Friday, April 15, 2022

Last Call For Time For Some Traffic Problems On The Border, Con't

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday repealed his traffic-clogging immigration order that backed up commercial trucks at the U.S.-Mexico border, after a week of intensifying backlash and fears of deepening economic losses.

The Republican governor dropped his new rules that had required all commercial trucks from Mexico to undergo extra inspections to curb the flow of migrants and drugs and ratcheted up a fight with the Biden administration over immigration policy.

Some truckers reported waiting more than 30 hours to cross. Others blocked one of the world’s busiest trade bridges in protest.

Abbott, who is up for reelection in November and has made the border his top issue, fully lifted the inspections after reaching agreements with neighboring Mexican states that he says outline new commitments to border security. The last one was signed Friday with the governor of Tamaulipas, who this week said the inspections were overzealous and created havoc.

When Abbott first ordered the inspections, he did not say lifting them was conditional on such arrangements with Mexico.

Pressure was building on Abbott to retreat as gridlock on the border worsened and frustration mounted. The American Trucking Association called the inspections “wholly flawed, redundant and adding considerable weight on an already strained supply chain.”

The U.S.-Mexico border is crucial to the U.S. economy and more of it is in Texas — roughly 1,200 miles (1,931 kilometers) — than any other state. The United States last year imported $390.7 billion worth of goods from Mexico, second only to China.

Abbott began the inspections after the Biden administration said pandemic-related restrictions on claiming asylum at the border would be lifted May 23. He called the inspections a “zero tolerance policy for unsafe vehicles” smuggling migrants. He said Texas would take several steps in response to the end of the asylum restrictions, which is expected to lead to an increase in migrants coming to the border.

State troopers inspected more than 6,000 commercial vehicles over the past week, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Nearly one in four trucks were pulled off the road for what the agency described as serious violations that included defective tires and brakes.

The agency made no mention of the inspections turning up migrants or drugs.
So the inspections failed to turn up any drugs or human trafficking that the Feds missed, which was ostensibly the whole point of the exercise, but it instead forced three Mexican governors into unenforceable agreements and cost the country at least $150,000,000 and probably closer to several billion in economic damage, all of which he can now blame on Biden.

Let's see, there's a legal term for someone who forces change in government policy through damage or disruption to systems, isn't there?

Oh right, terrorism.

This was a terrorist attack that cost billions.

Greg Abbott should be in a cell awaiting trial.

The Big Lie, Con't

Another hard reminder that Republicans besides Trump and his White House flunkies were actively working to overthrow the election, and that includes multiple sitting GOP members of Congress. That includes Utah GOP Sen. Mike Lee and Texas GOP Rep. Chip Roy, who actively plotted with Trump WH Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to declare Trump the winner fraudulently leading up to January 6th, 2021.

In the weeks between the 2020 election and the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, almost 100 text messages from two staunch GOP allies of then-President Donald Trump reveal an aggressive attempt to lobby, encourage and eventually warn the White House over its efforts to overturn the election, according to messages obtained by the House select committee and reviewed by CNN.

The texts, which have not been previously reported, were sent by Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and GOP Rep. Chip Roy of Texas to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. The text exchanges show that both members of Congress initially supported legal challenges to the election but ultimately came to sour on the effort and the tactics deployed by Trump and his team. 
"We're driving a stake in the heart of the federal republic," Roy texted Meadows on January 1. That text was first released in December by the House select committee and described as being written by a House Freedom Caucus member. Roy's authorship has not been previously reported. 
When situated in the overall timeline of events between the election and January 6, the series of texts from Lee and Roy provide new details about how two Trump allies went from fierce advocates of the former President's push to overturn Joe Biden's win to disheartened bystanders. By January 3, Lee was texting Meadows that the effort "could all backfire badly." 
But shortly after the election, both men were encouraging Trump to keep fighting.
In a series of texts to Meadows on November 7, Lee offered his "unequivocal support for you to exhaust every legal and constitutional remedy at your disposal to restore Americans faith in our elections." 
Lee went on: "This fight is about the fundamental fairness and integrity of our election system. The nation is depending upon your continued resolve. Stay strong and keep fighting Mr. President." 
Also on November 7, Roy wrote to Meadows, "We need ammo. We need fraud examples. We need it this weekend." 
In a statement to CNN, Lee's communications director, Lee Lonsberry, said, "I'd like to highlight that Senator Lee has been fully transparent," pointing to how Lee had called for an investigation into claims of fraud in the 2020 election but ultimately recognized Biden as president-elect and voted to certify the electoral results on January 6. 
The heart of the conspiracy here consisted of the pleas by Lee, Roy, and several other Republicans for Trump to get alternate slates of electors in order to make the election theft workable, and to use the chaos of January 6th as cover to initiate the plan to steal the White House.
The slates of electors didn't arrive in time, and when they were created, they were ludicrously illegitimate. 

The problem now is Trump has his own slate of GOP Secretaries of State who will steal the electoral votes for him in 2024. Lee, Roy, Trump, and the rest of the GOP were unable to steal the election in 2020 because states didn't play ball.

In 2024, they'll declare Trump the winner before the voting even happens.

The Great Debate Debate Debate

The Republican National Committee voted unanimously on Thursday to withdraw from the Commission on Presidential Debates, saying the group that has run the debates for decades was biased and refused to enact reforms.

"We are going to find newer, better debate platforms to ensure that future nominees are not forced to go through the biased CPD in order to make their case to the American people," the committee's chairperson, Ronna McDaniel, said in a statement.

The RNC's action requires Republican candidates to agree in writing to appear only in primary and general election debates sanctioned by the committee.

The nonprofit commission, founded in 1987 to codify the debates as a permanent part of presidential elections, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It was unclear what format future RNC-backed debates would take or whether they would take place as often as in recent decades.

The move, which followed months of wrangling between the RNC and the commission, will potentially deprive voters of seeing Republican and Democratic candidates on the same stage.

Millions of Americans usually watch the presidential debates, and many viewers say they help them make up their minds about whom to vote for, according to research by the Pew Research Center.

The Democratic National Committee, the RNC's counterpart for President Joe Biden's party, accused Republicans of trying to hide from voters.

"Voters can count on hearing from President Biden and Vice President (Kamala) Harris, who are proud of their records," DNC chairperson Jaime Harrison said in a statement
It's true, and Democrats need to be blasting Republicans for the next two years over this.  As Steve M. says, if Democrats don't strike now on this, Republicans will set up their own actually biased FOX News, Newsmax, and OANN debate "moderators" and force Democrats into playing their game.

And I think they should say now that they intend to continue working with the Commission on Presidential Debates, because the CPD has been the gold standard since 1987. As I said in January, the Democratic nominee should agree to debate the Republican and also encourage participation by the better-known minor candidates, and should go ahead with the debate, along with just the Green and Libertarian candidates if necessary, if (when) the Republican doesn't show up. Make Trump or DeSantis look like the one who's afraid to debate.

But as I also said in January, Democrats won't do this. Out of fear that they'll look like debate dodgers, they'll allow themselves to be dragged into the GOP's process and ultimately agree to it.

I hope I'm wrong about that.
 I think DNC chair Jaime Harrison is smart enough not to fall for this.  We'll see.
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