Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Darrell Issa Should Represent His Real Constituents!

Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) is chairman of the House Committee for Oversight and Reform, which has the responsibility of conducting open hearings into the release of documents concerning past political assassinations. 

Please share the following note from William Kelly and do all you can to demand that Issa do his job:
I ask those with an interest in open government and political assassinations to devote that effort towards helping to release the government assassination records, including those of the MLK House Select Committee on Assassinations and the remaining JFK Assassination records. To do this we need Congress to do their duty and hold JFK Act oversight hearings, which can only be scheduled by House Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R. Calf.). Towards that end we have requested that people write to Issa (fax him at 202-225-3974) and sign a petition requesting the hearings. Please ask five or more of your friends who are sympathetic to this cause, and ask them to please sign on and join this effort. Thanks,

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."
Quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.
while he OCCUPIED the Birmingham, AL Jail

Dems. support OCCUPY DC
By Brett Redmayne-Titley 

Brett Redmayne Titley

The plan, by Darrell Issa (R-CA), to remove the face of the Occupy camp at McPherson Park did not go as he planned. In an effort to embarrass the National Park Service for their decisions in allowing the Occupy protests to flourish in Washington DC, Issa, Rep Trey Gowdy (R-SC), and Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) called for a hearing of the House Committee for Oversight and Reform. The hearing was titled "Who Made the Decision to Allow Indefinite Camping?" 

The cards, however, quickly turned on these three GOP champions.

Instead of eliciting responses helpful to their quest for new legislation requiring the National Park Service to ban all camping Director Jonathan Jarvis offered articulate First Amendment obligations of his position. He noted that the National Park Police handle more protests than in any place in the country and they take a "measured" and "reasoned approach." Regarding the McPherson Park Occupation Jarvis concluded that this free speech is "unique," Continuing, he said that Occupy is, "unprecedented in that the core of their First Amendment activity is that they occupy the site. We have developed a rapport at the site with demonstrators," he added, explaining that Occupiers have come to work with the agency to assist in maintaining the site's safety.

During the hearing, Jarvis remarked there had been two previous instances where there had been long-term protests in DC. In 1979, six thousand family farmers drove to DC to protest farm policy and were on the National Mall for seven weeks. In 1968, the Poor People's Campaign set up a shantytown for a month called "Resurrection City."

At the end of the exchange, Jarvis noted that the Supreme Court has afforded the National Park Service a great deal of discretion as to how to enforce this rule on camping. This is unprecedented, and we're working through it," he said.

Eleanor Holmes Norton, whose district McPherson Park lays within, was vehement in her praise of the director and the Occupiers. In refering to the Arab Spring this past year, she declared that " our Nation's Capitol is the place nations look to for their example of the First Amendment rights." This praise came as a stinging rebuke to the intentions of Issa and company who were to repeatedly receive a reminder of the historical precedent of civil disobedience in America. As a career civil rights leader Eleanor Holmes Norton was adamant in her criticism noting that no one from McPherson Park was allowed to testify despite some 75 occupiers being in attendance. Norton pointed out that there is money that can be used to pay for the cost law enforcement is incurring from monitoring the Occupiers. It is in an annual appropriations bill for federal government and has been for the past ten years.

Additionally, she pressed Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Paul Quander on whether Occupiers had been escalating tactics, as he suggested they could do. Quander could give no examples of escalation, outside of maybe the construction of the wooden structure that the Park Police had removed. To this, Norton suggested the Occupiers be commended for "self-policing."

Issa continued to get nothing useful from Jarvis who maintained throughout the questioning that he had the " Broad Discretion" of his duties in balancing civil rights with GOP concerns. Jarvis refused to admit that new legislation is needed to prohibit camping and "24 hour vigils." Jarvis continued to be a cool customer under pressure leaving Issa so flustered he left the hearing under the pretense of a vote in another committee chamber. Rep.Gowdy attempted to march on, but was assailed by representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD).

Cummings, who also has a good memory of the need for civil disobedience, delivered his left-handed swipe at the two remaining antagonists of free speech, Rep. Gowdy and Rep. Walsh. Every comment by Norton and Cummings served to highlight the divisiveness of these men's intentions. Rep. Cummings condemned the "tone and tenure of this hearing" and called it "rather disturbing."

In a direct rebuke to Issa, who sits on the House Finance Committee, Cummings admonished "I wish we had as much concern about the people who have lost their houses," adding that there had now been 118 hearings with 342 witnesses and, when a banker is asked to come testify on robo-signing, the committee cannot get them because Chairman Issa doesn't want them to "come in to explain why they have illegally put people out of their houses." As the committee's ranking Democratic member, Rep. Cummings of Maryland, praised Jarvis for his 35 years of service.

"You really understand what it means to have freedom of speech," Cummings said. 

Issa returned and, again, made plain his desire to change existing legislation in order to stop further and future protests in Washington DC. Visibly agitated Rep. Gowdy gaveled the hearing to a close after one last ominous exchange:
Rep. Gowdy asked Jarvis to name the most famous protest letter in US history to which Jarvis responded, Martin Luther King's "Birmingham Jail."
"That's right," said Rep. Gowdy. "That's where all protests that violate the law should be held. From jail."

The author spent his formative years growing up in Australia, Ghana, the Bahamas and Alaska.He also traveled extensively through out the developing world in the era before globalization.His experiences have shaped him into a World Citizen who sees.... [See more about Brett Redmayne Titley.]

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