Monday, August 02, 2021

In what world are mask mandates too draconian but COVID justifies massive law enforcement deployments and new detention camps for migrants? Oh yeah: Greg Abbott's Texas

I was lookin' for a job when I found this one.
Don't need the work like you need the work done.

                                                       - Todd Snider

Given that he has forbidden local governments in Texas from requiring masks in public spaces, Gov. Abbott's executive order telling Texas DPS troopers to arrest people suspected of being a) migrants and b) who could possibly be carrying COVID reeks of hypocrisy nearly as great as the constitutional crisis he has created. 

The Biden Administration has asked federal courts to intervene. Lets' hope sanity prevails.

Grits has said before, I believe the 87th Texas Legislature featured the ascendance of a brand American fascism that had heretofore been constrained by business and libertarian factions in the Texas GOP. But 2020 saw Allen West win the state GOP chairmanship and immediately begin courting QAnon types in the party ("We Are The Storm"), giving voice to far right-wing populists to whom mainstream politicians in Texas had heretofore refused to pander.

Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick evince no such compunctions. With West now challenging the Governor in the primary, he has taken to using COVID as justification for draconian immigration stances that make no sense as either labor or public-health policy, but please the anti-immigrant fringe among his base to no end. 

All this is especially hypocritical because Texas elites courted illegal immigration for generations, preferring to have a large body of second-class citizens with fungible rights performing some of the most grueling and dangerous work in the state.

Shut down immigration, illegal or otherwise, and the result is severe labor shortages in industries that rely on those workers: agriculture in rural areas; construction and hospitality in the cities. We've heard Gov. Abbott and really the entire Republican message machine blaming these shortages on lazy workers and too-generous unemployment checks, but immigration policy is almost certainly the more direct cause. Labor shortages increasingly appear to be structural, and expanded immigration is one of the only solutions on the table. Maybe the only one. From the perspective of Texas Chamber of Commerce types who in past generations were considered "conservative," the state is cutting off its economic nose to spite its slightly-more-brown face.

The other problem is all this is being done under the Governor's "emergency" powers, which foolishly empower him to override any law or upend any legislative budget decision once he's declared an "emergency" (as evinced by taking $250 million from the prison system for wall building). The Legislature has become nearly irrelevant in Texas (so it's just as well the Democrats are gone, anyway, lest they contribute to any pretense of legitimacy). No matter what they do, the Governor can apparently turn around and do something else as soon as session ends, redirecting money and personnel however he sees fit.

The law enables him to essentially operate as a dictator, and Greg Abbott is beginning to do just that.


Gary said...

I have serious doubts about the governments authority to require masks, on the other hand I'm sure being an illegal alien is a crime.

I doubt your position on these subjects is mainstream in Texas.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Gary, educate me: If the government can make me wear a seat belt in a car to keep from harming myself, why can't it require I wear a mask to keep from harming others? I'm struggling to see the case for a lack of authority.

FWIW, I have much more confidence in government's authority to require masks than I do in DPS troopers' ability to develop viable probable cause to arrest migrants suspected of carrying COVID, which sounds to me like code for "arrest brown-skinned Spanish speakers."

Finally, what's "mainstream in Texas" is not my concern in the least. Not that long ago, Jim Crow was "mainstream." Didn't make it right. Anyway, in the Trumpian era, large swaths of the public in Texas have become wholly disconnected from reality and advocate for policies that are IRL harmful to their own interests and the state as a whole. Immigration policy is Exhibit A on that front. This blog is a platform for MY opinions; go elsewhere if you're looking for popular ones.

Gary said...

Well driving us a privilege, walking down the street is a protected right. Quit struggling.

The great God Grits has spoke! I thought the blog was to share ideas, now that I know better I won't visit your opinion blog anymore.

Anonymous said...

Hit the road Gary..grits is right on this one.

Unknown said...

@anonymous. I'm guessing you're part of the calitard swarm of libtard locusts that have destroyed Texas. Or is it Michigan, or Oregon you slunk here from? All such well run examples of democrats failures to govern. So you fled here, to try to turn it into the same mess you left. Typical

Leslie J. Smith M.A. said...

COVID -19 is as much a political and public safety issue as it is a public health problem and the hypocrisy you mentioned is obvious. This information may not be directly related to this Grits article but it is time to begin the debate especially since COVID-19 is the source of the existing problems.

JAMA article paraphrased:

It Is Time To Reevaluate The CDCs Powers In Health Emergencies.
Although a federal mandate might provoke political opposition to face coverings, the state-by-state approach is ill-suited to health emergencies, which spill over to adjoining states, even the entire country. Laws requiring seatbelts offer a good analogy. Despite early opposition, the public came to regard passenger restraints as minimally invasive and vital safety features. Mask orders similarly could gain public acceptance because they are designed to protect mask wearers and the wider community. Source:
Universal Masking in the United States: The Role of Mandates, Health Education, and the CDC | Law and Medicine | JAMA | JAMA Network

It is time for one universal message to prevent the two-faced/double standard political excuses, of our political (power) institutions. The VOTERS are watching and listening.

Anonymous said...

Being an illegal alien was not a crime when they were building D/FW Airport.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Gary writes: "walking down the street is a protected right"

And yet, you can be arrested for walking in the street instead of the sidewalk. Or for jaywalking. Or for violating any number of other safety restrictions. How is a mask mandate any different?

I'm sorry you didn't understand blogs are opinion vehicles for the authors. They've been around awhile now, so I guess I assume people understand the medium. Read, or don't, no skin off my nose.

Gunny Thompson said...

From Unfiltered and Uncensored Minds of Independent Thinkers of the 3rd Grade Dropout Section:

Gary, no disrespect intended, as you stated that blogs have been around for sometime, but better associated as one's opinion. In addition to being informative, the benefit of blogs are that others are given the opportunity to add theirs.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@5:26, despite Gary being "sure," IRL being an "illegal alien" isn't a crime rn. Swimming the river is a crime, but most people here who're undocumented came through at the checkpoints and just overstayed their visa.

And even someone who crossed illegally doesn't retain some ongoing criminal status any more than someone who smokes pot should forever be considered a "criminal." They can be deported, but those are civil proceedings.

Finally, you're right that, "Being an illegal alien was not a crime when they were building D/FW Airport." Even more than that, before 1965, there were no numerical limits on immigration whatsoever for anyone from the entire Western Hemisphere, and the US had a formal guest worker program w/ Mexico (source). This weird, revisionist history where ppl imagine the Mexican border was somehow "closed" at any point in the past is as self serving as it is patently false.

Anonymous said...

Well grits..these guys are still mad that their orange child-president lost and are lashing out at anything remotely democratic and/or reasonable. What else did you expect?

jaymz said...

It's quiet remarkable the virus is smart enough It can only attack Americans but not the illegals pouring across our border