Wednesday, June 06, 2012

James Cargas: one-trick pony

It pains me to write this, and not because of the support I've given to the Lissa Squiers for Congress effort: this past week her campaign was infiltrated by a low-level operative of her opponent's campaign.

After the general election results produced a first-place showing for Squiers in the CD-07 primary contest, she sent out a request for volunteer help through the Carl Whitmarsh listserv; much the same as the Cargas campaign has requested, through the same distribution list,  helpers to stuff "gimme" bags today -- this very afternoon -- for Democratic conventioneers coming to Houston this weekend. Of the half-dozen or so people who attended the Squiers meeting last Sunday, only one person was unknown to the others present. This person barely participated in the free-ranging discussion before hurriedly departing... before the work of addressing postcards began.

He left with a written agenda for the Squiers campaign's strategy for the runoff.

Once I Googled this person's name later that evening, I discovered a LinkedIn profile that contained a resume' listing as a volunteer in the CD-07 campaign, with no candidate's name listed. But that wasn't so much the revealing part. It was the contacts listed there as being a "who's who" of declared Cargas supporters. So then I went to Facebook and searched and found on his profile a 'like' for the Cargas campaign on May 31. No mention either place, needless to say, of support for Lissa Squiers.

(Don't bother changing it now, pal; I have screenshots. You're busted.)

Some of the Squiers supporters present even suspected, based on observations of his body language, that this spy surreptitiously recorded the conversation about Squiers' plans for the runoff.

What the Cargas campaign should do at this point -- if they have any ethical standards whatsoever --  is step forward and publicly disavow this person's "reconnaissance". They should suspend this individual's involvement in their campaign, and they should demand that the plant turn over to the Squiers campaign all the documents he left the meeting with and any recording, if in fact there is one.

Personally speaking, if I needed another reason to disavow the politics of Blue Dog Democrats, I just got it.

Political dirty tricks of this kind really should be reserved for the Republicans, not Democrats. But we already know that the Cargas campaign is being managed by quasi-Republicans, if not actual ones that just can't admit it. Or would rather keep it disguised.

We already know that James Cargas is being managed by Hector Carreno and we know that Cargas, Carreno, and Emil Pena have been business partners in a variety of interests for a long time. We know that Carreno was one of the driving forces ten years ago behind PowerSol Energy Marketers, an outfit referred to by Tim Fleck of the Houston Press as "Little Enron". We know that Pena was involved with the actual Enron as one of their lobbyists. (Pena in fact reported "up to $300,000 in income in 1999 from six clients led by Enron".)

And we also remember a time when Hector Carreno drew the attention of our local legal authorities with respect to his involvement in political campaigns. Republican political campaigns, like the one belonging to Orlando Sanchez.

We know that PowerSol changed its name to Illumina Energy in 2007, and we know that Carreno replaced Cargas as the company's lobbyist ("power marketer"), but that the company's address and phone numbers did not change. Cargas meanwhile went to work for the city of Houston, advising city officials on the bulk purchase of electricity and other power sources.

You don't seriously wonder who Cargas advised them to buy power from, do you?

We know that Cargas was the treasurer of the Emil Pena Interests PAC; in fact as late as 2006 was still signing as treasurer even though the name listed for treasurer was Pena's. We know that Pena's self-named PAC has made a fairly consistent habit over the years of working both sides of the political street. We know that prior to Cargas' tenure as treasurer, the so-called "Stealth PAC" (page 7) had a treasurer named Richard Bianchi, the current Aransas County attorney and former district judge in Harris County who notoriously switched parties after getting elected.

We know that Emil Pena created Generation Power in 2000, with Bianchi in charge of regulatory compliance and Cargas as general counsel.

We know that 2450 Louisiana in downtown Houston is the address of all of the following: the James Cargas campaign, the Upper Kirby Coalition PAC, and the Oilpatch Democrats, among others. We know that despite their advanced degrees and professional experience that these men are spectacularly poor with numbers. Fairly simple numbers.

It's a tangled web they weave when their purpose is to deceive, but the facts can easily be fleshed out. It's almost as if these guys don't really understand how the Internet is capable of revealing all of their situational ethics, all their past history, all their dirty tricks.

James Cargas isn't just a shill and a puppet for energy interests, with his puppet masters being Emil Pena and Hector Carreno. He is, in fact, a one-trick pony, and that one trick is always pretty dirty.
If you're like Bethany, and you're all into corrupt, dirty-tricking Republicans pretending to be Democrats, then you've got your man. Cargas is however not just a one-trick pony but a straw man as well; a stooge for the primary players. Look behind the curtain.

And if you would rather have a community Democrat and not a corporate one; if you want someone who has poured herself out working for children and women and equality issues instead of oil and gas and assorted other power interests and the fat consulting fees that come with them; if you want to vote for a progressive Democrat instead of one being completely controlled by pseudo-Republican horse trainers teaching a pony how to do one (dirty) trick really well... then you've got your woman.

Once again, it really is as simple as that.

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