Texas Liberal

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Republicans Think The United Nations Directs American Public Policy—When Somebody Tells You They Are Crazy You Should Believe Them

Many conservatives and Republicans in our nation operate under the view that the United Nations is directing a number of  public policy priorities in the United States.

(Above–Example of United Nations sponsored bike trial in the radical hotbed of Granbury, Texas.)

From the New York Times

Across the country, activists with ties to the Tea Party are railing against all sorts of local and state efforts to control sprawl and conserve energy. They brand government action for things like expanding public transportation routes and preserving open space as part of a United Nations-led conspiracy to deny property rights and herd citizens toward cities. They are showing up at planning meetings to denounce bike lanes on public streets and smart meters on home appliances — efforts they equate to a big-government blueprint against individual rights. The protests date to 1992 when the United Nations passed a sweeping, but nonbinding, 100-plus-page resolution called Agenda 21 that was designed to encourage nations to use fewer resources and conserve open land by steering development to already dense areas. They have gained momentum in the past two years because of the emergence of the Tea Party movement, harnessing its suspicion about government power… In January, the Republican Party adopted its own resolution against what it called “the destructive and insidious nature” of Agenda 21. And Newt Gingrich took aim at it during a Republican debate in November.”

Fox News has reported on Agenda 21. Fox says that President Obama and the United Nations want to take over rural America.

Mother Jones magazine wrote about this issue last year.

From Mother Jones-

Tea partiers see Agenda 21 behind everything from a septic tank inspection law in Florida to a plan in Maine to reduce traffic on Route 1. The issue even flared up briefly during the midterms, when Colorado Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes accused his Democratic opponent of using a bike-sharing program to convert Denver into a “United Nations Community.”

Here is the Agenda 21 website of the United Nations.  

You may think that Mitt Romney is some type of moderate or that there remain reasonable people in the  mainstream of the Republican Party.

Yet the Republican National Committee has passed a resolution opposing Agenda 21.

Where are the moderate or reasonable Republican objections to this stuff? There are no liberals or urban planners in this country working or operating under the direction of a United Nations mandate.

These people on the right are paranoid and crazy. They are telling you each day that they are paranoid and crazy.

When somebody tells you who they are–You should believe them.

February 7, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Black Justice Tuesday Coalition Protest For A More Accountable Houston Police Department—Remember Chad Holley

To mark the one year anniversary of the release of the Chad Holley police beating video tape, the Black Justice Tuesday Coalition will be holding a protest from noon until 3 PM at the Harris County Criminal Courthouse located at 1201 Franklin Street in Downtown Houston.

( Above–A scene from the Chad Holley tape.)

Here are details of this protest from the Black Justice Tuesday Coalition—

Black Justice Tuesday Coalition. National Black United Front and New Black Panther Party One Year Police Brutality Vigil. Black Justice Tuesday Coalition started its journey on February 8, 2011 after the release of the Chad Holley tape with a protest on the steps of City Hall. Please understand though that The Coalition is not subjectively organized solely for Chad Holley but against any and all police brutality. Chad Holley was just one incident of how “the Brotherhood of Paternal Order” operate in communities of Black and poor communities. This fight is for those who don’t have tapes and those that have not received justice: Bobby Joe Conner, Jose Campos Torres, Ida Delaney, Byron Gillum, Robbie Tolan, Rodney King, Abner Louima, Oscar Grant, Amadou Diallo, and countless others. 

Black Justice Tuesday Coalition has prepared a petition against police brutality in order to receive a NO COMPROMISE! NO SELLOUT! civilian review board with proper funding, prosecutorial rights, & subpoena power.

Here is my post from last year about the Chad Holley concern. 

Citizens of Houston and people from all over the nation will recall that Chad Holley was a young person who was beaten by a number of Houston Police officers. The beating ended up on video tape. While not all Houston police officers would engage in such conduct, the tape was disturbing.

It is good that this issue is being kept alive, and that folks in Houston are using it as a spur for a more accountable Houston Police Department.

February 7, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

El Vez Is The Mexican Elvis—Retaining The Past And Moving Forward

Above is a picture from 1995 of El Vez.

El Vez bills himself as the Mexican Elvis.

This picture you see above was taken in Cincinnati at a bar called Sudsy Malone’s. This is establishment was a bar and laundromat. You could get a beer and have a shot of  whiskey. Bands played there on many nights of the week.

I saw this show. I can recall it 17 years after the fact. El Vez put on quite a concert. I am glad to see on his website that he is still touring.

This picture was taken by my longtime friend George DuChaine of Cincinnati, Ohio. George can take your wedding photos and often takes pictures of people on motorcycles.

George and I have been friends for at maybe 25 years. We keep in touch to this day.

I enjoyed my life when I often went to bars to see bands. I enjoy my life today when  I am more likely to stay home on a Saturday night.

I never imagined when I was seeing El Vez in 1995 that I would be writing about him on a blog in 2012.

Life is great for the friends and memories we keep, and it is great for the ways we move ahead.

February 6, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up

Here is  the weekly posting of the  Texas Progressive Alliance round-up. The TPA is a confederation of the best political bloggers in Texas. TPA members are citizen-bloggers working for a better Texas.

Every Texan and every American has the ability to attend a public meeting, attend or organize a protest, write or call an elected official, talk to friends and family, start a blog, donate money, write a letter to the editor, volunteer for candidates and causes, engage in acts of civil disobedience, and to run for public office.

The work of freedom is up to each of us.

BossKitty at TruthHugger is concerned that the frivolous issues the Tea Party Republicans scream about — and boo and cheer about at their debates — are a complete distraction from the serious problems facing America. Character slaughter in the battle for a Republican presidential candidate does not demonstrate who the best candidate may be, so Divided and Apathetic We Fall. 

In addition to all of the redistricting litigation, the state of Texas has also filed a lawsuit to get the odious voter ID law precleared. Off the Kuff has a look.

Texas always ranks high on the list of “business friendly” states. WCNews at Eye On Williamson says It’s time for Texas to become a top 10 state for the rest of us. Continue reading

February 5, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Links To Learn More About Syrian Crisis—People Continue To Fight The Government No Matter The Risks

Protests and fighting in Syria continues despite brutal repression by the Syrian Government.

Russia and China have vetoed a United Nations efforts to address the violence despite a new round of killings by the Syrian state.

Here is reaction from President Obama as reported in the New York Times—

“President Obama condemned what he called “the Syrian government’s unspeakable assault against the people of Homs,” saying in a statement that President Bashar al-Assad “has no right to lead Syria, and has lost all legitimacy with his people and the international community.”

Mother Jones magazine is a great liberal publication which has been keeping up on events in Syria. 

Here is Amnesty International on Syria. 

Here is a New York Times summary of events in Syria. In the middle right side of this resource are a large number of links to learn more.

Here is a BBC guide to the situation in Syria. 

From the BBC—

“Syria is a country of 21 million people with a large Sunni majority (74%) and significant minorities (10% each) of Christians and Alawites – the Shia sect to which Mr Assad belongs. For years, Mr Assad has promoted a secular identity for the Syrian state, hoping to unify diverse communities in a region where sectarian conflict is rife – as seen in neighbouring Lebanon and Iraq. The regime can still mobilise support, especially from minority groups and the upper classes However, he also concentrated power in the hands of his family and members of the Alawite community, who wield a disproportionate power in the Syrian government, military and business elite. Claims of corruption and nepotism have been rife among the excluded Sunni majority. And protests have generally been biggest in Sunni-dominated rural areas, towns and cities, as opposed to mixed areas. Opposition figures have stressed that they seek a “multi-national, multi-ethnic and religiously tolerant society”. But there are fears of chaos and instability – even talk of civil war – if Mr Assad should fall. Activists say these fears are overblown.” 

Here is a history of the Syrian nation. 

Here is the U.S. State Department overview of Syria. 

It may not be clear what difference a blog post or the concern of everyday people far away from Syria will do to change events in Syria. The government of President Bashar al-Assad will apparently only give up power when it is forced to do so.

Yet many brave people are fighting in Syria no matter the risk of violence or death. At the least they merit our acknowledgment and our concern. At best, an ongoing worldwide focus on repression and efforts to fight repression will help create a climate of hope and freedom in our connected world.

The message from Syria is that every person has a voice. We should each use the voice we are given in the best way we are able.

(Below—A 2011 anti-government protest in the Syrian city of Baniyas. Photo by Syria Frames Of Freedom.)  

February 4, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Video Game Post

A few weeks ago I was behind a video game truck while at a red light.  This truck apparently ships big video games all over Houston.

Here is some history of trucks and the trucking industry. 

Last week I saw this representation of a game of Galaga on a metal utility box of some kind here in Houston.

I do play Angry Birds sometimes on my phone. I don’t play any other video games.

When I was a kid I played games like Galaga at convenience stores that would have one or two machines set up.

There is a Galaga machine at the 59 Diner on Kirby in Houston. I can still score about 120,000.

The Economist magazine ran a series of articles on the video game industry a few weeks ago.

I read these articles. Soon all the world will be hooked on video games. Click the link if you want to know more.

Here is a history of computer and video games. 

February 3, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Paranoia In American Politics Has Long Been With Us—Those Of Us On The Left Must Do The Work Of Freedom Ourselves

Hamburger Wearing An Astros’ Hat—A member of the Texas Liberal Panel of Experts—is reading The Paranoid Style in American Politics and Other Essays by Richard Hofstadter.

This 1965 book makes it clear that extreme paranoid thinking has long been a feature of American public life. Some may think that today’s conservative movement and Republican Party is some type of new-fangled craziness. Yet as it says in the Bible—There is nothing new under the sun.

Here is a link to the Paranoid essay which was first delivered as a lecture in 1963, and then appeared in Harper’s Magazine in 1964.

From this essay—

“American politics has often been an arena for angry minds. In recent years we have seen angry minds at work mainly among extreme right-wingers, who have now demonstrated in the Goldwater movement how much political leverage can be got out of the animosities and passions of a small minority. …. Anti-Catholicism has always been the pornography of the Puritan. Whereas the anti-Masons had envisaged drinking bouts and had entertained themselves with sado-masochistic fantasies about the actual enforcement of grisly Masonic oaths, the anti-Catholics invented an immense lore about libertine priests, the confessional as an opportunity for seduction, licentious convents and monasteries….we now take the long jump to the contemporary right wing, we find some rather important differences from the nineteenth-century movements. The spokesmen of those earlier movements felt that they stood for causes and personal types that were still in possession of their country—that they were fending off threats to a still established way of life. But the modern right wing, as Daniel Bell  has put it, feels dispossessed: America has been largely taken away from them and their kind, though they are determined to try to repossess it and to prevent the final destructive act of subversion. The old American virtues have already been eaten away by cosmopolitans and intellectuals; the old competitive capitalism has been gradually undermined by socialistic and communistic schemers; the old national security and independence have been destroyed by treasonous plots, having as their most powerful agents not merely outsiders and foreigners as of old but major statesmen who are at the very centers of American power. Their predecessors had discovered conspiracies; the modern radical right finds conspiracy to be betrayal from on high.”

It is important to see that this type thinking is not just part of today’s right wing. And that it is not just conservatives who embrace paranoid thinking in how they see the conduct of public affairs. Plenty of folks on all sides of the aisle are full of crazy notions.

(A good book that reviews Hofstadter’s thought is Richard Hofstadter—An Intellectual Biography by David S. Brown.)

Yet among in today’s politics, it is the conservative movement and Republican Party that is to the greatest extent predicated on extremism, fear and anger.

The bottom line for those of us on the left is that while circumstance and the actions of others makes a difference, what we are able to control is our own actions and our own effort. The work of freedom and democracy is up to each of us.

Just as anti-tax and business lobbyists, so-called pro life advocates, and the gun lobby found common cause to build the modern Republican Party despite differences—Liberal and progressive Democrats, Greens, Occupy Wall Street backers and most on the left are on the same side. There does not have to be full agreement or 100% cooperation, but we can all move in the same general direction.

February 2, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Home Is Wherever I’m With You—An Idea As Solid As The Galveston Seawall

I feel sometimes that I am most at home when on the move, when considering ideas that are interesting, and when I’m with friends.

This is why I enjoyed this graffiti that I saw on the Galveston Seawall earlier this week.

I was on the road for a day trip, I liked the idea being expressed, and I was with a friend.

“Home is whevever I’m with you”—An idea as solid as the Galveston Seawall.

February 1, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

InterOccupy Conducts Conference Calls For Occupy Supporters—Tour The Site And Take Part In A Call

InterOccupy.org facilitates open conference calls about a variety of topics for participants and supporters of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

This is just one more indication that Occupy is around for the long haul.

Here is a list of upcoming InterOccupy calls.

InterOccupy also serves as a source of Occupy Wall Street news and events.

Take a look around the site and see what you think.

InterOccupy also has a Facebook page.

In the big political year ahead and as the weather warms up, Occupy efforts around the nation are moving forward.

Here is Occupy Wall Street.  

February 1, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment