Off the Rails

Over the last 48 hours I’ve come under attack from commenters at BB who are supporters of the solidarity singalong. Especially insulting, apparently, were my remarks about, and I paraphrase, Madison lefties who live in a bubble spewing bull&$%t. Here’s what I meant by that.

Over at Mal Contends, a blog owned by Madison writer and PR guy Michael Leon, is a post from Leon arguing that the democratic legislative caucus needs to stand with the solidarity singers or they are complicit in effectively collaborating with Scott Walker and, presumably, his fascist crackdown on dissidents and political speech.  I assume this goes for the rest of us too. If we don’t stand with the solidarity singalong we are complicit in an effective collaboration with Scott Walker and the imposition of a fascist police state.

This is a prime example, in my view mind you,  of a Madison leftie who lives in a bubble spewing what I would consider to be something on the order of, oh, let’s say, …………….. bull&#$t.

What do you all think? Are Dem leggies complicit in Scott Walker’s fascist police state if they don’t stand with the solidarity singalong participants? And if they ( Dem leggies) quietly refuse, where does all of this go from here?




Related Articles

33 thoughts on “Off the Rails

  1. “Are Dem leggies complicit in Scott Walker’s fascist police state if they don’t stand with the solidarity singalong participants?”

    Yes, they are.

  2. I think it would be unwise for the Democratic leaders to sing with the Solidarity Singers. Calls for Cheif Erwin to step away would be more appropriate.

    Again I’ll say- step away from the hyperbole and think for yourselves. If you are passionate about singing, then do so. If you have other ways to highlight the problems Walker and his goons have rained upon our state, then do that.

    Internal wars make y’all look bad. But let’s start by dropping the b.s. of calling b.s. OK?

  3. If those who oppose Walker’s policies do nothing, nothing will change and he will be emboldened. If enough attention is brought against the new permit process, you could change enough minds to change the policy… be they Republican minds, Democrat minds, or anyone in between.

  4. SC,
    Thanks for speaking your view on this issue.
    You exhibit both reason and vision.
    Spot on, no balderdash.

  5. Political parties, newspapers, and blogs all have similar issues w/r/t branding and maintaining a “straddle.”

    If I were Mike Tate and the Dems, I’d pay close attention to a Twitter account like @thegirlone 15 Aug

    Hey, @WisDems, this silence on violations of basic freedom of assembly in the Capitol is not acceptable. Do better. Now.

    She works, pays taxes, and sounds very well-educated. Unlike a lot of Dems and libs, who sit on their behinds, she takes the responsibilities of citizenship seriously. She gets out there and marches and demonstrates for causes in which she believes.

    Her Tweet’s 100% right about the First Amendment and the freedom to assemble. You don’t have that, to paraphrase President Carter, you no longer have a “functioning democracy.”

    Even if you don’t like their singing, all Americans, regardless of their politics should support other American’s First Amendment Rights.

    If you don’t agree, take a look at Egypt. It’s the latest example of a country suppressing “freedom of assembly,” and other RIGHTS conveyed by the Bill of Rights. Try to have a functioning economy when going to the store to buy food means putting your life at risk.

    I appreciate those who have educated me about the hazards of getting a permit in Madison. After reading those arguments, I’ve snail mailed the Solidarity Singers a check for $20. Just like any true conservative, I agree with those who argue that the First Amendment IS their permit.

    The door is wide open for Dems to aggressively hold the GOP accountable for “cafeteria” support of the First Amendment. This issue is a terrific counter to decades of WIGOP’s successful painting Democrats as the “hate-America” party, comprised of homosexuals, pacifists, and atheists, who are conducting a relentless “War on Christmas.”

    All Dems can support the First Amendment without getting into the particulars of what the Solidarity Singers advocate.

    If I were running a site called “Blogging Blue,” I’d be very interested in tgo’s opinion of the site’s straddle. Based on her Tweets, she writes very well. Whether she’d have any interest in posting here is unknown to me. She has a “voice,” and imho if she has the time, she could provide high-quality content.

    1. ” If you don’t agree, take a look at Egypt. It’s the latest example of a country suppressing “freedom of assembly,” and other RIGHTS conveyed by the Bill of Rights. Try to have a functioning economy when going to the store to buy food means putting your life at risk.”


      What’s going on in Egypt is nothing like what’s going on in Madison. Shoppers at the Willie Street coop fear Walker’s police? I had no idea things had gotten so bad down there. 🙂

      1. Steve,

        Don’t apologize.

        A lot of people are missing “Obama administration acknowledges drone strikes killed 4 Americans since 2009”

        Since the oligarchs control the media and both parties, the sheeple think the Presidential Oath of Office is to “keep us safe.”

        That’s the job of the Sec. of Defense.

        Presidential Oath is to defend the CONSTITUTION.

        “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

        Congressional Oath: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

        Nothing about protecting territory, property, or human life, just the Constitution.

  6. CJ McD,

    With all due respect, what Malcontend is contending is b.s. and off the rails. This is now turning from opposition to Walker’s policies to a denunciation of democrats as complicit with Walker, except for Chris Taylor and Sondy Pope-Roberts. I wrote a few days ago that this could actually hurt our chances in 2014. Looks like it’s starting to shape up that way? A line in the sand to democrats from the singalongers: ” yer either with us or with Walker.”

    Sweet Jesus.

  7. The way I see it, if it pisses off scottyboy and his lapdogs, keep on doing it. The publicity for him is terrible. I realize this singing isn’t too practical/useful, but I kind of admire these people who are sick and tired of being stepped upon and scorned by this terrible administration showing up every single day and doing something that is guaranteed in our state Constitution.
    That a lefty blogger is ragging on these people is puzzling.

    1. Badgervan is on the money. Sure, the Solidarity Singers may be a bit silly, but it’s making Walker and the WisGOPs look really bad and shallow.

      The only guy I see off the rails right now is you, Steve, and you need to get over yourself. The whole “let’s not be inoffensive and kind” routine has gotten us absolutely NOWHERE against this sick, authoritarian routine. You’ll notice the time the Dems were most ascendant was during the Uprising and a few months after. Why? THEY HAD THE WORKERS’ BACKS, and the people knew it.

      The voters are crying out for honesty that stands up for them, not mealy-mouthed stuff where you accept the unacceptable. I’m tired of taking it when we’re in the right.

      1. Jake,

        You have no idea how this looks to anyone other than you and the people you know, who mostly think like you do. And while I appreciate your advice on what it is you think I need to do, I’m sure you’ll understand if I politely ignore it.

        1. Then why do you even post a blog asking people to tell you what they think? You spend most of your time telling the people YOU ASKED for feedback that their ideas are “bullshit” or that you are ignoring them because they don’t agree with you. Maybe you’ve fought the good fight up north, I don’t know, but you certainly are bringing down the level of Blogging Blue lately.

          1. Paul,

            Ain’t no maybe about fighting the good fight up north, from Wausau to Eau Claire to Superior. Been shunned and smeared by Dem party members, publicly attacked by republicans, publicly insulted by Dave Obey, insulted and mildly threatened by anonymous Wal-Mart supporters. It’s been a lot of fun. Prepared me well for the last couple of days of comments from people like you.

  8. Badgervan,

    Your first sentence is an example of why I’m, ah, let’s see, “opposed” to what the singers are doing. If your goal is to piss off scottyboy, sing away. If your goal is to defeat him in 2014 we need a strategy, not a spontaneous hair on fire fest that is about to be turned on the democratic party. Think, man, think.

  9. I think everyone finds their own way to stand up and fight back and I would hesitate to judge others who don’t follow my path.

    But you need to read and consider this piece by Chris Hedges,

    As someone who has been joining with the SSA since March of 2011, I am quite convinced that the goal of the Walker administration is to steal our public resources and rights and take our state away from the citizens. I am amazed that the press and bloggers like yourself don’t see the threat to the First Amendment here.

    The crackdown on singers at the Capitol is the symptom of the creeping fascism in our state.

  10. I agree that the dems should not eat their own. I.E. No true Scotsman. But to denegrate the only force that is actually applying pressure to Walker and his administration is wrong. Tell me, what are democrats actually doing against all of the overreach of the administration? *Crickets*

    Where are the ads? Paul Ryan has ads on tv. Where is the pushback in the press? I see giant glaring ommisions of the truth in all of Wisconsin media. What exactly is the democrats answer to the 24/7 right wing media misrepresentations? What is their plan against the union crushing middle class burdening of the ALEC agenda boring into our dna?

    *crickets* Like it or not, these singers are just about all we have going for us. We certainly can expect no national help as evidenced by the crickets I heard when Act10 was being jammed down our throat.

    Maybe you think the protester at the Moral Mondays going on in NC should just go home and shut up too?

    1. Mikey,

      I never suggested they should go home and shut-up. I have suggested that they spend their time organizing low wage workers and poor people instead, which is what the Moral Monday’s crowd is now doing.

      The arrests in Raleigh were a small component of a much larger organizing strategy. The coalition behind Moral Mondays has been organizing since 2005. They’re currently taking their message to every congressional district in North Carolina. Thanks for mentioning them.

      1. They sing on their lunch hours. Many work full-time. Community organizing is a career really in and of itself and simply may not be practical for some people to take on. People make the contributions they can or they may start with protests and grow into other roles. Judging is what the right does. I think your real source of frustration is they’re the only Democratic news in Wisconsin except for Burke’s closed door meetings (mixed news at best, right?) and now poor, misguided GZ. I’m sure the destruction of their funding is behind this lack of communications strategy, but they don’t even get low-budget basics right. Baldauff tweeted that Duffy was hosting Boehner in Haywood, WI for cryin’ out loud. It’s tough to be positive while we watch our state burn. When I read about the singers, my heart lightens just a little. They’re not rolling over. They’re not giving up. They’re not afraid. You say they should direct their anger into more productive channels but perhaps you should direct your anger towards the singers more productively towards the DPW leadership instead. You write as if you know them. Can you not try to get them to message out and well, lead?

        1. Emma,

          I don’t know the Dem leadership. In fact, my wife and I got into trouble with Dems up here because we dared to lead rallies outside of Dave Obey’s office in Superior a few years back demanding that he stop voting to fund war. It was a two and a half year campaign that finally paid off in the summer of 2010 when Obey did just that: voted against the war spending bill he brought out of the committee he chaired, appropriations. We got some pretty poor treatment from some Dems as a result. So it’s quite ironic that now I’m being vilified over at Mal Contends website as some Dem party cheerleader.

          But I don’t have any patience with people like Mal ( Mike Leon ) either, who see themselves as the arbiters of all things left. No one was consulted by the singers before they decided to get arrested on whether or not this was a sound strategy, but now we’re asked to help pay their legal expenses and if we don’t stand with them we’re complicit in fascism and effectively collaborating with Walker? Jesus Christ.

          I have a lot of beefs with the Dem party, believe me, but a Green or Independent isn’t going to beat Walker in 2014. Right now it’s questionable that a Dem can. And this sideshow taking place in Madison isn’t helping, in my view, hence my frustration and anger.

          1. Cause and effect. Dem lawmakers tell the singers to pack it in and go home so their supporters push back. Let it go. Sounds like you and many others here understand the real problem – lack of messaging and a winning candidate. The former just became even more problematic now that GZ’s in hot water again as the anti-Walker messaging will be met with deep public suspicion – Republicans will see to that. It’s over, this path is finished. So it’s the high road from here on out and showing what Democratic leadership can do for WI families and businesses. The candidate or candidates should just get out there and start sharing who they are and what they stand for. And lastly, I hope Feingold reconsiders. WI is in great need of his strength and leadership. The Africa thing would be admirable in other circumstances. But it just seems self-indulgent and self-aggrandizing given the utter disaster being wrought upon Wisconsin families.

  11. Feel free to speak for yourself, Steve, but allow fellow dissenting opinions without extreme response. As I was advised in a political site 15 years ago, “politicians and public figures are fair game.” implied is insulting honest dissent by fellow members is not allowed.

    My goal, at least short term, is neither to “piss off” Walker nor is it to develop a “strategy.” I, as well as others here, are simply crying out at a current assault on basic freedoms by Walker. I don’t hum, sing, or visit the Capitol on weekday gatherings at noon, but I support that activity 100% by others if that is their Constitutional exercise of speech, assembly, and petition. I work in other ways to throw off the yoke of Walker’ unethical, immoral, unjust, and incompetent administration.

    How can anyone disparage, deny,question, limit, disrespect, oppose, restrict free speech as long as it is not a false crying of “fire” in a crowded theater?

    Sing, Solidarity Singers, sing on.

    1. Steve, thanks for the ACLU’s position. I hadn’t factored that into my assessment and I’ll have to look at it. The ACLU’s not perfect. Like every other Dem/lib fundraiser, they have to compete with OFA (ObamaforAmerica). They are also doing some of the heavy lifting against the overreach of Big Data and our current surveillance state. In Wisconsin, I’m sure their fundraisers are pointing out issues with the Solidarity Singers, similarly to what’s being discussed here.

      Ed Fallone lost to a wingnut, Roggensack, in the Supreme Court race. Reasonable people can disagree about if restoring balance to the state Supreme Court was as important as the Governor’s mansion.

      Roggensack was instrumental in blocking prosecution of Justice Prosser for choking Justice Bradley.

      Among all the collective bargaining support for Fallone, he was on the side of holding Prosser accountable. Given the GOP’s love for forced birth, how did Dems not just lose that election, but fail to make “workplace safety,” a centerpiece of that campaign?

      I don’t know, but maybe an autopsy of Fallone’s loss is a topic for another post.

  12. I believe a great many people respect that the Solidarity Singers, unlike the Democratic Party, are standing up for something in which they sincerely believe and taking risks to highlight the mendacity of the Walker Administration. Take a looking at the generally useless Democratic party platform that tries to please everyone, it is crystal clear that they have pledged to support all forms of free speech, civil liberties and self expression. So, they need to step up to the plate and do that. It’s the promise they made to the members and the position they put forward to the voters. Telling the principled core of your base “get a permit” isn’t standing up for civil liberties. Join them, defend them, educate people about the reasons for not supporting the poison pills in the permit process or at bare minimum just shut up and focus on the issues that matter to you and that you believe will win the next election. It may not be collaboration with Walker to say “get a permit” but it certainly ins’t in line with the platform or in the interest of winning the next election.

  13. I work in the Capitol and I have to say, after two and a half years of listening to the Singers, I’m sick of them. Oh, I think they’re correct in not getting a permit and that it is a question of free speech, assembly and petitioning the government. The arrests are outrageous, but you know what? It’s all not doing a damn bit of good. It accomplishes nothing beyond alienating the vast majority of people in Wisconsin outside of the lefty blog world and the usual lefty activists of Madison. I’m afraid Steve Carlson is right. And now if we don’t stand with them it means we’re standing with Walker? How insulting. How myopic. How smug. Dem leggies should stand with them? Are you insane? That works for Chris Taylor’s district, but not many others (props to Sondy for having a pair, though). We’ve got to figure out other ways to wake people up to what Walker and the GOP are doing to this state. Strident, earnest singing and useless arrests ain’t doing it. “Just get a permit, you dirty hippies.” THAT’S what people outside of Madison believe. Wake up.

    1. AnonyBob’s response at least has some substance to it, unlike Steve’s whine-fest. Maybe it isn’t doing a lot in the big picture, maybe it is making outstate low-info types cringe, but it illustrates a deeper point- WHERE IS THE DPW? I don’t see them doing anything to stand up to this criminal, failing administration other than a few finger wags and press release.

      Run some ads, buy some billboards, hold some rallies, STEP UP. At least the Singers are doing something and not taking this destruction of our state lying down. And they’re exposing the pettiness and authoritarianism of this WisGOP regime that most voters can’t stand. Sure, it may not be in a way that you like, but it plants the seed for when the WisGOP abuses inevitably hit home.

      The whole “kind and gentle grassroots” thing only goes so far. Sometimes you need to confront. Failing to do so is why the DPW holds no branches in state government today.

    1. Ben,

      As a vocal defender of Gov. Walker, I’m interested in your opinion about a 2014 state ballot initiative/candidate to legalize marijuana. That would allow Dems and GOP to join forces to end “job-killing-government-regulations.”

      Since it’s such a pristine example of the “nanny state,” do you think Charlie Sykes would support it?

      I would never encourage anyone, who did not have a serious illness, to use marijuana, but the prohibition against alcohol did not work either.

      It would lower costs up and down the law enforcement supply chain, and bring in badly needed tax revenues. If Wisconsin does not legalize it, I think it very likely that we will lose tourism revenue to Colorado and Washington.

      Perhaps the greatest benefit, however, would be defunding the drug cartels. I’ve read reporting that 60% of their revenue comes from pot.

  14. Steve, you have another good one going; provocative, confrontational, but not insulting, and plenty of views pro and con.

    I have an opinion on what will win the election. You are correct; it will not be singing, singing, singing. It will be turnout, turnout, turnout. The presidential elections, at least in Wisconsin, proves that point.

    We have to continue with the expose of Walker from “A” (Assault on healthcare of women, seniors, and the poor) to “Z” (Zapping the Solidarity Singers et al) and everything in between (B to Y). Of course, we also have to tout or sell our message and the Dem candidate to the public.

    As the state motto says: FORWARD !

  15. Dear Steve, the only problem with telling people what they should do is that it offends the people that are already doing that. I have been active in the Raise Up Milwaukee low-wage workers’ strikes since the beginning. My friend who was arrested on Thursday in the capitol is out every day actually organizing them on her own time with no pay. Most of the people who sing in the capitol are involved in many other actions. Some are Veterans for Peace who stand together every Saturday in Madison against drones. Some are the force behind helping the homeless in Madison. Just trying to set the record straight.

    1. Nice post. Steve has no idea how beaten down the democratic party is in this state. These singalongs are productive in that civic minded people are gathering together and not only singing, but exchanging ideas and strategies. He extolled the efforts of Moral Mondays in NC. They didn’t begin from an area of power, it started as a true grassroots effort that GREW and now has a movement behind it to hopefully effect real change in leadership. Democratic leadership is lacking in the state. Where are the ads? Where’s the pushback on the local tv roundtables? Billboards? Pray tell Steve, what’s the big plan? The dems have had years now to push back, outside of the last stand of the unions, they have provided nothing. Unless Mary Burke, a corporatists best friend, can pull something out of her behind, our only hope is Feingold and at this point and he ain’t interested. Unless the democrats get it together, real f’n quick, they are finished here for a generation.

  16. The Same people getting arrested multiple times for the same offence does not help Democrats win in 2014. Having a fight between solidarity singers and the Democratic Party or Unions and the Democratic party is counter-intuitive. If an Anti-Abortion group started getting arrested at the capitol for praying that would actually hurt Walker in winning re-election. Right now Walker is firing up the Republicans by smacking down the Hippies.

Comments are closed.