Tag Archives: special session

Abbott’s Newest Border Boondoggle

Because I follow the town of my birth’s news on social media, I also find out that the local sheriff is up Greg Abbott’s hindside regarding his border foolishness.

Law enforcement is so up it, that they will post about all the dangerous car chases and captures of defenseless migrants that they involve themselves in, and accidents it and other law enforcement entities cause while on this hunt for brown people escaping poverty and violence. Even Abbott mentioned the chases, but failed to blame his own border policies for the car chases and accidents.

The governor said “literally everybody” he’d spoken with raised concerns about high-speed chases that pose a danger to residents in border communities.

KHOU

Basically, the sheriff’s departments in South Texas catch up to someone that may be smuggling humans by vehicle, stop them on a traffic violation, then release the migrants who are being transported to the Border Patrol and possibly charging the smugglers. What happens after, we aren’t hearing much about it. But it’s a a great photo op.

Recently, the local sheriff boasted about trying to re-open an abandoned prison in Crystal City that was owned by various taxing entities in the county and contracted to private prison companies to warehouse humans in the past. The prison was closed down after various violations and bad management. After Greg Abbott’s meeting of cowboy hatted sheriffs in Austin this past weekend, the local sheriff boasted that it was a first step at re-opening the abandoned prison, even calling it a job creator. I don’t care how hard up your town is, you don’t profit off of people who are trying to make a better life for themselves.

So, it seems Abbott wants to go into the migrant warehousing business, though it’s mostly been a federal contracting reality. And local cops are giddy at having something to do, apparently, and go along with Abbott’s bigotry. So, is Abbott blowing lies up these sheriff’s hindsides about getting a piece of that boondoggle, or is this an actual boondoggle that is going to happen?

As I stated a couple of days ago, Abbott is definitely demanding more of our tax dollars during the Texas Lege’s special white supremacy session to distribute among the local sheriffs for campaign photo op purposes. Hate sells in Texas and it earns votes.

Meanwhile, some of these counties in South Texas have among the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates and an increasing COVID-19 positive testing rate. South Texas counties are also among the most uninsured and underinsured. Hell, hundreds of people of the 12,000 residents of Zavala County died of COVID-19 because of Trump and Abbott’s bad leadership.

Greg Abbott’s priorities are obvious and it is obvious that South Texas sheriffs, which include a few Democrats, are just lining up at a trough filled with a lot of Abbott’s bullshit paid by your tax dollars.

Abbott’s Empty Immigrant Warehouse

Topping/Reuters

The Texas Tribune reported yesterday that Greg Abbott has transferred 150 prison guards from already understaffed prison units to the Dolph Briscoe Unit in Dilley, TX as part of Abbott’s foray into “immigration enforcement.”

Briscoe was chosen by Abbott to serve as an immigrant warehouse for those migrants targeted and captured by Texas DPS and sheriff’s offices in South Texas for whatever crimes Abbott wants them charged with. What authority Abbott has to do any of this is murky.

A spokesperson for the governor said Tuesday that the prison-turned-jail will only detain adult males charged with a state crime, without specifying the type of crimes. But the governor’s office said TDCJ is still “in the process of determining any changes or training needed to operate and house individuals at the Briscoe Unit.” The Texas Commission on Jail Standards’ executive director said Friday the agency was in the same process.

In Texas, jails primarily hold criminal defendants accused, but not convicted, of state crimes while their cases are resolved in local court and pursued by county prosecutors. State prisons incarcerate those who have been convicted of state felonies. It’s unclear which courts would hear the criminal cases of immigrants detained at Briscoe, or who would prosecute the cases.

I expect Abbott, DPS and border sheriffs will be whining at President Biden for free money to fund this bigoted debacle. Because Biden continues some immigrant warehousing ventures, it is something on which to keep an eye. Don’t be surprised if more funding and resources is demanded at the Texas Lege special session.

It is not surprising that Abbott, sheriffs, and DAs that support this from both parties would attempt to prosecute migrants for “trespassing” while they are escaping poverty and violence, as well as exploitation by smugglers and employers who may be involved. Abbott and republicans certainly are not seeking solutions to root causes of migration.

The Trib story goes into Texas’ severely understaffed prisons, but analysis on my part would require an investigation into who is in these prisons and why, as well as investigating overzealous DAs seeking impressive win-loss records for political purposes. And that’s a whole other story. For now, this story is really about Greg Abbott’s thirst for white supremacist policies which warehouse humans for political purposes.

Abbott and His White Supremacist Agenda

Yeah, I said it. Democrats need to call it what it is. In the legislature and on the campaign trail.

Greg Abbott has called a wasteful special session and his agenda is one that pushes white supremacist policies. Call it his announcement for 2024, call it an attack on democracy, or call it whatever you want to call it, the truth is that his agenda targets Black and Brown Texans.

Let’s go one by one.

Bail Reform – The republican way of achieving bail reform is by keeping the accused in jail by way of exorbitant bonds. The vast majority of folks in our jails are accused, not convicted, and cannot afford bail. There have been local movements to reform the bail system to ensure the accused can be released while ensuring they show up for court and republicans have found a way to blame it for the increase in crime, instead of alleviating root causes (poverty, infrastructure, institutional racist practices). Abbott will keep the jails full, thus punishing the accused while they await trial. And who is in our jails that cannot afford to bond out? Black and Brown folks.

Election Integrity – Abbott and republicans continue the Trump lie that there is rampant election fraud. The problem is that Abbott and republicans do not like the fact that Democrats have opened up access to voting for neighborhoods that are predominantly Black and Brown. Neighborhoods and people whose voting rights have historically been violated. Drive-thru voting, ballot by mail, 24-hour voting, voting access for the disabled are all targeted by Abbott and republicans after having achieved some success in 2020. Instead of being thankful for political participation by more Texans, they would rather make up lies about voter fraud and block people from voting. There is no fraud. Republicans just don’t want Black, Brown, Women, the poor, and the disabled to vote. Texas Dems walked out on SB7 at the end of the session for these reasons. And the republicans have not fixed the “typos” they put into SB7.

Border Security – Abbott is trying to be neo-Trumpian as he wants to continue building a GoFundMe border wall, turn badly run state prisons into immigrant warehouses, and continue his wasteful spending which bloats the Department of Public Safety and sheriff’s departments for the purpose of hunting Brown people, while getting away from actual crime fighting. He’ll blame immigrants who are escaping poverty and violence for the crimes of smugglers and those who exploit them, instead of demanding a better asylum and immigration system. Abbott and republicans are finding any way to further exploit Brown people for political gain.

Social Media Censorship – Abbott and his republican minions want the right to lie to the public and for his supporters to disseminate the lies without any kind of accountability. The republicans have always spread lies about crime rates, “criminal immigrants,” voter fraud, and about any program that actually helps people as a means of earning votes. They make the Black and Brown people the source of blame. They don’t want to be called out by private companies for spreading such lies through their social media platforms. They prefer a constant state of chaos devoid of truth or fact. It is people like Abbott and the republicans who caused the January 6 attack on our government, and they want the ability to continue supporting such actions.

“Youth Sports” – It’s just a nice way of saying they want to ban trans kids from playing team sports with those with whom they identify. It is child abuse and Abbott and the republicans want to legalize this discrimination. They are not protecting anyone with such an awful, bigoted proposed law. They are leaving these children vulnerable to legalized abuse in their own communities and schools. I’d say it has been their goal all along.

Critical Race Theory – Chicano and African American scholars and academicians have provided a rich and well-researched History of Texas (way before the Alamo book that offended racists (Dan Patrick) recently) that most of the time will provide a broader view to the narrow, hero-worshipping indoctrination that is forced upon Texas children. There are various truths that have historically gone avoided, and at times, have been embellished to make Texas seem as something it is not. Greg Abbott and republicans want a whites-only approach to Texas and US History because that is what they have always promoted, and they certainly do not want a history of Texas taught that will teach Texans the reasons for republican public policy. The less Texans know the truth, the better it is for Abbott and republicans to get away with their lies.

The republicans have the majority to pass these bigoted laws. But for Greg Abbott to sell white supremacy as putting “the people of Texas first and [to] keep the Lone Star State on a path to prosperity” is an insult to our intelligence. We know what he and his minions are doing. It is emboldened institutional racism wielding its power over Black and Brown people, as well as Women and LGBTQ+ Texans. They don’t even care that the electric grid is ready to collapse and that Texans are in need of Medicaid expansion. They know exactly who they are targeting with this wasteful special session.

Texans have a choice. Unfortunately, Texans have had this choice ever since the republican majority came to be and even the moderates have chosen bigotry all of these years. It is time to recognize the racism of republican policies, stop making excuses, and rid Texas of this republican majority.

SB5 Is Now HB2 and SB9 [Special Session 2]

As Cryptic Philosopher reminds us, the rallying cry for defenders of women’s rights no longer will include “#sb5” in any of the communications regarding the 2nd Special Session called by Rick Perry. A new session brings us new bill filings and designations, so, now, we are looking at HB2 and SB9.

While SB9 targets “abortion-inducing pills” prescribed by physicians, HB2 looks more like the bill that came up in the Senate and was cause for the successful protest that smacked it down. In other words, HB2 resubmits banning abortion procedures at 20 weeks; dispensing of “abortion-inducing pills”; the change in medical standard (without much medical evidence of such need) that would result in the closing of 80% of abortion-providing clinics around the state of Texas; as well as  a requirement that physicians have admitting privileges at hospitals located within a 30 mile radius of their clinics.

Rick Perry’s special session is about republican primary politics and about a full-fledged war on Texas women. Every part of this bill targets the reproductive rights of all types of Texan women; be it women, in general, poor women, minority women, women from rural areas of Texas, etc. If Rick Perry and the Republicans were interested in the health care or “safety” of women, they would support an expansion of Medicaid, but they do not. Every part of this bill is based on politics–not on professional medical opinion–as was being announced by State Senator Wendy Davis and her Democratic colleagues during the filibuster.

One more nugget of information to the “anti-” folks; some who trolled my Facebook page the other day. This bill does not ban abortion. Roe v. Wade is still the law of the land. Simply closing down clinics will not end abortion, but it will mean unsafe and dangerous back-alley abortions for those who do not have access. If any of the “anti-” folks can live with this in their “Christian” conscience or simply say it’s “punishment for sins,” then their hypocrisy and disdain for women will only be more evident. And every attempt must be made to defeat them and these horrific bills.

Now, are the odds against the Texas Women defending against Rick Perry’s misogyny? Well, awful redistricting and lack of energy from voters during non-Presidential elections can be blamed for that. The Supreme Court of the United States is even lending them a hand in that regard with the recent Voting Rights Act decision. But if it serves as a catalyst to finally trek toward defeating Rick Perry and his right-wing minions, then it is safe to say we are on the right track. Once this battle is done within the next 30 days, it becomes about expanding this movement’s reach, utilizing all of the issues stances which make the Democratic Party the one to support. Better to begin now than 2 weeks before election day, right?

Perry and Dewhurst Will Continue Attack on Texas Women

As was expected, after Democrats defeated a bill to limit access to women’s health care and abortions in Texas, Rick Perry has called for a 2nd special session that will deal with “abortion restrictions,” as well as transportation and juvenile justice.

David Dewhurst showed his lack of leadership as president of the State Senate by  making and allowing some bad calls against State Senator Wendy Davis’ filibuster. After 11 hours, a final “violation” was sustained and stopped Davis’ filibuster. After a challenge by State Sen. Kirk Watson, and with the help of Senators Van de Putte, Royce West and a loud crowd of activists in gallery, the debate was extended enough that Senators finally voted on SB 5 at 12:03 AM, after the deadline.

An empowered group of activists will likely grow and be ready for the July 1st Special Session. Will Dewhurst be ready to follow his own rules on July 1st? Or will he continue on a disastrous trek of embarrassing the state of Texas by allowing the re-writing of rules and changing time-stamps on final vote outcomes? Of course, all of this is reflective of Perry’s lack of leadership, too.

One thing is for sure, I’m sure there will be multiple UStream accounts and video cameras around the Capitol to make sure the world is watching again. And the Twitterverse will definitely be blasting away. All Perry and Dewhurst need to do now is ban them. Boy, wouldn’t that be smart?

Kuff has a major recap.

House Redistricting Committee Coming to Houston

Folks in the Houston area have one more opportunity to make their voices heard. The Senate Redistricting Committee visited Houston on Saturday, and Greg has more on that one.

Here is the location for this week’s House hearing:

House Redistricting Hearing
HOUSTON
Wednesday, June 12th
2 p.m.
University of Houston
Michael J. Cemo Hall, Room 100 D
4800 Calhoun Rd., Houston, TX 77004