Texas Learns That Government Has to Do Something Other Than Restrict Abortion

In his State of the State address at the beginning of February, Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott laid out five "emergency items" that the legislature can vote on within 60 days of the start of the session. These included passing a weak bail reform measure, punishing cities that "defund the police," protecting companies from lawsuits related to COVID-19, and doing something something "election integrity." The one infrastructure measure that was given emergency status was a genuinely good one: expanding broadband access for rural communities.  Of course, it's hard to use broadband when your power is out.

The rest of Abbott's agenda was the usual conservative culture war bullshit. "In this session, we need a law that insures that the life of every child will be spared from the ravages of abortion," Abbott said. And "we need to erect a complete barrier against any government official anywhere from treading on gun rights in Texas. Texas must be a Second Amendment sanctuary state." Oh, and don't worry. Your right to get coronavirus at church will be protected: "I want a law this session that prevents any government entity from shutting down religious activities in Texas." In other words, mostly cruel and dumb garbage that benefits no one except the politicians who have lied so much that the truth looks like a liberal conspiracy to their idiot hordes.

There was no talk about using tax funds from the economy Abbott bragged about to shore up the energy grid in Texas. There was actually nothing else about infrastructure other than making sure that Pornhub streams smoothly on the ranches of West Texas. But Abbott did say one other thing that is pretty relevant to the frozen clusterfuck the state has become in the last two days: "Texas prides itself on low regulations, but our response to the crisis revealed even more regulations that can be cut... I’m asking the legislature to make permanent some of the regulatory relief that are authorized. This will cut red tape and unleash the full might of the Texas economy."

I'm going to guess that the blackouts, low or no water, frozen and burst pipes, and the damage all that causes will have a greater economic impact on Texas than the "red tape" of regulations. And, to state the blatantly obvious, it was lack of regulation enforcement or regulations themselves that created this ice dildo Texas fucked itself with. See, Texas had a similar situation in 1989 and decided, "Ah, fuck it, we'll be fine." Then it happened again in 2011 and Texas decided, "Ah, fuck it, we'll be fine." 

Except really, it wasn't fine. To be fair, the Texas legislature did pass "a law in 2011 requiring power companies to file regular reports with the Texas Public Utility Commission about their weatherization efforts." But, you know, that doesn't mean anything was actually weatherized, although they talked about spending the money to prevent rolling blackouts without doing much because that's what the fuck happens in a state where the utilities barely have to answer to the government because capitalism and freedom.

In November, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas's Manager of Resource Adequacy Pete Warnken "assured the Legislature that the agency had studied a range of extreme weather scenarios for the coming winter and had determined, 'there is sufficient generation to adequately serve our customers.' But ERCOT only sets best practices for generators, unable to force them to better protect their equipment from the cold. State Rep. Gene Wu described it as, 'trusting producers to use profit motive to maintain production.'"

You got that? This isn't about the lies that Texas officials and right-wing media fuckstooges have told about wind power being the culprit for breaking the power grid in the state. (It's not. It's everything, which means that it's mostly natural gas issues because that's what generates most of the power in Texas.) It's about a state government that's been run by Republicans alone since 2003. It's about the conservative fuckery over the years, including deregulation, climate change denial, and refusal to spend on the basic shit that people need while instead worrying about whether or not the motherfucking Dallas Mavericks are playing the National Anthem before their games.

This is a climate disaster, with at least 10 people dead already and more misery on the way, including possible issues with the food supply chain. Abbott is blaming the Green New Deal, which is not a law anywhere, but, hey, it's better than saying, "Yeah, we fucked up royally for nearly a generation and need to be voted the fuck out of office before we kill more of you." Or you could listen to cockfleas like former governor and former Secretary of Energy Rick "Wait, You Mean the Job's Not Just About Oil" Perry saying, "Texans would be without electricity for longer than three days to keep the federal government out of their business."

That's what these assholes think about you: Texans would rather freeze to death and starve than let the big ol' guvmint do the job that a motherfucking government is supposed to do. And that's where you come in, Texans. Your government can do more than pass anti-abortion laws and create gun sanctuaries, where rifles and pistols can run wild and free. It can actually make it so shit isn't miserable. Get on that.

Oh, by the way, Abbott is now saying that "reform at ERCOT would be an emergency item during the legislative session." Don't hold your breath that they'll actually, you know, regulate it.