Tag Archives: Greg Abbott

Gov. Abbott needs to settle down

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Did I read this right?

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is so angry with President Biden that he is banning state agencies from issuing vaccine passports to prove Texans have been vaccinated against the killer virus. Is that right?

What in the world has gotten into the governor? Oh, I forgot. The pandemic has become a political talking point, with Republicans (such as Abbott) staking our positions that differ from Democrats (such as Joe Biden).

Oh, but the governor’s executive order dovetails off a popular GOP mantra, that the vaccine passports infringe on Americans’ personal liberty. Hey, what about the consequences of Americans infecting their fellow Americans? The documents are intended to provide proof that we have received both vaccine shots.

Spoiler alert: My wife and I are fully vaccinated and if the government wants to issue us a document that forces us to prove it, I have no problem at all with it. You got that?

The Texas Tribune reports: A handful of GOP-backed bills have been introduced in states across the U.S. aiming to restrict entities from requiring vaccines for their employees, including in Texas. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also prohibited state agencies from using vaccine passports but went a step further and said no business can require their customers to display them.

… “Texans are returning to normal life as more people get the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. But as I’ve said all along, these vaccines are always voluntary and never forced,” Abbott said in a video announcing the executive order. “Government should not require any Texan to show proof of vaccination and reveal health information just to go about their daily lives. That is why I have issued an executive order that prohibits government-mandated vaccine passports in Texas. We will continue to vaccinate more Texans and protect public health — and we will do so without treading on Texans’ personal freedoms.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott bans state agencies from requiring “vaccine passports” | The Texas Tribune

Vaccine passports aren’t intrusive. They help safeguard communities that have been ravaged by a disease that continues to kill too many of us.

Greg Abbott ought to get over his anger at Joe Biden. We’re all fighting the same enemy.

 

Hey, Beto … you gonna run?

Photo by Richard W. Rodriguez/AP/REX/Shutterstock 

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Oh, Beto, Beto, Beto!

The young former West Texas Democratic congressman had to walk back something he said out loud, in public, to a TV reporter.

He said he didn’t plan to run for Texas governor in 2022. Then his office called the Texas Tribune to say … oops! “What I said today is what I’ve been saying for months: I’m not currently considering a run for office,” Beto O’Rourke said in a statement. “I’m focused on what I’m doing now (teaching and organizing.) Nothing’s changed and nothing I said would preclude me from considering a run in the future.”

Don’t you just hate it when politicians say something and then tell you what they meant to say?

According to the Texas Tribune: “I’ve got no plans to run, and I’m very focused on the things that I’m lucky enough to do right now — organizing, registering voters and teaching,” O’Rourke said on NBC DFW’s “Lone Star Politics,” which will air Sunday. “I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing now.”

Beto O’Rourke clarifies running for governor still on the table | The Texas Tribune

Sure. I get it. He is “focused” on whatever he is doing at this moment. None of that precludes him getting focused at the next moment on something else, such as running for governor.

I happen to believe Beto O’Rourke is going to run for governor. I believe he should run. I also believe a Beto win over Gov. Greg Abbott would slam-dunk any chance of Abbott seeking the presidency in 2024.

Those are my hopes. I just want Beto O’Rourke to stop telling us what he means to say.

You go, Mr. Former Speaker!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Joe Straus describes himself as a “stay-and-fight Republican,” but it’s unclear to me how much fight he has left in his struggle with the party to which he has belonged for decades.

Straus is the former speaker of the Texas House of Representatives. He bowed out of office before the start of the 2019 Legislature, only to watch his successor as speaker, Dennis Bonnen, implode over a treacherous act against his former GOP lawmakers; Bonnen got caught promising to sacrifice 10 legislators who had drawn the ire of a far-right-wing political action committee.

Indeed, not long after Straus announced his intention to retire from the Legislature, I implored him to reconsider. He didn’t listen to me.

Speaker Straus, would you reconsider quitting the House? | High Plains Blogger

Now, though, he is telling the Texas Tribune that he might run for public office in 2022. Straus told the Tribune’s Evan Smith that the state GOP no longer is in the same place he occupies. It’s become a cult, he said.

Texas Tribune podcast: Former Texas House Speaker Joe Straus on the GOP | The Texas Tribune

Straus has me wanting to give him a high five, an atta boy, a shout out. I want him back in the arena.

Why do I admire this fellow? Well, during the 2017 Legislature, he had the guts to stand up to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s desire to enact a bathroom bill that sought to discriminate against transgender individuals. Patrick wanted the Legislature to enact a law that required people to use public restrooms in accordance to the gender with which they were born. Transgender individuals? Forget about it. Women had to use the men’s room, and vice versa.

Straus called a halt to it and it died in the House of Representatives.

Joe Straus is a reasonable man who deserves to hold a position of power in this state.

Let me think, what’s available to him. Oh, I know: The lieutenant governor’s office is up in 2022. My hunch is that Patrick will seek re-election, or he might decide to challenge Gov. Greg Abbott in the GOP primary.

I loathe Dan Patrick. I admire Joe Straus. He told Evan Smith: “I don’t have a plan right now. I do think that in the future, people in this state are going to be looking for a different type of leadership than we’ve had right now.”

Boy, howdy!

GOP = voter suppression

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Honest to goodness, this is the truth, which is that I do not want to believe Republicans favor limiting Americans’ access to voting.

However, it is clear to anyone with a working brain that the GOP is aligned with those who want to restrict many Americans’ rights as citizens of this great land.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has sharpened his political long knife in endorsing a Republican plan to limit access to voting while the state is fighting the pandemic. He targets one of the state’s largest Democratic leaning counties, Harris County.

The Texas Tribune reports: At a press conference in Houston, Abbott served up the opening salvo in the Texas GOP’s legislative response to the 2020 election and its push to further restrict voting by taking aim at local election officials in the state’s most populous and Democratically controlled county. The governor specifically criticized officials in Harris County for attempting to send applications to vote by mail to every registered voter and their bid to set up widespread drive-thru voting, teeing up his support for legislation that would prohibit both initiatives in future elections.

“Whether it’s the unauthorized expansion of mail-in ballots or the unauthorized expansion of drive-thru voting, we must pass laws to prevent election officials from jeopardizing the election process,” Abbott said on Monday. Harris County planned to send out applications to request a mail-in ballot, not the actual ballots.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott backs bills that restrict efforts to expand voting | The Texas Tribune

Texas is not alone. Other states where Republicans command power are taking similar actions.

“These kinds of attempts to confuse, to intimidate, to suppress are a continuation of policies we’ve seen in this state since Reconstruction,” Democratic Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said. “It is a continuation as well of the big lie that’s being peddled by some far-right elements that the election in 2020 was somehow not true and should be overturned.”

What troubles me is that the phony charge of vote fraud is being used as political cover for more nefarious motives designed to prevent racial and ethnic minorities from being able to vote. My goodness, I hate thinking that is the real reason, but the actions of Texas Republican legislators — as well as Gov. Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick — leave me with no choice but to assume the worst.

It sickens and saddens me.

Abbott looks for immigration scapegoat

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was looking for someone to blame for the immigration crisis that is building along our southern border.

So he found one. You’re it, President Biden.

Abbott came to Dallas today to blame Biden for the influx of unaccompanied children who are entering the state. He said the president’s immigration policies are “enticing” Latin Americans to enter the United States illegally.

Oh, but wait. President Biden has said categorically — in plain English — that those people shouldn’t come here. “Don’t come,” Biden told ABC News this week, adding that critics are blasting him because he’s a “good guy” who will treat immigrants more humanely than Donald Trump ever did.

As the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports: “I can say quite clearly, don’t come over,” Biden said, noting that the administration is setting up a process for applying for asylum in place. “So don’t leave your town, or city or community.”

When it comes to children crossing he border, Biden said most are 16 and 17. He advocated for trying to connect the minors with an adult contact in the U.S.

Greg Abbott decries immigration under Biden while in Dallas | Fort Worth Star-Telegram (star-telegram.com)

None of that stops Gov. Abbott from levying heavy criticism on President Biden.

Yes, the child immigration problem has worsened. I get it. What is lost on me is what precisely the Biden administration is doing to lure these children into the country.

My request for Gov. Abbott would be to cool down the anti-Biden rhetoric and spend more of his waking energy on coming up with solutions he can implement along with whatever the feds intend to do.

And please, governor, spare me the “open borders” canard.

Then there were none

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

What the hell?

The last remaining member of the Public Utility Commission of Texas has resigned … at the request of Gov. Greg Abbott.

Holy cow, man! Arthur D’Andrea was the last man standing at the PUC. His two colleagues had quit already, including the chairman DeAnn Walker. Why the exodus?

Well, the PUC overseas the management of the electrical grid, which is run by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. ERCOT, though, made some boneheaded decisions during the February snow and ice storm that paralyzed most of the state. Millions of Texans lost power. More of them lost water.

The PUC along with ERCOT became the whipping kids.

According to the Texas Tribune: “Tonight, I asked for and accepted the resignation of PUC Commissioner Arthur D’Andrea,” the governor said in a statement, adding that he plans to name “a replacement in the coming days who will have the responsibility of charting a new and fresh course for the agency.”

Abbott added: “Texans deserve to have trust and confidence in the Public Utility Commission, and this action is one of many steps that will be taken to achieve that goal.”

I’m glad spring is about to arrive. There is no time to dawdle. We need to “chart a new and fresh course” for the PUC.

It’s time to get busy. As in, um, right now!

Gov. Allen West? Eek!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

So help me, I do not know what I am likely to do if Allen West decides to challenge Greg Abbott in the 2022 Texas Republican gubernatorial primary.

I do not intend to leave Texas. However, this state remains a ruby-red Republican state, which suggests to me that whoever the GOP nominates for governor next year stands a good chance of being elected.

West is a bomb-throwing, fire-breathing, reckless and feckless Texas Republican Party chairman. He has lived in Texas for just a few years. He once served in Congress, representing a Florida district for a single term before he got beat for re-election. Then he moved Texas in search of a political job. He found one at the state GOP headquarters.

The guy is a kook. He’s nuttier than a fruitcake. He has said Texans should have the right to vote on whether to secede from the Union. Good, ever-lovin’ grief!

Allen West floats secession after Supreme Court rejects Texas election challenge – Washington Times

He now is being talked about as a possible primary challenger to Gov. Abbott, who is thinking openly about running for president in 2024.

I long have harbored suspicions about the Texas GOP. They were more or less confirmed when it elected a wacko as its chairman. Now he aspires to higher office? Ugh! I have hoped for a return to sanity in this once-great political party. I sense that it will remain certifiably nutty as we enter the next political season.

As for Abbott, well, he’s disappointed me, too. He recently began lying about President Biden’s immigration policy, suggesting it was luring more migrants into Texas who were bringing COVID infection with them. An Abbott-West primary fight would present a miserable choice for Texas Republican voters. But … that ain’t my decision to make.

I am going to try to keep an open mind about how the GOP primary plays out. I also can hope that Allen West will decide against running for governor. We already have too many Republican fire breathers occupying statewide office.

Let’s play ball … carefully!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to lift the mask mandate he instituted when the coronavirus pandemic broke out is going to have a significant impact on one vocal segment of the Texas population.

That would be sports fans who flock to stadiums to cheer the home team on to victory.

Listen up, Amarillo Sod Poodles fans. This blog post is important.

I called the Sod Poodles’ office today and learned that the organization is selling tickets that fill Hodgetown — the team’s downtown ballpark — to 75 percent of capacity. “We’re hoping to get to 100 percent,” a young man told me, “given what the Texas Rangers are planning” for the American League baseball season. The Texas Rangers are going to fill Globe-Life Park in Arlington to the max; although I am quite certain the fans there will be masked up as they cheer for the Rangers.

So it ought to be even with limited seating sold at Hodgetown.

The Sod Poodles’ park seats about 7,000 fans. At 75 percent sales, the Sod Poodles will be playing before about 5,200 fans — give or take — when the Central League home season opens in late May. I am pretty sure that the fans attending the game will be cheering loudly. Which brings me to another point: COVID virus spores travel through the air when human beings shout or scream … or cheer!

That compels me to admonish the Soddies’ fans who are inclined to holler when the home team performs well to mask up.

Hey, I’m pulling for you and for your team. I just don’t want to read about “super spreader events” occurring in Amarillo, Texas.

Texas AG goes to war with Austin

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton seems to suffer from a lawsuit fetish.

He has sued the city of Austin for having the temerity to refuse to comply with Gov. Greg Abbott’s lifting of a mask mandate. You see, it seems that Austin Mayor Steve Adler doesn’t want to lift the requirement in the city he governs.

Paxton, though, is wagging his proverbial finger at Adler and the city because he supposedly warned them against resisting Abbott’s order. So now he’s taking them to court again, Paxton said via Twitter.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sues Austin over mask mandate | The Texas Tribune

This clown we have for an AG is starting to annoy the daylights out of me. He tried to file a lawsuit that sought to block the certification of Joe Biden’s election as president of the United States, only to be rebuffed by the U.S. Supreme Court that said he lacked any standing to dictate how other states conducted their elections.

Now he’s at it again. Good grief, man.

The Texas Tribune reports: “[Travis County] Judge Brown and I will fight to defend and enforce our local health officials’ rules for as long as possible using all the power and tools available to us,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler said Thursday in a statement. “We promised to be guided by the doctors, science and data as concerns the pandemic and we do everything we can to keep that promise.”

Meanwhile, the Texas AG will waste more money by filing lawsuits that seek to prevent local officials from doing what they deem is best for the people they take an oath to protect.

Humanity = open borders? Hardly!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has gone full-throated demagogue in his war of words with President Biden.

He accuses Biden of not caring about Americans because his immigration policies are a good bit more humane than those of his presidential predecessor, Donald John Trump.

That is a foolish assertion and Abbott ought to know better. Well, he does know better. It’s not in his political interest, apparently, for him to acknowledge it.

Abbott went to Mission today to announce a program called Operation Lone Star, which aims to ramp up arrests of undocumented immigrants seeking entry into the United States.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott slams President Joe Biden’s immigration policies | The Texas Tribune

What, precisely, did the Biden administration do to incur Abbott’s demagogic wrath? It has sought to enact a more “humane” policy, which has spurred an increase in immigrants trying to crash into the country. As the Texas Tribune reports:

The Biden administration has acknowledged that the increase in migrants coming to the border is, in part, a result of new policies intended to be more humane toward migrants and asylum seekers. That’s especially true of unaccompanied minors, said White House Press Secretary Jenn Psaki.

“Humanity will always be a value,” she said during a press briefing Tuesday. “What we’re really talking about in terms of the people who are being let in are unaccompanied children. That is a policy decision which we made because we felt it was the most humane approach to addressing what are very difficult circumstances in the region.”

Abbott said this, according to the Tribune: “He does not care about Americans. He cares more about people who are not from this country” said Abbott, who spoke in front of a wall of Texas Department of Public Safety vehicles parked near the banks of the Rio Grande in Mission.

Once again, Abbott is tossing out the “open borders” canard. The border isn’t “open,” governor. The presence of border security guards should tell everyone the truth about what is happening on our southern border.