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Democracy For The Southern Adirondack/Tricounty Area
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Tricounty DFA Update: Meetup Next Week, Online Actions, More
Hello Everyone!

In this update:

1. Monthly DFA Meetup Next Week
2. Action Appeals From Al Gore, Governor Dean, Bo Lipari
3. New Draft: Circular Letter
4. Confusion On War?
4. DFA Nightschool
5. Friday Film Fest
6. On the Lighter Side

1. Monthly DFA Meetup Next Week

The first Wednesday of the month rolls around a week from today, on March 7th, which means it is time for our monthly Democracy For The Greater Glens Falls Area "meetup." We will be meeting as usual at 7pm at the Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe on the corners of Elm and Exchange Streets and Hudson Ave.

On the agenda this month is the final draft of the Circular Letter on Global Warming/Global Climate change, Marches on the 18th and a possible encore showing of The War Tapes at the end of the meeting, time allowing.

2. Action Appeals From Al Gore, Governor Dean, Bo Lipari

I am sure everyone was deeply moved to see President-Elected Al Gore on the stage as An Inconvenient Truth received the Oscar for Best Documentary. The accolades continued all night long, ending with a tribute from Melissa Etheridge, who won an Oscar for Best Song for her contribution to An Inconvenient Truth. That was hardly expected, but is probably a measure of how strongly members of Academy felt about the picture and its message.

Two days later Gore sent out an appeal for help: He will be appearing before Congress this month to testify on Global Warming. He is asking for as many people as possible to sign a petition he intends to bring along to present to Congress, showing the depth of support for action on the climate. Add your name at:

Brucie notes that the right is trying to smear Gore again:

Also, Governor Dean is asking all Democrats to sign a petition on the right to unionize with a single card checkoff:

Bo Lipari
In 2005 we sponsored a presentation by Bo Lipari, New York's leading advocate for making voting safe and reliable with paper ballots, optically scanned. Bo has now issued an appeal:

"New York State is about to undergo an enormous change in the way our elections are conducted. Soon all our lever machines will be replaced with a new way to cast our ballots. It is crucial that the State get the choice of voting systems right the first time. Adopting flawed electronic touch screen voting machines (DREs) would be a mistake we cannot afford to make, and there's a better choice: paper ballots counted with ballot-scanners, with accessible ballot-marking devices to make sure everyone can vote independently and privately.
The current plan allows each New York State county to choose its own voting system. This will lead to a disastrous patchwork of expensive touch screen DREs administered by under-trained staff and elderly poll workers. We'll see long lines at the polls, frustrated voters, questionable results and subsequent legal challenges -- and confusion resulting from a mix of different systems around the state. Don't let this happen in New York State!

Send a fax to Governor Spitzer
-- Tell him there is only one choice for New York - a single statewide voting system using paper ballots, precinct based optical scanners, and accessible ballot marking devices. You do not need to have a fax machine. Simply click on this link.

3. New Draft: Circular Letter

With help from Jean Rikhoff we have the revised version of the Circular Letter on Global Warming/Climate Change that we discussed at the last meeting. I will paste it in full at the bottom for everyone's consideration and we will discuss it at the meeting on Wednesday. It contains an Executive Summary on the top for those who were concerned about its length, and language about energy independence.

4. Confusion On War?

There are conflicting reports tonight on whether Congressional Democrats are pulling together and sucking up the courage to end the war in Iraq, or falling apart.

I have been informed by our DFNYC leaders Tracey Denton and Heather Woodfield that Rep. Jerry Nadler has introduced a new bill, HR. 455 to cut off funding for the war.

Democrats need to pass something, preferably soon, and then keep the ball moving-- the Murtha Plan, HR. 503, HR 455-- start somewhere.

It's time to contact our Congressional Delegation to urge them to resist the inside the beltway pressure, and show the strength Americans want-- of acting decisively and forcefully on the mandate voters gave them last November.

The addresses are: Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand
120 Cannon House Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5614

Sen. Hillary Clinton
476 Russel Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510

Sen. Charles Schumer
313 Hart Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510

4. DFA Nightschool

The DFA Night School starts again on Tuesday and they are definitely worth the time. The first session is something very pertinent at the moment: "Holding Elected Leaders Accountable"
March 6th – 8:30pm Eastern

5. Friday Film Fest

The Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe's Friday Night Progressive Film Fest continues at 7:30 with:

Mar 2 THE NET (2006) Lutz Dammbeck 115 min.
Ultimately stunning in its revelations, Lutz Dammbeck’s THE NET explores the incredibly complex backstory of Ted Kaczynski, the infamous Unabomber. This exquisitely crafted inquiry into the rationale of this mythic figure situates him within a late 20th Century web of technology – a system that he grew to oppose. A marvelously subversive approach to the history of the Internet, this insightful documentary combines speculative travelogue and investigative journalism to trace contrasting countercultural responses to the cybernetic revolution. For those who resist these intrusive systems of technological control, the Unabomber has come to symbolize an ultimate figure of Refusal. For those that embrace it, as did and do the early champions of media art like Marshall McLuhan, Nam June Paik, and Stewart Brand, the promises of worldwide networking and instantaneous communication outweighed the perils. Dammbeck’s conceptual quest links these multiple nodes of cultural

6. On the Lighter Side

Finally Drew passes this funny along-- it's Condiland!

Thanks everyone, the Circular Letter is below.


Larry Dudley


To our fellow DFA members
A Circular Letter On Climate Change
January-February, 2007

Report Summary

Our community, Glens Falls, NY, is an archetypal snow belt community. Five month winters are normal. However, December 2006 was the warmest on record. In early January, temperatures reached into the 60s.
We believe we are on the front line of climate change and must bear witness to the fact something deadly is happening to our planet. Unlike warmer communities, we can see dangerous climate change directly.
We also fear Global Warming will get much worse. An irreversible tipping point is approaching, with all the planet’s ice caps melting within the next century. The average ocean level will then rise 30 feet, leading to an end to monsoon rains around the world. Mass starvation of billions of people will occur.
In order to endorse a candidate for national office, we believe candidates should be required to meet the following criteria:

*A solid commitment to dealing with Global Climate Change.
*A specific plan of action.
*A track record on Global Climate Change that can be inspected and adequately vetted.
*A record of integrity and standing up for issues. This specifically means not knuckling under to short term corporate pressures.
*A program for clean energy independence.

During the American Revolution it was a common practice for local Committees Of Correspondence, which were groups very much like ours, to compose circular letters to other groups and areas. These letters would pass on information, make observations, share opinions, propose new actions and build a consensus.

We propose this letter in a similar, revolutionary spirit.

Our community is located at the base of the Adirondack Mountains in
upstate New York. Anyone who has watched weather maps of New York or New England over many years will know that Glens Falls is always one of the coldest and snowiest spots. Glens Falls is an archetypal snow belt community. Winters here are normally five months long-- this means snow on the ground for five months, and occasionally more. To live here is to live in winter.

However, December 2006 was the warmest December on record. Temperatures commonly hovered in the 40s all month long and sometimes broke into the 50s. There was no snow accumulation. At the beginning of January, grass was still green in Glens Falls. Lakes and ponds, which have always frozen hard by mid-december, were free flowing. At their peak in early January, temperatures reached into the 60s.

We are all familiar with the lobster in the pot phenomena. If it is put in a cold pot and heated slowly, it will not attempt to escape. In a similar way, people who live in extreme conditions-- like Eskimos and polar bears-- or people like us in Glens Falls-- sometimes see changes others who live in less extreme circumstances will miss because they are more dramatic here.

If you live in Richmond, Virginia, or Little Rock, Arkansas, or Las Vegas, Nevada, where it doesn’t snow much, it might be easy to miss the fact that you are experiencing a significant climate change. No snow is no snow. But when you live with snow on the ground five months of the year and have grown up with that, the disappearance of snow comes as a shock. Unlike the proverbial lobster, we can’t ignore or miss it.

Few people live in the Arctic or in the Antarctic or atop a glacier. That means there are few people who see radical climate change first hand. We believe we are on the front line of climate change and are seeing directly for ourselves something others may not be picking up on, and must bear witness to the fact something very extreme and very deadly is happening to our planet.

Dangerous climate change is not a hypothetical event in the future. It is here now. Unlike anecdotal single year events, we have seen it unfolding for many years. We are sounding the alarm.

The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on Climate Change officially confirmed that the world is radically warming as a whole. We all should be aware that many, if not most environmental scientists believe the report was substantially watered down to suit the political demands of the Bush administration and the People’s Republic of China, neither of which wish to acknowledge the reality of Climate Change. These scientists believe the danger is much worse than the report describes.

We also fear it will get much worse. Recent scientific studies have learned that vast quantities of methane gas, trapped for eons in the arctic permafrost of Russia and Canada, will be released as the permafrost melts.

Most of the climate change we have seen so far has been driven by carbon dioxide. However, methane gas in the upper atmosphere traps 23 times more heat than CO2 per molecule. The release of methane will radically accelerate global warming. And it could be released in a very short period of time.

If that happens, an irreversible tipping point will occur. All the planet’s ice caps will melt, within a century, possibly much less. The average ocean level will rise 30 feet, inundating all the world’s major coastal cities and shores. Whole regions like Florida, Cape Cod, Louisiana will largely vanish beneath the waves.

Concomitant with that rise will be a likely change in the world’s weather patterns. Specifically, the monsoon rains around the world will cease. The desertification we see now in Africa will spread around the world into South Asia, India, Southeast Asia, Indonesia and southern China.

Renowned environmental scientist James Lovelock, who created the Gaia
hypothesis, that the world operates as a single self-regulating mechanism, now believes these events are all but inevitable. Lovelock has concluded that humanity will likely be driven to the polar regions in search of habitable terrain. There will not be enough arable land to feed the world’s population. He estimates that as many five to six billion people could possibly perish in as little as a hundred years time.

This is the most dangerous crisis facing the human race since the Black Death killed 40-60% of the world’s population in the 1350s, or since imported diseases like smallpox killed as much as 90% of the people of the Americans after European contact in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Rapid climate change is not an inconvenience. It is not about small, exotic or even seemingly whimsical species like the snail darter. Global Climate Change is about the survival of humanity. It will likely have a similar lethality to these great disasters of the past. Whatever the exact percentage, billions of human beings are going to perish. This is true even if prophets like Lovelock are only half right-- instead of four billion people perishing, two billion.

This may seem extreme. But one question has to be asked. What if Lovelock is right? What if he is only half right? Or a third right? So far his track record has been impeccable.

The potential for mass mortality of so many human beings is what makes this crisis the greatest event in human history, and dictates an appropriate course of action.

What kind of actions are impelled upon us?

The first action is to seek appropriate leadership. Then we need to entrust them with political power to address this crisis, the greatest crisis in at least 500-700 years.

We are now at the cusp of a Presidential election season. Many of us are upset about the Iraq War, civil rights, the war on the middle class, and many other issues. But Global Climate Change needs to be made the dominant issue of this selection process. It is a life or death issue for most of the human race. As horrifying as the Iraq War is, the long term judgment of history is likely to be that its principle consequence was that it delayed our addressing the climate change crisis.

Dealing with Global Climate change is also an outstanding opportunity to change America’s energy culture. The United States needs to achieve energy independence. Developing clean energy can also simultaneously meet that goal.

Accordingly, we believe as a movement we must insist on leaders who have several qualities:

*A solid commitment to dealing with Global Climate Change.
*A specific plan of action.
*A track record on Global Climate Change that can be inspected and adequately vetted.
*A record of integrity and standing up for issues. This specifically means not knuckling under to short term corporate pressures.
*A program for clean energy independence.

During the last election the DFA Test on the Iraq War was established to determine initial eligibility for a DFA endorsement. We believe these points should be a similar test this year, and that all candidates be required to meet this test before being considered for our endorsement and support.

We thank all our fellow activists in our movement for their consideration of this circular letter!

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