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Houston Protests Chaney & DeLay!

Houstonians demand: "Clean the House - Dump DeLay!"

By Paul Hill

HOUSTON - Over 300 activists gathered on 12/5/05 to give Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Sugar Land) and Vice President Dick Cheney a warm welcome by shouting "Clean the House - Dump DeLay" during rush hour traffic. We gathered in the front of the Galleria shopping center where DeLay was holding a fund raiser in the Westin Hotel. The Galleria shopping center is one of the most up-scale shopping centers in Houston.

It was a chilly evening for Houston, but we warmed up with chants of "What do we want? - Stop the War - When do we want it? - NOW!" and "No justice - no peace - U.S. Out of the Middle East!" Activists were a diverse group in terms of ethnicity, gender and age. Some people wore Abu Ghraib style costumes to protest the U.S. use of torture. Others carried brooms to symbolize the need for a clean sweep of the U.S. House of Representatives.

People carried home made signs and banners and some were professionally made. I carried a sign which read "Put the Hammer in the Slammer!"

Politicians from the Democratic Party joined the protesters and I was approached by David Murff who is running for the House of Representatives against John Culbertson who is well known in Texas to be a right-wing crony of Bush and DeLay. He gave me his press release and part of it read "As a congressional candidate for District 7 in 2006, I fully support the efforts of the groups protesting against Tom DeLay and the Vice President; specifically on issues ranging from the current wide spread corruption in Congress to the poor handling of the war in Iraq. It is a sad day in American politics when leaders from the two branches of our federal government and the highest office in the State of Texas come out in support of an indicted, censured Congressman, while shamelessly asking followers to pony up $500 to $4200 for a chance to see and be seen…For countless families having lost loved ones to a war supported and encouraged by those individuals, this holiday season will bring only sorrow. Our Country is facing serious problems, both nationally and internationally, and would be better represented by leaders dedicated to the novel idea of actually serving the people…Today, I call on Tom DeLay to donate the funds raised at this event to the families of fallen and/or wounded service men and women. If he will not support them through legislation, he can at least step forward and support them now."

Stan McCandless told me the reason he was at the protest was "Protesting the government in general - it's a travesty what's going on. Is there anything that we can be proud of nationally?" XXX XXXXXXXXXX said "The person that irritates me the most is Dick Cheney because he persists in lying about the reason we went to war. He believes in torture. I think torture is absolutely wrong. The idea you can lock people up indefinitely without charge or trial…It's not the America I was raised to believe in…It's outrageous."

DeLay was previously indicted on charges of money laundering and conspiracy which led to his resignation as House majority leader. His attorneys had moved to have the charges dropped, but were thwarted when Senior District Judge Pat Priest upheld charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Priest did throw out charges of conspiring to violate the state election code. Republicans are already pushing to replace DeLay in January as House majority leader.

According to the Houston Chronicle, DeLay's staff alleged that most of the protesters were professionals from as far away as San Francisco. This is a patent lie since I recognized most of the protesters as Houston residents and had met them at previous events.

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