Tag: greg abbott
Greg Abbott

How Texas Gov. Abbott Ruined Eclipse Bonanza For A Small Border Town

The local economy of Eagle Pass, Texas was all set to rake in a huge financial windfall this weekend, when the town was expected to play host to tens of thousands of visitors eager to be the first in the US to see Monday's solar eclipse. Instead, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's ongoing border standoff with the federal government ended up scaring most tourists away.

According to the Daily Beast, Aide Castano — the municipality's marketing and tourism director — told a meeting of the local Rotary Club last year that the town of 28,000 residents could expect to see its population temporarily swell to more than 100,000 people on the first weekend of April for the eclipse boom. The city scheduled a music festival to take place dubbed the "57 South Music Festival" set to last three nights, featuring 17 bands on two separate stages.

"If you’re a music lover and a celestial enthusiast, then there’s no better time to start planning your trip to Eagle Pass, Texas!" An advertisement from the city read.

"Mark your calendar for the eclipse, get your grocery shopping done, we’re gonna have 100,000 people in Eagle Pass, we’re gonna have millions of dollars in sales for downtown Eagle Pass," local resident Amerika Garcia-Grewell recalled Castano saying. In an interview with Texas Monthly, Castano said planning for this eclipse weekend first began in 2002, telling the publication that one of her coworkers said "this is like our Super Bowl."

"One of the real estate agents is like, ‘Airbnb will make $10,000 in the eclipse weekend,'" Garcia-Grewell recalled in an interview with the Beast.

However, Eagle Pass' economy became a secondary concern for Gov. Abbott, who heavily militarized the town's border crossing at the Rio Grande River center stage as part of his $10.5 billion Operation Lone Star protest of federal immigration policy under the Biden administration. Earlier this year, Abbott ordered a length of razor wire to be built along the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass to deter immigrants from crossing. The Supreme Court ordered Abbott to take it down, stating that international borders were under the jurisdiction of the federal government, not state governments.

After federal agents cut the razor wire, Abbott retaliated by building even more, and ordering national guardsmen to stand by at the border crossing in a show of force. Former President Donald Trump commended Abbott for his defiance of the Supreme Court, and posted a call to action to his Truth Social platform encouraging Republican governors to likewise deploy their national guard troops to the Southern border in Eagle Pass.

Meanwhile, the intimidating presence of troops and razor wire at the Rio Grande ended up scuttling the original plans for the 57 South Music Festival in Eagle Pass for the weekend of the solar eclipse. The Beast reported that the location for the festival was moved to the Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino, which is a 20-minute drive by car. As a result of the change, tickets for the festival dropped significantly in price. And at a March 14 town hall meeting, the town lowered their expectations for eclipse visitors from more than 100,000 to approximately 50,000.

Garcia-Grewell, the Eagle Pass resident, recalled to the Beast that she was told the city spent roughly $3.5 million on the festival, yet sold only 2,500 tickets. She further elaborated that the city would have had to sell tickets at $1,400 apiece just to break even when accounting for the total cost.

The 57 South Music Festival kicked off Friday afternoon, though crowds were sparse. Local music producer Tony Rodriguez said that he counted just 30 people at 4 PM local time, and only 150 people by 6 o'clock.

"The worst flop ever," he said.

Garcia-Grewell maintained that despite the swarm of soldiers and razor wire barrier, Eagle Pass was safe. Border crossings went from 2,000 per day in December to just a few dozen months later. While some of that could be attributed to Operation Lone Star, Mexico's government also stepped up their efforts to stem migrant traffic into the US.

"The State of Texas is making it look like a war zone, even though we’re one of the safest places in Texas,” she said. “And the city of Eagle Pass was not able to counter that. They won’t say anything against the state of Texas because Eagle Pass is so dependent on state funding."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Greg Abbott

Scant Convictions For GOP 'Voter Fraud' Prosecutions Targeting Minorities

A new analysis of Republican-led "election integrity" prosecutions of alleged voter fraud found not only an extremely low success rate, but a common theme of prosecutions disproportionately targeting Democrats and minority voters.

This week the Washington Postpublished a report analyzing voter fraud prosecutions in six different Republican-led states — Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Texas and Virginia — dating back to the 2020 presidential election. The Post found that out of tens of millions of ballots cast in those states since then, there were only 47 confirmed convictions out of 136 total prosecutions. Additionally, 76% of defendants in those cases were either Black or Hispanic, compared to just 24% of defendants who are white.

"At best, these 'election integrity' units are for show, designed to placate far-right election denialists in the conservative base," Heather Sawyer, executive director of the watchdog group American Oversight, told the Post. "At worst, they are used to justify new voting restrictions and to intimidate people — especially racial minorities — from exercising their right to vote."

The Post's report additionally found that all of the 47 voter fraud-related convictions occurred in Florida, Ohio and Texas with Arkansas, Georgia and Virginia's prosecutions not yielding a single guilty verdict despite spending millions of tax dollars. And out of the 115 cases resolved as of December, the Post found that 42 of those prosecutions ended in dismissal, acquittal or dropped charges.

In addition to the investigations overwhelmingly targeting racial minorities, the publication found that 58 percent of defendants were registered Democrats while only 23 percent were registered Republicans. The remaining defendants weren't registered with any political party. And contrary to former President Trump's claims that he was unfairly disadvantaged by widespread cheating, the bulk of prosecutions were over minor mistakes, like falsifying a registration form or voting despite being barred from doing so due to a felony conviction.

"They did not have a record of fraud that they needed to go and create these investigative units," Rutgers University professor Lorraine Minnite said. "The fact that they have not produced evidence of fraud is support for their lack of necessity."

The Post's findings in its most recent report are similar to another deep dive into alleged voter fraud by Loyola University-Los Angeles law professor Justin Levitt. In a 2014 analysis for the Post, Levitt found just 31 credible instances of voter fraud out of more than one billion ballots cast since 2000.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Fox Staffer: Rising Antisemitism Reflects 'Jewish Presence In Banking'

Fox Staffer: Rising Antisemitism Reflects 'Jewish Presence In Banking'

Matteo Cina, a production assistant for Fox News Digital and a former writer for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, repeatedly posted antisemitic comments on his TikTok page, writing that “it is hard to talk about the Holocaust and rising anti semitism without discussing Jewish presence in banking.”

Media Matters has confirmed the legitimacy of Cina’s comments after they were first circulated in screenshots on Twitter. In replies to a video posted to his own profile on TikTok, Cina made multiple comments validating “Jewish stereotypes,” including that “Jews control the financial sector,” and claiming this contributed to the atrocities of the Holocaust. In the video, Cina defended Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ new teaching guidelines in Florida that claim “slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”

Cina’s TikTok bio reads: “Former Capitol Hill Dep. Comms & Writer for Gov. Abbott. Currently Fox News”. According to his LinkedIn page, he worked for Abbott beginning in August 2021 and joined Fox News in February 2022. Cina’s author page on the Fox News website identifies him as a production assistant for Fox News Digital, and his most recent byline was published July 9.

The revelations of Cina’s antisemitic commentary come amid internal discontent at Fox News over prime-time host Greg Gutfeld’s recent comments that victims of Nazi concentration camps “had to be useful” to survive extermination. “Utility kept you alive,” he added. The comments prompted pushback from the Auschwitz Museum, which said Gutfeld’s comment “does not represent the complex history of the genocide perpetrated by Nazi Germany.”

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Greg Abbott

Abbott's Pardon Candidate Premeditated His 'Self-Defense' Murder Spree

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is planning to pardon Daniel Perry, the man convicted of murder for killing a Black Lives Matter protester at a rally in Austin in July 2020. Abbott is citing a “Stand Your Ground” law after Perry ran a red light and accelerated his car onto a street filled with protesters, then shot Garrett Foster, a protester who approached the car while openly carrying an AK-47. That Abbott wants to make Perry into a cause célèbre, given the bare facts of the case, is bad enough, but on Thursday, the Houston Chronicle released a 76-page filing by Travis County prosecutors that should really make Abbott think again, but probably won’t.

The filing includes page after page of social media posts and private messages filled with racism, violent imagery, and, tellingly, a strong preoccupation with exactly what counts as murder when it comes to killing protesters. The man did research on what he might be able to get away with—a search for “degrees of murder charges,” web history looking at Wikipedia on murder in United States law, a status posted about the distinctions between different degrees of murder and manslaughter, discussions of people who drove into crowds of protesters. Daniel Perry didn’t just happen to drive onto a street with protesters and then shoot and kill one of them. This was something he’d thought about a lot.

On May 31, 2020, Perry shows how he is thinking this through:

DANIEL PERRY: “I might have to kill a few people on my way to work they are rioting outside my apartment complex.”

JUSTIN SMITH: “Can you legally do so?”

DANIEL PERRY: “If they attack me or try to pull me out my car then yes.”

DANIEL PERRY: “If I just do it because I am driving by then no.”

So that’s the first question for Greg Abbott: Do you want to pardon the guy who not only murdered someone, but murdered someone after doing his research on different types of murder charges and showing a preoccupation with driving into crowds of protesters?

The second question for Abbott would probably involve some of the more overtly racist things Perry said and shared. Just one with the n-word, apparently, but you don’t need to use that word to be unbelievably racist, like when Perry shared “a meme with a photo of a woman holding her child’s head under the bath water and the text reads, ‘WHEN YOUR DAUGHTERS FIRST CRUSH IS A LITTLE NEGRO BOY.’”

Perry also compared Black Lives Matter protesters to monkeys at the zoo and said, speaking for himself, not sharing a meme, “To bad we can’t get paid for hunting Muslims in Europe.” How about that, Gov. Abbott? Still can’t wait to pardon him?

But that’s not all prosecutors want on the record about what Perry was up to online. They also have him searching for “good chats to meet young girls” and messaging with multiple underage girls, with the strong implication that he had a sexual relationship with one too young to have her driver’s license. This is the guy Greg Abbott wants to make into a heroic martyr of the right.

There are also some messages exchanged that you really want more context on, like this one:

OUTGOING MESSAGE: “He is now saying they threaten him.

”JUSTIN SMITH: “Probably. Sounds like he got kidnapped.”

OUTGOING MESSAGE: “Look just fix it.”

JUSTIN SMITH: “Literally how.”

OUTGOING MESSAGE: “By ensuring this never happens again contacting me and my father if he contacts you.”

JUSTIN SMITH: “I’m sorry.”

OUTGOING MESSAGE: “And tell me if the money shows up.”

That exchange goes on from there, concluding:

OUTGOING MESSAGE: “I am legally not allowed to talk about said issue anymore.”

OUTGOING MESSAGE: “I will hit you up on the DL.”

Daniel Perry was obsessed with protests, especially protests for racial justice. He was specifically interested in when it was permissible to kill protesters. He was also sharing racist memes, saying his own personal racist stuff, and hitting on teenage girls. This guy is a real prince. And Abbott isn’t the only Republican who has defended him:

Maybe Republicans will back away from Perry a little bit following the revelations in this filing, with their racism and obsession with teenage girls and evidence of premeditation. But that’s not a given. And even if they back away now, they were willing to go with him right up to murder. This is where we are right now: Major politicians in one of the major parties support murderers if the murderer is on their side politically and the victim was on the other side. It’s hard to see how you come back from that.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

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