saving children in classrooms threatened by active shooters. No Greg Abbott, this is on the entire political system. Especially on bigots like you.

Yes, there is a lot of blame to go around. And when Democrats have a President and a majority which has done nothing on most issues, instead supporting the re-election of anti-immigrant, anti-woman, and religious zealot Democrats (Cuellar), the message is clear and the same old platitudes are ineffective.

As much as Democrats used Trump’s racist policies to get this majority, they have failed miserably to make change regarding migrant policies, choosing to continue draconian human rights-violating enforcement, detention, and deportation practices, all while expanding legitimate and illegitimate profiteering opportunities for equally bad people.

But most Democrats will remain willfully ignorant of all of this and continue to support the incumbent leadership which continues to fail, well, everyone. Those who will definitely not like my comments probably get a paycheck from political leadership that has failed. Go figure. Anyway…

Locally, we heard that Sheriff Ed Gonzalez finally told the Biden Administration he was withdrawing his name from consideration to be the ICE Director after Senate inaction on a confirmation vote. Way to go, Ed! You don’t need to be tainted by inaction and bigoted policies that our own Party fails to change or even challenge.

I thought I’d sleep off my lack of hope, but I still remain lacking in hope this morning.

This Week’s Abbott Idiocy

Abbott Wants To Starve Brown Babies

Greg Abbott continued to show how evil he is this week when he blamed migrant children for the baby formula crisis. Abbott pointed to migrant children receiving formula while in federal lock-ups while blaming Biden for not providing it to the rest of the country. Standing with the bigoted Border Patrol Council, a club of white supremacists who do Border Patrol spin, they stated, “…the Biden Administration is happy to provide baby formula to illegal immigrants coming across our southern border,” while a crisis created by baby formula companies who have failed to come up with a solution to the problem has been going on for months.

The problem is that Democrats and advocates want to debate Abbott on something that is not up for debate–child starvation and abuse. Call Abbott and his bigoted base evil and heartless for their actions, instead. A debate only provides Abbott more free advertising and gas to throw on a fire, rather than a forum for solutions. The Biden administration is at least attempting solutions, such as increasing imports (which Trump purposefully screwed up with his USCMA), cracking down on price gouging, and doing away with WIC restrictions that force consumers to buy smaller portions, thus, allowing companies to produce large containers faster. These are all things Abbott would never support, thus, he’s evil!

It’s Always Been A Boondoggle

Whether it’s been both political parties supporting the $4 billion Republican boondoggle at the border or, now, the use of pandemic relief money from the feds to fund a money giveaway at the border, it’s always been a waste and a policy based on bigotry strictly to appease right-wing bigots for their votes. Biden’s Treasury Department is looking into pandemic money being used for border militarization after some Dem Congressmen, including Joaquin Castro of SATX, demanded it. I’m with Kuff on this, there are no consequences for Abbott other than beating him in November. We’ve had our chances in the past, but even some Dems have given Abbott a 2nd chance by making weak , coded excuses to not vote for his opponents.

Kinney County Flush With Migrant Cash

Part of Greg Abbott’s bigoted boondoggle is to open up state-run prisons to warehouse migrants who are given a bogus trespassing charge for walking on private land while escaping poverty and violence, and are finally convicted before being turned over to the Migra. The county that has benefited the most seems to be Kinney County in Southwest Texas. They have collected over $2 million in bond money from family and advocates who have bonded out migrants. The money is sitting in a bank account, but Kinney County is putting up rules and requirements that block that bond from being returned once the cases have been disposed. (Reminder: Bonds are not punishment, they are a guarantee that the accused will show up in court.) Greg Abbott has created all sorts of boondoggles to benefit dirty cops at the border, whether with state, federal, or migrant money. And no one seems to want to stop it.

My May 7 Election Report

The most uneventful election this year was held on Saturday and Texas homeowners voted themselves some minor tax giveaways.

Voters approved two propositions intended to lower property taxes for homeowners by decisive margins — one aimed at older and disabled Texans and another that would provide modest relief for homeowners across the board.

Unfortunately, renters were largely ignored by the Texas Lege. It’s no secret that, as property values increase across the board, renters are taking any tax bill increases in the teeth. But if you think about it, any tax giveaways to property owners would probably never make it to renters. Makes me think: They couldn’t have added a $175 gift card for renters? I mean, they’re giving away money that will negatively affect us in the long-run, let’s all benefit.

Meanwhile, state lawmakers are eyeing a $12 billion surplus in state revenue to pay for some public school costs so districts may lower their property tax rates. Texas is also suing the federal government for the right to use $3 billion in federal stimulus funds to pay for tax cuts.

In other words, they’re using money that all Texans contributed to the pot to reward some while giving the rest the shaft. There’s no idea on how these cuts will be paid for in the future, either, unless they slice education budgets. Also, there is no fairness in this, but it wasn’t like anyone was going to launch a campaign against it.

Local Races

A friend of mine ran for Mayor in a tiny town to the south of Houston, but was defeated. On the other hand, one of my CCHS classmates (who’s also the Dem Party Chairman in Zavala County) squeaked by to win his race for Crystal City City Council. Congrats, Joe Uribes!

Otherwise, this was a boring election.

The Run-Off

But the Democratic Party run-off is on May 24, with early voting starting on May 16th and ending on May 20th. Find your sample ballot here (when it becomes available) and study those in the running.

I know my initial leanings have either changed or are drawing a blank at the moment. Races to watch include Texas Attorney General, Texas Land Commish, Texas Comptroller, as well as the Harris County Commissioner Pct 4 race and local judicial run-offs. It’s a busy ballot and all the races will all become a lot more interesting. Kuff has something on one of the judicial races. I’ll have a new and improved Stace Slate soon.

Beto’s Right. Where’s Biden post-Title 42 Plan?

While many of us celebrate the demise of the Trump-era, yet Biden-continued, Title 42, there is no plan to address the needs of those being released by DHS after their asylum process has begun. And Beto O’Rourke is calling out the Biden administration for the lack of a plan.

The small towns on the border where the Border Patrol detention centers process migrants will be getting the brunt of the effects of this lack of a plan. While there are nonprofits and humanitarian groups which do most of the work, they will not have the resources to fully respond.

All that said, there is a lot more to the border than Title 42.

Greg Abbott’s policies of militarizing the border with the National Guard; his deputation and corrupt behavior of local cops and courts to terrorize migrants with arrests and trumped up charges while imprisoning them in state-run prisons; the dangerous chases on state roads by the Border Patrol, DPS, and local cops that continually cause deadly accidents; are a lot more dangerous than humans fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries.

What bad policies and lack of them at all levels have created is a front for human trafficking, more violence, and government corruption in our own country. Meanwhile, Congress and the Biden administration (and previous administrations) continually fail to create workable solutions to the asylum process and immigration, generally.

Instead, politicians and pundits get mad on camera at higher food prices because of Abbott’s inspections at the border as the cost of all this while at the same time defending and funding war policies and oil companies profiting from higher gas prices because of those war policies.

I’m just saying there is a lot to this border issue and even the whining seems to be coming piecemeal.

Abbott Calls For Volunteer Migrants to Self-Deport From Texas

Another Abbott border boondoggle? Or is it a show of bigotry and idiocy? Probably both.

Greg Abbott called a press show to announce a new program to bus migrants to Washington, DC to drop them off at Joe Biden’s (and America’s) front yard so that he can deal with them.

What sounded like a pretty bigoted shit-show worsened when reality set in.

The governor’s office clarified that the program is completely voluntary for migrants and would happen only after they had been processed and released by the Department of Homeland Security. And in addition to buses, Abbott also ordered the state to charter flights to transport migrants to the nation’s capital. The migrants would have to show documentation that they had already been processed by DHS. Many immigration advocates have noted that providing transportation services for asylum-seekers to reach their final destination is something the state should invest in.

Abbott’s announcement led to immediate criticism from both his left and his right. Immigration rights groups said his rhetoric was still dangerous.

No doubt, when I thought about it, I thought it a great idea. These are recently released migrants, not migrants caught by Abbott’s border initiative, which includes local Sheriff’s offices. Because one way or another, migrants must be released by the yokels and the smokies to DHS/Border Patrol for processing. DHS then releases them from border area facilities to the towns in which they are located. A free ride to parts east where there is a need for exploitable and cheap labor would be a big help all-around, right?

Still, the underlying reasons are obvious and the whole program is a dangerous one.

Small border towns have been having a freak-out as the Trump/Biden Title 42 rule, which blames migrants for COVID and not Abbott’s unmasking and unvax’ing of Texas, is on the verge of ending in the next few weeks; thus, a surge is expected at the border and from DHS releases of processed migrants. So, it’s obvious this is part of a “response” from Abbott.

Fortunately, both the left and the right are calling it an empty gesture.

State Rep. Mary González, D-El Paso, vice chair of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus denounced Abbott’s announcement as a political stunt.

“Instead of using our tax dollars to drive economic growth and build infrastructure, Governor Abbott is funding political stunts at the expense of Texas families and our troops.”

Let’s get serious, though. The Biden administration has had every opportunity to continue making changes by executive order to our Nation’s asylum process and the overall immigration process. Lawsuits from the right, be damned! Meanwhile, Congress and Justice continues lollygagging with another failed prosecution attempt of Trump, instead of pushing immigration legislation, even in piecemeal fashion.

What some call a immigration crisis, or worse, an “invasion,” is caused by migrant’s home countries run by dictators and drug kingpins who on the daily threaten innocent people. They are left with no choice but to leave their home countries for land considered safer. So, it is not an immigration crisis as much as it is US foreign policy that bolsters right-wing and corrupt government in Latin America. Ultimately, it all becomes a human rights crisis when migrants go hunted by people like Greg Abbott and Biden’s corrupt border patrol for profit.

Wholesale change is needed, but no one wants to do anything substantive. So, this kind of crisis at the border will continue while borders are open for other lighter skinned folks from other violence-torn countries on the other side of the world.

Yes, Another COVID-19 Week

Did You Order Your Free Test?

The Biden Administration’s 1 billion at-home COVID-19 tests are now available for all to order at COVIDtests.gov. Also, if one is insured, get information on how to get reimbursed by ones health insurance at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website. Since we’re Texas, there are different and varying ways in which workplaces are dealing with in-house infections (or trying to avoid them), so, there is an unfortunate chance that one can get infected if some boss or co-worker is walking around unmasked and coughing up a lung at work. PCR Testing is probably better to get to the bottom of ones status, but if one is showing symptoms, then an at-home rapid test could be helpful. Get Vax’d/boosted, wear a mask in public places, and avoid crowds.

Free N-95s?

The Biden Administration also announced that 400 million N-95 masks will become available to the public starting next week. Higher level masks, like N-95, KN-95, and KF-94 masks increase the time for COVID-19 to spread; meaning, if you’re in a workplace setting with a lot of people or a crowd, these masks can be more effective.

The plan consists of working with pharmacies and community health centers to distribute the nonsurgical masks, which will come from the Strategic National Stockpile. The administration will begin shipments this week and hopes to have the program fully operational by early February, the White House official said.

That’s nice and all, but I wish there was a way for Biden and company to lower the costs of higher-level masks. No sooner had I ordered a batch of 50 KN-95 masks at a good price, Omicron arrived in full-force and so did the profiteering, thus, doubling + the price within days. Instead, Biden is making stuff available from the stockpile while manufacturing capacity has somewhat increased, but costs have not been controlled.

It’s Getting Better?

Notwithstanding several exposures that required more than one test in my own family over the last month, there are reports that COVID-19 measured through our Houston wastewater is seeing a decrease, and hospitalizations might be waning in a few places. That kind of talk worries me because people begin to act like fools as if they can go back to their most recent “normal,” which means unmasked mass events with people beyond their circle of trust. Don’t! It’s going in the right direction, but we’re still at almost 40% positivity.

Bottom line, we are still in the thick of it. With schools and universities reopening after the holiday, the “end” of this surge may be delayed. If schools have access to testing, masks, and vaccinations, then there is hope. But it will not be an easy task.

Many state universities are doing “soft openings,” which will begin with online instruction before going back to full capacity. For all the complaining about having to go back to virtual learning, if people wore masks indoors all the time and got vaccinated/boosted, and if higher ed leaders were to stand up to the likes of Greg Abbott, we may have had a better shot at keeping things open. But even the simple tasks are too much for people at all levels.

As always, mask up, get vax’d and boosted, and stay away from big crowds.

Another Week in COVID-19

A friend pointed me to a pretty good podcast on how Omicron is counterintuitive. Check it out here. It talks about where we are and about where we may be heading. There may be some hope in a world of “WTF is going on?!?”. Still, we must mask-up and not just be vax’d and boosted.

A few weeks into Omicron, it seems Greg Abbott finally panicked enough to beg the Biden administration for help. He still doesn’t want Texans and Texas schoolkids wearing masks, and, though vax’d and boosted himself, doesn’t want to require it for anyone else. But he demands more tests and monoclonal antibodies for his unvax’d and unmasked fans. C’mon, Abbott, Marco Rubio is calling you “irrational“!

Of course, he is also suing Biden because he says he is the state’s national guard leader (Remember Jade Helm!) and doesn’t think they should be vax’d if they don’t want to be. This is the same “leader” who has overseen recent suicides of his soldiers who are tired of being at the Texas border wasting time and taxpayer money. Some leader.

But Biden isn’t in the clear despite his press conference, either. ICE facilities have failed to give their migrant guests vaccine boosters to protect them from Omicron. We know that Omicron spreads easily and in close quarters like an immigrant prison, well, everyone is endangered. One would hope that Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez will be asked by Senators about this, since he’s been re-nominated for ICE Director after the Senate failed to act on his original nomination. Or will it be the Senate’s original questions on human warehousing and hunting and profits? Good luck, Sheriff.

Well, we’re still on fire here in Texas. COVID-19 continues its spread, infections continue to rise, and hospitalizations of the unvaccinated continue. Anecdotally, folks still seem to be acting as if invincible as I see them unmasked (and hacking up a lung) at the store. The good thing is that the holidays are over and there are less mass events among Democrats again. At least, I’m not seeing any selfies at events.

Stay masked. Stay vax’d and boosted. And stay away from large gatherings.

Thoughts on Viernes…12/03/2021

Biden Warehouses 50% More Humans

Joe Biden ran on how hateful Trump was toward immigrants. He has attempted a few measures only to get challenged by Republicans in the courts. One thing he has continued and has even pushed beyond Trump on the matter is the warehousing of humans who lack a piece of paper that lets them stay in the US. Much of the blame goes to a memorandum which gives immigration agents more discretion regarding deportations; meaning, they can deport as much as they want and imprison them while they wait. Biden sure is allowing the deportation machine to strengthen.

Biden made promises he is breaking. Whether it’s the lucrative practice of human warehousing (which he continues to privatize) or a Border Patrol which continues to violate human rights on a daily basis, even bringing local law enforcement and vigilantes into their lawless practices, this machine goes merrily along and Democrats stay quiet about it. Biden is supposedly in charge. He needs to act like he is. Or the problems he is having with Democrats passing Build Back Better, Prescriptions, Voting Rights, and other things will be the least of his problems in 2022.

There’s An Election In Houston!

Yep, those of us that do not reside in Houston ISD are still paying attention to the run-off election in which folks are voting. What HISD produces affects all of us in this area. So, I urge folks who live in HISD to make their voices heard. My picks haven’t changed:

District I – Elizabeth Santos

District V – Sue Dimenn Diegaard

District VI – Holly Flynn Vilaseca

District VII – Anne Sung

Their opponents are either bought by charter school supporters or bigoted, right-wing zealots who want to destroy public education. Most of them don’t care about protecting children and teachers during the pandemic, either. Find your polling location and get it done!

Voter Suppression Is The Law

As County Judge Lina Hidalgo told us in a FB post, Greg Abbott and his Republican buddies have outlawed democracy by giving the OK to voter suppression. Innovations, such as drive-thru voting and late night voting have been banned because it gives the Republicans the shakes and they aren’t fans of working people and people of color having a voice. Also, bigots serving as poll watchers will be allowed to bother you and hover around you while you vote. Does the law outlaw tasers? Just wondering.

Follow The Filings for 2022

County Chair Odus Evbagharu and the staff at Harris County Democratic Party have a rolling photo album on Facebook of the latest folks to file for office locally. Put a name to the face if you aren’t going to events. It looks like they’re in alphabetical order, in case anyone complains. I preferred in order of filing, though. I like to see who’s on top of things or who’s dawdling or who wants to make a grand entrance. That sort of thing. Anyway…

QEPD Congressman Albert Bustamante

I was saddened to read the news of the former Congressman’s passing. He served CD23 down in South Texas when I was in high school and a bit beyond. Talk about a cinderalla story: He grew up dirt poor in Asherton, TX (about 20 miles from my hometown), put himself through college, was a teacher, was elected a Bexar County Commissioner then became the first Chicano County Judge of Bexar County. Then, he took out a big South Texas name like Chick Kazen with the help of communities like mine who felt more connected to the small town-raised Bustamante. Imagine a kid who grew up loving Chicano politics seeing this guy speak at his high school graduation. I was in awe.

Later, the FBI set its sights on him and took him down for bribery regarding government contracts. I don’t recall if the “briber” got any time, though. I’ve seen a lot more “legal” and uglier ways of giving away contracts for money, like immigrant warehousing contracts to campaign donors, or holding hostage the Build Back Better bill to appease donors, and stuff like that. Anyway, he served us and Bexar County well. The SA Report has an in-depth history into Bustamante, including words from former SA Mayor Henry Cisneros.

Back At Yellow Despite Omicron Threat

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo has placed us back at threat level YELLOW as the COVID-19 positivity rate is less than 5% and hospitalizations are down-trending. The definition of YELLOW is:

Level 3 signifies a moderate and controlled  level of COVID-19 in Harris County, meaning a further demonstrated reduction transmission and the local healthcare system is well within capacity. Unvaccinated residents should remain vigilant, but can resume contact with others and resume leaving home. Unvaccinated individuals should continue to mask and physical distance. Fully vaccinated individuals may resume activities without wearing masks or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations and including local business and workplace guidance. 

ReadyHarris.com (Emphasis mine)

Yet, today, President Biden in trying to calm fears about the Omicron variant was also telling us to continue masking, practice social distancing, and keep clean just in case COVID-19 is in our mist, er, midst. That’s exactly my plan: To continue being proactive as if we are still in a pandemic and staying within my circle of trust, which is basically four people whose activities and precautions I know.

As Kuff reminds us, the local traffic is telling us that people are going back to work at their workplaces rather than being productive at home. The holiday season also means that stores will also be full of people. Workplaces and shopping establishments do not seem to be pushing masking and distancing , but I’m guessing it’s 50-50 when left up to the individual. The smart individuals are the ones that continue masking at the office (and everywhere else) despite workplace and supervisor/coworker attitudes toward these policies.

So, the suggestions behind “Code Yellow” aren’t something I’m trusting because I don’t want to get sick–even if I am boosted by Moderna. They keep telling us to follow the science, but people with comorbidities need to follow the realities that COVID-19 can hit them harder than what the skinny, healthier, well-insured folks on TV tell us. Hell, breakthroughs are still not being adequately reported and Texas and Greg Abbott suck at reporting anything, anyway.

The scientists are studying Omicron and the vaccine’s effectiveness against it. I say we stay masked up and distanced. The unmasked and unvax’d pendejos will surely still be out there helping the spread.

Also, get vaccinated. If vaccinated, get boosted.

There Is A Human Rights Crisis On The Border

While bigoted republicans call it an “invasion,” and others call it a humanitarian crisis, the next phase of a media-exploited “crisis” on the border went to full-on human rights crisis as a Border Patrol with lax regulations and bigoted members rode horses and whipped Haitian refugees as they rounded them up for President Biden’s Title 42 immediate deportations.

Honestly, though, it’s always been a human rights crisis. The Border Patrol and border-area law enforcement has a deeply rooted history of violently mistreating humans escaping violence and poverty–all for political purposes, no matter who is in power. And no matter who is power, the government does a great job of blaming “the other” for the crises it has caused in the countries people are fleeing. Whether it is Mexico, Central America, or Haiti, US foreign policy of befriending and funding right-wing zealots and their elections as a means of keeping indigenous and poor people in control is why these crises exist.

The problem is that the US thrives on people’s ignorance regarding foreign policy–no matter which party is in charge. The narrative of “the other” being the problem works as long as they use fear-based terminology. And people eat it up because they are ignorant and it’s not like candidates and office holders are doing much to combat the narrative.

As depressing as the stories are of migrants and refugees, it’s the stories of fighting back that have given me hope. Whether it is those who have crossed back into Mexico to find food and water for themselves, or the Haitians who revolted on a Biden deportation bus. Sure, they are met with violence by Biden’s Border Patrol, but they are willing to fight. They are that desperate for a better life and the US response of human warehousing, whipping, and horse-led round-ups is a global embarrassment, especially when our President attempts to lecture other countries, or he attempts to show how much better he is than Trump on global affairs.

And then there is that failure of a governor, Greg Abbott, who blames everything on Joe Biden. I don’t know why. Biden is deporting Haitians and other migrants at a rapid pace because of Trump’s Title 42. Biden’s Border Patrol is whipping people. All the republican anti-immigrant porn is available to Greg Abbott, but he wants to be the one calling the shots. The photo ops make it obvious.

And some will defend Biden by reminding us that Biden mouthpiece Jen Psaki called the human rights violations “obviously horrific” and the Biden administration is “investigating” and “condemning.” But Biden is the President. He can end this. And he can get rid of people in the Border Patrol. And he can change agency policy with a signature. Who’s in charge? Biden or the bigoted Border Patrol (and their union)?

There is an old photo of Texas Rangers having murdered Mexican men and dragged them by horse from around 1915. Now, we have the Border Patrol trying to repeat history. Yes, only 100 or so years ago and things don’t seem to change.