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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer Wants to Put Constituent in Jail For Posting A Note
By Spocko

Today's right wing politicians have adopted Trump's method of intimidation and attack. They use them on the press and critics. Even critics who are their constituents. First, it is important to acknowledge politicians on the right aren't satisfied with silencing their critics, they keep attacking. They want to put them in jail. From Seeing Red, a  website which self identifies as "Nebraska politics from the left."
On Monday, September 23, Lincoln resident Patricia Wonch Hill is scheduled to go to court. Her “crime”? She allegedly taped a note onto the office door of U.S. Senator Deb Fischer in October of last year. The note was not threatening, and the tape was not some kind of unusual industrial glass-destroying tape. It was, according to the police report, a paper that read “Deb ♥s Rapists” affixed to the glass door with a piece of packing tape and two stickers. The staffer who called the police upon discovering the note claimed it had caused $1 worth of damage, though how a piece of tape could cause $1 worth of damage to a glass door was not specified. Presumably $1 is the labor value the staffer placed on the time it took her to peel the note off.

The message “Deb ♥s Rapists” appeared on the door shortly after Senator Fischer voted to confirm alleged drunken sexual assaulter and habitual dick-in-facer Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States. If Hill is the one who taped the note on the door, this clearly political message was a communication from a constituent to the office of a seated elected representative on a matter of public interest.

It is shocking enough that a U.S. Senator is so willing to violate a constituent’s First Amendment rights, but it’s even more shocking that the city prosecutor is doing her bidding.

Patricia Wonch Hill holds a message for Sen. Deb Fischer as Fischer met with constituents during a listening session in Lincoln in 2017. Wonch Hill has been ticketed for vandalizing Fischer's office and campaign signs for Rep. Jeff Fortenberry.   Journal Star file photo and caption.

Why do they do this? I wrote several thousand words explaining the authoritarian mindset, but I recommend The Authoritarians by Bob Altemeyer if you are interested in the theory. But what I always want to know is, "How do we defeat them when they are in power?"

The Seeing Red article titled U.S. Senator Deb Fischer Wants to Put You in Jail if You Leave Her a Note, goes into detail how the city ordinance was used to go after a critic. People can be "fined up to $500 and be imprisoned for up to six months for allegedly taping a non-threatening note about politics on her office door"

I've been following this story for months because it also includes Senator Jeff "Googly Eyes" Fortenberry. After the trial tomorrow I'll talk about his attacks on critics.

What is frustrating is watching the mainstream media in Nebraska cover the GOP politicians attacking their critics in this fashion. They are locked into the "he said, she said," format, where the person in power portrays themselves as the victim. This story shows how Republicans in government have been taking their cues from Donald Trump. Fischer could have just let this go, but instead she and Fortenberry doubled down and went on the attack.

Whether Fischer wins or loses this case there should be a follow up investigation to find out how much money and resources were allocated for this. Who was pressured to move forward on this? This could then be compared to cases of actual crimes in the city of Lincoln that were pushed aside for this case.

(Whenever I mention crime lab costs and priorities someone always asks about rape kits in the city in question.  Here is a story about Lincoln's rape kit testing backlog) I don't know the priorities of the Lincoln police and city attorney, but I would think that using the crime lab to track down the 148 guns stolen out of cars and homes in Lincoln would be a good start.  But when a sitting US Senator tells you to pull fingerprints off a non-threatening sticky note on an office door, the police do as they are told. They don't have a choice, but the city attorney could have decided not to move forward.

We live in an age of bullies. Political bullies. Today's GOP bullies don't back down when someone stands up to them, they double down--then go on the attack. Some use the power of their office to carry out the attacks.  When the elected officials over react to criticism it shows both critics and supporters how weak they actually are.