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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Permanent Defense Celebrates Five Years

Following Pacific Northwest Portal's two year birthday celebration a few days ago, we are pleased and excited this week to celebrate the anniversary of one of NPI's most important divisions. To us it hardly seems possible, but Permanent Defense is turning five years old.

Launched in February of 2002, Permanent Defense is one of the region's oldest political websites, and predates the existence of much of the progressive blogosphere - locally as well as nationally.

Half a decade is like an era in the history of the Internet and the political organizing revolution the medium has helped to create. Though Permanent Defense now a major part of an organization, it began as simply as a bit of HTML.

I was inspired to create PD the day after the revelation that Tim Eyman took money from his supporters for his own personal use and then lied about it. Here are some memorable quotes from back then (all from Eyman himself):
"I was in lie mode...I became riddled with guilt. It was the biggest lie of my life and it was over the stupidest thing in the world. The biggest thing I'm guiltiest of is an enormous ego. Hubris."

"This entire charade was set up so I could maintain a moral superiority over our opposition, so I could say our opponents make money from politics and I don't."

"It was addictive. I was getting deeper and deeper and deeper into this charade. I thought I found a way to make money off our initiatives without our opponents knowing it, or knowing it for sure. I was too clever by half. I just got deeper and deeper into this lie."

Eyman described himself as an "emotional basket case" who had made "an ass out of myself in front of six million people." (Spokesman Review)

"The Seattle P-I hit me in the face with a brick."

Eyman said he it was his ego that led him to tell what he called "ugly and stinky and disgusting" lies about his finances. (Seattle Times)
What a bonanza for the local TV news that was. Eyman's revelation was not actually what motivated me to create PD, though. As I explained last year:
As someone who was sick of seeing Eyman's arrogance in the newspaper and watching his initiatives pass year after year, the admission of deception was deeply satisfying. Finally, the faux populist had been exposed.

The next day I was discussing the news with two good frends of mine. I was fairly shocked to discover that both were in support of Eyman and his initiative to destroy Sound Transit's light rail project (I-776). "We may not like the fact that Eyman took money from his donors for personal profit, but we support what he's doing," they said.

I was infuriated. How could any of my friends possibly support Tim Eyman, an admitted liar?

I [felt] I had to respond - but how? At the time I had absolutely no political connections, and I didn't know what I might do. Then I realized there was one thing I could do: set up a website in opposition to Eyman's initiatives.
And that's how it all began.

Sixty months later, our list of victories and successes is long and our spirits are high. Permanent Defense has matured from a few simple web pages into an important division of an unconventional, innovative, and advanced think tank. Our work, however, remains unfinished, and Permanent Defense will continue to fulfill its mission of protecting the communities of Washington State well into the future.

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