Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Semper Fi 8

What do Senators from South Carolina, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Colorado, Georgia, Texas and Missouri have to do with the local politics of Berkeley, California? Why did these senators decide to punish the children of Berkeley public schools by stripping them of the funding for their organic nutrition program? What do Senators DeMint, Burr, Coburn, Allard, Chambliss, Cornyn and Bond have against research libraries? These are the questions we had for these senators who have sponsored a very punitive piece of legislation called the Semper Fi Act.

The Semper Fi Act, sponsored by Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina is a bill drawn up to punish the city of Berkeley in response to that city's designation of the Marine recruitment center as "uninvited and unwelcome intruders". His intent is to strip Berkeley of $2 million dollars in earmarks designated for school nutrition, university library and research and other programs and forward those funds to the Marines.

DeMint declares this move a punitive measure, "Actions have consequences. When the Berkeley City Council decided to insult the Marines in a time of war, it was a $2 million decision. Especially in a time of war, we cannot just allow cities to play insulting games at our troops' expense while continuing to shower them with congressional favors. "
Read Senator DeMint's press release here:

So in solidarity with our sisters and brothers-in-peace in Berkeley, six CODEPINK'rs set out to educate the eight Republican senators who have forgotten democratic ideals, that our democracy is a federalist one and that the state and local entities have a right to decide how to run their cities.

We, Liz, Ellen, Manijeh, Leslie, Jes and I set out after preparing an educational flyer, "We're proud of Berkeley City Council's stand for peace! One side detailed the cost of the war to their respective state. The other side was our version of the flyer used in Berkeley but addressed to each Senator. In addition, we delivered a photo of a Marine from each of their states who was killed as a result of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

At Senator Chambliss' office the Chief of Staff actually graced us with his presence and listened intently to our rebuke of the Semper Fi Act. Although he stood by his boss' actions we indicated our displeasure at the vindictiveness of attacking schoolchildren and students as a political ploy. Why attack children, our nation's future leaders? Should not the Senator rather subtract funding from Berkeley's recruiting office instead? But punishing innocent bystanders is a major part of the Republican party agenda.

We also spoke to Senator Coburn's Chief of Staff, who likened the Berkeley City Council's objection to the Marine recruiting station to a historical precedent. In the Nullification Crisis, Andrew Jackson called out the Navy to Charleston Harbor when South Carolina protested custom house tariffs. Congress passed the Force Bill which empowered Jackson to use military power to force states to obey all federal laws. We noted that it was hardly likely that the Navy would be sent to San Francisco Bay; we think his point was that Berkeley was getting off easy by only losing 2 million dollars.
We were glad to have had substantive discussions with high level staff; on many visits we didn't get past the interns and staff assistants. We met a large number of other delegations in the hallways - community colleges, health professionals, Native Americans, chamber of commerce. Many folks we met hadn't heard about the Berkeley peace initiatives, and were supportive. They agreed with us that the Semper Fi Act was a ridiculous, empty gesture by meddling outsiders. The afternoon we spent in the halls of Congress was a great opportunity to act in solidarity with our sisters and brothers at the vigil in Berkeley.


ntodd said...

Hmmm...some of those lovely people pictured look vaguely familiar.

Hecate said...

Thank you so much for all you do!

Anonymous said...

I actually took up for you guys when my friends would bad mouth your actions in trying to end the war. Until the Marine issue. I served in the USMC in the 80's and my brother is still in the reserves as a 1st sgt. Now when I read about you I am just sad.

ntodd said...

Why is it so sad that people are trying to stop recruitment of cannon fodder? Weird...

highstk said...

Finally a senator doing some good for mainstream USA. Think pink stink! I love pink on my face.

Anonymous said...

Its understandable how Berkeley doesn't want any of their highschool and university graduates to join the Marine Corps. Aside from the war, all they teach is Honor, Courage & Commitment.

I'm sure they are much happier having their graduates being recruited by companies like Enron, WorldCom, Fannie Mae, Tyco, and QwestCom just to name a few.

jose said...

i hate you bastard i hope all of you burn in hell i didnt put my life on the line so you tree huggers could defame the military screw you

JimPreston said...

Honour, Courage and Commitment...
hmmmm, let's think about those things.

Honour - Is it honorable to 'follow orders' when those orders are immoral? What does honour mean?

Courage - Desiree Fairooz (a grandmother), for example, will stand proudly unarmed in front of many armed and uniformed men who wish her ill. Who has such courage?
Who among you 'fears no evil'? I think you will find that the most courageous one is the one without the gun in his hand.

Commitment - Is it more honorable to have a courageous commitment to peace, or a courageous commitment to war, or to your team, or to a piece of land, or to a piece of cloth?

I suppose that commitment means to you that once you have taken a stand, you will never back down. But there will be a day when you will back down. Dust thou art, oh man. Will you go in peace? Your mother is calling, and someday you will come home.

george said...

I find that the Violence in Kenya is more disturbing than what's going on in Iraq. We should organize a trip to that country and defend our African sisters!

bigdaddysanders said...

Code pink is full of ball-less pink wearing faggots who dont know anything about honor courage or commitment.

They are either a bunch of burnt out hippies or new wanna be's.

ntodd you and people are nothing but the steriotypical know nothings that make up the "peace" movement

one day you will grow up and become a real american.

An by the n your reputaion will be ruined and you will never have enough time or balls to apologise to "cannon fodder" you daily isult with your bigotry

LaFajita said...

"Human nature is so constituted that if we take absolutely no notice of anger or abuse, the person indulging in it will soon weary of it and stop."


mekongrunner said...

CODEPINK Women for Peace

I am in the military, and want peace as well. I enjoy peace. Please explain to me how we achieve ANY peace without war? Let's say that we bring our troops (my fellow Marines) home immediately. We pull out of every single country we occupy. We bring the WHOLE military home. Hell, you hate the military, so when they come home, let's just dissolve the military altogether. The military people blend back into society, and we live in peace, right?

What would you suggest we do when our country is attacked because we have no defense? Please explain to me who you would call? Maybe CodePink could protest the attack to our enemies? I am just asking honest questions of your organization. If your strategy/plan makes sense, please reply, not just to me, but to America, through the media. I am very interested in hearing it.


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