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Tag: greg abbott

Greg Abbott's 'Open Borders' Lie Dishonors Migrant Deaths

After at least 50 migrants were found dead from heat exposure after they were left trapped in an abandoned truck in San Antonio, Texas, this week, some mainstream media outlets became vehicles for right-wing politicians to exploit the horrific event by printing their outlandish comments without sufficient pushback.

On Monday night, Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted, “These deaths are on Biden. They are a result of his deadly open border policies. They show the deadly consequences of his refusal to enforce the law.”

It ought to be obvious that “open border policies” are not responsible for this horrifying tragedy; people would not resort to sneaking across the border, the victims of human smugglers, if the border were in fact “open” and easy to cross.

As University of Texas Rio Grande Valley political science professor Terence Garrett told PolitiFact while responding to Abbott’s previous lies about Biden’s immigration policies, “There's no such thing as an open border.” According to Garrett, current border security measures include nearly 20,000 Border Patrol agents, aerial surveillance systems, and hundreds of miles of fencing. “We don’t have an open border,” Garrett said. “That’s absurd.”

Though this week’s horror was perhaps the deadliest human smuggling event in modern American history, these types of tragedies are not a new phenomenon and neither is the predictable right-wing response. After the deaths of 10 migrants in Texas in July 2017 — when Donald Trump was president and Abbott was also the governor of Texas — right-wing media voices called for more border wall construction and the defunding of so-called “sanctuary cities.”

However, recent history shows that more fencing and Border Patrol resources do not actually deter migration. Instead, such policies simply divert migrants into more dangerous routes, while the core issues that lead them to flee their homelands remain unaddressed. In fact, the increasingly intense security along the southern border is in part responsible for greater suffering and death among migrants. Migrants have been killed or injured from falls when attempting to scale the barriers, while others are driven deeper into inhospitable desert regions as they search for accessible crossings.

Mainstream Media Privilege Abbott’s Lies

In a tweet, The New York Times simply publicized Abbott’s smear of Biden without adding any explanation. The linked article from the Times’ live page included Abbott’s full quote, without any direct pushback or inclusion of data about the Biden administration’s continued enforcement efforts or any clear demonstration that the Times realized Abbott’s claim was false.

Other news outlets carried the basic facts that the Biden administration is indeed fully enforcing border security. But they also created a false political balance by still repeating Abbott’s outrageous accusation and not specifically debunking his false claim. The Washington Post, for example, pointed out that Customs and Border Patrol had made 239,416 arrests in May, further commenting: “The agency is on pace to surpass the record 1.73 million border arrests tallied in 2021 — presenting an ongoing logistical and political challenge for the Biden administration.” Immediately following that sentence, the Post still ran Abbott’s baseless accusation that the deaths were purportedly the result of Biden’s “refusal to enforce the law.”

Similarly, The Associated Press quoted immigration advocate Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, policy director at the American Immigration Council, who pointed out, “With the border shut as tightly as it is today for migrants from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, people have been pushed into more and more dangerous routes.”

But then the AP immediately quoted not only Abbott, but also former White House senior adviser Stephen Miller, a notorious white nationalist who sought to push asylum entries down to zero during the Trump administration.

The AP did not provide any of this context to readers, instead simply serving as a stenographer for an anti-immigrant zealot: “Stephen Miller, a chief architect of former President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, said, ‘Human smugglers and traffickers are wicked and evil’ and that the administration’s approach to border security rewards their actions.” (As documented above, tough border policies do “reward” human smugglers by fostering the economic and logistical incentives for them to prey on migrants — though Miller would insist upon even tougher crackdowns and more exclusionary policies.)

Following the article’s citation of Miller, the AP then quoted Abbott: “Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican running for reelection, was blunt in a tweet about the Democratic president: ‘These deaths are on Biden. They are a result of his deadly open border policies.’”

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Texas Republicans Go Full Christian Nationalist At Party Convention

"Texas Republican Convention calls Biden win illegitimate and rebukes Cornyn over gun talks" was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

HOUSTON — Meeting at their first in-person convention since 2018, Texas Republicans on Saturday acted on a raft of resolutions and proposed platform changes to move their party even further to the right. They approved measures declaring that President Joe Biden “was not legitimately elected” and rebuking Sen. John Cornyn for taking part in bipartisan gun talks. They also voted on a platform that declares homosexuality “an abnormal lifestyle choice” and calls for Texas schoolchildren “to learn about the humanity of the preborn child.”

The actions capped a convention that highlighted how adamantly opposed the party’s most active and vocal members are to compromising with Democrats or moderating on social positions, even as the state has grown more diverse and Republicans’ margins in statewide elections have shrunk slightly in recent years.

Votes on the platform were collected at the end of the party's three-day convention in which party activists moved to add multiple items to the official Texas GOP platform. As the convention closed, two separate sets of ballots — one allowing delegates to choose eight of 15 legislative priorities and another allowing delegates to vote on the 275 platform planks — were gathered. Those will now need to be tallied and certified in Austin, but it is rare for a plank to be rejected, according to party spokesperson James Wesolek.

The convention reinforced the extent to which former President Donald J. Trump’s unfounded claims of a stolen election continue to resound among the party faithful — even though his claims have repeatedly been debunked, including by many of his own former aides, and after a week of televised hearings about the Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

The denunciation of Cornyn represented a remarkable rebuke to a Republican who has served in the Senate since 2002. The hall at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston filled with boos on Friday as he tried to explain the legislation, which would allow juvenile records to be incorporated into background checks for gun buyers younger than 21 and encourage “red flag” laws that would make it easier to remove guns from potentially dangerous people, along with more funding for school safety and mental health.

Meanwhile, the party platform vote on Saturday by roughly 5,100 convention delegates would argue that those under 21 are “most likely to need to defend themselves” and may need to quickly buy guns “in emergencies such as riots.” It also would say that red flag laws violate the due process rights of people who haven’t been convicted of a crime.

About 9,600 delegates and alternates were eligible to attend; organizers said turnout was a bit more than half that.

The new platform would call for:

  • Requiring Texas students “to learn about the humanity of the preborn child,” including teaching that life begins at fertilization and requiring students to listen to live ultrasounds of gestating fetuses.
  • Amending the Texas Constitution to remove the Legislature’s power “to regulate the wearing of arms, with a view to prevent crime.”
  • Treating homosexuality as “an abnormal lifestyle choice,” language that was not included in the 2018 or 2020 party platforms.
  • Deeming gender identity disorder “a genuine and extremely rare mental health condition,” requiring official documents to adhere to “biological gender,” and allowing civil penalties and monetary compensation to “de-transitioners” who have received gender-affirming surgery, which the platform calls a form of medical malpractice.
  • Changing the U.S. Constitution to cement the number of Supreme Court justices at nine and repeal the 16th Amendment of 1913, which created the federal income tax.
  • Ensuring “freedom to travel” by opposing Biden’s Clean Energy Plan and “California-style, anti-driver policies,” including efforts to turn traffic lanes over for use by pedestrians, cyclists and mass transit.
  • Declaring “all businesses and jobs as essential and a fundamental right,” a response to COVID-19 mandates by Texas cities that required customers to wear masks and limited business hours.
  • Abolishing the Federal Reserve, the nation’s central bank, and guaranteeing the right to use alternatives to cash, including cryptocurrencies.

Not every far-right proposal was advanced. The party chair, Matt Rinaldi, ruled that a motion to defend the due process rights of those who rioted at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and to “reject the narrative” that the riot was an insurrection was out of order and could not be voted on.

Taken together, the new provisions would represent a shift even further rightward for the Republican Party of Texas, once known as the party of Presidents George Bush and his son George W. Bush. Land Commissioner George P. Bush, a grandson and nephew of the two presidents, was defeated handily in May in his runoff race against Attorney General Ken Paxton, an arch-conservative who sued to challenge the 2020 election outcome and convinced voters that he was the truer Trump loyalist.

Party platforms are mission statements rather than legal doctrines and, in Texas, they have long reflected the opinions of the most activist wings of the parties. Republican elected officials are not bound to adhere to the platform, and party activists at times have expressed frustration that some parts of their platform and legislative priorities have not become law, despite complete Republican control of the state Legislature.

But the platforms are broad indicators of the sentiments of the most active Republican voters — those who dominate party primaries. Republicans have controlled every statewide elected office in Texas since 1999 and both houses of the Legislature since 2003, so the wishes of the party’s populist, pro-Trump base inevitably affect actions taken in Austin.

“The platform is largely symbolic but important as a measure of ideological drift,” said Brandon Rottinghaus, a political scientist at the University of Houston. “Party platforms are often used as a cudgel in party primaries. A more muscular ideological platform eventually leads to a more conservative legislature as challengers knock off more moderate members.”

The convention was noteworthy for the relatively low profile of top officeholders. Gov. Greg Abbott, who is seeking a third term in the November election, only appeared at a reception on Thursday on the sidelines of the convention. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who effectively controls the state Senate, addressed the convention, but House Speaker Dade Phelan only spoke at a luncheon, not to the main body of delegates.

Tensions within the party at times got personal. Video posted online showed far-right activists physically accosting U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw, calling the conservative Republican “eye-patch McCain” over his criticism of Russia. The group included self-identified Proud Boys and Alex Stein, a social media activist from North Texas. A Navy SEAL veteran, Crenshaw lost his right eye to a bomb in Afghanistan.

“A more aggressive party platform sends a clear message to politicians about where the base is going,” Rottinghaus said. “Donald Trump radicalized the party and accelerated the demands from the base. There simply aren’t limits now on what the base might ask for.”

Mark P. Jones, a political scientist at Rice University in Houston, said the 2022 platform indicated how emboldened hard-right party activists now feel — a far cry from 2020. Significant gains by Texas Democrats in state House elections in 2018 raised the prospect of the Republican Party losing its dominant status in Texas, making it moderate its platform in 2020 to focus on bread-and-butter issues. Texas Republicans did well in the 2020 elections — even though Biden won 46.5% of the Texas vote, the highest proportion for a Democrat since 1976 — and this year, culture-war issues were once again at front and center.

Jones said that Republican redistricting has made incumbents safer and less inclined to appeal to moderates. Moreover, inflation, the risk of a recession, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and growing acrimony over race, gender and sexuality make it seem increasingly likely that Democrats will lose the U.S. House in the November midterm elections.

“As a result, the 2022 GOP feels free to veer to the right to its heart’s content, confident that it won’t come back to haunt the party in November, except perhaps in a half dozen races,” Jones said. “And even the party’s pragmatic center right conservatives lack the ability to argue, as they did successfully in 2020, that an ultra conservative platform could cost the GOP its majority status in the Lone Star State. This year, even the absolute worst case scenario has the GOP winning statewide, increasing its number of U.S. House seats, boosting its Texas Senate majority by a seat, and maintaining the 83 seats it held in the 2021 Texas House.”

Before delegates voted on the platform, party activists delivered fiery speeches attacking Democrats.

“They want to destroy the racial progress we have made by saying that we are a racist nation,” said Robin Armstrong, a Black doctor in Texas City who treated COVID patients with unapproved drug therapies touted by Trump, including hydroxychloroquine. “The Democratic Party are now a party of chaos. They benefit from causing us to question the foundations that this country was built upon. The misery, the crime, the drug abuse, the high gas prices are all by design, so that the Democratic Party can permanently transform society. We Texans cannot and we will not allow this to happen.”

The Republican-dominated Legislature last year passed new voting restrictions that prompted Democratic lawmakers to flee to Washington to break quorum in an ultimately futile protest. However, Republican leaders said repeatedly on Saturday that it was the other side that was a threat to fair elections.

“The Democrats wants three things: Their goals are to steal elections, suppress Republican votes and federalize elections,” said Cindy Siegel, the chairperson of the Harris County GOP and a former mayor of Bellaire.

Immigration continued to be a major theme, with delegates lamenting Biden’s reversal of Trump-era border policies. U.S. Rep. Jodey Arrington, of Lubbock, described an “unprecedented, unmitigated, self-inflicted disaster that is creating the worst humanitarian and national security threat to the American people in the history of our southern border,” adding, “this is an invasion, folks.”

“President Biden has ceded control of our borders to paramilitary, narco-terrorist cartels,” Arrington told delegates.

The mood of this convention was not hopeful. The themes ran dark, and activists spoke in apocalyptic, even cataclysmic, terms about the state of the country.

“Everything is topsy-turvy. What’s right is wrong and what’s wrong is right,” said state Sen. Donna Campbell, an emergency room doctor in New Braunfels, reflecting a state of uncertainty that is shared by Americans of many political backgrounds, even if they don’t agree on the causes. “Our country is on a trajectory to self-destruct, unless we change the direction.”

Campbell and other activists frequently spoke of their Christian faith.

“I believe that in the sovereignty of God, you and I were purposely born into this moment, into this confusing time that we face,“ Campbell said. “We’re meant to be alive, at this time, right now, and here in this state.”

Disclosure: Rice University and University of Houston have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2022/06/18/republican-party-texas-convention-cornyn/.


Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Abbott Orders Weekly School Door Checks, Not Gun Safety Reforms

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday announced his proposals for preventing mass shootings in schools — none of which is related to firearms.

While polling shows voters are clamoring for such changes to gun laws as strengthening background checks, keeping guns out of the hands of people judged to be a danger to themselves or others, and limiting high-capacity ammunition magazines, Abbott instead ordered weekly door checks at schools across Texas.

In a letter to Mike Morath, the commissioner of the Texas Education Agency, Abbott laid out his ideas in the wake of the May 24 mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde in the southern part of the state, in which 19 fourth graders and two teachers were gunned down by an 18-year-old who was able to legally purchase two AR-15-style semi-automatic rifles in the week between his birthday and the day he brought one to the school.

A statement released by Abbott's office sets forth the governor's expectations:

Governor Abbott specifically requested TEA to:

  • instruct school districts to identify actions they can take prior to the start of the new school year that will make their campuses more secure
  • instruct all school districts to conduct weekly inspections of exterior doors to verify they are secure during school hours
  • develop strategies to encourage school districts to increase the presence of trained law enforcement officers and school marshals on campuses

In Texas and elsewhere, Republican lawmakers have focused on so-called "door control" in the wake of the Uvalde shooting, blaming the fact that the gunman was able to get into the school rather than the fact that he was able to legally purchase a weapon that can cause mass carnage in a matter of seconds.

Those same Republicans have eschewed any attempt to pass gun reform laws that would strengthen background checks, raise the minimum age for purchasing semi-automatic rifles, or temporarily prevent people who are deemed a danger to themselves or others from possessing firearms.

"The point of 'door control' is the same as 'arm teachers' or 'mental health' — they don't really believe these things will solve the problem, the point is to distract us," Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) tweeted. "It's Republican Politicianese for 'hey look over there!' Stay focused: the problem is the guns."

Polling shows that voters overwhelmingly support gun law reform.

A Pew Research survey from 2021 found more than half of American adults, or 53 percent, support stricter gun laws. Specific reforms garner even more support, with 87 percent supporting a law that would prevent people with mental illnesses from buying guns; 81 percent supporting closing gun background check loopholes; 64 percent supporting bans on high-capacity ammunition magazines; and 63 percent supporting a ban on assault-style weapons.

President Joe Biden called for gun safety measures in a speech Thursday night, which he prefaced by saying:

According to new data just released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, guns are the number one killer of children in the United States of America. The number one killer. More than car accidents. More than cancer.

Over the last two decades, more school-aged children have died from guns than on-duty police officers and active-duty military combined. Think about that: more kids than on-duty cops killed by guns, more kids than soldiers killed by guns.

For God's sake, how much more carnage are we willing to accept? How many more innocent American lives must be taken before we say "enough"? Enough.

Meanwhile, House Democrats plan to hold votes on gun reform legislation upon their return from recess next week.

The House Judiciary Committee advanced H.R. 7910, the Protecting Our Kids Act, out of committee Thursday night. The bill would raise the minimum age for purchasing semi-automatic guns from 18 to 21; require gun owners to safely store firearms in their homes; ban high-capacity ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds; and address gun trafficking by requiring serial numbers on guns.

The legislation is supported by Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization launched by former Rep. Gabby Giffords.

"THIS is what action looks like," Giffords tweeted after the committee advanced the bill.

During a mark-up hearing on H.R. 7910, Republicans voiced their opposition.

Rep. Greg Steube of Florida, appearing via Zoom from his home, showed off the guns he owns and complained that banning high-capacity magazines would inconvenience him by forcing him to buy different ammunition. Gun experts said Steube could easily buy different ammunition that would fit his weapons.

Rep. Ken Buck, Republican of Colorado, said, "In rural Colorado, an AR-15 is a gun of choice for killing raccoons before they get to our chickens."

Responded California Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell: "Oh—Why didn't y'all just say so? We have to protect the chickens from the raccoons. Cool cool. So that's why our kids have to die in their classrooms. So we can protect the chickens. Makes total sense now."

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Why Crowd Cheered Bidens And Jeered Abbott At Uvalde Massacre Memorial

On Sunday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott was greeted by jeers upon his arrival at a memorial site for the victims of the Robb Elementary School massacre in Uvalde, Texas — the state that has seen the most mass shootings since 2012.

The escalating gun violence has sparked nationwide grief and a clamor for increased gun control in a country that has experienced at least 12 mass shootings since last Tuesday.

Abbott and his Republican colleagues have endured waves of criticism for their weakening of the state’s gun laws, as well as their unrelenting support for the easy acquisition of guns, even after numerous mass shootings.

In a recent report, the Texas Tribune stated that “in the last two legislative sessions, Texas legislators have loosened gun laws, most notably by passing permitless carry in 2021, less than two years after mass shootings in El Paso and Odessa took the lives of 30 people.”

Abbott had traveled to the town to meet with President Biden, who had also come to pay his respects and condole with the victims’ families.

As Abbott wheeled past the elementary school sign, the crowd — comprising Uvalde residents and visitors from out of town — booed the governor.

“We need change, governor!” shouted a man in the crowd. “Our children are under constant attack in this community. We need help,” the man continued, yelling at Abbott, who had delivered taped remarks at the National Rifle Association’s convention in the immediate aftermath of the school shooting.

“Shame on you, Abbott,” another voice rang out loud, according to Reuters, as Abbott’s security kept the crowd at bay.

Confidence in the governor took a hit last Friday when, in a press conference, Abbott announced that his earlier statements extolling the state’s law enforcement's speedy reaction had been wrong, but that was what he was told.

Abbott’s admission came after the state’s top safety official admitted that the police made the “wrong decision” by not storming the classroom where the shooter had killed the children and barricaded himself.

"If I thought it would help, I would apologize," said Steven McCraw, the director and colonel of the Texas Department of Public Safety, during a heated press conference.

Abbott tried to placate the public, saying, “Law enforcement is going to earn the trust of the public by making sure they thoroughly and exhaustively investigate exactly what happened.”

The same crowd greeted Biden and his wife, First Lady Jill Biden, with cheers as they laid flowers at the memorial. The first couple attended services at a Catholic church afterward, and when they were leaving, someone yelled “Do something!” The request caught the president’s attention, and he replied, “We will.”

Abbott has announced that new laws could be enacted because of the school shooting — laws that address mental health, not gun violence, per the Hill.

“You can expect robust discussion and my hope is laws passed that I will sign addressing health care in this state,” Abbott said. “There are an array of health issues that relate to those who commit gun crimes.”

“Anyone who suggests we should focus on background checks instead of mental health, I suggest to you it is mistaken,” he added.

A poll conducted by Morning Consult and Politico after the Uvalde incident found that an overwhelming majority of Americans — 88% of the respondents — support background checks on all guns.

However, Republicans appear hellbent on ignoring the outcry, as Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke pointed out when he confronted Abbott at the governor's press conference last Wednesday.

Blood On Their Hands -- And NRA Money In Their Pockets

The gut-wrenching tragedy in Texas has turned into a thoroughly degraded political spectacle of corruption and cowardice. If anyone still wonders why America suffers from gun violence at a level unmatched by any other nation, the answer can be found on gaudy display in Houston. The Republican politicians who obediently kneel at the National Rifle Association's annual gathering there — as well as those too sniveling to show up right now in person but instead on video, like Gov. Greg Abbott — have blood on their hands and money in their pockets.

The crooked gang that has driven the NRA toward bankruptcy through the graft of millions in crony contracts and lavish "expenses" over their decades of self-dealing has greased its political allies, too. At last count the organization has doled out upwards of $100 million over the last few election cycles to its faithful servants, who echo its litany of bogus constitutionalism and absurd alibis against gun safety regulation.

That the NRA event will occur just across the Lone Star State from the bereaved town of Uvalde is more than a tragic coincidence. Under pressure of investigation from the attorney general of New York, where the NRA has been registered as a public charity for 150 years, the outfit's leaders may relocate to the more corruption-friendly Texas climate. The Republican leadership there is an utterly servile instrument of the gun lobby, insisting that they will tolerate no regulation of firearms whatsoever. If a disturbed teenager has the cash to buy two assault weapons that he will use to brutally murder small children, why should they stop him when the gun lobby says no?

Abbott, who held a happy hour fundraiser on the same day as the Uvalde slaughter, embodies the callous indifference to the murderous consequences and deceptions of the gun lobby. He is a quintessential "thoughts and prayers" and "pro-life" hypocrite, whose devout faith doesn't extend to protecting children after they are actually born. Abbott is the kind of deliberately "do-nothing" placeholder who leaves open the door to the massacre of children that makes people question democratic governance and fills them with despair.

While children are giving traumatic accounts of the slaying of their classmates and how they smeared themselves with their blood to pretend to be dead, Abbott is pretending that he will do something. Only the most naive will believe him, however, because we have seen this rodeo clown show before.

Four years ago in Texas, when a 17-year-old student shot dead eight students and two teachers, and grievously wounded 13 others at Santa Fe High School, Abbott promised he would offer new solutions. He called for "roundtable" discussions reflecting all points of view. He hinted at expanded background checks and ways to keep guns away from obviously dangerous individuals. "It's time in Texas that we take action to step up," he said, "and make sure this tragedy is never repeated ever again in the history of the state of Texas." Oh yeah.

But Greg Abbott did nothing — absolutely nothing — as bloody murders continued across his state— at the El Paso Walmart, in Midland-Odessa, and now Uvalde. In fact, he has continued to promote unfettered access of weapons of war to wanton killers. Now the Texas rodeo clown is telling the crowd he's concerned about "mental health," when the truth is that he has cut the state's mental health budget consistently.

To be sure, Americans need expanded access to mental health care, especially now in the aftermath of the pandemic, but that isn't the most effective way to address gun violence. We know that gun regulation works, because even the most violent cities that curb guns have fewer killings than those that do not. New York City has far fewer murders than Houston, where the monstrous NRA will celebrate as the innocents are buried. Today, the leading cause of death among children and teenagers in the United States is gun violence.

Don't mess with Texas? Sorry, but Texas is a bloody mess — and the enablers of its terrible distress begin but do not end with its governor.

To find out more about Joe Conason and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Abbott Attended Campaign Fundraiser Hours After Uvalde Massacre

Less than two weeks after a gunman fatally shot ten people in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, the United States suffered yet another mass shooting when, on Tuesday, May 24, a gunman killed at least 21 people in an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas — including 19 children. And hours after that massacre, according to the Dallas Morning News, Gov. Greg Abbott attended a campaign fundraising event in East Texas.

The event was held at a time when other Texas officials were canceling similar events because of the Uvalde tragedy. Abbott, who has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump and is seeking a third term, recently defeated challengers in Texas’ 2022 GOP gubernatorial primary — and he is now competing with Democratic gubernatorial nominee Beto O’Rourke, a former congressman and 2020 presidential candidate, in the general election.



In an official statement on Wednesday, May 25, Mark Miner — a spokesman for Abbott’s reelection campaign — announced, “All campaign and political activity, including a scheduled fundraiser for this evening, have (been) postponed until further notice.” But Miner, according to Dallas Morning News reporter Allie Morris, “did not answer questions about” why Abbott “went ahead with the East Texas event.”

“Jeff Bradley of Huntsville confirmed hosting the fundraiser for Abbott, but offered no further details,” Morris reports. “It’s not clear who was in attendance or how long the event lasted. The governor showed up after holding a press conference in Abilene, where he briefed the public on wildfires in the area and the shooting.”

O’Rourke has been highly critical of Abbott’s response to the Uvalde tragedy. At a press conference on May 25, O’Rourke told him, “Gov. Abbott, I have to say something…. The time to stop the next shooting is right now, and you are doing nothing.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

The Lone Star State Is Now The Pro-Death State

On May 24, Fox News blasted a headline, "New York City subway crime up 58 percent so far compared to 2021; Hunt for gunman in unprovoked shooting intensifies."

That day, a gunman shot 19 elementary school children and two adults to death in Uvalde, Texas. For the record, the number of homicides on New York City subways this year totals four.

Last year, Houston had at least 473 homicides. New York City, with four times the population, saw only 15 more.

If you want to limit the discussion to the dangers of commuting, consider the spike in road rage homicides in the Lone Star State. Last year, 33 people were shot and killed by angry, unhinged drivers — presumably strangers.

This week in Houston's Harris County, a Nissan SUV reportedly cut off a Chevy Malibu. The driver of the Malibu followed the Nissan, fired several shots, came around again and fired more, killing a passenger.

Just another day on the roads of Texas.

Crime is rising everywhere. Gang violence and demographics certainly influence the statistics. There are mentally ill people across the country, and some can get their hands on weapons of war regardless of local gun control laws.

But there's a sick, cultural thing going on in places like Texas that equate ownership of assault-type weapons with manliness. In truth, give a killing machine to a 90-year-old woman in a wheelchair, and she could mow down a line of weightlifters.

The deadliest school shooting in U.S. history took place 10 years ago at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. But the state of Connecticut responded with a raft of new gun control laws. And the state's representatives in Washington have since pushed, in some cases hollered, for more stringent limitations.

"It's f-ing awful," Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat, said on the day of the Uvalde outrage. "And it's just our choice whether we want this to continue."

That's apparently the choice in Texas, where mass shootings in schools, churches and shopping centers fly past the elected leaders' consciences like clouds across the West Texas skies.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott responded to the Uvalde massacre with the words "Horrifically, incomprehensibly." Yes, "horrific," the Houston Post countered, "but the second word Abbott used — 'incomprehensibly' — is just as much cowardice as it is a bald-faced lie."

The governor, with the connivance of the legislature, the editorial said, passed gun "laws so permissive that they've even defied the objections of police chiefs and gun safety instructors." It went on to note that Abbott bragged on Twitter about the 2021 permitless carry bill that lets any eligible Texan carry a gun in public with no license or training — "as though that were progress."

Never mind that polls show 80 percent of Texans wanting universal background checks, which are designed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally deranged. But the legislature won't go there. Nothing — not the previous and recent mass shootings in El Paso, Odessa, and Midland — would move them.

The latest paroxysm of gun violence in Texas comes right in time for the planned annual convention in Houston of the National Rifle Association. Abbott will be there, undoubtedly singing their praises, as will the two U.S. senators, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. And the NRA will likely praise them back.

"Heidi and I," Cruz just tweeted, "are fervently lifting up in prayer the children and families in the horrific shooting in Uvalde."

You can bet that these politicians will continue going on and on about protecting "unborn babies" while giving free rein to those who kill born babies. Texans have much to be proud of, but their growing reputation as the pro-death state is tragic.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com. To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.

Fox's Modest Proposal: Starve Migrant Babies To Save Formula

Fox News is responding to the major shortage of baby formula by focusing its viewers’ ire on a familiar scapegoat: undocumented immigrants. The right-wing network’s biggest stars are complaining that while American parents are struggling to find formula for their children, the Biden administration is lavishing the scarce resource on migrant babies in U.S. immigration detention facilities.

Let’s start from the beginning: There are infants, brought across the border to the United States through what is self-evidently no fault of their own, who are detained under the U.S. government’s control. Like all babies, they are helpless, entirely at the mercy of the adults around them. The babies need to eat. In some cases, they may be separated from their mothers; in others, their mothers may be unable to produce sufficient breast milk. Since the law and basic human decency require governments to feed people they have detained, the U.S. government makes formula available. The alternative is babies starving to death in U.S. custody.

Meanwhile, there is currently a major shortage of baby formula in the United States. There are many reasons for this shortage, including the consolidation of formula suppliers, supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, bacterial contamination that forced a recall of some formula stocks and the shuttering of a major manufacturing plant, U.S. trade policy, and the general disregard U.S. policy has for children. The shortage is a crisis for many parents, who are unable to find the food they need for their babies.

Republicans have put these two things together and decided to blame President Joe Biden for the formula shortage on the ground that his administration is providing formula to migrant infants in detention facilities. After Rep. Kat Cammack (R-FL) posted a photo of what she described as “shelves and pallets packed with baby formula” at a major border processing and detention center alongside another photo of an almost-empty formula shelf at a U.S. store, her party started running with the angle. “Our children deserve a president who puts their needs and survival first – not one who gives critical supplies to illegal immigrants before the very people he took an oath to serve,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement on Thursday.

Fox hosts, in their role as the GOP’s primary propagandists, are playing a key role in promoting this grotesque talking point. All of the network’s star hosts ran with the story on Thursday evening and Friday morning, demanding to know, as Jesse Watters put it, “Why are we feeding illegal babies ahead of American babies?" They described migrant babies getting formula when American babies can’t as something “humiliating” that should “infuriate” their viewers.



The most charitable way to look at this argument is that the Republican politicians and Fox hosts making it don’t really want Biden to starve migrant babies to death – they are just cynically using the specter of fed migrant babies to anger desperate American parents for political gain and ratings. But the direct logical extension of it, if it were carried out, would be the U.S. government starving to death the helpless infants it has in its custody.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.