*Posted by permission of garnet92 “Pesky Truth”.
Over the past couple of months Rick Perry has been considering a run for POTUS.
As of Thursday, August 11, it looks like the decision has been made and he’s in.
*(Update – Rick Perry announced for President at the Redstate.com gathering on 8/13/2011)
Since he’s been Governor of Texas for over ten years, folks from the other “56 states” are
asking Texans what kind of governor he’s been and what we think. I decided that what I “think” isn’t good enough – I could be wrong. So, I decided to do some research on Perry’s record and form a more accurate, fact-based opinion on his qualifications instead of relying on my general perceptions.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I voted for Perry in each of the three gubernatorial elections since 2002 and I am a conservative and a registered Republican. It was easy for me to vote for Perry since the alternative(s) were either uber-RINOs in the primaries or liberal Democrats in the general elections. Under the circumstances, my choice was always easy.
While researching Perry’s pros and cons, I’ve read every article and blog post that I could find – over several weeks. Many of those posts had 2-300 comments associated with them – I read them all.
After reading literally thousands of comments, it’s become apparent that there are quite a lot of anti-Perry activists out there throwing all sorts of disparaging rhetorical crap against the wall in hopes that some will stick and they can influence someone, anyone, to become anti-Perry too. The unfortunate thing is that most of their negative statements are either completely false, at worst, or misleading, at best. They’re simply parroting something they saw on another hater’s blog. Yet they maintain that they are the knowledgeable ones and those supporting Perry are ignorant clods who can’t walk and chew gum at the same time – “ignorant” is an adjective that they like to use a lot.
It’s ludicrous to think that some asinine statement like “Gardasil, Perry blew it – ‘nuff said,” deserves any consideration. No, it’s not “’nuff said,” there is usually more to know about an issue before a reasonable person can make an intelligent decision. For that reason, I have attempted to present some additional facts that have not been widely publicized just to educate those who have not been privy to Texas politics until now.
In that spirit, I do realize that anyone who reads this summary has a right to be skeptical of my facts. I therefore invite those who might dispute my findings to challenge them by verifying what I’ve presented here. And cross-check via reliable sources rather than relying on a single posting by some anonymous blogger – some spout “facts” which have no basis in the truth. I will identify the source of my data and in many cases, I’ll provide a link to the source so you can see for yourself … the real facts.
And finally, remember that any politician in office for ten years will have his/her critics and will have stepped on some toes during their term(s).
Following are subjects that are claimed by detractors to be Rick Perry’s failings – they are in no particular order.
Gardasil is a drug developed by Merck & Co.. It is supposed to prevent cervical cancer caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it in June of 2006 and subsequently recommended vaccination in females aged 11 and 12, before they become sexual active. Since it is not effective against an existing infection, it must be given before a sexually-transmitted HPV infection occurs.
Governor Perry issued an Executive Order (EO) (RP#65, February, 2007) which mandated that all Texas girls be vaccinated prior to their admission to the sixth grade. Parents were allowed to opt out of the mandate by filling out an affidavit.
Perry was rebuked by both houses of the Texas legislature which overturned his EO by a veto-proof margin. Seeing the writing on the wall, Perry did not sign the law. He subsequently rescinded RP#65 with another EO (RP#74) and the issue is now dead in Texas. At least 18 other states (notably New York and Michigan) were considering similar actions with Gardasil, but none were actually implemented. Here is a link to additional data on other state’s decisions, from a 2007 article in Time Magazine Health.
Perry’s negatives related to the Gardasil issue were:
- Issuing the EO requiring vaccinations for young girls. Even though a parent could opt-out (for religious or philosophical reasons), refusing the child’s shot, people were upset that the EO required inoculation. Had the vaccination been voluntary, there would have been no question.
- Perry’s former chief of staff (2002-2004) was a lobbyist for Merck at the time and is thought to have had undue influence on Perry on behalf of Merck’s drug.
- Merck contributed a grand total of $6,000 to Perry’s reelection campaign. While it is unseemly in its timing, $6,000 is barely enough money to get noticed, much less to buy the support of a governor, least of all a “high roller” like Perry’s critics claim he is. That Merck contribution amounted to .00025 of the $24 million dollar campaign funds that he received that year.
There are still some who are convinced that Merck contributed more than a paltry $6,000 to Perry. They are simply wrong. Merck gave two checks, one for $1,000 and another for $5,000 to Perry in the 2006 election timeframe (in 2008, they contributed a whopping $2,500). Here is a source to view all of Perry’s contributions: ProPublica. In fact, Merck has only contributed $23,500 to Perry over a 1998-2010 span, not exactly George Soros money. For comparison, from 2000-2006 Merck gave $2,460,000 to state politicians across 40 states.
The other side of the story:
Gardasil was believed to be a way to stop certain types of cancer among young women. Studies appearing in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2007 found that Gardasil was nearly 100 percent effective in preventing precancerous cervical lesions caused by the the strains that Gardasil protects against. Gardasil’s effectiveness increased when given to girls and young women before they become sexually active. Gardasil was found to be extremely effective in preventing several (but not all) of the strains of HPV known to cause cervical cancer and genital warts.
Some critics maintain that Gardasil has a record of “very serious safety issues.” That obvious attempt to further tarnish Perry’s image by intimating that not only did he do the bidding of Merck in ordering the vaccinations, he did so without considering the possible serious side effects. There is little doubt that Governor Perry knew a great deal more about Gardasil at the time than those critics do now. The CDC has been following Gardasil since its licensing and some current facts follow. Taken from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website:
“Since licensure, CDC and FDA have been closely monitoring the safety of HPV vaccines. “As of June 22, 2011, approximately 35 million doses of Gardasil® have been distributed in the U.S. and the safety monitoring system (VAERS) received a total of 18,727 reports of adverse events following Gardasil® vaccination. As with all VAERS reports, serious events may or may not have been caused by the vaccine.”
“Of the total number of VAERS reports following Gardasil®, 92% were considered to be non-serious, and 8% were considered serious. Out of 35,000,000 doses distributed, there were 1,498 occasions of serious complications; that equates to a .0000428 chance that a dose will cause a serious adverse reaction.” Hardly enough to consider the vaccine “a very serious safety issue” as claimed by some critics. Apparently, they are too lazy to “do a little research.”
As of June, 2011, the CDC says: “Based on all of the information we have today, CDC recommends HPV vaccination for the prevention of most types of cervical cancer. As with all approved vaccines, CDC and FDA will continue to closely monitor the safety of HPV vaccines.” Check out the CDC’s statements about Gardasil for yourself. And specifically check out the Summary at the end for the CDC’s conclusion about Gardasil’s effectiveness.
In Gardasil, Merck believed that they had a credible, FDA-approved, CDC recommended, fact-backed case for vaccinating young women and lobbied state officials to do so. Were they trying to make money on the drug? Without a doubt, that’s what a business does.
Perry maintains that the justification for his executive order making the shot mandatory was twofold: 1) that the vaccine offered a chance to save lives that might have otherwise been taken away by cervical cancer and, 2) that insurance companies wouldn’t cover the $360 cost of the vaccine ($120 for each of a 3-shot regimen) when it was simply an optional “recommended” vaccine. That put it out of the reach for most low-income Texans. This from the Time Magazine article (linked above), “Some pediatricians and gynecologists are refusing to stock Gardasil because many insurance companies reimburse so little for the vaccine, which costs $360 for the three required doses.”
When Perry mandated Gardasil, it would have become part of a school-related vaccine package which was then covered by insurance for simply the cost of a co-pay.
Agree or disagree, that does seem to be a reasonable justification for Perry’s actions.
2. Trans-Texas Corridor
The “Trans-Texas Corridor” (TTC) term identifies a plan, introduced by Governor Perry in 2001, that some saw as the beginning of a “North American Union” highway system. It was to extend from the Texas border with Mexico to the border with Oklahoma and would be a 4,000 mile system with routes crisscrossing Texas. The $175+ billion dollar project would have been the largest engineering project ever proposed for the state of Texas.
When details of the plan became public, critics became concerned that it would lead to a “NAFTA Superhighway” that would facilitate the United States, Canada and Mexico merging into a North American Union (a fringe conspiracy theory).
As envisioned, the TTC consisted of multi-use right-of-ways that would be up to 1,200 feet wide to accommodate six 80 mph vehicle lanes, 4 truck lanes, two tracks each for high-speed rail, commuter rail, and freight rail, a 200 ft. wide utility zone to accommodate underground water, natural gas, and petroleum pipelines, telecommunications cables and high-voltage electric transmission lines. A full-sized right of way would have required 146 sq. acres per mile.
While the concept of multi-use right-of-ways can be considered forward-thinking and progressive (in the proper use of the word), many were concerned that the proposed methods of land acquisition and financing could take advantage of landowners and the taxpaying public to the benefit of private entities.
In March of 2005, a Comprehensive Development Agreement (CDA) was signed with Cintra/Zachry, a partnership between Cintra (Cintra Concesiones deInfraestructuras de Transporte,S.A.), an international developer of transport infrastructure, and Zachry Construction Corp., one of the country’s largest construction companies. There were several other participants in the CDA, but these are the two most prominent.
Headquartered in Madrid, Spain, with subsidiaries on three continents, Cintra is one of the world’s largest private-sector developers of transport infrastructure. Zachry is a privately held company founded in 1924 and headquartered in San Antonio,Texas. The concerns that critics raised over the TTC were:
- Cintra, a Spanish firm, was the largest financer. They would build, design and operate the highway (that included collecting toll revenue). While the Spanish firm would not own the system, they would benefit financially off of Texas’ infrastructure. All roads in Texas are owned by Texas and managed under Texas’ Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) authority.
- Since most of the Trans-Texas Corridor roads would be toll roads, toll earnings would be used to pay investors (Cintra) and to maintain the roads. If any public money was used to pay for part of the TTC, it would constitute double taxation. Motorists would have contributed gasoline tax revenues towards building and maintaining Texas highways and still have to pay for tolls on the TTC.
- It was estimated that 580,000 acres (906 square miles) would have been taken from private owners (mostly ranch and farm land) and either purchased by, or seized (via eminent domain) by the state for the Trans-Texas Corridor.
- The possible misuse of eminent domain – confiscating private land for “public” use – was a major concern.
Perry’s defense was that as Texas continues to grow by about 1,200 people every day, the state’s infrastructure must be improved to accommodate the growth. The TTC was an attempt to create a state-of-the-art, coordinated system of thousands of miles of roadways, rail lines, and gas transportation systems without raising taxes by using a financing method called a “Public Private Partnership” (P3s). It is important to note that P3s are a procurement option, not a revenue source. Some current examples are: the Chicago Skyway, the South Bay Expressway in California, and the Capital Beltway high-occupancy toll lanes in DC. Here is more on P3s from the Federal Highway Administration.
The TTC is now a dead issue in Texas. It cannot be resurrected under any other name. In fact, the governor recently signed HB 1201, which removed all remaining references to the TTC from state statutes. Perry has not attempted to resurrect it or do an “end run” around the legislature and the people. Here is a local (Houston) story that sums up the public outcry over the TTC.
By law, toll roads in Texas can never be owned by anyone other than the state and are not being “leased away.” The public never relinquished ownership of any state roads.
The governor signed a law in 2005 that prevents a free road from being “converted” to a toll road. This is current law under the Transportation Code, Chapter 228.201 and he signed SB 18 on May 19, 2011, a bill which strengthened property owner’s rights when eminent domain is exercised by a government entity. Eminent domain “land grabs” were one of the big concerns that Texans had relating to the TTA.
Unlike the current administration in Washington, Rick Perry heard the people and backed off.
3. He used to be a Democrat and
was Al Gore’s campaign manager in Texas
Both statements are true. Perry was raised in a Democrat family where his father was a long-serving Democrat county commissioner. It was natural for him to start his political career as a Democrat. He won his first election in 1984 when he was elected to the Texas house and soon became a rising star in Texas democrat politics. An opportunity to advance himself presented itself and he became Gore’s Texas campaign manager in 1988.
Those too young to remember wouldn’t recognize the Al Gore of 1988. He opposed the federal funding of abortion, supported a moment of silence in schools for prayer, approved funding of the Nicaraguan contras and was against the ban on interstate handgun sales. Gore’s platform was one that a conservative West Texas Democrat like state representative Perry could support when he signed up to chair the Senator’s Texas campaign.
From the election on, the Gore/Perry partnership began to crumble and the way that their paths diverged in the past three decades speaks eloquently to the way American politics has been reshaped. Gore has sailed left, while Perry’s political odyssey has seen him tack in the other direction — and to the opposing party.
Perry says that the Gore experience helped him to “come to his senses,” and he switched to the Republican party in 1989, fully 22 years ago. Perry switched parties over two decades ago and critics somehow think that bringing it up now is newsworthy? Sorry guys, as we say in Texas, that dog won’t hunt.
If you’re interested in more details, here is a Texas Tribune article titled “Rick Perry: The Democrat Years.”
If critics insist that it’s fair to criticize Perry now for his actions of 22 years ago, it is also fair to apply that same scrutiny and criticism to cover positions espoused by every other politician covering the past 22 years – President Obama included. Is it time to revisit Obama’s anti-American associations, his time in Rev. Wright’s church, his “present” votes, etc.? Let the scrutiny and criticism begin …
4. He wants Texas to secede from the union
Some say that Perry wants Texas to secede from the Union and he is a traitor for saying so. The governor never said that he wanted Texas to secede. Scholars know that Texas secession is an urban myth and certainly, the governor knows it as well.
What actually happened was that after people shouted “Secede!” at an Austin rally, he said that he understood their frustration but added, “We’ve got a great union. There is absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, who knows what may come of that. Texas is a very unique place, and we’re a pretty independent lot to boot.”
Perry emphasized that he was not advocating secession, but understands why Americans may have those feelings because of frustration. He said it’s fine to express the thought. He offered no apology and did not back away from his earlier comments. Perry’s remarks were in response to a question from The Associated Press as he walked away from the rally. The governor said he didn’t think Texas should secede despite some chatter about it on the Internet and his name being associated with the idea.
While some Texans still harbor fantasies about secession, it is not a serious issue. It’s an urban myth that Texas still has that right – most scholars don’t believe that. When Texas entered the union in 1845, it was with the understanding that it could pull out. However, according to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, in the end, Texas negotiated the power to divide into four additional states at some point (not five) if it wanted to, but did not retain the right to secede. here is a link to the 1866 ordinance declaring secession and here are the operative words: “and the right heretofore claimed by the State of Texas to secede from the Union, is hereby distinctly renounced.” Passed 15th March, 1866.
Additionally, the U.S. Supreme Court case Texas v White (1869) established the principle that there is an existing prohibition against any state seceding from the Union without the consent of the other States.
5. The jobs created in Texas have all been low paying jobs. Texas’ average wage is much lower than the national average.
That statement would imply that Texans are working for minimum wage and must be living at poverty levels compared to other states.
Here’s a thought … isn’t a low paying job in Texas better than being jobless in another state?
Having a job is only one part of the Texas equation – the other significant part is Texas’ low cost of living. The Cost of Living (COL) index takes into account prices on a variety of basic goods and services, including groceries, housing, utilities, healthcare, and transportation, as well as common expenses like movie tickets and newspapers. These disparate costs of living can mean that a salary in one city has a far different value than the same amount of money in another city.
While it is true that Texas median household income ($48,259) is less than some states like California, New York, and Connecticut, the state does fare well when the income is adjusted by the Cost of Living (COL). When the COL is factored in, Texas’ median household income ($53,009) exceeds California by $8,550, exceeds New York’s by $10,403, and Connecticut’s by $1,532. These are 2009 figures from the U.S. Census Bureau reported in a U.S. News article.
Note that those figures are based on median income (a midpoint, as many above as below). Please explain: if Texas has been creating only minimum wage jobs, how is the Texas median income still $48,259? A minimum wage job in Texas would only earn $15,080/yr?
Here is a direct comparison illustrating how much the cost of living affects one’s standard of living. Let’s look at two cities, Los Angeles and Dallas. When Dallas is compared to L.A., here is the result: “The cost of living in Dallas is lower than the cost of living in Los Angeles. If you make $100,000.00 in Los Angeles and move to Dallas, you will only need to make $62,862.55 ($37,137.45 less) to maintain the same buying power.” The comparison is from Inflation Data.com where you can compare two selected cities against one another.
And here’s another objective, authoritative comparison:
Texas is ranked third among “Best States to make a living.” The ranking is based on an Adjusted Average Income value which considers taxes, housing, and cost of living. Texas’ average is $41,427. Compared to Massachusetts: $38,665, Minnesota: $37,721, and California: $29,772 just to compare a few. This from CBS MoneyWatch, April, 2011.
And finally, Texas places two metro areas, Houston ($60,634) and Dallas ($59,217) among the top ten metro areas in the nation with the highest real income. Real income is the median household income adjusted by the COL. Compare those figures with a couple of other large metro areas from the bottom ten: New York ($35,370) and Los Angeles ($41,331). The figures are from a June, 2011 analysis by the U.S. News using latest available (2009) data.
And what about wages? Texas has seen wages climb faster than the country overall. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average wage for employees in Texas rose 7.4% between May 2008 and May 2010 (the latest data available). For the nation as a whole, average wages climbed only 5%. This from Investors.com.
So, contrary to the poverty implied by the original criticism, the standard of living in Texas isn’t as bad as the “low paying” statement (if true) would indicate – the accusation is just an another attempt to diminish the job creation achievement, Texas’ standard of living, and by association, Governor Perry.
6. Texas ranks poorly in educational spending and high school graduations
That statement is true. Texas does rank near the bottom of generalized rankings in spending per student and high school graduations, but as usual, those rankings alone are misleading. The statement is intended to imply that the state does a poor job of educating its students and therefore its Governor, Rick Perry is to blame. It’s just another two-for-one Texas/Perry smear.
With Perry as governor, how does education in Texas really compare with other states?
To see how Texas stacks up, we’ll compare Texas to Wisconsin. We chose Wisconsin because earlier this year, during their sit-ins and demonstrations, Wisconsin teachers compared their state’s (supposed) #2 ranking in ACT/SAT test scores directly to Texas (at #47). Their reason for comparing to Texas was that Wisconsin teachers are unionized while teacher unions are illegal in Texas. This direct comparison was intended to show the benefit of unionized teachers in educating our children.
However, those rankings were found to be: 1) obsolete, using 12-year-old data, and 2) used questionable methodology. The ranking was debunked by PolitiFact and the claim has since been removed from the union’s website, in other words, they stretched the facts to fit their agenda.
One facet that makes a Texas comparison to many other states is the racial makeup of the student population. Minority students – regardless of state – tend to score lower than white students on standardized tests, and the higher the proportion of minority students in a state the lower its overall test scores tend to be. Regardless of the reasons, the gap does exist, and it’s mathematical sophistry to compare the combined average test scores in a state like Wisconsin (4% black, 4% Hispanic) to a state like Texas (12% black, 30% Hispanic).
But let’s ignore that mismatch and compare them anyway – broken down by racial groups. We’ll compare some 2009 standardized test scores (the latest available) for 4th and 8th grade students in the areas of math, reading, and science. A pilot program for 12th graders is being tested, but national comparisons are not yet possible for that grade. The data supporting the following rankings are found at the Nation’s Report Card website (link below the rankings).
2009 4th Grade Math
White students: Texas 254, Wisconsin 250 (national average 248)
Black students: Texas 231, Wisconsin 217 (national 222)
Hispanic students: Texas 233, Wisconsin 228 (national 227)
2009 8th Grade Math
White students: Texas 301, Wisconsin 294 (national 294)
Black students: Texas 272, Wisconsin 254 (national 260)
Hispanic students: Texas 277, Wisconsin 268 (national 260)
2009 4th Grade Reading
White students: Texas 232, Wisconsin 227 (national 229)
Black students: Texas 213, Wisconsin 192 (national 204)
Hispanic students: Texas 210, Wisconsin 202 (national 204)
2009 8th Grade Reading
White students: Texas 273, Wisconsin 271 (national 271)
Black students: Texas 249, Wisconsin 238 (national 245)
Hispanic students: Texas 251, Wisconsin 250 (national 248)
2009 4th Grade Science
White students: Texas 168, Wisconsin 164 (national 162)
Black students: Texas 139, Wisconsin 121 (national 127)
Hispanic students: Wisconsin 138, Texas 136 (national 130)
2009 8th Grade Science
White students: Texas 167, Wisconsin 165 (national 161)
Black students: Texas 133, Wisconsin 120 (national 125)
Hispanic students: Texas 141, Wisconsin 134 (national 131)
To recap: white students in Texas perform better than white students in Wisconsin, black students in Texas perform better than black students in Wisconsin, and Hispanic students in Texas perform better than Hispanic students in Wisconsin. In 18 separate ethnicity-controlled comparisons, the only one where Wisconsin students performed better than their peers in Texas was 4th grade science for Hispanic students (statistically insignificant), and this was reversed by 8th grade.
Further, Texas students exceeded the national average for their ethnic cohorts in all 18 comparisons; Wisconsinites were below the national average in 8, above average in 8. That bears repeating: Texas fourth and eighth graders outperformed the national average scores in all categories.
Perhaps the most striking thing in these numbers is the within-state gap between white and minority students. Not only did white Texas students outperform white Wisconsin students, the gap between white students and minority students in Texas was much less than the gap between white and minority students in Wisconsin.
In other words, students perform better in Texas schools than in Wisconsin schools – especially minority students.
The above statistics and narrative was taken from Iowahawk’s great blog site (but they have been verified against the Nation’s Report Card site which was their original source). Read Iowahawk’s complete analysis HERE.
And here is a link to the Nation’s Report Card site – the original source of the data so you can compare and contrast any other state(s) you’d like to see.
About the website:” The Nation’s Report CardTM informs the public about the academic achievement of elementary and secondary students in the United States. It communicates the findings of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), a continuing and representative measure of achievement in various subjects over time.
NAEP is a congressionally authorized project of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) within the Institute of Education Sciences of the U.S. Department of Education.”
And lastly, this little publicized fact, Texas owns the top two spots (#’s 1 and 2) in the America’s Best High Schools list (Newsweek, June 2011) and has 19 of the top 100 best high schools in the country. How can it be that Texas, with about 8 percent of the country’s population, places 19 schools in the top 100 high schools in the country (that’s 19 %)? Here’s a link to the Newsweek article [be aware that the site has some display formatting problems, you’ll have to scroll down to see the schools, but the data is all there, it’s just in need of some TLC].
Is Texas leading the nation is education spending or achievements? No, the state must do better. Unfortunately, school budgets are being cut as we speak and that doesn’t bode well for the future of our children. That must change.
But Texas isn’t really the educational cesspool that the original accusation would imply – in fact, Texas is doing fairly well when actual achievements are compared to national averages. Is Rick Perry responsible? In some small measure, he is. Just as it would be wrong to credit Perry with all of Texas’s achievements, it would be just as wrong to assume that all of Texas’ problems are his fault. As governor, he certainly did contribute to both good and bad aspects of Texas life.
7. Perry turned down $555 million
in federal stimulus, yet later asked for
federal disaster aid for Texas wildfires
That’s true. The reason that Perry gave for refusing that particular “stimulus” was that it was a one-time, temporary influx of money to assist in covering extended unemployment benefits, but had strings attached (the most serious was that the funding would only last about two years). After that, the state would have to find a way to continue the higher payments covered by the federal funding. In other words, it was a one-time, kick-the-can-down-the-road temporary funding that didn’t permanently fix anything and would leave Texas liable for replacing the $555 million when the federal money ran out. Instead Perry got a federal loan to cover the state’s unemployment fund shortfall. While a loan still must be repaid, it didn’t come with the extra burden of federal mandates that accompanied the $555 million stimulus funding. Thus, he avoided the federal meddling that was part of the original stimulus while still shoring up the state’s unemployment fund.
It is true that Governor Perry did accept part of the $787 billion Recovery Act money and used those funds to cover the state’s budget shortfall. Perry has never said that he would never accept federal funds, he has just been careful to decline when the funds came with unacceptable federal intrusion in state affairs attached.
Relative to the wildfires: Over 2.2 million acres of Texas land in 252 counties were lost to wildfires in 2011 due to severe dry conditions caused by drought. Across the state, hundreds of homes and countless livestock have been lost. As a result, Texas Governor Rick Perry requested a Major Disaster Declaration (MDD) and federal emergency funds to assist in fighting the ongoing fires. President Obama refused to issue a Major Disaster Declaration, originally requested on April 16, and instead provided lesser federal assistance for fires fought only between April 6 and May 3, 2011, covering just a fraction of the fires fought in Texas so far this season. A Major Disaster Declaration would have made the state eligible for much more response and recovery assistance from the federal government. Major Disaster aid is an entirely different type of federal aid and is specifically designed to assist states when natural disasters occur. Many in Texas believe that the MDD was withheld for political reasons.
It is hardly hypocritical to refuse federal funding with unacceptable strings attached while requesting federal disaster aid when a natural disaster occurs. It is the federal government’s responsibility to provide disaster relief, one of the few things they have an obligation to the states to fulfill.
8. Perry says he has not raised taxes, but he has
When Perry states that “we don’t raise taxes.” That’s such a broad generalization that it can’t possibly be 100% factual. And it is not. Perry has raised about half a dozen taxes during his tenure, including three 2006 changes that helped cover reductions in school property taxes, being essentially revenue neutral. He also signed into law tax increases on cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, fireworks, and diesel equipment. He also implemented a change to the business franchise tax law that increased the franchise tax that businesses pay to operate in Texas – that was an actual business tax increase.
Another tax that has gone up on his watch is the unemployment tax that is paid by Texas businesses. While the tax rate fell steadily from 2004 through 2008, the rate rose in 2009 and 2010 largely due to the national economic downturn. However, the state unemployment rate is set automatically based on the balances in the state’s unemployment fund and is independent of any gubernatorial action, thus Perry is not liable for that one.
Perry has managed to keep taxes low during his 10-year tenure as governor. Countless opportunities to raise taxes presented themselves during Perry’s ten years as governor, yet he resisted the temptation. Texas was ranked 49th among the states in per-capita taxes, at $1,434 a year in 2005, according to a 2009 Census Bureau report and a Texas Public Policy Foundation analysis (Feb., 2011) shows Texas with a 7.9% combined state/local tax burden, ranking it 45th among the states – for comparison, New York’s burden is 12.1%.
After 10 years in office, with ample opportunities to raise taxes, Perry has maintained an enviable record as a low-tax governor.
Currently, Texas imposes no tax on personal income or capital gains. Perry remains opposed to a Texas state income tax and recently vetoed a proposed Internet state sales tax. Perry supports a balanced U.S. budget and a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
In his first veto of the year, governor Perry vetoed the Internet sales tax bill (HB 2403). That’s just one more reason for Texas’ low cost of living. At least for now, Texans can continue to buy goods over the Internet without paying sales tax on all purchases. Many other states have already enacted new laws to require all Internet sellers to collect a state’s sales tax (regardless of nexus) and others are feverishly getting on the bandwagon – drawn like a moth to a flame – to grab and spend this new source of previously out-of-reach revenue.
9. Perry has presided over the highest number
of executions in the nation
Be aware that I used the term “presided over” because that’s the way that several critical comments characterized Perry’s position. Nothing could be further from the truth. Perry did not “preside” over the trials, nor the jury’s decisions, nor did he act as judge. He did not preside over the multitude of appeals that are common in capital cases and he was not part of court decisions that denied a new trial. He was simply in office when these events occurred. He could issue a one-time thirty-day reprieve otherwise, short of a recommendation from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, his only option was to grant the reprieve or allow the execution to proceed. That’s it.
231 executions have taken place while Perry was governor. He commuted the death sentence for 31 inmates – mostly those where the defendant was a juvenile at the time of the crime. In Texas, clemency can only be granted by the governor if it is first recommended by the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole – he cannot grant clemency without a prior recommendation by the board.
Governor Perry followed Texas law. He has done exactly what a Texas governor is supposed to do. Barring a recommendation from the Board of Pardons and Parole, he cannot unilaterally grant anything other than a single 30-day reprieve, at the end of which (barring a court order) the execution proceeds.
It’s one thing to be against the death penalty on moral grounds, in that case, work to change the laws. But in a nation built on laws, we are bound to abide by the law – even those we may find objectionable. When an individual has been tried in court, found guilty and exhausted all of the appeals available to them, there comes a time when the sentence must be carried out – that’s the law.
10. Perry refused to consider commuting the execution of Mexican national Humberto Leal Garcia even though it had been requested by the U.N. and the White House
Humberto Leal Garcia was sentenced to death for the 1994 rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl. Leal, a mechanic, was born in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico, in 1973 and moved to the USA when he was two years old, but never became a United States citizen. He was an illegal immigrant.
On May 21, 1994, Leal kidnapped, raped, tortured, and murdered 16-year-old Adria Sauceda. Police discovered the girl’s nude body on a dirt road in San Antonio in May 1994. Evidence showed she had been gang-raped, bitten, strangled and bludgeoned to death.
She and Leal had been attending a party not far from where she was found. She became intoxicated at the party and Leal is said to have offered to drive her home. Leal carried an intoxicated semi-conscious Sauceda into his car. When Leal placed Sauceda in his car she was clothed. When Sauceda’s body was later discovered she was nude.
Leal was the last known individual to see Sauceda alive.
Official court documents state “There was a 30- to 40-pound asphalt rock roughly twice the size of the victim’s skull lying partially on the victim’s left arm; Blood was underneath this rock. A smaller rock with blood on it was located near the victim’s right thigh.” There was also a 15 inch long stick extending out of her vagina, with a screw at the end. Leal claimed that she fell and hit her head. No one was charged in the gang rape.
Among other evidence, the bite mark was matched to Leal. Her bloody blouse was found at Leal’s home, and Leal confessed to police and his brother that he had killed Sauceda.
The complaint is that even though the 38-year-old Mexican national had lived in the United States since he was 2 years old, he was not granted access to the Mexican consul prior to making incriminating statements (his confession).
In a letter to Texas Governor Rick Perry, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights asked that he commute the sentence to life in prison. “If the scheduled execution of Mr. Leal Garcia goes ahead, the United States government will have implemented a death penalty after a trial that did not comply with due process rights,” said Christof Heyns, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. “This will be tantamount to an arbitrary deprivation of life.”
In its 30-page brief, the Obama administration said that complying with its obligations to notify consuls in such cases would serve U.S.interests as well as those of the condemned man. “It would place the United States in irreparable breach of its international-law obligation to provide consular notification and assistance under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations,” wrote Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr., in a friend-of-the-court brief.
Leal had the benefit of 45 separate hearings and appeals before his execution and his guilt was beyond question.
Update: On July 7, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to stay the execution on a 5-4 vote and Leal was executed via lethal injection. In his last minutes, Humberto Leal repeatedly said he was sorry and accepted responsibility – admitting his actions for the first time since his original confession, “I have hurt a lot of people. … I take full blame for everything. I am sorry for what I did,” he said in the death chamber before shouting twice, “Viva Mexico!”.
11. Cameron Todd Willingham:
was he an innocent man?
This is a troubling case. Willingham was executed by lethal injection in 2004 after being convicted of setting a fire that killed his three daughters before Christmas 1991. But his case and the ensuing controversy frame the death penalty in a new way: whether Perry used his power as governor to try to dodge responsibility for presiding over the execution of a potentially innocent man. Again, that term “presiding” – a term specifically designed to make it appear that he had more responsibility in the execution than is true.
At Willingham’s trial, Texas fire investigators said they found clear indicators that the fire at the Willingham home in the small town of Corsicana had been intentionally set. By the time of Willingham’s execution in February, 2004, the science of fire investigation had dramatically advanced and what investigators had for decades considered telltale signs of arson were no longer considered reliable.
In the final days before Willingham was put to death, his lawyer filed with the courts a report from Gerald Hurst, one of the nation’s most renowned fire scientists. Hurst’s four-page report asserted for the first time in the case that the indicators of arson the investigators cited had been debunked by scientific advances. The fire, Hurst concluded, might well have been an accident – he did not state categorically that it was an accident. Perry reviewed the report and determined it did not present new information, only new opinion. He also decided it did not merit a stay of execution.
Under Texas law, the Governor can only issue a one-time temporary 30-day stay of execution. Any other clemency or commutation of sentence must be recommended to the Governor by the state’s Pardons and Paroles board. None was forthcoming in the Willingham case.
Lucy Nashed, a Perry spokeswoman said, “Willingham’s conviction was reviewed and upheld by multiple levels of state and federal courts, including nine federal courts – four times by the U.S. Supreme Court alone – over the course of more than a decade.”
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles reviewed the latest evidence and refused to recommend that Governor Perry act in this case. Governor Perry independently decided that the evidence did not warrant a stay and he allowed Willingham’s execution to proceed in accordance with his responsibility as Governor.
Did Texas execute an innocent man? In a case that could not have been overturned based on something as definitive as DNA evidence and seven years after the 2004 execution, there’s no way to be 100% sure, but under Texas law, the most that Perry could have done was issue a single 30-day stay. When someone takes the position that Willingham was “innocent,” that person is intentionally ignoring all of the legal maneuvers that occurred and is basing that determination on “feelings.” He was never deemed “innocent” by any legal authority.
If one Googles ”Cameron Todd Willingham” the majority of the hits will be different shadings of the same story line, that of those against the death penalty (Innocence Project, etc.). Every attempt is made to cast doubt on the evidence that Willingham was guilty, especially using quotes from “experts” in the field of fire science. The problem is that many of the quotes are massaged to remove any doubt and make them appear as unquestioned facts, when most stated that the fire could have been accidental. For someone really interested in the truth of the case, one must also have access to the other side of the issue. Here is a link to an interview with the Dallas Morning News by Dudley Sharp who was investigating the “innocence” of Willingham. Willingham’s “innocence” was never established, and none of his appeals gave the appellate courts reason to call for a new trial.
The charge that Perry was knowingly complicit in executing an innocent man is without merit. He rejected the last evidence (the Hurst report) as a reason to stay Willingham’s execution, just as the US Supreme Court, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals had. His case was tried, appealed, and adjudicated according to the law.
But Perry’s critics don’t give up so easily. As another point of attack, they accuse him of replacing the members of the Forensics Science Commission (FSC) two days before the formal hearing because, they maintain, the commission was going to submit a finding that did not support the governor’s position on Willingham’ s guilt.
Not only is that position based on an incorrect supposition, it is also obviously biased.
Perry did replace the members because: 1) their terms had expired and appointing new members was standard policy, and 2) pushing back the date of the FSC hearing would allow more time for the Corsicana Fire Department (CFDR) and Texas Fire Marshall’s office (TFMR) to respond to the Beyler report (BR). Both were expected to be critical of the Beyler Report. Pushing back the date of the formal hearing also gave the new FSC members time to get up to speed on the details of the case.
The preliminary CFDR blasted the BR on some obvious and important points, making over a hundred comments and corrections to Beyler’s 19 page review of the Willingham case. It made the case that the Beyler report was both inaccurate and biased. The final determination awaits completed CFDR and TFMR reports.
12. Perry supports giving in-state tuition to illegals
This is true. Perry signed the bill six years ago. Under the law, any student who has lived in Texas at least three years and graduated from a Texas high school qualifies for in-state tuition. The law also requires noncitizens to apply for citizenship. “I’m for leaving the law like it is because I think it serves a good purpose,” Perry said. Texas was one of the first states to pass an in-state tuition bill for illegal immigrants. Ten states currently have such laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. About 3,800 children of immigrants got in-state tuition in 2004, less than 1 percent of students in Texas colleges and universities.
Critics have said it gives a financial advantage to illegal immigrants while U.S. citizens who are not Texas residents still must pay out-of-state tuition rates, which are higher. Personally, I don’t like giving illegals a favorable tuition rate over other state’s legal residents. I understand his reasoning, but I don’t have to like it. I do think that there was some pandering to the Mexican immigrants (legal and illegal) behind the overwhelming votes for this bill.
As a measure of Texas’ version of the “Dream Act,” popularity, it should be noted that it passed the Texas Senate with NO “no” votes – Perry was not out on a limb on this one, it was overwhelmingly supported. It should also be noted that the Texas “Dream” act should not be confused with the federal version. The Texas version relates to higher education only whereas the federal act would facilitate giving legal status to children who entered the U.S. illegally with their parents.
13. Rick Perry is gay
A story by Politico predicts that if Texas governor Rick Perry runs for president, he will again have to deal with unproven rumors that he’s gay. Meanwhile, the story itself is helping spread the rumors once more.
As example of the “evidence” that Perry is gay, some have noted that he was a “cheerleader” (and thus, likely to be gay). In fact, he was a Yell Leader, one of five supporting Texas A & M sports teams. Since the school was founded in 1876 and didn’t even admit female students until 1963, no female has been elected to Yell Leader, only men – it’s a tradition thing, not a gay thing.
While running for Governor in 2004,Texas state Democrats asked Perry to address the rumors. In a press conference Perry denied the rumors that he was gay, yet for some his denial raised more questions than it answered.
For his part, Perry continues to be staunchly antigay. He plans to host a prayer-apalooza in August, 2011 at a Houston football stadium, and organizers have confirmed that praying to end homosexuality’s effect on society is on the agenda. The big event is being run in partnership with the American Family Association, which is categorized by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “hate group” for its spreading misinformation that the SPLC says is dangerous to gay people.
In the past, Perry has been described as “homophobic.” His conservative Christian posturing has offended many liberals and others concerned with equal treatment under the law for the gay and lesbian community.
Here a statement from Instinct Magazine, a gay publication: “Sheeple worried about Rick Perry’s ambiguous statements in support of a state’s right to pass marriage equality last week can unclench their booties; the Texas Governor and possible 2012 GOP presidential candidate wants to remind you that he is still a raging anti-equality homophobe.”
How does one disprove unsubstantiated accusations except by denying them and by pointing out the absence of any evidence to the contrary? Those critics who maintain that Perry is homophobic and those who believe him to be gay should get together and work it out.
14. Perry is a “weak” Governor (the Governor of a state that limits the Governor’s powers)
This is true – but doesn’t tell the full story. Texas does limit the governor’s powers as compared to many other states, but to conclude that the governor is merely a figurehead, with little power or influence, is simply wrong. Once again, critics are trying to diminish Perry’s achievements by denigrating his part in Texas’ successes, as if his participation as governor was inconsequential.
The formal powers of a governor are measured by using four factors: tenure of office, appointive/administrative powers, budgetary powers, and legislative powers.
The Texas governor has the strongest tenure of office in that he is elected to four-year terms and there are no term limits.
The Texas governor’s appointive powers are limited by the state’s plural executive structure, meaning that he or she cannot count on the loyalty, support, or cooperation of other members of the executive branch. Some of them may even belong to the opposition party. In Texas, the lieutenant governor, attorney general, comptroller of public accounts, state land commissioner, agricultural commissioner, Railroad Commission, and Texas State Board of Education are all elected by voters, not appointed by the governor.
Unlike most other state governors, the Texas governor has very restricted budgetary powers. In Texas, it is the Legislative Budget Board, dominated by the speaker and lieutenant governor that presents a budget to the legislature for approval. A Texas governor’s most significant budgetary power is the line-item veto power over the state budget bill. Because the legislature has often adjourned within days of the budget bill reaching the governor’s desk, they often have no opportunity to override the governor’s line-item veto.
In terms of legislative power, the Texas governor’s veto power is very strong because gubernatorial vetoes or item vetoes are rarely overridden because the legislature has already adjourned by the time that the governor exercises the veto. In Rick Perry’s case, he has vetoed 273 bills since his first term in 2001. He’s not timid about his veto power. The governor also has the power to call additional special sessions of the legislature and is not limited to the number of special sessions he/she calls.
In comparison to other states: thirty other state’s governors were ranked as having more power than Texas’ chief executive, seventeen are ranked about equal, and three had even less power. In summary, Texas limits the governor’s power primarily in two areas, appointive and budgetary. The weakness in the appointive aspect is because in Texas, most of the other executives are elected, not appointed. And as noted above, the legislature has primary responsibility for drafting a budget. HERE is a link to a University of North Carolina chart which ranks the power of each state’s chief executive – using 2007 conditions.
The low comparative ranking of the Texas governor is consistent with the traditionalistic and individualistic political culture of the state. In other words, it is intentional, not accidental. Judging by Texas’ success, perhaps some other states might want to consider reducing the power of their governors too?
15. He is squishy on immigration
There is some truth in that. His stance against Texas adopting an Arizona-style immigration law was initially troubling to many conservatives even though his point was that it would be better to force the federal government to enforce the border since that is one of their primary responsibilities. A true statement, but one easier said than done.
He did add a bill prohibiting Sanctuary Cities as an emergency item in the regular session and added it to the call during the special session, but there wasn’t enough resolve in either the legislature or the Governor to overcome the business lobby that was adamantly against the bill. It died in the last special session. It was disappointing to conservatives that the Governor didn’t call another special session to continue the fight, but he maintains that It would have been a waste of taxpayer money to call another special session on an issue that lawmakers would not take action to pass – twice. The governor says that he will continue to support the prohibition of sanctuary cities in the future.
Some have said that when Perry said that the Arizona law “wasn’t the right direction for Texas,” he was taking a position against strict enforcement of immigration laws. Not so – what he actually said was, “I fully recognize and support a state’s right and obligation to protect its citizens, but I have concerns with portions of the law passed in Arizona and believe it would not be the right direction for Texas.” His concern was related to the portion of the Arizona law thatrequired peace officers to inquire about citizenship status. Perry believes that the best solution is to allow officers the discretion to ask if they deem it necessary to carry out their duty.
“Texas has a rich history with Mexico, our largest trading partner, and we share more than 1,200 miles of border, more than any other state,” Perry said. “As the debate on immigration reform intensifies, the focus must remain on border security and the federal government’s failure to adequately protect our borders. Securing our border is a federal responsibility, but it is a Texas problem, and it must be addressed before comprehensive immigration reform is discussed.” Texas has allocated more than $400 million in state funding to secure the border since 2005. In the last legislative session alone, $152 million was earmarked for border security.
Perry has also adopted the National Governor’s Policy, part of which states:
- Federal immigration policies should ensure that new immigrants do not become a public charge to federal, state, or local governments.
- The federal government must provide adequate information to and consult with states on issues concerning immigration decisions that affect the states.
- States should not have to incur significant costs in implementing federal laws regarding immigration status as a condition of benefits.
See the full National Governor’s Associationpolicy on immigration here.
In the final analysis, Governor Perry says that the nation cannot have effective immigration policy until the border is secure. Today, the border is not secure and this is where we need to focus our resources.
Here’s a link to On The Issues which has more references to Perry’s statements on immigration-related subjects (too many to include here):
16. Perry is a member of the Bilderberg cabal and therefore believes in a New World Order (NWO). That is reason alone to eliminate him from voting consideration.
Governor Perry did attend a Bilderberg meeting in June, 2007, and now some say (mostly Ron Paul supporters) that he is their hand-picked candidate for the job of POTUS in 2012. Since attending four years ago, his detractors would have us believe that he’s been studying his Bilderberg bible, taking classes in New World Governing, and polishing his Illuminati lapel pin. Does this mean that the Bilderbergers are ready to dump President Obama (who they also supposedly put in office) in favor of Rick Perry?
This is a Texas-sized Conspiracy theory – appropriate for the Governor of Texas.
Here are some hard facts about the Bilderberg Group. The group (named after the Dutch hotel where they first met) was founded in 1954. Started by Denis Healey, Joseph Retinger, David Rockefeller and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, they aim to bring together financiers, industrialists, politicians and opinion formers to discuss problems facing the western world. There are no “members” of the Bilderberg Group, only attendees.
Every year they meet, away from the intrusive eyes of the press. The confidentiality enables people to speak honestly without fear of repercussions. Attendance is only by invitation of the steering committee. They network, eat, drink, play golf and return home. At each meeting, a broad cross-section of leading citizens are assembled for nearly three days of informal and off-the-record discussion about topics of current concern especially in the fields of foreign affairs and the international economy.
It is a small, flexible international forum in which different viewpoints can be expressed and mutual understanding enhanced. Bilderberg’s only activity is its annual Conference. At the meetings, no resolutions are proposed, no votes taken, and no policy statements issued. Since 1954, fifty-nine conferences have been held. After each meeting, the names of the participants as well as the agenda are made public and available to the press.
Invitations to Bilderberg conferences are extended by the Chairman following consultation with the Steering Committee members. Participants are chosen for their experience, their knowledge, their standing and their contribution to the selected agenda. There usually are about 120 participants of whom about two-thirds come from Europe and the balance from North America. About one-third is from government and politics, and two-thirds from finance, industry, labor, education and communications. Participants attend Bilderberg in a private and not an official capacity.
Following are a few of the prominent persons attending one or more Bilderberg meetings over the years; the list is intended to illustrate the varied positions, background, and political views of those who have participated (only USA participants are listed):
Presidents Bill Clinton and Gerald Ford, John Bolton, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Timothy Geithner, Paul Volcker, Terry McAuliffe, Ben Bernanke, David Rockefeller, Rupert Murdoch, Henry Kissinger, Donald Rumsfield, ABC anchor Peter Jennings, William F. Buckley, George Stephanopoulos, Mort Zuckerman, Thomas Friedman, George Soros, Senators Chris Dodd, John Edwards, Diane Feinstein, Tom Daschle, Chuck Hagel, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, John Corzine, and Governors Mark Sanford (SC), Mark Warner (VA), George Pataki (NY), Christine Todd Whitman (NJ) and Kathleen Sebelius (KS).
It’s common for many CEO’s of large corporations to be present at the meetings. For example, the CEO’s of Amazon, Alcoa, Coca Cola, Fannie Mae, Facebook, Ford, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, Pepsico, Time Inc. and the Washington Post have all attended Bildergerg meetings. Even Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher (G.B.) attended a Bilderberg conference.
Some say that they secretly control the world’s governments; they seek the world’s destruction so it can be rebuilt more perfectly. They have long infiltrated nearly all aspects of American society, business and government and they are bent on establishing a New World Order. The appeal of this theory is its utter vagueness and total flexibility based on location and government. Basically, the conspiritists believe that anyone in power is probably doing something super secretive and deadly right now that’s designed to increase the suffering of the masses and bring more wealth and power to the elite. It goes without saying that there’s no proof of any of this, but then, that’s the appeal of conspiracy theories.
And what about Perry’s attendance violating the Logan Act? For those not versed on such matters: “The Logan Act (18 U.S.C.A. § 953 ) is a single federal statute making it a crime for a citizen to confer with foreign governments against the interests of the United States. Specifically, it prohibits citizens from negotiating with other nations on behalf of the United States without authorization.” It is ludicrous to accuse Perry of “negotiating” with “other nations” just as it would be to accuse the other participants, like Bill Clinton, Diane Feinstein, Chris Dodd, or Bill Gates. They attended a conference with other influential people, that’s the extent of it. Find something else to complain about.
No one is saying that the movers and shakers who have attended the conferences don’t have an impact on our world, just look at the people who attend – they are among the most influential and powerful individuals in every category – of course they have an impact. But these people will have influence on our lives because of who they are and the power they hold, not because of any blood oath to the Bilderbergers. Frankly, the United Nations (UN) is probably a bigger threat to our republic than the Bilderberg group.
Only in science fiction (and conspiracy theories) can someone like Rick Perry be turned into a mind-numbed robot following the Bilderberg’s nefarious instructions to take over the world … instructions that they somehow implanted in less than three days … four years ago … right.
17. Texas’ abysmal rankings on various lists
These rankings were selected by critics for one purpose, and that is to smear Texas and by association, Rick Perry.
No sources have been cited for the rankings, thereby preventing a reader from verifying that: 1) the numbers were accurately reported, 2) they are from a reliable source, and 3) the original context is known.
Nevertheless, we’ll treat them as if they are true and offer a reason to explain such a dismal performance. The rankings themselves (assuming that they’re true) are not anything that the state or Rick Perry should take pride in achieving.
But, the biggest single factor that affects the state’s ranking in almost anything that uses population as a factor, is an estimated 1.6 million illegal immigrants currently residing inTexas. Source: Pew Hispanic Center. (Ten states have populations that are less than 1.6 million).
After all, if the federal government was doing what is clearly their responsibility (controlling the border), Texas wouldn’t have 1,600,000 illegal residents. Think for a moment, how would your state cope with 1.6 million more illegal immigrants? What would that influx do to your state’s rankings?
For example, here is one of the rankings relating to high school graduations, Texas is said to be ranked:
- 1st in the percentage of people over 25 without a high school diploma
This position suffers from the impact that 1.6 million illegals have on the Texas rankings. Most illegal immigrants don’t come to Texas bringing a high school diploma with them and they don’t come to the U.S. to finish high school, they come to work. Though they are counted in the census, few will have graduated, resulting in a disproportionate number ofTexas residents without high school diplomas.
And here is another group of awful Texas rankings:
- 1st in percentage of uninsured children
- 1st in percentage of non-elderl y uninsured
- 1st in percentage of population uninsure
When one considers that fully 38% of Hispanics in Texas do not have health insurance(that’s almost 3.5 million people, more than the population of 17 states), it’s not surprising that the state would show up poorly on national rankings of residents insured.Over 17.5% of the Hispanic population in Texas is illegal. Those factors, along with the high cost of health insurance and the income level of the illegal residents explain why the state would rank high in uninsured residents.
Here’s another one, Texas is
- 3rd in percentage of people living below the poverty level
Once again, the ranking will be badly skewed by illegal immigrants. The Pew Center estimates that 21% of Hispanics living in Texas are below the poverty level and since 17.5% of the Hispanic population are illegal, that amounts to approximately 336,299 illegal residents below the poverty level. Once again, more than enough to skew the rankings.
There are only two ways to improve these rankings, 1) reduce the number of illegals, or 2) increase tazes to pay for the additional help they will need. It may not be compassionate, but Texans generally will not vote to increase taxes to pay for illegal immigrant support.
All of the Hispanic-related information referenced above can be found at: Pew Hispanic Center.
18. Rick Perry is way too chummy with Muslims
“Perry has had a surprisingly warm relationship with Muslims as governor,” says Mohamed Elbiary, founder of the Freedom and Justice Foundation, a Muslim public policy organization in Texas.
His record indicates that Perry has had a “respectful” relationship with at least one particular group of Muslims, the Ismailis. Perry’s relatively good relations with the group has already sparked distrust among some conservative bloggers. It is sometimes wise to remember that the governor is the governor of all Texans, without exclusion.
“We’ve seen him for 20 years at state level, as lieutenant governor and state governor,” Mr. Elbiary says. “Throughout that whole history, he’s never taken an anti-Muslim or anti-Islam position. He’s a live-and-let-live type of Texan, and relations have been good.” It should be noted that while Perry has remained “respectful” to Muslims, he has been a staunch, unwavering supporter ofIsrael.
The governor – like other American politicians (from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to President John F. Kennedy) – has built a relationship with the Aga Khan (head of the Ismailis) based on respect and mutual interest, one that could be carried into the White House if Perry runs and gets elected. Here is another source for an analysis of Perry’s ties to Aga Khan. It also includes the complete lesson plan for what critics have called “Perry’s Pro-Sharia School Curriculum.”
In fact, Perry’s relations with the Ismailis, a Shia sect of Islam whose adherents number between 30,000 and 40,000 in Texas and 15 to 20 million worldwide, have been particularly positive, says Mahmoud Eboo, President of the Ismaili Council for the USA. “I believe that Governor Perry’s leadership philosophy has been to serve Texans of all races and religions and his relationship with the Muslim community generally and the Ismaili community in particular has been cordial and respectful,” Mr. Eboo says in an email.
I’ve seen many accusations that reference CAIR’s support of Perry for President, but they all emanate from the same single source – (I won’t give her any publicity), I’ve not found any other independent source for CAIR support of Perry.
CAIR supposedly was upset that Perry didn’t invite them to the “Response” prayer event in Houston. They even teamed up with the ACLU to protest the exclusion. Why on earth would they have wanted to be at a Christian event anyway?
He also took a stand to stop the Gaza flotilla boat, “The Audacity of Hope” with his June 28 letter asking Eric Holder to bring the flotilla participants to justice for violating US law and he has never appointed a Muslim to any significant government position (including Judgeships) in Texas.
I’ve not found any evidence of Perry being supportive of any Muslim group other than the previously mentioned Ismaili group. And since the Islamailis are a persecuted Shia minority in Saudia Arabia, that probably means that the Saudis may not like Perry’s association with them either.
Rather than reaching out – as both presidents Bush and Obama mistakenly did – to problematic organizations associated with the Muslim Brotherhood’s expressly political agenda, Perry’s choice to engage with a more “progressive” group should be a good sign.
And on the New York mosque issue: When Perry was questioned about a mosque near ground-zero in New York, he said, “To build a mosque near Ground Zero would be insensitive to the victims and families of 9/11 and would make the healing process much more difficult for everyone that was touched by this tragedy.”
He continued, “I’m a big believer in freedom of religion but believe it would be best for all involved to put the facility elsewhere.” “However, zoning is a local responsibility and as a staunch supporter of the 10th Amendment, I do not think the federal government should take steps to intercede or overrule the wishes of local residents. The citizens of New York City will decide the fate of this building.” There’s that 10th Amendment again.
In a nominating race where every candidate is vying for the Christian conservative vote, a critical part of the GOP’s base, Perry will likely be criticized for his relationship with the Muslim community in Texas, says one professor of political science.
Another thing that should be considered when vetting Perry on the Muslim/Islam issue is his support of Israel. Governor Perry has been a staunch supporter of Israel. After a trip to the area in 2007, the governor supported Texas’ divestment from companies that do business with Iran, a main opponent of Israeli freedom. Additionally, the Texas-Israel Chamber of Commerce was created to help launch future commercial interests and solidify the strong business and cultural connections between the two states.
In 2009, Gov. RickPerry received the Defender of Jerusalem Award, given to public figures who have demonstrated support and commitment to the state ofIsrael and its capitol,Jerusalem. The governor accepted the award while on his trip toIsrael, where he also met with Israeli President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and business and academic leaders.
During that trip, Perry gave an interview to the Jerusalem Post in which he affirmed his support for Israel, “I’m a big believer that this country was given to the people of Israel a long time ago, by God, and that’s ordained.”
Here’s another article about Perry’s ties with Muslims at Newsmax.
And finally, a word from our sponsor, Pesky Truth:
Groucho Marx once said, “Those are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others.”
Doesn’t that sound like most of our politicians took lessons from Groucho?
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