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Literal Wisconsin Supreme Court battle
June 26, 2011 2:37 PM   Subscribe

Two weeks ago, the Wisconsin Supreme Court voted 4-3 [video] to reinstate the controversial anti-union Budget Repair Bill, which a district judge had declared void due to a law requiring 24 hours' public notice of meetings. The Supreme Court's deliberations were heated. The liberal Justice Ann Walsh Bradley now says that after she asked conservative Justice David Prosser to leave her office, he put his hands around her neck in a choke-hold. Justice Prosser denies the allegation.

Some anonymous witnesses support Bradley's story, while one says Prosser acted in self-defence. Justice Prosser, recently re-elected in an unusually tight race, has a history of fiery debates with female Justices. Police are investigating. In Wisconsin, threatening physical harm to a judge is a felony. Supreme Court judges can be removed by the legislature in various ways.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 (160 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Previously: 1 2 3
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:39 PM on June 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I always love "denies the allegation" statements when it's one of those things which the person wouldn't actually make up on their own.

Either Bradley is a liar who is calculating to fabricate charges which will result in Prosser being charged with a felony, or else Prosser did what Bradley claims and is trying to cover his ass.

Which does Occam's razor claim is more likely?
posted by hippybear at 2:41 PM on June 26, 2011 [7 favorites]



This liberalism has gone too far when rich, well connected, white men can't physically put female coworkers in their place without being brought up on charges.

Don't worry, I'm certain Prosser will be fine - after all IOKIYAR
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:46 PM on June 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


C'mon, it's clear: "her neck attacked my hands."
posted by psyche7 at 2:47 PM on June 26, 2011 [18 favorites]


The very, very likely possibility that this judge will get away with this crap gives me a headache.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:48 PM on June 26, 2011 [11 favorites]


Either Bradley is a liar who is calculating to fabricate charges...or else Prosser did what Bradley claims

Or the alternate account is accurate: Bradley initiated physical contact, Prosser reacted, and Bradley immediately (and probably sincerely, in her view) accused him of choking her. This seems perfectly plausible and not at all outside the realm of "Occam's razor." It's consistent with plenty of altercations that I have witnessed between both small children and poorly behaved adults.

None of us were present and there are at least two plausible, contradictory—and independently confirmed—accounts of what happened. The fact that Prosser is conservative is not an especially persuasive bit of evidence.
posted by red clover at 2:50 PM on June 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


Prosser, it is worth noting, is the justice that was re-elected after having initially lost, before they "found another ballot box".
posted by kafziel at 2:52 PM on June 26, 2011 [13 favorites]


If I were a state supreme court justice, and head of the whole shebang no less, I'd leave someone's office when asked to.

But it seems decorum is only for suckers, like the rules.

I'd still be in jail BTW if I did this to someone who asked me to leave their quarters.
posted by Max Power at 2:53 PM on June 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


It's consistent with plenty of altercations that I have witnessed between both small children and poorly behaved adults.

Have you really seen an adult respond to an in-your-face child by putting the child in a chokehold?


Prosser, it is worth noting, is the justice that was re-elected after having initially lost, before they "found another ballot box".


I have not seen any plausible scenario under which those votes weren't legitimate. Yeah, Prosser barely edged his opponent in the kind of race that incumbents usually win easily, but hardly anybody here thinks he didn't actually win.
posted by escabeche at 2:56 PM on June 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


Have you really seen an adult respond to an in-your-face child by putting the child in a chokehold?

Yes, dozens of times.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 3:00 PM on June 26, 2011 [11 favorites]


For those wondering what "fiery debate" means, it means calling another judge a bitch and saying you'll destroy her.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 3:01 PM on June 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


Also, I object to the fact that this FPP was not titled "Am I the turd?"
posted by escabeche at 3:02 PM on June 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Perhaps I was unclear. I have seen children engage in similar altercations. Separately, I have also seen poorly behaved adults engage each other in similar altercations. I didn't mean to imply that I have seen full-grown adults choking children.

You are also assuming the "chokehold" bit. Again, there are two different versions of this story, both confirmed by third parties and both contradictory. Only one version includes Prosser using a "chokehold." You're welcome to believe whichever version you like. It's my belief that, as none of us were there, we don't have sufficient information to believe either account yet. All that seems certain is that (1) there was a physical altercation between two justices, and (2) one of them started it.

On a different note, I personally (apart from politics) find Prosser's response to this more dignified. He is declining to comment and allowing investigative authorities to do their job. Bradley, by contrast, is talking to the press. I'm sure she genuinely believes herself to be a victim and I can't condemn her for wanting to speak-out quickly and widely, but I'd rather see both of them referring questions to the capitol police.
posted by red clover at 3:06 PM on June 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Choking a middle-aged, unarmed lady who's telling you to get out of your office isn't OK. If I did that to anyone, I'd get arrested, and why not? I'd have just assaulted someone, I now belong in jail.

I'm not sure what physical contact could be mistaken for choking, while not being choking, while also not being some form of assault. Any ideas?

Even if - if - if - she just, say, shoved him completely without reason, then he should have just straightened his lapels and stomped out.

On the other hand, f I find out that she was poking him with a switchblade while her clerk was going, "nyeah, nyeah, get 'im," then I'll recant my opinion.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:08 PM on June 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Reading about this pretty much gave me a flashback to my 7th grade boyfriend doing something similar to me. Was he literally choking me? No. Did he forcefully and with anger grip his hands around the base of my neck and push me backwards. Absolutely. Did everyone think I overreacted when I walked to the bathroom and cried. Of course! Did most of my male classmates roll their eyes and say he didn't even hurt me? Duuuuuuuh. Now that I'm older I can look back on how fucked up the whole thing was. As if you need actual physical damage or it's not violence.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 3:12 PM on June 26, 2011 [17 favorites]


I should add that the common reaction was "omg he wasn't really going to choke her!"
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 3:13 PM on June 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


My question when I started hearing about this story was whether Prosser had a record of "fiery debates" with male political opponents. There's a lot of focus on his getting into it with women, but the omission of evidence of him arguing viciously with men is suggestive rather than conclusive.

Either way, Prosser needs to keep his hands off his colleagues' throats, even if the other person touched him or shoved him first.
posted by immlass at 3:13 PM on June 26, 2011


Regarding the earlier incident:

"In the context of this, I said, 'You are a total bitch,' " Prosser said.

"I probably overreacted, but I think it was entirely warranted. . . . They (Abrahamson and Justice Ann Walsh Bradley) are masters at deliberately goading people into perhaps incautious statements. This is bullying and abuse of very, very long standing."


A perfect non-apology-apology!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:13 PM on June 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


"On a different note, I personally (apart from politics) find Prosser's response to this more dignified. He is declining to comment and allowing investigative authorities to do their job. Bradley, by contrast, is talking to the press. I'm sure she genuinely believes herself to be a victim and I can't condemn her for wanting to speak-out quickly and widely, but I'd rather see both of them referring questions to the capitol police."

Actually, she only spoke to the press after he did, as he denied the allegations that had been made anonymously, and then she confirmed that the allegations were (to her mind) accurate.

If you're going to parse what we do and don't know so finely (which I don't have a problem with), it seems only consistent to note that both have spoken with the press with essentially one statement, and both are now letting the process work.
posted by klangklangston at 3:14 PM on June 26, 2011 [18 favorites]


I probably overreacted, but I think it was entirely warranted

overreaction
will never be warranted:
that would just be "reaction"
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:15 PM on June 26, 2011 [8 favorites]


C'mon, it's clear: "her neck attacked my hands."

At first I thought you were kidding, and then I saw what the "unnamed source" is saying:
Meanwhile, an unnamed source who is on Prosser's side of the argument accused Bradley of initiating the violence. "She charged him with fists raised," the source told the paper, saying that Prosser "put his hands in a defensive posture" to block her, and made contact with her neck.
I realize this is one of those situations where both sides are going to dig in their heels and not budge an inch on what actually happened, but I think most definitions of a "defensive posture" exclude wrapping your hands around the neck of a 61-year-old woman. But then again I dunno, I didn't grow up on the mean streets of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:20 PM on June 26, 2011 [23 favorites]


but I think most definitions of a "defensive posture" exclude wrapping your hands around the neck of a 61-year-old woman.

Of course Prosser is 69 years old and by all accounts smaller than Bradley. That says nothing one way or the other about what happened, of course, but I think your implication is off-base. Prosser is both smaller and more elderly.
posted by Justinian at 3:23 PM on June 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Unnamed justice: "You were not choked"
posted by clavdivs at 3:23 PM on June 26, 2011


So even in a room full of Supreme Court justices, where everyone in the room recognized everyone else, eyewitness accounts differ as to which person was the attacker.

But in many courts, if one white person thinks they saw a previously unknown to them black man on a dark night, that's enough evidence to jail him for life.

---
But regardless of which witness you believe, one state Supreme Court Justice assualted another. And given the differing accounts, at least one Justice is lying about what occurred.

And these are supposed to be the best legal minds and most honest, impartial, irreproachable and incorruptible judges that a succession of state governors could find to appoint.

This should clearly indicate to anyone that the system is broken, perhaps irretrievably broken. Because the state's highest officials, it Governors, have appointed political hacks to its highest courts, that highest court in the state now consists of thugs and liars.

And that's not just Wisconsin, that's all of America today. We've allowed the corrupt and self-serving to take over every institution, every position, from President to dog-catcher. Every attempt to clean house has been stymied by the Prisoners' Dilemma "if our side does the right thing, the other side won't, and they'll get ahead of us", leading us on a spiraling race to the bottom.
posted by orthogonality at 3:26 PM on June 26, 2011 [13 favorites]


Of course Prosser is 69 years old and by all accounts smaller than Bradley. That says nothing one way or the other about what happened, of course, but I think your implication is off-base. Prosser is both smaller and more elderly.

"More elderly" by eight years, sure. Still, calling what happened a "defensive posture" is a stretch. And then of course the main point is:

But regardless of which witness you believe, one state Supreme Court Justice assualted another. And given the differing accounts, at least one Justice is lying about what occurred.

Which is pretty damn sad.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:28 PM on June 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Prosser's actions are completely unacceptable, unless they were accompanied with the words "Why you little...!"
posted by smithsmith at 3:31 PM on June 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


Because the state's highest officials, it Governors, have appointed political hacks to its highest courts

Wisconsin's judges, from local circuits to Supreme Court, are elected. Prosser initially gained office by appointment to fill a vacancy, though. Frighteningly, though, this particular hack has won re-election to office twice.
posted by dhartung at 3:31 PM on June 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


This should clearly indicate to anyone that the system is broken, perhaps irretrievably broken. Because the state's highest officials, it Governors, have appointed political hacks to its highest courts, that highest court in the state now consists of thugs and liars.

Well, one thug and liar. Maybe the victim is a nice person! It's possible that one side in this debate is worse than the other one. Maybe the "system" isn't the problem, maybe it's some of the participants.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:34 PM on June 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


"I wasn't choking P.J. that hard," Sprewell told 60 Minutes. "I mean, he could breathe."
posted by pianomover at 3:38 PM on June 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


Back off Latrell!
posted by Max Power at 3:50 PM on June 26, 2011


On a different note, I personally (apart from politics) find Prosser's response to this more dignified. He is declining to comment and allowing investigative authorities to do their job.

I imagine Prosser is probably acting based on advice of counsel at this point. Which is smart, because the more he talks, the more it's going to look like he's trying to pass off choking a judge as shit that just, you know, happens.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:50 PM on June 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm sure she genuinely believes herself to be a victim

Unless they're insane, no one just "sincerely believes" themselves to have been assulted without some basis in fact. So don't be coy here. Either Justice Bradley is lying, or she's insane, or she's telling the truth.

it's going to look like he's trying to pass off choking a judge as shit that just, you know, happens.

When you're a direct male-line descendent of Genghis Khan, maybe this shit does, you know, just happen.
posted by octobersurprise at 4:05 PM on June 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


orthogonality writes "But in many courts, if one white person thinks they saw a previously unknown to them black man on a dark night, that's enough evidence to jail him for life."

Can we please not have a race derail.

orthogonality writes "And these are supposed to be the best legal minds and most honest, impartial, irreproachable and incorruptible judges that a succession of state governors could find to appoint."

Which says nothing about how observant they are. As good observational powers are not really required to be a good judge the fact that assorted judge witnesses remembering this different doesn't speak to their abilities as judge.
posted by Mitheral at 4:07 PM on June 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


There's a good chance that the unnamed source defending Prosser is Prosser's very close friend and extremely ethically challenged compatriot Justice Gableman.
posted by drezdn at 4:08 PM on June 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


You'd think that a 68-year-old person would know that "S/he started it" is no defense. I learned that when I was like 5.
posted by muddgirl at 4:13 PM on June 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


If my understanding of the Wisconsin Supreme Court is accurate, in some ways it would be advantageous for the Republicans to force Prosser to resign. Walker would appoint his replacement, allowing for an even more Conservative justice. The justice would face re-election in 2012 which, if they won would give them one more year of rule (2022 vs. 2021).
posted by drezdn at 4:13 PM on June 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


C'mon, it's clear: "her neck attacked my hands."

Justice Bradley responded to Prosser’s denial saying:

"You can try to spin those facts and try to make it sound like I ran up to him and threw my neck into his hands, but that's only spin.”
posted by MikeMc at 4:21 PM on June 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Think the Supreme Court has a third man in rule?
posted by maryr at 4:22 PM on June 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Because the state's highest officials, it Governors, have appointed political hacks to its highest courts, that highest court in the state now consists of thugs and liars.

Supreme Court judges in Wisconsin are elected (state-wide ballot). The governor only gets to appoint one if there's a vacancy.
posted by longdaysjourney at 4:24 PM on June 26, 2011


His previous defense consisted of being 'goaded' into calling a colleague a bitch? Really? That stood as an effective defense? Well, I guess at least he's consistent on the 'she made me do it front.'
posted by lesbiassparrow at 4:40 PM on June 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Unless they're insane, no one just "sincerely believes" themselves to have been assulted without some basis in fact.

"Some" basis in fact is conceded by the third-party observers who dispute Bradley's account. Their story is that she initiated physical contact, and in the process of reacting defensively, Prosser "made contact with" Bradley's neck. This is not implausible. Most people don't have martial-arts training, and when they are confronted with a person charging at them, common reactions are to push and grab and flail. It is entirely conceiveable that Bradley started the fight by coming at Prosser, and that Prosser reacted by flailing about and "made contact with" Bradley's neck. It is entirely conceiveable that (1) Prosser did not intend to "choke" Bradley, yet (2) the contact happened in such a way that Bradley genuinely believed he meant to grab for her neck.

We don't know. There are diametrically opposed stories coming from third parties who claim to have witnessed the event. It's possible that Prosser simply and cleanly choked Bradley, deliberately and without mistake. That's one possibility. You're welcome to latch onto it. I just don't see any basis for believing one story over another. Both seem equally plausible.
posted by red clover at 4:43 PM on June 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


What was she wearing? Maybe that is relevant to him.
posted by desjardins at 5:29 PM on June 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


If my understanding of the Wisconsin Supreme Court is accurate, in some ways it would be advantageous for the Republicans to force Prosser to resign. Walker would appoint his replacement, allowing for an even more Conservative justice. The justice would face re-election in 2012 which, if they won would give them one more year of rule (2022 vs. 2021).

My understanding of the Wisconsin Supreme Court is almost minimal, and I don't even know the tone of things in Wisconsin right now, but aren't we expecting some recall elections over this base issue in 2012? Even if Walker got to appoint a new guy to replace Prosser, do we expect that he would survive the 2012 election when Prosser's itself was so close?
posted by Navelgazer at 5:37 PM on June 26, 2011


Regardless, they both should be held for 'Contempt in Court" and jailed until the investigation is complete.
posted by rmhsinc at 5:39 PM on June 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


In the comments on a related article in the Milwaukee paper, I learned that Justice Prosser is 5'4" tall. This means, if he was indeed trying to fend off Justice Bradley's attack, he either had his arms stretched up over his head, or he had the forethought to bring a step stool, the better to establish a defensive position above his opponent.

You know who I feel sorry for? People who live in Wisconsin. My experience, all things being equal, is they're nowhere near as crazy-cuckoo-bonkers as their elected officials. They must bus these clowns in from Upper Michigan or something...
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 5:42 PM on June 26, 2011


"Some" basis in fact is conceded by the third-party observers who dispute Bradley's account.

Third party singular, known only by the title of "unnamed source." It is false to say "third party observers" in the plural. The article actually never even states if this unnamed source even saw the events unfold.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:49 PM on June 26, 2011


I just don't see any basis for believing one story over another. Both seem equally plausible.

Well he has an on-the-record case of being abusive and threatening to a professional colleague, and then minimizing/rationalizing his unprofessional behavior with the "she made me do it" excuse.

Can you point to any examples of Bradley being threatening to her colleagues or having trouble with anger management? If so, maybe I will give some consideration to your "equally plausible" theory.
posted by madamjujujive at 5:53 PM on June 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


red clover: I believe people are latching onto Bradley's side of the story because they are trying to make sense of this, and that seems more likely. There's also almost certainly some political bias, but what are you gonna do about that. Moving on...

1. Prosser's past behavior, while not dispositive by any means, at least points to an odd manner of thinking about how to properly interact with his fellow justices. Calling your colleague a "bitch" and threatening to destroy her is not something normal people do in jobs that involve wearing a suit. Then he claimed it was an overreaction while simultaneously saying that she deserved it. That is 100% the weakest-ass "apology" he possibly could have gotten away with. In other words, eh doesn't believe he acted inappropriately there. That is a huge piece of evidence, for the court of public opinion at least if not the Dane County courthouse.

2. His account doesn't jibe with common experience. While they are both in their sixties, he's definitely more on the "elderly" side of things and she more on the "middle-aged" side. Plus she's got the size on him. If she were charging him, and he stopped her by accidentally getting his hands around her neck, doesn't he fall? Or something similar? I mean, judges' chambers aren't basketball courts; there's not a hell of a lot of time to defend oneself if someone is "charging" at you. But no accounts mention a stumble or anything of the sort. Apparently his hands are just the immovable object which absorbed the whole blow. Moreover, try to imagine charging someone in such a way where their hands, even in a defensive position, end up around your neck. It's just not how humans naturally behave. You're charging, you're in control of the action. You don't ram your neck into someone's defensively placed hands.

3. Now, contrast his report with hers. In hers, he is a guy with anger management issues who chocked her while she was trying to get him to leave her office, which he wasn't doing. This just seems more, yes, plausible.

Truth is probably somewhere in between, but I'm guessing it's closer to her side of the story than his.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:14 PM on June 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Again, if you're going to spend your effort on parsing finely, be accurate in your facts. If you're inaccurate, it makes you sound like an apologist.

And while it is obviously given that we have very little information to speculate from (and thus inferences are suspect), that does not preclude us from saying that it is reasonable to regard Prosser's prior behavior (which should come across to an objective observer as at least mildly sexist) and noted temper as more consistent with the version that Bradley is offering.

When you argue without regard to the accuracy of your statements, that's when you get inane denunciations of "thugs" and irrelevant appeals to racism, and it makes it hard to take your views as those of a disinterested observer.
posted by klangklangston at 6:18 PM on June 26, 2011


Third party singular, known only by the title of "unnamed source." It is false to say "third party observers" in the plural.

I don't really have an opinion on how this went down, but this is kind of driving me crazy. There are two "third party observers" who say Prosser was defending himself.

Here is one pro-Prosser source:

But another source told the Journal Sentinel that Bradley attacked Prosser.

"She charged him with fists raised," the source said.

Prosser "put his hands in a defensive posture," the source said. "He blocked her."

In doing so, the source said, he made contact with Bradley's neck
.

And here is the other:

Another source said the justices were arguing over the timing of the release of the opinion, which legislative leaders had insisted they needed by June 14 because of their work on the state budget. As the justices discussed the case, Abrahamson said she didn't know whether the decision would come out this month, the source said.

At that point, Prosser said he'd lost all confidence in her leadership. Bradley then came across the room "with fists up," the source said. Prosser put up his hands to push her back.

Bradley then said she had been choked, according to the source. Another justice - the source wouldn't say who - responded, "You were not choked."

posted by Danila at 6:32 PM on June 26, 2011


If only there were some system by which we could resolve disputes between parties in a systematic and objective manner...
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:32 PM on June 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Fair enough, it's two sources. Still, that second source doesn't have any real eyewitness testimony - just the content of the argument itself and hearsay about a justice saying "you were not choked."

I guess the truth'll eventually come out of the wash.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:36 PM on June 26, 2011


Thanks Wisconsin! Kentucky looks less ludicrous today.
posted by DigDoug at 6:47 PM on June 26, 2011


Is seems like there are some people posting here who have difficulty conceiving of both of these things happening:

(1) Bradley punched or otherwise attacked Prosser.
(2) Prosser grabbed Bradley's neck.

It seems entirely plausible to me that there is truth in both sides' version of the story and that it doesn't look good for either one.

I also wonder why Prosser wouldn't get out of Bradley's office, i.e. what precipitated Bradley (according to Prosser and unnamed justice) coming at him in the first place? This stuff doesn't happen in a vacuum, where there's smoke, there's fire, etc. Bradley probably had a rationale for getting physical. And so did Prosser.

Also:

> hit Prosser
> You muck up all his fancy facial work. This is the last moment of satisfaction you will experience for some time
posted by scelerat at 6:53 PM on June 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


"I probably overreacted, but I think it was entirely warranted. . . . "

If it was warranted, then you didn't overreact. If you overreacted, then it wasn't warranted. How fucking hard is this?

"I got wet, but I think there wasn't water involved..."

Who fucking votes for these idiots? Better yet, who let this jackass pass seventh grade?
posted by notsnot at 7:16 PM on June 26, 2011


It's particularly disconcerting that someone whose job relies heavily on parsing language uses it so poorly.
posted by drezdn at 7:24 PM on June 26, 2011


Considering that any disciplinary action will ultimately come back to the state Supreme Court, with Prosser recusing himself, it'll likely end in a 3-3 and go nowhere. Prosser would actually be the third conservative justice on the court who was saved by the split. Justice Michael Gableman's is probably the most troubling as he made false claims about the Justice he was running against and he defended himself saying the judicial rule he broke violated his first amendment rights.
posted by drezdn at 7:30 PM on June 26, 2011


Presumably Bradley would need to recuse herself in such a matter as well, though.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:39 PM on June 26, 2011


Any other justices present would also have to recuse themselves as they would be material witnesses. Frankly it seems unthinkable that a court could possibly adjudicate something involving 3 or more members of that same court.
posted by Justinian at 8:42 PM on June 26, 2011


You know who I feel sorry for? People who live in Wisconsin.

Yeah, where other states seem to do things that are cringeworthy, laughable, or just plain dumb, we're not satisfied unless we are operating right on the brink of absurdity.

It can be fun at times, but mostly, it's just exhausting.
posted by quin at 8:49 PM on June 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ever since this story broke, I haven't been able to get the image out of my mind of a hypothetical Chapelle Show skit in which David Prosser takes Wayne Brady's place.
posted by Jpfed at 10:00 PM on June 26, 2011


But quin! You have Rule by Thunderdome! What could be more exciting?
posted by Navelgazer at 10:16 PM on June 26, 2011


Well he has an on-the-record case of being abusive and threatening to a professional colleague, and then minimizing/rationalizing his unprofessional behavior with the "she made me do it" excuse.

There's no evidence that he was ever threatening to anyone.

Anyway, it's entirely possible for two people to come away from an altercation with entirely different perceptions of what happened. Memory, especially with unfamiliar stuff like this is pretty bad. It might be easy for people to remember the words that were said, but things like where people's hands were, how much force was used, etc are not very reliable.

It's possible, since she's taller, that if he raised his hands over his face, that they could have come in contact with her neck

The dude should probably just have left her office.
posted by delmoi at 12:15 AM on June 27, 2011


One thing that is probably worth bearing in mind is that abusive men - i.e. men who beat their partners - very often say that they were acting in self defense. It's actually something of a cliche.

Usually what actually happened in these cases was that the woman was fighting for her life whilst the man was choking her.

This is obviously something for the courts to decide, but given Prosser's rather obvious problems with a woman standing up to him, I certainly wouldn't be surprised to discover that he had resorted to physical violence.

I also note that once again the Republican response to a situation is to claim that, no, they were the real victims.
posted by lucien_reeve at 2:46 AM on June 27, 2011


One of them is lying. In Wisconsin these days, you can pretty much tell who's lying by their political affiliation, mores the pity.
posted by Goofyy at 3:47 AM on June 27, 2011


Cheeeee-rist. It sounds like a Kindergarten classroom brawl. How horrible that our national obsession with party politics has led us to this point; I'm trying really, really hard not to assume that because he is a man and he is a Republican the fault lies completely at his door. I will say that I am disappointed that people who are supposed to be the epitome of reasoning and logic are driven to use physical violence.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:03 AM on June 27, 2011


"Ever since this story broke, I haven't been able to get the image out of my mind of a hypothetical Chapelle Show skit in which David Prosser takes Wayne Brady's place."

Same here...
posted by MikeMc at 6:27 AM on June 27, 2011


One of them is lying. In Wisconsin these days, you can pretty much tell who's lying by their political affiliation, mores the pity.
posted by Goofyy at 6:47 AM on June 27


Oh grow the fuck up. They're both lying, don't you see that? And you know who is responsible? The people of Wisconsin. You elected these two idiots. You made a conscious decision to take two people whose station in life should be the gutter, and put them into the highest legal position in the state. You wanted this. You wanted people like you, so that's who you got. Animals that accurately reflect the animals in the voting booths. So why aren't you overjoyed by this.

Let's look at the facts: they were debating a union bill. In 2011. Almost everything sold in Wisconsin is probably made in Asia, Mexico, or South America, but you are still talking about unions like its 1974. Unions do not matter at all. That's how broken everything is. People are literally fistfighting over something that makes no difference in the long run either way.

Make an effort to be better, smarter, more thoughtful, and more determined than you actually are, and these kinds of people and problems will disappear.
posted by Pastabagel at 6:29 AM on June 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Pastabagel, it is taking all my effort not to say something that would get me banned or put in timeout. You are calling the people of my state - including me, quin, drezdn and others in this thread - "animals." Really? Are you including the quarter of a million people who did NOT vote for Prosser? Did you know that he was APPOINTED for his first term, not elected?

Did you also know that the argument was NOT about manufacturing unions? It had nothing to do with private unions whatsoever. If you've read anything at all about this, you would know that.

If it weren't for your long history here, I'd think you were trolling, but the most charitable thing I can come up with is that your dog died and you haven't had your coffee yet.

Make an effort to be better, smarter, more thoughtful

I would ask the same of you!
posted by desjardins at 6:52 AM on June 27, 2011 [13 favorites]



The decision was actually not about the union bill - well, not directly, anyway.

What had happened was that the trial court found that the legislature broke the "Open Meetings" law (OML) when it passed the bill last March. This was not a fact in dispute - the best anyone could say was that 1 hour and 57 minutes of notice was given, when at least 2 hours was required. They were also found in violation by not allowing the meeting to be open to the public because access to the capitol was unnecessarily restricted.

In order to get around these facts, the WISC ruled that the OML was unconstitutional. They went even farther though, and said that the legislature is not bound by any laws or rules.

The Senate Majority leader said last week that they want to change they way recalls work in WI, because requiring legislators to account to their constituents is "an unnecessary distraction".

I've often wonders how despots come into rule. Now, I see.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:53 AM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, the hundreds of thousands of protesters that have been at the Wisconsin Capitol starting in FEBRUARY are not animals. Or slobs or thugs and whatever else we've been called.

That was deeply fucking insulting.
posted by desjardins at 6:57 AM on June 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Unions do not matter at all

You telling Goofyy that is funny in a ironic way. I know what union can do in Michigan, even now.

But, you get who everyone votes for.
posted by clavdivs at 7:12 AM on June 27, 2011


A real fair and balanced both-must-be-wrong thread. Here's the predicatable response from the Fox Propaganda Network:

In Response To Prosser Choking Allegations, Fox’s Van Susteren Calls On Female Chief Justice To Resign

who wasn't even involved.
the Wisconsin State Journal reported that Justice David Prosser “grabbed fellow Justice Ann Walsh Bradley around the neck in an argument in her chambers last week," according to at least three knowledgeable sources.
So the only solution is for all the Dem Justices to resign. The Wisconsin Republicans have been complete bullies since they gained power, in case you haven't been paying attention.
posted by psyche7 at 7:14 AM on June 27, 2011


"Animals that accurately reflect the animals in the voting booths."

You know what's amazing? That I can operate this keyboard with my hooves. Don't get too close I just may gore you...
posted by MikeMc at 7:22 AM on June 27, 2011


Van Susteren is a foolish mouthpiece jug-jugging the boilerplate with any angle that averts something akin to critical thinking.

Why should the Chief justice interfere with an on going investigation?...Greta, any comment?
posted by clavdivs at 7:25 AM on June 27, 2011


Are you including the quarter of a million people who did NOT vote for Prosser?

In my astonishment at Pastabagel's comment, I made an error - it's THREE QUARTERS OF A MILLION people (745,000) who did not vote for Prosser. There were also over a million people that did not vote for Walker.
posted by desjardins at 7:26 AM on June 27, 2011


Van Susteren is a foolish mouthpiece

And a Scientologist. But I repeat myself.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:43 AM on June 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, there's a bit of Rashomon going on with the accounts of this scuffle. However, I am inclined to believe Prosser is the one completely in the wrong here, because the requirements for his political affiliation are that he be the shittiest human being possible.
posted by FatherDagon at 7:43 AM on June 27, 2011


Are you including the quarter of a million people who did NOT vote for Prosser? Did you know that he was APPOINTED for his first term, not elected?

And then he was re-elected (or elected for a second term, however you want to put it). It doesn't matter how many people voted against him. How many who voted against him voted for her, and vice versa? Listen to the accounts of what happened. He attacked her, she provoked him etc. His behavior may be worse, but her behavior isn't superlative, which is what you should be demanding of people in such a position.

These people are not supposed to be like everyone else. They are supposed to be better than everyone else. Smarter, wiser, less temperamental, more reflective.

These people are animals, this is how animals act, all gnashing teeth and posturing. And over what? What exactly were the stakes here? Put the whole event into context. Starting all the way back with the governors attack on unions during the early days of the budget battle. They aren't separate stories. They are one big story.

The great canard of politics is that voters elect people who reflect them. Then these two people reflect the voters, right? What other conclusions can be drawn based on the histories and behavior of two people who sit on the state's supreme court?

I'm sorry if I offended you, but frankly I don't think a lot of the people in this thread dissembling for one side or the other appreciate how this one altercation reflects how utterly dire the situation is for everyone.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:45 AM on June 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


These people are animals, this is how animals act, all gnashing teeth and posturing. And over what? What exactly were the stakes here?

Animal lives, ultimately. Rather insignificant if you look at the really big picture, I suppose. I've an idea. Let's fire the entire Wisconsin Supreme Court and replace them with someone who isn't an animal.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:56 AM on June 27, 2011


Make an effort to be better, smarter, more thoughtful, and more determined than you actually are, and these kinds of people and problems will disappear.

You could sell that advice for 2.99 on Amazon, Deepak Chopra.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:01 AM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


His behavior may be worse, but her behavior isn't superlative, which is what you should be demanding of people in such a position.

How do you know what I am or am not demanding? Until this morning, I had only made a snarky throwaway comment upthread. I don't know who did what to whom and I am not assuming Prosser is in the wrong just because of his politics or his gender. (I do find his prior incident of calling Abrahamson a bitch to be reprehensible conduct.)

For the record, any laying of hands on anyone in the workplace is wrong unless it's a medical emergency or a defensive maneuver.

I am glad everyone in your state (I don't know where you live) is beyond reproach.

And over what? What exactly were the stakes here?

You have clearly not been paying attention. As Pogo_Fuzzybutt pointed out, the dispute was whether the Open Meetings Law was constitutional or not. I think that is a pretty damned important issue - should citizens be allowed to be engaged in the legislative process or not?

I don't think a lot of the people in this thread dissembling for one side or the other appreciate how this one altercation reflects how utterly dire the situation is for everyone.

This situation has been dire since February. We're all QUITE aware of that here, tyvm.
posted by desjardins at 8:04 AM on June 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure how Pastabagel knows Justice Bradley is guilty of a damn thing. Maybe Justice Prosser acted inappropriately at work and has asshole friends to anonymously back him up. Is this beyond the realm of possibility?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:12 AM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


klangklangston: "And while it is obviously given that we have very little information to speculate from (and thus inferences are suspect), that does not preclude us from saying that it is reasonable to regard Prosser's prior behavior (which should come across to an objective observer as at least mildly sexist) and noted temper as more consistent with the version that Bradley is offering. "

I don't know who did what to whom in this particular case. I don't care much too, though - judges, liberal or conservatives, lower court or higher court, no matter how learned, have their egos completely out of control, and I'm actually surprised how this kind of thing doesn't happen more often.

But that sentence there bothers the shit out of me, and it's just another example of how liberals shed all their beliefs when it's time to drop-kick a conservative. When people say "she wasn't raped, she was asking for it", normally they're doing nothing more than regarding one's prior behavior as more consistent with the version the other party is offering. Klangklangston sees nothing wrong in applying the same twisted reasoning to a situation about which he has the slimmest information possible.
posted by falameufilho at 8:47 AM on June 27, 2011


There is a huge difference between calling someone a bitch and, say, wearing a short skirt.

If someone assaults you after you call them a bitch, your verbal assault is not magically OK. If someone rapes you, it's still OK that you wore a short skirt.

In other words, whether or not Bradley physically confronted Prosser doesn't excuse (a) any verbal harrasment that might have occured on his part, or (b) and physical assault that might have occured on his part. Whether or not Bradley is in the wrong does not change the fact that Prosser was also in the wrong.

Rape victims are not wrong for wearing or not wearing clothing. Rape victims are not wrong for getting drunk. But Prosser was wrong to verbally and physically assault Bradley, no matter what Bradley did to him (and Bradley was wrong to verbally and physically assault Prosser, no matter what Prosser did to her).
posted by muddgirl at 8:54 AM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pastabagel writes "Let's look at the facts: they were debating a union bill. In 2011. Almost everything sold in Wisconsin is probably made in Asia, Mexico, or South America, but you are still talking about unions like its 1974. Unions do not matter at all. "

If unions didn't matter the Republicans wouldn't be trying to break them. Unions are still one of the best ways for working people to advance their protections and compensation.
posted by Mitheral at 8:55 AM on June 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


On re-reading my comment above was kind of a non-sequitor.
posted by muddgirl at 8:58 AM on June 27, 2011


Mitheral: "If unions didn't matter the Republicans wouldn't be trying to break them. Unions are still one of the best ways for working people to advance their protections and compensation."

They're also the best way for the Democratic party to fund itself, with taxpayer money, in the case of public-employee unions.
posted by falameufilho at 9:00 AM on June 27, 2011


"Oh grow the fuck up. They're both lying, don't you see that? And you know who is responsible? The people of Wisconsin. You elected these two idiots. You made a conscious decision to take two people whose station in life should be the gutter, and put them into the highest legal position in the state. You wanted this. You wanted people like you, so that's who you got. Animals that accurately reflect the animals in the voting booths. So why aren't you overjoyed by this. "

Christ, what reflexive moronitude from you.

They're both lying? Oh, of course, because you assert it and then go off on some idiotic tirade about how they should both be in the gutter? Because of what? Some Dickensian social roles that you assert?

Oh, and the people that elected Prosser and Bradley, for some reason, because politics has never come to blows before.

This is frankly bullshit, and it's the sort of bullshit that flows so quickly from your typing fingers that you're swept up along on its surf, amazed at your ability to ride the curl and hang ten and blind to the fact that to everyone else it's a steaming, stinking pile of empty rhetoric and grandstanding.

"Let's look at the facts: they were debating a union bill. In 2011. Almost everything sold in Wisconsin is probably made in Asia, Mexico, or South America, but you are still talking about unions like its 1974. Unions do not matter at all. That's how broken everything is. People are literally fistfighting over something that makes no difference in the long run either way. "

It's a public workers union, not a manufacturing union, which should have slowed your moronic pronouncements for at least a second (assuming that your stupid gland hasn't fully choked your brain out yet).

And yes, unions make a real difference in how these public employees are treated and their ability to negotiate. I know that your mouth is full of the neo-liberal spunk you've pulled from the cocks of listing capitalists, but swallow it and spare us being spit on. The anti-union bill stripped rights guaranteed for around five decades and triggers a massive decrease in the quality of life for millions of people. Of course they matter.

But that's even afield from the real issue, which is whether or not the Wisconsin open meetings law applies — and further down, what the publication schedule is for the decision. I realize that in your zeal for opportunities to read your idiotic anti-union tirades again, you couldn't be slowed down long enough to make sure you were accurate, but for those of us not so smitten with your ego as to applaud whatever inane nonsense you trot out — for those of us having a conversation here — the facts do, in fact, matter.

"Make an effort to be better, smarter, more thoughtful, and more determined than you actually are, and these kinds of people and problems will disappear."

I can only hope that as you are clearly the first and most important reader of any of your comments, that you meant this to be a warning for yourself — otherwise, most of the people of Wisconsin are already smarter than your comment, and their problems very much have not disappeared.

It's a bit of entitled platitude that you're trotting out, one empty of meaning but full of the sort of vague puffery that makes it seem like you have an important point other than pronouncing other people stupid and pretending that makes you wise.
posted by klangklangston at 9:02 AM on June 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


Almost everything sold in Wisconsin is probably made in Asia, Mexico, or South America, but you are still talking about unions like its 1974.

The teachers unions will be directly affected by the changes that have been proposed and that affects things like their ability to determine their classroom sizes (to use just one example).

It's a difference between a teacher with a class of 25 or a class of 75. And that can make all the difference to the education of the people in that classroom.
posted by quin at 9:06 AM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


> They're also the best way for the Democratic party to fund itself, with taxpayer money, in the case of public-employee unions.

When you say "with taxpayer money", are you talking about the taxpayer money that is used to pay the public employees?
posted by Vibrissa at 9:06 AM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


muddgirl: "But Prosser was wrong to verbally and physically assault Bradley, no matter what Bradley did to him."

Yes, but we don't KNOW, what Prosser DID, do we? Regardless, according to Klangklangston's reasoning, it doesn't matter what we know, since his prior behavior is "more consistent with the version that Bradley is offering".
posted by falameufilho at 9:08 AM on June 27, 2011


"I don't know who did what to whom in this particular case. I don't care much too, though - judges, liberal or conservatives, lower court or higher court, no matter how learned, have their egos completely out of control, and I'm actually surprised how this kind of thing doesn't happen more often.

But that sentence there bothers the shit out of me, and it's just another example of how liberals shed all their beliefs when it's time to drop-kick a conservative. When people say "she wasn't raped, she was asking for it", normally they're doing nothing more than regarding one's prior behavior as more consistent with the version the other party is offering. Klangklangston sees nothing wrong in applying the same twisted reasoning to a situation about which he has the slimmest information possible.
"

Thank God I'm emblematic of all liberals again! I've been assumed to be a right-wing apologist for so long here that it's like turning round a fire and realizing my ass can be warm too!

Are you arguing that his prior behavior isn't more consistent with the story than hers? Are there reports of her temper getting the best of her and her using abusive language toward the other judges?

Seeing that as the same logic of blaming rape victims is silly grasping — wearing a short skirt isn't more consistent with consenting to sex than using misogynistic and aggressive language is consistent with physical violence. And given that I've been pretty circumspect about just what we can know and infer, it seems more wishful partisanship on your part to pain that as a Blame The Victim in reverse than any true congruency in the logic.
posted by klangklangston at 9:10 AM on June 27, 2011


klangklangston: "It's a public workers union, not a manufacturing union, which should have slowed your moronic pronouncements for at least a second"

This being a public workers union matter makes the whole matter MORE irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, which actually strengthens pastabagel's point.
posted by falameufilho at 9:12 AM on June 27, 2011


If "taxpayers'" money funds the Democratic Party through public unions, than it also funds the Republican Party (and in much greater numbers) through the tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations that get funneled back into the Republican Party through donations and Super PACs.

When the right talks about cadillac driving welfare queens, they're really talking about themselves.
posted by drezdn at 9:19 AM on June 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


klangklangston: "Are you arguing that his prior behavior isn't more consistent with the story than hers? Are there reports of her temper getting the best of her and her using abusive language toward the other judges? "

I'm saying it doesn't matter, because nobody in this thread knows who's the aggressor or the victim and it could go either way. And saying "it must be his fault because he called a woman a bitch the other day" is kind of a dick move, and analogous to "she must have wanted it because she sleeps around" in the rape example I gave.

Let me fix your statement for you: "the whole thing is murky and it could go either way, but I think Prosser is a piece of shit because he's called a woman a bitch the other day and I wish it he'll turn out to be the aggressor because that will make me really really happy and validate my beliefs".
posted by falameufilho at 9:19 AM on June 27, 2011


The rape analogy is really, really not helping you here.
posted by Vibrissa at 9:22 AM on June 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


"This being a public workers union matter makes the whole matter MORE irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, which actually strengthens pastabagel's point."

How are they more irrelevant than manufacturing workers? And how would his bullshit about everything being made in China be relevant then? (The US is still the largest manufacturing economy in the world, and after China comes noted third-world nations Germany and Japan.)
posted by klangklangston at 9:23 AM on June 27, 2011


drezdn: "If "taxpayers'" money funds the Democratic Party through public unions, than it also funds the Republican Party (and in much greater numbers) through the tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations that get funneled back into the Republican Party through donations and Super PACs."

Tu quoque!. Any point to make beyond making an equivalence between one bad thing to another bad thing? Because I agree that they are both bad things.
posted by falameufilho at 9:24 AM on June 27, 2011


> They're also the best way for the Democratic party to fund itself, with taxpayer money, in the case of public-employee unions.

When you say "with taxpayer money", are you talking about the taxpayer money that is used to pay the public employees?


At what point does your employer's money become your money? This whole "funding the Democrats with taxpayer money" schtick is getting old. By that same token the taxpayer is funding homes, cars, booze, smokes and sex toys as well. I'm outraged!
posted by MikeMc at 9:25 AM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I'm saying it doesn't matter, because nobody in this thread knows who's the aggressor or the victim and it could go either way. And saying "it must be his fault because he called a woman a bitch the other day" is kind of a dick move, and analogous to "she must have wanted it because she sleeps around" in the rape example I gave."

Oh, I see your problem: You're not arguing with what I said, but rather snapping at bubbles like a dog farting in a pool.

I didn't say that it must be his fault, I said that it's more consistent especially given the little information we have. If you'd like to argue that it's not, you're welcome to, but you can't, so you're trying to argue against something I didn't say.

"Let me fix your statement for you: "the whole thing is murky and it could go either way, but I think Prosser is a piece of shit because he's called a woman a bitch the other day and I wish it he'll turn out to be the aggressor because that will make me really really happy and validate my beliefs"."

Let me fix your statement for you: "We don't know what happened, but it's really important that Prosser not be considered the aggressor because, hey, who don't like to choke a bitch?"

I mean, as long as we're just making up insulting caricatures, I'll take dogmatic liberal over apologist for a woman beater. But are you really sure that's the conversation you want to have?
posted by klangklangston at 9:28 AM on June 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


So public sector unionized employees get paid by state tax dollars. Many of them will spend it at places like Home Depot and Walmart, who are huge contributors to the Republican Party. So then we must also argue that taxpayer dollars are being used to fund the Republican Party.
posted by desjardins at 9:35 AM on June 27, 2011


And saying "it must be his fault because he called a woman a bitch the other day" is kind of a dick move, and analogous to "she must have wanted it because she sleeps around" in the rape example I gave.

THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH SLEEPING AROUND.

THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH CALLING A WOMAN A BITCH.
posted by desjardins at 9:37 AM on June 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


MikeMc: "By that same token the taxpayer is funding homes, cars, booze, smokes and sex toys as well. I'm outraged!"

It's simple, really. Let's say you're a conscious consumer. You support some causes and, of course, patronize business that are aligned with that cause and avoid giving money to businesses that work against your specific cause.

Say you like tuna sandwiches. But you're very concerned about saving the dolphins and the sustainable fishing. Therefore, you buy tuna from brand X that farms/fishes their fish in a sustainable way that does not deplete the existing tuna stock in the ocean and that does not harms the dolphins. You also ask your friends to buy from brand X or at least stop buying from brand y, which fishes tuna with hand grenades and shoots dolphins for fun.

Let's say now you're a supporter of the Cheesecake party. You don't abhor the GOP, and you hate the Democrats. You pay taxes, some of that money goes into the pockets of public workers, who pay union dues. Those unions fund the democratic party. Is there any choice you can exert as a taxpayer to prevent your money from going there? Can you choose which DMV you're going to patronize, or which public school your children will attend? Nope. There's no choice in that matter.

I think that clarifies the distinction between your example and what happens in reality.
posted by falameufilho at 10:09 AM on June 27, 2011


klangklangston: "I mean, as long as we're just making up insulting caricatures, I'll take dogmatic liberal over apologist for a woman beater. "

Except I'm not apologizing. It's within the realm of possibilities that this guy is an animal who choked this woman. It's also within the realm of possibilities that she's a liar. You're saying that the former hypothesis is more likely based on his past behavior. I'm saying that's bullshit and a dick move.
posted by falameufilho at 10:12 AM on June 27, 2011


desjardins: "Many of them will spend it at places like Home Depot and Walmart, who are huge contributors to the Republican Party. So then we must also argue that taxpayer dollars are being used to fund the Republican Party."

Except they have the choice of patronizing businesses that do not contribute to the Republican Party. Taxpayers have no choice at all in that matter.
posted by falameufilho at 10:14 AM on June 27, 2011


Shit. Above, where I wrote "You don't abhor the GOP, and you hate the Democrats" please read "You abhor the GOP, and you hate the Democrats." Not to mention the shitload of grammar errors. I guess I'm too hungry to be writing here, let me go get some lunch.
posted by falameufilho at 10:18 AM on June 27, 2011


You pay taxes,

That's pretty much the end of the story, actually. If you want your legislator to hire fewer government employees, take it up with him.

Otherwise, telling people what they can and can't do with their money? That doesn't sound like the America *I* live in!
posted by mikelieman at 10:18 AM on June 27, 2011


Let's say now you're a supporter of the Cheesecake party.

I do, in fact, support this. It's Wisconsin, after all.
posted by desjardins at 10:22 AM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]



[Unions] are also the best way for the Democratic party to fund itself, with taxpayer money, in the case of public-employee unions.

That's a stupid line of reasoning. You have to be half-brained to think that make any sense.

I suppose defense contractors and the benefactors of no-bid government contracts use only non-taxpayer money to give to republicans ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:23 AM on June 27, 2011


Pogo_Fuzzybutt: "I suppose defense contractors and the benefactors of no-bid government contracts use only non-taxpayer money to give to republicans ?"

Another Tu Quoque. See above.

mikelieman: "Otherwise, telling people what they can and can't do with their money? That doesn't sound like the America *I* live in!"

I may be mistaken here on the specifics of Wisconsin law (please correct me if I'm wrong), but I don't think joe public worker has a choice in that matter. Union dues are (normally) mandatory, you opt in by taking a unionized job. So it's not *your* money to begin with.
posted by falameufilho at 10:35 AM on June 27, 2011


Union dues are (normally) mandatory, you opt in by taking a unionized job. So it's not *your* money to begin with.

How exactly is it not "their" money? They are paid by their employer and they pay their dues to the union. Mandatory or not, it's their money.
posted by rollbiz at 10:43 AM on June 27, 2011


> I don't think joe public worker has a choice in that matter. Union dues are (normally) mandatory, you opt in by taking a unionized job. So it's not *your* money to begin with.

By that logic, the money I pay in taxes isn't mine, either. The money that goes for union dues stops being taxpayer dollars when we use it to compensate state employees; what the employees do with it is none of the taxpayers' business.
posted by Vibrissa at 10:48 AM on June 27, 2011


Vibrissa: "By that logic, the money I pay in taxes isn't mine, either."

You're on to something there, buddy.
posted by falameufilho at 10:52 AM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


All I want to know is - was either party wearing a cheesehead at the time of the assault?
posted by antifuse at 10:53 AM on June 27, 2011


Union dues were mandatory until the passage of this bill. Now we've got a free rider problem because workers can opt out of paying dues, but would still get any negotiated benefits.

Union dues should be mandatory for that reason. Paying taxes is mandatory, too, because we all get the benefits of roads, fire protection etc etc.

If someone doesn't like where their union dues are going, then yeah, they can find another job. They can also vote in the union elections.
posted by desjardins at 10:56 AM on June 27, 2011


All I want to know is - was either party wearing a cheesehead at the time of the assault?

Oh, my dear Canadian person. Cheeseheads are mandatory headgear at all times. I am wearing one right now.
posted by desjardins at 10:57 AM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


desjardins: "Union dues should be mandatory for that reason. Paying taxes is mandatory, too, because we all get the benefits of roads, fire protection etc etc. "

Ergo your union dues, just like your taxes, are not exactly *your* money.

So you can see how your taxes are funneled from your paycheck straight into the Democratic Party's pockets through that mechanism. I think it's pretty clear. Just because the Republicans employ a similar scheme through McDonnell-Douglas or Halliburton doesn't make it right, people. Wake up.
posted by falameufilho at 11:03 AM on June 27, 2011


So you can see how your taxes are funneled from your paycheck straight into the Democratic Party's pockets through that mechanism. I think it's pretty clear. Just because the Republicans employ a similar scheme through McDonnell-Douglas or Halliburton doesn't make it right, people. Wake up."

Oh God, the "wake up" (you missed a "sheeple") of the ideologue.

You cannot simultaneously argue that political consumerism is ethical while arguing that giving money to politicians is not. You further cannot argue that union dues are a direct proxy for Democratic support — some public unions even supported Walker prior to his election (they have mostly switched). You also cannot support the assertion that closed shops are immoral.

All you have is a vague jeremiad against advocacy groups and an antipathy toward unions for some personal reason. You should not mistake that for an argument.
posted by klangklangston at 11:08 AM on June 27, 2011


"Is there any choice you can exert as a taxpayer to prevent your money from going there? "

So you can see how your taxes are funneled from your paycheck straight into the Democratic Party's pockets through that mechanism.



Again, when does it stop being my money and become the public employee's money? What about unions that support Republicans? Scott Walker exempted police and firefighters from the new law and as it just so happens they endorsed him for governor. How do I as a taxpayer prevent police and firefighter's unions from supporting Republicans?
posted by MikeMc at 11:09 AM on June 27, 2011


Ergo your union dues, just like your taxes, are not exactly *your* money.

No, it's still my money, even if it's a mandatory payment. I can move to Canada (theoretically), relinquish my US citizenship, get a Canadian job and then the United States IRS can go fuck themselves. I can also vote for people who (theoretically) spend my taxes the way I want them to. Unfortunately, neither party spends them the way I'd prefer, but such is life.

I don't get to do whatever the fuck I want with my car, either, but it's still MY car.
posted by desjardins at 11:15 AM on June 27, 2011


klangklangston: "You cannot simultaneously argue that political consumerism is ethical"

I don't know what that is.

MikeMc: "Scott Walker exempted police and firefighters from the new law and as it just so happens they endorsed him for governor."

That's fucked up.

MikeMc: "How do I as a taxpayer prevent police and firefighter's unions from supporting Republicans?"

You can't. That's also fucked up.
posted by falameufilho at 11:15 AM on June 27, 2011


Ah, the endless demonization of the labor union. Thanks, Reagan!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:17 AM on June 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Except I'm not apologizing. It's within the realm of possibilities that this guy is an animal who choked this woman. It's also within the realm of possibilities that she's a liar. You're saying that the former hypothesis is more likely based on his past behavior. I'm saying that's bullshit and a dick move."

You're not apologizing? You're an active advocate for violence against women? Well, touché, sir. (That's what an actual dick move looks like, for reference.)

Look, you seem to want to make the argument that it is not more consistent to infer Bradley's version based on the limited information we have, but are afraid to actually state an argument.

However, I don't think you understand what "more consistent" means, nor have you bothered to answer any of my questions, and instead continue to misrepresent my words in the interest of some need to defend a privileged neutrality.

To disprove my statement, you need to show that calling someone a bitch and threatening to destroy them is not more consistent with violence against women than no such statement. Feel free to attempt to do so.
posted by klangklangston at 11:19 AM on June 27, 2011


"klangklangston: "You cannot simultaneously argue that political consumerism is ethical"

I don't know what that is.
"

That's not surprising, even though you were the one who posited it as a mode of expression with your tuna example.

Either spending has a political component or it doesn't.
posted by klangklangston at 11:21 AM on June 27, 2011


desjardins: "I can move to Canada (theoretically), relinquish my US citizenship, get a Canadian job and then the United States IRS can go fuck themselves."

If this is what you have to do to keep the money, then it's not exactly your money.

"I don't get to do whatever the fuck I want with my car, either, but it's still MY car."

That has nothing to do with it. You don't get to do whatever the fuck you want with your money post-taxes, post-union dues either. You can't patronize a child prostitute, buy drugs, bet in a cock fight or buy stock about which you have privileged information. But the money is yours.
posted by falameufilho at 11:24 AM on June 27, 2011


"That has nothing to do with it. You don't get to do whatever the fuck you want with your money post-taxes, post-union dues either. You can't patronize a child prostitute, buy drugs, bet in a cock fight or buy stock about which you have privileged information. But the money is yours."

By now you seem to be just as confused as to the argument you'd like to make as the rest of us responding to it.

Fundamentally, it is no more immoral to spend public money hiring union employees on the basis that it might be donated to Democrats than it is immoral to spend public money hiring any employee on the basis that it might be donated to a political party, and certainly no more immoral than spending money on projects from contractors (especially noting that in Wisconsin, many of the contracts have essentially given money to the Koch brothers, and that money will be spent on all sorts of political causes).

There is no sacred right to be a public employee, ergo every employee that objects to giving their money to the union may pursue other employment. If the employee truly wishes, they can start a campaign to decertify the union.

That you have conflated several steps in a chain and then flailed about with libertarian hogwash to muddy the argument is more consistent with not having a supportable point than it is with a serious public policy argument, and it's all rather a derail.

I realize it can be shitty when you're being piled-on, as you essentially are here, but it's also a good policy to realize that when you are in a hole, the first step is to stop digging.
posted by klangklangston at 11:32 AM on June 27, 2011


Another Tu Quoque. See above.

I did. It's just as stupid even if you say it twice.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:35 AM on June 27, 2011


That has nothing to do with it. You don't get to do whatever the fuck you want with your money post-taxes, post-union dues either. You can't patronize a child prostitute, buy drugs, bet in a cock fight or buy stock about which you have privileged information. But the money is yours.

Trolling troll is trollish.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:45 AM on June 27, 2011


[Comment removed. Do not pull in stuff from folks' profile pages, thank you.]
posted by cortex at 12:07 PM on June 27, 2011


falameufilho writes "They're also the best way for the Democratic party to fund itself, with taxpayer money, in the case of public-employee unions."

Wow! Ya, I don't think were going to be able to come to a consensus here.
posted by Mitheral at 12:17 PM on June 27, 2011


Or the alternate account is accurate: Bradley initiated physical contact, Prosser reacted, and Bradley immediately (and probably sincerely, in her view) accused him of choking her. This seems perfectly plausible and not at all outside the realm of "Occam's razor." It's consistent with plenty of altercations that I have witnessed between both small children and poorly behaved adults.

red clover, grabbing someone by the throat is not a defensive move. It just isn't.
posted by IAmBroom at 3:04 PM on June 27, 2011


Well this thread devolved into an internet version of the justice squabble really quickly, didn't it?
posted by lesbiassparrow at 4:31 PM on June 27, 2011


IAmBroom: " red clover, grabbing someone by the throat is not a defensive move. It just isn't."

You don't get to strangle somebody who merely raises their hands.

Meanwhile:
Dane County Sheriff's Office Investigating Alleged Prosser 'Chokehold' Incident
Bradley said over the weekend, "The facts are that I was demanding that he get out of my office and he put his hands around my neck in anger in a chokehold."
The fact that she was demanding that he leave her office seems to have been overlooked in the comments here, in the not-rush-to-judgment. Does anyone still want to argue that he wasn't invading her private space and refusing her request to leave? Or that Prosser doesn't have a history of abusive behavior towards women?
posted by psyche7 at 4:42 PM on June 27, 2011


klangklangston: "Fundamentally, it is no more immoral to spend public money hiring union employees on the basis that it might be donated to Democrats than it is immoral to spend public money hiring any employee on the basis that it might be donated to a political party "

That's a little convoluted, but if you're saying that the process by which taxpayer money is funneled through unions to the Democratic party is morally equivalent to the process by which taxpayer money is funneled through defense contractors to the Republican party, then we're in the same page. I happen to think both are quite bad.

"There is no sacred right to be a public employee, ergo every employee that objects to giving their money to the union may pursue other employment. If the employee truly wishes, they can start a campaign to decertify the union. "

This is has nothing to do with public employees - their needs are being very well served by the unions. This is about taxpayers involuntarily sponsoring the Democratic party through these unions. And the problem comes from the lack of choice. You can't not pay your taxes. Also, public service has no competition - if you don't agree with the politics at the DMV or your son's public school, there isn't another competing branch of government that caters to your ideals. And there shouldn't be.

klangklangston: "That you have conflated several steps in a chain and then flailed about with libertarian hogwash to muddy the argument is more consistent with not having a supportable point than it is with a serious public policy argument, and it's all rather a derail. "

I haven't "conflated steps in a chain", because there is no "chain". You must pay taxes on your earnings. The government must pay employees. The employees must pay their union dues. How is that a "chain" if it's all mandatory? This is not "libertarian hogwash". I am not against government nor the paying of taxes, I am against waste and corruption. And if it's public policy that you're missing in my argument, here's one for you, which I didn't think I would need to spell out: public employees shouldn't be allowed to unionize.

And yes, it's kind of a derail, but someone upthread said "if unions didn't matter, why are the republicans trying to destroy them"? And the answer is, in the case of public sector unions at least "because they're a mechanism by which taxpayer money is funneled into the democratic party".

"I realize it can be shitty when you're being piled-on, as you essentially are here, but it's also a good policy to realize that when you are in a hole, the first step is to stop digging."

I don't know what you're talking about. I'm chatting with people on the internet about politics. "Shitty", "piled-on", "in a hole" - sorry, but I enjoy the conversation. You're the one getting all riled up about god knows what. Breathe.
posted by falameufilho at 4:45 PM on June 27, 2011


lesbiassparrow: "Well this thread devolved into an internet version of the justice squabble really quickly, didn't it?"

His neck attacked my hands!
posted by falameufilho at 4:46 PM on June 27, 2011


klangklangston: "Either spending has a political component or it doesn't."

Ah, about the "political consumerism" thing - I missed this response from you up thread. It seems like you don't understand the difference between someone choosing to do it (someone choosing tuna brand X over Y) versus someone being forced to do it (all of us paying taxes which will be funneled to fund a political party via donations).

"I don't know what that is."

"That's not surprising"


I like it how at another point on the thread you stopped to give me an example of a dick move, as if it was necessary.
posted by falameufilho at 5:25 PM on June 27, 2011


public employees shouldn't be allowed to unionize.

What you're suggesting would be depriving public employees of the Freedom of Association and their 1st Amendment rights.
posted by mikelieman at 6:19 PM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


public employees shouldn't be allowed to unionize.

aaaaaaaaand I'm done here. Best wishes to you, sir/ma'am.
posted by desjardins at 6:20 PM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


mikelieman: "What you're suggesting would be depriving public employees of the Freedom of Association and their 1st Amendment rights."

That's not correct. Unions are a very specific kind of entity regulated by labor legislation, not an ad hoc result of freedom of association. Public service unions on the scale we see today are a somewhat new phenomenon. For example, US federal workers were not allowed to unionize until the Kennedy administration. Also, I am pretty sure that in the federal government union membership is voluntary.
posted by falameufilho at 7:03 PM on June 27, 2011


"because they're a mechanism by which taxpayer money is funneled into the democratic party"

After that money is paid employees, it is no longer "Taxpayer money". It is employee money.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:56 PM on June 27, 2011


Public employment funnels taxpayer money into corn products!
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:58 PM on June 27, 2011


Pogo_Fuzzybutt: "After that money is paid employees, it is no longer "Taxpayer money". It is employee money."

IT IS NOT A VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTION. Union dues are in many (most?) cases deducted from the employee's paycheck. The employee does not have access to the money nor can he opt out of the union. This means the money is being funneled from the government into the union.
posted by falameufilho at 8:10 PM on June 27, 2011



IT IS NOT A VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTION.

Yeah it is.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:15 PM on June 27, 2011


Why?
posted by falameufilho at 8:16 PM on June 27, 2011


I'm sorry, but this is starting to look a lot like a derail into Unions Are Evil, as opposed to the actual story of the judges. Plus the rhetoric is getting really public access cable.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:19 PM on June 27, 2011



Many professions have membership or licensing requirements. Hell, almost every job has some sort of dress code or other required payment for some thing or other.

It's all voluntary, though. You don't have to work there.

I mean, I get what you're trying to say, but really - if the union dues are taxpayer money so are the church tithes and kids allowances and the mortgage and the car payments and....

It's just a stupid line of thought.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:25 PM on June 27, 2011


Pogo_Fuzzybutt: "It's all voluntary, though. You don't have to work there."

Nobody is disputing the choice of the public employee to work for the government. I'm talking about the taxpayer. Is paying taxes voluntary?

"I mean, I get what you're trying to say, but really - if the union dues are taxpayer money so are the church tithes and kids allowances and the mortgage and the car payments and...."

If [thing that is mandatory] is taxpayer money, so is [thing that is voluntary] and [thing that is voluntary] and [thing that is voluntary] and...
posted by falameufilho at 9:04 PM on June 27, 2011


Is paying taxes voluntary?

Yes. If you want to not pay taxes, you are free to abdicate your citizenship and leave the country.
posted by kafziel at 9:40 PM on June 27, 2011



The fact that is that union fees are the same as bar fees are the same as license fees are the same as insurance fees are the same as certification fees are the same uniform fees and on and on and on and on and on....

This is because some sort of fixed cost requirement in order to be able to perform a job is a prerequisite of almost all employment. Ergo, "mandatory" union fees are bad, but "mandatory" Cisco CCNA fees aren't.... That is nonsense.

And again, it ignores things the unstated requirements - transportation and housing costs, among others - of employment.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:04 PM on June 27, 2011


"Nobody is disputing the choice of the public employee to work for the government. I'm talking about the taxpayer. Is paying taxes voluntary?"

Sorry, might be back with more later, but one of those reasons why I treat you like you don't know what you're talking about is that you do get to choose what your taxes go to. You do that by electing governmental officials. It's kind of how government works and why we have elections.

The answer to unions donating to Democrats isn't to punish unions. And most sane people realize that unions do far more good than harm, and are worth keeping around even if they do donate to Democrats, because we recognize the same thing you alluded to before, in that the interests of management and business owners aren't always the best for workers and it's important to represent workers too.

It's a shame that you haven't come to any of this on your own, and I'm vaguely sorry that I was a dick to you earlier on needlessly, but come on man. Unions are as necessary and legal as corporations, and do a hell of a lot less harm. Inveighing against them, especially after trying and failing to defend Prosser's choke hold, while simultaneously both pretending a non-partisan stance and fundamentally misunderstanding one of the basics of 10th grade civics… you just read like a tool.

Anyway, I said I wasn't going to write much, so off to bed for me!
posted by klangklangston at 11:05 PM on June 27, 2011


Is paying taxes voluntary?

They are, and this is sort of the crux of Gov. Walker's "Open for Business" philosophy. The WI GOP is afraid that raising corporate taxes even a little will result in corporations fleeing the state to avoid paying.

Also, the police and fire unions supported Walker, who is a republican.
posted by greasy_skillet at 3:41 AM on June 28, 2011



You can't make this up - The new talking point is that Prosser grabbed Bradley's neck so as to avoid grabbing her breasts...
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:56 PM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well that's a new one.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:12 PM on June 28, 2011


Prosser ripped the microphone from the hand of a reporter asking him about the incident.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:42 PM on June 30, 2011


Protip: When you are accused of angrily grabbing at someone's neck, it is probably best to avoid being filmed angrily grabbing at other things for a while.
posted by kafziel at 11:44 PM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


That's an interesting theory, that he accidentally choked her so his hands wouldn't touch her breasts as she charged him. I, too, have several theories:

Bradley had on a gold necklace and Prosser just reached up "oh look. Shiny!"
There was a tarantula on Bradley's neck and Prosser was just trying to capture it.
Prosser thought Bradley's head was going to fall off and he was helping her to keep it on.
It was Thyroid Health Check Day and Prosser was feeling her thyroid gland for enlargement.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:41 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Union Workers Replaced With Prison Labor Under Scott Walker’s Collective Bargaining Law
posted by homunculus at 12:38 PM on July 8, 2011


Aw fuck this, where can I move to? Don't make me go back to Illinois!
posted by desjardins at 12:58 PM on July 8, 2011


Phony Democrats Vanquished in WI Recall Primary
posted by homunculus at 4:13 PM on July 13, 2011


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