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Cindy Sheehan Blasts CNN during Visit to Atlanta
By Matthew Cardinale, Atlanta Progressive News
(APN) ATLANTA – Activist and likely congressional candidate Cindy Sheehan blasted CNN television news during her visit to Atlanta on Saturday night, July 14, 2007. Sheehan was in town as part of her cross country Caravan for Humanity and Accountability.
Activists held a reception for Sheehan prior to a production of the play, “Marx in SoHo,” at the 7 Stages Theater in Atlanta’s Little Five Points area. About 200 leftist activists attended.
"At CNN, I did an interview with Rick Sanchez. While taping, they scrambled ‘Impeach Bush and Cheney’ [the slogan on her shirt]. Like it’s obscene. What’s obscene is... CNN and their cheerleading for this war and Administration."
CNN also asked about Sheehan’s upcoming visits to Iraq, Jordan, and Syria, Sheehan said. "Is that gonna make you Hanoi Cindy?" Sheehan said she was asked. "We’re not at war against the people of Iraq," she said that she replied.
"I just heard today more people are getting their news on the Internet than cable news. All our corporate news is owned by five corporations. They profit off war. We just have to fight these corporations that are running our media and our life. Boycott their sponsors. Boycott their channels. Just throw out our TVs. It is a vast wasteland," Sheehan said of corporate TV news.
Sheehan announced she will run against US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in her Congressional district in San Francisco, California, unless she puts impeachment back on the table. Since Pelosi won’t be doing that, Sheehan is set to run.
Former US Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) praised Sheehan's congressional campaing in an instant message with Atlanta Progressive News. "I love Cindy's passion and her honesty. She made the ultimate sacrifice. She is a force to be reckoned with. And she shows the rest of us the very real power of one," McKinney said.
Sheehan said impeachment is not only important for ending the US Occupation of Iraq and holding Bush accountable on many high crimes, but is also concerned about a little-known May 9, 2007, presidential directive giving Bush the power to declare martial law.
"In case of a natural disaster or a terrorist attack, he can declare martial law and he can coordinate [all levels of government] and the military. Why would he put that in if he was not planning to use it?... Martial law is at stake," Sheehan asked.
Currently, there is a bill in Congress, H Res 333, cosponsored by US Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and 13 others, calling for the impeachment of Vice President of the US Dick Cheney. If H Res 333 is not successful, Sheehan said she’ll be working on a nationwide impeachment referendum.
Sheehan expressed concern that Atlanta’s Democratic US Congressman, John Lewis (D-GA), has not signed on. "Tell Lewis he’s got to sign on H Res 333 to impeach Cheney," she said. US Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) is the only Georgia representative to cosponsor the bill so far.
"The wealthy, ruling class elite started this country... and they rule it to this day,” Sheehan said. “Do we really have a true vote? They’ve taken millions of people off the roles that don’t look like them. It’s time for people like us to stop them."
Sheehan compared herself to Pelosi and so many other Congresspersons who she says are out of touch with the problems of working class Americans. "I’m here horizontally. They’re vertical," she said.
"They’ve lost connection with the people of the country. The House of Representatives is supposed to be the people’s house. [How can they] make decisions for us when they don’t know what it’s like?"
"I’m encouraging people, if you have people in your District [not representing the constituents], run against them. [US Rep.] Conyers (D-MI) said, I can get calls all day long. But unless someone threatens my job," it doesn’t make a difference, Sheehan recalled.
Sheehan told Atlanta Progressive News she has several suggestions for people wanting better Congressional representation: "You can sit in at your Congressperson’s Office. You can run yourself. You can support my candidacy."
Sheehan recently sold "Camp Casey," her land in Crawford, Texas, after deciding to refocus her energies on her Caravan and on running for political office. Camp Casey had been in honor of her son Casey who was killed in the US Invasion of Iraq.
"We left Camp Casey on Tuesday. First we visited Houston, the home of so many war profiteers. Then we went to New Orleans. We all know about the Bush crimes in New Orleans. One of the most tragic violations of his power. He was playing golf and eating birthday cake with [US Sen.] John McCain (R-AR)," during Katrina, Sheehan said.
"Yesterday we were in Montgomery, Alabama, a hotbed of the Civil Rights Movement. [Then we visited] Fort Benning [Georgia]... a cancer on our country, where they train assassins, death squads, and torturers," Sheehan said.
Atlanta was next on her Caravan "because we just like Atlanta. You all are perfect. Nothing’s going on here," Sheehan said. "So many people came from Atlanta to Camp Casey."
"On to Washington, DC. We’re going to have a sit-in in Congressman Conyers’s Office. We’re going to take over a million signatures for impeachment. We can’t let up on the Democrats. We have to hold them to the same standards," Sheehan said.
In a January 2007 press conference, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee director and US Rep. "Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) said the most important thing was ethics reform, when George Bush wants his surge. We gave our agenda [interrupting the press conference]: De-escalate, investigate, troops home now! He was looking at me like, don’t you know I’m a Democrat?" Emanuel ended up walking out of the press conference.
ATLANTANS REACT TO CINDY’S CAMPAIGN
The audience in Atlanta stood and cheered in support of Sheehan’s likely run against Pelosi.
"She is becoming a new force in the Peace Movement. I’m glad to see her taking on electoral politics. The only way we’re going to change it, is to get people who are not corrupt into electoral politics," Joe Parko, columnist and Professor Emeritus in Public Administration at Georgia State University, said.
Parko criticized what he sees as many leftists selecting themselves out of the political process in disgust. “We feel like we’ve above that. We feel holier than thou. But the Right-wing did that. The Christian Conservatives started running for school board, city council," Parko said.
"She won’t be camping at Camp Casey. She’ll be camping on Nancy Pelosi’s doorstep. I think she’s got a chance. She could mobilize a lot of people who are sour on the system. People are wondering, where do we go?" Parko said.
Atlanta activist Ted Brodek was excited about Sheehan’s campaign but expressed doubt at her ability to win Pelosi’s seat.
"It’s very useful and necessary for the Democratic Party to be challenged by truly principled progressives at every opportunity. But most people in this country, even among those who agree, vote on the basis of pragmatism, that third party candidates can’t win," Brodek said.
"I’m definitely excited to be here, to see the play. I’m excited to hear her live in person. She’s been a powerful force in the Anti-war Movement. It didn’t seem to matter that she didn’t have political experience. It takes someone who can captivate people who are leading, like JFK and Martin Luther King," Sarah Madden said.
But not all Atlantans on the left were thrilled with Sheehan’s visit, or candidacy.
"At this point, Cindy Sheehan is doing more harm than good," Jen Brock wrote on a local liberal blog, BlogForDemocracy (BFD), adding no explanation for the remark.
"Cindy Sheehan has been pretty horrible from the start. I remember her in 2004 talking on Bill Maher's show about how she was the "spark" for the anti-war movement. It just clicked for me right then that all her antics are just about promoting Cindy," another blogger wrote at BFD.
MARX IN SOHO
The play Marx in Soho featured a monologue by the ghost of Karl Marx, played by Jerry Levy. Levy is also a Sociology professor from Marlboro College, Vermont. In the play, Marx arrives in New York’s SoHo area, to reflect on his life and marvel at how his predictions–for instance, that capitalism would concentrate wealth in fewer and fewer hands–have come true.
Proceeds from the two performances went to Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition, Atlanta; and Georgia for Democracy. GFD agreed to pass on their portion to Push Push Theater of Decatur, where progressive film screenings are held frequently.
About the author:
Matthew Cardinale is the News Editor of Atlanta Progressive News and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org