Offering daily news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monthly Archives: July 2012

Bill Clinton, Elizabeth Warren to anchor Wednesday night lineup at the 2012 DNC

Former President Bill Clinton and Massachusetts U.S. Senate hopeful Elizabeth Warren will anchor the Wednesday primetime lineup at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, the party announced today.

Wednesday will be the second-to-last day of the convention. Since the mid-1990s, the Democratic nominee for vice president has traditionally accepted the nomination on the Wednesday evening of the convention. But this year, Joe Biden will deliver his acceptance speech on the same night Barack Obama delivers his – on Thursday, the final night of the convention.

Wednesday will belong to Bill Clinton and Elizabeth Warren.

“Elizabeth Warren has championed the protection of the middle class throughout her life,” said 2012 Democratic National Convention Chair Antonio Villaraigosa in a statement announcing Warren’s speaking role.

“At President Obama’s side, she helped level the playing field for all Americans and worked to make sure that everyone from Wall Street to Main Street plays by the same set of rules. Like President Obama, Elizabeth is a leader committed to rebuilding the economy from the middle class out, instead of focusing on the top down economics of the past fueled by outsourcing good jobs, risky financial deals and budget-busting tax cuts for only the wealthiest few.”

Warren is slated to introduce Clinton, who has spoken at every Democratic National Convention since the Reagan era began (including two that took place during his presidency, and another two since he left office).

“It will be an honor to share the convention stage with President Clinton on Wednesday, and to talk about what is happening to America’s families,” Warren said. “I grew up in a hardworking family, in an America that was investing in kids like me. President Obama is committed to making sure that America has a level playing field for all our families and to ensuring that every kid has the opportunity to make it. When I worked with the President to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, I saw first-hand his commitment to building a future for our children and our grandchildren. Mitt Romney and the Republicans want to go back to the same policies that broke this economy. It is time to move forward.”

According to news reports, President Obama personally asked Clinton to serve as the headliner on Wednesday night and place his name into nomination. Clinton was delighted to accept.

“President Clinton oversaw the longest economic expansion in U.S. history, pursuing many of the same policies that President Obama is proposing and implementing today,” Villaraigosa said in a separate news release that confirmed Clinton as Wednesday night’s headliner.

“That economic progress was squandered in the following decade by a set of decisions that exploded our deficit, crashed our economy, and hurt the middle class. So, there is no one better to lay out the choice in this election between moving forward with President Obama or falling backward with Mitt Romney, who supports the same failed policies that led to the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression,” the Los Angeles mayor added.

Warren’s campaign broke the news to its own donors and volunteers in an email. Mindy Myers, Warren’s campaign manager, told supporters:

This is big, big, big — and it means yet again we need to step up our game.

The Republicans no doubt will be coming after us hard — not only as we fight for working families here in Massachusetts, but also as we take the case to the country about what’s at stake between President Obama and Mitt Romney.

We need to give Elizabeth all the support she needs as she plays this pivotal role at the convention.

The race between Warren and incumbent Republican Scott Brown is widely considered to end up being one of the most fiercely contested in the country. Control of the U.S. Senate might depend on the outcome, as well, so it is no exaggeration to say the stakes are high.

Not surprisingly, Brown’s campaign reacted to the news of Warren’s speaking role with a feeble attempt at a put-down:

“Professor Warren’s radical, anti-free enterprise rhetoric is so far out of the mainstream even within her own political party that she got downgraded from her speaking role at the Democratic Convention,” said Brown spokeswoman Alleigh Marre.

The Republican operatives running Brown’s campaign are pretty inept if they believe their own silly spin. To be asked to serve as the introductory speaker for President Bill Clinton in primetime at the Democratic National Convention is a very high honor. Warren is going to be sharing the national stage with one of the biggest names in the Democratic Party; her remarks will be seen by millions of people across the United States and around the world. How can they suggest with straight faces that Warren got “downgraded”? Ridiculous.

NPI will be covering both Bill Clinton and Elizabeth Warren’s speeches live from Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte on Wednesday, September 5th.

A new chapter for the NPI Advocate

On behalf of the NPI team, I’m excited to announce that this week marks the beginning of a new chapter in the history of The Advocate, our second oldest project and primary publication. Over the last few weeks, we’ve been developing a plan to freshen up and strengthen The Advocate, and beginning today, we’re putting that plan into motion. The first thing we’ve done is to redecorate a bit.

As you may have noticed, The Advocate looks different. We’ve given it a wider sidebar, an updated blogroll, and a bold, beautiful new nameplate.

The photo in the nameplate depicts the Cascade Range in the morning from Sunrise, Mount Rainier. I had the good fortune to enjoy this gorgeous view earlier this month when I paid a visit to our state’s oldest national park, and I’m delighted to be able to share it with all of you – our readers.

But this new look and feel is hardly the extent of the changes we have planned.

Beginning in a few days, you’ll be able to look forward to weekly columns by NPI board members, who will take turns weighing in on hot topics and trends we’re tracking. You’ll also be introduced to a number of new contributors, who will assist NPI staff in keeping an eye on the news, analyzing legislation, researching the consequences of ballot measures, and providing live coverage of important events.

And in just over a month, you’ll be treated to almost nonstop coverage of the 2012 Democratic National Convention live from Charlotte, North Carolina.

The upcoming convention in Charlotte will be the third Democratic National Convention to be covered here on The Advocate, and the second to be covered live. But it will be the first convention that we will primarily cover from the perspective of people who are there as delegates.

As many readers may recall, back in May, I myself was elected as a delegate for Barack Obama from the 1st Congressional District.

When I ran for delegate, I made a promise to a room full of committed and devoted activists – a promise that I fully intend to keep. As I said then:

I want to bring the convention home to all of the people who can’t go. I want to be your eyes and ears in Charlotte. Not after the fact – not after I get back – but while I’m there. If you send me to Charlotte, I promise to liveblog the convention in words, audio, and pictures each day, with in-depth coverage of the speeches and the goings-on.

Like many of you, I don’t much care for the shallow “who’s winning, who’s losing today” style coverage we get from the corporate media these days. What’s left of the media, anyway.

I want to provide you with an unfiltered, thoughtful perspective of what’s going on. This convention is an incredibly important event. It deserves to be well-covered.

After word of my promise got out, several other national delegates volunteered to help us provide high-caliber live coverage. They are among the contributors you’ll be introduced to in the days to come. All of us at NPI are grateful to them for their willingness to help us bring the DNC home to the Pacific Northwest.

We will also be covering the Republican National Convention in August, though mostly from here and not from Tampa. (If there are any Republican delegates out there reading this who would be interested in guest posting a couple of times about their convention experience, let us know).

We have many other changes in the pipeline as well, but I’ll touch on those at a later date, since they’re further off.

I want to end this post by extending a heartfelt thank you to all of the people who have loyally supported us over the years.

We hope you enjoy reading the newly reinvigorated NPI Advocate.

Goodbye, Ichiro

This afternoon, the Seattle Mariners announced that the team’s best known player, known around these parts of the country simply as “Ichiro”, had been traded to the New York Yankees for two minor league players and cash considerations after more than a dozen seasons in the Emerald City.

The news took the Pacific Northwest and the country by surprise, because although Ichiro’s future with the team has been a hot topic in the sports press, the news was not preceded by much rumor or speculation.

The Mariners’ front office released the following statement by CEO Howard Lincoln:

On behalf of our ownership group and everyone in the Seattle Mariners organization, I thank Ichiro for the great career he’s had here in Seattle.

Several weeks ago, Ichiro Suzuki, through his longtime agent, Tony Attanasio, approached Chuck Armstrong and me to ask that the Mariners consider trading him. Ichiro knows that the club is building for the future, and he felt that what was best for the team was to be traded to another club and give our younger players an opportunity to develop.

Ichiro will be missed. He owns a long list of Major League Baseball and Mariners club records, has earned many prestigious awards, and in my opinion, he will someday be a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

I know that I speak for all of Ichiro’s fans, both here in the Pacific Northwest, around this country and also throughout Japan, in wishing him and his wife Yumiko the very best as he continues his baseball career with the Yankees.

Ichiro reportedly had a no-trade clause in his contract, so the deal with the Yankees was evidently made with his blessing. He appeared at a news conference this afternoon to say goodbye to the Pacific Northwest and Mariners fans. As it so happens, the Mariners are playing the Yankees tonight at Safeco Field, so Ichiro’s first appearance in a Yankees uniform will ironically be at the ballpark he has called home as a player for more than ten years.

To say that Ichiro has been a fixture of the Seattle Mariners since the turn of the century would be an understatement. He is – or was – the only player still on the Mariners’ roster who was part of the magical one hundred and sixteen win season back in 2001. Everyone else had already moved on or retired from baseball. Now Ichiro is gone as well, headed to a team that is likely to make the playoffs…. the Evil Empire. (Sorry, meant to say the New York Yankees).

A little bit ago, at Lookout Landing, Jeff Sullivan reflected on how much has changed since the Mariners signed Ichiro:

The last time the Mariners played a game without Ichiro under contract was October 17, 2000. John Halama yielded to Brett Tomko, and Stan Javier batted leadoff in front of Al Martin. The Mariners lost to the Yankees.

October 17th, 2000 was the day the Mariners were eliminated from the American League Championship Series. The team, at the time, was coached by Lou Piiniella, and Alex Rodriguez was perhaps the team’s best known player, excluding designated hitter and fan favorite Edgar Martinez. Rodriguez went to the Texas Rangers in the offseason, and the Mariners brought aboard Ichiro, who has patrolled the outfield for the team in almost every game since. Until today.

We at NPI join other Mariners fans in saluting Ichiro for his years of service to the Mariners. It’s unfortunate the team only made the postseason in his first year as a Mariner. Unfortunately, after Pat Gillick left, the Mariners’ owners hired a truly incompetent general manager (Bill Bavasi) who wrecked the team and squandered its potential by making a series of awful trades and signing the wrong free agents. The team is in better hands now, but it is most definitely still in the rebuilding phase, and is likely to be for another season or two at least.

Even if Ichiro doesn’t retire as a Mariner, he’ll be remembered as a Mariner. Good luck, Ichiro, and thanks for all of the years of dedication you gave to Seattle.

The Declaration of Independence, two hundred and thirty-six years later

In accordance with tradition, we are posting the text of the Declaration of Independence here on The Advocate for your enjoyment. The Declaration was primarily authored by our third president, Thomas Jefferson, who drew heavily on the thinking of Enlightenment philosophers such as John Locke to persuasively lay out the case for the independence of the United States.

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

The Declaration of Independence, by John Trumbull

The famous painting, Declaration of Independence, depicting the five-man drafting committee presenting their work to Congress (John Trumbull/U.S. Congress)

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

— That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

— That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

— Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

  • For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
  • For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
  • For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
  • For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
  • For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
  • For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
  • For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
  • For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
  • For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren.

We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here.

We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity.

We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare…

… That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.