Republicans use bullying tactic to win


By Sinclere Lee

CHARLESTON, West Virginia (BNW) –
If the Republican Party cannot steal, buy or lie to get votes to keep Bush in the White House, now, it appears that they are trying to bully anyone who disagrees with them. For example, the Charleston City police arrested two citizens for wearing anti-Bush T-shirts. If that ain't enough, singer Linda Ronstadt was thrown out of the Aladdin casino in Las Vegas on the weekend after dedicating a song to liberal filmmaker Michael Moore and his movie "Fahrenheit 9/11," a casino spokeswoman said.

The Charleston City Council apologized last to two protesters who were arrested for wearing anti-Bush T-shirts to the president's July 4 rally at the West Virginia Capitol.

Ronstadt, who had been hired for a one-show engagement Saturday night at the Las Vegas Strip casino, dedicated a performance of "Desperado" to Moore and his controversial documentary, which criticizes President Bush and the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

"We had quite a scene at the box office," she said.

Nicole and Jeff Rank, of Corpus Christi, Texas, were removed from the event in restraints after revealing T-shirts with President Bush’s name crossed out on the front and the words "Love America, Hate Bush" on the back.

Trespassing charges were dismissed last week. On Monday, the city council adopted a resolution to apologize.

"If Nicole and Jeff Rank did nothing other than peaceably exercise their right of free speech and expression as guaranteed by our Constitutions, they should not have been arrested or charged with a crime," the resolution states.

"The City does hereby apologize to Nicole and Jeff Rank."

Efforts to reach the Ranks were not immediately successful last week.

There was no official count for the vote, but it appeared to have bipartisan support.

Mayor Danny Jones, a Republican, backed the resolution written by Councilman Harry Deitzler, a Democrat.

"We support our police department," Jones said. "But we regret this happened, and quite frankly we want to put this behind us."

Trespassing charges were dropped Thursday after a judge determined that city ordinances do not apply to Statehouse grounds.

Jones had earlier said the city officers who filed the trespassing charges were acting under the direction of the Secret Service, but a spokesman for the Secret Service denied the agency was involved in the arrests.

Before her concert, Ronstadt had laughingly told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that she hoped that the casino performance would be her last.

About a quarter of the 4,500 people in the audience got up and left before the performance had finished, Gorgon said.

"I keep hoping that if I'm annoying enough to them, they won't hire me back," she was quoted as telling the newspaper.

A statement issued by the Aladdin said Ronstadt had been "escorted out of the hotel" just after her performance and said the performer would "not be welcomed back."

"Ms. Ronstadt was hired to entertain the guests of the Aladdin, not to espouse political views," the casino said.



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