Yesterday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that Texas is generally dropping COVID-related restrictions. He did this with executive order GA-34.
While not well publicized, this also repeals the group-size limits. Outside of defined exceptions (churches, etc.) and in some rural areas, Texans weren’t permitted to congregate in groups larger than 10.
GA-34 “rescinds” GA-17, GA-25, GA-29, and GA-31. Searching those on the word group, none of those reference group-size limits.
However, GA-34 “supersedes” GA-32. I am not clear why the word was changed from “rescind” to “supersede”, but they both appear to mean that GA-32 is no longer in effect. Regardless, GA-32 had language about group-size limits:
…people shall not be in groups larger than 10 and shall maintain six feet of social distancing from those not in their group
GA-32 “supersedes” GA-30, which had the same group-size language. GA-30 supersedes GA-28, which had the same group-size language. GA-28 supersedes GA-26, which also has group-size limit language. GA-26 supersedes GA-23, which does not have group-size language, so GA-26 probably started that thread of group-size limits.
Checking the remaining EOs not mentioned above and issued since GA-08 (list of Texas Governor’s EOs), a search on “group” on each reveals that only the first COVID-related EO from March 13, 2020, GA-08, had a group-size limit. It was superseded by GA-14, from March 31, which did not include group-size limits.
Therefore, it appears Texas had a general, ten-person group-size limit from March 13, 2020 (GA-08) through March 31, 2020 (end of GA-08) and again starting June 3, 2020 (GA-26). With GA-34, Texas has no group-size limit starting March 10, 2021.
What do you do when someone whitewashes the January 6 rally/insurrection with eyewitness accounts? Normally, respectful debate traditions have you listen and objectively evaluate the points.
Fun fact: Attendees to the January 6 Trump rally/insurrection are not credible. It is each attendee’s responsibility to regain their personal credibility. Until that happens, you don’t need to engage in a loathsome, soul-sucking discussion. You can freely dismiss their entire witness accounts and move on.
NOTE: This article is about establishing facts about the rally/insurrection. You generally don’t establish credible facts using the accounts of non-credible witnesses. There are other reasons why you may wish to discuss the rally/insurrection with someone, such as a conversation of understanding. That is a different matter and is touched on when I discuss redemption below.
Isn’t this fallacious? No.
That may sound like attacking the person instead of the argument. Indeed, that is normally a genetic fallacy or an ad hominem fallacy.
However, the credibility of witness accounts hinge on credibility of the observer. Establishing the credibility of the observer is a necessary part of establishing reliability of any witness testimony.
Affirming non-credibility of attendees
Simply attending the Trump rally/insurrection shows astoundingly bad moral and intellectual discernment. Here’s why:
It is evil to attempt to steal a fair election. That point stands on its own.
For months, Trump and his friends justified their evil with the big lie, a Nazi propaganda tactic. They promulgated repeated, colossally false claims.
The January 6 rally/insurrection was to celebrate evil and a big lie. People who attend an event that celebrates evil and a big lie are broadcasting profoundly faulty judgment and moral corruption.
Confirmation bias makes it worse. That happens when people bias their words to reinforce their own choices. For example, product reviews are more favorable when the reviewer purchased the reviewed product. A positive review is likely; otherwise, the reviewer would be repudiating his or her own choice.
Confirmation bias will encourage witnesses to portray their involvement, and the rally/insurrection itself, in the best light. This helps attendees avoid troubling questions about their own moral discernment and intellect. That’s why you see so many false stores of Antifa involvement, blame-shifting to unrelated events or actors, sanitizing of the rally/insurrection’s causes, and more. “I would never choose to attend an evil rally/insurrection. It was those outsiders!”
Attending the rally/insurrection is a large commitment. That amplifies the confirmation bias.
All the above eliminates the credibility of attendees. In addition to showing horrible judgment, they have powerful reasons to lie about the rally/insurrection.
A path to redemption
Why does all this matter? I’ve seen some of these witness accounts, where they whitewash the rally/insurrection. While the verifiable parts of their accounts do not contradict the truthful narrative, these truth-ish parts are enveloped in lies.
Since the rally/insurrection attendee is who starts from the position of lacking credibility, it is that attendee’s responsibility to regain credibility. That may happen by the attendee providing credible verification for every fact, even if plainly obvious. For example, if the attendee says “the sky is blue”, the attendee must also provide credible information to substantiate that.
Nothing the attendee says can escape this verification. Even if, say, the attendee shared three verified facts in a row, that in no way prejudges the next fact. Every fact the attendee alleges may be dismissed out of hand until corroborated with reliable information.
Providing verification of individual facts will get tedious for the attendee. I get it. But it is necessary given the attendee’s non-credibility. If the attendee wishes to regain credibility as a person, step one is to cleanly and irrevocably repudiate the big lie. This is a starting point–just a starting point–for the attendee’s redemption. If this repudiation is genuine, the attendee will unhesitantly share deeply negative sentiment on Trump’s election-steal agenda.
Here’s the funny thing about the above redemption paths: neither of them makes the attendee’s account worth anything! If facts are verified, then they are simply matching voluminous, reliable information. In other words, they are simply affirming what conscientious people already know! These facts did not meaningfully expand the body of knowledge. (I acknowledge a chance of me being wrong, but the record of the Trump apparatus suggests that chance is vanishingly small.)
An important exception: None of this applies to those who attended for sound reasons, such as journalists, the opposition, and more. While verification of their words remains important, they do not start from a position of immense non-credibility.
To summarize, the witness accounts of those attending the January 6 Trump rally/insurrection are not credible. Simply by showing up, attendees demonstrated severe personal flaws, destroying their credibility. Also, attendees have powerful incentives to lie. It is up to the attendees to establish credibility of their words. Until then, rally/insurrection witness accounts are trash and can be summarily disregarded.
I have monitored Dallas County Schools’s and DISD Student Transportation Systems’s failures to provide effective transportation services, and I was an activist in the DCS shut-down effort. I have been interviewed by the Dallas Morning News (link) and NBC 5 (link).
Regrettably, dissolving DCS has not improved bus service. DISD STS continues to provide shoddy service to students and parents.
Instead of fixing its problems, STS now wants to make things worse by regurgitating its failed hub proposal from last year. A school’s SBDM exposed this by sharing that DISD STS wants to “streamline” service. This simply means they will reduce service quality by having fewer stops. In other words, STS wants to make their poor service even worse!
It appears that DISD STS is using its on-time record to say it’s doing a good job. While an important figure, two things to understand: 1. Even if it’s on-time, DISD STS is failing in equally important areas. They are at the bottom of this post. 2. It is easy to manipulate the on-time figure. In the NBC video linked above, DCS is cited as having a 98% on-time record, but it is exposed as fudging that figure. Due to persistently poor performance, DISD STS has not earned my trust, so I want to understand more about DISD’s on-time performance before I can accept it.
My feathers got rankled: I heard from a motorist who got two $300 citations for being safe, prudent, and reasonable, all thanks to unreasonable use of school bus flashing lights and automated ticketing machines installed on Dallas County Schools‘s buses.
I fired off the below letter to my Texas legislators. If you are also concerned, contact your legislators (find them here) and Dallas County Schools (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Senator Duell and Representative Sheets,
Dallas County Schools has installed automated ticketing machines on its school buses. These machines photograph motorists who pass a stopped school bus that has its red lights flashing.
I am aware of motorists getting pointless $300 automated traffic citations, These are due to how Dallas County Schools bus drivers are using their flashing red lights.
In this case, school bus drivers are activating their red lights when departing or entering bus occupants are simply walking between a bus and a school. These pedestrians will not cross a road. Last I checked, cars don’t drive on sidewalks or across school lawns, so this use of red light flashers to stop cars on an adjacent road–where departing or entering school bus occupants won’t even go–is an abuse of power and disrespectful to Texas citizens.
This needs legislative attention for two reasons:
First, if the law requires bus drivers to use flashing red lights even when it’s pointless, the law should be revised. Drivers should only be permitted to use flashing red lights when students entering or departing the bus are actually going to cross the road that the bus is on.
Second, if this is due to Dallas County Schools policy, then this needs to be investigated by the legislature as an unprecedented cash grab. $300 per automated citation is egregious. This is 400% the cost of a statutorily-authorized red light camera ticket. And that begs the point: are automated ticketing machines on school buses even statutorily-authorized?
I realize we’re in tough economic times, but it’s egregious for Dallas County Schools to collude with area cities to set up unusually expensive traffic tickets enforced by a statutorily-unauthorized automated ticketing machines, apparently so that they can abuse motorists who, while being on the wrong side of the law, could not have possibly endangered a student: you can’t run over kids that won’t even be in the road!
I’m not a Lawrence Lessig fan. He’s too radical, but he still had a great quote last year:
…I am a little surprised by the respect that non lawyers typically give the law. Because lawyers’ view is one of constant skepticism. We constantly ask and demand of the law that it explain to us: How does this make sense? And we never presume that we happen to have a body of regulation that makes sense. We always examine. Where it does make sense, we say good for the law, and we encourage people to follow it. But where it makes no sense, our perspective is that the law needs to be changed.
He only encourages obedience to laws that make sense. Later he wrote “Stop believing, stop listening, stop deferring. Feel entitled to question this system.”
This is refreshing. Usually, I see the paintywaist viewpoint, that all law deserves to be obeyed just because it exists.
Law is just an approximation of right and wrong. It’s often off.
Americans were once required to return slaves, but it was never wrong to ignore this law and help slaves become free. Similarly, suppose 75 mph is safe on a road. 75 mph is illegal if the speed limit sign says 65, but it’s not wrong.