Berkeley: Some (small) measure of common sense.

Berkeley City Council moderates anti-Marine position. 

The money quote:

“Instead, the city is now simply stating it’s opposed to the war and the billions spent on it. However, “we recognize the recruiter’s right to locate in our city and the right of others to protest or support their presence,” the council said.”

You’re opposed to the war. Well, no shit. So is any sane person. 

You recognize the recruiter’s right. How very magnanimous of you. I think I liked the Council better when they just flat out said what they really felt. I can at least respect them for being honest, rather than for the frantic two-stepping that’s going on now.

The bullshit quote:

“The council also said it supports and respects the men and women of the armed forces.”

Well, except when nobody’s looking, that is.

Of course, my issue never was that they might hate the military; my problem was with their endorsement and aid toward other groups to take action beyond simple mouth-flapping. You know, such as not having the police take action when the idiots chained themselves to the office doors and prevented entry to/exit from the building by those exercising their rights. 

ETA: SFgate.com has their own story here. My favorite quote from it comes courtesy of a Code Pink member in regards to a ballot initiative aimed at removing or restricting recruiting efforts:

“We want voters to be able to decide … just like they have a say whether a liquor store or porn shop opens near a school.”

Yeah, this is a balanced argument.

Another favorite quote came from a Code Pink member in an earlier article: “I was under the impression that we have the right of free speech…To me, I thought free speech meant you get to say what you want without recrimination.” 

Yeah, well, only in your minds, maybe. As always seems to be the case when someone self-righteously wraps themselves in the Constitution as defense for their actions, they never manage to comprehend that the words on the parchment also apply to the people on the other side of their (often ill-considered) argument. That they also should apply to the very people who swear an oath to defend your right to be an idiot should go without saying.

Anyway, this half-assed measure was nowhere near what’s needed to make this whole stupid affair go away. Stay tuned; rest assured more’s coming before it’s all over.

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Battleground: Berkeley

Apparently, today is a big showdown in the embattled city of Berkeley.

Protesters and supporters of the military — specifically, the Marine Corps officer selection office situated in the middle of downtown — are massing as you read this, already in the initial stages of facing off throughout the day, in anticipation of tonight’s City Council meeting. There, council members will discuss rescinding their earlier resolutions condemning the office and those who work there as “uninvited and unwelcome intruders.” Hopefully, they’ve had a chance to actually read said documents by now, as we’re supposed to believe the council originally voted on them without actually comprehending their content.

I predict random acts of stupidity from both sides before the day is over.

Reading some of the spin, distortion, and flat out lies from extremists on both sides of this mess has been both hilarious and frustrating.

Should make for an interesting day, to say the least.

More on the Toledo/Marines thing

Yep, looks to be a communications breakdown, avoidable from the outset and which will certainly turn into a PR nightmare for the mayor’s office.

Read me.

Some of the comments from the Tin Foil Hat Crowd at the bottom of the article are hilarious. Desensitizing the citizenry to the forthcoming employment of martial law….those guys crack me up. Next, they’ll be telling us about the markings on the pavement and on the backs of road signs designed to tell troops where to go when the New World Order is established and where the black helicopters can land.

I read a lot from folks wondering why the Marines aren’t training on a base for this kind of thing. Though I don’t know the specific details as to the why, I can speculate based on past experience:

  1. Not all military bases have MOUT facilities.
  2. The 24th Marines is a reserve Marine regiment. Consisting of three battalions scattered all over the midwest (Michigan, Illinois, and Missouri), with the various components making up those battalions either occupying space on whatever military installation is locally available or perhaps even renting space somewhere in a city. For example, the command element of the 24th is based here in KC, and at last check they have a building they use on what once was Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base.
  3. In terms of cost, it likely was cheaper/quicker to transport this unit to Toledo than to the nearest base that A) has a MOUT facility), B) was available on the weekend this unit mustered for their monthly exercise, C) was reachable within the window of time the reservists are gathered (typically Friday evening through Sunday evening, with some flexibility/exceptions). Remember these were reservists, who ditched their dayjobs/families/etc. and climbed into cammies to do their monthly drill. The unit’s also operating on an annual training budget, and this may have been viewed as a cost-effective means of accomplishing required or desired training given the other constraints.

Anyway, from what I’ve read, Toledo’s hosted this kind of thing a few times in the past, including once while the current mayor was in office, so there was an existing relationship between the 24th and the Toledo PD. Apparently, Mayor Finkbeiner was irked after the last exercise, though, and his displeasure was never properly communicated either to his staff, the Toledo Police Department, or the 24th Marines. Why he didn’t have his staff send a letter to the command stating his desire not to host future such exercises is beyond me, but whatever.

That said, the 24th Marines didn’t just decide, “Hey, we’ll play war in Toledo this weekend.” There had to be prior planning, the most obvious reason being that because it’s a reserve unit, they absolutely would’ve been planning this in advance, which almost certainly involved contacting the appropriate parties in Toledo with their request and so on. Somewhere in all of that was the breakdown in communications.

Pretty silly.

Another “Mayor vs. Marines” story?

This one’s a bit different. It’s out of Toledo:

Mayor to Marines: Leave Downtown

The mayor asked the members of the 1st Battalion, 24th Marines reserve unit to leave downtown Toledo rather than spend the weekend conducting their MOUT (Missions On Urban Terrain) training exercises. He feels the presence of Marines in the bustling metropolis that is downtown Toledo might frighten people. It’s an understandable position, to be fair.

The problem is that it’s an exercise the unit’s conducted there in the past (yes, while he’s been mayor), and the Toledo Police Department was aware of it this time and was working with the 24th to cordon off streets around a group of empty downtown buildings to give the Marines room to work. Local news media had been reporting on it since Tuesday, and an advance team from the 24th had been sent to set up a command post and ready the area for the arrival of the rest of the unit on Friday afternoon/evening, who had been traveling by bus from their base in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

THAT’S when the mayor decided he didn’t want them there. Not in the weeks prior to the training exercise. Not on Tuesday when the media releases were handed out. Friday. Friday afternoon, after the unit had been traveling all day, and after a good bit of equipment already had been set up and deployed throughout the area in support of the exercise.

The mayor’s office said they didn’t get the memo from the police department. Okay, even if I bought that…does this mayor or any of his staff not watch TV or read newspapers in their own town?

That’s taxpayer money well spent. Granted, he didn’t condemn them, didn’t call them intruders, didn’t galvanize a mob of anti-war/anti-military mouth-breathers to harass them, or any of that shit, but considering the attention Berkeley’s been getting this week, you’d think — even if the mayor actually had been caught unawares about this — that he’d have been savvy enough to do something a little less…dumbassed.

He could’ve asked the Marines not to fire ammunition (they’d have been using blanks, but you get the idea). He could’ve even asked that they restrict the exercises to certain times of the day…SOMETHING to avoid wasting the time and expense of transporting the 24th from Grand Rapids to Toledo only to have to pack up everything they’d just spent the day setting up, turning around and leaving. And that doesn’t even cover the whole “You disrespected our Marines!” outcry that’s already stirring.

Honestly the whole thing seems more stupid than sinister on the face of it, and totally avoidable if the mayor had thought it through. Frothing Repubs in Congress and the more extreme righties in the news and blogosphere are already going after Berkeley with a vengeance; you don’t think they’ll toss Toledo in just to add flavor?

Berkeley mayor apologizes.

Little late, and shouldn’t have had to happen at all, but here it is, anyway:

Berkeley Mayor Apologizes to Marines Over Recruiting Center Flap.

Based on the video footage from the Council meeting that caused this mess (there’s just no way to spin some of that shit in a good light, no matter how hard you try), as well as certain Council members vowing not to amend their remarks or their stance on the issue, I can’t wait to see how the revised resolutions will read.

How can they keep talking with so many feet in their mouths?

Got this in e-Mail today. It’s video of the now infamous Berkeley City Council meeting which generated the resolutions against the Marine officer selection office, hosted on the council’s website.

All those platitudes about differentiating respect for the troops from their disagreement with the war? Yeah, bullshit.

Councilman Max Anderson is on record as saying, “People are trying to spin it that we’re against the troops, but what we’re talking about is this hideous war.”

Councilwoman Linda Maio said, “I don’t think any of us paid enough attention to it, and people want to rewrite it to more accurately portray our sentiments.” Also, don’t forget this gem (it’ll bring a tear to your eye): “We really do have a great deal of concern for the people in our military, and we don’t want to be critical of the sacrifices they are making.”

Well, so they and the other council members can’t backpedal or say that their words are being taken out of context or spun by right-wing nutjobs (and there are plenty frothing at the mouth over this), we’ll just leave it to the video record of their own comments.

Check it out.

Anderson’s are the most entertaining comments, by the way, starting just before the 1 hour, 30 minute mark.

To be fair, there are a few level-headed voices, and even one or two of those members who voted for the resolutions pay at least some lip service to reason and common sense, but it all was ultimately in vain so far as the final outcome was concerned.

I’m guessing the council wishes it had that as a do-over now.

As an aside: Any bets on how long this video remains available to the viewing public?

Respectfully,

One of the President’s Own Gangsters

Yes, I’m laughing.

Berkeley to rethink its declaration against the Marines.

As I said before, I think the notion of severing federal funding was over the line, as said monies are used for many programs which have nothing to do with the military or the the idiocy of the City Council. I’m also against any threats or intimidation toward those members of the Council who voted in favor of the resolutions. I’m no fan of Bush, and I want the war over and our armed forces home safe. Anyone who knows me knows I’m no right-wing whacko (Remember, I’m in the middle, suffering the fools and bullshit from both sides of the aisle.).

My stance against this was simple: The Berkeley City Council can run their pieholes until they’re blue in the face about how they don’t want the Marines in their town, or how they’re anti-war or anti-Bush or whatever bullshit backpedaling position they’re taking as I write this. However, they took a stance favoring one group over another, instead of acting to protect with equal fervor the rights of both parties. Their resolutions not only endorsed Code Pink’s actions, but also encouraged anyone and everyone to actively take part in impeding the ability of the Marines stationed in that office to carry out their assigned mission. By allowing protesters to chain themselves to the office doors and prevent access, they also deprived anyone who might want to enter that office of their own free will their rights to free association. They also harmed the ability of other property owners located in proximity to the recruiting office to carry on with their business free from disruption. 

You want to stand outside my property and yell all day about how you don’t like me, that’s your right. But when I want to walk through my door or allow someone else to enter, you move your fat ass out of the way, and if you’re the city government, you make sure that’s allowed to happen. Free speech means free speech for everyone, you over-indulged, self-righteous boils on the nutsack of hypocrisy.

And since you still can’t seem to comprehend this trivia bullet from elementary school history classes, you fucktards, here’s a refresher: The free speech movement in this country didn’t begin at Berkeley in the 1960s. It actually started in 1775 on the other coast, when a bunch of folks told England to go pound sand in its ass, and emphasized their point with the bayonets affixed to their muskets. Since then, it’s been looked after by the very people you’ve labeled as intruders in your city.

You’re welcome.

I can’t wait to see how this ends. I just wish I had popcorn. 

More Berkeley Dumbass-edness.

Yesterday, I posted a brief entry about the Berkeley City Council’s decision to denounce the presence of a Marine Corps officer recruiting office in their city, where they even go so far as to “inform” the Marine recruiters that if they stay in town, they do so as “uninvited and unwelcome intruders.” As if that pansy-ass “threat” wasn’t bad enough, they actually made special provisions for an anti-war group to continue their protests of the office’s presence. In this other article I read, it says the Council even “officially encouraged the women’s peace group Code Pink to impede the work of the Marines in the city by protesting in front of the station.” 

Not surprisingly, the Council appears now to be backpedaling their asses off.

Some of the more interesting bits:

“Councilwoman Linda Maio said the council should have read the item asking the Marines to leave more closely before it acted.”

So, you voted on it before actually reading and comprehending it? Isn’t that the same jack-assed bullshit excuse a bunch of senators and representatives used when voting on the authorizations for the war in the first place?

At least have the stones to stand by your decisions, for Christ’s sake. 

Maio sticks her foot even farther into her mouth with these gems:

Councilwoman Linda Maio: “I don’t think any of us paid enough attention to it, and people want to rewrite it to more accurately portray our sentiments.”

and

“We really do have a great deal of concern for the people in our military, and we don’t want to be critical of the sacrifices they are making.”

Yeah. I got that vibe from the resolutions.

Councilman Max Anderson said, “People are trying to spin it that we’re against the troops, but what we’re talking about is this hideous war.”

I can at least buy that, but how’s about taking your fight to someone who can make a difference? Well, because you can’t chain yourself to Capitol Hill and use a bullhorn in the Rotunda, can you? 

Yes, this issue just flat pisses me off, because it’s sanctioned by the city government. What the hell is that

The mayor, Tom Bates, is incredibly magnanimous: “We are against the war in Iraq, and when you put a recruiting station in our midst, people are going to use that symbol as a way to oppose it,” Bates said. “If pro-war people want to come here, we’ll give them a permit, too.”

It’s not about being “pro-war,” you idiot. I’m no more pro-war than I am “anti-life” because I support a woman’s right to choose what’s done with her own body. What we’re on about here is that it’s about being pro-men and women who swear an oath to protect your way of life and your rights to say and do idiotic things, so how’s about not treating them like they’re selling kiddie porn and crystal meth on the corner?

And before anyone asks, I’m not for the idea of “stripping federal funding” or any of that stupid horseshit. Federal money goes for a lot of programs that have nothing to do with the military or the moronic actions of a City Council who seems to be in possession of more free time and energy than common sense and common civility.

Another crazy ex-Marine story.

Granted, Marines are often known as being a bit on the extreme side of things from time to time, whether the story being told is completely factual or enhanced with varying levels of exaggeration. Still, this is new:

Ex-Marine kills a bear with a log.

And while we’re here, I’ve always found it sort of amusing that news stories always seem to go out of their way to point out if the subject of the story is an ex-Marine. You never seem to hear about the ex-sailor kicking a carjacker’s ass, or even an ex-pastry chef telling the home owner’s association that he’ll fly his USA flag wherever the hell he damned well pleases, or whatever. Why should ex-jarheads be the only ones to get this kind of shout out?

Eh.