Eclectic commentary from a progressive voice in the red state

Sunday, August 27, 2023

An Open Letter to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Austin:

 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

3211 4th St NE

Washington, DC. 20017

An Open Letter to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Austin:

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott enthusiastically swaddles himself in the shroud of Roman Catholic Christianity. His religiosity is as much his brand as his wheelchair, his guns and his militaristic shirts with epaulets.

But, except for his pro-birth position that puts women at risk for death, none of his political positions or advocacies reflect the tenets of your church — or any universal church descended from Saints Peter and Paul. His attacks on sustainable energy and his support of the desecration of our land for the fossil fuel industry violate your advocacy of social justice and stewardship of our world. His position on Medicaid expansion counters the healing examples of Jesus, who took no fees for God’s service. His murderous actions at the southern border violates Jesus’ exhortations on hospitality; and, the deaths in the Rio Grande violate the universal “Thou shalt not kill.” Shipping innocents on buses under false pretenses may as well be cattle rail cars from 1930s Germany.

And that’s why I am writing. Because, as in 1930s Germany, the Roman Catholic Church has been silent. I wrote Bishop Joe S. Vásquez at the Diocese of Austin last year and received a cordial but meaningless response. In doing so, the Diocese of Austin abandoned the moral high ground of holding its sinners to account.

Your church’s standing aside in the shadow of one of your most prominent parishioners, who uses the Roman church as his brand, is unacceptable after the lessons of 1930s Germany. The church that was silent then must not be silent now as ignores the lessons from 1930s Germany and repeats the errors of the past. I am reminded of Dag Hammarskjöld’s observation in “Markings” (1957), “The madman shouted in the marketplace and no one stopped to answer him. Thus it was confirmed that his thesis was incontrovertible.”

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

More Republican vermin jump into the cauldron of cruelty

The news that doctors have left Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin broke on the Texas Standard this morning (May 16) citing the work of Nicole Villalpando, an Austin American-Statesman reporter. Unfortunately, Villalpando’s story is behind the newspaper’s strong paywall. Nevertheless, this news combines with the Texas Tribune’s reporting on May 12 that the Texas Legislature has advanced a ban on transgender care.

 This is a continuation of the vermin-like behavior of the Republican Party, and especially the Republicans in Texas led by the fascist governor, Greg Abbott and his creepy-crawlies in the form of Dan Patrick and Ken Paxton. This should not be a surprise. In 2015, I pointed out what a bloodsucker Abbott was. But that added twist today was learning that an additional assault against decent behavior came from Ted Cruz and Chip Roy. These particular pieces of feces wrote Dell asking for personal patient information, likely a violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

 We don’t know the details of Dell’s doctor departure. However, we know one thing. The above-named public officials are not — I repeat, not — working in the best interest of the people they claim to represent. Every one of the these vermin are Christian nationalists and theocrats seeking to impose on the populace a form of fascism based on a perversion of the United States Constitution and the writings of our nation’s founders. Abbott, who I personally believe is an evil sociopath, leads the march toward turning Texas back to the Nineteenth Century. The harm to individuals affected by these dystopian laws and assaults will go well beyond them and their families, which are and will be devastating.

 If that’s not enough for these purveyors of cruelty and indecency, it will undercut Abbott’s chant that Texas is a great place for business. Smart people, those who form the backbone of an educated workforce, will not want to move to a bastion of mediaeval life. Oh, their owners and masters may be happy with that environment, as award-winning Duke University historian Nancy MacLean pointed out in “Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America.” Educated people blessed with critical thinking skills — not so much.

How many times must one bugle a clarion call to fight these traitors?

Sunday, May 14, 2023

The Republicans want gun violence

As gun violence continues to steal American lives, the Republicans and other right-wing interests continue to offer “thoughts and prayers.” The chief enabler for this reprehensible carnage is the cynical and evil Greg Abbott and his lemmings in the Texas Legislature. All the while, we point out that thoughts and prayers will not work nearly as well as laws and policy changes. They haven’t so far, have they? They never will.

Here’s why. Abbott and the rest of the Republican ecosystem owned by the billionaire class doesn’t want gun restrictions. And, yes, that’s partly because the National Rifle Association owns the GOP. But there’s another, more sinister reason. The right-wing wants its disciples armed. Their rationale is, in part, a corrupted interpretation of the Second Amendment; and, in other part they want as much of their minions armed as possible.

Ostensibly, it’s to defend against a “tyrannical” government — as if these people will be able to stand against militarized police forces and the military itself. In truth, Abbott and his ilk want their followers able to turn these weapons against those with whom they disagree — the liberals and “woke” class. Need I remind you of Abbott’s “joke” in May 2017 saying the gun he was holding could be to shoot reporters? Remember that many a truth is told in jest.

Are we at a political tipping point going into the 2024 election cycle? I believe we are. If you only read one thing today, please read the article I’ve linked here.