Malia Litman: Palin and Perry Deserve Each Other
By Malia Litman – Malia Litman’s Blog
Sarah Palin spoke this weekend at the Oil Palace in Tyler, Texas, a small town in East Texas. She was introduced at the event by Texas Governor Rick Perry, who referred to half-term-ex-Governor Palin as one of the “great Americans of our time.” Certainly Perry and Palin have many things in common, not the least of which is a total lack of respect for the truth.
Consider the similarity in the willingness of Palin and Perry to lie. While many examples of the lies of Palin have filled pages of this blog for months, I have worked hard to limit my comments to Palin. I have intentionally refrained from sharing my feelings about Rick Perry. Perry’s description of Palin at the Tyler event has come close to putting me into a coma. My doctor has indicated that the only potentially therapeutic treatment for my condition is to write. Thus I ask you to consider the similarities between Palin and Perry:
1. Both Have Been On the Cover of Newsweek Magazine
Palin: “Saint Sarah” graced the cover in June.
Perry: Perry was featured with the title “Don’t Mess with Texas”.
2. Both Claim to be “Fiscal Conservatives”
Palin: Palin has described herself as a “fiscal conservative”. Palin said she was opposed to federal earmarks for Alaska, but she hired a lobbyist for Wasilla and received millions of dollars in federal funding. Palin said she opposed to the Bridge to Nowhere, but she originally favored it. She said she opposed to earmarks, but the truth is that she accepted millions of dollars to study the genetics of harbor seals and the mating habits of crabs.
Perry: Before Palin quit her job as Governor of Alaska, she endorsed Rick Perry. Palin described Perry as a “true conservative”. She cited one of Perry’s top campaign issues as his opposition to federal financial bailouts. The truth is that Texas, under Perry’s fiscal conservative leadership, has accepted $16 billion in federal stimulus funds. The state of Texas is in the throws of a financial crisis, with approximately $18 billion in debt. Given the financial crisis in Texas, and given the identification of the financial crisis as a “top issue”, one would expect the Governor to be devoting extra time to his job, and to solving the financial problems of the state. In 21 weeks of work, Perry enjoyed 16 long weekends and worked an average of seven hours per week. Do you think he has solved the financial crisis yet?
“How long will the folks in Washington keep spending money that they don’t have, for solutions they haven’t thought through, for problems they really don’t understand?” Perry asked.
The Wall Street Journal noted that the stimulus is the reason that Texas has a balanced budget. State debt has doubled during Perry’s term as Governor, but fortunately for him he has had time to write a book by the title, “Fed Up.” His publisher described the book as describing federal policies as a “legitimate threat to America’s continued leadership in the free world.”
Rick Perry, the true fiscal conservative, has spent taxpayer’s money for items including:
- Over $130,000 for parties, food, drinks and cable TV.
- At least $18,000 for “consumables” such as household supplies and cleaning products.
- A $1,000 “emergency repair” of the Governor’s filtered ice machine.
- A $700 clothes rack.
- A little over $70 for a two year subscription to Food & Wine Magazine (probably to give him ideas on throwing all of those lavish parties at our expense!).
- Maintenance on the heated pool has cost taxpayers at least $8,400.
- Grounds and lawn maintenance has topped $44,000.
- A 6,386-square-foot rental home located on three acres of land and which was advertised in 2007 for sale at $1.85 million. The Governor’s mansion only had 2,750 square feet.
- He has only one housekeeper, on full-time chef, one part-time chef, a mansion administrator, and a steward. The salary for these servants is $195,770.00.
3. Both SAY They Advocate Transparency in Government
Palin: Sarah Palin has explained the importance in making the financial matters of public record.
Perry: Perry also says he demands transparency in government, but ignored state law, and his own executive order, that required all state agencies to be “accountable and transparent.” It was the stimulus spending information that he conveniently failed to post. Perhaps “opaque” would have been a better choice of words for Rick Perry’s budget.
4. Both Sued the Federal Government on Environmental Matters
Palin: Before Palin resigned as Governor of Alaska she sued the Federal Government seeking to remove polar bears from the endangered species list.
Perry: Rick Perry sued the EPA over its regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.
5. Both Shoot Animals for Pleasure
Palin: Palin and her parents have a long history of killing animals. Both Palin and her parents surround themselves with proof of the animals they have killed.
Perry: Perry has been known to jog with a laser cited pistol, and shoot animals during his morning run. Even Fox “News” reporters found this story a little frightening.
6. Both Have Been Associated with Seceding from the U.S.
Palin: Todd, Sarah husband, was a member of the Alaska Independence Party for 6 years. The primary focus of the party was secession from the United States. The Alaska Independence Party was founded by the “rabidly violent” anti-American Joe Vogler, who is quoted as saying, “I’m an Alaskan, not an American.” “I’ve got no use for America or her damned institutions,” Palin herself provided the opening remarks to the Alaskan Independent Party Convention of 2008, saying:
“I am delighted to welcome you to the 2008 Alaskan Independence Party Convention….I share your party’s vision of upholding the Constitution of the State…Your Party plays an important role in the State’s Politics… We have a great promise to be a self-sufficient state…Keep up the good work, and God Bless You.”
Perry: Rick Perry made national headlines when he said:
“We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we’re a pretty independent lot to boot.”
7. Both Sound More Like Preachers than Politicians
Palin: Of course Palin is no longer a politician. In an interview she was asked:
“Do you think the mainstream media and the left understands your religious faith, Governor Palin?” Her answer: “I think that there’s a lot of mocking of my personal faith,” she said. “And my personal faith is very, very simple. I don’t belong to any church”.
Palin has repeatedly advocated prayer as a solution to the countries many challenges. Her solution is to seek divine intervention. In religious gatherings she has asked the congregation to pray that the war in Iraq is “God’s plan”, and she has asked the congregants to pray for a $30 billion national gas pipeline. Sometimes with Palin it’s hard to remember if you are in a prayer meeting or a legislative session.
Perry: Perry has been compared to a “tent revival preacher.” Perry has said:
“We are in a struggle for the heart and soul of our nation…Do we believe in the primacy of an unrestrained federal government? Or do we worship the God of the universe, placing our trust in his eternal, natural laws, and defending his children?”
8. Both Are In Bed With BP
Palin: In spite of the many examples of the violations of safety standards by BP in Alaska, Palin has blamed the environmentalists for the Gulf Oil spill. In her Facebook post Palin made reference to the “extreme greenies,” and used the BP spill as a reason to justify drilling in ANWR.
Palin’s history with BP is extensive. Of course her husband worked 18 years for BP. As early as 1995 Palin was aware that BP admitted to felony charges for environmental crimes on the North Slope (Palin 95). She was also aware that BP had actually injected illegal and hazardous substances into wells to save money (95). Palin’s history of knowledge of the atrocities committed by BP is long and colorful.
Before resigning as Governor, Palin admits that she knew:
“…that BP had been trying to save money for years by cutting corners on oil pipeline maintenance on the North Slope. This was very serious: leaks and spills from corroded pipelines were all too common and harmed the environment…” (153).
The largest land spill in the country occurred at the BP Prudhoe Bay field in Alaska, in 2006. An estimated 212,252 gallons of oil leaked from a BP Oil Transit Line. Even today the consequences of that spill still linger. Palin was sworn in as Governor in December of 2006. Thus not only was she aware of BP’s history of conscious indifference to safety regulations, but she was Governor during the time of the clean up, and the suit by the EPA. In March of 2009, before resigning as Governor, the EPA sued BP for a string of violations related to the spills in Alaska. The EPA alleged federal violations related to numerous problems with BP’s operational practices at Prudhoe Bay. That suit, seeking tens of millions of dollars, alleged that the company failed to implement an acceptable spill-prevention and control plan and was delinquent in repairing pipelines which they were under federal orders to fix.
Perry: Perry has suggested that the Gulf Oil disaster was:
“…just an act of God that occurred… From time to time there are going to be things that occur that are acts of God that cannot be prevented.”
Perry’s first instinct after the explosion was not to blame people responsible, but to indicate it must have been an act of God. Rick Perry went on to say that BP has “historically had a very good safety record from my perspective.” He must have just forgotten about the largest explosion in the state of Texas, which occurred in 2005, during the time he was Governor. The families of the 15 people killed and the 170 people injured in that explosion probably wouldn’t describe the safety record of BP as “very good”.
The Texas refinery was one of two BP refineries that accounted for 97% of all “flagrant” violations in the U.S. refining industry. Not only was BP responsible for virtually ALL of the refinery violations in the country, but most of the violations cited were classified as “egregious willful,” according to a Center for Public Integrity investigation of Occupational Safety and Health Administration records.
Here’s a look at how those violations breakdown:
- 760 egregious willful
- 69 willful
- 30 serious
- 3 unclassified
Most violations came, according to the Center for Public Integrity, because BP failed to fix the problems identified as the cause of the 2005 Texas City refinery explosion. “The only thing you can conclude is that BP has a serious, systemic safety problem in their company,” Jordan Barab, deputy assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, told the Center for Public Integrity.
As if the explosion and the people killed or injured, on the day of the Texas City tragedy were not sufficient to get Governor Perry’s attention, OSHA imposed the largest fine in history against BP as a result of its many failures at the Texas City plant. In October 2009, just six months before the Gulf Oil explosion on the Deep Water Horizon well, OSHA imposed a record $87 million fine against BP for lack of compliance with safety regulations, and for failure to make agreed-upon improvements at its Texas City refinery. The US Labor Secretary, Hilda Solis, reported that during 17 inspections since the explosions four years ago, OSHA found 270 cases where BP failed to comply with changes; BP had previously agreed to make. Additionally OSHA found 439 “willful” violations involving pressure release systems on units at the Texas City refinery.
“The fact that there are so many still outstanding, life-threatening problems at this plant indicates that they still have a systemic safety problem in this refinery,” Jordan Barab, acting assistant secretary of labor for OSHA, said.
If Perry didn’t know about the safety record of BP, then he was grossly negligent. If he knew, then he lied when he indicated the BP had a “very good” safety record. Consider these facts to help you assess whether you think he was consciously indifferent, or that he lied:
1. BP donated $250,000 to restoration of the Governor’s mansion. When Rick Perry needed to raise money to restore the Governor’s Mansion after a major fire, he turned to his friends at BP. According to the Austin American-Statesman, “The largest donation is $250,000 from energy giant BP America.” (Source: Austin American-Statesman, January 30, 2009)
2. Perry paid BP for jobs already in Texas. Perry gave BP $750,000 to create 150 jobs in League City, Texas. It was soon revealed that, “50 already work for BP and live in the area.” One expert called it, “a classic case of getting paid for doing what you’re going to do anyway.” (The Houston Chronicle, January 13, 2005)
3. Perry has been widely criticized for his Texas Enterprise Fund after a report revealed that almost half of the companies that received taxpayer dollars have, “failed or struggled to meet job goals.” The companies, including key player in the subprime mortgage market Countrywide Home Loans, have been given a total of $363 million taxpayer dollars. (Source: Austin American-Statesman, January 28, 2010)
If you still have any doubt about whether Rick Perry truly thought BP had a “very good safety record”, please watch this two minute video.
Of all the people who are, or have been, politicians, can you think of anyone who would have been in a better position to anticipate the worst environmental disaster in the history of our country than Palin and Perry?
9. Both Are Losing Popularity
Palin: By the time Palin resigned as Governor, her popularity had declined from an 89% approval rating to 54%.
Perry: Rick Perry is an unusually weak incumbent, and his opponent, Bill White is an unusually strong challenger. Only 36% of voters in Texas approve of Perry and 49% disapprove. Independent voters are particularly dissatisfied with Perry, with 55% indicating he is doing a poor job. White meanwhile is better known and better liked than most challengers running across the country this year. Thirty-seven percent of voters have a favorable opinion of him compared to 25% with an unfavorable one, and he posts positive numbers with independents at a 35/24 spread.
There is one difference between Perry and Palin. Palin resigned as Governor, and Perry is still the Governor. Surely if people know the facts, we won’t re-elect Perry. Please help me make people aware of all the facts, about both Palin and Perry.