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Democracy For The Southern Adirondack/Tricounty Area
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Tricounty DFA Update: Schumer Key To Opt-In, WCD Women's Luncheon, More
Hello Everyone;

In this update for April 15, 2009:

1. Schumer Key To Healthcare Op-in
2. Washington County Women's Luncheon
3. Estate Tax Madness
4. Thom Hartmann on the real Boston Tea Party
5. Breaking The FInancial Oligarchy
6. Rockhill Progressive Film Festival

1. Schumer Key To Healthcare Op-in

As we all know, Governor Dean has returned to DFA to push for Healthcare Reform this year, and he has identified "Opt-In" as the most important issue in healthcare reform. If private citizens can't buy coverage through Medicare or another public program, in Governor Dean's words "we don't have healthcare reform." If you haven't signed his petition please go to:

But there's something special we can do as residents of New York State to help make Opt-In happen.

Senator Schumer will be leading the Senate Finance Committee's review of public healthcare options, including Opt-In. As his constituents, we have the most influence over him. So we need to let Senator Schumer know New Yorkers want him to support Opt-In, a public healthcare option for everyone.

The private insurance companies are howling about this, because they no longer believe in competition. Apparently they think government should guarantee them a profit.

They are wrong. Government should guarantee everyone healthcare.

Please contact Senator Schumer's office in D.C. at 202-224-6542 or Albany 518-431-4070 and let them know how strongly New Yorkers support Opt-In. Or go online at:

Please pass this along to everyone you know who lives in the State Of New York. We need as many New Yorkers as possible to light up those lines.

On healthcare, also not to be missed is an article in Slate by Timothy Nolan: "If, as part of health care reform, the federal government were to create a new health insurance program to compete with private insurers—as candidate Obama called for during the presidential campaign—and if that plan were to provide the same payment levels as Medicare does, then the premiums families would pay to participate would be 30 percent to 40 percent less than those paid by families to participate in a comparable private plan."

2. Washington County Women's Luncheon

It's time for the annual Washington County Democratic Women’s Spring Luncheon. The date is Friday, May 1st from 12 noon - 2 pm. The location is the Cambridge Hotel in Cambridge, NY. The luncheon will feature quiche, salads, sandwiches, soups, and desserts.

$25 in advance; $30 at the door.

Featured Speaker will be Madeleine Kunin, the first woman governor of Vermont and author of Pearls, Politics, and Power: How Women Can Win and Lead

For reservations, contact: Ellen Faber at 677-8345 or mail checks made out to WCDC to Ellen Faber, 100 East Main Street, Cambridge, NY 12816. Pre-registration deadline is Friday April 24th

3. Estate Tax Madness

Ten Blue Dog Democrats in the Senate are already trying to hand a major defeat to President Obama. They joined every Republican senator to lower the "Paris Hilton" tax on the estates of the ultra rich, a tax that only effects the wealthiest 5,854 families in America. This gift to the super rich will cost the rest of us more than $300 billion over ten years.

Columnist Michael Kinsley summed it up: "To save these very few very wealthy people a small fraction of their estates, these senators are willing to hand their party's president an embarrassing defeat."

It's time to nip this Blue Dog nonsense in the bud. Blue Dogs want Democrat's support when they run for office, but then ignore-- if they can! -- who their party represents. Let the Blue Dogs know you can't be ignored. SIgn the the Campaign For America's protest on the estate tax give-a-way:

4. Thom Hartmann on the real Boston Tea Party

While we are on the subject of taxes, I am sure we all heard about CNBC's tea party protest.

Miranda sends along this superb Thom Hartmann article on the original Boston Tea Party these idiots are aping, and instead of being a protest against taxes, it was actually a protest against the political power of the biggest corporation in the world. (Sounds familiar?)

5. Breaking The FInancial Oligarchy

The Boston Tea Party was really about the power of a financial oligarchy. Amazingly, according to economist Simon Johnson, it's the same fight we face today, 236 years later: "...says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, the finance industry has effectively captured our government... recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform."

Better than anything I've seen, Johnson's gives the best long view of what has actually been going on.

5. Rockhill Progressive Film Festival

MONDOVINO (2005) Jonathan Nossiter 135 min RT Rating = 71 % Jonathan Nossiter focuses his camera on the international wine trade, traveling to France, California, Italy, and New York, speaking with winemakers both great and small. While old-timer Aime Guibert, of tiny Mas de Daumas-Gassac, pronounces that wine must be made by a poet, high-powered consultant Michel Rolland circles the globe ensuring that wineries make lots of money.... The result is an entertaining inside examination of a world very few people see, a fascinating exploration of wine and the families who produce it.

DESERT BAYOU (2007) Alex Lemay 92 min RT Rating = 78 % After the horrors of Hurricane Katrina, hundreds of black evacuees were unwittingly transported to Utah, a state where only one percent of its residents were black in 2005. Featuring interviews with Master P, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, and Dr. Beverly Wright, Desert Bayou chronicles the experiences of those who escaped Katrina and were sent to live in Utah.

Thanks everyone!


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Thursday, April 02, 2009
Tricounty DFA Update: Governor Dean At Union College April 13 & Meeting Report.
Hello Everyone;

Governor Dean At Union!

A special report: DFA founder Governor Howard Dean will be speaking at the Memorial Chapel of Union College in Schnectady, NY on Monday, April 13th at 7pm. Doors open at six. Space is limited and preference will be given to members of the campus community. For more details check out the Union webpage at:

If anyone is interested in carpooling down as a DFA group, let me know and we'll see what we can put together.

Meeting Report

Also, briefly, we had a good monthly meeting last night at the Rockhill Cafe. We discussed politics (of course!) but also DFA's new healthcare initiative now being led by Dr. Dean.

One of the things we discussed was this article from Wednesday New York Times, which describes what is probably the biggest danger posed to healthcare reform:

Governor Dean has identified what's called "opt-in" as the make or break point for healthcare reform. If we can't opt-in to a public program like Medicare, we don't have reform.

But what's being proposed is a so-called compromise wherein, as the article describes it,
"Congress would authorize a new government-run insurance program, but it would come into existence only if certain conditions were met — if, for example, private insurers failed to rein in health costs by a certain amount after several years."

That would firstly, give private insurers breathing room to keep fighting reform. Secondly, they would just keep moving the goal posts, redefining or watering down the standards. What is enough reduction? Who would get to say that? This compromise is merely a strategy to kill opt-in. Costs would not come down significantly and we would not get reform.

We also discussed some actions, and we'll be letting you know about that soon. In the meanwhile, make sure you sign Governor Dean's petition for healthcare reform at:

Thanks everyone!


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