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Democracy For The Southern Adirondack/Tricounty Area
Thursday, September 01, 2005
 
Tricounty DFA Update: My Meeting With Governor Dean, Next Meetup, more
Hello Everyone!

This is a big end of summer update!

First, before I begin, I want to update you all on my trip to Burlington today and the luncheon I and Roger Wyatt were invited to join with Governor Dean, DFA Chairman Jim Dean and DFA Executive Director Tom Hughes and the staff at DFA National Headquarters.

First, the Governor and DFA Chair Jim Dean asked me to extend their personal thanks to all of our DFA members -- all of you -- for everything we have been doing. The Governor assures us that we are making progress and we are making a real difference.

Governor Dean told us he believes when we look back in history that we will see that August 2005 will have been one of the great turning point in American politics; activism came alive again, public opinion is swinging against Bush and the Republicans. But the biggest thing is Paul Hackett's near win in Ohio for a seat that was never competitive for Democrats before. That was a watershed moment. Hackett got 22% more than any Democrat ever got. (And he ran as a progressive.)

What's more, DFA's call for us all to donate to Hackett's campaign put it on the map. DFA was first, we started the ball rolling and made that race a real race for a change. Jim Dean noted that our effort shamed the DCCC into backing Hackett instead of ignoring him, as they had been. (I personally think this is real proof of the 50 state campaign; we no longer are writing off any area.)

In regard to the 50 state campaign, Governor Dean also noted that next month there will be paid staff for every state party in the country paid for by the DNC. This is a huge change from the past when the state parties were essentially told they were on their own.

We asked him when are the Democrats going to get going on speaking out on the War? He answered that they are -- that there are things coming out all the time, but that it just isn't getting reported on by the media -- and then he corrected himself, "The corporate media."

He emphasized there is going to be more coming out in the fall, that they have a big schedule laid out for the next three months.

There's much more; and I will be briefing you all at our next DFA "Meetup" / DFA-LinkUp. See some great pictures at our blog: http://townmeetingday.blogspot.com

So! In this update:

1. Sign up for DFA-Linkup!
2. Next "Meetup" in Glens Falls: Leave My Child Alone, Voting Machines and Candidate Endorsement
3. Estate Tax Action Appeal
4. Red Cross
5. On the lighter side

1. Sign up for DFA-Linkup!

If you haven't signed up for our great new tool, DFA-Link, now's the time to do it. DFA is going to give free DFA buttons to every member the DFA group that signs up the most members between now and Sunday, the 4th.

I was talking with Tara Liloia today at the luncheon in Burlington, and she told me there are even more functions to come. When this website-communication too -- resource is completed, DFA will have the most sophisticated set of web based political organizing tools ever created. For instance, in effect, we will have the ability to send an email from DFA-Link to every other DFA member. In effect, we can all have our own personal DFA webpage. And it's free! Just click the link below and you will be taken to a personal page created specifically for you.

Important! Once you register, you have to join a group. Remember, you can join as many local groups as you want, so if you are waiting for another, it's not a problem, you can join that one, too.

http://www.DFA-Link.com/register.php?c=g&id=91042f3ae603ef90&

If we win, we will have have free, way cool, DFA buttons for everyone who registers at the next meetup; and we have a very good chance of winning.

2. Next Meetup in Glens Falls: Leave My Child Alone, Voting Machines and Candidate Endorsement

We will be holding our monthly DFA "Meetup"/DFA-Linkup next Wednesday, September 7th, at 7pm at the Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe in Downtown Glens Falls.

Two major items will dominate the agenda:

a. Leave My Child Alone.

Most parents don't know that under the No Child Left Behind Act that schools are required under law to supply the names of your children to military recruiters who are coming under increasingly improper pressure and even orders from above to take ever more aggressive and even ruthless steps to fill falling enlistment quotas. Recruiters are NOT the target of this. Many of them are very upset about the war, too, from the worst possible personal experience, and privately don't like the tactics being forced on them. Remember, one reason we know what is going on is because these men and women are talking behind the scenes. But however they may feel, they have their orders.

That having been said, government officials are getting names of students who are legally minors and going into schools to attempt to enlist kids in the military as soon as possible without the knowledge or consent of parents.

Under the law, parents can "opt out" of having recruiters contact their children by officially notifying the school in writingr. "Opt-out" and your child will be officially off limits to recruiters and their name will not be shared. Since this is the beginning of the school year, DFA nationally is helping launch, with Working Assets and Main Street Moms (A Dean inspired organization ), the national parent's group Leave My Child Alone, along with other groups like True Majority, Sojoourners. The goal is to educate parents as to how they can retain the responsibility for their own minor children that the NCLB law took away.

This is one of the biggest and most important initiatives DFA has ever participated in. Many of us joined Gold Star Mother for Peace Cindy Sheehan at the recent vigil; she is part of this effort. Many of us marched against the war before it began. This is the next logical step. We will need all your help to make this initiative work -- there are many schools and parents in our area. Please come and bring everyone who would want to participate.

And again, let's remember who the bad guys are here. It's not the decent recruiters who only seek to serve their country. It's an administration that forces them into using improper tactics and violates the rights of parents and the privacy of students.

b. We will also be discussing Voting Machines. Contrary to what we had thought at one time, Warren County has not made a final decision on what kind of voting machine to use in the future. We don't want fraud prone touch screen machines that many feel were responsible for Bush stealing the election and Florida and other races elsewhere. We want reliable, cheap, safe, optically scanned ballots that can be manually recounted for trustworthiness. We will be discussing what we can do about this as well.

3. Estate Tax Action Appeal

Moveon.org has sent out a last minute appeal for everyone to contact our representatives to call on them to block the next $75 Billion give away to rich, the Estate Tax repeal. What the estate tax ensures is that inherited wealth will be taxed at some point. Without it, much of the wealth inherited by the ultra wealthy will never be taxed at all and the rest of us will have to make up the difference eventually.

Senator Clinton sent out an interesting message about this:

" I have supported significant reforms to the estate tax
including raising the exemption level to ensure that virtually all
family owned businesses and farms would be exempt from any
estate tax liability. However, I do fear that because of the
significant revenue the estate tax raises, that its outright repeal will
shift even more of the tax burden from those who hold vast sums
of wealth to those tens of millions of American families who work
and live paycheck to paycheck. Since the costs of repealing the
estate tax are estimated to add nearly $1 trillion to the deficit over
a decade, and there are no plans to offset these costs, I believe that
outright repeal of the estate tax would be fiscally irresponsible.

It is telling that Alan Greenspan, the Chairman of the Federal
Reserve, who has supported many of the tax cuts enacted over the
last five years, has recommended to Congress that given the
current fiscal deterioration and the constraints caused by the
chronic budget deficits of the last four years, it would be unwise to
enact a repeal of the estate tax without fully offsetting its cost.

At a time when the Congressional Budget Office has just
announced the third largest budget deficit in our nation's history, at
a time when nearly half of the nation's publicly held debt is held
by foreign nations like China, Japan and South Korea, we need to
focus on fiscally responsible ways of reforming the estate tax. By
all accounts, an adequate and reasonable solution that exempts
nearly all of the family owned businesses in the country can be
reached. In fact, a recent report by the Congressional Budget
Office indicated that if the exemption level for the estate tax was
set at $2 million, only 123 farms and 135 family owned businesses
nationwide would have taxable estates. Indeed, if we raised the
exemption level to $3.5 million, only 0.3 percent of the wealthiest
estates would be affected.

Please be assured that I will continue to work with my colleagues
to support responsible, equitable and fair estate tax reforms that
reflect the current fiscal condition and provides real relief for
working families.

Sincerely yours,
Hillary Rodham Clinton

4. Red Cross

You've undoubtedly seen the disaster. Donated supplies can't help because they can't be moved. They simply desperately need the cash: http://www.redcross.org

5. On the lighter side

Finally, on the lighter side, I have to pass on this page Roger Wyatt sent. There's hours of fun here: http://www.toostupidtobepresident.com/
My favorite is the Star Trek parody.

Another update with more news later this week!

Have a great end of summer!

Larry

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