We’re sorry, Texas. When the Observer discontinued this quasi-liked and occasionally-read feature after last year’s election, it precipitated some two months of relative peace and stability. You did pretty good, Texas. At times, we discerned a sparkle in your eye and a spring in your step that we hadn’t seen since boats-and-hoes-ghazi kicked off the dark times.
But the return of the Legislature proved too tempting. We started to talk about bringing it back. And then everything went to shit.
1) The Texas Capitol is the people’s house, but, to crib from Marx, some of the people are revolting. That’s Groucho Marx, not Karl. Anyway, the beginning of the Legislature is a shining moment, a time for civic reconciliation after a contentious election. We must all recognize each other as coequal human beings and busy ourselves with the hard work of forging compromise, under the watchful eyes of our one true leader: Kory Watkins.
Watkins, the fedora-wearing champion who leads the splinter open carry protest group known as Open Carry Tarrant County, has managed to singlehandedly annex much of the Capitol in recent weeks to an anarcho-capitalist commune of his own making, the People’s Republic of Kory.
As we know from Machiavelli, one can rule through fear or love. Love would seem to be the easiest choice here for Open Carry protesters, seeing as the Legislature really, really loves guns, so much that it kind of gets weird if you think about it too long. For much of the past few months, the lawmakers seemed prepped to hand the open carry guys what they wanted on a silver platter.
But Watkins, despite his love of Honey Boo Boo, is a fear-man, seemingly incapable of adult communication or restraint. He made such an ass of himself in state Rep. Poncho Nevárez’ office that the House saw fit to make it easier for members to install panic buttons in their offices. Support for open carry started to melt away, almost singlehandedly because of Watkins. And yet he didn’t learn:
— Lauren McGaughy (@lmcgaughy) January 28, 2015
This would all be funnier if Rep. Nevárez, one of the all-around best dudes in the Lege, didn’t receive threats to himself and his family after his run-in with Watkins, requiring DPS protection.
But Watkins is taking things a little more seriously now, in song form.
If you’re going to be at the Capitol in the next few months, please remember one simple question: What would Kory do? Don’t do that.
On the other hand, though, like all of the most entitled bullies in Texas history, Kory is set to face zero consequences for his actions.
— Lauren McGaughy (@lmcgaughy) January 29, 2015
So maybe, do do that?
2) What’s left to say about state Rep. Molly White, who did her part to make the pink dome at the heart of the People’s Republic of Kory a more welcoming place this week? One tidbit got less attention than the rest:
People use the word “renounce” when they leave something they were once a part of, or supported. So think about that: Molly White accidentally asserted she’d once supported the Ku Klux Klan, and it was like the 30th worst thing she did that day. Stellar week for her communications team.
3) If you had the misfortune to follow Newt Gingrich’s last presidential run, you know he cares about one thing above all others, even more than revisiting child labor laws and that moon base. That’s the threat posed by EMPs. The idea of an EMP weapon, in case you’re not familiar, refers to the idea that an enemy could set off a nuclear device high in the atmosphere and fry electronic circuits down below. North Korea, or whoever, could set off a bomb over the Heartland and disable the electrical grid for much of the continental United States. It’s a fear that plays to a conservative love of self-sufficiency and distrust of centrally planned systems, and the fringe’s love of survivalism. Scientists say meh, but who cares?
On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Natural Resources & Economic Development met for the first time and heard testimony from the head of ERCOT, and freshman state Sen. Bob Hall (R-World Net Daily) raised his voice to the microphone for his first time as a legislator. He made it clear he knew he stood on the shoulders of giants. “I want to commend—those that have gone before me here have done a great job.”
But Hall was here now. He’d been to the bleeding razor’s edge of the neo-zeitgeist, and back, and he’d seen the threatscape matrix of tomorrow, thanks to his membership in the Newt Gingrich Book of the Month Club.
“I just want to make you aware of an issue that we will be addressing to make sure that we keep abreast and keep that protection up whether it be a natural or a manmade disaster, such as the EMP threat, that is becoming more important today than it has in the past.”
It’s almost as if a lobbyist gave him a bouncy rubber ball so he wouldn’t be meddling in anything important.
4) Do you read AgendaWise? I’m kidding, nobody does. The site, part of Tim Dunn and Michael Quinn Sullivan’s far-right messaging network that’s been trying for years to unseat House Speaker Joe Straus, provides a scribble-space for two bloggers, Weston Hicks and Daniel Greer. Under the noses of the Capitol establishment, they’ve carved out, with the help of a significant amount of pissed-away donor money, a space for some of the most surreal and hallucinatory writing about Austin’s politics scene.
That’s not to say that it’s good. Hicks and Greer write like children who were raised by wolves and learned to talk at an under-18 Ren Faire live-action role-playing tournament. They make extremely grandiose pronouncements, using curiously out-of-time language, about pretty ordinary shit. Did you know, for example, that our serially middling attorney general, Ken Paxton, is “a hope for all western governments?”
I’m being mean about their turgid prose because—and this is only slightly more important than the quality of their writing—they also have a tendency to be assholes. Greer had to take a brief leave of absence from AgendaWise when he got caught calling moderate GOP state reps “fags,” and “joked” that gay people got AIDS instead of making babies when they have sex because of “#naturallaw.”
This week brings another fine example of the AgendaWise canon. It’s got a juicy title.
Woah! Two sentences in and we’ve already got our first zinger!
Here’s the meat of it: People who aren’t on the AgendaWise side are whores.
The grassroots don’t want their hard work capsized because of lechers in Austin who can’t protect their own influence from being hijacked by political concubines.
Political chastity is the discipline of interested political actors not to sleep with one another. The reason this is so important, and much more than a “private matter,” is that politics is a cold war.
In war, sleeping with the enemy is a serious offense. In World War II women who slept with German occupiers were treated harshly and ostracized. The reason is simple – the act signifies vulnerability and openness. Someone who has slept with the enemy has significantly compromised their ability to deny the enemy access to vital communal information, and, to some extent, they’ve compromised their ability to say “no” to the enemy.
The sex act “signifies vulnerability and openness”—spoken like a man who has definitely had the Sex. I like the cut of this guy’s jib! Keep going—
Believe it or not, Austin has actual political whores. They don’t think of themselves that way, but others do, and that is what they are. They may be a disgrace to their families, but they are rife in Austin.
In their minds they are just being “liberated women,” only they are professionally rewarded for being “liberated” in the vicinity of men with crucial intelligence or strategic access to power. It is especially important to find weak links to access in the Austin clan who don’t pledge allegiance to the current special interest regime – conservatives – and this caliber of woman can do this job uniquely well.
At parts, Hicks seems to be using the idea of this slutty whore woman as a metaphor, but at points it seems like he’s talking about an actual, specific woman. He caps the piece with a long and disturbing passage from the book of Proverbs about the dangers of consorting with bad, naughty, and slutty women, which ends thusly:
She seduces him with all her talk. She entices him with her flattery. He goes headlong after her, like an ox to the slaughter, like a deer leaping into a trap, until an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird hurrying to the snare, not aware that it will cost him his life.
The piece is a psychosexual nightmare and crazily misogynist, and if Hicks had written it in high school he’d be called to the counselor’s office. You could read the piece and believe that Hicks was calling almost all of the women who work at the capitol whores.
But I think we can discern, behind this dark mess, what has happened. Hicks, as we’ve previously discussed, knows deep of sex and love, like a man should. Perhaps … a woman caught his eye? A woman of the cause? Perhaps there was a spark, and perhaps, some weeks later, the woman left. Her heart led her in a different direction. She took a job in Straus’ office.