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Democracy For The Southern Adirondack/Tricounty Area
Friday, August 31, 2007
Tricounty DFA Update: September Meeting Next Week, DNC Rolls Out Voter Contact Tools, August News and More
Hello Everyone!

It's been a wild and busy few weeks: I'm sure you're all aware of the "trifecta" or worse facing the right wing: Rove quits, Gonzales falls, the "surge" collapses, Republican Senators don't know enough not to troll for sex in restrooms, the second anniversary of Katrina raises bad memories, and more. Let's hope it's an even better Autumn!

In This Update:

1. DFA-Linkup or "Meetup" Next Week
2. August News: Jim Dean In Saratoga
3. Video Revolution
4. DNC Unveils Tools For 50 State Strategy
5. DFA and Gonzales
6. Friday Night Film Fest
7. Republicans Losing Entire Younger Generation

1. DFA-Linkup or "Meetup" Next Week

Next week, on Wednesday September 5th, we'll have our usual Glens Falls DFA link-up or "meetup" at 7pm at the Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe in downtown Glens Falls.

On the agenda will be our calendar of activities for the fall-- people are writing me saying the want to start protests again and DFA National is asking is to counter Republican attempts to spin the upcoming September report on Iraq.

2. August News: Jim Dean In Saratoga

DFA Chairman Jim Dean was in the Spa City two weeks ago for a fundraiser-- "Keehn and Dean"-- to help reelect Saratoga Springs Mayor Valerie Keehn. It was terrific seeing Jim here in our area and hearing him speak, and see him show support for Val Keehn. You can read all about it on Blog For America:

Special thanks to Jim and DFA National staffers Julia Marden and Illya Sheyman for coming down from Burlington and to Democracy For The Hudson Mohawk Region officers Hy Dubowsky, Carol Olszewski, Richard Jones, Tom Golden for their generous support.

On Blog For America there are also video links of Jim with yours truly introducing him thanks to Saratoga DFA member and videographer Roger Wyatt. Wyatt has also put video of Keehn speaking on her website at and at

3. Video Revolution

Roger's video work is turing into a fascinating phenomena, and is getting real attention. He's gotten out ahead of the curve-- to get a sense of this, consider this recent quote from NY Times columnist Paul Krugman:

"The rise of YouTube certifies the passing of Mr. Rove's era, a cultural
changing of the guard in the digital age. Mr. Rove made his name in
direct-mail fund-raising and with fierce top-down message management. As the
Internet erodes snail mail, so it upends direct mail. As YouTube threatens a
politician's ability to rigidly control a message, so it threatens the Rove
ethos that led Mr. Bush to campaign at "town hall" meetings attended only by
hand-picked supporters."

"It's no coincidence that this new culture is also threatening the Beltway
journalistic establishment that celebrated Mr. Rove's invincibility well
past its expiration date (much as it did James Carville's before him),
extolling what Joshua Green, in his superb new Rove article in The Atlantic,
calls the Cult of the Consultant. The YouTube video of Mr. Rove
impersonating a rapper at one of those black-tie correspondents' dinners
makes the Washington press corps look even more antediluvian than he is."

4. DNC Unveils Tools For 50 State Strategy

A big story that was missed this month was the DNC's rollout of its new voter database tools. This is the culmination of several years of work since Governor Dean began the long job of rebuilding the DNC. One of the big advantages that Republicans have had over Democrats is a superior national voter file. No more. A new national voter file, which-- unlike the past, especially here in New York State-- will be open and free to ALL candidates, will put first rate voter data at the hands of campaigns everywhere. It will also have an innovative, interactive web based interface. This is how campaigns will run in the future-- up to date information for direct voter contact.

This story is so major I am pasting the whole piece in at the bottom. Here is the link:

5. DFA and Gonzales

DFA and its activism clearly played a role in taking down former Attorney General Gonzales. Jim Dean issued this statement this week:

“The resignation of Alberto Gonzales is just the first step to restoring integrity to the Justice Department. The next step is removing the person most responsible for the mess in Washington – George W. Bush.”

During the past 5 months, Democracy for America members:

Signed over 100,000 petitions calling for Gonzales to go
Ran three hard hitting media generating ads
Ran newspaper ads in five major media markets
Contacted Members of Congress by phone, through email and in-person calling for the unseating of Gonzales
6. Friday Night Film Fest

The Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe continues its Friday Night Progressive Film Festival at 7:30 with:

Aug 31 JESUS CAMP (2006) Heidi Ewing & Rachel Grady &
A growing number of Evangelical Christians believe there is a revival underway in America whereby Christian youth must take up the leadership of the conservative Christian movement. JESUS CAMP, directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (The Boys of Baraka), follows Levi, Rachael, Tory and a number of other young children to Pastor Becky Fischer's Kids on Fire summer camp in Devil's Lake, North Dakota, where kids as young as 6 years-old are taught to become dedicated Christian soldiers in God's army. The film follows these children at camp as they hone their prophetic gifts and are schooled in how to take back America for Christ. The film is a first-ever look into an intense training ground that recruit

Sep 7 AMERICA: FREEDOM TO FASCISM (2006) Aaron Russo 105 min.
Paying taxes ranks pretty highly On most people's "Least Favorite Things To Do" lists, but according to filmmaker Aaron Russo, U.S. citizens aren't actually legally obliged to pay federal income tax at all. This is the premise on which Russo's Libertarian documentary is based, and he speaks at length with various former IRS employees and people from financial institutions to back up his point. Russo contends that the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which allows Congress to levy and collect taxes on incomes, was never properly ratified. He then proceeds to explain how this is the case, presenting all his facts and theories in a fun, easy-to-understand manner that will be familiar to fans of Michael Moore's movies. But after setting out his stall, Russo really goes for the jugular, making claims that America is becoming a police state in which citizens are gradually having their freedoms eroded.
(Note from LD-- this has been litigated quite a bit and the feds have always won. As they say on TV, don't try this at home!)

7. Republicans Losing Entire Younger Generation

Finally, I like to end on a really bright note: thanks to Bush, Rove, the neocons and all the rest, it now appears the Republicans have lost the entire upcoming younger generation. Also a must read.

Today, "on every single issue, Democrats are doing better with young people - no matter what the issue is," said pollster Stan Greenberg.

Thanks everyone!

Larry Dudley


DNC Holds National Training as It Rolls Out New Voter File
By Aaron Blake
The Hill

Wednesday 15 August 2007

In what is billed as the next stage of the Democratic National Committee's (DNC) 50 State Strategy, national and state Democratic staffers are convening in Cleveland this week to train on the party's new multimillion-dollar nationwide voter file.

About 200 Democratic staffers from all 50 states are meeting at Cleveland State University for a three-day intensive training session on the new VoteBuilder program and interface. The goal is to "train the trainer," allowing attendees to pass knowledge along to Democrats at all levels once they return to their states.

The training represents a final piece of the DNC's $8 million investment in building up its technology to improve its ground game.

The DNC announced in February that it had signed on with the Voter Activation Network (VAN) to build a nationwide interface for the new voter file, providing greater cohesion from the local level up. The new voter file will be free to all state parties and Democratic candidates.

While the DNC has held regional meetings and training since Chairman Howard Dean announced his 50 State Strategy, the national training is unprecedented.

"For the first time, we're bringing all of these people together - our entire national and state party partnership staff - and doing a major training that is about really flexing the muscle of the 50 State Strategy," said DNC spokesman Luis Miranda.

The DNC is focused early on preparing its field program and ground game for the 2008 election while Democratic candidates continue to do battle in the party's presidential nominating contests.

Democrats feel the new voter file will give them a leg up on the GOP, which is renowned for its vaunted 72-hour get-out-the-vote program and micro-targeting successes.

The nationwide uniformity of the VoteBuilder interface will allow the party to track voters who move and continue updating their information so operatives in their new area will be able to target and understand them more efficiently.

While the DNC credited some of the party's successes in 2006 - including in states like Ohio - to the controversial 50 State Strategy, Miranda said this week's training is where the investment really begins to pay off nationally.

Many in the Democratic Party, most notably former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), have differed vehemently with Dean over the strategy, which allocates resource to states and areas where Democrats have not typically been competitive.

"This is really where we start to see the dividends pay off in terms of a really coordinated ground game for '08," Miranda said. "Our goal is to hand a turn-key solution to whoever the nominee comes out to be.

"No voter contact will go untracked."

The training has included presentations by Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D) and state party Chairman Chris Redfern, who talked about their victories in 2006. After years of struggles in the state, Ohio Democrats captured the governorship, a Senate seat and a House seat in 2006.

Dean will make an appearance as well.

The DNC made a major commitment to rebuilding its voter file after the 2004 election, in which the GOP cited its superior VoterVault program as a main reason for victory.

After focusing on cleaning up their data, the Democrats signed VAN and reached agreements with all 50 states to share all voter data.

The voter file has been rolled out in 46 states since April.

"We believe that VoteBuilder, coupled with trained staff on the ground, goes far beyond anything anyone has ever done, and far beyond where the GOP was in 2004," said DNC technology director Ben Self.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Keehn & Dean In Saratoga Springs
Keehn & Dean In Saratoga

There were Deaniacs, Keehniacs and Democrats galore in Saratoga Springs last night, Tuesday August 14th, when DFA Chair Jim Dean came to town for a fundraiser to reelect Saratoga Springs Mayor Valerie Keehn.

Smaller communities like Saratoga Springs don’t often see political heavyweights like Jim Dean coming in to promote local candidates. It was a double treat for local activists to come out and show their support for Keehn, one of Upstate New York’s leading progressive politicians.

Over two years ago, Keehn, a citizen activist, became concerned about that way overdevelopment, cronyism and rising housings costs and taxes were changing the character of a classic small town that is an historic American icon-- the county’s summer thoroughbred racing capital and architectural gem. She turned candidate and attended a DFA Training Academy weekend in Cazenovia, NY in July 2005. The result was a historic upset.

DFA members from at least three different regional groups attended and got some one-on-one time with Chairman Dean. In mid-afternoon, Jim also took the time to go to nearby Glens Falls, NY, another small community with an very active DFA group, for a meeting with the editorial board of the Glens Falls Post Star. There he was joined by DFA National staffers Julia Marden and Ilya Sheyman who made the three hour drive down from Burlington.

A special guest was Essex County Democratic Chairwoman Sue Corey, who also came down from the Adirondacks to support Mayor Keehn.

At the event at the historic Inn At Saratoga, Jim talked at length about how community based grassroots politics-- campaigns like Val Keehn’s-- are taking back the Democratic Party and our country. Mayor Keehn got the crowd on their feet and cheering as she talked at length about the problems facing Saratoga and how her new administration was starting to turn the community around.

We want to thank Jim for making the effort to come to Saratoga Springs, the Israel family for their generous support, all our local DFA groups, Democracy For Saratoga Springs, Democracy For The Hudson Mohawk Region, Democracy For The Greater Glens Falls Area/Tricounty DFA and Julia and Ilya for coming down.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Tricounty DFA Update: Save the date for Jim Dean, Events, more
Hello Everyone!

In this update:

1. Jim Dean In Saratoga For Major Fundraiser For Val Keehn
2. DFA Meeting Report
3. Gillibrand at Ag Forum
4. Pulitizer Prize Winner On Future of Iraq
5. Moveon Petition
6. Friday Night Film Fest

1. Jim Dean In Saratoga For Major Fundraiser For Val Keehn

Next Tuesday Democracy For American Chair Jim Dean is coming to our area for a fundraiser for the reelection of Val Keehn as Mayor of Saratoga Springs. The event will be on Tuesday, August 14th from 5:30-7:30pm at the Inn At Saratoga, on South Broadway.

It should go without saying that Jim is more ordinarily found in DFA circles in the environs of places like Chicago, San Antonio or NYC. That he is coming to Saratoga for Keehn is a measure of the recognition that Val Keehn has earned as Mayor, and the role of this race in all-important Saratoga County.

Keehn was formally endorsed by Democracy For Saratoga Springs earlier this year, and Democracy For The Greater Glens Falls Area last week. In addition, Democracy For The Hudson Mohawk Region has also signed on as a sponsor of this event, which is greatly appreciated!

This event is open to the public and everyone in DFA, and all interested Democrats, liberals, progressives and all Keehn supporters are invited. Suggested contribution: $50.
Please RSVP at: or or to Margaret LaFrance at: or

Or, sign up with Team Val on DFA-Link at: I would urge everyone who wants to join Team Val to do this.

2. DFA Meeting Report

We had our monthly August meeting at the Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe. After discussing some area events, we endorsed Val Keehn for reelection, then watched the video Taking The Hill, which is about vets, mostly of the Iraq War, who ran for Congress last year. It particularly focused on Eric Massa, who gave a tremendous address at the DFNY conference earlier this year. This video is really worth seeing for the insights it offers into how our party selects candidates for support, and, in effect, how corrupted and irrelevant that process has become. It is, in a sense, a window into why Democrats lose when they should not.

3. Gillibrand at Ag Forum

Lisa Manzi of Rep, Gillibrand's Glens Falls office sends this along (my apologies for not getting this out sooner!)

"The Washington County Town Hall meeting with Congresswoman Gillibrand will be from 3:30pm to 5pm on Wednesday, August 8th at the Kingsbury Firehouse in Washington County. The address is 3715 Burgoyne Avenue in the Town of Kingsbury."

"The topic of the forum will be on Agriculture and the most recently passed Farm Bill. "

"This is a great opportunity for you to share your opinions and concerns on the issues that matter to you. The Congresswoman will have folks on hand to discuss how to take advantage of state and federal programs aimed at helping our local farmers. Please contact us at 743-0964 if you have any questions. "

4. Pulitizer Prize Winner On Future of Iraq

The "must read" of the week is a piece by former NY Times writer Chris Hedges, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the middle east and terrorism in 2002.

According to Hedges, " The war in Iraq is about to get worse-much worse. The Democrats' decision to let the war run its course, while they frantically wash their hands of responsibility, means that it will sputter and stagger forward until the mission collapses. This will be sudden. The security of the Green Zone, our imperial city, will be increasingly breached. Command and control will disintegrate. And we will back out of Iraq humiliated and defeated." Full article at:

Salient to this is the recent report that 190,000 AK-47s supplied by the US to Iraqi forces have simply vanished-- that is, vanished into the hands of the Iraqi resistance.,,2143071,00.html

It is becoming increasingly clear that we need to get our Army out of Iraq before it is completely destroyed. Whatever happens there or elsewhere in the world cannot be improved by the breaking of the American Army.

5. Moveon Petition

Moveon has a new petition out:
"The Democratic-controlled Congress did the unthinkable on Saturday night: They gave President Bush and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales more unchecked power to wiretap Americans without a warrant. Yes, that's the same Attorney General who is currently mired in scandal and probably committed perjury on this very issue.... I sign... this petition demanding that Congress reverse this capitulation to Bush and the politics of fear."

6. Friday Night Film Fest

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

Aug 10 BEST BOY (1980) Ira Wohl 105 min.
Winner of the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, Ira Wohl's BEST BOY remains one of the most beloved and critically-acclaimed docs of all time. Wohl's story centers around his 52-year-old cousin Philly, who has been mentally retarded since birth and has never lived apart from his parents, Max and Pearl Wohl. Now elderly, ailing, and concerned about Philly's future after their deaths, the Wohls are prompted by Ira to begin teaching their son self-reliance. As Philly moves from summer camp to training center and finally to an independent group home, BEST BOY becomes a stark but tender portrait of a family confronting life's impermanence and change.

Thanks everyone!

Larry Dudley

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