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Friday, August 1, 2014

"Gestapo"-like tactics from Big Ag in Right Wing, Conservative, Republican Southwest Missouri at Ozark Empire Fair


I found this post last evening on a friend's Facebook page. I believe it's true and if so, should make any red blooded, truly Conservative, Republican American extremely upset, if not angry.

Well, unless they support "Big Ag."

The post:

By Susie Chasnoff - 

It looks like Big Ag is willing to employ unethical strong-arm tactics to get its way on Missouri’s Amendment 1.
The “Big Boys” Mean Business: Suppression Comes with the Territory
It looks like Big Ag is willing to employ unethical strong-arm tactics to get its way on Missouri’s Amendment 1. The Amendment, inaccurately described as the “right to farm,” is on the August 5 ballot in Missouri and would severely limit the people’s right to regulate farm practices. Its purpose, opponents say, is to leave industrial agriculture free to pollute, use unethical treatment of animals and plant GMOs without hindrance.
Earlier this week, Big Ag attempted to gag its opposition at the Ozark Empire Fair. The story is one of intimation and finally the arrest of one of those speaking against Amendment 1. It seems that fair-goers in Missouri are only allowed to hear Big Ag’s point of view. Here’s how the events unfolded:
On Monday, July 28, Susan Tolliver and William Hutcherson, strong supporters of NO on Amendment 1, put on their “Vote No on 1” t-shirts and headed for the Ozark Empire Fair.
Meanwhile, at a booth for Pensaroda Farm organic products, Mr. and Mrs. Len Pense were selling their wares with a helper, Laura Umphenour. Laura proudly sported her “Vote No on 1” t-shirt. The Penses proudly displayed a “Vote No on Amend 1” sign and were making literature available.
There had been some controversy the first three days of the fair, but all had been going well until that Monday, the fourth day, when the booth was paid a visit by several men from a food concession. Laura described their demeanor as intimidating. Eventually a man wearing a badge that identified him as the President of the Cattlemen’s Association came and attempted to redirect fair-goers away from the booth.
Laura registered a complaint at the Fair office requesting the men be asked to leave the vicinity of the Pensaroda Farm booth. Instead, Fair security visited the booth to inform Mr. Pense he had to stop talking to people about Amendment 1. Laura was told she could no longer assist him.
Susan and William received a distraught phone call from Laura as they pulled into the fairground. Ultimately all three ended up back at the Pensadora booth. Fair security approached and informed them that their every move was being watched on camera. Susan, William and Laura were advised to, “Watch it!” Security further cautioned them not to speak to anyone unless they were spoken to first.
Susan, Laura, and William began walking around, visiting other vendors. When asked questions about their t-shirts they were happy to take the time to explain that Amendment 1 is backed by Monsanto, BIG animal operations, and foreign corporations, most notably in China. They further explained that foreign corporations would be able to buy more Missouri farmland which will hurt small family farmers, organic growers and food safety.
Evidently security had been following the three of them, asking people with whom they spoke who had approached who first and exactly what was said. At one point William was speaking to workers at Freedom Riders’ booth. Susan joined and, assuming they were talking about Amendment 1 exclaimed, “I hope you’re voting no on 1.” It was twenty minutes later that Fair security asked them to leave.
Asking why they were being directed to leave, “No reason,” was the reply.

Two police officers arrived. After a brief debate it was decided that Susan, William and Laura had to leave the vendor area. They were escorted out to the Fair grounds where they were told they could remain.
As they walked outside a Channel 10 camera man was unloading his van. He asked what was going on and then interviewed Laura and William, but the interview was never aired.
Just as they finished, Fair security came back with the two officers and all three were banned from the premises. Their pictures were taken and they were told they’d be arrested if they returned.
The police escorted Susan, William, and Laura to a side gate where they exited.
In the meantime Mr. Pense, with the organic booth, continued to display a “Vote NO on 1” sign in his booth and continued to make literature available. On Thursday, July 31, fair officials demanded he remove the sign and literature, but he refused. Instead Mr. Pense insisted that Fair officials put their request in writing, which they refused to do.
Ultimately the Fair officials relented, allowing Mr. Pense to keep his sign, literature and even permitting Laura, wearing her ‘Vote No on 1” t-shirt back to assist him. As long as she did not approach anyone outside the booth about Amendment 1, she was allowed to return.
Despite this agreement, Laura was arrested for trespassing on Friday, August 1. The arrest took place in the vendors area, where Laura told (just the day before) she could be. She was taken to the police station, photographed and fingerprinted.
Susan had this to say, “Since the Cattleman Assoc. spends lots of money on fairs and events, as does the Farm Bureau and Monsanto, of course this turned into who has the money.
“Meanwhile the Cattlemen and the Puppy Mills are actively handing out their baloney. But I think these strong-arm tactics may backfire. I'm a 70 year old grandmother. I know people in surrounding booths were appalled.

Fortunately, the local paper, the Springfield News-Leader did, in fact, cover the story:


Apparently, as long as it's for "Big Business", it's okay to keep people from having free speech rights in America, huh?

And even the local police will support the whole charade.

Police, supporting "Big Ag" against one person and her First Amendment Rights. 

Nice.

Welcome to Amerikuh.

Right here in very Right Wing, Conservative, "small government", Republican Southwest Missouri.

Yeehaw.




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