Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day 27 Good news from the courts and some tough decisions

Springtime in the Badger state when the snow melts and all the accumulated muck is brought to the light of day.  The muck in this case being the illegal maneuvering of the G.O.P. in its efforts to pull a end-around through the Wisconsin legal system.  Why are they risking their careers to destroy the lives of all but a overly-prosperous few ?  It's not like they get to keep the money for themselves.  Well I suppose they will get some of it eventually.  There are always 'speaking fee's' for private audiences of corporate chaos-mongers (yup Voivod reference) who having raked in millions or possibly even billions in ill gotten and undeserved gains, will throw a $10k bone (speaking fee same thing) to their former lackey for all that was done for the over-prosperous.  Does the former politico's feel they are receiving their just reward for services rendered or do they feel like a clown putting on there final sad performance for the bosses?

How can the right wing justify broad sweeping cuts to a $15 dollar an hour state employee who performs a needed function in society while simultaneously criticizing those who would "tax the rich" claiming that the millionaires cant afford any more unfair taxation? 

Are we the majority of Wisconsin (and American) citizens so gullible that we can live with this obvious double standard?  If taxes on the billionaires is 'penalizing the successful unfairly' how is it any different when applied to a family getting by on $45k a year?

How can someone deem it 'fair and balanced' to use a phrase at random, to cause the suffering of millions of families to aid a select few?  If someone has to suffer to get us through tough economic times shouldn't it be the over-privileged and over-prosperous few, who have the resources to save the over 300 million working American souls around them?

How did we get suckered into this, and why did we buy it in the first place at election time?  Because we are accustomed to what is normally for us Americans a relatively peaceful and prosperous life.  We stopped paying attention to issues.  We let the politicians lull us into thinking that our votes don't count.

One vote will never matter.
Someone else will take care of it.
I don't have time for politics.

These are the commonly heard statements that repeated often enough, became the basis for us to dig our own graves.  Now that your livelihoods are immediately threatened, do you wish you had paid attention?  Do you wish that you had voted?  Do you wish that you took a half hour or an hour out of your week to study the issue's and understand what is going on?

Wisconsin will win this battle and regain our state and we will balance the budget and put our collective house in order.  And hopefully we will remember the lesson this time that if you don't stand for something you will fall for anything.

Maybe we will learn not to base our choice of candidates on 30 second sound bites comprised of nothing but obviously false statements and emotional rhetoric.  Our future is in our hands and once we remake Wisconsin into the great state that she once was, will we have learned our lesson and pay attention to the events that change and shape our lives/  For all of our sake's I deeply hope so.  I know I'll never fall asleep at the wheel again.  Hopefully you wont either because if you do (and I"m still alive) I am not going to go through this hell again.  I love Wisconsin and America but we need to grow up, listen up and act up to protect ourselves from greed and tyranny.

Wow what a rant I just went on.  Probably due to the intense physical/emotional hell that I'm living with now.  I'm surprised that I can even write a (nearly) complete sentence anymore.  Heck I'm actually surprised I can still walk three blocks to the Capitol every morning.  I bet that will change soon though.  Oh boy I cant wait to be pushed around in a wheel-chair.  This just keeps getting better and better.  But at the end of the day, the Badger State, Wisconsin, is worth every bit of it.

On Wisconsin!    FORWARD!!!!

Day 26 Let the sun shine in

This is going to be a quick post until later, IM short on time and on a new computer and Im having a hard time adjusting to it.  I know folks start getting concerned when I miss a posting so this one will have to do for now.  Hopefully later on today I can give you a more detailed account of what has transpired in the last forty eight hours.  There is just so much happening right now at the capitol, in the courts and with me personally.

The good folks at have done so much to get the word out to the media not only about the anti-walker movement but about my hunger strike as well.  A big tip of the hat to all of them working hard for the cause up in Green Bay.  I will be speakoing at the Barrymore theater on Sunday if your in the Madison/ Dane county area.

A big thanks to everyone who has picked up on this blog and has friended me on facebook.  Keep the faith we are going to win this battle and reclaim Wisconsin for the hard working citizens of the state.  More on everything that is going on as soon as is possible.  Thank you everyone for your continued patience abd support.

On Wisconsin!  FORWARD!!!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day 24 - A close up view of the rotunda floor.

Sorry I didn't get this daily update posted earlier but I'm having one of those physically challenged days.  At the capitol building on Monday I went to stand up and blacked out midway through the process and collapsed in the rotunda.  Woke up (so they tell me ) about 30 seconds later to a interesting though confusing view of the Capitol's ornate stone floor.  Police were immediately on the spot and they summoned an ambulance to have me checked out by paramedics to determine my status.

It was quickly determined that I was basically okay all things considered and I then signed some paper work waiving medical attention.  A trip to the hospital was not necessary I felt plus, I don't have medical insurance to cover such a expense.

Totally embarrassing event for me though!  Besides lying flat on my back as friends, officers and fellow protesters fretted over me as tourists watched, I had let myself down.  I had figured I'd last at least 30 days before something like this happened.  Now I feel like a wimp.

In an earlier interview I stated that in a week or two I would have to start taking a electrolyte and potassium fortified supplement to maintain my health as much as possible.  After conferring with paramedics I decided to advance ingestion of the supplement to today.  The product is 'zero calorie's' so it's allowed by the terms of my hunger strike.  And it comes in a variety of artificially fruity flavors.  Did I say fruit flavors ?  I meant it tasted like chemical soup, my mistake.

Officers starting arresting some folks today for using their constitutionally granted rights of free speech.  This of course was a series of illegal arrests and citations issued but I do not blame the officers at all.  They are sworn to follow orders even if those orders are contrary to the laws of the state.  Besides what do you expect to happen with the government controlled by a group of hyped up right wing extremists with a messiah complex?

A big solidarity hello to those reading this blog in the Czech Republic, Indonesia, the Bangladesh Garment Workers and everywhere people exist who love their freedom and rights.  Solidarity brothers and sisters !!!

I'll be back at the Capitol tomorrow to keep up the fight.  Hopefully our duly appointed courts will prevent Gov. Walker from his unethical and immoral pursuit of enforcing his ludicrous budget reform bill.

I still really, really need some legal counsel, would love it if you could help me out.  Also anyone interested in helping organize a fundraiser or if you have a band or performance group I would love to hear from you as well.  Take care everyone and keep up the good fight.

On Wisconsin!  FORWARD !!!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Day 23 Al Queda/G.O.P. have a good larf at my exspense

So I just got done reading on that when GOP Senators were contacted about the hunger strike the majority had no comment.  Reportedly there was even some laughter and joking concerning the possibility of my dying as a result of the hunger strike.  I for one am not surprised.

Where doe's Al Queda fit into all of this.  Well let me explain:  Wisconsin Republicans apparently by their actions have no respect for the laws of this great state.  Wisconsin Republicans demonstrably have no respect for the citizens of Wisconsin who they are trying to impoverish.  Wisconsin Republicans by the response to my hunger strike have no respect for a citizens life and may even wish me dead.

So lets add this up now.

Hatred of Democracy assumable up to the level of the Constitution +
Hatred of the laws of a civilized(?) and sovereign nation +
Disregard for the lives and/or desire to end citizens life =

God damn lousy stinking, cowardly America hating terrorists !  At least now we have a basis to decide how much respect they should be shown as human being's.

Thank you everyone for your support.  See you at the Capitol on Monday (hopefully.)

On Wisconsin!   FORWARD!!!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Day 22

Lots of strange people at the Capitol today.  Had some nice folks tell me that I'm going to hell for what I'm doing.  If its true I bet Ill see them there.  The state troopers and capitol police are starting to get really concerned for me too.  Can almost count all my ribs again, first time since high school wrestling I bet.  Ive had a crushing headache all day and its making it really hard to focus on what I'm writing so I'll keep this brief here today.

I'm still really REALLY in need of some legal advice.  More so everyday really, so if you can help me out I would really appreciate it.  Pre-law student would be just fine.  Heck anyone who reads John Grisham novels would probably be helpful at this point. 

Lost my cell phone yesterday so for those of you with my number your not going to be able to reach me.  Also, while I'm thinking about it if the lady who wanted to arrange a fundraiser could send me an e-mail that would be great.  I promise a longer entry tomorrow.

On Wisconsin!  FORWARD!!!!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Not showing up on Day 20 either

Really I'm not showing up today.  Going to lay on the couch, watching reruns of Law and Order.  Indulge in some tap water for awhile.  Perhaps ponder mortality for a little bit.  Maybe list all the ways I feel I'm tougher than Scott Walker.  Might just be a good day.  See you tomorrow at the Capitol.


Day 19 Dont bother reading this....really!

Not going anywhere or talking to anyone I don't have to today.  Told you not to bother reading this one.


Day 18 Let it rain, rain, rain.......hopefully not on me

Nothing like a springtime stroll in a nice gentle sprinkling of rain.  The peaceful gentle patter of the droplets like the soft drumming of the approach of fair and sunny weather.  Unless your in Wisconsin that is of course.  Then its stinging droplets driven into your eyeballs by arctic like winds howling across a frozen and muddied landscape of desolation and despair.  Oh joy, oh joy.
Just kidding it's not that bad really.  Well most of the time it's not that bad.  Today is fairly tolerable for the most part.  It's kind of funny though how the weather and sunlight affect the image of Wisconsin's state Capitol building.  On a bright and sunny day the stonework outside of the structure's glows an almost blinking white, visible out to the horizon.  As the summer sun set the stone radiates with orange, red and purple.  On a day like today the stone turns a depressingly awful and flat shade of grey.
I approach the west entrance to the building and see a long row of sign carrying women filing up to go into the building.  I line up with them and after some conversation find out that they are all librarians, directors, and assistants here to state their case regarding budget cuts to the state library system.  Of major concern was funding being cut for community after school programs in troubled area's.  One librarian told me that crime in the neighborhood around her library was reduced by 70% due to such programs.  I love being around educated and informed protesters.  Especially ones with such heart.
As the line to get in seemed to be moving very slowly I asked the ladies if anyone had checked to see if there was such a long line at the east entrance.  They promptly informed me that I should walk to the other end of the grounds and check on that status, then come back and inform them if I could save them some time getting into the capitol.  Excuse me?!?!  I'm a fool for being caught in the rain but they are standing there with friends all warm and dry in trench coats and umbrella's chatting away amiably and "I" should go walking in the rain for them.  I'm sick and weak from a hunger strike and I look that way.  I'm carrying a sign that clearly states 'hunger strike day 18.'  Sorry I was just ranting there.  They really were great though and some of us spent time together inside discussing the issue's.  Just my personal opinion here but I believe the three most important pieces of legislation in the last century are:  Rural electrification.  The Interstate Highway Act.  The creation of the American Library system.
Oddly enough when I get to the east entrance there is a equally long line composed of all men waiting to get into the building.  Apparently it just worked out that way somehow. 
The day passed as all of them most likely will this week which is rather slowly.  I don't see the Budget Reform Bill going anywhere at all until next week.  Then life will get interesting again.  Until then, Another day longer, Another day stronger.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Day 17

Some good weather helped lead to a good turnout today.  A strong sense of optimism seemed to be shared as we knew we had at least a weeks reprieve from any end-runs on the Budget Reform Bills advancement.  Well, so far anyway.

Im still weak and shaky like I was yesterday but my spirits are much higher.  My back hurts like holy heck though from sitting on a cold stone floor for hours everyday.  That just might cripple me up before going hungry does. 

A higher amount than usual approached me suggesting that I reconsider my hunger strike.  Thank you for the concern once again but there is absolutely no point in doing something like this unless your absolutely sure of carrying it out.  In addition, the devestating things that can happen to Wisconsin and its working families and individuals (particularly school children, the elderly,  minorities and the marginalized) from passage of the existing 'Budget Reform Bill' completely justifies this stance!  Even a fool can see that citizens will suffer and some die due to these budget cuts that will only help corporations and the insanely wealthy.

If your really that concerned about a person suffering from a hunger strike, please look into Warren Lilly jr. a inmate in the state correctional system.  This man has been on hunger strike for five years!  He is force fed by the state of Wisconsin six days a week.  I can not imagine the suffering he has gone through.  The Daily Page has some coverage of Warren Lilly jr. and some links as well.  Hope springs eternal.

On Wiscosin!   FORWARD!!!!

Day 16 Worying everybody again

A cloudy and dismal  day in southern Wisconsin.  It does perfectly match my mood though.  Woke up feeling more sick and weak than ever before and my mind was so cloudy and confused it took me several minutes to realise why I felt so incredibly lousy.  As I wash up and come to my sense's I remember that today is the memorial service for a friend that passed away recently.  That basically made up my mind, I wasn't going to the Capitol today!  The movement will just have to to take care of itself for now iinstead I spend the morning watching political commentary programming until I cant take it anymore and then switch over to C.N.N. until that just becomes too darn depressing.  It feels to me like the world  only exists today to bring me down.  I have to wonder how much of that is from  losing my friend and how much is just my bio-chemistry messing with me due to  malnutrition?
So that was my day until  it was time to head to the Cardinal Bar on Wilson for the memorial.   Every corner was filled with lots of good memories and many stories  were shared.  The music performed by a variety of artists was perfect in its composition for the collection of family, fellow artists and friends.  Kurt was eulogised, toasted and remembered as a wonderful friend and human being of exceptional skill and talent who passed away due to complications arising from being a jazz pianist, long before his time was through.  Kurt was taken from this world on his 55th birthday.  Madison Wisconsin music now has a permanent void.  We are gonna miss you!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Day 15 Some good news...

Have to admit to having been in a pretty good mood headed for the Capitol this morning.  I felt much better than I was the last few days.  The sun was out and you could feel spring waiting just around the corner.  I arrived at the Capitol just before ten and got comfortable (a very relative term here) to wait out the first contingent of marchers heading in from Library Mall.

Two victories for our side this week and the timing could not have been better.  Hopefully now Governor Walker and his rubber stamp brigade of neo-ditto-heads will have to at least make a good showing of being politicians and open up a dialogue with the rest of the Senate and Assembly.

The number of marchers was higher than I anticipated for so early in the day, and that just elevated my already good spirits.  Heartwarming to see so many concerned souls dedicating themselves to the cause when the weather was so nice.

Met some old friends and some very interesting new souls throughout the course of the day.  Protester numbers on the square only increased as other parades of the politically aware arrived.  We even had a gentleman show up in the rotunda today to serenade us with an original tune he penned, and sung very well, his rich voice echoing throughout the Capitol--a nice change of pace from the familiar chants and songs.  The song he wrote called 'Whose House, Our House' is on YouTube I'm told, and is worth checking out.

Tomorrow night I should have some definite new information of the fundraiser at least in regards to date, time and venue location.  There is one band already lined up but if you are looking for a gig for your band in 2 to 4 weeks send me an e-mail.

On the down side of things today there was a long list of people this afternoon who tried to dissuade me from furthering the hunger strike.  And I agree with them that the Governor 'is not worth it'  but the great state of Wisconsin and her people are though, so please stop wasting both your time and mine.

One more quick gripe: whoever you are, blond-haired lady in the rotunda . . . please stop showing up at noon every day and standing right next to me with your ass in my face!!!  It's damn rude making me  move every day, I have enough to deal with lately without having to be attacked by your butt every 24 hours!

There, done with that.

Please send me all the photos and comments you want, I really appreciate the encouragement and mementos.  I know we are overshadowed in the media this week by the terrible things occurring in Libya and Japan, but our momentum and the Republicans fear of us is growing.  Keep up the good fight and I'll be talking to you again soon.  Thank you.

On Wisconsin!  FORWARD!!!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Day 14

I arrived at the Capitol this morning feeling guilty for not having been there yesterday.  Several people expressed their concern for my well-being and I really appreciate that.  It seems so weird to be doing this.  Half the time it seems I'm about to pass out and will be waking up in the hospital.  Half the time I feel like I could do this forever.  I'll pit my resolve against the Governor's any day of the week.

Met a very nice guy who came in from Nevada to witness the scene at the Capitol building.  He was quietly disappointed to find a crowd of hundreds as opposed to tens of thousands.  I told him that a lot of the anti-Walker movement was following the Governor around the state as he spreads his message of anti-unionism and self-righteous elitism around Wisconsin.

From what I hear the anti-Walker folks have been outnumbering the conservatives and Tea Partiers across the state.  Keep up the fight, people.  Let Walker know just how unpopular his under-handed plots truly are.

Received word this afternoon about the restraining order on publication of Walker's union-busting bill.  Now it just remains to be seen if the Republicans will try to re-introduce the bill in 2 weeks according to procedure  (hopefully) this time.  Or perhaps they will attempt to re-write the bill with input from  Independents and Democrats to improve their odds of keeping solidarity within their own ranks while easing public disapproval of their methods.  I believe they're getting very concerned about the momentum behind the recall elections.  Hopefully they will be willing to participate in some bilateral talks as that would qualify as one of the 2 points I'm basing the hunger strike on.

I'm looking forward to Saturday's rallies.  My health won't permit me to march along with folks but I'll be waiting at the Capitol building when they arrive.  Also, momentum is gaining for a fund raiser to help offset the financial difficulties associated with the strike.

Looking forward to seeing a whole bunch of you tomorrow.  Feel free to send my pics and comments on this blog or the anti-Walker movement or whatever you feel like.  Keep it up!

On Wisconsin!  FORWARD!!!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day 12

Woke up, ran a quick errand, took a nap.  Woke up, stood up, fell down and was told I then slept for another fifteen hours.  Nothing takes the wind out of your sails like a hunger strike.
Detailed day thirteen entry coming soon, sorry this is so brief.
Im still in need of legal and medical advice folks if your willing and qualified.  Gotta head to the capitol dog house now.  Keep up the fight.
On Wisconsin !  FORWARD !!!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Day 10 part II, very important !!!

My bad, I should have remembered this very important piece of information earlier (can I blame it on mad cow disease?).  After consultation with a general practitioner yesterday I was informed that I immediately need to begin taking potassium chloride or risk heart failure.  Knowing how easy it is for the media to twist, distort, and spin the truth, it is necessary for me to advertise the fact that I need to stray from taking in water only, to an intake of water plus the supplement.

I am still on hunger strike, I am not taking in any calories.  I just need to remain  mobile and lucid as I have many other things to do right now besides just dying slowly.

So I'm going to announce this on my blog and to the media for three days before beginning the potassium chloride.  Consider yourselves forewarned.

On Wisconsin! FORWARD !!!!

Day 10

Stupid blog site just wiped out the posting I completed for today's entry.  I'm growing weaker and don't have the energy to re-do this work.  Anyway, the movement continues and the fight is not nearly over.  Once again I would like to thank all the folks who have come up to me at the Capitol building to give thanks and support, especially since my elected officials and even the unions themselves consider me and my hunger strike as being just far too radical for them.  I wonder if they think the majority of Wisconsin citizens feel the same as their rights, wages, and health care, along with the children's education, is being stripped from them by a governor without respect for the laws of this great state.

Speaking of which, a special note here quick to those who are trying to dissuade me from the hunger strike:
"Thank you for your concern for my well being, but I have already spoken with friends and spiritual counsel and am quite dedicated to my path and course of action.  I am at peace with my decision, and efforts to change my mind, as well meant as they are, are merely using up my time and energy and I'm definitely short on energy and probably time as well."

Also, I would like to remind readers that the movement is being subverted by the bulk of the media.  Protester numbers are grossly under-reported, if mentioned at all.  Particularly I am unhappy with Wisconsin coverage in general, and local (Madison) coverage in particular, especially in regards to my struggle.  The only local media willing to cover the hunger strike so far is WORT radio (89.9 f.m.) and WKOW television (channel 27).  Even progressive print media outlet The Isthmus has shown no interest.  Worse yet, after the events of last week Thursday when contacting media outlets to let them know the movement and hunger strike would continue, whoever took my call at the WISC Ch 3 news desk stated to me "that's great . . . die."  Such obviously un-biased journalistic professionalism!

I need to wrap things up now with a big heart felt thanks to all those who read this blog and are taking an interest in this historic movement.  You are the ones who will lead the citizens of this great state to victory.

And once again I am very much in need of legal counsel in the matter of preparing a living will for myself as part of my hunger strike.  If you are qualified and have the time and willing to work pro-bono, I really need your help. Also, if anyone has a laptop computer that they could afford to loan me for use at the capitol building that would be greatly appreciated.

A big shout out to Community Pharmacy in Madison for the health care advice.  Stay the course and fight the good fight, people.  We will win this battle.  Thank you.

On Wisconsin!  FORWARD!!!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day 9 Its starting to get old

It's getting old, my thoughts are getting fuzzier, I'm getting weaker and my stomach is doing some very odd things I don't particularly enjoy.  But that's okay, the cause is worth it.  A lady told me today that the Governor wasn't worth it.  I told her that I agreed about Walker, but Wisconsin is absolutely worth it.

Instead of going into the chronological version of my day I would like to just  make some brief points. Such as:

Why do so many folks assume I'm from Green Bay just because I'm wearing a #12 Aaron Rodgers jersey?

Big hats off to Mr. LaFollette (you gotta love that name) for refusing to be rushed into publication of the union-buster bill before the standard 10-day period.  Not only that, but he also hinted that the bill may need the input of the citizens of the state.

If you are opposed to Governor Walker's budget reform bill and have some time available, I could use a little advice from a attorney regarding living wills.

Also, an attorney for information regarding the legalities surrounding the possibility of my being eventually taken into custody and having medical treatment performed against my will.

Any nurses or doctors for rather obvious reasons.

I'm at the Capitol building everyday basically from open to close.  If you have the time I could really use some advice right about now and I would dearly appreciate it.

And of course anybody that would just happen to feel like stopping down and helping me in passing the time.

On Wisconsin!  FORWARD!!!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Day 8 part2

Nope, I was never at Woodstock II, and of course too young for the original.  And those along with the Million Man march are the largest crowds I believe I've ever seen footage of.  This was a darn close second place.  Spent the morning inside the Capitol and went outside to hear the speakers on the main stage around ten o clock.  OMG!!!

From the walls of the Capitol bill across the inner ring walkway, across the street and the outer ring spilling further onto the connecting streets, a breath taking sea of humanity.  Heard some great speeches, some of the most notable came from agricultural concerns.  I intended to have a longer blog this morning, but I feel terrible.  That and Daylight Savings Time is kicking my butt this morning.  I need to get to the Capitol anyway after some breakfast.  Nothing like a tall glass of water to start the day. 

On Wisconsin!  FORWARD!!!!!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I'm tired and slightly sorry

I'm exhausted and not at the top of my game right now.  I will post my normal synopsis of today's events on Sunday morning.  Just let me say this for tonight: Madison, WI is a town with a population of (I believe) 241,000 or so souls.  It seemed to my reckoning that protesters throughout today numbered about 100K to 135K.  That is the strength of this movement.  Nothing is over.  And I'm not done yet, not by a good ol' honest Wisconsin country mile.  Scotty, can you hear me?

 Thank you to everyone who came here from Iowa, Nebraska, Canada, Minnesota, California, Ohio, Illinois and everywhere else where freedom- and democracy-loving people reside.  Thank you so much.  With much love and solidarity.  Matthew Schauenburg

(Special shout out to all my Hawthorne neighborhood friends, especially those who are union or currently enrolled as students . . . you are naughty!  I didn't see you at the protest.  Still love ya.)

On Wisconsin!    FORWARD!!!!

Day 7 My first milestone, the movements second chapter

Managed to sleep from 4 until nearly 6 this morning.  Woke and perked up my day with some tap water and a smoke.  Caught up on some networking and was tracking the tsunami story from earlier in the morning. 

The walk to the Capitol seemed more difficult than it should have been.  Smaller than anticipated crowd yet still a pretty happy turnout.  The day proceeded with what is starting to appear to me as normal . . . if by normal you mean sitting on cold granite in a monolithic structure surrounded by scores of uniformed officers listening to people chanting, while simultaneously having an in-depth political discussion as you pose for a picture with a stranger's children.

As Dr. Hunter S. Thompson once wrote, "When the going gets weird the weird turn pro." 

Anyway, mid-afternoon around 3 o clock, having signed his union-busting legislation, Governor Scotty Walker held (or at least attempted to hold) a press conference announcing his historic moment.    Hearing of this, the Capitol rotunda emptied at the speed of angst,  the protesters chanting loudly to make their presence known, while outside the Chamber windows out on the inner ring others did the same.  I haven't looked for the video of the press conference yet so I'm not sure of the content of his speech or of the effectiveness of the protesters.  It was an as-anticipated day of dealing with our failure as a state to vote responsibly.

At 6 in the evening the Capitol building closed to the public and we filed out, bitter yet still very much hopeful in our cause.  The short walk back was a bit of a struggle and seemed to last forever. My strength has definitely faded from me today, the effects of the hunger strike catching up to me.  All day long I was cold and could not warm up.  The temperature outside was about 40 and sunny, which is pretty nice really.  And I was wearing full thermals with a tee shirt, baseball jersey and a sweatshirt over that covered by my signature Aaron Rodger's number #12 jersey.

I don't feel sick at all; my strength is just gone.  And I can't stay warm. My thinking is sometimes becoming pretty foggy; some chest pains but not too bad, all things considered.  I'm carefully monitoring my hydration level and water intake.  Obviously important as water is, it's the only thing I'm ingesting through this hunger strike.  Too much water and I'm told my electrolytes can become out of balance and put me into shock.  Was also told that salt and potassium levels are or will become seriously important to me.  A couple of different medical personnel have advised me to at least drink some Gatorade or similar product.  I suppose I would but my vow is to not take in any calories for the duration of the strike. Unlike our duplicitous Governor and his flip-flopping Senate lap dogs, I have to stay the course and keep true to my vows.  Okay, that was sort of hateful and I apologize, but I've also been rather testy today.  And I feel justified in this testiness.  I'm only asking for 2 concessions from Mr. Walker and they both seem quite reasonable to myself and pretty much all the folks I talk to. Those 2 things are:

1.  Open dialogue with Independents and Democrats on the financial aspects of the Governor's Budget Reform Bill.

2.  Originally this point referred to removing language in reference to collective bargaining from the union concessions aspects of that bill.

Part 2 of course will now have to be adapted, mostly likely to an amendment putting a 1-2 year limit to the removal of collective bargaining, or the re-installation of collective bargaining with a 1-3 year unilateral freeze on raises apart from cost of living adjustments.

A big heartfelt thank you to all the thousands and thousands of people staying the course and not backing down from this movement.  I've thoroughly enjoyed every moment spent in conversation or just quiet solidarity with all of you.  And if you have any pictures of us inside the Capitol rotunda I would love it if you could send them to me.

On Wisconsin!  FORWARD!!!!  Let the will of the people be known.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Day 6 Like the mythical phoenix...

Looking back now I should have realised today would be bordering on chaos.  Walked up to the square at the State Capitol building not quite an hour before scheduled opening time.  Arrived at the King Street entrance to a group of about 50 people already lined up awaiting entry.  Some had arrived as early as 4 in the morning, having travelled from central and southern Wisconsin.

Waiting for 8 o'clock to roll around, the winter wind bit into me way more than it should have.  Not sick yet, but definitely getting weaker.  Also needed another belt loop today and I'm sometimes walking around in a bit of a daze, but that's the worst of it so far.  That and the fact that I can't seem to get more than maybe 3 hours sleep for the last 5 nights.

At one minute after 8 a.m. the first of the frustrated start to pound on the doors, chanting.  Nobody was in the mood to be patient and I assumed that meant the police inside as well as the protesters outside, who had now swollen to over 500 in number.  Finally one agitated person kicked in a panel of the oaken exterior doors.  Less than a minute later several officers came out of the damaged door, led by a very angry looking officer who demanded to know who kicked the door.  I almost laughed out loud.  The most secure and secured building in the state, and they're asking who vandalized it.

At the same time several more officers appeared from a side doorway and were kind enough to tell me that they had no orders on whether they were to open the building or not.  Fair enough, they have been very honest and decent so far.  Most people had the resolve to wait for more information; a few of the more aggressive ones yelled and pounded at the entryway but largely contained themselves.  Meanwhile a mobile p.a. was set up--'the peoples microphone'--to give voice to those who chose to speak to the crowd, now over 1000 and growing.

Officers lined up across the width of the entryway to hold folks back and maintain surveillance of the protesters.  One by one folks took the microphone. Some relayed their anger and frustration at the circumstances of the previous night.  Others called for calm and discipline, yet more and more people were getting very hyped up, some beginning to prepare to rush the doors.  For some reason I overcame my fear of microphones and public speaking (I'm a bass player and therefore used to being largely ignored in front of crowds) and surprised myself by delivering the best speech of my life.

I told them the quick tale of The Bascolm Coalition and our U.W. campus protests against exclusionary policies tolerated at the university.  I told them how in one week we had gained tremendous momentum and national coverage.  We had the law, the student body and righteousness on our side.  And then we got stupid!  We became too aggressive and decided to seize and occupy the Board of Regents office, which we did. About an hour later the cops came in with little fear of busting heads and tossing people around.  I suffered a broken arm that night. The next day we were all at home in physical recovery, watching on t.v. how we had lost everything we had striven so hard for, and waiting for the hospital bills to come in.

In closing I reminded everyone that the officers lined up behind me were our union sisters and brothers who had been good to everyone so far.  I asked all present not to force their hand and make them take actions they had worked so hard to avoid. This seemed to strike a chord with most of the audience and as I finished my little story, the applause grew continually louder.  I didn't think I was that great an orator.  I turned my head and saw the Reverend Jesse Jackson approaching to address the audience.  So much for anyone remembering my best speech ever! Don't get me wrong, it was wonderful to see him back to support our cause.  He delivered two stirring speeches but was unfortunately denied entry to the Capitol.

Thousands now surrounded the square as a host of others headed across the street to rally against M&I Bank and its support of some rather radical right wing causes.  Others went to the city/county building and took up stations there. Another swarm of protesters came marching up from State Street and now their numbers were in the thousands.  Several impromptu areas became stages for speakers and the ensuing rallying cries.  .At approximately 11:30 the Capitol was opened to legally allow the State Assembly to gather to conduct the day's business.  It took until then for the some 200 protesters inside, who had spent the night outside the Assembly doors, to leave voluntarily as most did (though I heard perhaps a dozen had opted to be arrested in protest; I support and respect that decision).  The police did their security sweep of the building.  By the time I left at 8 in the evening, perhaps 20- or maybe 40,000 had rallied around the Capitol building, showing their solidarity and strength.

I know that tomorrow will surely bring more of the same, and I'm afraid to even think about Saturday.  Luckily, so far discipline has kept things 99% peaceful and I most sincerely hope that continues, or once again all will be lost.  If we give them reason to start coming after us it will not stop!  And the media, which has mostly mis-represented us so far, would turn on us completely and all would come to nothing but loss and regret.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

And the walls come tumbling down Day 5

A beautiful snow-covered morning in the State Capitol.  A brief walk to the Capitol building, arriving five minutes before the doors open for business.  As I enter I'm greeted by the officers of various departments whom I'm becoming friendly with.  They tell me that I'll be the first person in WI history to go through the full body scanners which are now installed at the entryways.  Oh joy oh joy.  I have my bag searched and empty my pockets and walk through the scanner, which immediately lights up like a Christmas tree and beeps like R2-D2 after hitting Rush Limbaugh's pill stash.

"It still needs a little fine tuning," they joke as they pass me through.  Very small crowd of protesters in early this morning, but we did get a 4 to 6 inch snowfall the night before.  I leave a note for the Governor at his office and settle in for the long day.  Around 10 a.m. an officer with the Capitol Police and Security comes over to speak with me.  He tells me that due to my hunger strike they would like for me to give them some basic information just in case medical attention should need to be sought for me.  How thoughtful.  So I give him my name and age, and for some 'medical' reason he also needs my contact numbers and home address (which I suspiciously give) and he duly notes them down in his book.  He hands me a bottle of water (picture on Twitter) and reminds me to stay hydrated.

The crowd builds after 11 a.m. and the statements are read and the slogans chanted until about one in the afternoon.   I meet a pilot who flew in from Michigan just to spend a few hours with us.  A local d.j. introduces herself to me and in expressing her admiration for my commitment is moved to tears.  Wow!!!  What am I getting into with all this?

The pre-closing of the Capitol building chanting and speech-making is soon over and as we're preparing to depart for the day a group of legislative aids and U.W. students rush in informing us that the GOP has found a way around the quorum requirement and are in the Assembly Hall voting on a re-worded version of their collective bargaining/union-busting bill.  Life becomes very hectic very, very fast.  Those of us in the rotunda speed past police to the third floor where the Assembly is already seated and in progress, sneaky little weasels that they are.

We immediately begin chanting "SHAME ON YOU"  and some slightly more fiery slogans at the top of our lungs, letting those mostly-cowards inside the chamber know that we are onto them and their illegal-by-state-law meeting to decide the fate of the state's and hence, the nation's unions.

The sound is so loud, unaided human voices with the decibel level of a concert!  I look behind me and the 50 or so of us originally is somehow now hundreds of infuriated citizens screaming for justice and democracy.  We shouldn't have wasted our breath..  How often do conservatives care about justice or democracy when personal gain is calling them?

So they had a little illegal vote on the issue and passed it in about 18 seconds.  And politics and the people being represented by politicians in Wisconsin ends that fast.  It most likely won't hold up and will be overturned by the State Supreme Court, but that will take time and by then the damage will already be done.  Hopefully it'll mostly be damage to the Republican party.

I had really pushed myself too far by this time and thought I might pass out at the front line of this political mosh-pit, so make for the stairs down to the second level gallery.  Halfway down I nearly pass out and tumble down the granite steps but manage to save myself.

People flood into the building in droves, hundreds, thousands of them.  With my energy levels at zero I decide to leave the Capitol and walk back two blocks and to keep up with what was happening through the media and Internet.

The rest of what happened last night is history (and if you're unaware of it I'd be amazed).  I've resolved to try and get at least four hours sleep before heading back to the Capitol during the small hours of the morning. 
From slow and quiet to enraged multitude in about 5 minutes flat.  What a day.  Can't wait for tomorrow to come around.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

skipping day four

This afternoon the GOP convened a 'special legislative' session and voted (contrary to the law and procedure), then hastily presented a stripped-down ineptly arranged 'split' bill version of Scott Walker's Budget Reform Bill, or union-busting act.

I don't think this will stand before the WI State Supreme Court, but that will take awhile to happen.  I'm predicting a monstrous rally on Saturday if not before.  I was in the Capitol on hunger strike day #4 this afternoon when the students and organizers came flying in the place alerting us to what was happening.  Protesters by the hundreds starting flooding the building from every corner of Madison.

I can't really get into it all right now; I'm more drained than I have probably ever been before.  Check out the news (not Fox)  There are a few possible directions this could take.  I gotta do some networking and get some sleep for the first time in days.  The hunger strike is still on !!!

The GOP broke the law and this is not over yet.  Only one chapter has closed.

On Wisconsin!  FORWARD!!!

Day Three, Monday March 7th

Another day begun, early inside the State Capitol building in lovely Madison.  Things started out slowly, as I'm beginning to understand is par for the course.  Myself and a group of hardcore protesters filed in along with some early, bleary-eyed yet sharp dressed state employees.  I select my spot for the morning on the ground floor center rotunda.  I'm no more than ten pages into the novel I'm reading when a reporter from Milwaukee asks me for an interview which  I accept.  Half an hour later it's a stringer from a northern WI news crew asking the same.  Then a radio interview for MIT student radio in Manhattan.  And on and on.  I'm completely caught by surprise that I am receiving so much attention so soon.  Kind of weird too actually, as I'm not very used to reporters and cameras focusing on me.  Suddenly I realise I need to figure out a way to be a media spokesperson and consultant because I'm in this alone.

Well, perhaps I shouldn't say alone as at least a hundred people a day come up to speak with me, take a picture and such.  Towards the end I think it is these supporters who will keep me going when things get really tough.  In solidarity I thank you all.

On Wisconsin!  FORWARD!!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Day Two, Sunday March 6th

Bright and early and into the Capitol building as it opens.  Had been attending the protest since day one but had not ventured inside before three days ago.  First time I've ever experienced such a sight with so many people in this building.  Impressed by the civility of behaviour by all here, particularly law enforcement.  Ran into some old friends I hadn't seen in many years.  Quite the grand sight really.  Wish I would have possessed the foresight to have brought a camera with me.  'History in the making'  and I didn't bring a camera. 

Not terribly hungry yet really but it's only day two. Maybe this won't be so awful, I think to myself occasionally, but I know that's just not going to be possible.