I was hoping to get this message up sooner, but was in operation on Thursday and am now recovering. Perfect time for a blog post if I shall say so myself. First things first, on Wednesday I went to the Assembly to watch them gerrymander the maps. A few things struck me as interesting. The first was that not a single Republican could defend these maps. In the Senate, Scott Fitzgerald, the Senate Majority Leader gave a false and pre written speech that he read off of a sheet of paper. Probably Georgia Pacific paper and probably written by the owner of that company, Koch Industries, but nonetheless, it lacked any sincerity. I thought surely Bill Kramer, the Speaker with his arrogant smiling and laughing could come up with something. Perhaps he was too busy talking on the phone as he does for a majority of the sessions in which he is supposed to preside as speaker. Or perhaps John Nygren, the Assembly Representative who couldn’t even collect two signatures to get on the ballot for the Senate race (by the way Congratulations Senator Hansen, I am glad to say I will be seeing you for some time still in the hallways). Surely Nygren must have been working on a speech when he should have been getting signatures if he was really serious about running right?
But time and time again, the Democrats in the Assembly just spoke. Mark Pocan, who I would love to see in US Congress should Tammy Baldwin decide to run for Herb Kohl’s senate seat, asked for a defense, but at least for the time I was there not a single Republican could defend these maps. Then we found out that they are paying $395 an hour for attorneys to draw the maps and defend them in the maps. What ever happened to creating maps that don’t need to be defended and risk hundreds of thousands of taxpayer money. On top of that, the attorneys were only allowed to talk to the Republicans. So far these lawyers have cost the state over $300,000. Just so they could cheat. I was disgusted by this point so I decided to take a stand. I pulled out a Bill of Rights (a replica) and held it in front of my chest. Now the Assembly has a ‘rule’ not even a law that you cannot display signs. This is entirely unconstitutional and I have been removed several times for holding the Constitution or Bill of Rights which is entirely a political statement (asking them to follow it).
Sure enough the Sergeant at Arms came up and asked I put down my sign. I informed her, as I always do, that holding this was protected under the First Amendment of the US Constitution and Article 1 Sections 3 and 4 of the Wisconsin State Constitution. She then went to talk to someone, came back and asked that I leave or put down my “sign”. I informed her it was not a sign it was a Bill of Rights. She then left and ten police officers (including the two that are paid out of taxpayer money just to follow me around) entered the room. They asked me to leave and I refused. They then lifted me up and, once again, carried me out and down to the basement. Two officers took my arms, two took my legs, one took the Segway. I was cited for Disorderly Conduct, another charge that will be dismissed. But what has our state come to when the Bill of Rights is contraband. When a citizen has no way to petition their government. We no longer have a voice, but I assure you we will fight like hell to get it back. The fact is I will get carried out a hundred times if that is what it takes to return OUR HOUSE, the Wisconsin Capitol to constitutional grounds.
I was unable to return to the gallery and sure enough the rest of the day there were several police posted up to make sure I did not return. Since when has holding a document that is the cornerstone of our Democracy worthy of two police following you non stop and several making sure you don’t go in somewhere. Not saying a word just holding it. Since when is it OK for the Republicans and to an extent these police to spit on the graves of the many men and women who have died for our ability to exercise our Freedom of Speech. Every time I am removed it is at the orders of a Republican representative. These little boys (they don’t even deserve to be called men) claim to be patriotic but have no problem violating a right our troops fought and lost their lives for. Like everything else they say, it’s all lies. They could care less about the Constitution or our troops. I, on the other hand, will not back down. I support our country and our troops and it would be a disservice to them, the men and women who have fought so hard to ensure I have theses rights, to not fight whenever I can to make sure I still do.
After I was removed the Assembly voted to cut unemployment by a week. So they can afford $395 an hour on attorneys but cannot afford $363 a week for our unemployed. They can afford to allow two thirds of our corporations to pay absolutely nothing in taxes and give $21 million in tax breaks to a company on the IL/WI border in exchange for just 151 jobs, most of which will go to IL residents but cannot afford $363 a week for the people who just lost their jobs, in most cases due to no fault of their own. And people actually believe they want to create jobs?? People actually believe they understand the impact of the recession?? I challenge any Republican representative to come with me on any national news station (I’ll even do Faux) and explain/debate this. I challenge just one of you to sit there and look the camera in the eye and admit to this and then say you care. It makes no sense, like everything else that we have seen. It is inexcusable, disgusting, and down right greedy.
And now to balloons. On Valentines Day many balloons were let off in the Rotunda of the Wisconsin State Capitol. These were red heart shaped balloons. Of those most fell down, but one stayed up into June. The Department of Administration made the decision one day in June to take this balloon down. But it was so much more than just a balloon. It was a symbol of the people’s undying will to fight this facist regime. They removed it for no reason other than that they did not like the symbol they did not like the protesters having a steady reminder of their will. What they failed to realize is that out will is much stronger than simply that balloon. Our will is not something you can take down. We will continue here in Wisconsin. We must, because if we do not, it could very possibly be the fall of our entire country. Most people have not quite gotten a grasp on how important this battle really is. Then again most people don’t vote either so what do you expect?? If we are to prevent this from happening again we must make some changes as a country. As far as the balloons go, we will continue to let balloons off so long as they continue to take them down. They say it causes damage to the painting. I don’t buy it for one minute from the people who called almost no damage $7.5M and we have let off dozens of balloons with no damage to the painting. That and it’s not hard, if that is your real concern, to protect it. The fact is they never should have taken down that single balloon from Valentines Day. It’s a power grab and we as activists at the Wisconsin State Capitol are tired of it. I was not there today, as I am still recovering from surgery but here is a video of todays balloons.
And last but not least, where do we go from here. Everyone knows we are planning another round of Senate recalls and to recall the Governor, but past that where does the movement stand. There has not been much of any discussion from the groups on this so I, as Executive Director of Defending Wisconsin PAC, a well respected Political Action Committee here in Wisconsin, will make a proposal and ask that people prepare to join me. This could go one of two ways. There is currently a bill being worked on that has support from the Republicans and at least one Democrat that would limit recalls to only if someone is convicted of a crime. This cannot stand, but if it is introduced and passes we must make sure every single person who votes to restrict the level of citizen involvement we have in politics is removed come their re election. Every Democrat and Republican who so much as supports restricting recalls in Wisconsin must go and I urge you, if you live in our state to send an e-mail to your legislator and let them know if they try this and support it, you will work towards their removal from office. If this doesn’t go through or doesn’t pass then we still have a full plate ahead of us. We must pressure the Democrats to repeal or improve absolutely everything they complained about during this year. Everything that was rushed through, repeal it. Put your action where your mouth is. We will give them a year to do this. Then we must move forward as a state to regain representation. We must take all of our politicians Democrat or Republican and recall every single one who does not hold up to their promises.
The fact is that both sides play into special interests a bit more than they should. While the Democrats are listening to the people and representing what the majority of the people want now, we must make sure they continue. And we must make sure the Republicans never again spit on our democracy. But furthermore we must make sure we are holding politicians accountable. We have been awaken as a people and we must stay awake. Citizens vote on their representatives based on their campaign promises. So lets hold them to it. If every year we do this and make it a bipartisan effort, they will be forced to actually serve the people. For instance, let’s say we recall 25% of the legislature the first year. They won’t care how much this company or that interest is giving them, none of them will want to risk being in that 25% and losing their job. It’s simple for a politician to do what they say. We must not accept this complacent attitude of “politicians never keep their promises”. We must make them. We pay their salary, we get them into office, we give them their power. We must also show we are not afraid to take it away. Then and only then will we emerge from this slump. Until then we must continue. ONE DAY LONGER. ONE DAY STRONGER!
Defending Wisconsin PAC
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