When we last saw the republican governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, he was ordering his state's national guard to be on alert. That was this past April. The "stand to" call had nothing to do with some natural catastrophe, or immanent civil unrest. It wasn't even because vast hoards of illegal Hispanic immigrants were preparing to storm the walls of the Alamo. No, it was because the United States military was preparing to conduct an exercise known as Jade Helm 15.
According to Abbott, he wanted to make sure the citizens of the state and their property were safe from the ravages of a U.S. military run amok at the behest of Barack H. Obama.
What goaded the governor into action was a series of far right wing internet rumors swirling about which claimed Jade Helm was a terrible ruse. The lunatic edge was howling that not only were the feds coming for their guns, property, and possibly wives and daughters, but they would be abetted by U.N. troops. A wave of Wal-Mart store closings was even weaved into the demented narrative. Those on the fringe claimed the empty retail outlets would be used as either supply depots for use by the forces of evil, or detention centers for people opposed to the liberal-one world-Illuminati plot. Abbott spoke publicly about the threat of federal troops taking, "political prisoners."
Others--those who actually have a firm grip on reality--didn't agree. One former Texas GOP lawmaker was quoted as saying, the governor was, "pandering to idiots." The White House issued a statement saying it didn't know what the hell he was talking about.
However, by April things were so out of hand, thanks largely to, not only chatter in the ever measured and accurate tea party chat rooms, but also Greg Abbott, that Ted Cruz, of all people, had to act as the voice of reason. Well, sort of. He issued a statement which said something along the lines of, while he understood the paranoia and panic, he had been assured by people he trusted that Jade Helm wouldn't end up as a military take over of Texas--at least not this time.
The little Canadian proved to be right. The training exercise came and went and no one was taken prisoner and not one gun was confiscated. All the dire predictions from vague internet sources, cracked radio talk show hosts, and Governor Abbott himself proved just so much abject craziness. In the end, it was just another dive into the deep pool of bizarre and, in many instances, cruel conspiracy theories
Now, Greg Abbott is back in the news. The same guy who was worried about martial law in Bastrop County, Texas wants to lead the charge toward a constitutional convention which will roll back the increasingly dangerous liberal plot voters nationwide have endorsed in the last two presidential elections. His rallying cry is state's rights. That's pretty much what your average southern politician babbled about when he wanted to avoid the indelicate reality of human slavery in a pre-civil war debate with some loathsome Yankee.
Abbott assures us he has a nine point plan which the convention should consider, although he might want to rethink the first one. It would prohibit congress from regulating any activity which occurs in one state. You know, like Colorado legalizing marijuana.
But then things get serious. The governor proposes that the Supreme Court would have to rule 7-2, rather than 5-4 to invalidate a, "democratically enacted," law. In other words, if the people of, say South Carolina, were to vote in favor of reinstating strict segregation of the races as a state statute the court couldn't overturn it without a 7-2 majority.
He also wants the states to be able to override any Supreme Court decision they don't agree with by a 2/3 majority and sue the feds any time they deem Washington has, "overstepped its bounds." In addition he wants to prohibit administrative agencies from creating laws. It's something they can't do now, but it would appear one can never be too careful. There is some other stuff. The most important of which is an amendment requiring a balanced budget, which might sound good, at least until we get to that next, inevitable, war we'll have to pay for.
This would all be nonsense, but thanks to cold blooded republican gerrymandering and increasingly draconian voter ID requirements, the right wing has a lock on a bunch of state legislatures which it shouldn't. And, as we've seen from the Trump campaign, once these conspiracy theorist wankers get up a head of steam, they're as tough to stop as a lynch mob.
Speaking of which.
The other night in Rock Hill, SC, Ms. Rose Hamid showed up at a Donald Trump rally. She is a 56 year old flight attendant, who also happens to be a Muslim. She was wearing a white hijab and a blue tee shirt which read, "Salam, I come in peace."
Predictably, the Trump people weren't in the mood to put up with any sort of, "I come in peace," shit from a Muslim. When the candidate started his now daily rant about Syrian refugees, "probably," being members of ISIS, Ms. Hamid stood quietly. She didn't heckle El Donald, or confront any of those around her.
Her serene and dignified demonstration drove the crowd into a maddened frenzy and security was called. As she was led out of the hall she was booed loudly and many chanted, "Get out, Get out."
According to Ms. Hamid, some of those seated near her apologized and treated her decently, but as she was escorted to the doors, at least one person yelled, "She has a bomb!." Her response was, "No, I don't have a bomb, do you?"
After she was gone, Donald Trump told the roaring faithful, "There is hatred against us that is unbelievable. It's their hatred, not ours."
And there, ladies and gentlemen, you have in a nutshell, the current state of the party of Abraham Lincoln.
sic vita est