Meet the Shady Dallas Mega-Billionaire Industrialist Pouring Money into Rick Perry’s Coffers

From Alternet:

Most Americans have never heard of Harold Simmons, despite his fantastic wealth, because he wisely keeps his head low.

By Joe Conason
August 29, 2011

Like so many Republican officials of the tea party persuasion, Rick Perry despises the Environmental Protection Agency—a feeling he has expressed repeatedly in speeches, lawsuits, legislation and even a book titled “Fed Up!” Perhaps that is only natural for the governor of Texas, a “dirty energy” state where the protection of air, water and human health rank well below the defense of oil company profits for most politicians.

But Perry has at least one other reason for smacking down those bureaucrats so eagerly. When environmental regulators do their job properly, that can mean serious trouble for Perry’s largest political donors.

The outstanding example is Harold Simmons, a Dallas mega-billionaire industrialist who has donated well over a million dollars to Perry’s campaign committees recently. With Perry’s eager assistance—and despite warnings from Texas environmental officials—Simmons has gotten approval to build an enormous radioactive waste dump on top of a crucial underground water supply.

“We first had to change the law to where a private company can own a license, and we did that,” Simmons boasted in 2006, after the Texas Legislature and the governor rubber-stamped initial legislation and approvals for the project. “Then we got another law passed that said (the state) can only issue one license. Of course, we were the only ones that applied.”

Most Americans have never heard of Simmons, despite his fantastic wealth, because he wisely keeps his head low, generally refusing press interviews and avoiding media coverage. Last year, a local monthly in his hometown published the headline “Dallas’ Evil Genius” over a scathing and fascinating investigative profile that examined not only the peculiar history of litigation between Simmons and his children (who no longer speak to him), but his political machinations, corporate raiding and continuing corporate penchant for pollution.

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Thom Hartmann: Tired of the free loaders in the US economy?

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Sun and Sanity

From Common Dreams:

by Ralph Nader
Published on Tuesday, August 30, 2011 by

This is the second week of protests, led by Bill McKibben, in front of the White House demanding that President Barack Obama reject a proposed 1700 mile pipeline transporting the dirtiest oil from Alberta, Canada through fragile ecologies down to the Gulf Coast refineries. One thousand people will be arrested there from all fifty states before their demonstration is over. The vast majority voted for Obama and they are plenty angry with his brittleness on environmental issues in general.

Following the large BP discharge in the Gulf of Mexico, Obama gave the OK to expand drilling over 20 million acres in the Gulf and soon probably in the Arctic Ocean. He delayed clean air rules over at EPA. Following the worsening Fukishima nuclear disaster last March in Japan, he reaffirmed his support for more taxpayer guaranteed nuclear plants in the U.S. adding his Administration’s hopes to learn from the mistakes there.

He proposed an average fuel efficiency standard for 2005 at 62 miles per gallon, quickly conceded to industry’s objection and brought it down to 54 mpg. The industry’s trade journal Automotive News calculated the loopholes and brought it down to “real-world industry wide fleet average in the 2025 model year” of about 40 mpg. No wonder the auto companies effusively praised Obama’s give-it-up negotiator, Ron Bloom at the Treasury Department of all places.

Were Obama to look out his White House window and see the arrested and handcuffed demonstrators against this $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline, he might think: “This will upset my environmental supporters, but heck, where can they go in November 2012?”

He is right. No matter what Mr. Obama does to surrender environmental health and safety to corporatist demands, they will vote for him. They certainly won’t vote for the Republican corporate mascots. They wouldn’t vote for a Green Party candidate either. This is not only the environmentalists’ dilemma, it is the liberal/progressive/labor union dilemma as well. They have no bargaining power with Obama.

He did not propose a carbon tax when the Democrats controlled Congress in 2009-2010. Even Exxon prefers a carbon tax to the corruption-inducing complex cap and trade bill the House passed only to have the Senate sit on it. So doing nothing on climate change is soon to be followed by approval of the destructive tar sands pipeline which will add significantly to greenhouse gases.

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More Left Wing Hippie than Transsexual Separatist

Don’t get me wrong…  I applaud the growing numbers of transsexual folks demanding recognition of the difference between transsexual and transgender.

Yes I agree that transsexual or transgender doesn’t mean gay or lesbian.

I may shock some with my saying that neither transsexual nor transgender should automatically be considered part of either the gay or lesbian community.  For one thing people with penises who have sex with women are straight men no matter how they obscure that point with rhetoric about being lesbian.  I know, I’ve had relationships with “lesbian” transgender folks and while they may have been femme in the streets they were boys in the sheets.  Male lesbian is oxymoronic.

I think Yvonne Cook Riley permanently laid to rest discussion of the origins of the “transgender as umbrella” paradigm In spite of all the attempts by Christan Williams and others to write the history backwards and place the origin some place other than with Virginia Prince, IFGE, Tri-Ess and other heterosexual transvestite based organizations.

There is a reason why I do not recall these various “Transgender Organizations” as being part of the Gay and Lesbian Communities during the 1960s-1990s.  They weren’t there.

Even the organization I co-ran in the early 1970s wasn’t a “Transgender Organization”.  If anything we were Separatist.  Not out of design but because the queens weren’t surgery tracked and we assisted people with getting their surgery.  In case you are new to this blog, the National Transsexual Counseling Unit was very much a pre-Stonewall organization that grew out of the 1966 Compton’s Cafeteria Riots.

For what it is worth there were sisters in the Stanford Program who were out lesbians.  I wasn’t out as a lesbian at that point, hell I don’t think I even thought I might be lesbian, as I had a boyfriend I was very much in love with.

That made me straight at that point, at least from my POV and the POV of my other straight sisters.  The folks who became Transgender Inc and the Transgender Borg…  Well they were telling themselves they weren’t gay and weren’t transsexual.  They also considered those of us who loved men to be gay men, who were going too far or getting SRS so that we could act out a male fantasy of what a woman is all about.  The Transvestites who later gave birth to Transgender Inc and the Borg were the ones pushing the whole idea that one could not be transsexual and attracted to women.  Indeed they were the ones pushing that meme to the doctors like Stoller and Green. (Virginia Prince).

So remember the next time someone says you couldn’t be attracted to women and get SRS they are repeating a fiction.  Even Dr. Benjamin’s book which was a collection of writings spanning the period from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s mentioned transsexuals who had been married to women and had fathered children prior to transition.

The “Transgender Community” feels like a strange construct I was never part of. Not even when I was going through the process. When I went to San Francisco, searching for… Who knows what, answers, enlightenment, revolution…  I didn’t go to the Tenderloin where I would have found a “Trans-Community”, I went to the Haight and later to Berkeley where I found a left wing radical community.

I had friends who dealt with transsexualism by getting SRS, but even then I was sort of the odd hippie lefty.

I felt more at home at the Women’s Building and working for the Lesbian Tide.

There is a myth that the Doctors discouraged us from being part of a “Trans-community” or even associating with other transsexuals.  The reality was that once your surgery was over and done with the world opened up and you were no longer limited to the ghetto. As for friends?  I found I didn’t have all that much in common with most other WBTs.

It isn’t like we all have the same back grounds and interests. Just being into esoteric folk music, jazz and punk rock instead of disco and divas made me seem weird to a number of my acquaintances.

Liking being behind my cameras better than modeling or fashion caused some sisters to think I was strange.

This may sound odd to people who are so totally caught up in Trans-World, whether as part of the Transgender Borg, Transgender Inc. or even the Transsexual Separatists who  so enjoy fighting with both Transgenders and Lesbian Feminists, but I had both WBT and Transgender friends.  They were nerds, artists, musicians, painters with geeked out living spaces.  Some even built their own cabins in the woods and lived alternative life styles.  Others haunted the surplus electronics stores or flea markets for parts to build computers and other gadgets or art assemblages.

Mostly though they could talk about something other than transgender this or transsexual that. We could hold intelligent conversations about various artists who were part of the New York school of abstract expressionists.

It wasn’t as though transsexual or transgender was the only thing we could talk about.

With so many, but not all of the separatists there seems to be an obsession with fighting with transgender folks.  All their conversations are ever about is proving how different they are from transgender people.  It is as though their entire sense of self is dependent upon not being transgender.

Add to that the homophobia that has reared its ugly head  in both the transsexual and the Transgender Inc camps and I’m pretty disgusted.  I’m a lesbian, not a lesbian separatist but the sort of lesbian, who considers herself part of the Gay and Lesbian Community.  I don’t need a “T” grafted on or even a “B” although I’ve had both male and female lovers over the course of my life.

Homophobia, simple anti-gay and lesbian community sentiments separates me from both Transgender Inc (who I feel are just using the gay and lesbian communities.) and many of the Transsexual Separatists, who proclaim they are not queers, but heterosexual and that the Gay and Lesbian Communities are using them.

This gets very tired, very quickly.

I’m not a lesbian separatist.  Yet I believe having a vagina between your legs is a qualitatively different life experience than having a penis there, no matter how hidden by  feminine appearance and mannerisms that penis is.

Autumn Sandeen has labeled this genital surgery essentialism.  Autumn also thinks castration makes one a woman, which is straight from Virginia Prince’s “How to be a Woman, Though Male.”

I don’t do gender.  I see gender as sex roles in different, reactionary drag.

I believe women should be able to keep people with penises out of locker rooms, changing room and if they wish out of certain Women’s Music Festivals. Godless Goddess only knows women are excluded from enough places and one doesn’t see the hordes of Transgender Inc struggling to break down those barriers.

I shop at Walmart, with a list for those items that are 20-50-75 cents less per than at the other market. Yes I know Walmart’s policies suck.  I also know the economic pinch.  Last time Tina and I shopped there our Check Out Clerk was obviously Transgender, of the Gender Queer tribe, her friend, who seemed to be training her  had visible tats and piercings.  This in a suburb of Dallas.

It’s employment.  So is Starbucks and other places that hire the non-conformists, the old, racial minorities etc. Why do I get the feeling when I listen to the professionals in Transgender Inc, that these are not the jobs they are talking about?  Could it be because the phrasing of the language is so shallow as to cause me to think they are ignorant of matters like mandating employer paid health coverage, living wage and the way part time is used to keep people at an economic level where they can’t really afford to live.

Instead in the world of both Transgender Inc and the Transgender Separatists everything seems to be about transsexualism or transgenderism.

It’s a pretty privileged mindset on the part of both groups.  There is a lot more going on in the world besides transsexual and transgender.

Many of us are poor, others are have issues of racial and ethnic prejudice to deal with.  Yet others have substance issues.

But also, particularly those of us who are a long time past surgery have other interests.

Tina and I built a raised bed garden this year.  We’ve had what seems like an endless summer of 100 degree F days and a drought that wiped out much of the effort except for the basil and other herbs.  A friend of mine from Northern California put up pictures of the hen house she is constructing.  I wrote her saying I envy her being able to have chickens.

This last week we went to a Move-On demonstration. We were out there in opposition to right wing austerity programs that threaten job as well as Social Security and Medicare.  I post a lot about environmental concerns because it is one area I am concerned about.

Perhaps it is being post-transsexual for so long, twice as long as the time before I came out.

Things that concern people in both TG Inc and the Borg as well as much of what concerns the separatists is such ancient history that I feel completely detached from it.

I’m not particularly into “Trans-Culture”, if there is really such a thing.  Most trans-themed movies bore me to death, when they don’t actively disgust me.  Although I do like documentaries.

Much of the joy of being post-transsexual is being able to not give a shit about Trans-World.  Being able to say, “This is not my fight because it is not part of my life.”

That doesn’t mean I wish you harm, or even that I oppose your cause.  Hell… I support the human rights and equality of all people.

I am just not very passionate about taking up the banner of either Transgender Inc or for that matter joining in with those Transsexuals whose main focus in life seems to be fighting with the Borg and Transgender Inc.

I’d rather be part of the same movements I was part of before the whole Transgender Inc/Borg ever existed.  The same movements I’ve always been a part of and felt comfortable with even when the Transsexual Menace and other Transgender Inc organizations were forming.

My news feeds are filled this morning with items about Chaz Bono appearing on “Dancing with the Stars.”  Like this is supposed to be important to me.  I’ve never once watched that show or for that matter “American Idol.”  Hell I don’t generally watch the big three networks.

Anti-transgender violence isn’t the only violence I see.  I see it in the context of a great deal more violence that is directed towards women, the poor, and other minority groups.  I generally categorize anti-trans violence as anti-woman and anti-sex worker violence.

I don’t need a “T” to be part of the Lesbian and Gay Community.  I’m a lesbian, who actually likes gay men.  I’m repelled by the homophobia I see in both the Transgender Faction and in the Transsexual Faction.

Lesbians and gay men have been working towards marriage equality since the 1970s, long before the 1990s creation of the “Transgender Community”.  They were passing anti-discrimination laws too.  transgender Inc didn’t exist and wasn’t part of the Gay and Lesbian Community, which is why they weren’t included.

Indeed both Transgender Inc and the Transsexuals often avow their straightness and therefore have greater claim to being part of straight society than the Gay and Lesbian Community.

Either way, I have a life beyond the Gay and Lesbian Community.

I am very concerned with the environment.  We have hit the Malthusian Limit.  We are past peak oil and are in a climate crisis.  We are not going to be able to feed the 7 billion people we have.  We should pay people to not have children and charge people extra taxes when they have more than one.  Zero Population Growth isn’t enough.  We need to engage in population shrinkage because we do not have the two and a half planet earths we will need to feed the present population when we do not have oil.

To feed our present population we are currently consuming the solar energy that fell upon earth during the Carboniferous Period.  “The Carboniferous Period occurred from about 360 to 286 million years ago. At the time, the land was covered with swamps filled with huge trees, ferns and other large leafy plants. The water and seas were filled with algae – the green stuff that forms on a stagnant pool of water. Algae is actually millions of very small plants.”  (See:

I’m concerned about the wealth inequality in the US and other nations.  The rise of insane religious cults that accompany the environmental crunch of too many people and too few resources.

Mostly though, transsexual is only one aspect of my life, more a part of my history than a part of my present.  One element that is rarely ever the dominant element.  Odd as it may seem even during the three years from coming out through getting SRS, transsexualism was only part of what was going on.

When I tune into what people in the Transsexual and Transgender Factions are constantly fighting about I find myself thinking, “Damn that’s really freaking obsessive.”

Then I look at the other things I could spend my time on and they seem both more productive and more fun.

Baptist Pastor Prays For President Obama To Die & Go To Hell! “Our Country Is Ran By Faggots”

So much for the idea that Christianity is the “Religion of peace” and that some how the Christians in the US are more enlightened than the Muslim extremists.  Six of one half a dozen of the other.  All religions seem to hate women.  Indeed misogyny seems to be a the core of most religion.

Top NASA climate scientist arrested at White House

From Raw Story:

By Stephen C. Webster
Monday, August 29th, 2011

One of the nation’s foremost experts on climate change was arrested outside the White House on Monday morning after he joined a protest against a planned Canadian tar sands pipeline.

Dr. James Hansen (pictured), who runs NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, was arrested along with 139 other protesters taking part in a series of demonstrations against the planned $7-billion Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport 500,000 barrels of crude per day from America’s neighbor to the north all the way to the Gulf coast of Texas.

So far, 521 activists have been arrested since their first protest on Saturday, Aug. 21. Also included in Monday’s arrests were Greenpeace Executive Director Phil Radford, president of CREDO Mobile Michael Kieschnick, Executive Director May Boeve and many others.

Hansen, a 44-year veteran of the nation’s space agency, is perhaps the best-known climate scientist in the world. He was the center of a years-long controversy in the last decade, after he claimed that NASA had tried to censor his findings about earth’s climate on behalf of the Bush administration. He’s also the author of “Storms of My Grandchildren,” a book that calls for radical action to combat climate change. He’s also been arrested before, protesting against mountaintop mining.

A U.S. State Department environmental impact study released last week claimed the pipeline would have a minimal effect on the environment, and officials maintained that even if the U.S. refuses the pipeline, Canada will just sell their oil elsewhere.

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Bill McKibben: Will Hurricane Irene Be a Wake-Up Call About Climate Change?

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Kansas resists revealing how abortion clinic rules were developed

From McClatchy DC:

By Brad Cooper | McClatchy Newspapers
Sunday, August 28, 2011

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The state of Kansas is withholding details about how it developed new rules for abortion clinics.

Lawyers for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the attorney general want to prevent two abortion clinics from learning how the rules were written, and the rationale behind them, according to their court filings.

They are asking a judge to limit the scope of what is shared with the clinics’ lawyers to prevent broad requests that don’t lead to relevant evidence, the court documents say.

The state also has denied open-records requests from The Kansas City Star and The Associated Press, which asked for documents that could have shed light on the drafting of the rules.

“They’re using every procedure available to prevent us from doing any discovery to find out the steps they took in enacting these regulations,” said Bonnie Scott Jones, one of the lawyers for the abortion clinics.

Jones represents Herbert Hodes and his daughter, who run an obstetrics and gynecology clinic in Overland Park. They, along with a Kansas City, Kan., abortion clinic, challenged the new rules in federal court in June.

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Christians Should Control Government – Michele Bachmann & Dominionism

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What’s It Going to Take for Americans to Stop Eating Chemical-Laden Industrial Food?

From Alternet:

The simple act of sitting down together to eat real food on a regular basis can jumpstart the kind of lively discussions that get people engaged on the issues of the day.

By Kerry Trueman
August 29, 2011

Laurie David is a force of nature when it comes to lobbying on behalf of Mother Nature. An author, film producer and environmental advocate, she’s best known as the producer who convinced Al Gore that his climate-change slide show could reach a lot more folks if he made it into a movie.

David’s still concerned about melting glaciers. But her current campaign tackles another kind of erosion; the loss of community, civility and informed debate in our culture. Her latest book, The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time, makes the case that the simple act of sitting down together to eat real food on a regular basis can jumpstart the kind of lively, enlightening discussions that get our friends and family engaged on the issues of the day. And isn’t that the first step to pulling our civic discourse out of its muddied ditch?

She addressed this subject at the Omega Institute‘s Design By Nature conference in Rhinebeck, New York recently, and kindly agreed to answer a few questions while she was in my neck of the woods. So, with the historic Hudson River Valley–widely regarded as the birthplace of the modern environmental movement–as our backdrop, I sat down with David for a chat about where our country’s at.

Kerry Trueman: How does this new mission to revive dinner table discussions mesh with your environmental advocacy? Is conversation the gateway drug to conservation?

Laurie David: There are all kinds of environments. But the very first one we learn anything at is our family environment. I have teenage daughters, and I see from my own personal experience, how grateful I am that I insisted on this ritual of family dinner. It’s not just about eating, it’s about all the things that happen at the table that we’re not even conscious of.

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Thom Hartmann: The USA shouldn’t be a death camp for the elderly!

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Ben Kalina: Debate Over Development on Barrier Islands Intensified After Hurricane Irene

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House GOP Renews Misguided Effort to Defund UNFPA, Risking the Lives of Millions of Women

From RH Reality Check:

by Valerie DeFillipo, Americans for UNFPA
August 27, 2011

On the heels of Vice President Biden’s recent trip to China, the GOP leadership of the House of Representatives issued a misguided ultimatum to President Obama: defund UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, or else.

UNFPA is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. UNFPA supports countries in using population data to develop policies and programs to reduce poverty, to strengthen reproductive health programs, and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.  In a world where 215 million women want access to family planning services but do not have it, in which women make up the majority of those infected with and affected by HIV and AIDS, and in which complications of pregnancy remain the leading cause of deaths among women in many countries, UNFPA is needed more than ever before.

This is not a controversial agenda.  In fact, it is one shown to be supported by the vast majority of Americans. As noted by a Guttmacher Institute Report, 91 percent of Americans believe that “every woman on the planet deserves access to quality maternal and reproductive health care.” Another found 89 percent in favor of “health care services, including access to basic health care and family planning services” as a way to promote economic development and advance the status of women and girls.

But as a result of misguided ideology and politics, and at a time when women’s most fundamental rights are under assault, we have been thrust into a dangerous game of falsehoods versus reality- and the stakes are high. What is the life of one woman worth? When reproductive rights are politicized, the health and safety of every woman hangs in the balance.

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