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Couple Arrested for Wearing Anti-Bush T-Shirts


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#1    odinsgrl

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Posted 15 July 2004 - 05:51 PM



‘We weren’t doing anything wrong’
Couple in anti-Bush T-shirts were arrested at president’s speech

By Tara Tuckwiller
tara@wvgazette.com

A husband and wife who wore anti-Bush T-shirts to the president’s Fourth of July appearance aren’t going down without a fight: They will be represented by lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union as they contest the trespassing charges against them Thursday morning in Charleston Municipal Court.

Police took Nicole and Jeff Rank away in handcuffs from the event, which was billed as a presidential appearance, not a campaign rally. They were wearing T-shirts that read, “Love America, Hate Bush.”

Spectators who wore pro-Bush T-shirts and Bush-Cheney campaign buttons were allowed to stay.

“We weren’t doing anything wrong,” said Jeff Rank. The couple, who said they had tickets just like everybody else, said they simply stood around the Capitol steps with the rest of the spectators.

“We sang the national anthem,” Rank said.

The Ranks hardly fit the image of rabble-rousers. Jeff Rank, 29, has a master’s degree in oceanography. Nicole Rank, 30, has degrees in biological science and marine biology. They have been married for seven years.

Nicole Rank arrived in Charleston soon after the Memorial Day floods. She was working as deputy environmental liaison officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, making sure cities and counties obeyed federal environmental laws as they repaired roads and bridges.

After police arrested the Ranks, fingerprinted them and took their mug shots, FEMA told Nicole Rank she was no longer needed in West Virginia.

“I have not been fired per se,” she said. “But I was released from this job. And when they release you from a job, you no longer get paid.”

The Ranks started to go home to Corpus Christi, Texas, but they only got as far as Roanoke, Va., when it occurred to them that they might not be able to contest their arrest if they weren’t in Charleston on their court date. A phone call confirmed their suspicions. So they turned around.

“We’ve been living in motels ever since,” said Jeff Rank, who spent Tuesday evening in his motel room with his wife, their cocker spaniel Feinman, and their marmalade cat Rowr.

“It’s extremely difficult [financially]. We can only afford to do this for so long.”

But they had to stay and fight the charges, he said, “because we didn’t think we were guilty.”

Since Bush took office in early 2001, people have been banned from displaying anti-Bush messages at dozens of Bush appearances across the country. In September, the ACLU filed a federal lawsuit against the Secret Service, seeking an injunction against the Bush administration for segregating protesters at his public appearances.

The Secret Service agreed that such censorship was wrong, said Witold Walczak, one of the lawyers that filed the lawsuit.

“They had an internal memo dated September 2002, saying they couldn’t treat protesters differently or worse” than anyone else at a presidential appearance, Walczak said. “The judge said any agent responsible for doing so could be held liable for damages.”

The Secret Service had been telling local police to sequester anyone displaying an anti-administration message, usually in areas completely out of sight and earshot of Bush. Because the Secret Service agreed with the ACLU that it shouldn’t be doing that, the judge dismissed the case.

“Prior to filing our suit in September, we’d get a couple of confirmed ‘protest zone’ complaints every month,” Walczak said. “After we filed, there were practically none. We had two documented incidents between September and March: one in Little Rock, Ark., and one in Knoxville, Tenn.”

But now, lawyers like Walczak are carefully monitoring cases like the Ranks’ — and two similar incidents recently in Pennsylvania.

“We’re trying to assess what is going on at these appearances ... whether these ‘protest zones’ are resuming,” he said.

“We are continuing to monitor all campaign events by both Republican and Democratic candidates. We’re prepared to go back into court if we see discrimination occurring.”

Because Bush’s Fourth of July stop in Charleston was billed as an official presidential visit, not a campaign rally, “That makes it an even more glaring violation of the First Amendment,” said Andrew Schneider, executive director of the ACLU of West Virginia.

“It’s an Orwellian way to keep speech out of sight of those the speech is intended to critique ... We want to nip this in the bud before it becomes a habit of future administrations.”

A Bush spokesman did not return a telephone call seeking comment on the necessity of the “free speech zone.”

To contact staff writer Tara Tuckwiller, use e-mail or call 348-5189.



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#2    Falco Rex

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Posted 15 July 2004 - 06:06 PM

Now this is just stupid and wrong. Do they really think if the President was in danger it would come from people in a "Hate Bush" T-Shirt?
I know capitilism is a popular thing, but most assassins don't advertise..


#3    Cufflink

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Posted 15 July 2004 - 08:35 PM

Their next piece of attire could read, 'I got busted by over-zealous feds, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.'

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In case...two words, not one Posted Image

#4    Tess

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Posted 15 July 2004 - 08:40 PM

And we call this the land of the free???????

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#5    hunterkiller2001

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Posted 15 July 2004 - 08:44 PM

An entire family was arrest locally about a year ago for wearing Anti-bush, anti-war shirts at a local mall..

It's been kinda hush hush since.. but last i heard, the settlement was HUGE.




Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

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#6    hunterkiller2001

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Posted 15 July 2004 - 08:51 PM

Charges dropped.

Source

Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin, Speaking on Gun control

--‘‘We, the People are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts  — not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow men who pervert the Constitution.’’ — Abraham Lincoln

#7    DC09

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Posted 15 July 2004 - 09:11 PM

Stupid...  rolleyes.gif  


#8    joc

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 12:35 AM

There is always more to these stories than meets the eye.  I remember back in Johnson's administration when a woman was arrested for saying that she hated Johnson.

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#9    Daughter of the Nine Moons

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 12:37 AM

QUOTE (Cufflink @ Jul 15 2004, 04:35 PM)
Their next piece of attire could read, 'I got busted by over-zealous feds, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.'

  laugh.gif  funny cuffy!

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#10    Talon

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 02:41 AM

In western Europe we have this thing called freedom of speech. Until Bush took over, didn't the US have something similar? huh.gif  

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something." -Plato

#11    Fluffybunny

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 04:39 AM

QUOTE (Talon S. @ Jul 15 2004, 07:41 PM)
In western Europe we have this thing called freedom of speech. Until Bush took over, didn't the US have something similar? huh.gif

You have the freedom to say whatever you want here. As long as it is popular and mainstream...

If you have a difference of opinion with how the country is run you are on your own...It will be hit or miss as to how you are received.

I used to hate the ACLU for some of the cases they took, flag burning type of cases. Not until I actually looked into what they were doing did I understand that they were trying to defend the consitituion...Some of the lawsuits go a bit far for my taste, but dang it seems like freedoms are being chipped away a little bit at a time...

It seems like when people talk about freedom of speech they mean as applied to what they say and not necessarily what the other guy says...

It all makes me very sad.



Too many people on both sides of the spectrum have fallen into this mentality that a full one half of the country are the enemy for having different beliefs...in a country based on freedom of expression. It is this infighting that allows the focus to be taken away from "we the people" being able to watch, and have control over government corruption and ineptitude that is running rampant in our leadership.

People should be working towards fixing problems, not creating them.

#12    Talon

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 04:57 AM

QUOTE
You have the freedom to say whatever you want here. As long as it is popular and mainstream...


Over here you can say anything and nothing happens. Like Hamza in London who spent the last few years asking Islamics in the Uk to rise up and kill white people, and stating that 9/11 was a great event. huh.gif

... not only did the government provide him £500 a week not to work, they ignored public outcry, ignored MI5's warning that he had terrorist links, gave him police bodyguards and currently are funding his defense against deportation to the US on terrorist changes with tax-payers money. disgust.gif

So US has to little free speach, and we have to much  wacko.gif  

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something." -Plato

#13    hunterkiller2001

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 05:41 AM

in light of this..

I went to tshirthell.com  and bought an anti bush shirt.

time for some experimental mall wandering.



Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin, Speaking on Gun control

--‘‘We, the People are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts  — not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow men who pervert the Constitution.’’ — Abraham Lincoln

#14    stillcrazy

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 07:06 AM

QUOTE (hunterkiller2001 @ Jul 15 2004, 10:41 PM)
in light of this..

I went to tshirthell.com  and bought an anti bush shirt.

time for some experimental mall wandering.

Call me if you need bail.


Joc, there may be more to the stories like you say. But a tresspass arrest means they were somewhere they were not suppose to be. If they had tickets, then they had just as much right to be were they were as any other ticket holder.
The fact that they seperate folks who support Bush from those who don't violates the first amendment anyway you look at it. If we did the same thing to blacks we are called racist. Why is bush and his administration so damn afraid of hearing anything other than the things they want to hear?
He may not like it, but he SERVES everyone in this country, supporter and protester alike.  


#15    Dowdy

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 07:06 AM

QUOTE
time for some experimental mall wandering.




LOL  laugh.gif  laugh.gif

Tell us how it goes

THE PAOMNNEHAL PWEOR OF THE HMUAN MNID Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdgnieg. Can you? ;)




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