Showing posts sorted by relevance for query cargas squiers. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query cargas squiers. Sort by date Show all posts

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Who's the real Democrat, indeed

A precinct chair in CD-07 sent me a copy of the following -- well, there's just no other word for it -- unhinged response from the James Cargas campaign, drafted and distributed sometime during this past weekend's state party convention.

It's simply an uncareful and overly emotional answer to this post, if you needed background. Rather than respond to my account of the dirty, underhanded espionage his campaign performed on the Lissa Squiers campaign, he instead sent out the following:

Lissa Squiers has never voted in a Democratic Primary until this May after she suddenly decided to be a Democratic candidate.  NGP VAN, the Democratic Party’s voter database, shows that James Cargas voted in the four out of the last five Democratic Parties; Squiers’ record is void of any participation in primary elections (this year being the only exception) during the past ten years, the period of data retained in NGP VAN.  (Copies of Squiers and Cargas’ NGP VAN voting records are attached)
“To call yourself a Democrat at minimum means you publically declare yourself a Democrat when you vote in the party’s primary,” said James Cargas, candidate for the democratic nomination for 7th Congressional District. “Calling yourself a staunch Democrat means you care deeply about good candidates advancing and ultimately winning elections,” he continued, “it means you have to show up and vote for them.”

In light of her lack of tangible Democratic credentials, it is shameful that Squiers has been questioning Cargas’ three decades of Democratic roots.

“For thirty years, I have fought and defended democratic values,” James Cargas said.  “If working in the Clinton Administration, and on the campaigns of every Democratic nominee for President since I was 18 isn’t democratic enough, I don’t know what constitutes being a Democrat!”  Cargas was a paid campaign staffer for Gore2000 in DC, Iowa and Texas.  More recently, he was invited to work for then Sen. Barack Obama in Canal Winchester, Ohio, as suburb of Columbus, in the 2008 election.

Further telling is her deep association with the Green Party, including Perry Dorrell, a self-described Green Party Delegate, activist and blogger, and who also serves her campaign as communications director.Squires was not a delegate to this weekend's Democratic State Convention in Houston.  Cargas was a delegate from Senate District 13.

In addition to her voting record and claim to be a stauch Democrat, Lissa Squiers has made numerous other misrepresentations about herself, James Cargas, and candidate Cargas’ wife throughout this campaign.  The Democratic Party and the electorate deserve better leadership.  They deserve James Cargas.

-- First, I will let Ms. Squiers address his "concerns" about her voting history. She can speak for herself in that regard. As has been the pattern, it's nothing James Cargas' campaign in their most feverish of dreams can understand or relate to. She will do that in a response of her own sent to the same people who received the above. I will point you to this statement detailing her full-time involvement in volunteer efforts on behalf of children's education, women's rights, and equality issues during and following the years she spent raising her children.

-- I find it out-loud laughable that Cargas brags about being a "paid campaign staffer for Gore2000". Is there anything you won't do for money, sir?

-- It is false -- not just wildly exaggerative but downright wrong -- that Squiers has a "deep association" with the Green Party. The only semi-Green she knows is me. And as for me being bluish-green, this is ground I've covered several times, beginning here. Now to be clear, Cargas is fairly pointing out Ms. Squiers' associations; I have quite obviously done the same with his. He may be right that there are Houston-area Democrats who don't like Greens, or even *gasp* don't care much for me. It has long been my experience that Democrats dislike Republicans a whole lot more. And as I have noted time and time again, his campaign is full of them.

-- I am NOT Ms. Squiers' communications director. That statement is abjectly false. There is no one who has this title in her campaign. She has NO paid staff. As I have said repeatedly, I am a volunteer activist. That would be volunteer as in "unpaid".

Speaking of being paid (again), the Cargas campaign raised about $28,000 -- mostly from people who have the letters "CEO", or "M.D." or the words "energy consultant" as employment descriptions -- and spent about $13,000, according to their 4/15/12 FEC filing, as compared to Squiers' approximate $1000. She in fact raised and spent about 30 cents a vote compared to his approximate $20/vote.  His campaign expenditures, hilariously enough, include the purchase of an I-Pad ... and I-Pad accessories. Really. Go look at page 30, the last page (and page 18 for the accessories).

We don't need to be reminded that the Cargas campaign plays fast and loose with the numbers, do we? So whom would you trust more when it came to making decisions about the federal budget?

-- The "numerous misrepresentations" part is just another echo of Hector Carreno's previous missives. They keep saying things of this nature without providing any correcting narrative.

That's because everything I have written is 100% accurate, and they know it. If anything I wrote -- or more to the point, that someone else wrote that I linked to -- was even slightly false or misrepresentative... well, Cargas is an attorney. He ought to be able to know what to do about that.

But all I keep hearing is this "she's saying mean things about me" whining. If I ever do meet James Cargas, the first thing I'm going to say to him is: "Man up, buddy. Pull up your big boy Underoos and grow some tolerance for a contested primary."

If James Cargas wants to pick a fight with a woman, that's his business. It's not very professional or even manly business, but it does reveal another unsavory side of his character.

If James Cargas wants to pick a fight with me, we can certainly have one.

James Cargas isn't worthy of one single Democratic vote in CD-07, IMO. He is in fact the worst Democratic candidate I have researched in a very long time. From his slimy business associations with quasi-Republicans to his disgusting personal conduct toward Ms. Squiers in pursuit of the nomination, Cargas consistently reveals himself as a greedy, contemptuous one-percenter. That's Republican behavior personified, folks, and that's what I'm referring to when I call him a Republican. Voting history and campaign work notwithstanding, he's the Democratic equivalent of Smokey Joe Barton.

There are several reasons why Cargas finished behind Ms. Squiers on May 29th, and the one good thing about the above communication is that he seems to be helpfully reminding potential runoff voters of a few of those reasons. He's simply embarrassed that despite his superior stature, fundraising, consultants -- indeed, his Romney-esque exceptionalism -- he's losing to a woman who's not just out-working his campaign all by herself but is the better Democrat in the contest.

I will say again to Mr. Cargas: renounce your campaign operative's subterfuge, return the documents he acquired under the false pretense of supporting the Squiers campaign, disavow these repulsive tactics, and pledge yourself to run an open, honest and fair campaign on the issues.

I further declare that if Cargas cannot comply with the above -- and if he somehow manages to win the runoff -- that you, dear reader, can be goddamned certain I will throw my support to the Green candidate, Lance Findley, in the fall. And I'll spend every day from the end of July to the beginning of November reminding every single Democrat, Green, and independent in the district that Cargas is completely unworthy of being elected to Congress.

James Cargas is nothing more than John Culberson Lite.

But hey, don't take my word for it. Or Bethany's either, for that matter. Click on all the links I have posted, read for yourself, and draw your own conclusions. Please.

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.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

"Squiers endorsed by none of the three Democrats who lost already to Culberson"

Thank goodness for small favors. From the Cargas campaign e-mail earlier today:

In the upcoming May 29 Democratic primary all three prior Democratic candidates for Congressional District 7 have endorsed James Cargas, a Houston public servant, as the person who can defeat the incumbent congressman and serve in Congress with honor and distinction.  John Martinez, who ran in 2004, Jim Henley, who ran in 2006, and Michael Skelly, who ran in 2008, have all thrown their support behind James Cargas. 

I feel certain that the Cargas campaign simply forgot to note that Lissa Squiers ran as a write-in candidate for Congressional District 7 in 2010, because no Democrat dared to relive the woes of Martinez, Henley, and Skelly. Thus no one filed.

As the demographics and views of Harris County change, each democratic (sic) candidate earned more than the person before.  Martinez received 33.3%, Henley received 38.5%, Skelly received 42.3%, and, if a Democrat had run in 2010, that person would likely have received 46.8%.

Uh, no. No, that mythical Democrat wouldn't have come close to 46.8%. Because 2010 was a wipeout for Democrats, and most of those who ran in Harris County and across the state of Texas got well under 40%. But let's not spoil the fantasy.

If the same trend continues, Cargas will cross the winning threshold and earn 51.3% of the vote. It’s time for Congressional District 7 to turn blue, and James Cargas is the person who will make it happen. 

You can wake up now.

James Cargas isn't likely to pour millions of his own money into a Congressional race like Skelly did, nor does he have the warmth and personal appeal of Jim Henley -- a man whom I respect a great deal, but is simply mistaken this time around. Mr. Martinez is provided here as the third of the three-for because he has a Latino surname. Thus the continuation of the Cargas campaign as a 'stealth Latino' goes on, despite the campaign e-mail's disclosure in the very last line...

Cargas and his wife, Dr. Dorina Papageorgiou, are members of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral.

To be fair, James Cargas is probably a very fine gentleman. I don't know him, haven't met him. I've heard far more about him from others than I ever wanted to know from people who do, and most of it is as far from the definition of 'public servant' as it can be. Recall this data from one of my very first posts on the topic:

In January of 2007, Illumina Energy (the new name of PowerSol) un-registered James Cargas as a power marketer and replaced him with Hector Carreno. The contact addresses and phone numbers remained the same, although the email address changed. Why swap out Cargas? Because it was time for him to go to work for the city, advising them on who to buy power from. Let’s see, a power broker hires you for awhile, then sends you off to advise city hall on buying what he sells. How convenient!
[...]
How did Cargas get linked to Carreno this way? We have to roll back the calendar to introduce a pivotal player to the story; Emil Pena. Pena is a lifelong lobbyist; he’s good at it and has an impressive list of clients. He has lobbied for beer, cigarette, oil, and gas companies. But he made his name in the energy arena. He participated in the energy regulator/lobbyist revolving door, while also funneling money from energy companies to candidates they’d like to buy. This was noted by Texans for Public Justice in their report on PACs active in the 2000 election cycle, in a sidebar titled Stealth PAC.

James Cargas, Hector Carreno, Emile Pena. Google them for yourself if you think I'm being biased.

Since 2008, James Cargas has worked for the City of Houston as their energy advisor. However, he continues to use advocacy groups and local clubs to push his insider agenda.
Cargas is a past Deputy Director of the North American Energy Standards Board, and is still a member. At a recent meeting, Emil Pena presented the idea that “system safety” might apply to shale gas, and explained how it could be implemented quickly. Now, as a lobbyist for oil companies, this advice probably seems quite reasonable to Pena: profits first, safety later … as PR damage control, maybe? For his part, Cargas proudly claims his involvement in NAESB, and seems perfectly content with their worldview. This is far from the “public service” attitude I expect in a city employee!
Cargas is also on the Board of the Energy Bar Association, where he basically says “alternative energy will not happen in Texas, due to existing regulations”. (.pdf, page 3) One might interpret this as “don’t bother trying to compete with my partners; we’ve got the market sewed up.” Again, not the attitude I would hope for from someone advising the city on energy purchases, but all I could expect from an energy trading insider.
===
James Cargas deserves to lumped with his partners, Carreno and Pena: fossil fuel fans, shills for Big Oil & Gas, profiting off pushing their poisonous products, pinching OUR pennies for their pockets. No law against any of that … this is America, after all. But is this who we want making the law of the land, our land, our water, our air? No! Cargas is undeserving of our respect, much less a Democrat’s endorsement or vote.

If you think we need another energy lobbyist and attorney representing us in Washington, then you've got your man. If you would rather support a conservative Democrat than an actual one, you've a better choice: Phillip Andrews. I've met Phillip twice, both times at Sean Hubbard events, and dined with him at one of those. From what I can tell he represents an improvement over Cargas (albeit barely).

But if you want to vote for a Democrat who represents the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, who will represent the people and not the powerful, who owes nothing to any special interests, AND who can defeat John Culberson without pie-in-the-sky projections, then your choice is Lissa Squiers.

That's as plain and simple as I can make it.

Update: In another indication that the Cargas campaign either doesn't understand much about percentages, or is engaging in a fudge-up with the numbers that would make the people who valued Facebook at 38 envious, yet another e-mail is circulating which purports to divine the results of a straw poll -- taken over the weekend among 78 people who attended the HCDP Club Carnival -- as indicating Cargas has "overwhelming" support.

I'm starting to be embarrassed for them.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Chron makes it 100% for the 1%er

From that perspective, there is something to be said for Lissa Squires' approach of taking the strongest position possible and unapologetically charging forward. But while her anti-corporate rhetoric may help rally the most liberal members of the Democratic base, it is neither a winning strategy nor the way to best represent Houston. But Squires' moderate Democrat opponent, James Cargas, seems excellently suited to reflect the district's energy industry. 

"Moderate" is the new word Cargas learned to describe himself the last couple of weeks, and the newspaper swallowed it whole.

Oh, they did pick one liberal female upstart candidate against the established "moderate" candidate... but then, Ms. Squiers' mother's name isn't Sheila Jackson Lee.

The paper's e-board is just doing the conservative thing here, though;  lining up behind pretty much every other establishment "moderate" in this race.The Chronicle has had some hilarious outcomes trying to pick winners in this cycle, so this endorsement might wind up as more a curse on the Cargas folks than the blessing they will be trumpeting.

Squiers led Cargas 40-34 at the end of the day in May, an upset all by itself. Runoffs, as we know, are all about getting out your vote, and with the other Blue Dog coming in third with 24% and promptly endorsing his canine brother, it remains to be seen if Cargas can get Phillip Andrews' supporters back to the polls.

To that end, Cargas has spent heavily on robocalling from Ohio and Florida outfits. Odd he couldn't hire a Houston or even Texas firm to do that, isn't it? In this respect he'll make a typical Congressman: spending other people's money out of state. But on the flip side of that, he's run over $5000 in ads in community newspapers. I should also mention that he's collected many donations from the elite class, including $500 from former city councilman and mayoral candidate Peter Schlumberger Brown. In my previous posting on his SEC filing I noted that most of his contributors have the letters CEO and M.D. and so forth behind their names.

This race is a classic 1% versus 99% showdown. The Corporate Democrat against the Community Democrat. One from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, one from the Republican wing. Progressive and Blue Dog.



But it's also about the Oil and Gas Man versus the Single Mom.

This self-proclaimed energy lawyer for the energy corridor refuses to get bogged down in partisan wedge issues, but instead emphasizes Houston's position as a national leader in the medical and energy industries.

In the midst of our natural gas boom, this founding member of the Oil Patch Democrats could be a strong voice for the Houston economy, showing that the oil and gas industry isn't merely a Republican institution, but a broad and important economic driver that deserves attention from the entire political spectrum.

And even if he doesn't win in the general election, putting forth a candidate like Cargas can remind voters in the district that there are plenty of Texas Democrats who support fracking, will bring federal grants to the Texas Medical Center, and put Houston before party.

Update: You see that part in the last paragraph about Texas Medical Center grants? The 7th CD does not contain the TMC. The interim maps, drawn by the court for this election, place it mostly in the 9th, with a sliver in the 2nd. That's just lame fact-checking. Saying Cargas is going to "bring federal grants" there has all the weight and significance of saying I'm going to be bringing federal grants there.

The Chronicle has humiliated themselves -- and completely devalued their endorsement process -- by transcribing the words Cargas said in the e-board meeting and publishing it as their endorsement.

I wonder how much he paid for that. I'll post a little more about the two Chronicle men who conducted this sham -- managing editor John Wilburn and writer/blogger/Tweeter Evan Mintz -- next week.

So let's summarize: if you support fracking, if you think Keystone XL is a good idea, if you think the oil and gas companies need to stay on the government teat -- maybe even suck a little harder -- hey, then CarGas is your boy.

Do you really think there will be any difference in a James Cargas policy on Metro and mass transit in Houston as opposed to the John Culberson policy?

I probably shouldn't remind you -- some people might consider it 'sniping' -- of the Watergate-style bumbling espionage, the foul dirty tricks, the battery-acid blog posts from the Cargas campaign's morbidly obese communications director -- as in paid, a measly $800 for the privilege -- and the sneering, contemptuous sense of entitlement James Cargas has repeatedly demonstrated toward the woman who dares challenge him for the primary nomination.

And Hector Carreno gets all offended when I call him a Republican. It's just laughable, isn't it?

The funniest thing was his "Formal Complaint" last week to HCDP chair Lane Lewis about the county party's facilities being used by Squiers for a planning meeting on how to beat Culberson. The Cargas campaign's godfather hilariously thought it was a strategy session against his client. If we needed another reminder that Carreno's reading comprehension was a little suspect, we got it.

(Aside to Hector: it's not bigotry to call you a poor practitioner of the English language. It is not lying to point out your associations with the wealthy, the powerful, the conservative, and the corrupt. Go cry into your $10,000-a-month Rolodex.)

Yes, I have made my position pretty clear in the race from the outset. Next week, and on through Tuesday evening the 31st, we'll find out what the people think. Whether the voters of CD07 want John Culberson Light, or a real, actual Democrat is still to be determined.

Yep, my mind was made up a long time ago. What about yours?

Sunday, April 08, 2012

CD-07 Dem primary gets contentious

Happy Zombie Jesus Christ Day. Hope you got your eggs in a row early.

The Democratic primary for CD-07 has taken a turn for the worse in recent days, with this e-mail I received some days ago from someone I do not know named Laura Nicol and titled "Insider Track: James Cargas’ Journey from DoE Intern to Energy Lobbyist to Democratic Candidate for US Congress". I will reprint her story in full, add bold emphasis to the names of the various parties she cites, and follow it with the response from the Cargas campaign.

Hector Carreno is a power broker in both senses of the word. Professionally, he is an energy aggregator. That is actually less important than what he seems to control through his business contacts. He knows people… and lots of them owe him favors. As “The Godfather” illustrated, that isn’t always a good thing.

Here’s how Carreno works…

 In February of 2002, Hector Carreno’s company, PowerSol, was written up by the Houston Press in an article that called the company “Little Enron.” <1> They don’t produce any energy themselves; they contract with Reliant to manage other minority firms for a 25% cut of the contracts; great work if you can get it! Carreno cobbled PowerSol together from Enron energy experts and city politicos (including Mayor Brown’s ex chief of staff Jay Aiyer). A few weeks after incorporation, they won a 12% share of the city contract with Reliant Energy as a minority contractor, before they had even been certified by the city’s affirmative action program. Shortly after the award, city councilman Gabe Vasquez paid a $14,000 consulting fee from his campaign funds to PowerSol officer Frank McCune, his own ex-chief of staff. Some council members were dismayed when they realized how well connected their new vendor’s officers were. Mayor Brown’s Hispanic outreach director, Marc Campos, called PowerSol a blatant attempt to cash in on political connections. We normally call that influence peddling!

===

In January of 2007, Illumina Energy (the new name of PowerSol) un-registered James Cargas as a power marketer and replaced him with Hector Carreno. The contact addresses and phone numbers remained the same, although the email address changed.

Why swap out Cargas? Because it was time for him to go to work for the city, advising them on who to buy power from. Let’s see, a power broker hires you for awhile, then sends you off to advise city hall on buying what he sells. How convenient! He might get some business in return; just a little favor, you know. Could be, could be.

This year James Cargas is running for US Congress in Texas District 7. He started running rather late in the season, without warning, forcing his friends to choose whether to abandon prior endorsements. A few of his organizational endorsements were clouded by procedural gimmicks. At some events, Cargas has appeared ill or upset. Is this run perhaps NOT his own idea? Did somebody make Cargas an offer he couldn’t refuse? If Carreno is behind this, what favors would he expect from a business partner in Congress?

===

How did Cargas get linked to Carreno this way? We have to roll back the calendar to introduce a pivotal player to the story; Emil Pena. Pena is a lifelong lobbyist; he’s good at it and has an impressive list of clients. He has lobbied for beer, cigarette, oil, and gas companies. But he made his name in the energy arena. He participated in the energy regulator/lobbyist revolving door, while also funneling money from energy companies to candidates they’d like to buy. This was noted by Texans for Public Justice in their report on PACs active in the 2000 election cycle, in a sidebar titled Stealth PAC. <2>

Pena ran the Emil Interests PAC in 1998 as a money conduit from TransTexas Gas Corp CEO Jack Stanley to Texas candidates, including John Cornyn for Attorney General. In 1999, Emil Pena was an energy lobbyist for 6 clients, including Enron. In 2000, Pena became Deputy Energy Assistant in the Clinton administration. He changed his PAC’s name to Government Interests. Despite donations reported by Cornyn & others in 2000, the PAC never reported activity or fund sources, which violates state law. The PAC’s treasurer in 2000 was Richard Bianchi, previously general counsel of TransTexas. By the way, Bianchi is infamous for switching from Democrat to Republican immediately upon winning election to the bench in 2008.

Pena appears to have become acquainted with Cargas when they were both working in the DoE's Office of Fossil Energy in 2000. Generation Power, Inc was created by Pena in 2001, with Bianchi as Regulatory Rep and Cargas as General Counsel. In 2006, Cargas is listed as Treasurer for Pena's disgraced PAC, and both he and Pena are listed as officers in Carreno's company Illumina Energy. They have become a team, shuffling company names, officer titles, and industry roles as needed.

===

 Since 2008, James Cargas has worked for the City of Houston, as their energy advisor. However, he continues to use advocacy groups and local clubs to push his insider agenda.

Cargas is a past Deputy Director of the North American Energy Standards Board, and is still a member. At a recent meeting, Emil Pena presented the idea that “system safety” might apply to shale gas, and explained how it could be implemented quickly. Now, as a lobbyist for oil companies, this advice probably seems quite reasonable to Pena: profits first, safety later … as PR damage control, maybe? For his part, Cargas proudly claims his involvement in NAESB, and seems perfectly content with their worldview. This is far from the “public service” attitude I expect in a city employee!

Cargas is also on the Board of the Energy Bar Association, where he basically says “alternative energy will not happen in Texas, due to existing regulations”. <3> One might interpret this as “don’t bother trying to compete with my partners; we’ve got the market sewed up.” Again, not the attitude I would hope for from someone advising the city on energy purchases, but all I could expect from an energy trading insider.

===

James Cargas deserves to lumped with his partners, Carreno and Pena: fossil fuel fans, shills for Big Oil & Gas, profiting off pushing their poisonous products, pinching OUR pennies for their pockets. No law against any of that … this is America, after all. But is this who we want making the law of the land, our land, our water, our air? No! Cargas is undeserving of our respect, much less a Democrat’s endorsement or vote.

 === === === === === === === ==

ENDNOTES
<1> http://www.houstonpress.com/2002-02-07/news/a-political-little-enron/  Carreno’s PowerSol wins city contract, gets 25% cut of all subcontracts; 2 officers are city insiders. 2002
<2> http://info.tpj.org/page_view.jsp?pageid=129&pubid=65 Pena’s Stealth PAC with Bianchi. 2000
<3> http://www.greentechmedia.com/images/wysiwyg/PVNews_0310_finalLowRes.pdf (page 3) Cargas says it’s tough to implement alternative energy in TX, due to pricing regulations.

I reached out to the Cargas campaign for comment, and here in full (except as noted* at the very end) is the response I received from Hector Carreno.

In a recent blog written by Laura Nicol’s I was mention as a “power broker in both senses of the word”. I am flattered by Ms. Nicol’s statement, but I’d like to point out the truth that escaped her attack on me and my good friend James Cargas.
First, I am not now or ever have been and energy aggregator. Second, in the Houston Press article of 2002 that Ms. Nicol’s refers to, she fails to mentions that myself and former business associate had just finished working on the campaign of Orlando Sanchez for Mayor, in 2001. So her argument that we won a contract because we have political connects is totally incorrect since the person we were attempting to defeat was the incumbent Mayor. We won the contact because we had a better proposal. Third, Ms. Nicol’s should be better informed to understand that power marketer do not generate power, they sell power. I am sure that she would be surprised to find out that most companies selling power in Texas do not own the power plants. I should also point out that the Brown Administration used their political clout to try to kill the contract. Fourth, Mr. Cargas decision to run for Congress was his, and he certainly is not doing it for personal gain. I was excited when I found out he filed. He will make a great Congressman.
As to her point that former Council Member Gabe Vasquez paid my business partner $14,000 after we were awarded the contract, I am not sure what point she was trying to make. The facts are that the former Council Member owed us the funds for running his re-election campaign.
As to the partnership of Illumina Energy, ever single statement she made was totally incorrect. Illumina was set up as a minority-owned company seeking to compete with the majors and pass the savings on to its government and minority customers.
In her reference to Mr. Emil Peña, his PAC and other business interest, I once again think she should get her facts correct before she continues to make false clams.
The final innuendo in Ms. Nicol’s blog is what do I and Emil Peña expect to receive when James Cargas is elected to Congress. I can only speak to what I expect and that is to have James Cargas represent the interest of all residents of District 7, to work hard for all Texans and to conduct himself in a professional manor (sic) – just as he has done in his prior public service positions.
Ms. Nicol’s end (sic) her fantasy story with asking her limited readers not to vote for James Cargas to be the Democratic challenger against the incumbent GOP Tea Party Member. In the America I live in, we have the right to say and vote for whomever we want. In the America I live in, everyone has the right to their own opinions – every incorrect ones. In the America I live in, we all have the freedom to choose who we support.
James Cargas has worked hard his entire life and has been working with Democratic elected officals (sic) since he was 14 years old. Why do you attack him for working in the oil and gas industry, as if that was something he should ashamed of? Doesn’t Ms. Nicol’s husband work for one of those alleged big bad oil service companies? Isn’t Houston the Energy Capital of the World? Are we not proud of Houston?
Ms. Nicol, I am proud to support James Cargas for Congress and I am proud to call him my friend. Stop spreading misinformation and innuendos – get all your facts correct. Your tactics remind me of something I would have expect (sic) from Governor Sarah Palin or Senator Joe McCarthy not from a so-called Democratic activist. I guess you must be very proud of the candidate you are supporting to create such lies for her.

(At the end*, Mr. Carreno added the e-mail address from Ms. Nicol as well as his own. I have deleted those as the only part of his response I edited.)

I previously posted my endorsement of Lissa Squiers in the CD-7 Dem primary. I leave it to you to decide if Ms Nicol's article has merit for consideration for the voters of Congressional District 7, likewise if Mr. Carreno's defense serves as appropriate rebuttal. You know where I stand.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Regarding that HouChron endorsement last week

I mentioned here that I was going to write about last week's endorsement by the Houston Chronicle in the race for the Seventh Congressional District's Democratic run-off, with early voting beginning tomorrow morning at 7 a.m at polling places around the county, and concluding Tuesday July 31st. Here that is.

The two men representing the Chron's editorial board were managing editor John Wilburn and Evan Mintz.

Wilburn is one of the paper's higher-ups, editorially speaking. 'Managing editor" is the #2 ranking person on the news side, usually only answering to the Editor and the Publisher in Hearst's hierarchy (though this is based on my aged past experience with Hearst community newspapers, and the Chronicle, as an urban market daily, may have a different reporting structure). He's been in this position since 2008. He is also the husband of Texas Monthly writer Mimi Schwartz. Here's a photo of them at a recent benefit sponsored by the paper.

Wilburn is, in short, of fairly high stature professionally, socially, and probably financially. Comfortable, I suspect, but maybe not wealthy. He travels in wealthy circles, though, and his professional and social status is representative of Houston's elite.

Nothing wrong with that.

Mintz is slightly more out in the open. He describes himself at his Twitter profile as someone who "sometimes writes for the Houston Chronicle". His Twitter feed consists mostly of the usual inane chat and semi-witty repartee that infests the medium generally. Mintz does have several examples of quality writing around the Web; I have been aware of his blog for almost as long as I have been writing at my own. It's not very active but seems to draw a share of fans. Here's an article he wrote for the Rice University Thresher about Dan Patrick; here's another from his law school newspaper advertising himself for hire. Here's another article written about him at the Chron that spotlights his internship at the ACLU. Mintz might be a fairly significant contributor to the e-board endorsement process; here he Tweeted the Chron's judicial endorsements back in May.

With just a few clicks, then, it becomes fairly easy to discern Mintz' political leanings: he's a good liberal. He supports good Democrats like Jamaal Smith in the statehouse race for HD137 (whom I support as well; scroll back up that page and look to the right). The endorsement of Smith from the Chron was also a Mintz Tweet. (Here I should write that Gene Wu, the other candidate in that run-off, would make a fine representative and, like Charles, I would be delighted to see either man serving the district in the Texas House next January.)

What's fairly unusual for Chronicle reporters, specifically Mintz's name on Smith's endorsement page, is to reveal their political connections this obviously. *Update, Monday 7/23: Evan Mintz's name has been removed from the list of supporters of Smith. C'mon people; screenshots, for Chrissakes. 


One Chronicle writer was terminated for making a campaign contribution a few years ago (maybe that's where the line is drawn). If I were Mr. Wu I might be a little upset upon learning this information about Mintz. Being an attorney I'm sure Mintz ought to know where the line is drawn, and so -- I am certain --  does the newspaper.

This appearance of bias is not what I am looking for in my newspaper endorsements, however, and I frankly believe that  Mintz crossed it, both in this endorsement of Smith and in the one for Cargas. That's subject to individual interpretation, naturally.

According to reports from the scene, Cargas and Mintz demonstrated a relaxed affability at the endorsement hearing, even discussing shared law school acquaintances at the conclusion of the meeting.

Nothing wrong with that either, I suppose. Two young attorneys just having a chat, after all.

Where this goes off the rails is with the verbiage Cargas used throughout the interview, and how closely it matches the words written in the editorial. Occasionally it veers off into embarrassment for the paper of record. For example, Cargas -- whose wife is a physician for a hospital in the Texas Medical Center -- said that he would work to bring federal grant money to the Texas Medical Center.

It's a little puzzling that the man who wants to represent the 7th would advocate for issues and organizations outside the district, in this case mostly the 9th. Ted Poe's 2nd and Sheila Jackson Lee's 18th are in fact closer in most respects than is the 7th.


That's not the best screenshot at first glance, but click on it and you can see the district lines for the area. If you prefer to go to the Texas Legislative Council's District Viewer website and select Plan C235 ("Court-ordered interim Congressional map") and scroll and zoom for yourself, go right ahead.

In defense of Cargas, the TMC was drawn into and out of CD07 in the various redistricting gyrations performed by both the Texas Legislature and the federal court a handful of times last spring. It's almost excusable -- not quite, but almost -- that Cargas has his lines crossed. Almost as plausible as he might have a conflict of interest. Irrespective of that, Congress members just don't cross boundaries to take up or oppose causes and concerns in another member's district. That would be like Ted Poe taking on a Jefferson County refinery project, or Ron Paul pushing for Dow Chemical in Brazoria County.

"Hey it's in my district now..."

Maybe Cargas thinks -- or has some inside information -- that the TMC will be drawn back into the 7th in the next year's legislative session. That would be a pretty neat trick for him if it were true, wouldn't it?

It's not. Nobody can say with any certainty whatsoever how the Lege is going to draw the maps in 2013. So Cargas just has his map wrong.

That's incredibly stupid, but it's not lethal.

There is, however, no excuse except laziness or corruption for the newspaper not to know what the district looks like, even if the prospective representative doesn't. Given what has already been revealed here, we can't be certain that journalistic sloth is the only excuse for the Cargas endorsement. There's reasonable doubt, in lawyer parlance. When you have the appearance of Houston's close-to-elites anointing one of their own, it just looks a little skeezy. Especially when it isn't a Republican -- allegedly -- they're endorsing.

Of course I see lots of Republican support for Cargas, camoflaged though it may be. I have certainly seen first-hand Republican smear tactics vigorously exercised by the Cargas campaign.

So if the Democratic members of the establishment want to line up in support of Cargas despite all that... well, now you know what people who do not vote mean when they say "both parties are the same".

Let's go ahead and give Wilburn and Mintz the benefit of the doubt: Cargas' resume', connections, and "experience" probably DO make him look, to them, more qualified to be a Congressional candidate than Ms. Squiers. Like Michael Skelly before him, Cargas is already running to the right in anticipation of attracting the mythological crossover Republicans in November with his "moderate/energy policy/fracking is good" talk.

As I have said a time or two, if that's the kind of Democrat that Democrats think can win against Republicans, in spite of decades of evidence to the contrary, then maybe it is me and not them who is wrong. Maybe it is me who finds himself in increasing disagreement with the philosophy of the majority of candidates the Democratic Party in Texas nominates.

I'm OK with being wrong, in that case.

As for the Chronicle's endorsement, as well as the rest of the Democratic establishment's... hey, take it or leave it. I've already gotten feedback that the newspaper's approval  makes precisely the case I argue: that Cargas is the Corporate Democrat. The representative of, by, and for the 1%. That's simply not the right thing to be in this Occupy-influenced cycle.

But hey, you already know I'm biased. Maybe as much as the Chronicle's editorial board.

My mind is certainly made up. Is yours?

Voting begins Monday morning at these locations. Note the 7-7 and M-F hours, which means you can go before or after work but not next weekend. Finding your precinct's voting place will be confusing on Election Day due to various and unpredictably combined polling places.

So get your runoff vote out of the way early, and kindly consider casting a ballot for the Community Democrat for the 99%, who is opposed by nearly one hundred percent of the 1%.

She knows how to beat a Republican.

Monday, September 15, 2014

More Democrats that no one should vote for

The first installment of this continuing series began with Junior Samples Jim Hogan, who is running -- well, ambling anyway -- for Texas Agriculture Commissioner.  The second chapter discussed the position of Harris County Judge, where the Democrat (sic) suddenly quit and endorsed the Republican incumbent, leaving only the Green, David Collins, standing up to Hunker Down Emmett.

It's time once again to remind Texas Democrats that there are better options than a straight ticket.

-- Henry Cuellar: the lousiest Democrat in Congress.  I have a little hesitation in seconding this evaluation from Down With Tyranny!... but not a lot.

An anti-choice, anti-gay reactionary and corporate whore, Cuellar has one of the worst records of any Democrat in Congress and the worst when you take the partisan lean of the district into account. According to ProgressivePunch his lifetime crucial vote score is 40.96. Of the 7 Democrats with more Republican voting records than Cuellar, all come from Republican-Leaning districts. He was the co-founder and co-chairman, with Buck McKeon of the infamous House Drone Caucus, which pays him off with gigantic legalistic bribes every two years. He's always one of the handful of Democrats backed by Republican organizations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Club for Growth, and the NRA.

More from Mother Jones.  Cuellar has no Republican challenger in CD-28.  He does have a Libertarian one, and also a Green, and an independent.  South Texas progressives: you gotta start somewhere.

-- I only hesitated to call Cuellar the worst Democrat in Congress because if (by some unpredictable expression of dissatisfaction with the incumbent, John Culberson) the predominant Republican voters of CD-7 were to elect James Cargas, then Cargas would most certainly and very quickly become the worst Democrat in Congress.

I have blogged so many times about my disgust for this guy that I'm worn out reading about him from myself.  Cargas does not live in the district and doesn't know who does live in the district.  Cargas is a lackey and a stooge for the elites who may or may not live, work, and vote in the district.  Cargas isn't only a sneak and a creep; he employs sneaks and creeps to do his dirty work.  And on and on and on.

On two occasions at the Texas Democratic Party convention this past June, I turned around to have the scowling visage of the Democratic nominee for the Seventh Congressional District of Texas standing too close to me, staring at me.  Once was at the breakfast reception for Texas Railroad Commission nominee Steve Brown, and the other was at my -- our -- Senate District meeting.  Actually he didn't quite sneak up on me that time; I watched as he made his way from well across a large convention room, matriculating through and around several dozen people so he could stand beside me.  Just as weird as it sounds, considering my very obvious, very public derogatory opinion of him.  He never attempted to speak to me, nor I him.  In fact he never has.

So I have to guess that this was some pathetic little attempt to try to intimidate me.  He certainly must have thought this sort of thing worked well in his primary battles with Lissa Squiers.  He doesn't seem to understand that if he would just ignore me, I might stop blogging about what a bitter, flaky, resentful, creepy sneaky weirdo he is.  Some Democrats like him; it seems to be a 'lesser of two evils' rationalization on both their parts.  No thanks.

Cargas has found his niche, and it isn't electoral politics.  There will be no Peter Principle at work in his race; he'll be lucky if he gets 33% of the vote.  He should get satisfied with his very comfortable station in life.  He's the kind of Democrat that can be at ease voting for Republicans like Ed Emmett.  Or Jim Hogan.  Or Henry Cuellar... if he were to relocate himself to the southern suburbs of San Antonio, or perhaps Laredo.

Maybe if he did move there, he could challenge Cuellar.  From barely to the left.

One more observation: it is a reflection of the same kind of conservative, corporate, pro-business and anti-99% Democrat that Annise Parker is that she hired (or signed off on the hiring of) Cargas to work at City Hall once again.

I so cannot vote for James Cargas that for the second cycle in a row, I have to vote for either nobody or the Libertarian as my representative to Congress.  That's how foul the conservative crap is in my district.  Yes, I know some of you have it much worse.  Good on you for tolerating it better than me.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

EV turnout on Day One and other developments


Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart said as of 4 p.m. 1,847 Republican voters had cast ballots early in person, along with 338 Democrats.

Just as in the May primary, mail ballots are playing a significant role in the runoffs. As of Friday, 14,000 GOP voters had returned mail ballots, joined by 6,500 Democrats, Stanart said.

Turnout improved significantly as voters got off work and went to the polls. Three hours later at closing the in-person count was 1537 Ds and 8231 Rs. The mail-in numbers also edged up: 14,750 Republican, 6671 Democratic. All this data is courtesy of Du-Ha Kim Nguyen in Clerk Stanart's office.

The turnout was also good at the GOP Senate mudfight last night. The behavior of the two combatants was the same; the audience participation was typical TeaBagger.

The politics of the personal trumped differences over policy in Monday's debate between U.S. Senate candidates Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and former state Solicitor General Ted Cruz, who accused each other of lying about their respective records and waging a media war marked by untruth and insult.

Sponsored by the King Street Patriots, a Houston-based tea party organization, and carried live on KRIV-Channel 26, the Houston affiliate, the hour-long debate before an audience of more than 300 offered mostly nuanced differences on the issues. With the candidates standing at separate podiums within a few feet of each other, the conversation grew heated when Cruz accused Dewhurst of running a dirty campaign.
[...]
Although the audience had been told in advance not to applaud or audibly respond to the candidates' remarks, an audience member shouted "Not true" as Dewhurst spoke. Later in the debate, an audience member yelled "Liar." The candidates ignored the outbursts.

Wow that sounds familiar, doesn't it? Where in the world have I heard of whining, moaning accusations from the establishment's candidate of a negative campaign being waged by the upstart challenger?

Speaking of CD07, the Harris County Democratic Party's de facto chairman, Carl Whitmarsh, has declared a moratorium on any more email through his listserv of the House seat's primary between Lissa Squiers and James Cargas.

That's fine with me... because he has only been sending out Cargas e-mails for weeks now.

Update: Even Campos is sad about it. Naturally, within a few hours of announcing his ban, Carl sent out the following from Cargas himself. I'm sure it was just a mistake...

Welcome to the world under Citizens United. Where candidates raise the least amount of money, candidates have less control of what happens in their race, and the FEC is becoming less relevant. I don't know who Alice Addertongue is; and I don't want to.  Because under Citizens United, if I were to ask her to pull down her site, I would be “coordinating” with her (this assumes that the site she links to is hers).

Of course, the same cannot be said for Ms. Squiers. She is clearly coordinating with Perry Dorrell and his vile vicious blog that attacks 99% of Houston, including my dear Communications Director, our beloved former Councilmember Peter Brown, and even the Chronicle's suit-wearing editors - none of whom are running for Congress. Exhibit 1 is the “paid for by the Lissa Squiers for Congress Campaign” postcard mailed to my Campaign Manager signed by Mr. Dorrell. Exhibit 2 is the fact that Dorrell’s posts are sent to you for circulation at the request of my opponent.

I have the distinct advantage of being the ONLY candidate in the runoff talking about the issues. Issues that Democrats and all Americans care deeply about. I am losing that advantage the more these distractions continue. So, I actually would like Ms. Addertogue to stop her throwing of gasoline on the fire (I knew about Squires’ arrest a long time ago but did not see any value in releasing it; after all, she pled nolo contendere, which is akin to not guilty). It wouldn’t hurt, my friend, if some gatekeeping happened on your end too and a gag order were placed on Mr. Dorrell.

Well if that isn't the pot calling the kettle black. Googling peoples' public records is so Matt Bramanti, James.

Cargas hasn't read my posts closely enough. Or maybe doesn't communicate clearly with his communications director. Because if he did, he would know that I outed myself as a volunteer in the Squiers campaign a looong time ago. For at least the third time, Team Cargas: 'volunteer' means UNPAID. I realize this is a foreign concept to you folks in and of itself, but it is quite common in the political world.

Mr. Cargas: go get the most recent copy of the map of the 7th district, familiarize yourself with it, and remember that if you want to bring federal grants to the Texas Medical Center next year, you might have to lobby Al Green -- and not Lissa Squiers -- for them.

What I have learned in two weeks of not just postcard signing but blockwalking and phone-calling, however, is that most voters have never heard of either Carl or me. So -- as I have suspected all along -- this campaign will likely turn on the simplest of differences between the two candidates: Community Democrat versus Corporate Democrat. Oil and Gas Attorney versus Single Mother. Progressive as opposed to "moderate" conservative.

The Democratic primary for the US Senate race is both very similar and very different. There have been some fascinating discussions recently on Facebook, which I would wish to excerpt here except that I really don't want to go to the trouble. Suffice it to say -- if you haven't been party to those chats -- that most Democrats are in a quandary about whom to choose because of the two rivals' corresponding incompetence as candidates. In making my own selection a month ago, I explained my tongue-in-cheek-but-not-really rationale.

The TDP, in an e-mail to voters yesterday, decided to abandon neutrality and join the fray. A lengthy comparison of Paul Sadler's curriculum vitae publica, alongside Grady Yarbrough's nonexistent one, concluded with "The Choice is Clear".

Eh, not so much, Gilberto. Texas Democrats have a fairly consistent record of nominating as many pure populists with no experience as they do "moderate" establishment types. Victor Morales and Gene Kelly come to mind right alongside Rick Noriega and Barbara Radnofsky and Ron Kirk. Neither faction seems to hold an edge with respect to general election results. So IMHO the choice isn't so clear.

And candidly, the TDP is damned if they do and damned if they don't. By picking sides in a primary they draw deserved heat; by not doing so they have also withered fire in circular formation in the past. To me this e-mail demonstrates that the TDP is going to have to offer this message's value as an in-kind contribution to the Sadler campaign, which will be the largest one of any kind the man is likely to receive.

No matter who the Democrats and Republicans nominate, the choices ARE clear for those who don't want to pinch their nostrils while voting. David Collins is the Green and John Jay Myers is the Libertarian.

Now that choice is much clearer. In fact, it just might be as clear as choosing CD07's Community Democrat over the Corporate one.

Have you voted yet this week?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cargas Smear of the Day

So perhaps you're aware of the Nixonian dirty-trick website with the URL of the name of the female candidate running for the 7th Congressional District. I'm obviously not going to link to it.

It contains some images of public records. A link to the website was circulated in an email earlier this week through Carl Whitmarsh's listserv by someone named "Alice Addertongue". James Cargas, in an email reprinted in yesterday's post, says he doesn't know who that is, or where the website originated.

So I decided to find out for him. It took me less than five minutes.

I checked the whois domain register for that URL (here's a screenshot of it in case it gets revised, or disappears, like Evan Mintz's name from the Jamaal Smith supporters list)...



Click here and scroll down a little, reading the domain information in the right-hand column. Note that the adminstrative and technical contacts are marked 'private', but that the domain was registered through something called cree8.it on July 11 of this year.

Google cree8.it and click on that. Here again is the screenshot.



Top left, under the name: "An Affiliate of Carreno Group."

I swear, these men are either so ignorant they can't pull their pants on with the zipper in front or they just don't care what anybody thinks.

Which do YOU think it is? Frankly I think it's both.

To clarify, this kind of thing is not illegal. Emily Ramshaw's excellent piece about online impersonation in Texas politics appeared just two weeks before primary election day, two months ago.

Straddling the line between dirty tricks and political strategy is as old as elections. And campaign impersonation dates at least as far back as the 1970s, when Donald Segretti, President Richard Nixon’s re-election operative, forged letters seeking to discredit Democratic presidential candidate Edmund Muskie — a move that landed Segretti in prison.

But social media sabotage is in high gear in Texas’ later-than-usual primary, from fake Twitter feeds to deceptive website domains to allegations of email and Facebook forgery.

Nope, not illegal. Unethical, slimy, deceitful, disreputable, disgusting, venal and prevalent on the Republican side of the sewer we call politics, but not illegal. Yet. Maybe the Republicans in the Texas Legislature will take up a bill that addresses the issue in the next session, since they seem to be the most frequent victims of it.

Here's today's question, only partly rhetorical: do you think James Cargas and Hector Carreno think they are powerful enough to get away with this? Here's an excerpt at the very end of that article from a fellow named Weston Hicks, an analyst with a conservative online firm named AgendaWise.

Hicks said when it comes to political activities, there are distinct differences between the three types of attacks — false, parody and accountability — and that only false ones should be off-limits. Parody and accountability “don’t involve pretending to be someone else or gaining trust for ulterior motives,” he said. 

Hicks said AgendaWise routinely exposes false attacks, and doesn't engage in them. “Though we don’t participate in them, false political activities are like any lie,” he said, "they can be useful if they don’t get you in trouble.”

That's obviously what Cargas and Carreno are counting on: that they won't be held accountable for their actions. I see no logical way for them to disavow their association with these nefarious tactics. They will probably ignore them, as they did my calls for them to remove the person who worked for their campaign who posed as a volunteer for the Squiers campaign at one meeting.

Maybe they can use the Mitt Romney/Bain Capital defense.

Anyway... what I would like to do at this point is ask a few additional questions.

I would like to ask John Martinez, Jim Henley, Michael Skelly, Chris Bell, Loren Jackson, Jeff Weems, Sylvia Garcia, and Jessica Farrar the following:

In light of the above, is James Cargas still worthy of your support? Is he still the kind of person you thought you were endorsing? Do you endorse this conduct?

The same questions are directed to every single one of the Democratic club members, precinct chairs, and others who appear on Cargas' website as supporters. If you know any of them, ask them for me. A few of the ones I know personally are Mary Luckey, Joy Demark, Ken Bielicki, and Stace Medellin.

I await your reply in my comment section (or on this blog's Facebook page, or in an email reply), ladies and gentlemen. A simple yes or no will suffice. Further, I am not likely to publish any comment that extends the personal attacks, ad hominem invective, and outright smears currently raging in this contest. I will not edit your replies. But please don't bother responding if you do not want your answer revealed publicly. As it has always been, silence will be considered acceptance.

One last thing: most of you who have read this far in already know that Bethany Bannister is James Cargas' communications director.

Alice Addertongue, Bethany Bannister. Do you still think Cargas doesn't know who AA is?

Here's the Lissa Squiers response -- yes, that link is to the real, actual website; accept no substitutes -- that Carl Whitmarsh refused to send to his list, and to Ms. Addertongue's venomous communique':


Carl,

I have not been responding to any of the various posts by my opponent, and I do not know who wrote this piece sent to you, but I can definitely tell you that I have never been arrested or in jail.  Yes, 15 years ago I paid a $100 ticket for a misdemeanor.  I appreciate the great interest in this current and pressing matter.


I can also share with you that in the Chronicle EBoard interview last week we discussed that I turned down an offer for a contract job with BP during their oil spill because I was morally against their behavior.  Since the person writing to you has referenced the situation but is claiming the opposite of what is true, I can only assume they were in the interview.  Only my opponent and his assistant, Bethany Bannister, were there.  Possibly they were having hearing trouble that day.


And I can assure anyone that is interested that I am in full compliance with my contribution and expenses paperwork.  I have assured my opponent several times that this is the case, but he cannot seem to understand that I filed in the second quarter, once I passed the threshhold for reporting.  Numerous reporting documents can be found online by anyone that searches correctly.


I would like to thank everyone for their interest in these matters and say that I am extremely flattered they are so interested.  Especially Hector Carreno for buying my name as a website domain on July 11, kindly provided as a link in ms. 'snaketongue's' missive.  For the last ten days my opponent's campaign has been running a website under my name, even copying the header from my campaign website to make it look the same.  I hope they have enjoyed their endeavor to share their opinions in this manner.

That's a lot nicer than I would have been had it been me, that's for sure. But then I'm not a candidate for office. Nor am I a communications director for a campaign.

Nor do I publish my opinions -- and my research, and the cartoons lampooning the powerful, the greedy, and the corrupt that are drawn by professional artists -- under aliases or fake names.

Full disclosure here: "PDiddie" has been my nickname, assigned to me by subordinates and peers in a previous profession, since the late '90's. Even when Sean Combs dropped the 'P', I didn't. And 'Hussein' has been my adopted middle name since 2008, and will be as long as Barack Obama lives in the White House.

All that I am, for this purpose and your consumption, is a dude with a blog. And an occasional volunteer for a few political campaigns that meet my criteria for good government: progressive, ethical, and honest.

And I'm probably going to keep doing both of those things for as long as I am able. Without remuneration, and without fear of retribution.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Three to challenge Culberson in Democratic primary

With her filing today at HCDP headquarters, 2010 write-in Congressional District 7 candidate Lissa Squiers joins Phillip Andrews and James Cargas in a May 29th showdown for the right to face incumbent John Culberson in November (there will also be a Libertarian and a Green on the ballot in this contest).

Squiers is the progressive in this primary battle. She's an officer in TDW and has performed a litany of volunteer activities, including the start-up All Kids Alliance (see more here), and as mentioned before was so irritated that no challenger stepped forward in the last cycle to challenge Culberson that she ultimately did so herself as a write-in. (The Texas Political Almanac on CD-7 has maps and is up to date through 2010). Here's her campaign video from that match:



Andrews had "Blue Dog" in bold at the top of his website until recently and is president and CEO of a company that, to my examination, does the same thing as Blackwater. Cargas (that's Greek, not Latino) is a well-connected -- very well-connected -- oil and gas attorney. Additionally, two of my bloghermanos have declared support in the race: lightseeker at Texas Kaos for Squiers, Stace at Dos Centavos for Cargas. Both Cargas and Squiers have earned the AFL-CIO endorsement for the primary.

Having been drawn -- through the festering Republican redistricting morass -- first into Sheila Jackson Lee's 18th and then Al Green's 9th before being returned to the 7th, this race is, as it has been in the past, of personal interest.

Primaries are for picking your favorite among the challengers in a single party, and if you read here to any degree you know I usually support either the most progressive candidate or the underdog. In Squiers' case that's likely both, especially where campaign funds are concerned. I burned out long ago on evaluating the strength of Democratic candidates based on their fundraising prowess. That only serves to feed a broken model of paid consultants telling Democrats how to win and continually losing, and it's a particularly bad idea if you believe money is corrupting our democracy (see: Citizens United).

So attend her signing this evening at HCDP HQ at 5 p.m and then join her at Tecate on Ella from 5:30 to 7 and see if she fits your profile as grassroots progressive. She certainly fits mine.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Today is the day.

As the Chron notes.


Though it has scarcely been mentioned anywhere except this little shop -- the Chronicle mostly ignored the race, except for a pathetic e-board endorsement written in full by one of the candidates himself; the other blogs in Houston did also, one a recent Houston Press award-winner; heck, even the mighty Kuffner and the Great Orange Satan -- the contest for the Democratic nod for US Representative, Seventh District of Texas has great significance.

I'll let Lissa Squiers, yesterday's birthday girl, finish.

Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes.  It's been a long time since 1964 and things have changed a lot in Houston since then.  Back then my father was working at Champion Paper Mill and my grandfather worked at Armco Steel until the day it closed.  We weren't a 'consumer society' then.  There was no such thing as 'bling'.  People had a savings account and a pension fund and your average person had no money connected with Wall Street.

More recently, the 1% told us that our pensions and savings belonged on Wall Street and convinced us that corporate politicians could be trusted to do what was right for America.  As we know, that hasn't worked out!  Now we have a choice.  We can continue to try and replace John Culberson's tea party vote with a moderate guy in a suit, or we can actually replace him with a progressive voice.  The Chronicle E-board says that if you want someone who will support the Democratic Party platform and take on the powers that be, then you should vote for me.  They say if you want someone who will support the dirty fossil approach, the status quo, then you should vote for my opponent.

For the last several years I have been hosting events at places like TSU and local churches, speaking at city council and serving on local community boards.  While my opponent was sitting on the Board of the Energy Lawyers and the Gas Standards, and was busy buying and selling utilities wherever a profit could be made, I was helping to find alternatives to usurious payday lending companies and the cradle to prison pipeline that ramrods our children into private for-profit prisons, working with women's groups and supporting Democratic causes. Representing Houston in Congress is more than talking about the energy corridor and being a member of the oil patch.  As an accountant with an MBA, I have worked in some of the oil company offices on I-10 and know what they pay people, how they treat their vendors, and how they do business.  My opponent only knows the Mitt Romney end of the business -- where you buy and sell it at a profit for yourself -- he's never actually worked in these buildings he speaks so often of.

Does it matter who wins tomorrow?  I think it does matter whether a progressive Houstonian, a community Democrat, or a moderate oil and gas corporate politician from Michigan represents District 7.  What do you think?  Plus, we won once already!  In the May primary we won the mail-in vote, the early vote, and on election day.  Let's do it again on Tuesday.

Right now 2175 people have voted in Congressional District 7 -- 1600 early voters and 575 mailed-in ballots.  That's out of the 8500 that voted in May.  (Tuesday) DOES MATTER.  Literally thousands of Democrats in Congressional District 7 will go vote (on Election Day).  Has your neighbor voted?  Do you have a coworker in CD07?  Please call or go knock on your friend's or neighbor's door and ask them to come vote with you.  If  you know Democrats in CD07, please call or email them and tell them that WE CAN TAKE JOHN CULBERSON'S JOB THIS YEAR.  Polls close at 7 tonight.  There is plenty of time!  Reach out now to CD07 voters and let's make a difference today: Community Democrat or Corporate Politician.  We are deciding that now, not in November.  I know how to beat a moderate and how to beat a Republican.  I've done it once already.  Now I need your help to do it again.

Here's one link that pulls together everything I have written on the race. If you follow the links within, you will find every claim sourced, every fact verified. That as opposed to nothing but the indignant, spitting responses of the Cargas campaign... with the exception of a photo of a postcard I signed, paid the postage on, and sent out on behalf of the Squiers campaign. Cargas whined something about Citizens United in response. As if a postcard is evidence of something besides my full-throated (and previously-and-repeatedly-disclosed) support.

The Cargas campaign consistently misinterpreted what I wrote and what Ms. Squiers said so many times I went from surprised to bemused to picking myself off the floor from laughing so hard. They got the numbers wrong many times, once declaring victory after a straw poll at a pre-primary event. He even got the district's boundaries wrong, and the Chron e-board didn't bother to correct him, just repeating his claim that he "would bring federal grants to the Texas Medical Center".

They complained to the Harris County chair and his associate and even the state party chair about so many inconsequential slights that the officials cringed every time the phone rang. They bitched about missing financial disclosure reports which weren't missing; they just couldn't find them. They wrote "Formal letters of Complaint" that objected to Ms. Squiers' holding a strategy session on how to beat Culberson. As if she should have the temerity to suggest she might get the opportunity to do so. For that joke, they had their events removed from the HCDP calendar (along with the Squiers campaign's, which was likely their hope all along). I got e-mail from their communications director threatening to publish additional obscure public records about me and directions to "take down my hateful blog". They made asses of themselves over and over again, once even with the Houston Police Department's Threat Investigation Unit.

I may yet blog about that. What I will say about it now is that I am still laughing about it.

Later on this evening we'll find out whom the voters chose to carry the Democratic banner against John Culberson. I've got plans either way; I'll go right to work helping Ms. Squiers defeat the incumbent... or, paraphrasing Harry Truman, I'll keep telling the truth about James Cargas and he will keep thinking it's hell.

Honestly, I'll be fine no matter the outcome.

Find your polling place today and a sample ballot -- who you get to vote for -- here. Everybody in Harris County gets to pick the US Senate nominee and the disputed Board of Education  representative. And if you also get a vote in CD07, you get to decide...

Community Democrat, or Corporate? Oil and Gas Attorney or Single Mother? Progressive... or conservative?

The choice is ours.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Brainy Endorsements: Max Martin

Max Martin won the Democratic Party's primary to represent Texans in the 36th Congressional District (after clicking, zoom and drag to see a closer view of the map). It includes the Southeast Texas counties of Orange, Newton, Jasper, Tyler, Hardin, Polk, Liberty, Chambers, and the eastern part of Harris, including the Houston suburbs of Clear Lake and Baytown. It is a new district, one of the four awarded to Texas as a result of the state's growth after the decennial census of 2010.

The Republicans nominated Louie Gohmert's kissin' cousin, Steve Stockman. He was TeaBaggin' before it was cool. Though Stockman served a single term and hasn't been in Congress since 1997, he posted signs during the Republican runoff that said "Re-elect Congressman Stockman". Republicans are as wary of the guy as everybody else, despite the fact that his returning to Washington is considered all but a foregone conclusion.

There is also a Libertarian candidate, Michael "MKC" Cole. He has a compelling life story, and presents a good option for those conservatives in the district who are intelligent enough not to vote a straight R ballot.

But Martin is by far the best choice, and here's a few reasons why, from his FB postings.


"Max at the Planned Parenthood rally the Monday following the AIDS walk (8/17/12). Ask the keynote speakers Sheila Jackson Lee and Al Green what they think about Democrats campaigning for Libertarians. That's me under the "c" in care."

A bit on tax policy:

The real problem isn’t these numbers, it’s the hidden ones. The .1%, like Mitt Romney, who have migrated their incomes to total capital gains. They pay a top rate of 15% and nothing towards the social security system or Medicare/Medicaid. To make thing even worse, they want to reduce that 15% to 0%. You know, for the “Job Creators”. Give me a break! We will never balance the budget without an income system that requires everyone, out of poverty, to pay, and to pay progressively more the more they earn. That’s the way it was for the 70 years before 1986 and that’s the way it should be now.

He supports the 2nd Amendment, Planned Parenthood, and the Occupy movement. He was also one of the only Democrats on the ballot who spoke in favor of Lissa Squiers, when she was under assault from the James Cargas/Hector Carreno slime machine. Here's what he wrote after that pathetic, fawning, not to mention plagiarized-from-Cargas-himself endorsement...

Regarding The Houston Chronicle’s endorsement of James Cargas for U.S. House of Representatives in the Texas 7th district, posted in the editorial section on Friday, July 20, 2012, I feel compelled to disagree with several aspects of the writer’s assumptions. I have been in contact with Lissa Squiers on a steady basis over the last few months and find her to be a formidable opponent to upset the obstructionist incumbent, John Culberson. From her blue collar background, to her family commitment in raising children in the public school system, to her drive to propel herself to earn an MBA from the University of Houston, Lissa has exhibited a tireless ability to set goals and make them happen.

The author states, “Lissa Squiers’ approach of taking the strongest position possible and unapologetically charging forward” as a reason to not consider her for the position for which she seeks, when in effect it is the foundation for which the Democratic Party is standing proud in support of the needs of the many over the wants of the few. This article seems to think what the Democratic Party needs is more Republican thinking candidates. Nothing could be further from the truth. Lissa Squires has fought long and hard for herself and her family and she’ll do the same for the citizens of the 7th district.

Yes she would have, Max, but at least the voters of the 36th have a chance to elect you.

To be sure, most of the Democrats in places like Orange County and Hardin County have given up and flipped parties. The communities are in strong support of Keystone XL. There are precious few East Texans that haven't drunk the Tea, and if the Libertarian manages some success in leeching support from Stockman, there might be a chance for Martin to prevail. A slim one for sure, but as a retired aviator Martin understands that flying is all about throwing yourself at the ground from extreme heights at high velocity... and consistently missing.

Show some support for sanity and a few progressive values if you live in East Texas. Or even if you don't. Because the last thing we need in Washington right now is Steve Stockman 2.0.

Update: Charles Kuffner has his audio interview with Martin up.

Previous Brainy Endorsements include...

Nile Copeland for the First Court of Appeals
Alfred and GC Molison for HD 131 and SBOE, respectively
Henry Cooper for HD 148
Keith Hampton for Presiding Judge, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
Barbara Gardner for the Fourteenth Court of Appeals
Don Cook for Congress, 22nd District