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It Is Always The Right Time To Take Responsibility For Your Future—Ann Johnson Working Hard For Your Vote

Here’s a picture I took today of Texas House District 134 candidate Ann Johnson.

I told Ms. Johnson I’d hand out leaflets for her on Thursday at the early voting place.

It is always the right time to take responsibility for our future.

In this election, I’ve donated to President Obama and Green nominee Jill Stein, blogged, made my case on Facebook, and attended events for Stein and Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown.

My mother has donated to Brown and gone door-to-door for Obama in Cincinnati.

The hopeful work of freedom is up to each of us everyday.

Ann Johnson is to my right on many economic issues. But this is a big world and people are going to disagree.

At the bottom line, Ms. Johnson is somebody who shares my view that we each have to work hard, and that we have to put ourselves out there to help make the world a more hopeful place.

Ms. Johnson is a decent and hard-working person who will listen to everybody and make her decisions based on what she thinks is best for 134 and for the people of Texas. Ms. Johnson is very clear that 134 has many Republican voters and that these are folks  she also wants to hear from should she be elected to serve in Austin.

The Houston Chronicle has endorsed Ms. Johnson.

Here is what The Chronicle said about Ms. Johnson–

The tea party turnout of 2010 gave Republican candidate Sarah Davis the narrow victory she needed to win in District 134, a prosperous swing district that covers areas from River Oaks to Meyerland and the Medical Center, as well.

Davis speaks about politics with a fiery passion, but her passion often seems aimed more at Washington than Austin.

She successfully navigated the minefield of wedge-issue votes that defined the previous legislative session – voting no on the sonogram bill, for example. But voters deserve a representative who doesn’t just avoid bad votes, but leads on good ones. We believe Democratic challenger Ann Johnson can be that sort of leader.

Johnson began her career as a prosecutor at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, where she was known for her no-nonsense, hardworking attitude. After leaving the prosecutor’s office, she dedicated herself to the world of juvenile law, where she focused on issues like child exploitation and sex trafficking – two issues that need the attention of the Texas Legislature. (In one notable case, she successfully argued before the Texas Supreme Court that girls too young to consent under the law could not be charged with prostitution.)

Johnson’s focus on juvenile issues doesn’t end at the courtroom. On the campaign trail, she rattles off embarrassing statistics on Texas kids – we’re 43rd in high school graduation rates, 45th in SAT scores, and have the highest percentage of children without health insurance. Texas should not be content with these rankings, and Johnson certainly isn’t, advocating smart educational investments like all-day Pre-K and capping class sizes.

Issues like education and health care aren’t just matters of compassion, they’re necessary to ensure that Texas has the healthy, educated workforce we need to power our economy.

In this race, Ann Johnson is the better bet for Texas’ future.

October 24, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ann Johnson Is A Hopeful And Moderate Voice Consistent With Texas House District 134

Above you see Texas State Representative District 134 Democratic nominee Ann Johnson.

I took this picture a few weeks ago.

Here are the boundaries of District 134. I am a resident of District 134 where I live in the Memorial Park area of Houston.

Ms. Johnson is running to unseat first term incumbent Republican Sarah Davis. Ms. Davis defeated then-incumbent Ellen Cohen in the Tea Party wave of 2010.

While I wish Ms. Johnson were more to the left, she represents a clear improvement over the incumbent.

Beyond being an improvement over the incumbent, Ms. Johnson merits consideration on her own accord.

Here are issues that Ms. Johnson cites as important in this race—

Sufficient funding for public education. Sarah Davis has a very poor voting record on supporting education funding to for Texas school kids.

* Making use of available federal funds–despite resistance from Governor Perry and Sarah Davis–for Medicaid in a way that will help Texans get care and protect jobs at the Medical Center.

* Protecting women’s health in Texas from attacks on cancer screenings and family planning services.

Ms. Johnson has been endorsed by the Houston Chronicle. 

Here is an interview with Ms. Johnson conducted by Texas and Houston political blogger Charles Kuffner.

My friend Perry Dorrell has endorsed Ms. Johnson at his blog Brains & Eggs.

The Jewish Herald-Voice has endorsed Ms. Johnson.

Here is how Ms. Johnson is described on her website

Ann is an attorney who represents children, an adjunct professor of law at South Texas College of Law and a former prosecutor. She took on Texas’ criminal justice system to protect children from exploitation and human trafficking. She fought all the way to the Texas Supreme Court – and won a landmark victory that has become a model for other states.

In private practice, Ann represents child victims of harassment and bullying in schools and is often appointed to represent children, including in two of the newly created alternative courts: the Harris County Mental Health Court and Growing Independence Restoring Lives (GIRLS) Court.

Ann is also a survivor. Ann fought cancer and won – and she’ll stand up to fiscally irresponsible, partisan attacks on health care for women and all Texas families.

In her alliance with Governor Rick Perry’s reckless slashing of public education funds and relentless attacks on women’s health, Sarah Davis has shown herself comfortable with extremist views, and out of touch with the concerns and moderate political leanings of District 134.

I ask my fellow voters in Texas House District 134 to please consider Ms. Johnson in the upcoming election.

October 22, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Common Cause Looking For Grassroots Poll Monitors in Harris County—Protect Our Right To Vote

With early voting beginning in Texas, it is important that the right to vote be protected. Common Cause has been working in Texas to make sure that one of our most basic rights is not wrongly threatened. Read below to learn about Common Cause training to become a poll watcher in this election. What you see below is a Common Cause press release. If you can’t make one of the training sessions, call or e-mail Common Cause with the contact information provided in the release below. The final link below will take you to a Common Cause report on efforts to suppress the vote in Texas.

Protect the Vote 2012

Harris County has an unfortunate history when it comes to safeguarding our elections.Take a look at some of the headlines from elections past — it’s not good.

Banned from the Ballot Box – In 2008, KHOU reported that thousands of registration applications may have been improperly rejected.

Voter Intimidation Complaints Get Closer Look – In 2010, reports of voter intimidation from poll watchers were reported in minority precincts across the county.

Help us write a new headline in 2012!

Volunteer as a Grassroots Poll Monitor

  • Assist and engage voters with commonly encountered problems at the polls
  • Report, document and prevent voter intimidation outside of polling locations
  • Make sure every eligible voter is able to vote free from harassment, intimidation or misinformation
For more information about this coalition effort, visit www.866ourvote.org.

There are two trainings this week and space is still available, see below for more information. If you are unable to make either of these trainings, we will announce a schedule for others very soon. If you would like to request a private training for your organization or group or have any other questions, please contact mhaver@commoncause.org.

Thanks,

Protect the Vote 2012

Upcoming Trainings!

Monday, October 22 6-8 p.m.
4299 San Felipe, 2nd Floor
Houston, TX 77027 Wednesday, October 24 6-8 p.m.
SHAPE Community Center
3903 Almeda
Houston, TX 77004RSVP to mhaver@commoncause.org 
or 832-641-2882

Bullies at your Ballot Box?

Read this comprehensive report produced by Common Cause and Demos to learn about the challenges Texas voters may face on Election Day and why your participation is crucial!

October 22, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 4 Comments

Lloyd Oliver Is Just The Harris County District Attorney Candidate That The Democratic Primary Electorate That Voted Him Merits —Two Lousy Candidates For An Important Office

Democratic Harris County District Attorney nominee Lloyd Oliver is not qualified for the office he is seeking.

(Above–A display of support for Mr. Oliver in a Downtown Houston window front.)  

A recent Houston Press article details many reasons why Mr. Oliver is not qualified.

From The Press—

“I got some skeletons in the closet,” he (Oliver) said. “And some of them got some meat on ’em.” Beyond the barratry charge involving Perry Mason — which he was nearly indicted for twice — the State Bar of Texas suspended his law license for 11 months in the mid-1980s. Lloyd, with another lawyer, had apparently hoodwinked a woman “with limited education” out of 26 acres and then committed perjury during the fallout, according to a state District Court decision. In strangeness only befitting Lloyd, he’d told prosecutors he barely knew Brenda Oliver, who’d helped him in the ruse, though, in fact, she’d once been his wife, as well as the mother of his child.”

There has been a lot of angst about Mr. Oliver’s nomination. The Harris County Democratic Party even tried to get him kicked off the November ballot.

But the thing is that Mr. Oliver was on the primary ballot against a mainstream Democrat who likely would have run a well-funded campaign, and for whatever reasons the Democratic primary electorate supported Mr. Oliver.

The facts were out there about Mr. Oliver, and the primary electorate–supposedly involving a more informed voter—chose him anyway.

Life is really short and I’m tired of making excuses for base voters who get can’t get it right, or for a local Democratic Party that seemingly can’t get a message out to voters and that thinks it is okay to try to overturn what voters have done in a fair ballot.

Harris County is a majority-minority county with plenty of progressive white voters. If we can’t make it work when big issues are on the line then we get what we deserve.

The same can be said for Democratic primary voters in Fort Bend county who—for a second time—backed a woman named Kesha Rogers for the U.S. Congress who supports impeaching President Obama.

I’m not voting for Mr. Oliver or for his far-right Republican opponent Mike Anderson.

But the truth is that for many reasons we have District Attorney candidates we merit in Harris County.

We have what you get when the  public fails to meet the basic responsibilities of knowing the candidates or caring about the administration of justice.

As much as I believe that luck and circumstance play a big part in life, we must realize that the work of a decent society is up to each of us.

October 19, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

When Is Early Voting In Texas In 2012?—What Are The Requirements To Vote In Texas?

Election Day is approaching here in Texas and across the nation.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 6.

Early voting in Texas for the 2012 General Election begins on October 22 and ends on November 2.

The Texas Secretary of State says the following about 2012 voting in Texas—

Here is a link to the State of Texas website that discusses voting requirements in Texas.

You can find information here about questions such as what do to if you have moved since you last voted or if you can vote by mail.  Many subjects are addressed at this website.

There has been a lot of talk about new identification requirements for voting in Texas.

Here is what the Secretary of State says about this concern

To cast a ballot in person for the November 6 General Election during Early Voting or on Election Day, voters should present their voter registration card or in lieu of a voter registration card, at least one of the following:

  • A driver’s license or personal identification card issued to you by the Texas Department of Public Safety. You may also bring a similar document issued to you by an agency of another state, even if the license or card has expired;
  • A form of identification that contains your photograph and establishes your identity;
  • A birth certificate or other document confirming birth that is admissible in a court of law and establishes the person’s identity;
  • Your United States citizenship papers;
  • Your United States passport;
  • Official mail addressed to you by a governmental entity; or
  • A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows your name and address.

Here is the website of the Green Party of Texas.

Here is the website of the Texas Democratic Party.

Beyond voting we should recall that 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.

October 18, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Green Party Candidates On 2012 Texas Ballot—Give The Green Party A Look

There are a number of Green Party candidates on the Texas ballot in 2012.

Below you see the names of these candidates as listed by the Green Party of Texas.

I’ve said on the blog that I’m voting for Jill Stein for President here in Republican Texas.

I believe that Greens are best on the issues of our economy that is rigged for the benefit of the few, climate change, and in protecting our right to dissent in a time of militarized police and a national security state.

There are real differences between Democrats and Republicans. Many Democratic activists and volunteers are very decent and progressive people.

At the same time I’d say that the Democratic Party in Texas does not have strong prospects for either 2012 or 2014.

I’d also say that a strong voice on the left can move the Democratic Party just as Libertarians have had success in moving the Republican Party.

It is up to each voter to decide for each race if voting for a Green makes sense for whatever reason.

There is certainly nothing to be lost in looking at what Greens are saying and in thinking about everyday issues in new ways.

It is likely that a number of the candidates below have web sites even if not linked to on the list.

Google these folks and see what you find. In my experience some Greens run energetic campaigns while others do not. This is just how it is for major party candidates.

Here is the Green party of Harris County. 

Here is the Green Party of the United States.

Early voting takes place in Texas from October 22 through November 2.  General Election Day is November 6.

Here is the list of Green candidates on the Texas ballot in 2012—

President/Vice President

Jill Stein / Cheri Honkala

State-wide Office

David B. Collins – U.S. Senate sitesiteFacebook

Charles E. Waterbury – Texas Supreme Court – Place 4

Chris Kennedy – Texas Railroad Commission – Place 1

Jim Chisholm – Texas Supreme Court – Position 6

Bexar County

Federal

Antonio Diaz – US House of Representatives, Texas 20th Congressional District

Ed Scharf – US House of Representatives, Texas 23rd Congressional District

Meghan Owen – US House of Representatives, Texas 35th Congressional District

Michael D. Cary – US House of Representatives, Texas 28th Congressional District

Rhett Smith – US House of Representatives, Texas 14th Congressional District

State

Chris Christal – Texas Senate – District 26

Chuck Robinson – Texas House of Representatives – District 123

Gregory L. Fox – Texas House of Representatives – District 120

Herb Gonzales, Jr – Texas House of Representatives – District 124

Irene Meyer Scharf – State Board of Education – District 5

Timothy Giddens – Texas House of Representatives – District 125

Local

Eric M Fahrenthold – County Commissioner – Precinct 3

Joel Benavidez – Justice of the Peace – Precinct 2, Place 1

Paul Pipkin – County Tax Assessor-Collector

Sonia Lucy Benavides – County Commissioner – Precint 1

Dallas County

Federal

Brandon Parmer – U.S. House of Representatives – District 6

State

Angela Sarlay – Texas House of Representatives – District 113

Josh Wendel – Texas Railroad Commission – Place 2

Saul Arechar – Texas House of Representatives – District 105

Denton County

State

Alex Mendoza – Texas House of Representatives – District 65

Harris County

Federal

Don Cook – U.S. House of Representatives – District 22

Lance Findley – U.S. House of Representatives – District 7

Maria Selva – U.S. House of Representatives – District 29

Mark A. Roberts – U.S. House of Representatives – District 2

Vanessa Foster – U.S. House of Representatives – District 9

State

Alfred Molison, Jr. – Texas House of Representatives – District 131

Art Browning – Texas House of Representatives – District 130

David Courtney – Texas Senate District 17

Deb Shafto – Texas House of Representatives – District 147

G C Molison – State Board of Education – District 6

Henry Cooper – Texas House of Representatives – District 148

Local

Carlos Villalobos – Harris County Constable – Precinct 1

Remington Alessi – Harris County Sheriff

Lubbock County

State

Leanne Lamb-Vines – Texas House of Representatives – District 84

Local

W.L. Matheny – County Commissioner – Precinct 1

Randall

Federal

Keith F. Houston – U.S. House of Representatives – District 13

Tarrant

Federal

Ed Lindsay – U.S. House of Representatives – District 33

Webb

Local

Emily Marie Sanchez – Tax Assessor-Collector

Wise

State

Matthew Britt – Texas House of Representatives – District 61

October 17, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 5 Comments

Here Is My Mitt Romney “Binders Full Of Women” Joke

Here is my Mitt Romney “binders full of women” joke from the debate this evening—

“I had binders full of women which my family passed down through the years as our menfolk selected their many wives.”

October 17, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 10 Comments

Result Of 2nd Obama-Romney Debate Is The Awareness That The Work Of Freedom Is Up To Each Of Us

I can wrap up the results of the 2nd Presidential debate between Governor Romney and President Obama without having seen the debate.

(Above–Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford debate in 1976. Both of these men are long gone from public office. Yet we are each here today and in need of our own efforts and of the efforts of our fellow citizens.) 

I’m posting this on the blog an hour before the 2nd debate begins.

Rather than worrying about if Mr. Obama did well this evening, get active right now for the future you would like to see for our nation.

In the first 2012 Presidential debate President Obama did not take the time he needed to prepare.

Because President Obama lacked respect and care for the millions who support him, a race that seemed a likely Obama win has now become an even money deal.

Governor Romney lies all the time.  

The work of freedom is up to each us.

It is true that circumstance and luck count for a lot.

It is a core of liberal belief  that we should help each other when times are hard  for reasons beyond our control.

It is a core of liberal belief that we should be forgiving and that we must move ahead when somebody screws up.

At the same time—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.

We can also seek to impact society by consistently acting in a way that reflects our best values. Or by working on an artistic or creative effort that expands the range of thought and imagination we have in our society.

The work of freedom is up to each us.

This fact that the work of freedom is up to each of us is the bottom line of the debate this evening between Governor Romney and President Obama.

October 17, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 13 Comments

Looking For A New Flight Plan

I’m offering up today on the blog this nice picture you see above of planes on the ground that I took last month at the Schaumburg Regional Airport in suburban Chicago

I’m reaching a point of being tired about blogging about politics.  I have a picture of grounded planes here because I’ve not yet chosen a new flight plan.

I’m not tired of the blog. I’m not tired of communicating with folks. I’m not tired of talking about my values in a public forum.

I am not dispirited by the current Presidential race. While I regret that President Obama did not choose to prepare for the first debate in a way that respected his supporters, I’m relating a feeling I’ve had for many months now. I think the Presidential race as of today is a 50-50 proposition for both major party candidates.

I will admit that I do not see the Democratic Party making major gains in Texas in 2014.

Nor do I see Houston municipal politics as offering much hopeful in the 2013 election cycle. The 2013 elections in Houston will be another low-turnout race with Democratic Mayor Annise Parker running to the right, right-wingers offering up attacks on the Mayor because Mayor Parker is gay, selfish “progressive” interest groups looking out for only themselves, and big money running the process.

Here is the link to the Green Party of the United States. The Greens at least offer some hope that things can be better.

I’ve been working on an art project—for lack of a better term at the moment— and I think there are many ways to communicate with folks and to convey your values and ideas.

We live in a big hopeful connected world. Every person has value. Every place has value. Every moment has value. The everyday work we do merits respect.

These are things I’m going to keep on saying.

I’ve got some more political posts relating to Campaign 2012 to make between now and the election. I’m certain I’ll continue to make overtly political posts when I feel they’ll be helpful.

I have some thinking to do about how to proceed with the blog and how to best move ahead.

Thanks for reading Texas Liberal and please check back with the blog often. There is a lot more to say and to share.

October 12, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fort Bend Democratic Party Chair Stephen Brown Talks About Protecting The Right To Vote In Texas In 2012

General Election time is approaching across the nation and here in Texas.

Early voting begins in Texas on October 22 and runs through November 2.  Election Day is November 6.

There have been many concerns in the 2012 election season about efforts to suppress the vote and to deny people the right to vote.

In Texas, a discriminatory voter ID law has been struck down by the courts.

In Harris County, living voters are being asked if they are dead and are in some cases having a hard time reestablishing their right to vote.

Here is a press release by Common Cause that deals specifically with voter suppression issues in Texas.  

I asked Steve Brown, who is Chairman of the Fort Bend Democratic Party here in the Houston area, to write about these issues for Texas Liberal.

Above you see a picture of Mr. Brown.

Here is what Mr. Brown had to say—

October 22, 2012 will be my Election Day. It marks the first day of early voting in Texas. This year, I’m not waiting to vote on Tuesday, November 6th – and for good reason.

Since 2009, a Houston-based Tea Party affiliate, “True the Vote,” has led a crusade advocating for laws found to intentionally suppress the votes of minorities and the poor. At their annual 2012 conference, they vowed to recruit over one million poll watchers for Election Day. These self-proclaimed voter fraud vigilantes want to use their poll watchers to intimidate and challenge minority votes at the polls this Fall.

True the Votes’ modus operandi is clear. They are targeting minorities, the poor and students. They want to purge voters, challenge the right of eligible voters to cast their ballots and bully everyone else on Election Day.

In a recent report Bullies at the Ballot Box, Common Cause examines True the Vote and the state laws that are intended to protect voters from unnecessary harassment. They found that True the Vote has built a reputation of hovering over people as they vote and engage in confrontational conversations. In almost every case, they chose polling locations in predominately minority communities. Some voters were overheard leaving the booths in tears saying that they would never vote again. They also found that Texas law could be stronger by placing the burden of proof on the person that’s challenging someone’s right to vote and not the voter.

I’m voting on October 22nd because on Election Day I’ll be watching the bullies, and making sure that they don’t harass any eligible voter.

There’s a practical reason why I’m voting early as well. As a Party Chairman, I know that the more “certain” Democratic voters that I can turnout on the first week of early vote, the easier it is for me to target new and unlikely voters. Democrats have a history of being outvoted during early vote, so we spend all of Election Day trying to catch up. By voting more Democrats early, we can focus our attention on persuading a larger universe of Democrats unlikely to vote that their vote matters. With limited resources, I would much rather spend time persuading those Democrats as opposed to dedicating dollars to target procrastinating Democrats.

Due to redistricting, some Election Day polling places may have moved.  I would hate for someone to go to the wrong location, and risk not being in line by the 7 PM deadline.  Early voting is much more flexible allowing voters to cast their ballots at any location within the county they reside.

This election is too critical to wait until November 6. I don’t want to wait to see what scheme True the Vote is hatching next. I’m pledging to vote on the first day of early vote. Before we go to work, we should vote. Before we take our kids to day care, we should vote. Before running our errands, we should vote.

We should be the first person in line to vote on October 22nd, because some would wish for us not to vote at all. #WeVoteFirst

Steve Brown is the Chairman of the Fort Bend County Democratic Party. Connect with Steve on Facebook at facebook.com/sbrown2 and on Twitter at twitter.com/electstevebrown

October 11, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

I’ve Got Both An Obama Sticker And A Green Party Jill Stein Sticker On My Car

I’ve got both an Obama sticker and a Jill Stein Green Party sticker on my car.

You might say that this could confuse people, but many people seem plenty confused regardless of my actions.

The Obama sticker is there in part to annoy mean-spirited folks.

The Stein sticker gives me some hope that things can really be better.

At core the work of freedom and a good society is up to each of us.

Context, a good society, and dumb luck matters—But the work of freedom and a good society  is up to each of us.

October 9, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 5 Comments

Green Presidential Nominee Jill Stein Makes Houston Campaign Stop

I saw Green Presidential nominee Dr. Jill Stein speak last night in Houston.

Above you see a picture from that appearance.

Dr. Stein spoke about a hopeful agenda that involved the provision of health care, addressing climate change and protecting civil liberties.

She said that our leaders had “no exit strategies for the crises we face.”

Dr. Stein spoke well and is competent. She is a credible candidate for President of the United States.

Dr. Stein said the Green ticket was on the ballot in 85% of the nation, had qualified for matching funds, and was polling at about 2% in polls that asked about 3rd party candidates.

Here is the website for Dr. Stein if you would like to learn more. 

Dr. Stein will be in San Antonio today –10/6 –and will be back in Houston tomorrow. Here is a link to her Texas schedule. 

Here is the Green Party of Texas. This link has a list of Greens on the ballot in Texas in 2012.

My view is that I’m voting for Dr. Stein in Republican Texas because she is best on our rigged economy, climate change, and issues of civil liberties and protecting the right to dissent.

If I were in a contested state I would vote for Mr. Obama as there are real and important differences between Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney.

The fact that differences do exists between the major party candidates does not mean though that Dr. Stein is wrong when she says that the rich call the shots in America and that it is up to each of us to look for new solutions to change this fact.

A strong Green Party can help push this country in a hopeful direction as it puts pressure on Democrats and as Greens gain support across America.

October 6, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 3 Comments

Green Candidate Mark Roberts Is A Good Choice For The 2nd Congressional District Of Texas—Read What He Has To Say

Mark Roberts is the Green Party nominee for the 2nd Congressional District of Texas

The Republican candidate is incumbent Ted Poe.  The Democratic nominee is Jim Dougherty.

Here is a map of the 2nd Congressional district.  This Houston-area district was radically redrawn in the most recent Congressional redistricting.

Here are facts and dates relating to voting in Texas in 2012.

(Above–Mr. Roberts at the microphone at Houston City Hall.)

I live in this district and I am voting for Mr. Roberts.

Here is the website for Mr. Roberts.

Here is the Facebook page for Mr. Roberts.

Here is the website of the Harris County Green Party.

Here is some of how Mark describes himself on his campaign website—

“Mark grew up in a small town in Southeastern Michigan. As a child, he attended both Catholic and public schools, graduating from a public high school in 1976. After graduation, he attended Michigan State University. At MSU, Mark majored in Telecommunications and History. …After school, Mark accepted a job in Chicago with the Social Security Administration. In 1983, he married his best friend and sweetheart, Alissa. Together, they had two children, a boy and a girl. Both children are now married and out on their own. With one child now a teacher with a local elementary school, and the other serving in the United States Army…Mark left the job in Chicago in the late 1980’s to return to school. He enrolled in the MAT program at Wayne State University. In 1995, Mark accepted a teaching position with a public school in the Rio Grande Valley, and was Texas bound. In 1997, Mark moved from the Valley to the Houston area, and he has been here ever since.  Mark has always been interested in politics. For years, he watched the political process in America with growing frustration. Finally, he decided to quit complaining about the problem, to become a candidate, and try to create a solution.”

I asked Mark to write about his candidacy and about why he should be elected to Congress.

Here is what he said—

My name is Mark Roberts and I am the Green Party’s candidate for the U. S. House of Representatives in Texas’ Second District. Let me ask you a rhetorical question. How can repeating the policies that created the problems we see today, solve those problems? I can’t think of a good answer to that question.

My Republican opponent in this race doesn’t seem to troubled by this issue. During his years in Congress, Ted Poe has consistently voted to grant tax cuts to wealthy individuals and corporations. He has also voted against every measure that would actually create jobs. Congressman Poe has consistently chosen to place the profits of a few corporations above our health and well being and that of our children and our communities. He has repeatedly chosen to vote against all measures designed to bring transparency and accountability to our military, and to support a long string of measures limiting and restricting our civil liberties.

Ted Poe has not worked alone. Both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party have controlled American politics since before the Civil War. The policies that are in place today have been crafted and shaped by those two dominant parties. The system that these two parties have created is no longer working for the benefit of all Americans. It is for this reason that I am running as a Green Party candidate.

Today, we find too many Americans on the outside, looking in. I believe that it’s time to try something different. The key values of the Green Party make it the most logical alternative. Let me tell you why I feel that way. Members of the Green Party share these key values. We acknowledge that the Earth sustains all of our life processes. We all depend on the air to breathe, the water to drink, and the soil to produce our food. We believe that each person should participate in the political, economic, and environmental decisions that affect his or her life. To achieve this end, we believe that cooperation and understanding must replace domination and exploitation. We are committed to creating a sustainable and just system and to reclaiming the future for our children and grandchildren.

One salient example of a policy that no longer benefits we Americans is the ‘War on Drugs.’ As a result of this policy, we has filled our prisons with drug users, but the availability of drugs in the country has remained unchanged. In addition, the proceeds of this illegal drug trade finances armed conflicts  across Central and South America, killing thousands, yet our Congress and our President are unwilling to even consider the possibility of ending the prohibition.

A more logical approach would be to legalize the use of drugs  like marijuana and treat them much like alcohol. We could license growth and culture of the plants, regulate the manufacture and distribution of the finished product, and tax the sales. This changed policy could generate as much as fifty to one hundred billion dollars in new economic activity in the U. S.. The new policy could also generate as much as fifteen billion dollars in needed tax revenues for our federal, state, and local governments. The policy would have the added advantage of dramatically reducing our prison population, and also cut off a major source of funding for armed conflicts in Latin America.

 

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

First Debate Goes To Romney—If That Makes You Nervous Then Do Something About It

My schedule did not allow me to watch the debate last night.

I get the clear sense that many folks feel Mr. Obama did poorly.

If it will fortify your spirits, the NY Times 538 blog upped Obama’s chances up to 86% last night despite talk in recent days that the race was tightening.

In this campaign I’ve donated $50 to Green Jill Stein–who I’m voting for in Republican Texas–and $50 to President Obama because there is a difference between him and Mr. Romney. I’ve also given $25 to my Dem. State Rep. candidate Ann Johnson.

I’ve blogged about issues impacting this year’s campaign and many times I’ve said that folks are going to have to get involved themselves and if they want change.

I’m doing what I’m able to do.

If you’re sweating the outcome of the Presidential race, then assess what you can do and take action. The work of freedom is up to each of us and nobody else.

October 4, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 8 Comments

The Big Issues In The 2012 Presidential Debates—Who Am I? Why Am I Here? What Is Reality?

The first debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama will be held this evening.

Voters merit discussion of the most important issues.

Above is a short clip of Vice Admiral James Stockdale asking the most essential questions of “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?’ in the 1992 Vice Presidential debate.

Admiral Stockdale—A Vietnam War hero—was the running mate of Ross Perot in 1992.

People made fun of Admiral Stockdale, but I’m not sure what questions are more central to how we should conduct ourselves in life. Admiral Stockdale spent seven years in a Vietnamese prison. For much of that time Admiral Stockdale was in solitary confinement.  I’m certain he had plenty of time to think in his years of confinement.  It is no surprise that a reflective leader such as Admiral Stockdale asked the most relevant questions I’ve ever heard in a politcal debate.

The excellent New Scientist  magazine has a series of articles in a recent edition that discuss the nature of reality. (You have to register with the website to read the articles.)

I think a discussion on the nature of reality would be a fine topic for the debate tonight.

In any case, after you hear the prepared answers to the predictable questions in the debate tonight—Be sure to recall that the work of freedom and creativity and of an open hopeful society is up to each of us.

Your conceptions of the work to be done will surely be informed by your ideas of who you are and what your purpose is in the world.

Everyday people are fully capable of figuring complex stuff for themselves. This is the case even though we so often seem to forget this fact in our often silly and mean-spirited society.

Everything we need to understand the world is around us and is accessible with discipline, imagination and some luck. 

Don’t let prepared answers to predictable questions define what you are going to do with your life.

If we allow our lives to be defined by prepared answers to predictable questions, we will end up cheating ourselves out of our abilities and out of our own understanding of the world.

October 3, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments