Good Monday morning, campers. Last weekend, a bright ray of hope broke through the toxic cloud that enveloped us all, as Joni Mitchell took the stage to perform for the first time since 2000. And for the first time since 1969 (!), the scene was the Newport Folk Festival. The driving force behind this little miracle was singer Brandi Carlile, who has done yeoperson work to keep Mitchell’s work alive since the latter’s brain aneurysm in 2014. That was enough to make you forget (for a moment, anyway) the authoritarian gnome theocrats who are running the country too much these days.
We all watched in horror as Texas became more and more Isengard, but instead of orcs, for fabricating horrible public policy ideas. Much of the impetus – and much of the money – behind this development was provided by a few oil-soaked fundamentalists in the western part of the state. From CNN:
Elected officials and political observers in the state say a major factor in the transformation can be traced back to West Texas. Two billionaire oil and fracking moguls from the region, Tim Dunn and Farris Wilks, quietly bankrolled some of Texas’ most far-right political candidates – helping to reshape the state’s Republican Party in their vision of the world.
And what, pray tell, is this “worldview”? You had to ask, didn’t you?
Former associates of Dunn and Wilks who spoke to CNN said the billionaires were both particularly focused on education issues and that their ultimate goal was to replace public education with private Christian education. Wilks is a pastor at the church his father founded and Dunn preaches at the church his family attends. In their sermons, they paint the picture of a nation besieged by liberal ideas.
“The cornerstones of our government are crumbling and beginning to fall apart,” Wilks said in a 2014 sermon at his island church, the Assembly of Yahweh 7th Day. “And it’s because of lack of morality, lack of belief in our Heavenly Father.” Texas’ far-right shift has national implications: Candidates backed by Dunn and Wilks have turned the state legislature into a laboratory for far-right politics that is beginning to gain traction in the United States.
(“Assembly of Yahweh 7th Day”? I instinctively distrust religious cults that sound like the product of newspaper mergers in the 1970s.)
This, of course, is nothing new for Texas, which has been screwing up the country’s political biosphere for decades now. Longtime fans of conservative sabotage will remember Mel and Norma Gabler, the Longview couple who worked to sabotage textbooks in public schools nationwide. (Enlightened and modernized, the Gabler crusade lives on in the current hysteria banning books on critical race theory.)
Now, this longstanding Texas gift for political vandalism has been highlighted by the likes of Dunn and Wilks, who should be raving in the clouds of dust on a San Angelo street corner and not allow crowds that give college librarians hell in New Jersey.
The current 18 Republican members of the Texas Senate and nearly half of the Republican members of the Texas House have taken at least some money from Dunn, Wilks or organizations they fund. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton were also the main beneficiaries of billionaire spending. […] While Dunn and Wilks focus on state politics, they have also become involved in national races. Wilks, his brother Dan and their wives were among the top super PAC donors supporting GOP presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz in 2016, contributing a total of $15 million. And Dunn has donated millions of dollars to super PACs supporting former President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans in recent years.
As CNN points out, the Dunn-Wilks Combine has recently been less successful in supporting the candidates, but that likely hinges on their success over the past decade. You can only push even Texas politics so far to the right before you end up in the Bahamas.
The second biggest beneficiary of Defend Texas Liberty this year was Shelley Luther, an unsuccessful far-right legislative candidate who gained national attention after she was arrested for refusing to close her Dallas hair salon to comply with restrictions. on coronaviruses. In an interview with CNN, Luther – who has proposed banning Chinese students from Texas universities and said she’s “not comfortable with transgender people” – said Dunn and Wilks had been part of part of his campaign. “Without them, I wouldn’t even have been able to run,” Luther said. But she added that the spending wouldn’t have given billionaires sway over her votes or decisions: “He wants me to do what I say I stand for,” she said of Dunn.
They paved parking lots and set up a theocracy.
This content is imported from OpenWeb. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, on their website.