Why do macho Texans elect such chickenshit politicians?

I am amused. Yet again, a tough-talking Texas pol disappears into the sunset in a cloud of dust, leaving a mess he doesn’t want to deal with behind him. The tale of the process server who tried to deliver a subpoena to Ken Paxton:

Herrera’s affidavit said that he arrived at Paxton’s house Monday at 8:28 a.m. and was greeted at the front door by a woman who identified herself as Angela. When he told her that he was trying to deliver the subpoenas to Ken Paxton, she told him that the AG was on the phone.

Herrera, who said he recognized Ken Paxton inside the house through glass on the door, offered to wait for him. Angela replied that Paxton “was in a hurry to leave,” according to Herrera, who observed a black Chevy truck in the driveway and then saw another car arrive there.

At about 9:40 a.m., Herrera said he saw Paxton exiting his garage. Herrera walked up the driveway toward Paxton and called out his name, at which point “he turned around and RAN back inside the house through the same door in the garage.”

Minutes later, Angela came out to the truck and opened both the driver-side door and the door behind it, Herrera wrote. A few minutes after she started the truck, “I saw Mr. Paxton RAN from the door inside the garage towards the rear door behind the driver side,” Herrera wrote.

“I approached the truck, and loudly called him by his name and stated that I had court documents for him. Mr. Paxton ignored me and kept heading for the truck. After determining that Mr. Paxton was not going to take the Subpoenas from my hand, I stated that I was serving him with legal documents and was leaving them on the ground where he could get them,” Herrera wrote.

“I then placed the documents on the ground beside the truck. Service was completed at 9:50 am. He got in the truck leaving the documents on the ground, and then both vehicles left,” he wrote.

Maybe he was in a hurry to catch his flight to Cancun.

Hey, Texians, did you know that John Wayne was a draft-dodging coward and that you lost the battle of the Alamo?

Oz steps on another rake

The man is an embarrassment of failures. His latest? A right-leaning newspaper suggested it would be a good idea to have the candidates publicize their medical status, and Oz leapt into action!

I would not expect that he had medical concerns, and he certainly seems fit, and I don’t think anyone is questioning his health as a reason to disqualify him. Rather, Oz has tried to suggest that Fetterman is in poor health, so he clearly saw this as a way to get in another dig.

Unfortunately, there is one little glitch: that letterhead.

Cool. The primary care physician for this guy who claims to live in Pennsylvania has a Manhattan office overlooking Central Park, a two hour drive from his purported home. How nice for him.

Of course, Fetterman has a response.

Today Dr. Oz confirmed that he does not actually live in Pennsylvania, because no one who does would have a primary care doctor on 5th Avenue in Manhattan.

We didn’t need to know Dr. Oz’s bone density. We need to know whether he would vote to ban all abortions after 15 weeks. We need to know whether he would vote to raise the minimum wage. We need to know whether he even plans to stay in Pennsylvania after the election.

In June, I released a letter from my doctor where he clearly stated that I am fit to serve. Dr. Oz built his entire career by lying to people about health. I trust my actual doctors over the opinion of a charlatan who played on on TV.

This is the most entertaining political race in ages.

The conspiracy theories are getting wilder

Steve Bannon. Speaking at a Turning Point USA conference. With Alex Jones. Summarizing the evil schemes of the elites.

It’s too much. I couldn’t even imagine what batcrap nonsense was going to come out of his mouth, and Bannon was definitely balls-to-the-wall. This is an impressive conspiracy theory.

“This is the biggest inflection point in human history,” Bannon said. “In the lived experience of half of this room, or maybe more, we’re going to get to a point where you’re going to have Human 2.0. Right? They’re telling you that. They’re funding that. This is not science fiction, this is fact.”

Note: it is not a fact.

Bannon claimed “they” want to be “immortal” and could be working on this covert “Human 2.0” mission under the guise of doing good.

“They talk about they’re going to save kids, and they’re going to do this — that’s all crap. They want to be immortal. Right? And they also say there’s too many people, the carrying capacity of this planet– there’s too many people,” Bannon argued.

The true “great replacement theory,” he added, is the replacement of Homo sapiens.

“You know, they’re all over Tucker [Carlson] and the great replacement theory and about the thing. Hey, the great replacement theory is Homo sapiens. That’s what they’re trying to replace,” Bannon said.

“Of course you haven’t heard about it. They don’t want to talk about it,” Bannon told the crowd. “They’re just going to do it. And they’re going to call it the Cancer Moonshot. This is what we have to stop.”

He gives the game away near the end. Bannon’s ilk have been pushing the Great Replacement nonsense, the idea that “they” (which usually means “the Jews”) are replacing white people with brown people, and this new idea is simply a distraction from the patently racist stuff Tucker Carlson is mainstreaming. Now the idea is that “they” aim to replace all of humanity with immortal genetically engineered non-humans, all done under the guise of treating cancer.

It’s not enough that they have been undermining treatment of infectious disease, hey, let’s spread the conspiracy theory that cancer therapies make you non-human. The logic is going to be persuasive to all those deluded folk in QAnon.

He has got to work on his delivery, though. He has none of the charisma of Charlton Heston.

“You maniacs, you blew it up! God damn you, God damn you all to hell!” “Soylent Green is people!”

He’s not wrong

The current president of South Korea is a conservative jerk, but that doesn’t mean everything he says is wrong. Sometimes he’s on the money, especially when the truth is obvious.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol was caught on a hot mic Wednesday insulting U.S. Congress members as “idiots” who could be a potential embarrassment for President Biden if they did not approve funding for global public health.

A bit impolitic, maybe, but yeah, many members of congress are idiots. They don’t get elected for being smart.


Maybe more impolitic than I thought. He spoke in Korean, and called them “saekki deul”, which apparently means something more like “sons of bitches”. Still accurate.

By the way, I discovered a video where I learned about the richly profane Korean vocabulary. Useful for learning what not to say around my Korean daughter-in-law.

The comparisons can’t be avoided

There was a time, way back around the time Trump was elected, that there were people howling about how you can’t call Republicans “fascists” or “Nazis” because they weren’t literally German, or invading Czechoslovakia, or wearing toothbrush mustaches. It was annoyingly literal-minded, and the people most vociferously arguing for an extraordinarily narrow interpretation of the term all seemed to be sympathetic to fascism. People like Rich Lowry scribbled a lot of denials against Nazi comparisons.

Fortunately, we’re starting to see past the smokescreens and recognize that the historical correspondences are inescapable. Ken Burns has made a new documentary about the Holocaust, and while he tries to avoid contemporary comparisons, he finds them unavoidable. When asked if he intended to make a historical documentary that resonates so strongly with current events, Burns says he didn’t mean to.

I don’t think it was the intent. Every film we’ve worked on has sort of rhymed in the present. As we were working on this, we began to realize how much things were resonating with what’s going on now. The assault on the Capitol, the insurrection and other events in which we felt the institutions of our democracy were challenged enough that it was important for us to take this story and remind people what the consequences are of yielding to the various kind of nefarious aspects of the [authoritarian] playbook.

When Hitler came to power, he downplayed for a moment antisemitism and the platform of the Nazis and stepped up street warfare to give the German people a sense that civil war was imminent and that the causes of this were the communists and the socialists. He’s already in power because other conservatives think they can handle him. Those conservatives are worried that there is now what we would call a new progressive majority. And so they are doing everything to subvert the democratic process because they realize, in fact, in a democratic society, these things won’t hold. And so out of this comes the monstrous regime of Adolf Hitler, and one of the many horrific things — the most horrific — is the attempt to exterminate all of the 9 million Jews of Europe.

And he repeatedly denies it! He just couldn’t help it.

No, we don’t subscribe to any of that stuff. We’re just storytellers. Telling a complicated story. I don’t know what critical race theory is. It’s essentially a graduate school legal concept of how to frame certain arguments that has been appropriated by people to use as a cudgel to to beat them up over these various things.

I made a comment about the [Florida Gov. Ron] DeSantis play in Martha’s Vineyard as being a kind of an authoritarian response, just as it was when Disney says we don’t agree with you, he punishes them. When a state employee doesn’t do what he says, he fires them. That’s the authoritarian thing. It’s not the democratic way that you handle it. But the right-wing media has said that I’ve equated what DeSantis did with the Holocaust, which is obscene. I mean, literally obscene to do that. But it is also classic authoritarian playbook to sort of lie about what somebody just said in order to make it so outrageous that then you can deny the complexity of what’s being presented.

I agree that the magnitude of the horrors of Nazi Germany perpetrated is not at all comparable to what is going on right now. The appropriate comparison, though, is to the pre-war politics that laid the groundwork for the atrocities. There should be no doubt that while DeSantis hasn’t set up camps to murder immigrants, that’s what he wants to do, and would do if he could get away with it. Which he could, if we keep electing Republicans.

You can’t have it back

I think I’ve made it quite clear that I’m unimpressed with dead queens or live kings around here. I may have to rethink my opinion of British royals, though, thanks to this commentary.

If these wankers were to represent the majority opinion of their kind, I’d say we need to drag the corpse of the dead queen out of her vault and throw it in the Thames, and then lop off a few more royal heads. Great engine of civilization my ass. It was a system that benefited a minority population at the expense of all the people in the red part of this map. It was a great engine of exploitation that wrecked innumerable cultures.

Also, isn’t the USA a pretty good counter-example, showing that decolonization wasn’t a disaster? Counterpoint: the USA then went on to carry out its own exploitive conquests sans any royal family, so maybe we shouldn’t blame kings and queens so much as the whole ugly system.

The real question here, though, is how these guys plan to bring back the empire. I don’t think they have the military muscle for reconquest, and they got rid of the East India Company 150 years ago, and threw away their economic clout with Brexit. A couple of feeble old Tories shaking their fists at the sky and demanding their treasure back isn’t going to cut it.

Copaganda

There was a time in my callow, naive youth when I’d see a show like Law & Order (or Dragnet — I watched that as a kid) and think it was an accurate portrayal of how the police worked. Then I’d see the news about, for instance, Rodney King or George Floyd, or all those untested rape kits (11,000 in Detroit!) and the disjoint between the reported reality and the television fantasy began to pile up. The TV tells me the police will deliver justice if I’m ever wronged, but the news is telling me it’s more likely they’d deliver pepper spray and a nightstick, and then ignore me afterwards.

I’m happy to see John Oliver delivering the truth. Law & Order is a lie.

That show really needs a disclaimer at the beginning and end of each episode stating, “This show is a fantasy about how we wish the justice system operated. There is nothing real about how the law works portrayed here.” Maybe bracket it with genuine statistics about case clearance rates and incidents of corruption and unjustified violence.

Are all cops bad?

Sure seems so. Here are a few examples that illustrate the problem.

Christian Glass had his car stuck on a dirt road, and called for help. He needed a tow truck, or a ride to someplace safe. He hadn’t committed any crimes, he just wanted some simple roadside assistance. Instead, he got a bunch of aggressive, armed deputies who ordered him out of the car and threatened to break his windows…and then they did break his car windows, shot him with a beanbag gun, tased him, and then, when he was rightfully panicking at the inappropriate response, shot him dead.

Why?

None of this makes sense. He was frightened, was worried that the cops might hurt him, and he was right: he’s dead. There was no cause for violence, but that’s all cops know how to do. So they violented him.

At the same time, with such a limited repertoire of possible responses, the cops come equipped with an unassailable sense of entitlement, confident that they are always right.

PSA to everyone out there, I’m speaking for myself but I’m probably speaking for other officers out there if we’re driving on the freeway in our police car, get the fuck out of the way. If us officers stay behind you long enough, we can find a reason to pull you over.

We all know this. We’re used to it. If a cop wants to charge you with something, they can find a reason, no matter how blameless your behavior. It’s not about enforcing the law, it’s about their power trip.

This officer knows she could get in trouble for making this fact explicit, so notice how she keeps her badge number hidden behind a filter, but it didn’t help her. It was quickly figured out that this is Breanna Straus of the Federal Way, Washington police force. What saved her was the refusal of the thin blue line to address the problem of rotten cops: she only got a 10 hour suspension. It was less than a slap on the wrist, it was a gentle caress.

You might want to be very careful driving near Sea-Tac, she’s back at work. There are rarely any penalties for being an asshole and a cop.

Part of the reason for that is that cops lie. They are expert liars, skilled at concealing how useless and counterproductive they are. Look at how baldly they lied about everything in Uvalde — they’re authorities, you know, and you will learn to respect their authoritative assertions, or they will find a reason to arrest you.

THREE HUNDRED SEVENTY SIX police were standing around playing pocket pool for over an hour while kids were shot, and then they made multiple verifiable lies about the event afterwards. To answer the question in the title…YES. Definitely.

Greg Abbott should be doomed

Should be. Probably isn’t. This is a good strong anti-Abbott ad, for instance.

His position on guns is also horrific.

So why do I feel like there seems to be a lot of Texas voters who will read those as pro-Abbott ads? He’ll make those dirty pregnant women suffer, and he’ll let us all have great big guns that can turn children into hamburger, yeee-haaaw!

Maybe it’s just me, but I have this impression that Texas is a hellscape populated with inhuman demons.

In case you were wondering about the Republican vision for higher ed…

Just look to Kansas.

A plan to restructure the school and allow the firing of faculty members with only a 30-day notice is expected to be approved this week by the Kansas Board of Regents, which oversees the state’s higher education. If adopted, the “workforce management plan” would effectively suspend tenure for the fall 2022 semester.

A semester doesn’t seem like much, but it’s enough time to wreck careers and burn down programs that have taken decades to build. It’s enough time to change an institution that has contributed to the common good in Kansas for more than 150 years to one that is dedicated to … well, we just don’t know yet.

Yikes. We’re hired on a legal contract…but they can just tear it up and throw it away like that? How can they do that? Simple answer: Republicans.

There’s little doubt that the university’s move to end tenure is in response to pressure from the deeply conservative Kansas Legislature, and I’ve heard the former university provost Gary Wyatt say as much. Once, in a department meeting, he told us that legislators viewed tenured professors as “the enemy.” Then again, at a faculty address this fall, he said the campus would have to come to grips with the reality that we live in a state that is mostly Republican, with a legislature that is GOP dominated. How much clearer could he make it? To his credit, Wyatt is one of the few administrators willing to speak the truth on the issue.

They don’t care. They’re willing to wreck the state for their failed ideology. And the hired gun they employ to do the dirty work is the new president of the university, Ken Hush. How he was hired was appalling.

The same week KBOR extended the “workforce management” policy, it also hired a new president for Emporia State: Ken Hush. An ESU alum and former college tennis star, Hush had served as interim president since November 2021. Hush is a former CEO of Koch Carbon and, according to the Federal Election Commission database, a contributor of tens of thousands of dollars to KochPAC, which predominately funds conservative candidates for Congress.

Hush’s appointment as president came as a surprise to campus because many assumed a presidential search would select someone from the outside with an advanced degree. Hush holds a dual major bachelor’s, in business and marketing, making him the least academically credentialed of the leaders of the six universities in Kansas.

The presidential search process, unlike all previous searches at ESU, was a closed one, veiled in secrecy. There was no announcement of finalists or opportunities for faculty, students and staff to evaluate them, whoever they were. The chairman of the search committee was another former ESU tennis athlete, Greg Kossover — and a major donor to the new tennis complex on campus.

The selection of Hush at first seemed an odd fit.

Although he had served on the Wichita State University board of trustees, he didn’t have a deep background in public service in a classroom setting. He had run a Koch company that specialized in bulk commodities of coal and petroleum coke, and contributed heavily to a PAC that funded candidates who were often climate change deniers.

The libertarian Koch brothers, of course, kicked off the current culture war during the Obama years with their support of the Tea Party. The university and KBOR both refused to release a resume or curriculum vitae for Hush, something that most schools share with pride.

We’ve gone through several chancellors at my university during my tenure here, and every time, hiring a new one was a major effort involving a national search, multiple candidates, multiple interviews, faculty consultation, a thorough review of their qualifications, and draining amounts of work by a committee. This guy was just hired because the Koch’s said so?

Note to self: we currently have an acting chancellor, and I presume will eventually hire a different person. Thumbs down on any applicants from Kansas, unless they’re refugees with solid qualifications fleeing the imperial regime of Kochistan.