Nobody Buys DOA Disinformation at Wisconsin Capitol

About 30-50 people gathered in the Capitol building’s basement this morning to question Chief Tubbs and a Department of Administration rep. on a new policy that will — among other things — force protesters at Wisconsin’s Capitol building to pay for additional law enforcement and treat groups of 4 or more people as “rallies”. DOA’s Deputy Secretary Chris Schoenherr asserted repeatedly he is not an attorney and could not answer legal questions about policy. Answers from Tubbs and Schoenherr were usually variations on the following:
1- “I’m not going to respond to a hypothetical situation.”
2- “The policy is based on Chapter 2 in the administrative code. Our legal team believes it is defendable.”

Brian S. asked about the “hypothetical” on everybody’s mind:
“”Let’s say that whenever the implementation date is, that there are 150 singers in the rotunda, are you prepared to make 150 arrests if those people do not voluntarily comply?”
Tubbs: I’m not going to respond to a hypothetical
Brian S.: It is not a hypothetical.
Tubbs: We will evaluate that situation. I am not going to give up the ability we have as a law enforcement agency to professionally deal with a situation that could be questionable.” The Solidarity Sing Along group has been singing at noon every weekday at the Capitol since March 11. Song leader Chris Reeder has made it clear the group is not going to get a permit to “exercise our free speech rights”.

One of the “hypotheticals” posed by Katy R. was: “If I want to bring 3 members of my family to see the holiday tree – if we have the same sentiment that we want to express at the same time – is that going to turn this into a rally?”

Schoenherr replied, “It is a practical matter. That’s something we’ll have to work out on an individual basis… If you want to just have your family here and say ‘God bless America’ that would be OK.

I think Schoenherr has no clue how disturbing that comment sounded.

Greg P. used Schoenherr’s comment to frame the perilous state that DOA’s policy puts free speech in:
“.. it would be so easy for these procedures to be selectively enforced. You said before if people want to come to the Christmas tree lighting and say “God bless America” that would be OK. But that’s a problem. What if people want to come to the Christmas tree lighting and say “God damn America”. – – those are equivalent things and if you enforce this on people that say “God damn America” and not “God bless America”, that is a serious problem”.

Assembly Representative Chris Taylor said that the DOA’s restricted Capitol policy is at the top of her constituents’ minds. She said, “..it really seems to be we are imposing a fee on people’s exercise of their constitutional rights if we’re going to say you have to pay to participate in a large gathering. Then we’re saying in order to express yourself politically, you’re going to have to pay to do that and I don’t know how you all are going to get around some really settled constitutional provisions.”

The response to Rep. Taylor: Answer #2.

Ed K. expressed outright anger for charging for protest: “This is a user fee. We get a policy that’s raising taxes on specific people making use of this building. That’s objectionable. It’s against all of the history of this state…” He added that the public should see what account the money would go to and what would be done with it.”

Ed K. requested both a copy of the previous policy on protests and a base line of regular staffing – such as what might be learned by studying a year’s worth of Capitol officer time sheets. His 2nd request was rebuffed by Tubbs who said that he could not give that information out for security reasons.

Tim R. asked a key question on timing:
“I don’t believe that the question of ‘Why now?’ has been answered adequately at all. You would forgive us all for concluding that this governor will not countenance any dissent. He will not countenance free speech. I recall him saying some months ago ‘Oh the solidarity singers. Those are 20 teachers. Who cares.’ Well it is more than 20 teachers. There’s a lot of people there. It seems to me it is rubbing him the wrong way and THAT is why we are getting this policy and I would like an answer to that.”

DOA disinformation capitol education

The official answer to this “Why now?” question was given already, but it was just so weak, nobody accepted it. Schoenherr said DOA changed the policy now because (1) DOA didn’t believe it had 1 document to answer the public’s questions on permits and (2) There is a precedent set with the status of a lawsuit filed by Ben Masel.

Leslie A. brought files on 3 lawsuits to the meeting. They originated with the late Ben Masel and established that Wisconsinites do not need a permit for assembly in the Capitol or on the Capitol grounds and do not need a permit for an amplification device. She said ” … Are you suggesting that you’re going to require people to get a permit when it’s not required? When it’s settled law? … Is DOA suggesting that they are going to violate settled law in order to conduct an illegal permit process and they will require us to sue the DOA yet again which is at taxpayer expense for the DOA to defend it?”

In reply Chief Tubbs asserted that the largest protests this year were under permits. Tubbs said, “..let me be clear: the permits are not new.”

I made a quick call to Jeff Scott Olsen, an expert in constitutional law who served for decades as attorney for the late constitutional activist Ben Masel. He said Leslie was referencing a lawsuit which challenges the constitutionality of DOA-issued permits to assemble at the Capitol. The filing was amended to substitute the organization NORML for Ben in September. He said that around that time Wisconsin’s Assistant Attorney General Maria Lazar told him DOA was going to replace existing regulations in October or November of this year. Olsen said he will work on fighting the DOA case ASAP now that new procedures are out, but he can not pinpoint when his 1st legal action will take place.

After listening to about 1 hour of non-answer answers on DOA’s policy this morning, I thought I may as well give it a shot. I asked, “Do you think that these procedural changes are in line with the principles of democracy?” I got answer # 2 from Schoenherr.

From behind me Jenna Pope shot back at Schoenherr, “You realize that by saying this over and over again it doesn’t make it true.”

The new DOA policy is set to go into effect on Saturday December 17. According to WNPJ, the sponsor of the singing group, Monday, December 19th will be the first day the Solidarity Sing-Along will be subject to the new policy. You can keep up to date with the Solidarity Sing Along group through their facebook page.

More images from the disinformation session are at the blue cheddar facebook page.

Link to highlights of the 22 page policy and a PDF copy.

The ACLU write-up: DOA Information Session on Protest Permit/Liability Scheme Leaves Citizens with More Questions

Brian Standing’s WORT FM report on this event is in this audio news report.

Usual suspect Steve Nass fires up protest expense feud, insults Rep. Terese Berceau

I’m pondering whether I’ll start drawing social security before or after this feud over protest-related expenses ends. (23 years from now, give or take).

As you recall, Wisconsin’s DOA got the message out that protests at the Capitol were an expensive burden, saying it would cost $7.5 million for Capitol building cleaning – which later got knocked down to about $350,000. We’re back to talking big numbers but this time on security: $8.1 million in security costs during the high protest weeks at the Capitol.

Representatives Terese Berceau of Madison and Steve Nass of Whitewater seem to be designated fighters sparring on this issue.

Dem. Rep. Terese Berceau
Therese Berceau: “I am horrified that Governor Walker’s paranoia toward the people of Wisconsin has now resulted
in Wisconsin taxpayers being forced to shoulder an extra $8.1 million dollars in security costs. At the height of the protests earlier this year I was in the Capitol on a daily and nightly basis. Nothing warranted this cost. I saw seven state patrol officers outside of a second-floor bathroom with no protesters in sight. Twenty-eight state troopers stood outside the Assembly chambers when we were voting on redistricting when almost no one was in the Capitol. At one time, I actually heard a state trooper say, ‘Who do we call to say that two-thirds of us aren’t needed?’ – link to her full statement dated August 15.

I can cosign. And I can understand over-staffing in the early days, but as time wore on, it became clear the crowds were mature and even organizing their own volunteer “marshals” to act as vigilant watchdogs, ensuring civility.

When Nass wrote back to Berceau, he said that Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney, County Executive Kathleen Falk, Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, and Madison Police Chief Noble Wray were “siding with the siege participants” and egging them on.

(A little perspective on Tea Partier Nass’ relationship with Madison – he thinks that the Indian Mascot law should be repealed because the old name-your-team-after-an-Indian system wasn’t discriminatory while he IS worried about car driver discrimination committed by the “liberal extremists in Madison who hate cars and think everyone should bike to work.”)

Nass is missing the point that the amount of security was out of balance with the situation. But let’s say I do entertain this argument–that Dane County leaders have some responsibility for keeping the crowds strong and present. Then by the same logic, Nass and the whole largely boy band of Republicans bear a heavy burden of responsibility for standing by the legislative equivalent of Walker’s Atom Bomb. They refused to budge an inch on the laundry list of offenses within Wisconsin Act 10 and the rush of legislation that followed, only giving us maybe an 8th of an inch particularly by keeping Wisconsin’s Seniorcare program intact [This is a program which I’ve witnessed get put on the chopping block periodically over the years only to be revived at the last minute as if it’s fated to star in some ritual drama. This I know because I’ve heard my 84-year-old mom worrying about it each time]

As for the Dane County side of enforcement aid, Nass is not addressing squarely what caused tension between DOA and the Dane County Sheriff, David Mahoney, which is that the DOA refused to comply with a court order that opened up the Capitol building to the public and Mahoney responded by pulling his men and women, refusing to use them as “palace guards”:
“The deputies had been told that the doors would be open at 8 a.m. yesterday, but that didn’t happen and the officers didn’t find out why until the afternoon, Mahoney said.
“When asked to stand guard at the doors that duty was turned over to the Wisconsin State Patrol because our deputies would not stand and be palace guards,” Mahoney said. “I refused to put deputy sheriffs in a position to be palace guards.”” -press conference 3/1/11

Nass seems to be assuming that if local enforcement were more involved, the whole security detail would’ve been cheaper. I don’t see anything to prove it. Plus Madison and Dane County have had to float the $ to pay those personnel and they aren’t even reimbursed yet. Why would they want to take on more of the expense and wait this long to get $ – especially from a hostile administration like Walker’s?

Nass finishes off with a pithy paragraph about truth and the “fight to save our state and country”. The thousands who were so moved to assemble at his place of work and our Capitol to appeal to him also ARE OF THIS STATE AND COUNTRY. They also hold truth–apparently as seen through a different lense. They stood in the snow for hours. They didn’t demand Nass stand outside with them. They just wanted Nass and his kind to unthaw enough to move an unseen dial to a middle place inside their hearts or minds and accept the task of governing for all Wisconsinites. Nass has no noble claim of serving state and country. He’s lost that.

Nass stayed inside safe and dry and stubborn, and left too many people out in the cold.

——————————————————————-

Rep. Nass: Letter to Rep. Berceau re: Round 2 Capitol security costs
8/18/2011

Representative Terese Berceau
Room 127 West
State Capitol

RE: Round 2 – Capitol Security Costs and Reading Comprehension

Dear Representative Berceau:

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my letter of August 16, 2011. I appreciate you taking the time to obtain a response from the public sector union bosses and forwarding their thoughts on to me.

I encourage you to review your letter since it fails to accurately depict the content of my letter (not a press release). I stated my opposition to reimbursement of costs incurred by the City of Madison Police Department and the DaneCounty Sheriff’s Department (emphasis added to assist in ease of reading). Your letter dishonestly states I am opposed to paying all law enforcement agencies for their service at the State Capitol.

During the Capitol Siege, I understand that you were busy pandering to the protesters while wearing your orange shirt, but the media documented the statements of Sheriff Dave Mahoney, County Executive Kathleen Falk, Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, and Police Chief Noble Wray.

In those statements, it was clear these local Madison officials were siding with the siege participants and even encouraging their conduct. These local actions clearly played a role in the need for the Department of Administration and the Capitol Police Department to seek assistance from other state and local law enforcement agencies in re-establishing law and order at the State Capitol.

If the Madison Police Department and the DaneCounty Sheriff’s Department were permitted to provide service within the State Capitol, then it might not have been necessary to obtain manpower from other agencies. However, the local leadership of these law enforcement agencies ( City of Madison and Dane County) restricted those officers from participating in the proper law enforcement function of securing the State Capitol and removing the obstructing protesters.

I am not surprised that you would attempt re-write history and whitewash the terrible conduct of your colleagues in the professional protest community. However, the intentional dishonesty in your communications are another telling sign of the desperate need of Assembly Democrats to hide their behavior from decent people of this state. While the truth may be your enemy, it is the life’s blood of the citizens that took back their government in November 2010 and will continue to fight to save our state and country.

Sincerely,

Steve Nass
State Representative
31st Assembly District

Letter originally located at wispolitics.com

To communicate with Rep. Steve Nass:
Capitol Telephone
(608) 266-5715 Or
(888) 529-0031

District Telephone
(262) 495-3424

Email
Rep.Nass@legis.wisconsin.gov
Room 12 West
State Capitol
P.O. Box 8953
Madison, WI 53708

Voting Address
N8330 Jackson Road
Whitewater, WI 53190

Nass’ district:
Steve Nass Wisconsin Assembly District 31
Image from GazetteExtra

How much Madison/Dane County did kick in: According to Isthmus “The state has calculated that costs for providing security during the months of protests is more than $8 million. Madison is asking to be reimbursed $682,842 for services it provided, including $555,098 for police, $37,719 for fire personnel, $79,148 for Metro Transit and $10,876 for use of the fire department’s command center. The state expects to pay Dane County $534,081.”

Statement from Madison Police Chief Noble Wray

The Summer of Resistance by Stephanie Lindholm

I sure ain’t no fortunate one, either. Perfect song for this inspiring video.

This is by Stephanie Lindholm. Subscribe to get her future videos right here.

Fortunate Son

Some folks are born made to wave the flag
Ooh, they’re red, white and blue
And when the band plays “Hail to the Chief”
Oh, they point the cannon at you, Lord Continue reading

Devil visits Devil’s Lake State Park: Scott Walker protested by 300

Photos and video of about 300 protesters confronting Scott Walker at Devil’s Lake State Park this morning. Images are from Skillet Creek Media. It’s important to protest radical right wing authoritarians like Walker and it’s important to share the images and sounds of protest with others. Photos, videos, and accounts of protest beget yet more protest causing it to multiply. Protest is the living test of your right to assemble and right to speak. A thousand thanks to those who did this today.

Gov Walker &  Protesters

Why are these people protesting with such anger? Here’s just an abbreviated list (perhaps you’ll add more offenses in a comment or two):

Lovely Wisconsin weekend for a protest. Or making calls or knocking on doors…

This next statement sounds a little like a mix of me and the Wisconsin Tourism Board:

Whether you want to protest with a sign, make a call, knock on a door, or even plan to leave for Chicago, there’s just a whole lotta political stuff to keep you busy in lovely Wisconsin!

The most picturesque protest location Wisconsin has to offer: Devil’s Lake.


WHAT: Protest Walker. Walker and program scheduled at 9:30am Saturday June 25. (expected duration is 45 minutes to an hour).

WHERE: Meet at North Shore entrance to Devil’s Lake State Park (intersection of County Trunk (upper) DL and Hwy. 123 at 8:45 a.m. where we plan to march in together behind a huge “Recall Walker” banner. Note: Reliable inside sources tell us that the state park’s parking lot will be closed from 7:30 a.m. on, so if you want to park inside the park, you must be in the park between the 6:00 a.m. daily opening time and 7:30 a.m. Please see other parking options and shuttle information below.

WHEN: Be inside the park by 9:00 a.m.

BRING: Signs! Important: Your car can also make a statement with signage for the drive here on Highway 12 or I-90 (exit 106 Hwy. 33 from Madison) to Baraboo. More details at this facebook note

Milwaukee Saturday  June 25th, 8:00pm
An Evening with John Nichols. Nichols will speak and answer questions about Wisconsin’s political history, which has led to the current political climate and recall staking place today. Jewish Community Center, 6255 North Santa Monica Blvd. Whitefish Bay facebook invitation

Green Bay Sunday June 26 Walker Budget Signing Ceremony

But what if the Green Bay is your location? Have no fears, Fox Valley. Details: Sunday, June 26th, 1:30pm – Protest Gov. Walker’s Signing of Budget, Badger Sheet Metal,1410 Partnership Road, Green Bay

Original location cancelled due to controversy-the biz owner is a tax evasion felon. Here is the new location: “The signing ceremony is now set for 2 p.m. Fox Valley Metal-Tech Inc. in Green Bay. Walker kicked off his gubernatorial campaign at the business in 2009.” –WisPolitics.com AND here is the facebook event page for a protest there.

Across Wisconsin – Recall Work.  See Wisconsin AFLCIO’s List

Chicago “Socialism 2011 Revolution in the Air” July 1-4 We’re living in a time when you don’t have to be a bona fide socialist to be intrigued by this national gathering. I think if you’re becoming an avid protester and organizer, you’ll find a lot to connect with here.   WEBSITE You can get a free ride, and families can get help with childcare. Inquire at iso.madison.city @ gmail.com  (608) 492-1053

Ongoing Efforts and Activities: Madison

Noon-1PM Mon-Fri Capitol Building
Solidarity Sing Along – facebook group

Daily at Labor Temple, Park St. Madison
“All across the state, tens of thousands of Wisconsinites have signed up to stand up with their brothers and sisters to fight back against the agenda of Scott Walker and his cronies. From rallies to town halls to Capitol protests, people are signed up and ready to help. We need to activate and mobilize them” Info & sign up

100,000 Welcome the Dem14 Home in Madison, Wisconsin

I’m going to say 100,000. I see reports of “over 85,000” but as I saw no helicopters flying overhead, meaning we had no professional estimates, the evaluation by someone who’s been to every single historic Saturday labor rally in Madison, Wisconsin is good as any. I spent the day at Madison, Wisconsin’s largest rally yesterday. I wanted to do this piece when I got home, but the combination of walking on concrete, the exhileration of it all, and standing in the wind for nearly 7 hours did me in. As happens on every day I go to a rally, I fell asleep on the couch in the middle of trying to write or post photos. Now I have to get ready to play music for church. This will be what it will be. Assume more to come in the afternoon.

The Tractorcade

That wind!

Fifty tractors embarked from the Alliant Energy Center to the Isthmus, driving down John Nolen Drive Continue reading

We’re holding on. Wisconsin will be a People’s state again. The Capitol Building will reopen 8AM, Monday.

The videographer Matt Wisniewski has captured the elusive beauty and Solidarity that thousands have sheltered and tended here. This is a fragile fire that people across the state, the nation, and the world have watched and now call their own.

This has been the heart of Wisconsin’s Capitol building and the heart of my city. It is also the heart of a new fight to maintain Democracy in the face of a corporatist charge detonated here in November 2010. The soldiers in that charge are known by their yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” flags and their red, white and blue WalMart shirts.

They’ve made a show of respect for “the constitution” Continue reading

Anonymous is in Solidarity with Wisconsin Protesters. Koch Brothers-Looks like you’re in for it.

The Seal of Anonymous.

I think the political “normal” in Wisconsin -and I hope in the United States as a whole –  has been changed. Permanently. The forces against Koch-funded corporatism are rallying fast, they are vast and diverse, and they are going to have a ground war that you have never seen before. This is the revolutionary war of 2011 and the Koch Brothers are The Red Coats. You know how that worked out.

Before you jump to conclusions, there are no guns involved Continue reading

Seriously? Walker tried to dine 1 block from the Capitol?

The  restaurant where Walker was supposedly booed is 1 block from Madison’s Capitol building: “ground zero” for protest against Walker’s radical “Budget Repair Bill”.

I’m a little doubtful this really happened because – well – is he really so ignorant that he thinks he can relax in public anywhere on the Isthmus of Madison now? If the answer is “yes”, this man is more daft than I could have fathomed.

Lifted from a blog called “Mind Stain”: Scott Walker Asked to Leave Local Restaurant

You know you’re not well liked when you are asked to leave a local tavern because people boo-ing at you causes an upset, but this is exactly what happened to Wisconsin State Governor Scott Walker on Friday the 18th of February. 

“Why don’t you like me? Sad Scott Walker is sad.”

[Name of restaurant removed-see comments]  in Madison, WI confirms that on Friday night, Patrick Sweeney (one of the owners) politely asked Scott Walker to leave the establishment when other customers began boo-ing him. A bartender at the restaurant said that, “his presence was causing a disturbance to the other customers and management asked him to leave.”

Schedule of Madison-Area Events this Weekend from PRWatch.org

Look at all of these events springing up. Madison has marches, a concert, and forums tomorrow. And Sunday there is a day-long “People’s Legislature” forum.  I know there are many more – like my church gathering to march! It’s going to be a huge day tomorrow. Sleep well and remember to visit PRWatch.org for their further listings and live bloging.

Saturday, February 26:

*All day: Rally to Save the American Dream at the Capitol. Sponsored by Progressives United.

*9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Leafletting at the Kohl Center (WIAA Wrestling Tournament)

*10:30 a.m. – AFSCME Correctional Officers from Wisconsin and Illinois meet at the intersection of Mifflin St. & Wisconsin Ave. for walk to State Capitol

*10:30 a.m. – Protest at Koch office, 10 East Doty Street, Madison. Sponsored by US Uncut.

*11:00 a.m. – UWHC Radiology Department sign making and march from UW-Madison Memorial Union to State Capitol Continue reading

Feb 24: Noon Vote, Firefighters, Koch Brothers, Amy Goodman

Forgive me for this is a post dashed off quickly. But I want to make sure people know about these events of note for today:

11:30-ish A much-rumored huge gathering of fire fighters will occur at Wisconsin’s capitol. I did call a local firehouse to be told only that it was fairly spontaneous and will be large. Firemen will met at Station Number 1 – 316 W. Dayton St. – 11:30am & following, march two short blocks to the Capitol.

12 Noon- The projected time of an Assembly vote on their version of the earlier Senate version of the Budget Repair [or “Disrepair”] Bill that was the cause of an earlier departure of our 14 Democrat Senators for Illinois.  You can watch events unfold live at Wisconsin Eye – a non-profit “CSPAN” for Wisconsin. Continue reading

Independent Egyptian Unions Express Solidarity with Wisconsin Workers

Please read this—

TRANSLATION: (The poster in the background shows photographs of some of the recent young victims of the Mubarak government. The writing says they are among the martyrs of the 25 January Revolution.)

KAMAL ABBAS: “I am speaking to you from a place very close to Tahrir Square in Cairo, “Liberation Square”, which was the heart of the Revolution in Egypt. This is the place were many of our youth paid with their lives and blood in the struggle for our just rights.

From this place, I want you to know that we stand with you as you stood with us.

I want you to know that no power can challenge the will of the people when they believe in their rights. When they raise their voices loud and clear and struggle against exploitation. Continue reading

Where there is Andrew Breitbart, there are lies.

Not pigpen. I recall that Charles Shultz is a conservative. Instead, I present a dirty pig.

Some people leave a wake of garbage in their path. Reminds me of Pigpen from Charlie Brown .

Andrew Breitbart spoke at Madison, Wisconsin yesterday to approximately 3,500 Tea Party and Pro-Walker people. They were there to do their darndest to match the numbers of Progressives, workers, and students that have rallied since last week February 14 against Scott Walker’s union-busting “Budget Repair Bill”.

Now there are rumors left behind to dispel. Picking up garbage is something we thought we’d have to do after receiving 60,000 visitors. But this?: A doctored video Continue reading

Rachel Maddow Marvels at Today’s Rally of 30,000 in Madison, Wisconsin

I take great pleasure in hearing Rachel Maddow pound out each dismayed word she has to say on our Tea Party Governor Walker, especially,  “Not only would he not negotiate with people on this, he will never negotiate with them again.”

Continue reading

Rachel Maddow Marvels at Today’s Rally of 30,000 in Madison, Wisconsin

I take great pleasure in hearing Rachel Maddow pound out each dismayed word she has to say on our Tea Party Governor Walker, especially,  “Not only would he not negotiate with people on this, he will never negotiate with them again.”

Continue reading