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Democracy For The Southern Adirondack/Tricounty Area
Monday, January 30, 2006
 
Tricounty DFA Meetup Reminder
Hello Everyone;

This is a reminder that we will be having our February DFA Meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, February 1st at 7pm at the Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe in Downtown Glens Falls.

On the agenda: We will be doing some more organizing for the DFA Training Day next Saturday -- we need volunteers for setup and breakdown, among other things.

Also -- if circumstances allow, we would like to show the video Walmart, The High Price Of The Low Price, by filmmaker Robert Greenwald, who also did Outfoxed , Uncovered and many other great videos.

There will be no DFA Meetup in Saratoga this week; Pat Friesen tells me she may have one next week. Stay tuned!

Also -- as you know, Kirsten Gillibrand will be having her formal announcement today (january 31st) at 11:30pm at the Canfield Casino in Congress Park in downtown Saratoga Springs. Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is scheduled to endorse her.

Finally, Pat Friesen sends this along;

On Saturday, February 4th, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Saratoga Public
Library there will be a Town Meeting designed as a community
dialogue to explore U.S. policies in the region. A balanced panel
of four includes James Ader, Iraq war veteran and assistant to
Congressman John Sweeney, John Jasper Nolan of the Saratoga County
Republican Committee, Steve Breymen of Renssalaer Polytechnic
Institute, and May Safar, a native of Baghdad. After their remarks
the floor will be open for questions and statements from the
audience. Our goal is to listen respectfully to each other so that
our own opinions will be well informed enough to communicate them to
our government for action.

Each of us has a piece of the truth. Come and share yours so that
together we can find an answer to that difficult question "where do
we go from here?" Please call Jim Fulmer, 583-7501, with any questions

Thanks everyone! See you all Wednesday.

Larry

Wednesday, January 25, 2006
 
Tricouty DFA Update: Gillibrand Announcement!
Hello Everyone!

The moment has finally arrived and it is going to be a big one; Kirsten Gillibrand will formally announce her candidacy for the United States Congress with a major address on Tuesday, January 31st starting at 11:30am at the Canfield Casino in downtown Saratoga Springs, NY.

Introducing Kirsten will be the next Governor of the State of New York, the man 60 Minutes dubbed the "Sheriff of Wallstreet," Attorney General Elliot Spitzer.

Light refreshments will be available after the announcement.

Because of press coverage, we would like to urge all of our members to please try and attend this event and show the depth of support for Kirsten Gillibrand's candidacy for the U.S. Congress.

Remember: showing up for Kirsten Gillibrand is the first step to showing John Sweeney the door!

For more info, check out the the DFA-Link page for the announcement and please RSVP if you know you can come: http://www.dfalink.com/event.php?id=4733 You can also get directions from google maps if you have never been to the Canfield Casino before.

Also get more details about the campaign at: http://www.gillibrand2006.com/

See you all at the announcement!

Larry

Tuesday, January 17, 2006
 
Tricounty DFA Update: Gillibrand Endorsed, Sweeney Scandal! & More
Hello Everyone;

In this update:

1. Six 20th Congressional District DFA Groups Endorse Gillibrand
2. Glens Falls Meetup Report
3. Sweeney/ Lobbyist Scandal
4. Check Out Sweeney Hotel
5. Can You Write A Letter?



1. Six 20th Congressional District DFA Groups Endorse Gillibrand

Last week across the 20th Congressional District six DFA groups joined together to simultaneously and unanimously endorse Kirsten Gillibrand for Congress. If you didn't see it, DFA's Blog For America gave our report a big play Sunday; check it out at: http://www.blogforamerica.com/archives/007392.html

No group of DFA meetups has done this in a Congressional District before. So it is a big step forward both for our local DFA coalition and the Gillibrand campaign. A formal announcement by Kirsten is coming soon and we will let you know when details are available.

2. Glens Falls Meetup Report

Last week in Glens Falls a healthy crowd joined with the other district DFA groups on a 40 minute live conference call with Kirsten Gillibrand, then moved with little ado and smiles all around to unanimously endorse Kirsten. It's been ten months since KIrsten made her first appearance here while exploring a race, so it was a moment most of us had been looking forward to for some time. After the endorsement we discussed the upcoming DFA Training Day in South Glens Falls at the Plumber's Hall, the Gillibrand Field Program to Take Back the 20th CD (more on all that later), and scheduled the video Walmart, the High Price of The Low Price for the February meeting.

Note: the Glens Falls February Meeting will be held on its usual day, the first Wednesday of the month, February 1st.

3. Sweeney/ Lobbyist Scandal

The race hasn't really even begun and Sweeney is already embroiled in a scandal! Last weekend Rep. Sweeney went to pricey ski town Park City, Utah for a top secret, ultra expensive $2,000 a head lobbying weekend with District of Columbia lobbyists and insiders -- at the very moment the lobbying scandal is exploding all over the capitol.

He had the incredible gall to do this right when he was talking in the press about the need for lobbying reform.

Who was there? How much did they give Sweeney? Most importantly, what did he promise them in return? For more, check out the official campaign press release on our blog at http://townmeetingday.blogspot.com/2006/01/revealed-secret-sweeney-ski-weekend.html

For more read the AP article from Newsday at the bottom. There'll be articles in the TU and other papers tomorrow.

4. Check Out Sweeney Hotel

Sweeney talks a great game about promoting businesses and communities in the 20th. But for some reason Sweeney chose to take his rich lobbyist pals to Utah for his fundraising junket.

I can tell you for a fact there are some very fine resorts all over the Adirondacks. Not good enough for Sweeney, though. Want to see how a well connected Republican Congressman in the age of scandal and corruption actually lives? The Hotel Park City, where Sweeney stayed in a $349 a night suite (there are nothing but suites in this posh establishment) has a very elaborate website with high resolution pictures. (Also a webcam you can move remotely -- I've been in the web design business for some time and I can't even guess what that slick little goodie cost.)

The big Sundance Film Festival, the American Cannes, is just about to start there. The Park City Hotel is a favorite with big name Hollywood celebrities like Sean Penn, Minnie Driver and Robert Downey, Jr.

First read the description: http://www.hotelparkcity.com/default.aspx?pageID=GuestRooms

Then check out the pictures: http://www.hotelparkcity.com/default.aspx?pageID=PressRoom&dirID=Rooms
and know it's a tough gig to be a Republican Congressman in the age of sleaze.

Also note the twice a day maid services, the complimentary Bvlgari bath amenities, the four telephones in each suite, the working fireplaces, jet tubs, secretarial services and -- get this -- the heated, inside parking spaces! (The last time my car was in a heated space was the Fourth of July!)

And yet Sweeney would have us believe he's just a regular guy. In a Bvlgari bubble bath.

5. Can You Write A Letter?

So! What do we do about this? Could we ask you all to write a letter to the editor?

Here are some suggested points:
* Our Adirondack resorts aren't good enough, John?
* Or are you slinking out there for a reason? Something to hide, you need to go out of state?
* Did you stop off in Las Vegas on the way home?
* Can average working people who only get two weeks vacation a year and can't take off for the slopes whenever they feel like it get the kind of time those lobbyists get?
* Are you still spending tens of thousands of dollars on limo services?

You can use this form at the post-star: http://poststar.net/contact/elet_form.asp or email them to tingley@poststar.com
For other papers use this form at the AAUW: http://capwiz.com/aauw/dbq/media/?azip=12801&search.x=0&search.y=0&command=zipresult

More later this week on our DFA Training Day on February 4th and the Gillibrand Field Program.

Thanks for those letters, everyone!

Larry


*********

Newsday



By DEVLIN BARRETT
Associated Press Writer

January 17, 2006, 3:24 PM EST

WASHINGTON -- A would-be challenger to Rep. John Sweeney took aim Tuesday at the Republican congressman over a ski-weekend fundraiser in Park City, Utah with a pharmaceutical industry lobbyist.

"Skiing with Sweeney" was billed as a $2,000 contribution-per-person event last weekend at a ski resort, where, according to the invite, the Sweeney room rate was $349 a night.

Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democratic lawyer seeking to run against Sweeney, charges the event undercuts Sweeney's effort to fix recent troubles in Congress _ including a burgeoning congressional corruption probe _ by holding new party leadership elections.

"The congressman talked about reform and here he is out at this posh resort doing the same old business," said Gillibrand campaign manager Bill Hyers.

Melissa Carlson, a Sweeney spokeswoman, called the charges "malicious, self-serving, and hypocritical."

Sweeney has called for new elections for all House GOP leaders except Speaker Dennis Hastert, saying the Republican members need to do some "soul searching."

The congressional probe centers around corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with a federal criminal probe of a number of members of Congress and staffers.

Days after Abramoff's guilty pleas, former majority leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, announced he would not seek to reclaim the post. DeLay was already battling a felony campaign finance indictment in his home state.

Sweeney has not been linked to any of the corruption allegations, but Gillibrand's camp charged Tuesday that the ski fundraiser showed the congressman is part of the lobbyist problem in Washington.

The invite included a dinner at the Park City home of Jeff Kimbell, a medical and pharmaceutical industry lobbyist.

"Are we really treating the voters of the district well by having some swanky dinner to raise money for his campaign at this pharmaceutical lobbyist's house when obviously low-cost prescription drugs are a big issue in the district?" said Hyers.

Sweeney's office countered that, during the trip, Sweeney met with an executive of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association to talk about economic development in and around Lake Placid, N.Y., and said his opponent Gillibrand had failed to follow basic campaign reporting rules.

"Ms. Gillibrand has chosen the low road in her first campaign for office in a district she barely knows, for people she's never met, for reasons we may never know," said Carlson.

Sweeney's campaign has received more than $50,000 from lobbyists for the 2006 election cycle, second only to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., among New York members of Congress, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks political fundraising.

Gillibrand plans to announce a policy that every meeting with a lobbyist should be publicly disclosed.

"We need to set a new standard (in which) you need to fully disclose every single thing about that meeting," said Hyers. "That's reasonable, especially in this climate."


Subscribe to Newsday home delivery | Article licensing and reprint options

 
REVEALED: SECRET SWEENEY SKI WEEKEND WITH DC LOBBYISTS
Press release

AS GOP LOBBYIST SCANDAL CONSUMES DC, SWEENEY TAKES SECRET FUNDRAISING SKI TRIP WITH LOBBYISTS AT POSH UTAH RESORT

Gillibrand Campaign Demands that Sweeney Come Clean:
Reveal Lobbyists on his Ski Trip, Money Raised, Issues Discussed, Promises Made

NY – As the Republican lobbyist scandal continues to grow and grip Washington, D.C., John Sweeney demonstrated his disregard for real reform by hosting a $2,000 per person lobbyist fundraiser in Park City, Utah this past weekend less than 24 hours after calling for reform.

Held at the posh $349 a night Hotel Park City, Sweeney’s lavish invite-only lobbyist fundraising weekend began on Thursday, January 12th and concluded on Sunday, January 15th. The weekend – billed as a “Ski Event Honoring John Sweeney”-- included time on the slopes during the day and fine dining at a lavish private home at night.

In response, Gillibrand campaign manager Bill Hyers said: “Career politician John Sweeney owes the people of this Congressional District an explanation. He needs to come clean and tell New Yorkers the names of the lobbyists on his ski trip, how much they gave him, the issues they discussed and the promises he made to them. The time for business as usual is over.

“John Sweeney may talk reform, but his actions speak much louder than his words. As a career politician he may think he can get away with saying one thing and doing another, but New Yorkers have had enough. The time for his lavish ski trips with special interest lobbyists is over,” Hyers said.

“The fact that John Sweeney thought he could get away with going on a weekend ski getaway with a bunch of DC special interest lobbyists shows how out of touch he has become,” Hyers said. “He clearly doesn’t get it: New Yorkers have had enough of career politicians taking lavish trips with fatcat lobbyists.

“It’s time for a change and for real reform. When Kirsten Gillibrand goes to Washington she will do things differently,” Hyers said.

###

Sunday, January 15, 2006
 
From EDM (Emerging Democratic Majority
Maybe People Don’t Think the Economy Is So Great Because It Isn’t So Great

by Ruy Teixeira

Last week, I pointed out that, while views of the economy had improved somewhat toward the end of last year, that didn’t mean the public now thought the economy was in good shape. They merely thought it was less bad than before.
And this week we have a new poll from Ipsos-AP that indicates views of the economy may be declining once again. From the Ipsos report on the poll:
Despite strong job numbers for December, Americans’ confidence in the economic state of the country declined in January, according to the most recent results of the RBC CASH (Consumer Attitudes and Spending by Household) Index. This was primarily due to low expectations in economic performance over the next six months and increasing fears about job security.
This stubborn failure of the public to get happy about fairly solid GDP and job growth has occasioned much head-scratching among the commentariat and, of course, among GOP operatives who smell a press plot to discredit Bush’s alleged economic achievements.
But there is a much, much simpler explanation for the available data: people don’t think the economy is so great because it isn’t so great. The indispensable Economic Policy Institute has produced a crisp one-page summary supporting this viewpoint. Here are some choice excerpts:

Profits are up, but the wages and the incomes of average Americans are down.

--Inflation-adjusted hourly and weekly wages are still below where they were at the start of the recovery in November 2001. Yet, productivity—the growth of the economic pie—is up by 13.5%....

--Consequently, median household income (inflation-adjusted) has fallen five years in a row and was 4% lower in 2004 than in 1999, falling from $46,129 to $44,389.
More and more people are deeper and deeper in debt.

--The indebtedness of U.S. households, after adjusting for inflation, has risen 35.7% over the last four years.

--The level of debt as a percent of after-tax income is the highest ever measured in our history. Mortgage and consumer debt is now 115% of after-tax income, twice the level of 30 years ago....

--The personal savings rate is negative for the first time since WWII....
Rising health care costs are eroding families' already declining income.

--Households are spending more on health care. Family health costs rose 43-45% for married couples with children, single mothers, and young singles from 2000 to 2003.

--Employers are cutting back on health insurance. Last year, the percent of people with employer-provided health insurance fell for the fourth year in a row. Nearly 3.7 million fewer people had employer-provided insurance in 2004 than in 2000. Taking population growth into account, 11 million more people would have had employer-provided health insurance in 2004 if the coverage rate had remained at the 2000 level.

There you have it. The public’s not so crazy after all. Commentators and GOP operatives take note.Posted by EDM staff at 03:18 AM link

Monday, January 09, 2006
 
Tricounty DFA Reminder: Meetups Wednesday -- Conference Call Scheduled
Hello Everyone!

In this update:

1. Last Minute Reminder -- Meetups Wednesday
2. Agenda: Conference Call and Endorsement Scheduled
3. Gillibrand In Hudson Falls Tuesday AT U.E. Local 332
4. Upcoming Field Program And Training
5. Dean 1 Wolfie 0!


1. Last Minute Reminder -- Meetups Wednesday

We want to make sure everyone remembers our DFA meetups this month will be on this Wednesday, January 11!

The Glens Falls meeting will be held at its usual location, the Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe in downtown Glens Falls at 7pm.
The Saratoga meeting will be held at it's usual location, DFA Link-up Host's Pat Friesen's house at 36 Thoroughbred, also at 7pm.

There will also be simultaneous DFA Meetings by Democracy For The Hudson Mohawk Region ( http://www.dfalink.com/group.php?id=111 ), Democracy For Columbia County ( http://www.dfalink.com/group.php?id=116 ), Mid Hudson ( http://www.dfalink.com/group.php?id=265 ), and Democracy For Otsego/Delaware http://www.dfalink.com/group.php?id=134.

2. Agenda: Conference Call and Endorsement Scheduled

On the agenda for the evening: We have scheduled a live conference call with our congressional candidate, Kirsten Gillibrand!
Kirsten will be asking us for our support. In all our meetups we have scheduled a discussion and vote to endorse Kirsten and get John "Shut It Down" Sweeney out of the House of Representatives.

3. Gillibrand In Hudson Falls Tuesday AT U.E. Local 332

Rick Bentley, the business manager of the U.E. Local 332 has also invited local DFA members to meet Kirsten tomorrow, at the Union Hall at 145 Main Street in Hudson Falls. U.E. 332 will be hosting her at 3:30pm. We really appreciate this invitation and look forward to working with area unions like the U.E., the Plumbers and Steam Fitters, and others. I am sure we all remember the great relationship the Dean campaign had with IPAT!

4. Upcoming Field Program And Training

At out meetups we will also be talking at more length on the upcoming field program for the Gillibrand campaign. Kirsten intends to run at Dean-style house meeting system designed by DFA Executive Director Tom Hughes. Tom ran the historic, ground breaking field program in New Hampshire that has now flipped that state from the red to the blue column. The 20th Congressional District and New Hampshire and Vermont have many striking similarities, and we intend to repeat that performance here. The campaign will need both coordinators and volunteers and in every county.

Finally, for those who missed Governor Dean on Wolf Blizter's Late Edition on CNN, it had to be one of the most hilarious and inspirational spots on TV in a long time. You can see it here -- and make sure you wait for Wolf's sigh of defeat and resignation! http://movies.crooksandliars.com/Late-Edition-Dean-JackA.wmv

Locations: The Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Exchange%20Street++Glens%20Falls+NY+12801&hl=en
Pat's in Saratoga: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=36%20Thoroughbred++Saratoga%20Springs+NY+12866&hl=en


Thanks everyone! See you all Wednesday,

Larry Dudley

Friday, January 06, 2006
 
Tricounty DFA Update: Meetups Next Week! Gillibrand Endorsements Coming and more
Hello Everyone!

Hope you are all enjoying this great New Year. In this update:

1. DFA Meetups (or Linkups) Next Week In Glens Falls And Saratoga And Across The 20th CD
2. Endorsement of Kirsten Gillibrand On The Agenda In All Meetups
3. Forum On Voting Machine Technology With Bo Lipari of NYVV in Saratoga
4. Governor Dean Breaks Fundraising Record


1. DFA Meetups or Linkups Next Week, In Glens Falls And Saratoga And Across The 20th CD

Next Wednesday, January 11, there will be DFA Meetups or, as we now call them DFA-Linkups, in Glens Falls, in Saratoga Springs and in other locations across the 20th Congressional District.

The Glens Falls meeting will be held at its usual location, the Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe in downtown Glens Falls at 7pm.
The Saratoga meeting will be held at it's usual location, DFA Link-up Host's Pat Friesen's at 36 Thoroughbred. (I believe her usual time is 7:30.)

2. Endorsement of Kirsten Gillibrand On The Agenda In All Meetups

There will also be simultaneous DFA Meetings by Democracy For The Hudson Mohawk Region, Democracy For Columbia County, a new Meetup in a new location by Democracy For Dutchess County, and Democracy For Otsego Delaware. If you are farther afield from the Tricounty Area, go to DFA-Link at http://www.dfalink.com/search_groups.php for more details on these DFA groups. There may also be some more venues by next week -- stay tuned.

For the first time we have a common agenda item in all of our 20th Congressional District Meetings -- we are going to make an historic, and first for DFA, joint endorsement of Kirsten Gillibrand in her race for Congress.

The 20th CD has a possibly unique number of DFA groups -- as far as I can tell, no other single Congressional District that is also not a state (meaning Vermont) has more DFA groups than the 20th Congressional District. This is an amazing achievement to have built our local DFA coalition up to this point. Most Districts have only one and a number have none at all.

Our joint endorsement will be a first -- no other coalition of local DFA groups has ever done anything like this before, all together, for maximum impact. We hope acting together will help bring national attention to Kirsten Gillibrand's campaign. If you want more info, Kirsten has a website up now if you haven't seen it: http://www.gillibrand2006.com

There will be more information on what we can do to remove John Sweeney and all the Republicans' friends like Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff from the people's house, including a special field program -- the campaign intends to hold house meetings all across the district, making contact with thousands of voters. We are all going to have real stuff to do that will really make a difference!

3. Forum On Voting Machine Technology With Bo Lipari of NYVV in Saratoga

There will be a forum on voting machine technology in Saratoga Springs on Tuesday January 10th at 7pm in the Saratoga Public Library Community Room. The meeting will feature a presentation by Bo Lipari, of New Yorkers for Verified Voting, on the different types of electronic machines available and their advantages and drawbacks. This event is sponsored by Saratogians Voting Verifiably.

As we know from the November event in Glens Falls, Bo Lipari makes a tremendous presentation. If you are interested at all in these issues this is a "must attend" event. The integrity of our votes is a hugely important matter at the core of our democracy.

4. Governor Dean Breaks Fundraising Record

At this time last year we in DFA were working to get Governor Dean elected Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Events have vindicated DFA -- the Governor just broke the fundraising record for an off year -- $51 million. And that does not mention the many millions more he has raised for state parties -- unlike Terry McAuliffe when the Governor goes to a state event, he does not grab the money, but leaves it to build the state and local parties.

One of the people now praising him is Donnie Fowler, who ran against him for the chairmanship last year. Fowler just made a remarkable and gracious statement -- and he also explains why some Washington insiders in the "consultantocracy" are still unhappy: http://www.mydd.com/story/2006/1/5/16212/21836

This excellent National Journal article is worth checking, too: http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/1/5/153738/4426

Also, Drew has been putting up some really interesting posts on our blog at http://townmeetingday.blogspot.com on the definition of fascism and by Texas populist Jim Hightower.

Thanks everyone!

See you all next week!


Larry Dudley
Glens Falls

Monday, January 02, 2006
 
Tricounty DFA Alert: Meetups on Wednesday the 11th for January 2006
Everybody;

Just wanted to make sure everyone got the message that our local meetups for Glens Falls and Saratoga will be next week, January 11th, not this week, January 4th. The location for the Glens Falls meeting will be as usual at the Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe in downtown Glens Falls. The Saratoga meeting will be as usual at Pat Friesen's.

In February in Glens Falls we will be back to our usual date on the first Wednesday of the month.

Our agendas will focus on the Congressional campaign of Kirsten Gillibrand, organizing a training weekend in February, a possible gubernatorial candidate forum being organized by Democracy For New York City, and possible local candidate forums. There may be a video in Glens Falls, if time allows. A formal vote to endorse Gillibrand was scheduled at December's meeting.

A couple of links: Middle East expert Professor Juan Cole has a list of the ten most likely things to happen in the Middle East this year (and also New Orleans); it's quite a list: http://www.juancole.com/2006/01/ten-amazing-predictions-for-2006-1.html

And don't miss this latest Jonathan Schell piece in The Nation on Bush's domestic spy program -- if we don't need any more reason to get back the House of Representatives, this is it. Impeachment hearings need to start in January 2007 or the Republic may never recover, but instead slide down the road to dictatorship like ancient Rome: http://www.thenation.com/docprint.mhtml?i=20060109&s=schell

Thanks everyone! More on next week's meetings next weekend!

My best New Year's wishes to you all and many thanks! It's going to be great.

Larry


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