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Democracy For The Southern Adirondack/Tricounty Area
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Tricounty DFA Meeting Reminder & More
Hello Everyone!

In This Abbreviated Late Summer Update For August 30, 2010:

1. Meeting Reminder: Wednesday
2. Some Late Summer Must Reads

1. Meeting Reminder: Wednesday

Democracy For the Greater Glens Falls Area will be holding its monthly meeting at our usual time and place: the first Wednesday of the Month, September 1st, at 7pm at the Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe in downtown Glens Falls.

We should have a report about contact with Rep. Murphy's staff on some of our messages to him, including Net Neutrality. As you probably know, Rep. Murphy just participated in a closed door debate limited to members of the local Chamber of Commerce.

We will be discussing that, various campaigns, and some things that have been going on with DFA.

The Cafe is located on the corner of Elm and Exchange Streets and Hudson Avenue, one block west of the roundabout in downtown Glens Falls.

2. Some Late Summer Must Reads

It goes without saying there is increasing unrest with many of the Obama administration's Wall Street-friendly policies. At the same time, the far right is gearing up in a way we haven't seem in some time— we can see that in the attack over the so-called "ground zero Mosque." (One big lesson from that is that Democrats have not yet learned NOT to take the bait, and fall for right wing distraction tactics.)

On the problems with establishment Democrats, this piece from Raw Story is a must read before our meeting: it describes how the real threat to Social Security is coming from corporate Democrats, except for the reality Wall Street has always hated it and wants to loot it:

There is a growing chorus of protest against what increasing numbers of Democrats see as a corporatist coup that hi-jacked their party-- this new piece in Newsweek, Obama's Old Deal is only one representative example

On the right is the threat from billionaires trying to buy our government, as outlined in these pieces by Frank RIck in the NYT and in the New Yorker. As Rich asks, Where is the fight?
The New Yorker piece is the most astonishing one of all, because it details the frontal assault the ultra-wealthy Koch family has been waging on our democracy for decades. If you only have time to read one article, this is it:

What are we to do? Where to turn? The answers aren't completely clear at this point, but one thing is clear: we need to keep the pressure on.

See you all Wednesday!


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Monday, August 02, 2010
Tricounty DFA Update: Meeting Reminder, Murphy Letter, Democrat's Distress
Hello Everyone!

In this update for August 1st, 2010:

1. Greater Glens Falls DFA Monthly Meeting Wednesday
2. Our Letter To Rep. Murphy
3. Democrats and Core Issues

1. Greater Glens Falls DFA Monthly Meeting Wednesday

We will be holding our regular August meeting this Wednesday, August 4th, at 7pm at the Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe in downtown Glens Falls. Our recent meetings have been dominated by a growing concern that Democrats in Washington are favoring big business and high finance over the needs of average working people, and I am sure we will be discussing that again.

It looks like we will also have a report on a meeting of progressive activists with Rep. Scott Murphy.

One thing we may want to support is new legislation by Rep.Lynn Woolsey to revive the public option by allowing a Medicare type buy-in in the coming insurance exchanges.

The Cafe is located at the intersection of Exchange and Elm Streets and Hudson Avenue, one block west of the roundabout in downtown Glens Falls.

2. Our Letter To Rep. Murphy

At our last meeting we discussed the dangerous and growing push to generate a fake Social Security finance crisis as a means of "dealing" with deficits that are in fact not a problem. We adopted a letter to Rep. Murphy, which I will paste at the bottom on this update. We would like to thank The Chronicle for running it in full in this week's issue!

3. Democrats and Core Issues

More and more I am hearing growing distress among Democrats at the steady negative drift of what must be called the Washington Democratic Party on a wide variety of issues. This is despite the fact a large number of good things are being done, and the Obama administration has accomplished far more of its promises than most people realize.

However, when healthcare reform was watered down, there was uncertainty. But when we now look at the gutted financial reform bill, which totally favors the banks, or the unwillingness of President Obama to appoint Elizabeth Warren to head the new Consumer Financial Protection agency, because banksters don't like her, or the administration's unwillingness to prosecute Bush era officials for torture, or how the administration is now seeking warrantless wiretaps of American citizens, and so on, a clear pattern has now emerged. Far too many Democrats on the national level cannot be relied upon to support core Democratic issues and ideals, and, as Bill Clinton memorably put it, "people who work hard and play by the rules." On the core issues of who owns America, who this country is for, and who we need to stand up to, there is serious problem. These people are elitists who identify with elites, whether in finance, industry, the military or the intelligence agencies. And they are wishy-washy, without conviction.

Howard Dean spoke recently, and it's must read if you want to know or have forgotten what Democrats are supposed to sound like. As Dean says, "I have often said the biggest problem with the Democrats is that we are not tough enough."

Consider a few links, one from (of all places!) on what a fraud the finance reform bill is:
Or the Washington Post on how the Deficit Reduction Commission has had its deck stacked in advance, and will push a conservative agenda that will attack Social Security and drive the country deeper into economic distress:
Or how ignoring torture will ensure its eventual repetition:
Or Krugman today on how economic failure is being defined down:
Frank Rich has a take on Obama that is interesting, although more charitable than I would write (for instance, Speaker Pelosi made Heathcare Reform happen, not the White House, which entirely sold it out and obstructed it.)
In some ways we are right back where we were after the Democrat's disastrous 2002 wipe out. The progressive movement, particularly after Howard Dean, took the Democratic Party and the country back after the 2004, 2006 and 2008 elections, and made those victories happen.

It now looks like we are going to have to do it all over again.

I have heard from some people I like and respect a lot that they are demoralized. I understand that, in some ways it is worse than during the Bush years, because then we could hope and believe that when Democrats came to power things would be different, and so today's disillusionment is all that more bitter.

But we can't give in to this, although I know it is hard. We have to stick together and keep our institutions ready for the future.

Thanks everyone! Hope to see many of you Wednesday,


Representative Scott Murphy
120 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative Murphy;

The following letter was draft and unanimously approved at our Wednesday, July 7th meeting.

Dear Representative Murphy;

We would like to express our thanks and appreciation for your recent votes in favor of the emergency extension of unemployment benefits and other benefits, financial regulation, and extending the home purchase credit. These were important steps towards fulfilling the Democratic Party's long-term promises to the American people, for restoring our economy, and the American tradition of equality and fairness. We would urge you to continue to support efforts in the future to strengthen the financial regulation bill, for instance, by the full restoration of the Glass–Steagall Act of 1933, and other measures that will get Wall Street out of the casino racket and back into its proper role of helping finance real economic development, that is, by helping create wealth rather than merely gather it.

However, our principle concern in this message today that conservative elements in our economy and, very unfortunately, within the Democratic Party, are attempting to generate a bogus crisis over the future of Social Security, very much as they attempted to do during the Bush years.

We would make several points:

*The real financial stability of Social Security is not at issue. There is no crisis. Any future short falls can be easily dealt with, for instance, and most specifically, by removing the cap on upper income individuals.
*There is no deficit crisis, relative to the U.S. economy and its strengths. Bringing deficits down is mainly an inside-the-beltway concern. We are sure you are aware of polls that indicate 60% or more of the American people feel that the government is not doing enough to get the country moving economically, and that deficits are not a present concern. Least of all, there is no need or a mandate to reduce deficits by attacking Social Security.
*As medical science and health standards improve, and people live longer, it may be sensible in the future to raise the retirement age, but this must be done carefully, with great attention to the special needs of Americans who work physically, very many of whom are members of or supporters of the Democratic Party. Any change in retirement ages should only be considered independent of any crisis atmosphere, where an effort will be made by vested interests to stampede the nation into a hasty and ill-advised decision.
*Special interests still would seek the privatization of Social Security– indeed, there are still what both President Roosevelts labeled economic malefactors, who are drooling at the prospect of channelling all of the nation's retirement savings through Wall Street, so that they may dip their greedy fingers into every American's retirement income. They are not entitled to a share. And above all, the present ongoing economic crisis, and the wild fluctuations in the stock market, expose as thoroughly as could be imagined the folly of letting Wall Street have anything to do with Social Security, if we had done so during the Bush years, the results would have been catastrophic. In fact, the entire modern trend away from traditional defined benefit pensions to IRAs, 401Ks and the like should now be in question.

Again, we appreciate these votes. Will we have your commitment to preserving the achievements of the New Deal and Great Society, including protecting Social Security from privatization in any form, and that the costs of any reforms will not come at the expense of the poor, the elderly, students and the middle class, but from those people who have benefited the most from the American Dream, often at other’s expense?

Democracy For The Greater Glens Falls Area.

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