Texas To The World Dispatch #18

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“In the covered wagon days, if a baby was born in Texarkana while the family was crossing into the Lone Star State, by the time they reached El Paso, the baby would be in the third grade.”
– Wallace O Chariton, Texas Author
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Tiny Hands Across the Water
All y’all Texans who voted overwhelmingly for Trump must have at least some embarrassment over his orb-fondling fiesta in the ancient deserts of Arabia. As a candidate, he couldn’t stop talking about radical Islamic terrorism but when his toes touched the oil-soaked sands of the kingdom of Saud, nary a discouraging word is heard. Trump probably is oblivious to the fact that most of the 911 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia and that Arab money continues to find its way to terrorists. Of course, he didn’t act unawares when he was running for president and was constantly calling the Saudis horrible people “who push guys off of buildings” and “treat women horribly.”
None of that matters as much as stocks and arms deals, though.
Trump signed a $100 billion dollar arms deal with the Saudis, which is certain to bring more misery to Yemen where a civil war has seen more than 10,000 civilians die. Most of them were victims of U.S. supplied weaponry. We are supporting the Saudi air attacks mostly because Iran is helping the Houthi rebels, and we don’t like Iran, even though its increasingly young population wants to be engaged with the west, buy jeans and iPhones, and its moderate president, who just won reelection, is interested in having his country trade with the wider world and enjoy greater freedoms from religious restrictions. Instead of growing a relationship around the nuclear arms deal negotiated by Obama, however, Trump is puffing up winds of war.
The Iranians ought to do adopt the Saudi strategy to solve this problem. Invite Trump for a visit, project his name on walls and hang it from skyscrapers, giving him a platinum carpet to walk across, let Trump touch their orb, if they have one, (and get one, if they don’t, preferably from Alibaba.com), make up some silly-assed ritual to help him feel important. They’ll get an arms deal as big as the House of Saud.
Trump’s pandering to the repressive Saudi regime is reprehensible and self-serving. Women can’t drive, or travel alone, or fully vote, and yet his Stepford daughter praises the country’s advances of women’s rights so she can pick up a $100-million-dollar donation to her charity, which will probably use the money to serve the Trump personal empire in the same manner as her father’s charities.
There was some high entertainment out of your wasted tax dollars. Upon arrival, as Trump was crossing the airport ramp, he reached back to offer his hand to Melania and she slapped it away. Their marriage is, at least publicly, not exactly exhibiting warmth. There might be many reasons she has elected to not live in the White House and dad of the year Donnie appears to be playing golf every weekend instead of spending time with his son. The always stylish Melania also did what Trump did not think Michelle Obama should do and refused to wear a head scarf while in the country. Trump had criticized Mrs. Obama for a similar decision calling it an “insult” and saying, “We already have too many enemies.”
Well, he fixed that with an arms deal, I reckon.
Trump’s Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, meanwhile, was certainly impressed with his employer’s reception in the kingdom. He was blown away by the fact that, unlike in America, there wasn’t a trace of protest against Trump, not a single hair joke to be heard. Ross, as ignorant as his banana Republican boss, had no idea public protest is against the law and the Saudis recently sent two men to prison for criticizing the administration of a hospital and gave another man 10 years and 2000 lashes for a Tweet that was interpreted as “atheistic.”
And in keeping with the spirit of repression and constrained rights to information and speech, U.S. Secretary of State “Tex” Tillerson held a news conference while he was over yonder, but he didn’t invite any American journalists. Maybe they just don’t know their place like Saudi reporters. No Secretary of State has ever done such a goddamned, idiotic thing as this but when in Saudi Arabia, do as the movers and sheikhs do.
Here’s what the U.S. State Department says about the kingdom run by the House of Saud, a brief which was unread, apparently, by anyone in Trump’s entourage:
“The most important human rights problems reported included citizens’ lack of the ability and legal means to choose their government; restrictions on universal rights, such as freedom of expression, including on the internet, and the freedoms of assembly, association, movement, and religion; and pervasive gender discrimination and lack of equal rights that affected most aspects of women’s lives.”
We all ought to be ashamed.
Freedom’s Just Another Word
Democracy, if that’s what describes our American remainders, requires we be engaged and informed and stand up for what we believe, which is exactly what nine-term U.S. Congressman Al Green (D) Houston did when he was the first to rise on the house floor and call for the impeachment of Donald Trump. An African-American, Green began to get voicemails threatening him with lynching. He will likely not be deterred. He’s from Texas and has experienced racism in the past. But it’s the rest of us who ought to be worried about what these threats represent to our country.
Texas, like most of the American South, has a sad and sordid history with lynching. The most horrendous story ever told came from Waco in 1916 with the public hanging, dismemberment, and boiling in oil of Jesse Washington, a seventeen-year-old farmhand who was accused by his white employer of killing the farmer’s wife. Washington’s death was sufficiently horrific that it led to America’s first anti-lynching law in 1922, which never did much to stop the brutality in an era when Americans used to produce and share post cards of a favorite lynching, and buy them in bulk to put in family photo albums or pass around at parties.
Lawyers in Love with Texas
The Texas legislature, where intellect and kindness go to die every two years, is once more firing up lawyers to file lawsuits against unconstitutional laws coming out of the state house. You may be assured that this session of the gathering of mini-minds will result in a vast wastage of millions of your tax dollars. Hell, it’s already started. Out in the West Texas town of El Paso, it’s government versus government because the county has filed suit asking a federal judge to stop the discriminatory sanctuary cities law that gives happiness to no one but Governor Goddamn Greg Abbott, an angry coward who has somehow ended up in the state’s highest office. El Paso’s County Sheriff filed the 29-page suit seeking to enjoin the state and asking a federal court to stop the implementation of what most law officers in Texas view as a “show me your papers” racial profiling mandate.
But that’s just the beginning. The Pee Pee Protocols, which may end up in a conference committee comprised of senators and reps, will almost certainly be challenged in court. Patrick doesn’t think the version that came out of the house was sufficiently mean enough to teenagers struggling with their sexuality because it allowed them to use multi-stall bathrooms aligned with their identity when no other facility was available.
Patrick keeps threatening to force a special session over his obsession with how the school children use their genitalia. Patrick wants the law to reach outside of schools and into public potties, and regardless of the vocal protests of the business community that such absurdities will cost Texas billions in tourist and convention dollars, Dan Derangement keeps pushing.
There will be other lawsuits over bad laws coming out of Austin. Even though your tax dollars are used to fund many adoption agencies, the swarm of empty suits called lawmakers in the capitol building want those agencies to be able to refuse to place children with non-Christian parents and gay and lesbian couples. Because those people don’t know how to love kids.
The men are also working very hard inside the pink granite building to stop women from getting abortions. A regulation approved previously to require that fetal remains get full burials has already been challenged in court but has now been put into language in a new measure likely to be signed by Governor Goddamn.
Words have also been finessed that will make it almost impossible for a woman to get a second trimester abortion, which proponents are referring to as a “dismemberment abortion.” Of course, that’s not what it is. Doctors call it a “dilation and evacuation” procedure that allows tissue samples to be taken from a fetus before removal. Never mind that women can agree to this because the tissue helps research diseases and genetic problems.
This is Texas. We don’t want to know.
The radical Christian movement continues to drive Texas politics to the right edge of the cracker. The Jesus Jihadi driving all of this is a doctor named Steven Hotze, who appears to have lost his way on the road out there between religion and science. Take a look at this freak boy’s website and find comfort in knowing that he has profound influence over Lt. Gov. Damn Patrick. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) calls Hotze’s Conservative Republicans of Texas a hate group but he’s really just all about Christian love for everyone but you sodomites!!! SPLC, in fact, has named Hotze one of America’s top haters. We’re Texas proud!
Hotze is Patrick’s former business partner in a Houston radio station where he regularly aired a ridiculous show that had an audience rating of point zero seven, which means four pick-up trucks, two convenience stores, and donut shop were tuned in. But he’s not just a Christian terrorist; he also makes a lot of money with quackery, offering meaningless hormone therapies and “Hotze Vitamins” to the gullible who pay him thousands of dollars at his office and pharmacy. A doctor at the UT Health Science Center in Houston told the Houston Press that Hotze’s work was “selling snake oil.”
But if you wonder about the genesis of Patrick’s crazy, let Hotze explain. This is the guy who has the Lt. Gov’s ear, though he sometimes feels betrayed because he doesn’t think Patrick is sufficiently conservative or Christian. And he really hates the Speaker of the House and has said Joe Strauss wants to outlaw Christianity.
“Speaker Joe Straus and his RINO lieutenants, members of the Homosexual Political Movement (LGBT and Log Cabin Republicans), their corporate business donors and pro-Muslim sympathizers are organizing and spending millions of dollars to drive Christian conservatives and their values out of the Texas Republican Party,” Hotze wrote. “I am not going to tell you that if this liberal, secular cabal has its way, then the criminalization of Christianity will be the order of the day.”
And yet. And yet. That is not even Peak Hotze crazy. Did ya hear the one about the plan to get kindergartners to practice sodomy, which was the true purpose behind the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling to legalize gay marriage.
“They want to intimidate individuals, churches, schools and families to celebrate those that participate in anal sex. That’s what they love and enjoy: anal sex,” Hotze said. “And that’s bad, that’s evil. It’s a terrible thing to try to do and they want to try to teach it to kids in schools,” Hotze said. “Kids will be encouraged to practice sodomy in kindergarten.”
In a kinder culture, Hotze would be institutionalized to protect himself from harming himself and others. In Texas, he’s got money and an audience with the most powerful politician in the state. And he is praying like a good radical Christian to destroy the legislature when it does not do his precise bidding. Dear Lord, hear his prayer:
“Pray this imprecatory prayer for the wicked state legislators.
“In the name of Jesus, I prophesy and declare: may all the individuals serving in the state legislature, and their staff, who support, promote and practice sodomy and other perverted, sexually deviant lifestyles, who support the killing of unborn babies, and who hate God’s Law and God’s Word, receive just retribution from God for their evil actions. May they receive what their unfaithful ways deserve. May they be consumed, collapse, rot and be blown away as dust from their current positions because of their wicked works, thoughts and deeds. May people scorn them and nations abhor them. May their punishment lead them to repentance and faith in Christ. May God’s will be done in their lives.”
And you were worried about radical Islam?
“The power of men like me does not come solely from our ability to kill–which is no small talent in itself, true, but neither is it as rare as gold. No, the true source of our power is so obvious it sometimes goes unnoticed for what it is: our power comes from other men’s lack of courage. There is even less courage in this world than here is talent for killing. Men like me rule because most men are faint of heart in the shadow of death.”
James Carlos Blake, The Friends of Pancho Villa
I’ll tell ya what Willie would do: he’d roll another one, just like the other one. He is as outraged as any other sane person at Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ plans to have courts enforce the highest penalties possible for even minor drug possessions. Willie was doing an interview with Rolling Stone: Country and was asked if he agreed with Sessions that pot is “only slightly less awful” than heroin.
“I wonder if he’s tried both of them. I don’t think you can really make a statement like that unless you tried it all. So, I’d like to suggest to Jeff to try it and then let me know later if he thinks he’s still telling the truth!”
We’re Number One!
Special congrats going out to Texas Governor Goddamn Greg Abbott who is now referred to in many quarters as the most bigoted state leader in all the land. The traditionally staid and conservative Dallas Morning News has begun to give more prominence to progressive voices and a recent and very persuasive piece suggested the governor of Texas is a monumental bigot. He is a man who professes Christian values (see above) while supporting laws that make life miserable for helpless children, immigrants, poor families, people without health care, and any other marginalized soul he can assault.
The ACLU went a bit further and said Abbott will soon have blood on his hands because of the repressive, discriminatory laws that he will sign. There seems little doubt that people will die as a result of circumstances over which they have no control, and, sadly, one or two frightened teens, struggling with their sexuality, will look around and see an unyielding and unsympathetic community, a dark, endless future, and they will “turn their own cold hand.”
Leak o’ the Week
That silly Kelcy Warren of Dallas and his Energy Transfer Partners (ETF) buddies. They just keep us giggling about how they promised safe pipelines that wouldn’t leak. The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) was always going to leak. Hell, it’s pre-leaking. Only the latest in technology could achieve advanced leaking before operations. There have already been three leaks in the DAPL in the Dakota stretch of line that have been blamed on valve manufacturing flaws that were quickly cleaned up with no serious environmental damage. Aren’t you reassured? Not even delivering sticky crude yet but already seeping out and into the soil with chemical ruin.
Oh, sweet land of liberty.
Texana: Old Glory
Old Glory, Texas sits between the Salt Fork and the Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos River. German settlers founded the town as Brandenburg but there was never more than a schoolhouse and a general store and when a small railroad was built the town site shifted closer to the trains and became New Brandenburg. The anti-German fervor of World War I reached way out into West Texas and the people living in Brandenburg decided to change their little town’s name to Old Glory. There is not much to cheer about in Old Glory as farms fail and nearby oil wells get tapped out by time.
And when you hear politicians insulting each other with words and the democratic process with their behavior and their money, or you think about greed and corruption in business and on Wall Street, or giant political groups with hundreds of millions of dollars to distort your perceptions and judgments with their lies, or you consider wars lacking meaning or purpose, or schools without enough money or families without jobs and health care, stop.
Just for a moment, and consider the little desert town of Old Glory.
“When a lady accessorizes in here in Texas, she’s selecting caliber, not color.”
Ron Brackin, International Best Selling Author
Texana II
Stephen F. Austin aka “The Father of Texas”
“The roads are full of errant thieves united with the Indians, and without a small force of mounted troops to clean-up and guard them, I cannot respond to the security of travelers …. If it is possible to permit me to continue in service the 14 men and augment them with 10 more and a Sergeant, I can respond to the security of the roads.”
– Stephen F. Austin, explaining to Mexican authorities why he needed to continue the employ of the first force of Texas Rangers, November 1823
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“Saskatchewan is much like Texas; except it’s more friendly toward the United States.”
Adlai Stevenson, politician, quoted in the “Buffalo News,” 1992