My son asks me how I’m doing and I say I’m good and nobody got arrested today.
He replies, “Oh? And you expected people to get arrested?”
I look at him and blink a lot.
“Yeah. That’s been the thing for 4 out of the last 5 weekdays. Over 20 arrests 3 days in a row. Then 1 arrest on Monday. Then 30 arrests yesterday. Now today, zero.”
He says, “Arrested for what?”
I say, “Mostly for singing.”
Then we discuss the concept of a permit to protest. Then whether anybody got hurt. Then what Judge Conley said and what is political speech.
My son concludes the conversation with an assurance that Judge Conley will sort this out and he says that police are always arresting people without consulting the law.
I conclude it all by saying, “Here’s what we all do know: We all know that at least 50 people came to the rotunda of the Wisconsin capitol building fully prepared to be arrested for singing today.”
[I think I could really say more than 50. There was some confusion that sent some people outside to sing but… well… read on]
NBC 15, we make the news, YOU report!
[credit for that goes to Lisa Wells]
NBC 15 of Madison reserved the 1st floor of the capitol building for their use, specifically for a singing event of up to 25 people. Then they had nobody show up to use that permit and they did not inform anybody present at the capitol that they didn’t need it. Or if they did inform capitol staff, nobody informed the mass of us present.
I learned that NBC 15 would not be coming to use their permit by making a call to Russ Bruhn their news director shortly after noon today. Craig Spaulding also did the same.
Brian Standing went straight to the cops for his information and got a clearer picture of what was up:
“…When I asked one of the Capitol Police, he told me that since there was a permit — even though it wasn’t OUR permit, that there would be no arrests today…” [that’s a portion of one of his facebook comments tonight]
Steve Elbow of Cap Times has written in his article today that “the Solidarity Sing Along had a permit”. The newspaper also sends that message in the title of the article which is, “A break in Capitol arrests as Solidarity Sing Along skates on NBC 15’s permit”.
I understood that we were in the rotunda at ground floor – not the 1st floor which is where the permitted NBC 15 event was to take place. I also think you’d have to be daft to mistake the assembled for a bunch of NBC 15 singers and I’ve never gotten the impression that anybody could just ride under somebody else’s permit.
It doesn’t seem to make sense given that the permit holder is liable for damages incurred during their use of the capitol.
*Remember that liable for damages thing because that’s important to today’s “skating” on somebody else’s permit business.*
Steve Elbow contacted Bruhn to get answers and I’ll share a portion of his work here:
Bruhn says the news story the permit was obtained for aimed to show viewers what getting a permit was like.
“It was designed to show, even if people didn’t want to go through the permit process, what’s it like, what are they up against,” he says.
Reporter Rachelle Baillon was able to get a permit in less than three hours.
“It seemed like it was a pretty easy process for us to go through,” Bruhn says.
Monday’s permitted gathering was to “just show up and finish the process,” he says.
And on the fact that NBC 15’s permit apparently led to a temporary truce?
“I don’t know if that’s good or bad,” Bruhn says. “I really don’t have an opinion on that.”
Wow. Excuse me for a moment while I bang my head on the desk once or twice.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
OK. I’m back.
As for showing viewers what it was like to reserve a space in the capitol building by having a NBC 15 reporter call it in annnnd reserve it under the “NBC 15” name – really? People who oppose Scott Walker in song are now interchangeable with NBC 15 reporters or “The Press”?
Its as if NBC 15’s news director is maintaining a feigned ignorance of any politically motivated activity that’s occurred in Wisconsin for the past 2 years.
And returning to the liability for damages that any group or individual carries for reservation of a State of Wisconsin-owned space, it’s as if the news director has forgotten that protesters were blamed for a quoted $7.5 million dollars in damages to the capitol in 2011,
that he has forgotten that the media blasted that figure and story through the land,
that he has forgotten that later that figure got knocked down to $350,000 but that the lower figure wasn’t really similarly blasted through the media halls of Wisconsin,
its as if he is oblivious that many citizens of this fair state still believe that capitol occupiers tore their own beloved capitol apart to the tune of $7.5 million in required repairs.
I just know somebody is thinking right now – Jeez! She is being too heavy in laying this $7.5 million story down AGAIN.
My dear readers, just today I went to a discussion session after the singalong and again that $7.5 million dollar slur against us was recounted. Swear to god I hear about it almost every visit to the capitol and I heard over and over from people who canvassed and collected recall signatures that the people out there in the greater state still believe that.
That is a lie that Scott Walker’s DOA successfully propagated with the aid of the press. Now, no surprise, a great deal of mistrust exists between people who oppose Scott Walker and Scott Walker’s administration – ESPECIALLY WHEN WE’RE TALKING ABOUT USE OF THE CAPITOL BUILDING
between those very same folks and The Press.
Didn’t think it could get worse.
NBC 15 proved me wrong today.
For continued reading:
Giles Goat Boy at Daily Kos brings up more questions on NBC 15 and he observes that the AP story that is currently at NBC 15’s own site makes no mention of NBC 15’s own involvement in the story.
Clearly it is too much to expect “full disclosure” at NBC 15’s web site or at Associated Press.
Here’s what they ran on TV today which isn’t exactly awesome coverage but it does disclose their permit involvement:
Here’s NBC 15’s it’s-so-easy-to-get-a-permit story from July 26, 2013.
Going back to the assembled singers:
I should also note that the bunch of people who went outside so as to not offend imaginary NBC 15 singers did return somewhere in the middle of the lunch hour to the rotunda proper.
* Sort of an important asterisk this time:
It is much like that “80 signature” story attributed to Ken Wainscott of WISN who interviewed an unnamed man in an undisclosed location in December of 2011.
Man Tells 12 News He Has Signed 80 Petitions To Recall Gov. Walker
That story reverberated with a fever through the net, TV stations, and in paper.
In the end, G.A.B. found no signatures from that man. “Our staff has done a search for his name on recall petitions. The name does not show up on any recall petitions offered for filing”
But that didn’t get out until March of 2012 and only in a trickle. That large chunk of damage to the recall was already so done by then you could stick a fork in it.