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Democracy For The Southern Adirondack/Tricounty Area
Monday, July 11, 2005
 
July Meetup Report
Hello Everyone:

In this update;

1. Another Successful Meetup
2. Eminent Domain Resolution
3. Social Security Debate
4. Walmart
5. Actions -- Costco, Air America Radio
6. Time Magazine Cover Story
7. Rove Confirmed As Source? Dean Comments
8. Hillary: Bush is Alfred E. Newman

1. Another Successful Meetup

First, a salute to everyone who turned out for last week's successful meetup last week at the Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe, despite the lovely July evening. We had a night of intense discussion of several major issues: eminent domain, Social Security, Walmart & alternatives and Air America radio.

2. Eminent Domain Resolution

As you may have seen from today's Post-Star, the first part of the evening was a discussion of the recent 5-4 Supreme Court decision on Eminent Domain, which gives the power to government to take people's property for "public use." At specific issue before the Court was a case in New London, Connecticut, in which eminent domain was used to take homes from average working Americans and handed them over developers building luxury condos for rich people. ( As if developers of housing for the rich need government help! )

Dick Dudley was particularly concerned, as a former Glens Falls Councilman-At-Large and Council President, that this decision is being characterized as Liberal. Obviously, it is not. As he noted, liberals and progressives stand for the protection of average Americans, not their exploitation.

After discussion, the group agreed that the government should not be taking average American homes and handling their land over to wealthy special interests. By unanimous vote, we adopted the following resolution:

Resolution

Whereas, The United States Supreme Court on June 24, 2005 held that local government may take land from families and private individuals for private business development using the power of Eminent Domain and;

Whereas, Justice O'Connor said in the dissenting opinion that "under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner, so long as it might be ... given to an owner who will use it in a way that the legislature deems more beneficial to the public." and;

Whereas, that this ruling violates and deeply offends a basic American principle, among others, that “all people are created equal;” and have an equal right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, that in the eyes of the law the poor, the middle class, the rich and the very rich are to be treated equally and to be considered of equal worth; and

Whereas, the Supreme Court stated in its majority opinion that the States could set their own standards, there is a recognition that the citizenry then has to face the daunting challenge of convincing 50 legislatures, all but one bicameral, of securing justice in Eminent Domain knowing that big box retailers like WalMart and other corporate predators will field tens of millions of dollars in lobbying effort state by state;

Whereas, Eminent Domain should not be used against working people to benefit wealthy individuals and corporations who further can afford the legal battles involved in these cases whereas working people cannot protecting average working people being the liberal and progressive position;

Be It Resolved, that the Greater Glens Falls Democracy for America Chapter condemns this Supreme Court decision and asks its Representatives in Congress to establish and pass carefully written laws intended to protect and reassure the Citizens of the country that their hard earned homes, usually the largest investment of their lives, will not be taken from them for any private development of any kind by the use of Eminent Domain.

3. Social Security Debate

Next we discussed at length Rep. Sweeney's recent forum in Clifton Park and a petition campaign on Social Security being advocated by the In This Together Coalition, a front group of the Working Families Party.

We had a significant number of people present who were at the Sweeney forum (I was pleasantly surprised how many of our people
got in. It was clearly due to our DFA Action Day in April.)

After hearing from those present at the forum, It was the overwhelming opinion of our members that Sweeney has in fact totally committed himself to the destruction of Social Security and that he is far more committed to the right wing agenda generally than people in the area realize.There was a discussion of the petition itself and the idea of petitioning generally and finally both were rejected. For one thing, most of our folks felt that all of the different petitions they had seen (including DFA's) were simply not specific enough.

But the larger issue is that, after the discussion, the general sense was that petitioning Sweeney did not make sense any more. One analogy that Dick brought up was that it was like peasants in Russia petitioning the Tsar, on the belief he really had their well being in heart, and was just being mislead by bad advisers, only, of course, he was not being misled. In this case, like back then, Sweeney really does stand for some truly terrible things.

Lisa Scerbo raised the point that petitioning can be consciousness raising and educational -- that people just don't know, which is true, and we may consider something along that line in the future.

We had a polling or sense of our group vote and it was unanimous that the main course of action needs to be to commit to removing Sweeney from office, and we would like to respectfully call on everyone else to do the same.

4. Walmart

We then moved into a discussion of DFA's Walmart initiative. There was general agreement that most people do not know how bad Walmart is for the economy, or that that they now advising their employees on how to apply for Medicaid, which we all fund through our property taxes; in effect Walmart is driving up our property taxes instead of giving their health insurance.

We agreed to do a petitioning at the Glens Falls Post Office at 4pm on Wednesday. We need to know how many are going to show up. If you intend to come, please RSVP to me at ldudley@larrydudley.com and let me know.

Here are links to files of the petitions and info sheets that explain the initiative. I will attach at pdf at the bottom of this message.

http://www.wakeupwalmart.com/facts/health-care.html
http://www.wakeupwalmart.com/downloads/health-half-page.pdf
If you are coming, you will need to print this off: http://www.wakeupwalmart.com/downloads/health-signup.pdf

5. Actions -- Costco, Air America Radio

To follow through on this, we agreed it would be great if people had a better alternative to Walmart. One exists: Costco, which Buy Blue gives one of it's highest ratings. Costco has better prices (believe it or not ) fresher produce (as Lisa noted) they are unionized, give their workers health care and pay at least $16 an hour. This great link explains it all: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/7/6/103337/9795

We agreed to write to Costco and urge them to build a store in our area. (They have one in Burlington. Doesn't it figure?)

I will write a letter with the resolution, but we all can write:

James D. Sinegal
President, Chief Executive Officer and Director
Costo
Corporate Office
999 Lake Drive
Issaquah, WA 98027

or call the office of
Richard Galanti
Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer
Phone: (425) 313-8203

By the way, Sinegal only pays himself $350,000 a year. He only makes 8-10 times what employees make, The average for American CEO's today 1s over 500-1. That's how they can afford to do these great things.

We also agreed that we would like to hear Air America radio locally. We agreed that I should send a message to WCKM urging them to carry Air America radio, which I will do shortly. You can listen online at http://www.airamericaradio.com/

6. Time Magazine Cover Story

The cover story in Time Magazine this week is on how Bush's invasion of Iraq has made everyone less safe. This is especially pertinent after the atrocities last week in London. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1081392,00.html

7. Rove Confirmed As Source? Dean Comments

Karl Rove may be about to be arrested for betraying the identity of CIA secret agent Valerie Palme as a political reprisal against her husband Joe Wilson. This could in principle be considered treason in wartime and also espionage. Secret American supporters overseas in controlling nuclear proliferation may have died because of this esposure. it's a measure of how utterly immoral and unprincipled the Bush administration really is: http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0710-24.htm
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/7/10/42259/4958

Governor Dean commented on Rove in a conference call last week.

http://rawstory.com/news/2005/In_call_with_bloggers_online_media_Dean_raises_Rove_ethi_0707.html

8. Hillary: Bush is Alfred E. Newman

This is great! Hillary compared Bush to Mad Magazine's cover dolt Alfred E. Newman! Now why do we have to read South African papers online to hear this stuff? http://www.mg.co.za/articlePage.aspx?articleid=245068&area=/breaking_news/breaking_news__international_news/


Thanks everyone! Remember to RSVP if you want to petition Wednesday.

Larry

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