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Democracy For The Southern Adirondack/Tricounty Area
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
 
The Deception game
I would love to have more time to write my own analysis of the corrupt Bush Administration policies, but will have to content myself with passing along some of the info I find when reading the news and trying to stay informed. Maybe this summer. This one was posted on The Smirking Chimp (www.smirkingchimp.com )


Bernard Weiner: 'Rove's tricky decoy
dump'Posted on Wednesday, March 23 @ 09:40:01 EST

By Bernard Weiner, The Crisis Papers

You've seen the movies and animations: Enemy weapons are fired at an American plane or submarine; to avoid being blown up, "chaff" is thrown out to confuse the incoming missiles/torpedoes into going after the decoys rather than the targeted jet or ship.In a way, that defensive trickery seems an apt description of how Karl Rove's political team operates. They choose a select number of objectives they really care about, go all out for them -- often in secret -- and the rest of their high-profile program is often little more than decoy chaff to keep their political enemies from focusing attacks on the Administration's deepest-held plans.So what is it that Bush&Co. really are after in these final four years? I would suggest that at the core of their desires are these two:1. To have effective American control of the oil/natural-gas reserves worldwide, concentrating first in the Middle East, the "stan" countries along the Caucuses arc, and in South America.2. To lay the groundwork for generations of Republican political dominance in American politics even after Bush departs the White House -- and, as a corollary, to avoid criminal prosecution for their felonies and misdemeanors while in office.Accomplishing #1: In the Middle East, that means unfailing Administration support for the one big regional ally it can count on, Israel, and "regime changing" a good many Islamic-nation governments from autocracies to U.S.-friendly "democracies" that will do America's energy- and political-bidding.Accomplishing #2: That means continued majority control of the Congress by destroying the Democratic Party as a viable opposition (including painting Dems as "unpatriotic" and starving the party of its traditional funding sources, most notably by diminishing the incomes of attorneys, teachers, union members), packing more and more HardRight judges onto the federal appellate courts and U.S. Supreme Court, making sure that the computerized, GOP-owned vote-counting system stays exactly the way it is, and keeping the corporate-owned mass-media a willing propaganda tool.Carrying out all the above will ensure continued GOP control of the three branches of government, and the Fourth Estate of the mass-media. And assures that the GOP and their corporate supporters will make out like bandit$.THE KEY IS PERMANENT WARTo smooth the way for a successful campaign on both the foreign and domestic fronts, the Administration must continue its policy of permanent war (the never-ending "war on terrorism") in order to keep the populace in a state of constant anxiety and willing to grant the "Commander-in-Chief" pretty much whatever he wants in foreign/military policy, and in the domestic curtailment of constitutionally-guaranteed civil liberties under the Bill of Rights. (There definitely are bad guys out there, but our government doesn't have to shred the Constitution while going after them.)If I'm correct in my supposition here, that means that many of the other programs, policies, nominees and stated goals of the Bush Administration are, in a sense, little more than political "chaff," weapons of mass distraction.Don't get me wrong. Bush/Cheney/Rove would love to get the Social Security "reform" package passed, would love to open up the pristine refuge of ANWAR to oil and gas drilling, would love to pass more corporation-protection bills, would love to get the more extremist judges and other nominees approved, and so on. But, even if they aren't able to ram all or any of these programs, policies and nominees through Congress, they would have served their ancillary purpose of deflecting Democratic and citizen attention and energies away from Bush&Co.'s core goals, as stated above.It's the old magician's sleight-of-hand trick: fast patter while making the observers focus on where you want their attention directed. You get them to concentrate on your hand moving the red scarf, but your other hand is hiding or doing something much more important and interesting -- or criminal. FALLING FOR THE FEINTSo here are the Democrats ranting and raving about the Bush Administration's Social Security "reform" lies and deceptions, about the environmental rape of the Alaskan refuge for a small amount of oil, about these ten extremist judge nominees, about the crass intrusion of GOP politics into a deeply personal medical tragedy in the Schiavo family, and so on.Meanwhile: the war in Iraq rages on, fueled by U.S. military's neo-colonialist brutalities visited upon the local population, plus the humiliations and tortures of its men, women and children when detained in prison. Syria appears to be next on the U.S. hit list or maybe Iran or even the popular, democratically-elected government of oil-rich Venezuela. Bush isn't pressuring Israel to do what's necessary to make way for a viable Palestinian state. The national debt is ballooning into trillions and trillions, thus further reducing the diminishing social services available to the middle class and poor, etc.Again, don't get me wrong. Democrats, moderate Republicans, progressives of all stripes need to stand up against virtually all of these initiatives and extremist nominees of the Bush Administration, but we can't risk getting mesmerized by the sleight-of-hand moves so that we ignore the larger issues and immense damage being done. MoveOn.org, for example, is not activating its millions of members to call for removal of U.S. troops ASAP from Iraq -- a bad sign, that.BUSH'S "VICTORY" IN THE MIDDLE EASTWe also have to guard against falling into the definitional "frame" the Republicans use when discussing their programs and policies.For example, the Bush spin is that, because of America's forthright, in-your-face policies in the Middle East, especially its invasion and occupation of Iraq and recent elections there, Bush can claim a major political "victory" in that explosive region: Lebanon will be joining Iraq and Afghanistan and the Palestinian Authority in holding elections, Syria and Iran are backing down from some of their hard-line positions, Egypt and Saudi Arabia are slowly moving away from their autocratic election style, the level of violence is at least temporarily down in the Palestine-Israel struggle, etc. etc.But, even if the fear of shock&awe attacks were partially responsible for this outbreak of apparent "democratization" in the Arab Middle East, seeing America as the progenitor of that momentum would be a wild overstatement and misreading of the objective situation.Even the corporate New York Times, which on March 1 editorialized that "the Bush administration is entitled to claim a healthy share of the credit for many of these [democratic] advances" in the Middle East has had second thoughts.In its March 18 edition, the editors now admit that "many of the most promising signs of change have little to do with Iraq. The peace initiatives in Israel were made possible when Yasir Arafat died and was replaced by a braver, more flexible leader. The new determination of the Lebanese people to throw out their Syrian oppressors was sparked by the assassination of the Lebanese nationalist, Rafik Hariri, not the downfall of Saddam Hussein. And in Iraq itself, the voting largely excluded the Sunni minority, without whose cooperation Iraq will never be anything more than a civil war battleground or a staging platform for a new dictatorship." For a fascinating, less-establishment view of this position, see Juan Cole's "Democracy -- by George?."BUSH NEO-CONS' "CHAOS THEORY"Remember those winter-scene paperweights, where you turn them upside down and watch the snowflakes swirl? The neo-cons leading American foreign/military policy have picked up the Mideast in similar fashion, are turning it upside down and shaking it violently, hoping that the resulting chaos and instability will result in the snowflakes falling in the pro-U.S. pattern the neo-con theorists have envisioned in their ivory-tower imaginations.These are the same guys, remember, who told us about Saddam's supposed nuclear programs and huge stockpiles of WMD and who said Iraq would be a cakewalk, with the invading American troops welcomed with kisses and flowers and full cooperation from a grateful Iraqi populace.The Bush Administration already has its military forces bogged down in a Vietnam-like quagmire in Iraq, and yet they're still willing to threaten war against Iran and Syria. True, both countries have made conciliatory gestures to the U.S. recently -- Iran pulling back some on its nuclear program, Syria agreeing, sort of, to withdraw from Lebanon -- but the strategists and leaders of many of the Islamic countries take a much longer, more patient view of history.As did the Vietnamese. The Islamic Middle East countries targeted by the Bush Administration figure they can outlast the U.S., whose citizenry (as was the case with the Vietnam War) eventually will tire of the humongous cost in soldiers and treasury in these inconclusive "pre-emptive" wars -- fought ferociously, and seemingly forever, against nationalist guerrilla insurgencies -- and choose to take another policy route, perhaps as early as the next U.S. election.These Islamic leaders also are quite aware of how thinly the U.S. military forces are stretched these days, and how unpopular the draft is across the board in the American population -- and that the Bush campaign vowed never to re-activate it.Currently, the targeted Islamic states are doing as little as they can get away with to keep the U.S. from unleashing its shock&awe tactics on them, while they seek out alliances (Russia, the EU, maybe China) to give them some balance-of-power leverage.Now, let it be understood that many of the Islamic states of the Middle East indeed are in need of reform and transformation -- if for no other reason than to combat the backward-looking momentum of fundamentalist know-nothingism -- but that's not the central problem here. The key question is whether these countries can modernize on their own, while maintaining their Islamic character and protecting their natural resources and their national interests, without being forced to adopt the U.S. plan for their future.THE RUN-UP BALLETThe Bush Administration has made clear, by its action in Afghanistan and Iraq, that it is prepared to move unilaterally and militarily in pursuit of its imperial ambition to secure areas in conflict on its own terms. If suasion doesn't work, the White House neo-cons say they are ready to go in with whatever military force it takes to get the job done.What we're witnessing now is the pre-decision dance. Iran and Syria have to try to guess how far they can push their national-interest envelopes before the Bush Administration decides to move on its own (or with Israel's help) in bombing and overthrowing. The Bush Administration has to decide, based on its own timeline, how many precious second-term months it is willing to spend in "diplomacy" and brow-beating before deciding that it is "forced" to move militarily?And, let us not forget a key ingredient in that volatile region: Palestine. If a just and lasting peace can be engineered by the U.S. -- leaning on Israel to end the Occupation and leave virtually all the West Bank settlements, and offering a viable, contiguous state for the Palestinians -- then there might well be light at the end of the tunnel in that region. Attention and energies could then be devoted to the needs and desires of Israel's Islamic neighbors.But there's no indication that the U.S. is leaning on Israel to do anything but trim around the edges of the dispute (leave Gaza, turn over a few small West Bank towns, etc.). And until Israel comes to believe, or is forced to accept, that it will never get border security and a major diminution of terrorist bombings inside its country until it once and for all ends its Occupation and exits most of the West Bank, the tension in the Greater Middle East will not significantly diminish.KEEPING OUR EYES ON THE PRIZEThose of us who oppose Bush&Co. policies -- liberals, moderate Republicans, progressives, radicals, the mix of which was evident at the many anti-war demonstrations over the weekend -- need to remember to focus our energies on the major criminal/immoral policies of the Administration, while noting the decoy "chaff" that is being thrown out there to lure us away into side-skirmishes. Those lesser Bush initiatives are important to resist, to be sure, as long as we keep in mind what is really going on, what Bush&Co. really are after.If some or all of our political attacks weaken the Administration overall -- for example, if Bush&Co. were to suffer an embarrassing defeat on its Social Security "reform" scam, or if Rove were found to be linked to the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame or to the Jeff Gannon scandal in the White House press corps -- then let's pile on and reveal the Administration's true motives and political vulnerabilities. But if it's a minor irritant or distraction, let's give it the attention it's worth and move our focus back to the major objectives of the Administration and gear up for those huge fights.Those battles are winnable, though it may take us a while get our renewed "Movement" infrastructure and financial underpinnings in order, and to build critical mass in the population. But eventually this reckless, greedy, power-hungry crew WILL fall, and then the United States can start its climb back from the dark caves into the light of hope and progress. Let's make it happen.

Copyright 2005 by Bernard Weiner
Bernard Weiner, Ph.D, has taught politics and international relations at various universities, worked as a writer/editor for the San Francisco Chronicle, and currently co-edits The Crisis Papers (www.crisispapers.org).Reprinted from The Crisis Papers:http://crisispapers.org/essays-w/decoy-dump.htm

 
Dean In Tennessee
Governor Dean is drawing big crowds down South again. This is from the Vanderbilt U. Hustler.

"Citizens should run for public office, Dean says


by Gabe Morris

March 23, 2005

Former Gov. and current chairman of the Democratic National Committee Howard Dean said yesterday at Vanderbilt's 41st IMPACT symposium that for change to occur, U.S. citizens have to do more than just vote.

Speaking to a packed Langford auditorium, Dean said that individual participation is important, that Democrats will focus on all 50 states, and that Democratic values are in line with the mainstream.

"If you want to make American democracy strong, you have to do more than just vote. You have to run for office." Dean said.

Dean focused on Democratic plans for the future and the importance of every voter. He said that Democratic positions are the mainstream in America and that Democrats will build a grassroots organization in all 50 states.

"We can win in Tennessee and Mississippi, but there are some things that we have to do in order to win," Dean said. "You have the power to take back this country for ordinary working people.

He said students should donate $10 to $15 to candidates, participate weekly in political campaigns, and refocus on state and local politics.

Dean also addressed current Republican tactics.

"Republicans always talk about running government as a business -- they do: It's Enron ... (we need) more long-term thinking about what we are doing in this country," he said. "We have let the Republicans decide who we are for a long time ... now we will define ourselves."

The former governor also addressed abortion and social-service programs.

"I don't know anybody who is pro-abortion ... nobody likes abortion -- this is about who gets to make up their mind about what kind of health care they get," Dean said. "We ought to welcome pro-life Democrats to the party; if you're a Democrat and you're pro-life, you've made a decision to take care of children after birth; that is pretty important."

Dean made values a part of his speech as well.

"I will never divide this country by race, gender, or sexual orientation -- we need to win ... by appealing to the very best of America and not to the very worst," Dean said.

"Jesus said love thy neighbor as thyself -- he did not say that you will choose which neighbors you will love and which ones you won't," Dean said, in reference to same-sex rights.

Dean also posited that Americans should invest in education and criticized the recent decision to drill for oil in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge.

The chairman did not leave out defense and foreign policy.

Dean closed by saying that that it's important that people view America as the beacon it used to be. He said President Bush undid this idea of America, and that a strong moral foundation is important for national security.

"What we need in international defense policy is someone who understands the big picture ... To define a defense policy as a (willingness) to send troops to Iraq is to not understand defense," Dean said. "

Also, noted the Daily Tennesseean:

"''I don't believe in blue states or red states,'' the former 2004 presidential candidate said. ''I believe in purple states — and some are more purple than others.''

and

"In his speech, Dean told the audience how, under his leadership, the Democratic Party will be made stronger.

The party allowed its opponents too often to define debates and control issues, such as faith and family values, Dean said.

''We need to talk about values and not be afraid of them,'' he said, going on to make two biblical references.

In the first he said Jesus' directive to ''love thy neighbor'' didn't mean one could choose which ones to love. He then remarked that Republicans never brought up the scriptural verse saying it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.

''We should never let anybody tell us we don't respect faith,'' he said."

Tuesday, March 22, 2005
 
Tricounty DFA update: Voting Rights, Social Security Actions, Dean in Toronto & More
Hello Everyone!

Needless to say there is a lot more going on in the world than the Terry Schiavo case. Of course, that may well be the Republican plan behind their little midnight melodrama -- drive every other important story, like the second anniversary of their disastrous Iraq misadventure, the Social Security Privatization hustle, drilling ANWAR, or even World Water Day today (really a protest against the privatization of the world's water resources) from the headlines. So what seems genuinely urgent for this update?

1. Call For Your Voting Rights Wednesday
2. Confront Sweeney on Thursday over Social Security
3. Governor Dean speaks out in Toronto on the Democrats' message
4. The Next Battle For Democrats: taking back trade and jobs
5. World Water Day: privatization and the theft of our common resources
6. Real impact of the World Bank

1. New Yorkers For Verified Voting sent the following call for action this week; DFA groups across the state are supporting this effort and our Glens Falls group endorsed optically scanned paper ballots at our candidate forum recently.

"This week, we are coordinating with several state and national organizations in a large phone call-in campaign to local state Assembly and Senate representatives asking them to adopt paper ballot and optical scan systems
for New York State. ... we need to keep up the momentum we have built and once again let our legislators know that citizens want PBOS adopted as our voting system, and not touch screen DREs.

"This week, we ask you to GET ON THE PHONE AND CALL your state Assembly and Senate representatives and tell them again that as their constituent, you want them to support legislation calling for adoption of paper ballots and
optical scanners as our voting equipment choice in New York State. Even if you've contacted them already, please CALL your legislators again this week. We need a large volume of calls to be effective... Find out contact information for your state representatives: Find Your Reps

2. Confront Sweeney on Thursday the 24th Over Social Security

The In This Together Coalition on Social Security, a group of Working Family Party Members, Democrats and Labor Unions, are holding a combination press conference and protest in front of Congressman John Sweeney's Clifton Park office on Thursday at Noon and they need to get as large a crowd as possible. The event will protest the fact that Sweeney will not speak to constituent groups and answer citizen questions on Social Security. While demonstrating, they will also announce a Town Meeting on Social Security to be held at the Saratoga Springs Public Library; time and day TBA Thursday. This Town Meeting will be held whether Sweeney appears or not! This event should gather major publicity and call attention to Sweeney's and the Republican's effort to privatize America's successful social program. Sweeney's office is at 939 Route 146 in Clifton Park. For directions: Map
For information on In This Together: In This Together


3. Governor Dean speaks out in Toronto on the Democrats' message

Governor Dean spoke this weekend in Toronto to a convention of Democrats Abroad, which is hoping to register 2 million Americans living outside the US, most of whom are believed to be Democrats, to vote in the next election. Dean spoke on how we need to focus our message tightly. For more go to our blog, where I posted an except and link: Dean


4. The Next Battle For Democrats: taking back trade and jobs

David Sirota, a fellow at the Center For American Progress has written an important piece on Democrats and the coming national debate over the trade issue. As Democrats are increasingly become painfully and ruefully aware our support for globalization in the lost decade of the 90s crushed much of our party's base among working Americans. Sirota notes: "According to a study by the National Committee for an Effective Congress of the 88 congressional districts that shifted from Democrat to Republican from 1994 to 2000, 59 had average incomes below the national norm, and in 68, the percentage of residents with college degrees was below the national average. Many of these are the blue collar, working class districts ravaged by "free trade" deals that have shipped American jobs to cheap overseas labor markets." This is a "must read" http://www.davidsirota.com/2005/03/why-trade-is-next-big-issue.html
and we have to see to it this gets the attention deserves; please pass this one on.

5. World Water Day: privatization and the theft of our common resources

Social Security isn't the only privatization hustle out there. For instance, today is the UN's World Water Day. Water rights are becoming a big issue internationally, and sadly, a source of growing third world anger at the developing countries, including America. Access to water should be a basic human right, but, I suppose in this Lenten Season we should not need a reminder of man's capacity for inhumanity to his fellow man; just as on the Way of the Cross there the saints who gave Christ water and those didn't give a damn, so are there now for the least of those amongst us in the world community.
Water In Asia
Democracy Now

(Regular readers will note I am working on my framing!)

6. Real impact of the World Bank

Since we seem to be hitting privatization themes, I recommend this piece from the progressive Center For Economic and Policy research on bush's disgusting appointment of Paul Wolfowitz to the World Bank and how that institution's impact on economic development all over the world is not what is seems: http://www.cepr.net

Thanks everyone!

Larry

Sunday, March 20, 2005
 
Dean In Toronto
Governor Dean was present at the Democrats Abroad conference in Toronto Friday and Saturday. He made some interesting comments on what Democrats need to do, particularly in crafting their message to Americans. Excerpts are below.

"Spreading the message

PETER GORRIE
STAFF REPORTER

"Keep it simple" is the key to the White House, failed Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean told members of his party from around the world last night.

One major reason his party lost the 2004 race to the "brain-dead" Republicans is that it has a "tendency to explain every issue in half an hour of detail," Dean told the semi-annual meeting of Democrats Abroad, which brought about 150 members from Canada and 30 other countries to the Toronto for two days.

"I'm going to be very disciplined about how we deliver messages. We can have policy deliberations in rooms like this. On TV, we have to be very focused."

The Democrats, in fact, will try to copy the Republicans, who are masters at making their message stick, he said. "The Democrats will have three things, maybe four, that we're going to talk about."

Dean's party is struggling to recover from the Nov. 2 American election, in which George W. Bush's team not only won the White House but also took firm control of the Senate and House of Representatives.

Last month, Dean, 56, was elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee, a powerful 440-member group that plans presidential nominating conventions, takes in most donations, and promotes the party and its candidates.

John McQueen, the Democrats' international campaign chair, has called that result "the most significant change in party leadership in more than a generation."

Dean won the job by acclamation, even though the party establishment, its congressional wing and many big donors and unions initially opposed him.

It was, said delegates to yesterday's meeting, a triumph of the grassroots. Dean built up enough support that party insiders had to bow to the inevitable.

Dean's presidential campaign was propelled by Web communications. And he's promoting a "bottom-up" Internet-connected party, run by state organizations rather than the centre. He has called for an end to the "consultant culture" — the legions of paid advisers employed by defeated candidate John Kerry that, critics complain, confused the candidate's thinking and messages.



...Dean appeared relaxed and enthusiastic. Party members treated him like a star and gave him three long standing ovations.

An example of the party's new discipline is its current focus on Bush's plan to privatize Social Security, said Dean, who was governor of Vermont for 10 years before quitting in 2002 to run for president.

The Democrats won't be distracted by other issues, "as long as we're kicking the living daylights out of them on Social Security."

"The Democratic Party will not win elections or build a lasting majority solely by changing its rhetoric, nor will we win by adopting the other side's positions," he said when he announced his bid to become party chair. "We must say what we mean — and mean real change when we say it."

While Dean wants focused policies, he acknowledged some issues aren't clear-cut and his party must work hard to come up with effective messages.



"The majority is on our side. We need to figure out how to talk differently about these issues."

And he said he hasn't made a lot of noise about Iraq, even though he opposed the U.S. invasion that was launched two years ago yesterday, because "we're there" and "the price of not succeeding is going to be enormous for America and for Iraq's neighbours."

Democrats Abroad, founded in 1964, has about 20,000 members in 45 countries, including 5,000 in Canada.

It was established to encourage the 7 million American citizens living outside the United States to register to vote as Democrats.

It claims to have registered more than 250,000 voters worldwide, including 35,000 in Canada, in 2004. Its goal is 1 million registrations next year and 2 million for the 2008 U.S. presidential election.

Friday, March 18, 2005
 
Verified Voting: Call To Action
Hello Everyone!

In this update:

1. Action Call on Verified Voting
2. Message From Jim Dean & Get a DFA Sticker
3. New DFA Meetup in Ballston!
4. Greg Palast Exposes Iraq War
5. Mainstream Churches under attack
6. Boxer Calls For Boycott
7. Anniversary Protest on Start of War to Bring Troops Home Now

1. Action Call on Verified Voting

News comes this week that real progress is being made on the issue of securing our right to vote by using Optically Scanned Paper Ballots instead of all-electronic Touch Screen voting machines called DRE's. According to Bo Lipari of New York Verified Voting ( http://www.nyvv.com )
the NYS Assembly has come over to the use of PB/OS machines, that is, optically scanned paper ballots, which are fraud resistant.

At the same time, there is a big scandal breaking in Maryland over Diebold voting machines; all the machines there have been locked down for investigation because of their very high failure rate, among other problems:
DIEBOLD


This means the spotlight is on the NYS State Senate, which is still holding out for DRE's, or touch screen voting machines. For a detailed, scientific view, check out the pdf file at the bottom of this posting from the American Physical Society, the national organization of physicists. This is probably the most prestigious scientific organization in the country. It will give you all the details you need.

What can we do? Contact our Senators. Use your own words. Tell them you only want paper ballots that can be recounted and scanners that are locally operated. Emphasize that is the only fiscally responsible solution; DRE's are incredibly expensive.

1. Calling by phone is best. That has the most impact. 2. Handwriting a letter is next best. 3. Writing a letter to the editor is also excellent. 4. Or use email, but this has the lowest response rate.

The addresses for our area are:
Senator Betty Little: 518-743-0968, 21 Bay Street Glens Falls, New York 12801
Senator Joe Bruno: (518)-583-100, 368 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward: 518-792-4546, 21 Bay Street, Suite 206 Glens Falls, NY 12801
Assemblyman Roy McDonald: 518-747-7098, 383 Broadway - Rm. 202, Fort Edward, NY 12828
Assemblyman James Tedisco: 518-370-2812, 12 Jay Street, Schenectady, NY 12305

Remember, if the Senate and the Assembly can't agree; that's fine; we can keep on using our reliable lever action machines for a few more years while this is worked out.

And here's another background story on why this matters so critically; apparently Teresa Kerry now also thinks there was real fraud in Ohio. http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0310-32.htm

2. Jim Dean Message & Get a DFA Sticker

Our new DFA Chairman, Jim Dean sent out a special message for the 1st Anniversary of DFA; check it out and get a free DFA sticker as well!
http://www.blogforamerica.com/archives/006107.html


3. New DFA Meetup in Ballston!

We want to welcome a new DFA Meetup to our area and Democracy For the Southern Adirondack/Tricounty Area! The Ballston Town Chair Patrick Southworth has set up a new meetup for Ballston Spa. This means there are now three meetups in DF-SA/TCA with more to come. So there is now no excuse for our DFA supporters in western Saratoga County not to make it to a meetup. For more info or to sign up go to:
http://dfa.meetup.com/904/

To sign up for the Saratoga Meetup with Pat Friesen:
http://dfa.meetup.com/874/

Glens Falls is http://dfa.meetup.com/38

Welcome Patrick!

4. Greg Palast Exposes Iraq War

Many of us will remember BBC reporter Greg Palast first broke the story of election fraud in Florida in 2000. On the BBC's Newsnight program today he breaks a major story on the origins of the Iraq War, and the feud between the big oil companies and the administration's neocon extremists. He has new evidence the war was planned from the minute Bush got into office and the goal was Iraq's oil: Palast

5. Mainstream Churches under attack

Members of our mainstream churches should know there is a scary and well funded plot by radical right forces to try and hijack America's biggest denominations and bend them to the radical right's political agenda. This is an appalling story. It seems there is no tactic too low for them and what's worse, they never seem to sleep:
Churches


6. Boxer Calls For Boycott

Our Senate Democrats got beat on oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Wednesday. Senator Barbara Boxer is now calling for a nationwide boycott of any oil company that bids on the oil leases. This is the kid of action we can all pledge too. Boxer Boycott


7. Join Anniversary Protest on Start of War

Join a call on the 2nd Anniversary of the War to support our troops by bringing them home now. There will be a Community Walk Sunday March 20th in Saratoga Springs, NY. Speakers start at noon in front of the 
Post Office on Broadway. A contingency meeting place will be High Rock Park. The walk begins at 1 pm. These Regional Protests Are Happening Across the U.S. & Worldwide. Contact March20Project@gmail.com for information. 
 Sponsored by the March 20th Project.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005
 
Call For Action From Governor Dean
The following emergency call for action was sent out tonight from Governor Dean. Please click the links below to add your name.

Apparently Republican threats to abolish every United States Senator's right to freely speak on the floor of the Senate, the so-called "nuclear option", which would abolish filibuster and fundamentally alter our system of government, is coming to a head. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sent a powerful statement to Republican Senate leaders tonight. Read it at Daily Kos: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/3/15/152747/488 Then take action!



GOVERNOR HOWARD DEAN

Sometimes partisan politics gets overheated -- I know that as well as anyone. But when one party controls all three branches of government, and then seeks to change the fundamental principles and rules of our democracy, we need to talk about it soberly and seriously.

The Republican Senate leaders have decided to fundamentally alter the role of Congress -- they want to give George Bush unprecedented power to manipulate the legislative branch and the courts.

Today Harry Reid and the Democratic Senators asked us, the American people, to help them preserve the right of our elected representatives to speak their mind on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

We have to act. Sign this petition, which we will deliver to every U.S. Senator, asking them to protect the right to free speech in the Senate. If they don't, it is not only their voice that will be silenced -- it will be ours:

http://www.democrats.org/freespeech

Here are the facts: George Bush has appointed judges to lifetime positions at a better rate than any president in nearly three decades. More than 95% of his nominees have been approved. Only ten nominees have been refused -- all because they are unqualified and out of the mainstream.

But that's not enough. And on this issue, as on Social Security, it is becoming more and more obvious to everyone that the Republican leadership is out of touch with reality.

More Americans voted against George Bush than any sitting president in history. And that same day, across the country, the Democratic candidates for Senate received over 4 million more votes than Republicans.

Americans did not endorse the fringe agenda to dismantle Social Security. And they did not endorse dismantling the system of checks and balances that have served our country for over 200 years.

Please tell your Senator to stand up for free speech:

http://www.democrats.org/freespeech

This is not a partisan issue -- it is an American issue. And we all must act together in order to protect our democracy.

Thank you.

Governor Howard Dean, M.D.

 
ST. PATRICK'S DAY Fund raising party for Tommy Mctygue
ST. PATRICK'S "TIP O' THE HAT" Holiday Party, sponsored by the Citizens for McTygue Committee. Money will go to support the re-election of Public works Commissioner Tommy Mctygue
THURSDAY, MARCH 17, 2005  - 6:00 TO 10:00 P.M.  The Canfield Casino, Congress Park, Saratoga Springs, N.Y. 12866.
Donation:  $35.00 per person. R.S.V.P. - for information phone 584-8883 (after 6 p.m.).    
Special Entertainment will be provided.
Food: Hors d'oeuvres/pasta, Corned Beef, Dessert Table, wine, beer, soda. Tckets will also be sold at the door.

 
Welcome To Ballston Democrats and a new Meetup!
We would like to welcome Patrick Southworth, Town Chairman of the Ballston Democrats and the new Ballston Meetup to Democracy For the Southern Adirondack/Tricounty Area Coalition! We will be getting info here on Patrick's new meetup shortly. I'll post Patrick's posting tonight below; I didn't mean to push it down so quickly! (Sorry -- didn't realize it was there.) Thanks again Patrick, for you hard work and your interest.

Larry Dudley

Calling All Dean Supporters
Hello I am the chairman of the Ballston Democratic Committee. We need your help to defeat the republicans, who are up for re-election Nov 2nd. We have our candidates one registered dem, one registered independent and one republican. One winning team. The registration in our town is 2 to 1 republicans to democrats but the (nop) no offical party number equals the dem number. And the republican number is soft. We also have the issues smart growth, open responsible goverment, and no 100 million dollar county water project that the saratoga republican party is trying to ram down our thoarts. They want the water so they can open the flood gates to uncontroled growth in Saratoga County. We would like any and all help. Thanks patrick Southworth

 
What Americans Really Believe
Here's something really encouraging that recently came to our attention: Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg, co-authored a study with his daughter Anna, of what Americans really believe. This was sponsored by Public Interest Projects and comes from the Liberal Oasis website: our thanks to LO. Click to the link above to get to Liberal Oasis and a link to the raw data.

"It is an immensely important document showing how the public is quite ready to hear arguments for responsive government and fair, adequate taxation.

The Greenbergs conclude:

...we find powerful evidence that Americans believe that government has a central role to play in ensuring equal opportunity for all, in providing the services that create the conditions that make equal opportunity possible and that people see their taxes as a contribution to this collective endeavor."

And it is powerful evidence. The Greenbergs asked poll respondents if “government should be responsible for” various societal goals. Here are some of the responses. Percentages combine those saying “strongly responsible” and “somewhat responsible”:

-- Protecting the environment: 93% (69% strongly)
-- Keeping tabs on and regulating big corporations and powerful individuals who may abuse their position and hurt others in society: 92% (71% strongly)
-- Ensuring equal opportunity for everyone: 88% (67% strongly)
-- Guaranteeing a quality public education 87% (70% strongly)
-- Guaranteeing all have health care insurance: 79% (60% strongly)
-- Making sure no one lives in poverty: 76% (49% strongly)
-- Helping people not fall back when they face a crisis, become unemployed or face big health care, college costs or retirement costs: 75% (40% strongly)

But it's one thing for people to want their government to do stuff. It's another to be willing to pay for it.

Do people accept that their government can’t realize these goals unless they contribute tax dollars?

Yes.

The Greenbergs asked if people agreed with the following statements about taxes. Again, percentages combine those saying “strongly” and “somewhat” agree.

-- I don’t mind paying taxes because my taxes contribute to making sure we have public schools, clean streets, public safety and a national defense and a cleaner environment: 84% (61% strongly)

-- I don't mind paying takes because my taxes are part of my contribution to society as a citizen of the United States: 81% (56% strongly)

-- I don't mind paying taxes because I want government to play a strong role in helping people, when in need: 76% (46% strongly)

-- I don't mind paying taxes because it is my contribution to make sure our government helps create opportunities and keeps the economy growing: 75% (43% strongly)

Furthermore, a mere 38% say that “I don’t like paying taxes because government spends too much money on welfare and other handouts”.

Even less, 28%, say “I don’t like paying taxes because the government doesn’t do anything for people like me”.

So if it is the case that people want their government to be actively solving problems, and don’t mind paying taxes to that end, what is it that allows the GOP to succeed?

Because people have been skeptical that their government will spend their money wisely.

For example, in the Greenbergs’ survey, 65% agreed with the statement: “I don’t like paying taxes because the government is too wasteful and inefficient”.

This is not a cry for less government, but a cry for better government.

(Do note though, as MyDD.com has, that the sense that government is inherently wasteful and inefficient has been waning, according to the Pew poll.)

Yet the Dems haven’t been making any case for government, while the GOP has a relatively easy time playing on people’s skepticism of governmental effectiveness. But the numbers clearly show that the Dems have no reason to hide their core beliefs about the role of government. And the opportunity is ripe, during this Social Security battle, to make it crystal clear to the public which party wants their government to work for them, and which party wants the government to not work at all."

Monday, March 14, 2005
 
calling all dean supporters
Hello I am the chairman of the Ballston Democratic Committee. We need your help to defeat the republicans, who are up for re-election Nov 2nd. We have our candidates one registered dem, one registered independent and one republican. One winning team. The registration in our town is 2 to 1 republicans to democrats but the (nop) no offical party number equals the dem number. And the republican number is soft. We also have the issues smart growth, open responsible goverment, and no 100 million dollar county water project that the saratoga republican party is trying to ram down our thoarts. They want the water so they can open the flood gates to uncontroled growth in Saratoga County. We would like any and all help. Thanks patrick Southworth

Monday, March 07, 2005
 
Democratic Leadership Council hitting the skids
Published on Friday, March 4, 2005 by The Nation
Going Nowhere: The DLC Sputters to a Haltt
by Ari Berman

from the March 21, 2005 issue of The Nation
In May 2003 the centrist Democratic Leadership Council published its yearly list of "100 New Democrats to Watch." The DLC frequently puts out these lists as a way to publicly solidify its identification with the New Democratic movement within the Democratic Party. The 2003 list, however, contained a number of questionable additions, including then-Illinois State Senator Barack Obama. As a state senator, Obama had continually passed progressive legislation--a record that he vowed to add to when he began his run for the US Senate on a platform of clear opposition to the Patriot Act, the Iraq War and NAFTA, all positions anathema to the DLC. The puzzling addition caused The Black Commentator magazine to wonder, a month after the DLC list came out, whether Obama had been "corrupted" by the centrist group. Obama's reply to the Commentator was indicative of how the DLC plays the "New Democrat" card.
"Neither my staff nor I have had any direct contact with anybody at the DLC since I began this campaign a year ago," Obama wrote. "I don't know who nominated me for the DLC list of 100 rising stars, nor did I expend any effort to be included on the list.... I certainly did not view such inclusion as an endorsement on my part of the DLC platform." After realizing that his name appeared in the DLC's database, Obama asked to have it removed. The message was clear: The DLC needed Obama a lot more than Obama needed the DLC.
Today, the same is true for many politicians. After dominating the party in the 1990s, the DLC is struggling to maintain its identity and influence in a party beset by losses and determined to oppose George W. Bush. Prominent New Democrats no longer refer to themselves as such. The New Democratic movement of pro-free market moderates, which helped catapult Bill Clinton into the White House in 1992, has splintered, transformed by a reinvigoration of grassroots energy. A host of new donors, groups and tactics has forged a new direction for Democrats inside and outside the party, bringing together vital parts of the old centrist establishment and the traditional Democratic base. The ideological independence of the DLC, which pushed the party to the right, has come to be viewed as a threat rather than a virtue, forcing the DLC to adapt accordingly. Corporate fundraisers and DC connections--the lifeblood of the DLC--matter less and less: Witness the ascent of MoveOn.org and Howard Dean's election as chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). "It's not that the DLC changed," says Kenneth Baer, who wrote a history of the organization. "It's that the world changed around the DLC."
Today's DLC is a far cry from the anti-establishment organization created by New Democrats who captured power within the party in the Clinton era by distancing themselves from the party's traditional base and liberal candidates. After co-founding the DLC in 1985, former Congressional aide Al From aggressively expanded what had been an informal caucus of Southern and Western Congressmen into a $7-million-a-year operation at its peak in 2000. By that time it had 5,000 members, who paid $50 a pop to join; and politicians, policy wonks and lobbyists flocked to its annual conferences. The DLC's tough free-market positions, connections to big business and early media savvy enticed Clinton into becoming chair in 1990. Although the organization always took more credit than it deserved for his 1992 victory, downplaying Ross Perot's impact and Clinton's own charisma, that election nevertheless institutionalized the DLC's rising status. DLC strategists William Galston, Elaine Kamarck and Bruce Reed became top domestic policy aides in the Clinton White House. After the Republican Revolution of 1994, From told the Democrats to "get with the [DLC] program." The DLC quickly became the new Washington establishment, launching state chapters, creating a New Democratic Coalition in Congress and expanding its Progressive Policy Institute think tank. A top aide to Jesse Jackson groused of the post-Clinton Democratic Party, "The DLC has taken it over."
But the DLC's great hopes in 2000 of becoming a permanent power center in Washington never materialized. Al Gore's promising New Democratic candidacy turned sour for the DLC when Gore, a DLC founder, switched to a populist strategy after trailing in the polls. No one but the DLC believes that strategy cost Gore the election. "Gore's defeat didn't reinvigorate the DLC as the defeat of Dukakis did, nor did it vindicate their strategy like the election of 1992," says Baer, a Gore speechwriter in 2000. In George W. Bush's first term, the DLC emerged as an important backer of "compassionate conservatism" and convinced the Democratic leadership to back Bush's war with Iraq. Current and former DLC chairmen Evan Bayh, Joe Lieberman and Dick Gephardt flanked Bush at a ceremony announcing the war resolution. Still enthralled by centrist orthodoxy, prowar candidates emerged as early frontrunners in the Democratic primary.
No candidate embodied the New Democrat ethos better than Lieberman, whose moral purity, hawkish views and name recognition earned him early Beltway supporters. Thus, when Howard Dean came into view, the DLC was quick to underestimate Dean's potential resonance with Democratic voters, misjudge the transformative nature of his campaign and mischaracterize the ideological bent of many of his supporters. After supporting a losing candidate in Lieberman, the unpopular war in Iraq and an outdated platform, attacking Dean was the only way the DLC could shift the Democratic debate.
"What activists like Dean call the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party is an aberration; the McGovern-Mondale wing, defined principally by weakness abroad and elitist, interest-group liberalism at home," From and Reed wrote in a fiery memo titled "The Real Soul of the Democratic Party" on May 15, 2003. Four days later, after Dean won the endorsement of the 1.5 million-member public employees union AFSCME, the DLC denounced the union as "fringe activists." But others were having second thoughts--about strategy and the DLC. As Dean surged ahead, DNC chairman and Clinton confidant Terry McAuliffe told From to quiet the attacks. All nine Democratic contenders skipped the DLC's annual convention in Philadelphia.
For his part, Dean became the first serious presidential candidate to challenge the DLC openly since Jesse Jackson. But along with his clear antiwar stance, Dean frequently invoked his record of balancing budgets and his A rating from the NRA. (In fact, in 1996 the DLC had praised re-election of "the centrist Gov. Howard Dean" as indicative of a blossoming "New Democratic leadership.") This led many analysts to wonder whether the DLC's animosity was more about power than ideology. "Mr. From fancies himself a kingmaker," wrote then-Wall Street Journal columnist Al Hunt, "and Dr. Dean hasn't supped sufficiently at his table."
Major fissures emerged within the New Democratic movement as the DLC lost longstanding ideological and organizational support. Elaine Kamarck repudiated her "Politics of Evasion" argument--which laid out the policy blueprint for Clintonism--in a series of Newsday columns, arguing that the Dean campaign rendered the DC establishment "pretty much irrelevant." After Kamarck endorsed Dean in early January 2004, the DLC-friendly New Republic wrote: "Al From's Head Explodes." "The Democrats are not where we were fifteen years ago," Kamarck now says. "I think it's great that there's been a resurgence in grassroots activism on the left side of the party."
A public feud also emerged between From and the New Democratic Network (NDN), which the DLC founded as its own political action committee to elect New Democrats to Congress. The NDN had been run by loyal DLC protégé Simon Rosenberg since 1996. Rosenberg eschewed the DLC's high-profile attacks and ideological rigidity, viewing Dean as the most innovative leader since Clinton. "I didn't support Dean's candidacy or agree with him on many issues," Rosenberg told Time's Joe Klein. "But I appreciated how he did what he did. I also thought it was time for New Democrats to declare victory in the intellectual wars and make peace with the party infrastructure." To that end, Rosenberg kept the NDN centrist in orientation but competed with the DLC for members and money, launching an expensive media campaign targeting Hispanic voters and forming alliances with blogs like DailyKos and MyDD and organizations like MoveOn.org. After ending his bid for DNC chairman, Rosenberg endorsed Dean. "NDN pluralized the concept of a New Democrat," says political analyst Ruy Teixeira. "You can now say you're a New Democrat and have very different views from Al From."
The media coverage of its attacks, plus Dean's own implosion, breathed temporary life into the DLC, as it assumed a large role in John Kerry's policy shop. As the Anybody But Bush movement mobilized, the DLC quietly pushed Kerry rightward, dubbing him "a pragmatic centrist in the Clinton mode."
After Kerry's defeat, the DLC promised to "avoid the circular firing squad" mentality but then quickly broke the promise, reverting to its favorite target: the Democratic base. Instead of labor unions and feminists, the DLC fixated on MoveOn.org and Michael Moore. "We need to be the party of Harry Truman and John Kennedy, not Michael Moore," the DLC wrote on the Wall Street Journal op-ed page, of all places. "What leftist elites smugly imagine is a sophisticated view of their country's flaws strikes much of America as a false and malicious cartoon," the DLC's Will Marshall wrote in Blueprint, the group's magazine, in a rant worthy of The Weekly Standard. "Democrats should have no truck with the rancid anti-Americanism of the conspiracy-mongering left." The DLC continued this vitriol into March.
Such attacks put the DLC back on the front page--a fact that speaks to one of its ongoing sources of strength. For Washington journalists, the DLC is an ideal organization, frequently critical and readily accessible. Privately, DLC staffers complain that only controversy will bring coverage. A fat Rolodex, the product of years spent mingling with journalists, gives the DLC an illusion of real power. The New York Times and Washington Post mentioned or quoted the DLC 200 times during the electoral season, forty more mentions than the Club for Growth, a leading player in the right-wing movement.
The DLC's media savvy has helped it build a wealth of connections. The organization now claims hundreds of state elected officials in the New Democratic directory published on its website. Some, like Bayh or Lieberman, are true believers. Others are happy for the free publicity gained from attending a conference or being named "New Democrat of the Week." And for politicians in red states, joining the DLC offers political cover. "It's the easiest, cheapest way for a politician who wants to be equated with a 'different kind of Democrat,'" says former Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi, who endorsed Rosenberg for DNC chair. "It doesn't mean anything anymore."
For example, fourteen members of the House New Democratic Coalition earned perfect ratings from the liberal Americans for Democratic Action in 2002 or 2003. "The mothership idea of a New Democrat was never shared by the DLC's rank and file, and it's less so today," says Teixeira. The House Coalition lost thirty-six members over the past two years. "Their universe of federal elected officials is relatively small," adds Baer. Of course, the fact that a New Democratic Coalition even exists is testament to the DLC's past success in creating, identifying and marketing a New Democratic brand.
Centrist elected officials have prospered with the DLC's institutional backing, a luxury never afforded to alternative groups like the House Progressive Caucus, which has failed to translate its sizable membership into lasting influence. (Its website hasn't been updated since the Supreme Court ruled on affirmative action in June 2003.) In the Senate, progressives are even less organized. The fact that conservative Democrats like Mary Landrieu and Blanche Lincoln speak through the New Democratic Coalition while center-left Dems like Patrick Leahy and Byron Dorgan lack institutional support is one way the DLC survives.
Conservative Democrats also subsist on "warmed-up leftovers from the Clinton brain trust," as The Washington Monthly wrote recently, or what DLC fellow (and former Christian Coalition staffer) Marshall Whitman boasts of as the "tried and tested formula for the Democratic Party's resurgence." But today, emerging wisdom holds that Clintonism without Clinton is not a winning strategy. When Clinton entered office, Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. Democrats now have their smallest minority presence in decades. All eight candidates for whom Clinton campaigned in 2004 lost. Nevertheless, the DLC has adopted Clinton's triangulation tactics on national security, economic policies and family values for the "Heartland Strategy" it's developing to help Democrats win in the red states. What Daily Show comedian Lewis Black said recently of Democrats in general is true in spades for the DLC: "Sometimes the devil you know is better than winning."
The "Third Way" of Clinton has now largely given way to opposing George W. Bush. Upon entering the new Congress in January, the House Democratic leadership berated lawmakers for voting with the GOP and warned Democrats that loyalty would become a prerequisite for assuming a committee chair. Senate minority leader Harry Reid has virtually united Democrats against Social Security privatization, opened a "war room" to counteract the Republican message and promised future fights against conservative judges. Such attitudes illustrate how times appear to be changing in one-party Washington, especially for New Democrats. "The New and Old labels aren't relevant at this point," says former Congressman Joe Hoeffel, past chairman of Pennsylvania's state DLC chapter. "Now that we're in the minority, we need unity to win elections." In the race for DNC chair, the only candidate to embrace a New Democratic platform actively, former Indiana Congressman Tim Roemer, ran far behind, mainly because of his antichoice record. Simon Rosenberg downplayed his past ties to the DLC, emphasizing his work modernizing the NDN. Dean rode to victory on an anti-establishment, reform message. DNC members this year responded favorably to the "outsider" candidate. Now the DLC's archnemesis is in charge of rebuilding the Democratic Party.
Dean won't be alone. The progressive infrastructure that helped keep Kerry alive and began crafting a sharper Democratic message--America Votes, Progressive Majority, Camp Wellstone, Democracy for America, Center for American Progress, Air America Radio, Media Matters, the blogosphere--now exerts a greater degree of influence, bankrolled by new, wealthy outsiders and small donors who share similar goals. George Soros and Peter Lewis have pledged $100 million over the next fifteen years to support a permanent idea factory rivaling right-wing think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and the mushy centrism of the DLC's Progressive Policy Institute. "We've come to represent a way of doing politics that is dangerous to people in DC who have a nice little niche," says MoveOn.org executive director Eli Pariser. "Bringing in the grassroots will mean a loss of influence for some of the establishment folks."
The DLC finally seems to be getting the message, revising some of its past positions to accommodate a new desire for party unity and a more progressive, grassroots focus. In 2002 the DLC supported privatizing Social Security. Now it's opposed. Evan Bayh, a likely presidential contender in 2008, bucked his fellow New Democrats and voted against the nominations of Condoleezza Rice for Secretary of State and Alberto Gonzales for Attorney General. "We're not trying to impose litmus tests," says DLC policy director Ed Kilgore, a more conciliatory figure than From or Marshall. "It's a little daunting to always be called Republican-lite." Younger DLC members privately say they'll become more involved only when From retires. Quietly, the DLC has been offering "value-based" training for Democratic officials for the past seven years. "Our main focus is now outside the Beltway," Kilgore adds, though he admits that the DLC "has never pretended, nor tried, to be a true grassroots organization." The effort sounds promising, but time will tell whether the DLC can sufficiently reinvent itself; the DLC eliminated its state chapters after they became too independent of Washington.
"Let Republicans be the party of Washington," From wrote recently. "We should take up the reform mantle." To that end, the DLC is even borrowing traditional liberal passions like electoral reform. But before it tries to reform the Democratic Party, the old dinosaur of the Democratic establishment may first have to reform itself.
Ari Berman writes The Nation's "Daily Outrage" weblog at www.thenation.com/outrage. He is a Ralph Shikes Fellow at the Public Concern Foundation.
© 2005 The Nation

 
Saratoga Springs Events
SATURDAY -MARCH 12, 2005
SS DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE INVITES YOU ALL TO:
"SHAKE OFF THOSE WINTER BLUES"
LUNCHEON BUFFET, BLUES MUSIC AND RAFFLE
BRINDISI'S RESTAURANT ON BROADWAY
NOON-2PM
$30

RSVP: KAT GULICK @ 221-3949 OR PAT FRIESEN @ 587-4983

 AND

SUNDAY - MARCH 13, 2005
SS DEMOCRATIC WOMEN'S DINNER & MOVIE
4PM - EARLY BIRD DINNER BUFFET AT BRINDISI'S
6PM - PRIVATE SHOWING OF "VERA DRAKE" FOLLOWED BY A DISCUSSION LED BY
CAROL BLOWERS - SARATOGA COUNTY ARTS COUNCIL BUILDING
$25 FOR DINNER & MOVIE
$6 FOR MOVIE ONLY
RSVP: PAT FRIESEN - 587-4983 OR PFRIESEN@NYCAP.RR.COM 

HOPE TO SEE YOU ALL FOR A FUN WEEKEND!!

 

 
Dubya Explains His Social Security Plan
"I'm sure this will clarify things for everyone

WOMAN IN AUDIENCE: I don't really understand. How is it the new [Social Security] plan is going to fix that problem?

GEORGE W. BUSH: Because the -- all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculated, for example, is on the table. Whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those -- changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be -- or closer delivered to what has been promised. Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a series of things that cause the -- like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate -- the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those -- if that growth is affected, it will help on the red. -- Dubya explains the virtues of his Social Security plan, Tampa, Florida, Feb. 4, 2005

Got that?  What did you expect? "

Thanks, Wendy!

Sunday, March 06, 2005
 
DFA Candidate Forum Wednesday in Glens Falls and More
Hello Everyone;

In this update:

1. A special Candidate Forum Wednesday for Walt Combs
2. Lakoff video to be shown also
3. Social Security & DFA
4. New York State and voting machines
5. FYI links

1. DFA member Walt Combs declared his candidacy for Glens Falls' Third Ward Council seat at another great Meetup held last Wednesday at the Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe.

Accordingly, we will be holding a special DFA Meetup next Wednesday, March 9 at the Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe in downtown Glens Falls at 7pm. All DFA members and the general public, particularly residents of Glens Falls' Third Ward, are cordially invited to attend. Walt will make a presentation on the issues facing the city and his campaign followed by a Q & A peroid.

This will be the second Candidate Forum sponsored by the Glens Falls Democracy for America group. At Wednesday's Meetup a Candidates Committee was formed to handle Candidate Endorsements, Forums and recruitment. There will be another round of Dean Dozen candidates this year and our Committee will be handling our referrals to DFA in Burlington. These forums are open to all Democratic and progressive candidates throughout the Greater Glens Falls area and should contact us if they are interested.

2. After the Candidate Forum there will be an encore showing of the George Lakoff video on framing and language in politics based on his best selling book Don't Think Of An Elephant.

Governor Dean has been a strong advocate of Dr. Lakoff; Lakoff was required reading for every staff member of the Dean campaign. As the Governor points out, one of the biggest reasons Democrats have been loosing is that the Republicans have been more skillful than Democrats at using language. For instance, they successfully reframed Estate Taxes, which were a tax on unearned wealth in super rich families, into the "Death Tax" even though no one has to pay a tax to die. By controlling language they've been able to win the debate before it even started.

3. DFA is also working hard on fighting Bush's effort to destroy Social Security. We are collecting Social Security stories and writing letters resisting changes to this great program because it is basically am example of framing in action. We may talk about other ways we can fight back on SS Wednesday. One thing we all can do online today is sign the Save Social Security Pledge we are asking all our elected officials to sign: Pledge

4. One of the things we talked about at Wednesday's Meetup was the fact that the NYS Legislature is preparing to replace all the voting machines in NY. The Albany Meetup has been doing great work on this issue. They have learned that to prevent ballot fraud, we need optical scanners and not touch screen machines, which can be hacked in any number of ways. I will be sending out a special update on this tomorrow or Tuesday; it's a big issue and there's a lot that we can do!

5. Governor Dean is active on the balloting issue; as the new DNC Chair he just appointed a special expert commission to investigate the vote in Ohio: OHIO

This issue does continue to fester and the lawsuits continue, even though we aren't hearing about it in the national media.
VOTE

For more on what Dean is up to lately:
Dean at Cornell


Dean meets Labor

He also just stormed the South: Dean in South

Also check out a view from Joe Trippi: Trippi on Dean's Importance

In other news Stop Sinclair, which formed to block Sinclair Broadcasting's outrageous attacks on Kerry is now Start Change. They will be working on media reform in the future. Start Change

Finally, another reality check on the horror in Iraq. As this article makes clear, we are watching one of the greatest setbacks to human rights in our time, not a "new birth of freedom" in the middle east, despite the outrageous propaganda being spun and uncritically repeated by the national media. Freedom is not advancing when half or more of the population, that is, ALL the women, are effectively losing ALL their rights. With the Islamist government taking charge there now, our Army is little better than the enforcers for fundamentalist Islamism. It is Iraq's women who will pay the ultimate price of the Bush foreign policy and the neocon lust for "empire."
women's forgotten rights in Iraq


Many thanks! See you Wednesday!

Larry


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