Letters

Letters 08-24-2015

Bush And Blame Jeb Bush strikes again. Understand that Bush III represents the nearly extinct, compassionate-conservative, moderate wing of the Republican party...

No More State Theatre I was quite surprised and disgusted by an article I saw in last week’s edition. On pages 18 and 19 was an article about how the State Theatre downtown let some homosexual couple get married there...

GMOs Unsustainable Steve Tuttle’s column on GMOs was both uninformed and off the mark. Genetic engineering will not feed the world like Tuttle claims. However, GMOs do have the potential to starve us because they are unsustainable...

A Pin Drop Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 to a group of Democrats in Charlevoix, an all-white, seemingly middle class, well-educated audience, half of whom were female...

A Slippery Slope Most of us would agree that an appropriate suggestion to a physician who refuses to provide a blood transfusion to a dying patient because of the doctor’s religious views would be, “Please doctor, change your profession as a less selfish means of protecting your religious freedom.”

Stabilize Our Climate Climate scientists have been saying that in order to stabilize the climate, we need to limit global warming to less than two degrees. Renewables other than hydropower provide less than 3 percent of the world energy. In order to achieve the two degree scenario, the world needs to generate 11 times more wind power by 2050, and 36 times more solar power. It will require a big helping of new nuclear power, too...

Harm From GMOs I usually agree with the well-reasoned opinions expressed in Stephen Tuttle’s columns but I must challenge his assertions concerning GMO foods. As many proponents of GMOs do, Mr. Tuttle conveniently ignores the basic fact that GMO corn, soybeans and other crops have been engineered to withstand massive quantities of herbicides. This strategy is designed to maximize profits for chemical companies, such as Monsanto. The use of copious quantities of herbicides, including glyphosates, is losing its effectiveness and the producers of these poisons are promoting the use of increasingly dangerous substances to achieve the same results...

Home · Articles · News · Books · Pure Joy in the Form of Corduroy
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Pure Joy in the Form of Corduroy

Nancy Sundstrom - August 26th, 2004
“How many people do you have to kill before you no longer qualify as pro-life?” read a homemade sign carried by one young man.
“Stop depleting my dating pool,” read another carried by a young woman who wanted to draw attention to the U.S. military’s death toll in Iraq -- now approaching 950.
Traverse City has always been known as a Republican stronghold, but last Monday -- in what local historian Larry Wakefield termed the largest demonstration in the city’s history -- over 1,000 people gathered to protest a campaign appearance by George W. Bush.
Captain Morgan of the Traverse City Police Department estimated the crowd of demonstrators at between 1,000 and 1,500.
For hours before Bush was scheduled to speak, those with tickets to the rally (organizers say 14,000 tickets were handed out) filed into the Civic Center along a sidewalk flanked by a crowd carrying signs and energetically speaking out about the war, job loss, environmental degradation, reproductive freedom and other civil rights issues.
Front Street was closed between Fair and Garfield Streets and the Huntington Bank at Campus Plaza across the way was ordered closed by Secret Service – there were three bank robberies during a recent stop in Iowa.

EAR PLUGS
The atmosphere was festive. A giant puppet, a woman in a Chicken Little costume, and mock Secret Service agents on stilts circulated through the mass of demonstrators which included babies, grandparents, and people in wheelchairs. A woman with a French horn played ‘Send in the Clowns’ and ‘Hail to the Chief’ (during which demonstrators chanted ‘Hail to the Thief!’). There was drumming, accordian playing and a theater troupe that pulled a naked King George on a charriot and chanted, “The Emperor Wears no Clothes!”
One woman on her way to see the President plugged her ears and talked loudly to herself to avoid listening to the demonstrators. Others engaged in debate. Several said that Bush’s anti-abortion stand is the single issue that will motivate them in the polls. Many acknowledged, with amused tolerance as they pressed through the crowd, that freedom of expression is a treasured and respected right.
How would the Bush campaign interpret free speech in Traverse City?
The Civic Center, a county-owned recreational complex, had been rented to the Republican National Committee for the day. At least one woman, local teacher Kathryn Mead, was denied access to the event, even though she had a ticket, when she refused to remove her sticker in support of John Kerry. Others were forced to remove political buttons.
Kate Stephan, chair of the Grand Traverse Republican Party, said the Bush campaign has the right to admit whom they choose.
In some towns along the campaign trail people attending the Bush event were required to sign oaths of support.

WHAT CAPACITY?
Earlier this summer the national ACLU sent a memo to groups planning protests. It asked people to note whether the President appeared in his official capacity as President or as a candidate for the presidency and whether Bush supporters are allowed closer to the President than other types of demonstrators. The ACLU is considering a nationwide class action suit against the Bush campaign for disrespecting First Amendment rights.
After people had been milling around for hours and the country band Trick Pony had finished its opening act, the Bush motorcade sped into the Civic Center through a crowd of hundreds.
As the motorcade whipped by, protester Holly Spaulding stepped forward in order to be more visible. Spaulding had been told by police that the “NO MORE BUSHIT” banner she was holding would have to be put down when Bush’s entourage arrived and she wanted to make sure that Bush was aware of the opposition massed around the Civic Center.
Spaulding, along with Terri DeFillipo was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct for breaching the “sterile zone” set up by the Secret Service along the motorcade route.
And when their attorney, Mark Messing, attempted to speak with them, he too was arrested.

START TALKING
Once in custody, Spaulding said, she was questioned in an intimidating way by a man who had a wire in his ear, but no badge, and said he was with the Secret Service.
“He said, ‘If you talk to me, okay. If you don’t talk to me it will start an investigation. He asked me: Who did you come with? Are you part of a group? … How you feel about the President?”
Messing said police told him, “Relax, they are just going to take them, remove them from the site, and when this is over they will let them go.”
Messing is outraged that Spaulding and DeFillipo were detained in this manner, questioned without an attorney present, and that he was arrested for identifying himself to police and attempting to represent his clients.
“Clearly no one is paying attention to the Bill of Rights here,” said Messing of the arrest scenario, “…By arresting me they’ve compromised my clients’ abilities to have their attorney of choice. Messing said he intends to pursue this matter.
“Apparently, this president is not able to expose himself to anyone who doesn’t agree with him,” added Messing.
Many people photographed and video-taped the incident (there are video clips online at www.ventingmedia.com).

NO PROBLEMS
“I think it’s good that they were willing to put themselves out there,” said 14-year-old Emma Cook who participated in the demonstrations and witnessed the arrests. “(Bush) knew that we were out there and that we were willing to do a lot to get our message across…that’s why they drove so fast.”
Despite the arrests, representatives from the Traverse City Police, the Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Department, the State Police and the Secret Service all said that the event turned out well -- no security problems, no one hurt, no garbage left behind.
“It was a great day for Traverse City,” said local attorney Blake Ringsmuth, who called Monday’s demonstration the most vibrant expression of First Amendment rights he’d ever seen in this town.
Ringsmuth said that in the past people with opposing views may have been hesitant to speak out because of the area’s identity as a Republican stronghold but the demonstrations were, “…Rejuvenating. Galvanizing… a huge day for Democrats and for those who don’t believe in the way this country is going.”


 
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