August 27, 2012

"The Wisconsin Capitol's new police chief said Monday that he plans to crack down on protesters who don't follow the building's rules..."

"... because he wants to restore a sense of normalcy and safety to the statehouse."
Chief David Erwin [said] that he respects people's right to petition their government, but that he believes some protesters' behavior has crossed into intimidation.

"I understand it's a political environment," Erwin said of the Capitol. "(But) there's a line. We're better than that."

73 comments:

BigFire said...

Watch as he eats his word and back down. I fully expects it.

YoungHegelian said...

Capitol Police have issued scores of citations against the protesters over the last 18 months, but Dane County District Attorney Isamel Ozanne, a Democrat, has dismissed most of them.

Am I the only one who reads this and thinks of the old Dixiecrat South, where someone down at the courthouse would give Rufus & Eugene a pass because "They really didn't mean to hurt those colored boys. It was just all fun & games that got out of hand. Be awful to ruin two young lives over somethin' like that."

Don't Democrats understand that when they poison the basic functions of government like this, they poison their brand in a way corrupt Republicans don't?

granmary said...

About time somebody controlled the lunatic fringe. Maybe Wisconsin can regain some respect.

garage mahal said...

I wonder what the State Constitution says?

Ironically the only people injured in the Capitol were those exercising their constitutional rights. Oh well!

granmary said...

About time somebody controlled the lunatic fringe. Maybe Wisconsin can regain some respect.

ALH said...


The Incessant "whose house? OUR house" chants during the illegal occupation still make my skin crawl. The whole episode proved that a) the illegal occupiers had no civility and no sense of irony and b) law enforcement was complicit in the whole process.

Finally it looks like the rule of law might be, you know, enforced.

Ann Althouse said...

"Ironically the only people injured in the Capitol were those exercising their constitutional rights. Oh well!"

You mean like me, when I was standing on public property observing a protest, and a man hit me with a vuvuzela?

Or when my son was scratched in the process of detaching the hand of a protester from his mother's hand?

Kevin said...

"Chief Tubbs doesn't work here anymore..."

alan markus said...

"(But) there's a line. We're better than that."

Sounds like something a middle school principal would say to the student body.

edutcher said...

I have a feeling this the work of that masked stranger.

The one with the platinum bob.

ALH said...

Alan M. said. 'But) there's a line. We're better than that."

Sounds like something a middle school principal would say to the student body."


I think his target audience, I.e. illegal protestors, can relate pretty well to the middle school student body psyche.

Revenant said...

I wonder what the State Constitution says?

I'm guessing it says nothing about a "right to protest in the rotunda". :)

garage mahal said...

You mean like me, when I was standing on public property observing a protest, and a man hit me with a vuvuzela?

Not sure what you're talking about, but I clearly wrote "in the Capitol".


I'm guessing it says nothing about a "right to protest in the rotunda". :)


You would be wrong.

Sorun said...

There's something about protesters pushing a shopping cart through the Capitol that irks me.

Pogo said...

Meanwhile in MN, land of 10,000 ballots-per-trunk, the MN Supreme Court went against Soros-backed Secy of State Ritchie!!!

"Legislators had called the Photo ID amendment: “Photo Identification Required for Voting.” Ritchie, following a state law that says the Secretary of State writes ballot titles, substituted this language: “Changes to In-person & Absentee Voting & Voter Registration; Provisional Ballots.”

For marriage, legislators called the amendment: “Recognition of Marriage Solely Between One Man and One Woman.” Ritchie’s title reads: “Limiting the Status of Marriage to Opposite Sex Couples.”


Good God, sanity may be returning.

Revenant said...

You would be wrong.

I doubt it. You're welcome to cite the section of the state constitution that grants this supposed right, though. :)

Brad said...

@ Ann

You understand that because your politics are 'wrong," garage doesn't consider you a "people" .... right?

Sorun said...

Maybe in a year or two, this will be something other than, "Why is Wisconsin so stupid?"

Meade said...

"Not sure what you're talking about, but I clearly wrote ''in the Capitol'."

They were on Capitol grounds, garage. A. and son were physically assaulted by participants of the Solidarity Singers - one of the protest groups who regularly skirted the permit rules.

JAL said...

Are adults moving into Madison?

Appointed or elected?

edutcher said...

s/b this is the work.

PS C'mon, garage, you know exactly what she means.

Pogo said...

In the best Democrat tradition, garage is debating the word "is".

garage mahal said...

You understand that because your politics are 'wrong," garage doesn't consider you a "people" .... right?

This is frighteningly ignorant. I don't want new rules made up to keep Meadehouse from exercising their 1st Amendment rights either. You do realize a Democrat tyrant like a Rahm Emmanuel could get elected governor and easily make up rules to keep the Tea Party from protesting? Why is that so hard to understand? But they Tea Party will gladly give up their own rights without even a whimper, as long as lefty protesters are kept out. D-U-M-B.

Rusty said...

"I understand it's a political environment," Erwin said of the Capitol. "(But) there's a line. We're better than that."


Until our union tells us not to.

Maguro said...

What exactly is the point of "cracking down" on the protesters if the District Attorney isn't interested in charging them with anything? Seems like the spectacle of getting arrested in the Capitol ("Help, help, I'm being repressed!") without the credible threat of actual legal consequences would just encourage them.

garage mahal said...

What exactly is the point of "cracking down" on the protesters if the District Attorney isn't interested in charging them with anything?

Charge them with what? Taking a picture? Singing? Perhaps they aren't breaking any laws?

God, An Original A-hole said...

The only important question:

Is Fuehrer Erwin a Republican or Democrat?

A liberal or conservative?

Oh wait... let me read the piece... and there it is:

Walker's administration hired Erwin in July to take over the Capitol Police from outgoing Chief Charles Tubbs. Erwin, a former Marine, said he reached an agreement with Ozanne and Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen last week calling for Van Hollen to handle civil citations against the protesters and Ozanne to handle any criminal complaints.

Erwin was hired by the Republican Walker to institute the Republican aims, with two Republican dudes assisting to make sure that any liberal grievances are met with force, pepper spray, and a general "fuck you" attitude.

So the message is simple: Stay away from the Capitol, you fucking liberals! STAY THE FUCK AWAY!!!

Revenant said...

Charge them with what? Taking a picture? Singing? Perhaps they aren't breaking any laws?

Singing can be illegal, if you do it with the specific purpose of harassing others.

Which, of course, is exactly what they are doing.

Revenant said...

You do realize a Democrat tyrant like a Rahm Emmanuel could get elected governor and easily make up rules to keep the Tea Party from protesting?

See, there are two false assumptions there.

Assumption one is that the Tea Party is interested in deliberately disrupting Democratic legislatures to prevent them from getting anything done.

Assumption two is that they would, today, be allowed to do that without being arrested.

Neither assumption is supported by the available evidence.

Plus, of course, there's the little fact that there's no constitutional right to prevent duly elected legislatures from carrying out their legislative duties. There is, contrary to your beliefs, no constitutional right to a temper tantrum -- and certainly not one that deprives voters of their right to representation. :)

YoungHegelian said...

@An Original Ahole,

(And a apt handle, that)

Do you ever read any of the comments? Or, do you just hop in there with your bons mots at the ready?

Is your take on the anti-Walker protests that they constituted nothing but "airing of grievances"? Kinda like an open air Festivus for Lefties?

Have you just not been paying attention or do you consider the Occupy Riots in Oakland to be simple "airing of grievances", too?

garage mahal said...

Which, of course, is exactly what they are doing

This is why it's so hard to take libertarians seriously. Not to mention you don't seem to know what's going on inside the Capitol. The Solidarity Singers aren't singing inside legislative sessions.

donald said...

The mind boggles.

Son far internet rough guy gm doesn't understand the concept of assault and battery.

For the other guy. Or gal.

Notes

donald said...

Whoops. "Noted".

donald said...

Damn.

"so Internet tough guy".

I of course blame auto correct.

Revenant said...

This is why it's so hard to take libertarians seriously.

I like that you didn't actually supply a reason. :)

The Solidarity Singers aren't singing inside legislative sessions.

I didn't say they were.

garage mahal said...

I like that you didn't actually supply a reason. :)

It seems like libertarians rarely, if ever, go to the mat for people they disagree with. You're dutifully displaying that for us here. "The government is to be trusted first!" isn't what I thought libertarianism was all about.

The Crack Emcee said...

"I understand it's a political environment," Erwin said of the Capitol. "(But) there's a line.

Boy, they're kinda slow in those parts, ain't they?

Meade said...

"Boy, they're kinda slow in those parts, ain't they?"

Well, I gotch yer boy. But, yes, the arc of the moral universe is long. itt bends, however slowly, toward justice.

tiger said...

garage mahal said...
You understand that because your politics are 'wrong," garage doesn't consider you a "people" .... right?

This is frighteningly ignorant. I don't want new rules made up to keep Meadehouse from exercising their 1st Amendment rights either. You do realize a Democrat tyrant like a Rahm Emmanuel could get elected governor and easily make up rules to keep the Tea Party from protesting? Why is that so hard to understand? But they Tea Party will gladly give up their own rights without even a whimper, as long as lefty protesters are kept out. D-U-M-B.


And your comment is 'B-U-L-L-S-H-I-A-T-E'.

1) Since when to governors 'make up rules'?
and
2) As you SHOULD know the 1st Amendment is not absolute i.e. shouting out 'FIRE!' in a crowded room (and just to stop you before you debate 'is' again) naturally this refers to a room NOT on fire.

Your constantly taking the most extreme and poorly thought-out views is boring and makes you sound like an ill-informed clown.

Let me continue:
garage mahal said...
What exactly is the point of "cracking down" on the protesters if the District Attorney isn't interested in charging them with anything?

Charge them with what? Taking a picture? Singing? Perhaps they aren't breaking any laws?


Seriously, you are a clown.

Try
1)breaking and entering
2)unlawful assembly
3)intimidation
4)assualt
5)disturbing the peace
6)disorderly conduct
7)stalking

There. That's SEVEN and I'm not a lawyer.

Farking allah, you're an idiot.

Revenant said...

It seems like libertarians rarely, if ever, go to the mat for people they disagree with.

It seems that way to you because you live in a political bubble. You still haven't been able to point to any rights that are being violated, incidentally. :)

Revenant said...

"The government is to be trusted first!" isn't what I thought libertarianism was all about

The "protests" are about helping government workers to take money from private sector -- upon pain of imprisonment -- and bestow it upon themselves.

The fact that we don't trust the government is, of course, one reason why we look on your little crew of thugs and extortionists with disgust. You ARE the government -- the worst, least-accountable, unelected parts of the government.

And you live by leeching off the valuable and productive parts of society.

garage mahal said...

You still haven't been able to point to any rights that are being violated, incidentally. :)

The state constitution clearly states that it is unlawful to block access to the Capitol and to try to prevent protests. Not sure why I'[m pointing this out as I'm sure you don't care about the Constitution.

"The right of the people peaceably to assemble, to consult for the common good, and to petition the government, or any department thereof, shall never be abridged.”

Like I said, libertarians are the biggest joke of any political party. You moan and wail about big government, and then cheerlead big government smashing unions and limiting the rights of citizens. Even with the threat of force for non compliance.

So just be a little more honest and say you love big government for all sorts of things.

Petunia said...

Requiring a permit isn't blocking access to the Capitol or preventing protests.

Way to go, Chief Erwin! It's about time.

garage mahal said...

Way to go, Chief Erwin! It's about time.

At the same time limiting the freedoms of other groups, like the Tea Party, unknowingly to them I'm sure. fortunately stuff like this can easily be undone.

Nothing_Clever_Comes_To_Mind_DamnIt said...

So you call what happened and is happening "assembling peaceably"? *snort* Riiight.

And for whose common good were they consulting? Not that of the tax payer.

And I saw narry a petition. Demands. Disruption. Tantrums. Yes. Petitioning? Nope.

Jeez louise.

Revenant said...

The state constitution clearly states that it is unlawful to block access to the Capitol and to try to prevent protests.

Access to the capitol isn't being blocked, except by the occasional large crowds of "I'm more important than you" protesters clogging up the place 24/7. :)

As for your claim that the right to "protests" is protected, let's see a quote from the text that mentions "protests".

Not sure why I'm pointing this out as I'm sure you don't care about the Constitution.

Presumably because at a subconscious level you realize that the second half of your sentence was a silly thing to say.

"The right of the people peaceably to assemble, to consult for the common good, and to petition the government, or any department thereof, shall never be abridged."

And it hasn't been. What petition of theirs has gone unheard? None. What group is being forbidden from assembling? None.

It defies both logic and common sense -- not to mention the law -- to think that the right to assemble and petition the government includes some sort of right to perform musical numbers in the capitol building any time you feel like it.

See, here's why you don't get libertarians. "Rights", to you, mean you get to do whatever you want, whenever you want, and everyone else can go fuck himself.

Libertarians recognize that the only justification for having "public" space in the first place is that it be shared. Having content-neutral rules for sharing public spaces is necessary to protect the rights of everyone. Otherwise assholes like you get to move in, shit all over everything, and deprive everyone else of access.

Which is your goal, of course.

Alex said...

garage considers Ann an un-person, doubleplus ungood.

Fen said...

garage: Not sure what you're talking about, but I clearly wrote "in the Capitol".

Weasel.

Brad said...

Not "ignorant" at all, garage ....

the only "people" rights you care about are those of your political allies.

What's "ignorant" is your inability to focus on the point being made.

Curious George said...

garage mahal said...

The state constitution clearly states that it is unlawful to block access to the Capitol and to try to prevent protests. Not sure why I'[m pointing this out as I'm sure you don't care about the Constitution."

Of course it does not clearly say that all. You may think it means that, but it does not say that. Fortunately you post what is clearly says next:

"The right of the people peaceably to assemble, to consult for the common good, and to petition the government, or any department thereof, shall never be abridged.”"

peaceably:

1. a : disposed to peace : not contentious or quarrelsome
b : quietly behaved

2. untroubled by conflict, agitation, or commotion : quiet, tranquil

and there's the rub garage. There was nothing peaceable about the protesters.

Larry J said...

"I understand it's a political environment," Erwin said of the Capitol. "(But) there's a line. We're better than that."

Recent evidence suggests otherwise.

Matthew Sablan said...

"You do realize a Democrat tyrant like a Rahm Emmanuel could get elected governor and easily make up rules to keep the Tea Party from protesting?"

-- In local areas of Virginia, we've had that, with Tea Party protestors required to file thousands of dollars in fees for the right to protest, while Occupy protestors were allowed to squat without paying a dime. In fact, Tea Party protestors across the nation report this odd disparity, including additional scrutiny by the IRS. The odd thing is that the IRS and, I believe it was Richmond or Arlington, governments are perfectly proper in applying scrutiny and requiring them to pay their fees. Yet, somehow, Occupy was never given that scrutiny or asked to pay the fee.

So, oddly enough, the left has -already- been enforcing the double standard we're supposed to be afraid that a tyrannical left might enforce were the right to ask for the tyrannical left (hey, tyrant was your word, not mine) to, I dunno, tyranize people by forcing them to obey the laws that the right is already being forced by, I guess, jack booted tyrants, to follow.

Matthew Sablan said...

Link for Richmond unequal treatment of protestors and over here Richmond audits them. Also, link for IRS claiming not to be unfairly targeting the Tea Party despite targeting Tea Party Groups.

So, Garage, tell me more about the tyrannical left unfairly oppressing speech it doesn't like.

Hey, your word. Not mine.

Meade said...

Larry J said...
"I understand it's a political environment," Erwin said of the Capitol. "(But) there's a line. We're better than that."

Recent evidence suggests otherwise.


Really? Evidence more recent than the June recall election? Because, the evidence from that election of what democracy actually does look like in the state of Wisconsin seems to me hit a fairly high mark.

Jay said...

garage mahal said...


The state constitution clearly states that it is unlawful to block access to the Capitol and to try to prevent protests. Not sure why I'[m pointing this out as I'm sure you don't care about the Constitution.


It actually says no such thing, you silly idiot.

Jay said...

garage mahal said...


"The right of the people peaceably to assemble, to consult for the common good, and to petition the government, or any department thereof, shall never be abridged.”


The fact that you actually believe the above sentence means you can disrupt the legislature, sleep in the Capital building, and blow horns, shows us you're functionally retarded.

Matthew Sablan said...

The question is, if one group takes over the building and bullies other groups (such as, you know, shouting them down when they to speak and physically hits them when they are there), isn't that group abridging the right of the people to peaceably assemble, consult for the common good and to petition the government?

President-Mom-Jeans said...

Let's not all lose sight of the important issue here. Garage Mahal continues to be obese.

Meade said...

"The question is, if one group takes over the building and bullies other groups (such as, you know, shouting them down when they [try] to speak and physically hits them when they are there), isn't that group abridging the right of the people to peaceably assemble, consult for the common good and to petition the government?"

Matthew Sablan asks the exact right question. Can garage mahal or any other supporter of the "Uprising" Capitol occupation protest answer that question? John Nichols? Jesse Jackson?

Tammy Baldwin?

Daniel Fielding said...

At least now hippies and those dirty protestors will get beaten.

Curious George said...

"Meade said...
"The question is, if one group takes over the building and bullies other groups (such as, you know, shouting them down when they [try] to speak and physically hits them when they are there), isn't that group abridging the right of the people to peaceably assemble, consult for the common good and to petition the government?"

Matthew Sablan asks the exact right question. Can garage mahal or any other supporter of the "Uprising" Capitol occupation protest answer that question? John Nichols? Jesse Jackson?

Tammy Baldwin?"

I don't think it's a proper question at all. The question at hand is what limitations government can impose on "peaceable assembly"...not what impact the lack of one has on another. The issue is were the protests "peaceable. The answer is "no".

RonF said...

So here's the thing about the 1st Amendment, garage. The government has no right with interfering with the people's right to peaceably assemble and protest the government. So if I rent out (or happen to own) a field, get a bunch of people there and hold a rally, as long as I keep it peaceable the government has no say in the matter.

The property owner does, though. He or she can choose not to rent out the field to whoever they please for whatever reason they want. Where it gets complicated is when the government IS the property owner.

Government property belongs to everyone. My right to walk my dog in a public park is just as protected as your right to protest there. And I have no more right to let my dog relieve himself in the park than you do to leave crap and trash all over. So, how do we resolve this?

Permits. If you want to run an event with a whole lot of people that will interfere with my ability to walk my dog in the park then you have to get a permit. And give surety against property damage, etc.

But that has to apply to everyone. The GOP and the Democrats. The Tea Party and Occupy. Both have to post bond, or neither one does. Both have to clean up after themselves. Neither one can camp (parks sustained $100,000's of damage from Occupy campers). Where law enforcement is applied unevenly on this then you have official discrimination, as odious on the basis of politics as it is on the basis of race.

There is no 1st Amendment right to protest as a group on public property without regard to other people's rights to use that property for other purposes. There is no 1st Amendment right to protest as a group on public property without regard to regulations set up to prevent abuse of and damage to that property. But time and time again we see that right-wing oriented groups (a.k.a. the Tea Party Movement) understand and respect this where left-wing oriented groups (SEIU, Occupy) don't.

It leads one to believe that the left-wing groups don't truly understand or respect the 1st Amendment in particular or the Constitution and it's role in American society overall. It's just something to be used when convenient but ignored when necessary to achieve their ends.

RonF said...

The Wisconsin Constitution says:

Right to assemble and petition. SECTION 4. The right of the people peaceably to assemble, to consult for the common good, and to petition the government, or any department thereof, shall never be abridged.

which is entirely in accordance with what I have said. If you want to peaceably assemble, great. If you want to use force to break into public buildings and violate ordinances and regulations so as to interfere with other people's use of that same public building or space then you are not being peaceable.

Meade said...

I don't think it's a proper question at all. The question at hand is what limitations government can impose on "peaceable assembly"...not what impact the lack of one has on another. The issue is were the protests "peaceable. The answer is "no".

Point well-taken, Curious George. The alleged actions of bullying, intimidation, and assaults by Nichols, Jackson, Baldwin, and others, might violate a criminal or tort law but they are not constitutional violations.

Sam L. said...

Troll-fest here, too.

Nice bunch of commenters you got here, Ann. Be a shame if anything was to happen to them.

David Couper said...

He could start out by affirming the following 12 qualities necessary for police in our society to hold and practice at: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/policing-our-nation.html. Also visit my blog on police improvement at http://improvingpolice.wordpress.com. (Those qualities are: Accountable, Collaborative, Educated and trained, Effective and preventive, Honest, Model citizen, Peacekeeper and protector, Representative, Respectful, Restrained, Servant leader, and Unbiased.) There also is my new book that may be helpful and save him a lot of trouble: “Arrested Development: A Veteran Police Chief Sounds Off About Protest, Racism, Corruption and the Seven Steps Necessary to Improve Our Nation’s Police” (Amazon.com).

Dr Weevil said...

Didn't the protesters more than once lock the Capitol's fire exits? If so, they were taking a chance - a small chance, fortunately not fulfilled - that they would end up as guilty, and as hated, as the managers of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.

Actually, they were already guilty of endangering people's lives, just as a drunk driver is (morally) guilty of something like attempted homicide, even if he's lucky enough not to hit anyone that particular night.

Rusty said...

Meade said...
I don't think it's a proper question at all. The question at hand is what limitations government can impose on "peaceable assembly"...not what impact the lack of one has on another. The issue is were the protests "peaceable. The answer is "no".

Point well-taken, Curious George. The alleged actions of bullying, intimidation, and assaults by Nichols, Jackson, Baldwin, and others, might violate a criminal or tort law but they are not constitutional violations.

How about when their behavior denies my equal access. How does their right to assemble trump my rights?

Meade said...

Rusty said...
"How about when their behavior denies my equal access. How does their right to assemble trump my rights?"

It doesn't. But if that's the case, then you might have a criminal complaint or a tort claim against them - not a constitutional right against the government. I think that is what Curious George was, correctly, pointing out.

Meade said...

"Didn't the protesters more than once lock the Capitol's fire exits?"

Former Chief Tubbs told me he investigated and found that it was certain police officers, not the protesters, who tried to lock the doors using handcuffs.

purplepenquin said...

ACLU communications director Stacy Harbaugh pointed out that signing the permits for visual displays and protests also waived the person or group’s rights to sue police officers for any acts during the event. The state’s decisions regarding how much of a police presence any given event would require—and how much it would cost protesters, who would be responsible under the new rules—were too vague and arbitrary, she said.

http://dane101.com/current/2012/08/28/new_police_chief_plans_crack_down_on_protesters_at_capitol

In other words, if you want a permit then you have to agree that the police can do anything-at-all (even if it ain't legal) without a threat of repercussions and they can charge you as much as they want to for the "privilege" of protesting.

I don't remember the Sons of Liberty getting a permit before they dumped tea into Boston Harbor...but then again, maybe that is a bad example for this crowd.

After all, many commentators (including our own hostess) has made it pretty clear that due to those type of distasteful actions they would most likely have been Tories during the America Revolution.



Meade said...

@ purplepenquin - What were the Sons of Liberty protesting? Do you remember?

purplepenquin said...

Can't say I "remember" why the Sons of Liberty were all aghast, 'cause I wasn't actually there at the time. :D

But I've studied a couple different points of view on the issue...some folks say there actions were just the result of a bunch of slave-owning, aristocratic, white males not wanting to pay their taxes while others say they were brave men who wanted to make a better society for their families and generations to come.

The Sons of Liberty truly are a very interesting part of our American history and culture, and it is a shame that more people aren't aware of 'em.


Tho, I ain't sure what that has to do with the fact that in order to be considered a legal gathering in our State Capitol a group must first agree that one can't sue the police for anything the officers might do that day, but also they can charge you as much (or as little) as they want to, based only on their whims.

When I was a kid during the end of the Cold War they told us that was the kind of stuff the Russians do...it is shame that so many in America now embraces those type of overreaching rules.