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Showdown in Berkeley and the Harry Reid chicken-out; Update: Morning mayhem in Berkeley; Update: Still trashing the Marines; Update: Reid speaks

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By Michelle Malkin  •  February 12, 2008 08:27 AM

Update 5:33pm Eastern. A picture that will warm your heart. The pro-troops protesters this morning in Berkeley. Video here.

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Update 5:28pm Eastern. A Hill staffer sends the following partial transcript of Harry Reid’s comments to a reporter on the siege at Berkeley:

QUESTION: Do you think the statement made by the Berkeley City Council was appropriate? What should the response of the United States Senate be?

REID: To be very honest with you, I don’t know what the Berkeley City Council said. I have enough trouble keeping track of the Las Vegas City Council, so I’m sorry…

QUESTION: They said the Marines were not welcome in Berkeley.

REID: Well, if they said that, I’m disappointed. The Marine Corps should be welcome anyplace in the United States.

Update 1:49pm Eastern. Thought you’d like to see this sign from the Pinkos as they amass in front of Berkeley’s City Hall (hat tip – William Amos; source: CNN). No need to question their patriotism anymore. They have none:

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Update 11:14am. Just received word from Cat Moy with Move America Forward of a physical confrontation by the Code Pinkos against pro-troops supporters. Cat writes:

Berkeley Police Watch “Peace” Freaks attack Patriots

Berkeley erupted in violence Tuesday morning when the Communist, terrorist-supporting anti-war group crossed into Martin Luther King Park and assaulted pro-troop individuals. Riot police stood by, but did not stop the assaults. Police agencies did not respond to calls for help.

Move America Forward, the nation’s largest pro-troop organization, received permits from the City of Berkeley to hold a daylong demonstration in MLK park against the City Council who passed three outrageous resolutions calling U.S. Marines “unwanted intruders.”

“It is mayhem on here,” MAF communications director Danny Gonzalez said from the park early Tuesday morning.

Code Pink was permitted for across the street. The two sides were to stay separated, according to rules laid down by the city. But the city has a history of giving Code Pink special preference. The City Council gave free parking permits and a free noise permit to the radical group, which has helped fund terrorist families in Iraq with a $600,000 gift. MAF Exeutive Director Catherine Moy attempted to get help from the Berkeley police as the mayhem unfolded, but an officer hung up on Moy. Moy asked the California Highway Patrol to help in the emergency, but the CHP refused. “I have never in my life experienced such inaction in the face of an emergency, “Moy said. “I will ask the Federal Government to investigate, as well as the State Attorney General. It is one thing to give free parking places to the City Council’s special interest anti-war groups, it is another to take sides and endanger the lives of others.”

Move America Forward and other pro-troop organizations will stand in support of the Marines all day Tuesday until they can enter the City Council chambers to address the City Council.

***
Today is the Move America Forward protest against the Berkeley City Council for its discriminatory anti-Marine measures. Check here for details if you’re in the area and able to attend. The council meets tonight at 7pm to consider retreat resolutions. It’s going to be one for the history books. The SFChron says it’s “expected to be its largest and most raucous protest in years as hundreds of demonstrators from near and far pour into town for Tuesday night’s City Council showdown over a Marine Corps recruiting station downtown.”

You’ll be very interested to know what happened back here in Washington last night related to the Berkeley debacle. And protesters in Berkeley might want to bring a couple rubber chickens as a reminder. As you’ll recall, Sen. Jim DeMint moved to deny Berkeley millions of dollars worth of earmarks to the troop-bashing city. This would have put Democrats on record: For the moonbats or for the troops?

Well, Harry Reid managed to stymie movement on DeMint’s measure. He used a rare maneuver to delay the vote until later today–giving the council a chance to backtrack and giving cover to the Dems. A Senate staffer told me: “It’s truly incredible that they went to such great lengths to avoid having to deal with this.”

Par for the course for the Move On-bought-and-owned Dems.

The Hill reports:

Senate Democrats left two days of legislative business officially open last week, hobbling GOP efforts to bring up a bill punishing a liberal California city for scolding Marine Corps recruiters.

Republicans said Democrats clearly wanted to avoid being forced to choose between the Marine Corps or Berkeley, Calif., known for its liberalism and fervent anti-war positions.

Instead of adjourning at the end of a day as usual, the Senate “recessed” twice, a move that, under Senate rules, slows the process of adding new bills to the calendar. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) did not adjourn until last Friday, effectively pushing back floor consideration on the GOP bill until Tuesday — the same day that the city council is likely to tone down its call for Marine Corps recruiters to leave town.

“The only reason to recess is to block something, and the thing that got blocked by Reid’s stall tactic was the Semper Fi Act,” said spokesman Wesley Denton, referring to the bill introduced by his boss, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.).

“Democrats have chosen not to defend the Marine Corps, but to pander to anti-war protesters and Berkeley officials that are actively trying to impede military recruitment.”

The recess move is highly unusual:

The process of recessing is very unusual in the 110th Congress. The only times the Senate went into recess were on Sept. 12 and before and after a number of quick “pro forma” sessions held late last year and in early January, in a tactic to keep President Bush from making recess appointments.

When the Senate adjourns, a legislative day officially comes to an end. To bypass committee consideration of a bill, a senator can request that a bill be placed on the Senate calendar two legislative days after it is introduced.

Once a measure is on the calendar, a senator can request the Senate to approve a bill by unanimous consent, or force at least one member to object to its passage.

But on Feb. 6 and Feb. 7, Reid and Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) closed the chamber’s doors by recessing until the next day, a move that, unlike adjourning, does not change the legislative day.

That tactic effectively delayed an effort by DeMint and five other conservatives to bring forward a bill, introduced on Feb. 6, that would strip Berkeley of $2 million worth of earmarks inserted into the $516 billion omnibus spending bill Bush signed into law at the end of 2007. According to three GOP aides, DeMint signaled on Feb. 6 that he would request that the bill be placed on the legislative calendar before the decision was made to recess, rather than adjourn, for the night.

“Berkeley needs to learn that their actions have consequences,” DeMint said.

Indeed, they are slow learners.

***

FYI, Sens. Boxer and Feinstein and Rep. Barbara Lee are the sponsors of the earmarks targeted by DeMint. Where do they stand on the Berkeley controversy? For the Marines or for the troop-bashers.

They are standing in defense of…their earmarks.

Code Pink camped out at City Hall last night reports the SF Chron:

About 60 activists, including a few of the tree-sitters from UC Berkeley’s Oak Grove, danced, sang, listened to jazz and drank carrot juice as they pitched their tents for the night.

“This is a great gift to us to be able to ignite a national debate,” said Medea Benjamin, Code Pink spokeswoman. “We’re drawing a line in the sand on Shattuck Avenue and saying the war stops here.”

Here’s the council agenda item:

From: Councilmembers Olds and Capitelli

Recommendation:

1) That the City Council, through adoption of this item, publicly differentiate between the City’s documented opposition to the unjust and illegal war in Iraq and our respect and support for those serving in the armed forces.

2) Rescind point 2 of Item 12, of the January 29, 2008 Berkeley City Council Agenda, “Marine Recruiting Office in Berkeley,” regarding communications with the Marine Recruiting Station in Berkeley.

Financial Implications: None

Contact: Betty Olds, Councilmember, District 6, 981-7160

Discussion probably won’t begin until around 9pm Pacific time, after such typically Berkeley resolution discussions as these:

15. Condemn Construction of Border Wall – United States and Mexico Border (PDF)

From: Councilmember Worthington

Recommendation: Adopt a Resolution condemning the construction of a border wall along the international boundary zone connecting the United States of Mexico and the United States of America.

Financial Implications: None

Contact: Kriss Worthington, Councilmember, District 7, 981-7170

16. Proclamation: February 2008 as Freedom to Marry Month (PDF)

From: Councilmembers Worthington and Moore

Recommendation: Adopt a Proclamation declaring February 2008 as Freedom to Marry Month in the City of Berkeley and urge the state to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people and their families by removing references to sex and gender as eligibility requirements for a civil marriage license and enacting a law providing for equal access to marriage and all of its legal benefits and obligations by all persons, regardless of sex, gender identity or sexual orientation.

Financial Implications: None

Contact: Kriss Worthington, Councilmember, District 7, 981-7170

17. Letter To Canadian Officials Requesting Sanctuary For U.S. War Resisters (PDF)

From: Councilmember Worthington

Recommendation: Send a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Diana Finley and Liberal Party leader Stephane Dion requesting that the government of Canada establish provisions to provide sanctuary for U.S. military service members who are living in Canada to resist fighting in the Iraq War.

Financial Implications: See report

Contact: Kriss Worthington, Councilmember, District 7, 981-7170

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Posted in: Berkeley

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Categories: Berkeley, Education

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