Sunday, January 26, 2014

More postscripts to the week's developments

-- Greg Abbott rolled out to a pro-birth rally in Austin yesterday and did that thing he does so well.  No, not sue Obama; pander to the freak right wing.

Abbott touted his own record, as Texas attorney general, of defending state abortion laws, including 2011’s sonogram law, which requires abortion-seekers to receive a sonogram and listen to a description of the fetus at least 24 hours before they can get the procedure.

He also mentioned his role in upholding HB 2, the sweeping abortion bill that cleared the Texas Legislature this summer despite Wendy Davis’s 11-hour filibuster. The law bans abortions after 20 weeks and imposes new restrictions that have led to the closure of as many as one-third of the state’s abortion clinics.

“I am a reminder that it does not take legs to take a stand. It takes backbone,” he said, in reference to his own use of a wheelchair and Davis’ campaign slogan “Stand With Wendy.”

You don't have that either, buddy; you got an implant.  The most significant thing inside your torso is a bulging sac of self-loathing and guilt.  Have you considered an empathy transfusion?  Does the state insurance plan not cover it?  Are the millions of dollars in your personal bank account -- and the many more millions in your campaign account -- still not enough for a down payment?

“The person who led the fight for late term abortion is now running to govern this great state,” he said, referring to Davis’ efforts to beat back House Bill 2.

“She’s partnering with Planned Parenthood to return Texas to late term abortion on demand,” he continued. “They support abortion even when it causes pain to a child in the womb. ”


(Though there is no conclusive evidence that fetuses at 20 weeks can feel pain, most scientific research suggests that brain connections required to process pain are not developed until at least 24 weeks.)

I sure hope some Democratic activists are getting motivated by those words right about now.

-- Speaking of responses or lack thereof, Burnt Orange is one of the very few Texas progressive blogs -- outside of Socratic Gadfly (who's been solid in his coverage but is certainly no ally) and Eye on Williamson and McBlogger -- that picked up the gauntlet this past week to either defend Senator Davis from the unrelenting conservative smears, or push back on a topic that the so-called liberal media hasn't mentioned.

There is an unsettling trend on Greg Abbott's Facebook page: routine death threats against Wendy Davis. Not only are the threats violent and full of sexist bile, but they continue without comment from Greg Abbott -- though he and his staffers certainly haven't shied away from promoting sexist attacks on Davis in the past.  

Of course it's not just on Facebook, but also everywhere else on the Internet where a goon sitting in his underwear can figure out how to log in and post something full of hate and badly misspelled words.  And when it's not actual death threats, it's the normalizing-via-repetition of the misogyny.

Both the threats and general attacks against Davis on Abbott's page have a uniting theme beyond antagonism towards "liberals" who are trying to take over Texas. It's the same theme that runs through articles that claim Davis is "too stupid" to hold statewide office and all of the variations on "Abortion"/"retard" Barbie thrown Davis' way. All of them are mired in sexist vitriol. Davis is sexualized, a "Barbie," or a "skank." She is either too pretty to be taken seriously, or not valuable because she isn't attractive enough. She once had brown hair (gasp!) that was frizzy (oh no!) and so obviously she cannot be trusted to run for statewide office. She has been both criticized for being a single mother and reprimanded for having relied on her ex-husband during their marriage. As a woman facing a sexist society, there is nothing Davis can do to negate the fact that she is, in fact, a woman.

Regarding the media coverage -- corporate, social, and otherwise: surely we are not going to accept the wisdom and insight of Mark Jones at Rice University as worthy of careful consideration?  (If our name isn't Greg Groogan at Fox26, that is.)  While many locals remain silent, national pundits like Carl Cannon are happy to fill the void.  We're thankful that Jessica Luther didn't take the week off.

With the latest James O'Keefe video that legacy media reporters are promoting at face value, are there still some Democrats who are afraid it might be offensive to say that Greg Abbott is shaking in his boots because of Wendy Davis?  If so, then 'now' might be a good time to get on over that.  Then again, perhaps Liza Mundy is correct; maybe Texas just isn't ready for a single mother running for governor. 

nonsequiteuse is doing some counterpunching, and also pointing out the ridiculousness of Abbott's ongoing vendetta against the Affordable Care Act.  So there's that, at least.

-- John Cornpone has decided he's going to be against fixing the Voting Rights Act.  He gets a letter about that.

Dear Senator John Cornyn,

It’s me, Melissa. You told the editorial board of the Dallas Morning News:
“I don’t understand the rationale for discriminating against places that have made huge leaps and improvements in terms of minority voter participation by continuing to treat them as if it’s 1965.”
You don’t understand? Well, let me see if I can help. You are opposing a bipartisan bill (read it here) that will subject states with five voting rights violations in 15 years to greater federal scrutiny. Or one violation could be enough in an area with long-term low minority turnout. That means Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas are in.

But it’s not discrimination. It’s a formula.

Now I know you want to focus on Texas’ “huge leaps” in the last 50 years, but let’s put those leaps in context – because Texas has quite a history. Back in 1848, even though a treaty ended the Mexican-American war and granted citizenship to Mexicans living in your state and others, Texas used English language proficiency, property requirements, violence and intimidation to keep them from voting.
During the Civil War in the 1860s, because Union troops never made any significant advance into Texas – well, your state became a place for slaveholders to stash their human property, while also suppressing news of Emancipation.

Then, after the 15th Amendment granted black men the right to vote in 1870, y’all down in Texas got real creative – not only implementing poll taxes and other Jim Crow voting tactics, but also creating the White Primary, which barred black voters from casting primary votes.

In 1917, your state banned interpreters for Spanish speaking voters at the Texas polls. And in 1962, residents in Houston’s minority communities received false warnings they might be arrested at the polls if they had outstanding parking tickets – and Latinos in Rio Grande got letters saying it would be better to stay home rather than risk arrest.

Your state’s history is relevant, Senator Cornyn, because it is a long and shameful litany of tools to abuse, coerce, and disenfranchise non-white voters in your state. For the past 50 years, the pre-clearance requirement of the Voting Rights Act has limited your state’s ability to continue that history – though some abuses did continue.

Like in Waller County, where strict voting registration rules allowed county officials to reject voter applications, mostly from students at the historically black Prairie View A&M University. And Texas was second only to Mississippi between 1982 and 2006 in the number of Justice Department objections under the VRA’s Section 5. And it seems Texas couldn’t wait to get back to even more aggressive efforts, because when the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act last June, it took just hours for Attorney General Greg Abbott to announce that Texas would move forward with its voter-ID law.
A law that not only affects voters of color, but also disproportionately affects Texas women – including state Senator Wendy Davis! In the most recent election she had to sign an affidavit before casting her ballot because her voting record didn’t include her middle name.

So Senator Cornyn, I hope these reminders help you understand why Texas should fall under any new formula for pre-clearance. It’s really not about discriminating against Texas. It is about Texas’ history of discriminating against its own voters.

-- There's stupid, and then there's Louie Gohmert.  I hope he doesn't get diabetes or cancer or anything, but it's nice to know that if/when he does, Obamacare will still be there to cover him.  No pre-existing conditions, you see.

-- Steve Stockman may crawl out of his hole tomorrow. Does anybody really care?

1 comment:

Gadfly said...

Oh, and with the John Peter Smith case finally settled, we're going to get more panderfest in days ahead.

By the way, I've got a new piece up about how the Xn Right is strangely silent about Israel's liberal abortion law.