Came across this video tonight.  It says a lot, and the truth rings through.  “Without labor, there is no capital.”

Photo from The Progressive - Protestor arrested in WI Capitol.

7 months have passed since the Wisconsin Uprising began in earnest against the draconian polices and austerity measures levied by the Walker administration.  Tonight, over a thousand people massed at the State Capitol yet again.  It is pretty clear that this movement is far from over.   On Wisconsin. Read the following article by The Progressive’s Matthew Rothschild.

From The Progressive. Article by Matthew Rothschild:

“This is the people standing up saying, ‘We’re not going to take it anymore,’ ” said one of the demonstrators.

Turmoil returned to Madison, WI, on Thursday as 13 protesters ended up being arrested after refusing to leave the capitol building after another demonstration against Governor Scott Walker.

They were charged with unlawful assembly, and some also were charged with resisting arrest and obstructing an officer, said Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs.

And..

The arrests occurred after about 1,000 people massed in front of the capitol at 5:00 p.m. to protest the fact that Walker’s cuts in take-home pay were actually taking effect today.

Bill Franks, a senior steward for AFT-Wisconsin, told those in the crowd to back their unions.

“We’re going to redemocratize Wisconsin,” Franks said, to loud applause. “The dogs of recall are on the governor’s tail. I say it’s time to release the hounds.

The Heart Shaped ballon at the WI capitol

Because we all know how evil heart shaped balloons are, right?  This is just beyond the pale.  Take a look at this excellent article by Rebecca Kemble at The Progressive.  Full Article here.

Outside the doors of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Leslie Peterson was reaching down into her shopping bag to remove a heart-shaped balloon so that her friend could take a photo of her with it. As soon as she pulled it out, someone came up behind her and repeatedly stabbed the balloon with a blade. “I’m sick of fishing these off the ceiling,” said the man with the round glasses and handlebar moustache as he walked away.

Shaken up by the sneak attack on her property, Leslie asked the man for hisname and identification. He did not respond to her so she asked him again, saying that she was going to file an incident report with the Capitol Police. At that point, he allegedly grabbed her and slammed her up against the door of a women’s bathroom. “I saw blood all over him and me. I didn’t know if he still had the knife, or whether or not I had been stabbed,” said Leslie.

There’s no doubt that charges are warranted in this case.  In fact, serious questions should be asked about why this person, Ron Blair, is not cooling his heels in jail at the moment.

More information from the Wisconsin State Journal here.

 

Wisconsin Total Recall. Photo by T. Evers.

Democrats made a clean sweep against the fake democrats fielded by the Republican Party of Wisconsin in order to force primaries and grant the republican incumbents an extra month to campaign…and grant them the  opportunity to receive plenty of money via independent expenditures from the likes of Americans for Prosperity and other corporate-backed special interests.

Despite GOTV efforts by local republican parties, the GOP failed.  Is Governor Walker  paying attention while lounging on his taxpayer-funded patio quaffing cloyingly insipid Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy, a beer/lemonade mix from Wisconsin’s number one faux craft brewery. Gotta love a Wisconsin Governor who actively attempts to screw the vibrant and independent craft breweries at the behest of behemoth SAB MillerCoors. Never mind the deliciousness of him tweeting pictures of his sorority-girl style drink, then following it up with a photo of his…toothbrush.  At first I thought his twitter account had been hacked. Unfortunately, he’s that shallow.

Anyway, back to the recall elections.

A couple days before the election Wisconsin Right to Life sponsored 10′s of thousands of robo calls to likely voters in what many democrats assert to be an attempt at voter suppression. Here’s the script of the calls that democratic voters received:

“Hello, this is Barbara Lyons from Wisconsin Right to Life. I’m calling today to let you know that you will be receiving an absentee ballot application for the upcoming recall elections in the mail in the next few days. These recall elections are very important and voting absentee will ensure that your vote is counted and that we can maintain a pro-family, pro-life state senate. We hope that we can count on you to complete that application and send it back to us within 7 days.

Now why would anyone send an absentee ballot back to Wisconsin Right to Life rather than say, the county or municipal clerk? Looking a little deeper, the phone number used for the robo calls originates in VA, and it appears to be a number used by The National Right to Life Committee.

Barbara Lyons had this to say to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel when challenged:

In a telephone interview, Lyons said the calls, “as best as we know,” were targeted to friends and supporters of the organization. She said tens of thousands of calls were made.

Right.  That’s why scores of democrats were called. Nice try.

Much thanks goes out to every individual and group who has been involved in the recall effort thus far.  We Are Wisconsin just reported that they managed to field the volunteers necessary to knock on  37,857 doors during the  Get Out The Vote campaign.  This is huge.

By any measure, turnout in the recall elections was huge.  Even when compared to fall primaries, it was impressive.  Former Oshkosh deputy mayor Jessica King received nearly 20,000 votes against her republican-recruited fake democrat opponentJohn Buckstaff. In  her first bid for senate in 2008 she received just 1849 votes in an uncontested democratic primary.  In the 2008 general election that saw her pitted against the now sex-scandal-embroiled Randy Hopper, she received  41,688 votes-this during a presidential election that saw enormous turnout around the state.

Only one fake democrat had a respectable showing.  Isaac Weix, of Menomonie,  realized 46 percent of the vote against legitimate democrat Shelly Moore.  This was in large part due to a GOTV effort by the St. Croix Republican party which used automated phone calls and emails to encourage Republicans to vote for Weix, the faker.

Rep. Jen Schilling, D-LaCrosse, won by over 70%.  She’ll now take on republican incumbent Sen. Dan Kapanke in the Aug. 9th general election.

The winners of Tuesday’s Democratic primary include Moore; Shilling; Rep. Fred Clark, D-Baraboo, who will run against Olsen; King, who will run against Hopper; former Brown County Executive Nancy Nusbaum, who will run against Cowles; and Rep. Sandra Pasch, D-Whitefish Bay, who will run against Darling.

Democrats Demand that Scott Walker and the Republican Party Must Reimburse Taxpayers for Primary forced by Fake Democrats.

In a press release issued yesterday, Mike Tate, Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair stated “The Republicans have brazenly lied to Wisconsin and they must repay the taxpayers for their fraud,” he added “For a party that pretends to care about the tax burden of working families, they are sure willing to spend their money to finance pure political gain. Scott Walker’s GOP is sitting on mountains of corporate cash – they should put their money where their mouth is and repay Wisconsin for their outrageous conspiracy.

All six actual Democrats cruised to victory over their sham opponents. Reports have put the cost of these sham primaries at more than $400,000.

The next battle will take place August 9th, when the Democrats attempt to wrest control of the senate from the republicans. If successful, this will create a stalemate that will prevent the GOP from further remaking Wisconsin in Arizona’s image.  Then, it is on to the main event, The Recall of Governor Scott Walker.

Gov. Scott Walker

As if it should come as any surprise, today we learn that complaints have been filed by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign against Gov. Scott Walker and several donors for exceeding the $10,000 campaign finance limit.  The largest donor was Village of  River Hills Trustee Michael White,  who gave a whopping $15,000.  Curious about the type of person who can afford to exceed campaign giving limits by $5,000, I looked into it further.   Take a look at Mr. White’s twitter feed to catch a glimpse into the life of this contributor.

Here are some excerpts:

wiscwhitehouse Michael H White

Cocktails in Mequon 2nite, golf tourny w/dinner 2morrow, wedding Sat, Phnx to see Sara Rose, Brett & Cheri Sun am, Milw Weds midnite. Whew!
wiscwhitehouse Michael H White

Home alone for Village meeting tonight. Back to CO and mountains 7AM tomorrow.

wiscwhitehouse Michael H White

Surfing financial web pages from office
Mostly innocuous, yes, but what other village board members have the ability to jet back and forth from Colorado to attend meetings.
Mr. White owns the Rite Hite Corporation. Rite-Hite employs 1,400 people worldwide and maintains more than 30 representative organizations in 100 locations throughout North America, Asia, Europe, and South America. Manufacturing facilities are located in Memphis, TN; Dubuque, IA; Denver, CO; Toronto, Ontario; Kunshan, China, Volkmarsen, Germany; and Jawor, Poland.
One would expect an elected official to be familiar with campaign finance limits.  It is also a mystery how the Walker campaign managed to over-look contributions in excess of the established limits. Governor Walker, who constantly attempts to draw attention to his fiscal prowess,  obviously fails at managing his own campaign accounts.  Yet he is trusted with our tax dollars.
There’s a pattern here.  Not long ago, Bill Gardner, CEO of the Wisconsin Southern Railroad, was convicted of two felony campaign law violations for “encouraging” employees to donate money to Walker, and then reimbursing them from the company coffers.  Incidentally, the Wisconsin Southern Railroad was awarded a state contract worth millions by the Walker Administration. And today we learn that Ted Nickel, the State Insurance Commissioner appointed by Walker, also exceeded the campaign giving limits.  Political paybacks are alive and well in Wisconsin.
For more information see the Wisconsin State Journal. 

Since beginning this blog, I haven’t strayed very much-if at all-from the subject of politics. Today is a politics free kind of day. After all, everyone needs a break from time to time.

Our friends invited us to sit on the capitol lawn, drink wine, eat snacks and enjoy the experience that is Concerts on the Square . How strange it was to attend an event at the capitol that didn’t involve demonstrating or protesting.

patrons of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra's Concerts on the Square.

I have to admit, I enjoyed the evening.  My son played with his friend Giavanna, while my wife and I enjoyed chatting with our friends, each other, and generally drinking in the atmosphere that is Madison in the summer.  Concerts on the Square is great for people watching.  And sometimes listening.  At one point I found myself overhearing the chatter of a young woman sitting near us who was vividly describing all the “action” her blanket has seen. TMI, but amusing.

My son Sal, having a great time.

Beautiful evening for this, really. Temperature was nearly perfect, deep blue sky, happy chatter could be heard from our blanket neighbors. It was good to se people relaxing on the  capitol square for a change.  What a good day.

Majestic Theater

Later that night, after my wife and son went to sleep, I went back downtown to meet a good friend for a drink and much needed conversation. Later, instead of going right home I just rambled around taking various night shots of the city that I love so much.

The Great Dane

Natt Spil- great bar with outstanding and inexpensive food.

The space that used to be Restaurant Magnus, one of my favorites. Soon Tempest, an Oyster Bar, will open here.

view toward the capitol

View toward the capitol

And that’s about it.  Just a nice summer night to be a Madisonian.  What’s your favorite summer activity in the Madison area?

Empire State Building, Lighted to celebrate the passing of a bill allowing gay marriage.

 

Thanks New York for doing the right thing and granting same sex couples the right to marry.  Unfortunately, our formerly progressive state of Wisconsin is unlikely to follow suit in the near future.  Where republicans in NY voted their conscience, these days the Wisconsin GOP seems to lack that sort of human quality. You know, they’re too busy choking women, rolling back child labor laws, playing with guns, abusing protestors, removing consumer rental housing protections and communicating with the devil. And that’s just really the tip of the spear, so to speak.  There’s the massive increase in road spending at the expense of education, corporate givebacks, removal of collective bargaining rights, completely ignoring the minority party…and on and on. Anyway, back to the point of this post.

Excellent article on the subject by my friend Jeanne Devon at Mudflats:

Senator Tom Duane (D) got up and told of coming out to his Catholic parents when he was 18 years old. They were afraid for him, and sad. They thought he would be persecuted, and lonely, and never able to marry, and the victim of discrimination. It turns out that they were only partially right. He asked the Senate to vote yes for him and his partner Louis, and for all New Yorkers.

Senator Mark Grisanti, a Republican and practicing Catholic spoke of his difficulties. He had once opposed the bill and still objects to the use of the word “marriage” to describe a same-sex union. He apologized to those constituents who would be disappointed by his change of heart. But, he said, “a man can be wiser today than yesterday,” and as an attorney he could not “legally come up with an argument against same-sex marriage.” His sense of justice and equality, and law trumped the way he was raised.

A critical last-minute yes vote came from another Republican Senator, Stephen Saland.  He had been undecided until the end and described his “emotional journey.” “My vote is a vote of conscience,” he said. “I am at peace with my vote.”

Read her whole article for interesting commentary.

Justice David Prosser: Probably shouldn't be granted a concealed carry permit.

What a special Saturday morning!  While the State of New York is recognizing the equal rights of gay couples by legalizing same sex marriage, newly re-elected “Gentleman Bachelor” Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser is choking his female colleagues behind closed doors.  Perhaps if his GOP handlers gave him an opportunity to come out of the closet, the somewhat ambiguously gay Justice Prosser might stop lashing out violently at women.  This could very well be all about his personal frustration. But seriously, his alleged actions are egregious and he clearly demonstrates that he is unable to conduct himself professionally. Even more concerning is his apparent seething contempt for women.
Bill Lueders writes an excellent article detailing the incident at Isthmus

They say an argument that occurred before the court’s release of a decision upholding a bill to curtail the collective bargaining rights of public employees culminated in a physical altercation in the presence of other justices. (Justice Ann Walsh)Bradley purportedly asked Prosser to leave her office, whereupon Prosser grabbed Bradley by the neck with both hands.

Justice Prosser, contacted Friday afternoon by the Center, declined comment: “I have nothing to say about it.” He repeated this statement after the particulars of the story — including the allegation that there was physical contact between him and Bradley — were described. He did not confirm or deny any part of the reconstructed account.

On Justice Prosser being gay. Let me make this clear: I am not stating that David Prosser is gay. In fact, I’m sure the gay community would probably reject him. I am simply commenting on rumors that have been discussed for quite some time. They may be true, they may not. But in my sole  opinion, I vote David Prosser the Supreme Court Justice Most Likely to Be Arrested in A Truck Stop Restroom, While Tapping his foot and assuming a “wide stance”.

District 48 Assembly Candidate Andy Heidt

Press release from the Andy Heidt Campaign:

Candidate Heidt Says Bill Is Racist and Must Be Stopped

 

Forty-eighth District Assembly candidate Andy Heidt reacted today to the progress of Representative Donald Pridemore’s bill AB 173, the so-called the “anti-immigrant” bill, which mirrors Arizona’s SB1070. 

“This is wrong in every way, “Heidt said.  “We must protect the rights of each person who lives here, and must value each person’s contribution.  This bill fosters divisiveness, suspicion and fear. The safety of our communities will be undermined because people will be afraid to contact law enforcement, and as police time will be diverted to the non-issue of monitoring immigration status.”

 Like the Arizona bill, AB 173 makes racial profiling the law, requiring that police ask for proof of citizenship or legal immigration status from anyone questioned regarding civil or criminal violations if they have “reasonable suspicion” that person may be undocumented.  Anyone unable to provide documentation could be detained for up to 48 hours and must prove they are in the country legally. 

“Immigrants are already subject unfairly to detention and deportation, processes that tear families apart and traumatize communities,” Heidt said. “We should not criminalize being an immigrant. No human being is illegal.” He noted that immigrants contribute substantially to the state’s economy through spending and in taxes paid, and Wisconsin dairy farmers rely heavily on immigrant labor.

 In contrast to the anti-immigrant sentiment expressed in AB 173, Heidt called for specific measures to protect and expand immigrant rights related to education, social services and work.  

  • Providing for in-state tuition for resident immigrants regardless of documentation status; access to public scholarships and loan programs; and at the secondary school level, resources to address the drop-out rate among students whose families struggle with poverty;
  • Extending all services and programs, such as state identification, driver’s licensing, Badger Care, unemployment compensation and assistance with housing or food to all state residents regardless of national origin or immigration status;
  • Enforcing state-wide worker protection rules including worker’s compensation to address the abuses immigrant workers face in many situations due to their vulnerability.

 

“Improving conditions for the state’s 250,000 immigrant families will also raise the standard of living in communities across the state,” Heidt said. “We will all benefit from treating every Wisconsin resident fairly.” As volunteer co-chair of Covering Kids and Families Wisconsin, Heidt worked to extend Badger Care to pregnant, non-qualified immigrant women, a measure that was enacted by the legislature with unanimous support.

 “We can do much better than AB 173,” Heidt said. “The only possible benefit from the enactment of this bill would be to a private prison industry that might house those detained.’  At the same time, the economic cost of the bill would be borne by the public. Based on the experiences of other states, Wisconsin would likely have to defend the bill against legal challenges to its constitutionality.  The state could also lose revenue due to a national boycott and face the loss of economic contributions made by immigrants through consumer spending, work and taxes

State Sen. Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee

UPDATE: From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Greenbay WI man arrested for battery.

Around 1 p.m. Tuesday, a group of protesters was participating in their daily singalong in the Capitol rotunda, when two men along with former state Sen. David Zien began interrupting their singing.

According to Sue Trace, one of the participants in the singalong, Zien yelled “Walker for president” while two men draped Zien’s “Don’t Tread On Me” flag over the singers’ heads.

The two men were Green Bay resident Henry Rahr and Shorewood, Minn., resident Eugene German.

Michael Dickman, 50, said Rahr and German were bumping into him along with other singers and grabbing their banners. Dickman said he tried to pull the flag away from Rahr. Dickman said Rahr then put him in a headlock and punched him in the face, chipping his front tooth.

For months, peaceful citizens have gathered in the Wisconsin State Capitol at lunch time to sing. The local media has covered this activity widely and almost universally, save for the likes of WIBA right wing radio instigator Vicki McKenna, have characterized it as a fun, family-friendly event.  Today, the sing-a-long turned violent and it wasn’t because of the singers. Former republican senator and gun activist Dave Zein showed up with thugs in tow and assaulted a participant after aggressively taunting the protestors with a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag.  How fitting that the alleged aggressor happened to be wearing a brown shirt.

From Wisconsin State Senator Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee,  via Facebook this afternoon:

“One way to ensure that the peaceful protests at the Capitol aren’t peaceful anymore is for a Republican ex-Senator to come in with his friends, one of whom punches a peaceful protestor in the face. Which just happened. Everyone should condemn this, especially Walker & Republican leadership.”

So what happened?

Tweets about the incident:

“Cop count last week @Solidarity Singalong, 5-10 officers at any time. 2day during violent Tea Party, gun nut attack? ZERO!!! #wiunion”

“Solidarity friends confirm Tea bagger put a singer in a headlock & threw at least 1 punch. Frmr Rep St Sen Dave Zwien part of assault party”

“a singer tried to grab their sign. One of the men put the singer in a headlock, punched him and broke his tooth.”

“Dave Zien raced his wheelchair around grnd level singing circle. He forced singers to move back as he nearly ran over everyone’s feet.”

“Singalong friend: “The cameraman (Fox 6 News) was yukking it up with the assaulters and Dave Zien after the incident.”

“FoxNews 6 from Milwaukee was filming the whole time. There wasn’t a single police officer in sight!”

“Maybe if law enforcement had been monitoring Teabagger social networks instead of #wiunion, they could have prevented today’s attack. #wiall”

From Solidarity Sing-A-Long participant CS via the sing-a-long group on facebook:

I was there and saw exactly what Kati described. Those tough men who aggressively swiped their “Don’t Tread on Me” banner over our faces while we were singing? . . . they were doing that to WOMEN, almost entirely, just 2 men were singing along the rail on the upper floor where I was! I say to them “Don’t Tread on US Please.”

This is so sad-I’ve come to the Singalong almost every day for many weeks. I sing to restore my spirit. Always a peaceful, good-natured event; there are often small children around. Thankfully, not today.

It’s doubly disturbing that they chose to attack us on the final day of debate on Conceal Carry. I fear for Wisconsin if there are many people like them.

Former Sen. Dave Zein in the wheelchair, alleged right wing extremists standing with him. Photo: Anna Liska, Facebook.

And that’s the thing; the Solidarity-Sing-A-Long is  intended to be a peaceful, family-friendly event. I’m sure there are many concealed carry advocates that don’t believe that violence is the answer. Unfortunately for this guy, and double so for the victim, it appears that the perpetrator damaged a tooth during the assault which likely elevates his potential charge to a felony.  The only good news is that if this guy is convicted, he won’t be able to own a firearm, much less carry a concealed weapon.  And former State Sen. Dave Zein should be ashamed of himself for apparently leading those engaged in such a thuggish assault on peaceful protest singers. What would have happened if this guy were packing heat?  One of the mantra’s of the concealed carry set is that they are responsible law-abiding citizens.  The problem with that logic is that it fails to address hot heads, tyrants and bullies who have been fortunate enough to maybe not have had negative police contact…yet.  So after more than 125 days of protesting the only assault appears to be perpetrated by a gun rights activist and tea party member. Hopefully Gov. Walker and GOP leadership should condemn the violence perpetrated by their supporters.

More info from Kati Walsh via a facebook note about the incident:

And the tweet that REALLY angered me? The guy that defended Solidarity Singers receives a disorderly conduct ticket.  Really? Because if the police would have been there, then a citizen wouldn’t have had to step up to make sure others were safe!

“”Pizza Box Mike received a citation for Disorderly Conduct. He acted in our defense. The charge should be dropped immediately.” – NDS”

From a Solidarity Sing Along participant:  

I wrote this email to channel 3  of my account of the events, If you have anything to add, as there were many observers, please feel free to comment below:

I was at the capitol as a participant in the Solidarity Sing Along today from 12 to 1pm.  There were 3 Tea Party protestors there during most of the hour of the sing along.  I was on the second floor balcony of the rotunda hanging one of those long vertical banners down.  The tea partiers had their “Don’t Tread on Me” snake flag and the two ambulatory tea partiers were walking around, holding up their flag for most of the hour– other people told me this, I hadn’t noticed them until the incident b/c they were up on the third floor for most of the hour and I was busy reading the lyrics from the songbook.  Meanwhile the third teabagger was on the ground floor of the singing circle going around, supposedly running over people’s toes in his wheelchair, and people had to step back as he was coming too close to them saying ” Walker should be president”…

The singing went on peacefully as it always does right up until the last few minutes, right before 1pm when the sing along is over.  The teabaggers with the flag came onto the second floor and and hung their flag over the balcony and then they began walking around the circle holding their flag over the balcony.  As they would encounter a participant in the sing along, they would just continue walking, and would drape their flag right over people’s faces and/or banners if they were holding one.  When these two men continued around the circle to where I was standing, holding my banner, I took a few steps away from the balcony edge still holding my banner as a way to prevent these men from putting their flag over me, but they continued to do it anyway.

Just as they were draping their flag across my face, a member of the sing along came over, told the men to stop it, and pulled their flag down.  instantly, the shorter tea partier grabbed this guy in a headlock and punched him in the mouth which resulted in a broken tooth. The guy who got punched did not initiate any physical force against either of the tea partiers holding the flag, he just was grabbing and trying to pull down their flag, never touching either of the men until he was trying to get himself free from the headlock. Some more sing along people came over and tried to break up the fight.  moments later the police came upstairs to assess the situation.  Several eyewitnesses including myself gave statements to the police and everyone who was involved in the assault.

I was standing right there next to one of the tea partiers and saw the whole thing.  This was only my second time at the sing along, and am saddened by the violence that occured today.  This is the 15th week I believe of the sing along Mondays through Fridays, and the first time there was ever a violent incident instigated by the opposing side.  they were very hostile and were trying to provoke and get a reaction from us.  why would they drape their flag right over our faces, touching us, bumping their elbows into the sides of our heads as they walk across us to show their flag?  They could have stayed in their own space and made their statement, or they could have even gone into the middle of the circle if all they wanted to do was make a statement.  The Solidarity sing along is a peaceful, positive, fun and energetic hour.  my grandma has taken my 5 year old daughter many times over the past several weeks when I was still teaching during the school year and it was always a fun and safe place to bring elderly or young children and everyone in between.  Today was a sad day for the sing along.

Another point is that several singers saw a fox news affiliate- fox 6 out of Milwaukee, and claimed that their cameras were rolling before the fight took place and that they may have it on video.  There was some speculation that these people were hired or encouraged to come and cause trouble and disrupt our sing along, and they had the fox cameras there to record it as a way to put negative spin on the events at the capitol.

Thank you and I hope that this and other similar stories are covered in a fair and balanced manner to inform the public.