Texas Liberal

All People Matter

I Donated $20 At The Cincinnati Obama HQ—The Work Of Freedom Is Up To Each Of Us

This evening I went to the Obama headquarters in Cincinnati and made a $20 donation.

Included with this post is a picture of the Cincinnati Obama office. There were maybe 10 people making calls. I thought that was pretty good for a Wednesday night in August.

While I intend to vote for Green candidate Jill Stein for President in my non-swing state of Texas, the folks in this Obama office are decent people who are doing the work of freedom and who merit support.

And at least folks in Ohio are calling people close to home. In Texas Democrats are being asked to call over for the country for Obama while extremist Ted Cruz marches on the U.S. Senate.

I understand Texas is likely a Republican state in 2012. But how long will we be asked to hand our future over to crazies without even a fight? When do we begin to build the foundation of something hopeful in Texas?

In any case, the work of freedom and progress is up to each of us. We each need to take steps to move society in the direction we hope to see it go.

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August 30, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Drought And Heat Go On And On In The United States—We’ll Ignore The Causes And Ignore The People Who Are Impacted

Many places in the United States are dealing with drought conditions.

Above you see a map of drought conditions in the United States from the National Drought Mitigation Center.

It is very dry out there in our great nation.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared more than half of all U.S. counties as disaster areas for this year’s growing season.

It has also been very hot in the United States in 2012.

Changes in the climate are messing with some of America’s infrastructure. Roads and railroad tracks are buckling.

Does all this have anything to do with global warming?

Many people think this is the case.

New Scientist magazine reported recently that the severe 2011 Texas drought was made much more likely to occur by a warming planet.

Scientists who before have doubted global warming are changing their minds as the evidence becomes more clear.

Still–President Obama says very little on climate change, and Mitt Romney–despite previously saying he believed in climate change—now says he has no idea if human beings are heating up the planet.

Many farmers who are suffering from the drought want help from the federal government.

What these farmers feel about government help for others I’m not certain.

Though I bet some of them at least are not strongly in favor of government help for others besides themselves.

No worries though about any ideological inconsistencies from our nation’s farmers.

Congress was unable to agree on a drought relief bill before going on a recess and so farmers will not be getting any relief for the time being at least.

So the drought and the heat  will likely go as we refuse to take a serious look at what may be causing the unusually severe weather, and as we allow farmers to keep on taking the hits.

That’s how we do things in the United States of America

August 3, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

As Cruz And Dewhurst Debate Who Can Kill The Most Texans By Denying Them Health Care, Obama Flies Texas Democratic Money Out To Other States

I made the mistake this evening of listening to a few minutes of the Republican Senate debate between Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and Ted Cruz.

The portion of the debate I heard was about which of these morally bankrupt persons could do more harm to everyday Texans by denying access to health care and by fighting Obamacare. Texas has the highest percentage of people lacking health insurance in the nation.

Mr. Cruz is a full-fledged nut who believes that the United Nations dictates U.S. policy right on down to how many bike trials we build. Mr. Cruz will also be the next United States Senator from Texas after he beats Mr. Dewhurst in the runoff later this month, and then wins the general election in November.

Governor Rick Perry supports Mr. Dewhurst in this race.

Below is the hunky photo of Mr. Perry that is on his Facebook page.

Governor Perry backs Mr. Dewhurst because the Governor knows that if Ted Cruz is elected he will be eclipsed as the biggest health care-denying, states rights-zealot holding statewide office in Texas.

Here is what Governor Perry said on Facebook this evening in defense of Mr. Dewhurst

“Debate rhetoric can get loose and heated, but the honest truth is David Dewhurst is a successful conservative Texan who’s made Texas a successful conservative state. David Dewhurst led the Texas Senate to cut government spending, balanced budgets, fight federal excess and protect life and families. He is the only candidate for the U.S. Senate with a proven conservative record. David’s background as a veteran, intelligence officer, successful businessman and conservative leader prove he’s the right man to overhaul Washington, fight Obamacare and the restore the Constitutional principals Washington insiders have forgotten.”

Here is how a few Texas Republicans responded to the Governor—

“Sorry Governor, I think Dewhurst is to liberal for me. Texas needs Cruz”

“daivid dehurst vote for amenstey fo illegals aliens he is a rino.”

“Gov. Perry I have been a big supporter of yours and was thrilled when you decided to run for the republican nomination but you make me sick with this support of Dewhurst. You abandon your so called conservative values in order to play politics. You and every intelligent person know Ted Cruz is the real conservative in the senate race. I don’t have the words to describe how disgusted I am with you about this. Can I ever trust again what you say??”

“I love you Gov, but looks like the majority of us disagree with you strongly on this one, sir. You’ve made the wrong choice and I’m sorry, but it may cost you.”

There is also a Democratic U.S. Senate race.  The Democratic nominee will be not be nearly as well-funded as will be the Republican nominee.

There is Democratic money in Texas—It is just that a lot of that money leaves the state.

For example—President Obama was in Texas just today to raise money so he can buy more television ads in Pittsburgh and Tampa.

As President Obama flies away with the money, what the millions of people who will vote for President Obama in Texas will be left with is little chance to even make the case against right-wing extremist Ted Cruz.

(Below–There goes the money.)

July 18, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 3 Comments

A First Look At The 2012 Green Party Presidential Ticket Of Stein & Honkala—What You Do In Texas Might Not Be What You Would Do In Ohio

Here is a first look at the Green Party ticket for the 2012 Presidential campaign.

On the left is Presidential nominee Dr. Jill Stein of Massachusetts. On the right is Vice Presidential nominee Cheri Honkala of Pennsylvania.

Here is a recent article on Dr. Stein from The New York Times.

From the Times article—

“The Green Party of the United States expects to be on the ballot in at least 45 states and to spend about $1 million on its campaign. At the moment, it has secured ballot access, an organizational test in itself, in 21 states, including the battlegrounds of Colorado, Florida, Michigan and Ohio… Ms. Stein, a physician on leave from her practice… a native of the Chicago area who lives northwest of Boston with her husband, a surgeon (they have two adult sons)..Ms. Stein says she emphasizes issues like ecological sustainability, racial and gender equality, and economic justice. The centerpiece of her platform is a Green New Deal, a twist on the Roosevelt-era programs intended to stimulate job growth and the depressed economy. It could be paid for by ending the presence of American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, the campaign says, and by eliminating waste in the health care system. Beyond that, Ms. Stein favors a progressive income tax that would raise rates on the wealthy.”

My own view about the Green Party in 2012 is that this election is sufficiently important to support the corporate-owned Mr. Obama in states where the outcome might be doubt, but that if you live in state where you have been disenfranchised by the Electoral College you should consider your options.

Ms. Stein is on the ballot in Texas and has my vote. If I were still in my longtime home state of Ohio I would vote for President Obama.

There are very meaningful differences between Mr. Obama and Mitt Romney

At the same time, President Obama has done substantial damage to the progressive and liberal cause by never at any point in his term truly offering any real measure of hope and change to a power structure in our nation that increasingly offers opportunity only to an elite few.

The President has not spoken frankly about the stark realities of our changing economy, or about the evermore apparent fact of climate change.

There is rarely a clear answer to the conflict between short-term realities and long-term hopes that is part of any political activity.

This is why I offer the split decision of hoping for Mr. Obama’s reelection and supporting Dr. Stein here in Texas.

I’ll have more to say about all this in the weeks and months ahead. For now, I ask that folks please give a first look to the 2012 Green ticket.

Here is the website of the Stein campaign.

Here is the Facebook page of the Stein/Honkala campaign.

July 17, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Great Image Of President Obama Trampling The Constitution—Bill Clinton And FDR Are Glad To See It Happen

I really enjoy this image I found on Facebook of Barack Obama trampling on what appears to be a torn-up copy of the Constitution.

There is also money strewn about. I guess that is to indicate Mr. Obama’s carelessness with tax dollars.

Around Mr. Obama are all the Presidents who served before 2009.

The Founding Father Presidents are beside themselves at Mr. Obama’s actions.

They miss the days when the Constitution protected slavery.

Abe Lincoln is mad.

I wonder what Mr. Lincoln would think today about all the states rights appeals we are hearing for the right.

Andy Jackson is engaging in angry finger-pointing.

Ronald Reagan looks a bit confused.

That part at least is true to life.

And Joe Whiteman is despondent and alone on the bench —and no doubt unemployed— as Mr. Obama stomps on our liberties and tosses cash around like it is worthless.

Applauding Mr. Obama’s terrible actions are Bill Clinton, Franklin Roosevelt and what looks to be Teddy Roosevelt.

These folks want to take us back not just before the Great Society and the New Deal, they want to take us back all the way even before the Progresssive Era of Teddy Roosevelt.

That way we can have dead rats in our meat again as Upton Sinclair detailed in The Jungle. 

I think Lyndon Johnson is smiling as well.

Richard Nixon does not seem very glad about this disregard of our Constitution. You’d think Mr. Nixon would be cheering right along.

This illustration made my day.

A great way to learn about the Presidents is from the Miller Center  at the U. of Virginia. 

The National Archives has great web resources to learn about our Constitution.

Many conservatives sure do get into a tizzy over Barack Obama.

July 10, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Roberts Court Upholds Mitt Romney’s Individual Mandate—How Obamacare Will Help You

The Supreme Court, with George.W. Bush appointed Chief Justice John Roberts writing the majority opinion, has upheld Obamacare.

The individual mandate was upheld as constitutional. Obamacare was constructed in large part on the individual mandate model Mitt Romney used for health care reform when he was Governor of Massachusetts.

Here is what Mr. Romney said in 2006—

“With regards to the individual mandate, the individual responsibility program that I proposed, I was very pleased that the compromise between the two houses includes the personal responsibility mandate. That is essential for bringing the health care costs down for everyone and getting everyone the health insurance they need…”

Above you see a picture of Governor Romney in Washington today.

Governor Romney is now opposed to what he not long ago very much supported.

Why would anybody believe anything he says?

Many people have legitimate concerns about the powers of government, but this law has now been maintained by a very conservative Chief Justice.

Tea Party anger will not help you when you cannot get care due to a pre-existing condition, or because you have reached a lifetime limit on your health insurance policy.

If you have so far opposed the law, please consider taking a new look at the law in light of the Supreme Court decision.

Here is the White House health care reform website.

Here are the real facts about what Obamacare will do for hard-working Americans—

  • Coverage for young adults. Young adults are allowed to remain on their parent’s plan until their 26th birthday. Up to 2.5 million young adults through age 26 have gained coverage on their parent’s plan.
  • Protection for seniors. The law ensures that we continue to protect seniors’ guaranteed Medicare benefits. In 2011, 32.5 million Medicare beneficiaries received free preventive services like mammograms and colonoscopies and 3.6 million Medicare beneficiaries received a discount on their prescription drugs that averaged over $600.
  • Pre-existing condition coverage. About 50,000 uninsured people with pre-existing conditions have gained coverage through the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan, including people with cancer, hemophilia, and other diseases that blocked them out of the health insurance system.
  • Patients’ Bill of Rights. The Patient’s Bill of Rights will put an end to some of the worst insurance abuses and puts consumers, not insurance companies, in control of their health care. For example, insurance companies will no longer be able to place lifetime limits on coverage, they will be required to cover preventive services like cancer screenings without a copay and they must spend more of your premium dollars on health care costs not administrative costs.
  • Lower costs for small businesses.  Tax credits for small businesses are making it easier for them to provide coverage to their workers. In 2011, 2 million workers in 360,000 firms benefitted from the small business health insurance tax credit.

June 29, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 3 Comments

This Truck Driving Texan Appears To Be A Strong Barack Obama Backer

Above is the truck that belongs to a person who appears to be quite an avid backer of President Obama.

I took this picture in Houston two weeks ago.

While Texas votes Republican at the statewide level, I am sensitive to the perception that people have in other parts of the country that everybody in Texas is driving around in big trucks with Confederate flag stickers.

Here is somebody driving about Texas in truck and who is clearly voting for President Obama.

All places have all sorts of people.

June 25, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Fellow Citizen Expressing His Views On President Obama

Below is a fellow citizen who agreed to model for me the shirt he was wearing in Downtown Houston this past Saturday.

To his credit, this gentleman did not ask me if I agreed or did not agree with the views he was expressing on his shirt.

If only President Obama were a socialist, a radical, and a subversive.

Here is a link to good book on this history of costume and fashion that I read a few years ago. 

April 9, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

Number Of Texans With Health Insurance Will Soar With Health Care Reform—It Was Mitt Romney’s Idea

The percentage of Texans with health insurance will sharply increase to 91% after President Obama’s Health Care Reform takes effect in 2014.

From the Houston Chronicle

“The percentage of Texans with health insurance will increase to 91 percent – up from 74 percent today – after the national health care law takes effect in 2014, the state’s Medicaid director told lawmakers….”

Texas has the highest rate of uninsured Americans in all the nation. 

Here is the website for the Affordable Care Act.  Read for yourself what Health Care Reform will accomplish.

This issue will soon be debated before the Supreme Court.

Texas Governor Rick Perry hopes that–against the odds– the Court strikes down the whole Act or portions of the Act, so he can go on not caring when Texans die or go bankrupt from the absence of health coverage.

Will states rights issues decided by the Civil War help you when you or your family members are sick and have no coverage? Do you want to give up the provision of Health Care Reform that allows people with pre-existing conditions to get coverage?

Governor Perry and Texas Republicans running the show in Austin have had years to deal with this crisis. What have they done beyond attacking cancer screenings provided by Planned Parenthood so that even more Texans can get sick and die?

For all the Republican griping, what did President George W. Bush and Republicans in control of Congress for much of the last decade do to help more people get health coverage?

One Republican who did do something is former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Governor Romney is a major architect of the individual mandate for health coverage that is also part of President Obama’s plan.

Don’t worry though–Governor Romney is pledging to repeal Health Care Reform should he be elected President.

Governor Romney enacted Health Care Reform before he repealed it.

The Affordable Care Act is a middle-of-the-road law based in part on Governor Romney’s Massachusetts plan. This law will help millions of people in Texas and all across the nation.

Top Texas political blogger Charles Kuffner has more on this important concern.

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

Obama Campaign Effort Well Underway

Here is the Obama 2012 campaign HQ in Cincinnati. I saw this office yesterday.

The office was staffed by four friendly people on a Tuesday afternoon in February.

The inside was nice and well set-up. This was an already established operation and not a fly-by-night deal.

If there was such a place set-up in Cincinnati in the swing state of Ohio, you can bet there are other such offices in other electorally important parts of the nation.

The Obama people are not messing around in 2012.

March 1, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

I Saw The Emancipation Proclamation Today–The Work Of Freedom And Progress Is Up To Each Of Us

This afternoon I went to the Civil War exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences.

I saw the original Emancipation Proclamation that has been on display in Houston for 6 days. Today was the last day the Proclamation was being shown to the public.

The remainder of the exhibit is at the museum through April 29. It is well worth your time.

I don’t have any pictures of the exhibit as you were not allowed to take pictures. The photo above of the original Proclamation shows well enough what I saw.

The original is kept by the National Archives and Records Administration. If you poke around you can find a National Archives app for your mobile device that offers up a famous old document each day.

Here is a transcript of the Proclamation. 

Depite the promise of freedom offered by the Emancipation Proclamation, Jim Crow replaced slavery in our nation for a century after the Civil War.

Today the same people who fought racial progress to the least breath, oppose President Obama as much or more so for who he is and what he represents as they do for any of his policies.

Things do sometimes change for the better and you can always appeal to the best impulses of our fellow Americans.

On the other hand, evil is for real and the work of progress and freedom is up to each of us.

February 21, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Just Imagine If The Catholic Church Advocated For The Poor And For Peace To The Extent They Advocate To Deny Women Birth Control

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is still not satisfied with President Obama’s stance on the provision of contraceptives by entities affiliated with the Catholic Church.

Just imagine if the Catholic Church had taken such a forceful stand against the unjust war in Iraq, or growing American poverty, or the failure of its own officials to protect young people who trusted the Church.

Retired New York Cardinal Edward Egan recently retracted his apology for sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.

Folks in the Catholic Church have a wide range of views that run from left to right. This is no different from the membership of any other large group or organization.

On the other hand, the leadership of the Church appears to be very much a group of men who have lost their way.

February 12, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 3 Comments

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

Flexibility Is Life And Progress—Different Sets Of Tracks Can Lead In The Same Direction

Last week I watched President Obama’s State of the Union speech.

On my Facebook that evening, I saw a number of reactions to the speech from both moderate and liberal Democrats, from Green Party supporters, from Occupy Wall Street backers and from socialists.

The Democrats all liked the speech, while some of my friends further along on the left had reactions ranging from partial approval to scorn.

This is all fine with me. While I am not President Obama’s most ardent supporter, I am on the side of all good people who want to  help move our great nation to the left.

There is no point in a rigidity that excludes people on our side of the aisle.

Here is the entirety of  chapter 76 of the Stephen Mitchell translation of the Tao Te Ching

Men are born soft and supple;

dead, they are stiff and hard.

Plants are born tender and pliant;

dead, they are brittle and dry.

This whoever is stiff and inflexible

is a disciple of death.

Whoever is soft and yielding

is a disciple of life.

The hard and stiff will be broken.

The soft and supple will prevail.

Yet–of course–we must move in a hopeful direction and this does require at the least a measure of coordination.

The good news is that different sets of tracks can lead in the same direction. We see this in picture below of railroad tracks that I took in Houston last year.

There are multiple tracks, but they merge.

See who your friends and allies are and see the good in them. Focus on where you agree and move forward.

We can be both flexible and focused on a common goal.

January 31, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

State Of The Union Another Reminder That It Is Up To Each Of Us To Act—You Can’t Just Sit And Watch Stuff

I just watched the State of the Union address.

Here is a brief history of the State of the Union address from the website of the U.S. House of Representatives.

(Above–1963 State of the Union. President Kennedy is addressing Congress. Behind Mr. Kennedy is Vice President Lyndon Johnson on the left and House Speaker John McCormack on the right. The Miller Center at the University of Virgina is a great non-ideological resource to learn about all the Presidents from Washington to Obama.)

Anything I write on the topic will be stale by tomorrow afternoon and I want to go watch Elizabeth Warren on The Daily Show. I suppose I can go as far to say that the speech was effective enough as the President seeks reelection and that the most wealthy should indeed pay a fair share of the taxes.

We should also recall that President Obama has raised a lot of money and that he has obligations to his large contributors. It is wishful thinking that the President is a socialist.

Here is a story on the speech from the New York Times.

Here is a transcript of the speech. 

Here is a take on the speech from the great liberal magazine The Nation. 

As a matter of general principle–Here is Occupy Wall Street.

Learn your history, keep up with the present, get involved in whatever way suits your life, take responsibility for the future of our nation and the world, and please forgive my preaching in this run-on sentence.

January 25, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment