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Democracy For The Southern Adirondack/Tricounty Area
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Tricounty DFA Update: Holiday Wishes, Meeting Date Change, The "Great Fear" Ending?
Hello Everyone!

First, since there really won't be time (or probably interest) for another update, let me extend me the best Holiday Wishes to you all! As always in this party going season, drive safely, especially in this snow.

In This Update:

1. January Meeting Date Change -- The 9th
2. Proof The "Great Fear" Is Ending
3. Wexler Calls For Impeachment Hearings
4. Caution On Iraq "Progress"
5. Friday Night Progressive Film Festival Schedule

1. January Meeting Date Change -- The 9th

Ordinarily we meet on the first Wednesday of the month. However, this year the first Wednesday is the 2nd, the day after New Year's. Accordingly, at our December meeting, we decided to hold our monthly meeting on the second Wednesday, January 9th. Please keep this date change in mind! January 9th! I will remind everyone after New Year's.

This actually should work out well, because the Iowa caucuses will be over by then (they are on the 3rd), so that will give us something to discuss. At our November meeting we decided to defer any endorsements or action on the Presidential races until the January meeting (and there is no requirement we act at all).

As everyone is no doubt aware, the race is tightening between Clinton, Edwards and Obama with the intensity level going up, too. (Sadly, for our Kucinich and Dodd supporters, they do not seem to be catching up, for whatever reason.) What isn't getting much attention on the TV news is that it is Edwards who is now drawing the largest and most enthusiastic crowds. However, it's admittedly difficult to know how to interpret this, since there is no way of knowing for sure if those people are Iowans, or if they actually intend to leave their houses on a freezing January night and mill around for two or three hours in a caucus. In any case, it's going to be an interesting few weeks.

We will also be discussing the proposal we turn towards regional green activism (there is considerable support for that), and some training. We should also have the video of Governor Dean ready.

2. Proof The "Great Fear" Is Ending

In my update on 12/4 I predicted that the startling new National Intelligence Estimate would prove to be a "sea change." I wrote (if everyone will forgive me for quoting myself),

"Put bluntly, the intelligence agencies pulled the rug out from underneath White House warmongers. The likelihood of another or larger war in the Middle East took a huge drop, and probably now cannot happen. There no longer is any threat of a "World War Three," no mushroom clouds, no terror war, and no reason not to cooperate with Iran on resolving the mess we created in Iraq..." and,

"Without this spectre, we are eventually going to see the drawdown of the national security state that should have occurred in the 1990s after the end of the Cold War, but did not."

The N.I.E. report, and the way it blind sided the Bush White House, was a game changing event like Hurricane Katrina, one that fundamentally altered perceptions of the country, its administration and its affairs. We are already seeing the result of this shift in views: what should best be called the "Great Fear" is ending.

The phrase "Great Fear" originally came from Stalin's Soviet Union, and although it wasn't as serious here as it was in the USSR, it was real enough. Bush Press Secretary Ari Fleischer articulated it right after 9/11 when he cautioned Americans to "watch they they say." Under a "great fear" people come to pre-censor themselves, they cease to even try to resist or believe they can. Corrosive fear of consequences, cowardice, really, takes over and governs every action. They are beaten before they begin. We saw this in Congress all year.

But that self-imposed logjam is breaking:
*Today, under a threat of a filibuster against his own majority by Senator Dodd, the Telecom Bill granting immunity to communications companies that committed serious crimes against the rights of Americans under the Bush regime was withdrawn.
*U.S. District Court Judge Henry Kennedy ordered the Bush administration to answer allegations it destroyed evidence terrorist suspects in U.S. custody were tortured.
*U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth rejected White House claims Secret Service logs of White House visitors are private information.
*Congress passed an increase in the CAFE fuel economy standards to 35 MPG, the first rise in 32 years. They had to agree to some tax breaks, but they can always take those away later. The increase will not go away.
*Members of Congress are now also signing onto bills and amendments banning any US attack on Iraq, even though the possibility of such an attack no longer exists, making it a moot and empty gesture, but a backhanded confirmation of the existence of the "great fear, " now gone. (Rep. Gillibrand's staff was forcefully confronted by our members about the danger of an attack on Iran at our meeting last June.)
*And the possibility exists that Congress may yet live up to its commitment made earlier this year to start cutting funding for the Iraq War last September.

Would any of this happened before the fear bubble popped two weeks ago? Sometimes change, when it happens, happens fast.

A few of these sudden changes remind me of stories (apparently true) of bus accidents in New York City, where people rush to get on a bus after it's had a crash, holding their necks and writhing in pain, so they can get in on the whiplash injury lawsuits. When opportunity strikes, you have to act quickly, I guess.

3. Wexler Calls For Impeachment Hearings

The end of the "great fear" brings to the fore the next great issue: Impeachment. Will the Congress find the courage to go after "Lord Cheney," the man who tried to start a war with Iran, a war the N.I.E. proved would have been another senseless disaster like Iraq?

Even if a conviction in the Senate cannot be obtained, the principle still matters. Every member of Congress has taken an Oath of Office to defend the Constitution. Just the hearings alone, and what they would expose, would be the most vital service to democracy.

Representative Robert Wexler (D-FL) is pushing for Impeachment Hearings against Vice President Dick Cheney to begin in the Judiciary Committee. You can help him make it happen by signing his online petition.

(Thanks to Tracey at DFNYC for this!)

4. Caution On Iraq "Progress"

There are growing claims of "progress" in Iraq.

But retired Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor writing in Mother Jones argues that the surge, based as it is on American cash bribes to Sunni tribal leaders, may eventually backfire—producing more instability and possibly a regional war. According to Macgregor,

"We don't know much about developments within Iraq. Military officers who have recently served in Iraq tell me they don't truly understand Iraq's complexity or the duplicitous nature of the Iraqis they work with. In my conservations with them, they raise troubling questions that don't lend themselves to sound-bite answers on talk radio or the evening news." And,

"The Sunni insurgents are following a 'fight, bargain, subvert, fight' approach to get what they want," said one colonel. So Americans need to explore whether U.S. forces are courting long-term strategic success, or if the expedient cash surge is leading U.S. forces into a new phase of conflict that could engulf the region and create a perfect storm."... and,

"A former U.S. Army battalion commander with extensive service in Iraq reports, "It is my sense the Sunni Arab leaders are using the pause in the fight with U.S. forces to take a breather, harden and regroup themselves much like a conventional army would rest and refit after a major battle."

All this is reminiscent of Mao's Three Rules Of Guerilla Warfare, which we used to read about during Vietnam: 1. When the enemy advances, we retreat. 2. When the enemy stands, we harass. 3. When the enemy retreats, we attack.

Given that the US Army will soon be forced to retreat, because the surge is unsustainable, could we see a brutal re-surgence of the violence in the New Year? Could they resistance be just biding their time until the surge ends, to when the US Army will be vulnerable as never before? Macgregor's article is our Year-End Must Read:

5. Rockhill's Friday Night Progressive Film Festival Schedule

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

I AM CUBA (SOY CUBA) (1964) Mikhail Kalatazov 141 min. Grade = 100%
This Russian-made study of Cuba, partially written by renowned poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, captures the island just before it made the transition to a post-revolutionary society. Moving from city to country and back again, I AM CUBA examines the various problems caused by political oppression as well as by great discrepancies in wealth and power. Beginning in Havana in the pre-Castro era, we see how foreigners contributed to the city's prostitution and poverty; this sequence features dreamy, hallucinogenic camera work that creates a feeling of unease and dislocation. Then, in glorious images of palm tress and fertile land, the film looks at the sugar cane fields in the countryside, and the difficulties faced by peasants working the land. Finally, back in the city again, leftist students battle the police and a corrupt government--and pay a high price for their rebellion.

Thanks Everyone for another great year! Have a wonderful Christmas Holiday Season and a Happy New Year! See you all January 9th!


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Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Tricounty DFA Update: Meeting Reminder-- N.I.E. "blows up" Iran attack, more
Hello Everyone!

In This Update:

1. Reminder: Glens Falls DFA Meeting Wednesday
2. Intelligence Community Stands Up To Bush, Cheney, Neocons
3. Peace Fair December 8
4. Seasons Greetings To Vets
5. Friday Night Progressive Film Fest

1. Reminder: Glens Falls DFA Meeting Wednesday

Just a reminder that our December Greater Glens Falls DFA Link-Up or "Meetup" will be this Wednesday, December 5th, at 7pm at the Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe on Hudson, Elm and Exchange Streets in downtown Glens Falls.

We set the agenda from last month: We will be discussing out reach and coordination with other area groups engaged in local environmental concerns, for instance, the French Mountain/Bear Pond mess. I hope also to have a video of Governor Dean and Democratic National Committee staff talking about the 50 State Precinct Leader Plan. As we discussed last month, our group really can't take this project all by ourselves for the region, but we may be able to use our skills better in training others.

2. Intelligence Community Stands Up To Bush, Cheney, Neocons

Today's news brought a startling story and an historic sea change in the denouement of the misbegotten Bush/Cheney/Neocon regime. All 16 of the nation's intelligence agencies finally found their guts and principles and stood up to White House bullies who were seeking to suborn their testimony on Iran.

The agencies issued a new National Intelligence Estimate today: Iran is not seeking a nuclear weapon and abandoned the project in 2003.

Put bluntly, the agencies pulled the rug out from underneath White House warmongers. The likelihood of another or larger war in the Middle East took a huge drop, and probably now cannot happen. The neocons are boiling in rage and frustration:

There no longer is any threat of a "World War Three," no mushroom clouds, no terror war, and no reason not to cooperate with Iran on resolving the mess we created in Iraq.

But let's step back a moment and take in the larger political picture. The end of the Cold War presented the right wing in this country with a crisis: without an enemy, there could be no national security state. Since the first war with Iraq, they have attempted to replace the old Cold War with a new war against "Islamic Fascism" and "terrorism." That would justify their continued grip on the nation's economy and the federal budget, and really our whole society and all of its priorities.

Saddam proved to be an phony threat once we had him, there were no WMD's. So the Bush/Cheney/neocon regime had to find a new bogeyman to keep people scared: they needed to scare us about Iran. Now that threat is gone. And with it so is the justification for domestic spying, overspending on national defense, enveloping the government in secrecy, abusing civil rights guaranteed by the Constitution, torture, attempted censorship-- all the myriad crimes of the Bush era.

Without this spectre, we are eventually going to see the drawdown of the national security state that should have occurred in the 1990s after the end of the Cold War, but did not.

As of today, there is even less reason for Democrats in Congress to continue to fail to stand up to Bush, and even less reason keep financially feeding the neocon fantasy of global struggle.

3. Peace Fair December 8th

The Second Annual Glens Falls Area Peace Fair will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation on Weeks Road in Queensbury this Saturday, December 8th, 2007 from 10am-5pm.

Admission is free, rain or shine. It will feature "A diverse gathering of peace-minded folks, hand-crafted gifts, provocative tables, vegetarian soups and desserts, live music and free child care.

Ruth Lamb recommends a book that will be available at the Peace Fair:

"Everyone of every political persuasion should read the new book by Paul Hawken - "Blessed Unrest How the Largest Movement in the World came Into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming". This is a very upbeat look at coping with global warming that focuses on the many, many, many people who are at work individually, in small groups and larger groups to make a positive difference to the state of the earth. I highly recommend it, not only as an important read, but as a reference to topics, organizations, etc. that are at work. Hope to have it for sale at the Peace Fair. Ruth"

For more info contact organizer Neal Herr at

4. Seasons Greetings To Vets

Tony sends this along:

When mailing your Christmas cards this year, simply take two extra cards and
please send them to the following addresses. (Think of how many cards will
be received by these wonderful special people who have sacrificed so much
for our country!)

A Recovering American Marine
c/o Bethesda Naval Hospital
8901 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20889


A Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue,NW
Washington, DC 20307-5001

5. Friday Night Progressive Film Fest

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

In this documentary, filmmaker Alex Jones takes a look at global terrorist attacks, including the bombings in London and Madrid. Jones is highly critical of the methodology behind the various governments who are fighting back against such activit! ies, and offers some pointers on how he thinks these situations can be resolved peacefully.

Thanks everyone! See you all Wednesday!


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