Iraq Ambassador Addresses Growing Demand to Free Iraqi Journalist

In D.C. yesterday morning, the Iraq Ambassador to the United States, Samir Sumaida'ie, paused during a presentation to address a handful of women from CODEPINK who were holding signs in the audience reading “Free al-Zaidi” and “al-Zaidi speaks for me.”  The signs were to show support for the Iraqi journalist who was taken into police custody after throwing his shoes at President Bush during a Baghdad press conference on Sunday.

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No More Mistaken Fire

It sounds like a little boys' toy gun fight, a scuffle that, when the dust cleared, left six Afghan police and one civilian killed yesterday at the hands of shamed U.S. troops.

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Code Pink Cofounder Clashes with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Code Pink cofounder Medea Benjamin disrupted the annual Mortgage Bankers Association convention in San Francisco yesterday, demanding a moratorium on home foreclosures nationwide.  During a panel featuring heads of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Benjamin walked onstage and said, "Since the public bailed out your companies, the public should have a right to ask a question: We need a moratorium on foreclosures. Will you please call for that, sirs?"  She was then hustled off stage.

Benjamin's protest was part of a larger demonstration outside the convention.  While Fannie and Freddie CEOS are working to prevent the housing crisis from becoming worse, Code Pink claims mortgage bankers will continue to profit from predatory deals as the government continues using tax dollars to bail out banks.     

Check out Code Pink for more.



Protesting in the Name of Democracy in the Mile High City

At the very core of patriotism is the desire to preserve and enhance democracy. For true patriots - those who take their love of nation beyond the confines of their cushy sofas and wide screen TVs - there are no limits to their efforts to hold leaders accountable to uphold the Constitution and safeguard its inherent freedoms. Thus, for the past three days that I've been in Denver - in the hotbed of this mecca of "this is what democracy looks like," I've witnessed the GOOD and the NOT so good.

The GOOD are the thousands of Americans who have traveled from every part of this country to engage in actions to spread their personal messages of democracy: peace above conflict, government's responsibility to provide for its citizens, and an immediate stop to the constant rape of our resources and our once fine name by those who base success on the depth of their fortunes rather than the depth of their humanity.

This week, in addition to the official Democratic delegates attending the Convention INSIDE the Pepsi Center, where thankfully many progressive delegates - most members of Progressive Democrats of America - are pushing social values to end the corporatism that has left millions unemployed and homeless, and millions more verging on joining them - there are thousands of activists of ALL AGES and all socio-economic backgrounds who have joined the fray. These activist patriots are working OUTSIDE the Pepsi Center to push socio-political agendas more in line with what MOST Americans want and NEED today - universal single-payer healthcare, high standard public education, affordable housing, food safety, safeguarding the environmental, ending the military and prison industrial complexes, AND MORE!

Busting John McCain from Now Until November

Note: The following is an account by Medea Benjamin of Codepink's first of many busts of McCain's campaign.

Tuesday, June 9 was a good day for our “Busting McCain” campaign. When we heard that he was going to be speaking at Washington’s Grand Hyatt Hotel for the National Federation of Independent Business’ Summit, we started planning an “inside/outside” action with a Greeting Committee outside the hotel and in the lobby, a PINK SLIP banner drop in hotel atrium, a PINK Send Off and three brave Codepinkers who BUSTED McCain during his speech!

We won’t give away our secret about how we got inside passes to a closed meeting. That’s part of the Codepink lore. But we did indeed get four passes. Three of the people—all women—made it through security and into the room with no problem. Tighe Barry got booted out (his ponytail was probably a giveaway). Jes Richardson got in as press, and so did I—for about 5 minutes. Once they recognized me and threw me out, they kicked Jes out, too.

Meanwhile, outside the hotel, our intern Lorena Schmidt donned a pink wig and greeted passer-bys with flyers and our McCain song to the tune of classic Beach Boy song Barbara Ann—the very song McCain parodied when he sang “Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran...” Lorena, of course, sang Don't bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran,” with verses like “McCain, you are insane, you’ll wipe out a generation if you get to bomb the nation of Iran." Most people were amused and found it a great way to protest.

At about 9:00am Lorena, Jes and I greeted McCain as he came in the building with "Senator McCain, we want to stop the war and bring the troops home! Senator McCain, don't attack Iran--please!" As he went down the escalator, he waved and smiled to us. Little did he know that there were Codepink women waiting inside the ballroom for him!

Three Codepinkers, dressed like businesspeople (no pink!) and sporting McCain campaign buttons, got inside the ballroom in time for a lovely breakfast. When McCain starting speaking to the business association, Gael Murphy cried out, "War is bad for small business! Attacking Iran will only make things worse! We are spending 5,000 dollars per second, 12 billion dollars per month! Imagine the investments in small business we could make with that money instead of killing people and illegally occupying other countries.”

Soon after Murphy was “escorted” out of the room, it was Alicia Forrest’s turn. McCain insisted he was going to help grow the economy, so Alicia yelled out, “Mr. McCain, how do you expect to do that with 100 years of war?” She hung on tight to the doors as they pulled her out, shouting "No War! No McCain!" This was covered in boos from the McCain supporters, but still the point was made.

The last to speak out was Barbara Briggs-Letson, who was visiting the Codepink house from Sebastopol. Barbara got up and asked how McCain could support spending $11 million an hour on war. She, too, was quickly escorted out. We all cheered when we were watching Lou Dobbs on CNN in the evening and saw Barbara on TV as she was leaving the room!!!

Meanwhile, on the 6th floor of the hotel, facing the huge atrium, Tighe Barry and Julie Allen were waiting to drop a huge 40-foot pink slip saying “McCain=Bush: Endless War.” As soon as they dropped it, other Codepinkers in the lobby chanted “Say No to Endless War” and "Money for jobs and education, not for war and occupation." The security guards scurried up to confront them and force them to take it down.

Our last encounter of the day came when McCain was on his way out, where we got right up to him . We even ran after him in his car, as he smiled and waved to us, and then ran to talk to the press entourage as the mounted their McCain Straight Talk Express bus.

For our finale, Tighe drove up to the hotel entrance with our beautiful black and pink pick-up truck decked out with signs saying "Don't Buy Bush's War" and "Congress, Don't Fund War!" Megaphones out the window, we sped away entertaining and educating the good people of DC about the threat of McBush.

All in all, it was a great day for the McCain Busters!

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