Monday, August 15, 2011

No New Texans!


The GOP Establishment-- call it plutocracy or fascism... it's the elites who run the right-wing show-- smells blood in the water... Obama's. They're positive they can beat him in 2012, sweep Congress and roll back what's ever left of the New Deal and maybe even democracy, which they've always detested, itself. The moron zombie base is worked up and ready to consign its future generations to slavery and Democrats are depressed and deflated by Obama's shocking conservatism. But they know-- like Obama knows-- that his best chance for a second term rests with an over the top Republican nominee. And, as the corndog and fried-butter-on-a-stick eaters at this weekend's Ames straw poll proved, that's exactly what the Republican base wants. They picked, overwhelmingly, the craziest, least electable candidates. Romney, the anointed candidate of the Establishment-- who, regardless of what the base (and Obama) want, will be the GOP nominee-- barely made a blip, with a dismal 7th place finish, even below joke candidates Rick Santorum and Herman "the Hermanator" Cain.

Texas Governor Rick Perry announced his intention to run on the sane day as the Ames straw poll. He was drafted by the Republican Establishment. His job is to knock out Bachmann. The Roves and Aileses and their plutocratic/fascist backers don't care if Perry manages to go all the way or if he just winds up as Romney's VP nominee... they just want Bachmann and her crazy eyes and her closet case psychotic husband out of the race as soon as possible.

Less than a month ago we looked at a laundry list of reasons many on the far right fringes-- i.e., the typical GOP activist-- can't embrace Perry. (Yesterday Think Progress had a more all-encompassing laundry list worth taking a look at.) But this seems to be as big a problem for him as Romneycare and the consistent pattern of flip-flopping are for Mitt:
Perhaps the biggest issue people opposed to the nanny state should be concerned about is Perry's issuance of an executive order back in 2007 that would have forced almost every single girl in the state of Texas to receive the Gardasil vaccine before entering the sixth grade. Perry was in the tank with Merck. There were apparent financial connections between Merck and Perry reported by news outlets, such as a $6,000 campaign contribution and Merck’s hiring of former Perry Chief of Staff Mike Toomey to handle its Texas lobbying work.

The Texas legislature put the kibosh on that idea by crafting a bill that overturned the executive order.

Subsequently, very serious safety issues with the vaccine came to light. The biggest problem with regard to the Gardasil issue was that Perry appeared to be condoning premarital sex, or at least assuming that middle school girls were going to be engaging in sexual activity, which is the only way that the cervical cancer that the vaccine prevents can be contracted. Many parents and conservatives were justifiably outraged.

When one takes into account these facts about Rick Perry, the only conclusion that can be reached is that Perry is for the expansion of government and its intrusion into our lives.

The new Texas Monthly is running a major feature on how Perry keeps winning-- 10 elections in a row, some against formidable opponents. He may come off like a pathetic lightweight unfit to run a rural post office but he's managed to beat Jim Hightower, John Sharp, Tony Sanchez, Chris Bell, Carole Keeton Strayhorn, Kay Bailey Hutchison, and Bill White-- all of whom are interviewed in the Monthly story.

Saturday's Wall Street Journal opinion page, though, exposed a weakness in the Perry armor that could be deadly-- in fact, a weakness that could be as disturbing for many on the right as it will certainly be for normal Americans. The scandal has been kept in the public eye partially because of carping by teabaggers who see Perry as a phony baloney hack politician and a willing servant for the Establishment they sometimes vestigially sense is their enemy.
Gov. Rick Perry's presidential pitch goes something like this: During one of the worst recessions in American history, he's kept his state "open for business." In the last two years, Texas created over a quarter of a million jobs, meaning that the state's 8% unemployment rate is substantially lower than the rest of the nation's. The governor credits this exceptional growth to things like low taxes and tort reform.

It's a strong message. But one of the governor's signature economic development initiatives-- the Texas Emerging Technology Fund-- has lately raised serious questions among some conservatives.

The Emerging Technology Fund was created at Mr. Perry's behest in 2005 to act as a kind of public-sector venture capital firm, largely to provide funding for tech start-ups in Texas. Since then, the fund has committed nearly $200 million of taxpayer money to fund 133 companies. Mr. Perry told a group of CEOs in May that the fund's "strategic investments are what's helping us keep groundbreaking innovations in the state." The governor, together with the lieutenant governor and the speaker of the Texas House, enjoys ultimate decision-making power over the fund's investments.

Among the companies that the Emerging Technology Fund has invested in is Convergen LifeSciences, Inc. It received a $4.5 million grant last year-- the second largest grant in the history of the fund. The founder and executive chairman of Convergen is David G. Nance.

In 2009, when Mr. Nance submitted his application for a $4.5 million Emerging Technology Fund grant for Convergen, he and his partners had invested only $1,000 of their own money into their new company, according to documentation prepared by the governor's office in February 2010. But over the years, Mr. Nance managed to invest a lot more than $1,000 in Mr. Perry. Texas Ethics Commission records show that Mr. Nance donated $75,000 to Mr. Perry's campaigns between 2001 and 2006.

The regional panel that reviewed Convergen's application turned down the company's $4.5 million request when it presented its proposal on Oct. 7, 2009. But Mr. Nance appealed that decision directly to a statewide advisory committee (of which Mr. Nance was once a member) appointed by Mr. Perry. Just eight days later, on Oct. 15, a subcommittee unanimously recommended approval by the full statewide committee. On Oct. 29, the full advisory committee unanimously recommended the approval of Convergen's application. When asked why the advisory committee felt comfortable recommending Convergen's grant, Lucy Nashed, a spokesperson for Mr. Perry, said that the committee "thoroughly vetted the company."

Starting in 2008, Mr. Perry also appropriated approximately $2 million in federal taxpayer money through the auspices of the Wagner-Peyser Act-- a federal works program founded during the New Deal and overseen in Texas by Mr. Perry's office-- to a nonprofit launched by Mr. Nance called Innovate Texas. The nonprofit was meant to help entrepreneurs by linking them to investors. It began receiving funding on Dec. 31, 2008, soon after Mr. Nance's previous company, Introgen Therapeutics, declared bankruptcy on Dec. 3. According to state records, Mr. Nance paid himself $250,000 for the two years he ran Innovate Texas. Innovate Texas, whose listed phone number is not a working number, could not be reached for comment. (Two phone calls left for Mr. Nance at Convergen's offices went unreturned.)

ThromboVision, Inc., a medical imaging company, was also the recipient of an award from the Emerging Technology Fund: It received $1.5 million in 2007. Charles Tate, a major Perry contributor, served as the chairman of a state committee that reviewed ThromboVision's application for state funding, and Mr. Tate voted to give ThromboVision the public money. One month after ThromboVision received notification that it would receive a $1.5 million state grant in April 2007, Mr. Tate invested his own money in ThromboVision, according to the Dallas Morning News. The Texas paper later found that by 2010 Mr. Tate owned a total of 200,000 preferred shares in ThromboVision.

According to a Texas state auditor's report, ThromboVision failed to submit required annual reports to the fund from 2008 through 2010, when the company went bankrupt. The report noted the tech fund's managers were "unaware of ThromboVision, Inc.'s bankruptcy until after the bankruptcy had been reported in a newspaper." ThromboVision's bankruptcy filing revealed not only that Mr. Tate had been a preferred shareholder in ThromboVision, but so had prominent Perry supporter Charles Miller, who owned 250,000 preferred shares in the company and has donated $125,000 to the governor's campaigns. Three phone calls and an email seeking Mr. Tate's side of the story went unreturned.

All told, the Dallas Morning News has found that some $16 million from the tech fund has gone to firms in which major Perry contributors were either investors or officers, and $27 million from the fund has gone to companies founded or advised by six advisory board members. The tangle of interests surrounding the fund has raised eyebrows throughout the state, especially among conservatives who think the fund is a misplaced use of taxpayer dollars to start with.

"It is fundamentally immoral and arrogant," says state representative David Simpson, a tea party-backed freshman from Longview, two hours east of Dallas. The fund "opened the door to the appearance of impropriety, if not actual impropriety."

...Michael Quinn Sullivan, the president of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, sees in the Emerging Technology Fund a classic example of the perils of government pork. "The problem with these kinds of funds is that even when they're used with the best of intentions, it looks bad," says Mr. Sullivan. "You're taking from the average taxpayer and giving to someone who has a connection with government officials."

I got an e-mail this weekend from Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett. He knows Perry well-- and knows what a disaster he's been for ordinary working families in their state. He was sounding the alarm. Here's Doggett's interview Friday on MSNBC:

Maybe Rick Perry did the right thing last Saturday when he asked for America to join him in prayer. Considering the disaster that has been his governorship in Texas, we need every prayer we can get as we try to sort this mess out.

...There is no more extreme, no more disagreeable candidate than Rick Perry.  Want to know just how right-wing Rick Perry is? As Governor of Texas, he even implied that secession was a possibility. That’s right, the Rick Perry, who wants to be President of the United States of America is the same Rick Perry who provided comfort to those Texans, who have supported disuniting from America and seceding.

    •    This is the same Rick Perry whose answer to Texas being the state with the highest percentage of folks without health insurance is to do even less here, while questioning the very existence of Medicare.  

    •    This is the same Rick Perry who has undermined our future economic competitiveness by slashing budgets for primary and secondary education and undermining our institutions of higher learning. 

    •    This is the same Rick Perry that dangerously disregards the importance of protecting the water we drink and the air we breath. Texas now leads the nation in clean-water permit violations in the nation, hazardous waste spills and toxic emissions.

Doggett is hardly the only Democrat sounding the alarm. Paul Begala, who's known him nearly 3 decades-- back when Perry was a freshman Democratic state legislator (nicknamed "Crotch")-- did a good job at the Daily Beast this weekend. "Perry stood out," Begala remembers, "for his modest intellectual gifts... But lack of brains has never been a hindrance in politics." What Begala claims Perry has-- aside from nice hair-- is the willingness to say or do whatever it takes to win, no matter what the ancillary harm. That's the classic definition of a sociopath.
That's truer than ever in relation to today's Tea Party–dominated Republican Party. You’ve gotta be willing to do anything, say anything, accept anything, propose anything, endorse anything, pledge anything. There is nothing too batshit for these people.

Watch your back, Mitt.

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At 7:29 AM, Anonymous Lee said...

I just bet my friend Debi a dinner at a Moroccan restaurant that Perry is the pick.And if the Dems roll over and cut the big three, Perry will run as a Economic populist and run attack ads that Democrats are cutting the safety net

Are the people running Obamas re election campaign this stupid?

At 8:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 9:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a fifth generation Texan and liberal --I wish to say this guy is dangerous,but lazy--My oldest brother is a friend of Bush ,and he cannot stand Perry,that says enough. Beware of Aggies with good hair---Oh Moly Ivans we miss you.

At 9:09 AM, Blogger John said...

Obama re-election campaign stupid?

No, just pathologically bipartisan, like Mr Obama himself.

I fully expect Obama to announce that he intends to "pre-empt" the GOP by campaigning for whoever it nominates.

John Puma

At 9:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most consertive in the state of Texas remember that Perry was a democrate, he only moved when the democrate party could no longer lie enough to elect rural canidates to any state wide office or local office. But make no mistake about it Perry has the old south democrate genes.
He is big govt when he wants to be,and small govt anyother time.
But his roots are in the democrate party, his roots are in the democrate party his roots are in the democrate party.
Please know that his roots are in the democrate party.

At 8:08 PM, Anonymous me said...

Hey retard, wtf is a "democrate"?

At 8:09 PM, Anonymous me said...

"No New Texans!"

Ha ha, I love it.

At 8:27 PM, Anonymous me said...

The repubs want to nominate someone from the wealthy class, right? How about this guy?


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