Beach Impeach IV
starring Cindy Sheehan and Cynthia McKinney
Berkeley, October 7, 2007
The "Beach Impeach" concept, dreamt up by cab driver Brad Newsham as a way to kick-start the impeachment of George Bush, originally began on November 11, 2006 in San Francisco. That very first Beach Impeach was stillborn, leading to a "do-over" on January 7, 2007 which was much more successful. (The full story of the original Beach Impeaches is discussed here.) Beach Impeach II and III followed thereafter, culminating in the event documented in this report: Beach Impeach IV (which is actually the fifth occasion, not the fourth, if you count the original misfire), held for the first time at a park near the Berkeley Marina on a sunny October 7, 2007.
Beach Impeach IV had something which the earlier Beach Impeaches lacked: bona fide political celebrities, none other than "progressive" icons Cindy Sheehan and Cynthia McKinney, both of whom used the event as a campaign stop for their upcoming election races.
Long before most of the participants had arrived, organizers set up the impeachment booth, from which we could send postcards to Congress encouraging them to start impeachment proceedings. I filled one out and wrote on it, "Please waste your time trying to impeach Bush and Cheney! Better that than doing something constructive. If we hurry, we might actually get them out of office before November 2008!"
Mastermind Brad Newsham walked around giving instructions very softly through a megaphone. Brad is actually a quite friendly, if quixotic, fellow, always embarking on idealistic harebrained schemes.
Little by little, the usual crew of eccentrics trickled into the park. This guy did an amazing George Bush vocal impression.
The first Truther arrived. Little did I realize that he was the harbinger of...
...a much larger Truther invasion as the day wore on. Eventually, they seemed to comprise a significant portion of the participants.
Would you like some Truth, my friend?
There weren't very many flyer-distributors, at least compared to other political rallies. These are among the few that I gathered: a 9-11 Truth dollar, an anti-Israel card, and a Cindy Sheehan $4 bill.
And then, unexpectedly, like a tornado touching down -- Cynthia!
(If you're not sure exactly who Cynthia McKinney is, wikipedia has a decent overview of her career thus far.)
When she was in the House of Representatives, Cynthia was one of the leading proponents of impeachment. Her views have apparently not changed.
But what she really wanted to talk about was her campaign. Cynthia has left the Democratic Party and is currently trying to run for President as the Green Party nominee. She's still trying to secure the nomination, however, which is why (she explained) she was wearing a green dress.
She pressed her case with the many Greens in attendance.
Later, Cynthia was seen doing a dance.
There's fame, and then there's fame. Cynthia, as well-known as she is, was just a warm-up act for the day's real star: Cindy!
Cindy Sheehan is running against Nancy Pelosi for the 8th Congressional District seat in the House of Representatives. Beach Impeach IV was the perfect campaign stop for her.
Cindy has become quite the accomplished campaigner. She even kisses babies, just like an experienced politician. Except this baby is adorned a little differently than most.
Wherever Cindy goes, television camera crews cannot be far behind!
Every politician has to have a characteristic gesture or facial expression. Cindy has just about mastered the "empathy look."
And the closely related "I feel your pain" expression.
And the "solidarity chest pat." What with such a formidable political arsenal, suddenly I'm thinking she may actually have a chance to unseat Pelosi!
But wait! Whenever Cindy opens her mouth a little too wide, her appearance undergoes a metamorphosis.
The first rule of politics is: the candidate with the best teeth usually wins. Cindy is missing her second bicuspid on the right side. Her lower front teeth are also overlapping.
If I were her campaign manager, the very first thing I would do is allocate some funds for a much needed dental bridge to replace the bicuspid, and for some orthodonture on the lower jaw. This is the surest route to victory! For comparison, look at Nancy Pelosi's teeth. How can you compete with those?
But, unfortunately, it seems that Cindy's campaign may not be as on-the-ball as I had originally hoped. Here is one of her campaign managers. The shirt is supposed to say, "Dede - Team Cindy." But the letters are already falling off. How can she fix Cindy's teeth if she can't even keep her own uniform from disintegrating?
Anyway, back to the event. While Cindy and Cynthia were pressing the flesh with their supporters, the expected impeach-heads were arriving and filling up the letters, which Brad and crew had helpfully delineated on the grass. (Though, being on a lawn as this impeachment event was, it really ought not to have counted as Beach Impeach IV. Lawn Begone?
Some guy was fisting a chipmunk.
A fisherman brought his latest catch -- a Dubya piñata.
There was a beautiful view of San Francisco from the hillock overlooking the impeachment event.
Are you calling Captain Kirk a liar?
Surprisingly, the only other booth aside from the impeachment booth was this 9/11 Truth table.
A few other minor celebrities showed up as well, including anti-war activists Steve and Virginia Pearcy, with whom Cindy lived for a while.
Brad himself is a celebrity of sorts, and gave several interviews.
Finally the two superstars collided. Cindy and Cynthia together at last!
Fans thronged around them. Cindy kissed a dog.
Cindy made a heartfelt point to Cynthia.
Cynthia responded with her characteristic intensity.
Their fans were certainly opinionated.
Finally -- the whole reason we were assembled here in the first place -- the time came to fill in the huge letters spelling out "IMPEACH" and pose for photographers flying by in rented helicopters. After some pondering, I selected the "C," which was sponsored by Code Pink. It was also the letter that Cindy chose, so it was definitely the best letter.
I found my spot.
When the helicopter came by, we all waved. Hello! I was naughty and stepped outside the letter outlines to get this shot of us waving at the helicopter.
I took the opportunity to change allegiances: I switched over to the "H" for a while. But I soon discovered that "H" was the Truther letter. After a few more helicopter fly-bys, I couldn't take it any more.
I bailed out to the exclamation mark, only to discover that my suspicions were true: the exclamation mark was populated entirely by World Can't Wait! I only lasted there a short time.
Between shots, I fled over to the middle of the word, somewhere in the P's or E's or something. A relief! I letter-hopped for a while.
There were long waits as Brad made us rearrange IMPEACH! to 4PEACE! This guy took the oppontunity to practice some Extreme Yoga.
I tried to get a semi-aerial shot of the action from the nearby hillock, but I just wasn't high enough. As you can see, the crowd was noticeably smaller than at earlier Beach Impeach events. An estimated 1,000 showed up at this one.
Now we're talkin'! This is one of the many shots taken from the helicopter, and made available on the official Beach Impeach web site. (Photo by Tom Heinz.)
Mission accomplished. After that, there was nothing left to do but file out to the parking lot. On the way, I decided to snap a few pictures of the participants' bumper stickers, to get a feel for their political viewpoints. They are presented below, without captions -- since they speak for themselves!
Apropos of absolutely nothing, on a nearby pedestrian walkway I spotted this stencilled graffiti, possibly pro-Hezbollah in nature (notice the Cedar of Lebanon on the right).
Immediately after Beach Impeach was over, Code Pink protested at Berkeley's Marine Corps recruiting office, which I report on here.
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