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This is the second in the series of articles on the Texas Emerging Technology Fund. The background of this fund is set out in this article. The entirety of the following post is based on the report from John Keel, CPA, of the State of Texas State Auditor’s Office. It was completed April 2011, and is know as “An Audit Report on The Emerging Technology Fund” Report No. 11-029. This report was compiled by a Certified Public Accountant from the State Auditor’s Office. It was not the result of a political adversary of Rick Perry, but an official state audit of a fund promoted and “overseen” by Rick Perry. The following are the Overall Conclusions of the Auditor:
“The Emerging Technology Fund (ETF) should make significant improvements to promote greater transparency and accountability.
Issues in a number of areas impair the ability to administer the ETF in the best interests of the State. It is important to hold recipients of funds accountable. Auditors identified the following weaknesses:
Decision making related to the ETF and recipients of funds is not open to the public.
The ETF conducts limited monitoring of recipient’s performance and expenditures of funds.
The Office of the Governor does not report the value of the State’s investments through the ETF on its financial statements.
The ETF does not administer its contracts with the seven Regional Centers for Innovation Commercialization (RCICS) and the Texas Life Science Center for Innovation and Commercialization…”
As of Aug. 31, 2010 a total of 153 grants and awards totaling $342,336,567 had been awarded to recipients.
The ETF application is considered confidential while an application for an award or grant. Ten other states with similar programs that auditors surveyed allowed significantly more public access to meetings and documents related to the award of public funds. (pg. ii)
The code of ethics policy for the Advisory Committee does not prohibit Advisory Committee members from accepting compensation from or investing in ETF recipients. (pg iii) ( This means that a person on the Advisory committee who recommends a company receive millions of dollars from the EMT could be the CEO of the company.)
The majority of annual reports required in 2007, 2008, and 2009 were NOT submitted.(pg iii)
The office of the Governor did not report the value of all investments held by the ETF on its annual financial report or on its annual report to the Legislature; the only investment that was reported was from the single award from which the ETF has profited. (pg. iii)
The ETF has not developed substantive criteria for the RCICs and the Texas Life Science Center to use when receiving and evaluating applications. (pg 3)(This means there are no standards to determine which companies receive grants, or any guidelines to determine how much money will be awarded.)
Because there is a lack of consistent documentation of votes and recusals, it can’t be determined whether board members appropriately addressed conflicts of interest. (pg. 3) (This means that there is no way to determine if the very people considering an application had a financial interest in the approval of the grant.)
RCICS and Texas Life Science Center do not follow consistent processes for evaluating and receiving applications. (pg 5)(This means that there is no uniformity in how an application is evaluated.)
Meetings of the Advisory Committee of the ETF are not open to the public, and the Advisory Committee does not even document its decisions in meeting minutes.
The Advisory Committee has been inconsistent in terms of which applications it will accept for review. (pg 7)
There is no documentation of how members voted, which members recused themselves, or any disclosures made. (pg 8)(This means that there can be no accountability for any action taken.)
The advisory committee has no written policies and procedures for how it receives, reviews, or recommends funding. (pg9)
While others may nominate people to serve on the Advisory Committee, it is the Governor who make the final determination regarding all appointments to the Advisory Committee.(pg 11)
There are no policies for the ETF application process. This has led to uncertainty in various areas. (pg 13)
The ETF doesn’t perform a credit check on award recipients, or a criminal background check. (pg 13)
Auditors were unable to determine from the documents available for the 21 applications tested whether the ETF Office performed any due diligence or independently verified the information provided by the applicant, such as intellectual property or financial information. (pg 15)
The ETF has not ensured that ETF recipients comply with requirements to submit reports. (pg 18) (This means there is no accountability by the recipients of the millions of dollare given by Texas.)
Three recipients declared bankruptcy or ceased operations in 2010 but failed to submit even one annual report. (Pg. 18)
In 2007 60% of recipients didn’t submit reports due.
In 2008 67% of recipients didn’t submit reports due.
In 2009 59% of recipients didn’t submit reports due.(pg 18)
The ETF does not require recipients to submit (1) financial information in their annual reports or (2) supporting documentation for expenditure of funds. Thus the ETF can’t verify whether recipients make expenditures only for authorized purposes. (pg 20)
The Office of the Governor is not reporting the value of the ETF investments as assets, and it is not reporting the net increase or decrease in the value of these investments on its annual financial reports.
One RCIC reported to the ETF that it spent $59,731 on “Meals and Entertainment” in fiscal year 2010. RCIC is not required to separate funds for the ETF and its operating funds. (pg 28).
Several conclusions are evident from this audit:
1. There is no criteria for the award of money from the ETF, and therefore Rick Perry is able to give state money to any company he chooses.
2. There is no documentation of any value received by Texas for any of the companies who received state money through the ETF, with the exception of a single company.
3. There is no attempt to independently assess the financial viability of a company receiving an award from the ETF, and thus a shell company could receive a gift of money from the ETF and immediately declare bankruptcy after the funds from the state are disbursed. Supporters of Rick Perry could be in a position to receive payment directly from the award of money by the state to their company through the ETF with the only benefit to the individual and/or Rick Perry, and the State of Texas might not realize any benefit!
4. There is no accounting required of a recipient of ETF funds, and thus any misuse of state money would likely never be reported.
5. Members of the Advisory Committee which recommend approval of an award may be financially connected to the applicant company and they are not required to disclose or report the conflict.
6. Rick Perry has ultimate control over any and all funds awarded by the ETF.
7. There is no expectation by the ETF that any funds will ever be paid back to the State of Texas.
8. Because Rick Perry is given the power to appoint every member of the Advisory Committee, “at his pleasure” Rick Perry controls the recommendations of the Advisory Committee “at his pleasure.”
9. There is a complete lack of accounting to the citizens of Texas, and the country, for the monies given to companies.
10. While Texans are deprived of basic services of Government, including education and fire fighting services, the State of Texas is giving away millions of dollars to Rick Perry supporters. This year alone Texas cut funding for public schools in Texas by 2 Billion Dollars. Dallas alone will suffer cuts to its education budget of 87 Million Dollars, which is less than half of the funds given away to Rick Perry supporters through the ETF
It is no wonder that Rick Perry is serving in his tenth year as governor and is the longest-serving chief executive in Texas history. Given the financial backing Perry has achieved using taxpayer money, he will likely continue to be re-elected for as long as he desires. Now the entire country is saddled with the effects of Rick Perry’s corruption.
He is among the top political fund-raisers in the country through his “vast network of wealthy supporters eager to bankroll his presidential ambitions.” In three campaigns for governor, Mr. Perry has raised $102 million, including more than $39 million during his successful 2010 bid for re-election. The Republican Governors Association, of which Mr. Perry is chairman, raised a record $22.1 million during the first half of this year. If allowed to occupy the White House, imagine the wealth he could transfer to his supporters at the expense of U.S. taxpayers.
This is first in a series of posts dedicated to revealing the truth behind the Texas Emerging Technology Fund. The breadth of the corruption facilitated by Rick Perry is so extensive that multiple articles will be necessary.
“The Emerging Technology Fund (TETF) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2005 at the urging of Gov. Perry to provide Texas with an unparalleled advantage in the research, development, and commercialization of emerging technologies.”
TETF grants are awarded in the following three areas:
• Research Superiority Acquisition — funds for Texas higher education institutions to recruit the best research talent in the world.
• Commercialization Awards — funds to help companies take ideas from concept to development to ready for the marketplace.
• Matching Awards — funds create public-private partnerships which leverage the unique strengths of universities, federal government grant programs, and industry.
In order to receive a TETF payment, the first step is to contact one of seven Regional Centers of Innovation and Commercialization (RCIC). RCICs receive applications for TETF awards each calendar quarter from companies within their regions and help guide companies through the application process. Applications are reviewed quarterly and TETF awards are granted throughout the year. Companies across the state have won TETF awards.
During the three fiscal years from Sept 1, 2007 through August 31, 2010 the TETF made 113 awards in the total amount of $259, 543,000.00. During the same time period, while Texas was giving away over $259,000,000 to companies employing supporters and donors of and to Rick Perry, Texas received $6.4 billion in federal funds from the Recovery Act money allowing Texas to retain $9.1 billion in its Rainy Day Fund. During this same time period Rick Perry advocated secession of Texas from the U.S. He also advocates less involvement of the federal government in state affairs, unless of course he is asking for money. Texas was the state most dependent upon stimulus funds to plug nearly 97% of its shortfall for fiscal 2010, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. On the very same day Governor Perry asked for the funds, he set up a petition titled “No Government Bailouts.”
During that same period, Texas was also unable to financially sustain much of its volunteer fire departments. During the same time frame Texas was ravaged by 21,000 deadly and devastating wild fires which have burned 3.6 million acres.
II. MAKE UP OF THE TETF
Section 490 of the Government Code of Texas establishes the method for appointment to the TETF Committee. Section 490.051 provides that a committee of 17 people will be appointed by the GOVERNOR. The Governor appoints the presiding member of the committee. (Sec. 490.053). The length of service for each member is at the “pleasure of the governor.” (Sec. 490.540). The Committee only makes recommendations ( 490.056). The final approval of any money to be paid from the fund is made by the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives (Sec. 490.056)
III. EQUITY POSITION OF TEXAS
Texas Government Code Section 490.005 requires the Governor to provide “a brief description of the equity position that the Governor, on behalf of the state, may take in companies receiving awards.” It was obvious that each of the companies receiving the award of money from the TETF would not be successful. The majority of new businesses fail in the first four years. However the express provisions of Section 490.000 contemplate the sharing of profit if it should occur, and repayment of the monies awarded by the state, creating the relationship between the state and recipient, of an investor in a business enterprise. If other investors realize profit from the company, then the state of Texas should likewise be a beneficiary of the success of that company. The TETF was clearly formulated with the expectation that the fund would be used to support companies that had a very promising future, and would likely result in a return on investment to Texas. Section 490.203 expressly states:
“An entity receiving funding or another incentive under this subchapter shall guarantee by contract with the governor’s office that the entity will perform specific actions that are expected to provide benefits to this state.”
“If an entity fails to perform an action guaranteed by contract under subsection (a) before a time specified by the contract, the entity shall return the funding received by the entity under this subchapter.”
No company in the history of the fund has ever returned the money given by the state, and the state has never demanded the refund of any funds.
IV. ONLY ONE COMPANY, CARDIOSPECTRA, INC. HAS RETURNED ANY MONEY TO TEXAS.
The January 2011 Annual Report to the Texas Legislature covers a period of three years. This report identifies 120 different companies that received millions of dollars from the TETF. The amount of money awarded to the 120 different companies varied between $500,000 to $ 50,000,000 which was awarded to TAMU. The average amount awarded was $1,000,000. The total amount of all awards was $259,543,000.00.
For each of the 120 companies identified in the annual report there is a reference to the “intended outcome,” and the “actual outcome.” Of all the companies listed that received money from the TETF only one company is reported to have paid any money back to Texas. At pg 26 of the report, “CardioSpectra, Inc.” is reported to have been bought by another company for $25,000,000 in cash, and a promise to pay an additional $38 million upon the achievement of certain milestones. The state of Texas was paid $2,277,792 in cash upon the sale, and stock “valued at $1,984,749.” Thus Texas received only 9% of the proceeds from the sale of CardioSpectra Inc. More importantly, less than 1%, or .008% of the companies funded by Texas paid back ANY of the monies given to them. This would be an indication of, at best, gross incompetence on the part of Texas employees running the TETF, or more likely, corruption.
V. LACK OF TRANSPARENCY FROM THE TETF FUND
The TETF identifies itself as having 7 employees. They are:
1. Jonathan W. Taylor, Director
2. Yvette Sanchez-Ramirez, Executive Assistant
3. Patrick Boswell, Investments Manager
4. Bryan Poe, Investment Analyst
5. Ashley Randall, Investment Analyst
6. Emily Vorlant, Investment Analyst
7. Laurie Rich, Special Advisor
On Oct. 6th, 2011 I called each of these people. The purpose of the call was to simply confirm that CardioSpectra Inc. is the ONLY company that received money from the TETF to ever pay any money back to Texas. I spoke with Jonathan Taylor and he said he didn’t know the answer. I asked him as the Director of the fund, who would be in a better position to know. He responded by defiantly saying that any such information would have to come from the press office. When I asked him if that wasn’t part of his job description, he hung up the phone on me. I have spoken to two different people in the press office for the Governor’s office ” Lucy” and “Veronica”, and each explained that they didn’t know the information and would get back to me. I then followed up with Ms. Ramirez, Mr. Boswell, and Mr. Poe to ask the same question, and each were unwilling to discuss the matter with me. I left voice mail messages for Ms. Randall, Ms. Vorlant, and Ms. Rich, none of which have been returned three days later. I have sent an e-mail to each of the people listed above, setting out my request for confirmation that CardioSpectra Inc. is the only company in the history of the TETF to return any money to the state. The only response I have received to those simple e-mail requests is to advise me to talk with the Governor’s press office.
The inevitable conclusion is that there is only one company in the history of the TETF to pay any money back to the state in the history of the fund. In the span of over 5 years only one company returning money on the state’s investment is pathetic. In articles that will follow, there is clear lack of accountability of the TETF for over $200,000,000.00 of tax payer money that has been given away. It is criminal that at a time when Texas is in desperate need of funds for public education and basic services, like fire fighting, that the state of Texas, under the guidance of Rick Perry is GIVING away money. Later posts will also establish that the TETF has been used to give money to companies associated with donations to Rick Perry. The obvious conflict of interest and corruption is transparent, blatant, and inexcusable.
It appears that Rick Perry adheres to the philosophy that he can tell a lie, and nobody will notice. How stupid does he think we are? Recognizing that education is critically important to the future of the country, he has told a bold faced lie about education in Texas. The Governor’s web site, under the tab “the Governor” says:
“On the education front, Governor Perry has worked to improve the quality of Texas schools from top to bottom by increasing accountability, raising expectations and funding programs that work. In addition to introducing the largest teacher incentive pay program in the country, Governor Perry has overseen a 43 percent increase in total spending on public education in Texas. He also signed a school finance reform package that provided a 33 percent school property tax reduction, a $2,000 pay raise for teachers, record funding for classrooms and a reformed business tax.” Based on the self promotion, I would love to be a teacher in Texas and send my kids to public schools in Texas. Unfortunately for the teachers and students in Texas, Rick Perry lies.
Reality is far from the declaration of the Governor of Texas.
1. Perry’s education “standards” are exemplified by $4 billion in budget cuts to education for the upcoming budget cycle.
2. Because of the budget cuts by Perry’s administration schools in Texas will have to lay off an estimated 49,000 teachers.
3. Due to budget cuts by the Perry administration in the education budget Texas is estimated to have at least 43,000 college students without financial aid. Indeed, scholarships for 29,000 low-income college students will be completely eliminated. What’s more, Perry’s axe to the education budget has forced local school districts to impose fees on school programs and services for students and families, universities to find outside money to continue high-level research, and some universities to consider imposing higher tuition or fees on students
Here are the facts which statistically demonstrate just how bad the schools are in Texas.
• Public School Enrollment – 2nd ( very high)
• Average Salary of Public School Teachers (2009-2010) – 31st (low)
• Percent Change in Average Salaries of Public School Teachers, 1999-2000 to 2009-2010 – 38th (low)
• Current Expenditures per Student – 38th (low)
• Percentage of Revenue for K-12 Schools from Local Governments, 2009-2010 – 24th (average)
• Percentage of Revenue for K-12 Schools from Federal Government, 2009-2010 – 3rd (very high)
• State & Local Expenditures per Pupil in Public Schools – 44th(very low)
• Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) Scores – 45th (very low)
• Percent of Population 25 and Older with a High School Diploma – 50th (worst in the country)
• High School Graduation Rate – 43rd (very low)
• Percent of Adults with at Least a Bachelor’s Degree – 31st
• Percentage of Higher Education Enrollment – 9th
If Rick Perry had the audacity to lie about something so well known and obvious in Texas, consider what he might lie about on a national scale.
Wyona sent us this link tonight regarding the e-mails set to be produced in the next week. The amazing thing is that inspite of documents being redacted (meaning parts of the e-mails will be blacked out), over 2000 documents are being withheld. The purported reason it that they are ”privileged”. It’s taken over two years to get these documents, so we could expect that any disputes regarding the redacted portions or those withheld will not be resolved until after the 2012 election. The really sad part is that if the documents are withheld, the attorney demanding the release of the records doesn’t get to review the portions redacted and the e-mails withheld so that if there is a real basis for the production of the records, the judge will decide. It is very hard to fight the judge’s ruling when you don’t even know what you are fighting for.
Thanks Wyona for the link!
The following E-mail is fiction. That means it’s not true. It’s purely satire, and if you don’t know what that is, there is a young woman who appeared on the Family Guy who could explain that to you.
To: The Anchorage Police Department, attention Chief Mew
From: A Woman With a Fire in Her Belly
Re: A Press Release for you to issue to the National Enquirer
Dear Chief Mew,
I’m sure you know by now that a book is set to be released today that was written by Frank Bailey. He claims to have worked for me, but there is not one scintilla of evidence that he ever worked for me. He is a child molester, a member of the main stream media, a corrupt bastard, limp, impotent and gutless. He probably drives his own car and drinks out of straight straws. I think he wrote the book while incarcerated. He probably has monetary motives for this book, unlike mine. He proclaims he is Christian, but I had a long talk with God this morning, and he doesn’t know a “Frank Bailey”. The e-mails that he mentions in the book were written by Todd, not me, and they were written when Todd was angry with me…about the silly little thing with Brad Hanson.
Trigg had a deal for a TLC reality show and Frank stole the name of the show to use for his book. Trig’s show was supposed to be called “Blind Allegiance” which was a reality show about the child with Down’s syndrome who could never see because his mother hid his glasses, and who was convinced that his mother would someday pay attention to him. Trig was to receive a $250.000 salary for each episode of the show. In each episode Trig was to be focused on a different member of the family who offered something different to help him with his political aspirations. Of course each family member would be compensated appropriately for their involvement. Mom and Bristol taught him the ins and outs of political campaigning at the expense of Alaskan tax payers. Uncle Mike taught him to taser people who called him “retard”. Aunt Diana taught him the ins and outs of financing an expensive campaign. Piper taught him which cupcakes were the best for each part of the day, and which containers work best for the campaign trail. Willow taught him how to select the perfect drug for his activities that day. Track taught him the importance of finding a wife while you still have your good looks. Dad taught him the importance of using protection on the campaign trail. The finale of the reality show would be election day when the results of the Republican primary would be announced by the Donald. Tragically, the book by Frank Bailey may cause the script to have to be re-written, at considerable cost to Alaskan tax payers.
I have prepared the following press release for you to issue to the National Enquirer. There is no need to add it to the police department’s web site, as I am sure it will be available throughout the country in every grocery store.
“ On behalf of the Anchorage Police Department, without the help of Sarah Palin’s attorney, I, Chief Mew, hereby issue the following Press Release exclusively to the National Enquirer:
There is not one scintilla of evidence in the possession of the Anchorage Police Department to connect, or indicate that Frank Bailey was in any way employed by Sarah Palin at any time, before or after she resigned. The only e-mails in our possession were written by persons other than Sarah Palin, and have nothing to do lies or corruption. It is just “guilt by innuendo, nothing else.” There is an ongoing investigation regarding Mr. Bailey and charges of child molestation. Kids are supposed to be off limits.”
Chief Mew, Todd is working on construction of a 20-foot fence which will encircle our entire house, but until it is erected, please send a patrol car to sit outside our house until the fence is complete.
Thanks for your help,
The Half-Term Ex-Governor
Ps. Tickets to the next show of Dancing With the Stars are in the mail.
Sarah Palin spoke this weekend at the Oil Palace in Tyler, Texas, a small town in East Texas. She was introduced at the event by Texas Governor Rick Perry, who referred to half-term-ex-Governor Palin as one of the “great Americans of our time.” Certainly Perry and Palin have many things in common, not the least of which is a total lack of respect for the truth.
Consider the similarity in the willingness of Palin and Perry to lie. While many examples of the lies of Palin have filled pages of this blog for months, I have worked hard to limit my comments to Palin. I have intentionally refrained from sharing my feelings about Rick Perry. Perry’s description of Palin at the Tyler event has come close to putting me into a coma. My doctor has indicated that the only potentially therapeutic treatment for my condition is to write. Thus I ask you to consider the similarities between Palin and Perry:
1. Both Have Been On the Cover of Newsweek Magazine
Palin: “Saint Sarah” graced the cover in June.
Perry: Perry was featured with the title “Don’t Mess with Texas”.
2. Both Claim to be “Fiscal Conservatives”
Palin: Palin has described herself as a “fiscal conservative”. Palin said she was opposed to federal earmarks for Alaska, but she hired a lobbyist for Wasilla and received millions of dollars in federal funding. Palin said she opposed to the Bridge to Nowhere, but she originally favored it. She said she opposed to earmarks, but the truth is that she accepted millions of dollars to study the genetics of harbor seals and the mating habits of crabs.
Perry: Before Palin quit her job as Governor of Alaska, she endorsed Rick Perry. Palin described Perry as a “true conservative”. She cited one of Perry’s top campaign issues as his opposition to federal financial bailouts. The truth is that Texas, under Perry’s fiscal conservative leadership, has accepted $16 billion in federal stimulus funds. The state of Texas is in the throws of a financial crisis, with approximately $18 billion in debt. Given the financial crisis in Texas, and given the identification of the financial crisis as a “top issue”, one would expect the Governor to be devoting extra time to his job, and to solving the financial problems of the state. In 21 weeks of work, Perry enjoyed 16 long weekends and worked an average of seven hours per week. Do you think he has solved the financial crisis yet?
“How long will the folks in Washington keep spending money that they don’t have, for solutions they haven’t thought through, for problems they really don’t understand?” Perry asked.
The Wall Street Journal noted that the stimulus is the reason that Texas has a balanced budget. State debt has doubled during Perry’s term as Governor, but fortunately for him he has had time to write a book by the title, “Fed Up.” His publisher described the book as describing federal policies as a “legitimate threat to America’s continued leadership in the free world.”
Rick Perry, the true fiscal conservative, has spent taxpayer’s money for items including:
- Over $130,000 for parties, food, drinks and cable TV.
- At least $18,000 for “consumables” such as household supplies and cleaning products.
- A $1,000 “emergency repair” of the Governor’s filtered ice machine.
- A $700 clothes rack.
- A little over $70 for a two year subscription to Food & Wine Magazine (probably to give him ideas on throwing all of those lavish parties at our expense!).
- Maintenance on the heated pool has cost taxpayers at least $8,400.
- Grounds and lawn maintenance has topped $44,000.
- A 6,386-square-foot rental home located on three acres of land and which was advertised in 2007 for sale at $1.85 million. The Governor’s mansion only had 2,750 square feet.
- He has only one housekeeper, on full-time chef, one part-time chef, a mansion administrator, and a steward. The salary for these servants is $195,770.00.
3. Both SAY They Advocate Transparency in Government
Palin: Sarah Palin has explained the importance in making the financial matters of public record.
Perry: Perry also says he demands transparency in government, but ignored state law, and his own executive order, that required all state agencies to be “accountable and transparent.” It was the stimulus spending information that he conveniently failed to post. Perhaps “opaque” would have been a better choice of words for Rick Perry’s budget.
4. Both Sued the Federal Government on Environmental Matters
Palin: Before Palin resigned as Governor of Alaska she sued the Federal Government seeking to remove polar bears from the endangered species list.
Perry: Rick Perry sued the EPA over its regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.
5. Both Shoot Animals for Pleasure
Palin: Palin and her parents have a long history of killing animals. Both Palin and her parents surround themselves with proof of the animals they have killed.
Perry: Perry has been known to jog with a laser cited pistol, and shoot animals during his morning run. Even Fox “News” reporters found this story a little frightening.
6. Both Have Been Associated with Seceding from the U.S.
Palin: Todd, Sarah husband, was a member of the Alaska Independence Party for 6 years. The primary focus of the party was secession from the United States. The Alaska Independence Party was founded by the “rabidly violent” anti-American Joe Vogler, who is quoted as saying, “I’m an Alaskan, not an American.” “I’ve got no use for America or her damned institutions,” Palin herself provided the opening remarks to the Alaskan Independent Party Convention of 2008, saying:
“I am delighted to welcome you to the 2008 Alaskan Independence Party Convention….I share your party’s vision of upholding the Constitution of the State…Your Party plays an important role in the State’s Politics… We have a great promise to be a self-sufficient state…Keep up the good work, and God Bless You.”
Perry: Rick Perry made national headlines when he said:
“We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we’re a pretty independent lot to boot.”
7. Both Sound More Like Preachers than Politicians
Palin: Of course Palin is no longer a politician. In an interview she was asked:
“Do you think the mainstream media and the left understands your religious faith, Governor Palin?” Her answer: “I think that there’s a lot of mocking of my personal faith,” she said. “And my personal faith is very, very simple. I don’t belong to any church”.
Palin has repeatedly advocated prayer as a solution to the countries many challenges. Her solution is to seek divine intervention. In religious gatherings she has asked the congregation to pray that the war in Iraq is “God’s plan”, and she has asked the congregants to pray for a $30 billion national gas pipeline. Sometimes with Palin it’s hard to remember if you are in a prayer meeting or a legislative session.
Perry: Perry has been compared to a “tent revival preacher.” Perry has said:
“We are in a struggle for the heart and soul of our nation…Do we believe in the primacy of an unrestrained federal government? Or do we worship the God of the universe, placing our trust in his eternal, natural laws, and defending his children?”
8. Both Are In Bed With BP
Palin: In spite of the many examples of the violations of safety standards by BP in Alaska, Palin has blamed the environmentalists for the Gulf Oil spill. In her Facebook post Palin made reference to the “extreme greenies,” and used the BP spill as a reason to justify drilling in ANWR.
Palin’s history with BP is extensive. Of course her husband worked 18 years for BP. As early as 1995 Palin was aware that BP admitted to felony charges for environmental crimes on the North Slope (Palin 95). She was also aware that BP had actually injected illegal and hazardous substances into wells to save money (95). Palin’s history of knowledge of the atrocities committed by BP is long and colorful.
Before resigning as Governor, Palin admits that she knew:
“…that BP had been trying to save money for years by cutting corners on oil pipeline maintenance on the North Slope. This was very serious: leaks and spills from corroded pipelines were all too common and harmed the environment…” (153).
The largest land spill in the country occurred at the BP Prudhoe Bay field in Alaska, in 2006. An estimated 212,252 gallons of oil leaked from a BP Oil Transit Line. Even today the consequences of that spill still linger. Palin was sworn in as Governor in December of 2006. Thus not only was she aware of BP’s history of conscious indifference to safety regulations, but she was Governor during the time of the clean up, and the suit by the EPA. In March of 2009, before resigning as Governor, the EPA sued BP for a string of violations related to the spills in Alaska. The EPA alleged federal violations related to numerous problems with BP’s operational practices at Prudhoe Bay. That suit, seeking tens of millions of dollars, alleged that the company failed to implement an acceptable spill-prevention and control plan and was delinquent in repairing pipelines which they were under federal orders to fix.
Perry: Perry has suggested that the Gulf Oil disaster was:
“…just an act of God that occurred… From time to time there are going to be things that occur that are acts of God that cannot be prevented.”
Perry’s first instinct after the explosion was not to blame people responsible, but to indicate it must have been an act of God. Rick Perry went on to say that BP has “historically had a very good safety record from my perspective.” He must have just forgotten about the largest explosion in the state of Texas, which occurred in 2005, during the time he was Governor. The families of the 15 people killed and the 170 people injured in that explosion probably wouldn’t describe the safety record of BP as “very good”.
The Texas refinery was one of two BP refineries that accounted for 97% of all “flagrant” violations in the U.S. refining industry. Not only was BP responsible for virtually ALL of the refinery violations in the country, but most of the violations cited were classified as “egregious willful,” according to a Center for Public Integrity investigation of Occupational Safety and Health Administration records.
Here’s a look at how those violations breakdown:
- 760 egregious willful
- 69 willful
- 30 serious
- 3 unclassified
Most violations came, according to the Center for Public Integrity, because BP failed to fix the problems identified as the cause of the 2005 Texas City refinery explosion. “The only thing you can conclude is that BP has a serious, systemic safety problem in their company,” Jordan Barab, deputy assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, told the Center for Public Integrity.
As if the explosion and the people killed or injured, on the day of the Texas City tragedy were not sufficient to get Governor Perry’s attention, OSHA imposed the largest fine in history against BP as a result of its many failures at the Texas City plant. In October 2009, just six months before the Gulf Oil explosion on the Deep Water Horizon well, OSHA imposed a record $87 million fine against BP for lack of compliance with safety regulations, and for failure to make agreed-upon improvements at its Texas City refinery. The US Labor Secretary, Hilda Solis, reported that during 17 inspections since the explosions four years ago, OSHA found 270 cases where BP failed to comply with changes; BP had previously agreed to make. Additionally OSHA found 439 “willful” violations involving pressure release systems on units at the Texas City refinery.
“The fact that there are so many still outstanding, life-threatening problems at this plant indicates that they still have a systemic safety problem in this refinery,” Jordan Barab, acting assistant secretary of labor for OSHA, said.
If Perry didn’t know about the safety record of BP, then he was grossly negligent. If he knew, then he lied when he indicated the BP had a “very good” safety record. Consider these facts to help you assess whether you think he was consciously indifferent, or that he lied:
1. BP donated $250,000 to restoration of the Governor’s mansion. When Rick Perry needed to raise money to restore the Governor’s Mansion after a major fire, he turned to his friends at BP. According to the Austin American-Statesman, “The largest donation is $250,000 from energy giant BP America.” (Source: Austin American-Statesman, January 30, 2009)
2. Perry paid BP for jobs already in Texas. Perry gave BP $750,000 to create 150 jobs in League City, Texas. It was soon revealed that, “50 already work for BP and live in the area.” One expert called it, “a classic case of getting paid for doing what you’re going to do anyway.” (The Houston Chronicle, January 13, 2005)
3. Perry has been widely criticized for his Texas Enterprise Fund after a report revealed that almost half of the companies that received taxpayer dollars have, “failed or struggled to meet job goals.” The companies, including key player in the subprime mortgage market Countrywide Home Loans, have been given a total of $363 million taxpayer dollars. (Source: Austin American-Statesman, January 28, 2010)
If you still have any doubt about whether Rick Perry truly thought BP had a “very good safety record”, please watch this two minute video.
Of all the people who are, or have been, politicians, can you think of anyone who would have been in a better position to anticipate the worst environmental disaster in the history of our country than Palin and Perry?
9. Both Are Losing Popularity
Palin: By the time Palin resigned as Governor, her popularity had declined from an 89% approval rating to 54%.
Perry: Rick Perry is an unusually weak incumbent, and his opponent, Bill White is an unusually strong challenger. Only 36% of voters in Texas approve of Perry and 49% disapprove. Independent voters are particularly dissatisfied with Perry, with 55% indicating he is doing a poor job. White meanwhile is better known and better liked than most challengers running across the country this year. Thirty-seven percent of voters have a favorable opinion of him compared to 25% with an unfavorable one, and he posts positive numbers with independents at a 35/24 spread.
There is one difference between Perry and Palin. Palin resigned as Governor, and Perry is still the Governor. Surely if people know the facts, we won’t re-elect Perry. Please help me make people aware of all the facts, about both Palin and Perry.
Sorry Sarah, I guess you and I share something in common after all. I also lack the grace to say anything nice about you. – Torie
As if the endorsement of Vaughn Ward was not enough to convince people that half-term-Ex-Governor Palin has used zero judgment with regard to her choice of candidates, she has done it again! Palin endorsed Nikki Haley for Governor of South Carolina. The problem is that even if Palin thought Haley was a good candidate, Palin’s lack of “common sense” was evident from the endorsement of a candidate who was alleged to have had an affair. Haley has since denied the affair. Will Folk, the person who alleged that he had the affair with Haley, has now produced phone records illustrating that he and Haley had an affair, or Haley lost a lot of sleep just because she was a kind person and wanted to keep a male friend company in the middle of the night.
Perhaps there is something about the combination of being Republican and in South Carolina (remember Mark Sanford) that causes infidelity. If so, maybe we should caution Todd, since he is not a Republican, but a member of the Alaskan Independence Party (remember the one that wanted to secede). Alternatively, maybe Sarah could explain to Nikki that everything will be all right if she just says that it was part of God’s plan for her to speak for hours at a time to Will Folk in the middle of the night.
I miss Walter Cronkite. Having grown up in the 1960s, Mr. Cronkite was reporting the news throughout my formative years. He wrote for Huffington Post before I had even discovered HuffPo. Prior to the internet, our news came from T.V. through the nightly news. Walter Cronkite epitomized truthfulness, integrity and accountability that were previously associated with the news. As one of the most honest and trusted figures in the United States, Mr. Cronkite became known as “the predominant news voice in America.” Among his many awards, Cronkite was recognized for his fair, factual and unbiased reporting. He received the President’s Medal of Freedom, which is the highest civilian award in the United States. If Walter Cronkite said something you knew it was true.
Today people get their news from various sources. It seems that all too often what is reported as “news” has no relationship to the truth. Unfortunately, when something is heard on the radio or T.V., many still assume it must be true. Yet time and time again what we hear is OFTEN not true. Whether a legitimate mistake was made, or an intentional attempt to misstate the facts, it has become all too common for the news to be much more about ratings and much less about facts.
During the 2008 campaign, the many inadequacies of Sarah Palin became apparent, especially during the Katie Couric interviews. Yet many people still “liked” Palin, focusing on her appearance, her five children, and her special needs baby and her “common sense conservatism” (even if they didn’t really know what that meant). When Game Change made its appearance on the shelves in our local bookstores I thought the truth about Sarah Palin would finally surface. I thought Palin would no longer be a celebrity. Surely people would no longer be foolish enough to pay her a fee of $100,000.00 to give a speech composed of “word-salad.” John Heilemann and Mark Halperin reported in Game Change that several of Senator John McCain’s lieutenants agreed that if it looked as if their candidate might actually win in November, they would have to discuss how to relegate Ms. Palin “to the largely ceremonial role that pre-modern vice presidents inhabited.” It was “inconceivable that if McCain fell ill or died, the country (would) be left in the hands of a President Palin.”
As Ex-Governor Palin continued to be hired for speaking engagements and I began to realize that many didn’t believe the allegations in Game Change, or they just hadn’t taken the time to educate themselves. In my ongoing quest for information on Sarah Palin, I discovered an old Fox news clip that had previously escaped my attention. It must have been “God’s plan” to cause this story to come to my attention, knowing that I would report it today. The clip is by Carl Cameron, the Chief Political Reporter for Fox News. Mr. Cameron provided a very revealing report, on November 5th, 2008 the day immediately after the election results were final. Mr. Cameron explained that he had learned a great deal of information from McCain’s aids regarding Palin. However Cameron was not allowed to reveal this information until after the election was over. He explained in his report that as long as the campaign was underway, the comments were “off the record.” However the day the campaign was over, while the information was current, and fresh in his mind, Mr. Cameron gave this report:
Fox News, which advertises itself as the one with “fair and balanced” reporting suggested that Sarah Palin was reported by the McCain campaign to be mentally unstable. Fox reported that Palin lacked a basic understanding of history and geography. The Chief Political Reporter for Fox News reported that McCain’s own staff was very concerned about the safety of our country if McCain should win, because Palin would be next in line if anything were to happen to McCain.
Coincidentally, the same day that Game Change was released to the public, Fox news advertised their new hire, Sarah Palin. Palin explained that she was “thrilled to be joining the great talent and management team at Fox News,” and found it “wonderful to be part of a place that so values fair and balanced news.” Palin was probably too busy on Nov. 5, 2008 to watch the news, so she probably didn’t realize that she had been the target of such a scathing report by Fox News’s Chief Political Correspondent. Maybe Fox was never interested in “fair and balanced” reporting, but instead ratings. The “great talent” that was mentioned by Palin must have been a talent for generating ratings and in turn, profit. Palin has clearly demonstrated her aptitude for making money with the truth having never been a limiting factor.
Palin obviously took the job with Fox for the money. I assumed that Fox wanted Palin because of her conservative views; regardless of their previous report of her many limitations and mental instability. However now I realized that it was not her conservative views, but her attractiveness, and her willingness to lie. Consider these examples of various people at Fox News who have told lies. Actual footage has been supplied so there is no doubt about what was said:
However the most revealing video regarding Fox News is made up of people who previously worked at Fox news. They knew the inside story. Coincidentally, Walter Cronkite was featured on this video:
Shame on You Fox News! You don’t deserve to call yourself a “news” channel. Walter Cronkite was a news reporter. You don’t seem to have any of those types of people in your employ. Instead you seek out people who exhibit a blatant disregard for truth, but are able to generate ratings. You and Sarah Palin perform a disservice to America by your lies and deceit. People who watch Fox News have put their trust in you, and you lied to them. You have demonstrated your willingness to say or do anything for money and ratings. That is not called reporting the news; it is called prostitution.