Minutes - August 17, 2008
Discussed at the August 17, 2008 ADTC meeting were: a review and expression of thanks to the Vickery family for hosting the ADTC BBQ where a micro ADTC meeting was held; Olver's reluctance to sponsor Kucinich's H.R. 333 which calls for hearings to impeach Dick Cheney; low attendence at regular meetings; Iraq occupation; and Associate Member minimum attendence requirements.
MINUTES - August 17, 2008
Dear Members and Friends,
1) These are churlishly tardy minutes for our splendid meeting of Thursday, 17 August 2008!
Particularly churlish as the essential item is thanks to the Vickery family for generously opening their home to the ADTC members and friends, and friends of friends; producing a steady stream of luscious comestibles from the grill; and in general being so well & unobtrusively organized that guests could relax expansively and enjoy it all. As they did.
Our Member of Congress (MA-01), John Olver, was there. He was reportedly still unwilling to co-sponsor H.Res. 333, Dennis Kucinich's bill to begin hearings of Dick Cheney with a view to his impeachment. It's a pity: for this type of hearing a claim of executive privilege for subpoenaed testimony and documents is both a patent non-starter and, in itself, a possible cause for impeachment.
Our Representative in the Mass. Legislature, Ellen Story, was there as well, and Democratic Party officials from Northampton and Springfield whom Peter Vickery had invited. One of the latter had gladly signed the petition to get the impeachment resolution on the agenda of the statewide Democratic Party Convention in May. (It passed with a roar, as you may have heard.)
Bottled Amherst tap water, tastefully labelled with full disclosure, was among the many drink offerings. No aquifers were endangered to bring us this water.
Besides the food , drink, and ambience, one lovely aspect of the evening was the instant custom of coming up and introducing yourself to total strangers with whom you wanted to chat. It sparked some delightful conversations.
The ADTC Micro-Meeting, a total of 6 min. 45 seconds commenced shortly after 6 p.m., when discreet headcounting showed a quorum. It ratified the ADTC form that Chair Harry Brooks and I had submitted to the Secretary of the Commonwealth, Elections Division. This averred that the ADTC intends to put up a slate of 35 candidates for membership at the next Democratic Presidential primary.
Had we not sent the form at all, we still would have been allowed to put up 35 candidates. But, as it turned out, Secretary William Francis Galvin really, really wanted the form for his records. As an experienced bureaucrat, I empathized. It had been due on 1 August. So Harry and I duly executed and mailed it, pending the ADTC's ratification on 17 August. Thanks, folks, for a job well done.
Having a proper meeting let several prospective Associate Members count the party toward their 2 meetings attended out of the previous 4 needed for eligibility. Harry's idea, and a good one.
Treasurer Keri Heitner emailed from France, but too late for the meeting, that few of us have anted up the 10 bucks for Members; 5 bucks for Friends for our 2007 - 8 dues. We've deliberately kept dues low. But $0 is just too low. Keri would greatly appreciate receiving them: ADTC, P.O.Box 1022, Amherst, MA 01004-1022.
2) These are inadequate minutes from the meeting of Thursday, 6 September, at 6:45 p.m.
This was a last-minute attempt to get around our improvident scheduling of the September meeting for tonight, the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, and the first day of Ramadan. The Jones Library graciously accommodated us in the Amherst Room on the 2nd floor.
I understand that 5 people attended. This lets the two prospective Associate Members among them at least count this meeting toward eligibility. Our bylaws specify only the number of meetings for this purpose. They do not require that such meetings have quora (there! at last an excuse to use the neuter plural).
Sans a quorum, no reportable business transpired. If anything unreportable but of interest occurred, I'll supplement these comments later.
3) Next Meeting: Thursday, October 18, 7 p.m., Jones Library
Please get items that you want on the agenda to Chair Harry Brooks at least 8 days beforehand, with relevant websites if you wish. Then we can send around a reasonably accurate and useful agenda in advance.
For instance, the Democrats in the House of Representatives can bring the U.S. occupation of Iraq to an end by simply refusing to bring forward bills to fund anything but a responsible withdrawal of our troops and, of course, our Blackwater, Halliburton, and other mercenaries. We, in other words, have the power. Might the ADTC want to resolve to ask Speaker Pelosi (cc to Congressman John Olver, of course, or vice versa if that's more proper) to do this?
Relevant thoughts: Our slain military personnel in Iraq are already nearing 4,000, plus, the last I saw, going on 1,000 slain mercenaries. The estimated lifetime bill for caring for other U.S. casualties from Iraq already tops a trillion dollars ($1,000,000,000,000). Amherst's own share of the Iraq invasion & occupation cost to date already tops $55,498,383 (www.nationalpriorities.org, Cost of War). Sort of dwarfs the earmarks that Congressman Olver brings home to the Valley.
Others undoubtedly have additional thoughts!
4) Subsequent Meetings: November 15; December 6, both at Jones Library, 7 p.m.
5) Mea Culpa: I have had the very dickens of a time with the voicemail capability, or rather incapability, of my Voice over Internet Protocol phone system. If you've called me and heard that my voice mail box is full, I apologize. Hours on the phone with tech support have not helped.
As of 18 September, I will again have service with Verizon.
We can hope that Federal District Judge Marrero's decision last week (Southern District of New York) invalidating a good chunk of the so-called PATRIOT ACT will incline Verizon to honor our 4th Amendment right to privacy again, instead of yielding up our phone records to Homeland Security (or someone) without a search warrant, and in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Each violation of the FISA is a 5-year federal felony.
Sarah McKee, Secretary