WEST POINT, N.Y.: Hundreds protest Iraq war, Cheney

Denied the right to demonstrate on the grounds of the U.S. Military Academy by a federal judge, up to 400 peace activists, including many members of Veterans for Peace and military families, marched near the institution on graduation day, May 26.

They protested the Iraq war and the appearance of Vice President Dick Cheney, who was giving the commencement address. Cheney’s motorcade had to pass by the antiwar activists, many of whom hoisted “Impeach Cheney” signs.

Although West Point has seen similar protests in previous years, this year for the first time the marchers were met by a tiny group of counterdemonstrators. Calling themselves Gathering of Eagles, and led by ex-Marine Jim Bancroft of Connecticut, the dozen counterdemonstrators taunted the peace marchers, their insults bellowing out from a bullhorn. They called the Veterans for Peace “traitors” and shouted at one father whose son was killed in Iraq that he was “a disgrace to your son.”

Parents, guests and residents had to drive by the peace demonstration, with hundreds honking their horns in support or flashing the peace sign.

Michael Sussman, a civil rights attorney who sued and lost in the effort to hold a peace vigil on the academy grounds, kept the peace marchers on the sidewalk and urged marchers to ignore the provocations.

The march ended with a rally in a nearby park. No arrests were made.

Seventy percent of the 2007 Cadet Class of 978 will be entering branches of the Army with the greatest likelihood of combat in Iraq or Afghanistan.

AMHERST, Mass.: Former Bush aide booed at graduation

Boos rang out for over three minutes, May 25, drowning out Provost Charlena Seymour’s remarks as former President Bush’s Chief of Staff Andrew Card rose to accept an honorary degree from the University of Massachusetts at its graduate school commencement exercises.

Onstage, one professor held a sign reading, “Card — no honor, no degree,” and another faculty member raised the sign “War criminals go home.” Card only thanked the university but did not speak.

Money and good connections do not talk, they swear, assistant professor of history Sigrid Schmalzer told The Associated Press. “For the university to so cynically disregard the question of intellectual integrity when it becomes convenient to pursue money and power is the wrong message to send,” she said.

Before and during the ceremony, over 100 faculty and students held a demonstration outside against Card and the Iraq war.

OBERLIN, Ohio: City Council calls for impeachment

Over 600 residents of this small town of 8,300 signed a petition to their City Council calling for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, and, basing themselves on a “specific bill of particulars,” council members subsequently approved a resolution urging their congresswoman to begin the impeachment process.

The “bill of particulars” included charges that the administration conducted illegal surveillance of American civilians, intentionally misled Congress about the threat from Iraq, tortured prisoners, detained people indefinitely and that Bush has used “signing statements” to disregard portions of bills he has signed into law.

“My hope is that the grass roots speaking up will at least ask those in the House and the Senate to be more vigilant and be more forceful in making sure we observe the Constitution,” said Councilwoman Eve Sandberg.

Steve Fought, spokesman for Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D), who represents Oberlin, said the congresswoman will take the action seriously. “It’s the government of Oberlin,” he said.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.: Medicaid slashed on phony pretext

Under the pretext of weeding out “fraud” by “illegal immigrants,” Congress recently enacted a law requiring Medicaid applicants to produce a birth certificate or other proof of citizenship to stay in the program.

Since the law was passed, 5,000 Alabamans have been removed from the state’s Medicaid rolls. The hardest-hit group was African American children, with 2,081 losing health care, followed by white children, with 1,213 losing their benefits.

“This was a predictable consequence,” said Rep. Arturo Davis (D), who voted against the Deficit Reduction Act, which includes the new regulations. “I felt that if we tried to apply a requirement of paperwork and documentation, a lot of people who weren’t going to have it were senior citizens and low-income minorities.”

Alabama’s medical commissioner, Carol Steckel, said she did not believe the state had a large problem with undocumented people fraudulently signing up for benefits.

“I’ve only had one identified that’s gotten on that shouldn’t have,” Steckel said.

Jim Carnes, a policy analyst with Alabama Arise, an advocacy agency for low-income people, called the citizenship requirements “a big false alarm. By far it’s disproportionately affecting children, and the largest single group is African American children.”

National Clips are compiled by Denise Winebrenner Edwards (dwinebr696 @aol.com). Rick Nagin contributed to this week’s clips.

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