Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Let us eat cake

But you'll have to pay for it!

For over a year Individuals for Justice, a collection of citizens and activists dedicated to regime change in America and ending the occupation of Iraq, has been petitioning the Portland office of Oregon's bicycling, bow-tied 3rd District Congressman.

Sadly, although holding a safe, liberal seat for the last dozen years, Earl Blumenauer will not support impeachment. So far, he has refused to meet with his constituents who want to hold Bush and Cheney accountable, but if you've got the cash, you had the chance to bend Earl's ear today, whether or not he's your Representative in Congress. Tickets were on a sliding scale from $160 to $2,300.

Blumenauer's re-election staff promoted this as a birthday bash (he turns 60 on Saturday), but it was just your garden variety political fundraiser. It not only brought out Earl's well healed friends, but also lobbyists and local politicos. Spotted coming or going were Nick Fish, Lisa Naito, Brad Avakian, Laura Calvo, Greg MacPherson, and even Steve Novick, who is rumored to be Blumenauer's replacement, should he be tapped to join the Obama administration.

Last year, Rep. Blumenauer passed the hat during the August recess east of the Willamette in his own District. Perhaps he was hoping to avoid any uninvited guests this year, so the festivities were moved across the river to the Gerding Armory, a fortress guaranteed to keep out the unwanted (those not paying).

Like many businesses downtown, this theatre/cafe' is guarded by a private police force (in this case, "Pacific Control Services"). Along with serving as doorman for the donors, they also took our pictures and took notes. I was last to leave the vigil and asked one guard what the most notable occurrence had been. She confirmed (seemingly to her surprise) that it had been pretty peaceful.

I personally don't like to heckle (personal preference). When I protest, I tend to only speak when spoken too.

"Re-elect Bush!"

"You like the torture and domestic spying, I ask?"

Perhaps the most cutting comments come from doughy eyed Democrats.

"The election's in two months!"

Unless Congress acts, it will be another five months before America finally gets a well deserved regime change. Every month we wait, another 15, 30, 60 or more Americans die needlessly in Iraq, adding over $10 Billion to our national debt, month in... month out.

Over 1000 Americans have died since the Democrats were given the leadership of the 110th Congress. It's their plan to spend $250 Billion in Iraq before finally turning our tattered ship of state around. Why?

Certainly, we get more waves and honks than jeers and rude gestures. Maybe it's the lack of time when you're engaged in a drive-by hooting, but I wish our detractors could be a little bit more articulate if not original.

"You're an idiot... an idiot," repeated this downtown professional as he parked his cute little penis extension in the garage next to the armory.

[A word about fighting snark with snark... Regular readers of Thom's Word may be amused by the occasional zinger. I would actually prefer a more civil discourse. But unlike many activists of the '60's, if a gun is pointed at me, I'm not always motivated to stick a daisy down the end of the barrel. Likewise, having been rebuffed by Blumenauer for over a year, it is far from untoward to engage in non-vulgar, non-violent protest, even at an event purported to be a "birthday party." To those who think there is a better time and place to petition one's Congressman, the comment lines are open!]

"Our apologies, good friends, for the fracture of good order, the burning of paper instead of children."
- Father Berrigan

I rather expected Blumenauer to bike to the "birthday bash" but he arrived by combustion engine. He was expecting a welcome from the weekly Impeachment supporters and seemed in good spirits as he was being driven up.

He was greeted by a baker's half-dozen of impeachment supporters, with a twist. Two demonstrators were actually calling for Blumenauer's re-election.

"Vote for Earl. A vote for Blumenauer is a vote for Pelosi."

The irony (and message) was lost on at least one group of teenagers passing by. "Did you see that? The one guy was like 'Impeach' Bush,' and the other guy was like 'Don't impeach Bush... vote for some dude.'" Oh well... at least they were using the I-word. Maybe we should get Apple to do the marketing for iMpeachment?

Below the fold...

The Gerding Theatre at the Armory lies right across the street from the new Portland Pub of the Bend centered Deschutes Brewery. It was a hot day, and I don't mind admitting that after the most of Earl's friends and the assorted lobbyists and politicos entered the Armory, I ducked into the pub for a pint (or two).

I sat next to an out of towner who turned out to have hailed from Dallas. Now I know that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, especially since I was only getting half the story since this guy was on his cell phone. From his accent, I could tell he was a Texan and he was trying to follow some baseball remotely since the tavern TVs at the bar were both broadcasting a soccer match.

He turned to me for a moment and asked if I was interested in watching the Texas Rangers take on the Boston Red Sox. I told him politely that I didn't really care what was on, so he asked the bartender to change the channel who told him he'd have to check with the manager. It turned out the desired channel was part of the pub's satellite TV package, so the Texan asked for the check and for some tips on some "good" bars. (He even had a walking map from Powell's.) I suggested he just walk down any block and look for the neon beer signs and enter the first place where the noise was to his liking. The bartender even jotted down a few suggestions for him.

With my [IMPEACH] shirt and signs, our conversation turned towards the inevitable. And then came the surprises. It turns out "Kerry" was in the Air Force and served in Iraq. He now makes his home in Wyoming where he works for on porverty issues for Laramie County. He was quite in agreement that the US must end its costly involvement in Iraq and bring Americans' tax money back home where it was so desperately needed. By the end of our conversation, it was my pleasure to pony up for his pint and wish him well in our fair city.

The bartender caught much of the convo and before I left, he bought me a beer. He's in favor of the what was being done to prod Blumenauer to hold Bush/Cheney & Co. accountable and simply wanted to show his support. He has no idea that was the high point of my day.

No telling how much in contributions the Earl of Transport hauled in at the Armory. If only his black bag contained an Impeachment bill...


Kari Chisholm said...

I know I probably shouldn't point out the factual inaccuracies in your posts (it's like shouting into the wind), but maybe others will read it.

You say: So far, he has refused to meet with his constituents who want to hold Bush and Cheney accountable

And that's just flatly not true.

Best of all, the proof is right here on your blog (with photos) on September 23, 2007.

You may not have liked the outcome of that meeting, but it did actually happen. He did actually "meet with his constituents who want to hold Bush and Cheney accountable."


(Full disclosure: My firm built Blumenauer's campaign website, but I speak only for myself.)

lonevet2008 said...

I was at the gathering with Congressman Blumenauer that Kari speaks of in his post. It was a most infuriating experience. The Earlman would not respond to any questions, he sat on stage and listened to over 40 people tell him they wanted Bush, Cheney and any high officials involved in crimes against the Constitution held accountable. One of the last speakers, Ms Bonnie Tinker asked the audience to stand if they wanted impeachment and 300-400 people got up and yelled yes! There was no response coming from our congressman, it was a disgraceful display of arrogance.

This was not a meeting between Blumenauer and his constituents, this was a shameful act of disconnect on the part of a politician. Kari may feel this was a Town Hall or a meeting, I believe it was a disgrace to the oath Rep. Blumenauer takes every two years.

Blumenauer is now doing what all “Cocktail Liberals” do, he is hiding from his constituents. He will only meet with people who agree with him. The meeting that Kari talks about is over a year old, no town halls have been held since July 07. Blumenauer is frightened by the very people he asked to vote for him. Kari is nothing more than a shill for the people who should be sent home. We need new blood in Washington DC, not cowards who hide from the people who put them in office.

Blumenauer will continue in office until the democrats demand real representation or independents run their own candidates and fully support them. Hoping the democrats will do the right thing has proven to be one disappointment after the other. As Nancy Pelosi said on the View, If someone has proof that Bush has committed crimes, please let me know what they are, or words to that effect. I rest my case!


Full disclosure---
I ran against Blumenauer in the democratic primary and do not think he is worthy to represent us in Congress.

Joe Walsh-lone vet