Body, Mind and Spirit

Making the Connection

By: Karen Brantley

The Age of Technology came in with the roar of a lion, bringing with it dramatic changes that so greatly affected humankind’s relationships with self, each other and even planet Earth, that its effects were quite possibly more significantly felt than by all the previous events in the history of the world combined. Before its arrival, earth’s architecture – and man’s soul – had remained relatively unscathed since its inception, but technology quickly changed everything. Upon its arrival, it was given a hearty “hoorah” in greeting and quickly ushered into homes of anyone with a fistful of greenbacks, eagerly bestowed.  Awed by the bounty of such seemingly good fortune, the world stood momentarily slack-jawed, then quickly became enraptured.

Home – traditionally  a place of sanctuary and rest – became filled to distraction with gifts bestowed by the seemingly benevolent god of technology on a naive, unsuspecting world. Gifts given in such overabundance, caught the attention of mankind as they were held captive over and over again. Because of all the time required to soak in the the awesome spectacle of these brand new gadgets and learn their mysteries, people began  interacting less and less with one another, nature and even themselves. Reveling in the excitement  of purchasing their last gizmo or gadget, everyone was too busy concentrating on connecting cords to outlets, turning knobs and pushing buttons.

As the world’s pace quickened through the use of technology, our society, like many others, became addicted to busy-ness, . Busy working, playing, shopping, and more recently, busy interacting on social media websites, we have become so  busy – busy, busy, busy! If not busy, you must be lazy was the verdict of society and napping and daydreaming became guilty pleasures. Reflection and contemplation fell victim, as well, and was cast by the wayside.

A nagging sense of unrest soon prevailed across the land because the supposed happiness, supposed to go along with the gifts and by staying busy, was nowhere to be found. Many decided that more busy-ness would be the cure, but it brought no relief and many people became increasingly aware that the gift from the god of technology was a blessing mixed with curse. Although useful in itself, if misuse it resulted in creating an imbalance between the  body, mind and spirit, leaving the abuser feeling unhappy and restless.

Through increased awareness, more people are becoming aware of the mind/body/spirit connection and beginning the necessary work for achieving balance. Forgotten values are also being remembered, and healthy bonds are being consciously created between man, nature and one another. Contemplation is once again deemed valuable, if not downright necessary and real happiness and true health is once again being  found the only place in which it exists – in the harmony created by a balance of the mind, body and spirit.   

No Debate – Ritter’s Record Reeks

As the campaign manager for Daniel Miller (R) for Texas State Representative D21, our campaign’s primary focus has been to bring to light  the voting record of  incumbent Allan Ritter (R), our opponent in the race. By doing so, we hope to send Daniel to Austin to fight for true conservative values and raise awareness of the importance of voter accountability among the people of District 21. Checking voting records, following the money trail and staying up with what’s happening in legislative sessions is not only our right, it’s our duty.

If an incumbent has a bad voting record, he has to go – it’s that simple. Friendship or other affiliations aside, the fate of our state and nation hangs in the balance. Anyone claiming to be a True Conservatives must vote like a True Conservative. With corruption running rampant in Austin under the leadership of RINO Joe Straus, it’s painfully apparent that Ritter is part of Straus cronyism. His appointment as committee chair, along with the money trail he leaves and his voting record prove it. A very interesting fact is that Ritter’s switch from the Democrat to the Republican party after the 2010 elections, created a Republican super-majority in the House, giving Straus a decided advantage.

Challenged only once before in a race, Ritter couldn’t believe someone would even dare run against him. Unable to invalidate Daniel’s claim of being the True Conservative in the race, he started a “whisper campaign” spreading untrue, but hurtful, rumors in an attempt to damage Daniel’s credibility. He also told anyone who would listen that we were lying about his record.

This week, at a luncheon hosted by the Golden Triangle Republican Women, Daniel and Ritter were invited to speak. Because of a previous engagement, Daniel was unable to attend and Claver Kamau-Imani spoke in his place. Kamau-Imani, a well-respected voice in the fight for conservative values and grassroots principles, is the charismatic founder and executive director of  the staunchly conservative RagingElephants.org and Stampede!TX2012.

In Kamau-Imani’s speech, he hit hard. Beginning with a run-down of  failing grades, he cited data carefully collected and analyzed by conservative watchdog organizations. The list was brutal: 30, 57, 42, F, 32,55, 40, and 28.  Speaking next, voice shaking with anger, Ritter stated to the crowd that he didn’t have to answer to those organizations, only his voters. Yet Ritter, by calling himself a Conservative Republican, is wrong about that. These watchdog organizations exist so voters can go to their sites, read information about an incumbent and make an educated decision. So why would someone who calls himself a Conservative Republican have a problem with that? Because Ritter’s record proves, without a doubt, that he is not conservative. And, bottom line, he doesn’t want the people of District 21 to study his record.

Just yesterday, Ritter cancelled a debate planned to be held by the Southeast Texas Tea Party on May 15th at the Regency Room. The debate was also for James White(R) and Mike “Tuffy” Hamilton(R), both incumbents, who now face off as opponents because of the redistricting fiasco. Southeast Texas Tea Party is not cancelling the event. They spent time, effort and money planning it. Daniel Miller and James White will honor their commitment and attend. Allan Ritter and “Tuffy” Hamilton, showing their lack of concern for voters, will not.

At this point, the gloves are off. We won’t resort to Ritter’s tactics because that’s not what we do. We’re just asking him to defend his voting record. We want him to “put up or shut up,” using Daniel’s words in a letter sent out to Ritter after the luncheon. Here is what I’d like to say to Ritter:

No more lies and innuendos, Ritter, we are tired of it. We’re not picking on you because we don’t like you. It’s your voting record we don’t like. Daniel entered this race strictly because of your voting record. Had it been that of a True Conservative, Daniel wouldn’t have entered the race. And from a Christian standpoint, it’s wrong to bear false witness.  We’re not going around behind your back making up lies. It’s not my place to judge, I’ll leave the judging business to God.  But I hear you go to the Baptist church and, as a fellow Christian, I’m compelled to remind you of one commandment that you seem to have forgotten. Your wife seems to need a reminder to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”  for saying in a stage whisper, audible at least three rows back, that “somebody needs to trip him,” as Daniel exited the stage and walked by at a previous Tea Party forum.

So stop standing in the shadows whispering. It’s time to man up and show up for the debate, like you said you would. Let the people of District 21 hear you debate Daniel and let them can decide. Make this campaign “personal” for them.  After all, you represented THEM for the last 12 years. The way you voted for the last 12 years effects every person living in District 21, including me, and I take that very personally. Give “we the people” a chance to find out why you cast votes in our name the way you did. And show up for the debate. I can’t think of anything more pressing you might have to do that night. This is the end of a political race. If you don’t show, I can only assume that the people of District 21 are really just not worth your time.

Side note: Official records for the House of Representatives can be found at a site called State Surge. From here, data is researched, compiled, and statistically analyzed by groups like Empower Texans, the Heritage Foundation and Texas Eagle Forum. These are just a few of the organizations which have consistently given Ritter failing grades. Links to Watchdog websites are included in Daniel’s letter.

In the spirit of full disclosure, a copy of this post will be sent to Ritter’s campaign email.

Daniel’s letter to Ritter: Put Up or Shut Up 

Claver Kamau-Imani’s Speech: Failing Report Card

Mind Numbed Robot(blog): Miller Calls for Incumbent to Defend Liberal Record

Latest Campaign Endorsement: TEAParty911.com Founder Michael Kinzie

Allan Ritter has “Got to Go!”

My most recent pick for the “Got to Go” list is Republican Allan Ritter, Texas House of Representatives incumbent District 21. Before his sudden announcement that he was switching parties to Republican, Ritter represented the district as a Democrat. Wikipedia online defines three main reasons a politician might choose to switch:

  •  Ethical obligation—the person feels their views are no longer aligned with those of their current party.
  •  To gain power and influence. The incumbent may be a member of the minority party in a legislature and would like to gain the advantages of being in the major party.
  • Simply to get elected. This may be the primary reason when the opposing party’s base in a constituency is reaching a size that threatens the safe reelection of the incumbent.

KFDM interviewed Ritter and here is the reason he gave for switching:

“District 21…has changed in the last six to eight years from a solid Democratic district to a solid Republican district. I’ve always prided myself on representing the district with an independent stance but reflective of the majority of constituents I represent.

Ritter could have said something along the lines of  “I find that as I am getting older, my values are becoming more and more conservative. After much thought and prayer, I’ve made the difficult decision to switch parties. I know that some of my fellow Democrats may be unhappy with my decision, but I have to go with my convictions and do what is right for Texas and District 21. My values have become more closely linked to the conservative values of the Republican party. If you vote for me, I promise that my voting record next session will be reflective these conservative values”  But then his voting record would have to back it up.

Instead, he talked about how he had always taken an”independent stance” and wanting to be reflective of “the majority of constituents” he represents.  Ritter’s statement doesn’t sound like a “change of heart” – more like anticipation of a “change of tide.” This statement gives me such a headache. If Ritter is writing his own statements, he might want to think about investing in a good political speech writer. With a $300,000 war chest, it’s not like he can’t afford it. Bottom line is this: A party switch needs to be validated with a very good reason for the switch.
Ritter claims to be a “fiscal conservative” but  according to Texas Eagle Forum, the percentage of times Ritter voted conservatively in the following sessions are as follows.
  • 2005 – 36%
  • 2007 – 56%
  • 2009 – 20%
  • 2011 – 28%

Fiscal conservative? Yeah…not so much. Below are 5 of the most important bills presented last session and how Ritter voted on them.


  • SB 23 (RV #1172) which would have removed state funds from Planned Parenthood.
  • SB 1811 (RV #1214) an amendment which would have allowed Texas to take back control of managing our environment from the federal government.


  • SB2 (RV #58) to spend the Rainy Day Fund rather than cut spending.
  • HD 150 (RV #590)  the redistricting map that failed to protect conservative districts and targeted conservatives who voted to replace Joe Straus.
  • HB 397 (RV# 1331) to set up a Bureau for Economic Development of the Border Region which would create more bureaucracy.

Let’s break it down. Ritter wants the state to fund Planned Parenthood (liberal), he is probably a Straus supporter (don’t have the space but…bad, really bad), he wants to spend the Rainy Day Fund money rather than cut spending  (liberal), he wants the federal government to be in control of things the state should be like managing our environment (messes with my liberty), and wants A Bureau for Economic Development  of the Border Region (big government) which would end up being a lot of money spent trying to come up with a solution to our border issues in the most expensive and inefficient manner possible.

According to The James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy,  “Within the Republican party, Aaron Pena stands out far and away as the delegation’s most moderate (liberal) member, followed by Allan Ritter, Chuck Hopson, John Davis and Rob Eissler.

One way to better understand why a politician might vote the way he/she does is to follow the money trail. At FollowTheMoney.org, I found that in 2010 the top 3 contributors to Ritter’s campaign were from the sectors of Energy & Natural Resources at 20.99%, Finance, Insurance & Real Estate at 20.61% and Lawyers & Lobbyists at 12.60% . A whopping 91.9% of his contributions came from Institutions and only 7.7% from Individuals. Ritter was Chairman for Texas House Natural Resources in 2010. You catch that? Chairman of  Texas House NATURAL RESOURCES the same year the ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCE Sector was his largest contributor. Drawing no conclusions… just saying.

I recently attended a debate for the Jefferson County Republican Party.  What I took away from the party-switching politician’s speech was that

  • he didn’t have much to say because the candidate who spoke before him already said it (blah, blah, blah)
  • that he considers himself “a fiscal conservative” (nope)
  • that he’s proud that the house balanced the budget while he’s been in office 3 out of 7 times (that’s 42.9% …big, fat f)
  • that he’s just like me. That’s right. Not once, but several times. We are JUST ALIKE. Yeah…I don’t THINK SO.

The bottom line is this: What Ritter says and what he does don’t coincide.  Along with many of our Texas House Reps, he needs to go. Led by Speaker Straus, they are pro big government, cater to lobbyist, and legislate for bureaucracy.  They are negatively effecting my liberty and pursuit of happiness and I don’t LIKE it when legislators negatively effects my liberty or my pursuit of happiness. In fact, it makes me downright mad and they NEED TO GO. “We the people” need to make sure they do.

Texas needs strong, honest people in Austin for the 83rd session. People who are conservative, people who want to cut our taxes – not raise them, people who want to make government smaller and more  responsive to us. People who don’t want to spend the Rainy Day fund, just because it’s there. We need people who won’t cave to Big Industry lobbyists, people with the courage to tell the federal government to stay out of our business and out of our lives. We need people who will tell the government to stay out of our bedrooms, living rooms and yards – that we don’t need our morality legislated. We need people who have read, know and understand the tenets of the Constitution of the United States and The Texas Bill of Rights. We need people who ascribe to these tenets and will do their very best to protect them.

The 2012 elections are crucial. Our rights are steadily being stolen by an unwieldy, out-of-control federal government. People in countries around the world are questioning their governments and desiring to be free to live happy, peaceful lives without constant intrusion. Organizations like the UN, NATO and EU are making us wonder whether governments or many countries are coming together to try and create a one-world system. We are taxed to death, we are over-legislated and many are blind to the fact that we are being desensitized by the slow stripping away of our rights starting as a trickle that is quickly becoming a deluge.

I would love to believe that all people are good but it’s not true. There is always the ones who are so greedy and power-hungry that they are never satisfied. That’s the history of our race.  This campaign season, we are fortunate to have some great grassroots candidates working hard across the state in an effort to Take Back Texas and put it where it belongs – in the hands of “we the people.”

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many of them face to face and others I know through networking. These are not politicians, guys. They are the first-responders who have been quick to rise up against the tyranny and are doing everything they can to help steer Texas in a better direction. For the first time in a long time we have the opportunity to have good, moral people in our state government with our values. I urge you to find these people within your district, get behind them and do everything you can to help get them elected. My question to you is this: Will you make the commitment of politically accountability? Our very freedom depends on it.

To watch Ritter debate Daniel Miller click here. For a enlightening look at Ritter in The Dallas Morning News click here. To see why Austin American Statesman gave Ritter Half-True on The Truth-O-Meter click here.

If you’re just becoming aware of the importance of truly conservative governmental leadership and are interested in finding out in what direction this country is headed and how we can create change, a great reference book is “It Is Dangerous To Be Right When The Government Is Wrong: The Case For Personal Freedom” by Andrew P. Napolitano. Concise and well-written, it is in terms the layman can understand. For a great review of this book and spot-on political blogging, connect to freedombytheway.

Mike Jackson for Congress Texas CD 36 on “Got to Go” List

Mike Jackson, State Senator from the 11th District, wins the first spot on my “Got to Go” list of Texans who should not be elected or re-elected as Representatives or Senators in the upcoming state and federal elections.  Jackson, having recently announced that he will be running for U.S. Congress in the newly created CD-36, spent the last ten years in the Texas House. With his dismal voting record in the House, the last thing Texas needs is to send him to Washington, D.C. to create more havoc by helping to pass laws that infringe upon our liberties at the federal level.

Bi-annually, Texas Eagle Forum puts out a list of  the top conservative Texas Legislators  thanking them for “their commitment to Texas families on both social and economic issues.” You can be quite sure that Jackson never made that list. In fact, when it comes to voting along the lines of a Conservative Republican platform, you can see that he gets a big, fat “F.”

According to Texas Eagle Forum,  Jackson’s scorecard ratings based on his record of voting conservatively are as follows:

  • 2005 – 64%
  • 2007 – 60%
  • 2009 – 48%
  • 2011 – 64%

To give you just a few examples of votes he placed in the 2011 session, Jackson voted against the TSA Anti-Groping Bill (SB 7) designed to help protect our 4th Amendment rights pertaining to unreasonable search, against Government Reform (SB 202) designed to determine the success or failure of newly legislated programs or projects, and against a bill  (SB 14) requiring Photo IDs for voting.

And I’ll throw in another one for good measure just to show you what a nice guy Jackson is. He voted against a bill designed to strengthen cockfighting laws in Texas (HB 335.) Despite Jackson’s effort to the contrary, the roosters of Texas can breathe a sigh of relief. The bill was passed by the Senate and House and signed into law by Perry.

A couple of the bills Jackson voted for is Real ID (SB 9) which would nationalize Texas driver’s licenses and a Statewide Energy Plan (SB 15) which would create -you guessed it!- more bureaucracy.  Thankfully, the ID bill failed to pass the House but The Energy Plan was left pending. Starting to see a pattern emerging? Vote no on bills designed to protect our liberties and create governmental disclosure and yes on bills that are unconstitutional, infringe upon our rights and create more governmental spending.

I also did some research at Follow the Money, a national institute which shows how “money in state politics plays a pivotal role in shaping public policy in individual states and across the nation” and found the records of  Noteworthy Contributors to Jackson’s campaigns. (Click here) What I found was that he accepts money from PACs that are considered strictly Democratic, that he accepts money from PACs involved in the gaming industry and that he has received money from Dean of the Texas Senate John Whitmore who just happens to be the longest serving Democrat in the Texas Senate.

The money trail that is too lengthy for discussion here but very disturbing, to say the least. As I perused the records, I had to ask myself this question: Why would Jackson accept monies from individuals and PACs that certainly don’t ascribe to the Republican Party platform?  Hmmm…maybe because his voting record proves that Mike Jackson doesn’t ascribe to the to the true values of the Republican Party.

Check out his website Mike Jackson for Congress. The first thing you see is a pic of Jackson with a gun slung over his shoulder and the words “Limited Conservative Government” beneath. I got my first laugh of the day. So here’s my shout-out to Mike Jackson: “Hey, Mike – if you’re gonna talk the talk, you better walk the walk.”

Congratulations, Mike Jackson, as the first to make my “Got to Go” list of Texans in politics. You have really, really got to go!

House Speaker Joe has “Got to Go!”

The 82nd Legislative Session of the Texas House of Representatives began in 2011 with high hopes. By electing a 2-to-1 majority of Republicans, Texans were sending a clear message to Austin of their desire for strong, conservative leadership. Beyond that the hope was that with majority rule, the heavy-handed power wielded by Speaker of the House Joe Straus could be controlled.

Yet, in obvious disregard to the desires of Texas’ voters, Straus stacked important committees with his closest allies creating an environment in which conservative bills like the TSA anti-groping bill and ALAC  were either watered-down to the point of being meaningless or had no chance of passing. Using the pledge card system as a means of punishment and reward, Straus’ grip on the Texas House of Representatives remained firm. According to Texas Eagle Forum 2011 scorecard,  the 82nd Legislative Session of the Texas House of Representatives was one of  “lost opportunities.”

Straus, first elected Speaker on January 13, 2009, was elected to a second two-year term on January 11, 2011. The situation in the House under Straus has been decidedly liberal.  Although espousing to be a conservative Republican, with a Lib-Con score of 84, it’s evident that this is just not the case. According to James Baker, out of the 71 Republican representatives who returned to the House in the 82nd session, 62 had voting records more conservative than Straus. Only 8 had records more liberal.

The latest abuse of Straus’ power comes in the form of the Texas Redistricting Map. Carefully planned and orchestrated by Straus and his allies and designed to punish conservative Republicans unwilling to sign pledge cards in support of Straus, the map was challenged and sent to The Supreme Court which unanimously ruled that there are “grounds for concern” with how the Texas-based judges drew the redistricting maps.

This is a critical point in the history of the great state of Texas. The state government no longer has its finger on the pulse of “we the people.” The federal government has encroached itself into all aspect of our lives as most recently high-lighted by the passage of amendments to NDAA in December, 2011. The inalienable rights our forefathers spoke of and which are guaranteed by The Constitution of  the  United States are continually being eroded through poor legislation by power-hungry legislators and lobbyist. So what can we do?

First of all, we can make sure that Straus is not re-elected in 2012. Period. If he is re-elected to the House, Texas runs the risk of  having another session of “lost opportunity” like the one of 2011, an option we can ill afford. Choosing representatives who will champion the issues that most concern our liberty has never in our history been more important. My pick for District 121 is Matt Beebe. Running against Straus,  Beebe promises to stand strong on the issues of fiscal responsibility, respect for life and to champion limited government and I believe him.

In addition, we can educate ourselves on the issues and the candidates statewide. By becoming that involved, we can get others involved as well. I’ll be doing my part by researching candidates and posting picks in the”Best Bets” and  “Got to Go” categories of my blog. I will also be speaking with my friends all over Texas and letting them know who’s running in their districts. I will be hitting the campaign trail as much as possible standing behind the candidates I believe in. I urge you to participate proactively by choosing your candidates wisely and spreading the word to family and friends about the importance of the outcome of the 2012 elections. “We the people”  are the key to the process of taking back Texas. And listen up, Joe… you have really, really got to go!