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McKinney at the Fighting Bob Fest

Cynthia McKinney: Reporting Success from Baraboo, Wisconsin!!!

Hello!  Just experienced the “Fighting Bob” Fest in Baraboo, Wisconsin!  What an amazing event to commemorate the memory of an amazing leader from Wisconsin.  Here are my remarks, below, but before I paste them into this message, let me just say that I’ve just received word that we’re now also on the ballot in NY and TN!  I also signed onto the Le Feyt Declaration on the U.S. occupation of Iraq.  Its language follows.  Thanks to all of you who have donated to keep Rosa and I on the move around our country.  Please don’t stop!  Donations can be made at www.runcynthiarun.org!

Here are my remarks at the “Fighting Bob” Fest:

Cynthia McKinney
“Fighting Bob” Fest
Baraboo, WI
September 6, 2008

Thank you Mr. Garvey, Mr. Nader, and Granny D.

Bob LaFollette said, “I do not want the vote of a single citizen under any misapprehension of where I stand:  I would not change my record on the war for that of any man [or woman], living or dead.”  And with that, Republican Bob LaFollette launched a successful campaign for reelection to the Senate without backtracking one step on his antiwar position.  And after that fight, under the banner of the Progressive Party, he launched a campaign for President that brought together socialists, Blacks, women, labor, and farmers.  Bob LaFollette was a man of his times and yet was also a man ahead of his time.  From the U.S. Congress to the Wisconsin governorship to a Presidential campaign, Bob LaFollette remained true to his values.  And the people of this state courageously supported him.

For twelve years while in the U.S. Congress, I consistently voted no on Pentagon budgets that sent one half trillion dollars to an institution that couldn’t even balance its books and prevented the entire government from doing so.

I voted against the record of Pentagon waste, fraud, and abuse that led that institution to admit that it had “lost” 2.3 trillion dollars and yet asked for more money because, as Donald Rumsfeld testified, U.S. taxpayers could afford it.

And yet year after year, at a time when poverty in this country was growing, the racial divide in this country was growing, income inequality was growing, both Democrats and Republicans forgot the people who sent them to Washington and voted for Pentagon budgets that led to Rumsfeld’s dramatic testimony.

Where I come from, with the values I was raised with, it’s outrageous to spend so much money on war toys that return so little–only death and destruction, to the people.  In fact, it was Republican President, Dwight Eisenhower, who reminded us that every dime spent on the military and war was in a very real sense a theft from people who are in need and from our children.

Yet both the Democratic and Republican nominees plan to increase the Pentagon’s budget, continue to add countries to Dick Cheney’s list of 60 against which the United States must be prepared to go to war.  And sadly, that appears to include both China and Russia.  Both nominees sadly have voted to fund today’s wars and occupations to the tune of $720 million each and every day over and above the half trillion that the Pentagon gets and then “loses.”

“Fighting Bob” fought to protect the rights of workers in this country and abroad.  Yet, neither the Democrats nor the Republicans want to revisit NAFTA and the Congressional majority has not even mentioned a livable wage for America’s workers.  I’m proud to have introduced legislation in the Congress to provide for a national livable wage.

“Fighting Bob” clung stubbornly to civil liberties protections embodied in the Bill of Rights, and defended the right of citizens to dissent from U.S. war policy.  Yet, the people of this country and in the global community have been saddled with impediments to those protections with the passage of the Patriot Acts, the Secret Evidence Act, the Military Commissions Act, prosecution of the so-called War on Drugs as well as the War on Terror. Yet, neither of the political parties has suggested the propriety of repealing those laws, ending the War on Drugs, and decreasing the militarization of local law enforcement that is so prevalent from city to city across our country.
Why did Denver and Minneapolis need $100 million grants to the police to protect delegates to those Conventions from protesters demonstrating for peace?

Torture, war crimes, crimes against humanity, lying to and spying on the American people, and crimes against the peace are all hallmarks of our country today, and yet impeachment has been taken off the table!

Well, I rightly put impeachment, 9/11 Truth, Republican Party Presidential election theft in the 2000 Presidential election and Democratic Party complicity in that theft on the table, and I’m putting election integrity in 2008 on the table.

I am proud to have introduced the Arms Trade Code of Conduct to regulate U.S. transfer of conventional weapons.  I introduced the National Forest Protection and Restoration Act to protect our remaining national forests from clearcutting timber barons.  I authored legislation to end all use of depleted uranium, stop the funding for Plan Colombia, investigate the way conscientious objectors are treated by the Pentagon, extend Agent Orange benefits for U.S. soldiers, prohibit tax breaks for corporations that move U.S. jobs overseas, and I passed legislation that resulted in the U.S. Department of Agriculture admitting that for decades it systematically discriminated against minority farmers.

My very first campaign theme was “Warriors Don’t Wear Medals, They Wear Scars.”  And I publicly wear the scars meted out to a black woman who dares to dissent in a political system that doesn’t allow it.  “Fighting Bob” was celebrated and ridiculed.  The press lied on him and his patriotism was questioned.  He even changed political parties, but he remained true to his values and understood that the only reason we engage in the political process is to have our values reflected in public policy.  It is right that his values are annually commemorated and I thank you for including me in today’s celebration of both a great man and a great idea:  America.

“Fighting Bob” showed us that when our country has been hijacked, it is possible for the people to take it back!

We need a movement in this county and an opposition party!  Let’s take our country back.  Power to the people!

And here’s the Le Feyt Declaration opposing the U.S. occupation of Iraq:

Le Feyt Declaration

Peace in Iraq is an option

The US occupation of Iraq is illegal and cannot be made legal. All that has derived from the occupation is illegal and illegitimate and cannot gain legitimacy. These facts are incontrovertible. What are their consequences?

Peace, stability and democracy in Iraq are impossible under occupation. Foreign occupation is opposed by nature to the interests of the occupied people, as proven by the six million Iraqis displaced both inside and outside Iraq, the planned assassination of Iraqi academics and professionals and the destruction of their culture, and the more than one million killed.

Propaganda in the West tries to make palatable the absurdity that the invader and destroyer of Iraq can play the role of Iraq’s protector. The convenient fear of a “security vacuum” — used to perpetuate the occupation — ignores the fact that the Iraqi army never capitulated and forms the backbone of the Iraqi armed resistance. That backbone is concerned only with defending the Iraqi people and Iraq’s sovereignty. Similarly, projections of civil war ignore the reality that the Iraqi population overwhelmingly, by number and by interest, rejects the occupation and will continue to do so.

In Iraq, the Iraqi people resist the occupation by all means, in accordance with international law.[1] Only the popular resistance can be recognized to express and defend the Iraqi people’s interests and will. Until now the United States is blind to this reality, hoping that a “diplomatic surge”, following the military surge of effective ethnic cleansing, will secure a government it imposes on Iraq. Regardless of who wins the upcoming US presidential election, the US can never achieve its imperial goals as the forces it imposes on Iraq are opposed to the interests of the Iraqi people.

Some in the West continue to justify the negation of popular sovereignty under the rubric of the “war on terror”, criminalizing not only resistance[2], but also humanitarian assistance to a besieged people. Under international law the Iraqi resistance constitutes a national liberation movement. Recognition of the Iraqi resistance is consequently a right, not an option.[3] The international community has the right to withdraw recognition from the US-imposed government in Iraq and recognize the Iraqi resistance.

It is evident that Iraq cannot recover lasting stability, unity and territorial integrity until its sovereignty is guaranteed. It is also evident that the US occupation cannot avoid accountability by trying to switch responsibility to Iraq’s neighbors. A pact of non-aggression, development and cooperation between a liberated Iraq and its immediate neighbors is the obvious means by which to achieve this stability.[4] In its median geopolitical position, and given its natural resources, a liberated, peaceful and democratic Iraq is central to the welfare and development of its neighbors. All of Iraq’s neighbors should recognize that stability in Iraq serves their own interests and commit to not interfering in its internal affairs.

If the international community and the United States are interested in peace, stability and democracy in Iraq they should accept that only the Iraqi resistance armed, civil and political can achieve these by securing the interests of the Iraqi people. The first demand of the Iraqi resistance is the unconditional withdrawal of all foreign forces illegally occupying Iraq including private contractors and disbanding all armed forces established by the occupation.

The Iraqi anti-occupation movement in all its expressions in defending the Iraqi people is the only force empowered to ensure democracy in Iraq. Across the spectrum of this movement it is agreed that upon US withdrawal a temporary administrative government would be charged with two tasks: preparing the ground for democratic elections and reconstituting the national army. Upon completion of these tasks the administrative government would disband, leaving decisions regarding reparations, development and reconstruction to a sovereign and freely elected Iraqi government in a state of all its citizens without religious, ethnic, confessional or gender discrimination.

All laws, contracts, treaties and agreements signed under occupation are unequivocally null and void. According to international law and the will of the Iraqi people, total sovereignty of Iraqi oil and all natural, cultural and material resources rests in the hands of the Iraqi people, in all its generations, past, present and future. Across the spectrum of the Iraqi anti-occupation movement all agree that Iraq should sell its oil on the international market to all states not at war with Iraq, and in line with Iraq’s obligations as a member of OPEC.

The 2003 US invasion was and remains illegal and the law of state responsibility demands that states refuse to recognize the consequences of illegal state acts.[5] State responsibility also includes a duty to restore. Compensation should be paid by all state and non-state actors that profited from the destruction and plundering of Iraq.

The Iraqi people are longing for long-term peace. On the basis of the 2005 Istanbul conclusions of the World Tribunal on Iraq[6], and in recognition of the tremendous suffering of the aggressed Iraqi people, the signatories to this declaration endorse the abovementioned principles for peace, stability and democracy in Iraq.

The sovereignty of Iraq rests in the hands of its people in resistance. Peace in Iraq is simple to attain: unconditional US withdrawal and recognition of the Iraqi resistance that by definition represents the will of the Iraqi people.

We appeal to all peace loving people in the world to work to support the Iraqi people and its resistance. The future of peace, democracy and progress in Iraq, the region and the world depends on this.

Members of the International Anti-Occupation Network[7]:

Abdul Ilah Albayaty, member of the BRussells Tribunal Executive Committee, France – Iraq

Hana Al Bayaty, Coordinator of the Iraqi International Initiative on refugees, France – Egypt

Dirk Adriaensens, member of the BRussells Tribunal Executive Committee, coordinator SOS Iraq, Belgium

John Catalinotto, International Action Center, USA

Ian Douglas, Coordinator of the International Initiative to Prosecute US Genocide in Iraq, UK – Egypt

Max Fuller, Author of ‘For Iraq, the Salvador Option Become Reality‘ and ‘Crying Wolf, deaths squads in Iraq‘ – www.cryingwolf.deconstructingiraq.org.uk, UK

Paola Manduca, Scientist, New Weapons Committee, Italy

Sigyn Meder, member of the Iraq Solidarity Association in Stockholm, Sweden

Cristina Meneses, member of the Portuguese session of the World Tribunal on Iraq, Portugal

Mike Powers, member of the Iraq Solidarity Association in Stockholm, Sweden

Manuel Raposo, member of the Portuguese session of the World Tribunal on Iraq, Portugal

Manuel Talens, writer, member of Cubadebate, Rebelión and Tlaxcala, Spain

Paloma Valverde, member of the Spanish Campaign Against the Occupation and for the Sovereignty of Iraq (CEOSI), Spain

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