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Congressman Calls Cops on Cindy Sheehan

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    Conyers Calls Cops to Arrest Cindy Sheehan and Other Impeachment Demonstrators Overcoming John Conyers By DAVE LINDORFF July 24, 2007
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 3, 2007
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      Conyers Calls Cops to Arrest Cindy Sheehan and Other Impeachment
      Overcoming John Conyers
      July 24, 2007

      Rep. John Conyers, venerable member of Congress, finally chair of the
      House Judiciary Committee,is a man who worked with Rosa Parks in
      Alabama and who hired her on his staff after he won election to
      Congress in Detroit. Years in Washington DC change a man. Yesterday
      Conyers had 48 impeachment activists, including Gold Star Families for
      Peace founder Cindy Sheehan, Iraq Veteran Against the War activist
      Lennox Yearwood and Intelligence Veterans for Sanity founder Ray
      McGovern, arrested for conducting a sit-in in his office in the
      Rayburn House Office Building. The three, together with several
      hundred other impeachment activists who packed the fourth floor
      hallway outside Rep. Conyers' office, had come to press Conyers to
      take action on impeachment, and specifically to start action on H.Res.
      333, the bill submitted nearly three months ago by Rep. Dennis
      Kucinich calling for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney.

      After nearly an hour of talking with Conyers, a clearly angry Sheehan
      emerged together with Yearwood and McGovern, and announced to the
      waiting throng in the hall that Conyers had told them "impeachment
      isn't going to happen because we don't have the votes." Sheehan said
      Conyers had insisted that the best thing was for Democrats to focus on
      "winning big in 2008." To volleys of boos and hisses, the three went
      back inside Conyers' office suite, where they were joined by some
      thirty other supporters, and all were subsequently arrested, at
      Conyers' request, by Capitol police, who cuffed them and walked them
      off for booking. Several of those who sat in refused to walk and were
      carried or dragged out of the Rayburn Office Building, as the
      activists in the hall chanted "Shame on Conyers! Shame onConyers!" and
      "Arrest Bush, Not the People!"

      It was a disgraceful scene wholly unworthy of a dean of the
      Congressional Black Caucus. Before returning to sit in the Judiciary
      chairman's office and await arrest, Sheehan publicly announced her
      intention to run in 2008 as an independent candidate for Congress
      against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and she called on Americans
      everywhere to run not just against Republicans in 2008, but against
      Democrats too. Yearwood, who is a chaplain in the Air Force, said that
      Conyers had been a mentor to him, but he declared that he now felt
      betrayed and that Americans needed to take back their government. As
      he was led down the hall to his arraignment, the handcuffed Yearwood
      sang "We Shall Overcome!"

      This reporter subsequently called Conyers' press office for an
      explanation of Conyers' true position on impeachment. Only a few days
      earlier the congressman, at a San Diego meeting on health care reform,
      had told members of Progressive Democrats of America that it was time
      to "take these two guys (Bush and Cheney) out" and had promised that
      if just "a few more" members of the House signed on to the Kucinich
      bill (it already has 14 co-sponsors), he would move it forward for
      consideration in his Judiciary Committee. Asked how that statement
      squared with what he had told the group of activists in his office,
      the spokesman said Conyers' "must have been misunderstood" in San
      Diego. He said that in view of Conyers' statement to Sheehan and the
      others today, the Kucinich bill was "not going to go anywhere."

      As impeachment activist David Swanson of AfterDowningStreet.org has
      said, there "seem to be two John Conyers." There's the one who, in
      2005 and early 2006, while Republicans controlled the House, was
      systematically making the case for impeaching the president and vice
      president. This Conyers had even submitted a bill, with 39
      co-sponsors, which called for creation of a select committee to
      investigate possible impeachable crimes by the administration. And
      then there's the Conyers who submits to the wishes of the new House
      Speaker Nancy Pelosi and is keeping impeachment off the table.
      Occasionally the former Conyers breaks out, saying things such as that
      the president needs to be "taken out" or, as he put it at an anti-war
      rally last spring, that "we can fire him!" But then the other Conyers
      comes to the fore, and stands in the way of impeachment action.

      Yesterday, however, was worse than just doing nothing. The arrest of
      impeachment activists and their forcible eviction from his office was
      a betrayal of people who were doing the very thing that had allowed
      Conyers to make his way into Congress in the first place: sitting in
      to insist on action on their demands for justice. It was, after all,
      sit-ins that helped lead to the Voting Rights Act which allowed
      African American candidates like Conyers to finally win seats in the
      US Congress.

      It's ironic that Rep. Conyers, speaking in 2005 on "Democracy Now!"
      following Rosa Parks' death at the age of 92, said her passing "is
      probably the end of an era." Certainly, with his request to have
      Capitol Police officers enter his office (the very office where Parks
      once had worked as a staff member!) to cuff and arrest peaceful
      protesters who were trying to defend the Constitution, he has made
      that point far more clearly than he could have expressed it in mere words.

      But as in the case of Rosa Parks and the Civil Rights movement,
      arrests and fines will not stop the national grassroots drive to
      impeach this president and vice president. With polls showing that a
      majority of the country now favors impeachment, and with Conyers,
      Pelosi, and the Democratic Congress sinking deeper and deeper into
      disfavor even as the president continues to add to his list of
      Constitutional crimes, something's gotta give. After all, the
      Founders, in writing impeachment into the Constitution, did not say
      the test was whether Congress had the votes to impeach. They wrote
      that if the president abused his power, or committed other high crimes
      and misdemeanors, bribery or treason, Congress "shall" impeach.

      Dave Lindorff is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the
      Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His n book of CounterPunch columns
      titled "This Can't be Happening!" is published by Common Courage
      Press. Lindorff's newest book is "The Case for Impeachment",
      co-authored by Barbara Olshansky.

      He can be reached at: dlindorff @ yahoo.com



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