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Democracy For The Southern Adirondack/Tricounty Area
Monday, February 28, 2005
 
Meetup Reminder!
Hello Everyone!


This is a Meetup reminder. In this update:

1. Meetup in Glens Falls and Saratoga
2. Special Social Security Agendas
3. Also on agenda:
4. Online Polls
5. A few interesting pieces
6. Matt Is hosting Nader


1. Meetups will be held in both Glens Falls and Saratoga tomorrow, Wednesday, March 2nd.

In Glens Falls: we will be meeting at our usual place, the Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe in Downtown Glens Falls at 7pm. To reach the Cafe from the Northway, take Exit 18 into downtown Glens Falls. Past Hannaford, bear right at the Stewart's store past the Post Office and the Hospital. The Cafe is past the hospital by the light across the street.

In Saratoga the meetup will be at 7:30pm Pat Friesen's home at 36 Thoroughbred Drive. To reach Pat's home, drive south on Broadway past the Dance Museum. Turn at the next left onto Crescent Street then take the next left. #36 is at the end and around the corner.

2. Our agendas will center on our national DFA effort to reframe the debate over the right wing and the Bush Administration's effort to destroy Social Security. We will be gathering and discussing individual, personal stories about Social Security and how it has affected our families. These stories will go to DFA National in Burlington to help create a national narrative on Social Security.

We will also be discussing what we all can do personally to stop Bush and the Republicans from destroying history's most effective social program. In Glens Falls this will also include a possible coalition event for later in the month with local labor organizations and the Working Families Party. More on this at the Meetups!

3. Also, in Glens Falls we will be setting up a candidate committee. This committee will review and recommend candidates both for inclusion in the new Dean Dozen and our own endorsement as well as search for candidates.

In Glens Falls, we will also be talking about our Second Anniversary Meetup in April; it's been an extraordinary two years, let's do something special!

4. There are some good online polls we all should be participating in: one sponsored by DFA on an outrageous attempt to smash Social Security by smearing the ARRP:
STOP USANEXT


Democratic Action is taking on the Gannongate scandal and the Bush effort to manipulate coverage:
Democratic Action


The Campaign For America's Future is focusing attention on Rep. Jim McCrery (R- LA) who is chairing the committee on "Social Security Reform" despite essentially being a lobbyist for Wall Street firms pushing for privitization.
CFAF


Also, consider signing up for updates from the Democratic National Committee. At one time we kept our distance, but with Governor Dean now the Chair of the DNC, there is no excuse not to!
The DNC


5. There's a great piece on Governor Dean in the Sunday New York TImes Magazine by Matt Bai that follows on other terrific pieces on politics this year. On the Governor:
Bai On Dean
For context, check out another piece from before the election last summer "Wiring the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy": Wiring The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy


I am also pasting at the bottom a piece by Mark Weisbrot of the Center For Economic and Policy Research on Social Security. They also have terrific email updates on key economic issues that are definitely worth signing up for.

6. Finally, our host at the Bake House Cafe and Green Party compatriot Matt Funiciello will be hosting Ralph Nader at the Cafe on April 16th. He will be at the Cafe this Wednesday to tell us about Ralph's visit and the benefit dinner Matt is sponsoring. Nader has left an indelible mark on American life over the last 45 years, beginning with his early and lonely crusade for auto safety. That we today have things like anti-lock brakes and airbags is something we owe to Nader. It is certainly to be a highly newsworthy event. For more information contact Matt at mattfuniciello@earthlink.net

Many thanks! See you all Wednesday,

Larry Dudley


Show Me the Money

By Mark Weisbrot

President Bush is waving the carrot of private Social Security accounts in front of millions of Americans who, perhaps too young to remember what happened to stocks five years ago, still think they are going to get rich quick in the stock market.

If you could just take some of that money that Social Security drains out of your paycheck every week, he says, and put it in a private account where you could invest in stocks, how much better off you would be when you retire!

Or would you? This is a case where it really helps to read the fine print. Although President Bush hasn't announced a comprehensive plan, he did have a "senior White House official" spill some details of the plan just before his State of the Union address.

One of the details: the money that will go into the private account isn't really yours. At the end of your working career you will have to pay it all back to the government. Plus interest: at the rate of U.S. Treasury notes.

The difference between what you made in your private account and what you have to pay back, with interest, is your "profit" -- or loss. But that's not the end of the story. There are administrative costs that will reduce your accumulation by another 5 percent (according to the President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security). Or possibly a lot more: in a typical private 401 (k) account it's about 3 times that much.

You're still not home free. The President's plan will require you to convert some or all of your accumulated sum to a lifetime annual payment. But the cost of this conversion is not cheap: in the private sector it is 10-20 percent of accumulated savings; if the government does it maybe it can be kept to 5 percent.

Now let's do the numbers: say you are a 27 year-old worker with average wages when the plan takes effect for you in 2011. Assume that you put the maximum allotted amount into the private account. Let's also assume that the administrative costs, and the cost of converting the lump sum to an annual payment are the cheapest imaginable.

When you retire after 40 years, your combined benefit from the private account and the traditional Social Security system will be $1371 per month. This compares to $2127 that the current Social Security program, if left alone, has promised to pay.

Supporters of privatization would reply that the system can't pay all promised benefits. If absolutely nothing is done to increase Social Security's revenue -- a very remote possibility -- then benefits will be cut by about 24 percent in 2053. But even then, the monthly benefit in the above example would be $1,625 -- still 19 percent better than in the privatization scheme.

Interestingly, when the government takes back the money that it loaned you, it doesn't come out of the private account that it went into. Rather, it is deducted from the benefit that you receive from the traditional Social Security program. This will create the illusion that most of your benefits come from the private account -- rather than from the traditional system. This indicates that the people who designed this privatization scheme want to undermine support for the traditional Social Security system -- so as to get rid of Social Security as we know it altogether.

In the mean time, privatization won't make many dreams come true. The next time you hear someone telling you what a great deal it is, just tell them: show me the money.


Mark Weisbrot is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research and co-author, with Dean Baker, of Social Security: the Phony Crisis (2000, University of Chicago Press).

Center for Economic and Policy Research, 1621 Connecticut Ave, NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20009
Phone: (202) 293-5380, Fax: (202) 588-1356, Home: CEPR








Thursday, February 24, 2005
 
Dean At Cornell
Governor Dean spoke at Cornell University Wednesday. This is an account from the Cornell Sun newspaper.

Dean Speaks to Cornell Community
Party leader introduces Democrats' new strategy
February 24, 2005
by Julie Geng
Sun Staff Writer

A new leader. Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean discusses partisan politics and major political issues yesterday in Anabel Taylor auditorium.
Alexandra Pivoda / Sun Staff

Howard Dean, recently elected Democratic National Committee chair, spoke yesterday to a packed Anabel Taylor auditorium about how he would remake the Democratic Party into a "party of change and reform." He described a new "two-way campaign" that would give "ordinary people the power to influence their government and their politicians directly by allowing their politicians to find the way to listen [to them]," such as the utilization of weblogs, a method taken from Dean's campaign for Democratic presidential nominee.
"Do not work for candidates who don't care what you think," Dean repeated twice to resounding applause. "If you want to sustain democracy, you have to run for office," Dean added. He said that just voting is not enough, and urged students to consider working in a campaign or contributing money.

Dean began by speaking on what he thought was the most important issue today: the proposed privatization of Social Security. He said that President George W. Bush was trying to appeal to 20- and 30-year-olds through privatization, but claimed that in fact that generation would end up having to pay the $2 trillion bill for it.

"I think that privatizing Social Security has much more to do with the enormous amount of money that corporate Wall Street poured into the President of the United States's campaign than [helping] senior citizens," Dean said. "[Social Security] was a response toward [overcoming] abject poverty...it is not meant as a retirement program...it was meant as a social safety net for people who had reached the end of their working careers and did not deserve, after a long lifetime of dignified work, to live in poverty. ... It's not supposed to be a pension."

Dean pointed out that, while he would not endorse this, if Social Security were left alone for 30 years, its benefits would be reduced to 80 percent of what it is now. He acknowledged that while there were indeed problems with the program, turning to Wall Street was not the answer.

After emphasizing the effect of the deficit on today's student generation, Dean moved onto the importance of balancing the budget.

"The truth is, not one Republican president has balanced the budget in almost 40 years. You cannot trust Republicans with your money," Dean said. "The only person who's balanced the budget is Bill Clinton."

In an interview with the Sun, Dean said, "Only Democrats balance budgets...I think if we can get rid of the Republicans, we can have a better future. ...I think America will start losing its place of leadership in the world because there's no long-term thinking going on in Washington...under these people."

Dean made the point that much of our debt is owed to nations such as China, Japan and Saudi Arabia, and that it may ultimately become a security issue.

"It's the Democrats that are the conservative, fiscally responsible party -- certainly not the borrow-and-spend, borrow-and-spend, borrow-and-spend Republicans," Dean said in the lecture. He added that the city of Washington, D.C. was told by the White House to take $11.7 million out of their homeland security funds to cover the cost of hosting the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration, concluding that Republicans are much weaker on defense than Democrats.

Dean also linked the defense issue with the issue of labor unions in the U.S.. He argued that most of the U.S.'s trade treaties have only benefited multinational corporations and have actually lowered the standards of living for working people.

"If you want a strong defense, then help people not just in America but around the rest of the world, improve their standard of living," Dean said. "We should insist that if people are going to trade with America, that we have some similarity in labor standards in the U.S. and elsewhere and that we protect not only our own environment but insist that our competitors protect their environment."

Just 10 days into his chairmanship at the DNC, Dean has already begun rethinking the approach the Democratic Party takes in getting candidates elected and analyzing the reasons the Republican Party was able to win the White House as well as Congress last November. "You ever wonder why Republican campaigns are all run the same? Guns, God and gays. That's all they do. Why is that? It's because they never have anything constructive to say about jobs, healthcare and a real defense policy," Dean said. "They bring up those issues because they want people to vote against their economic interests... We need to stop letting them tell America what we stand for, and we need to tell America what we stand for ourselves."

Ultimately, he said, Democrats had to be the ones to set the agenda, instead of playing defense.

"The difference between Democrats and Republicans is that the Democrats think that women should be able to make up their own mind about what kind of health care they have," Dean said on abortion rights. He argued that many women who perceived themselves to be pro-life were actually pro-choice: they believed abortion to be immoral but would not be willing to dictate what other women should do in those situations.

Dean also said that "Bush's cronies" managed to pass anti-gay marriage legislation in 11 states during the last election in order to "scapegoat a minority for the purpose of getting elected and that's not courage. That's not leadership, and those people don't belong running the United States of America."

"The great shame of this administration is that they believe it's more important that Republicans to be in office than they believe in empowerment of ordinary Americans to change their government. It is not worth winning every time if you're willing to use any means to do it, because you destroy the very thing you've set out to protect," Dean said. Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), who campaigned for Dean in Iowa during the primary, was at the lecture to welcome him to Ithaca.

"We've allowed...the Republican Party to create the impression that they have certain values that Democrats do not have, which is completely false. The Democrats have those values of ethics, of integrity, of caring for people, of having a fair and open society...all of those values are ingrained deeply in the Democratic Party," Hinchey said. "And we've allowed ourselves to take them for granted...we've just taken for granted that everybody knows that. The Republicans have been very good at subverting that knowledge and so we have to make it clear once again who we are and I think Governor Dean is very qualified and capable of doing that."

Though Hinchey was disappointed that Dean did not win the primary, he was pleased Dean is now chairman of the Democratic Party.

"Part of his job is to organize and to establish and maintain a good, strong Democratic Party across the country...I think he'll be extremely good at this job, in terms of organizing and in terms of developing issues and talking to people about the important issues," Hinchey said. Tim Lim '06, president of the Cornell Democrats and coordinator of the event, said, "Dean is right in that to revitalize the party, we need to talk about the issues and to the people who have the same issues and values. That's the first stage to reforming the party."

Dean also spoke briefly on healthcare, declaring that it needs to be made available to every American. Other issues he touched upon included environmental protection programs, renewable energy sources, the relationship between Bush and the President Vicente Fox of Mexico and making a solid effort to campaign in strong Republican states. Dean answered questions about the electoral college, and the role of religion in political issues, among others.

As the event neared its end, Dean revealed a glimpse of some of the appeal college students saw in him during the early months of the Democratic primaries.

"People your age get most of their news from the internet or from the Jon Stewart Daily Show. I actually think that the truth is probably [that] Jon Stewart's the greatest newsperson in America right now," Dean said. "Anyone see the CNN report, Crossfire? ... Shouting at people does not pass for civil discourse and it's bad for the country. What Stewart does and the reason I think he has such incredible credibility with people your age who have a very low B.S. tolerance, which I think is also a welcome improvement...is he just lays it out and he doesn't care and he's not particularly partisan. He just likes to puncture people's hot air balloons in politics and there's a lot of it."

On why Dean was brought to speak at Cornell, Lim said, "He influenced a lot of young people, and brought a lot of people back into the party."

"We think students here and the people here really should hear what he has to say because it's so important and so good," said Mitch Fagen '07, vice president of the Cornell Democrats. "I think he reminded us of what so many people saw when he ran for President. I think he will provide a strong voice for the Democratic Party."

Tuesday, February 22, 2005
 
More on Dr. Dean
With all the derision the Republican party is heaping upon Dr. Deans selection as head of the DNC, there is an undercurrent of fear among them. I found this today on a blog I just discovered: www.mydd.com



Republican Leader Warns the GOP About Dean
by descrates From the diaries - Jerome

The Seattle Times has a op-ed by Reed Davis, an associate professor of political science at Seattle Pacific University. He ran for the GOP nomination to the U.S. Senate last year, and is a former chairman of the King County Republican Party. Reed argues that, despite the foolish congratualations the party is giving itself over Dean's nomination, the new DNC Chair has the potential to be very dangerous to them.
Republicans may think that the nomination of Dean is hysterically funny -- a scream, in fact, as George Will recently put it -- but they are deluding themselves if they think Dean is nothing more than a wild-eyed ideologue with a temper and a cult following.
Dean brings three talents to the chairmanship that can potentially sink not just a GOP presidential candidate in 2008 but the Republican-controlled House and maybe even the Senate well before then. Diaries :: descrates's diary ::

Mon Feb 21st, 2005 at 07:57:18 PM EST

First, he's a fund-raiser par excellence. Lest we Republicans forget, not only did Howard Dean set records for fund raising, he set them in one of the most imaginative, difficult and unorthodox ways imaginable -- namely, through the Internet. And remember, he set those records not by initially tapping the big-money crowd but by combing through the grass roots for nickels and dimes.

Second, and more important, Dean knows not only how to raise money but what to do with it once he gets it. He has repeatedly declared that he's going to rebuild the Democratic Party from the bottom up, blade by blade, volunteer by volunteer, state by state, because he understands that face-to-face get-out-the-vote programs, not slick advertising or direct-mail merchandizing, are what win elections.
Not only does he have a mountain of scholarly evidence confirming this -- Yale, of all places, has a group of scholars insisting that the only get-out-the-vote effort that works at all is face-to-face contact -- but he also has the elections of 2004 to go on. After all, virtually every commentator and analyst in politics is claiming that the Bush victory is owed largely to its monumental grass-roots get-out-the-vote effort. And if Dean stands for anything, it's the importance of grass-roots politics.
This is by far Dean's most important attribute. He has the ability to motivate the activists to action both with their time and money. Bowers has spent some time talking about how far behind we are on our GOTV. I'm not sure I fully agree that we were really beat by the Republican GOTV, but it didn't help. Reed makes the point that if anyone can make this happen for the Dems it is Dean.

Third, he is charismatic. And this is where Republicans make their biggest mistake in judging him. They believe his allegedly vegan, bohemian liberalism will appeal only to lefties from New England and Seattle.
Well, maybe so, but that's not the secret to Dean's charisma or his recent DNC election. Dean's appeal doesn't lie primarily in the fact that he's a great speaker (although he is) but in the fact that he's a great listener.
Grass-roots activists in both parties have been so starved for attention and support during the past 20 years that they will flock to the first person who promises to listen and do what he can to support them.
And that, more than anything else, was the message that Dean took to the party faithful in his campaign for the party chairmanship: He's there for them, not for the insiders, not for the professionals, and certainly not for the consultants. Dean will be there for the hardworking activists who make up the rank and file.


Contrast this to the state of the Republican base right now. No less a figure than Rush Limbaugh is warning the president that he faces a mutiny if he and the Republican Congress don't control spending and protect the borders, the two top concerns of the GOP rank and file.
In fact, if Republican leadership fails here, the GOP will have bigger problems than Howard Dean.

Now more than ever, the Republican Party needs to toss its heavy-handed, top-down management style overboard and rejuvenate its grass-roots parties. Howard Dean already has.
One of the things that I admire about Rove as a strategist came out in his recent speech urging the GOP not to become complacent. Rove has little interest in talking about how terrible the Democrats are doing right now--he's far too smart for that. He knows full well that the president's 51% margin in no way signifies a long term shift for the GOP. The Republicans are in hot water in a wide variety of ways: with their reelection of Bush they can expect to historically be held solely responsible for the Iraq Debacle; they are dangerously out of step with the priorities of most Americans on an issue by issue basis; and the unity that 9/11, the Iraq War, and the election provided them is quickly being sapped away.
The Democrats will be positioned well in the coming years if they can continue to build their organization up and finally settle some long fought ideological issues. And Dean may be the one man who can get it all done.

 
NY Times Editorial
We all warned of buyer's remorse after Iowa and New Hampshire last year; too bad it took a general election defeat for people to listen.

"As the Democrats' newly chosen party chairman, Howard Dean has a fresh opportunity to be remembered as someone other than that presidential candidate who yelped defiantly in the face of defeat. The Democrats' fortunes are obviously at a low point. But Mr. Dean, in his surprising victory in the contest for chairman, showed a revivalist's energy and a new talent for working across the political spectrum in winning over state party leaders....

Ultimately, Mr. Dean will be judged on the presidential election of 2008. The first benchmark in this task comes next month, when a 40-member party commission begins studying what is right and wrong about the primary process that produced Senator John Kerry as the nominee. The helter-skelter process clearly needs fixing, starting with its overemphasis on front-loading contests. The tight calendar of winner-take-all bouts allows scant opportunity for shopper's remorse.

One of the commission's leaders, Representative David Price of North Carolina, was right when he noted that the party "needs to provide something other than a rush to judgment." Mr. Price, a political science professor at Duke University, has been through this before, serving as director of the Hunt Commission, which helped tune up the rules in the 1980's. Now he is wise to emphasize that a more deliberative pace would hardly hurt the Democrats' next search for the strongest nominee."

 
DFA Update: A great NY Conference, meetups coming and more!
Hello Everyone!

In this update:

1. A great Democracy For New York Conference in Albany last weekend
2. Meetups coming soon
3. A Special Agenda
4. Saratoga meetings
5. A couple of interesting views

1. Democracy For America and former Dean team leaders from across New York State were invited to a first ever Democracy For New York conference at the SEIU Hall in Albany last weekend.

Our Glens Falls attendees talked to both Jim Dean and Tom Hughes at length. If you go to
Blog For America

you will see in the back of the first picture yours truly (Larry Dudley) introducing Governor Dean's right hand man, our new Executive Director Tom Hughes (his back turned to the camera) to Glens Falls Fourth Ward Candidate Roy Thomas. Dick, who knew Tom already, is to the right.

It was a tremendous experience meeting people from across the state and hearing from our national leaders: our new Honorary Chair, Governor Dean's brother Jim Dean, Tom Hughes, the new DFA Executive Director.

Jim Dean opened the conference with a keynote speech both introducing himself, talking about working on his brother Howard's campaign for the Presidency and Chairmanship of the DNC, and what DFA will be accomplishing in the future. Tom Hughes then spoke on the campaigns he had worked on. After the defeats of 2000 and 2002 he said came away with the determination never to work for campaigns that did not fight to the bitter end and that did not stand for something. That is to be the Democrat's new ethos: we try and contest every race, we stand for something, we never, never make deals with Republicans.

I also want to thank our Albany meetup leaders and our NYC leaders for all the hard work they put in organizing this conference; they did a great job!

Both Pat Friesen, our Saratoga leader and our Glens Falls attendees will be reporting on the conference in some detail at the next meetup.

2. Meetups will be held in both Glens Falls and Saratoga next week, Wednesday, March 2nd. NOTE: The date of the Glens Falls will remain on Wednesday; there was almost no interest in moving the day.

In Glens Falls: we will be meeting at our usual place, the Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe in Downtown Glens Falls at 7pm. To reach the Cafe from the Northway, take Exit 18 into downtown Glens Falls. Past Hannaford, bear right at the Stewart's store past the Post Office and the Hospital. The Cafe is past the hospital by the light across the street.

In Saratoga the meetup will be at 7:30pm Pat Friesen's home at 36 Thoroughbred Drive. To reach Pat's home, drive south on Broadway past the Dance Museum. Turn at the next left onto Crescent Street then take the next left. #36 is at the end and around the corner.

3. There will be a special agenda item of interest to all our members:

At all DFA meetups this month we will be focusing on a vital national initiative: Talking about Social Security, its importance to us all. We will be gathering and discussing stories about Social Security and how it has affected our families personally. These stories will go to DFA National in Burlington as part of our national Social Security project. We will also be discussing what we all can do personally to stop Bush and the Republicans from destroying history's most effective social program.

4. There are two cabin fever busting events in Saratoga coming up:

On MARCH 12, 2005 from NOON-2PM PLEASE JOIN THE SARATOGA SPRINGS DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE FOR AN AFTERNOON OF FUN at BRINDISI'S @ 390 BROADWAY. There will be a LUNCHEON BUFFET, CASH BAR, MUSIC & RAFFLE OF LOCAL ART. The cost $30/PP. SEND YOUR RSVP'S TO: KAT GULICK - 6 FRANKLIN SQUARE/#7 - SS12866
QUESTIONS: CALL KAT @ 221-3949 OR PAT @ 587-4983
 
On March 13 there will be a MOVIE AND EARLY BIRD DINNER SPONSORED BY THE SS DEMOCRATIC WOMEN'S COMMITTEE at
4PM at BRINDISI'S with a DINNER BUFFET. At 6PM - PRIVATE SHOWING OF "VERA DRAKE" @ THE ARTS COUNCIL BLDG.
 (FILM FORUM) FOLLOWED BY A DISCUSSION LED BY CAROL BLOWERS 
$25 FOR DINNER & MOVIE ($20 FOR DINNER ONLY AND $6 FOR MOVIE ONLY)
RSVP: PAT @ 587-4983
SEND RESERVATIONS & CHECK MADE OUT TO SS DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE
TO PAT FRIESEN 36 THOROUGHBRED DR/SS12866
 
5. Finally, some pieces of interest:

I would urge everyone interested in Governor Dean's ascension to DNC chairmanship to check out an article in the Nation: Barber


Also check out Bemjamin Barber's website, who is mentioned prominently in the article:
Barber


And I found this piece by E.J. Dionne in the Washington Post of particular interest: Dionne points out that historically Democrats have related to their Party through intermediaries and local committees, but with Dean and the growth of new advocacy groups like ours or Moveon.org, Democrats will now have an unprecedented direct relationship with their national party.
Dionne


And for all us members of the "Reality Based Community," Dick Dudley highly recommends this piece from the New York Review of Books by Brian Urquart, UN official and former British Chancellor of the Exchequer;
NY Review
and I quote the author:

"In his recent book on the Scottish Enlightenment James Buchan writes of Edinburgh in the early eighteenth century, "Men and women were coming to suspect that knowledge acquired through skepticism might be more useful in this world below than knowledge 'revealed' by scripture." It is a painful thought that in the United States in the twenty-first century we might be turning away from the world of the Enlightenment which inspired the Founding Fathers. Of all the thoughts provoked by Lieven's book this is the most disturbing, both for America and for the world. Since religious freedom and popular elections are both sacrosanct rights of the American people, it is a particularly delicate one. Is it possible that America could eventually vote to go back on the Enlightenment?

"Evangelical Protestants are a large and growing group whose influence is greatly enhanced by their voting discipline in comparison to other groups. Their influence is evident both in the rhetoric and in some actions of the current administration, as well as in Congress. This is clear in many domestic issues. The absolutes of Good and Evil, the references to God's will in relation to adventures like the Iraq war, the idea that those who are not with us are against us, impose a rigidity that dismisses criticism and makes it impossible to admit reverses publicly or to correct mistaken policies. Such trends are a serious hazard for such a powerful and important country. And at home, the demonization of elites, anti-intellectualism, hostility to rational discourse, and an aversion to scientific method can only stultify and downgrade the educational system at a time when American leadership and technological supremacy are being challenged as never before."

Since the movement of religion into politics clearly isn't going to go away, for an alternative vision of the relationship between faith and politics, check out the Buzzflash interview with left wing evangelical author Jim Wallis:
Buzzflash


His book is now #5 on the NY Times bestseller list. He may be as important to how we talk about issues as Lakoff.

See you all next week!

Many thanks,

Larry Dudley

Monday, February 21, 2005
 
Saratoga Springs March Events
JOIN THE SARATOGA SPRINGS DEMOCRATS FOR A MARCH WEEKEND. March 12 - Noon- 2PM - Brindisi's @ 390 Broadway - "Shake Off Those Winter Blues" - Luncheon Buffet with music, raffle and cash bar. $30/pp - RSVP: Kat Gulick - 6 Franklin Square #7 - SS 12866 - 221-3949 or Call Pat Friesen - 587-4983 or email pfriesen@nycap.rr.com On March 13 at 4PM - Join the Saratoga Springs Democratic Women's Committee for an Early Bird Dinner Buffet at Brindisi's - 390 Broadway followed by a private showing of Vera Drake at the Film Forum located at the Saratoga County Arts Council Building. The movie begins at 6PM and will be followed by a discussion led by Carol Blowers. $25 for dinner/movie; $6 for movie only; $20 for dinner only. RSVP: Pat Friesen - 36 Thoroughbred Drive/SS12866. Make check out to SS Democratic Committee for both events. Phone: 587-4983 or email: pfriesen@nycap.rr.com

Thursday, February 17, 2005
 
Statistics on "Rural" Areas
An article from Emerging Democratic Majority that has implications for the future of the Democratic party:


Don't Think Rural, Think "Micropolitan"
Most of the counties in the US lie outside of metropolitan areas (roughly two-thirds). These nonmetro counties are typically thought of as rural by most people. But all rural areas are not the same--many have an urban core, albeit a small one, which dominates a central county and to which people in surrounding counties may commute. These areas have recently been designated "micropolitan areas" by OMB to differentiate them from other nonmetro areas. Here's the Economic Research Service on the basic definition of micropolitan areas:
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) was urged by various sources in the last decade to delineate the entire land surface of the country into areas, and not leave the territory outside of metro areas as an undifferentiated residual. As a partial response, OMB designated micro areas using the same procedure as that for metro areas. Any nonmetro county with an urban cluster of at least 10,000 persons or more becomes the central county of a micro area. As with metro areas, outlying counties are included if commuting to the central county is 25 percent or higher, or if 25 percent of the employment in the outlying county is made up of commuters from the central county. Because they are county-based and include outlying areas, the total area population reaches well beyond 50,000 for many micro areas. The inaugural set of 560 micro areas includes 674 counties and ranges in size from 13,000 (Andrews, Texas) to 182,000 (Torrington, Connecticut).
Micro areas contain just under 60 percent of the nonmetro population, with an average of 43,000 people per county. In contrast, the 1,378 "noncore" counties, with no urban cluster of 10,000 or more residents, average just 14,000 people.
It is these micropolitan areas that include the bulk of the rural population, as mentioned above, even though they are only about a third of rural counties and include only about a quarter of rural land area. They tend to be more economically dynamic and, of course, are far denser than other rural counties, with about a third of micropolitan residents actually living in the principal cities of these areas (the corresponding figure for metro areas is not so much higher, about 40 percent).
Much more fascinating detail on micropolitan areas, as well as the entire new system of metro classification promulgated by OMB, may be found in this excellent report from the Brookings Institution, "Tracking Metropolitan America into the 21st Century: A Field Guide to the New Metropolitan and Micropolitan Areas".
Are their political implications to this? Sure. If Democrats want to improve their performance in rural areas, that must principally be about improving their performance in micropolitan areas. Three-fifths of the rural vote and three-fifths of Bush's gains in rural areas in 2004 were in micropolitan areas. And micropolitan areas, by virtue of their relatively high density and significant urban populations, should be more cosmopolitan and more open to Democratic appeals than the thinly-populated, non-micropolitan areas that make up the rest of rural America.

 
Glens Falls DFA Meetup Feedback -- new date?
Hello Everyone;

This is just a short update to ask a question and pass along some info:

First; We've always met on Wednesdays. However, we now have the tools to move the date when we have our monthly Meetup. I know some of you may have difficulty getting to us on Wednesday night. For our March meetup, how many of you would like to see our Meetup on the first Tuesday?

I know that many of you have not had a chance to see the George Lakoff video based on "Don't Think Of An Elephant," his book on framing. This would give everyone and a possibly a new group another chance to see it, and believe me, it's worth it because both are great. If you are interested, and let me know at ldudley@larrydudley.com.

In other news, there was a conference call last night for us meetup leaders with Jim Dean, Governor Dean's brother and the new Honorary Chair of Democracy For America up in Burlington.

Jim has been working on Governor Dean's campaigns since 2000, and seems really up to speed on everything DFA. He had a few comments:

*We need to keep working on the same things we were working on before the November election, organizing grassroots and working for candidates and issues and values.
*Although this is technically an "off" year, local races are still very important.
*DFA will be endorsing candidates across the country and that process will start soon.
*What we do this year will set us up for the 2006 Congressional mid terms, when we really want to start making gains.
*There are a lot of things we can do that no one else can do because we have this movement -- like articulating frames.
*We need to expand DFA and the progressive movement from the ground up -- this is the most important thing we can do.


Also; our national focus for this month's meetup will be on Social Security. I'll have more on this in the coming days.

Again, March will soon be upon us and the next meetup, so it's time to start thinking about it.

Finally, there have been some great articles on Governor Dean's election as head of the Democratic Party.

The NY TImes great Paul Krugman really gets it:
Krugman


Also check out Howard Kurtz in today's Washington Post:
Media Notes



The Times Union also endorsed Dean:
TU Endorses Dean



Also, I know quite a few of us are interested in the issue of reaching out to various religious communities. Here's a really interesting piece with links from DailyKos on how Dean intends to reach out to evangelicals. If successful, this could spilt the Republican coalition.
DailyKos



The Governor also announced his Transition Team at the DNC:
DNC



Also, there are at least two really major stories that are only beginning to be covered by the mainstream media. The first is the "Gannongate Affair." In short, a male prostitute (I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP!) who worked for a fake news agency was able for two years to pass as a real White House Press Corps journalist. Imagine what would have been done with this if it had happened on Clinton's watch! Importantly, it was liberal and left wing blogs like DailyKos and Democraticunderground that both broke and forced, forced, mind you, this story into print. What's major, also, is that it is tied into the Valeria Plame affair, where the identify of a covert operative was blown for political reasons. Gannon may have been a player in that sad saga.

Not to be missed: Frank Rich -

Rich


And Maureen Dowd:

Dowd


For more:
The DU



Finally, a reality check on the electoral disaster in Iraq -- the Mullahs linked to Iran are the real victors:
Juan Cole


Middle ages, here we come.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005
 
For Shame Senator Kerry
Reuters is reporting that Senator John Kerry is supporting the Bush administrations request for 81+ billion in additional funding for Iraq and Afghanistan. Kerry says in light of the electoral "success" in Iraq that the funds are needed. This request is from the Bush administration who lost, yes lost, 9 Billion dollars in Iraq. This is definitely flip flopping on Senator Kerry's part. "I voted for it before I voted against it, before I voted for it". This is why we lose elections! As Democrats we need to stand for something. Send Senator Kerry a message that this is not the way to help our country! Here is a link to his email:

http://kerry.senate.gov/bandwidth/contact/email.html

Sunday, February 13, 2005
 
GF-DFA/DF-SA/TA: Dean to be on C-SPAN
Hello Everyone;

This is just a brief flash to let everyone know that Gov. Dean's acceptance speech at his election as Democratic Party Chairman Saturday will be on C-SPAN 1 at 6:30 and 9:30pm tonight, Sunday the 13th. The program title in the listings is American Politics. Don't miss, it was a terrific, classic Dean address.

And a reminder, too -- don't forget our new Southern Adirondack/Tricounty Area blog at http://townmeetingday.blogspot.com/

This is a shared communication resource for all of us and it is very easy to use; make sure you click on the email notice you received and register to post; there are already more things going up on the blog from our members than we could ever email out. Make sure you check it regularly for updates.

Many thanks,

Larry Dudley

Saturday, February 12, 2005
 
GF-DFA & DF-SATA Weekend Update: Chairman Dean, We Are Needed Now and Why
Hello Everyone;

In this update;

1. Chairman Dean
2. We are needed now
3. Why: the background.
4. Why: the stakes


1. As most of us now know, today, Sarturday, February 13, 2005, Governor Dean was elected Chair of the Democratic National Committee by unanimous acclamation. This was almost two years to the day when the Governor stood before the Winter Convention of the DNC and said the famous words that began so many of us in DFA on the wide ride of the last two years:

"What I want to know is why in the world the Democratic party leadership is supporting the president's unilateral attack on Iraq. 
" What I want to know is why are Democratic party leaders supporting tax cuts.  The question is not how big the tax cut should be, the question should be can we afford a tax cut at all with the largest deficit in the history of this country. 
" What I want to know is why we're fighting in Congress about the Patient's Bill of Rights when the Democratic party ought to be standing up for health care for every single American man, woman, and child in this country. 
" What I want to know is why our folks are voting for the president's No Child Left Behind bill that leaves every child behind, every teacher behind, every school board behind, and every property tax payer behind. 
" I'm Howard Dean and I'm here to represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic party."

That was the first moment in the crusade to Take Back America; now we are Taking Back the Democratic Party. It's the culmination of everything we have done over almost two years and it is a victory in which everyone who helped along the way share in the credit.

We are doubly fortunate to have a leader, who instead of sulking away after a bitter defeat came back to fight again, founding Democracy For America. That movement will continue; to ensure continuity, Governor Dean's brother, Jim Dean, will be taking over for the time as Honorary Chair of DFA, with Tom Hughes as Executive Director. For more read the Governor's newest statement at: http://www.blogforamerica.com/archives/005975.html

2. But the fight is not over; we are now need as much, if not more, than ever.

The first task is to defend the Governor from the barrage of lies we know is coming from the right wing attack machine. If you haven't written a letter, now is the time to do it. It doesn't have to be long, just tell people why you support Dean and why, as so many of you have told me, that Dean's becoming Chairman of the Party gives you hope again. Check out some tips at: http://www.blogforamerica.com/archives/005941.html

Send it locally to the Post Star at: tingley@poststar.com and the Chronicle at chroncl@loneoak.com the Saratogian at blombardo@saratogian.com the Times Union at http://www.timesunion.com/forms/emaileditor.asp

3. Why is this so important? Because of the power of the Republican Noise Machine. Democratic activist Rob Stein has a Powerpoint presentation that he has been showing around the country to Democratic groups laying out the machinery the radical right has laid down over the last 30 years. This not to be missed piece on Alternet describes it: http://www.alternet.org/mediaculture/21192/

If you want more details, and it is indeed worth it to understand what this is about and what it means there is a wealth of additional supporting articles at: http://www.mydd.com/story/2005/2/8/153232/5934#readmore

http://commonwealinstitute.org/information.html & http://commonwealinstitute.org/index.html

Media Transparency
http://mediatransparency.org/movement.htm
http://www.mediatransparency.org/

If you can spare some time, take a look at the now infamous Powell Memo that laid out the far right's battle plan against democracy 30 years ago. http://mediatransparency.org/stories/powell.htm

Initially, these articles can seem discouraging. We are up against a lot. But as these pieces make clear, when they started they were far, far farther down than we are and they didn't have the inspirational leaderships of a man like Howard Dean! Remember -- the grass roots almost dragged John Kerry across the finish line first.

4. Let's not forget the stakes: famous author Christopher Hitchens writes in the latest edition of Vanity Fair that he has concluded the vote in Ohio was stolen: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/2/9/1712/26186

If he is right, that means the Democrats actually won the White House this year, despite everything.

If we don't fight back, they will do it again. That is why those who say Dean has given them hope again, are right.

Many thanks to you all! As the Governor says, YOU HAVE THE POWER!

My best,

Larry Dudley

Wednesday, February 09, 2005
 
Is It Genetic?
Scion of traitors and warlords: why Bush is coy about his Irish links
Tapestry artist reveals ancestors of US president as murderous bunch Angelique Chrisafis, Ireland correspondentThursday January 27, 2005The Guardian

It is perhaps not the best omen for US foreign affairs. Local historians in Wexford have discovered that George Bush is a descendant of Strongbow, the power-hungry warlord who led the Norman invasion of Ireland thus heralding 800 years of mutual misery. With a long line of Scots Irish presidents including Woodrow Wilson, the Irish are normally quick to claim US leaders as their own. But, despite President Bush's large Ulster Scots vote in the American Bible belt, Ireland had let his family escape the genealogical microscope.
But now Ann Griffin Bernstorff, an artist working on a tapestry to commemorate Ireland's Norman heritage, has discovered what she claims is the Bushs' missing Irish link.
Ms Griffin Bernstorff was researching Strongbow's son-in-law, William Marshal, when she discovered the connection. A descendant of Marshal married Anne Marbury Hutchinson, a famous 16th century religious dissenter who had already been linked to Mr Bush.
"It is one of those bizarre developments," she said. "We traced the Bush genealogy through a Republican source in Chicago and found it was correct. People here are absolutely shocked. I'm not sure what the wider reaction will be, Bush has not been seen as a great friend of the Irish."
Indeed, when Mr Bush visited a County Clare castle last year, radio talk-show hosts asked: "Is this the most hated American ever to set foot on Irish soil?"

The US president's now apparent ancestor, Richard de Clare, Earl of Pembroke - known as Strongbow for his arrow skills - is remembered as a desperate, land-grabbing warlord whose calamitous foreign adventure led to the suffering of generations. Shunned by Henry II, he offered his services as a mercenary in the 12th-century invasion of Wexford in exchange for power and land. When he eventually died of a festering ulcer in his foot, his enemies said it was the revenge of Irish saints whose shrines he had violated.
The Bush clan - who pride themselves on a distinguished New England family history that can be traced back to the first English in America - may well be looking for a healthy spin on the news. But it seems that Strongbow is not the worst of Bush's newfound ancestors.
The genetic line can also be traced to Dermot MacMurrough, the Gaelic king of Leinster reviled in history books as the man who sold Ireland for personal gain.
Even before MacMurrough earned the title of Ireland's worst traitor by inviting Strongbow's invasion to save himself from a local feud, the Irish chieftain had a reputation for gore. One English chronicler told how MacMurrough, recognising the features of a personal enemy poking from a pile of severed heads after a battle, snatched up the rotting flesh and tore it with his teeth in a "hideous frenzy".

As if it were not enough to be related to two of the most notorious figures in Irish history, Mr Bush's ancestors are also thought to have founded the settlement of New Ross, in County Wexford. A quiet place, New Ross has a stunning Norman church and another claim to fame: it is the ancestral home of John F Kennedy.
During his first election campaign in 2000, English genealogists found that Mr Bush was descended from Essex yeomanry. But unlike many US presidents keen to impress the Irish-American voters, he never before claimed an Irish link.

In the recent election campaign, the Democrat John Kerry had to deny rumours he was Irish. But Ronald Reagan and John F Kennedy played the Irish card. And Bill Clinton, perhaps aware that portraits of JFK hung beside the Pope above rural Irish fireplaces, once punched the air at a St Patrick's Day parade, declaring: "I feel more Irish each day."
The jury is out on whether Strongbow had a "conquering" gene that drove him to invade. Michael Staunton, a lecturer in history at University College Dublin, felt Strongbow was simply desperate. "It was a typical colonial situation, the people who don't have much going for them decided to hop off to another country."
Perhaps the most worrying question in New Ross is whether Mr Bush now has a claim on Leinster. "Yes of course, he probably does," Ms Griffin Bernstorff said. "But there are other families in the area who have a claim and neighbours and friends here would put up a pretty stiff fight."


Tuesday, February 08, 2005
 
Is Islamism A Threat?
Check out this great review of a new book in Islamism. According to the author's thesis, 9/11 was a result of Islamism's decline, a final act of desperation, not their growing threat. Luckily for them, the incompetence of Bush and the blind zeal of the neocons saved them from self-destruction and oblivion. Osama has been remarkably lucky in his enemies and their blunders. Too bad the rest of us had to be dragged along.

"The War for Muslim Minds: Islam and the West
by  Gilles Kepel

Backfire
A Review by Peter Beinart

Four years ago Gilles Kepel, a scholar of Islam at the Institute of Political Studies, in Paris, published a very good book at a very awkward time. The book, written in French, was titled Jihad: Expansion et Déclin de l'Islamisme. Its thesis, illustrated in impressive detail, was that Islamism -- the movement to replace existing Muslim governments with ones that rule according to sharia, or Islamic law -- was falling apart.....

The turn to violence, he argued, was a desperate attempt to create across class lines the widespread revolutionary fervor that years of peaceful organizing had failed to arouse. And it backfired. Not only did it provoke ferocious government counterattacks but it horrified the very people it was supposed to inspire.... Violence... had "proven to be a death trap for Islamists as a whole, precluding any capacity to hold and mobilize the range of constituencies they need to seize political power."

and

"He attributes the Iraq War in part to the fact that the "strategic planners" in the Bush administration were "culturally incapable of grasping an actor that was not, in the final analysis, a state." ...

"The premise behind the Iraq invasion, after all, was that Islamism was on the march. Unless America forcibly injected liberalism into the Middle East's bloodstream, the theory went, Hosni Mubarak would eventually lose to Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Crown Prince Abdullah would eventually lose to Osama bin Laden. But if Islamism is not on the march -- if al-Qaeda lacks inherent appeal and can mobilize followers only by capitalizing on America's blunders -- then competence, not ideology, is exactly what America needs....

"Just after 9/11, when American commentators were bursting with exuberance for the next great struggle against totalitarianism, Kepel's vision would have seemed crimped and insulting. But perhaps today, in an America bewildered and exhausted by Iraq, it holds some appeal. If realism is returning to fashion, Gilles Kepel may finally have the intellectual wind at his back."




Monday, February 07, 2005
 
The Dominant Paradigm
I originally offered this to the Democratic Underground website, but they weren't interested, so I thought I would repost it here on our new blog.
Drew

The Dominant Paradigm
In the 1800’s the industrial revolution created massive changes in the way people lived their lives. New technology changed age old patterns and behavior. By the beginning of the 20th century people could wash their clothes by machine, talk on the telephone or listen to music in the comfort of their own homes. The people in charge embraced the new technologies, but not the changes that came with them. With the new technologies, the Old Guard resisted the call to outlaw slavery, opposed the rights of women to own property and to vote, and brutally suppressed the rights of workers to fair wages and reasonable work schedules. Change of this kind is however imbued with its own momentum, not subject to the prejudices of narrow mindedness. Despite the regressive nature of politicians leading up to Herbert Hoover and the Great Depression, change came and with it progressive improvements in the lives of everyday people.We are now at a similar moment of change in time. The information age brought about by computer technology is bringing unprecedented change and with it progress. The new regressives led by the Bush 2 Administration have capitalized on what we now consider traditional mediums of communication; television and radio. They have very successfully used these mediums to hoodwink large numbers of people, but change they cannot foresee is coming. The wild, unrefined power of electronic communication does not fall under their thrall because the internet is worldwide and they can only control limited venues within the US. Remember that the most powerful military in the world cannot even control the small piece of real estate known as Iraq. The progress that the internet is bringing using the form of instant communication and news cannot be controlled by a small group with fascist tendencies. The paradigm will shift to one of progress, fairness and respect for individual rights and freedoms regardless of their actions. These changes in the form of human rights advances, environmental conservation and the ability of activists to mobilize worldwide in moments instead of months spells doom for their Orwellian plans of deceiving people into thinking that War is Peace ,Ignorance is Strength and Freedom is Slavery. Paradigms are powerful in their own right and not easily influenced by the ignorant. 20th century German physicist Max Plack’s quote provides us with insight into this phenomenon:”…a new truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because it opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it” The momentum of progress will sweep away their narrow minded perspective of the world in our lifetimes and history will judge them as abject failures.

 
Political Enemies
Democrats have always been eager to reach out across the aisle to the opposition. This has degenerated to the point where many Democrats and Progressives are eager to find something--anything--they can credit their enemies with in order to appear Civil, as Non Obstructionists. For the Democrat Leadership Council (DLC) and its members, like Senator Joseph Lieberman who just voted to support a defender of torture for Attorney General, "moderation" is the word. This refusal to stand and stoutly defend has had terrible, terrible consequences.
Thomas Jefferson, the founder of our party, addressed this in a letter to Henry Dearborne, Poplar Forest, August 14, 1811:
"Political Enemies: Let them have justice, and protection against personal violence, but no favor. Powers & preeminences conferred on them are daggers put into the hands of assassins, to be plunged into our own bosoms in the moment the thrust can go home to the heart. Moderation can never reclaim them. They deem it timidily & despise without fearing the tameness from which it flows."
Thank God we have Dean. Now the rest of us have to follow suite.


 
April 1-2 Workshop from Emily's List
On April 1st and 2nd, EMILY's List and the Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Committee (ERLC) will be offering a terrific training opportunity for pro-choice Democratic women at the Gideon Putnam Conference Center in Saratoga Springs, New York. 
EMILY's List is a political donor network and political resource for pro-choice Democratic women candidates.  The Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Committee is a political action committee dedicated to building a new generation of New York State women candidates, informed voters, and political activists.

Together, these two organizations have initiated a program designed to recruit and train women to run for and serve in elected office in the state. Whether you are currently serving on the school board, or in the State Assembly, or if you are just beginning to think about running for elective office, we are certain this training will provide you with the skills and inspiration you need.

This is a great opportunity! Space is limited. If you have questions, please contact Katherine Pregliasco at (202) 419-3099 or kpregliasco@emilyslist.org

Posted by Hilary McLellan
Application form available at Saratoga Springs Democratic Women's Committee

Sunday, February 06, 2005
 
Blog on in....
Hello Everyone;

A number of you have suggested in recent months that we need something like a blog. Okay! I am pleased to report that a regional DFA blog is now online. You can see it by going to: http://townmeetingday.blogspot.com/

In order to make this blog as successful as possible, we are making it a regional blog. Democracy For New York, of which we are part, has been asking for some time for us to create regional coordinating groups as well; ours, which includes both Glens Falls and Saratoga and will expand, is Democracy For The Southern Adirondack/Tricounty Area.

The purpose of this blog is to create a shared communication space, where we can post our thoughts and ideas and share information. It's purpose answers exactly to Governor Dean's famous rallying cry: "You Have The Power." It's purpose is to empower you.

Pat Friesen, who hosts the Saratoga Meetup and myself (Larry Dudley) as hosts of the Saratoga and Glens Falls meetups will put in the names of our regular members and anyone we think should have access. You will receive an email from www.blogger.com . DO NOT DELETE THIS MESSAGE if you want to have posting privileges! Instead, click on the link to create an account. All you have to do is create a user ID and password. It's very easy. If there is a problem, let us know and we'll resubmit you.

Again, that address is: http://townmeetingday.blogspot.com/ Bookmark it today! We're looking forward to seeing messages from everyone.


My best,

Larry Dudley

Saturday, February 05, 2005
 
GF-DFA Weekend Update: Dean Victorious! Meetup Report, and more
Hello Everyone;

In this report;

1. Governor Dean Victorious!
2. Meetup report
3. Interesting links
4. On the lighter side...

1. As we probably all know by now, over 250 members of the Democratic National Committee have endorsed Governor Dean to be the next Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Dean's election became inevitable last night when Donnie Fowler dropped out and endorsed the Governor, leaving only former representative Roemer, who has only about a dozen endorsements.

This really is huge news, because we now know that reform of the Party will be placed on a fast track, which is what we desperately need after last November. And it is certainly nice to win one!

DFA Burlington asked us to send letters to the Editor supporting the Governor. If you take a look at David Brooks' column in today's NY TImes, it's clear the Republicans are now going to start attacking the Governor, so it's just as important as ever to send those letters out. To send a letter to the Post Star, email Managing Editor Ken TIngley at tingley@poststar.com . There is a 300 word limit. It doesn't have to be fancy, just tell people what a great job you think he is going to do.

2. We had another great Meetup Wednesday night at the Bakehouse Cafe. Former Glens Falls Community Development Director Roy Thomas formally declared his intention to run for the 4th Ward seat on the Glens Falls Common Council. He answered many questions and it was a very informative night.

3. We are still hearing a great deal of fluff about the election in Iraq. What we have not heard is what we have gotten for the terrible sacrifice of over 1400 America lives and over 10,000 maimed for life, to say nothing of 100,000 dead Iraqius and $200 billion blown.

Shiite religious parties closely tied to Iran are on the verge of a sweeping victory. Al-Sistani, their leader, owns his life to the Iranian mullahs, who gave him refuge for many years from Saddam when we in fact were backing Saddam. Don't think he's forgotten that. They have made it clear that they intend to create an Islamic State. Goodbye minority rights, goodbye women's rights, goodbye secularism, goodbye civil society. It is a mess almost beyond comprehension. According to Sharif Ali bin Hussein, head of the Constitutional Monarchy Party, the vote outcome was a "Sistani tsunami" that would shake the nation. " And, "Americans are in for a shock," he said, adding that one day they would realize, "We've got 150,000 troops here protecting a country that's extremely friendly to Iran, and training their troops."

Duh.

For more: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/2/5/163225/6703
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/2/5/94013/35988
http://www.juancole.com/

Also, there's a major new Congressional Democrat website from Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid. You can also sign up for email updates, too. Go to: http://democrats.senate.gov/

4. Finally, on the lighter side: Telebushie!

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

I dunno, it just made me laugh.

Enjoy this glorious weather!

My best,

Larry Dudley




Friday, February 04, 2005
 
Dean Over The Top!
According to the latest totals posted on Blog For America and Mydd.com, Governor Dean now has secured 250 endorsements for DNC Chair, which means the race is effectively over. This was almost inevitable given the endorsement of the NY and Georgia delegations this morning. Simon Rosenberg, one of the two remaining candidates, is scheduled to make an announcement this afternoon and presumably will concede. Dean is now focusing on building unity in the Party.

And isn't it nice to win one!

 
Dean Almost There
Late reports tonight indicate that Governor Dean has now secured 215 endorsements for DNC chair. This week he was endorsed by the Association of State Chairs, the DNC Hispanic Caucus and a raft of major labor unions, including, among others, the NEA, the Steelworkers, IAM & Aerospace Workers and the UAW. Ten more and we can start calling him Chairman. Some of these, like the Association of State Chairs and the Hispanic Caucus, were overwhelming. 35 of the Hispanic caucus endorsed Dean, and nine were absent!

 
Still news on the last election
This is courtesy of our Iowa counterpart, Blog For Iowa. Questions still hover over the last elections. New studies indicate there are still very real reasons to question who really won the last election and implicitly, the MSM meme that America is the conservative nation it's alleged to be.

"http://www.uscountvotes.org
 
Prominent Statisticians Refute 'Explanation' of 2004 U.S. Exit Poll Discrepancies in New Edison/Mitofsky Report and Urge Investigation of U.S. Presidential Election Results.

"There are statistical indications that a systematic, nationwide shift of 5.5% of the vote may have occurred, and that we'll never get to the bottom of this, unless we gather the data we need for mathematical analysis and open, robust  scientific debate.", says Bruce O'Dell, USCountVotes' Vice President.

The study, “Response to Edison/Mitofsky Election System 2004 Report”, was co-authored by a diverse group of professors and academicians specializing in statistics and mathematics [from] Temple University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Wisconsin, University of Utah, University of Notre Dame,  University of Nottingham (UK),  Cornell University;  Case Western Reserve University, Southern Methodist University.

Their study does not support claims made by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International that exit poll errors were to blame for the unprecedented 5.5% discrepancy between exit polls and official 2004 election results.



USCountVotes, a nonprofit, non-partisan Utah corporation was founded in December 2004.  Its mission is to create and analyze a database containing precinct-level election results for the entire United States; to do a thorough mathematical analysis of the 2004 election results; and to fully investigate the 2004 Presidential election results.  USCountVotes actively seeks volunteers and accepts donations to help make this unprecedented civic project a reality – visit http://www.uscountvotes.org for further information. "
 


 
Senate Vote On Gonzales
Today's big news is the vote on Alberto Gonzales, and it certainly can be argued Governor Dean can't get down to Washington fast enough.

38 Democrats did vote against Gonzales and associating the U.S. with torture, including our own Senators Clinton and Schumer along with Vermont's Leahy and Jeffords -- and let's give them all a real huzzah! But just enough strayed to make a filibuster impossible, most eregiously neighboring Senator Joe Lieberman of Conn., who was kissed by George Bush after the SOTU speech Wednesday. This was despite Senator Kennedy's incredible speech on the floor Tuesday attacking the Gonzales nomination: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/2/2/103725/1689 That was a speech that will surely go down in history as one of the Senate's highest orations.

It might be good to drop our local senators a brief email line thanking them for their vote, and encouraging them to resist again in the future, for they surely will have to.


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