Showing posts with label solidarity sing along. Show all posts
Showing posts with label solidarity sing along. Show all posts

Aug 27, 2013

Chief Couper: The Way Things Ought to Be

By Daivd Couper—Watch the video below and then take note of one very important thing: the officers have their helmets attached to their belts and NOT on their heads.

When police "suit up" too fast... take physical action too soon, it often lead to irreversible trouble.

This has profound implications on handling public protest, sporting events, and even "sing-alongs" in the Wisconsin State Capitol building.

I'd hire these officers any day. They get it!'
As Wisconsin citizens try to cool down the militarized Scott Walker police, how about the Capitol cops take a minute and have a look?

Aug 16, 2013

Fascism-free Zone—Not Our Wisconsin State Capitol

The reverence toward the officious is a defect to be overcome in a classical liberal democracy

by Jackie Captain

Over-reliance on officiousness is a hallmark of fascism.

"Just doing my job," won't cut it for the Capitol police.

The black-booted thugs at the Capitol who are arresting protesters -- the elderly, veterans, and journalists -- know what they are doing is wrong.

They are violating the civil rights of Wisconsin citizens -- the very people who paid for the construction and restoration of the chapel of democracy wherein their representatives do work on behalf of those same citizens. One of the great pleasures of living in Madison was the ability to walk through the Capitol and show it to visitors -- no longer.

Grabbing hold of the notion that citizens need to file a permit to assemble at their own State Capitol is a product of little minds and malicious spirits. The lockstep following of this ludicrous directive is belittling everyone involved. I am ashamed of my state government.

The right to assemble peacefully and protest political policies are central tenets in the Wisconsin State Constitution. Transparency in government had been enshrined in Wisconsin via the open meetings and open records laws. Why then has the Department of Administration declared that citizens cannot gather in their own Capitol?

What Scott Walker's police are doing is a violation of civil liberties, raising the question what recourse do we have when the police in the People's House turn against us?

Certainly not petitioning the Wisconsin Department of Justice; they stand with Walker on this and in fact are perpetrating the prosecutions of Wisconsin citizens arrested for walking, talking, and singing, or as the police say, "obstructing."

Is a class-action civil lawsuit an answer?

Can an emergency petition for injunctive relief (a judicial order to halt the police targeting and arresting citizens in this instance) be filed in federal court?

Do we call the Lawyer's Guild, the ACLU, Madison civil liberties attorney Jeff Scott Olsen?

To be candid, I don't what to do when someone in my household wants to visit our state representative in the Capitol because I can't have someone arrested and detained for watching, posing a question, or as Matt Rothschild is aware, shooting a picture or trying to report on these events, when we have domestic responsibilities that demand attention at home.

I am proud of those who have been at the Capitol and have stood up for all our rights even at great risk to their own freedom and financial stability.

So who let Scott Walker turn the Capitol into an armed camp that subverts our civil liberties?

We cannot stand complacently by and let our rights be eroded. Leaders are going to rise up out of this movement (Rep. Chris Taylor?) -- perhaps even the next governor -- but where are they now? Why aren't they standing together against these violations?

There has been much commendable social-psychological research of obedience to authority in the 1950-60s trying to come up with some ideas how the rise of twentieth-century fascism could have happened, and how do we in the United States of America prevent it from happening here.

When Capitol police began telling people that they are subject to arrest for "spectating," watching the videos online I wondered if and when someone would speak up and how far the police would go.

Where will they stop?

I have no answers, but I do know that more people of good will need to stand up and speak out against the officiousness of the weak-minded.

Wisconsin Democratic Legislative Caucus Needs to Stand up for Free Speech

Update: Democratic Party cheerleaders excuse the bystanding posture of most Democratic legislators as arrests continue within the radius of a football field outside legislators' offices. 

Exceptions abound of course: Reps. Pope, Taylor; Sens. Risser, Erperbach, ... several more. 

Yet, pointing out that the rights and liberties of Wisconsin citizens— per the Wisconsin and United States constitutions— are being violated by Scott Walker's Capitol police for the GOP's political motives is in the views of Blogging Blue, to live in a "bubble."

One wonders what has to befall Wisconsin before Blogging Blue recognizes the extent of the social engineering project and power grab by this most radical and authoritarian of Wisconsin gubernatorial administrations.

I guess most Democrats will assume the we-didn't-know defense after tragedy occurs.

For the denial of liberty, intimidation, detaining and mass arrests are the work the GOP's cops acting as agents provocateurs, and the policy comes from Walker and DoA Sec. Mike Huebsch.  

For now, Matt Rothschild, Ed Kuharski and 100s more are cited and arrested for obstructing officers to silence from the Democratic Party. 

This is why I contend group-think and careerist Democrats veer into the GOP's area in too many respects—timid and unthinking silence.
Scott Walker's Capitol Police Arrest 14-year-old Teenager, Grannies, Journalist and Sitting Councilman for Being in Same Place as Walker Criminalizes Dissent Against Policies He Refused to Campaign on

It's high time the Wisconsin Democratic Legislative Caucus, and every officeholder is Madison trek over the Capitol and see in person what Scott Walker is doing to non-GOP political expression.

Silence and sitting in the state legislative offices—while the rights and liberties of Wisconsin citizens (and constituents) are being violated right outside the Democratic Legislators' representatives' office—is complicity. (See State Senators and State Representatives (Assembly).

Notable exceptions exist from legislative complicity and effective collaboration with Scott Walker, but they are just that, exceptions.

As my friend asked last night, what are they waiting for? See also Journalist, Madison alder arrested as Wisconsin Capitol police broaden crackdown

Rebecca Kimble writes in The Progressive:

(P)eople who sing in the rotunda at noon do so to express dissent against a government that has taken away many fundamental rights or workers, women, low-income people, public school students, among many others.

Participants in the gathering don’t necessarily agree on every policy issue, but they do agree on one thing: that their right to assemble and express political views is protected by the U.S. and Wisconsin Constitutions and should not require that the government against which they are dissenting should regulate their speech and assembly by an administrative permitting process.

Shortly before noon on Wednesday, Edward Kuharski of Madison was arrested for obstruction and resisting arrest for asking Capitol Police officer Mitch Steingraeber about who applied for the permit. He was taken to Dane County Jail and released after paying $600 in bail. This brings to eight the number of misdemeanor charges leveled against people gathering at the capitol at noon since July 24, 2013.

The Capitol Police have issued 223 citations that come with a $200.50 fine in that time period as well. Last week people began receiving “long form” legal complaints authored by Assistant Attorneys General detailing multiple violations of the State of Wisconsin Administrative Code that occurred months ago.

The complaint against Barton Munger contains 18 counts of chalking the sidewalk with a penalty of $500 for each incident stretching back months. This intensified crackdown on and criminalization of political speech comes weeks before the fall legislative session begins, when more controversial bills concerning private school vouchers, women’s reproductive rights and restriction of voting rights are expected to be taken up by lawmakers.

It seems that the Walker Administration is doing everything it thinks it can get away with to create a hostile environment for people to express their concerns publicly about these highly unpopular hot button policy issues.

Aug 15, 2013

Matt Rothschild, Editor of The Progressive, Arrested for Reporting from the Capitol

Update: Allen Ruff writes, "Do you think this cop would have understood the word 'putz,' and if so, tacked on an additional charge of assault with a descriptive expletive? Bonnie Block, interestingly, had a very decent column in the State Journal the morning of her apprehension. Clearly a case of retribution, targeting her for making critical comments on an opinion page (of a conservative paper, no less)!"

Longtime editor of The Progressive Magazine, Matthew Rothschild has been arrested today for reporting on the mass arrests at the Wisconsin state capitol by Scott Walker's capitol police.

Writes Rothschild:

They hauled me off in a squad car to the Dane County jail just three blocks away, where I was frisked again, booked, fingerprinted, had my mug shot taken, and kept in a holding cell with three other inmates for an hour and twenty minutes before being released.

The paper they gave me on the way out said, under 'Charge,' 946.41(1) Resisting or Obstructing.'
 Anybody still believe this is not Scott Walker, GOP hack Mike Huebsch, and the other GOP hack David Erwin pushing a political agenda—specifically violating and repressing the rights of citizens?

Mark Clear, a Madison Common Council Alder, was also arrested.

Callen Harty's How Can We Keep from Singing

Callen Harty penned a rejoinder to those who just cannot understand why the Solidarity Singers continue.

Beautiful stuff.

Why the civil rights movement sang as they were brutalized, murdered?

Why the peace movement hails Martin Luther King Jr. and A.J. Muste, joining hands, calling for the birth of a new world as war seems an almost logical imperative of the human condition?

Callen Harty offers an answer.

Aug 9, 2013

Walker's cops threatened citizens, knowing they had backing of Walker

Update: Two state representatives are requesting that Wisconsin Capitol Police release communication transcripts. A good bet is, if the transcripts are released, they will not reveal radio chatter with the words, 'We can't just arrest and intimidate people for political expression, observing political expression for god's sake. Call Walker and Erwin and tell 'em they're nuts. This ain't Russia, you know.'

The DOA Secretary has determined this is an illegal event; you could be subject to arrest for spectating.

Most people in Wisconsin watching the videos (through social media and non-traditional news sites) of cops threatening citizens for observing knew the GOP game was up.

Circling GOP police in the Wisconsin state capitol will not be mistaken for constitutional scholars or civil libertarians or for that matter:  Civic Americans.

Officer Syphard and two new hires. What are they afraid of?
Officer Michael J. Syphard grabbed a photographer and threw
him to the ground this week
.Syphard was not on duty shortly after.Sloey, reached by phone said he cannot
comment on Syphard or related matters.

Photo by Craig Spaulding
Watching these enraged people in various police uniforms scream at people for filming arrests; accosting citizens; it's obvious a constitutional republic is not the favored society they wish to inhabit, and their police state actions would soon stop.

No, these GOP cops are not bright people; but they do know DoA Secretary Mike Huebsch (a GOP hack), Scott Walker and Walker's personal security guard now playing capitol police chief, David Erwin (a GOP hack) have their backs.

These are Republicans.

Walking up to women warning them away; stop watching or we'll arrest you.

Walking up to state representatives and saying; stop watching or we'll arrest you; literally scaring young children as parents hurry away from loud, disturbing cops.

Even the most obtuse news outlets finally began asking questions, pushing the DoA flack to announce that spectators will not be arrested, avoiding the questions; Where did the cops get this idea and why were they telling folks they would be arrested?

Getting a straight answer out of someone like Erwin, Huebsch or Walker is never going to happen.

Erwin, Huebsch or Walker live on lies. Ask anyway.

Republican efforts to cleanse Wisconsin history of the capitol as an open space and the people's cultural and political gathering area have been ongoing for the last two years.

The solidarity sing along and its support system have constantly moved away from other events at the capitol, as civilized, courteous people do.

Republicans should observe the solidarity sing along and learn what courtesy and rights in a constitutional democracy look like.

As for David Erwin, state capitol police chief, don't be afraid to give him a call or write a letter on matters with which he may assist you.
Phone: (608) 266-8797
Mailing Address: Wisconsin Capitol Police, B2 North State Capitol, Madison, WI 5370

Erwin writes on the Capitol website that it is "my honor and privilege to serve the people of the State of Wisconsin." 

Yes, it is. Try to remember this like ... now. 

Aug 7, 2013

Another Day of Walker-ordered Arrests at the Capitol

Update II: I recommend Eric Dolan's piece in Raw Story.

Update: Mostly, Veterans and tourists arrested today, Leslie Amsterdam reports.

Scott Walker continues to believe that the People's House, the Capitol, the splendid public open space is off-limits, and is just another Department of Administration property that Walker could sell, if he wanted.

Meanwhile, Scott Walker plays the lucrative I'm-thinking-about-running-for-president game.

Well, Tim Russell—Walker's personally appointed embezzler of veterans' money—should be out of prison soon, time enough to join the Walker for President campaign, if Walker is serious.

Blue Cheddar Live Blogging at the Wisconsin Capitol

Click this link to see live feed of Wisconsin state capitol as police persist in circling and warning those who "spectate."

Wisconsin Citizens: Film and Record Everything

Officer Syphard and two new hires. Officer Michael J. Syphard
grabbed a photographer and threw him to the ground this week
Syphard was not on duty yesterday.Sloey,
reached by phone this morning said that he cannot comment on Syphard
or related matters.
Photo by Craig Spaulding

Here's some contact information that some of you may find useful, from the Solidarity Sing Along:

Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin
Phone: (608) 266-1212
Mailing Address: Office of Governor Scott Walker, 115 East Capitol, Madison, WI 53702

Mike Huebsch, Secretary of the Department of Administration
Phone: (608) 266-1741
Mailing Address: Office of the Secretary, 101 East Wilson Street, Madison, WI 53703

David Erwin, State Capitol Police Chief
Phone: (608) 266-8797
Mailing Address: Wisconsin Capitol Police, B2 North State Capitol, Madison, WI 53702

Scott Walker's Cops: Even Watching Means You Are Now Subject to Arrest

Wisconsin citizen holding sign inside state capitol
in the week of August 5 - Photo by Blue Cheddar
How I wish this headline were a Jonathan Swift reductio ad absurdum comment.

It's not, it's a fact.

Outrage and disgust at Republican Party grows as GOP cops now try to quell even watching, "spectating" as the circling cops say, other citizens singing.


"This event has been declared unlawful by the secretary (of the GOP's Wisconsin Department of Administration, Mike Huebsch,) You could be subject to arrest."

Such are the words of capitol cops, just following orders, circling the capitol warning families, children, veterans, legislators, anyone to stay away from their capitol.

It is only time before a Judge orders court-appointed marshals in to protect capitol visitors from the GOP's capitol police.

"Two journalists, Nicole Schulte and Leslie Peterson, were actually chased by police officers who tried to grab their cameras. They continued to film the arrests and were not themselves arrested. But Greg Kinsley and Jeremy Ryan were arrested for filming," reports Reccaca Kimble in The Progressive. "Every noon hour in the Wisconsin State Capitol rotunda feels a little bit different. Today it felt like a prison."

Just as the GOP intends.

These warnings themselves chill and prevent the First Amendment as well as the Wisconsin Constitution; no judge would fail to toss GOP-issued citations for breathing, walking and observing at the capitol. Or singing for that matter.

And that's what this is: A Republican effort to keep non-GOP people away from the capitol.

Cops have been filed throwing a photographer to the ground for filming an arrest. (Check the link for his thoughts.)

Think this is hyperbole. Watch this videos, as the capitol police are walking around the rotunda, harassing people for "spectating" and declaring "you could be subject to arrest."

Here is a video of a lone woman, in her young 20s, being harassed by a capitol cop for reasons surpassing comprehension.

Now, capitol officers are patrolling the capitol rotunda walking up to lawmakers, staffers, state workers and families to ensure none are there to sing or watch, or "spectate."

Susan C. writes (via Rock Netroots):
"As I was walking out of the capitol today I overheard two women, shepherding four children, aged 6-10, talking about how 'horrible it was in there today.' I turned around and engaged them. It turned out they had to leave because one of the little girls was so scared she never wanted to go back in the capitol again. I asked, 'Afraid of the singers?' Her mom looked at me like I was crazy. She said, 'No, the police.'

Here's video of a capitol cop harassing a family (they look very dangerous, especially the young man of approximately 12-dangerous-years)

Wisconsin Rep Sandy Pope (D-Middleton) was threatened with arrest at Capitol for observing Solidarity Sing Along, reports Isthmus.

Outrage is growing:

"My friend, a fellow veteran of the war in Vietnam who has, with due diligence, generally overcome Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, fell after being handcuffed in the Capitol by Walker’s new cops (last week). My friend’s back was injured and he was taken to a hospital after this uncalled-for violence. He wasn’t physically resisting anything. He was—-he’d be the first to point this out—-politically and spiritually resisting unfairness, oppression, and intolerance. My friend has experienced those transgressions before and after his service as a decorated and wounded war veteran." 

Today through August 11 is the National Veterans For Peace Convention held in Madison. 

Look for more GOP cops to bust some veterans today for not being Republican. 

But this fight for democracy against the Republican Party has already been won by Wisconsin citizens.

Aug 4, 2013

GOP Newspaper Keeps Up GOP Propaganda on Singing Citzens

Let-others-do-their-thing commitment by the solidarity singers puts lie to the GOP's stated rationale for targeting singers—GOP is trying to keep the capitol accessible for everyone

In gay-hostile Russia, singing citizens out-of-favor with the government (such as it is) are thrown in prison and treated like animals.

In gay-hostile Wisconsin (where the GOP holds sway), singing citizens out-of-favor with Scott Walker (wherever he is) are arrested and given $200 citations, handed out by the dozen.

It's pathetic for a GOP government to target its citizens systematically and fine them for perceived anti-Scott Walker sentiments.

Supporting this anti-American taxing requires a propaganda apparatus, which WMTV-Madison, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and the Wisconsin State Journal (Madison) supply for the authoritarian Republican Party's benefit.

Nothing is wrong with propaganda per se, but the Wisconsin State Journal, for example, should be straight with its readers and inform them: We support Scott Walker and the Republican Party and compose our newspaper accordingly, if the editors wish to be honest.

Sunday's Wisconsin State Journal features a banner headline "Experts dispute singers' defense" on the Solidarity Singalong.

The truth of the subject of the piece is quite different from the headline.

An honest headline would read, "Experts say GOP officials cannot target singers."

The piece is written by Matthew DeFour, a talented and reliably Republican writer, at least as his copy is run in the State Journal.

For some two years in Madison, meeting daily at noonish at the Capitol, some Wisconsin citizens sing civil rights anthems, among other anti-Walker expressions and miscellaneous songs.

The meeting is organic. Some folks come often, some folks drop by.

If some other group has an event the singers will move outside and sing songs, a fact DeFour ignores in his GOP propaganda piece today, repeated by omission in the State Journal's refusal to state this fact in its coverage.

This let-others-do-their-thing commitment by the singers of course puts the lie to the GOP's stated rationale for targeting the singers—that the GOP is just trying to keep the Capitol accessible for everyone—a falsehood stated as fact by DeFour this morning.

We Shall Overcome is a favorite of the singers', to the Republicans' chagrin.

Folks have been singing this anthem for decades in the civil rights movement, acclaiming the humanity of African-Americans and others who are oppressed, to the Republicans' disapproval. Singing is merely another form of exercising our first amendment right of freedom of expression. In Wisconsin, those who have sworn to uphold the Constitution are the very people who are violating it.

Republicans remain unhappy with Americans of color and their well ... breathing; in fairness breathing is okay as long as they breathe somewhere other than the Capitol building.

Madison Capitol police follow GOP orders, arresting and ticketing anyone per the GOP's David Erwin, Walker's former security guard now playing Capitol police chief (who began 'cracking down' on singing last year) and the GOP's Department of Administration (DoA) Secretary Mike Huebsch.

As usual, the State Journal spins, frames, and contorts this morning's copy to present the most GOP-friendly message to readers.

Buried on the inside (most readers don't read that far) of DeFour's piece in the State Journal are paragraphs admitting that the State through Scott Walker and DoA's Huebsch's (the Republican Party politico whom the State Journal refuses to identify as such) targeting of citizens because they are against Scott Walker is unconstitutional.

Also buried is the fact that Walker has been hostile to anti-Walker displays since he privately admitted he "dropped a bomb" on Wisconsin citizens whom he assiduously avoids today even as he pretends to run for president.

Will Williams, longtime Madison peace activist and Noon hour
singer at Wisconsin Capitol July, 31, 2013. Photo: Leslie Amsterdam
Walker, Erwin and Huebsch will continue the GOP's policy of cracking down on out-of-favor, singing citizens for the time they remain in office.

Citizens will insist on redressing their grievances, though I have heard young visiting families with children who are louder than the singers'.

Nothing wrong with that; we support families.

This is America; Walker, Erwin and Huebsch should grow up and realize that most people reject a Russia-like vision of government enforcing Party orthodoxy.

In the meantime, the least the GOP can do is stop arresting and handcuffing seniors in their 80s and veterans.

Failing that, the very, very least the GOP can do is: Stop  handcuffing and arresting 70-year-old Vietnam combat veterans, letting them fall down marble stairs while in GOP police custody and leaving them to lie on the stairs, to the GOP's officers' apparent contempt.

This is how people get hurt.

I'm not sure what unlawful and immoral activity the Wisconsin Capitol police would refuse to commit, if ordered. I posed that question to someone identifying himself as a Lieutenant in 2011. 

He refused to answer.

Jul 27, 2013

The New Face of Wisconsin under Scott Walker

Disgust is widespread; but does Walker care or is he too busy with his hand out at a fundraiser?

Will Scott Walker issue apology? Will local broadcast television broadcast the despicable action of Walker, the Dept of Administration and the Capitol Police.?

Under Orders from Scott Walker, Police Arrest Marine, Step on His Folded U.S. Flag on the Ground

Wisconsin Capitol police arrest a child for singing
(circled in red shirt)
This is Wisconsin under Scott Walker: Arresting a Marine and stepping his flag into the ground; and then arresting a young child for singing.

See also Walker Distorts Court’s Ruling to Justify Dissident ArrestsMadison National Lawyers Guild Again Calls for Capitol Police to Respect Constitutional Rights of Peaceful Anti-Walker Singers.

Writes Blue Cheddar:

Dept. of Administration Secretary Michael Huebsch, announcing the impending arrests on Wednesday, which included two people aged 80 and over and two journalists, claimed that the state was “enforcing” Judge Conley’s ruling, as if the judge had directed arrests. The decision issued in the lawsuit filed against Huebsch and Capitol Police Chief David Erwin did not direct arrests. Nor did it find that the state’s permitting scheme was constitutional, despite such claims by DOA spokesperson Stephanie Marquise. An injunction was issued because the court determined that the permitting scheme was improperly content based and overly broad, and that the plaintiff Michael Kissick had shown a likelihood of success in his case against Huebsch and Erwin. One of Kissick’s attorneys, Larry Dupuis of the A.C.L.U. of Wisconsin, issued a press release condemning the misrepresentation of Judge Conley’s ruling by Secretary Huebsch and the DOA’s media handlers.

“Rather than impose a blanket prohibition on enforcing the existing permitting scheme, however, the court will preliminarily enjoin defendants from (1) distinguishing based on the content of the speech between “rallies” and other events for permitting purposes inside the Capitol and (2) enforcing the permit requirement for gatherings expected to draw 20 or fewer persons inside the Capitol rotunda itself. Of course, nothing in this decision prohibits enforcement of existing laws and regulations that restrict disruptive noise or other disorderly conduct,” wrote Judge Conley granting the injunction against enforcement of the rules as rewritten by the DOA on an “emergency” basis in April, 2013

Arresting a Marine and stepping his flag into the ground

Jul 24, 2013

Republicans Again Arrest and Detain 20 Citizens at Capitol, Including Journalist

Madison Capitol Police Arrest Singers and Observers
Via  Blue Cheddar, GilesGoatBoy and Support for Solidarity Sing Along

Scott Walker and Republican are starting up again their mass arrests of Wisconsin citizens for singing in public today.

Not good news for the Republicans as this time WKOW TV was there, as well as the Madison Radion Station, 92.1 The Mic personality, Dominic Salvia who was not singing and was arrested.

Said Bob Jauch (D-Poplar, Wisconsin): "My God, people have a right to sing. The administration is upset with the views of the people who are there and they’re trying to remove them from their Capitol."

Greg Neumann of WKOW has lots of shots of the mass police civil liberties violations.

Look at these dangerous people surrounding by Madison Capitol Police - Maybe these guys need to get outside more and understand that serving as Walker's palace guard does not square with their oaths to defend the Constitution.

Apr 12, 2013

Scott Walker Signs 'Emergency' Rules to Stop Singing and 'Hazards'

Local Broadcast Madison Television Maintains Blackout of Footage of Police Citing Citizens for Singing or Holding a Piece of Paper 

Update: See One Day Longer, 25 Months Stronger: the Solidarity Sing Along Draws Hope from the Next Generation.

Scott Walker continues his quest to stop Wisconsin citizens' open display of disagreement with Scott Walker's policies on the state capitol building grounds.

In a new development, Walker has signed "emergency" rules that "say that any person who refuses to remove or correct 'any hazardous situation' at the request of any department [Department of Administration] employee will be subject to citation, and lists hazards such as 'displays, decorations, signs, banners or the like.'" (Spicuzza. Wisconsin State Journal)

Next week, "a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union against the Walker administration over the citations is scheduled to have a hearing in federal court," notes the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. (Stein)

The Walker administration has remained silent in the face of requests to disclose who initiated the new crackdown, and the new emergency rules against protesters and why.

Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison) held a press conference yesterday in which Taylor said, "I was denied any correspondence I've requested between the Department of Administration and the Capitol Police. These are public documents that we have a right to see, that we have a right to know about and this administration is refusing to provide that information."

Legal observers see the Walker crackdown against those opposing his policies as unconstitutional.

Several times in the past two years, Walker and his Department of Administration Secretary Huebsch were ordered by judges to open the capitol that Walker ordered closed.

Walker and the capitol police have since Walker (in his words) "dropped the bomb" on Wisconsin in his surprise attack on the right of workers to unionize, at times turned the state capitol into what State Sen. Fred Risser (D-Madison) said in 2011 was an "armed fortress."

The Capitol Police chief appointed by the Walker administration, Dave Erwin, has walked out of a meeting with state legislators in the past after being asked for the specifics of his policy and how he intends to protect the rights of Wisconsin citizens.

From September 2012 in which Erwin continued his harassment of Wisconsin citizens speaking and singing against Scott Walker:

Apr 7, 2013

Wisconsin Crackdown on Public Displays of Anti-Scott Walker Thought

Capitol Police Officers David Davis and Justin Clemens react
to the recitation of Article 1 Section 4 of the
Wisconsin State Constitution. Photo by Lisa Wells
If you live in Wisconsin, politically opposing Scott Walker at the ballot box or at the state capitol building is presumed by Republicans to be illegitimate, civilly incorrect and illegal, and possibly a criminal offence.

Scott Walker-appointed judges get defeated at the ballot box, and Walker terms this "unfortunate," causing Walker to issue the incredible public statements that he will not fill judicial vacancies in Dane County, Wisconsin unless would-be judges agree to not run for reelection. This because voters decided to vote for the wrong candidate.

Now, as Jason Huberty reports: "After a two-month lull, the Walker Administration’s crackdown on dissent in the Wisconsin State Capitol has kicked back into high gear. On Thursday April 4th, six Capitol Police officers marched down the stairs of the State Street entrance to the Capitol and handed out nine long-form complaints to three participants of the Solidarity Sing Along," a group that meets at Noon at the capitol on weekdays and sings for an hour.

Capitol Police march down the capitol stairs
to deliver new citations for singing.
Photo by Dawn Henke.
Judge after judge has thrown out of court citations issued by Walker's Department of Administration against Wisconsin citizens who sing "We Shall Overcome," and other subversive songs for this one hour at the capitol, and as Huberty notes stopping singing has resulted in "nearly seventy dismissals and zero successful prosecutions."

So now, a new tactic by Walker (who really, really wants to stop this singing) is to have "new long-form complaints (citations) ... issued from the office of the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DoJ)," as Huberty notes, working in conjunction with the state capitol police.

Not one capitol police officer has refused to go along with this ridiculous and unconstitutional crackdown on people who disagree with Scott Walker.

Wisconsin Constitution, Article One
Not one Republican officeholder has said, 'what in the hell are you doing?'

Not one Republican officeholder or Tea Partier has said, 'look at the Wisconsin Constitution (for starters): "The right of the people peaceably to assemble, to consult for the common good, and to petition the government, or any department thereof, shall never be abridged."

Not one editorial in local broadcast television has spoken out against Walker and his attempt to silence dissent.

State capitol police, the Wisconsin Department of Justice, the Wisconsin Department of Administration are committing 1,000s of work hours towards stopping displays that petition the Wisconsin government under Scott Walker.

Don't Scott Walker and our corrupt, Republican attorney general really have better things on which to expend Wisconsin resources than stopping singing?

Few, outside of progressive media, and civil rights groups and attorneys such as Lester Pines have spoken out in defense of fundamental constitutional rights.

Instead, we have today's Wisconsin State Journal lede editorial, headlined:  "National buzz bodes well for Wisconsin," referring to Scott Walker's efforts to be mentioned as a presidential candidate for 2016.

Jan 26, 2013

Wisconsin GOP: Cracking down on Wisconsin citizens

Will Wisconsin's Scott Walker, Walker's disgraceful political hit-man Chief David Erwin and the Republican Party succeed in suppressing citizens' popular will at the Wisconsin state capitol?

A lot of bystanders around.

And the Wisconsin Democratic Party has since before the Recall refused to speak out for the rights of citizens attacked (literally) practicing their constitutional rights.

In Wisconsin, citizen groups and pissed-off lawyers are responsible for ensuring the rights of Wisconsin citizens.

The state Democratic Party has taken a pass, and continues to do so.

Sep 19, 2012

Cops Blast Walker, DOA, and Capitol Police Brass for Violations of Freedom

Update II: "In response, [Chief] Erwin said that it was 'unfortunate' that the unions issued a statement without talking to his department first. 'Our officers would never judge another police department's enforcement without knowing the facts of the situation,' Erwin said in a written statement (PDF)." (Davidoff. Isthmus)

Chief Erwin ought to consider that his walking out of a meeting with a state representative and his actions against Wisconsin citizens present an unacceptable situation, and that making this public communication in support of constitutional rights ought not to present a problem for a police force if in fact it is dedicated to upholding the law, and not merely a political force for Scott Walker.

Blue Courage, Chief Erwin, look into it.

Update: Worth noting as Chief Erwin and Scott Walker's regime expend $10,000 of tax payer money to stop sing-alongs and sign holding is the fact that the federal (and Wisconsin's) constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press are so expansive in our country (though not so very popular) that the state cannot lawfully halt even the "advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action." Brandenburg v. Ohio (395 U.S. 444) (1969) [per curiam opinion of the United States Supreme Court] And we're just talking about Wisconsin folk gathering together to sing a song.

I recommend reading the concurring opinion in Branderburg by Justice William O. Douglas as well. "One's beliefs have long been thought to be sanctuaries which government could not invade," writes Douglas.

Jurists such as Douglas and Justice Black were champions of free speech. When one considers their commitment and contributions to the annals of freedom, and then considers Scott Walker, Sec. Huebsch and Chief Erwin, it is clear why law enforcement associations below write, "If the current trajectory of these policies continues, we do not believe that history will judge the leaders of this state kindly with respect to the free speech rights of its citizens."

The Madison Professional Police Officers Association and Dane County Deputy Sheriffs Association released the following joint statement on the denial of freedoms by Capitol Police acting under order from DOA Sec. Huebsch and Scott Walker.
The statements reads:

In February of 2011, tens of thousands of Wisconsinites travelled to our state Capitol in order to have their voices heard. It was truly a remarkable time in Wisconsin's history, where people from all sides of a political issue came together in one place to peacefully demonstrate. There was an exceptional relationship between the protesters and on-duty law enforcement officers during this time, and Madison saw none of the strife or violence that has touched other protest movements nationwide.

The on-duty officers acted in a truly exemplary manner during the 2011 protests. They were professional and courteous, and performed their duties impartially in order to protect the free speech rights of all parties involved. These officers, from countless jurisdictions across Wisconsin, set an example for the world to follow regarding the role of the police during peaceful citizen protests. Part of the reason they were able to accomplish this was that the leaders of these agencies were extremely sensitive to the free speech rights of all participants, and as such, did not place their officers in positions that would infringe upon those rights.

It is within this context that we have been watching with alarm the recent developments at the Wisconsin State Capitol. In recent weeks, the Department of Administration (DOA) and the leadership within the Capitol Police have commenced enforcement action against peaceful protesters coming to the Capitol. Officers have been ordered to arrest and cite protesters whose only offense is the silent carrying of a sign. Other protesters have been cited for gathering for the "Solidarity Sing-along," a non-violent group of citizens who sing every day over the noon hour. The Solidarity Singers have been particularly cognizant of the needs of other groups who also want to utilize the Capitol, and frequently relocate outside the Capitol to be respectful of those needs. They are now being cited for assembly at the Capitol without a permit.

The right to free speech and the right to peaceful assembly are two of the fundamental rights upon which our democracy is based. Since the birth of our nation, the courts have taken great pains to protect these rights vigorously, and view any infringement upon these rights with great skepticism. We believe the recent enforcement action at the Capitol clearly violates these rights in a way that should be unacceptable in a free society.

To be perfectly clear, our grievance is not with the officers of the Capitol Police. These officers have performed admirably for over a year and a half under very trying circumstances. We believe that the recent policy change at the Capitol presents a substantial safety risk to the officers who are tasked with its implementation. Simply stated, these officers are being forced into emotionally-charged confrontations that are neither necessary nor advisable.

The Capitol Police officers are also the only participants in this situation who stand to lose their livelihood and ability to support their families. These officers are particularly vulnerable due to the fact that they lost their collective bargaining rights with countless other public employees under Act 10. This statement is as much a statement in support of these officers as it is a statement condemning the policies of the DOA and the leadership of the Capitol Police. These officers are being placed in an impossible position.

We are asking the Department of Administration, the leadership of the Capitol Police, and the Governor's Office to respect the core values and freedoms upon which this great state and nation were founded, and cease their infringement upon these freedoms. Wisconsin has a rich tradition of open government and free expression of ideas, and we ask that these individuals uphold this tradition in a manner worthy of their positions of public trust. If the current trajectory of these policies continues, we do not believe that history will judge the leaders of this state kindly with respect to the free speech rights of its citizens. .

Sep 18, 2012

Blue Courage Needed at Madison, Wisconsin Capitol

Blue Courage

Update: See Madison Police Chief David C. Couper's (ret.) Piece,  “Blue Courage” — Coming to a Police Station Near You?

Wisconsin Capitol Police Chief, David Erwin, please take note of Blue Courage.

The rights of Wisconsin citizens are sacred. And you have an equally sacred duty to protect these rights.

Your actions are faltering. You do not serve a corrupt governor and his minions.

Your calling, when you took your oath, is much higher.

You're a Marine as well; and damn well know better.

Please consider attending a Blue Courage workshop; at the least I'd wager you would walk away feeling you met some extraordinary people.

I think your policing the People's House would change, radically, as a direct result.

"Blue Courage is a way of being, a philosophy that inspires one to embody the noblest of character and unquestioned devotion. It is to flourish in all aspects of life, to act with practical wisdom, to exude vitality, and to hearten human connections."

Blue Courage is a transformational two day leadership development workshop designed for all levels of the organization. This revolutionary educational process is designed to touch hearts, awaken minds and ignite spirits through dynamic presentations and learning processes. If your interest is self-improvement, increased engagement, stress-management, developing resilience, igniting culture change, combating cynicism, while improving overall health and well-being, then Blue Courage is waiting for you to answer the call!"

Sep 17, 2012

Capitol Police Arrest Woman for Carrying Book and Talking with Friend as Police Targeting of Political Movement Continues

Capitol Police deny liberty of Wisconsin citizen
Photo credit: Leslie Amsterdam
Update: Capitol Police Chief David Erwin ... is "a complete walking joke." Ludicrous, yes; but a corrupt cop is always a clear and present danger to the public.

Wisconsin has a problem. No, Wisconsin has an outrage. The GOP's strategy with the complicity of the corrupt Capitol Chief David Erwin appears to be 'turning the magnificent public space of out capitol into a closed and closely controlled place of business for corporations, their lobbyists and their bought and paid for Supreme Court, Governor and Republican legislature
.' (Kemble)
Sure, part of the problem is a lawless governor and the Dept. of Administration (DOA) Secretary Mike Huebsch.

Another problem is a corrupt cop, Capitol Chief David Erwin, who feels entitled to threaten journalists. See Isthmus staff taking photos of Wisconsin Capitol police are threatened with 'obstruction.'

Citizens protesting, we know they're fair game to Erwin.

It's worse.

Erwin is actually sending his troops out to citizens' homes and places of work to intimidate citizens, so dedicated is he to his project of targeting a lawful political movement.

And last Friday, a woman, a military veteran, and her friend went to their capitol to protest the sleazy politicians on the take from billionaires.

For this they accordingly constitute what Capitol Chief David Erwin described as a "chaotic" situation in an interview with WKOW.

While walking through the capitol, the pair was surrounded and assaulted by capitol police, acting on the orders of Erwin, the DOA and ultimately Scott Walker.

WTDY reports: "The woman, who is a veteran, was rushed by ambulance to the veteran's hospital. No word on her condition. Her companion was detained by police to be processed in the Capitol basement."

What if this woman—who has a heart condition—were to have died after the Capitol police assault?

And what is the cause for this random arrest?

John Peterson, and WTDY have the story. Rebecca Kemble at The Progressive offers a more comprehensive treatment.

Let's hope civil liberties law suits are filed to halt Erwin from his lawless action that has now veered past denying liberty (bad enough) into physically endangering the health of Wisconsin citizens.

Lisa Wells received a home visit from the
Capitol Police with these two citations.
Photo by Rebecca Kemble
The actions of Erwin ought be challenged again and again with massive protests and innovative political action.

The rule of law and the rights enshrined in the Wisconsin Constitution are not suggestions for Scott Walker and Erwin to follow only if they feel inclined. But we do have precisely this situation.

Wisconsin Constitution, Article One, damn the permits, full speed ahead.

The great jurist, Louis Dembitz Brandeis (1856-1941), wrote, "If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable."

We do have respectable law and a model Constitution. But as a law enforcement official, Erwin is a disgrace.

If Walker and Erwin think their thuggery will stop Wisconsin citizens from exercising their rights to challenge the crooks at the capitol, they are as misinformed about the Wisconsin movement as they are about the guarantees of liberty of which we are vested.

The temptation to borrow from Justice Brandeis is irresistible. To conclude: "The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding."

Without understanding. This describes Erwin perfectly, one would think. Scott Walker on the other hand we know is duplicitous.

Closer examination, however, reveals ignorance is not a refuge for Erwin. Consider Rebecca Kemble's reports for The Progressive magazine.

Writes Kemble.

Since making his first public comments in the press in August after being named Chief this summer, Erwin has waged a two-pronged assault on political dissent and free speech in Wisconsin’s Capitol

The first part of his strategy is to carefully craft a narrative of chaos, disorder and fear. He describes the people who feel their voice is not heard in state government under the Scott Walker regime who use the rotunda as a public place to air their grievances as rowdy, noisy protesters who disrupt the business of the people who work in the building.

In tightly controlled appearances in a few selected media outlets, Erwin reproduces unverified stories of legislative staffers being harassed by citizens coming into their offices asking them questions aggressively, and young children being afraid of the loud singing that takes place every day at noon in the rotunda.

Erwin has given long interviews to rightwing public relations outfits Wisconsin Reporter and the MacIver Institute, as well as to Wisconsin Eye. In each of these he claims that he is a non-partisan public employee who respects everybody’s right to free speech. But in an interview with WKOW he said, “There is a time and place for free speech, and we reserve the right to regulate that a little bit.”

In the interview with Wisconsin Reporter that was published on Monday this week, a day before the 11th anniversary of the bombing of the world trade center and the Pentagon, Erwin said, “And so we have a group of people that come here, and last week they were holding signs and they are part of this group that, for lack of a better word, are terrorizing people at this Capitol.”

It is easy for Erwin to make these kinds of inflammatory, unsubstantiated statements to a rightwing publication who will never challenge him on the veracity of the statement. But when he does not make himself available for questions to a broader range of journalists and when his public statements are so few and far between, it’s easy for these lies to take on a life of their own, be picked up by other news agencies as truth.

The second part of the strategy is to harass and intimidate people by issuing citations to people for administrative code violations that the arresting officers do not seem to understand and cannot explain. They have also begun to step up their visible presence at the daily noontime Solidarity Sing Along. In addition to taking notes, now there are one or two officers walking around the building videotaping every person in attendance.

In a strongly-worded letter to Mike Huebsch, Secretary of the Department of Administration, a group of Dane County state legislators strongly objected to the recent arrests saying, “The Capitol police’s response to individuals peacefully protesting is now verging on ridiculous.” They called on Secretary Huebsch to meet with them after his assistant Wendy Coomer and Chief Erwin walked out of a meeting with Rep. Chris Taylor the week before.

It is difficult to understand where this so-called law enforcement strategy is heading, since it seems to be generating more negative publicity for the Capitol police than for the citizens who are asserting their constitutional rights. In his interview with the MacIver Institute, Erwin said that if his law enforcement efforts failed, he would have to consider restricting public access to the building.

This is something his boss Mike Huebsch has wanted to do since the historic protests erupted a year and a half ago. However, in March 2011, Dane County Circuit Court Judge Albert ordered the building be as open and accessible to the public as it had been prior to the uprising. Perhaps the strategy is to intentionally fail so they can justify turning the magnificent public space into a closed and closely controlled place of business for corporations, their lobbyists and their bought and paid for Supreme Court, Governor and Republican legislature.