Month: <span>September 2022</span>

Ken Paxton is a dangerous attorney general; Texas needs Rochelle Garza

It would be wrong to dismiss Ken Paxton as a worthless attorney general. He is much worse than worthless. He is a dangerous attorney general.

His only real allegiance is to himself and Donald Trump. In a direct attack on democracy, he filed a lawsuit to try to overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election, feeding Trump’s lie that Joe Biden had “stolen” the White House from him, and he remains loyal to the former president.

In his latest stunt, Paxton has attacked Biden over the Justice Department’s investigation into the classified documents Trump was illegally hoarding at his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida. In an unsolicited brief filed with a federal appellate court, Paxton claimed that the Biden administration could not be trusted to tell the truth about its investigation of the former president.

Considering that neither Trump nor Paxton can hardly issue a public statement without uttering at least one lie, that is an absurd attack for Paxton to make against the government’s investigation. Hopefully, the court will ignore Paxton’s effort, but it serves his purpose. It keeps the truth-deniers – and there are many among Paxton’s supporters – stirred up for his reelection campaign. Or so he hopes.

Never mind the nation’s security or the democratic process or whatever else may be compromised if the government’s investigation is derailed. They are of secondary importance to this attorney general.

This incident is only the latest outrage from Paxton, who has spent much of his time in office under indictment on felony securities fraud charges. He professes innocence but seems in no hurry to face a jury.

This list is far from exhaustive, but here are a few more of Paxton’s political abuses:

  • Participated in the pro-Trump rally that preceded the Jan. 6, 2020, attack on the Capitol to try to disrupt the certification of the election results.
  • Issued a legally dubious opinion declaring that some forms of gender-affirming treatment for children could be considered child abuse. This prompted Gov. Greg Abbott to issue an order resulting in state investigations of transgender kids and their families.
  • Has made multiple attacks on immigrants, spreading unfounded fears among his political base.
  • Filed a lawsuit attempting to kill the Affordable Care Act and, with it, the prohibition against insurance companies denying coverage for pre-existing conditions and the right of parents to keep children on their family policies until age 26.
  • Told county clerks with religious objections that they didn’t have to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage.
  • Has abused his office to suppress voting, including an organized effort to deter educators from voting.

Fortunately, there is a strong alternative to Paxton on the ballot this year. She is Rochelle Garza, a native of Brownsville and daughter of public-school teachers, who will be an attorney general for all Texans and will defend our democracy, not try to destroy it.

Clay Robison

Abbott offers “parental rights” for some families, bullying for others

Remember Gov. Greg Abbott’s “parental bill of rights” proposal he outlined earlier this year? He claimed it was designed to assure parents have a role in their children’s education. What he didn’t say was that he was merely recopying parental rights that already were in state law and claiming them as his own original initiative.

He also didn’t say that his idea of parental “rights” and control over their children didn’t apply to every family. That’s because he has reserved political bullying for some families.

The Washington Post has reported that a 13-year-old transgender boy was pulled out of his class at a Texas middle school about two weeks ago, directed to a conference room and subjected to nearly an hour of personal grilling by a state investigator, who asked questions about the boy’s medical history, his gender dysphoria diagnosis and a suicide attempt years earlier. The encounter, his mother declared later, left the boy shaking and distressed.

This was bullying of a very vulnerable young man, and it was done under Gov. Abbott’s legally dubious order to investigate the use of gender-affirming care in minors as child abuse. Abbott’s order, issued earlier this year, followed a so-called “legal” opinion by Attorney General Ken Paxton that certain gender-affirming medical treatments could “legally constitute child abuse.” Paxton’s opinion didn’t carry the force of law and was issued solely to win both men reelection votes from their right-wing political bases.

The transgender boy’s ordeal itself was a form of child abuse and was recounted in a document filed in connection with an ongoing lawsuit by LGBTQ advocates to block these investigations.

This boy’s parents had no chance to exercise any rights, including a right to privacy, as their son was yanked from his classroom and subjected to sensitive questioning for the sole purpose of allowing Greg Abbott and Ken Paxton to reap political points from people who fear their transgender neighbors.

That is obnoxious political behavior. Abbott, Paxton and their ally, Dan Patrick, already have targeted immigrants and now the transgender community. It makes you wonder who they will harass next as they continue to pander to intolerance.

Clay Robison

Mom says trans eighth grader was questioned by Texas investigator at school

Disrespect for democracy makes Abbott, Patrick and Paxton unfit for office

Educators have many important reasons for voting against Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton in the upcoming general election. Most have to do with the survival of their profession and their ability to meet the educational needs of the children entrusted to their care.

These would include issues such as inadequate school funding, promotion of private school vouchers, political lies against teachers, meddling in their classrooms and whitewashing their curricula.

But something even more basic is at stake in this year’s election, and that is the survival of our election system itself – and ultimately our country as a democratic republic. Trust in election results is essential in a country where people choose their government leaders in elections, and Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick and Ken Paxton all have helped Donald Trump erode that trust and put our election system at risk.

Polls indicate that 70 percent of Republicans in this country still believe Trump’s lie that Joe Biden “stole” the 2020 election and is not the legitimate president of the United States. This is after a succession of judges, including the U.S. Supreme Court, found no merit to the claims of Trump and his supporters — and after Republican election administrators in key battleground states also denied the former president’s claims.

Although Trump bears most of the blame for this attack on democracy, he has had many enablers and abettors, including hundreds of prominent Republican elected officials who refuse to announce loudly, clearly and repeatedly in no uncertain terms that the lie is a lie. Among them are Abbott, Patrick and Paxton, the three top state officeholders on the Texas ballot this November. They know Trump is lying but for their own political reasons refuse to denounce him.

Paxton filed a lawsuit to overthrow Biden’s election, proving his allegiance to Trump over democracy and lies over truth. Paxton also has spent most of his time as the state’s top lawyer under criminal indictment for felony fraud. He, of course, is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, but no one knows when – or if – he ever will come to trial. Meanwhile, whenever Trump whistles, Paxton jumps.

Patrick, who regularly promotes ideology over democracy, was Trump’s Texas campaign chairman in both 2016 and 2020 and still regularly courts and praises the former president, with whom he shares a large political base. Members of that base believe the lie and are prepared to destroy the election system on Trump’s behalf, as the attack on the U.S. Capitol already has demonstrated.

Abbott also courts members of Trump’s political base and fears them. So, he avoids saying or doing anything that would turn them against him.

Abbott’s, Patrick’s and Paxton’s refusals to directly challenge the “stolen election” lie – half-hearted ambiguous answers to reporters’ questions don’t count — help the lie continue to grow and undermine a governmental system they all swore oaths to uphold. Their refusals are a sign of cowardice and a disrespect for democracy that alone makes them unfit for public office.

Clay Robison