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Rick Perry

Rick Perry

Rick Perry

To describe Texas Governor Rick Perry as snarky, scheming and slimy is being nice. Totally lacking in morals or even a sense of shame, this well-connected Republican will do virtually anything (no matter how repugnant) to curry favor with Big Business— and to line his own bank account.

Perry’s latest bit of insanity? Trying to force all 11- and 12-year-old girls in the Lone Star State to be inoculated with the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil. Now don’t get us wrong: Preventing strains of the virus that causes genital warts and can manifest into deadly cervical cancer is commendable. But was the true motivation behind Perry’s executive order to safeguard his young constituents? Fat chance. It was to suck Merck & Co.’s big corporate dick.

Merck, the vaccine’s manufacturer, always seems to be popping up somewhere, whether snuggling up to the GOP (case in point) or using public relations firms to cover up its alleged complicity in the deaths of thousands of Americans. (Merck’s arthritis drug Vioxx was recalled in 2004 after being linked to numerous fatal heart attacks.) Its big Texas push for Gardasil seems likely to precipitate yet another major pharmaceutical scandal.

How can we be so sure that Democrat turned- Republican Perry is in Merck’s pocket? Let’s count the ways: One of the governor’s former chiefs of staff worked for the company and was allegedly paid $250,000 just to lobby Gardasil to the Texas legislature. The motherin- law of Perry’s current chief of staff has also been pinned to Merck’s HPV lobbying network.

But we’re not finished: The three-injection vaccine comes with a bountiful $120-per-shot price tag, which isn’t covered by most health insurance providers, possibly because Gardasil ran into problems in the testing phase that went conveniently underreported. In fact, doubts have since abounded regarding the vaccine’s actual effectiveness, not to mention its potential long-term side effects. Adding insult to injury, Perry is opposed to universal healthcare coverage, which, theoretically, could cover the cost. Hey, Slick Rick, answer us this: Are you asking Texans to pay your corporate cronies $360 per child so Merck can experiment on them?

Although the Texas legislature threw a speed bump in front of his executive order, Perry still insists that mandating the Merck vaccine “makes good economic sense.” Yeah, you know what really made economic sense to Perry? Merck donated thousands of dollars to his 2006 reelection campaign. Anybody want to bet that Perry doesn’t go to work for the pharmaceutical giant after he retires from politics?

Even Perry’s conservative Christian following is pissed about his actions. While opposing abortion rights and stem-cell research, the governor is championing a vaccine for a sexually transmitted disease. Yep, as God-fearing Christians see it, this supposedly religious man—just to stay cozy with Merck—is giving kids permission to have sex before marriage. You know things are shady when a politician advocates an STD vaccine and supports the teaching of abstinence in public schools.

It took the Texas legislature months to be persuaded that Perry’s drug mandate was in violation of parents’ civil liberties; i.e., the right to teach their little girls abstinence over protection. No mention was made about a parent’s right to protect his or her child from a greedy corporation bent on using kids as test subjects to turn a profit. Perry’s zeal makes us wonder if he ordered his twentysomething daughter Sydney to be vaccinated with Gardasil. It wouldn’t surprise us to discover he allowed his own child to be an unwitting guinea pig. Then again, it wouldn’t surprise us if he allowed only other parents’ kids to be shot up with the possibly hazardous drug.

Still don’t think Perry is an Asshole? This clenched anus was a staunch defender of Texas’s infamous—and now blessedly defunct— antisodomy law, which he called “appropriate.” Perry tangled with the American Civil Liberties Union over barring homosexuals and their children from the Boy Scouts of America. He rammed through the construction of 11 coalburning power plants, a relatively inefficient energy source that catastrophically pollutes the atmosphere. He also vetoed a bill that would have prevented mentally retarded criminals from being executed in Texas.

Governor Rick Perry doesn’t give a shit about Texans or anybody else. He cares only about his reelection and future retirement fund. Weasel? Scheming liar? Corrupt hypocrite? Sounds like his predecessor, George W. Bush. And we all know how well that worked out.

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