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Texas Attorney General Abbott Threatens To Arrest United Nations Election Observers In Texas—I’ll Buy Any U.N. Election Observers In Houston A Glass Of Texas Wine

United Nations observers will be in the United States to monitor our upcoming elections.

( Above–The United Nations General Assembly Hall. After all the ballots are cast in Texas, they will be flown to New York to be counted by the U.N. The election will be official when U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon declares the winners. Photo by Patrick Gruban.)

Republican Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says that any such observers in Texas may face arrest.

From The Huffington Post—

“Greg Abbott, the Republican Attorney General of Texas, issued a stern warning this week to members of a United Nations-affiliated delegation expected to be on hand to monitor voting at polling places around the country on Election Day…In a letter to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, a body created by U.N. charter and responsible for helping to ensure the integrity of elections, among other tasks, Abbott warned the diplomatic poll-watchers that their involvement in U.S. elections could have strong legal repercussions…”It may be a criminal offense for OSCE’s representatives to maintain a presence within 100 feet of a polling place’s entrance,” he writes. “Failure to comply with these requirements could subject the OSCE’s representatives to criminal prosecution for violating state law.” Such a restriction makes election monitoring highly difficult. The OSCE announced earlier this month that it would send 44 observers to polling places around the country on Election Day in order to monitor possible disputes that could arise in the voting process. The move came in response to a petition from liberal-leaning voting rights groups, including the NAACP and ACLU, that suggested the OSCE’s presence could help combat what they fear will be a concerted effort to suppress votes from supporters of President Barack Obama.”

Houston hate-speech Clear Channel radio station KTRH mentioned this topic recently on Facebook.

Here is how some KTRH Facebook followers responded—

“i say shoot anyone seeking to come into this country to try and oversee our elections. And shoot anyone who does not have a state or federal picture ID when they show up to vote”

“What next, they’ll be observing in our bedrooms.”

“We do not need the UN interfereing with Texas.Maybe it is time to succeed.”

“Observing from a far? I could care less! Up in our business? I say welcome to Texas and GET A ROPE…..”

“I run the election process in Galveston County. If one of the UN observers shows up at one of our polling locations they will be asked to leave. If they do not, law enforcement will be called to forcibly remove them. Only election workers, bona fide poll watchers and voters are allowed in at the polling sites!”

Absolutely. Our big state of Texas could at any time be put under United Nations control. I am very glad that Attorney General Abbott will protect us from whatever number of the 44 poll observers who may be sent to Texas.

There have been real efforts at voter suppression in Texas. The so-called Texas Voter ID law was struck down by the courts because it targeted minority voters.

Attorney General Abbott backed the ID law even though it sought to make it more difficult for Texans to vote.

Here is information about helping fight voter intimidation in Houston and Harris County.

Here is a report by Common Cause about efforts to suppress the vote in Texas and in others parts of the nation.

I will take any United Nations elections observers in Houston out for a glass of Texas wine should I encounter them at the polls. I’m certain I will be able to identify them by their blue U.N. helmets, and by the black helicopters they will have parked near the voting locations.

Here is the link to the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association.

Here is the link for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. These are the folks who will be sending the observers.

The OSCE has issued a statement saying Attorney General Abbott’s threats violate international agreements.

From that statement

“Ambassador Janez Lenarčič, the Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), expressed his grave concern today over the threat of criminal prosecution of OSCE/ODIHR election observers. This threat, contained in an open letter from the Attorney General of Texas, is at odds with the established good co-operation between OSCE/ODIHR observers and state authorities across the United States, including in Texas, Lenarčič said, adding that it is also contrary to the country’s obligations as an OSCE participating State. The ODIHR Director shared his concerns in a letter to United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.“The threat of criminal sanctions against OSCE/ODIHR observers is unacceptable,” Lenarčič said. “The United States, like all countries in the OSCE, has an obligation to invite ODIHR observers to observe its elections.”

Damned right. I welcome these observers with open arms. The one-word state motto of Texas is “Friendship.” A threat to arrest people who have every right to be here is not very friendly.

Welcome U.N. Observers! And good luck with your mission of improving the quality of our democracy in Texas. We can use all the help we can get.

October 25, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Air Is So Bad In Texas That It Offends Oklahoma—States Rights Views Infringe On Our Neighbors

Pollution coming from Texas is so bad that it offends Oklahoma.

From the Houston Chronicle

“Coal-fired power plants in Texas are responsible for dozens of bad air days in neighboring states each year, according to a new analysis released by an environmental group Tuesday. The study, produced by the Sierra Club, attributes as many as 64 days with harmful levels of smog in Oklahoma to Texas’ coal plants. It also ties the plants to as many as 20 days of unhealthy air in Arkansas and up to 16 in Louisiana. “The coal plants are a real problem — not just for Texas, but the entire region,” said Jennifer Powis, a regional representative for the Sierra Club, which opposes the new push to build more coal-fired plants in Texas. The report supports earlier concerns raised by Oklahoma officials about the potential impacts on their state from the nearly 30 coal-fired plants either operating, permitted or proposed in Texas. The attorney general for Oklahoma asked the federal Environmental Protection Agency in May to require Texas to show that the new plants will not foul the state’s air before issuing permits for construction…..Oklahoma, for example, had 64 days that exceeded soon-to-be-finalized federal limits for ozone in one year because of emissions from existing coal plants in Texas. The proposed plants would cause another 11 days of dirty air north of the Red River, the study concluded.”

Oklahoma is no tree-hugger place. Yet the air coming from Texas is so bad that Oklahoma is angry.

Texas is fighting the Environmental Protection Agency over clean air standards and over greenhouse gas emission standards.

It’s all part of the so-called states rights kick that Governor Rick Perry, Attorney General Greg Abbott, and the state legislature are indulging in for temporary political gain.

We cannot not forget that no man is an island.

We can say we are going it alone, but all things are connected. Our bad air is harming people in other states. It is also, of course, harming people in Texas as well.

States rights is a philosophy that may sound good to some. But the reality has been that over our national history, this idea has been used to justify the worst civil rights abuses.

In this case, we see that states rights views are being used in a way to justify even more harmful activity.

I am in no way a reflexive opponent of industry.

Industry is needed to create the products we use in our lives. People need the jobs that industry provides. The technology that drives industry is an extension of our intellects.

A balance must be found between clean air and the needs of industry. The State of Texas has no interest in finding that balance. The State of Texas wants to press ahead with an extreme ideological point at the expense of others.

When even a very conservative state like Oklahoma objects, you have to wonder if we are going overboard with a my-way-or-the-highway view in Texas.

We are playing the music very loud all day long and our neighbors object. We are not the only people who live in the neighborhood.

Public Citizen Texas is doing a great job in fighting for clean air and an economically prosperous future for  Texas. Check out the Public Citizen homepage and see the great work they are doing.

( Below–Picture I took a few months ago on a cloudy day of industry in Pasadena, Texas.)

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November 18, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brutal Texas Nutballs Help Me Feel Like I Am At Home Even When I Am Far Away

Just because I’m in the Chicago suburbs this evening, does not mean I can’t keep up with the far-right Texans committed to making sure that folks have no health insurance and that Texas never accepts the outcome of the Civil War.

The Congressman who screamed “babykiller” during the health care debate was a Texan. Randy Neugebauer of Lubbock was the guilty party who did the yelling.

Also, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is one of a group of AG’s nationwide who plan to file suit to stop parts of the health care bill.

It’s the same idea of nullification of federal law that the far right has always held dear whenever they feel that the federal government is doing something to make life better.

Does it matter to Mr. Neugebauer and Mr. Abbott that millions of Texans don’t have health insurance?

No—It does not matter.

With these brutal Texas nutballs making news up here in Illinois and nationwide, I have the warm feeling of home even though I am far away.

March 23, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment