The Walker Administration has a shiny new head of the Capitol Police, Dave Erwin, appointed June 23 of this year. A little more than a month later he has announced a crackdown on protesters in the Capitol.
For a year and a half, demonstrators have gathered daily at the statehouse to protest GOP Gov. Scott Walker's agenda, but Capitol Police Chief Dave Erwin said they soon will not be tolerated to scream at, curse or intimidate other people in the building. When civil tickets are issued to them, he said the Department of Justice will handle the cases in court rather than Dane County District Attorney Ismael OzanneOf course anyone who has participated in or seen the protests realizes that there's no screaming, cursing, or intimidation. At least not on the side of the protesters. However, the new chief is hoping that anyone unfamiliar with the peaceful and informative nature of the continuing protests might be convinced otherwise as to the "need" to crack down.
Also interesting to note is that the State Department of Justice will be handling these cases rather than the Dane County DA who normally processes any tickets or arrests.
The Walker administration has long been unhappy with what he feels is judicial leniency. His Department of Justice, headed by Republican JD Van Hollen (who has again asked our RW dominated State Supreme Court to reinstate mandatory voter ID), will certainly prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.
One has to wonder what activities will be targeted in the new policy. Is wearing an anti-Walker T shirt or button now prosecutable as intimidation? Will the Solidarity Singers be considered to be screaming and cursing? How about protest signs? Can the Overpass Light Brigade get arrested for showing up with glowing letters? Is is going to be OK for Walker supporters to intimidate protesters, as they have been known to do, and have the protesters arrested for causing the disturbance?
Scott Walker was certainly miffed that the former Capitol Police Chief didn't get really tough with protesters last year. He saw no need since the protesters were well behaved, polite, and coopertive. It must have stung Walker when the Chief announced that the Capitol Police weren't the "palace guard" in a memo that went public.
Clearly, the announcement of the crackdown is another attempt to let us know that protests or citizen action are not welcome at the Peoples House (as we call our State Capitol). Walker wants rabid supporters and not those who question his agenda. In fact, while giving large amounts of his time to RW hate radio shows (often a weekly or more call in to his BFF Charlie Sykes on his show), he limits media availability and allows only a few questions on those rare occassions he gives a few minutes of his time. And those better not be tough questions either or the reporter won't be welcome in the future.
So, notice has been given and we'll wait to see what happens. Also interesting to note is that this information has only appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and not in the Wisconsin State Journal or Capitol Times.
While he has agreed to debate Vice President Joe Biden (Oct. 11 at Centre College in Danville, Ky), Paul Ryan has not yet agreed to debate his Congressional opponent, Rob Zerban. This is his first serious electoral challenger in his career.
With a new district more favorable to him thanks to the secret GOP redistricting (aka gerrymandering), he normally would consider himself to be much safer for re-election. However, the national spotlight has shown him to be an extremist promoting a budget that would turn Medicare into a coupon program and strip every program except Defense and that has been none too popular in his district.
As I outlined in an earlier diary, Ryans initial reception back home resulted in booing and jeering to such an extent that all future town hall meetings were scheduled in private facilities with invitations (only issued by his office) and admission fees charged to limit who could attend. Additionally, he was able to exclude the media from these events, as well as prohibit photography and recording. It was the viral videos of his first town hall meetings that were so pesty to him.
While he's debated his Congressional opponents in the past, his failure to agree to debate Rob Zerban even before he was named the Republican VP candidate demonstrates that he wants to continue to hide his record and attempt to run again as the shiny faced, nice looking, young moderate Republican he always pretends to be back home.
More: Walker GOP Speech Preview Edition: Have your barf bags handy if you watch Scott Walker speaking to the GOP Convention on Tuesday night. He's already talking about it.
Walker previewed the speech for reporters on a conference call and made clear he would talk about his tumultuous year and a half in office, marked by efforts to close a state budget gap by focusing on spending cuts, a repeal of most collective bargaining for most public workers, and the first recall election victory by a governor in U.S. history.I'm sure it will be loaded with the
"What we're going to talk about is a sample of what we did in Wisconsin and the choice people had in Wisconsin," Walker said.
I'm watching for more.