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Democracy For The Southern Adirondack/Tricounty Area
Sunday, January 06, 2008
Tricounty DFA Update: Reminder-- Big Meeting Wednesday!
Hello Everyone;

In This Update:

1. Glen Falls DFA Meeting Wednesday
2. Big News Out Of Iowa and New Hampshire: Progressives Win!
3. McGovern Calls For Bush/Cheney Impeachment
4. NY Times Magazine On Election Machines
5. Friday Night Progressive Film Fest

1. Don't Miss Glens Falls DFA Meeting Wednesday!

1. Because of the New Year's Day holiday, we'll be holding our monthly Greater Glens Falls Area DFA meeting this Wednesday, January 9th, at 7pm at the Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe in downtown Glens Falls.

This should be a big meeting with much to discuss, including the environmental coordination and also the training initiatives we were talking about earlier, but, I am sure, most especially, the news out of the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary this Tuesday.

So if you have not been to a meeting lately, not to worry-- this is going to be like a big gathering of old friends, and new ones as well. If you are excited about what is going on, come on down!

The Cafe is on the corner of Exchange and Elm Streets and Hudson Avenue, just up from the Round-about, going towards the hospital.

2. Big News Out Of Iowa and New Hampshire: Progressives Win!

I don't have to tell anyone about the news out of Iowa or New Hampshire, but it is clear there is an earthquake underway in the Democratic Party.

DFA National pushed for a progressive win in Iowa, and they got it: Obama-Edwards, first and second, a more than 2-1 victory for progressives.

What has happened is really the continuation of what Governor Dean started five years ago-- to move the Democratic Party back to its roots and away from another "me-too" party of corporate power. Both Obama and Edwards ran smart, 21st century campaigns in Iowa, campaigns based on people power, not money power.

It is very important to note that Republican Mike Huckabee did the same thing and beat a much more heavily funded Mitt Romney. Both Clinton and Romney spent tens of millions for their poor showings.

The days of top-down campaigns, where the goal was to raise as much money as possible, in order to crash a truckload of cash into a TV station, like a suicide bombing, only for ads, has come to an end. So, too, the era of overpaid campaign consultants.

Joe Trippi, Governor Dean's former campaign manager, and now John Edward's chief campaign strategist, aptly dubbed that time the era of Broadcast Politics. It started in the 1950s with the rise of television, and it upended our democracy, turning both parties into institutions that represented rich donors, not constituents.

The purpose of television advertising is to "sell the eyeballs" of viewers to advertisers-- that's how TV stations and networks make money. Popular programs bring in more "eyeballs" to be sold. Similarly, the purpose of Broadcast Politics was to deliver voter's attention to a candidate. It was not about finding or getting elected officials to represent constituents in government. This change reversed the direction of accountability in our political system.

Like the companies that bought advertisements, those who could pay for this process actually held power, not the public, the owners of our democracy. This negative transformation caused both the corruption and gross trivialization of modern American politics. It's no wonder on issue after issue, both parties failed average Americans as our country steadily drifted to the right. As American political life degenerated and also increasingly failed to address their concerns, tens of millions of Americans, reduced to passive spectators, tuned politics out, and then dropped out of the system. Political participation was no longer part of their life.

Governor Dean talked of a Great American Restoration. Maybe now we are going to finally get it. The Obama-Edwards win is also, in every real way, Howard Dean's victory, for it is his vision of American Democracy that has prevailed. The Governor realized the answer to our political dilemma was to change the dynamics by getting discouraged voters who have dropped out to return to participating in the political process, to turn them from passive spectators, for whom politics was something they received, into participants and the joint masters of their own destiny. Bringing in tens of thousands of new people to the caucuses-- over 100,000-- is precisely what Obama and Edwards did. There looks to be a record turnout in New Hampshire as well. In this sense both are true successors to the Dean campaign.

This political earthquake is also, it should be noted, in good measure a repudiation of Hillary Clinton's votes on Iraq. Democrats expected their leaders to stand up to George Bush and his criminal war of aggression, were furious when they did not get that strong leadership, and are still upset. This failure too, ultimately, owed much to the reversal of the direction of accountability that Broadcast Politics represented.

3. McGovern Calls For Bush/Cheney Impeachment

Our 1972 presidential candidate, Sen. George McGovern, issued a clarion call today in the Washington Post to impeach both Bush and Cheney, arguing the fundamental principles of our country are more important than time left in office or convenience.

3. NY Times Magazine On Election Machines

As we learned in 2000, and probably 2004, what really matters sometimes, as Marshall Stalin cynically observed, is not who votes that counts, but who counts the votes.

That means a "must-read" of the week is a big piece in the New York Times Magazine on voting technology, and the basic unreliability of electronic voting machines. This is something we have focused on in the past, and still will be key in the future.

4. Friday Night Progressive Film Fest

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

Fri Jan 11 7:30 pm Adirondack Progressive Film Forum
GRIZZLY MAN (2005) Werner Herzog 104 min.
In his mesmerizing new film GRIZZLY MAN, acclaimed director Werner Herzog explores the life and death of amateur grizzly bear expert and wildlife preservationist Timothy Treadwell. Treadwell lived unarmed among the bears for thirteen summers, and filmed his adventures in the wild during his final five seasons. In October 2003, Treadwell's remains, along with those of his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard, were discovered near their campsite in Alaska's Katmai National Park and Reserve. They had been mauled and devoured by a grizzly, the first known victims of a bear attack in the park. (The bear suspected of the killings was later shot by park officials.) In GRIZZLY MAN, Herzog plumbs not only the mystery of wild nature, but also the mystery of human nature as he chronicles Treadwell's final years in the wilderness. Herzog uses Treadwell's own startling documentary footage to paint a nuanced portrait of a complex and compelling figure while exploring larger questions about the uneasy r

Thanks everyone! See you all Wednesday!

Larry Dudley

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