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Democracy For The Southern Adirondack/Tricounty Area
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Tricounty DFA Update: Primary Coming, the 48th SD and Slime
Hello Everyone;

In This Update:

1. NY Primary A Week Away
2. Glens Falls DFA February Meeting Next Week
3. An Appeal For Help: Special Election In The 48th SD
4. Slime Alert
5. Friday Night Progressive Film Fest

1. NY Primary A Week Away

I am sure we all know the New York Primary is now only one week away on February 5th Remember, if you were thinking of voting early in the day, for primaries the Polls open at Noon, not 7am, and close at 9pm. Plan ahead and don't get caught short.

2. Glens Falls DFA February Meeting Next Week

Our Democracy For The Greater Glens Falls Area monthly meeting follows Primary Day on Wednesday, February 6th. As usual, we will be meeting at our regular time of 7pm at the Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe in glorious Downtown Glens Falls, one block west of the roundabout. I'm sure with the Primary we will have lots to talk about, just like we did last month. We may also get to the environmental initiative we were discussing and some videos.

3. An Appeal For Help: Special Election In The 48th SD

People in our area may not be focusing on the fact that there is a Special Election coming up in the 48th Senate District to the North of us. Democrats are very close to taking control of the State Senate for the first time in a generation, so this is a very big deal. Yesterday I received this important message from our Washington County Chair Sheila Comar, who is rounding up help for this race:


"The Democratic Rural Conference (DRC) is focusing on the upcoming 48th District Senate Race in upstate NY. As you may know, our Democratic Candidate, Darrel Aubertine, has hit the ground running. He's known and loved in St. Lawrence and Jefferson counties and is gaining ground in Oswego where he is less known."

"The State Democratic Senate Campaign is firmly behind him but they are looking for some boots on the ground to strengthen the effort. The election date has been set: Tuesday, February 26, 2008 and the DRC is working to set up a network of volunteers who can help Darrel get a seat in the State Senate and help us get that much closer to flipping the Senate. "

"The DRC has asked each of its members to reach out to Democrats in their counties to identify people who might be willing to volunteer in Jefferson, Oswego or St. Lawrence counties over the next several weeks. They are also looking for volunteers who can make phone calls to residents in the 48th. They have asked each county to try to identify four volunteers and are making arrangements for housing (free or cheap). Won't you consider being part of this campaign?"

"Below is a form to help us figure out who is available and when. If you're interested, please fill it out and email this back to me and I'll follow up with more details."

"In the meantime, here are some links to Darrel's campaign web site and to his recent commercials and media."

"Thanks for considering this!"

"Sheila Comar, Chair, Washington County Democratic Committee"

"Darrel's Web Site:

"Darrel's Commercials, Media:

I'll paste the form at the bottom. Our State Senate candidate from last time, Tim Merrick, tells me he has high hopes for Aubertine, so please do what you can (I'm sure money is also gratefully accepted).

4. Slime Alert

Politics can often be a rough business, but I want to alert everyone to some things that I've been seeing.

Before I comment, though, let me say pointedly that I have not decided who to vote for, though I am swinging between Obama and Edwards. On an emotional level I have no dog in this fight-- the candidate or candidates I wanted decided not to run.

We often hear it said that what a great selection of candidates we have this year. In reality the heavy hitters in the Democratic Party: Gore, Dean and Feingold, for reasons sometimes good, are sitting it out. (Gov. Dean made a commitment to stay at the DNC, and being an honorable man, is honoring it. That we are now newly competitive as a party is largely due to his efforts and the sacrifice of his own personal ambition. Russ Feingold apparently went into divorce last year. Gore-- well, who knows why Gore decided not to run?) If Gore, Dean or Feingold were in the race, we'd see right away how thin this bunch is by comparison.

At any rate, as your local DFA coordinator, people send me tons of stuff, so I am sure I see more than most people do. Lately my mailbox has been really filling up. What is particularly alarming is the sheer volume and also mendacity of smears aimed at Barack Obama. I have received mailings telling me that he is:

*Actually is a moslem and is lying about it
*Attended a radical wahabi muslim religious school in Jakarta
*Turns his back when the National Anthem is played
*Has a secret Islamic religious agenda
*Wants to privatize Social Security
*Is anti-choice

Some of this stuff is reminiscent of the worse of the swiftboat lies spread by the radical right against John Kerry. But Democrats swiftboating Democrats is something new.

Major lies were also spread against Governor Dean four years ago. But they were much more hidden, and because we had a much shorter campaign, there wasn't the time and opportunity to expose what was going on.

And to be clear-- some of these lies are coming from within our Party, but others are not.

But the latter point above, the anti-choice one, is particularly revealing, and I would like to focus on it. The Clintons know that if large numbers of women go over to Obama, that Hillary Clinton's chances are doomed. That was the lesson of Iowa-- large numbers of women voters defected to Obama and Clinton lost.

Accordingly, they have to find some way to frighten and rattle women voters, and the reproductive choice button is the obvious one to push. It now appears they are basing her campaign on trying to panic and stampede her own base of women supporters.

Whatever one thinks of these three candidates, the reality is that their positions on Choice are virtually identical, and they would make any future Supreme Court appointments from essentially the same roster of candidates. There are good reasons to vote for and against all these candidates. But reproductive rights are equally safe in all their hands, it is not an issue in any respect in the Democratic race.

An issue is being made in particular about Obama's voting "present" in the Illinois Senate. Under parliamentary rules there, under certain circumstances, if it looks like a bill is going to be defeated, State Senators often vote "present" as a parliamentary tactic to keep it alive-- it sends the bill back to committee. So by voting "present" on pro-choice bills, Obama was actually acting to keep that legislation alive, in a sense, living to fight another day. Those who voted "present" were seeking to avoid outright defeat, and save reproductive rights. This is a demonstration of how easy it is to misrepresent a legislator's record, whether it's at the municipal, state or federal level-- if one has the will to do so.

The truth is Barack Obama has at 100% approval rating from Illinois Planned Parenthood. He has never failed them even once.

So we are experiencing a viral lie campaign, which is the fancy new term for the old whisper campaign, a campaign of accusations that one doesn't want to take credit for. The only difference is that it is being done over the Internet.

For the life of me, I cannot figure out how lying became part of the internal culture of the Democratic Party. But it clearly has.

Lying is the death of democracy. Always. The genius of our government is that it is a system for transferring accountability: from the people, who are sovereign, to elected officials, and holding them accountable in turn. Lying simply makes this impossible. Accountability for what? We can see how this subverted the system in the way Bush lied us into war. In the face of his lies, Democracy could not function. Lying is the worst thing a public official can do, because lying is an attack on the system itself, irrespective of what the lie is ostensibly about.

Underlying the democratic political order is a democratic culture that implicitly assumes certain bonds of trust. Sever those bonds of trust, and the whole thing will eventually collapse. Does anyone really believe we can base our democracy on lies?

Perhaps this new culture of lying is a sinister echo of something Hitler said-- that the strength of his Nazi system was that it forced others to emulate it. Maybe in fighting the radical right for so long we have unwittingly come to resemble them. If that is true, George Bush, Karl Rove and all the rest have really won.

5. Friday Night Progressive Film Fest

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

SHADOW BOXERS (2002) Katya Bankowsky 72 min. No RT Rating
Lucia Rijker, an undefeated female boxer, is the centerpiece for this fascinating look at the world of female boxing. Revealing fascinating facts and behind-the-scenes insights into the sport, SHADOW BOXERS also illustrates how much is at stake in this extreme and often brutal world.

Thanks Everyone! More on next week's meeting this weekend! The Aubertine volunteer form is below.


Volunteer To Help Darrel Sweep the 48th Senate District

Your Name:

Your Address:

Your Phone:

Your E-Mail:

Please Check the Counties that You Would be Willing to Travel To:

____Oswego _____Jefferson _____St. Lawrence

Please Check the Weekends that You Would Be Available:

_____January 25-27

_____February 1-3

_____February 8-10

_____February 15-17

_____February 22-24

Would You Be Willing To Make Phone Calls From Home? _____Yes _____No

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