Thursday, September 24, 2020

Governor hopes pro-police push will distract from COVID failures

The Governor today held a press conference calling for a half-dozen new laws aimed at increasing penalties for protester violence and people who harm cops. Thing is, Texas already did this in 2015 after the Ferguson protests, boosting penalties for assaulting police officers and requiring high school students to watch a video teaching them how not to make police angry (I kid you not: they did that because it would offend cops to tell them not to shoot the kids - Democrat Royce West carried the legislation).

At this point, shouldn't MSM coverage of Governor Greg Abbott's slew of press conferences on Austin's police budget openly acknowledge that it's just a campaign ploy?

How else to explain that Greg Abbott has suggested more legislative proposals in just a few weeks aimed at attacking Austin for its budget vote than he has all year responding to the COVID-19 virus, which has killed some 15,000 Texans and counting?

We know nothing about the governor's legislative agenda on COVID, much less why he hasn't released $6 billion in federal aid related to the virus. But we've seen him hold press conferences calling for freezing Austin property taxes, de-annexing Austin suburbs, having the Department of Public Safety take over APD, asking lawmakers to sign a pusillanimous pledge, and now increasing a bunch of criminal penalties that were mostly increased already in 2015. Who really thinks any of this is state government's biggest priority right now?

One of his proposals would make Texas' "rioting" offense a felony. Grits has previously written about the dark origins of that overbroad law in the anti-civil-rights backlash from the '60s. That statute should be repealed, not made harsher. 

The MSM are reporting the presser straight, but how often can they run the same content without acknowledging the larger reality? The real news isn't "Greg Abbott makes legislative proposal." It's "Greg Abbott continues PR tactics to distract from COVID." Headlines focused on the actual contents of his proposal are missing the real story.

MORE: To their credit, the Texas Tribune portrayed this story in electoral terms. So it's not impossible for MSM reporters to cover these issues more credibly; it's a choice when they fail do so.


Thomas said...

Abbott is a great governor.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

And war is peace. Freedom is slavery. Up is down ... Orwell was a prophet.

Gadfly said...

Grits ... you forgot to reference the bible and say "and Thomas was a doubter"!

And, yes, especially in rural or semi-rural counties, we're waiting on that money.

Gadfly said...

Grits, it seems obvious that Ron DeSantis is like a "beta" test for other wingnut GOP govs.

Joshua Kumler said...

It's worth noting Republican legislators don't appear to be lining up behind these proposals:

When ask about proposal to disallow reductions in police budgets at the TribFest, Dustin Burrows (someone I can't believe we're still talking about, but he seems to think he'll still be Ways & Means Chairman) said "I don't want to create any exceptions to allow more spending."

George said...

@ Poor Thomas,

A great Governor? For who, he's a bleeping Trump sycophant who's too busy trying to please his master in Washington than truly lead ALL Texans -- not just the ones who identify as Republican. He supports a President who says only ballots cast for him should count. He supports a President who is a draft dodging coward, who is on the record berating and treating women like sluts & whores. He supports a President who has something to hide with his financial records. He supports a President who has shown deference & support to the dictator for life, Putin. He supports a President whose lack of leadership in the initial stages of the COVID pandemic, and on the record stated that he wanted to downplay it, has resulted on over 200,000 American lives lost and still doesn't have a plan to deal with the continued spread of the virus other than throwing billions at producing vaccines that may or may not work instead of spending the money on proven methods like wearing masks and social distancing. That's real leadership right there isn't it Thomas?

I know this, Texas is a changin' and this year has seen record voter registration -- especially in Harris, Bexar and Travis Counties. That should tell you something if you have enough sense to recognize it. Just recently a Federal Judge overturned the state law doing away with straight party ticket ballots opening the way to allow faster voting and shorter standing line to cast a vote.

So it's not just the COVID pandemic that Abbott is trying to gaslight, it's also the state Rebublicans efforts at suppressing the vote of people with a left leaning stance on politics. That should be a criminal offense of course but the Good Ole Boy network is still alive and kicking in the Lone Star State -- but for how long?

As a state and a nation, we should be making it easier for ALL American citizens to cast a vote, even those who have a felony record on probation/parole. The law preventing a person from voting who have felonies on their record, in one aspect, is a holdover from the Jim Crow laws enacted after the Emancipation Proclamation to prevent Blacks from having a say in their future, and it was very easy to charge, arrest and convict back in the day -- actually much like it is in the here and now.

So yeah, I don't think the Guv is a great Guv. He's a great Guv if you think things shouldn't be challenged, if you're affluent and don't have to struggle and juggle with living on low income or even mid income, trying to put food on the table, pay rent & utilities, vehicle registrations, insurance and all the other mundane things that most Texans are having difficulties with on a day to day basis.

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