30 minutes of archived Ustream footage: speakers from the budget protest

30 minutes of archived Ustream footage from the protest against Walker’s budget. The video is a bit pixelated, but the audio is clear. Not bad for being broadcast from a phone.
FYI – There will be a 25 second ad at the beginning.

Mahlon Mitchell, President of the Wisconsin Professional Firefighters Association.
Phil Neuenfeldt, President of Wisconsin State AFL-CIO.
Mary Bell, President of Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC)
Madison Mother, Ellen Carlson.
Kim Hoffman, Middle School Teacher and Band Director from Stone Bank.

Direct link to ustream if the player isn’t working.


More photos from today’s Wisconsin budget protest

Here’s a slideshow. If you’d like some easy-to-share and downloadable images, check out the facebook album HERE.

I’d like to write something wise about the damage done inside the Capitol today.  But I’m getting some video together.

For the moment I’ll just say that I am still the same person I was and I still hold the same values going forward. Acts perpetrated against the people of Wisconsin inside of the Capitol building in the legislature and inside of the Wisconsin Supreme Court today do not stop the movement you and I have already started.

There is no choice but to fight back and fight hard.

There is no choice but to recall.


Sights and sounds from today’s protest of Walker’s budget

I’m here at Madison A.K.A. Walkerville in the midst of a growing budget protest. Here is a brief video which explains why some people are wearing pink togas and armbands today. It also includes a statement from John “Sly” Sylvester of WTDY 1670 about why it is important to be here today.

Sly had a set of amazing guests at Walkerville this morning. You can catch podcasts HERE of John Matthews with the Madison Teachers Union, Joe Conway with Firefighters Local 311, and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison) plus Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, and Marty Beil of AFSCME Local Council 24.



Russ Feingold and Firefighters visited Walkerville

A few videos from yesterday at Walkerville. The second video, which is the full speech delivered by Russ Feingold, is from Defend Wisconsin.

When Russ walked into the space people became alert and electrified. A woman standing in front of me would interject “YES!!” and “THANK YOU!!” regularly.

In this first video Russ says “we will not give up until this law is reversed”, referring to Wisconsin Act 10. He denies that he gave something of a campaign speech when asked by the press. “I’m a private citizen right now.” He steers clear of campaign questions, saying he’s thinking more about corporate power’s attempt to dominate our state and America.

In this next 8 minute video, Russ starts a speech with questions that people can yell a response to:

“Why are we still here? Why am I here today? Why are we here today? Why are we in a place called Walkerville today?!”

Out of the cacophony of voices, I hear the responses:

“Because you’re going to be governor!”

“To fight this budget!”


“Because you care” “Because we care”

Russ Feingold responds, “I’ll tell you why we’re here. We’re here because we will not stop until we win, until this is over.”

This next video shows approximately 600 firefighters marching down State Street, past Walkerville, and around the Capitol. They ultimately held a ceremony on the rooftop of the Monona Convention Center for fallen firefighters.

A Wisconsin status check.

I’m going to do the impossible and give a status check on all of Wisconsin politics. It might help the out-of-stater who is perhaps just now turning his or her attention from Anthony Weiner’s umm… tweets…and back to really important stuff like what is happening in my state.

Wisconsin is hot again. Maybe too hot. Temps are in the 90’s in Madison and yesterday a protest evolved into civil disobedience around and within our Capitol Square where 200 people now sleep in a tent encampment called “Walkerville”. They are hunkering down – as stubborn badgers do in the wild – to protest a Wisconsin GOP budget that swaps public programs for privatization or turns them into a shadow of their former selves.

March for a fair budget - Walkerville Day 3

The budget first went through the state senate’s  joint finance committee where VDLF used civil disobedience, attempting to hamper the budget process with interruption. A majority of the protesters I’ve spoken with feel the same frustration, but frown on disruptive tactics in meetings.

The budget emerged with surprises like language that threatens craft brewers, weakens police and firefighter benefits, and disintegrates a network of broadband crucial to K-12,  to libraries, and to the UW system.  As the budget proceeds to the Assembly, then to the Senate, and to Walker’s desk the public is still learning about what’s tucked into it.  I heard that Dem. senators on the committee were at times given 5 minutes to read new insertions into the document before votes.

Here’s a vlog Mark Pocan uploaded today. He says the budget is not bad. It’s terrible:

Desperate times. Desperate measures: Enter Walkerville. Walkerville is part art installation, part protest, and part comedy. It feels like a protest version of Sesame Street with people writing their thoughts on a wall, singing on occasion, chanting protest statements, and using absurd theater like tonight’s mock boxing match between Scott Walker and a nurse. I love it. Today is day 4 of about 200 people sleeping in 100 tents, many of which must be taken down in the morning and put back up at night to appease business owners. I hear it’s not easy to sleep there. It might be the younger set’s spontaneous games of capture the flag or just the typical noise of downtown drunks leaving bars at 2AM. Walkerville does have a 14 day permit from the City of Madison, due in large part to Mayor Paul Soglin who cut his political teeth as a 60’s protest organizer. It probably also helps that Madison is a union town with Walker pressing on its last nerve.

Health Care Day in Walkerville

Walkerville - Night 2

Those images are from WI AFLCIO. WI AFLCIO has a nice flickr stream HERE, if you’d like to see more. And here is a brief video of Walkerville

Anger Grows Edgy Online: The net is on fire with angry comments tinged with violence after footage and photos of Capitol police forcefully arresting protesters and 2 reporters yesterday started circulating. I think that the anger is on both the anti-Walker and pro-Walker sides which gives me a sickly feeling.

Will the real candidate please stand up?: Republicans are getting ready to fight dirty in the summer recall elections with at least 3 fake Dem candidates. When I first learned this, I assumed it was pure rumor. It’s not. Former Republican Assembly candidate Isaac Weix is circulating papers to run in a race against the GOP’s Harsdorf in the 10th Senate District (close to Minneapolis-St. Paul). He makes no secret of his intentions to tank Dem Shelly Moore.  I have heard that the real Dem candidate Moore is the only union member and teacher in a set of 6 candidates set to run against WI GOP senators in July, and rumor has it, she needs the most funding help. Fake Dems are also being lined up to aid Republicans Kapanke and Hopper.

Recall Fuel: Candidates are already selected in all of a possible 9 recall senate districts and canvassing and calling already are ongoing BUT now these pushes have bumped up a few notches. Plans are flourishing in Walkerville and online to make trips to aid far-flung Dem senators in Wisconsin. The Government Accountability Board gained extra time to review challenges recall petitions filed against three Dem state Senators.“This means that all six of the elections against Republican state Senators are now set in stone for July 12, and that no recall elections against Democratic Senators will take place on that day. The recall elections against Democrats, if they happen at all, will take place on July 19 or later.” from Chris Bowers, staff at Daily Kos. Seek the G.A.B.’s site for official updates and recall rules.

Can I has vote?: Wisconsin has historically been the 2nd easiest U.S. state to vote in, and will now be the hardest state to vote in due to a GOP voter suppression bill. It extends the required voter residency period to 28 days from 10 and switches up absentee voting, and requires photo ID use, amongst other changes. Not all pieces of the bill take effect by July 12th, but Dems fear the changes are profound enough to cause confusion and cut voters out. For example, a photo ID is not required in July to vote, but many people will assume otherwise. And would you wager that a few GOP candidates will tell voters that the I.D. IS required on July 12?

Some people were a little upset about voter I.D. and protested on the day of its signing:

Recall Walker!: A recall push against Scott Walker was initiated last year by what looked to be 100 facebook pages. The PAC United Wisconsin emerged as the leader, gathering over 180,000 commitments now to sign against Walker when it is legal to do so in November of 2011. Wisconsin Democratic Party chair Mike Tate announced on June 3rd that the party supports the recall of Walker as well. (Did the party have any wiggle room in this matter?)

Kloppenburg Concedes with Parting Words On Election Integrity and Lack Thereof
She won by a couple hundred votes. Then she lost in short order by around 7,000. Whether the election was called by a Waukesha clerk who has a history of secretiveness and misplacinig votes or by the public, honestly, I’m not sure. But it is done. Prosser retains his seat as a conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice. More to read on that HERE if you’d like.

What about the “Budget Repair Bill” which became known as “Wisconsin Act 10”?:  Back in February and March, the bulk of street protest in Wisconsin was inspired by Wisconsin Act 10 which strips collective bargaining rights from most public employees. At this stage of the game, Dane County Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi has voided Wisconsin Act 10 because its hasty passage by Republicans on March 9th violated open meetings law. Yesterday, Wisconsin’s Supreme court began hearing arguments about whether it should take up the matter. As I am no lawyer, I direct you to illusory tenant for ongoing updates on the bill’s life or death. As he sees it, “the only way the court can vacate Judge Sumi’s very conservative, very restrained reasoning is to find the provisions of the Open Meetings Law upon which Judge Sumi relied to be themselves violative of judge-made — or at least judge-inferred — constitutional law doctrine.”

There it is. What did I leave out? What did I get wrong? Comment away.


Day 3 of Walkerville: Reporters were granted entry, then arrested for filming the officer

I listened to the WORT FM show “In our backyard” tonight to catch up on what happened to two journalists pictured in this video who were arrested. While the two reporters were charged with disorderly conduct, I think that the officer is the one who acted in a disorderly manner.
He waved the two in when he learned they were press. He turned on them when they used a camera to capture his conduct while he pushed protesters. I’m really not sure what this officer was thinking. He didn’t want to be the subject of the news, so he arrested them? Or is he on order to arrest people who film him? By arresting people unlawfully, he guaranteed he would be the focus of somebody’s news today.

I’ve copied an interview, just an excerpt, from a remarkable full broadcast of “In Our Backyard” which aired at 6:30PM.

Protesters opened doors and 30-40 people rushed into the building with several people arrested following for bypassing Capitol security. The reporters were arrested while filming the action. The reporters are Sam Mayfield who is working on a documentary of the Wisconsin protests, and has been filming since February. Alex Noguera-Garces, is the second reporter, an independent journalist from Vermont.

Sam Mayfield describes the incident, saying there was an entrance to the Capitol that was open. They walked in as others were. An officer she describes as:

“clearly already escalated…this was evidenced by him running at people who were walking into the Capitol telling them to leave. He was forcefully grabbing and touching people who were literally just walking past.”

“He grabbed me. He told me to leave.” She told him she was press and he flagged her through. The officer also flagged Alex through after she explained she was working with Sam. Alex decided to stay in the area and film what was happening because, “he was being very aggressive with the protesters, physically.”

The officer pushed as many protesters as he could out the doors. He then pursued Alex, pushed her into the wall, and proceeded to handcuff and arrest her. He told her that when she tried to keep her camera from falling on the ground she was resisting arrest.

The two reporters were charged with “disorderly conduct”. Alex says she thinks she was arrested because she was filming a police officer pushing people out the door. Sam says she was told she was obstructing the officer’s ability to make an arrest. She says what actually happened is that she caught Alex’ falling camera, and started to use it. And then things changed:

“I think that when he saw she and I working together on that level he actually drug Alex and dropped her to the ground …and he ran after me..I asked the cop “Why are we being arrested?” I really don’t understand at all. As soon as Alex gave me her camera he said, “You’re going to be arrested, too.” and then he grabbed my arm.

Thank you to the volunteers and staff who followed up on this story and interviewed Sam and Alex. Please consider a donation to WORT FM if you value ongoing coverage of Walkerville and Madison, Wisconsin protest.

Here is tonight’s full episode of In Our Backyard:

Interview with John Nichols at today’s march against Walker’s budget

Here’s an interview of John Nichols discussing Walkerville, today’s march against Walker’s budget, and Wisconsin Act 10.
I was doing some live Ustreaming and ran into him on Carroll Street.

He’ll be in Washington D.C. tonight to stand with National Nurses United. More information on a national registered nurse rally is HERE.

If you’d prefer to see this with video, John starts talking at the 48 minute mark on my archived Ustream from today:

Video streaming by Ustream

Live streaming marching today from Walkerville, USA (Madison, Wisconsin)

I”ll do my best to deliver some live content from today’s march against Walker’s budget in Madison 11:30AM-ish today, which SHOULD stream right out of this blog [if it doesn’t, at the least, you will have a link here.]

It’s always a bit dicey to commit to delivering live content. Let’s just say that the more electricity I can get to the android phone I use, the more live streaming I can do for you today.

And of course you could always come on down to Walkerville (A.K.A. the tent city on Madison’s square) and see this for yourself!

Live TV by Ustream