Monthly Archives: February 2011

The Water flows like Money – Part 1

This topic involves a whole lot of poo and cannot be done properly in a single writing. Thus, the Part 1.

We all assume to know that crimes are occurring in government. The problem is that usually the evidence is hidden from view or just beyond the reach of justice due to the influence of power and money. Occasionally, some jack wagon in politics truly screws over the electorate in a fashion that begs the questions of why they are not rotting in jail at the very moment of the criminal discovery. Mark Foley should have been tossed in the can for his impropriety with Congressional pages and Charlie Rangel should be carted off the Hill right now for all the nonsense he is guilty of. Power and money saved both their butts from jail.

I am sick of it.

As a resident of Texas, I keep in tune with what is happening in Austin. Yesterday I attended Rally Day in Austin with the Texas Builders Association to see my elected legislators and get info on all the efforts being made to stave off a tax increase. This current budget crisis facing the State of Texas is steep and every nook and cranny of each department is being looked over to save taxpayer dollars and avoid raising taxes. That’s what we’ve all been told.

Well, it’s a load of manure and I’ll tell you why.

There is a ton of money going through state agencies that have become bloated and are not being overseen or audited. What we have, in my opinion, is a real crime occurring in Texas right this very moment with specific agencies that are sacred cows.  The one I am focusing on involves water, electrical power generation, and a whole river of money. It is time for people to get prosecuted and go to jail and to put the heat on those that can make things happen to get the ball rolling. For liability purposes, I am going to use the words “alleged”, “probable”, and other such descriptors for a very specific reason. I came across this little shell game in my campaign for the Texas Senate. What I uncovered was a chain of very powerful people scamming the State of Texas and her citizens. The information uncovered brought out a force of money, power, and lies against me in a campaign that I was not prepared for and cost me an election. Some, but not all of the names, will be used in the series of blogs.

So you understand the gravity of this situation with the money and power involved, there were 2 attempts at kidnapping my children and multiple threats made against my life during this campaign. After the abduction attempts, we had security at our home with rifles all over the place. We still have the security today…. All this because a candidate for public office wanted to have an answer for constituents.

The alleged crime involves the Morris Shepherd Dam at Possum Kingdom Lake and the shutting down of the hydroelectric plant at the dam in 2007. The alleged perpetrator of the crime is the Board of Directors of the Brazos River Authority spearheaded by its President Chris DeCluitt. The potential accomplice you’ll figure out along the way and the victims are the citizens of the State of Texas.

In November of 2009, I was researching the history of the closing of the Morris Shepherd Dam. Through calls and other research I discovered the hydroelectric production units of the dam had been sold by the Brazos River Authority (BRA) to the Brazos Electric Power Cooperative (BEPC). The BEPC was to take over operations of the power production. The reason for the sale – BRA claimed that they could not make money on the contract they had executed for power supply. Understand that Texas had de-regulated electricity in 2001 under Senate Bill 7 (SB7) by then State Senator from District 22 David Sibley. What that meant was the BRA could adjust the rates now for market. Additionally, BRA had filed with the Texas Public Utility Commission (TPUC)  in early 2001 to be a Power Generation Company, meaning that they could deal wholesale or retail on electricity and adjust rates as needed for market. That approval was granted in June of 2001. So it begs the question – why sell off a unit that could and should make money? Every power company I know of makes money, why could BRA not money at Morris Shepherd?

The hydro units were shut down in August of 2007. According to BRA records and publications, the units were shut down for electrical concerns. However, a little known lawsuit was filed in Waco, Texas in July 2009 that told a different story. In the court documents Brazos Electric Cooperative, Inc versus the Brazos River Authority Cause 2009-2364-5, BEPC alleged that the BRA told them they were shutting down the hydro units for maintenance. This was occurring while BEPC was doing its due diligence in the purchase and according to court documents BEPC had no reason to not believe the BRA. According to the court documents when the deal closed a few months later, BRA threw the keys at BEPC and claimed it was BEPC’s problem now and have fun. Those silly BRA Board folks! Plantiffs Original BEPC v BRA0001

The Morris Shepherd Dam was rated at 24 Megawatts in power production and according to the FY09 Upper Basin Report by the BRA the units had produced nearly 30 Megawatts of clean power for the surrounding areas in 2007. That will power a whole lot of businesses and homes…. The hydro units also pumped water over the spillway that went down the Brazos River and into Lake Granbury in Granbury, Texas. Lake Granbury is around 130000 acre feet and the water that flowed down from the dam was in excess of that amount. That little trick allowed Lake Granbury to always be “constant level” and was used in the marketing and development of the Lake for years. It was even on the BRA website about being constant level until I got involved in the Morris Shepherd scandal.FY09_Upper_Basin By the way, this document has vanished from the BRA website since all the poo hit the fan last year…..

A natural question to be asked is – was proper maintenance down on the dam during its run? Was money taken out to covers the costs of maintenance? Did the dam pass all of its federal tests? Was all the money used properly? The answer to all  four is yes, yes, yes, and a great big NO. The no answer is what has me outraged and is an action that if anyone else outside of money and power attempted would have their fanny in prison.

So what do we have here? A hydroelectric unit that had never missed a beat in almost 70 years of service is shut down for some reason; a Texas Water Board claiming that they cannot make money on electricity in a post de-regulated environment, and a lawsuit that stirs a whole ton of poo.

So how does all this impact the current Texas legislative session? Well, there is this little bill passed in the 76th Session in Texas in 2001 that is unlike any other. It was specifically targeted to help the BRA and it gives broad power that cannot be found with other water boards. It was authored by then State Representative Kip Averitt out of Waco, sponsored by then State Senator David Sibley out of Waco, and signed under an emergency provision passing normal calendar rules of legislation. Here is the link: http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/Text.aspx?LegSess=76R&Bill=HB3793 This bill allows the BRA to get its hands on a whole lot of money without any apparent oversight.

I’ll tell you how that impacts Texas taxpayers next week.

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Restoring the Jewel of the Nile

It’s been difficult for me to communicate what has been happening in Egypt for me, as I have been battling an insidious Trojan and virus for the past 10 days. I’ll blog on that later. That being said, it’s time to get some truthful spin out on what is happening there. Now I talk with people all over the world for business every day, including the Middle East. So what I am writing is not just a bloviation – it’s from informed sources.

I know everyone is concerned that Egypt will be the next Iran and what that could mean for the region and US relations. While I rarely use the words “never” in writing, let me say that there are different factors that have been at play in Egypt. What you have been witnessing over the past month was not an uprising of Islamic militants in the street, but an orchestrated, fairly bloodless Coup De Tat of Hosni Mubarak.

Now I already hear what you’re thinking  – “We saw the demonstrations, we know about the Muslim Brotherhood!”. Yeah, I know too. They have been actors in large-scale theater. The director has been the Egyptian Army. Yes, the very army that has been there from the beginning in the streets, the same army that represents a full 25% of the Egyptian government expense, and the one so heavily fortified by the US for the past 30 years.

So why all the fuss and why now? Since 2000, there has been widespread rumor of an attempt to make changes in Egyptian law to allow President Mubarak to pass power to one of his 2 sons. The most likely candidate was Gamal Mubarak, the younger of the two sons. While both have been in the business sector, son Alaa has kept a low profile and Gamal has been in the process of being groomed to take over for his father. Alaa had also been accused of business corruption within private sector dealings. However, there was one tiny problem, even in the farce of what they called democracy in Egypt, passing on power to an heir was un-constitutional in Egypt. In 2005, President Mubarak ordered the Egyptian parliament to change the constitution to allow for multi candidate elections. While that seems harmless, it was seen as the first step to ensuring son Gamal would be the top candidate as he would have support of the ruling party and the government controlled media. With the elections of 2011 coming next, this was seen as a step to bring in someone outside of military grooming in an orchestrated manner without elected influence. The army was not going to allow this.

Egypt’s military is to its citizens as to what Rome’s was back in its days of glory. Employing nearly 500000 soldiers, it is one of the areas of pride for Egyptians. Going back to ancient Egypt, when the Pharaohs ruled, having a strong military presence has always been a part of the culture. Even when the great kingdom was destroyed 4200 years ago from drought, the military was never gone through all the misery.

Egypt’s current woes can be traced directly back to the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 and the rise of Gamal Nasser after the overthrow of King Farouk.  Coincidentally, the military had “free officers” that led the revolution, as they felt King Farouk was to blame for Egypt’s poor performance in the 1948 war with Israel. Nasser brought in the term “Arab Socialism”. There is far too much on this man to attempt to blog on here. Do a Google search and read for yourself. Needless to say, Nasser was not a favorite child of the US and he openly dealt with the Soviets as allies during the Cold War. Egypt’s army was considered the MENA (Middle East North Africa) Soviet Army and the US could never gain ground with Nasser.

That ended in the Six Day War of 1967 when Egypt, Jordan, and Syria attacked Israel. In short, Israel wiped them up with a mop. In three years, Nasser was out and another former military man, Anwar Sadat, was in as President. Sadat down sized relations with the Soviets and picked another war with Israel. In 1973 he ordered the army to attack Israel in The Crossing with initial success followed by large losses to capture the Sinai. A US-Soviet led UN peace keeping effort ended the hostilities, but Sadat had restored Egyptian military pride based on the boldness and initial success of the campaign.

Sadat changed Egyptian policy with Israel from open confrontation to one of peace keeping which ultimately led to the peace accord with Israel in 1979. Unfortunately, Islamic extremists were not happy with these moves and killed Sadat in October 1981. Hmm, apparently these nut jobs have been hanging around in the minority for quite a while. VP Mubarak, a former Air Force Commander who was considered a hero from the 1973 conflict, stepped right into the Presidency. Hope you see the military pattern here.

Mubarak reign has been fairly aggressive in terms of bring private enterprise to Egypt and keeping government growth slowed. As a result, Egypt had seen solid economic growth in the 1990’s and 2000’s. However, he was nowhere near as successful on the political front and thus began to stifle economic gains the country had seen.

So back to my original premise of the military involvement in ousting President Mubarak. His son’s, while probably what the country needs in terms of private enterprise experience in government, are not military men. With an ever-increasing conclusion that President Mubarak, autocrat that he was, was going to find a way to pass on power to his non-military son was an unacceptable answer for the Egyptian Military. Egypt’s military leaders have had a hand in the government in various ways since 1952. They are literally 25% of the consumption of the Egyptian budget, own land and corporations, and in short have no intention of seeing that way of life die by power passing to an outsider of the military. If the people elect someone new, even the Muslim Brotherhood, they can control that sot from the start and never miss a beat.

Doubt my theory? Consider this – Cairo has 18 million people living there. While 200000 protesters are no sneezing matter, if the Egyptian population was seriously pe’od, they could have overrun the army, the Republican Guard, and anyone else they wanted. When the “protesters” moved in, so did the army to oversee events. When Mubarak came out with his “up yours” talk the other night about not stepping down, an amazing series of events changed  one day later. Hmm, did the army escort his fanny out they way they wanted? Yes. Did it happen exactly as planned – no.  Obama did not get Mubarak out as was planned. Yes, my friends, Barry O had an unwitting hand in this and missed a huge lay up the army gave him. Obama’s part was to communicate to Mubarak how well he had done over 30 years, but the country had changed before him and he needed to go out with a new legacy. A legacy to give Egypt a new way in democracy,etc, etc. When Obama came out and announced the US was “with the people” he automatically angered Mubarak. No glory for Obama here, although I’s sure he’ll try to claim some.

As of today, the army has suspended the Egyptian Constitution and dissolved Parliament.  Egypt is for all intents and purposes under martial law. The real question will be if they hand back over power or keep it for themselves. If they do allow elections in the fall, then the real question will be if they prop up their own “candidate”.

In the end, the Egyptian Military likes having their influence in matters. They know to keep the 1 billion coming in from the US to keep peace with Israel and to get Egypt back on the path as a tourist spot means keeping the nuts at bay.  Don’t look for the Muslim Brotherhood to take over Egypt just yet because the Brotherhood represents a threat to the military.

And that will not restore the Jewel of the Nile.

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