Friday, April 12, 2013

Republicans and hangman's nooses

Your first question might be "Why does the head of the Texas Railroad Commission -- the state agency responsible for monitoring the oil and gas industry -- have an opinion on a gun bill in the US Senate?", or "Why would it be treasonous and lynch-worthy to vote in favor of allowing debate on gun safety legislation?", but neither of those would be my first question.

My first and everlasting question remains: "WTF is it with Republicans and their noose fetish?", and my second question would be: Are they erotic asphyxiation freaks or what?

Here's the TexTrib.

Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman weighed in on the gun-control developments in Washington on Thursday, retweeting an image that showed a noose beside the names of Republican U.S. senators who had voted down a filibuster.

On Twitter, Smitherman re-posted an image and message from a user with the handle @PsychScriv, who had posted: “Make sure none of these people have seats in 2014.” The accompanying image showed a list of the 16 Republican senators whose vote had broken the filibuster that would have kept the gun-control bill off the U.S. Senate floor. A noose dangled beside the names, topped by a single word: “Treason.”

Smitherman added his own commentary, tweeting: "We are in trouble when these Rs side w/ Sen Reid." The list included Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the Republican party's 2008 presidential nominee.

Texas Sharon at BlueDaze had it first (see the screen capture of the Tweet there), followed closely by Progress Texas.

"Barry Smitherman's reprehensible action is disturbing, disgusting, and has absolutely no place in our political discourse," said Matt Glazer, Executive Director of Progress Texas.

"To suggest that any American, let alone a U.S. Senator, deserves to be hung for a democratically cast vote is absolutely unacceptable." "A Senator's job is to debate, discuss and vote on issues of importance to our country. Obstructionism shouldn't be upheld as a priority option for doing the people's work, and when violent rhetoric and imagery is used as a tool of obstructionism, it has gone too far. Smitherman's actions call into question whether or not his job can and should be terminated.

"Progress Texas calls on Smitherman to immediately apologize, and for Governor Perry and all of Texas' Congressional delegation to admonish Smitherman for his deplorable action." 

It's fairly easy to muster the outrage on this one.

Long ago this blog broke the story of hangman's nooses in bosses' offices. A cursory Google search turns up all kinds of repetitive instances, including the prevalence of this sort of thing across the country.

Now before Matt and Greg stumble in to the comments and bluster that private and public supervisors aren't necessarily Republicans, let's establish that at least since Robert Byrd dropped out of the Klan (this shibboleth is a favorite of race-sensitive TeaBaggers, and by 'race-sensitive' I mean TeaBaggers who don't like being called out on their racism) and up through the David Duke-for-whatever years, one cannot intelligently call Klansmen Democrats. See Thurmond, Strom. And there was also this whole Southern Strategy thing that Richard Nixon developed as a result of LBJ's civil rights advances...

Anyway, Barry Smitherman. He's a Rick Perry crony from way back. But in terms of any state position for which the governor can make an appointment, though, who isn't? The sad part is that Smitherman won his election in 2012 with plenty of donations from oil and gas companies and without a Democratic opponent. You may also recall that Smitherman's middle-school-aged daughter -- and her junior-high-aged brother -- maxed out their federal contributions to Rick Perry's presidential campaign in 2011.

Barry Smitherman, among his many other faults, probably pays his children too much in allowance. Or something. But there's no doubt that he needs to find a real job, as the TRC simply doesn't execute the one job it has to any significant degree. From the Texas Observer...

In a state where property rights are considered to be on par with the right to breathe, pipeline companies can seize private land by invoking the power of eminent domain. ... (C)ommon carrier status, which means the company is carrying competitors’ products as well as its own to serve the public good, grants companies the right to take land without getting landowners’ consent. ...

In Texas, there is currently no process to verify whether a company is actually carrying competitors’ products. All a company has to do is check a box on its permit application to the Texas Railroad Commission.

The commission doesn’t have the authority to ensure the company can claim the status. It does not ask for evidence or otherwise monitor the pipeline. This leaves the door open for companies that want the power of eminent domain free to do so without any oversight. The practice has resulted in a number of lawsuits across the state. Landowners who feel their land was taken unfairly (and sometimes without notice), have sued pipeline companies, and in at least one case the courts have determined that some pipeline companies “game the permitting process” to get eminent domain powers.

Yes, Barry Smitherman is a TeaBagging douchewad... but really, what Texas Republican isn't? It's really just a matter of degree, despite the smackdowns the freshman crop of crazy in the Lege keep taking at the hands of their elders. Ultimately, Republicans exactly like Smitherman are what Texas is, elects, and deserves, at least until Battleground Texas starts making a difference.

Or the Republicans in Texas come out from under the ether. I hope I live long enough to get to see one or the other (or both).

Update: Smitherman has apologized. Aware of both the media attention Smitherman's Tweet received and a desire to out-Gohmert Joe Barton from earlier this week, Steve Stockman has come up with a new bumper sticker slogan. He means 'fetuses' of course, but they don't have fingers. Or central nervous systems, or brains, or eyes.  "Babies", in other words (using Stockman's vocabulary).


Greg said...

On the other hand, were you ever one to condemn depictions by "anti-war" protesters of the hanging of George W. Bush during his presidency? What about the post by the blogger at Bay Area Houston that expressed his regret that Saddam was hung but not Bush and Cheney? In other words, is your outrage here selective?

PDiddie said...

And here I was thinking that you would commend me for defending the sensible Republican senators threatened with hanging.

Silly me.