Ken Calvert

The Two Faces of Rick Perry

Is He a Traitor to Family Values and America, an Evil Pawn of the Dominionists, or Just Plain Crazy?



The Following Right Wing Individuals and Groups have made statements and performed activities which by some standards indicate actions detrimental to the United States of America. Click on each Name for The Truth....



Go to for a treat!!!

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Senator John Barrasso

Presented by: The Religious Freedom Coalition of the SouthEast

Senator John Barrasso

Michele Bachmann The following web page is an excellent source of true Progressive and Liberal Information which allows you to form honest opinions about Neo-conservative and Conservative extremists who infest our government and society:  We will also list others as they are created by the true patriots of this country.

Michele Bachmann



Question:  "Separation between Church and State."  Who coined the Phrase?  Give up?  Answer:   Thomas Jefferson - one of the founding fathers of this great Nation and a creator of the U.S. Constitution and the First Amendment to that same Constitution.  Thomas Jefferson, in 1802, wrote a Letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, referring to the First Amendment to the US Constitution.  In it he said:

To messers. Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson, a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut.


The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. my duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, & in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves & your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.

Th Jefferson

Jan 1, 1802

Original Letter is in the Library of Congress

I've been scratching my head about two things lately. One, how can someone who isn't a multimillionaire vote Republican? Every platform they support is contrary to the average working class citizen's needs. Two, how can a man profess to be a Christian when he is obviously a hypocrite and Liar? But when I listen to people like Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, or T. Pawlenty speak, it becomes clear how these things exist and why they are glorified.   Intelligence is awareness of ignorance.   Stupidity is ignorance of ignorance.   Now it all makes sense.   "It is better to be silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt." Variously attributed to Lincoln, Elbert Hubbard, Mark Twain, Benjamin Franklin and Socrates.  Marine Corps Sgt. Ron Geste - Iraq


Extremist Tea Party Republicans are selfish, power hungry, hateful of the poor, disloyal to the nation and its people, dishonest, avaricious, scornful of the nation's history, the dignity of its institutions, its standards of political morality, and its vision of advancement for all the people. The Republicans love war as long as they and theirs do not have to put on helmets and carry guns into the fighting. They use lies to start wars that kill hundreds of thousands of innocents and thousands of our own military service people. They love massive war-time profits, unavailable to their rich masters if war is absent.

Those Extremist Republicans hate the rest of us, which they must, in order to pass away from themselves and onto us, the financial burdens and losses their crimes, schemes and thefts cause. They are prolific, incessant, and destructive liars. They are blasphemers for they insist that their hateful and destructive deeds are the work of God. They are apostates for they gleefully attack the poor, the immigrants, the old and the sick, of whom God has commanded all of us to be mindful.

There is no reasoning with them, for all their logic is built on false premises. There is no appealing to them for honor's sake for they have lost all sense of shame and have no honor, there is no appealing to them for the nation's sake for that it what they hate the most.

Extremist Tea Party Republicans are the enemy.


Right Wing Extremism Part One:  Just Who is Rick Perry?

       Rick Perry's Time is Here Everyone!!! Pay Attention!

Rick Perry Sought State Profits From Teacher Life Insurance Scam

Another Rick Perry Staffer Ensnared In Teacher Death Bond Scheme

Rick Perry's Campaign Strategy? Lets Distort My Abysmal Economic Record!

Perry Welcomed Chinese Firm Despite Security Concern

Rick Perry Super PACs Raise Issues of Coordination, Collusion

Rick Perry's 10 Worst Crony Capitalists

Rick Perry Is Big Oil's $11 Million Man

Rick Perry's College Transcript: A Lot Of Cs And Ds

Perry Prayerfest

Christian Dominionist 'Prayer Warriors' Have Chosen Rick Perry as Their Vehicle to Power

Why it will be very Bad When He Runs For President

His Confederate Past and Associations with Religious Hate Organizations.


What Perry Gets Wrong About Capitalism

The Skeletons in Rick Perry's Closet

The Texas NonMiracle!

Rick Perry's 'Texas Miracle' Includes Crowded Homeless Shelters, Low-Wage Jobs, Worker Deaths

Rick Perry's Spending Record

Rick Perry Has His Own Dukakis Problem

Bill Maher Says if you think the GOP Presidential Field is Bad Now, Look at Rick Perry

Texas Delegation Pushes Rick Perry to Run For President

Rick Perry And The Wrath of God

The GOP called upon Governor Rick Perry to run for president!

Perry Thinks He's a Prophet When He's Just a Terrible Governor

Texas Is a Shining Example of Right-Wing Governance in Action and That's Why It's a Complete Basket-Case

Rick Perry's Willingham Scandal

Rick Perry's Top Ten State Agency Scandals: His Decade of Failure

Tom Delay's Lawyer, Dick Deguerin, Calls for Investigation Into Rick Perry's ETF Scandal

Texas Governor's Gay Sex Scandal Covered in Austin paper

Right Wing Extremism Part II          Introduction to a Right Wing Conspiracy

Right Wing Extremism Part III        The Religious Right and the Christian Reconstructionists

Right Wing Extremism Part IV        Christian Reconstructionism, Christian Ayatollahs, and Racism

Right Wing Extremism Part V          Republican Gomorrah

Right Wing Extremism Part VI        Ayn Rand - The Republican Mascot

Right Wing Extremism Part VII       Republican Bigotry and Media Stupidity

Right Wing Extremism Part VIII     Republican Scandals and Culture of Corruption

Right Wing Extremism Part IX        Republican Criminals

Right Wing Extremism Part X          Day in the Life of Joe Middleclass Republican

Right Wing Extremism Part XI        The 12 Worst (and most powerful) Christian Right Groups

Right Wing Extremism Part XII       The Anatomy of the Religious Right

Right Wing Extremism Part XIII     The Family

Right Wing Extremism Part XIV     The Tea Party

Right Wing Extremism Part XV       The Koch Brothers and KochAmerica

Right Wing Extremism Part XVII     Does Rupert Murdoch Own Too Many Sources of Information

Right Wing Extremism Part XVIII   Fox News and the Dumbing Down of America

Right Wing Extremism Part XV        Want to know the truth about statements made by Democrat and Republican Politicians?  Click on the following web sites to check on what is true and what is false.


Rick Perry has always supported a extreme Conservative Christian position especially when it comes to Church and State issues.  It is apparent from the data collected, that the first amendment is in danger from his past and future actions.

Upon calling his office we find that Islam, Judaism, Shintoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, or Wicca "..aren't "Real" religions."  What is a real religion, Mr Perry?  What you have been practicing?  Read the following and remember: "By their Works may they be known."  We believe that Rick will one day reside in Dante's ninth level of Hell!

(Remember it is best to investigate on your own when looking at allegations about anyone.    Don't believe us, think for yourself and investigate for yourself!  And remember, the Freedom of Religion Coalition does not represent any political party nor do we recommend any political candidate, nor are we involving ourselves in the political process. 

"Rick Perry is one of the great pulsars of our times: a collapsed gravity well of unblinking stare.  People innocently walking down the street, are drawn into his orbit, helplessly drawn in by how utterly dense he is.  They cannot escape the completely impenetrable mass of darkness surrounding his mind and become totally crushed & moronized by him.By a Friend of Religious Freedom

Rick Perry Used Office Phone In Violation of Texas Law, To Call Donors Before Announcing Presidential Bid


WASHINGTON -- Time and again, Texas Gov. Rick Perry picked up his office phone in the months before he would announce his bid for the presidency. He dialed wealthy friends who were his big fundraisers and state officials who owed him for their jobs.

Perry also met with a Texas executive who would later co-found an independent political committee that has promised to raise millions to support Perry but is prohibited from coordinating its activities with the governor.

An Associated Press review of Perry's phone records and daily public schedules reveals a chronology – at times, minute by minute – of the governor's meetings before his campaign launch. Texas state ethics rules prohibit use of state phones for campaign purposes. Perry officials said the talks were for official business.

The governor's files also show connections between Perry and many of his early supporters. Those whom Perry called have raised millions for his state campaigns, and he appointed some of them to Texas state jobs. Some were quick to return the favor by donating to his White House campaign.

They included Brint Ryan, a Dallas businessman and University of North Texas regent whom Perry talked with in-person and on Ryan's cell phone in April, just as buzz swirled of Perry's presidential ambitions. Ryan would go on to back Make Us Great Again, a "super" political action committee that legally is not permitted to coordinate with Perry or his campaign.

Fred Wertheimer, the head of campaign watchdog group Democracy 21, said the roles of elected officials who are running for office can blur. "But the elected official has to take appropriate steps that ensure that government resources aren't being used for campaign purposes," Wertheimer said. The conversations in the spring between Ryan and Perry, he said, "raise the question of whether this so-called candidate-specific super PAC is really independent from the governor."

It's unclear what Perry and all of his supporters discussed in their conversations, and Perry didn't appear to contact Ryan since his Aug. 13 campaign announcement. State logs do not record incoming calls or those made by aides, and most of Perry's daily schedules produced since then say only that Perry was "tending to state business" with no further details.

"Gov. Perry only conducts state business on his state office phone," Perry spokeswoman Allison Castle said, adding that members of his executive staff have access to his line. A Make Us Great Again representative said Ryan and Perry discussed higher education and economic issues in the governor's office April 29, but wasn't aware of the phone call.

Perry's conversations with Ryan aren't unique. The governor has reached out to local political allies and national power players alike:

Hank Greenberg, the former chief of American International Group, received a seven-minute call from Perry last summer. Castle said the call was to thank Greenberg for hosting a meeting the day before. Greenberg also hosted a New York fundraising event for Perry in September.

_Lonnie "Bo" Pilgrim, a Texas poultry magnate, contributed to Perry campaigns and the Republican Governors Association, which Perry ran until recently. Pilgrim was not only in contact with Perry by phone in recent years; he also provided air travel in 2008 so that the governor could travel to Washington and argue against rules that require more ethanol in fuel, which Pilgrim opposed over concerns they would increase feed grain prices.

_Since his August announcement, Perry phoned the office of Andy Card, President George W. Bush's chief of staff, and Frederick McClure, a former Texas A&M University regent who worked on the Bush presidential transition committee.

Old friends also made the list: Perry called the home and business lines of Phil Adams, another Texas A&M regent, more than a dozen times between 2006 and 2008. Adams, meanwhile, has given Perry more than $250,000 in contributions.

Perry's connections with the founders of the super PAC supporting him are hardly unique. Aides to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney founded Restore Our Future in 2010, and a former spokesman for President Barack Obama formed super PAC Priorities USA Action to help the incumbent's re-election efforts. Indeed, all politicians reach out to potential donors and fundraisers as they gear up their campaigns.

The AP obtained Perry's records through public-records requests and cross-matched thousands of phone numbers to identify those Perry called. Texas rules frown on government employees using state phones for personal use; they also prohibit calls that cost the state extra money, although documents show that the costs of Perry's long-distance calls were inexpensive.

The AP's review was incomplete. When Perry's administration turned over the records AP had requested, it censored dozens of calls for privacy reasons, and his schedules in recent years contain only partial information. Perry has said publicly that government institutions should be more transparent and accountable to voters.












Rick Perry's Unusual Speech Performance (VIDEO)


Excerpt from article first Posted 10/29/11 by Jon Ward on

WASHINGTON -- Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry raised some eyebrows Friday night with a speech performance in Manchester, N.H., that was unusually expressive.

A Huffington Post reporter was in the audience for the speech but did not have a chance to review video footage of the Texas governor's remarks until Saturday afternoon when a montage of moments in the speech surfaced on YouTube.

The video below is not a full version of his remarks. It is a carefully edited montage designed to highlight the giddiest and strangest moments of a roughly 25-minute speech. The owner of the YouTube account, CharlieJohnson1986, did not respond to a message sent to the account.

But while the video is designed to make Perry look bad, it does capture elements of his speech that were widely remarked upon in the crowd by those who saw the speech.

"It was different," Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas told HuffPost after the speech.

A Perry spokesman did not respond to an e-mail Friday night inquiring about Perry's manner, and initially declined to comment on Saturday.

Update at 9:25 p.m.:

"The Governor is passionate about the issues he talks about," Perry spokesman Mark Miner said in an email to HuffPost on Saturday night.


Rick Perry Time is Here, Everyone!

We've got stuff for you to read. Lots of links. And that's all well and good. But here's a suggestion for you. If there's one thing We think you all are going to want to become very familiar with, it's the name Cameron Todd Willingham. And if there's one link to one story on this whole site that we think you should definitely ad, it's David Grann's story, "Trial By Fire." Trust us!

Rick Perry made big news with his weird Ben Bernanke better not set foot in Texas statement, but one shouldn't lose sight of the fact that he was also condemning any effort from the Federal Reserve to, you know, help the economy improve. And what happens if the economy improves? Well, Perry's election chances diminish. So, here's the Perry platform:
No new jobs for the next two years! (It's also really strange to be going all-in on Bernanke hostility, when you recall that Bernanke will be Chairman of the Federal Reserve until 2014. So ... how are those first two years of the Perry Administration supposed to work, exactly?)

Nevertheless, you might be curious about Perry, since he's come suddenly, like a hurricane, into your lives. You want Texas Miracle? You got it. To bottom line it:
strong mortgage regulations beget cheap housing inevntory which begets a population boom; you got oil and gas prices spiking, stimulus money coming from Obama, and bang! Jobs boom! By the way, we're talking government jobs in the main. Of course, we got hiccups! That population boom? Well the influx of labor force outstripped the available employment opportunities, so in terms of job creation that factors this in, Texas ranks dead last. Perry touts the lax regulatory regime as a job creator, but as Jason Cherkis reports, there's a whole bag of garbage that come along with that:

Dig beneath the talking points and you find a more troubling picture: rising unemployment, a glut of low-wage jobs without benefits, overcrowded homeless shelters and public schools facing billions in budget cuts.


"If you want a bad job, go to Texas," said Texas Rep. Garnet Coleman (D), who represents a district in Houston, in an interview with The Huffington Post. "If you want to work at Carl's Jr., our doors are open, and if you want to go to a crumbling school in a failing school system, this is the place to come."

You want policy positions? We got 'em. Perry sounds like he likes the individual mandate. He has an on-again-off-again relationship with stimulus money. He doesn't think the federal government should have any role in education. Hell, he doesn't think the federal government should have a role in nearly anything -- he's called for a blanket moratorium on all regulation. Perry believes something about tractors that's an urban legend and doesn't make any sense. He thinks the states should run Social Security, which would turn the United States into a chaotic retirement bazaar of people moving hither and yon to avoid paying in, only to move again to get a cashout. He thinks that we should start taxing old and disabled people.

Oh, and Perry says that evolution is a "
theory that's out there." Which is really a disappointment to us. You know, any old GOP candidate for President can call evolution a theory or deny its existence. We thought that Rick Perry would be the guy who would personally stop evolution from happening, with guns. (The ball is in your court, John Bolton!)

Suspect that Perry might be in thrall to the oil industry?
Got that right, brother. Big Oil's funding the campaign on a micro level, and you know those Super-PACs are beckoning as well. For the money, Perry will call climate scientists a "secular carbon cult," dismiss apocalyptic state-wide droughts, and see to it that your state gets fracked up royally.

Want book reviews? Here you go:
Ezra Klein thinks Fed Up is a good read, in that it's at least a forthright book about policy and not some gauzy campaign supplement. Matt Yglesias thinks it contains some strange ideas.

Oh, there have been about 978 listicles on the web, devoted to Rick Perry.
Here are two of them.

Oh, and here's all the sex stuff (so far!)


Rick Perry Sought State Profits From Teacher Life Insurance Scam

Excerpts from an article by and on on  8/25/11

Rick Perry

WASHINGTON -- Two weeks before Thanksgiving in 2003, top officials from Texas Governor Rick Perry's office pitched an unusual offer to the state's retired teachers: Let's get into the death business.

Perry's budget director, Mike Morrissey, laid out a pitch that was both ambitious and risky, according to notes summarizing the meeting provided to The Huffington Post.

According to the notes, which were authenticated by a meeting participant, the Perry administration wanted to help Wall Street investors gamble on how long retired Texas teachers would live. Perry was promising the state big money in exchange for helping Swiss banking giant UBS set up a business of teacher death speculation.

All they had to do was convince retirees to let UBS buy life insurance policies on them. When the retirees died, those policies would pay out benefits to Wall Street speculators, and the state, supposedly, would get paid for arranging the bets. The families of the deceased former teachers would get nothing.

The meeting notes offer the most direct evidence that the Perry administration was not only intimately involved with the insurance scheme, but a leading driver of the plan.

It was a back-room deal at odds with Perry's public persona as a career politician who had successfully sold Texans on his vision of minimal government intrusion. And it still is. Nearly eight years after the meeting, when Perry formally announced his run for the presidency in Charleston, S.C., he honed that vision into the perfect applause line: "I'll promise you this," he had said in his West Texas drawl. "I'll work every day to try to make Washington, D.C. as inconsequential in your life as I can."

Death in Texas, on the other hand, is another matter. That first meeting with teacher groups and retirement plan officials in November 2003, recalled one attendee, was an effort by Perry's office to solicit support for the life insurance idea from teacher associations. There was little question who was promoting the plan.

"His office was pushing it," the source said. "It was like, 'We've got to do whatever we can. ... Here's an innovative idea. We really want you on board.'"

The governor's office was even prepared to put down a little cash up front. If retirees balked at the notion of the state profiting from their deaths, Perry's budget men suggested they could be persuaded for the cost of a pair of shoes, according to the meeting notes. If a retiree signed a contract allowing the state's teacher pension fund to buy life insurance on them, the governor was prepared to give them between $50 and $100.

"Precious little for what they were giving up," said the meeting attendee.

The notes make clear that the governor's proposal deliberately targeted the elderly. The state was only seeking to take out life insurance on people between the ages of 75 and 90. At a separate meeting five days later, the plan's proponents discussed the "mental capacity" of these retirees to grant consent as one of three major technical obstacles to the plan, according to notes from that meeting.

At the first meeting, Morrissey said it could take 10 to 12 years for Texas to "earn" money from the scheme, but insisted the deal could be worth up to $700 million for the state if the retirement fund could sign up 40,000 retired teachers.

The meeting notes show Insurance Commissioner Jose Montemayor, a Perry appointee, joined Morrissey in the sales pitch, claiming that "this arrangement" was already being utilized by "some very rich people" who had set up similar plans to benefit the University of Texas and Texas A&M.

"It was a pretty hard sell: 'This is something you need to get on board with,'" the source said, paraphrasing officials' comments at the meeting.

The source says the claim involving a similar program benefiting the Texas universities turned out to be untrue -- the "rich people" had taken out the policies themselves with the intent of sharing any life insurance payments with the universities. Montemayor, as insurance commissioner, would have had to waive "insurable interest" regulations to allow the schools to buy life insurance on their professors. There is no public record that he did so. The University of Texas and Texas A&M did not return requests for comment.

The aggressive push from the Perry administration differs remarkably from its later public characterization of its involvement in the deal. When the proposal leaked to the press that winter, the governor's spokespeople attempted to tamp down any notion that Perry was the engine behind the plan -- and said if there ever was a plan, it was nowhere near final.

That December, spokesman Gene Acuna told the Dallas Morning News that the plan was merely "a concept." "Questions are being answered, questions are being raised," he said. "Depending on the answers to those questions, plus input from all affected parties ... that will determine the next step."

In a January story in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, another Perry spokesman attempted to create more distance between the governor and the plan. "We never endorsed any concept," said Robert Black. "The governor's opinion is that it's prudent to look at ideas and concepts ... particularly when it won't result in a loss of benefits or raising taxes to shore up the retirement system."

Messages left for Perry spokespeople requesting comment for this story were not returned. But the behind-the scenes meeting notes reveal Perry's office had not only endorsed the concept, but had already formulated a plan to implement it. That first meeting on Nov. 12 was run by Perry's staff. The man who would become the fall guy for the controversy -- former senator-turned-financier Phil Gramm -- was not even present.


Gramm had made six-figure campaign contributions to Perry's campaign and had been -- and may still be -- one of Perry's most trusted political allies and personal mentors. "Perry worships at [Gramm's] feet, intellectually," said one semi-retired political consultant in Austin. "He considers Gramm an economic genius."

After lending political aid to Perry, Gramm was poised to make a fortune from the life insurance deal. His role in the scheme had the appearance of banal corruption and cronyism. Although Gramm wasn't in on the first meeting with teacher groups, he played an active role in subsequent efforts to push the scheme.

It was Gramm who could make the plan a financial reality. He left the U.S. Senate in November 2002 for a lucrative vice president post at UBS. After Morrissey, Montemayor and Perry budget aide Brian Guthrie first articulated the plan on Nov. 12, Gramm came to Austin to help push the deal. That move eventually prompted Texas Democrats to file an ethics complaint against Gramm for making a the pitch without registering as a lobbyist.

Gramm was hoping to put together a new package of complex assets for speculators to gamble on. Corporations had been using mass purchases of life insurance policies on their employees for years as part of an elaborate tax avoidance scheme (the government doesn't tax insurance premiums or death benefits). The employees themselves -- affectionately referred to as "dead peasants" among insurance experts -- received no benefit. Only the companies who bought the policies would receive payouts when these "peasants" died. Gramm wanted to convince investors to bet on peoples' lives by purchasing pools of life insurance and annuities taken out on individuals.

Gramm and UBS had concocted a gruesome combination of what are now regarded as two of the most infamous Wall Street scams on record. The resulting package closely resembled the growing market for mortgage-backed securities, but instead of allowing Wall Street to bet on peoples' homes, it would enable bets on peoples' lives.

State laws generally frowned on big Wall Street investment banks taking out life insurance on random individuals. To buy life insurance on another person, the insuree's written consent was necessary, as was the cooperation of a state insurance regulator willing to work around requirements that the owner of an insurance policy have an "insurable interest" in whatever -- or whomever -- was being insured.

Enter the Texas Teachers Retirement System (TRS), the state-operated pension fund with a tremendous database full of soon-to-be-deceased retirees who could sign off on policies for the UBS scheme. At the meeting with Gramm, then-State Insurance Commissioner Jose Montemayor was happy to bend the law. He agreed to grant a special waiver on insurance regulations that would allow the deal to go through, according to meeting notes.

"There was some worry about the legality," recalled the attendee. "[Montemayor] said 'Don't worry about it.' He could take those questions off the table as the insurance commissioner."

"I don't remember any of the details," Montemayor told HuffPost in a recent interview. He is now a principal with the Black Diamond Capital Partners private equity firm.

When asked about the scheme, TRS insisted that it was only tangentially involved in the UBS discussions.

"While TRS attended a few meetings to learn what the proposal was about, the concept was never fully developed and was never taken to the TRS Board for action," TRS spokesman Howard Goldman told HuffPost. The current executive director of TRS is Brian Guthrie -- one of the two Perry budget officials who presented the deal back in 2003.

The plan was to have UBS buy the life insurance policies with mega-insurer AIG, then bundle those policies into securities, and sell them off to a small group of investors. By keeping the investor group small, Gramm could avoid the public and regulatory scrutiny required by standard public securities sales. He wouldn't even have to disclose details of the scheme to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Texas would get a portion of the fees UBS received from selling the securities. But while Gramm's pitch included far more structural details than Morrissey's previous talk, it came up shorter on one crucial piece of information: how much money the state would actually make.

Morrissey had described a payout of up to $700 million. But Gramm refused to offer even general revenue figures. In one ghoulish section from the meeting notes, Gramm emphasized that the actual payments to the state would depend on who died, and when.

"These amounts depend on interest rates and deaths," the notes read. "They can't price it yet, or estimate the amount of money available annually to TRS until the bank looks at the universe of those participating."

None of the state's money would be at risk in the initial purchase of life insurance plans, but the state's potential liabilities got murkier when those plans were bundled into securities. In order to profit from those security sales, Texas would have had to partner with UBS. And if investors ultimately thought they'd been bilked in the arrangement, Texas could be sued. It was also not clear how the state would form a partnership with UBS, or how much it would cost.

"It was real nebulous," said a person present at the meeting. "It was kind of like, 'Trust us, we're big boys who play in this league and we're going to protect you.'"

Regardless of how any ultimate deal eventually panned out, Gramm and UBS would score big, up-front commissions just for getting the contracts signed. Phone calls and emails to Gramm requesting comment for this article were not returned. UBS likewise did not respond to requests for comment.


The strange thing about all the scheming was that the teacher pension fund didn't actually need any money. At the time, it had a funding ratio of over 94 percent, well above the 80 percent threshold that financial experts consider healthy. Perry's team needed to convince the public the scheme's architects were the white knight riding in to save their retirements; meeting notes show plans to persuade retirees that they would be doing a patriotic deed by allowing investors to gamble on their deaths.

Jeri Stone, the Texas Classroom Teachers Association's executive director and general counsel, told HuffPost that the plan had nothing to do with shoring up any retiree safety net; it was simply an example of Perry's deference to Gramm. Without the former senator's involvement, she said, the plan might not have gotten an audience.

Since the pension fund was healthy, the deal was instead structured to profit TRS-Care, a health care program for retired teachers administered by pension fund officials. TRS-Care had initially been established in 1985 with 10 years of funding, receiving additional funding injections in following years to keep it afloat.

When the deal eventually leaked, teacher groups balked at the entire arrangement.

"It was just pretty morbid and I don't think it convinced anybody it was gonna enrich anybody except Phil Gramm and UBS," Texas State Teachers Association Spokesman Clay Robison told HuffPost. "Our members were pretty much appalled by it."

"No one wants to think there are people out there hoping you'll die soon," Stone explained.

During the November 2003 meeting, Gramm and the Perry administration were well aware of the potential for a media debacle. "The 'liability' is really on the PR side for AIG ... and possibly TRS," the meeting notes read. "They want to avoid a 'Wal-Mart' problem."

Although hundreds of companies used dead peasant insurance policies to dodge taxes, Walmart took a particularly bad PR beating for the practice, in large part because the company was profiting from massive life insurance policies on rank-and-file workers whom it paid low wages. Perry had just signed off on cutting benefits to retired teacher health care plans, and following that up with a plan to gamble on retiree longevity had the potential for political and public relations trouble.

How to deal with the media was also a topic at the Gramm meeting, according to the notes.

"Gramm said that once the program is structured, the leadership and he will hold a press conference and go to editorial boards," the notes state. If anyone asked tough questions, Gramm instructed they would give vague answers. The key: Do not explain what the plan would exactly entail -- just tell the press that Texas was "using insurance products under the supervision of the insurance commission and Montemayor ... to help fund or enhance TRS-Care." If all else failed, officials were to tell the media that "this is a private offering."

Gramm concluded the meeting, the notes show, by saying he wanted "to consummate this deal ASAP."

When the press did find out about the scheme, Perry's team was unable to simultaneously downplay its role in the endeavor and shape the public narrative about the program. Perry did not defend the plan in detail because doing so would have only reinforced the perception that Perry was, in fact, a major advocate of the plan who had been involved since its inception.

Democrats in the state legislature hammered Perry, decrying his relationship with Gramm as corrupt while highlighting the recent cuts to retiree benefits. Charles Soechting, the chair of the Texas Democratic Party at the time, led the charge.

"It was just real clear that it was a deal worked out between Perry's people and Phil Gramm's to help UBS make a lot of money," he told HuffPost. "It was just a scam."

The deal collapsed. But ultimately, none of its top architects paid a serious political price for the debacle. Perry did not abandon his close relationship with Gramm. A few years later, Perry's 23-year-old son went to work for UBS, and Gramm began urging Perry to let UBS privatize the Texas state lottery. Perry named Guthrie executive director of the teacher pension fund. Morrissey is now a senior adviser to Perry. And Perry himself, of course, is now a top contender for the Republican presidential nomination.

Another Rick Perry Staffer Ensnared In Teacher Death Bond Scheme

Rick Perry Teacher Death
First Posted: 8/26/11 04:50 PM ET Updated: 8/26/11 04:59 PM ET
WASHINGTON -- Texas Governor Rick Perry's ties to Swiss banking giant UBS go beyond his relationship with former Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas). Perry's current chief of staff and top press person for his campaign, Ray Sullivan, spent five years as a lobbyist for UBS in Texas -- a tenure that began the same year Gramm made his macabre pitch for Perry to enable Wall Street gambling on the deaths of Texas teachers.

Sullivan reaped between $300,000 and $600,000 lobbying for UBS between 2003 and 2008, according to data compiled by Texans for Public Justice, a nonpartisan government transparency group. Disclosure forms only require lobbyists to indicate a salary range, not a specific salary. Sullivan had several other lobbying clients during those same years. He has been described in the local Texas press as a member of Perry's trusted inner circle.

Sullivan worked for Perry both in the governor's mansion and in the late 1990s when Perry was then lieutenant governor. Sullivan started working for UBS in May 2003. That November, Perry aggressively pushed the Texas teacher pension fund and state teacher associations to sign off on a UBS plan to take out life insurance policies and annuities on retired Texas teachers -- an elaborate scheme in which the state of Texas would serve as a something of a bookie, setting up Wall Street bets on how long those teachers would live.

According to confidential notes obtained by the Huffington Post, the Perry administration had been elaborately briefed on details of the plan and was making a "hard sell" to teacher groups in behind-the-scenes meetings. When the plan leaked to the press in December 2003, however, the Perry camp claimed to have had only tangential involvement after receiving an inquiry from Gramm. The deal soon fell apart.

Gramm, a chief architect of the scheme, drew the critical attention of several Texas newspapers at the time, but Sullivan's involvement received much less scrutiny, though his longstanding ties to Perry create the same appearance of corruption and cronyism.

"Sullivan is classic example of the way Perry works," explained Andrew Wheat, research director with Texans for Public Justice. "There's a coterie of insiders that move back and forth between the governor's office, the governor's campaign and the corporate lobby. ... It's a beautiful relationship for everybody except the public."

Rick Perry's Campaign Strategy? Distorting His Abysmal Economic Record

Get ready for a boat-load of spin.

Rick Perry's strategy for winning the GOP nomination – and then the White House – is simple: he'll try to get there by wildly distorting his abysmal economic record as governor of Texas beyond all recognition. The spin started even before he announced his candidacy on Saturday, when right-wing blogger Erick Erickson introduced him as the governor who had created 40 percent of all the new jobs in the U.S. since the “recovery” began. During the announcement, Perry went on to talk about “jobs” 11 more times.

Rick Perry can't tell the truth about his economic record. That's because, more than any other single factor, he has immigration to thank for those numbers – most of it from Mexico, and a large share of it unauthorized. You can't win the Republican nomination by bragging about being one of the states that has seen the biggest rise in Mexican immigrants during your tenure, and even if you could, it's not an economic model for the country as a whole as Mexican immigration has now slowed to a trickle.

At a June fundraiser, Perry told a group of Republican fat-cats that in his state that “you don't have to use your imagination, saying, 'What'll happen if we apply this or that conservative principle?' You just need to look around, because they've been in play across our state for years, generating real results.” On this point, Perry's correct – Texas has been a model for conservative governance under his watch. 

The results are hardly encouraging. Let's take a closer look at the “Texas Miracle” that we're going to be hearing so much nonsense about it in the months to come. As I wrote back in June, the reality is that Texas is not only a complete basket case, it would be faring far worse today without the help of policies enacted by Democrats at the federal level – policies Perry lambasted as "irresponsible spending that threatens our future."

The kernel of truth on which the tale of the Texas Miracle is built is that the state has in fact added a lot of jobs over the past decade. In a gushing lead editorial, the Wall Street Journal noted that “37% of all net new American jobs since the recovery began were created in Texas.” The Journal then spun that fact like this:

Capital—both human and investment—is highly mobile, and it migrates all the time to the places where the opportunities are larger and the burdens are lower. Texas has no state income tax. Its regulatory conditions are contained and flexible. It is fiscally responsible and government is small. Its right-to-work law doesn't impose unions on businesses or employees.

In the Journal's hyper-partisan view, the lesson to be learned is that “the core impulse of Obamanomics is to make America less like Texas and more like California, with more government, more unions, more central planning, higher taxes.” That spin was echoed during last week's GOP debate by none other than Newt Gingrich, who asked, “Why [would] you want to be at California's unemployment level when you can be [at] Texas's employment level?”

James Galbraith, an economist at the University of Texas, scoffed at the whole narrative when I spoke to him in June, saying, “Texas has been a low-tax, low-service state since the time of the Republic,” and noting that it's “therefore impossible that this fact suddenly accounts for its better job performance over the past few years.”

“Texas is an energy state benefiting from high oil prices and the incipient boom in natural gas,” explained Galbraith. “That's an accident of nature.” He added that the state “went through the S&L crisis, had major criminal prosecutions and more restrictive housing finance regulations this time around; hence it was not an epicenter of the subprime housing disaster. That's called a learning experience.” Tighter regulation of the lending industry is also anathema to today's GOP.

Arguably the biggest sleight-of-hand in the Texas Miracle storyline, however, is that many of those jobs were a result of a huge surge in the state's population, much of it fueled by immigration from Latin America (rather than liberal hell-holes like California).

Texas' population grew by 20 percent over the past decade, and Hispanics accounted for almost two-thirds of that growth. A surge in people created greater demand for goods and services, which leads to more jobs. But the jobs being created in Texas aren't keeping up with the state's expanding workforce – the Wall Street Journal somehow failed to mention that during the exact same period in which it was adding all those new jobs, Texas' unemployment rate actually increased from 7.7 to 8 percent. (It also failed to note that 23 states -- including deep blue ones such as Vermont, New York and Massachusetts – enjoy lower unemployment rates than Texas.)

Perhaps the most laughable claim in this whole narrative is that Texas has been “fiscally responsible.” Perry certainly adhered to the conservative playbook, offering massive tax breaks without the deep cuts in services that might inspire a voter backlash. As a result – an entirely predictable one – the Austin American-Statesman reported that “state lawmakers have spent much of the year grappling with a budget shortfall that left them $27 billion short of the money needed to continue current state services.”

Inherent in Perry's claim to have been fiscally responsible is some eye-opening hypocrisy. In announcing his bid for the White House on Saturday, Perry said of Texas' $6.6 billion budget gap last year, “We worked hard, we made tough decisions, we balanced our budget. Not by raising taxes, but by setting priorities and cutting government spending." But, as CNN reported, Texas actually “plugged nearly all of that deficit with $6.4 billion in Recovery Act money.” On Saturday, Perry described the lifeline that spared his state as Washington's “failed 'stimulus' plans and other misguided economic theories [that] have given us record debt.”

The stimulus package created or saved 205,000 jobs in Texas, second only to California. But as James Galbraith told AlterNet, while “the state budget has not yet been cut drastically” due to the stimulus boost, “the key phrase is 'not yet.'” Now that the stimulus has run its course, “if projections for the current budget cycle are correct, things will get much worse in the next year.”

Indeed, those cuts are now on their way. The Texas legislature imposed draconian cuts to Medicaid, cut tuition aid to 43,000 low-income students and is weighing $10 billion in cuts to the state's education system. According to Texas state senator Rodney Ellis, D-Fort Bend, the 2012-2013 budget will underfund “health and human services in Texas by $23 billion, 29.8 percent below what is needed to maintain current services.”

But Perry's tax breaks are indeed part of the state's jobs picture; as Time magazine's Massimo Calabresi noted, Perry established several massive business tax breaks “designed to lure companies from other states.”

[But] the funds have been controversial. They have channeled millions of dollars to companies whose officers or investors are major Perry campaign donors and Perry has allowed them to keep their subsidies in many cases even when they fail to deliver promised jobs. More important for the purposes of judging Perry’s job-creating record, even those that do produce jobs don’t necessarily create long-lasting ones, or increase the state’s overall prosperity.

In a report written for Perry last spring, Michael Porter of Harvard Business School noted that such tax breaks “ultimately don’t support long-term prosperity,” because companies that can move easily “are looking for the best deal and when the deal runs out they move” again, taking their jobs with them.

He also found that Texas’ per capita income growth was the eighth slowest of any state in the country between 1998 and 2008. That's because, as the American Independent's Patrick Brendel noted, “Texas has by far the largest number of employees working at or below the federal minimum wage,” and the number of crappy jobs has exploded while this supposed Texas Miracle was taking place. “From 2007 to 2010, the number of minimum wage workers in Texas rose from 221,000 to 550,000, an increase of nearly 150 percent,” wrote Brendel. As a result, Texas is now “tied with Mississippi for the greatest percentage of minimum wage workers, while California had among the fewest (less than 2 percent).”*

Rick Perry has shown precisely what kind of economic policy he'd pursue as president of the United States. In Texas, he slashed taxes to the bone while handing out credits to his political cronies like they were candy. He decried the evils of Big Government while hypocritically using federal stimulus funds to help close Texas' budget gap in the short term, and now he's using the state's longer-term fiscal disaster – one of his own creation – as a premise for destroying an already threadbare social safety net serving the neediest Texans. As a result of these policies, plus immigration and other external factors, his state's added a lot of low-paying poverty jobs without decent benefits. He's added very little in the way of “prosperity.”

In the final analysis, Texas is indeed a shining example of conservative governance, as well as an almost perfect model for winning the race to the bottom. Given the pathetic state of our economy, it's also the last thing we need in the White House today.

* It should be noted that the cost of living is higher in California than in Texas.

Perry Welcomed Chinese Firm Despite Security Concern

By Carol D. Leonnig and , Published: August 14

It was the kind of scene that Texas Gov. Rick Perry will point to often as he rolls out his presidential campaign: a ribbon-cutting ceremony just outside Dallas, launching a corporate headquarters, with hundreds of new jobs, and validating what he calls his “Texas miracle” of growth.

After a months-long courtship that included a trip to China, where he dined with the company’s chief executive, Perry announced that telecommunications firm Huawei Technologies would base its U.S. operations in Plano. In a video of that October 2010 event — now playing on YouTube, courtesy of the governor’s office — Perry praised the company’s “really strong worldwide reputation” and its chairman, Ren Zhengfei, whose straight talk he said reminded him fondly of West Texans.


Texas Gov. Rick Perry joined the 2012 GOP race for president Saturday with an announcement sure to reverberate halfway across the country as his rivals competed in Iowa for the support of party activists.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry joined the 2012 GOP race for president Saturday with an announcement sure to reverberate halfway across the country as his rivals competed in Iowa for the support of party activists.

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While Perry focused on Huawei’s ability to create jobs in a sluggish economy, national security experts in both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations had concluded that the global telecom giant poses a potential cyber-security risk to the U.S. military and businesses. Three times since 2008, a U.S. government security panel has blocked Huawei from acquiring or partnering with U.S. companies because of concerns that secrets could be leaked to China’s government or military.

Perry campaign spokesman Mark Miner said that “if there are national security issues surrounding this company, they should be fully looked at.” He characterized Perry’s main involvement with Huawei as just “a ribbon-cutting for a company that was creating jobs here.”

As the Republican presidential campaign intensifies with Perry’s Saturday entry into the presidential race, trade with China and the sensitive issue of how to weigh U.S. economic interests against security concerns is emerging as a target of GOP politicians.

In last Thursday’s debate in Iowa, former Utah governor and ambassador to China Jon Huntsman Jr. pointed to China as a culprit in what he described as “the new war field” — cyber-intrusion as a way to steal corporate and government secrets. “Not only have government institutions been hacked into, but private individuals have been hacked, too. It’s gone beyond the pale,” Huntsman said.

Huntsman has said his experience in China gives him an understanding of its complex relationship with the United States. His own family business — the global chemical company Huntsman Corp. — had done business in China and saw its China-based revenue rise 57 percent during his tenure as ambassador there. Huntsman’s brother Peter, the company’s chief executive, told The Washington Post that the company avoided seeking embassy help while his brother was ambassador.

Front-runner Mitt Romney has vowed to “get tough” on trade with China and called the superpower one of the “worst offenders” of global trade rules, suggesting in an interview that the United States must clamp down on China’s use of pirated technologies.

Romney’s former investment company, Bain Capital, worked on behalf of at least two Chinese companies trying to acquire U.S. technology firms. One case involved Huawei, which Bain joined in its failed bid to buy the software firm 3Com. Romney left Bain Capital in 1999, and aides say he had no role in those deals.


Rick Perry Super PACs Raise Issues of Coordination, Collusion

Rick Perry

Excerpts from and article posted by   and on the on August 13, 2011
WASHINGTON -- Texas Governor Rick Perry is set to officially jump into the Republican presidential primary race with unmatched backing from a collection of independent groups raising unlimited money from corporations and individuals to help get him the Republican nomination. The connections that these groups have to Perry's inner circle, however, are raising serious questions about their supposed independence and the appearance of collusion.

There are currently seven Super PACs -- independent political committees that can accept unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations and unions -- supporting Perry's bid. The most recently formed is Make Us Great Again, which is, perhaps, the most emblematic of the veil of independence worn by these candidate-centric committees.

The committee was founded by former Perry chief of staff and longtime associate Mike Toomey. Toomey is so close to the Perry inner circle he even co-owns a private island in New Hampshire with Perry's campaign manager Dave Carney. Toomey was also listed in a Texas Tribune report on the "folks" behind Perry.

The other pro-Perry Super PACs are no better in presenting themselves as independent.

Jobs for Vets Fund and Veterans for Rick Perry were started by former Perry legislative director Dan Shelley. Veterans for Rick Perry even made a revealing error on their initial statement of organization by checking a box stating that the committee supported one candidate and listing Rick Perry as that candidate. Super PACs are forbidden from explicitly supporting one candidate. An amended statement was filed to correct this error. Shelley has set a $1 million fundraising target for campaign efforts in the early primary states Iowa and South Carolina.

Another committee, Americans for Rick Perry, is run by California political consultant Bob Schuman, a former campaign consultant for former Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas), Perry's political mentor. Schuman’s consulting firm has also represented the pharmaceutical company Merck, which was represented in Texas by Toomey. Toomey’s lobbying for Merck became a scandal in Texas after Perry mandated that all schoolgirls receive a vaccination against HPV -- a vaccination that was made by Merck. The ensuing controversy led the state legislature to override the governor and block the mandate. Schuman's effort has so far been underwritten by a large contribution from Texas billionaire Harold Simmons, a major Perry donor who has used his political clout to gain support from Perry’s administration to bury nuclear waste in western Texas.

Toomey has recently attempted to corner the market in pro-Perry Super PACs by telling Perry donors that Make Us Great Again is the only true pro-Perry group: “Our advice is to avoid any other group claiming to be ‘the’ pro-Perry independent effort and, when the timing is right, to support Make Us Great Again.”

Schuman and Americans for Rick Perry have gotten behind Toomey’s move to assert his PAC as the leader of the pro-Perry unlimited money groups. Schuman told the Wall Street Journal, “To the extent that there is an official PAC… they’re it.” Toomey had already lured away two top donors who had been working for Schuman's Americans for Rick Perry including Elizabeth Blakemore, a consultant who's past clients include Koch Industries.

Toomey did not return a call for comment by The Huffington Post.

It would be illegal for any of the Super PACs supporting Perry's bid to coordinate with the campaign, even prior to a formal announcement. The incredibly close ties between the individuals behind the pro-Perry PACs and the inner circle of the Perry campaign raise serious questions and doubts about the independent efforts of the groups.

Shelley, who runs the two pro-Perry veterans groups, told The Huffington Post that he has not talked to Carney about his Super PAC efforts as, "that's against the law."

Shelley did, however, go on to describe what animates his efforts: "I don't think you'll find someone that doesn't know Rick would ever start what I just did. You're just not going to get a guy that wakes up one day and says, 'Oh, I think I'll start this.' I can tell you I know him, I know his heart, I know how hard he works, I know his discipline and I'm politically involved. So yeah, I'm political."

He also explained his close relationship with Toomey, "Mike [Toomey] and I served together. Mike and I and Gov. Perry, we all served in the [Texas] House together. Mike and I used an office together when we lobbied together. We currently share clients in Austin. We both represent Harris County government. We all know each other well."

Texans for Public Justice Director Craig McDonald told The Huffington Post, "It's difficult to believe that none of these people who are deeply inside the Perry circle not have been talking about their plans."

Carney refused to comment for this story. The Gov. Perry's spokesperson did not return calls or emails seeking comment.

Similar candidate-focused Super PACs for other Republican candidates have raised concerns about coordination. Restore Our Future PAC, the pro-Mitt Romney committee, was founded by three veterans of Romney's 2008 run for the Republican presidential nod.

Super PACs have also been formed to support the bids of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.).

In a statement issued Thursday, Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer expressed a growing sentiment among reform groups: "These Super PACs are nothing more than shadow arms of a presidential campaign that provide a vehicle for massive circumvention and evasion of the contribution limits applicable to donations made directly to a presidential candidate’s campaign committee."

None of this comes as a surprise to close watchers of Perry and Carney's electoral efforts. The duo has a long history of using every tool at their disposal in elections, including organizing outside group efforts.

"The notion that Mike Toomey would start a political effort on behalf of Rick Perry that's truly independent of Rick Perry is truly laughable," Jeff Rotkoff, an Austin-based consultant with the anti-Perry Back to Basics PAC, told The Huffington Post.

In 2004, Texas Republicans successfully secured a ballot position for the Texas Green Party's presidential candidate Ralph Nader in an effort to bleed votes from the Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.). An subsequent investigation into that effort found that both Carney and Make Us Great Again's Toomey were intimately involved in the Green Party ballot scheme.

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) determined that Carney's efforts to secure the ballot place for the Green Party violated campaign finance law and stated that Carney "knowingly and willfully" broke the law. Prosecutors, however, did not pursue charges.

"Governor Perry and Dave Carney are both masters at leveraging whatever the rules of the game are," Harvey Kronberg, editor and publisher of The Quorum Report, told The Huffington Post. "It would be completely uncharacteristic for Team Perry not to make sure their big money guys were not completely involved in the game."

Big money is one thing that Perry does well. He's also been accustomed to a fundraising environment that favors the kind of unlimited contributions that Super PACs can accept on the federal level.

Unlike under federal campaign law, Texas does not have contribution limits. According to a report by Texans for Public Justice, half of the $104 million Perry raised for his three gubernatorial races came from just 204 mega-donors who donated $100,000 or more.

As the chairman of the Republican Governors Association (RGA), a 527 political nonprofit, Perry has also been able to raise unlimited sums of money. The RGA under Perry has been a fundraising powerhouse, pulling in $22.1 million in the first half of 2011 -- $10 million more than the committee raised during the first halves of the last two comparable years, 2007 and 2009.

"This guy's a fundraising magnet," TPJ's McDonald said. "Corporations will be lining up to give to whatever Super PAC can give them the most bang for their buck."

As these Super PACs ramp up their efforts to help Perry they will undoubtedly draw more attention to their supposed independence.

Wertheimer stated the intention of reform groups to pursue this issue into the future, saying, "Democracy 21 is currently exploring possible legal challenges to the new presidential Super PACs and their fictional 'independence' from the presidential candidates they are supporting."

“It's clear that this [committee] is nothing more than a covert political action committee fueled by long-time associates of Rick Perry to give the false appearance of a draft,” one veteran political consultant based out of Austin said about Make Us Great Again. “In that sense, it may well violate existing federal statutes with regard to so-called [Super PAC] committees. That is a question, however, for the courts to decide -- as I'm sure they will when the watchdog groups in Washington review this group."


Texas Gov. Rick Perry

If presidential candidates were elected based on how well they rewarded their political donors, then Texas Governor Rick Perry would lead the pack. Since 2001, more than a fifth of the $83 million in campaign donations received by Perry have come from his past and present political appointees. In 2009, the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washigton cited his administration's rampant cronyism in naming him to its "Worst Governors" list. A recent analysis of Perry's 150 largest political donors by the LA Times found that more than half of them received hefty business contracts, tax breaks, or appointments from the governor. Here are ten Perry supporters who've been handsomely repaid for their patronage:

  1. Bob Perry: America's largest individual political donor, the Houston-based homebuilder has given $2.3 million to Rick Perry, making him the governor's leading money man (the two Perrys aren't related). In June, 2003, Rick Perry helped push through a bill creating the Texas Residential Construction Commission, ostensibly a watchdog for unethical homebuilders. In reality, the agency was created with the help of Bob Perry's lobbyist, John Krugh. Shortly after receiving a $100,000 check from Bob Perry, the governor appointed Krugh to the TRCC's board of directors. Consumer groups fought back and got the agency abolished in 2009.
  2. Harrold Simmons: The reclusive buyout king has amassed $5.7 billion from garbage collection, drug stores, metals, and chemicals, making him the 55th richest American. In 1995, he set about converting an isolated patch of land in West Texas into a nuclear waste dump. In part, that's meant dumping $1.2 million in campaign cash on Perry. Though three staffers with Perry's Texas Commission on Environmental Quality resigned rather than approve the waste dump, it was ultimately green-lighted by TCEQ executive director Glen Shankle, who left the agency a few months later to work as the dump's lobbyist. In January, a commission stacked with Perry appointees gave the dump permission to accept nuclear waste from around the country.
  3. David Nance: In 2009, the founder and chairman of Convergen LifeSciences Inc, a tiny biotechnology firm, applied for a $4.5 million grant from Texas' Emerging Technology Fund, a sort of public-sector venture capital fund. When the grant was denied, Nance appealed the decision to a Perry-appointed statewide advisory committee (of which Nance had once been a member), the Wall Street Journal reports. The committee ruled in favor of Nance, who has given more than $100,000 to Perry's campaigns since 2001. But that's not all. Perry also appropriated $2 million in state funds to a business-services nonprofit, Innovate Texas, which pays Nance a six-figure salary but does not have a working phone number, the Journal reports.
  4. Lonnie "Bo" Pilgrim: In March 2008, the owner of the Pilgrim's Pride poultry company met with Perry and soon after gave him a $100,000 donation for the Republican Governor's Association, which Perry chaired at the time. Less than a month later, Perry asked the Environental Protection Agency to waive ethanol standards that Pligrim believed would drive up chicken feed costs. Pilgrim later donated $25,000 to Perry's political action committee and footed the bill for him and three aides to fly to Washington, DC, to speak out against ethanol.
  5. Kenneth Lay: In 2001, Rick Perry appointed an Enron exec to chair the Texas Public Utilities Commission, and the next day, Perry got a $25,000 check from Lay. As Molly Ivins mockingly pointed out, Perry "explained this, to everyone's satisfaction, as being 'totally coincidental.'"
  6. B.J. "Red" McCombs: The San Antonio Clear Channel billionaire, who contributed nearly $400,000 to the governor, is the primary financial backer for a Formula One racetrack to be built near Austin. The state has pledged $25 million a year in subsidies to support the project, the LA Times reports.
  7. Mike Toomey: Perry's former chief of staff earned up to $2.2 million last year as a Texas-based lobbyist. He owns a private island in New Hampshire with Dave Carney, Perry's campaign manager. In 2007, Perry signed an executive order requiring all teenage girls in Texas to take a vaccine manufactured by Merck, one of Toomey's lobbying clients (the legislature eventually repealed the order). Toomey is now creating a Perry-focussed super-PAC, Make Us Great Again.
  8. Phil Adams: A college friend of Perry's who gave his campaigns at least $314,000, Adams was a backer of Terrabon Inc, a Houston company that received a $2.75 million grant from Perry's Emerging Technology Fund.  Perry also appointed Adams to a coveted post on Texas A&M University's Board of Regents (other regents who aren't Perry supporters say they've been pressured to resign). Adams has returned the favor by giving the Perry family free tickets and transportation to basketball and football games. 
  9. James Leininger: The state's largest political donor during much of the 1990s, Leininger gifted Perry's campaigns at least $264,000, in addition to a $1.1 million loan that's credited with putting him over the top in a 1998 race for lieutenant governor. Leininger is an investor in Gradalis Inc, a Dallas biotechnology firm that received $1.75 million from Perry's Emerging Technology Fund, the Dallas Morning News reports.
  10. James Dannenbaum:  Donated more than $320,000 to Perry's campaigns and received multiple transportation contracts from the state. His company, Dannenbaum Engineering, was implicated last year in an FBI investigation of El Paso officials who'd swapped political donations for county contracts, according to the El Paso Times. In 2007, Perry appointed Dannenbaum to the University of Texas Board of Regents.

Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), even before establishing super PACs to rake in unlimited contributions from Texas billionaires in his presidential run, has been one of the best funded politicians in history. Since his 1998 candidacy to be George W. Bush’s lieutenant governor, Perry has raked in$117,091,642 in campaign contributions, with the oil and gas industry the top contributor. Big oil has fueled Rick Perry’s career, the top industry contributor at $11,189,103, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics:

Top oil company contributions include $189,188 from Exxon Mobil, $147,895 from Valero Energy, and $116,000 from Koch Industries.

Rick Perry's College Transcript: A Lot Of Cs And Ds

Rick Perry
First Posted: 8/5/11 11:57 AM ET Updated: 8/5/11 04:18 PM ET
WASHINGTON -- As governor of Texas, Rick Perry has pursued a controversial agenda that would gut Texas' vaunted public university system in favor of something that more closely resembles a business.

As the Washington Post reported on Thursday, professors have been ranked according to how profitable they were to the university. Previous reports suggested Perry wanted to treat students as "customers" and tie teacher bonuses to anonymous student evaluations.

One reason that might explain his hostility toward the system: He didn't do very well in it. A source in Texas passed The Huffington Post Perry's transcripts from his years at Texas A&M University. The future politician did not distinguish himself much in the classroom. While he later became a student leader, he had to get out of academic probation to do so. He rarely earned anything above a C in his courses -- earning a C in U.S. History, a D in Shakespeare, and a D in the principles of economics. Perry got a C in gym.

Perry also did poorly on classes within his animal science major. In fall semester 1970, he received a D in veterinary anatomy, a F in a second course on organic chemistry and a C in animal breeding. He did get an A in world military systems and “Improv. of Learning” -- his only two As while at A&M.

"A&M wasn't exactly Harvard on the Brazos River," recalled a Perry classmate in an interview with The Huffington Post. "This was not the brightest guy around. We always kind of laughed. He was always kind of a joke."

A spokesperson for the governor recently told the Texas Tribune that the university "helped shape who he is today." The governor’s office did not return a request for comment from The Huffington Post.

You can read Perry's transcript here:   Rick Perry's Texas A&M Transcript


, , College Grades , College Station , Presidential Race , Texas A&M , Texas Governor Rick Perry , Rick Perry 2012 , Rick Perry College , Rick Perry President , Rick Perry Texas , Rick Perry Transcript , Politics News

Perry Prayerfest

Texas Gov. Rick Perry's big prayerfest -- the Jesus-centric event that has attracted support from a range of extremist pastors -- is scheduled for this Saturday at Reliant Stadium in Houston.

But the AP checks in on The Response event and finds that, if preregistrations are a guide, it's shaping up to be a potentially embarrassing flop:

But with only 8,000 RSVPs for a stadium that seats 71,500 people, virtually no politicians planning to attend, and a slate of organizers who hold out-of-mainstream views on religious freedom, gay rights and even Adolf Hitler, the event has become a potentially risky gamble if Perry is serious about running for the White House.

Perry invited every governor in America to the event, but the only one to publicly commit to attending, Sam Brownback of Kansas, now seems to be waffling.

It's worth noting that evangelical heavy-hitters including Focus on the Family founder James Dobson and the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins have said they will appear at The Response, so it's possible they will be able to bus in some attendees and avert a disaster for Perry. Stay tuned ...

(Via Right Wing Watch)

Christian Dominionist 'Prayer Warriors' Have Chosen Rick Perry as Their Vehicle to Power

The New Apostolic Reformation seeks dominion over society and government -- and Rick Perry is their chosen candidate.

A version of this piece appeared on Talk to Action.

Since he announced his candidacy on Saturday, Texas Governor Rick Perry has been hailed as the great GOP hope of 2012. Perry's entry into the chaotic Republican primary race has excited the establishment in part because he does not have Michele Bachmann's reputation for religious zealotry, yet can likely count on the support of the Religious Right. 

Another advantage for Perry is support from an extensive 50-state “prayer warrior” network, organized by the New Apostolic Reformation. A religious-political movement whose leaders call themselves apostles and prophets, NAR shares its agenda for control of society and government with other “dominionists,” but has a distinctly different theology than other groups in the Religious Right. They have their roots in Pentecostalism (though their theology has been denounced as a heresy by Pentecostal denominations in the past). The movement is controversial, even inside conservative evangelical circles. Nevertheless, Perry took the gamble that NAR could help him win the primaries, a testament to the power of the apostles’ 50-state prayer warrior network. 
While it may not have been obvious to those outside the movement, Perry was publicly anointed as the apostles’ candidate for president in his massive prayer rally a few weeks ago, an event filled with symbolism and coded messages. This was live-streamed to churches across the nation and on God TV, a Jerusalem-based evangelical network.
Rick Perry is NAR's candidate -- the chosen vehicle to advance the NAR's stated agenda of taking "dominion" over earthly institutions.
The Prayer Warriors and Politics
Perry’s event is not the first time NAR apostles have partnered with politicians. (See previous AlterNet articles by Paul Rosenberg and Bill Berkowitz.) Alaskan Apostle Mary Glazier claimed Sarah Palin was in her prayer network since she was 24 years old and Glazier continued to have contact with Palin through the 2008 election. Prior to running for governor, Palin was “anointed” at Wasilla Assembly of God by Kenyan Apostle Thomas Muthee, a star in promotional media for the movement. The Wasilla congregation is part of a Pentecostal denomination, but it’s leadership had embraced NAR’s controversial ideology years before and has hosted many internationally known apostles.
A partial list of those who have made nationally or internationally broadcast appearances with apostles includes Sam Brownback, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Michele Bachmann, and Jim DeMint. Numerous others, including Rick Santorum, have participated in less publicized apostle-led events.
The list of state and local candidates partnering with the apostles’ network includes Hawaii gubernatorial candidates James “Duke” Aiona, a Republican, and Mufi Hannemann, a Democrat. The conference call that got U.S. Senate candidate Katherine Harris in hot water with Jewish voters back in 2006, was led by Apostle Ken Malone, head of the Florida prayer warrior network.  Apostle Kimberly Daniels recently won a seat on the Jacksonville, Florida city council -- as a Democrat.
Why would Rick Perry take the risk of partnering with such a controversial movement? The apostles’ statewide “prayer warrior” networks link people and ministries online and also includes conferences, events, and training. Many of the ministries involved have extensive media capabilities.  The “prophets” of the NAR claim to be continuously receiving direct revelation from God and these messages and visions are broadcast to the prayer warriors through various media outlets. For instance, in the 2008 election, prophesies concerning Sarah Palin, including one from Mary Glazier, were sent out to the prayer warrior networks. Palin repeatedly thanked her prayer warriors during and after the election.

The prayer warrior networks could work as an additional arm for Perry’s campaign in early primary states. South Carolina’s network is led by Frank Seignious, a former episcopal priest who joined the movement and was ordained into “apostolic ministry” by Apostle Chuck Pierce of Texas. Seignious has incorporated the spiritual warfare and prayer network under the name Taking the Land. His network is under the “apostolic authority” of  the Reformation Prayer Alliance of Apostle Cindy Jacobs and the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network, led by Apostle John Benefiel. Both Jacobs and Benefiel endorsed Rick Perry’s prayer event.  

Jacobs announced in March that the movement hopes to mobilize 500,000 prayer warriors or intercessors to “prayer for the nation for the 2012 elections to shift this  nation into righteousness and justice." She made this statement while speaking at Alaska’s Wasilla Assembly of God, the church where Sarah Palin was anointed by Thomas Muthee in 2005.
Ideology of the New Apostolic Reformation
The leaders of the movement claim this is the most significant change in Protestantism since Martin Luther and the Reformation. NAR's stated goal is to eradicate denominations and to form a single unified church that will fight and be victorious against "evil" in the end times. Like many American fundamentalists, the apostles teach that the end times are imminent, but unlike most fundamentalists, the apostles see this as a time of great triumph for the church.
Instead of escaping to heaven in the Rapture prior to the battles of the end times, the apostles teach that believers will remain on earth. And instead of watching from the grandstands of heaven as Jesus and his warriors destroy evil, the apostles believe they and their followers will fight and purge the earth of evil themselves.  
This includes taking “dominion” over all sectors of society and government, which, in turn, will lead to a "Kingdom" on earth, a Christian utopia ruled from Jerusalem.  The end times narrative of the apostles is similar to that of the Latter Rain movement of the late 1940s and 1950s, which was considered heretical by traditional Pentecostal denominations.
Prerequisites to bringing about the Kingdom on earth are: the restructuring of all Charismatic evangelical believers under the authority of their network of apostles and prophets; the eradication or unification of Christian denominations; and the total elimination of competing religions and philosophies. Their mandate to take control over institutions of society and government is similar to the dominionism of Christian Reconstructionism, founded by the late Rousas Rushdoony, but NAR’s version has been wrapped in a much more appealing package and marketed as activism to “transform” communities.
The apostles have a number of sophisticated promotional tools used to market their agenda for taking control over society, including the Transformations movies, Transformation organizations in communities around the country, and the Seven Mountains campaign. The latter is about taking control over the mountains or “power centers” of arts and entertainment, business, education, family, government, media and religion. The apostles who lead in areas outside of church are called Workplace or Marketplace Apostles.
The apostles teach that the obstacles to their envisioned Kingdom on earth are demonic beings who hold control over geographic territory and specific "people groups." They claim these demons are the reason why people of other religions refuse to become evangelized. These demons, which the apostles address by name, are also claimed to be the source of crime, corruption, illness, poverty, and homosexuality. The eradication of social ills, as claimed in the Transformations media, can only take place through mass evangelization; not through other human efforts to cure societal ills. This message was repeated throughout Perry’s prayer event, although it may not have been apparent to those unfamiliar with the movement’s lingo and narratives.
The apostles teach that their followers are currently receiving an outpouring of supernatural powers to help them fight these demons through what they call Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare (SLSW). They have held ceremonies to “divorce Baal” and claim to burn and otherwise destroy icons and artifacts of other religious belief systems.  These unique SLSW concepts and methodologies, previously unknown in the evangelical world, include spiritual mapping to identify and purge both demons and their human helpers. The humans are often identified in training materials as witches and their activities as witchcraft. 
Many of the evangelical "Reconciliation" programs popularized over the last decade are an outgrowth of the apostles' SLSW efforts to remove demons, including "generational curses," which they claim obstruct the evangelization of specific racial and ethnic groups. These activities have political significance not apparent to outsiders. Kansas Governor and former Senator Sam Brownback worked extensively with leading apostles in pursuing an official apology from the U.S. Senate to Native Americans. However, NAR has promoted this apology as part of Identificational Repentance and Reconciliation, an SLSW method to remove demonic control over Native Americans and evangelize tribes. Curiously, this apology is also viewed as a required step in their spiritual warfare agenda to criminalize abortion.
Apostle Alice Patterson and Pastor C. L. Jackson stood with Rick Perry as he addressed the audience at his Houston prayer rally. This went unnoticed by members of the press, but sent a strong message to those familiar with Patterson and Jackson’s activities in convincing African American pastors in Texas to leave the Democratic Party and become Republicans. This is done by outreach to African Americans through “reconciliation” ceremonies. They also utilize David Barton’s revisionist American history,  which ties Democrats to racism and civil rights to conservatives and Republicans. Patterson has written that there is a “demonic structure behind the Democratic Party." 
History of the New Apostolic Reformation
A wave of religious fervor swept through the U.S. in the early 1900s resulting in Pentecostalism and the establishment of  denominations emphasizing supernatural "gifts of the Holy Spirit," including speaking in tongues. A second wave swept through other Protestant denominations and Roman Catholicism beginning in the 1960s, producing pockets of Charismatic believers. (“Charismatic” is usually used to describe those who embrace the belief of supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit but are not in Pentecostal denominations.)
Some remained in their respective churches while the remainder left to join other nondenominational Charismatics in what would become the largest single (and largely overlooked) block of Protestantism in the world -- Independent Charismatics, also called neo-Pentecostals or the "Third Wave." By the late 1980s, Independent Charismatics began to be networked under the leadership of self-appointed apostles and prophets who view the reorganization of the church as crucial to preparation for the end times. C. Peter Wagner, a prolific author and professor for 30 years at Fuller Theological Seminary, became the primary force behind organizing one of the largest and most influential of apostolic and prophetic networks. He dubbed it the "New Apostolic Reformation" (NAR). 
Wagner and other NAR pioneers refined their unique Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare training and demon-hunting methods through the latter 1980s and 1990s. Due to Wagner's international reputation as an expert in "Church Growth" (his most famous pupil is Rick Warren) and Wagner's leadership role in the frantic rush by international missions to evangelize the world prior to the year 2000, these unusual techniques gained surprisingly widespread acceptance in some evangelical circles. 
Wagner had a major role through the 1990s in the Billy Graham-endorsed AD 2000 and Beyond, working closely with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) and Independent Charismatic groups in what they would dub as the “world prayer movement.” Ted Haggard, who would later become president of the National Association of Evangelicals, claimed that the effort involved 40 million people worldwide. As 2000 AD and Beyond was winding down in the late 1990s, Wagner left Fuller Seminary and resettled in Colorado Springs.  Wagner partnered with Haggard and continued his international networking from the World Prayer Center adjacent to Haggard’s mega-church.
Wagner claimed that the New Apostolic Reformation, a new era in church history, began in 2001 and organized several hundred apostles with their own networks into the International Coalition of Apostles (ICA). In addition, Wagner oversaw: an inner circle of prophets (ACPE or Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders); demon deliverance experts (ISDM or International Society of Deliverance Ministries); faith-healers (IAHR or International Association of Healing Room Ministries); an international training network (Wagner Leadership Institute); and their own educational accreditation system (ACEA or Apostolic Council for Educational Accountability, now called the Association of Christian Educators and Administrators).
Transformation is the movement’s buzzword for taking control over communities. The Transformation entities usually begin as prayer networks of pastors and individuals that are advertised as nonsectarian.  Charitable activities are emphasized as a way to gain a foothold in financially strapped municipalities and they provide faith-based services from emergency response to juvenile rehabiliation. Today NAR has "prayer warrior" networks under the authority of their apostles in all 50 states, some now organizing by precincts.
The movement has had a widespread impact, spreading ideology to other Charismatics inside Mainline Protestant denominations and Roman Catholicism, although non-Charismatic Roman Catholicism is viewed as controlled by a powerful demon named "The Queen of Heaven." Over the last few years, the apostles have taken visible leadership roles in the Religious Right in the United States and numerous nations in Africa, Asia, and South America and claim Uganda as their greatest "Transformations" success story and prototype.
After years of political activity and increasing power inside the American Religious Right, NAR has suddenly been propelled into national press coverage by presidential candidate Rick Perry and his supposedly nonpartisan and nonpolitical prayer rally. Now that he has been chosen and anointed by the movement’s apostles, the prayer warriors across the nation can be mobilized on his behalf. 

Why It Will Be Really Bad When He Runs for President

Rick Perry hasn't officially declared his candidacy, but ads are already on the air in Iowa. Here's why you should be worried he might run for president.

"Next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president of the United States, please pay attention."  - Molly Ivins

Texas Governor Rick Perry has been flirting with the idea of running for president for months now. While the three-term Republican has danced around an official announcement, ads calling him “a better option” are already airing on Fox News (naturally) in Iowa, funded by the political action committee “Jobs for Iowa.” Related super PACs have been created in South Carolina and Florida.

The governor Molly Ivins called “the Coiffure” has claimed he's brought jobs to Texas, passed a laundry list of conservative dream legislation, and managed to become the longest-serving governor in the history of the state. With a relatively lackluster—or outright strange--Republican field this year, Perry appears to have a better-than-most shot at capturing the nomination, bringing not only conservative and Christian credentials but a veneer of respectability and accomplishment that candidates like Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain lack.

As Perry oozes toward an announcement—he says he's waiting til after Labor Day—under the pretense that he's fixed Texas' economy and is a more moderate option than Michele Bachmann but a better evangelical base-pleaser than Mormon Mitt Romney, we thought it was a good time to take a look at the Texan. Here are 10 reasons Rick Perry is just as bad as Michele Bachmann—and a whole lot more likely to actually win the nomination.

1. Separation of church and state? What separation?

On August 6, Perry and right-wing evangelical leaders are sponsoring a a prayer rally in Houston's Reliant Stadium dedicated to “the One True God through his Son Jesus Christ.”

Perry's message on the event's website reads:

“Right now, America is in crisis: we have been besieged by financial debt, terrorism, and a multitude of natural disasters. As a nation, we must come together and call upon Jesus to guide us through unprecedented struggles, and thank Him for the blessings of freedom we so richly enjoy.”

Allan E. Parker Jr., the organizer who referred to the rally as for “The One True God,” also wrote that it would be “idolatry of the worst sort for Christians to gather and invite false gods like Allah and Buddha and their false prophets to be with us at that time.”

So much for religious tolerance.

Even Houston-area clergy members have spoken out against the rally's exclusive nature and the extreme figures involved in it, saying in a joint letter, “We are concerned that our governor has crossed the line by organizing a religious event rather than focusing on the people’s business in Austin.”

It's even more out of line if said governor wants to be president.

2. Secession

Before he makes up his mind about being president, Perry ought to decide whether he wants to be a part of the United States.

Back in 2009, during Perry's bumpy reelection race, the governor told a Tea Party crowd:

"There's a lot of different scenarios...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."

Rush Limbaugh was a fan of Perry's statements, and Texas Republicans too. Perry later affirmed his stance, saying: 

“We are very proud of our Texas history; people discuss and debate the issues of can we break ourselves into five states, can we secede, a lot of interesting things that I'm sure Oklahoma and Pennsylvania would love to be able to say about their states, but the fact is, they can't because they're not Texas."

3. Keep your Rick out of my uterus

Just like Republicans in Congress and around the country, Rick Perry's opposition to “government intrusion” doesn't apply to women.

Not only that, but a bill to require all women to have an ultrasound before they can get an abortion was the first major bill debated in the House, and was declared an “emergency” by Perry himself.

As Texas State Representative Carol Alvarado noted in that session, the bill's author didn't understand how intrusive his own bill was. She gave the legislature an in-depth description of a trans-vaginal sonogram, which would be required for women eight to 10 weeks pregnant.

“This is not the jelly on the belly that most of you think, she said as she held up a vaginal probe. 'This is government intrusion at its best.'”

The bill has no provision for victims of rape or incest. It does, however, give Perry more social conservative credentials to trumpet on the campaign trail.

In addition to his changing concerns over government intrusion, Perry's also got a bit of a consistency problem where states' rights are concerned--once again, when it comes to women's bodies. Perry recently said he wanted Roe v. Wade overturned so states could decide for themselves. But then he declared his support for a federal constitutional amendment that would overturn Roe and ban abortion nationwide. 

Consistency doesn't matter, apparently, when it comes to abortion. 

4. Voter ID, please

"This is what democracy really is all about," Perry said, signing Texas's new voter identification bill into law. "It's the integrity of every vote; that every vote counts. Today we take a major step in protecting the most cherished right of Americans."

The bill makes “illegal voting” a felony; it too was an “emergency” item for Perry's third term as governor. It requires a voter to present one of five forms of ID—a drivers' license, military ID, passport, concealed handgun license, or a state voter ID card that Texas must provide.

"I think it's about disenfranchising groups of people who do not historically vote for the Republican Party," State Rep. Dawnna Dukes said when the bill was passed. Black and Latino voters, the elderly and the poor—all typically Democratic constituencies—are disproportionately less likely to have one of those forms of ID and thus to encounter problems at the polls. In a state like Texas, with a large immigrant population, voter ID is not a neutral issue, but rather another obstacle making it less likely people will vote.

Like other governors around the country, Perry pushed for the voter ID bill despite a lack of any proof that “illegal voting” is actually a problem.

5. The great economy lie

Rick Perry likes to claim—and conservatives like to believe--that Texas' economy is a shining beacon of hope for the country. And it is—if you like your hope low-wage, low-benefit and deficit-ridden.

Texan Jim Hightower wrote:

“...Perry-jobs are really 'jobettes,' offering low pay, no benefits and no upward mobility. In fact, under Rickonomics, Texas has added more minimum wage jobs than all other states combined! After 10 years in office, Gov. Perry presides over a state that has more people in poverty and more without health coverage than any other.”

 A miracle!

Of course, that's exactly the kind of job growth the country as a whole is seeing now, and it's just fine with the big-money base of the Republican party. As Joshua Holland wrote in AlterNet recently, even as Texas added those “jobettes,” its unemployment rate magically increased to 8 percent from 7.7 percent—and 23 states have a better employment rate than the miraculous Texas.

So much for that economic miracle. Texas's economy is more of an example of the mess the entire country is heading for unless we see a dramatic change in priorities.

6. Education

Back in March, the Texas state capitol in Austin saw thousands of protesters descend on the grounds for a rally against a proposed $10 billion—yes, billion—in education cuts to the state. Representatives from 300 school districts, students, teachers, parents, and others marched and called on Perry to use the state's “rainy day fund” to cover the shortfall in schools rather than lay off a projected 189,000 education workers.

Of course, the budget cuts are still coming.

Aside from the impact such layoffs will have on the economy, since a good chunk of the new jobs Perry touts as part of his economic miracle were in schools, there's the actual impact on the state's students. It's not just public schools that take a hit—universities will see their budgets slashed and financial aid eliminated for 43,000 students.

One Texas school attempted to trademark its mascot and sell advertising space on its school buses and Web site in order to raise desperately needed cash. The New York Times called Perry's impending cuts “the largest cuts to public education since World War II."

As Dana Goldstein noted, Texas is a right-to-work state where less than 2 percent of teachers are unionized. There's no big bad teachers' union to be the villain here. Just workers about to be out of jobs, and kids—and the economy--suffering the consequences.

7. Follow the money

The question voters should ask first of any candidate is “Where's the money coming from?” Particularly in the post-Citizens United age, with the birth of the new “super PACs,” groups that can accept unlimited donations from individuals and corporations to pay for political advertising and organizing, campaigns for office are getting expensive and someone's got to be footing the bill.

Since ads for Perry are already airing in Iowa before he's even made up his mind to run, it's worth a look at who's paying for Perry propaganda.

Jobs for Iowa, the PAC paying for the Iowa ads, was registered with the FEC on June 21. Its treasurer is Robert Jentgens, who formerly worked on Mitt Romney's 2008 campaign. Also registered are Veterans for Rick Perry and Americans for Rick Perry, as well as Texas Tea Party Patriots PAC (though after Rick Perry's primary challenge from the Tea Party-backed Debra Medina it might not be fair to assume that they have any interest in Perry).

Americans for Rick Perry raised $193,000 in just eight days in June, the majority of which comes from Harold Simmons, who Dave Montgomery at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram called “a Dallas multibillionaire who is developing a controversial nuclear waste disposal site in West Texas.” They claim another $207,000 in July.

Montgomery noted:

“Environmentalists say that Simmons' donations to Perry and state lawmakers helped fuel approval of the waste disposal site despite concerns over groundwater contamination, but a spokesman for the project said the application was rigorously vetted and approved only after added protections were included.”

Perry's last election campaign, his third, generated more than $77 million in contributions, as Texas allows unlimited individual donations as well. Montgomery wrote that Perry's donors are “the elite of Texas business and industry,” including Simmons and Houston builder Bob Perry (no relation).

Paul Blumenthal at the Huffington Post wrote that the Americans for Rick Perry PAC was the first time a super PAC had been used by supporters for a campaign that doesn't, technically, exist yet. If Perry's well-connected supporters in the energy and finance industries, among others, are this excited about him now, imagine the money that will flow if he actually announces. 

8. Drill, baby, drill

Obviously the governor of Texas has some oil connections. But with Perry as a candidate, we're almost certain to have more of the sort of pro-oil, anti-environment rhetoric that suffused Sarah Palin's tenure on the Republican ticket.

After all, when the BP spill was still churning oil into the Gulf of Mexico, Perry called it “just an act of God” and warned against any “knee-jerk reaction” that might include things like halting deepwater drilling until the dangers could be assessed. Unsurprisingly, Perry also got $129,890 from the oil and gas industry for his last reelection campaign.

Increases in oil prices tend to be good for Texas—bringing jobs and a rise in GDP for the state—but they're a drain on the rest of the country. And the last thing the country needs is a president who's more interested in maintaining oil profits than preventing more oil-related disasters.

9. Flip-flopping on immigration

Texas' population has grown 20 percent during Perry's time in office, and much of that growth has been immigration from Latin America. Up until he began toying with the idea of a presidential run, Perry was a moderate on immigration.

Even last year, he criticized Arizona's SB 1070, and way back in 2001 he signed the state DREAM Act into law. So why the sudden change?

Shani O. Hilton at ColorLines writes:

“...Perry’s apparently positioning himself to be a social conservative darling. On immigration, he recently revived a bill that would crack down on so-called 'sanctuary' cities — localities where the government prohibits police officers from asking about the immigration status of legally detained residents.”

The sanctuary cities bill would allow police to inquire about immigration status of any person arrested or detained—even at a routine traffic stop.

It's worth noting that Perry's big business buddies oppose this legislation—and that his willingness to make them angry might just be the clearest sign yet that he's aiming for the national stage.

10. Executing an innocent man

Rick Perry has presided over the execution of 232 people, more than any other governor in history. (The previous record, 152, was held by George W. Bush.) Most of those are forgotten, but a few of them stick out.

Liliana Segura wrote:

“Outside of Texas, the name Cameron Todd Willingham did not mean much to most people until the fall of 2009. In a 17-page article published by The New Yorker magazine, a curious and brave woman, a brilliant fire expert, and an investigative journalist re-opened the case against this man who was put to death for killing his children. The 'classic arson case' was picked apart, revealed to have been based on junk science and a misguided sense of expert intuition. Proof of the flawed fire investigation had been rushed to Rick Perry and the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole before the execution, to no avail. Five years later, the article uncovered new evidence to all but confirm what a number of people had suspected for years: That the state of Texas had executed an innocent man.”

Perry's utter lack of interest in examining the evidence of Willingham's innocence shows us something about the man, of course. (It won't be the first time a presidential candidate faces down a questionable execution on the campaign trail. Bill Clinton, back in 1992, interrupted his campaign in New Hampshire to fly home to Arkansas, where a severely mentally challenged man sat on death row. Clinton wasn't going back to stop the execution, though. He was going to preside over it. And one of George W. Bush's first acts as governor of Texas was to reject clemency for a man who had severe brain damage and an IQ of 60. He was executed the evening of Bush's inauguration.) 

The Willingham execution might not even be the most controversial example of Perry's execution mania. Just last month, he executed Humberto Leal Garcia Jr., a Mexican citizen, over the objections of the Mexican government, his own president, and the International Court of Justice. Even George W. Bush, in 2005, ordered all states to comply with the international law mandating consular access to officials from their home country for foreign nationals. Rick Perry was the only one not to comply.

For conservatives, all of this is just more red meat. As Megan Carpentier wrote at the Guardian, this execution “won't harm Perry's political career one iota. Sadly, it might even help it.” 


The Skeletons in Rick Perry's Closet

Excerpt from an article posted to CBS Hotsheet By Brian Montopoli July 25, 2011
In this June 18, 2011 file photo, Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans. Should Perry conclude that voter discontent has left him an opening to enter the presidential race, the longtime Texas governor would be among the GOP field's most conservative candidates.

(Credit: File,AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)


Texas governor Rick Perry looks, at the moment, like the man many Republicans have been waiting for. Perry has yet to enter the presidential race - he looks likely to do so in August - but he is already polling close to ostensible frontrunner Mitt Romney.

The buzz around Perry isn't just driven by the polling. It's grounded in the fact that Perry could potentially bridge the divide between the Tea Party conservatives and the party establishment. To borrow a phrase from Perry's predecessor in the Texas governor's office, who went on to bigger things: Perry could be a uniter, not a divider, that the GOP is desperate to find.

Consider: Romney, like fellow Massachusetts politician John Kerry before him, cannot seem to escape the perception that he is ultimately an establishment figure - and is thus viewed with skepticism (or worse) by many in the Tea Party and social conservative circles. Rep. Michele Bachmann, by contrast, is beloved by many Tea Partiers and social conservatives, but she's largely dismissed inside the Beltway as a fringe figure with little in the way of legislative accomplishment or policy chops.

Perry can potentially bridge that divide: He aggressively embraced the Tea Party as it was getting off the ground, pushing a message of limited federal government (he's a strong critic of the federal health care overhaul). And his Texas swagger - the often cowboy boot-clad governor once shot a coyote that menaced his puppy during a jog - doesn't hurt. In a McClatchy-Marist poll last month, Perry was the most popular GOP presidential contender among Tea Party supporters.

And Perry is an evangelical Christian who knows how to win over social conservatives through both his policies - he signed into law a bill mandating that a woman seeking an abortion see a sonogram first - and his public acts. On August 6, he's hosting a much-publicized prayer and fasting event to heal "a nation that has not honored God in our successes or humbly called on Him in our struggles." 

Yet Perry is also an establishment figure who is well-liked by top party figures. He runs the Republican Governor's Association, a post that affords him important contacts across the country and the ability to do favors that can eventually be called in, thanks in large part to the RGA's fundraising prowess. During Perry's long tenure in Austin, Texas has been one of the nation's few bright spots when it comes to job creation, affording Perry credibility in making the case to business leaders and average Americans that he be a better steward of the economy than President Obama. Perry would enter the race with an extensive donor network, a coterie of well-respected aides and the likely tacit support of a Republican establishment that sees Bachmann as a hopeless general election candidate and Romney as far from ideal.

But the enthusiasm over a possible Perry candidacy has thus far clouded one inconvenient truth: While the governor is currently the model of a Tea Party politician, his past includes plenty to give Tea Partiers and social conservatives pause if and when they decide to take a closer look.

That fact was highlighted last Thursday, when former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee took a very pointed shot at Perry. "For all his new found commitment to hyper-conservatism," said the former GOP presidential candidate, "he'll get to explain why he supported pro-abortion, pro-same sex marriage Rudy Guiliani last time."

Perry's support for Giuliani - whose moderation on social issues alienated social conservatives and contributed to his dramatic flameout in the 2008 presidential race - isn't his only potentially problematic endorsement. He doesn't much like to talk about it these days, but Perry was actually a Democrat until 1989; the year before he converted to the GOP, he served as Texas chairman for then-presidential candidate (and current target of conservative disdain) Al Gore.

Then there are the issues, chief among them immigration. Perry, who presides over a state with a large and growing Hispanic population. has been criticized by Texas Tea Party groups for not pushing hard enough to pass a "sanctuary city" ban and other hard-line immigration legislation. In 2001, he signed the Texas version of the DREAM Act allowing children of illegal immigrants access to in-state college tuition. As Arizona Sen. John McCain's reelection campaign illustrated last year, any perceived softness on immigration issues can become a major headache in a Republican primary.  

There are niche issues that could hurt Perry, like his support for the (never-created) Trans-Texas Corridor, a toll-road despised by small-government types that would have meant the appropriation of an estimated 81,000 acres of rural land. Or the executive order he signed in 2007 requiring that Texas sixth-grade girls be vaccinated against the human papilloma virus, a sexually transmitted disease that causes cervical cancer. (The order was ultimately blocked, but the order outraged many conservatives.)

And then there's the elephant in the room: Texas' debt problem. In the 2010 governor's race, Democrat Bill White pointed out that Texas' debt has doubled under Perry. Since 2001, according to the Star-Telegram's Mitchell Schnurman, Texas' debt has grown at a faster rate than that of the U.S. government. Perry assumed office in December 2000.

All this could lead Republican voters to the same conclusion about Perry that many have made about Romney, whose position on a number of issues has shifted over the years: That he is a political opportunist without core beliefs. Some conservative bloggers have already seized on a list of 14 reasons Perry "would be a really, really bad president." The list points to many of the issues mentioned above as well as tax increases. One blogger, citing the list, derides Perry as "a big-time globalist."

Perry's past breaks with Tea Party-orthodoxy could potentially stay below-the-radar if he enters the race. But Perry's rivals for the nomination are unlikely to ignore them, particularly if Perry is as strong a candidate as he looks. The question for Perry, if he runs, is whether he will be able to convince Tea Partiers and the rest of the GOP base that, occasional missteps notwithstanding, he is ultimately one of their own.


The Texas Unmiracle

As expected, Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, has announced that he is running for president. And we already know what his campaign will be about: faith in miracles.
Some of these miracles will involve things that you’re liable to read in the Bible. But if he wins the Republican nomination, his campaign will probably center on a more secular theme: the alleged economic miracle in Texas, which, it’s often asserted, sailed through the Great Recession almost unscathed thanks to conservative economic policies. And Mr. Perry will claim that he can restore prosperity to America by applying the same policies at a national level.

So what you need to know is that the Texas miracle is a myth, and more broadly that Texan experience offers no useful lessons on how to restore national full employment.

It’s true that Texas entered recession a bit later than the rest of America, mainly because the state’s still energy-heavy economy was buoyed by high oil prices through the first half of 2008. Also, Texas was spared the worst of the housing crisis, partly because it turns out to have surprisingly strict regulation of mortgage lending.

Despite all that, however, from mid-2008 onward unemployment soared in Texas, just as it did almost everywhere else.

In June 2011, the Texas unemployment rate was 8.2 percent. That was less than unemployment in collapsed-bubble states like California and Florida, but it was slightly higher than the unemployment rate in New York, and significantly higher than the rate in Massachusetts. By the way, one in four Texans lacks health insurance, the highest proportion in the nation, thanks largely to the state’s small-government approach. Meanwhile, Massachusetts has near-universal coverage thanks to health reform very similar to the “job-killing” Affordable Care Act.

So where does the notion of a Texas miracle come from? Mainly from widespread misunderstanding of the economic effects of population growth.

For this much is true about Texas: It has, for many decades, had much faster population growth than the rest of America — about twice as fast since 1990. Several factors underlie this rapid population growth: a high birth rate, immigration from Mexico, and inward migration of Americans from other states, who are attracted to Texas by its warm weather and low cost of living, low housing costs in particular.

And just to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with a low cost of living. In particular, there’s a good case to be made that zoning policies in many states unnecessarily restrict the supply of housing, and that this is one area where Texas does in fact do something right.

But what does population growth have to do with job growth? Well, the high rate of population growth translates into above-average job growth through a couple of channels. Many of the people moving to Texas — retirees in search of warm winters, middle-class Mexicans in search of a safer life — bring purchasing power that leads to greater local employment. At the same time, the rapid growth in the Texas work force keeps wages low — almost 10 percent of Texan workers earn the minimum wage or less, well above the national average — and these low wages give corporations an incentive to move production to the Lone Star State.

So Texas tends, in good years and bad, to have higher job growth than the rest of America. But it needs lots of new jobs just to keep up with its rising population — and as those unemployment comparisons show, recent employment growth has fallen well short of what’s needed.

If this picture doesn’t look very much like the glowing portrait Texas boosters like to paint, there’s a reason: the glowing portrait is false.

Still, does Texas job growth point the way to faster job growth in the nation as a whole? No.

What Texas shows is that a state offering cheap labor and, less important, weak regulation can attract jobs from other states. I believe that the appropriate response to this insight is “Well, duh.” The point is that arguing from this experience that depressing wages and dismantling regulation in America as a whole would create more jobs — which is, whatever Mr. Perry may say, what Perrynomics amounts to in practice — involves a fallacy of composition: every state can’t lure jobs away from every other state.

In fact, at a national level lower wages would almost certainly lead to fewer jobs — because they would leave working Americans even less able to cope with the overhang of debt left behind by the housing bubble, an overhang that is at the heart of our economic problem.

So when Mr. Perry presents himself as the candidate who knows how to create jobs, don’t believe him. His prescriptions for job creation would work about as well in practice as his prayer-based attempt to end Texas’s crippling drought.


Rick Perry's 'Texas Miracle' Includes Crowded Homeless Shelters, Low-Wage Jobs, Worker Deaths

Excerpt from an article posted on by on August 3, 2011

First Posted: 8/3/11
AUSTIN, Texas -- It was 105 degrees outside late last week when Vanessa Surita, 24, planted herself on the sidewalk and stretched her legs. Her young daughter sat in a stroller within arms length, outside the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless. Her needs were great: housing, a job, a high school diploma. She could mark progress in job applications filled out.

A local pizza chain, a Pizza Hut, a local grocery chain, a Family Dollar -- each the equivalent of a professional lottery ticket.

"I just recently tried to apply at Whataburger," Surita said. "It's been like two weeks ... I've been calling them. They still haven't had a chance to look at my application. They still haven't had a chance to look at my application. They're like 2,000 people that apply every month, so I don't know."

Surita said she and her 21-month-old daughter crash at her sister's place with her two children. "We've been on the waiting list for housing since she was born," she said.

A few days earlier, Kelly Johnson waited patiently in a corner by ARCH's entrance. She sat hugging her backpack. She had lost her job at Subway a month ago. She found temp work sticking price tags on clothes in a warehouse. It was two days a week, and neither day was a sure thing. It did little to prevent her from ending up homeless. Last week was her first without a roof over her head.

"It feels helpless. It feels horrible," Johnson, 31, said. She had a series of jobs she wanted in mind. "I'm looking for customer service, call center, housekeeping like in hotels at the Marriott or "maybe the Omni." One day, she said, she dreams of working in an office, maybe as a paralegal.

Surita and Johnson do not fit in the prevailing narrative about the Lone Star state. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas has created more jobs in the last year than any other state. These job openings have become known as the much-hyped, "Texas Miracle." In his February 2011 state-of-the-state address, Governor Rick Perry boasted: "Our economic strength is no accident. It's a testimony to our people, our entrepreneurs, and, yes, to the decisions made in this building. Employers from across the country and around the world understand that the opportunity they crave can be found in Texas, and they're headed our way, with jobs in tow."

Should he ultimately choose to run for the White House, Perry will be spending a lot of his time on the stump repeating those lines. Dig beneath the talking points and you find a more troubling picture: rising unemployment, a glut of low-wage jobs without benefits, overcrowded homeless shelters and public schools facing billions in budget cuts. Surita and Johnson have been airbrushed from the miracle. But they still can be found on the housing waiting lists and shelter entrances.

"If you want a bad job, go to Texas," said Texas Rep. Garnet Coleman (D), who represents a district in Houston, in an interview with The Huffington Post. "If you want to work at Carl's Jr., our doors are open, and if you want to go to a crumbling school in a failing school system, this is the place to come."

The state capital, with its expanded skyline and renovated office parks, will surely be b-roll in any Perry campaign ad. But Austin -- like many across the country -- simply hasn't witnessed across-the-board job stability.

There's a crowd outside the ARCH no matter the heat. The building was designed for 100 dormitory beds, but now sleeps 215 -- including 115 men sleeping on mats on the a second floor dining room and a conference room floor. Even then, Mitchell Gibbs, the director of development and communications, said they are turning away 15 to 50 men a night.

"Austin is supposed to be ground zero of the Texas Miracle," explained Doug Greco, lead organizer with Austin Interfaith, a nonpartisan group of some 30 congregations, schools and unions. "But we have the higher poverty rate and higher child poverty rate--nearly one in three children." He added that the need for shelter, food and clothing has spiked in the city. "It doesn't take much to pierce through the rhetoric," he said.

Texas is struggling right along with every other state. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Texas had recently bumped up to 8.2 percent unemployment in June which puts it below the national average. Still plenty of states without miracles posted lower unemployment rates; New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Wisconsin, among others are all out performing Texas. Drill down even further into the numbers and there are plenty of residents that haven't felt the miracle.

In May, job growth slowed statewide. According to a recent report in the Houston Chronicle, Houston's not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate jumped to 9 percent. The unemployment rate has hit double digits in the Rio Grande Valley. In Hildago County, it's 12 percent. Quality of life indexes like child poverty rates put Texas further behind. State Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D) told The Huffington Post her state ranks 48th in teen birth rates, 50th in prenatal care and 46th in income disparity -- and 50th in the number of persons who receive a high school diploma by age 25.

With Texas' minimal regulation and low taxes -- and Perry's cheerleading -- a spike in job growth during the past few years became known as the Texas Miracle. The rise in oil and gas prices, as well as a long-time state law protecting homeowners, helped stave off the recession for a while. And as a result, a miracle myth was created, with little exploration as to what impact Perry's policies actually had on the economic picture. The miracle is that anyone would call minimum-wage jobs a miracle. Of the all the jobs in Texas created last year, 37 percent paid at or below minimum wage -- and the state leads the nation in total minimum wage workers, according to a recent New York Times report.

"The important thing to do is not to just count jobs but to look at what kinds of jobs are being created in Texas," explained Dick Lavine, a Senior Fiscal Analyst with the Center for Public Policy Priorities. "Texas is tied for last with Mississippi for the highest percentage of minimum wage jobs and Texas is by far the leader of residents who don't have health insurance. It's low wage jobs without any benefits."

This resonates with Gibbs at the ARCH, which created a 100-bed unit on the third floor for homeless night-shift workers who needed a place to sleep during the day. These workers, Gibbs said, included bakers from downtown hotels who simply couldn't afford Austin rents.

The ARCH may want to think about expanding its homeless worker unit. If there is continued job growth in Texas, the trend continues to point toward the low-skilled, low-wage variety. According to a just-released Georgetown University study, Texas ranks 41 among all 50 states in the percentage of jobs requiring post-secondary education.

HuffPost readers: If you've become recently unemployed in Texas or struggle with a low-wage job in the Lone Star State, we want to hear from you. Tell us your stories by emailing Please include your phone number if you're willing to do an interview.

When it comes to budget gaps, Texas is just like much of the rest of the country. This year, the state faced a projected budget shortfall totaling as much as $27 billion; the legislature also had to contend with a $4.3 billion deficit in its current budget. The state made massive across-the-board cuts to state agencies -- including $4 billion in public school cuts over two years. Perry and the state legislature also ended up closing out funding for pre-kindergarten programs for roughly 100,000 low-income children. Mass layoffs of public sector workers is expected.

The Texas Miracle may become part of Perry's national pitch, but it's nonsense to state Sen. Zaffrini. "Talking about the so-called 'Texas Miracle," she said in an emailed statement, "is at best disingenuous because it ignores the state's shameful national standing in terms of supporting education and helping the neediest of the needy."

Nor has there been much in the way of adequate job protections. Texas still ranks as the most dangerous state for worker safety. An April study [PDF] produced by the University of Texas and the Workers Defense Project stated that one in five construction workers were injured on the job, while only 45 percent had workers' compensation. The study also noted that a worker dies every 2.5 days and the state sees 16,900 job-related accidents annually.

Emily Timm, a policy analyst with the Workers Defense Project, said that roughly 45 percent of the more than 300 workers surveyed reported being paid wages below the federal poverty line. And one in five workers complained that their employers had paid them less than what they were owed. Being allowed adequate drinking water is even an issue. Nearly a third of the workers surveyed reported that their employers did not provide them with access to drinking water.

Timm said her organization has only seen a further rise in worker problems. "We're seeing more complaints of wage theft than we ever have before," she said. "We're also seeing more and more workers being misclassified as independent contractors." That distinction can be crucial, she said, as it allows the construction companies to not deduct taxes from their paychecks as well as skirt minimum wage and overtime requirements.

In Austin, that lack of income growth has been met with increasing rents and state cuts to safety-net services. This past year, rents have gone up by more than 4 percent. Fred Krebs, a pastor with the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in central Austin, said he's noticed an increasing number of his congregants are having trouble keeping up. "People's economic level in my congregation has clearly gone down in the last few years," he said. "That's been very clear ... We've had to help our members with meals. Sometimes just $20 to make sure they have milk and eggs and bread ... We just helped a member buy glasses. It was either the glasses or their place to live."

Every Saturday morning, Pastor John Elford serves a free breakfast at University United Methodist Church for Austin's neediest. The number of residents waiting in line, he said, has recently shot up from from 375 to 500.

Elford remembered one family that stuck out. They had left California in the hopes of finding their own piece of the Texas Miracle in Austin. They were in their mid-to-late '30 with two elementary-school aged kids. Things didn't work out so much. "They ran out of money," he said. "They came to us."

Elford's church collected enough money to put the family up in a motel for week. "When I talked with them, they were just worn out from living here and there," he said. At the end of the week, the family moved back to California to live with relatives.

Rick Perry's Record: Texas Spending Kept Rising For Years During Governorship

Rick Perry Government Spending

Gov. Rick Perry's political stock has soared in recent months as he has traveled the country touting a decade of fiscal restraint in Texas under his leadership.

Last month, Perry made Texas history by signing a two-year state budget that cuts overall spending for the first time in over 40 years.

Perry has long promoted the state's fiscal record as a model for the country and a key to why Texas has weathered the recession better than most other states. He has opposed new taxes and been vehemently anti-Washington, and his message is drawing interest among Republican primary voters nationwide.

Yet before the latest one, the Texas budget had consistently grown during Perry's time as governor, with total spending rising faster than inflation and population growth, state data show.

What's more, spending through 2011, adjusted for population and inflation, rose more on average while Perry has been in charge than it did under his predecessor, George W. Bush, according to a Star-Telegram analysis.

In the past, Perry has criticized Bush for not controlling spending while governor.

"Let me tell you something," Perry told a small group of Iowa Republicans in 2007 while campaigning for former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was running for president. "George Bush was never a fiscal conservative. ... I mean, '95, '97, '99, George Bush was spending money."

When Bush was governor, total state spending rose 13.3 percent every two years on average. Adjusting the figures for population growth and inflation, that growth rate was 2.3 percent.

Perry took the reins in December 2000. From then until 2011, spending increased an average of 16.8 percent every two years. Once adjusted for population and inflation, that rate falls to 4.2 percent. Adjusted spending figures in the just-passed 2012-13 budget are not yet available.

If Perry runs for president, his fiscal record in Texas is sure to draw more scrutiny, just as it did for Bush.

In the final months of the 2000 presidential election, then-Vice President Al Gore pointed to the growth of the Texas budget under Bush to argue that he and President Bill Clinton had more experience at reducing the size of government.

Perry's office and some budget experts say the entire state budget is not a fair gauge of a governor's fiscal record, since portions such as federal funding are not under his direct purview.

"Lawmakers and the governor have no control over that," Perry spokeswoman Catherine Frazier said.

Fed largely by state taxes and fees, general revenue has typically made up roughly half the Texas budget. It's the part of the budget that lawmakers spend most of their time arguing over during legislative sessions. Much of the rest of the budget is tied by provisions in federal law and the Texas Constitution.

When general revenue spending is examined by itself, the trends match better with the fiscal conservative image that Perry promotes. Though general revenue spending has grown with nearly every budget since Perry took office, it actually fell over the last decade an average of 0.6 percent every two years once those numbers are adjusted for inflation and the state's booming population growth. It rose during Bush's tenure.

"Obviously fiscal restraint is always something the governor has made a priority," Frazier said. "He's the only Texas governor since World War II that has cut general revenue spending."

That distinction is one that Perry has touted repeatedly in recent years, from campaign commercials to the biography on the governor's office website.

Mike Hailey, who runs the Austin political site Capitol Inside and served as Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock's press secretary, said that general revenue spending is "a more telling gauge" of a governor's fiscal record but that the rest of the budget is relevant as well.

He also noted that the Legislature chose to accept billions in federal stimulus money in 2009, which temporarily pumped up spending.

Different Times

During their periods as governor, Perry and Bush have faced very different political and economic environments. For the nearly six years that Bush had the job, Democrats controlled at least one chamber of the Legislature. Since 2003, Republicans have held majorities in both the House and Senate.

Many Texas Democrats praised Bush's ability to work with both parties.

"If you compare the budgets of both governors based on keeping Texans with services and doing tax cuts, you'll find that Bush did both, whereas you'll find all Rick Perry did is cut spending and cut services," said state Rep. Garnett Coleman, D-Houston, who has served in the House since 1991.

Talmadge Heflin, director of the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation's Center for Fiscal Policy, served in the Texas House from 1983 to 2005 as a Republican and has been chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

"I don't think it's just Perry has been a Bush 2," Heflin said. "Perry's had a different approach to government even though both have been more on the conservative side than the moderate side."

Heflin said Perry has done a better job controlling spending than Bush, but he criticized lawmakers' use of accounting gimmicks to avoid deeper cuts in recent years. Like Perry, he has advocated for the Legislature to cap spending at the rate of population growth plus inflation.

"That does allow for infrastructure growth," Heflin said. "It just doesn't allow for bringing a bunch of new programs in."

Both governors also worked amid very different economic conditions.

"Gov. Bush enjoyed a time of steady economic growth, even overheated growth if you include Texas' part of the 1990s tech bubble," said Terry Clower, an economist at the University of North Texas.

Perry, meanwhile, has been governor during two recessions and major changes in key federal programs.

"In many ways, these differences make budget performance over these two governorships a matter of comparing apples to oranges," Clower said.

Federal Funding

While the governor clearly has significant sway over the general revenue portion of the budget, his or her power over the rest of it is less clear. Federal funding has routinely made up about a third of the budget over the last decade.

Heflin said state officials have chased federal funds too aggressively, ignoring that they often prompt more state spending and can impede private-sector growth. He has argued that the state took too much stimulus money in 2009.

Frazier made clear that Perry is aware of the balancing act that comes with federal funds.

"Texas taxpayers send that money to Washington," Frazier said. "We deserve to have our fair share back as opposed to seeing that money go to other states. But there is that separate concern that federal spending has grown out of control and needs to be reined in."

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Rick Perry Has His Own Dukakis Problem

Bill Maher: If You Think the GOP Field Now Is Bad, Look at Rick Perry

Bill Maher took particular glee in slamming the right wing in his New Rules segment, in which he singled out uber-religious, uber know-nothing Texas Governor Rick Perry for the Maher treatment. And with good reason, as AlterNet's Josh Holland recently noted: Texas is a mess thanks to his stewardship.

Watch below, via Crooks and Liars.

By Sarah Seltzer | AlterNet
Posted on Saturday, June 18, 2011 @ 06:55 AM

By Michael O’Brien - 06/20/11
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is being encouraged to enter the presidential race.

Perry has spoken to Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), the chairman of House Republicans' campaign efforts, and Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas), a senior member of the Ways & Means Committee, as part of his decision-making process, the members said.

And other members of the delegation are openly advocating for Perry, who’s reconsidering his earlier decision to stay out of the 2012 White House campaign.

"I think he's going through a very deliberative process that will be very good for him to properly determine how and when he would offer himself up to the Republican Party to run for president," Sessions said. "He's somebody who I think would be a strong candidate for the Republican Party nomination."

The Texas Republican, who's the longest-serving governor in the U.S., has received renewed overtures because of a perceived dissatisfaction with the candidates in the race, particularly with no major candidate to carry the banner of the Tea Party, of which Perry was an early supporter.

Perry has said he'll make up his mind about whether to enter the race once the state legislature finishes its special session later this month or in early July. He would be one of the last candidates — if not the absolute last – to enter the race, but he may prove a formidable foe.

Mark McKinnon, a longtime Texas Republican operative who helped President George W. Bush go from the governor's mansion in Austin to the White House, said he thinks Perry will run.

"I think he has a lot of potential. I think he has honed a strong anti-Washington message that will appeal to a lot of Republicans," McKinnon said. "Perry is a disciplined and aggressive campaigner. He should not be underestimated."

Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Texas) wrote Perry a letter that "pledged my full support to him.”

"After watching the [GOP primary debate last] Monday night, it was clear to me that we're not anywhere close to deciding who the candidate is," Marchant explained. "I just think this would be the time for him to make the move."

"I'm very optimistic he'll run, and if he runs, he'll win the nomination," said Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas).

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) also wants Perry in the race.

"I know he's seriously considering it, and I personally think that he'd be a great choice. I think right now, the Republican Party's looking for a real leader to come out of the fray, and he has the narrative, in terms of creating more jobs than any other state," he said.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, the top-ranking House Republican from the delegation, said he's not ready to "take a stand" on the presidential campaign, but he had kind words for Perry.

"He's been a great governor of our state -- one of the reasons that people are leaving other states to come to Texas is because we have a great job climate," said Hensarling, who hasn't spoken to Perry. "Frankly, that has a lot to do with his leadership."

Perry appears to enjoy an amenable relationship with the delegation following last year’s bitter gubernatorial primary battle with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas). He beat her soundly with 21 percent of the vote and went on to win a full third-term in office. (Perry, who was lieutenant governor under then-Gov. Bush, finished out that term when Bush won the White House).

Most of the Texas delegation who got involved with the primary sided with Hutchison, but multiple members of the delegation said they expect most of their colleagues to support Perry if he gets into the presidential race.

Hutchison, meanwhile, said it's "pretty far down the road" in the campaign for Perry to win her support, but acknowledged his tough campaign credentials.

"Well, he certainly will be formidable," she said earlier this month on MSNBC. "He has a very good political team, I will say that. I know that firsthand."

If Perry does suffer defections in support from the powerful Texas bloc, it will be more due to his late entry and commitments other members have already made.

"I think if he decided to run, he would definitely be a contender. There's some appetite for other candidates, to get in, and he may well fill that niche," said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who won’t endorse in the GOP primary because of his obligations as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). "The daunting part of it is to start from scratch after so many other people have had such a lead, particularly when it comes to fundraising. The fundraising challenges would be pretty steep."

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), who's endorsed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's (R-Ga.) presidential campaign, said that a Perry campaign would put him in a "real tough spot."

"I'm a close, personal friend of Rick Perry and I think he's an outstanding governor and I think he would be a great president," he said. " I think having Gov. Perry in the field would be good for the Republican Party. From a personal perspective, I would rather see him not run, because I'm already committed to Newt Gingrich. But having a qualified candidate like Rick Perry for the people of the United States to choose would be a good thing."

The Texas members all acknowledge the case for Perry is strong. As governor of Texas, the Lone Star State has thrived (relatively speaking) amid an extended economic downturn most everywhere else in the U.S. He was quick to embrace the Tea Party, and rode the grassroots momentum to his primary victory over Hutchison.

Moreover, Perry's conservative bona fides have never been in question. He's been an ardent supporter of gun owners' rights, and conservative groups have gladly talked up the tort reforms he got through the Texas state legislature. And while Perry's said the Day of Prayer he's holding Aug. 6 for fellow governors is nonpolitical, it's certainly not doing anything to harm his chances with social conservative voters.

Those red meat conservatives play an important role in early primary states, especially in Iowa and South Carolina, where McKinnon said Perry would contend.

"I think Iowa could become a contest between Perry and [Minnesota Rep. Michele] Bachmann," he said. "And if he wins there, he could do well in South Carolina."

If nothing else, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) said, Perry's traction represents somewhat of a quick political rebound for the Lone Star State.

"Just the notion of having a Texas governor run was something that I did not think I would see again in my lifetime," said Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), another Gingrich backer. "So thorough and effective was the demonization of George W. Bush by the left and the press when he left office ... it's been remarkable to see a resurgence where now a Texas governor would find the landscape just right for entering the field."


Perry Thinks He's a Prophet When He's Just a Terrible Governor

by: bensherman 

Wed Jun 15, 2011 at 05:31 PM CDT

(Another piece from Ben, our new Perry tracker here at BOR. - promoted by Phillip Martin)

The Perry-for-President chatter continues as the lackluster GOP field continues to lack luster. After Monday's CNN GOP primary debate, pundits
went so far as to say Perry, who was not there, emerged a winner in the debate.

On Tuesday, Perry told Fox News' Neil Cavuto that while he wasn't thinking about a presidential run six weeks ago, his wife and supporters have successfully encouraged him to reconsider. He claimed to be "giving it some serious thought." We're glad to hear that he's taking it seriously.

Later in the interview, Cavuto asked Perry why polls show he is not very popular in Texas. Perry's answer was stunning. "I say that a prophet is generally not loved in their hometown. That's both Biblical and practical," Perry smirked. Watch the segment here.

So, Perry believes he's not finding support in Texas (only 4% of Texas Republicans support him for president) because he's been showing us the light and Texans just can't take it.

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Governor.

In reality, Perry has worked his very hardest (at a leisurely seven hours a week, no less) to ruin everything in Texas. Over the course of his never-ending governorship, Perry has driven our state into a massive budget deficit, worsened public education, failed to prepare for Texas' population growth and wrapped himself up in ten ethics scandals designed to enrich himself and his friends.

Is Rick Perry the second coming?

It is becoming clear. Rick Perry is a prophet sent to Texas to bestow his knowledge and guidance upon the millions of the State. A prophet:

In religion, a prophet is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this new found knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people. 

Traditionally, prophets are regarded as having a role in society that promotes change due to their messages and actions.
That is Rick Perry, the leader of the Pray-apalooza coming to Houston in Aug. He is the prophet from God that instructed him to tank the Texas economy through tax breaks for the rick and tax gimmicks for the homeowner, resulting in massive deficits. He was instructed by God to then cut services for the elderly, the sick, and the poor, and to demonize those that are not angel white.

Rick Perry believes he has been sent here by God's to bring his word to all of America just like he did to Texas. To many, Rick Perry is Jesus Christ.


Intelligent Texans dislike Perry because Perry is a terrible governor.  How long before the rest of the country shares our distaste?

Rick Perry And The Wrath of God

Excerpts from whammers blog at

Why True Christians Abhor Republicans -- Part Two

Governor Rick Perry of Texas, liar, tea party darling and wingnut extraordinaire, has been babbling about God again. When asked about his popularity being greater around the country than in his home state, he responded: “A prophet is generally not loved in their hometown. That’s both biblical and practical.”

Jesus used those words to describe himself while denouncing his countrymen who rejected him, and for Rick Perry to similarly apply them to himself, given the anti God Republican policies he enacts in Texas, is absolutely absurd. His latest budgest slashes necessary services to the needy and the poor, while laying off as many as 100,000 teachers, sadly and almost thankfully denying their capacity to impart revised US history to the children of Texas.

Earlier this week it came to light that in an interview last month Perry claimed that ‘God crashed the economy to return us to biblical principals.’

No, Rick, that's not it at all. The Bible teaches us that the love of money is the root of all evil, and it was the wicked policies of your predecessor in the Texas governor’s mansion and his cronies (some of whom are your cronies too) when they took the White House with the Congress in their pockets that accomplished that. George Bush and the Republicans crashed the economy by doling out the national treasury to their wealthy friends.

However, since you are so fond of mentioning God and the Bible, surely you know that God expresses His wrath upon mankind using fire. Here are a couple of scriptures for you.

Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them. Psalm 21:9

Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their head, saith the Lord GOD. Ezekiel 22:31.

In April, when Texas was battling wildfires, Perry publicly criticized Obama for not helping his state while he was receiving federal funds to do just that. That is hypocrisy, and being a hypocrite precludes Perry from possibly being a prophet.

So, Rick, if you are looking to a manifestation of God's displeasure with acts of Americans that controvert the Bible, you should look to the wildfires which ravaged your own state, and which are currently burning out of control in Arizona—the largest ever there. Wicked men control economies, but God is Lord of the elements: he kindles fire with His fingernails of flint, and fans and spreads the flames with the wind, which is His breath.

And why? Because it is also written in the Bible: For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Galatians 5:14

The Arizona legislature’s relentless persecution of their neighbors to the south--God’s children in Mexico--and the recently enacted laws which persecute their neighbors in their own communities, are in direct contradiction to ‘all the law,’ also known as the OLD TESTAMENT, and this is what incites the LORD to ire.

If Rick Perry were truly a prophet he would quickly recognize these plain truths: but he’s doesn’t, and he’s not.


Texas Is a Shining Example of Right-Wing Governance in Action and That's Why It's a Complete Basket-Case

Conservatives claim the "Texas Miracle" is a model for the nation, but it's actually a blueprint for winning the race to the bottom.  AlterNet by Josh Holland

Conservative mythology now holds up Texas as a shining example of right-wing governance in action. Republicans would have us believe that gutting the state's social safety net, denying workers the right to bargain collectively and relentlessly cutting taxes unleashed a torrent of “job creation” and, ultimately, prosperity.

Under governor Rick “Goodhair” Perry's term in office, Texas has indeed been a model of conservative governance, but the truth is that it has resulted in anything but prosperity for the people of the Lone Star State. In fact, Texas is not only a complete basket-case, it would be faring far worse today without the help of policies enacted by Democrats at the federal level – policies Perry lambasted as “irresponsible spending that threatens our future.”

The kernel of truth on which the tale of the Texas Miracle is built is that the state has in fact added a lot of jobs over the past decade. In a gushing lead editorial, the Wall Street Journal noted that “37% of all net new American jobs since the recovery began were created in Texas.” The Journal then spun that fact like this:

Capital—both human and investment—is highly mobile, and it migrates all the time to the places where the opportunities are larger and the burdens are lower. Texas has no state income tax. Its regulatory conditions are contained and flexible. It is fiscally responsible and government is small. Its right-to-work law doesn't impose unions on businesses or employees.

In the Journal's hyper-partisan view, the lesson to be learned is that “the core impulse of Obamanomics is to make America less like Texas and more like California, with more government, more unions, more central planning, higher taxes.” That spin was echoed during last week's GOP debate by none other than Newt Gingrich, who asked, “Why [would] you want to be at California's unemployment level when you can be [at] Texas's employment level?”

James Galbraith, an economist at the University of Texas, scoffed at the whole narrative, telling AlterNet, “the notion that our state government is a model is almost enough to beckon the spirit of Molly Ivins back from the shades.” Galbraith said “Texas has been a low-tax, low-service state since the time of the Republic,” and noted that it's “therefore impossible that this fact suddenly accounts for its better job performance over the past few years.” (Texas' record of job creation under Perry is the same as it was under former governor Ann Richards, a Democrat.)

“Texas is an energy state benefiting from high oil prices and the incipient boom in natural gas,” explained Galbraith. “That's an accident of nature.” He added that the state “went through the S&L crisis, had major criminal prosecutions and more restrictive housing finance regulations this time around; hence it was not an epicenter of the subprime housing disaster. That's called a learning experience.” Tighter regulation of the lending industry is also anathema to today's GOP.

Arguably the biggest sleight-of-hand in the Texas Miracle storyline, however, is that many of those jobs were a result of a huge surge in the state's population, much of it fueled by immigration from Latin America (rather than liberal hell-holes like California).

Texas' population grew by 20 percent over the past decade, and Hispanics accounted for almost two-thirds of that growth. A surge in people created greater demand for goods and services, which leads to more jobs. But the jobs being created in Texas aren't keeping up with the state's expanding workforce – the Wall Street Journal somehow failed to mention that during the exact same period in which it was adding all those new jobs, Texas' unemployment rate actually increased from 7.7 to 8 percent (it also failed to note that 23 states -- including such deep blue ones as Vermont, New York and Massachusetts -- enjoy lower unemployment rates than Texas).

But perhaps the most laughable claim in this whole narrative is that Texas has been “fiscally responsible.” Perry certainly adhered to the conservative playbook, offering massive tax breaks without the deep cuts in services that might inspire a voter backlash. As a result – an entirely predictable one – the Austin American-Statesman reported that “state lawmakers have spent much of the year grappling with a budget shortfall that left them $27 billion short of the money needed to continue current state services.”

CNN adds that while Perry was railing against the Democratic stimulus package passed over the fierce resistance of conservatives, the state “was facing a $6.6 billion shortfall for its 2010-2011 fiscal years,” and “it plugged nearly all of that deficit with $6.4 billion in Recovery Act money.” The stimulus package created or saved 205,000 jobs in Texas, second only to California. But as James Galbraith told AlterNet, while “the state budget has not yet been cut drastically” due to the stimulus boost, “the key phrase is 'not yet.'” Now that the stimulus has run its course, “if projections for the current budget cycle are correct, things will get much worse in the next year.”

Indeed, those cuts are now on their way. The Texas legislature imposed draconian cuts to Medicaid, cut tuition aid to 43,000 low-income students and is weighing $10 billion in cuts to the state's education system. According to Texas state senator Rodney Ellis, D-Fort Bend, the 2012-2013 budget will underfund “health and human services in Texas by $23 billion, 29.8 percent below what is needed to maintain current services.”

But Perry's tax breaks are indeed part of the state's jobs picture; as Time magazine's Massimo Calabresi noted, Perry established several massive business tax breaks “designed to lure companies from other states.”

[But] the funds have been controversial. They have channeled millions of dollars to companies whose officers or investors are major Perry campaign donors and Perry has allowed them to keep their subsidies in many cases even when they fail to deliver promised jobs. More important for the purposes of judging Perry’s job-creating record, even those that do produce jobs don’t necessarily create long-lasting ones, or increase the state’s overall prosperity.

In a report written for Perry last spring, Michael Porter of Harvard Business School noted that such tax breaks “ultimately don’t support long-term prosperity,” because companies that can move easily “are looking for the best deal and when the deal runs out they move” again, taking their jobs with them.

He also found that Texas’ per capita income growth was the eighth slowest of any state in the country between 1998 and 2008. That's because, as the American Independent's Patrick Brendel noted, “Texas has by far the largest number of employees working at or below the federal minimum wage,” and the number of crappy jobs has exploded while this supposed Texas Miracle was taking place. “From 2007 to 2010, the number of minimum wage workers in Texas rose from 221,000 to 550,000, an increase of nearly 150 percent,” wrote Brendel. As a result, Texas is now “tied with Mississippi for the greatest percentage of minimum wage workers, while California had among the fewest (less than 2 percent).”

At a fundraiser this week, Rick Perry, who despite toying with the idea of secession in the past may now be eying a White House bid, told a group of Republican fat-cats that in his state, “you don't have to use your imagination, saying, 'What'll happen if we apply this or that conservative principle?' You just need to look around, because they've been in play across our state for years, generating real results.”

In this, Perry is absolutely, 100 percent correct. He slashed taxes to the bone, handing out credits to his political cronies like they were candy. He decried the evils of Big Government while hypocritically using federal stimulus funds to help close Texas' budget gap in the short term, and now he's using the state's longer term fiscal disaster – one of his own creation – as a premise for destroying an already threadbare social safety net serving the neediest Texans. As a result of these policies, plus immigration and other external factors, his state's added a lot of low-paying poverty jobs without decent benefits. He's added very little in the way of “prosperity.”

In the final analysis, Texas is indeed a shining example of conservative governance, as well as an almost perfect model for winning the race to the bottom.

Rick Perry's Willingham Scandal

By  Michael Landauer/Editor Dallas news | Bio

9:46 AM on Wed., Oct. 7, 2009 | Permalink Rick Perry is losing the message battle on the Willingham case. In elections, it's vital that you control the message. Control what people are saying about you. You define the issues.

With that in mind, I might suggest that Rick Perry's move last week to scuttle the search for truth in the Willingham case was more than just a desperate attempt to avoid an awkward conversation. It may have been a rare political blunder on his part.

Let's take a stroll down Rick Perry's press clipping of late:

Some choice headlines:

In fact, if you Google just the words "Rick Perry," these are the top news headlines you get:

If the hearing had happened, the storyline would be much different. And Rick Perry might still be in control.


Rick Perry's Top Ten State Agency Scandals: His Decade of Failure by: Phillip Martin

Tue Mar 02, 2010 at 10:00 AM CST

Ed. note: This is the third in a series of five morning stories about today's elections I'll be posting every hour (or so, as I realize now its a lot of text to put up every hour). The first one: "How Does Rick Perry Beat Bill White Without Moderates and Without Medina Conservatives?" The second one: "The Medina Conservatives: How Many Today and How Many Tomorrow?"

One important reason why Rick Perry won't be able to tack back to the middle and win independent voters is that Hutchison never put his record of failure under the microscope. Her attacks came late, didn't stick, and she was never a strong messenger. But as Emily Ramshaw at the Texas Tribune wrote, that doesn't mean those issues aren't there:

The attack ad could write itself: On Gov. Rick Perry’s watch, Texas weathered a sexual abuse scandal at the Texas Youth Commission, fight clubs at state institutions for the disabled and deaths of kids monitored by Child Protective Services.

But three of the biggest messes of Perry’s 10-year tenure — two of which spurred U.S. Justice Department investigations — have been noticeably absent on the campaign trail. While U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Perry’s chief Republican primary opponent, has hit the airwaves on toll roads, immigration and education, she has largely steered clear of these high-profile social services debacles.  

While Kay Bailey Hutchison may have dropped the ball, the Texas Democratic Party has not. Last fall, the state party put out a list of top ten state agency scandals under Perry's watch. The top three? Those same issues Ramshaw highlighted -- the TYC abuse scandal, fight clubs at state schools, and deaths at CPS.

Here's the TDP's list of the top ten state agency scandals -- something Perry will have to answer for if wants to be president:

Under one-party Republican rule, Texas state agencies are plagued by pay-to-play politics, mismanagement and corruption.

Tom Delay's Lawyer, Dick Deguerin, Calls for Investigation Into Rick Perry's ETF Scandal

by: Phillip Martin

Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 10:32 AM CDT

Ed. note: This post has been udpated to provide more context to the original press release.

This is pretty huge. From a press release the Bill White campaign sent out minutes ago:

Bill White called for an immediate state and federal investigation, and one of the nation's preeminent criminal defense lawyers weighed in today as Rick Perry stonewalls questions about the public corruption scandal. 

Perry handed out $16 million in taxpayer dollars from a high tech fund to companies tied to his top political contributors. 

"This is the kind of thing a Public Integrity Unit ought to investigate. If the fundraisers promised or suggested that grants would go to political donors and then that happened, that's criminal, plain and simple," said Dick DeGuerin. 

DeGuerin has defended Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and Representative Tom DeLay and was recently named one of the 25 Greatest Texas Lawyers of the Past Quarter Century. 

"Perry's had 48 hours. He's stonewalling simple questions and refusing to release documents revealing the investors in companies getting taxpayer dollars. The Travis County DA and the Department of Justice should investigate," said White.

The scandal we're referring to is the major, breaking story from Dallas Morning News.

It is also making national headlines:

The crux of the scandal is as follows:

An investigation by The Dallas Morning News found that more than $16 million from the Emerging Technology Fund has been awarded to companies with investors or officers who are large campaign donors to Perry.


The governor's office administers the tech fund, and the governor must approve each award – a system that most other states with tech funds avoid to guard against political influence.

The News found that tech fund money has been awarded to companies with which at least eight significant Perry donors are affiliated.

There is a possibility that the GOP might call upon Governor Rick Perry to run for president.


Greetings from the bizarro state of Texas, which voted out popular governor Ann Richards in order to replace her with George H. W. Bush’s profligate---and dumb as a bag of rocks---son. W.  Some folks say he got the job, because Rove called Richards a lesbian.  I think a bunch of voters mistook the son for the father and decided that the job of governor would be a nice consolation prize for the one term ex-president.  W. maintained that he was not interested in being president. But that did not stop him from waging one of the dirtiest campaigns ever in 2000, when he used the Supreme Court of the United States to keep lawfully cast votes from being counted in Florida.

Then Obama was elected.

Now here comes Rick “Goodhair” Perry. He says he does not want to be president. Now, where have I heard that before?

Dubya was able to steal the election in 2000, in part, because he carefully scrubbed his Texas record. For instance, he boasted during a debate that he helped pass the Texas Patients Protection Act, a law that prevented managed care abuses. In fact, he vetoed the law the first time around, after the legislature was out of session, so it was dead for two years. He got a lot of flak over this veto. So much flak that the next time the bill came around, two years later, he grudgingly allowed it to become law. Then he claimed credit for it. Then , after he stole the election, he had Attorney General Ashcroft attack (and kill) the law in federal court.

I mention this, because the story teaches us a lesson. Do not listen to what the candidate says. Look at what he has done. If he is promising to be the new Teddy Roosevelt, but during his term as governor he was Ebenezer Scrooge, you can safely predict that the poor houses will be full to bursting under his administration.

Now, to the matter at hand. Let’s talk turkey. A great big fat turkey with a really nice head of hair.

I. Rick Perry Protects Pedophiles

Texas Governor Rick Perry has done a lot of shameful things during his excessively long term. If people were actually forced to wear their Badges of Shame, he would look like an Eagle Scout or a four star general. His biggest, baddest medal is the one that says I (Heart) Child Molesters .

Now, I could quote a bunch of liberal journalists, but folks would just say that they are biased. So, I will rely upon the reporting of a bone fide conservative writer, Jerome Corsi, from World Daily Net to show you all just how big and bad this story was.

Here is a link which outlines the basics of the case.

Briefly, in 2005 Texas Ranger, Brian Burzynski discovered that employees of the Texas Youth Commission had been engaging in sexual activities with their (underage) charges.  This made them guilty of both rape and abuse of power. In a solidly red state like Texas, sexual shenanigans are not tolerated, right?  State and local prosecutors should have jumped on the case.  But they did not. Instead, two years passed, during which time the pedophiles were allowed to continue their child molesting ways.  Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot and U.S. Attorney General Al Gonzales both threw up their hands and said “It’s not my problem, man.”

Here is a link about Rick Perry’s involvement in the scandal.  You see, he was facing a challenge from the right in the form of third party candidate Carole Strayhorn.  Perry was afraid that the if folks in Texas found out that he had overseen and made appointments to a Texas Youth Commission that was crawling with pedophiles, he might earn the reputation as someone who protects pedophiles.  In order to keep the story under wraps, he decided to .......protect the pedophiles.

While Texas Gov. Rick Perry claimed to reporters he learned only last month of the teen sex scandal rocking the state's juvenile justice system, his office admitted to WND it knew of an investigation that began two years ago.
Perry told reporters he became aware of the Texas Youth Commission scandal last month, after news reports broke in Texas newspapers detailing Texas Ranger Brian Burzynski's probe into the charges. But WND's investigation shows Perry's office knew of Burzynski's probe as early as February 2005, two years before any grand jury had been convened in the case or any statewide investigation was launched from the governor's office.

The cabal of Texas Republicans in DC and Austin carefully avoided doing anything about the case until after Perry was safely re-elected (by less than a plurality) in the fall of 2006. Then, they sprang into action----pointing fingers at the local Democratic prosecutor in the case to explain why they decided to do nothing for two years.

More on Perry’s complicity in the Texas Youth Commission Scandal here:

Note that when Perry was finally forced to appoint someone to (stonewall the) investigat(ion) of the pedophiles, he chose a staunch Republican, Jay Kimbrough, whose other claim to fame is that he is the one who demanded that federal law enforcement officials arrest Texas Democratic legislators who fled the state in an effort to keep Tom Delay from doing an illegal, minority-vote-splitting redistricting in 2003. Note that Rick Perry was involved, too. He called for three special legislative sessions that year in order to force lawmakers to pass that redistricting plan, which the Supreme Court later said violated federal voting rights protection laws.

II. Rick is Opposed to Private Property

Sometimes, I think that Rick Perry is W. with an extra poofy wig. Recall that after a series of failed businesses, Bush finally made some real money by having the City of Alrington, Texas steal private citizens’ land for him so that he could build a ballpark. He then turned around and sold the ballpark to the city for millions. Now, if the city had used its powers of eminent domain to seize the land to build a city owned ballpark, that would have been one thing. However, they allowed one private developer (W.) to take land from other private citizens, presumably on the grounds that the son of an ex-president was more equal before the law than a bunch of nobody property owners.

Given the controversy that this case caused, you would think that aspiring Republican politician, Rick Perry would run, not walk, from any eminent domain scandal. However, in 2007, he vetoed the very popular bill that would have protected Texas property owners from eminent domain claims by private developers. He said that he was doing it, because of provisions involving road access. However, no one bothered to say a word about the road access provisions when they were being considered by the legislature. That was because they provided Perry with a convenient excuse to veto the entire bill after the legislature was out of session (and yes, it is a wonder that anything ever gets done in this state when all you have to do is bribe the governor if you want to kill a progressive law for two years).

Shades of W.’s Patient Protection Act veto.

III. Rick Perry Panders to the Confederate Flag Constituency

I want to make one thing clear, here. There are some that claim that they wave a Confederate Flag out of sense of pride in their southern heritage. This is bullshit. Even in the south, everyone knows that the flag is the banner under which states committed the ultimate act of treason in order to protect their right to deprive Blacks of their rights as human beings and United States citizens. Waving a Confederate Flag around while claiming that you are not a racist is like getting a swastika tattooed on your forehead while protesting that you love Jewish people. The Confederate flag symbolizes the south’s hatred of federal laws which have required equal treatment for all, regardless of race. If you believe that special schools should be built for whites and that Blacks should not make the same wages as other workers and mostly importantly that no Black man should ever be president of your country , then you express your displeasure by waving around one of these things.
During the speech, people waved "Don't Tread on Me" flags and signs lampooning the Obama administration's economic stimulus efforts. Some shouted, "Secede!"

Among the signs: "Obama. Liar in Chief" and "I'll Keep My Guns and Money. You Can Keep the Change."
Perry told reporters following his speech that Texans might get so frustrated with the government they would want to secede from the 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."

Note that Perry has assumed the role of modern day Jefferson Davis in order to pander to extreme right wing voters in Texas who might consider voting for Hutchinson. He hopes to make the Confederate Flag constituency associate her with Obama. Can “Call me, Barrack” ads featuring the former UT cheerleader turned U.S. senator be far behind?

IV. Some of Rick Perry’s More Memorable Vetoes

Perry vetoed a bill that would have informed ex-felons of their right to vote in Texas, because
Many GOP political consultants believe ex-offenders will be more likely to vote Democratic. -/

Rick Perry also vetoed a bill that would have required drivers to give cyclist three feet of space when passing around them. (???) /

Getting arrested for something you did not do sucks, right? Well, in Texas, that unpleasant situation gets even worse, because the Republican State Supreme Court has ruled that the police can keep a record of every arrest ---even if charges were later dropped because you did not do it----until the statute of limitations of the crime in question passes. That means two years for a misdemeanor and forever for an offense like murder. The state legislature tried to correct this problem, by passing a law that would have required law enforcement to wipe records clean if charges were dropped. But guess who vetoed it? /

His reasoning?
In its final form, it would have done more harm than good to our citizens.

Because hey, what about the rights of cops to sully your reputation permanently by making bogus arrests?

One way in which Perry does not resemble W.? His wife is not an ex-school teacher. That probably explains why he vetoed a bill that would have provided $25 million to pre-K programs. Early childhood education is the great equalizer in our society, and anyone who is courting the Confederate Flag vote knows that “equality” is a four letter word.

Note in the above article that Perry has used (abused?) his veto power more than any other Texas governor. This does not bode well for our Democratic Congress were he to get into the White House.

Here is another head scratcher. Texas tried to pass a law to keep buses from idling while waiting for students. Anyone who has ever been forced to hold his breath while wading through the chemical soup mixture which a fleet of idling buses can pump into the air understands this one. It is bad for asthmatic children and it’s bad for the environment. However, Rick Perry (who is the number one recipient of oil and gas money in the state) wants to see those buses sitting there burning up fuel.

Now, if you read section I. of this thread, you will understand the reason for Perry’s next veto. Sometimes young folks get convicted of sex offenses for the relatively innocuous crime of having sex with their girlfriends or boyfriends.  Say, the guy is a high school senior age 19 and the girl is a senior age 16, and things got out of hand after the prom.  The way things are now, even if the two are engaged and get married, he can still be labeled a sex offender for the rest of his life.  That means he may not be allowed to have contact with the children he will have with his wife.  His kids definitely will not be allowed to have friends over---just because his parents got hot and heavy at the prom.

Lawmakers in Texas attempted to fix this problem by giving courts the option of removing some people’s sex offender status.  The bill had widespread public support---and Perry vetoed it.  Because hey, he would not want voters to get the idea that he is soft on pedophiles.

Another bill that passed with unanimous support was one designed to give consumer protections to people buying annuities.  Apparently, the people who sell annuities did not like it, because they got Perry to veto it.

Perry’s vetoes are so controversial in Texas that the Texas Monthly wrote an article about them entitled “No! No! No!

The governor, of course, is empowered by the Texas Constitution to veto bills. But the veto power, if not exercised wisely and sparingly, can be a dangerous one. It can make lasting enemies of those who expected to benefit from a bill's passage. It negates the sponsoring legislator's hard work. Most of all, a veto is often a tacit admission of the governor's own failure, because the legislative process offers ample opportunity for intervention and compromise. A veto becomes necessary only if the governor's intervention was nonpersuasive—or nonexistent. Think of a veto as the parliamentary equivalent of a spanking. It is a last resort that should be used only when really necessary. Like a spanking, a veto will get the attention of the recipient. It may also inspire fear. But it cannot purchase respect. Or love….

Most startling was the contrast between Perry's attitude toward legislation before the May 28 adjournment and after. Overnight, he and his staff underwent a transformation from distant observers to obsessive nitpickers. This mutation will define Rick Perry for his cohorts in Texas politics long after the details of the bills he vetoed have been forgotten. He chose to be an outsider, chose to play gotcha with the Legislature rather than to work with it, chose to snipe from ambush rather than engage in the open.

One of the bills which roused the ire of the Texas Monthly was a veto of a bill that would have allowed the execution of mentally retarded criminals.  In most states, you have to know what you did wrong and why you are being punished for it before you can die.  In Texas, you just have to possess a pulse and a vein through which lethal drugs can be injected.

Speaking of executions…

V. Rick Perry Believes in Executing Innocent People

Perry’s most recent controversy involved the case of a man who was almost certainly arrested for an arson/murder that did not happen. Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in 2004 (during Perry’s watch) for setting a fire in his house and killing his own children. The problem with the case---there were no witnesses, there was no confession. All the prosecution had was some flawed science.

Last week, five years after the (almost certainly wrongful) death of Willingham, the Texas Forensic Science Commission tried to right this wrong by considering new evidence in the case.  Perry put a stop to this by firing three members of the commission on the eve of their meeting.

I guess he is worried that the combination of his veto of the bill protecting the mentally retarded plus a finding that he allowed an innocent man to die might make voters in other states a little bit leery of electing him their president. Texas was unique in a national survey as the only state where a majority of voters said they would be fine allowing innocent people to be put to death if it meant that no guilty folks evaded execution. The other United States put a greater value on human life than Texas and its Republican governor.

VI. Remember What Don Seigelman was Prosecuted for Doing?

Selective prosecution of Democrats for things that all politicians do is one of the major scandals of the Bush DOJ. Alberto Gonzales even announced publicly in 2006 that he planned to start a lot of investigations and prosecutions of Democratic elected officials in the wake of the Democrats’ sweep of Congress. In the process, he painted a great big read Kick me (out of office) sign on his own back that lead to him being the first (and last) Bush administration official to be forced out of office by Congress.

The case of Don Seigelman who was charged and convicted of appointing someone to a board in exchange for a contribution was one example of the way the Bush administration used the DOJ like a Mafia enforcement squad. Funny thing is that Gov. Rick Perry of Texas (and his predecessor, W.) is notorious for playing quid pro quo with appointments.

The University of Texas is a huge system that is swimming in cash. The ability of a few VIPs to make a lot of money off UT has been protected in Texas, first by W. and then by his separated at birth successor, Perry.
When George W. Bush signed UTIMCO into existence, he created a lasting connection between the investment company and the governor's office. Rick Perry has, in every way possible, kept this tradition alive. The most obvious example of this relationship is the close correlation between the campaign donations Perry receives and the appointments that are then graciously given out to his donors.

This close connection between a few elite Texans, their deep pockets, and their appointed positions is not only dangerous but it is undemocratic. These people who make and control decisions have many negative affects on many different people, but usually not themselves. When a few connected individuals control University policies and its investments while fighting to gain even more power, less accountability and more corruption can be expected. Rick Perry, although he is a public servant, does not act on the public's behalf when controlling this elite group. This quid pro quo Good Ol' Boy system, on which Texas politics are now based, is continually damaging the University and those who are associated with it.

Here is more on the cash for appointments policy of Perry.
Gov. Rick Perry has accepted nearly $5 million in political campaign donations from people he appointed to state boards and commissions, including some in plum jobs that set policy for state universities, parks and roads, records show.
Nearly half the appointee donations came from people serving as higher education regents, including more than $840,000 from those at the University of Texas System, according to a Houston Chronicle review of campaign-finance records.
Political patronage is nothing new for Texas governors in both political parties. The contributions are a legal and common practice, though it has been fodder for critics over the years.
“The reason people should care is that it would be nice to think that government functioned as a meritocracy,” said Andrew Wheat of the watchdog group Texans for Public Justice, which has tracked appointee donations in the past.

Meritocracy? You have got to be kidding. Right now, Texas is an oligarchy, and Rick Perry is the bought and paid for aspiring Mussolini of the state’s corporate elite.


Texas Governor's Gay Sex Scandal Covered in Austin paper, the  First Non-Internet Media Outlet to Report On It.

By Jackson Thoreau

Under the appropriate heading of "Naked City," the weekly Austin Chronicle became the first media source beyond Internet blogs and ezines to report on the alleged sex scandal involving Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry.

The Feb. 26 story by Michael King mentioned a "support rally" this week at the Governor's Mansion for Perry under the theme, "It's OK to Be Gay." The story mentions the numerous rumors that "the governor's marriage is in trouble, that his wife Anita has/will/may decide to divorce him, and that the issue is Rick's alleged infidelity, with one or another member of his administration of undetermined gender. [Rumors of this sort, about multitudinous politicians, circulate all the time, but the current Perry rumors are indeed extraordinary in their baroque detail and remarkable persistence.]"

King said he looked into the Perry rumors when they first surfaced some weeks ago and "found no evidence of any truth to any of them, whatsoever." He lamented that "nobody will go on the record." Did anyone involved in the story "go on the record" when everyone from Saturday Night Live to Reuters published the alleged affair rumor against John Kerry a few weeks ago? No, but of course, Kerry is a Democrat so the media and people in general believe the myth that Democrats are more likely to have extramarital affairs than Republicans.

King had this comment from Perry spokesperson Kathy Walt: "These are false, malicious, and hurtful rumors, and the Chronicle's own investigation acknowledges that fact."

King also wrote that "numerous other reporters, from here to New York, have looked into the rumors, with, as far as we know, an identical lack of results. Nor do we expect anything we say here to have any effect on the rumors, which have become entirely self-replicating as they echo through the blogosphere."

A note on this story: It is extremely difficult to find "evidence" of extramarital affairs unless one party spills the beans or it comes out in a court divorce document. In 2001, The Washington Post put two reporters to spy on former Democratic Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening, who was rumored to have had sex with Jennifer Crawford, his unmarried chief of staff, while he was separated from his wife. The Post reported in Sept. 2001 that Glendening eased out of Crawford's home early on a few mornings that summer.

Remember that Crawford was unmarried and Glendening was separated. Has any media outlet devoted similar resources to try to catch Perry, who says he is committed to his wife? No. Can anyone recall the media catching a Republican in an affair through such an investigation? I can't. And it's not like Republicans don't have affairs; read my essay at to learn about a few of them.

So just because some reporters found "no evidence" to support the rumors doesn't mean the rumors do not have some basis. It just might take more work to unearth some evidence-- such as reporters following Perry around 24 hours a day as they did to former Democratic Sen. Gary Hart, a potential 1988 presidential candidate, and Glendening - than these reporters can devote at the moment.

The Chronicle also pointed out how last year Perry signed the "Defense of Marriage Act," the Texas Legislature's "latest gratuitous demonstration that it believes gay and lesbian Texans deserve fewer rights than other citizens." The rumors have become stronger as Bush and other Republicans push for a Constitutional amendment to ensure that no gay couple marries.

The Chronicle's story mentioned how Perry and his wife spent Presidents Day weekend in the Bahamas with major political donors James and Cecelia Leininger and John and Bobbi Nau. The official story on this was it was a "working trip" paid for by "campaign funds" to discuss "public school finance." As the Chronicle pointed out, "That is, during a luxury retreat in the Bahamas, the governor discussed "public school finance" with a group of wealthy right-wing activists who have done everything in their power to undermine, or even abolish, public education."

The story is at click here. Here is a photo of the "support Perry" rally.

Meanwhile, a blog written by Wick Allison, publisher/editor of D Magazine, a mainstream city magazine, mentioned that Geoff Connor, Perry's secretary of state and alleged playmate, threatened to track down the source of the rumor and sue. Republicans have blamed a Democratic operative in Houston.

This is from a strong Republican insider and apologist. Allison has given money to Republican candidates, such as $500 to Hillary Clinton's NY Senate opponent in 2000.

That would be an interesting lawsuit if Connor were to actually sue someone, wouldn't it? I doubt he would follow through since the gay stories would get further into the public record.

A politically-connected attorney in Texas told me he has known about Perry's gay side since the 1980s. And two district judges in Odessa told him that the rumor was always there when they served in the Legislature with Perry.

I don't care if he is gay or bi or whatever, what's appalling is the hypocrisy involved - Perry is going around condemning gays and signing laws against them in public while possibly doing something different in private.

And check out this statement in the Texas GOP's platform, the most extreme platform in the country, which also calls for abolishing Social Security, the Department of Education and others, along with getting the U.S. out of the U.N.: "The Party believes that the practice of sodomy tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country's founders, and shared by the majority of Texans." It also says, "The party opposes the decriminalization of sodomy."

Perry approved the statement, and all candidates who run as Republicans in Texas have to sign it, or forfeit financial support by the party. So if the homosexual encounter with Perry is true, I would think his own party's leaders would be making plans to get rid of him. I hear Perry won't run for governor again in 2006, even if these rumors die.

I also hear there is a court transcript or statement of facts in the Texas Court of Appeals that contains sworn testimony that former Waco Rep. Lane Denton had an encounter himself with Perry. Some reporters I know are checking on that.

Denton was found guilty in 1995 of diverting $67,201 from the Texas Department of Public Safety Officers Association while serving as its executive director in 1988-89. He received 20 years in prison, but his sentence was suspended, and he was placed on community supervision.

The Austin-based 3rd Court of Appeals, where the Perry document allegedly is, also ruled against Denton.

In the original trial, prosecutors said Denton funneled the trooper group's funds to a public relations company owned by New Orleans architect John Chrestia, who testified that he had been Mr. Denton's gay lover.

Blogs that have done great jobs in keeping this issue fresh include and datalounge.

Why is the story important in the battle to dethrone Bush? Why not focus on the economy or Iraq in attacking Bush?

Because with his support for a Constitutional amendment to crack down on gay rights, Bush has signaled that he plans to make "morality" and cultural issues a big part of his 2004 campaign. And pointing out the Republican hypocrisies-- which include charges of extramarital sex against Bush [see]  in this area is important to win this battle.

If Democrats can show that the very Republicans who blasted Clinton for having an extramarital affair in the 1990s have extramarital affairs of their own and might even be extra hypocrites in publicly bashing gays, then this supposed advantage in "morality" that Republicans seem to enjoy over Democrats can be negated. Like it or not, sex and extramarital affairs register more with many average voters who get most of their news from TV than Iraq or even the economy.

I'm not expecting the Kerry campaign to conduct this "expose the cultural Republican hypocrites" campaign. As far as I know, the Kerry campaign has nothing to do with spreading these rumors. People like me will do it and take the heat as muckrakers or mudslingers or whatever from the whining Republican babies who don't like to see their own tactics slammed back in their faces. As I have long said, many far-right Republicans can dish it out, but they can't take it.

Message to the Republican whiners: Don't be surprised and cry foul when your opponent plays by the rules you devise.
While I can't take credit for starting this Perry rumor, I have helped move it along. I see this campaign as part of my duty and my contribution to restore some legitimacy and sanity to the White House.

So a non-Internet media outlet has published this Perry story. Can we expect Reuters and others who jumped on the Kerry rumor to follow suit? It would be the fair thing to do, based on the precedent set with the Kerry rumor. But I'm not holding my breath.


James Richard “Rick” Perry (born March 4, 1950) is the secession-happy governor of Texas, an outspoken Christian Conservative despite the fact that outspoken Christian Conservatism is so 2002, and a complete basket case.

Rick Perry is the longest-serving governor in Texas history, making him one of the most influential people in a state primarily known for its barbecue, belt buckles, longhorn hood ornaments, and lethal injections of the mentally handicapped.  As such, Perry has appointed nearly every state officer, board, or commission member a governor can appoint someone to, including five of the nine state supreme court justices. He also does most of the choreography for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.

Leathery and blow-dried, Perry easily lays claim to the title of “Most Bouffant U.S. Governor,” especially now that Rod Blagojevich has officially been barred from holding the office ever again.

Recently, Perry has drawn attention for his criticism of the Obama administration’s handling of the recession, and for turning down approximately $555 million in federal stimulus money.  Though he has officially “said thanks, but no thanks” on that bridge-loan to nowhere, you can be sure that federal money will quietly find its way into state coffers anyway.  Also, Texas isn’t going secede any sooner than Jim Carey is going to win an Oscar.

In this, Rick Perry epitomizes all the Republicans who “vowed” to move to Canada if Barack Obama won the election, and before them, all the Democrats who said the same of a George W. Bush victory in 2004.   As if Canada would even take them.

Early Life

Rick Perry began looking gift horses in the mouth from his birth on March 4, 1950, a birthday he shares with Prince Henry the Navigator of medieval Portugal, William Shatner’s brash, sometimes hot-headed partner on TJ Hooker, Metallica’s bass player back before they totally pussed out, and the guy who wrote those insufferable Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns novels. Oh, and also fetishist porn actress Summer Cummings (good name).

Born James Rick, Perry is the exact inverse of Rick James: square, white, and decidedly un-superfreaky, with nary a pair of leather pants in sight. That’s probably a good thing. Perry is a fifth-generation Texan, raised in the small town of Paint Creek and educated at Texas A & M University, alma mater of similarly coiffed Lone Star Stater Lyle Lovett, as well as a variety of American Idol and Miss USA pageant runners-up. As seemingly incongruous as it sounds, Perry was a member of both the male cheerleading squad and the student military corps, though you’d have to imagine he tried to keep the one a secret from the other.

Thoroughly prepared for his eventual career in government with a degree in animal science, Perry continued to bolster his political credentials by going into his father’s cotton farming business.

In 1982, Rick Perry married Anita Thigpen. The couple has two children, son Griffin and daughter Sydney. Want to know what kind of slug Rick Perry is? The kind who names his kids Griffin and Sydney, with a y.

Political Career

Though fooling around with stupidity throughout his youth and early adulthood, Rick Perry officially went all the way in 1984, finally losing his cherry by getting elected to the Texas House of Representatives as a Democrat. Not long after, he would pull what is known in political parlance as a “Reverse Specter,” switching over to the Republican Party. Thus Rick Perry sealed his fate as a complete and total flip flopper, or, as it is sometimes referred to, a “dick-on-a-stick.”

In 1990, Rick Perry decided to run for the glamorous position of state Agriculture Commissioner, defeating populist incumbent Jim Hightower, not to be confused with Moses Hightower, Bubba Smith’s character in the Police Academy movies (except for Police Academy 7: Mission to Moscow, in which, of all the original “recruits,” only Michael Winslow was unfortunate enough to star).

After two terms as Texas Ag Czar—the responsibilities of which consisted entirely of a) hawking Texas produce; b) overseeing the calibration of supermarket scales and gas pumps—Perry was ready for the big-time, sneaking his way into the Lieutenant Governor’s office in 1998 with a .04 percent majority of the vote. That’s four-hundredths of a percent. Al Gore lost Florida by more than that, paving the way, two years later, for Rick Perry to backdoor-man his way into the big chair after George W. Bush resigned to clear brush on his ranch.

Of course, in Texas it’s easier to find a vegetarian at a rodeo than it is to unseat an incumbent, and as a result, voters elected Perry in 2002, then re-elected him in 2006. In each of these campaigns, Perry adopted a tough stance on crime, even going so far as to veto a ban on the execution of the mentally retarded. This did not, however, prevent the mentally retarded from continuing to vote for him time and again.

Highlights of Rick Perry’s gubernatorial tenure include: a near-record use of vetoes; a grant of $20 million dollars to Countrywide Financial right before it collapsed; staunch support of Texas’ anti-sodomy laws even though the U.S. Supreme Court overwhelmingly struck them down; vocal belief in the absolute inerrancy of the Bible, even the parts with the talking snake, the rib that grows into a woman, and the dude who gets eaten by a whale, which then, after housing him quite comfortably for three days inside its digestive tract, disgorges him completely unscathed. In February 2007, Perry issued an executive order mandating that all Texas girls be vaccinated against HPV, which causes cervical cancer, blatantly ignoring the long-established fact that any time a public figure, no matter how well intentioned, goes messing with a teenager’s reproductive system, it’s going to make for real bad headlines.

In April 2009, Rick Perry endorsed a resolution supporting Texas’ secession from the United States. This move has officially branded him a total crackpot; even the people at Fox News think so.

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