Friday, February 08, 2008

Sticking up for the 'Semper Fi' Act

A signatory of the "Boycott Berkeley" petition from Ohio sent letters to his congressional delegation expressing his desire that they support the "Semper Fi Act of 2008." This federal legislation introduced by Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) would strip the City of Berkeley and its residents of any hidden congressional earmarks that they currently receive and transfers that money to the Marines. In reply, this signatory received the following e-mail message from the office of Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio):

Dear [Edited for Privacy]:

Thank you for expressing your views regarding comments made by the City Council of Berkeley, California. I appreciate your advocacy for our troops. Their brave service must be supported, appreciated, and honored.

Like you, I was disturbed by the City Council's ill-considered comments; however, stripping federal funding from the city would hurt residents who were not party to those comments and set a precedent inconsistent with the constitutional right to free speech.

In case it is useful to you, I have included the contact information for the City Council of Berkeley. Expressing your views on their comments is an act of civic responsibility that affirms the significance of the free speech rights protected by the first amendment, and I appreciated that you took the time to share your thoughts with me.

Thank you again for contacting me.


Sherrod Brown
Needless to say, I reject the Senator's assessment of the situation in Berkeley and his arguments against the Semper Fi Act. Having a government body give preferential treatment to a private protest group's efforts to barricade a federal office is not free speech. In this case, it is a deliberate act aimed at thwarting a legitimate, non-political government body in performing its well-established mission and it plainly violates the constitution. If different levels of government do not agree, it is an issue for the courts, not the streets.

By Senator Brown's logic (or his staffer's, we all know they don't actually write these things), if the Washington, DC City Council decides that its no longer "business as usual" for the Congress and gives a protest group a free permit to block the city streets leading to the U.S. Capitol, that is allegedly protected speech and it doesn't offend the constitution.

Furthermore, this view that striping Berkeley of its earmarks is somehow cruel to the sea of poor innocents is show's a complete lack of understanding for what is at stake here. This position absolves the people of any responsibility for the actions of their government (a government that I might add is more or less acting in rebellion against the Congressional power to raise an army).

In reality, the Berkeley City Council was elected by the people of Berkeley and this Council has a consistent pattern of engaging in these kinds of shenanigans. If the Council chooses to persist with these acts, the nation has every right to punish the residents of the city for it until such time as their government elects to respect the offices of our federal union. Not only is the "Semper Fi Act" just, the situation is egregious enough to fully demand it.


Mel McGuire said...

Nicholas Provenzo,

Seeing that you're going to try to talk to one of the council members who voted against the resolution, I have some info and an email address that might be useful; I don't know for sure but I thought I'd pass it along if you want me to. The info comes from the time 6 months ago when I complained to the "Peace and Justice Commission" about using "racism" to refer to sharp criticism of Islam.

Which email link can I use to reach you quickly?

BTW, here's a link to a "Berkeley Daily Planet" story about Berkeley letting protesters have their own parking space.
" “There’s a line between protesting and harassing,” Wozniak said, referring to possible harassment of recruits.

I've even written a short note to the Attorney General of California asking that he look into the legality of Berkeley withdrawing protection for people trying to enter the Marine facility. The Attorney General now is Jerry Brown. (Yes, "that" Jerry Brown.)

Nicholas Provenzo said...


Please use the feedback form here:

You can leave either your message or your e-mail address there and I'll be able to see it.


Mel McGuire said...