Oh Texas….

I know that Florida, under Ron DeSantis, deserves all the shade being thrown at it. But Florida–and that ubiquitous “Florida man”– is facing a strong challenge from Texas.

Most recently, of course, we’ve been treated to the spectacle of Ken Paxton’s willingness to cause the death of a pregnant woman–a mother of two–who obtained a court ruling permitting her to abort her current pregnancy. That decision was based on testimony that her fetus had been found to have a condition that would prevent its survival, and that continuation of the pregnancy would endanger the woman’s life–or at the very least, her ability to have future, healthy pregnancies.

As I noted a couple of days ago, Paxton appealed that court decision and the Texas Supreme court overruled it.

A federal court  has ordered Texas Governor Abbott to remove the lethal barriers he had placed in the Rio Grande, after a lengthy battle during which Abbott defended placement of the impediments, which had caused the deaths of at least two people.

In case there is any confusion, these examples confirm the accuracy of accusations that these Texan staunchly “pro life” Republicans have very selective definitions of “life.”

And then there’s the refusal of the Texas GOP to distance the party from Nazism.

The leadership body for the Republican Party of Texas this week voted down a measure to block members from associating with people and organizations “known to espouse or tolerate antisemitism, pro-Nazi sympathies or Holocaust denial.” This came just weeks after neo-Nazi extremist Nick Fuentes was photographed meeting with a high-profile conservative political operative whose “Defend Texas Liberty” PAC has helped elect Republicans statewide.

The clause, part of a broader resolution in support of Israel, was voted down 32-29 by the Texas GOP’s Executive Committee on Saturday, according to The Texas Tribune. Moreover, “roughly half of the board also tried to prevent a record of their vote from being kept,” in a move that “stunned some members,” the paper reported. Speaking during Saturday’s vote, Texas GOP chair Matt Rinaldi claimed that he didn’t see “any antisemitic, pro-Nazi or Holocaust denial movement on the right that has any significant traction whatsoever.” Rinaldi was also reportedly present in the offices for conservative consulting firm White Horse Strategies, owned by Defend Texas Liberty leader Jonathan Stickland, at the same time as Fuentes last October. He has claimed he was not part of Fuentes’ meeting there, and was unaware of Fuentes’ presence.

If the Texas GOP chair can’t see any “traction” of anti-semitism from the right, I wonder what he can see. From the “very fine people” who chanted “Jews shall not replace us” in Charlottesville to the mounting number of attacks on synagogues and individual Jews, most Americans of good will can see quite a lot of “traction.”

Texas’ current government is dominated by MAGA Republicans determined to keep power by limiting the right of Democratic -leaning constituencies to vote. Scholars at the Brennan Center have described the background of that organization’s current challenge to a measure passed by the Republican-dominated legislature. They allege that Texas has enacted

onerous new rules for voting by mail and curbs voter outreach activities. It also hinders voting assistance for people with language barriers or disabilities and restricts election officials’ and judges’ ability to protect voters from harassment by poll watchers. Like the dozens of restrictive state voting laws that have been enacted nationwide in the last three years, S.B. 1’s proponents claim that it is intended to fight voter fraud. Indeed, its myriad provisions appear to respond directly to baseless claims peddled by Donald Trump and his fellow election deniers about the security of mail-in voting and election administration.

Yet Texas has never found evidence of widespread fraud — and not for lack of trying. Without the pretext of making elections more secure, S.B. 1 is simply an unconstitutional effort to suppress eligible voters in marginalized communities. It seems no coincidence that after people of color surged in turnout in Texas’s 2018 and 2020 elections, the legislature passed a law that restricts methods of voting favored by Black and Latino voters and impairs voter assistance to those with limited English proficiency or limited literacy.

it isn’t only their appalling public behavior. Texas Republicans like Paxton are demonstrably personally corrupt, and that corruption was given a pass by the state’s GOP-dominated legislature. Paxton was acquitted on 16 articles of impeachment, a proceeding triggered by accusations from lawyers on his own staff and buttressed by significant evidence that he had abused the powers of his office to help an Austin real estate investor who was under federal investigation.

The Texas GOP is a cesspool–even more venal and vile than the GOP of DeSantis’ Florida.

I guess everything is bigger in Texas.


  1. I researched the Texas GOP story as well as “Pale Horse Strategies,” as well as its renamed iteration “West Fort Worth Management.” (WFWM for short here) On December 3, I blogged about it. (see http://www.civildiscoursenow.com “Indiana’s GOP should disavow Nazis, unlike the slimy bastards in Texas’s GOP). Then this week I saw that WFWM had posted a “help Wanted” notice for a “copywriter” on RedBalloon, a website that handles job placement for right wing places. I applied. I sent my resume as well as a cover letter WFWM said it wanted a cover letter in which an applicant should tell them a little about themselves and why the applicant believes himself or herself to be “a good fit” for this position.” On December 13, I posted on my blog a somewhat-condensed version of that cover letter and shall list a few highlights here:
    “…about me and why I would be a good fit for this position.
    1) I am a white male… . … During college, when I was home for the summer, I set up my stereo in my parents’ servants quarters. I later learned (and unbeknownst to my parents), my mitochondrial DNA indicates I have ancestry from East Africa
    2) I am a graduate of DePauw University and IU-Indy School of Law (as is former Vice President Dan Quayle, though, as I understand, my GPA at DePauw was lower & at IU-Indy was higher than his).
    3) I donated twenty-five percent (25%) of my income [in 1964] to the GOP ticket of Sen Goldwater & Rep Miller. My donation was 25 cents from weekly allowance of $1. To paraphrase Phil Ochs, “sure, once I was young and impulsive.”
    4) I have had three novels & a dozen short stories published. I am pretty good at writing fiction [which] is necessary for anyone who (a) writes 4 trump/MAGA campaigns while (b) saying those campaigns are remotely (1) beneficial to the USA or (2) rooted in our Constitution.
    5) Some people are quick to say our Nation is divided, as though division is an exception. In fact, division has been the rule. A degree of cynicism is prudent. .. Niccolo Machiavelli originated “realpolitik.” I’ve studied him & acted in a play he wrote.
    We should look back to the years in which our Nation was united. From the early 1950s, when Brown I was handed down, to 1980, the United States was united to eradicate racism, segregation, ignorance, and disparities in wealth.
    6) In undergrad I studied governments and became a philosophical anarchist. I studied religion and became an atheist. I disagree with people who say the trump/MAGA phenomenon is a cancer to our society. Cancers do not act with any discernible volition.
    7) In January 1994, both of my legs were paralyzed. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and was able to get around w/crutches. I pursued my own course of rehabilitation. In 1999, I walked in a half-marathon (13.1 miles) & in 2001 a full marathon.
    You seek a person who can create compelling & persuasive copy.” I express myself in compelling ways & am quite passionate about firearms (they should be outlawed), drugs (they should be legal), health care (we need Medicare for all), and human rights.
    8) In 2017 I represented clients before SCOTUS in challenges to the validity of the 2016 election. After an event a reporter asked me how I had spoken for 45 minutes, w/o notes, about the history of The Constitution. I said “I know history.”
    9) I get up early & cannot stay up late. Thus not only would my copy be inconsistent w/people who burn crosses or stage parades lit by torches, but I would be absent from any such mass expressions of hatred and stupidity.
    You work w/people & groups who praise the person who was hired for a job w/the gov’t from 1/20/17 to 1/20/21 & nearly destroyed our country. If you hire me, I shall do my best to emulate him & bring your company as close as possible to how are gov’t was 1/20/21.
    SO FAR: they only have confirmed they received my letter and resume.

  2. Mark, it’s actually nice to have some inside info on the people who post here. Thanks.

    The people of Texas, at least most of the electorate, understand power as the ability to get their way in broader and wider circles. More polite language would probably say influence instead of power. More influential has a nice ring to it.

    Hitler, President Roosevelt, Stalin, and Winston Churchill were, of course, very influential in world affairs. So are Putin, Netanyahu, Zelenski, President Xi, MBS (Mohammed bin Salman), and President Biden.

    So much for power as always a complement.

    Notable politicians suck up to many people all around them, like the electorate, donors, other wealthy and influential people, and the “press” as peddlers of influence.

    So, Abbott is representative of a slight majority of folks in Texas, and the same can be said of DeSantis and Trump in Florida.

    That’s a sad commentary on the part of the human race that is not liberal in that they don’t think of we, the people, but rather primarily themselves, I, the individual. That just no longer works on any part of the earth now that it is overcrowded with human beings, slaves to technology and wealth redistribution up, many of whom live in splendid comfort while other human beings live in squalor dealt to them by the powerful.

  3. The unbridled lust for power in Texas politics began with the unfortunate election of George W. Bush as governor. He had NO CLUE about governing other than the lust for power and “winning at all costs” learned at the knee of his puppeteers and his father. Everyone should read “The Family” by Kitty Kelly to learn how that damaged collection of power mongers helped put the GOP on its current path to destruction. Bush defeated Ann Richards mostly on gun-control issues. And it’s been a rapid descent into the cesspool of morons and evil fools in Texas politics ever since.

    Who can forget the 4 terms of the egregious Rick Perry. I lived in Texas during his tenure and it was a sad thing to see the dismantling of voting rights and public education.

    With Abbott, Paxton, et. al., the cruelty is the point. These are desperately bad and cruel people. Even when Abbott was Texas’ AG under Perry, he openly and brazenly sided with corporations on secrecy issues even after a building blew up in a small Texas town that wiped out half of it including the elementary school. You can’t make this up.

    This sentence says so much about the horrible wretches that make the 40% of the good people in Texas seem insignificant: “The Texas GOP is a cesspool–even more venal and vile than the GOP of DeSantis’ Florida.”

    The bar here is so low that you can’t see it for the dirt on top of it.

  4. Pete: thanks! Vernon: I think the lust for power in Texas has its roots in the migration into what later became a republic, then a State, of “Texicans” who wanted to settle that land (after all, no one lived there before – and indigenous people don’t count even for a census, just read The Constitution). Those Texicans went there for freedom! Er … well, freedom to enslave people. I agree w/what you have written, otherwise.

  5. “The Family” has just been added to my reading list.
    The Texas legislature’s latest move can not go unnoticed, perhaps in all of western society, I hope. And, now, we learn that some of those fine folks wanted “to prevent a record of their vote from being kept,” clearly a sign that they knew how outrageous their vote was.
    Paxton’s war on this, hopefully no longer pregnant, lady and the Texas Supreme Court’s maneuver, are clear signs that religion continues to be used to abort any attempt by human beings to act in a humane manner.

  6. Let’s all encourage Texas to secede! Close every military base, every US government facility, every national park and move them before they go.

  7. It is interesting that the first five responses to the blog this morning are all from men. Perhaps, like me, the women are just seething as we wait to vote next year.

  8. When racism and abortion are the major topics, guess who will be more motivated to vote? Nonvoters become more disillusioned with the political system, causing fewer people to vote.

    Vernon, did your book on Texas politics mention the Dulles family — both Sec of State and Director of the CIA fame?

    Many historians have veered away from this connection and in doing so, do Americans a grave injustice of learning the truth about Washington politics and international affairs. Prescott Bush was quite the Nazi lover during WW2. I would imagine the propaganda around the Bush and Dulles families to be immense interfering in truth-seeking thus opening the subject up to vast conspiracies to fill in the blanks, especially concerning the “covert operations” section of the CIA.

    The bottom line is Texas has been a cesspool of corruption benefitting the Oil Barons et al for a long time. It’s head shaking to see the Obama’s still shining the Bush’s credibility despite all we’ve learned. #shameful

  9. When my nieces got full scholarships from Texas schools, I poo poo’d them and said, don’t even consider those schools! They were shocked. They are Americans but Asian and knew as females they would have two strikes against them in Texas. #1, being female, #2, Asian, #3, wait for other full scholarships which did come through. They thanked me. F* Texas.

  10. Climate change, over a few decades, will solve the “problem” of the still Confederate South.

    Do you know all those darker-skinned immigrants whom Texans deplore? Some are weather migrants. There will be lots more weather migrants leaving the equatorial zones and moving towards freshwater, cooler temperatures, and less violent weather, in short, where living may not be easy but offers more promise of long-term survival.

    Many will be both into but also from the United States South and Midwest.

    Also, away from the coasts adjacent to deeper big water like the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Gulf of Mexico.

    Ouch, Texas and Florida. Also, Arizona and Nevada and all that farmland that sucked water up faster than weather could replenish it.

    Of course, that will not be exclusively a United States problem because Global Warming causes it.

    That, in turn, is caused by by how burning coal, oil and gas to recover the solar energy it contains relocated ancient carbon from safely sequestered underground to back in the air where it originally was way, way, way before homo sapiens overran the earth.

    Science knows how profoundly that long ago climate affected the evolution of plant and animal life on planet Earth.

    As far as we know, Earth is the only planet where life began and flourished right up to the triumph of big brains and bipedalism as the eventual winning traits.

    Don’t worry, though. It seems likely that big-brained Homo Sapiens will continue their survival.

    Just a lot fewer of them.

    In the meantime, functional governance of, for, and by we the people is our only hope.

    Currently that favors effective liberal democratic frameworks for law.


  11. Todd,

    Yes. Kitty Kelly did massive research and the Dulleses did not escape. Prescott Bush was someone who just went the way the wind blew so he could gain and retain power in the Republican party.

    Your comment about Texas being a cesspool of corruption not only applies to the oil barons but big insurance and big real estate/ranching too. That good ol’ boy money is what fuels Texas Republican politics… always has.

  12. Always find the Texas bashing interesting – and disappointing. The disgust and revulsion regarding Texas politics is palpable among my many friends – all in Texas. Usually, forty to forty-five percent vote for Democratic candidates – although a substantial amount of the populace, we are routinely ignored by these political miscreants.

    Lots of good (unfortunately) comments regarding the state of politics in Texas. We keep waiting for good folks to become sufficiently disgusted so we can clean house. In other words, to become WOKE! Why don’t those on our side of the fence continually remind the others that the opposite of woke is asleep? I prefer to be woke and aware. Otherwise, I fear for my country.

  13. Todd – OMG a “high five” today! “When racism and abortion are the major topics, guess who will be more motivated to vote? Nonvoters become more disillusioned with the political system, causing fewer people to vote.” (And who are the “nonvoters” by %? Minorities and young people – not likely GOP voters….).

  14. “When racism and abortion are the major topics, guess who will be more motivated to vote? Nonvoters become more disillusioned with the political system, causing fewer people to vote.”

    That’s not a bug,that is a feature.

  15. In 2009, I was down at Stanley Park (in Vancouver) with my family. Waiting in line to get a parking ticket, I chatted with the man in front of me. Turns out, he was from Texas. He wasn’t pleased about the presidential election result of 2008. (I was tempted to note that Obama was favoured by a _significant majority_ of Canadians, but I managed to suppress it.) I did jokingly say “So I guess you’ll be wanting to secede then?” He looked at me quite seriously and said they were working on it.

    And it seems that’s Texas. It feels like they believe in the American project exactly as far as it benefits them and not a centimetre (or inch, if you like) past that. The idea of sharing civically in a common society for the betterment of all appears to be anathema.

  16. Texas will NEVER secede because then they couldn’t compete in college football!
    They do have priorities. Power, then football! >:-(

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