Tuesday, September 04, 2007
The Bush administrations "Advance Manual" - the guidebook for holding public events - surfaced as part of a lawsuit brought by two protesters who were jailed after wearing protest T-shirts to a Bush rally in 2004. But the shirts were protected by the 1st Amendment to the Constitution.
The rally was ironically held on the Fourth of July. It's also ironic how the U.S. condemns other countries for this very same kind of behavior. As the U.S. police's the World... who is policing the police? The "world's greatest Democracy" looks more like the "world's greatest hypocrisy" to me.
Hear some of the outrageous (and somewhat scary) procedures that are contained in the Advance Manual.
Sic 'em With the Rally Squad
And other tips for dealing with demonstrators from the Presidential Advance Manual
By Dahlia Lithwick
Last month, the federal government settled a lawsuit with a pair of Texans who were arrested in 2004 for wearing anti-Bush T-shirts at a Fourth of July event in Charleston, W.Va. That's right, friends, $80,000 (of your taxpayer dollars) will be paid out to Jeff and Nicole Rank, whose suit against Gregory J. Jenkins—former deputy assistant to the president and director of the White House Office of Presidential Advance—has been dismissed.
White House spokesman Blair Jones managed to turn lemons into lemonade with the statement last week that "the parties understand that this settlement is a compromise of disputed claims to avoid the expenses and risks of litigation and is not an admission of fault, liability, or wrongful conduct." This is, of course, vintage Bush, gloriously reminiscent of that Simpsons episode in which Homer arrives late to collect Bart in the pouring rain after soccer practice, then lectures: "I know you're mad at me right now, and I'm kinda mad, too. I mean, we could sit here and try to figure out who forgot to pick up who till the cows come home. But let's just say we're both wrong, and that'll be that."
Because, you see, what the Ranks did wrong was attend an open-to-the-public, taxpayer-sponsored Independence Day speech by the president on the grounds of the state capitol, sporting homemade anti-Bush T-shirts. Their shirts had a red circle and a diagonal bar covering the word Bush. (His said, "Regime change starts at home," on the back; hers said, "Love America, Hate Bush.") The Ranks neither said nor did anything to disrupt the speech, but when they refused to remove their T-shirts, they were, at the direction of White House event staff, handcuffed, booked, photographed, and fingerprinted, charged with trespassing, and held for several hours in jail. (The charges were subsequently dismissed, and the city of Charleston has apologized.) Nicole Rank was also temporarily suspended from her job with FEMA.
The White House suggestion that, hey, both sides did something bad here, distorts one obvious truth: The only bad thing these citizens did was peacefully disagree with the president in an open political forum. And while Rush Limbaugh and Angelina Jolie may be able to get away with talking exclusively to people who worship them, the president should not.
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