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Protest George W. Bush!

By Katie Jacquet and Tim Cook | August 22, 2003 | Page 14

PROTESTERS DOGGED George W. Bush at his mid-August appearances in Arizona and San Diego. When Bush arrived for his $2,000-a-plate campaign fundraising dinner at the San Diego Convention Center on August 14, he was greeted by the boos and jeers of several hundred angry demonstrators.

The protest, organized by various left-wing activist groups in the San Diego area (including the San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice, ANSWER and the ISO), was attended by 600 to 1,000 people at any given time. Pointing to the violence of the U.S.'s pursuit of global economic hegemony, demonstrators called on the president to bring the troops home now and to abandon his program for the development of weapons of mass destruction.

A few protesters campaigned at the rally for Democratic presidential hopefuls Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich. The protest was generally peaceful, though two demonstrators were arrested after sitting in the streets in an act of civil disobedience. The event was a powerful reflection of the growing disillusionment with the administration's continuous lies and its money-hungry war politics.

In Tucson, Ariz., more than 500 people protested at Republican headquarters August 11 as Bush flew to Sumerhaven, a resort town in the nearby Catalina Mountains recently devastated by huge wildfires that raged throughout the state in July. Speaking to a handpicked crowd of residents, firefighters and forest officials, Bush cynically used the tragedy to promote his bogus "healthy forests initiative."

The initiative represents a longstanding aim of Big Timber--to strike down the ban on old-growth logging in national forests. Environmental activists point out that old-growth timber isn't the problem causing these mammoth forest fires--it's undergrowth and newer growth, which would naturally burn away during a fire leaving most of the old trees to survive. The problem for Bush and his timber industry buddies is that the real solution--controlled burns that are carefully planned--offers no profits for the bosses and in fact would require the U.S. Forest Service to actually be funded properly.

The protest against Bush wasn't limited to environmental issues. Activists from the National Organization for Women, local AFL-CIO affiliates and the Border Action Network rallied at the demonstration, reflecting the wide range of Bush's assault on working people. One clever sign put it well: "Trees aren't the problem. It's Bushes."

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