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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Cindy Sheehan's Speech at Allentown's Sterling Hotel

LV Independent Press finally has a local news report! It has just published a verbatim transcript of the speech delivered by Cindy Sheehan last night at Allentown's Sterling Hotel. For those of you unable to attend in person, here's the next best thing.

One of the comments I frequently get is “Wow, I did not think you were so tall.” I guess the camera adds about ten pounds and takes off six inches. So, gosh, I want to thank you all for coming. This is an amazing turnout, and I want to thank the organizers for putting this together on such short notice, and you guys might be warm down there but it is freezing up here because of this jet engine that keeps going off.

First of all, I’d like to invite all the members of our caravan to stand up. (applause) They deserve a standing ovation. You guys can stand up there if you want or go back to your seats. Since you are my followers you have to obey my every command. I want to say a little bit about that. Most of us came to Camp Casey from July 6 to July 8, never knowing that they were going to be setting out on a three week adventure across the country. So we have been doing a lot of laundry, you know, there is some stinking going on, but we’re doing it. It’s amazing, but these people have dropped everything to do this.

It’s so important to us, accountability, humanity, peace are so important to us that we just dropped everything to do this and I literally came up with the idea, I think it was July 2 or 3rd when I came up with the idea. These people did not know about it, they came to Camp Casey unaware that they were going on a caravan with me and walk and drive across the country. I am so honored to have people of the caliber of these people, talented, gifted, committed – should be committed, but committed to peace.

Somebody called me crazy one time, in fact, it was a Congressperson, and I sent the response out, and people said, “of course, you’re crazy. You sat in a ditch in Crawford, Texas, in August.” But there’s good crazy and bad crazy. If you really think about it, to hop in a car and drive across the deep South with our messages written all over our cars, actually, the car I was riding in, the tire was slashed and we were on a freeway and had a blowout. To me, that’s attempted murder. So, it’s been precarious but it’s also been very miraculous.

Just like Camp Casey in 0-5, when you follow your heart and you follow your instincts, and you’re on the right path, only good things happen. So, only good things have been happening on this trip. Rick has dubbed it “the magical history tour”. We drove all through the South, farther and farther north, stopped in Washington, DC on Monday. Before we left, I had said, if Nancy Pelosi doesn’t put impeachment back on the table, I’m going to run against her. (applause) Impeachment was never hers to take off the table. You don’t come in and take part of the Constitution off the table. What do you take off next? George Bush has been systematically destroying the Constitution since he has come into power. The First Amendment, the Fourth Amendment, the Eighth Amendment, all of the Amendments, the Supremacy Clause Article 6 - he has been violating our Constitution, trampling on it, and I believe that if they don’t impeach George Bush and Dick Cheney, they might as well shred the Constitution, because it will be invalid.

Congress has been busy for the last six years handing over all their power to George Bush. They handed him their power to wage war. George Bush has said that no one in my administration has to testify to anything under oath: if you want us to testify, we will go behind closed doors, and you can’t have a record of it. Dick Cheney has said he is not part of the executive branch and he doesn’t have to give his papers to the national archives. What else have these people done? They have authorized torture. That is un-American. That harms our soldiers in the field. And, no information you get from torture is valid. It’s inhumane. This policy of torture – torture harms the torturer as much as the tortured. And we are a nation of torturers. George Bush has made us a nation of torturers.

He stood up at a press conference and admitted to breaking federal law, spying on Americans without warrant. That is one of the reasons President Nixon was going to be impeached and this is why the FISA laws were written. And many activists were against the FISA laws, because we have a Fourth Amendment against illegal search and seizure. The FISA laws have only turned down four or five requests for wireless tapping. George Bush will not even go that route.

George Bush says he is the war President, and he started the war of terror against the world and now he says he can do whatever he wants. Well, he is going to invade Iran. Dick Cheney can’t wait. Dick Cheney wants to start launching those missiles into Iran. Most of our Democratic and all the Republicans except Ron Paul say a nuclear option is not off the table. That’s a war crime – using weapons of mass destruction, or threatening them is a war crime. We are the only nation that has used that abominable technology on other people. And now, for them to even mention it makes them monsters and war criminals.

There’s a long list of violations by George Bush. He lied to the Congress. He lied to the American people. He started this illegal and immoral occupation against the Geneva Conventions, against UN treaties, against our own Constitution, against every kind of international law, any kind of law on just war – it does not fit. I don’t think there is, really, any just war. If it’s such a just war, such a great war, why aren’t the Bush twins over there? This is Cindy Sheehan’s just war theory. A just war is one that you would send your own children to die in. This war does not fit this criterion.

George Bush left our brothers and sisters in the Gulf States of Mississippi and Louisianan hanging off their roofs. One of our stops was New Orleans. The ninth ward is being systematically taken away from the people, the people who own their homes. You know, the City will go in and mow the grass, and if the homeowners do not pay their bill the City will confiscate their property. That is so they can build luxury condominiums and casinos. Nature gave George Bush and his cronies the justification for a huge gentrification project.

George Bush has made signing statements - over 800 times, he has said I will sign this law, but I don’t have to obey it. He has consolidated all power to himself. It is a neo-con plot, and that is not a conspiracy theory. All you have to do is read The Project for a New American Century. It is a game plan for what is going on right now. It’s George Bush’s Mein Kampf. It’s what they are doing to our country. So, the list is endless. If Congress does not impeach him, they are just a rubberstamp, bobble-headed entity. They need to impeach in order to revalidate themselves, make themselves relevant again.

George Bush has even ignored Supreme Court rulings, especially Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld that said that detainees deserve their due process. George Bush has taken away Habeas Corpus. That does not just stop at terrorists it applies to anyone that George Bush deems a terrorist. They could be us. We can be detained if George Bush says to do it. We can have our property taken away, our assets taken away by an order signed a few days ago. If you undermine his policy in Iraq, you can have your assets taken away from you. Nobody is stopping this maniac.

The thing that brought me back – people say, “I thought you retired.” Well, I did, but I retired from going one way to regroup and go another way. (applause) So many things happened during my retirement, I thought, “Oh, my God, why did I retire?” I knew George Bush wouldn’t stop being a criminal. I knew Congress wouldn’t stop being complicit. It was driving me crazy. We were going to come back in August with our trip to the Middle East, which is still happening. But when George Bush commuted Scooter Libby’s sentence, I believe that is treason. (applause) It was treason and another thing Nixon faced in an Article of Impeachment was that he punished enemies or people he thought were enemies.

George Bush and Dick Cheney conspired to punish Joseph Wilson by outing his wife as a CIA agent. That was an executive branch conspiracy. We finally, after so much hard work by Patrick Fitzgerald, reached a point where one of the criminals was going to have to pay for obstruction of justice. George Bush commuted his sentence and said he suffered enough. Scooter Libby has suffered enough. Scooter Libby wrote the Project for a New American Century. George Bush and Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby and Condoleeza Rice and the rest of the long list of neo-con criminals will never suffer one iota of what they have made me suffer. They will never come close to the suffering of the Middle East. These people need to be held accountable so that my grandchildren will not have to fight these illegal and immoral wars.

We had Vietnam, and we didn’t stop it then. No one was held accountable for that war that sent millions, literally millions of people into a lifelong house of pain, regret, longing. So, this is when we have to stop it now, people, and it has to be a people’s movement. We went to John Conyer’s office, one of my heroes, one of my mentors, a lifelong public servant that has done heroic things. And he said, “We can’t impeach, because we don’t have the votes. If we impeach and fail, Fox will make us look stupid.”

So I said, “If I had to worry about Fox news, I would not even get out of bed.” (applause) I just asked him when Congress was going to do the morally correct thing, not the politically stupid thing. I said, “If you are not going to help us, then the people have no recourse. We have no recourse against these criminals in the White House.” John Conyers said, “Yes, you do, you can vote out the enablers in 2008.”

As far as I know, there are only 15 people signed on to the resolution to impeach Dick Cheney, H. Res, 333. That means that 420 of them are enablers and we have to vote every single one of them out. I have good news for you. In Philadelphia, their Congressperson Robert Rady signed on, today, to H. Res 333, to make it fifteen.

So, it has to be a people’s movement. People ask, “Why are you running against a Democrat? That’s not right, you should run against a Republican.” Nancy Pelosi said when I challenged her, “We can’t work against impeachment because we are too busy working against the war.” (laughter) I had the same reaction, I said, “How are you working against it, with meaningless bills that George Bush is going to veto? Are you trying to end it with non-binding resolutions?” This man does not even follow the law, or the Constitution. What is a non-binding resolution going to do? Nothing. They refuse to support Barbara Lee’s amendment that would have had the troops home within six months. It would have closed the permanent bases, brought the independent contractors out. It would have given the Iraqi people back their country. They could have supported that, but they whipped the entire caucus into supporting a non-binding resolution. It shows you they can get something done when they put their minds to it, but what don’t they do something meaningful, and not something meaningless.

There was a court case. Some of you might not know this, so this is an educational moment. In 1999, Campbell vs Clinton – 26 Congressman sued George…excuse me, George Clinton; I was combining them…sued Bill Clinton to stop the war in Kosovo because the war was not declared by Congress. The Supreme Court said you cannot simultaneously appropriate money and be against the war. So, no matter what Nancy Pelosi says, if she keeps giving George Bush the money to wage the war, she’s for it. (applause) And then, the analogy– if I tell my children that it’s wrong to do drugs, that doing illegal drugs is wrong, that you shouldn’t take illegal drugs, and then my son come to me and asks for money to buy drugs, and I give it to him – that’s what Congress is doing and all of them are enablers. Not just the Republicans, the Republicans are bad, but the Democrats are almost as bad.

Let’s look at what’s going to happen in 2008. Say we do elect more Democrats, say we do elect a Democratic President, it’s way too late to hold George Bush and Dick Cheney accountable. If anybody thinks they’re going to give up their power that easily, they’re wrong. Why did George Bush put, in a presidential directive, that he could declare martial law at any time, if he did not intend to use it, and to make himself the only decider in the entire country? That’s not how our country works. We have checks and balances, and if Congress won’t be a check and balance, if the media won’t do their job as the Fourth Estate, then we the people have to be the checks and balances on this out of control government that we have.

So when people tell me, if you get into office in 2009, you can’t impeach George Bush, I tell them if the Democratic leadership won’t hold George Bush accountable, then we the people must hold them accountable. I believe the issue of war and peace is non-partisan. When you look at Congress, we have only one party; I like to call them the war party. They profit off war, their pockets are lined by the same people, and if you look at the history of the 20th Century, every war except one or two was started by Democrats. So we have to rein them in, we have to start a people’s revolution.

So, in closing, Kathy Murphy is just standing up, she is right there. Her brother was killed in Vietnam. I know we have many people here who know somebody who was killed in Vietnam, a relative, a close friend, a lot of the people on our caravan are Vietnam vets. We didn’t stop it there. People come up to me and say, “You know, Cindy, I protested the Vietnam War, and I never thought it would happen again.” I said, “Why? You went home, you put your signs in a shed, took off your peace symbols, and you didn’t shut down the military industrial complex.” It has only gotten stronger – this is the time to end it. Now. Thank you. (applause, cheers)

We are very pleased by the energy and the turnout and all the honks we received on our march here, and the wonderful energy that is here in Allentown. We know that your community has been especially hard hit by Bushco, and so we are here to encourage you and to get encouragement from you and we are really thrilled – it’s been really great here. We’re going to do Q and A. Addison’s going to pick the raised hands. We’re just going to hope that it’s just a question and not a statement that is longer than I gave. Nobody gets to talk longer than me.

He asked if I was officially prepared to announce that I am running for Congress. Apparently, I already did that on Monday. After we had a meeting with John Conyers, I cam out and talk to the press, and I said, “We have to hold these people accountable, it can start with me. I am going to run against Nancy Pelosi, so yes, I am going to be an official candidate.”

It’s really a shame that I have to move to San Francisco. (laughter) I was born and raised in California and have lived the last fifteen years an hour from San Francisco. I’m very energized, I have already gotten so much support. People are like these people, they are going to quit their jobs, move across the country, move to San Francisco. People are lining up to donate to my campaign. I don’t have a way to donate yet. I think it’s going to be very energetic and it’s going to spark the debate.

It’s about how the two parties are the same and it’s about accountability. The one thing that keeps us mired in these wars, mired in all the problems that we have, is the two party system. They don’t represent us. They don’t represent the people. They represent the corporations. They represent the special interests. Everywhere I go in the world, I have been so blessed in the last two years to visit so many countries that have a Parliamentary system with more than two parties, there are parties to represent the people. There’s Green parties, there’s union parties, there’s socialist parties, and people are attached to their party, because you can pick a party that represents you. Not here in America – neither one of those parties represents me.

So, I will be running as an Independent, because I think we need to start getting away from these labels that divide us. Black, White, Republican, Democrat, Christian, Jew, Muslim, all of these labels that divide us – we should all be humans. If John Conyers and Nancy Pelosi actually look at these people as humans…another thing John Conyers told me a few meetings ago when I met him - I’ve been meeting with him a long time on this issue, was that it was more important for him to elect a Democrat as President than to end the war. And I started crying in his office.

I told him there are a 150,000 mothers in this country that could give a shit – I said “shit” to John Conyers - there are 150 mothers who could give a shit who is President in 2008, all they care about is that they get their children home safe. If your son was serving over there, you might feel a little differently.

So, this is what we have to do. I don’t think they get it. They think our children are these pawns on this global chess board that they can just move around and kill and have them kill other people and it’s not real flesh and blood that’s being spilled. It’s not real lives that are being damaged. That goes for so many issues. There are so many issues that they look at and ask themselves, “How can supporting this or not supporting this affect me politically?” If they would think about how supporting this or not supporting this could elevate us as human beings, that’s when we will have effective leadership


Anonymous said...

I think she is missing the point by insisting on impeaching Bush while he is in office.

I would much rather see him indicted, tried and convicted once he is out of office.

then he can't use the power inherent in holding the office to cover himself.

of course, when he leaves offcie he is probably going to move to the Crawford Ranch-- in Dubai.

Blah Society said...

Whether he is impeached while in office or indicted after his presidency, I just want to see some type of charge come his way.

It's ridiculous that nothing has been brought forth to him or Cheney yet!

Anonymous said...

Guess I posted a little early in another post here! now repeating.
Larry Kisslinger said...
From express-times: Cindy Sheehan arrived, energizing the crowd of about 50. I say, Cindy, please go home and take care of remaining members of your family...very, very, sorry for the loss of your Son who volunteered to save our Freedom while fighting nitwits from around the world! I could get 50 people to attend an event to rid USA of smokestacks! Please take time to know Cindy is not energizing anybody to do anything except helping to elect "my" Republican candidates. Thanks Cindy, now please go home and vote Republican. larry@kisslinger.com
..then Anonymous said at 2:53 PM
larry kisslinger,

I read in today's Morning Call that there were 50 people marching with Sheehan. Then later when she spoke there was an "overflow crowd" at the Sterling, a venue which holds at least 500 people.

If you think an "overflow crowd" is 500 people, if accurate, for a National Spokesperson re: "any" issue in our Lehigh Valley means a
show of real support of any kind, you are mistaken. Cindy needs to go home as she promised! Then she needs to kick Pelosi out of her Congressional seat, but will take far more than 500 activists in Frisco. Also, were not some of the attendees from her staff "and" others there opposing her, not supporting her? Message is: "you go girl" Cindy and keep helping my candidates. larry@kisslinger.com

Bernie O'Hare said...


As you so astutely observe, that's who Sheehan is really helping.

Anonymous said...

Which charges would you like to see him indicted for? Its vague to just say he should be indicted, tried and convicted once he is out of office?

Anonymous said...

How about 'impersonating a U.S. President and leader of the free world', interesting case.

Future Generations

Anonymous said...

How bout speaking with Facts instead of catch phrases that you read in Rolling Stone.