Saturday, August 18, 2007

"Perry has failed Republicans, conservatives and Texans of all political stripes by granting monopoly and governmental powers to private interests."

Meanwhile, let’s impeach the governor

August 18, 2007

Paul Perry
Waxahachie Daily Light
Copyright 2007

I received a mass e-mail Thursday night from a group called Independent Texans. To my knowledge, they have been an active organization. They informed me of a new site on the Internet that was offering information on how an impeachment in the State of Texas works and how the governor may be deserving of the same.

Texans haven’t impeached a governor since “Pa” Ferguson. I was able to glance at the site briefly; however, as of Friday afternoon, the same site is down. Perhaps the site is crashing from a deluge of visitors. I do not know enough at this point to recommend the site, but it might be interesting to read if it ever becomes available again.

Some may remember that I called for the governor’s impeachment in a Waxahachie Daily Light column during the last session of the legislature. I wasn’t kidding. I think I was the first person to call for that in print. Other newspapers and blogs picked up my article; let’s review.

Last session, Gov. (Tricky) Rick Perry tried to turn the daughters of the great State of Texas into nearly experimental pin cushions. He decreed that our children (grade-school girls) were to be forcibly injected with a brand-new vaccine, newly approved by the FDA: Gardasil, a vaccine only recently brought to market by that paragon of corporate virtue, Merck. The vaccine is designed to prevent human papillomavirus (HPV), primarily a venereal disease. The new vaccine might prevent cervical cancer — might — some of the time, anyway.

There was an opt-out provision in the Guv’s edict, but why should a parent have to fill out paperwork in a supposedly free society in order to not have one’s daughter shot full of something that hasn’t even proven itself in the marketplace? Remember Vioxx? It caused many deaths, and it was approved by the FDA as well. That was also a Merck product. While some vaccines have been required during much of our history, none were mandated solely at the whim of the governor.

Many parents had and still have reservations about the scheme. Why mandate something new upon the market from a company that does not have the best track record with some earlier products, why circumvent the normal legislative process and thus avoid the standard public hearings, and why were some of Perry’s buddies so close to the initiative Merck attempted in order to push this product by mandate and legislation in this and other states? The last I checked, venereal disease usually can be avoided by conservative behavior or a visit to the pharmacy for — uh — proper equipment, but call me old-fashioned. Some of us even wondered who was going to pay for it. Currently, the vaccine costs hundreds of dollars.

For the record, I am not opposed to immunizations and I am not opposed to immunizations for this particular disease. I am specifically opposed to mandating new vaccines that haven’t been on the market — and generally opposed to unlawful decrees, which this may have been. Texas State Attorney General Greg Abbott was quoted by State Senator Jane Nelson as stating that Perry’s mandate “did not carry the weight of law.” I guess we could call it the non-mandate mandate or maybe a bluff. Perhaps it was evidence of psychosis.

Perry was the only governor to advance this fiasco by his arguably nonexistent power of executive order, at least in regard to health matters. It also didn’t help that Perry and his handlers gave the appearance of putting a “for sale” sign on the governor or at least one that said “for rent, make a donation.” Of course the manufacturer, Merck, had already made a nice comfy contribution to Gov. Perry’s campaign fund, and everyone who was a fan of governor — fans were getting harder to find daily — assured the public that the contribution or any promises of future campaign aid had nothing to do with the governor’s desire to turn our daughters into cash cows, make that heifers. After vehement opposition from the legislature and many physicians, Tricky Rick withdrew his imperial decree.

Then there is the governor’s favorite foreign-owned monopoly, the Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC). The TTC is known as a public/private partnership.

Cintra-Zachery, a Spanish company, will be allowed to control a tollroad that will bisect Texas. It will even have branches. On a map, the other branches make it look like a spider. It will be constructed mostly by taxpayer dollars but operated by the Spaniards at Cintra-Zachery, who will also receive an all-but-guaranteed profit. Cintra-Zachery is being given significant control over choosing the route for the TTC. Therefore, Cintra will direct whose property is taken for the benefit of its private profit through eminent domain.

I think Cintra should have to buy the land for its project at a market price just like other businesses. The company should have to find a willing seller at a mutually agreed price. After all, Cintra wants the right to make a profit off tollroad users for multiple generations. Instead, a power of government is being loaned to foreign-owned corporation through our governor, Tricky Rick.

Texas land owners will be forced to sell their property, most likely, on-the-cheap, to benefit a private company. A monopoly is being granted by the crown — make that the Texas governor and legislature — to a private and foreign entity. It is similar to the power given to the British East India Tea Company before the American Revolution, only this monopoly is being granted to foreigners who have no understanding and arguably no regard for the rights of Texans. But then, neither does our governor.

In fairness, our legislature also bears some responsibility. The Texas Department of Transportation will be directed to use eminent domain actions in order to take your property for use by a foreign entity. Additionally, through an earlier act of our esteemed legislature, eminent domain procedure in regard to the TTC has been “streamlined”; 91 days after the court first officially notifies you of the state’s intention to take your property for a private fee tollway, the State of Texas can have a bulldozer through your kitchen. All officials have to do is file a bond with the court equal to your tax appraisal and they can destroy your homestead before the court has ruled in your eminent domain case. You will eventually receive a court-assessed value; in the meantime, you will be homeless or paying rent.

As far as problems with the TTC goes, this is just the tip of the iceberg. This project is, in grand design, an international project that will eventually stretch from the interior of Mexico to Canada. I am not opposed to highways. I am opposed to taking powers reserved for government and giving or loaning them to foreign companies through sneaky legislation and chicanery in the governor’s office. Is this Venezuela or Texas?

We haven’t even touched upon the enabling legislation buried in the act, that allows for the creation of an international tollroad police agency. If created, to whom will they answer, and what courts will adjudicate their citations and arrests? Like so many things enabled in the legislation, it is not defined. Not that Perry or most legislators read the legislation; they were too busy. They let the lobbyists read it for them. Legislative attempts to reverse the TTC seemed lukewarm and at times even contrived for show. Some headway was made, but Tricky Rick seems to be doing everything he can to ignore or sidestep legislative intent. One wonders how much money Cintra has spread around, much less how many free ties, right County Judge Adams?

Since the recent legislative session, other things have come to light about Tricky Rick. Our governor has the most international travel miles of any Texas governor. Texas media reports no other governor has come close.

News 8 Austin, a TV station, reported the Guv recently attended the Bilderberg meeting, which was held in Turkey. You can watch the news report on YouTube. The meetings are closed to the public. A metroplex newspaper reported a five-figure travel bill for the governor on this one little jaunt. His travel was paid for by his friends through his campaign account. We taxpayers paid for the security detail that accompanies him. The travel bill for that must have been several times that of the governor’s. The Bilderberg meeting is usually reserved for national officials from North America and Europe and international business types. It does make you wonder what Tricky Rick sold there. It was probably something that should belong to all of us.

The Good Book , properly translated, says that the love of money is the root of evil. I believe that. Too many politicians retire wealthy. No one ever seems to know where their money comes from. Not too many years ago, a columnist for a national business magazine was fired after he wrote a column on the Swiss bank accounts of former government officials. Too many politicos retire not just “well-to-do” but stinking rich. I don’t begrudge them comfort. I don’t begrudge a reasonable retirement or a pension. I do wonder where all the extra wealth comes from. I am waiting to see how well Tricky Rick retires. I am certainly willing to bet his friends do well.

For the record, I am a free-market conservative who believes in property rights and parental rights for the poor and the rich, among a number of other things. I vote in the Republican primary. I once held a county office as a Republican. I have served in an official capacity at several state Republican conventions and as a delegate at more. I also have requested an autopsy if I die suddenly. Last names aside, I am not related to Tricky Rick.

This governor has failed Republicans, conservatives and Texans of all political stripes by granting monopoly and governmental powers to private interests. This economic system has been tried before; it was called mercantilism, and at its worst, it contains the elements of fascism. I would like to see our state spending and government reviewed by truly independent auditors from top to bottom, for starters. There is no telling how much money could be found for legitimate needs such as roads and highways. I also think it would be in the best interest of Texas and Texans for this governor to retire now or face impeachment.

Paul D. Perry is a contributing Sunday columnist for the Daily Light. He is a local businessman and mediator.

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