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Sunday, April 13, 2008

KC Convention: Embarrassing!

posted by on April 13 at 20:06 PM

Just in from the King County Convention, where once again we, the King County Democrats, demanded that a Department of Peace be established at the cabinet level. If you were at the convention, and don’t remember passing such a stupid thing—that’s because you should NEVER pass groups of resolutions at quarter till adjournment that have not been provided in print to the assembled body. It’s sort of what happend with the PATRIOT Act, you know? Bad precedent, even if the platform doesn’t mean much.

Here’s what we all believe, apparently:

King County Res KCD 11 DEPARTMENT OF PEACE AND NONVIOLENCE

WHEREAS, House Bill 808, to create a United States Department of Peace and Nonviolence, was introduced in the United State House of Representatives on Feb 5, 2007, and since then has won the sponsorship of at least 68 members of the House; and

WHEREAS, HB 808 provides for establishment of a cabinet-level department headed by a Secretary of Peace and Nonviolence, who will advise the President on issues both domestic and international in scope, giving peace a place, voice and budget at the highest levels of government; and

WHEREAS, current levels of violence are very costly to society in the United States, with 1,886,667 confirmed cases of children wounded and 2,917 children killed by abuse and neglect from March 2003 to April 2005, and an average of 15 young people (ages 10 to 24) killed daily by gang violence in 2004; and

WHEREAS, HB 808 will benefit this state and other states by (1) supporting existing programs and developing new programs to address and reduce the number and frequency of incidents of domestic violence, child and spousal abuse, school violence, gang violence, gun violence and hate crimes, (2) developing and distributing peace and nonviolence curricula to the states and their schools, and (3) encouraging and supporting development of conflict resolution and violence-prevention initiatives from within the community; and

WHEREAS, the proposed Department of Peace and Nonviolence will promote international peace and reduce military costs by (1) providing for exchanges between the United States and other nations to support domestic and international peace-based initiatives, (2) sponsoring conflict prevention and dispute resolution initiatives to address the root sources of conflict in troubled regions, and (3) providing training for personnel to administer post-conflict aid, demobilization and reconstruction in war-torn societies; and

WHEREAS, many local governmental agencies, including 28 cities, have passed resolutions in support of the legislation to establish a Department of Peace and Nonviolence, as have many national and international organizations including, but not limited to, Amnesty International, Center for Nonviolent Communication, Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy, Physicians for Social Responsibility, September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Pax Christi USA, School Mediation Center, Veterans for Peace, and Youth for Environmental Sanity;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT we urge our Washington State Congressional Delegation to sponsor the Department of Peace and Nonviolence legislation in the United States Senate and to co-sponsor of such legislation (HB 808) in the House of Representatives; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT we urge our Washington State Legislature to pass a resolution in support of legislation to establish a United States Department of Peace and Nonviolence, giving peace a place, voice and budget at the highest levels of government.

My version would have been more like, WHEREAS presidential appointments are ideological in nature and would never guarante a pro-“peace” individual in the cabinet, BE IT RESOLVED that we should not reduplicate the functions and drain funding from the Departments of State and Health & Human Services and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Dennis Kucinich is an idiot. But never mind.

Yay Department of Peace!

Other lowlights: Gov. Christine Gregoire telling jokes about Republican puppies and talking about her dog, convention co-chair Sen. Margarita “Payday” Prentice getting a lot of free publicity, King County Exec Ron Sims teasing the (vastly pro-O) delegates with an anecdote about family members who support Obama, and 7th CD Rep. Jim McDermott getting cheered for his every mumble while we watch stars like Jay Inslee (who gave a great speech) and Adam Smith (who gave a strong speech) pop up in other districts.

One sweet resolution, which I did not write but fully support, encourages the Washington State Democratic Central Committee create a task force and hold hearings to consider reforms to the presidential caucus process. Unlike many Sloggers and commenters, I like caucuses (and it seems like the top-2 primary system might confuse a potential primary even further). But I strongly support absentee balloting, with the understanding that there must be enough willing delegates to take that candidate’s support to the next level. Maine does it, why can’t we?

To close, the only photograph I took at the convention. In the background, a giant polar bear supplied by the Backbone Campaign, and in front of that, my mom, who gave up her voting rights as an Obama delegate to provide ASL interpretation to a deaf delegate for Hillary. (Sorry, it’s cellphone.)

convention.jpg

RSS icon Comments

1

While they were at it, they should have passed a resolution that money should grow on trees, people should live to be 1,000, and cars should run on air. If you're going to be completely delusional, why not do it right?

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | April 13, 2008 8:19 PM
2

WHEREAS, bitches be gold diggin twenty-fo seven.

WHEREAS, pretenders always be frontin and tryin to take what's mine.

WHEREAS, the five-o rolls up when I'm mindin my own like they above the law.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT pimps up, hos down.

Posted by Ice-T | April 13, 2008 8:28 PM
3

I thought I liked caucuses, too, until I went to the last round, which turned it from a fun, grass roots meetup with neighbors to a combination of an afternoon at the DMV, high school student council elections and jury duty...

Posted by Peter F | April 13, 2008 8:45 PM
4

You're a braver woman than me, Annie. Wait, that doesn't sound right. But yeah, there's no way in hell I could have stood that.

Posted by Fnarf | April 13, 2008 9:04 PM
5

At least with a Department of Peace we would have had a more satisfying irony in it's inevitable recommendation that people be bombed back to the stone age in the name of peace.
Bill Clinton's persecution of the Iraqi people under the embargoes he enforced would no doubt have also been for the sake of peace. Starvation no doubt helped millions of Iraqi children reflect on higher things like peace, compassion and non-violence.

Posted by kinaidos | April 13, 2008 9:06 PM
6

Amen on the Department of Peace. We already have a cabinet post that is supposed to function as a Department of Peace, and that is the Department of State. These morons have no clue, and don't realize that if Kucinich's bill passed, and a Department of Peace was established that President Bush gets to make the appointment. Ladies and Gentleman may I introduce America's first Secretary of Peace, Donald Rumsfeld.

Posted by Poll Watcher | April 13, 2008 9:07 PM
7

I am all for peace and non-violence, but perhaps that's something that should be part of the charter of all the existing cabinet positions and not a new bureaucracy.

What did the polar bear represent? Is that another cabinet level position up for resolution--secretary of polar bear relocation?

Posted by PopTart | April 13, 2008 9:23 PM
8

Essentially, this kind of stuff is the reason I didn't bother attending.

Posted by Daniel K | April 13, 2008 9:25 PM
9

thank you. I feel so much better about forgetting to fill this part of my obligation as a delegate.

Posted by josh | April 13, 2008 9:29 PM
10

I knew walking my dog was a better use of my time.

I almost don't understand the point. The platforms don't really mean much, and they influence public policy far, far less than lobbyists, polls, and individual principals of legislators, probably in that order.

I also think our ridiculous county conventions probably do more to damage our national electability than anything else. However, that part of it is balanced out by the whack jobs on the right.

Posted by Gitai | April 13, 2008 9:51 PM
11

You forgot to mention that the committee was too negligent to expect that the convention was going to go long and lease the venue for long enough to allot time to go through everything properly. "Gotta be out by 6, no matter what" when we were left with less than 2 hours of a 4-hour convention to do the actual work proscribed.

Doubly stupid was the rule that no one make a quorum call until then -- the time when we have to adjourn anyway.

Beyond that, I dunno who to blame, but the attendees should have been a lot more prepared. We had 2 1/2 hours of political speeches, no one thought to spend that time reading over the platform?

Posted by K | April 13, 2008 10:01 PM
12

When the Islamofascist terrorists finally invade our shores, they could find no easier entrance than to drag their outboard motored Zodiacs up along the Seattle waterfront and mow through the airheaded hippies like a hot chainsaw through a cow made of butter.

Christ. I'm embarrassed to be a lifelong very liberal Democrat right now. Department of Peace. Why not the Department of Homeland Groovebuzz Chill Security, or the Federal Bureau of Sittin' Down and Rappin' About Your Nonstandard Behavior Styles Investigation, or on the foreign front - the Central Harmonically Convergent Intelligence Agency, man.

Like a chainsaw through butter.

Posted by Bob | April 13, 2008 10:16 PM
13

The experience was a big waste of my Sunday afternoon. Having never gone through the process before I didn't know what to expect and didn't have a clear understanding of what would follow. The organizers should have used the down time as they were counting and finalizing credentials to introduce the platform, summarize the resolutions, and clearly state the rules. Not everyone received the handouts or knew what they involved. People spent so much time clarifying and rehashing the rules that we cut ourselves short.

I'll tell you one thing - as a newcomer the whole structure totally turned me off to throwing my hat in the ring as a delegate again. And that's saying something because I have a pretty high threshold for bureaucratic b.s.

And someone correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Sims say he was supporting OB and his family wanted to see a woman in office?

Posted by Dod | April 13, 2008 10:21 PM
14

@13: No, he first said his son was supporting Obama, then said unspecified "other members" of his family wanted to see a woman in office. Sims (a superdelegate) had previously announced his support for Clinton; he would have had to be much more explicit if he wanted to change to Obama in that speech.

Posted by annie | April 13, 2008 10:33 PM
15

Your mom is awesome.

And Dept of Peace? Jesus, Dems. Put the fucking bong down and try to function in the real world. Do any other countries in the world have a Dept of Peace? Would having one mean anything beyond your egos being stroked?

Posted by Jessica | April 13, 2008 10:45 PM
16

15's right, you're mom is awesome. She and the woman who got and kindly, quietly, but firmly noted that some people, like her, would be left out of the voting if we had to stand were the two highlights of the day, for me. It's a shame your mom couldn't multitask and vote, too, since she was obviously one of the more competent participants.

Oh, and f2*k Prentice. She was right, we were running long due to the "25 minutes we wasted on other stuff" (that's probably more of a paraphrase than a quote), but, damn, did she have to be such an asshole throughout the whole process?

Posted by pbaitch | April 13, 2008 10:57 PM
17

For this, some of us missed out on seeing the Green Exhibition at the Convention Center ... sigh.

The main problem was that we used to start this at 10 am in prior years, and other than the main speaker, actually conduct votes on sections of the platform and amendments earlier, but recently they changed it to have all the elected officials speak first, and not actually consider amendments until way way too late.

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 14, 2008 12:18 AM
18

Tons of awesome grammar up in this bitch. I feel great.

Posted by Mr. Poe | April 14, 2008 12:20 AM
19

@18: If it's my post that's so offensive, I apologize. I posted it via an iPhone with weird text recognition. Dammit.

Posted by pbaitch | April 14, 2008 12:30 AM
20

Uh, the "Department of Peace" has been kicking around since before I was born.
Maybe instead we could actually elect Democrats who don't green light every war that comes along? Oh wait that would probably require more citizen involvement than rhetorical quadranial empty gestures.

Posted by Zander | April 14, 2008 12:38 AM
21

1) I agree that the platform process is one of the worst conceived methods for adopting such a document and have pressed that issue with the State party. I will continue to do so.

2) I actually like the idea of a Department of Peace. I don't think it is as ridiculous as the majority of respondents on this thread do, and I don't even smoke pot. ;-)

Posted by Timothy | April 14, 2008 6:45 AM
22

The Department of Peace does nothing that wouldn't otherwise be covered by the Department of State in a Democratic administration or the Department of Defense in a Republican one.

Posted by ru shur | April 14, 2008 7:03 AM
23

The more I think about it, the more sense having a "Department of Peace" makes.

Whether that's creating a new department, or renaming the State Department, or whatever, there needs to be some cabinet level entity that is able to quantify the benefits of peace and non-violence to the country and economy, and so forth.

Posted by I am your Mother | April 14, 2008 7:18 AM
24

The more I think about it, the more sense having a "Department of Peace" makes.

Whether that's creating a new department, or renaming the State Department, or whatever, there needs to be some cabinet level entity that is able to quantify the benefits of peace and non-violence to the country and economy, and so forth.

Posted by I am your Mother | April 14, 2008 7:18 AM
25

I figured I was pretty safe in blowing this off. Wow, I was correct!

Posted by zzyzx | April 14, 2008 7:53 AM
26

@1:

Not ALL your "suggestions" are completely delusional:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6138972/

But yeah, this "Department of Peace" nonsense has come up for the past couple of cycles. It's pointless feel-gooderism, but then, that pretty much sums up the entire point of the caucus process for many participants.

Posted by COMTE | April 14, 2008 9:04 AM
27

Why don't we just go back to calling it the "department of war"? At least that would be more honest than this "depart of defense" nonsense.

Posted by catalina vel-duray | April 14, 2008 9:10 AM
28

Alternatively, Wes Clark (among others) propose a Dept. of International Development which would integrate and promote programs scattered all over the bureaucratic map, and might actually help create preconditions for conflict reduction.

The polar bear, I believe, represents the impending extinction of polarized politics as we know it -- which Barack Obama will bring about by mechanisms every bit as ineffable as Kucinich's Dept. of Peace.

Posted by RonK, Seattle | April 14, 2008 9:23 AM
29

It was absolutely a travesty of democracy and I stood up and said as much:

http://teresacentric.com/2008/04/a-disappointingly-undemocratic-king-county-democratic-convention/

So frustrating!

Posted by Teresa Valdez Klein | April 14, 2008 9:30 AM
30

The county convention is absolutely, without a doubt, the most tedious part of the whole process of Presidential-year politicking. I was a National convention alternate in 2004, so I saw every stage of the process up close and personal. I thought the platform wrangling was quite possibly the most boring, the stupidest, and the least efficient bureaucratic bullshit I'd ever had the misfortune to experience. It is, in large part, the reason I chose not to be a delegate this year. Bleagh.

The good news, for those of you going on to the CD caucuses and the state convention, is that the county convention is the worst of it. From here on out, it's smaller, better-run, more focused, and more fun.

Posted by Geni | April 14, 2008 2:40 PM
31

soooooo glad i didnt go to this...

Posted by w sea resident | April 14, 2008 3:58 PM

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