Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Latest Edition Of The Occupy Wall Street: Houston Newsletter

Here is the most recent edition of the Occupy Wall Street: Houston newsletter. OWSH is a strong effort to reboot the Occupy Wall Street effort here in Houston. Here is the Facebook page of OWSH. Please read the newsletter and see if you would like to help in some way.

Upcoming Events

TX Democratic Party State Comvention Events: CANCELLED. Our search for partners for this event found none. That’s right, folks: Democrats in Texas are such a non-entity that even those of us who would normally protest against their to live up to commit to a truly progressive platform and follow-through can’t get enthused. So rest up on the first morning of the convention and join us that evening at Domy Books for our first movie, The Corporation!

2nd Friday of each month (June 8), 8:30PM, Domy Books, 1709 Westheimer Rd, back courtyard (enter through Cafe Brasil):Movies for Change series. This month we’re showing “The Corporation”. Reviewscall it “the most astute and flat-out persuasive political documentary of the new millennium.” Come see for yourself!

June 11, 3-4:30, Silverman Law Group, 917 Franklin St., 4th Fl:legal observer training. This is a training for Spanish-speakers only.Please RSVP to Daphne Silverman at 713-229-0687. There’s only room for 10, so sign up now!

June 16, 2:30, 28th st., between Ave Q and Seawall Blvd:
Juneteenth parade with Occupy Galveston. Lline-up and the parade start at 4pm. The theme of the parade is African American music, so we are making signs with lyrics from African American musicians on topics relevant to Occupy!

Twice monthly. First Sunday of the month, 1:30 PM, Bohemeo’s, 708 Telephone Rd (in Tlaquepaque Market). Third Tuesday of the month, 6PM, 1732 Westheimer Rd, Empire Cafe: GA. Our next one is Tues the 19th.

July 4, Take Back Your Capital, Austin: Some details on their webpage, others tbd, but Occupy Austin is working hard to make sure that any occupier in Texas who wants to come has a way there. This is our chance to show that Occupy is alive and well in the Lone Star State, and to connect with other Texas occupations.


Tuesdays, 5:30 PM, U.S. 59 and Dunlavy:Freeway blog.

Autonomous action:petition drive to require a referendum vote on the anti food-sharing ordinance. We need 28,000 valid signatures by early July. Download the updated (as of 4/17) petition hereUpdate: so far, very few sigs have been turned in. Help us meet our goal!

ALEC in Texas:
The Texas Public Policy Foundation

by Donni Romaniello

(This article is the second in a three-part series on ALEC, The American Legislative Exchange Council)

The influence of American Legislative Exchange Council in Texas is undeniable.  Between 2001 and 2011 ALEC member corporations contributed more than $16 million to state lawmakers.  The leading recipient of corporate largesse was Governor Rick Perry, who received $2 million. Those ten years brought significant changes to Texas tort law, all favoring corporate interests.  The 2003 Texas Omnibus Civil Justice Reform Act, described by Governor Perry as “the most sweeping comprehensive lawsuit reform in the nation”, was an ALEC wish-list come true for CEOs everywhere.

The 2003 Tort Reforms changed substantive law regarding liability and placed arbitrary limitations on noneconomic and punitive damages.  The reforms also made significant revisions to the law of Civil Procedure.  They made it more difficult to bring class action suits.  They also made parties who reject settlement offers liable for attorney’s fees in the event the judgment is within twenty percent of the offer.  All of these changes work to the benefit of corporations and against the interests of those harmed by defective and/or dangerous products.

Ironically, one of ALEC’s greatest victories, the Stand Your Ground self-defense laws, may lead to its undoing.  In 2007 the Texas State Senate unanimously passed the bill while only 13 of 150 Representatives voted against it.  The legislation was based on a Florida statue enacted in 2003 and brought to ALEC for widespread distribution.   Less than three months after the it became effective, Joe Horn of Pasadena shot and killed two black men who he believed were burglarizing a neighbor’s home.  A Harris County Grand Jury failed to indict him after two weeks of testimony.  Presently, Stand Your Ground laws are on trial as that legislation is at the heart of the Trayvon Martin shooting controversy.

Since the publicity of the Trayvon Martin case ALEC and the work it does has come under fire throughout the nation.  In recent months 22 corporate members have cut their ties with the organization.  As of May 22nd 54 state legislators have left ALEC.  Twelve Texas legislators, all Democrats, are among them.  Nationwide over one-half million people have signed anti-ALEC petitions.  As a response to recent controversy, ALEC has disbanded its Public Safety and Elections Task Force.

Defending ALEC in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed piece was the Texas Public Policy Foundation.  Established in 1989, TPPF is a state version of ALEC as well as a “proud” member of its parent organization.  Like ALEC, it has nonprofit status.  It claims to be a “$5 million organization” with 30 employees.  Its stated beliefs are “limited government, free enterprise, private property rights and individual responsibility”.

Through ALEC and TPPF, corporations are having their say in the fine print of legislation here in Texas and nationwide.  They focus on state lawmakers for a number of reasons, but they understand one important fact: state laws have more impact on the day to day activities of people and business entities than Federal law.  Therefore they seek to create a favorable environment for corporate greed in all 50 states.

As the saying goes, we must think globally but must act on the local level, that level being state lawmakers as they have so much influence on the lives of the 99%.

Next Edition: ALEC and the Gutting of Laws to Protect the Injured.

Notes from the Freeway Blog:
Bank of America/Bad for America/Divest Now

This week we got our usual, very uplifting honks from folks headed home after work. One of them came from an officer in a HPD car. Love it when the 99% knows who they are!

Other News from Our GA

  • We’ve picked our July movie: One Peace at a Time. The plan is to make sure that our movie series contains movies that not only highlight what’s wrong with the world but prescribe cures. “One Peace At A Time” is one of those later films.
  • We continue to plan for Oct 8, the first anniversary of Occcupy in Houston. In honor of the spirit of volunteerism that characterized the best of Occupy, we’re organizing a volunteer festival. We’re going to connect the good people of Houston who want to donate their time to groups that need help. Eleanor Tinsley Park and Tranquillity Park are NOT available, so we’re on the lookout for a location. We’re also in the process of brainstorming groups who might want to table at the festival. Our thought is not to vet
  • The “Pay It Forward” project is percolating. We continue to gather skills we can use to help others when we gather our forces come fall.
  • T-shirts are on the way to the printer! We hope that we have them by the Juneteenth march.

Volunteer Opportunities

Come to a GA or contact us atowshou@gmail.com and find out how to participate.

from your home:

  • Facebook admin(in charge of researching and posting Tuesday Houston City Council agenda items)
  • Google group member (helps plan our actions outside of GAs)

out in the world, with other members:

  • Freeway blogger(participates in banner hangs on Houston’s bridges. Safe and fun.)
  • Film coordinator(sets up for the monthy film screening)

out in the world, autonomously:

  • Coalition builder(speaks for OWSH at meetings of other orgs in the GHA, builds bridges.)

OWSH Gives A Big Thank You To…

Laura Palmer, for agreeing to edit the video footage of our divorce from the Big Banks. Thanks to Laura’s generosity with her talent and time, we hope to have a great vid out soon. As the saying goes, “This could be the start of a beautiful friendship”.

Got an item–an announcement, a proposal, a report–for the next GA? Send it toowshou@gmail.com before Sat, Jun  at 10 PM, and Facilitation will get it onto the agenda! Know of an Occupy-friendly event coming up? Email it and we’ll put it in the next newsletter.

June 10, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | ,

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