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Democracy For The Southern Adirondack/Tricounty Area
Monday, March 31, 2008
Tricounty DFA Update: 5th Anniversary Meeting Wednesday! Dean Speaks & More
Hello Everyone!

This is a very special week for our local DFA group: Our Fifth Anniversary.

In This Update:

1. 5th Anniversary Meeting
2. Governor Dean On Democrat's Crisis
3. Collapse Of The Surge
4. Language Rot Behind War
5. Gore's New Green Initiative
6. Friday Night Progressive Film Festival

1. 5th Anniversary Meeting

April 2nd will be the first Wednesday in April, and the Fifth Anniversary of our Greater Glens Falls DFA Meetup or Link-up!

Five years ago this Wednesday, April 2nd, a group of us were first united by the candidacy of Howard Dean for President. With only two missed dates due to venue problems, we have been meeting continuously on the first Wednesday of the month ever since then.

We have moved on from Dean For America to Democracy For America, welcomed our progressive friends from the Kucinich, Clark, Kerry and Edwards campaigns, helped elect Governor Dean Chairman of the Democratic National Committee and made many new friends. Above all, we are still fighting to carry on the principles of the Dean campaign of resisting right wing extremism, supporting progressive policies and candidates, and building a new American community.

If you haven't been in a while, come on down at 7pm to where we began, the Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe on Exchange and Elm Streets in downtown Glens Falls.

There's been a lot going on politically that I know everyone will want to discuss-- we've had great discussions all season long, and we'll be planning some future actions. We'll also get to those extra clips of Michael Moore's Sicko that we never got to show: they're great. If you have a suggestion for something special you would like to see us do or discuss Wednesday, let me know.

For old times's sake, I'll be unfurling our big Dean For America banner in celebration-- and if you have a Kucinich, Clark or Kerry poster, bring that along, too!

2. Governor Dean On Democrat's Crisis

The man who brought us together hasn't been heard as much as we would like since becoming Chair of the DNC. But Governor Dean gave a major and lengthy press interview last week on the burgeoning crisis in the Presidential primary, which many fear is devolving into a demolition derby that may damage Democrats' chances in November.

"WASHINGTON (AP) - Democratic Party chief Howard Dean says Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton and their supporters should beware of tearing each other down, demoralizing the base and damaging the party's chances of winning the White House in November."

For More:

How well the Governor's advice will be taken is unknown. Notably, Senator Clinton told the Washington Post today that she is determined to stay in the race until the convention, no matter what, and would take the fight over Florida and Michigan to the Credentials Committee:

3. Collapse Of The Surge

Governor Dean's famous speech to the DNC Winter Convention in February 2003 brought many of us into the original DFA:

"What I want to know is why in the world the Democratic party leadership is supporting the president's unilateral attack on Iraq."

The "What I Want To Know Speech" is one of the great turning points in America history because is the moment when Democrats, liberals and progressives rallied to begin turning back the conservative's 30 year counter revolution. (Read it at: )

It's as fresh as if it were written yesterday. And yet the war continues. And Democrats allow it. This is despite the fact the so-called Surge has now collapsed after the Iraqi government's failed attack on Shiite militias in Basra. For details we aren't seeing in the US press:

According to major media news reports the Iraqi Army "turned in their weapons." In the middle of a firefight? They "turned in their weapons?" What an interesting phrase. Let' translate that into English: They surrendered or ran away. And the U.S. Army and Marines are now picking up the slack, and the casualties.

This happened before, in Vietnam. Peasants were driven off their land by the war and joined the South Vietnamese Army to feed their families. But they weren't there to die for their country: they were there to feed those families, and if they got killed, they couldn't do that (obviously) and so they ran away at the first sign of trouble and left US forces holding the bag.

Our invasion destroyed the Iraqi economy and now Iraqi men enlist to get money to feed their families. And like the Viets, they won't risk their lives lest their families literally starve.

This proves no progress has been made and we are no closer to "victory" than we were five years and 4,007+ dead GIs ago.

Here's another critical fact that's not getting into U.S. papers-- the "Surge" was supposed to create conditions for a political settlement, but the Iraqi Parliament cannot even muster a quorum and rarely meets.

If the Parliament never meets there never will be a political resolution and the war will continue forever.

When will we get serious about removing our forces from this mess? Kathy notes Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's National Security advisor, makes a strong case for the speedy removal of US troops in the Washington Post:

There is also a solid new plan organized by a group of 30 Congressional candidates, including NY's Eric Massa-- "A Responsible Plan To End The War."

4. Language Rot Behind War

The greatest essay ever written on political language is George Orwell's Politics And The English Language. Orwell exposed how the misuse of language can lead to political disaster, and the abuse of language did much to get us into the Iraqi War. That makes this piece in The New York Review of Books this week's must read-- Euphemism And American Violence:

"The frightening thing about such acts of renaming or euphemism, Tacitus implies, is their power to efface the memory of actual cruelties. Behind the façade of a history falsified by language, the painful particulars of war are lost. Maybe the most disturbing implication of the famous sentence "They create a desolation and call it peace" is that apologists for violence, by means of euphemism, come to believe what they hear themselves say."

A criminal act of aggression becomes "regime change." Torture becomes "enhanced interrogation." An escalation becomes a "surge." Bombing becomes "air support." And so on. As the article goes on,

"Orwell's insight was that the italicized phrases are colorless by design and not by accident. He saw a deliberate method in the imprecision of texture. The inventors of this idiom meant to suppress one kind of imagination, the kind that yields an image of things actually done or suffered..."

As Orwell himself noted; "In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism., question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness."

This is, by the way, an explanation of why Govenor Dean's What I Want To Know speech was so great: he stated it precisely in plain language-- "unilateral attack."

The lack of such clarity and precision goes far to explain why Congress is unable to act: words and phrases like stabilization process and creating space for political solutions are euphemisms akin to Lenin's phrase breaking an egg to make an omlet: all fine, of course, unless your head or the head of someone you love is the egg being broken.

At any rate, euphemisms for violence like stabilization process, surge or strategy for success are a leading reason we are now in the six year of war in Iraq-- they blind us to the concrete, blood drenched reality of violence and death.

If you want to read Orwell' famous essay, it's also online at:

5. Gore's New Green Initiative

Another leader who speaks clearly is Al Gore. He was on 60 Minutes last night and called the denial of Global Warming akin to saying the world is flat.

Gore's latest initiative to save the planet is a $300 million three year promotional and educational campaign to raise public awareness of the Global Warming crisis-- it's the biggest such campaign in history and it starts next Wednesday:

6. Friday Night Progressive Film Festival

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

Fri Apr 4 7:30 pm Adirondack Progressive Film Forum (National Holocaust Month)
PAPER CLIPS (2004) Elliot Berlin & Joe Fab 87 min. RT Rating = 71 %
The town of Whitwell is a tiny community of about two thousand people nestled in the mountains of Tennessee. Its citizens are almost exclusively white and Christian. In 1998, the children of Whitwell Middle School took on an inspiring project, launched out of their principal's desire to help her students open their eyes to the diversity of the world beyond their insulated valley. What happened would change the students, their teachers, their families and the entire town forever… and eventually open hearts and minds around the world. PAPER CLIPS tells the moving story of how these students responded to what had been to them a completely unfamiliar chapter in human history – the Holocaust – with a promise to honor every single soul lost in that horrible event by collecting paperclips to represent each individual exterminated by the nazis. Their dedication was absolute. Their plan was simple but profound. The amazing result, which stands permanently in their schoolyard, is an unforgettable lesson of how a committed group of children can change the world, one classroom at a time.

Thanks everyone! See you all Wednesday for our Fifth Anniversary! Remember to bring a friend!

My best to all of you,

Larry Dudley

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