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Democracy For The Southern Adirondack/Tricounty Area
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Tricounty DFA Update: DFA Pressures Gore, Forums, Write-Ins and more
Hello Everyone;

In This Update:

1. DFA Calls For Final Gore Decision
2. Candidate Forums Thursday
3. Write In Campaign In Queensbury
4. Gillibrand At Binleys
5. NY Times: "With Democrats Like These..."
6. Howard Dean Interview & Article
7. Friday Night Film Fest

1. DFA Calls For Final Gore Decision

Yesterday DFA's new Executive Director. Arshad Hasan, issued a call for Al Gore to make a final decision on whether or not he is willing to enter the race for President.

Four years ago there were similar efforts to draft Gore, by many of the same people doing so now. Gore called them up and asked them not to stop. He has not done so this year. Many people would like to support him. Gore substantially leads in DFA's pulse poll (Denise Kucinich leads otherwise). But what appears to be Gore's dithering is in fact paralyzing the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. If you want to urge him to get off the fence (one way or the other-- you can get contact info at:

2. Candidate Forums Thursday

Kathy and Pell send along these candidate forums:

The Warren County League of Women Voters will be hosting a candidate debate on Thurs. Oct. 25th at 7pm at the ACC Scoville Learning Center, Rm. 206.
Going first will be candidates for the Queensbury Town Board, then Warren County Treasurer. You will have the opportunity to submit written questions for the candidates.

The Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation and Saratoga P.L.A.N will host a candidate forum on land conservation issues and building preservation at the Lake Avenue School on Thursday, October 24th at 7pm. For more go to:

3. Write In Campaign In Queensbury

Chris Strough informs me that there is now a write-in candidate against Town Supervisor Dan Stec.

"Henry Hess, former Qby Comptroller, highly educated, ethical man who Mr. Stec railroaded out of Queensbury has agreed to be a write-in candiate for Town Supervisor. Henry has a long history of governmental accounting and was responsible for Queensbury's very favorable bond rating. Hess, is also a past President of the Warren County Historical Society. As we have seen so often, anyone with talent and intelligence is ofter perceived as "competition" and therefore and "enemy" of Team Stec (George and Dan). Rather than embrace John & Richard's intelligence and hard work on behalf of the citizens Team Stec has fought, smeared reputations, discredited, all in an effort to elevate his own standing at the expense of the community. Roger Boor, who brought the destruction of French Mountain to the forefront also has been badly maligned by the republican machine."

"Dan Stec has failed miserably to move anything productive in Queensbury. His only interest is to serve the people in Qby he feels will send him on to Albany, those who enrich the pots of the republican machine."

4. Gillibrand At Binleys

From Liza Manzi in Rep. Gillibrand's Glens Falls office:

"Congresswoman Gillibrand will be at Binley Florist and Garden Center located at the corner of Dix Ave and Quaker Rd in Queensbury to hold Congress At Your Corner this Saturday at 2:30. If you’d like to come and speak with her about issues that are important to you, she would love to see you!"

5. NY Times: "With Democrats Like These..."

On the subject of Congress, there was an extraordinary, must read editorial in the New York Times Saturday. It starts out:

"Every now and then, we are tempted to double-check that the Democrats actually won control of Congress last year. It was particularly hard to tell this week. Democratic leaders were cowed, once again, by propaganda from the White House..."
and it ends with:
"It was bad enough having a one-party government when Republicans controlled the White House and both houses of Congress. But the Democrats took over, and still the one-party system continues."

The specifics of The Time's charge is the FISA spying law. But it applies equally across a variety of issues-- agreeing to provide funds to keep sending troops to Iraq, failure to investigate impeachable crimes, doing nothing about gross offenses against the Constitution like secret rendition, and more.

Obviously, if Congress simply specified in budget bills that no funds could be expended to move troops into Iraq, when the tours of duty of those troops already there expire, they would have to be returned home without replacement and the garrison there will thus be reduced. SInce the longest tours of duty are 15 months, the simple measure of specifying that no money can be spent to move troops over would effectively have us out in year. But that has not happened.

The entire piece is at the bottom.

6. Howard Dean Interview & Article

A clarion voice we have not heard of much lately has been in the news: Howard Dean was featured in a article in the Times and also in an interview after an appearance in Oregon. As always, Dean is a breath of fresh air.

7. Friday Night Film Fest

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

Friday Oct 26
THIS FILM IS NOT YET RATED (2006) Kirby Dick 98 min. Grade = 83%
Passionate cinephiles can be found casting quizzical glances at the erratic and often conflicting decisions made by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) as they slap ratings onto movies. So in an attempt to make sense of their working methods--which, until now, have remained shrouded in mystery--one of those cinephiles, Kirby Dick (TWIST OF FAITH), has made this full-length motion picture about the inner workings of the MPAA. Dick begins by examining the MPAA's set-up as an anonymous group that is exclusively funded by the major Hollywood studios. Fundamentally established to prevent children's eyes from seeing anything society would consider unsuitable, the MPAA has blossomed into a powerful force, with the difference between an R and an NC-17 rating possibly leading to mill! ions of dollars forfeited at the box office. Actors and directors such as John Waters, Maria Bello, Mary Harron, and Kevin Smith offer their forthright opinions on these decisions, and Dick highlights many of the clips that have fallen foul of the censors. The director also compares and contrasts similar scenes from indie pictures and films produced by major studios, with the latter seemingly allowed far more leniency when it comes to avoiding the dreaded NC-17. In a wonderful twist that adds a strong narrative structure to the film, Dick hires a private detective to hunt down the MPAA's members, thereby lifting the curtain on who these shadowy figures actually are. But the real cherry on the top of Dick's movie is his submission of THIS FILM HAS NOT YET BEEN RATED to the MPAA, which helps highlight the appeals process, and reveals the involvement of the Catholic Church and major cinema chains across the country. Entertaining and informative, Dick's movie is everything a do! cumentary should be. Revelations come thick and fast throughout, and t he director skillfully creates a palpable feeling of injustice that will leave many viewers feeling the MPAA is in urgent need of a drastic overhaul.

Thanks, everyone! Don't miss the piece below,


With Democrats Like These ...

Every now and then, we are tempted to double-check that the Democrats actually won control of Congress last year. It was particularly hard to tell this week. Democratic leaders were cowed, once again, by propaganda from the White House and failed, once again, to modernize the law on electronic spying in a way that permits robust intelligence gathering on terrorists without undermining the Constitution.

The task before Congress was to review and improve an update to the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as FISA, that was pushed through the Capitol just before the summer break. That bill endorsed warrantless wiretapping and gutted other aspects of the 1978 law.

House Democrats drafted a measure that, while imperfect, was an improvement to the one passed this summer. But before the House could vote, Republicans tied up the measure in bureaucratic knots and Democratic leaders pulled it. Senate Democrats did even worse, accepting a Potemkin compromise that endorsed far too much of the bad summer law.

We were left wondering who is really in charge, when in a bipartisan press release announcing the agreement, the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Kit Bond, described the bill as “a delicate arrangement of compromises” that could not be changed in any way. The committee’s chairman, Jay Rockefeller, didn’t object.

As the debate proceeds, Americans will be told that the delicate compromises were about how the government may spy on phone calls and electronic messages in the age of instant communications. Republicans have already started blowing hot air about any naysayers trying to stop spies from tracking terrorists.

No one is doing that. The question really is whether Congress should toss out chunks of the Constitution because Mr. Bush finds them inconvenient and some Democrats are afraid to look soft on terrorism.

FISA requires a warrant to spy on communications within the United States or between people in this country and people abroad. After 9/11, Mr. Bush ordered the National Security Agency to spy, without a warrant, on communications between the United States and other countries. The N.S.A. obtained data from American telecommunications companies by telling them it was legal.

After The Times disclosed the program in late 2005, Mr. Bush looked for a way to legalize it retroactively. He found it this summer. FISA also requires a warrant to intercept strictly foreign communications that happen to move through data networks in the United States.

That Internet age flaw has a relatively simple fix. But the White House seized the opportunity to ram through the far broader bill, which could authorize warrantless surveillance of Americans’ homes, offices and phone records; permit surveillance of Americans abroad without probable cause; and sharply limit the power of the court that controls electronic spying.

Democrats justified their votes for this bad bill by noting that the law expires in February and by promising to fix it this fall. The House bill did, in fact, restore most judicial safeguards. But the deal cooked up by Mr. Rockefeller and the White House doesn’t. It would not expire for six years, which is too long. And it would dismiss pending lawsuits against companies that turned data over to the government without a warrant.

This provision is not primarily about protecting patriotic businessmen, as Mr. Bush claims. It’s about ensuring that Mr. Bush and his aides never have to go to court to explain how many laws they’ve broken. It is a collusion between lawmakers and the White House that means that no one is ever held accountable. Democratic lawmakers said they reviewed the telecommunications companies’ cooperation (by reading documents selected by the White House) and concluded that lawsuits were unwarranted. Unlike them, we still have faith in the judicial system, which is where that sort of conclusion is supposed to be reached, not in a Senate back room polluted by the politics of fear.

There were bright spots in the week. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon managed to attach an amendment requiring a warrant to eavesdrop on American citizens abroad. That merely requires the government to show why it believes the American is in league with terrorists, but Mr. Bush threatened to veto the bill over that issue.

Senator Christopher Dodd, the Connecticut Democrat, said he would put a personal hold on the compromise cooked up by Senator Rockefeller and the White House.

Otherwise, it was a very frustrating week in Washington. It was bad enough having a one-party government when Republicans controlled the White House and both houses of Congress. But the Democrats took over, and still the one-party system continues.

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