Allen Texas Shooting and the Debt Limit

The latest news says there are nine people dead from the Allen, Texas, mass shooting. Gov. Greg Abbott will be in Allen today to utter pointless words that will fail to address anything real about mass shootings. Already he is blaming “mental health,” which he does after every mass shooting. Note that in 2021 Abbott cut more than $200 million from the Texas department that handles mental health services.

However, the Texas legislature recently passed a bill that provides a lot of funding for better mental health services in schools, so I can’t say they’ve done nothing. But the Texas mall shooter was a man in his 30s, which is about all that news stories have said about him as of this writing.

And note, one more time, that according to the American Psychological Association there is no clear link between mental illness and mass shootings. And this is from the Columbia University Department of Psychiatry:

The public tends to link serious mental illnesses, like schizophrenia or psychotic disorders, with violence and mass shootings. But serious mental illness—specifically psychosis—is not a key factor in most mass shootings or other types of mass murder. Approximately 5% of mass shootings are related to severe mental illness. And although a much larger number of mass shootings (about 25%) are associated with non-psychotic psychiatric or neurological illnesses, including depression, and an estimated 23% with substance use, in most cases these conditions are incidental.

I’ve read elsewhere that about a quarter of the U.S. population at any given time arguably has some kind of non-psychotic psychiatric or neurological illness, so the percentage of mass shooters with such conditions is about what you’d expect from any random sampling of people. And according to HHS, about 16.5 percent of Americans aged 12 and older have some kind of substance abuse problem, so drugs/alcohol might be a factor in some situations. But some shooters are stone cold sober at the time of the shootings.

And we go through all of this every time there’s a mass shooting, and the Greg Abbotts of America never get off the same talking points — mental illness, thoughts and prayers. Blah blah blah.

The Dumbest Response So Far award goes to Texas State Rep. Keith Self (R-Allen), who, in a mumbling defense of “thoughts and prayers,” more or less said that God lets shootings happen.

In other news: People are having fun with something Bill Barr said recently.

Digby: Now you admit it? Now?

By all accounts Bill Barr got himself into the Trump administration because he wanted to promote his long-held theory that the president has nearly unchecked power. Instead, he unwittingly held a national master class on why the unitary executive theory is a really, really bad idea.

Also: On the other hand, Lawrence Tribe is now on board with President Biden just declaring the debt ceiling irrelevant and authorizing the Treasury to borrow what it needs to borrow. I’m on board with that too, actually, and look forward to seeing the Chaos Caucus in the House devolve into a sputtering and toothless mass. We need to put a stop to this nonsense of allowing a handful of radicals hold the global economy hostage just to score political points. But here is a bit of what Tribe wrote (no paywall; do read the whole thing):

The question isn’t whether the president can tear up the debt limit statute to ensure that the Treasury Department can continue paying bills submitted by veterans’ hospitals or military contractors or even pension funds that purchased government bonds.

The question isn’t whether the president can in effect become a one-person Supreme Court, striking down laws passed by Congress.

The right question is whether Congress — after passing the spending bills that created these debts in the first place — can invoke an arbitrary dollar limit to force the president and his administration to do its bidding.

There is only one right answer to that question, and it is no.

And there is only one person with the power to give Congress that answer: the president of the United States. As a practical matter, what that means is this: Mr. Biden must tell Congress in no uncertain terms — and as soon as possible, before it’s too late to avert a financial crisis — that the United States will pay all its bills as they come due, even if the Treasury Department must borrow more than Congress has said it can.

The president should remind Congress and the nation, “I’m bound by my oath to preserve and protect the Constitution to prevent the country from defaulting on its debts for the first time in our entire history.” Above all, the president should say with clarity, “My duty faithfully to execute the laws extends to all the spending laws Congress has enacted, laws that bind whoever sits in this office — laws that Congress enacted without worrying about the statute capping the amount we can borrow.”

By taking that position, the president would not be usurping Congress’s lawmaking power or its power of the purse. Nor would he be usurping the Supreme Court’s power to “say what the law is,” as Chief Justice John Marshall once put it. Mr. Biden would simply be doing his duty to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed” even if doing so leaves one law — the borrowing limit first enacted in 1917 — temporarily on the cutting room floor.


Also, too: This is a PayPal link to my “help me move back to New York” fundraiser. Thanks for all donations so far!

Update: Here is the GoFundMe link for those who don’t want to deal with PayPal.

9 thoughts on “Allen Texas Shooting and the Debt Limit

  1. Raphael Warnock said it best, a few days ago, after a mass shooting in Atlanta –

    …thoughts and prayers are not enough. In fact, it is a contradiction to say that you are thinking and praying and then do nothing. It is to make a mockery of prayer. It is to trivialize faith. We pray not only with our lips, we pray with our legs. We pray by taking action.

    Warnock is spot-on but much too kind. Spiritual power is the only way to fight moral nitwits such as Abbott and MTG who wears a cross around her neck, and uses the issue of abortion like a human shield to hide behind.

    The problem with ignoring the debt ceiling, is that this will cause chaos. The Constitution clearly states that “the debt of the US shall not be questioned” (my paraphrase). Biden should’ve challenged the debt ceiling months earlier, by trying to get the Supreme Court (I know) to rule it unconstitutional. It’s very late in the game to take this more formal (and final) way of ignoring it.

    I don’t have lots of faith in the APA. Because of the Goldwater rule, few of their members spoke out when it was most needed, when Trump the megalomaniac was voted into power. This is professional negligence on a grand scale.

    Their statements about mass shootings may be narrowly true, but it does nobody anybody good to deny what right-wingers are saying: “there’s something wrong with these people”. This could instead be a place where the conversation starts, the APA notwithstanding.

    • The APA has failed in so many ways, even in its role as directing the field of Psychology toward advancing the discipline itself.  At least we don't have an ivy league university focused on the study of parapsychology enabling bogus research about mental telepathy and the like anymore.  

      True that even right wingers say there is something wrong with those who commit mass murders.  These same people say there is nothing right about psychology and nothing wrong with having a gun fetish.  

      Could it be that the many Churches of the Bible, Bullets, and Babies persuasion are preaching wrongly?


      • I hadn't heard the APA was doing anything bad except for "waging war on masculinity," a criticism coming from the right-wing fever swamps, which makes me suspect the APA is right.

      • This is where we differ. I'm all for well designed studies about parapsychology and telepathy.  One of my first jobs was in the psych department of a major university.  The department was huge, with many research projects going on – with  most of them studying more conventional topics.  These people understand good experimental design – there is no one better suited to suss out the truth or fiction behind the above subjects.

        For example, it's been shown experimentally that prayer works. 

        I've also seen poorly designed studies, by people motivated toward their fore-ordained conclusions.  The TM people are notorious for this, "proving" that large numbers of people meditating reduced crime in a big city over a period of time.  I personally believe this premise could be true, but the experiment was so poorly designed, it did more to illustrate the experimenters' biases than anything.

        • Good points.

          There is little beauty greater than a well-designed study showing negative results. 

          I do recall when room temperature fusion was discovered in Utah.  That positive result seemed impossible to replicate elsewhere.  

  2. I wish the democrats would take off the gloves. The GQP is so wrong on guns, it's hard to believe they would even show their fucking faces. The DNC needs to produce a video. We have some footage of the Uvaulde shooting, not actual death but footage of the gun nut roaming the halls with his AR. We also have footage of MTG, Matt Gaetz, Bobert, et-al wearing their AR-15 lapel pins, we have campaign videos of damn near every right wing congress-critter bragging about guns, shooting like they are toys, glorifying assualt rifles in their ads, We have Ted Cruz fucking frying bacon on the barrel of an AR. Why the fuck can't the dnc put together an ad and hit these assholes hard, show the shooter, show MTG, show the shooter, show Ted Cruz, I mean how hard is to make these horrible people look horrible?

  3. If President Biden were to do the right thing and cite 14th Amendment as the legal reason to avoid a dramatic showdown over the debt ceiling with the House GQP KKKrazy KKKaucus, can you imagine how utterly batshit, wolves baying-at-the-moon, insane The Treasonous Fascists Forum will act?!?

    Marjorie Traitor Green might start to foam at the mouth, and bite the first reporter who approaches her!  

    And Kevin "Charlie's Far Dumbed Brother" McCarthy will collapse into himself, eventually fading away to nothingness…

    This needs to be done to avoid a potential catastrophe!


    And it needs to be done confrontationally like this because it will help to show any remaining politically clue-free Americans just how radical the Republican Party has become.

    It's not your Grandpa's, or even your own Pa's, Republican Party anymore.

    It's now a collection of bigoted White supremacist, Dominionist "Christian" lunatics who look and sound like they have rabies!


  4. It is time to show the carnage

    It is time to show a simulated stock market and bank failure news report due to debt ceiling default

    It is time to show a pregnant woman at an ER being turned away due to laws preventing her life from being saved

    It is time to show DJT being convicted of sedition and theft of classified information

    I find I cannot stand to watch news not just bc it is bad but bc news people act as if this is all normal and no big deal.

    The country is literally spining off the rails


  5. Like a spoiled child, the republicans are threatening to blow up the whole economy if they don't get there way.  If more of them were in time out where they should be, we would not be having this problem.



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