Sunday, February 10, 2008

Treason in Berkeley

[3 articles]

Treason in Berkeley

February 1, 2008

Society for years has endured the freakish antics of Berkeley
dwellers. Naked people streaking in the streets; smelly hippies
begging for money as they sing drunken renditions of '60s anti-war
songs; adults sitting in trees like a bad zoo exhibit.

But the Berkeley City Council and instigators from the extreme left
have crossed the line this time. The council Tuesday night passed two
anti-military, anti-American resolutions and agreed to send a letter
to the city's only Marine recruiting office saying the military are
"uninvited intruders."

This is treasonous, hateful behavior that steals the First Amendment
rights of the Marines, the very group that protects our
constitutional rights. What galls me most is that Berkeley is the
birthplace of the modern free-speech movement and now it is has drawn
battle lines in the war against the First Amendment.

The first resolution says that the Marine Corps recruiting station
"is not welcome in the city, and if recruiters choose to stay, they
do so as uninvited and unwelcome intruders."

The socialist council also gave the anti-American Code Pink a
designated parking space in front of the recruiting station once a
week for six months and a free sound permit for protesting once a
week from noon to 4 p.m. The goal is clear ­ to harass the Marines
until they are forced out of Berkeley.

Nice misappropriation of public funds.

Business people are sick of the Code Stinkos, who make noise, disrupt
business with their aggressiveness and "yoga moves," and generally
pollute the area.

"My husband's business is right upstairs, and this (protesting) is
bordering on harassment," Dori Schmidt told the council. "I hope this stops."

The only councilman who showed restraint and a scent of common sense
was Gordon Wozniak. He opposed giving Code Pink a parking space
because it favors free speech rights of one group over another.

"There's a line between protesting and harassing, and that concerns
me," Wozniak said. "It looks like we are showing favoritism. We have
to respect the other side and not abuse their rights. This is not
good policy."

I have dealt with these beasts up close and they are one scary bunch
to confront in person. The pro-troop organization I lead, Move
America Forward, went to Berkeley in October with more than 400
patriotic Americans to support our Marines, who opened their
recruiting center in Berkeley about a year ago. We waved our American
flags, sang "God Bless America" and "The Star Spangled Banner," spoke
out in support of our troops, and showed love and respect for our
military while a paltry gathering of Code Pinko's burned flags and
yelled anti-American epithets.

Code Pink was so embarrassed that patriotic Americans outnumbered
them in their own backyard that they wanted a rematch. A
representative from Code Pink e-mailed and asked if I would debate
Medea Benjamin, a socialist who loves Cuba's dictator, Fidel Castro.
She is also responsible for sending more than $600,000 to terrorists'
families in Iraq.

I said I would be happy to take on Benjamin, but only after we agreed
to certain details that would protect against an ambush from the left
­ such as having a fair moderator, a proper venue and inclusion of a
representatives from the Marines. Code Pink reneged on this agreement
and proceeded to go out and lie about my involvement. Even after I
explicitly told them I would not debate Benjamin based on their
failures to live up to our agreement, Code Pink continued to tell the
media and the public that there would be a debate on this issue.

Code Pink demonstrated once again why they cannot be trusted by any
fair and reasonable person interested in honest debate on the
important issues facing our nation, especially when it relates to our
military. All Code Pink was interested in was orchestrating a ploy to
raise money for their treasonous activities.

To make matters worse, Code Pink has now kicked off a campaign for an
initiative that would restrict recruiting centers in the same way
cities contain pornography shops. Comparing our military to
pornography peddlers is slanderous and outrageous. What is really
obscene is the conduct of Code Pink and their allies.

Berkeley Councilman Max Anderson has pushed the idea of giving
special favors to Code Pink, which has done so much to cripple
America's efforts to protect herself against radical Islamic
jihadists. Yet Anderson had the nerve to say that our Marine's are
committing "barbarity."

Anderson should take a look at Saddam's torture and rape chambers if
he wants to see real barbarity. His libel against our troops is
unacceptable, and decent people across America should let him know
that this degradation of our troops will not stand.

You can do your part by registering your outrage with the city of
Berkeley, contacting officials via e-mail and phone.

Meanwhile, the feds should cut off federal funds to Berkeley faster
than the warmed-over hippies can say "barbarity."


Berkeley's U-turn on free speech

The Rocky
Monday, February 4, 2008

The City Council of Berkeley, Calif., where the Free Speech Movement
was born, has decided that some people deserve more free speech than
others and the U.S. Marines don't deserve any at all.

For about a year, the Marines have had a recruiting station in
Berkeley and the council wants it gone, voting 6-3 to declare that it
"is not welcome in the city, and if recruiters choose to stay, they
do so as uninvited and unwelcome intruders." To underline the point,
the council voted to support the weekly protests of Code Pink, the
group of mostly women whose cringe-inducing war protests have done so
much to trivialize the anti-war movement.

The City Council seems to have two objections to the Marines: They
are icky militarists, which the Marines would probably not dispute;
and the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy toward gays, which is unfair.

The left seems unable to grasp a critical point about "don't ask,
don't tell": It is not some policy the military dreamed up, but
federal law enacted by Congress and signed by Bill Clinton. Take it
up with Congress, not a recruiting sergeant.

One final point: The young people of Berkeley have every right to
join the military and the Berkeley City Council has no business impeding them.


Council goes berserk with assault on Marines

Craig Lazzeretti, Editor of The Berkeley Voice
Article Launched: 02/07/2008

GIVE BERKELEY credit for one thing. It certainly knows how to keep
itself in the national spotlight, even if it means perpetuating its
"Berserkeley" stereotype. Any time the city starts to fade as a real
or perceived center of liberal radicalism, you can count on an
out-of-control City Council to make some outrageous pronouncement
that instantly becomes the subject of scorn from coast to coast.

And so it was with the council's declaration last week that the
Marine Corps recruiting station on Shattuck Avenue "is not welcome in
the city, and if recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited
and unwelcome intruders." That must have been somewhat like the
statement the Japanese made when the Marines had the nerve to step
foot on their beach at Iwo Jima during World War II.

Not surprisingly, the response to those incendiary comments was
immediate and overwhelming. Our initial story at
generated 160,000 page views and more than 2,000 comments in the
first two days. The neocons across the country seized on the
resolution the same way they seized on those bogus intelligence
reports about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction back in 2002.

This week, a group of Republican senators introduced a bill to strip
the city of federal funds, including money earmarked for the Berkeley
school district and UC Berkeley, which have absolutely nothing to do
with the positions of the City Council (just ask the university,
which is being sued by the council over its athletic training center
project). Talk about guilt by association.

His inbox overflowing with outrage, Berkeley Mayor and former Army
Captain Tom Bates performed a neat tactical maneuver: simultaneously
retreating and advancing on the council's senseless action. He issued
a statement late last week saying the council would revisit the
declaration on Tuesday because the original version "did not
adequately differentiate our respect and support for those serving in
the armed forces and our opposition to the Iraq war policy."

At the same time, he made clear he still wants the Marines out of
town by offering to help negotiate an end to their lease with their
landlord, whom he noted is a close friend.

Those mayoral connections sure come in handy at times like these. It
was sort of like telling a neighbor you've been feuding with for
months that you really like him after all, so much so that you'll
even help find him a new place to live.

The trouble, of course, with the council's flawed logic is that the
U.S. Marine Corps does not set U.S. policy in Iraq or anywhere else.
It had nothing to do with the decision to invade Iraq in 2003, and it
will not decide when we leave. Its operations also extend far beyond
Iraq, many of which are more humanitarian than military in nature.
Does the council oppose the Marines helping the downtrodden in Africa as well?

Whatever the council's intention, this declaration and the other
items it passed targeting the recruiting station are directed
squarely at a branch of the U.S. military, and therefore the men and
women who wear its uniform. An item seeking to enforce the city's
policy against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation
against the Marines was equally ludicrous (they didn't create don't
ask, don't tell; Bill Clinton did). Gordon Wozniak should be anointed
the council's voice of reason for being the only one to oppose each
and every item concerning the recruiting station last week.

"I understand that there are people across the country that may not
agree with this action but it is the Berkeley City Council's
responsibility to represent the will of the people of Berkeley,"
Bates said in his statement.

I don't believe for a moment the council's action represents the will
of most of the city's residents. It represents the will of a radical,
intolerant fringe group that dominates city politics and is out of
step with sensible progressives here and across the country. If you
don't believe me, just read some of the letters from Berkeley
residents on this page.

The Web comments we received to Doug Oakley's stories were nearly
universal in their condemnation of the council's action. A poll we
posted at on the issue had generated 285
responses as of Thursday morning; 274 respondents said they opposed
the council's action. I guess the 11 people who said yes are the ones
who represent "the will of the people of Berkeley."

Certainly, many of the comments and votes came from hawks who have
backed the war from the beginning and still believe it is a good
idea. But opponents of the war also were outraged by this blatant
attack on the U.S. military. And for good reason.

I would argue that those in the anti-war camp have even more reason
to be disgusted and indignant over the council's action. From the
beginning, we have fought the ridiculous notion that our opposition
to this war is a slap at the men and women of our armed forces who
sacrifice so much. Many of us also have loved ones in uniform, or
veterans of the armed forces, whose commitment to preserving our
freedoms we cherish immensely.

When the council makes a statement calling the Marines "intruders" in
its city, and encouraging people to impede their activities, it not
only insults the men and women at that recruiting station but all who
wear the uniform of our nation's armed services across the world -
and, by extension, their families, friends and loved ones.

It was also telling that the office of Rep. Barbara Lee - perhaps the
leading anti-war voice in Congress - expressed no support for the
council's action while vowing to fight any effort to strip the city
of federal funds. When even Lee thinks you've gone too far in making
an anti-war statement, that's saying something.

Of course, Lee's silence is not surprising. The council just provided
fresh fodder in an election year for the pro-war crowd that seeks to
keep us in Iraq indefinitely, equating any attempt to leave with a
lack of support for the troops.

It looks as though there will be an attempt by some on the council,
perhaps a majority, to rescind the "uninvited and unwelcome
intruders" item on Tuesday. But how about all the other insults the
council heaped upon the Marine Corps through various votes? Is it
going to tell the Marines they are now welcome to stay while still
encouraging people to impede their mission with the help of a free
parking space and noise permit?

If the council really cares about influencing public opinion and
ending the war in Iraq, it will retract all its actions concerning
the Marine recruiting station next week and replace them with a
sincere apology to the Marines and other branches of our armed forces.

And let Code Pink search for a parking space like everyone else who
has the nerve to increase our dependence on foreign oil by driving downtown.

Craig Lazzeretti is editor of The Berkeley Voice and The Journal of
Albany, El Cerrito and Kensington. Reach him at 510-262-2724 or


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