Monthly Archives: October 2011

Herman Cain Doubles Down on Stupid with His “Revised” 9-9-9 Plan

By Gary P Jackson

I wrote about the very troubling issues with Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan a couple days ago. The idea of combining a national sales tax with an income tax is one of the most ludicrous things I’ve seen from a supposed Conservative in many moons.

Cain doesn’t want a constitutional amendment that would set rates in stone, and only “suggests” that it take a two-thirds margin to raise rates. That’s quite dangerous.

After Cain has achieved “front runner” status, and people, really started paying attention to his plan, many questions have come up. As I pointed out, a national sales tax would hurt the very poorest among us, and Cain has said no exemptions to this tax. In other words, those who are barely living paycheck to paycheck would have to pay an extra 9% for food, because even food and medicine would be subject to Cain’s 9% national sales tax. Cain does suggest that the poor could get by with used clothes and used cars. No word on “used food” though.

Thursday night on the Sean Hannity Show Sarah Palin also hit Cain’s plan from a corporate tax angle.

It’s been her plan all along to completely eliminate corporate taxes. This has many benefits, including cutting off one more way for lobbyists to corrupt law makers. [who create tax law] Ridding our government of corruption is job one. As long as we have the level of corruption that now exists, our economy will never recover.

That was then, this is now. On Friday Cain released a “revised” plan, saying those at the poverty level would pay no income tax. Well good. They don’t pay taxes now. They’ll still be forced to pay his sales tax, and still have to find 9% more money to meet their essential needs.

From CNN:

GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain clarified his much talked-about “9-9-9” tax plan Friday, saying those who fall at or beneath the poverty level would have a different plan: “9-9-9.

Cain took heat over his proposal, which replaces the current tax code with a 9% corporate tax, a 9% income tax and a new 9% national sales tax. Opponents have argued the middle part of the plan would increase taxes on the poor, who currently pay little to no taxes.

But Cain fired back Friday, saying in a Detroit speech that those paying no taxes now would continue to pay zero taxes under his plan.

If you are at or below the poverty level, your plan isn’t 9-9-9 it is 9-0-9,” Cain said. “Say amen y’all. 9-0-9.

Sounds like a used car salesman who’s about to lose a deal, and will say damned near anything to keep his customer from walking!

This just proves to me how clueless Cain truly is.

I could get behind a national sales tax, under certain conditions, but the very thought of taxing essentials like food, medicine, and medical services goes against everything I believe in.

We have no income tax in Texas, just a sales tax, but many items, like food, medicine, and medical services are exempt from taxation. That Cain still doesn’t understand how his tax will effect real people is yet another sign of his inexperience.

Oh, and Cain revealed more of his original plan that includes so-called “opportunity zones“:

The former Godfather’s Pizza CEO also laid out his “opportunity zone” proposal. Under his current plan, businesses would be allowed to deduct purchases from the 9% corporate tax provision. But in cities facing high unemployment–the so-called “opportunity zones“–businesses could also deduct a certain amount of payroll expenses from their corporate taxes.

One of the things that I believe in is empowering cities to help themselves,” Cain said to his audience in Detroit–a city with one of the country’s highest unemployment rates. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Detroit faced a 14.4% jobless rate, not seasonally adjusted, at the end of September.

More here.

One of the reasons for a more simplified tax code is to get government OUT of our lives, and stop politicians from picking winners and losers. To take away the opportunity for corruption. To take away the situations that allow politicians to reward supporters with money, favors, what-have-you. A solid tax plan would go along way toward ending cronyism. Cain’s plan would achieve none of this.

Using the tax code to social engineer is just plain wrong. Detroit and cities like it are in trouble because of decades of poor leadership, and unions sucking businesses dry. You want to help Detroit and other cities? Stop worrying about tax breaks and opportunity zones and pass a national right to work law. Then we’ll see job growth like this nation has never before experienced.

Cain’s plan has sparked debate, which is a good thing, and now it looks like Rick Perry is going to revive Steve Forbes’ decades old flat tax plan in hopes of reviving his moribund campaign. But that’s the only thing Cain’s plan has done.

We gotta do better than this folks.

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Sarah Palin Talks Libya, Tax Policy and Crony Capitalism

By Gary P Jackson

Sarah Palin had a lively discussion with Sean Hannity on Thursday night. She reminded us that she warned the Obama regime on numerous occasions about Libya, and still has grave concerns over the sort of government that will emerge.

Sean asks Sarah about Herman Cain’s tax plan, and she offers up her thoughts on how she would make some adjustments.

Sarah also talks about the tax plan that Rick Perry is now embracing the flat tax plan Steve Forbes wrote back in the 1990s. Deliciously, Sarah seems to be making sure that viewers know that the plan comes from Steve Forbes, not Perry. She even talks about going into her garage and digging out Forbes’ 1999 book on the subject. It’s a plan worth learning more about.

A bit of trivia, Sarah was the Alaska co-chair for Steve Forbes’ 2000 presidential campaign.

Over all a lively interview which also reminds us just how lacking the GOP field is, now that she’s decided not to run.

Video courtesy SarahNet

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Perry and the Jets!

By Gary P Jackson

Rick Perry has a problem. A serious problem.

Perry is ethically challenged. His lack of political morals has lead him into many compromised positions. As Governor he’s created a system of cronyism and patronage that rivals any politician alive today, including those who call Chicago home.

Ken Vogel recently wrote an extensive article outlining all of the expensive gifts Perry has accepted from cronies, who have then benefitted from their relationship with the Governor. This includes many trips, often personal, that Perry has taken, using other people’s money. Better than ripping off the taxpayers, I guess, but still as unethical as it gets. You can read all about it here.

Like other ethically challenged politicians, Perry isn’t particular who he does business with. I’ve written about the highly questionable real estate deal between Perry and international gun runner Allen Moffat. Then there is the [alleged] money laundering scheme that involves Perry, Mitt Romney, the Republican Governors Association, and the Governor’s largest crony/donor homebuilder Bob Perry. [no relation] This deal resulted in a lawsuit, which Perry settled for just under a half-million dollars. Ken Vogel briefly mentions this in his report.

Back to his many trips, most by private jet. Now that’s not illegal, or unethical, unless they owners of these jets are not compensated at market rate for the ride. In Perry’s case, many are not. Just this week the Wall Street Journal reported:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign said Wednesday it would have to spend tens of thousands of dollars and amend its financial filings after failing to properly reimburse supporters for use of their private jets, a snafu stemming from the campaign’s unorthodox travel arrangements.

Mr. Perry, more than his rivals, routinely uses private jets of supporters for campaigning, federal election reports and aviation records show. The planes are owned by, among others, a Democratic trial lawyer, a Denver oilman and one of the country’s largest Toyota dealers.

There’s another WSJ story out that broke Thursday. It seems Perry flew on a jet that had been used by known drug smugglers.

The campaign of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, which said Wednesday it had underpaid wealthy donors for use of their private jets, has another ticklish plane problem.

For a campaign swing that started late last month, Mr. Perry’s campaign chartered a Gulfstream III owned by a California Mexican-food company, Marquez Brothers International, according to flight records and a Marquez Brothers executive.

The same plane was used in a major cocaine-smuggling ring involving a well-known hip-hop music executive that was busted by federal officials last November, according to federal court filings.

A pilot who flew the Marquez Brothers plane was among those who have pleaded guilty in the scheme, in which the jet was among those allegedly used to fly drugs and cash between Los Angeles and Baltimore. Ricky James Brascom, the hip-hop executive, also has pleaded guilty.

The report goes on to say:

There is nothing to indicate the Perry campaign knew about the plane’s prior history. Perry spokesman Mark Miner said the campaign had no knowledge of the plane’s history. “We were chartering a plane and not aware of any of the plane’s previous flights,” he said.

It’s not clear how the Perry campaign came to hire this particular plane, which bears tail number N213BA. The jet is operated for Marquez Brothers by a small Marina del Rey, Calif. charter operator, StarJet Inc. Peku Karu, a StarJet executive, said his firm wasn’t involved in the drug operation and declined to comment about the Perry flights.

Honestly, this is the Journal trying a bit too hard. It’s highly doubtful that Perry or his people knew who had been on this legally chartered jet. However, the following from the Journal is not.

In September the Journal reported that Perry had flown on the plane of one of his wealthy donors who is being investigated by the SEC for securities fraud.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry and his family have made presidential campaign trips aboard a jet owned by a wealthy contributor who is under investigation for possible securities fraud by Texas regulators and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Mr. Perry, who has emerged in just weeks as the new front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, flew last weekend aboard Brian D. Pardo’s Cessna Citation X jet from a remote Texas airport to various campaign events in Iowa, according to a Perry campaign aide and flight records obtained via Flightwise.com.

Records show that Mr. Pardo’s plane also flew from Texas to Charleston, S.C., on Aug. 13, the day Mr. Perry announced his bid for the presidency there. Mr. Perry’s campaign said the plane carried the governor’s relatives to the campaign kickoff.

Mr. Pardo, chief executive of Life Partners Holdings Inc. of Waco, Texas, last year donated $50,000 to Mr. Perry’s Texas campaign fund. Life Partners is a major player in the controversial “life settlement” business, selling retail investors the right to collect on strangers’ life-insurance policies.

Texas regulators filed suit against Mr. Pardo and his company at the end of July in state court in Travis County, seeking to force them to comply with subpoenas issued amid an investigation of Life Partners. According to a statement from the securities regulators, the probe centers in part on suspected “fraudulent practices” in connection with the company’s sale of its life-insurance investments.

Federal election laws allow presidential candidates to fly aboard supporters’ or corporations’ planes so long as the candidates reimburse them. But using donors’ jets became far less attractive after a 2007 law required that the donors be reimbursed the equivalent of charter rates, rather than lower rates often pegged to first-class fares, as before.

Mark Miner, a spokesman for Mr. Perry, declined to say how Mr. Pardo’s plane came to be used by Mr. Perry but said “it was a plane we chose to use” and the owner was “paid in full in accordance with federal election laws.

Mr. Miner said he believed the governor knows Mr. Pardo but wouldn’t say what relationship, if any, the two have. Mr. Pardo, in an email, confirmed that the governor used his plane twice and said he had been reimbursed.

The SEC has been investigating Life Partners since at least January. In May and June, the firm said it had gotten Wells notices from the agency, indicating its staff planned to recommend that civil charges be filed against the firm, Mr. Pardo and two other executives related to Life Partners’ accounting and disclosure practices.

The investigation focuses on whether Life Partners provided inaccurately short estimates of insured people’s life spans, a matter that was the subject of a Wall Street Journal article last December. The company has denied any wrongdoing and has said it would try to persuade the SEC not to file any charges.

A Life Partners lawyer has said the firm declined to comply with the Texas subpoenas because it believes its products aren’t securities and thus the state securities regulators have “no jurisdiction.

Mr. Pardo, in his email, said: “I did not discuss the SEC investigation with the governor, to the best of my recollection.

During a sales pitch to Life Partners clients and others at a Dallas hotel Aug. 20, Mr. Pardo, after attacking what he called the excesses of federal regulators, said he had “had the pleasure” of letting Mr. Perry use the plane for his South Carolina campaign kickoff. The remark drew loud applause.

Mr. Pardo then said, “With God’s will and a lot of work, I think he’s going to win. And I think it would be the best thing that’s ever happened to us,” according to an audiotape.

The tape records Mr. Pardo calling the SEC probe “a little bit of fast talk and smoke and mirrors.” Mr. Pardo said in his email that he hadn’t said that.

Even before the 2007 reimbursement law made it costlier for candidates to fly on supporters’ planes, “the practice of paying someone for the use of their jet was already becoming controversial and out of fashion,” said Trevor Potter, a campaign-finance attorney who was general counsel to Sen. John McCain’s presidential run three years ago. Mr. McCain became entangled in controversy in 2007 for using a corporate jet owned by his wife’s company.

Before reimbursement rules were tightened, then-Sen. Hillary Clinton came under criticism for flying on the jet of a wealthy contributor. Then-Sen. Barack Obama from the outset eschewed corporate jets in favor of larger chartered aircraft, in part because he was traveling with a larger entourage that included multiple Secret Service agents.

Well-funded presidential campaigns almost all turn to commercial chartered jets when the mix of destinations and the pace of the campaign make regular commercial air travel impractical. Mr. Perry’s leading rival for the GOP nomination, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, recorded $100,000 in jet travel expenses in the 2011 second quarter, federal records show, including payment to a Massachusetts executive for use of his plane.

Flying on the private jets of supporters has been a routine practice for Gov. Perry during his more than 10 years in office, state ethics records show. Contributors have given him the equivalent of hundreds of thousands of dollars in airfare since 2000, including $59,661 for the first half of this year, according to data on file at the Texas Ethics Commission compiled by Texans for Public Justice, a watchdog group.

In late June, for instance, Mr. Perry and his wife, Anita, traveled aboard the jet of billionaire Dallas pipeline magnate Kelcy Warren from Mr. Warren’s ranch in southern Colorado to Vail, where Mr. Perry spoke to a conservative forum sponsored by Charles and David Koch, owners of Koch Industries, records show.

Mr. Perry and his wife in June also returned from a California political trip aboard the jet of Dan Friedkin, whose family owns a chain of Toyota dealerships, Texas records show. Several other major donors provided jet services for other legs of the California trip, according to the records.

Mr. Miner, the Perry spokesman, said: “Every private plane the governor takes is fully reported under Texas law.

Mr. Pardo of Life Partners had a run-in with the SEC prior to the current investigation. A decorated Vietnam War helicopter pilot, he started a solar-heating business that became a stock-market favorite in the early 1980s. After it filed for bankruptcy, the SEC in 1989 accused the company and Mr. Pardo of overstating revenue and profits. Mr. Pardo settled the matter in 1991 without admitting or denying wrongdoing.

Mr. Pardo’s plane isn’t certified under Federal Aviation Administration rules to be chartered for hire, but it can be used by political candidates provided they reimburse at charter rates.

Shady deals with shady characters, along with murky reporting of these activities by his administration, are the hallmark of Rick Perry’s time as an elected official in Texas. His path to corruption and cronyism started well before he inherited the Governorship from George W Bush. It’s just become more intense, and profitable.

Don’t let the latest jet story distract you. The real story is Perry’s use of jets owned by all sorts and his failure to abide by the ethics rules regarding this sort of thing. It’s Perry’s lack of concern of who he deals with that’s the story.

It’s obvious from Brian Pardo’s own recorded statements that he expected something from Perry in return for the use of his jet. And as we’ve seen, Perry is very good at returning favors.

Perry’s “Enterprise Fund” the only jobs program he actually controls, is not only a dismal failure, it’s little more than a slush for his pay-to-play cronies. Most of the recipients of these funds are big Perry campaign donors.

Then there is Convergen LifeSciences, which is on it’s way to becoming Perry’s very on “Solyndra.” A seriously corrupt deal, with $335,000 in donations from Convergen’s founder David Nance to Perry and his various “causes,” coming back to Convergen as a $4.5 million reward from Perry’s Enterprise Fund. The highest amount ever awarded. You can read all about it here.

Cronyism and corruption are destroying our nation. Rick Perry is one of the most corrupt. In his decades as an elected official he’s taken advantage of Texas’ lax ethic rules, and no-limits campaign funding. Perry has created quite a system of cronyism and patronage for himself.

We’ve seen Barack Obama do the same thing in Washington, and while we’ve seen some noise being made from a select from Republicans, no one has the backbone to really go after Obama, whose scandals should have seen him impeached ten times over.

Looking at Rick Perry’s decades long record in Texas, can anyone tell you with a straight face that he would be any better than Obama, or face any real scrutiny for his corrupt dealings?

The only thing that would change is the name on the checks going out to the cronies of the president. Perry is just another phony-baloney “Good Time Charlie” living it up on other people’s money, selling his political soul for a few pieces of silver.

America [and for that matter Texas] deserves a hell of a lot better than Rick Perry.

Perry represents everything that is wrong with politics. Everything that needs to be changed about politics. Politicians like Perry are a cancer on society and should be removed, not rewarded.

Semi-obligatory:

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Sarah Palin Finds No Meat In Last Night’s Debate Sandwich

By Gary P Jackson

Like many of us, Sarah Palin is still looking for someone to support in the Republican Party for president. After the latest debate, she tells Greta she’s still looking. So are we.

Though a lot of the media took her praise of Newt Gingrich as some endorsement, she was merely stating fact. Gingrich is a great debater and would certainly mop the floor with Obama, if given the chance. Problem is, should he be given the chance?

Sarah also praised Herman Cain for at least having an economic plan, whether that plan is viable, or not. She also goes after Perry on his DREAM Act, allowing illegal aliens in-state tuition discounts. Texans want this law repealed.

The media is playing up the big fight between Perry and Romney at last night’s debate. As usual, our corrupt media looks for ways to not cover the issues. Sarah points out the candidates need to stick to the issues, and stop the petty bickering on stage. That reminds me of Sarah’s own 2006 gubernatorial debates, where at one point, while her opponents were fighting, she turned and told them Alaskan’s deserved better. Changed the entire dynamics of the race. She was the adult in the room that night. Something this GOP nominating process is sorely lacking.

The problem with last night’s debate is, like the rest, it was a big dog and pony show, and little was accomplished, other than to remind us why we really aren’t excited about any of these candidates.

Sadly, Sarah’s interview, responses to Greta’s questions, and what she says she’s looking for in a candidate just reminds me why myself and so many others supported her as that candidate, and why the rest leave us wanting.

Video courtesy SarahNet

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The Lessons of History

By C A Bamford

The current administration is deeply mired in controversy and scandals, the most notorious being the disastrous Fast & Furious gun trafficking fiasco, and the questionable use and loss of billions of taxpayer dollars to fund failing green energy corporations like Solyndra and others. Accusations of paybacks and secret deals are being investigated by Congressman Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee. But this is not the first time charges of cronyism and corruption have rocked our nation’s capital. The Teapot Dome Scandal of the 1920s was one of the worst we had ever experienced…until now.

The Teapot Dome Scandal

When World War I ended in 1918, it had cost us over 320,000 American lives. The soldiers who returned found our country had changed. The good times were gone. Our economy was in a downturn and there were not enough jobs to go around. The influx of returning veterans into the jobs market added to the economic slowdown. People were unhappy with the poor economy. The presidential election of 1920 was on the horizon and people were ready for change.

Senator Warren G. Harding was the perfect candidate for president. He was a charming, nice looking man who presented himself well and was like by voters everywhere. Republicans like Harry Daugherty had a strong interest in seeing Harding elected. Other powerful supporters were William Harrison Hays, Chairman of the RNC, and a number of state political bosses, the most powerful of whom was Boies Penrose of Pennsylvania.

With the help of his friends, Harding won the 1920 presidential election in a landslide and was inaugurated on March 4, 1921.

Harry Daugherty, a business lawyer from Columbus Ohio represented a number of very powerful interests, including railroads and the American Tobacco Company. He was a skillful political player who had once served as an Ohio State Representative. However, accusations of accepting bribes for votes had damaged his political career. But Daugherty continued to influence the political process as an effective lobbyist, fixer, and organizer. He worked tirelessly to get Harding elected. For his efforts, Daugherty was appointed Attorney General of the United States.

Another of Harding’s good friends was Albert B. Fall, senator from New Mexico. Fall, the owner of one of the largest cattle ranches in NM, had been a gold miner, Indian fighter, and had ridden with Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough riders. He had also been a lawyer and a judge.

Harding rewarded Albert Fall with the job of Secretary of the Interior, a powerful position that gave Fall direct control over all public lands in the US.

William Harrison Hays, the Chairman of the RNC was given the job of Postmaster General of the United States, a position that controlled thousands of the patronage jobs politicians used to reward their supporters. President Harding appointed Edward Denby as Secretary of the Navy, giving Denby control over all oil reserves, lands, military equipment and all things US Navy.

In 1912, amidst growing concerns over a great war, President Taft had set aside public oil reserve lands for use by the US Navy. To ensure that the Navy would always have enough fuel available, several oil producing areas were designated as Naval Oil Reserves by President Taft. The Naval Oil Reserves included 70,000 acres in Elk Hills and Buena Vista, California, and Salt Creek, Wyoming. The Wyoming reserve was called Teapot Dome after a teapot-shaped rock structure on the land.

In June of 1920, Congress had passed a bill giving the Secretary of the Navy control over the still unused oil reserves. Secretary of the Interior, Alfred Fall, wanted to use those oil resources for other purposes. He believed that private businesses should be allowed to develop the public lands resources and use them for a profit. Republican Senator Robert “Fighting Bob” Follette of Wisconsin was one of those who strongly opposed moving control of the Federal oil reserves from the Department of the Navy to the Interior Department.

But in 1921, President Harding issued an executive order which transferred control of Teapot Dome Oil Field in Wyoming, and the Elk Hills and Buena Vista Oil Fields in California from the Navy Department to the Department of the Interior. The order was not implemented until 1922, when Secretary Fall persuaded Navy Secretary Edwin C. Denby to transfer control of the Naval Oil Reserves to the Dept of the Interior.

Meanwhile, Fall was facing severe financial hardships in his personal life. His ranches were not producing and he was heavily in debt. Soon after the transfer of power, Fall leased the oil production rights at Teapot Dome to Harry F. Sinclair of Mammoth Oil, a subsidiary of Sinclair Oil. He also leased the Elk Hills reserve to a longtime friend of his, Edward L. Doheny of Pan American Petroleum. Both leases were issued without competitive bidding and under lease terms very favorable to the oil companies.

A few months before, Fall had received a no-interest loan from Doheny of $100,000 (equivalent to about $1.23 million today). He had also received other gifts from Doheny and Sinclair totaling over $400,000 (about $4.96 million today). Alfred Fall was suddenly able to pay off his debts and buy more ranchland. Fall attempted to keep his actions secret, but details of his dealings began to be leaked to the public. Competing oil companies in California and Wyoming began asking their congressman about Doheny and Sinclair’s lease deals.

On April 14, 1922, The Wall Street Journal broke the story about the secret oil leases. The public paid little attention. They didn’t believe that Harding’s administration would allow bribery or corruption. Some senators, however, already had doubts about his administration. Republican Senator Robert M. La Follette led the move to investigate Fall’s actions. On April 29th, the senate called for a special investigation into the leases. The investigation by the Senate Committee on Public Lands began in October 1922, and was headed by Democrat Senate Minority Leader Thomas Walsh from Montana, a former prosecutor.

Publicly, President Harding supported Fall, but privately he told a friend,
“My God this is a hell of a job! I have no trouble with my enemies. I can take care of them. But my friends, my god**mned friends, they’re the ones that keep me walking the floor at night.”

No one knows for sure how much Harding knew about the scandal. He died unexpectedly in San Francisco, California on August 2, 1923. Vice President Calvin Coolidge became president. Coolidge immediately appointed two special lawyers to handle the Teapot Dome case; one Democrat and one Republican, with the instructions, “If you are confirmed, there is one thing you must bear in mind. You will be working for the government of the United States – not for the Republican Party and not for me. Let this fact guide you, no matter what ugly matters come to light.”

On October 23, 1923, Albert Fall who had resigned his position in March was the first witness called. He refused to provide the committee with any details about the leases, invoking his Fifth Amendment rights.

For two years, the committee continued its investigations No evidence of wrongdoing could be found, and the leases were legal, but records kept disappearing mysteriously. Fall had made the leases appear legitimate, but his acceptance of the money was his undoing. By 1924, the remaining unanswered question was how Fall had become so rich so quickly. Finally, as the investigation was winding down, Walsh uncovered a piece of evidence Fall had forgotten to hide: Doheny’s $100,000 loan to Fall.

This discovery broke the scandal open. Civil and criminal suits related to the scandal continued throughout the 1920s. In 1927 the Supreme Court ruled that the oil leases had been fraudulently obtained. The Court invalidated the Elk Hills lease in February 1927 and the Teapot Dome lease in October. Both reserves were returned to the Navy.

Albert Fall was found guilty of bribery in 1929, fined $100,000 and sentenced to one year in prison, making him the first Presidential cabinet member to go to prison for his actions in office. Harry Sinclair, who refused to cooperate with the government investigators, was charged with contempt, fined $100,000, and sentenced to six months in prison. Edward Doheny, who had resigned as Attorney General in March of 1924, was acquitted of bribery in 1930.
Another significant outcome was the Supreme Court’s ruling that for the first time, explicitly established that Congress had the power to compel testimony.

Harding’s political appointees became known as “The Ohio Gang”. Ohio was one of the most politically active states, and like Illinois, was thought by many to be one of the most politically corrupt states. Because of their actions, the Harding administration has been considered to be one of the most corrupt in US history.
History will also record the legacy left behind by our current administration, one rife with scandals and a cabinet that rivals the corruption and inefficiency of the Harding cabinet, Will those who sit in our congressional chambers have the courage to impartially investigate their own? Or will we have to wait for a successor who believes, as did President Calvin Coolidge, that “…the public is entitled to know that in the conduct of such actions, no one is shielded for any party, political, or other reason.”

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Palin Exposes Problems in GOP by Not Running

By Patrick S Adams

from Patrick’s World USA

More and more, people are starting to see that Sarah Palin’s decision to not run has left a gaping hole in the Republican field. Ever since she hit the campaign trail in 2008, the left wing media has pummeled her and the Republican establishment has been silent – and in some cases complicit. While Republican establishment types cringed behind closed doors fearing a run or weaved their fears tactfully into articles and commentaries leading up to the 2012 race, millions of regular everyday Americans were becoming fans on her Facebook page, with many of them giving time and/or money to support her. Even the most ardent of Palin supporters are finding out now that there was a lot more support for her than even they thought. Now that she’s not running, we’re learning a lot more about the GOP.

We know about Organize4Palin and the thousands of “boots on the ground” activists they had positioned to be ready to spring into action in case she did run. We have seen a massive proliferation of conservative and pro-Palin blogs and websites on the internet over the past three years. Prior to her withdrawal, it was this observer’s understanding and expectation that the media and the establishment would be astounded by the number of Palin supporters that would just come pouring out of the wood work as soon as she announced. There was nothing secret or hidden about the agenda. It was out there, wide open for the media, the Republican establishment and for anyone else who wanted to see it – unless of course they didn’t want you to see it.

By her not running, we’re finding out about the depth of her support anyway. We’re finding that Palin supporters aren’t the uneducated folks the media led us to believe they were. There were thousands of people talking to each other on the internet about her, networking and organizing for her with the kind of effectiveness that professional political consulting firms would die for. There were attorneys, business owners, writers, business owners, professional people as well as regular working people all giving of themselves in one way or another.

While some may want to view Palin supporters as star struck fans chasing windmills, the fact of the matter is that your regular Palin supporter is a well studied, well informed voter who was much more deeply aware of the issues and the web that was being weaved to get her into the presidency than the media or the GOP establishment would want you to know. They knew how big the army was getting, and it is big.

What will hurt the GOP in the long run is that they may be losing many of these supporters who are new to the process when it would be easy to bring them into the party tent if it was more receptive to them. These potential Republican voters who are new to political activism, yet highly educated from researching issues due to their interest in Palin, are finding out along with the rest of us what the real Republican Party looks like; and they don’t like what they see.

They’re not dreamers blinded by their allegiance to Sarah Palin. It’s the media, those that didn’t want to her to win and the GOP establishment who are blinded by their hatred and fear of her so much that they refused to acknowledge the size and strength of her following and now risk alienating them because of this. The political vacuum that has been left as a result of her decision is evident in the way many conservatives are finding it hard to back a candidate; and the ones who are backing candidates are doing so with much softer support than Palin would have gotten.

Sarah Palin articulated a pure brand of conservatism that resonated completely with the values that most people agree with when polled on the issues. It’s more than just the charisma or her ability to give a great speech that fires people up. She resonates on all levels. The media and the GOP establishment preferred to ignore that rather than to embrace it.

A few fat cats ran a campaign to draft Chris Christie and party leaders acted as if there was this massive groundswell for him. The media gave this round the clock coverage until he gave the press conference to announce he wasn’t running and then it was over. There was no crying or gnashing of teeth. That level of heartache is only reserved for those with a deeply devoted and widespread following.

Running parallel to the Christie story was the far less reported one about the millions of Palin supporters and legions of activists throughout America who were clamoring for her to run. While the story of a few Republican Party insiders trying to convince Christie to run was ginned up, millions of people waiting for a Palin decision were ignored. Despite the lack of media coverage and attention from the Republican Party, the tidal wave of shock and disappointment over her announcement not to run was felt by millions of people across the country instantly because she announced her decision on the Mark Levin Show. It is, after all, talk radio and the new media where most of those who seek real news coverage go.

How this will ultimately affect the Republican Party is yet to be seen. We are already starting to see some of the effects. Reaction to what is happening with the current GOP field has not been positive. A variety of concerns are bubbling to the surface. There is the concern that establishment favorite Mitt Romney may not be able to earn the support of the Tea Party. There is the concern that even some of the more conservative candidates have glitches that prevents them from drawing the enthusiasm of the base the way Palin did. There is the concern the candidates will beat each up so badly that the nominee would be damaged coming out of the gate.

Robert Eugene Simmons, Jr. at American Thinker goes as far as to say that because Palin’s not in the race, Obama is going to win.

The calculus is fairly simple: the media and GOP establishment want Romney to be the nominee. Once a progressive is at the head of the Republican ticket, low turnout for Republicans will hand a narrow victory to Obama.

In 2008 the Democrats dodged a bullet because they hadn’t counted on a Palin VP nomination galvanizing a dispirited Republican party. Without Palin, or another charismatic authentic conservative, Obama would have swept the election in a landslide.

The activism and excitement Governor Palin brought into the 2008 campaign spilled over much more easily into the Tea Party movement following the election than it would have without her. Over the course of the last three years, she has pulled millions of people (including young people, working people, women and minorities) who have never been politically active into the conservative movement. Surely she has her standard middle class white male followers, but her support is so diverse that there are even gay organizations that support her and gays who are not into identity politics who just happened to mix in heterogeneously with the rest of the people behind her. There are Democrats who would give their left arm for such a diverse base.

Kevin Ainsworth at Conservatives4Palin points out a serious issue with the political system.

She was the one everybody was waiting to enter the GOP contest and would have been the frontrunner. Having become the nominee, thanks to your help and support, she would have probably beaten Obama and become President as you all so desperately wanted. But at what cost? People and companies donating $1 billion will want something for that money. To get the money in the first place for the campaign they would probably have put conditions on it. Let’s face it – they would not have wanted her talking about crony capitalism for a start! She would have been shackled during the election and then would not have been free to do all those things you dream about and which she believes in once she was elected.

There is a theme in Ainsworth’s article which is showing up in a lot of writing coming from Palin supporters recently following her announcement. It’s something the GOP really ought to pay attention to. The notion of “we the people” is a concept that holds incredible weight, which stands as a great sales pitch for the Republican Party to use in order to draw millions back into the tent and which presents a way to grow deep roots into the political culture by empowering those who would otherwise be cynical of a process that keeps candidates beholden to special interests.

In its greed and lust for power, the Republican Party has chosen to alienate these voters by using the politics of crony capitalism and big money donors as its strategy for gaining and holding power. Some will contend that this is a reality of modern politics and that trying to win elections by rejecting this formula is a death blow for any wannabe candidate who seeks elected office on a populist message based on the will of the people as exercised through grass roots activism. Accepting this, though, means that you don’t believe that the Palin model is doable with the right amount of effort and support, nor do you believe that the fight by regular people to have a say is worthwhile.

Even worse, accepting the electoral model status quo means accepting the systemic problems that allowed socialism and progressivism to flourish in the first place. As long as the system favors the powerful over the little guy instead of balancing it for all, the pool of disenchanted poor and working class who respond to everything with knee jerk emotions will be a recruiting haven for liberals, statists and socialists.

For decades, Americans have sat at the broken red light waiting for someone else to fix it. When Palin decided that she would run that light and millions followed her, the notion of “sheep no more” was born.

Just as frustrated motorists will all join in running the broken red light as soon as the front guy goes, so will frustrated citizens join a political movement that aims to buck the status quo if there is a trustworthy leader with the right support to follow.

The establishment has become like those cars that won’t run the light and we poor saps who get stuck behind a bad nominee will end up having to lay on the horn for another four years until either Palin runs next time around or someone else realizes that neither Obama nor an establishment Republican is willing or able to fix it.

“Unless there is a radical change in policy — implemented by a new president — the US may be transformed into an Europeanized business model that saps entrepreneurship and shifts the ownership of wealth from the ordinary citizen to oligarchs in industry and banking like the cabals who pull the strings in the EU,” Bernie Reeves writes at American Thinker.

The Republicans have alienated a large voting bloc by being silent or even complicit in their criticism of Palin for running that metaphorical red light. They should be capturing that enthusiasm and bottling it for future electoral victories. My late father said “the older you get the dumber you get.” How the Republican Party mutated into the party it is today, especially after Ronald Reagan invigorated it and handed it a new generation of voters, leads me to believe that my dad was right.

Despite whatever reason Palin decided not to run (whether it be for the security of her family or simply because she feels she can make more money while being more successful effecting change as a private citizen), there surely was no encouragement for her to decide the other way coming from the Republican establishment. Rather than go to Wasilla, they went to Trenton instead. They chose to shun her and fear her rather than to embrace her as the catalyst necessary for reviving the party and bringing in new members.

If everyone, including the party establishment, got behind her early on and stood up for her, she may have felt more of the calling. Instead, she may be thinking “why bother” knowing that she would be out there swinging in the breeze if she had run and won the nomination in a party that continues to be hostile to her. If they really knew how big of a voting bloc they were ignoring, they wouldn’t have insulted our intelligence by treating her and her followers like they were lightweights.

It wouldn’t be fair to blame the Republican Party outright for Palin’s decision to not run. It was her decision after all. But, it’s not unreasonable to blame the Republican Party for their absence while her supporters and the more fair minded (many of whom vote Republican) were out there defending her.

It’s fair to be critical of the party for not being more encouraging toward her and for not working harder on creating a political environment where more people like her feel more confident about running for political office. Maybe by not running, she will end up being more effective in bringing about change when her absence in the race makes the Republican Partys’ heart grow fonder and they realize that without her there, the RINO dishes keep piling up in the political sink and the conservative ones are still spotty.

We must understand first and foremost that the progressive movement has flourished for decades in an environment created by crony Republicans whose only real difference with the Democrat Party is that they prefer crony capitalism over crony socialism. For them it’s not about big government versus small government; it’s about who gets to run the government. While the center right cronies exchange power back and forth with the center left cronies each election cycle, “we the people” get left holding the bag even though it’s “we the people” who they keep getting to pull the levers or press the touch screens for them.

The days of just waltzing into the voting booth and voting Republican may be over if serious changes are not made in regards to what the Republican Party really stands for and the types of leaders it really wants to support. We may have to pull that lever this one last time just to get rid of Obama, but once Obama’s gone it has to be time for a serious discussion about whether the GOP wants to return to just business as usual without the socialism or if in fact they can be serious about executing the will of “we the people.”

We can believe all we want in small government and individual empowerment and responsibility. But, until we reform the GOP and assume the power necessary to effect change within the party, we will never be able to reform Washington and assume the power necessary to effect change within our government.

It’s “we the people” who should be able to decide who our nominee is and which direction the Republican party should go. This means challenging the establishment and reforming the party in such a way that it can embrace candidates like Palin instead of allowing them to feel like their family’s security is at stake or that the shackles of running for office outweigh the freedom of earning money on the open market. There is only so much crap even deeply committed patriots are willing to put up with before they say no to running. As a result, we get leaders with glitches instead of leaders with principles.

Some see the GOP as a party of the circular firing squad. Others see it as a party of blue bloods who keep shooting themselves in the feet to prevent themselves from running toward a more non-conventional candidate who just happens to have her pulse on the real feelings and desired direction of the American people. Because of this, we will once again go through the exercise of nominating someone who bores us to death but who is less of a statist than the other guy.

There’s a reason why the party establishment fears reform candidates like Palin or refuses to give “we the people” the appropriate say. All the big money that goes into funding the supposedly pro-capitalism party comes from people who are afraid that they can’t succeed without having their hand on the till in one way or another. They build their crony networks which in turn corrupts the capitalist system because they operate under the assumption that you can’t beat city hall. If they won’t allow people like Palin to change this, they will be right in their self-fulfilling manifestation of why it has to be that way.

Let’s face it. If you try to build a business on your own these days you either have to grease the system or beat it in order to be successful. Try beating the Federal government’s regulatory agencies, the IRS and the EPA and tell me whether or not it’s easier to just divvy up with the boys. You can understand why cronies do it. You just can’t understand why they won’t fix it. Therein lies the frustration and the finger pointing. The cronies are too comfortable to change and the American people are growing impatient with their being intransient.

The Founding Fathers would be beside themselves with grief if they were here now to see how badly our system of government has deviated from their intentions. The system that is supposed to be working with us now works against us. Many of us know that if it was the way they intended it to be, we’d be free and prosperous. That’s worth fighting for. That’s worth building a movement around. The call for restoration and renewal is not a slogan. It’s a clarion call for a political party that would like to be able to win elections again with the support of the people rather than with contempt for the people.

Socialism doesn’t work. It doesn’t have a source renewable revenue source. It drains from the rich and then collapses when the rich are no more. Crony capitalism doesn’t work. It keeps the wealth and power in the hands of a few at the expense of the many. Cronyism is born of cynicism. So is socialism. Some become exclusive members of the system and some work to collapse it. There is another alternative: fix it, renew it and restore it. This is where “we the people” come in. This is the alternative the Republican Party needs to offer if it is to avoid going the way of the Whigs.

Limited government, personal responsibility, a strong family unit, a belief in God and free market capitalism will work only if people are willing to stand up for it the way Sarah Palin has been standing up for it. There are millions of us out there. The idea that we can grow wealth across along socioeconomic lines in a free market economy is not a fantasy. A rising tide will lift all boats. Sarah Palin tells us that sudden and relentless reform is the only way to make this happen.

By not embracing this sudden and relentless reform, the Republican Party acts against its own best long term interests. Sarah Palin and her ideas are a meal ticket for the Republican Party. Her base would be an instant source of membership growth, if only the party would listen. Imagine how great the Republican Party would be if it embraced its Reagan roots and was in sync with Palin in fighting for energy independence, smaller government and an end to crony capitalism.

Everyone keeps bringing up Sarah Palin as a possible third party candidate. You want to know why? She is a third party. Her movement is big enough to put real numbers on the board had she decided to run that way. But she’s smart and she’s patriotic. She would rather give the Republican Party more time to reform itself appropriately than hand the election to Obama by splitting the vote.

Only time will tell where the Republican Party will go following Palin’s withdrawal from the race. Had there been a better candidate or even a comparable alternative, her supporters would have flocked to that candidate by now in much the same way Reagan supporters flocked to her in 2008. “We the people” know what we want and whether it’s Palin or someone who represents what she does, that’s the candidate “we the people” are looking for.

With her absent from the Republican field, we are getting to see a lot more about the current state of the GOP. Although she is still out there fighting for the cause, you can tell that by not having her plank in the race, the structure is weakened. What we’re not hearing in the debates from that 9th podium behind which stands no candidate is louder than what we are hearing from the other 8. The GOP establishment might have been scared of the spider, but they may just find out that there a lot more bugs now that the spider is not there.

Listen to Patrick’s World USA Wednesday night on BlogTalk Radio.

I talked with Roderic Deane about this post on BlogTalk Radio show this past Sunday. You can listen to it here.

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Filed under In The News, Politics, sarah palin

Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 Plan is Troubling

By Gary P Jackson

I want to like Herman Cain, I really do, but the man makes it hard.

I have a lot of concerns about Cain, not the least of which is his complete lack of experience as an elected official, and a total lack of any record of accoplishment as an elected official. Oh sure, Cain has a solid record as a CEO, but that’s not the same as having a record as an elected executive, who has experience in successfully dealing with a legislature, and actually putting all of the happy talking into action.

Herman Cain has zero foreign policy experience, and his answers to tough questions always seems to be that he’ll simply sublet that out to his advisors. This is scary on many levels. What if he picks morons for advisors? [we’ve seen how well that works with the Obama regime] Also, as the President always takes the lead in foreign policy, not Congress, it would be nice to have a chief executive that actually has a coherent thought on the matter. Foreign policy is at least AS important as domestic issues.

Cain’s supposed strong suit is the economy. After all, he’s a businessman. And yet, he supported idiotic ideas such as TARP, and actually said THIS in 2008:

Wake up people! Owning a part of the major banks in America is not a bad thing. We could make a profit while solving a problem.

Cain also said:

Far from nationalization, purchase of bank stocks is a win-win for taxpayers

You can read his entire column here.

Cain’s thinking falls right in line with President George W. Bush’s “I had to abandon free market principles to save the free market.

Looking back, TARP and owning bank shares have been an absolute disaster. Far from Cain’s “win-win” naiveté.

Cain’s poor judgment back in 2008 is just the beginning. What worries me today is his so-called 9-9-9 plan. Herman Cain is a salesman at heart, and he’s come up with a catchy idea that a lot of people are sold on, but his plan is even more dangerous than the “Fair Tax” that is being pushed by the criminally insane.

Look, no one disputes the need for serious reform of the current tax code. We need to take away government control. By that I mean we need to reform the system so lawmakers can’t use the tax code to encourage or discourage certain behavior.

Tax credits are often give to people who do things like purchase and install solar panels, or buy hybrid or all electric cars. This is nothing more than a form of cronyism, where-in the lawmakers reward those who support them. I’m using the “green” tax breaks as an example, but government has used the tax code as a form of social engineering, and to reward cronies, for decades.

The United States has always taxed income, not retail sales. One can debate the wisdom of that from now until the end of time. Point is, other than the few times Congress sought to punish the successful by imposing a “luxury tax” on high end items, [which always hurt the makers of said items] the income tax has been the main way of funding government.

The income tax, when originally implemented, was supposed to be temporary, and only a few percentage points. Well, as Ronald Reagan was fond of saying, there is nothing more permanent than a temporary government program. It wasn’t long before the top tax rate was a staggering 90%!

Cain’s plan calls for a 9% sales tax, a 9% personal income tax, and a 9% corporate tax.

Now Cain isn’t suggesting a constitutional amendment here, so what he is really doing is simply adding a sales tax to go along side something we already have, an income tax. This isn’t a whole lot different than the United Kingdom’s value added tax. [VAT] Oh and rather than having the rates set in stone, Cain would only “suggest” a two-thirds majority to raise the rates. We already know that among the permanent political class raising taxes is no big deal. There would be nothing to stop future congresses and presidents from raising the rates at will.

This isn’t even the worst part.

Last week Tammy Bruce posted a video of Cain and some must read commentary about his remarks here.

In the video Cain is asked how his plan would effect the poorest among us, and whether there would be tax exemptions for life’s most basic needs, like food. Without batting an eye, Cain said there would be no exemptions, and then went off on a tangent about buying used clothes and used cars.

Cain also goes on to explain how his tax would actually be better, because of the elimination of payroll taxes and withholding. Now it sounds good when said by a slick salesman, but there is little reality here.

Texas, for example has a state sales tax. [we have no income tax] Cities and counties also have a sales tax that is collected at the same time. The current state tax rate is 6.25%, where I live, the city and county add another 2%. In Texas goods and some services, like auto repair, are taxed. Food, medicine, and medical services are among the things that are tax exempt. Though there are some, in their lust to further the growth of government, who would love to end those exemptions, Texans wouldn’t stand for it.

The problem with Herman Cain is he can talk the talk, but has forgotten what it’s like to walk the walk.

You see, the poorest among us, many who are living on Social Security and disability checks [fixed incomes] don’t pay payroll taxes and won’t see the alleged benefits Cain cites. They will only see the cost of everything they buy go up by 9% at the check-out counter. This will only limit their buying power further.

Cain’s answer seems to say the poor don’t deserve new stuff and should be happy to wear other people’s discarded clothes. I’ve worn hand-me-downs before myself, but I’ll be damned if I buy used underwear! Also, if you’ve ever shopped at Wal-Mart, you’ll know you can often buy new clothes for the same price [or less] than at the thrift store. Of course, if someone is buying from a thrift store, one would think they’d be subject to Cain’s 9%. So now what, you got the poor chasing all over town looking at garage sales for clothes? That’s all I can figure.

I wonder if there is such a thing as “used food” the poor can buy?

What gets me is how cavalier Herman Cain is about all of it. How matter-of-factly he says no to exempting basic items like food. No thought to how this will effect those who can least stand to have another expense.

Cain’s 9-9-9 plan sounds more like a good offer on a pizza than a coherent tax plan. In fact, if you live near a CiCi’s Pizza restaurant, you can go pick up three loaded medium pizzas for, you guessed it, $9.99!

The idea of adding a sales tax at all, while still having an income tax, is insane. We’ve seen this movie before, and that 9% will turn to 19% sooner rather than later.

The only way to reform the tax code is by constitutional amendment. Something that sets rates in stone. Then it would take another amendment to change the rates. Anything less is unacceptable.

I’m sure Cain means well, but under his plan there is nothing to stop future presidents and future congresses from raising rates, and harming those who can least afford it, even more.

I’m not totally opposed to a national sales tax, as long as it replaces the current system of taxing income completely, and as long as basic items like food, medicine, and medical services are not taxed.

This is the problem with the equally silly “Fair Tax.” It taxes everything as well, and at a much higher rate, though it does replace the income tax in it’s entirety. Now proponents of this Rube Goldberg device proclaim that taxpayers would get a “pre-bate” check to cover the taxes paid of food and the like.

Huh?

Under the “ Fair Tax” government would control the amount of the “pre-bate” one would receive monthly. Past experience tells me that check would never be enough to cover the actual taxes paid in. Why the authors of this fiasco waiting to happen didn’t just think to exempt some things, like food, and eliminating the need for government controlled “pre-bate” checks, is beyond me. The cost to process these “pre-bates” alone would be staggering.

Back to Herman Cain, just today economist Steve Moore, one of the architects of the 9-9-9 plan, says he would drop the sales tax portion of the plan. Of course I’m not so sure his newest idea is any better, which is to replace the sales tax with a 9% payroll tax. [in addition to the 9% income tax]

Oddly enough, just today, well respected economist Peter Schiff says there is already a hidden 9% payroll tax built into Cain’s 9-9-9 plan!

I like simple. Rather than all of these “plans” that are as just so much smoke and mirrors, how about a reformed income tax code instead?

My plan would be simple. Tax personal income only. No deductions, except for the first, say $20,000 in income. [adjusted for inflation] This would allow the truly poor some breathing room. You would tax every individual earning a paycheck. There would be no more distinctions between single and married. The tax form would be simple: “How much did you earn? [minus the first $20,000] Send in X percent of that. No hassle, no social engineering, nothing. The economy would explode. [in a good way]

Herman Cain is someone to admire and respect, but having watched him as a candidate I am convinced that he’s not ready, or even remotely qualified, to be president. We already have an on-the-job trainee as president. Don’t need another one.

Our options for 2012 are very poor, to say the least. We must continue to vet all of the candidates and their ideas. We can’t afford to go easy on any of them. This election is just too important to screw up.

Unless Herman Cain starts to show me more than he has, I simply cannot get behind him.

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Filed under In The News, Politics, tammy bruce

Dan Wheldon 1978-2011

Dan Wheldon after winning the 2011 Indianapolis 500

We lost Dan Wheldon today in a tragic racing accident at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

May God bless his soul and may God be with all of his family, friends, and fellow racers.

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Filed under In The News

Debate Shocker: Rick Perry Says Corruption, Cronyism is OK at the State Level

By Gary P Jackson

Yup, Rick Perry really said that!

Michelle Malkin rips Perry apart in her coverage of last night’s debate, but what stuck out to me was this exchange between Perry and debate moderator Karen Tumulty from the Washington Post:

MS. TUMULTY: Right. Governor Perry, taxpayers stand to lose half a billion dollars in the collapse of Solyndra, which is a solar energy firm that was a centerpiece of the Obama green jobs initiative. Do you think there were inadequate safeguards there, or do you think this is just the risk we run when the government gets involved in subsidizing new industries and technologies?

GOV. PERRY: Well, I don’t think the federal government should be involved in that type of investment, period. If states want to choose to do that, I think that’s fine for states to do that.

Of course Rick Perry is OK with this sort of thing! Back in September I wrote about Convergen LifeSciences, which may very well turn out to be Rick Perry’s very own Solyndra. Every program Perry has his hands in is full of corruption and rewards to his cronies. It’s like nothing we’ve ever seen in Texas. Perry makes Obama and his thugs from Chicago look amateurish by comparison.

Read more of what Michelle Malkin has to say here.

Not only is Convergen a fiasco, most of the money from Rick Perry’s Enterprise fund, which is nothing more than slush fund to reward his cronies, has gone to firms that are failing to meet job targets.

I’ve written a lot about Perry’s corruption, pay-to-play schemes, [alleged] money laundering, and cronyism. Sadly I have barely scraped the surface.

There is so much more of this out there.

Texas has very lax ethics laws, and even when caught, our laws have few real teeth. This allows Perry and many others get away with a lot.

I keep saying this, but can’t say it enough: Voters who think Rick Perry should be president need to re-think that long and hard.

Electing Rick Perry will be like giving Obama a second term. Rick Perry is not going to champion the reforms needed to save America. He’ll give them lip service, like he does in Texas, but he won’t change a single thing. His cronies pay him too much money and give him too much power for him to dare go against their wishes.

As a Texan I look forward to finding a true reformer who will run for Governor in 2014 and not only remove Perry from office, but champion the reforms needed to run all of the other corrupt Texas politicians out of office as well.

Cronyism, this vile perversion of capitalism, has lead us to the brink of disaster, and guys like Barack Obama and Rick Perry are the leading practitioners. Obama, Perry, and all those like them are the enemies of Liberty and freedom.

They are a cancer on society and need to be removed, not rewarded.

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Filed under In The News, Politics

Crony Capitalism: Rick Perry’s Corrupt Pay-to-Play Enterprise Fund Recipients Miss Job Targets in Texas

By Gary P Jackson

You know how pissed off you get when you read that another one of Barack Obama’s “stimulus” programs fail, after most of the money went to his cronies, and after costing us billions? Well, Rick Perry has the same problem in Texas.

The Governor of Texas doesn’t have a lot of constitutional power. It’s one of the weakest executive positions of all 50 states. There are a few areas though, where the Governor has almost total control, and it’s here that Rick Perry has found ways to create a corrupt system of patronage and cronyism.

A lot has been written about Rick Perry’s Enterprise Fund. A stimulus fund to help create jobs. Perry has used this money as his own personal slush fund to help out his cronies and big money political donors.

Texas has no limits on campaign cash from individuals, and the individuals who Perry has helped with his slush fund have given him millions of dollars over the years.

Now this cronyism is bad enough, and the sort of thing, that in many states, would find the Governor facing charges, but it’s worse than that. Bloomberg News has a report now that exposes the poor record of job creation under this program.

Rick Perry’s big selling point to the nation is he is the king of the job creators, and yet, the one program he has control over consistenly fails to create the jobs promised, despite handing out millions to Perry’s buddies.

These stimulus funds are being paid out even as billions are cut from school funding and programs that help the poor in Texas.[emphasis mine]

Rick Perry touts Texas as home to more new jobs in the past decade than any other state. Yet the taxpayer-funded programs he has used to lure employers and finance expansion often fail to meet employment goals, according to officials and activists.

While basing his bid for the Republican presidential nomination on limited government, the governor, 61, oversees state job-stimulating funds that have provided almost $633 million to companies including retailers Cabela’s Inc. (CAB) and Home Depot Inc. (HD) and agribusinesses such as Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN) A Perry spokeswoman says the recipients have created almost 58,400 new jobs. A watchdog group says two-thirds missed their targets.

Democrats including Jim Dunnam, a former state representative from Waco, also knock Perry for using the funds to reward contributors and for delivering taxpayer money to businesses as schools and health care are shortchanged. Some Republicans have faulted the programs for inadequate disclosure and not reporting on jobs actually created.

It’s legal plunder,” said state Representative David Simpson, a Longview Republican backed by Tea Party activists.

You can’t avoid the appearance of impropriety when you take money from everyone and you give it to a select few,” said the first-term lawmaker. He opposes using tax money for business and said he voted against the school funding deal Perry signed.

Pay-to-Play

Funding recipients have included Washington Mutual, now a JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) unit, and Countrywide Financial, now owned by Bank of America Corp. (BAC) Perry’s campaigns received at least $8,500 in donations from both political action committees and/or from individuals tied to Washington Mutual and $7,000 connected to Countrywide, state Ethics Commission records show.

It’s a pay-to-play deal, always has been,” said Dunnam, the former representative, who was on a legislative committee that oversaw development funds.

Applicants for development-fund money “are thoroughly vetted and go through a rigorous review,” Lucy Nashed, a Perry spokeswoman, said by e-mail in response to questions about the connections between recipients and political contributions.

The governor is interested in finding the highest and best use of the state incentive funds,” Nashed said.

Sanderson Farms

Sanderson Farms Inc. (SAFM), a Laurel, Mississippi-based poultry producer, received $500,000 in fiscal 2007 to help build a plant in Waco. Joe Sanderson Jr., chairman and chief executive officer, gave $100,000 to Perry’s campaign committee in two $50,000 contributions, in 2009 and 2010. Sanderson didn’t respond to a request for comment through an assistant.

Donors to the governor have benefited in other ways. Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons, who has given more than $1.2 million to Perry campaigns, won permission to build a radioactive-waste dump in West Texas over the objection of state environmental regulatory employees worried about possible water contamination.

It seems to help if you donate to Perry,” said Craig McDonald, executive director of Texans for Public Justice, a nonprofit political-watchdog group. “There’s a correlation between those who pay and those who get from Perry.”

McDonald’s Austin-based group tied $17.1 million in Perry political support to 921 appointees, or their spouses, on state boards and commissions, in a September 2010 report. The donations were made from 2001 to June 2010, the group said.

Perry, who became governor in December 2000 when George W. Bush resigned ahead of his presidential inauguration, says his job-creation record makes him the best-qualified to take on President Barack Obama in 2012. Perry also has attacked Obama’s economic stimulus as unfocused government spending.

Governor Oversees Funds

Under the governor, the state created both the Texas Enterprise Fund in 2003 and the Texas Emerging Technology Fund in 2005. Perry directly oversees both, as well as a third set up to aid film and television production. Such programs steer public money into businesses and promotions for sports events, as a way to boost the economy.

For example, the state plans to provide $25 million a year for a decade to bring Formula One car racing to Austin, through a program to support special events. The same fund has been tapped to promote the National Football League’s Super Bowl championship in Dallas and college basketball tournaments. B.J. “Red” McCombs, a co-founder of broadcaster Clear Channel Communications who backs the Formula One project, has given more than $170,000 to Perry’s campaign committee, the records show.

Assessing the job-creation results from the incentive programs is difficult, critics including Dunnam and McDonald say. The funds haven’t had to report the numbers of new positions produced by recipients, and there are few independent studies to compare with figures provided by Nashed.

Job Creation

The enterprise fund has spurred the creation of 58,382 jobs by investing $435.6 million, said Nashed, the governor’s spokeswoman. Perry has referred to it as the largest “deal closing fund” in the U.S.

We’ve worked hard here in Texas to create an economic environment that attracts jobs and allows employers to risk their capital and receive a good return,” Nashed said. “Each of these jobs represents a livelihood for a Texan and their family, and helps strengthen the state’s economy.

Only 11 of 50 recipients of enterprise fund money that had promised to create jobs by 2009 met their goals, Texans for Public Justice, the political-watchdog group, said in a September 2010 report, among the most comprehensive available. It said more than 10 percent of the 50 projects examined were terminated, 14 managed to get their agreements amended to cut employment targets and 13 simply broke their pledges. The remainder fell somewhere in between.

Conflicting Figures

By the end of 2009, companies receiving enterprise fund money listed 22,544 jobs created in Texas, according to the report. An additional 8,147 were tied to three projects that also got cash from the program. The study said Perry claimed in January 2010 that the fund had spurred the creation of 54,600 jobs.

The jobs are just projected jobs,” said McDonald. “Our contention is that they weren’t created and may never be created.

Since December 2000, Texas employers have added more than 1 million nonfarm positions, even as the U.S. total was little changed, according to Labor Department figures. By 2008, when state payroll employment peaked at about 10.7 million, Comptroller Susan Combs, also a Republican, said six state economic-development programs including the funds overseen by Perry were responsible for less than 1 percent of those jobs.

Unknown to Lawmakers

The number of new jobs resulting from development-fund projects remains an unknown to lawmakers.

When enterprise fund employees appeared before the Legislature, they often couldn’t or wouldn’t testify about the positions actually created, said Dunnam, a lawmaker from 1997 to early this year. Instead, the workers talked about jobs promised to result from incentive money.

They didn’t want us to know what the actual number of jobs created was,” said Dunnam, a member of the economic development committee that oversaw the funds. “You’d just get the runaround.”

When Simpson, the Longview Republican, tried to cut off the incentive funds in May, Perry called him into his office for a meeting. Perry was “sensitive” to criticism of the programs, the lawmaker said.

He took offense at my call for more transparency,” said Simpson, 50. Nashed, Perry’s spokeswoman, declined to comment on the meeting.

Auditor Seeks Transparency

Simpson wasn’t alone in seeking changes in reporting from the emerging technology fund.

Closed-door funding decisions should be more transparent, Auditor John Keel said in a report in April. He also said the state needed to improve so-far limited monitoring of cash recipients and cited inadequate reporting by the organizations that got taxpayer money.

The technology fund has handed out $197.2 million to 133 “early stage” companies as well as $173 million in research grants to state universities, Nashed said. Actual job figures for the fund aren’t available because they weren’t part of reporting requirements, she said. The Legislature has since made such reports mandatory.

The administration follows legislated requirements for monitoring and providing data to state lawmakers “detailing the status of the state’s investments,” Nashed said.

The enterprise and technology funds require a “detailed application process” before being presented to Perry, she said.

Shared Control

Perry, along with Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst and Joe Straus, the speaker of the House of Representatives, make the final decisions on funding. Dewhurst and Straus are both Republicans.

Money for the technology fund was included in the budget for the two years that begin today, even after lawmakers closed an estimated $15 billion deficit partly by shortchanging schools and Medicaid, the health-care program for the poor.

Legislators including Simpson have questioned whether the state should be picking private companies to support with taxpayer dollars. The freshman Republican said the state shouldn’t use its resources for that purpose.

If it was a level playing field, the market would allocate capital to the right places,” Simpson said.

Others have questioned whether Perry should be running government-funded job-creation programs as he attacks Obama’s $825 billion economic-stimulus measure.

Read more here.

The bottom line is Rick Perry is no better than Barack Obama. When it comes to corruption and cronyism, the two men are simpatico.

Anyone who thinks electing Rick Perry as president is going to be a positive is delusional. The only thing that will change is the name on the checks going out to the cronies.

Cronyism and corruption are the main causes of almost every problem we face. Much of the policy that has caused the United States to find itself in this current situation can be traced back to pay-offs of one kind or another to the cronies of elected officials.

Both parties are guilty of this, and we need to clean house in both parties if we are to save this nation.

Corrupt politicians are a cancer on this great nation and must be removed.

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