Saturday, July 27, 2013

Walker's Malfeasance Goes For A Song

For those who have been reading my reporting about Scott Walker dating back to his time in Milwaukee County is fully aware that one of his predominant traits is the need to overreach is authority in order to get his way, whether it's to reward a campaign donor, advance his political career or punish his political  enemies.  With the help of the corporate media, he has all too often been able to get away with such malfeasance.

But even the most powerful corporate media in the state can do little to spin away Walker's latest acts of
Image courtesy of
Sarah Mittermaier
malfeasance - his vain efforts to stifle the people who participate in the Solidarity Singalong.

My colleague in dissidence, Jeff Simpson, has been doing a yeoman's work in covering the abuse of authority going on in the state capitol.  You can find his excellent coverage here, here, also here, there, this one and that one.

As the gentle reader is probably aware, Walker has sent Commandant Dave Erwin and his jackboots into the Capitol's rotunda to arrest octogenarians, veterans, mothers with children, the disabled, friars and reverends. They even arrested journalists and onlookers.

One of the acts of suppression that I have personally found most egregious involves a friend of Cognitive Dissidence, the good Reverend Carter Dary, who is also running for the 13th Wisconsin Assembly District. Not only did Walker's goons arrest the good reverend, but also were neglectful towards him as he was having an apparent cardiac incident:
The minister, a gentle man named Rev. Carter Dary, sits in his zip tie cuffs, says he isn't feeling well, is having chest pains. Nitro, nitro… this man needs his nitro! He's not well, and he needs his nitro. The policeman in charge of collaring and cuffing errant Lutheran clergy put it in his palm. But he's handcuffed, see, and he can't get the pill into his mouth. He fumbles, but the pill doesn't reach its target. Too many zip ties are in the way. The policeman puts it under his tongue for him, like some weird reverse benediction. Things seem better. Rev. Dary tells the policeman that he has no family or friends to be contacted, and the policeman leaves the processing room.

But then the soft spoken Reverend suddenly slumps where he sits, head against a pillar, eyes closed. A woman next to him, also in detainment tries to nudge him. He doesn't move. She yells for the police. Irving, stalwart Solidarity Singer already arrested too many times to count, also sits next to him in detainment. The police come and try to get the Reverend to respond. The police finally call EMS. It takes forever for the ambulance to arrive. Everyone waits and waits, Mr. Dary inert, folded over like too much laundry. Irving and the woman who nudged Mr. Dary, begin to recite the Lord's Prayer out loud. They think the Reverend is dying. The police, tell them to be quiet, to quit praying out loud. The police try to stop them from praying out loud to a semi conscious minister! They continue reciting the Lord's Prayer. Five to ten minutes after they call the ambulance, the police take the Reverend's handcuffs off.

Perhaps an ordained minister apparently having a cardiac event might be trusted to not run off? The police try to ascertain his condition. Can he recite scripture? He only gets out the first line of the Lord's Prayer.
Follow the link to see a video of Reverend Dary talk about how police had refused to allow him to offer guidance to the political prisoners of the day before as well as an eyewitness account of the unforgivable neglect by the troopers.

And make no mistake about it. The people that Walker is having arrested are political prisoners.  They have committed no crime, unless one, - like Walker does - thinks that exercising the Freedom of Speech is a criminal behavior.

In fact, the Madison National Lawyers Guild has sent out a pres release basically pointing out that Walker was overstepping his authority and purposely misinterpreting a court order in order to practice this particularly act of fascism (emphasis mine, for obvious reasons):
Citizens singing traditional civil rights songs, some with lyrics rewritten to criticize the current governor and state legislative priorities, were again subjected to mass arrest in the Wisconsin
Capitol Rotunda July 24 and July 25. After U.S. District Court Judge William Conley issued an injunction against enforcement of the Wisconsin Administrative Code and Capitol Access policies on
July 8, the Wisconsin Department of Administration tried to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in their ongoing campaign to stifle voices of dissent in the Capitol. Twenty three people were arrested Wednesday, and another twenty or so on Thursday, some more than once, while hundreds sang along or looked on, including a number of Democratic state legislators.

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.

Image courtesy of
Sarah Mittermaier
All the singers and others present arrested Wednesday were charged with violating an administrative code provision that describes what kind of activity would justify a declaration of an “unlawful event” by Capitol Police. Yet no access was blocked to any part of the building, and no violence, threats of violence or any interference with the operations of state government during the lunch hour singing was observed during the event, which has continued for over two years every weekday in or outside the Capitol. The tickets merely listed “No Permit” as the basis for getting a citation, and when citizens asked why they were being arrested, Capitol police, state troopers and DNR wardens told them they would “find out downstairs,” but no further explanation was offered. Agents of the Wisconsin Dept. of Justice Criminal Investigations unit were called in to help process the large number of people arrested.

The Madison Mass Defense group, involving attorney and legal worker members of the National Lawyers Guild, ACLU and others concerned about federal and state constitutional rights to petition and protest the government, has represented most of the 40 defendants given over 160 tickets in the “crackdown” ordered by Capitol Police Chief Erwin since he became chief a year ago. Only one case has gone to a jury trial resulting in a guilty verdict, and over 70 cases have been dismissed by the prosecuting Wisconsin Attorney General’s office or denied prosecution by the Dane County District Attorney. An appeal is pending in the Court of Appeals which may result in the state being ordered to pay the defendants’ attorneys’ fees if the prosecutions were not “substantially justified.”

Anyone needing legal assistance for arrests while singing or observing singing at the Capitol can call the NLG at 608-520-0654. The coordinator will then attempt to find legal representation for the person who has been arrested.

The Madison Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild is the local arm of the national organization of lawyers, legal workers, law students, and jailhouse lawyers. The National Lawyers Guild represents
progressive political movements, and its motto is that human rights are more sacred than property interests.
And yes, again, they are political prisoners. They are being arrested for singing the truth to power. They are being arrested because Dear Leader Walker doesn't like them pointing out his failures and corruption.

Ironically, Walker's overreach and malfeasance does more damage to himself than anything the singers could hope to accomplish.

1 comment:

  1. Saturday morning, Rev. Dary was at D4/426 UW Hospital