Abbott’s Abuse of Authority

September 1, 2014 § 2 Comments

The Dallas News has published a description of how Gregg Abbott used the authority of the Texas Attorney General’s office in 2010 to shut down a Harris County voter registration drive called “Houston Votes”.  Here is a link to the story:  Houston Votes  .

I urge all to read it carefully.

The only honest and truthful statement made by any representative of the Attorney General’s office is this one, made in response to the story:  ““In this investigation . . .  evidence uncovered dictates direction,”   Now I have omitted the phrase “. . .and all other investigations conducted by the office of the Attorney General . . .” because, while I have some suspicions about those other investigations, I don’t have any information about them.

So far as concerns the Houston Votes investigation, the facts uncovered by the Dallas News are:  The accusation that apparently triggered it came from Catherine Engelbrecht, leader of the King Street Patriots, a right-wing outfit based in Harris County.  Her public statements about the Houston Votes effort to enfranchise people in low income neighborhoods were laced with multiple easily identifiable lies.  She quoted an inflammatory statement attributed to a Black Panther.  The statement was made four years before the Houston Votes effort was launched.  Then, she claimed that the building housing the Houston Votes project was associated with Black Panthers, a lie.  The Houston Votes office was nine miles away from the Panther headquarters.  There was no connection between the two .

The evidence acquired by Abbott’s investigation was submitted to the Harris County District Attorney Pat Lykos, a Republican, who refused to file any criminal charges.  A spokesman for the DA’s office explained that criminal charges were filed only if there was “probable cause to believe that a crime had been committed.”

So, as stated, I agree that the “evidence uncovered” dictated the “direction”.  And the “direction” was, in fact, a gross assault on democracy’s most basic principle:  That government should be based on the consent of the governed, expressed through their votes.

I urge you to read the Dallas News story carefully and reflect on the likely consequences of elevating this man Abbott to the governorship.  How would you like to have a governor who slavishly responds to the reckless lies of Catherine Engelbrecht?

By the way, I have written about these King Street Patriots before.  See “King Street  Patriots”, a post in September 2010.

 

 

§ 2 Responses to Abbott’s Abuse of Authority

  • Yes, we can only pray he doesn’t win – but, Texas has been fighting this battle for a long time. I will always remember sitting in an auditorium at the University of Texas in Austin, as an employee, in the late 1980’s and hearing for the first time the oxymoronic expression minority-majority. The Republicans, Tea-Party, and Corporate Criminals are continuing their efforts to prevent the natural numerical ascendency and majority of a brown population. While this country may experience a brief period of a uniquely capitalistic apartheid state, I hold faith that the underlying principles of democracy and the ever present spiritual powers nascent and growing here will overcome and eventually we will have a country of the people, by the people, and for the people.

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  • Bob Hall says:

    Skywalker, I have been remiss in delaying a response to your thoughtful comment. You and I have no choice: We must believe that our country will recover its idealism and decency. The alternative is unacceptable.

    I am going through a time when maintaining that hope is difficult. There seems to be no outrage toward right-wing indifference toward the suffering of the masses and the injustice of a working class living on the edge of poverty while a tiny fraction of their fellow citizens wallow in wealth that would have embarrassed J.P. Morgan and Andree Carnegie. After more than 200 years we are still trying to bury what Stephen Vincent Benet’s elegy in “John Brown’s Body” described:

    “The great, slave-driven bark,
    Full-oared upon the dark,
    With gilded figurehead,
    With fetters for the crew
    And spices for the few,
    The passion that is dead,
    The pomp we never knew,”

    There is reason for hope: When more Americans vote, they choose fairly well. Four of the last six presidential elections have been defeats for the oligarchs – not unalloyed victories for the working class, but at least the better of the choices. In a way, the all out assault on the right to vote is evidence that the political analysts for the oligarchs understand and fear this. I think our population will become younger as a result of Hispanic immigration and I am hopeful that the immigrants will not be fooled by “migajas de la mesa” (crumbs off the table).

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