Category Archives: Nashville protest

Scientology Protestors Accosted In Nashville

[UPDATE]:

Ooops. It appears laws were broken:

Public Works pulled all of the permits taken out for the Scientology event. The permits — all of them for sidewalk closing and lane blocking — are for the wrong day. They’re for the day before the event and expire before the scuffle occurred.

In addition, three of the five security guards were off-duty Spring Hill police officers working in Nashville, which can only be done if local police are notified and officers are wearing uniforms clearly identifying them as off-duty police officers.

“The armed people from the other county are not identified police officers,” said John M. L. Brown. “You’re looking for a problem.”

Brown, a Fraternal Order of Police attorney, has been defending police officers for 32 years. He said he finds the officers’ actions hard to defend.

“Nashville’s a capital city, and there are protests in Nashville with some frequency,” he said. “I don’t think that mentioning a bologna sandwich is a recognized law enforcement tactic.”

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Scientology reps say “we bought all of these sidewalks” around their new 8th Avenue building.

Uh, no, you didn’t. Public sidewalks = public right-of-way. Watch the video:

Tennessee Indy Media has more:

According to protesters present at the event there were no permits granted to close the sidewalk on the 1000 block of 8th avenue south on the day of the protest and organizers said they spoke with members of public works and notifications in the Tennessean to confirm that the street closure for 8th avenue south was on the 24th and not on the 25th which was the schedule day of the protest and vigil. The protesters, who refer to themselves as ‘Nashville Anonymous’ said that it was not clear where the security officers came from who confronted them on the day of their scheduled public protest and that in a year of previous peaceful protests they had never been the victims of aggressive behavior, threats or unlawful detainment on the part of metro police or Vanderbilt which has a security agreement with Metro for the area of Music Row where the Scientology Center used to be located.

You know, far be it from me to tell anyone what religion they want to follow. But here’s a tip: if you’re a controversial religious group trying to ingratiate yourself into a buckle-of-the-Bible Belt town, it might help if your security didn’t act like a bunch of goons.

Scientology’s entrance into Nashville is not off to an auspicious start.

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>A Modern Anti-War Movement

>“Why aren’t we hitting the streets about (fill in the Bush Administration outrage du jour)!”

Ah, the oft-heard progressive lament. It’s usually followed by a list of complaints about the ignorant American “sheeple,” too consumed with sports scores and Lindsay Lohan news to care about what the government is doing in their name. I don’t necessarily buy this. I think Americans are able to pay attention to Lindsay Lohan and follow news about the Iraq War.

When someone cries out to me “why aren’t we hitting the streets!” my first answer is usually, we are–including massive rallies in New York City during the Republican National Convention and the huge Sept. 2005 march on Washington, D.C.

But there’s another reason. Sunday’s New York Times Magazine contained an article about the new, post-hippie style of war protest–the K Street kind. The article looks at Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, “a coalition of activists, policy outfits and labor unions,” working to lobby Congress as well as mobilize constituents. The question they ask is, Can Lobbyists Stop the War?

The playbook for opposing a war has changed markedly since the street-protest ethos of the anti-Vietnam movement. Tie-dyed shirts and flowers have been replaced by oxfords and BlackBerries. Politicians are as likely to be lobbied politely as berated. And instead of a freewheeling circus managed from college campuses and coffee houses, the new antiwar movement is a multimillion-dollar operation run by media-savvy professionals.

“They are to the left what the N.R.A. is to the right,” says a
Democratic strategist with close ties to the party’s congressional leadership. “They’re very effective in turning up the volume and demanding a response.”

This is all true. I’m not sure the right wingers have completely grasped the truth about the modern anti-war movement, that we’re not tie-dye wearing hippies munching on vegan stew and driving to protests in biofuel-powered vehicles. (Not that there’s anything wrong with those things, of course.) Part of the reason is that we do still have old school war protests; who can forget all that media coverage of Joan Baez serenading Cindy Sheehan and her fellow protestors at Camp Casey? The media loves this stuff because it’s an easy sell; the image is already in the collective unconscious: “anti-war protestor = hippie.”

And that’s fine with me. While the wingers and MSM focus on obvious targets, coalitions like Americans Against Escalation in Iraq are lobbying Congress and raising funds, and have pushed the anti-war movement farther, faster, than the previous generation’s Vietnam War protests did, and we don’t have a military draft to fuel our movement. We have righteous outrage at an unjust war that is bankrupting the country.

And then there’s this:

“The moment we’re in can change the course of American history,” he said. “We can show that conservatives can never again be trusted to run the foreign policy of this nation.”
[….]
A.A.E.I. is far more integrated into the political and media establishments than the hippies ever were. “They couldn’t figure if they wanted to take their clothes off, smoke pot, burn the Capitol or end the war,” Wiley Pearson, Matzzie’s other deputy, says of the 1960s counterculture protesters. Pearson, who is 59, spent 22 years in the Marines before finding a second career promoting progressive causes. Matzzie says political and lifestyle radicalism was a gift to supporters of the Vietnam War that his allies will not give again. “Nixon’s strategy was to demonize his opponents,” Matzzie says. “Some of the politicians who are supporting the war want to be protested by fringe groups. We’re not going to play that game — we’re not going to let them off the hook. We’re going to put their own constituents in their faces.”

The message to pro-war conservatives is simple: We’re organized. We’re well-funded. We’re politically connected. We have access. And we will win this debate because the American people are with us. We are the American people, rank and file. So you can either get on board now and end this debacle in Iraq, or you can go down in history as the political party that can never be trusted to run our foreign policy again. It’s your choice.

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>President Bush In Nashville

>It sure is strange how much effort goes into keeping President Bush away from the American people.

I noticed this when President Bush visited the “Bun Lady” this morning. The factory’s Armory Drive location is so remote that it was difficult for both Bush supporters and protesters to get near. I find this strange, considering how the Albanians were allowed to manhandle the president like he was a $2 hooker just a few weeks ago.

Anyway, about two dozen protesters showed up to give the President a warm welcome. Protesters were relegated to one strip of public sidewalk in front of the National Guard Armory; a dozen or so employees of ADS Security had taken over the opposite corner and planted their yellow ADS signs in the ground (nothing like free advertising, eh?). They told protesters it was their property and no one was allowed to stand over there. Needless to say, the ADS employees all seemed to be Bush supporters, which prompted one protester to chant ”Boycott ADS!”

Metro officers told the protesters they had to stay on the sidewalk. Anyone not on the sidewalk would be arrested. As you can see, we are law-abiding citizens and we obeyed.

What was most interesting to me is how few National Guard soldiers had come out to see the president. I saw just three soldiers, although the motorcade passed right by the building. Maybe the rest of them were in Iraq.

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