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Thread: Battle royal brewing at Berkeley, California council meeting (vs. Marine recruiters)

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Default Battle royal brewing at Berkeley, California council meeting (vs. Marine recruiters)

    Battle royal brewing at Berkeley council meeting

    If you want to get a seat at Tuesday night's Berkeley City Council meeting, you better start lining up now. And you might want to bring earplugs. And a flak jacket.
    Hundreds of protesters from across the country and the political spectrum are expected to descend on City Hall with bullhorns, drums, banners and plenty of vitriol in anticipation of the City Council's debate over the Marines' recruiting station in town.
    The ruckus started last week when the council voted to send a letter to the Marines, calling them "unwanted intruders" for opening the recruiting center on Shattuck Avenue last year. At the same time, the council granted Code Pink a parking space and a sound permit to make it easier for the peace group to conduct protests outside the center.
    On Monday, Councilwomen Betty Olds and Laurie Capitelli introduced an item for this week's meeting, asking the city to retract its statements about the Marines and clarify that the city is against the war, not against the armed forces.
    "We're starting to get people coming in from all over the U.S.," said Catherine Moy, executive director of Move America Forward, one of several pro-military groups planning an all-day protest Tuesday at Maudelle Shirek City Hall. "People are pretty upset. We want to avoid clashes, but it could be really, really big. We don't really know what's going to happen."
    Peace groups, disgusted that the council would cave in to pressure from the pro-military groups, plan to host their own rally, an "emergency 24-hour peace-in vigil," complete with singing, drums and dialogue.
    "We want to protect our city from the onslaught of the right wing," said Code Pink spokeswoman Zanne Joi. "We're facing people who are willing to kill or send other people's children to kill to get what they want. We understand the reality of that, and we're prepared to face that in a nonviolent way."
    The city's statement about the Marines immediately ignited an uproar from conservative, pro-military and pro-war factions around the country. A South Carolina senator introduced a bill rescinding $2 million in federal funding for Berkeley. The Semper Fi Act of 2008 would transfer Berkeley's money to the Marine Corps.
    City officials were deluged with hundreds of irate e-mails, some containing death threats. Moy said her group got so many e-mails its Web site crashed.
    Both sides will be protesting at Tuesday's meeting. Code Pink and its allies plan to camp out on the lawn at City Hall beginning at 7 p.m. Monday, while Move America Forward, the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and other pro-military groups plan to rally at Martin Luther King Jr. Park across the street starting at 5 a.m. Tuesday.
    "Maybe we should do a reality TV episode," said Mayor Tom Bates. "But in some ways it's good we're debating the war. Iraq has sort of been pushed aside lately because of the economy. The trick, though, is to focus the debate on the right issues."
    More police, fire and paramedics will be working that night, and the city is holding a meeting Monday afternoon with representatives from all the protest groups to establish the ground rules.
    "We want to ensure the safety of the public, city staff and City Council," said Deputy City Manager Christine Daniel. "We expect that everyone will protest peacefully, but we want to be safe."
    The city has not yet decided whether to move the meeting to a larger room or install metal detectors.
    The council plans to start the Marines debate at 9 p.m. Members of the public can address the council for one minute each, but the comment period can continue indefinitely. Officials expect a long night.
    On Fourth Street Friday morning, nearly everyone had an opinion about the issue. And in typical Berkeley fashion, no one agreed.
    "I am absolutely incensed," said Cheryl Tolman, a 12-year Berkeley resident. "It's outrageous that the City Council is trying to close the Marines office down and let these total radicals protest there. This is supposed to be the city of free speech."
    Donna Bell, a musician, also thought it's a free-speech issue.
    "I can't believe there'd be these threats of retaliation from the federal government," she said. "Asking the Marines to leave is really a statement about the war, and Berkeley should be able to do that."
    Mehdi Hussain, an apartment manager originally from Fiji, said the Marines should be able to stay in Berkeley.
    "They should have a right to be here," he said. "I don't see why Berkeley should be such a holier-than-thou city. But Berkeley's always been that way."

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    I'm engaged to a former Marine. Code Pink can suck it. They're eating the steaks, then condemning the butcher. Fucking hypocrites.

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    Elite Member crumpet's Avatar
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    I have about zero respect that comes out of that nuthouse that is Berkeley. They are a bunch of self important spoiled little assholes.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    I'm of 2 minds about this.

    1) Who are Code Pink to say the marines can't open a recruitement center anywhere that is not on say, school grounds?

    2) Protest their center all you like, that's a right. Saying the marines don't have the right to set up a legitimate recruitement center is off base.

    3) I don't buy the "marines keep us free!" nonsense one bit. Nobody is going to invade America, and flogging Iraq/Afghanistan has done dick all for "national security".
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member darksithbunny's Avatar
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    If they banish the Marines, then all federal money should be pulled ASAP.

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    Quote Originally Posted by darksithbunny View Post
    If they banish the Marines, then all federal money should be pulled ASAP.
    That's where I'm at and I'm against the war.

    I like Birkenstocks though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by darksithbunny View Post
    If they banish the Marines, then all federal money should be pulled ASAP.
    I agree. Protesting is one thing. Actually throwing them out and banning them is unacceptable.

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