Original Link: http://inthesetimes.com/article/14033/the_ice_man_radioactive/
Harold Simmons: the GOP’s $50 million man.
When the Ice Man told Karl Rove, “I’m in,” he wasn’t fooling around.
The Ice Man, Texan Harold Simmons, is one of the largest donors to the
Republican Party. The Ice Man, who got his nickname for his merciless,
cold-hearted tactics as a corporate raider, said he expects to give $36
million to Republican candidates in 2012. Add in what he’s giving Karl
Rove’s Super PAC and it goes to over $50 million for the year. Of
course, that’s peanuts for a man worth more than $7 billion.
In the Republican primary, Simmons gave $1.2 million to presidential
candidate Rick Santorum to attack Mitt Romney. And he gave nearly a
million dollars to Restore Our Future,
the pro-Romney Super PAC, to buy ads to attack Newt Gingrich. He gave
$1.1 million to Newt Gingrich to attack Santorum and Romney. He gave
their opponent Rick Perry’s Super PAC yet another million to let the
governor of Texas make a jackass of himself on national TV.
What is the Ice Man up to, giving each one of these guys enough money
to beat the hell out of the other? I can’t claim to know everything in
the Ice Man’s head. He’s playing multidimensional chess when I’m playing
checkers. But, at the least, I know he’s teaching all the candidates to
heel, roll over and beg.
He certainly didn’t give a rat’s ass about the candidates’ positions on
the hot-button issue of the primary, abortion and contraceptives.
Simmons thinks all of them are nuts: He’s pro-choice. It’s not about
philosophy, but, as Michael Corleone says in The Godfather, “It’s just business.”
Simmons is the King of Filth. I don’t mean porn. Two of his big
businesses today are NL Industries and Waste Control Specialists LLC.
Their value is dependent on government gimmes and rules: permits,
environmental regulations, and the handling of poisons and taxes, of
course—but most important, the law of torts.
His $50 million for Rove and Republicans is less than 1 percent of his
wealth. As his candidates’ tax and business proposals could boost his
net worth by $2 billion, his return on investment could top 4,000
percent on just those two pieces of real estate called the White House
and the Capitol. Not bad.
One investment, the $1.2 million Simmons put into Gov. Rick Perry’s
campaign for president, is already paying off. The key for Simmons was
that Perry’s run for president belly-flopped. The Ice Man is no fool: He
knew his fellow Texan was a putz, and would crash and burn in the first
presidential debates. And if that governor ends up back in the
statehouse in Texas, that governor knows who’s pleasured his campaign
Perry’s loony run for the White House, once finished, meant that Perry
remains governor of Texas, exactly where the Ice Man needs him. Why? The
Ice Man’s Waste Control Specialists LLC wants to create a 20-square-mile toxic dump
in West Texas. But it was a dump without a hole. The business zoomed in
value once the state of Texas gave Simmons a hole for his waste dump.
Permits for the crapola were issued despite objections of the state’s
own expert panel, which said the hole was too close to the giant
Ogallala aquifer, the very same water source that Obama tried to save by
moving the XL Pipeline. It’s a drinking water source for eight states.
Nevertheless, the political hacks on the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality appointed by Perry overruled their experts and in 2008 and 2009 issued the Ice Man the licenses for his dump.
In March 2012, after flunked-out presidential candidate Perry skulked
back to the Texas governor’s mansion, another one of his agencies
approved Ice Man’s superdump to take in nuclear waste. Now, toxic dumps
have a habit of leaking and causing cancers. If this one leaks it could
poison and irradiate the Ogallala.
And that leads to lawsuits. No problemo, pardner! Perry supported a voter referendum and lobbying campaign, backed by $2 million from a group called Texans for Lawsuit Reform,
which virtually eliminated the ability of Texans to sue for pain and
suffering if they are dying of cancer from negligently leaked toxins.
The $2 million for the “reformers” came from the Ice Man.
For the Ice Man Simmons, this is a twofer. Simmons controls NL
Industries, a name that beats the hell out of “National Lead,” its old
name, whose most well-known product was the popular Dutch Boy paint. The
paint’s brilliant colors were attributed to its special ingredient:
The Ice Man took over the company in 1986. But there was a threat to
the Ice Man’s cash kitty in NL. According to the industry’s own
research, lead-based paint causes severe mental retardation in poor
neighborhoods where the poison is peeling off the walls.
In New York, Ana Amparo’s son suffered “brain injuries, cognitive
deficits, learning disabilities, reduction of intelligence, behavioral
and attention disorders.” When he was 16, forensic tests traced the
problem back to lead paint whose chemical tags pointed to NL’s Dutch
The key for Simmons to keep his billions out of the hands of NL’s
victims is “tort reform”—Corporate America’s campaign to take away an
injured person’s right to sue.
Simmons appears to have bought himself protection from lawsuits by the
victims of his enterprises in Texas, and he’s made clear he wants to
take his push for protection from his victims on the road to all 50
When the lead-head isn’t fighting brain-damaged children, Simmons is
fighting taxpayers. Simmons’ company has refused to pay its share of the
$500 million a year it costs to remove lead-contaminated paint from
The regulations that banned lead from paint in the 1970s prevented
thousands of cases of mental retardation. This makes Simmons crazy: he
wants to eliminate all government environmental regulation—a philosophy you could call “Lucrative Libertarianism.”
The Ice Man’s long-term goal is to eliminate the Environmental
Protection Agency. Meanwhile, in 2012, Rove’s dogsbody, Rep. Tim Griffin
(R-Ark.), sponsored H.R. 4078,
the Regulatory Freeze for Jobs Act, “to provide that no agency may take
any significant regulatory action until the unemployment rate is equal
to or less than 6.0 percent.”
But what’s the use of a bill without a Congress to pass it, or a president to sign it?
As Simmons’ ally corporate superlobbyist Grover Norquist put it, they
just need a president “with enough working digits to handle a pen … to
sign the legislation that has already been prepared.”
Prepared by Grover and the Ice Man.
And that’s what the $50 million in donations is for.