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Democracy For The Southern Adirondack/Tricounty Area
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Tricounty DFA Update: Peace & Unity Vigil Saturday 11am, McClatchy Series, FISA, War Vote Alarm
Hello Everyone;

In This Update:

1. Vigil & Unity Event Saturday
2. Kudos To Post Star On McClatchy Series
3. FISA, War Funding Votes Imminent
4. Robocalling
5. Friday Night Progressive Film Festival

1. Vigil & Unity Event Saturday

We will be holding another one hour vigil this Saturday, June 21st at 11am in front of the Civil War Monument at the corners of Bay, Glen and South Streets in downtown Glens Falls.

This will be a vigil for peace and to bring our troops home. But it will have an extra dimension this weekend. DFA National is urging us to hold unity events now that the primary process is over. Accordingly, now that Ron Paul has dropped out of the race, we would urge the community to come together and also show support for the only remaining candidate committed to ending the Iraq War and bringing our troops home, Barack Obama.

Please come at 11am and bring a sign (we have a few) and a friend.

2. Kudos To Post Star On McClatchy Series

The Post Star deserves a real salute for its recent decision to carry the McClatchy Newspapers syndicated series on the abuse and sometimes torture of prisoners in US military custody, which occurred at the order of top civilian lawyers in the administration, over the objection of military attorneys in the Judge Advocate Generals office.

McClatchy is the news service that got the facts on Iraq right, as opposed to the rest of the main stream media, and it is great to see the Post Star now carrying their distinguished coverage.

For those who missed them, here are some links to these "must read" stories:

Many at Guantanamo had no ties to terrorism.
Documents undercut Pentagon's denial of routine abuse.
Former detainees allege Quran abuse at Guantanamo.

Abuse of detainees routine at U.S. bases in Afghanistan.

Laws that led to detainee abuse hatched in secret
Guantanamo becoming recruiting ground

3. FISA, War Funding Votes Imminent

Votes in Congress are imminent on funding the war in Iraq for another year, and the FISA bill, which is basically a complete surrender that gives the Bush administration every it wants in terms of warrantless spying on Americans and letting telecom corporate criminals off the hook for helping spy illegally on Americans.

Why the Congress is even considering either measure is hard to comprehend-- for instance, these telecommunications companies have never exactly been friends of the Democratic Party, as all those messages we get from DFA Wireless/Credo Mobile like to point out. They give almost entirely to Republicans. send this alert out today on the war funding bill, which betrays the commitment Democrats made to the American people before the 2006 election:

"Late Wednesday, House "Democratic" Leader Steny Hoyer announced a deal with George Bush to give him $165B more for Iraq without bringing a single soldier home. And Hoyer wants the Democratic Congress to pass the bill today (Thursday) - before the 68% of Americans who oppose the disastrous occupation get ourselves organized.

"So please pick up the phone right now and tell your House Representative to vote NO on wasting $165 billion more in Iraq.

"Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for your House Representative (not Senators) by name, or find your House Representative's name and direct dial by entering your address on the right side:

If you do call, I would also suggest you bring up FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Glenn Greenwald, the constitutional law scholar and Salon columnist has been doing great work on this issue. Today he writes: "It's full-scale, unconditional amnesty with no inquiry into whether anyone broke the law. In the U.S. now, thanks to the Democratic Congress, we'll have a new law based on the premise that the President has the power to order private actors to break the law, and when he issues such an order, the private actors will be protected from liability of any kind on the ground that the Leader told them to do it -- the very theory that the Nuremberg Trial rejected." and
"Sen. Russ Feingold courteously answers the last question I just posed:

"The proposed FISA deal is not a compromise; it is a capitulation. . . . The House and Senate should not be taking up this bill, which effectively guarantees immunity for telecom companies alleged to have participated in the President's illegal program, and which fails to protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans at home. "

Dick sends along this earlier Greenwald observation:

"I'm trying to get some more details about this deal -- and am also trying to minimize the less rational aspects of my reaction -- before I write about it, which I'll do tomorrow at the latest. Suffice to say, the Democrats are about to reverse the only worthwhile act they've undertaken since being handed control of the Congress 18 months ago, and will endorse and authorize yet another aspect of the Bush lawbreaking regime. I ask this literally, not rhetorically: can someone identify even one meaningful event from the past 18 months that would have been different had the GOP retained control of both houses of Congress? Just one."

So if you call, please urge our members of Congress to vote no on war funding and no on FISA.

4. Robocalling

I have been asked to pass this along about robocalls coming into the district about Rep. Gillibrand, with a press release I will paste at the bottom, and so I will.
But I don't believe I am doing her any favors in doing so, because this completely concedes Republican energy policy frames, specifically that drilling can have any impact whatsoever on our energy status, or that there is any relationship between supply and price. There is none. Demand has dropped sharply but prices continue to rise.

I would also note it is common knowledge that just because a piece of federal land has been leased, does not mean it has oil or gas on it. All the good areas were drilled many years ago. What's left, if anything at all, are resources like tar sands or oil shale, which require massive capital investment or non-existent technology, or are heavy oils that require steam injection from non existent western water resources. These companies are famous for never thinking beyond the next quarter. If they had oil they sold it as fast as they could. That's why we're running out now.

"FYI: Tomorrow, Freedoms Watch, a 527 front group for the National Republican Party, will launch robo-dials into the district saying that the Congresswoman opposes drilling for oil during record high gas prices."

"In fact: The Congresswoman supports domestic drilling on lands (off and on-shore) already permitted to be tapped today, and she sponsored legislation to fine oil companies who continue to sit on their drilling permits and do nothing."

"If you can help let the Congresswoman’s constituents know the truth via any means -- letters to the editor, word of mouth and emails to your lists, that would be great. The following press release was sent out on Father’s Day and contains good information on this issue. I am also attaching the Congresswoman’s most current letter on energy. It discusses several of the steps she has taken since she took office to address gas prices and the energy crisis. "

5. Friday Night Progressive Film Festival

Fri Jun 20 7:30 pm Progressive Film Forum
GENGHIS BLUES (1999) Roiko & Adrian Belic 90 min. RT Rating = 73 %
In 1995, blind bluesman Paul Pena, who has played with Muddy Waters, B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, Jerry Garcia, and Merl Saunders and wrote the Steve Miller Band hit "Jet Airliner," traveled to Tuva, a small land in Northern Mongolia, with a small film crew and radio DJ Mario Casetta. Pena had become fascinated with the Tuvan practice of harmonic throat singing, in which singers are able to make incredible, almost magical sounds flow from deep in their throats. Pena's tour of the country leads him to the 1995 Throat singing Competition and Symposium, in which he competes in the kargyaa section, and the crowd is thrilled to see an American blues musician throat singing and talking to them in the Tuvan language. Brothers Adrian and Roko Belic document the trip, alternating between scenes of Pena's experiences with the people and shots of the beautiful Tuvan landscape and culture, from lush fields, stunning mountains, and hot deserts to dancing, a form of sumo-like wrestling, and a brutal sheep slaughtering ceremony. This majestic film won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature at the 1999 Academy Awards as well as the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival. The music in the film is literally incredible and it has to be seen and heard to be believed.

Thanks everyone! See you all Saturday!



Gillibrand Calls for Expanded Domestic Energy Production

Long-term Solutions Needed to Bring Relief to Upstate Residents

“It is time for American energy policy to be dictated by the consumers and not the oil and gas industry.” – Rep. Gillibrand

Saratoga Springs, NY – Today, local Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand called on oil companies to expand their domestic energy production on public lands already leased by the federal government. Oil and gas companies currently hold leases to 68 million acres of federal lands for energy production that are not being utilized. In testimony on Capitol Hill last month, oil executives asked Congress to open up new lands to oil production while they sit on permits for tens of millions of acres they are not using for production. The oil and gas companies have so far refused to begin production on 77% of their offshore oil leases and 73% of their onshore leases. When citing record gas prices economists have frequently cited the supply and demand equation as a driving reason for soaring prices. This bill will force the oil companies to increase supply on lands they are permitted to tap today. According to AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report the average cost for a gallon of gas in the Capitol region is $4.19.

In reaction to their continued inaction, Congresswoman Gillibrand announced that she is an original sponsor of legislation that would impose fees on the oil companies for refusing to use the permits they asked for. The Responsible Ownership of Public Lands Act imposes a $5 per acre fee on oil companies for the first three years the companies have leases but are not using for production, and increase to $25 per acre for the fourth year, and $50 per acre for subsequent years. These fees would be used to invest in alternative energy research and development and to ensure funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

“We can’t drill our way out of this problem, but for the oil and gas companies to continue to make record profits while Upstate families are struggling with record prices at the pump, and not to increase production from the leases they currently have, is unacceptable,” said Congresswoman Gillibrand, a Member of the House Armed Services Committee. “It is time for American energy policy to be dictated by the consumers and not the oil and gas industry.”

Congresswoman Gillibrand has been a leader in Congress, fighting for immediate relief for the American people and our nation’s long-term energy security. The Congresswoman led the effort to call for a temporary suspension of future purchases to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to keep more oil in the market. On May 13, the Congresswoman voted in favor of legislation that made this proposal law.

“Our long-term energy security is tied to our ability to work toward achieving energy independence through investment and deployment of new renewable energy technologies. I want America, and specifically Upstate New York, to be the market leader in the development of these new technologies that will, not only bring us closer to achieving energy independence, but will create ‘green collar’ jobs and revitalize our agricultural and manufacturing bases. Our region is blessed with not just the natural resources that can create energy through solar, wind, hydroelectric, and geothermal power, but we also have the creativity and innovation to lead the region in the development of non-food based biofuels, fuel cell technology and energy efficient building and product manufacturing.”

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