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Madison, WI (AF) - Between sobs, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker apologized today “to everyone who has ever participated in the Solidarity Sing Along”, stating he had no choice but to sign an emergency order allowing his administration to ban all noise in the state Capitol that might “hurt the feelings of conservative lawmakers, their staff members, four State Supreme Court justices and school children and orphans and widows. And veterans.”

The Solidarity Sing Along is a noon-hour singing protest that has been held in the Capitol (or on the Capitol grounds) every weekday since March 11th, 2011. The Walker administration has issued approximately 150 citations to the singers and others in recent months for various alleged infractions of the Wisconsin administrative code. Most of the citations have been or will soon be dismissed. Not one has yet been successfully prosecuted and the Sing Along has continued despite the citations.

The order allowing the DOA to rewrite the rules was published officially yesterday with an effective date of April 1, 2013. (see page 8). Procedurally, the "scope of statement" allows for the writing of new rules, so it will be at least the middle of April before new rules are written and put into effect.

An emotionally distraught Walker admitted the new rules are already written and his administration is reluctantly prepared to “squash some dissent, even though I personally respect all that First Amendment stuff. I have to admit I find myself humming along to 'Union Maid' and 'The Internationale' on those rare occasions when I'm in my office at the Capitol."

“Unfortunately, it’s really out of my hands,” Walker told reporters at an early morning press conference held at the offices of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, a pro-business lobbying group. “The lobbyists were complaining about the singing. I agree with the singers that they have the right to peaceably assemble and petition their government, I mean it’s right there in Article 1, Section 4 of the Wisconsin Constitution, but it comes down to money. I hate to do it. As you can see, I'm terribly upset. Even though I authorized the changes, it was hard to read it in print in the Wisconsin State Journal on Sunday. I almost couldn't finish eating my Easter meal of hot ham and rolls."

"I’m really sorry," Walker said. "But when I pick up the phone and someone who sounds like a job creator tells me he hates folk music, what choice do I have? I’m running for President and I need that cash from the lobbyists. Oh, and I'm supposed to mention that the orphans and veterans were complaining about the noise, too.”

As a signal that he held no grudges against the Solidarity Sing Along, Walker sang “I’m Just a Guv Who Can’t Say No to David Koch”, based on a melody from the Broadway musical Oklahoma!

Walker was accompanied on ukulele by his former bodyguard and current Capitol Police Chief David “Silver Buttons” Erwin.  

Walker gave some details on how the state would handle the expression of opposing opinions from now on. Under the new rules, the state of Wisconsin will pay a Tea Party group known as the “Waukesha County Super Patriotic Super Patriots” to maintain a list of chronic Capitol protesters. That list will not be available for public access, but will be used by Capitol Police to determine the conditions under which a permit for access to state facilities will be issued. Asked how the Waukesha group would identify the chronic protesters, Walker said “Mostly facebook. And some really awesome facial recognition software we got from the Department of Homeland Security.”

 “If someone applies for a permit, then Buttons – err, I mean Chief Erwin - will contact the Super Patriots and verify whether the applicant is on their list. If so, the applicant will be required to initial and sign each page of a 70-page agreement form and have it notarized by any UW-Milwaukee sociology professor who did not sign the recall petition against me in 2011.”

Asked what was in the agreement, Walker replied “The usual stuff. The first rule is obey all rules. No signs. No talking. No singing. No showing of midriffs. No cameras. No walking around. No standing around. No abortions. No colorful clothing. No being annoying. No smirking. No interacting. No questions directed at legislative committee members. No raised eyebrows, snakes, crock-pots, or chalk. I guess if you want to get technical, nothing is okay until we say it is, but that’s made very clear in the document. Then at the end there’s a page to indicate bank account numbers in case we need to collect for damages that exceed the required $7.5 million deposit. Finally, there’s a loyalty pledge, an agreement to wear a dog-shaped badge indicating the person is a Much Unappreciated Tuneful Terrorizer (MUTT), a waiver to allow us to pepper spray at will, and a two-dollar-off coupon for my autobiography due out this fall. It’s titled ‘Unintimidated.’ I was going for irony.”

“And if the applicant isn’t on the blacklist?” a reporter asked.

“We put them on the calendar and they just have to show an ID when they get to the Capitol,” Walker explained. “A drivers license, a picture of Andrew Jackson, or a receipt from any purchase of a Koch Industries product are all considered acceptable ID’s. Or if you’re good-looking and you dress like a Republican. That counts.”

Local reaction to the new plan has been mixed. WISC-TV editorial director Neil Heinen called it “a reasonable compromise.” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, accompanied by an unidentified aide, called it “bipartisan and scrumptious.” A homeless veteran from Madison, however, said  “I’ve been looking for a job for two years. I’m really starting to get discouraged.”

Near the end of the press conference, a reporter from the Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative (WCMC) asked why the administration hired the Super Patriots organization, which is headed by former Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus, rather than maintain its own database.

“We picked her group because she has excellent record-keeping and database management skills,” Walker said before ordering his guards to escort the WCMC reporter out of the building.

"Sorry," Walker mouthed to the young reporter as she was hauled away.

Originally posted to Giles Goat Boy on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 04:05 AM PDT.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive, Protest Music, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, Rebel Songwriters, and In Support of Labor and Unions.

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