Tag Archives: Gov. Greg Abbott

Total Madness

Children flee Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 24, 2022.

They’re like recurring allergies – they just keep hitting over and over.  But we have a bevy of cures for allergies.  We don’t seem to have many for the sickening epidemic of mass shootings in the U.S.

As of this day, the U.S. has experienced over 250 mass shootings in 2022 – more than the number of days thus far in the year.  A mass shooting is defined as an event where four or more individuals are shot, not including the actual assailant.

Two recent massacres – 10 people in a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, and 21 at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas – have garnered considerable attention.  The Buffalo calamity was racially-motivated, and the Uvalde event was the worst school shooting since the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, ConnecticutBetween the Buffalo and Uvalde episodes, the U.S. experienced 14 other mass shootings.  Let that sink into your brain for a few minutes.

The gun issue has always been sensitive and controversial.  Hardline gun rights advocates have consistently placed the value of their sacred firearms over the right of people to live peacefully and happily.  Even more aggravating is a recent survey where 44% of Republican voters say mass shootings are one price we have to pay for living in a free society.  Somehow that doesn’t surprise me.  Ironically, many of these people consider themselves pro-life.

On the other side, far left gun control proponents want to eliminate all firearms for private citizens; believing that – in this violent, imperfect world – we only need herbal tea and kind words to solve every crisis.  These are the same people who get so emotional it’s almost painfully embarrassing to watch them recount their ordeals.  I understand these are horrific events, but the time for tears and anguish has already passed.

And that’s what I want to communicate to liberals.  Stop crying!  It’s time to get mad, stand up and yell back at these idiotic gun nuts whose only resolution to firearm blood baths is another weapon and a few thoughts and prayers.  Thoughts and prayers serve as little more than toilet paper for the carnage.

In the immediate aftermath of both Buffalo and Uvalde, as more talk of gun violence and gun control arose, we heard the usual cadre of right-wing loudmouths more worried (as always) that the rights of “law-abiding gun owners” could be desecrated.

Spare me the narrow-minded anxiety!

People have more of a right to live than anyone has a right to own a gun.  And no, they aren’t equally significant.  But conservatives campaigning for public office consistently point out one characteristic: they are pro-Second Amendment.  I see these ads every election cycle, especially here in Texas.  They always skip over the First Amendment, which ensures free speech and peaceable assembly and guarantees the right to vote.  Again, the twisted priorities of the conservative mindset.

Last year, when Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed several pieces of legislation into law that declared the state to be a “Second Amendment sanctuary”, I wasn’t shocked.  But I was angry.  This is the same governor who oversaw blatant attacks on the right to vote by dismissing the reality of gerrymandering in the state and allowing for partisan poll watchers.  In older days, partisan poll watchers across the South carried guns and would deliberately intimidate (mostly non-White) voters.  Conservatives steadily bemoan the myth of rampant voter fraud, while ignoring the very real pandemic of gun violence.

For the first anniversary of the 1999 Columbine school massacre, a national news network interviewed several of those first responders.  One man stated that he was particularly upset that the perpetrators (two teenage boys) had included girls among their victims.  He said could understand them shooting boys, “but they shot girls, too.”  I literally stopped when I heard him say that.  Aside from the shock value of the verbiage, that he could differentiate between the genders of the victims and therefore categorize his horror level proved how complacent people in this country have become towards violence.  It certainly was one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard.

The outrage continued in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre, when the U.S. Senate held a hearing on gun violence in the nation and the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre sat with a scowl on his face and became defensively hostile with every question lobbed at him.  And, as usual, liberals wept, while conservatives grunted.  And then…nothing.  Nothing happened.  No new legislation to address gun violence; no new funding for mental health counseling…nothing.  With that, it seemed the gun violence debate in the United States ended.  We’d accepted the murder of helpless children and thus, nothing more could be done.

At this point, I really don’t hold out much hope for any kind of movement on the legislative front.  Politics has gotten in the way of public service.  So, what’s new?

I remain as tired of the crying from liberals as I am of the concern for gun owner rights from conservatives.  If only the latter group understood the extent of the damage caused by bullet wounds, then perhaps they’d rethink their commitment to ensuring gun rights over human rights.  It’s time for we progressives to get mad and shout down the right-wing extremists who proudly pose with their firearms for family holiday photos the way most normal-minded folks pose with their children and pets, armed with little more than smiles.  The saccharine responses from the horrified won’t result in any considerable change.  They’ll just fade into the morass of national traumas.

Then we’ll have another mass shooting – in a school or some public venue.  And the cycle of tears and excuses will begin all over again.

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Best Quotes of the Week – June 4, 2022

“This bullshit you get from this guy about mental health and evil.  The only evil that exists is when the leader of this state has a problem and is a problem of epic proportions.”

Texas State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, criticizing Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for citing mental illness as a key factor in mass shootings, but thwarting funding for mental health care

“How many children have to die before you start to care?”

Jamiee Roeschke, in a statement to the National Rifle Association

Jaimee and her sister survived a shooting at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California, in 2019, in which two students died after a gunman opened fire on the school’s quad.

“No online platform, website, or newspaper should be directed by government officials to carry certain speech. This has been a key tenet of our democracy for more than 200 years and the Supreme Court has upheld that.”

Matt Schruers, President of Computer & Communications Industry Association, after the U.S. Supreme Court issued an emergency ruling temporarily blocking the State of Texas House Bill 20 from being enforced

A lower court will resolve a preliminary First Amendment challenge to the statute, also known as Texas’ “social media law”.

“No online platform, website, or newspaper should be directed by government officials to carry certain speech. This has been a key tenet of our democracy for more than 200 years and the Supreme Court has upheld that.”

Matt Schruers, President of Computer & Communications Industry Association, after the U.S. Supreme Court issued an emergency ruling temporarily blocking Texas’ HB 20 from being enforced

A lower court will resolve a preliminary First Amendment challenge to the statute, also known as Texas’ “social media law”.

Schruers added, “We are encouraged that this attack on First Amendment rights has been halted until a court can fully evaluate the repercussions of Texas’s ill-conceived statute.  This ruling means that private American companies will have an opportunity to be heard in court before they are forced to disseminate vile, abusive or extremist content under this Texas law. We appreciate the Supreme Court ensuring First Amendment protections, including the right not to be compelled to speak, will be upheld during the legal challenge to Texas’s social media law.”

Schruers added, “We are encouraged that this attack on First Amendment rights has been halted until a court can fully evaluate the repercussions of Texas’s ill-conceived statute.  This ruling means that private American companies will have an opportunity to be heard in court before they are forced to disseminate vile, abusive or extremist content under this Texas law. We appreciate the Supreme Court ensuring First Amendment protections, including the right not to be compelled to speak, will be upheld during the legal challenge to Texas’s social media law.”

“This is not an academic conversation. This is a very real conversation where people’s lives could be destroyed by these criminal prosecutions.  In Texas, you’re an adult at 17. We are looking at the prospect of a 17-year-old girl who has an unplanned pregnancy and is seeking an abortion [being] subjected to first-degree felony charges — up to 99 years in jail — and that’s just absolutely unacceptable.”

Austin City Councilman José Vela, on how the city will attempt to shield its residents from prosecution under a Texas law that will criminalize abortion, if Roe vs. Wade is overturned

Vela is proposing a resolution that would direct the city’s police department to make criminal enforcement, arrest and investigation of abortions its lowest priority and restrict city funds and city staff from being used to investigate, catalogue or report suspected abortions.

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Worst Quotes of the Week – May 7, 2022

“I think we will resurrect that case and challenge this issue again, because the expenses are extraordinary and the times are different than when Plyler versus Doe was issued many decades ago.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, about the 1982 Supreme Court decision that struck down a Texas law that had denied state funding to educate children who had not been “legally admitted” to the United States

Abbott wants Texas to challenge the ruling because of its high cost to Texas taxpayers.

“Democrats have convinced themselves that Russia stole the presidency, which rightfully belonged to Hillary Clinton. And they mean it when they say it.  And that’s why they are taking us to war with Russia.  So, that’s not their goal — saving Ukraine, saving human lives.  No, that’s not their goal. Instead, the war in Ukraine is designed to cause regime change in Moscow. They want to topple the Russian government. That would be payback for the 2016 election.  So, this is the logical, maybe the inevitable, end stage of Russiagate.”

Tucker Carlson, describing how he thinks the Democratic Party is somehow responsible for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

“We shall have our theocracy very soon.”

Vincent James, a radical White nationalist celebrating the leaked Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade

James also said he hopes the decision will eventually lead Americans to seeing Justices Alito and Thomas “throwing gay people off of tall buildings”.

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Best Quotes of the Week – May 22, 2021

“Holy crap.  Perhaps a U.S. Senator shouldn’t suggest that the Russian military is better than the American military that protected him from an insurrection he helped foment?”

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, responding to a Tweet by Sen. Ted Cruz criticizing the U.S. military’s diversity endeavors

“We can’t even imagine the thinking behind Gov. Abbott’s callous decision to strip the remaining federal unemployment insurance benefits out of the pockets of Texas working families.  If he took the time or had any interest in understanding the challenges working people face, Gov. Abbott would see clearly that folks across Texas desperately need these funds as they try to navigate their way through the economic carnage of the pandemic.”

Rick Levy, president of the Texas AFL-CIO, reacting to Gov. Abbott’s decision to opt out of federal unemployment benefits extensions

“The Big Pharma fairy tale is one of groundbreaking R&D that justifies astronomical prices.  But the pharma reality is that you spend most of your company’s money making money for yourself and your shareholders.”

Rep. Katie Porter, to Richard Gonzalez, CEO of pharmaceutical giant AbbVie, about increasingly high costs for prescription drugs

During the U.S. House Oversight Committee hearing, Porter also declared, “You lie to patients when you charge them twice as much for an unimproved drug, and then you lie to policymakers when you tell us that R&D justifies those price increases.”

Gonzalez’s 2020 total compensation topped USD 24 million.

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Worst Quotes of the Week – March 20, 2021

“It was Barack Obama himself who knew about the dangers of ballot harvesting in the state of Texas because under his administration, he sent his U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Texas, as well as the FBI, to south Texas to arrest and to prosecute people who were involved in ballot harvesting that were using cocaine to buy votes through the ballot harvesting process in the state of Texas.”

Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX), claiming efforts by the Democratic National Party to secure elections would result in people using cocaine to buy votes

Abbott went on to say, “And when you look at some of the things that they are talking about with regard to H.R. 1, they are trying to institutionalize voter fraud in the United States of America. They want to make mail-in ballots permanent. Everyone knows – including Democrats in Texas – have said that one of the easiest ways to cheat in elections is through these mail-in ballots.”

“Even though those thousands of people that were marching to the Capitol were trying to pressure people like me to vote the way they wanted me to vote, I knew those were people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law, and so I wasn’t concerned… Now, had the tables been turned – Joe, this could get me in trouble – had the tables been turned, and President Trump won the election and those were tens of thousands of Black Lives Matter and Antifa protesters, I might have been a little concerned.”

Sen. Ron Johnson, on the January 6 Capital Hill riots

“There’s old sayings in Texas about, you know, find all the rope in Texas and get a tall oak tree.  You know, we take justice very seriously and we ought to do that.  Round up the bad guys.  That’s what we believe.”

Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), mentioning lynching as a form of justice during congressional hearings about anti-Asian-American violence

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Best Quotes of the Week – March 13, 2021

“I believe this… historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country and giving people of this nation – working people, middle class folks, people that built the country – a fighting chance.  I’m going to have a lot more to say about that tonight and the next couple days.”

President Joe Biden, upon signing a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill

“ … Conspiracy theories should have no place in the Christian life. As people who claim to believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, we should not risk our public witness for political fantasies. We should denounce any movement that spreads false information.”

Seth Brown, in response to social media posts by Luke Coffee, former actor and conspiracy proponent, who took part in the January 6 Capitol Hill riots

Brown works with North Carolina-based Biblical Recorder and has written extensively for Southern Baptists about QAnon.

“In societies with bigger differences between rich and poor, women are less enfranchised and have less power, resources, and prestige than women in societies where those differences are smaller.”

Kate Pickett, British epidemiologist and Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of New York, in “Fissures That Tear Us Apart and Pressures That Weigh Us All Down”, Social Europe, 03/08/21

“In Austin, we’re committed to saving lives, period.  If state officials don’t want to do their jobs protecting people from the virus, then we will.”

Greg Casar, Austin, Texas City Councilman, responding to Gov. Abbott’s order rescinding mandatory mask-wearing in public

The Governor’s new order went into effect March 10, but the City of Austin plans to retain a mask mandate for the immediate future.

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Worst Quotes of the Week – March 6, 2021

“The Biden administration must stop importing COVID into our country.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, regarding President Biden’s new immigration policy

“It was unfortunate, very unfortunate, that somehow the government was not able to manage those children in a way that they could be reunited properly.  It turned out to be more of a problem than I think any of us imagined it would be.”

Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, about family separation in immigration policy during the Trump administration

“The idea that for fur boy with the red, white, and blue and some of the other nuts in there were some sort of coordinated – it’s just a bunch of idiots, and some of them criminals … to the naked eye, it didn’t look coordinated.”

Laura Ingraham, dismissing claims by FBI Director Christopher Wray that the January 6 attacks on Capitol Hill were planned

Wray testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee this week about the riots.

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Best Quotes of the Week – March 6, 2021

“Abbott has purposefully injected a new infection into the state in the form of irresponsible policies that will promote unnecessary infection, hospitalization and death.”

Dr. Kavita Patel, on the announcement by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to reopen the state 100% to retailers, restaurants and other businesses, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

“The Republican Party’s biggest problem is that too many people of color are exercising their right to vote.  The party’s solution is a massive push for voter suppression that would make old-time Jim Crow segregationists proud.”

Eugene Robinson, in a Washington Post editorial

“I think a lot of us assumed that we were the dominant gene – if only because the country was changing so much – that out of its own self-interest the party would have to change.  We saw the dark side.  We thought it was a recessive gene.  And I don’t know any conclusion to come to except that we were wrong.”

Stuart Stevens, on MSNBC’s “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” 03/03/21

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Tweet of the Week – February 27, 2021

Beto O’Rourke

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No S**t Quotes of the Week – February 27, 2021

All courtesy of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott opining about the recent ice storm chaos:

“When essential services were needed the most, the system broke.  You deserve answers.  You will get those answers.”

“You shouldn’t be saddled with skyrocketing power bills.”

“Each of these power sources failed to fully produce because of inadequate safeguards.”

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