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  • Friday, October 07, 2005

    Defend Science, Fight Corruption and help out a Veteran



    Remember OH-2 and Paul Hackett? I have been trying to inspire smaller scale grassroots fires like we did in OH-2, starting earlier and hopefully ending even better. Well folks, I want to introduce you to my top pick for our next race to Hackett. I really hope I can convince you that the race we need to push hard for is TX-6.


    Sometimes things dovetail. Sometimes it is almost frightening how they dovetail. I think we need to initiate a major campaign similar to the one that rocked the OH-2 race. I have the perfect target. Let me explain how events unfolded.


    Those who know me around here know I have focused on Congressional races in a number of ways:


    targeting the weakest Republicans


    defending the most targeted Democrats


    and targeting the Katrina11


    Now I want to focus on one race in particular. TX-6.


    I am a scientist and have become horrified at the attacks on science under the Bush administration. Needless to say, climate research is one of the main targets of Bush and his Oil Company Cronies. One of George Bush's main attack dogs in the crusade against science has been Rep. Joe Barton, a Republican from Texas's 6th Congressional district who was recently selected as chairman of the House of Representatives' Energy and Commerce Committee. Rep. Barton has been using his power on the Energy and Commerce Committee to actually attack the very scientists who have been most prominent in the field of climate research, the scientists who discovered the phenomenon of global warming.


    So Rep. Barton has been one of the Republicans I most want to see defeated. But he isn't just anti-science, he is outright corrupt. This Republican who has been selected as chairman of the House of Representatives' Energy and Commerce Committee and is attacking climate scientists received more than $ 200,000 in campaign donations from the oil/gas industry as well as from the electric utility industry, his two top sources of funding. This is one of the most blatant bribes--Barton is a bought-and-sold Republican doing the dirty work of the oil executives in exchange for campaign contributions.


    Barton's corruption and attacks on climate scientists are covered in this article from the American Prospect.


    But things get worse. Remember my list of Republican Congressmen who were too cold hearted to vote in favor of aid to the victims of Katrina, my so-called Katrina11 list. Well, Joe Barton is top of that list. Joe Barton voted against aid to Katrina victims, claiming that there wasn't enough oversight. But this is the same Joe Barton, chairman of the House of Representatives' Energy and Commerce Committee, who inserted special provisions into 2002 energy legislation to let near-bankrupt Westar Energy split off its regulated utility from its heavily indebted other businesses--a split that would facilitate saddling ratepayers with $1 billion Westar's non-utility debts. So he is MORE than willing to let a failed energy company leach off taxpayers, but is not willing to give money to poor black families who lost all they had in hurricane Katrina. Please see this article for Barton's Westar scandal as well as other aspects of his disgusting corruption.


    So, Joe Barton should clearly be one of our main targets for 2006. But who is running against him? Well, in my Progressive Democrat Newsletter I have an ongoing campaign I call "Giving voice to our Vets." Recently, in this section, I introduced several Iraq War vets running for Congress as Democrats in 2006. In that I highlight David Harris, who is running against none other than Corrupt Joe Barton. Here is what I wrote last issue:


    David Harris, a Bronze Star recipient, is running for the TX-06 seat. You can read a little about his views on the Iraq war.


    Harris is opposing GOP incumbent Joe Barton in Texas' very red sixth district. So this in many ways is a close parallel to OH-2 where a long-shot Iraq war vet ran in a very red district. Barton is one of the 11 Republican Reps. who voted against giving aid to the victims of hurricane Katrina (the so-called Katrina 1a, see below).  Maybe we can do even better in TX-6 than in OH-2. His website won't be up until October, I hear, so as far as I know we can't make direct donations to him. However, I believe this is part of Tarrant County (Fort Worth area) so I suggest a donation to the Tarrant County Democrats or the Tarrnat County Youg Democrats. This can set the county Dem party up for supporting whichever Dem candidate wins the primary in 2006. Or go to my "Defeat the Katrina 11" website and donate to the general fund for the TX-6 race. I suspect that this race will be a sleeper for awhile, but will get hot in the last weeks of the campaign in 2006. That would parallel the OH-2 race. But this time we really have a chance to give this race some early attention. Please keep an eye on it and give when you can!


    After highlighting the Katrina 11, I was contacted by David Harris's campaign thanking me for including the TX-6 race. Here is what his campaign wrote me:


    While David [Harris] was here, helping unload and organize supplies for evacuees, hauling furniture up several flights of stairs and delivering food to those families, Rep. Barton voted NO on Katrina without a second thought.  We have had constituents calling all his offices asking for an explanation of the NO vote to which they have replied that after "exhaustive research" he was compelled to vote NO because of the lack of oversight for how the money would be spent.  What is hilarious about that is that he has NO problem giving Halliburton no-bid contracts and a blank check.  Rep. Barton is also heads up the Energy and Commerce committee and is responsible for the way all of us are getting ripped off at the pump these days.  He takes big money from the gasoline PACs (among others).  There are many an argument that can be made for this being a race of NATIONAL importance.  (did I mention he is also responsible for the FCC clamp down on Howard Stern?)  We need help and we need loads of it.  We are hoping that once the site goes live (in about 2 weeks) we can raise money quickly.  Barton already has $1.4 million in the bank so realistically, we are looking for 500 people in the US to send in the max prior to the primary of $2000 each.  If we can figure out a way to have people EVERYWHERE looking for one person in their area, then we will be well on the way.  Can you imagine the fright that would come over Rep. Barton if our December filing shows us having the same or more money in the bank that he does?  It would definitely send a message so that is what we are hoping happens.  Work like yours on the blogs goes a long way towards that end.


    David Harris now has his website up if you want to read more about him.


    But I want to emphasize that we HAVE to get Joe Barton. If David Harris gets the nomination (as far as I have been able to determine he is so far unopposed) we should proudly get behind him.


    PLEASE, go to my Katrina11 website and, if nothing else, donate to defeat Joe Barton in the TX-6 race. This guy is the worst of the worst--corrupt, callous and a conservative extremist. I hope to make the TX-6 race a major part of our efforts to retake our country. PLEASE join me in this.


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