Dutchess taxpayers have spent $1.7 billion since 2001 on war in Afghanistan and Iraq

NPP Pressroom

Dutchess Democracy
Joel Tyner

Hi all... If you can-- please join us for our Brown Bag Lunch Vigil for Healthcare Not Warfare TODAY-- to bring our troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq as soon as possible-- from noon to 1 pm in front of Rep. Scott Murphy's offices in Hudson (at 623 Warren Street)!... [see: https://www.thedatabank.com/dpg/309/personalopt1.asp?formid=meet&c=4187212 for more info] Again: carpool to Hudson will meet at 11 am today in front of Rhinebeck Town Hall 80 E. Market St... Fact: The Progressive Democrats of America have organized 88 Brown Bag Lunch Vigils for Healthcare Not Warfare with Code Pink tomorrow in front of congressional offices; see: http://www.PDAmerica.org ! Fact: The U.S. is now spending another $4 billion a month just on war and our occupation in Afghanistan-- while Obama proposes to freeze domestic spending (while property taxes killing us). Fact: 60 Democrats-- including 8 from NYS-- voted last week for Rep.Kucinich's resolution to withdraw our troops from Afghanistan (H. Con Res. 248)-- along with five GOP in the House-- but not Murphy. [see: http://www.thenation.com/blogs/thebeat/539614/65_in_house_back_afghanistan_withdrawal ] [Nadler, Maloney, Velazquez, Serrano, Rangel, Clarke, Crowley, Towns (all Dem Reps from NYS) all voted for Kucinich resolution to bring troops home from Afghanistan-- no excuse for Murphy not to] Also...who out there is interested in helping with a Citizens Candidate Dem primary effort here for 20th C.D. similar to very cool one already organized for Utah-- to hold our Blue Dog (Murphy) accountable?... [check out these six links on very cool progressive Dem Utah initiative if you haven't yet; see: http://www.UTCitizensCandidate.org (official website), Salt Lake Trib http://www.sltrib.com/ci_14302150 http://www.democracynow.org/2010/1/29/the_citizens_candidate_grassroots_effort_uses (D-Now story) http://kcpw.org/blog/local-news/2010-01-29/politics-up-close-utah-citizens-candidate/ http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/node/49747 http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/01/30/18636610.php ] Just last week I posted ad (scroll down below; pretty much copied and pasted from original < http://www.UTCitizensCandidate.org ; I just changed/added a bit)...to the following three Craig's list sites: http://hudsonvalley.craigslist.org/gov/1638990365.html http://albany.craigslist.org/gov/1639006978.html http://glensfalls.craigslist.org/gov/1639029027.html ...for a truly Courageous Congressperson for the 20th C.D....let me know if you're interested in helpin'!... Joel 845-242-3571 joeltyner@earthlink.net - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Did you know-- Dutchess taxpayers have spent $1.7 billion on war in Afghanistan & Iraq since 2001!... Enough is enough-- for the same amount of money, the following could have been provided: [according to the folks at the National Priorities Project; see http://www.NationalPriorities.org for more] 312,643 People with Health Care for One Year OR 32,721 Public Safety Officers for One year OR 25,819 Music and Arts Teachers for One Year OR 276,654 Scholarships for University Students for One Year OR 305,466 Students receiving Pell Grants of $5550 OR 9,637 Affordable Housing Units OR 592,428 Children with Health Care for One Year OR 193,156 Head Start Places for Children for One Year OR 19,636 Elementary School Teachers for One Year OR 3,174,018 Homes with Renewable Electricity for One Year [.....or, most importantly, $1.7 billion in direct relief to Dutchess County taxpayers on property taxes!...] Taxpayers in Columbia County, New York will pay $301.5 million for total Iraq and Afghanistan war spending since 2001. For the same amount of money, the following could have been provided: 55,595 People with Health Care for One Year OR 5,818 Public Safety Officers for One year OR 4,591 Music and Arts Teachers for One Year OR 49,195 Scholarships for University Students for One Year OR 54,319 Students receiving Pell Grants of $5550 OR 1,714 Affordable Housing Units OR 105,347 Children with Health Care for One Year OR 34,348 Head Start Places for Children for One Year OR 3,492 Elementary School Teachers for One Year OR 564,413 Homes with Renewable Electricity for One Year - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - From https://www.thedatabank.com/dpg/309/personalopt1.asp?formid=meet&c=4187212 ... [originally from http://www.PDAmerica.org ; will be 88 of these in front of Cong. offices tomorrow!] Event: NY-20 Cong. Scott Murphy—Brown Bag Lunch Vigil Join our Brown Bag Lunch Vigil in front of Rep. Scott Murphy's office for Healthcare NOT Warfare! Bring signs, fliers—and your determination to stop funding wars. Plan on making this a monthly date. For more information about the Brown Bag Lunch Vigils, contact Roberta McNair at roberta@pdamerica.org or go to the BBLV page. Download and bring Healthcare NOT Warfare and customizable BBLV fliers from the PDA website-- http://www.PDAmerica.org . When Wednesday, March 17, 2010 12 PM - 1 PM Where Office of Rep. Scott Murphy 623 Warren Street Hudson, NY 12534 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - From http://www.thenation.com/blogs/thebeat/539614/65_in_house_back_afghanistan_withdrawal ... 65 in House Back Afghanistan Withdrawal posted by JOHN NICHOLS on 03/10/2010 @ 7:38pm The U.S. Congress never declared war on Afghanistan, a country where more than 1,000 U.S. troops -- and thousands of Afghan civilians --have died since President Bush ordered the invasion and occupation of that country in 2001. The vague authorization that Bush received to pursue the perpetrators of the September 11, 2001, which was treated by Democrats and Republicans alike as justification for the incursion into Afghanistan is now more than eight years old -- and during that time all of the facts on the ground in Afghanistan and most of the facts internationally have changed. Yet, the occupation continues. Indeed, the U.S. troop presence is escalating toward 100,000, even as other countries -- including, most recently, the Netherlands -- prepare to exit Afghanistan. By any reasonable reading of the Constitution -- which rests the warmaking power with the Congress, along with the sole power to appropriate money to that use so long as expenditure does not last "for a longer term than two years" -- it is high time for members of the House and Senate to debate whether this undeclared, yet seemingly endless, war should continue. After all, the founders established a system of separated powers with the precise purpose of empowering the House and Senate to check and balance adventurous executives. Unfortunately, only a brave minority of House members take the Constitution seriously. Their numbers were counted on Wednesday, when Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich forced a House debate on a resolution that would have required President President to withdraw U.S. armed forces from Afghanistan by December 31, 2010. Said Kucinich: In 2001, I joined the House in voting for the Authorization for the Use of Military Force. In nearly nine years it has become clear that the Authorization for the Use of Military Force is being misinterpreted as carte blanche to circumvent Congress' role as a coequal branch of government. Both the Bush and the Obama administrations have cited the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force as the justification for the military escalation in Afghanistan, for holding prisoners indefinitely at Guantánamo and Bagram Air Force Base, and even for mass domestic spying of U.S. citizens in violation of our most basic constitutional principles... As U.S. armed forces and their allies begin the first in a series of large military operations in Afghanistan, this House must be heard from. We must reclaim our Constitutional responsibility and our responsibility to the American people. Kucinich's view drew bipartisan support from Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, progressives and libertarians. But it did not draw sufficient support from a House where most members refuse, especially in matters of war and peace, to abide by the oath they swore "to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic." The House voted 356-65 to stay the course Bush set in Afghanistan. Of the 356 members who voted to maintain the occupation, 189 were Democrats and 167 were Republicans. Sixty-five members, including Kucinich, voted for the withdrawal resolution "directing the president pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution, to remove the United States Armed Forces from Afghanistan." Sixty of the votes came from Democrats, including Appropriations Committee chair David Obey, D-Wisconsin; Educations and Labor Committee chair George Miller, D-California; and Veterans Affairs Committee chair Bob Filner. (Judiciary Committee chair John Conyers, a longtime critic of the Afghan occupation, was absent Wednesday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, did not vote on the measure, as is House custom.) Five votes came from Republicans, including stalwart anti-war members such as Tennessee's John Duncan Jr., North Carolina's Walter Jones Jr. and Texan Ron Paul. They were joined by Tim Johnson of Illinois and John Campbell of California. On the floor, Paul demanded to know: "(Are) we going to do this for 10 more years? How long are we going to stay?" Equally impassioned was retiring Congressman Patrick Kennedy, D-Rhode Island, who declared: "There isn't a soldier in this country whose laid down their lives for our nation that isn't a hero. And no one in here disagrees with that. What is shameful is our policy that puts them in harm's way when they don't need to be." Significantly, and appropriately, Kennedy also tossed a barb at the media. Noting that press gallery was virtually empty, Kennedy observed: "we're talking about war and peace, $3 billion, 1,000 lives and no press? No press!" "(The) press of the United States is not covering the most significant issue of national importance and that's the laying of lives down in (Afghanistan) for the service of our country," Kennedy roared. "It's despicable, the national press corps right now." - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [also see: "This Time It's Pregnant Women: Another Atrocity in the Bush-Obama War in Afghanistan": http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/03/15-3 by Dave Lindorff of ThisCan'tBeHappening.net ] From http://www.thenation.com/doc/20100315/editors .... [scroll down to last paragraph re: Brown Bag Lunch Vigils!] A Troubled Surge Editorial This article appeared in the March 15, 2010 edition of The Nation. February 25, 2010 It will be a while, the US military tells us, before the success or failure of its Afghan offensive in Marja can be determined with any certainty. That says it all: a superpower will require weeks to seize control of just a single town in a vast country of thousands of villages and valleys. Centcom commander Gen. David Petraeus calls the Marja action "just the initial operation of what will be a twelve- to eighteen-month campaign" aimed at wresting power from the Taliban. It's fair to ask, of course, Isn't that what they have been trying to do for eight long years? The Obama administration says that this time it's different--that the addition of 30,000 troops to the long-running conflict will turn the tide against the Taliban. The surge, Obama's advisers have long argued, will reverse the insurgents' momentum and persuade the Taliban's foot soldiers, and perhaps some of their leaders, to come to the bargaining table. General Petraeus tells us to expect high casualties among US and NATO forces. Leave aside, for a moment, the problem that adding US forces creates more enemies, not fewer (dozens of civilians have been killed in recent US airstrikes, further enraging the Afghan public). The fact is, clearing, holding and building new social and political structures in Afghanistan, village by village and valley by valley, will take many years, if it can be done at all. Stretching ahead is a decades-long nation-building project that can't be sustained politically, militarily or financially. As we go to press, the US death toll is nearing 1,000. More than 600 NATO troops have died in a conflict that is increasingly opposed in Europe and straining the alliance; indeed, the Dutch government recently collapsed because of widespread antiwar sentiment. More than eight years into the war, neither the Afghan army nor the police are very functional. The warlord-ridden, corrupt government of President Karzai, returned to power last year after a rigged vote, has little credibility. And Afghanistan's primitive economy, heavily dependent on the drug industry, will be troubled for decades. (One development to watch is the possibility that Pakistan, after decades of fostering, arming and training the Taliban, may be coming around. In recent weeks Pakistan has helped nab several insurgent leaders and shadow governors, and it appears that it is snatching up Taliban by the hundreds fleeing across the Afghan border.) For Marja to be of any lasting significance, it must be followed quickly by a political settlement, regional diplomacy and implementation of effective Afghan governance. Otherwise, it will merely be a fleeting counterinsurgency footprint wiped away before long by a returning Taliban tide--and thus a testament to the futile sacrifice of American lives and resources for an ill-defined goal of the administration's Af-Pak strategy. All of this should be fertile territory for exploration in hearings on Capitol Hill. At the height of the war in Iraq, Democrats hectored President Bush with the question, What's your exit strategy? It's time for Congress to ask Obama the same question. March promises to bring a revival of peace activism. Progressive Democrats of America has launched a "Healthcare Not Warfare" campaign, and, joined by Code Pink and other groups, it has started a "Brown Bag Lunch Vigil" at Congressional offices across the country to educate politicians and the public about the costs of war. A revived US antiwar movement that unites with the growing one in Europe would be a powerful force for a negotiated solution and a drawdown of forces. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - More from http://www.PDAmerica.org ... https://www.thedatabank.com/dpg/309/mtglist.asp?formid=meet&eventtypename=Brown%20Bag%20Lunch%20Vigil PDA Brown Bag Lunch Vigils January 18, 2009 Our Partners Progressive Democrats of America expands the Healthcare NOT Warfare campaign to include Brown Bag Lunch Vigils. Find a vigil Use the search tool to narrow your search Start a vigil As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. observed over 40 years ago, "A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death," and "of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane." As the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq labor on with no end in sight, it's become alarmingly clear that they have exacted a staggering human and financial toll on the Iraqi, Afghan, and American people. In light of this sad state, Progressive Democrats of America is extending and expanding the Healthcare NOT Warfare campaign to raise awareness among the public and our elected officials that the electorate is not being served by current U.S. policies. We demand an end to the unjust and illegitimate wars against, and occupations of, Afghanistan and Iraq. PDA's Brown Bag Lunch Vigil Campaign is calling on our members, and like-minded individuals and organizations, to gather on the third Wednesday of every month in front of—and in—congressional offices in districts across the country. PDA and our allies call on President Obama and Congress to support HR 2404 and HR 3699, and to establish improved and expanded Medicare for All to residents of the United States. We cannot let them forget that we are watching and waiting for the next election. Here's how to get involved: 1. Find a vigil here. If you don't see a vigil near you, look below to see how to create one. 2. Download the Healthcare NOT Warfare flyer and the Why do we need Brown Bag Lunch Vigils? flyer. Customize the BBLV flyer for your group, and make copies of both flyers. Get your promotional Healthcare NOT Warfare materials here. 3. Go to the National Priorities Project to find data on the actual cost of the wars and on the social programs your community could have funded with those tax dollars. Use these figures to make signs for your vigils. 4. Spread the word! Write about your Brown Bag Lunch Vigil on your blog, Facebook, and Twitter. 5. Don't forget your brown bag lunch and Healthcare NOT Warfare stickers. Take your lunch in PDA's Healthcare NOT Warfare canvas tote! To create a BBLV event: 1. Schedule your vigil here. Your vigil will be promoted to our calendar so others can find you, and the BBLV team will send out notices about your vigil to your CD. For more information, contact the team at bbv@pdamerica.org. 2. Send a personalized copy of this letter to your representative and this letter to your senators. Find your representative and senators here - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - From http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/03/05-3 ... Published on Friday, March 5, 2010 by CommonDreams.org Kucinich Forces Congress to Debate Afghanistan by Robert Naiman On Thursday, Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich introduced H. Con Res. 248, a privileged resolution with 16 original cosponsors that will require the House of Representatives to debate whether to continue the war in Afghanistan. Debate on the resolution is expected early next week. Original cosponsors of the Kucinich resolution include John Conyers, Ron Paul, José Serrano, Bob Filner, Lynn Woolsey, Walter Jones, Danny Davis, Barbara Lee, Michael Capuano, Raúl Grijalva, Tammy Baldwin, Tim Johnson, Yvette Clarke, Eric Massa, Alan Grayson, and Chellie Pingree. The Pentagon doesn't want Congress to debate Afghanistan. The Pentagon wants Congress to fork over $33 billion more to pay for the current military escalation, no questions asked, no restrictions imposed for a withdrawal timetable or an exit strategy. Ideally, from the point of view of the Pentagon, Congress would fork over that money right away, before the coming Kandahar offensive that the $33 billion is supposed to pay for, because you can expect a lot of bad news out of Afghanistan in the form of deaths of American soldiers and Afghan civilians once the Kandahar offensive starts, and it would sure be awkward if all that bad news reached Washington while the $33 billion was hanging fire. So it's a great thing that Rep. Kucinich and his 16 allies are forcing Congress to debate the issue, and it would be even better if more Members of Congress would be urged by their constituents to support Kucinich's resolution. That would be a signal to the House leadership that continuation of the open-ended war and occupation is controversial in the House, and the House leadership should not try to ram through $33 billion more for the war on a fast-track without ample opportunity for debate and amendment. Every day the Afghanistan war continues is another day on which the United States Government plays Russian Roulette with the lives of American soldiers and Afghan civilians. The British Government has more urgency than the U.S. government about ending the war - and is more supportive than the U.S. of a political solution to end the conflict - because in Britain there is greater public outcry. If there were greater public and Congressional outcry in the U.S., we could be more like Britain, and get our government on board the train to a political solution, instead of prolonging the war indefinitely. The first step towards bringing our troops home is for Members of Congress to hear from their constituents. Robert Naiman is Policy Director at Just Foreign Policy - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [here below-- ad I posted last week to three Craig's lists above (Hudson Valley, Albany, Glens Falls; see: http://www.UTCitizensCandidate.org ; I just changed/added a bit)...to the following three Craig's list sites: http://hudsonvalley.craigslist.org/gov/1638990365.html ; http://albany.craigslist.org/gov/1639006978.html ; http://glensfalls.craigslist.org/gov/1639029027.html ] Courageous Congressperson (20th C.D.) Pragmatic progressive Congressional Representative in the mold of Paul Wellstone and Dennis Kucinich wanted to represent the people of New York's 20th district in the United States House of Representatives, including all or part of Columbia, Dutchess, Delaware, Essex, Greene, Otsego, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Warren, and Washington counties, including parts of the Hudson Valley, Adirondacks, and Catskills. Must have solid moral values and a resistance to selling out to corporate interests. Eligible candidate should have a strong commitment to defending fundamental human rights over corporate profits. Responsibilities include: -- Creating jobs through solar, geothermal, energy-efficiency retrofits, and a zero-waste approach to resource recovery -- Expanding Medicare to cover all Americans, as Rep. Maurice Hinchey and Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation have long called for -- Protecting and reinstating the rights of workers and unions— including the right to organize without being fired -- Restoring true regulation on Wall Street (like Glass-Steagall Act, put in place by Dutchess County's own FDR) -- Ending imperialistic wars of aggression by bringing our troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq - -- Stopping catastrophic climate change— bringing CO2 concentration down to 350 parts per million -- Granting equal rights to LGBT people— including legalizing same-sex marriage -- Defending the rights of immigrants to basic human dignity and a US foreign policy that allows them to make a living in their home country Travel is required between Washington, DC and New York. Employee is expected to meet with supervisors (New York voters) regularly and publicly. This is a salaried position with a two year contract beginning January, 2011. Selection process will occur over most of 2010 (with commitment from progressive Democrats involved to support whichever candidate wins Democratic primary in September). Modeled after the Utah Citizens Candidate initiative (see http://www.UTCitizensCandidate.org ), after enough candidates have come forward to indicate their interest in being a Courageous Congressperson for the 20th C.D., a public forum will be held led by a panel of eight representatives from the labor, healthcare, peace, immigration, environment, women, people of color, and LBGT movements questioning the top candidates who have applied-- with all 20th C.D. Democrats present at that forum then voting that day to select the Courageous Congressperson candidate that will go forward to primary the current Blue Dog incumbent. Requirements: -Be at least 25 years old -Be a US citizen for at least 7 years -Be a resident of New York State -Commitment to transparency -Honesty, integrity, courage Benefits include: *$174,000 per year *travel expenses *pension *much better healthcare than most Americans *nice office in the heart of Washington, DC The people of New York State are an equal opportunity employer. For more information on this contact four-term Dutchess County Legislator Joel Tyner (Rhinebeck/Clinton), cofounder of the Real Majority Project and host of call-in talk shows on WVKR.org 91.3 FM Fridays 5-6 pm and WHVW 950 AM Saturdays 8-10 am; see http://www.DutchessDemocracy.blogspot.com ; email directly at joeltyner@earthlink.net or call (845) 242-3571. Location: 20th C.D. Compensation: $174,000 a year with health insurance and pension OK to highlight this job opening for persons with disabilities Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster. Phone calls about this job are ok. Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - From UTCitizensCandidate.org... A Craigslist Candidate? Filed under About the Campaign by utcitizenscandidate on December 2, 2009 at 4:17 pm no comments "Progressives of Utah Seeking Courageous Congressperson" This is where it all started. Since its initial posting in November, this Craigslist posting has inspired many citizens to submit applications to be Utah's grassroots progressive candidate this year. The application process is now closed, and the applicants are being reviewed by our panelists for the citizen ballot on January 30th. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - email this posting to a friend salt lake craigslist > jobs > government jobs Courageous Congressperson (District 2) Date: 2009-12-18, 4:43PM MST Reply to: job-db4vk-1516466529@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?] Progressive Congressional Representative wanted to represent the people of Utah's 2nd district in the United States House of Representatives. Must have solid moral values and a resistance to selling out to corporate interests. Eligible candidate should have a strong commitment to defending fundamental human rights over corporate profits. Responsibilities include: -Stopping catastrophic climate change -Giving all Americans access to healthcare -Protecting and reinstating the rights of workers and unions -Granting equal rights to LGBT people -Defending the rights of immigrants to basic human dignity and a US foreign policy that allows them to make a living in their home country -Ending imperialistic wars of aggression Travel is required between Washington, DC and Utah. Employee is expected to meet with supervisors (Utah voters) regularly and publicly. This is a salaried position with a two year contract beginning January, 2011. Selection process will occur over most of 2010. Requirements: -Be at least 25 years old -Be a US citizen for at least 7 years -Be a resident of Utah -Commitment to transparency -Honesty, integrity, courage Benefits include: *$174,000 per year *travel expenses *pension *much better healthcare than most Americans *Nice office in the heart of Washington, DC Note: This position must be filled. Current employee must be removed as soon as possible. The people of Utah are an equal opportunity employer. • Location: District 2 • Compensation: $174,000 per year • Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster. • Please, no phone calls about this job! • Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests. PostingID: 1516466529 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - From http://www.sltrib.com/ci_14302150 ... Progressive professor tapped to take down Matheson "Citizens' Candidate"" SLC Democrats opt for political novice John Weis to "reclaim" Utah's 2nd Congressional District By Derek P. Jensen The Salt Lake Tribune Updated: 01/30/2010 08:32:11 PM MST • " Angry, and anxious to engage "a new politics," these activists aren't monkeying around. More than 100 riled-up residents turned the Salt Lake City Main Library auditorium into a grass-roots primary Saturday, selecting 54-year-old pathology professor John Weis as the "Citizens' Candidate" to unseat Blue Dog Rep. Jim Matheson. The group, whose cause was launched by bogus oil-and-gas-lease bidder Tim DeChristopher's satirical craigslist ad, is nothing if not earnest. Members argue the conservative Democrat has "sabotaged" the party on climate control, civil rights (including equality for gays and immigration reform), and the "right" to affordable health care. "Let's do it," Weis announced moments after Photo Gallery Citizens' Candidate Initiative paper ballots pitched into recyclable grocery bags were counted. "We need to go after Matheson and we need to go after the fact he has turned his back on us as Democrats." A scientist from Olympus Cove who teaches at the University of Utah Medical School, Weis bested three other would-be upstarts, who also responded on craigslist. His goal is to persuade enough Democratic delegates to anoint him instead of Matheson at the party's May convention. But the gambit may have unintended consequences. Brigham Young University political scientist Quin Monson says he has never seen a similar campaign succeed. Instead, he predicts the Citizens' Candidate may act as a spoiler, perhaps siphoning enough votes to hand the seat to a more conservative candidate such as Republican Morgan Philpot or Utah House Speaker Dave Clark, R-Santa Clara. "It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt," Monson told The Tribune this month. "It becomes, at some point, a self-inflicted wound." Wryly, Weis insists he has as much chance of winning "as a Republican winning Massachusetts" -- a reference to Scott Brown's stunning Senate victory in the contest for Edward Kennedy's seat. "He's vulnerable on so many different levels," Weis said about Matheson. "I don't even think he represents middle-of-the-road Democrats." Jordan Richmond, a volunteer and citizen lobbyist, agrees. Calling the four candidates "courageous," and Saturday's stripped-down nomination "beautiful," she said anybody but Matheson would better represent 2nd District progressives -- even, perhaps, a moderate Republican. "It will give a certain message to Matheson," Salt Lake City's Naomi Franklin said about the grass-roots revolt. "That's the least it will do." For two hours, the candidates were questioned on everything from health care to labor to the environment by a panel that included climate expert Brian Moench, civil rights activist Archie Archuleta and Brandie Balken, executive director of Equality Utah. Weis, a married father of two and avid fly fisher who has run more than a dozen marathons, was the most direct. He called the Supreme Court's recent strike-down of a major portion of McCain-Feingold a joke. "I was aghast at it," he said. He panned oil shale development, saying the country must stop burning fossil fuels "today." And he said multiple military engagements foment anti-Americanism, questioning why President Barack Obama's three-year spending freeze doesn't include the Defense Department. "Why the hell not." The discussion was briefly interrupted by a man who challenged the four to run as independents, not for a party that regularly abandons progressive principles. "Why run as Democrats?" the man demanded. "To reclaim our party," DeChristopher shot back. Despite the passion, several in attendance conceded the Citizens' Candidate's odds are impossibly long. But if nothing else, the event for one proved a cathartic exercise in citizen democracy. "I'm here because I feel disempowered and disenfranchised," Salt Lake City's Camille Pouliot told the wannabe politicians. "I'm unemployed. This is, for me, an act of citizenry." The monkey wrenchers hope Matheson is listening.