(TEA PARTY) REPUBLICAN
THE ENEMY AND TRAITORS TO AMERICA? by R. Blackbird
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.
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.
We will leave it up to the reader to determine whether
James Leininger has made serious errors in in judgment. James has supported a
Conservative Christian position especially when it comes to Church and State issues.
It is apparent from the data collected, that the first amendment may be in danger from his
past and future actions.
James Leininger's office like others we called, stated
that his position is that All other religions beside Christianity aren't "Real"
religions" and in fact are evil cults. What is a real religion, Mr.
Leininger? What you have been practicing? Read the following and remember:
"By their Works may they be known." This is a summary of information
collected from several sources about James Leininger.
(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 Religious Freedom or First
Amendment Coalitions do not represent any political party nor do we recommend any
political candidate, nor are we involving ourselves in the political process. This
information is only for students of James Leininger )
SUGAR DADDY - By Molly Ivins
AUSTIN Dr. James Leininger is known as the Daddy
Warbucks of Texas social conservatism or, as the San Antonio Current recently
called him, Gods Sugar Daddy.
The 54-year-old San Antonio physician, who made a fortune estimated at more than $300
million by making extremely fancy hospital beds, is an active funder and player in
right-wing causes including school vouchers, home schooling, anti-abortion, tort reform,
anti-gay rights, anti-unionism, anti-environmental efforts, a right-wing Texas think tank
modeled on the Heritage Foundation, and Republican political candidates.
Leininger (pronounced with a hard g) now has business interests that include
part ownership of the San Antonio Spurs; Promised Land Dairy of Floresville, which is
familiar to Texas shoppers at H-E-B, Albertsons and Whole Foods; Kinetic Concepts
International, the medical bed and supply company; and Focus Direct, a direct-mail outfit.
One of Leiningers newest business ventures was the Texas Network, TXN, which was to
reach an estimated 10 million Texans a day with television news programs being marketed
without political bias or interest.
Just keeping track of Leiningers political contributions is a major chore. Samantha
Smoot, director of Texas Freedom Network, said: He tends to start political action
committees and then close them down after a year. Texas Home School Coalition now,
that one you can tell what it is; he was their only funder. But the Entertainment PAC out
of Los Angeles who knew?
Leininger tends to give his PACs and foundations innocuous names Texans for
Justice, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the Texas Justice Foundation, Childrens
Economic Opportunity Foundation, Texans for Governmental Integrity, the A PAC for Parental
School Choice, etc. According to the Current (a weekly alternative paper), Leininger is
also a major donor to, or plays a leading role in, at least a dozen major right-wing
groups. Politically, he has given not only to Christian-right school board candidates and
right-wing legislative candidates but also to Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Phil Gramm,
and he was Rick Perrys largest campaign contributor ($500,000) in Perrys race
for lieutenant governor.
Thats why members of the Lege are bracing for a big fight over school vouchers this
year. The people of Texas are not screaming for school vouchers the pols are in
hock to Leininger.
In a recent edition of the Current is an extensive report on Leininger and his interests
by Debbie Nathan the most detailed to appear so far in any Texas publication.
Nathan not only traces Leiningers religious, philosophical and political interests
but brings to light some obscure episodes worth mention.
It seems Leininger gave at least $50,000 to Triad Management Service, the mysterious
Republican organization that surfaced during investigations of the 1996 campaign funding
scandals. Triad set up two social welfare organizations that had no members;
their sole purpose was to advise Republican candidates and produce television attack ads
According to the article, during the past decade, Leininger had given at least $1.5
million to Texas candidates and another $3.2 million to move public opinion in a
conservative direction. In addition, he has given $5.6 million to politically oriented,
far-right nonprofits, including the American Family Association, the Christian Pro-Life
Foundation, the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, the Heidi Group, the
Republican National Coalition for Life PAC, etc.
Theres nothing wrong with supporting groups you believe in, although I did have to
laugh upon reading that Leininger had founded his Justice Foundation as a response
to the American Civil Liberties Union. He will wind up on the same side as the ACLU
in no time, as the ACLU does more to stop government interference in the lives of
individuals than anyone else. (Ask Ollie North.)
But Leiningers current leading cause, school vouchers, is simply a rotten idea. In
the November issue of The Atlantic Monthly, Nick Lemann has an excellent article on what
to do about failing public schools. He dismisses vouchers as an alternative because
its a ridiculous idea.
There are 45 million students in the public schools. Total enrollment in private,
nonsectarian schools where the annual tuition is more than $5,000 (what most of us mean
when we think of private school) is about 400,000 less than 1 percent
of public school enrollment. Catholic school enrollment is 2.5 million. You figure it out.
EMPTOR - IS TEXAS' RIGHT-WING BENEFACTOR GETTING WHAT HE PAYS FOR? by Louis Dubose
What do you get out of a legislature for $3.8 million? At
the very least, anyone who writes that big a check should get two or three bills passed.
Thus far this session, the states biggest right-wing Christian funder, Dr. James
Leininger, hasnt exactly gotten what he paid for: a voucher program that would move
tax money from public to private schools (and additional tort reform legislation that
would further limit the rights of individuals filing suits against corporate defendants).
The fault doesnt lie with Dr. Leininger or his stars but with Lieutenant Governor
Rick Perry who cant seem to move the Leininger bills. As has been reported in
this publication and elsewhere, Leininger provided Perry the $1.1 million loan that
allowed him to make a last-minute media buy that quite likely provided the narrow margin
by which he defeated Democrat John Sharp. Dr. Leininger and his extended family also
provided Perry with $191,577 in campaign contributions, according to an exhaustive study
of voucher funding recently released by the Texas Freedom Network, an Austin-based
non-profit group that monitors the extreme right.
When Texas Freedom Network researchers looked beyond Leininger, they found other Christian
right funders who (with the San Antonio physician and med-bed manufacturer) put together a
total of $5.2 million that the voucher proponents spent on last years elections.
"That doesnt take into account the $1 million-plus spent by voucher proponents
on public relations and lobbying during each of the last two legislative sessions, the $10
million spent by Dr. James Leininger to acquire a statewide cable news network, TXN, which
broadcasts into seventeen of Texas nineteen media markets, or the $50 million spent
on the nations largest private voucher program in Edgewood I.S.D.," the T.F.N.
reported. "In San Antonio [location of Edgewood], $45 million of that $50 million is
pledged by Dr. Leininger."
Despite all that ungodly freespending, the sessions one big voucher bill remains
bottled up in the Senate, where eleven Democrats have signed a statement promising they
will vote against bringing the bill to the floor. So Amarillo Republican Teel Bivins
cannot muster the required two-thirds vote to bring his bill to the floor despite
intense pressure from Perry. The pressure is growing, as the session winds down and more
senators are willing to cut deals to move their own bills.
To make a deal easier, Bivins has reduced the scope of his once ambitious voucher plan and
allowed the management of the bill to be given over to the Lieutenant Governor and his
staff. Perry, in fact, is telling the press the bill should be more widely acceptable now
that it is limited to two smaller school districts rather than four large urban districts.
And the latest version of the bill has no income cap, a change that Perry says he always
So what was originally proposed as a mechanism to provide academically struggling,
low-income children tuition aid to attend private schools is now wide open to any child
who fails to pass the TAAS test, regardless of family income. And as the session comes
closer to its May 31 conclusion, voucher proponents in the Senate are getting more
desperate as was evident in the last week of April when they failed in an attempt
to tack Bivins bill onto a separate teacher pay raise bill.
"Theyve gone from four major urban districts, to two smaller school
districts," said a Democratic Senate staff aide. "Next is one district as a
pilot, and then they will strip it down to a vote on the concept of vouchers."
Through the first week in May, the bill has moved on and off the Senates intent
calendar, but the eleven senators are still committed to blocking the bill, said Kathy
Miller of the Texas Freedom Network.
Leininger isnt the only voucher supporter to whom Perry is indebted. According to
the Freedom Networks study, Houston chemical company C.E.O. William McMinn provided
the Lieutenant Governor $80,000 in campaign contributions. McMinn was the second largest
voucher funder, contributing $299,832 to candidates and $207,000 to political action
committees. And Dallas oil and gas magnate Louis Beecherl, a former member of the
University of Texas Board of Regents, gave Perry $37,000. Beecherl provided other
pro-voucher candidates with $299,724 in contributions and added an additional $207,000 in
voucher PAC contributions. Along with McMinn, Beecherl serves on the board of directors of
Putting Children First, the largest pro-voucher political action committee in the state.
Leininger, McMinn, and Beecherl have secular interests beyond the religious rights
voucher initiatives. The three top funders of the voucher lobby are also heavily invested
in tort reform, the decade-old assault on citizens right to file suit against
corporate defendants. Texans for Public Justice, an Austin research and advocacy group,
has run the numbers on tort-reform contributors and found that Leininger, McMinn and
Beecherl all made the list T.P.J. calls "Tort Reforms Sweet Sixteen."
Leininger is the number one funder of tort reform candidates and lobby efforts, with
McMinn placing third and Beecherl rounding out the Sweet Sixteen list at number sixteen.
But tort reform has also been struggling in the Senate
this session. The first time Teel Bivins tried to bring up the sessions big tort
reform bill which would make class action lawsuits more difficult to pursue
Democrats denied him the necessary twenty-one votes to bring it to the floor. The Senate
is so protocol-bound that one or two such incidents can erode a bills credibility,
but one week later Bivins had improved his counting and on April 26 his class action bill
passed the Senate. It is hardly assured passage in the House, where it will have to either
get through Fred Bosses often uncivil Civil Practices Committee or be attached as an
amendment to a related bill on the floor. The other major tort reform effort (a third
party liability bill) is, according to its Senate sponsor, dead.
Added together, the voucherites and the tort reformers have poured $6 million into their
electoral and legislative programs this year and yet they are not exactly getting a big
bang for their buck which suggests that even in the Texas Legislature, a handful of
determined elected officials and a wider grassroots effort that money cant buy can
stop even the most well-funded initiative. And one more thing: you dont always get
what you pay for.
School Voucher Movement Displays Partisan Streak
The school voucher movement's ulterior motive -- elect Republicans and defeat Democrats --
has been exposed in a fundraising letter that advocates the overthrow of Texas House
Speaker Pete Laney.
The stark partisan nature of the letter from the group "Putting Children First"
prompted Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock to resign as honorary head of the voucher organization's
campaign to deploy tax dollars toward private schools. A Bullock spokesman said the
lieutenant governor, who is leaving office early next year, will work for a pilot voucher
program separately. Also resigning from the group was state Rep. Domingo Garcia, D-Dallas.
As first reported in the Dallas Morning News, the letter by pro-voucher leader Jimmy
Mansour said his pro-voucher group was coordinating with Dick Weekly's Texans for Lawsuit
Reform to elect a Republican majority in the Texas House.
"Jimmy Mansour calls his organization 'Putting Children First,'" Texas AFL-CIO
President Joe D. Gunn said. "This letter shows beyond a doubt that the
pro-voucher movement is really about 'Putting Right-Wing Republicans First.'"
Gunn praised Bullock for pulling out of the voucher organization's campaign.
"Now that the true nature of the voucher movement has been unveiled, Bob Bullock has
again proven that he will place the well-being of Texas above rank political
agendas," Gunn said.
The Mansour letter said the tort reformers asked his group to raise between $750,000 and
$1 million to target open House seats. Copies of the letter, which asked a California ally
for $250,000 in out-of-state money, went to Dr. James Leininger, the wealthy San Antonian
who is bankrolling politicians from Gov. George W. Bush on down in furtherance of a
When the fundraising letter was made public, Mansour claimed that it had been written by
Zack Dawes, a Republican political operative, without the knowledge or consent of Putting
Children First. Mansour told reporters that Dawes had been fired from the group.
But a subsequent report by Austin American-Statesman political columnist Dave McNeely
revealed the truth: Dawes was not fired, but kicked upstairs, going to work for a national
voucher group that is also under Mansour's direction. Moreover, Dawes had already resigned
from Putting Children First to do other consulting work and was clearly taking the fall
for the embarrassing letter.
"Voucher supporters and the right-wing mega-millionaires funding them, like San
Antonian James Leininger, should not be permitted to sneak their politics in the back door
under false pretenses," Gunn said. "And fair-minded voucher supporters should
stop pretending that groups like Putting Children First are politically neutral."
Gunn noted that voucher forces have made progress under House Speaker Pete Laney, but
apparently not enough to satisfy the zealots who want to steer tax dollars toward private
education at the expense of public schools.
"The letter points up the treachery of the voucher movement, which walks the halls of
the Legislature with a benign, bipartisan face only to join the most fervent anti-Laney,
anti-Democrat crowd in the partisan alleys," Gunn said.
"Let's be clear on what the Jimmy Mansour-James Leininger voucher program really is:
A wedge issue aimed at electing Republicans, not improving our schools."
Starting a statewide TV and radio network is expensive. Drug tests are cheap. And those
tests appear to have been an integral part of James Leininger's strategy to weed out
employees and cut his losses on a $45 million media deal that went south faster than
At the end of this month, Leininger, the ultra-conservative millionaire from San Antonio,
will pull the plug on TXN, also known as The News of Texas, the fledgling news
organization that sought to cover the entire Lone Star State by establishing news bureaus
in Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, and then selling its radio and TV newscasts
to affiliate stations in all of the major media markets. The company also launched an
Internet operation, hiring more than a dozen people to operate the now-defunct Web sites
under the names TXN.com and NewsofTexas.com.
TXN was headed by Bob Rogers, who gained renown in the Alamo City during his long stint as
news director at KENS-TV. But Rogers had little success at gaining market share and
recognition for the network. Despite the millions of dollars that Leininger pumped into
the operation, TXN's news broadcasts were not being shown on any of the major networks in
the state's four major cities when Leininger finally made the decision to fold his TV
venture. And while it's unfortunate for anyone to lose that much money -- even someone as
rich as Leininger, whose estimated worth is in the $300 million range -- the techniques
that the hospital-bed magnate used to shut down his operation have infuriated current and
former employees alike.
In the days leading up to last month's closing of bureaus in Dallas and Houston and the
firing of Rogers, Leininger's company began conducting random drug tests on the more than
100 employees at TXN. Within the first few days of the pogrom, 13 employees had either
tested positive or were fired after refusing to take the test, and Leininger was able to
void the contracts of all 13. The move likely saved tens of thousands of dollars for the
reclusive millionaire who shuns the press. Nicknamed the Daddy Warbucks of social
conservatism in Texas, Leininger has backed numerous causes, including anti-abortion
groups, tort reform groups, school vouchers, and the Texas Public Policy Foundation, which
played a major role in defeating light rail in San Antonio. And his last-minute loans to
Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander and Lt. Gov. Rick Perry assured the two of victory in
"The drug tests were used as a way to cut down the number of people they had to pay
severance to," explains one company insider who asked not to be identified.
Indeed, the surprise tests accelerated the pace of defections from TXN. Jim Moore, TXN's
Austin bureau chief and arguably the network's best and highest-profile newsman, refused
to take the drug test when Leininger's pee police showed up at the TXN bureau in Austin on
June 7. Moore, who was recruited by Rogers to work at TXN after leaving his reporting job
at KHOU-TV, was infuriated by the procedure and what it implied.
"For all his career, Leininger has sought to remove government intrusion in our
private lives. So why is it that he thinks it's okay to insert himself into the most
private aspects of his employees' lives?" asks Moore, who took an independent drug
test after his firing from TXN to prove that he was drug-free.
All the Wrong Moves
Although the urine tests allowed Leininger to flush a number of employees, the
company's mismanagement and poor business model had already doomed it to failure. Insiders
say the company had taken in just $500,000 in revenue this year, while spending about $6
million. The company simply could not attract advertisers to news broadcasts that weren't
being heard or seen on the state's biggest media outlets.
"We were doing pretty well in some of the smaller markets like Corpus Christi,
Lubbock, and Amarillo," says Moore. "But those were not the markets advertisers
want to sell to. We needed to be on the major networks in Dallas and Houston and Austin.
But instead we were being shown on the UHF and public television stations." In
Austin, TXN's newscasts are being shown on KLRU. And while being seen on PBS affiliates is
far better than no exposure at all, the deal with KLRU and other PBS stations forces TXN
staffers to plug holes in the show that would ordinarily be filled by commercials.
Most of TXN ceased to exist on June 13, the day Rogers was fired as president and CEO of
TXN, although he continues to have a consulting contract with TXN. That same day, the axe
fell on news director Greg Pasztor, assistant news director Marcia Pons, and managing
editor David Lauricella, as well as a dozen people working on the Web site and a half
dozen who worked for TXN's radio division -- including former Austinite Bob Crowley, who
was at KVET/KASE until losing his job in April 1999 after a rift with the station's
management. Although TXN's radio and Web operations have been shut down, the TV news
division will continue operating until July 31 in order to fulfill the contracts it has
TXN's demise offers a number of lessons on what not to do for a successful TV news
operation. Company insiders point to a number of careless business decisions that cost the
company massive amounts of money and credibility. For instance, most TV stations rent a
satellite transponder, the machinery that sends and receives TV sound and images to
satellites. TXN bought its own transponder, along with satellite dishes for each bureau to
link to the apparatus. However, some of the bureaus couldn't convince their landlords to
allow them to put the satellite dishes on their roofs. That meant bureaus had to transmit
stories via microwave towers for which they had to pay about $300 for each 15- to
30-minute window of time. Thus, the company ended up paying twice for a recurring
infrastructure problem that should have been handled when the network began.
Profligate spending began even before TXN began broadcasting in January of last year.
Rather than wait for a studio and control room facility to be completed in San Antonio,
company executives bought a $1.5 million production truck, like those used for big
sporting events like Monday Night Football. The idea, according to TXN insiders, was to
get the network on the air sooner, rather than later. After the control room was
completed, TXN planned to rent the truck to other stations. That never happened. Instead,
after the building project was complete, the production truck sat outside TXN's offices
A favorite story among former TXN employees is the Haggar clothing deal. With advertising
revenues almost nonexistent, company executives decided to do a barter deal with Haggar.
In return for supplying all of TXN's on-camera people with Haggar outfits, TXN agreed to
run a tag line at the end of each broadcast saying that TXN's people wear Haggar togs.
While many of the reporters objected to the style, or lack thereof, of the Haggar look,
all objected to the tax burden the deal placed on them. In a May 17 letter to Rogers,
Moore complained about the deal, saying the taxes on the clothes are "estimated to be
about $700." Thus, said Moore, he'd be paying tax on $2,000 worth of clothes
that he "did not ask for and was not allowed to select."
Moore and several other former TXN employees blame Rogers for the failure of TXN. They say
Rogers failed to properly promote the venture and didn't use the company's media
properties to lead viewers and listeners to the company's Web sites. They also say the
company simply tried to grow too soon, too fast. Indeed, the company's dreams appear to
have been far too grand. Starting any of the three operations -- TV, radio, or Web
site -- would likely be enough for any start-up. Doing all three at once was likely the
kiss of death for the venture.
Others say Rogers simply didn't have the background to run an operation as big as his
dream. "Rogers was a news guy," says one TXN reporter who is currently looking
for other work. "He'd never been a general manager of a station. You've got to have
sales people. Plus, it was harder to sell the concept of a statewide news network than
Rogers who did not return phone calls from the Chronicle, may deserve some of the blame,
but Leininger also deserves blame. He jumped into a very expensive business that he knew
little or nothing about, and he did it without developing a complete business plan.
But in the end, TXN will likely be remembered not for the quality of its journalism or the
soundness of its business plan, but for the cynical way Leininger chose to get out of it.
Not only did he use drug tests to jettison employees, he also quit the business at a time
when he was fighting with the Department of Labor over having to pay employees for their
overtime hours. The dispute stems from a disagreement TXN had with some of its
Dallas-based employees over the amount of time they were obliged to put in without being
paid overtime. According to TXN insiders, the federal agency sided with the employees
earlier this year, and several are pursuing claims against the company.
Leininger did not respond to the Chronicle's request for an interview. Bruce Kates, the
news director at TXN, declined to comment on the reasons for the network's failure.
"I don't think you can place the blame," Kates says. "You can make a
business plan and project what revenue will be. When you looked at it, it didn't match
with what expectations were."
So was there mismanagement? "I don't think I'd put it down as mismanagement,"
says Kates. "Revenues didn't meet expectations."