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Author Topic: Walker Admits to being in the Koch family's pocket  (Read 1667 times)

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Offline VekseidTopic starter

Walker Admits to being in the Koch family's pocket
« on: February 23, 2011, 10:59:40 AM »
http://motherjones.com/mojo/2011/02/scott-walker-koch-brother-crank-call-wisconsin

Quote
...
    * That Walker was looking to nail Dems on ethics violations if they took meals or lodging from union supporters.

    * That he'd take "Koch" up on this offer: "nce you crush these bastards I'll fly you out to Cali and really show you a good time."
...

Walker's office admitted that the call was legitimate. Despite their claims, however, the transcript makes it clear that

1) This isn't about the budget
2) Walker isn't interested in having any sort of real discourse with Democrats
3) Ethics violations are only bad when Democrats do it, apparently.

Offline Kuroneko

Re: Walker Admits to being in the Koch family's pocket
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2011, 11:08:14 PM »
Shortly after this made the AP news, Walker was on TV trying to cover his ass.  Wasn't very convincing :P

Offline Jude

Re: Walker Admits to being in the Koch family's pocket
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2011, 01:23:44 AM »
Having listened to the tapes in detail several times I did not come to the conclusion that Walker is, in any way, a corporate puppet.  Quite the opposite actually, he seems to actually believe in what they're doing.  Especially towards the end of the conversation, he references the bill as (paraphrased by I guarantee these quotes to be faithful to what he was intending to communicate) an attempt at "forcing public employees to make the kind of sacrifices that private sector employees have had to" and "about freedom."  His heart seems to be in the right place, as far as I can tell he really believes that what they're doing is what's best for America.

Furthermore, the liberal blogger's attempts at backing him into a corner to expose dirty tactics only paid off once (something I'll get to a bit later in my post).  Typically he made a nervous comment or attempted to change the subject with charming misdirection whenever the Koch impersonator tried to get him to confess or agree with a really nasty and/or illegal tactic.  At the end of the call "Koch" goes as far as implying that they're doing what they're doing for their own interests, not the state's, then leaves him a chance to agree or disagree.  It's then that the governor disagrees, or at least dodges the subject, with evident trepidation.  His comments also make it clear that he truly believes that the protesters don't represent a majority and that the electorate is largely with him.  He believes in the Democratic process... sorta.

I didn't write the above because I'm concerned for Walker's image.  That's really not it.  I disagree with what he's trying to do and many of his tactics (which I will delve into in the latter half of my post).  What bothers me about the way this is being reported is that if you listen to the call yourself and pay attention to what was said and the inflections in speech, this does not at all sound like a call between a politician and his corporate master.  This sounds like a call between a politician and an influential lobbyist where the elected official tries desperately not to offend one of the most powerful men in America by humoring him.  I really hope this doesn't become evidence, in the public consciousness, that the old adage about corporations having stolen our democracy is true.  I just don't see it that way and don't understand how anyone can having reviewed it myself.

On the other hand, Walker is clearly a piece of shit.  He and his cohorts have apparently considered planting fake protesters to discredit the movement, a tactic which conservatives are always paranoid about when it comes to liberals ("Saul Alinskyism" as Glenn Beck puts it).  Walker basically said that the only reason they didn't move ahead with that tactic (which he claims isn't "unethical" by the way) is that it wasn't necessary because things were already well under control.  He also admits that the discussion which Wisconsin Democrats were to be offered as an olive branch to get them to return to congress was actually a Trojan Horse:  the plan was to use legislative rules to trick them into unknowingly surrendering their positions by returning.

I've been watching this unfolding with a degree of understanding for both sides, but leaning liberal.  If private employees are having their wages and benefits slashed, it makes sense to have some degree of parity with governmental employees.  Groups like the teacher's union do have a negative effect on our country in some ways.  I believe we have to balance the legitimate interests of both conservative and liberal ideologies in whatever we decide to do, but I seem to be vastly outnumbered in my opinion.

People have tolerated and praised the anti-Democratic tactics of liberal legislators (hiding out in order to disrupt the vote) despite the fact that their exploitation of the system is in opposition to our most basic premises of representative Democracy merely because they agree with the cause that these tactics are being used to fight for.  Conservatives will justify Walker's bad behavior on similar grounds.  Democrats seem beholden to one interest group (Unions) while they criticize Republicans for theoretically being beholden to another (Corporations).  Emotions are running high, public displays of anger are more common than any reasonable measure of discourse, and both sides are praising any unrestrained passion they observe as long as it agrees with what they believe in.

I wish we lived in a country where respect for the processes which give us stability and fair governance was held higher than respect for personal political ideology, but I'm seeing more and more that that's not the case.  This is why there's so much corruption in our country:  we tolerate it as long as it's in our favor, which is tacit approval (whether we intend it to be or not) for the other side to do the same.

Offline Zakharra

Re: Walker Admits to being in the Koch family's pocket
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2011, 10:15:05 AM »
Quote
People have tolerated and praised the anti-Democratic tactics of liberal legislators (hiding out in order to disrupt the vote) despite the fact that their exploitation of the system is in opposition to our most basic premises of representative Democracy merely because they agree with the cause that these tactics are being used to fight for.  Conservatives will justify Walker's bad behavior on similar grounds.  Democrats seem beholden to one interest group (Unions) while they criticize Republicans for theoretically being beholden to another (Corporations).  Emotions are running high, public displays of anger are more common than any reasonable measure of discourse, and both sides are praising any unrestrained passion they observe as long as it agrees with what they believe in.

 Excellent point.

Offline Rhys

Re: Walker Admits to being in the Koch family's pocket
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2011, 10:59:54 AM »
Quote
People have tolerated and praised the anti-Democratic tactics of liberal legislators (hiding out in order to disrupt the vote) despite the fact that their exploitation of the system is in opposition to our most basic premises of representative Democracy merely because they agree with the cause that these tactics are being used to fight for.  Conservatives will justify Walker's bad behavior on similar grounds.  Democrats seem beholden to one interest group (Unions) while they criticize Republicans for theoretically being beholden to another (Corporations).  Emotions are running high, public displays of anger are more common than any reasonable measure of discourse, and both sides are praising any unrestrained passion they observe as long as it agrees with what they believe in.

Now I know I let my rather Liberal views color my opinion a bit, but I don't think this statement accurately frames what we're dealing with here. I may just be proving your point here about how Liberals are just going to justify the left's bad behavior and demonize the right's, but I feel the need to say something anyway. :p

First off we have the Democrats (and 2 Republicans) and their 'anti-Democratic tactics' of 'hiding out in order to disrupt the vote.' First of all, if they want to stop this legislation, the Democrats do not have a choice. Their presence in the state would result in a vote that pushes through this unpopular legislation purely on the numbers of the Republican majority. They have been 100% open and honest about this fact. Now some people look at this and frame it as not doing their jobs. And they'd be right. But I also see it as staging a formal protest; something that is not just allowed but encouraged by our rights, whether we're an average citizen or an elected official.

If the Democrats wanted to be anti-Democratic, they would've skipped town at the moment we had a Republican majority and the first attempt to pass legislation they disliked occurred. But they stayed on and attempted to work with the right until they got blindsided by this bill, Walker's stubborn refusal to compromise, and the tens of thousands of protesters currently in Madison.

It is the duty of these individuals to represent the majority. They made a call (that the majority would oppose this bill) and took the only action they could that would stop this bill from being passed whether they all voted against it or not.

Again, maybe its my Liberal views coloring things but I see this act of protest as heroic. They knew how much flak they'd get from the 'Do your job!' crowd in every party but they chose to make a stand even before neutral poll numbers proved people are against this bill roughly 2 to 1. I see it as acknowledging that whether or not you're in the elected majority, taking away the rights of an individual our group is unethical and undemocratic, and they did what they had to do.


Then you have Walker and the Republicans. First, Walker gave $140 million to interest groups/political backers. The statistics have shown they were not given enough to create jobs, to encourage new hiring, etc. Then, he blindsided the opposition with this bill. As Gordon Hintz pointed out in a video in the other thread devoted to this matter, he had to hear about the existence of the bill from a radio ad. He was then given only a couple of days to go over a nearly 150 page bill prior to being expected to vote on it. When he tried to offer amendments on it, the Republicans attempted to hold their votes on the matter before the Democrats were in attendance, 3 minutes before they were told to be in the room.

Walker considered planting fake protesters in the crowd; a risk that could've caused a riot in an otherwise peaceful protest. He has blatantly deceived the people with claims that the unions are being unreasonable while the unions have flat out said they'll take his cuts, increased requirements on what they pay for health/pensions, etc. as long as they are allowed to keep their Collective Bargaining rights. He has made open threats that he will begin laying off thousands of workers, and act that is not necessary, if his demands are not meant. At any given moment he has threatened anywhere from 1500 to 6000 layoffs if he doesn't get his way.

He had dodged questions related to the fact that required referendums/public votes when government workers want a pay raise by beyond a given amount will cost more money in the long run than his bill is going to save. He has dodged questions related to the other union-busting language in the bill, which also serves no budget-fixing purpose. He was elected on a wave of voters carrying him to 6% over his opponent due to support for limited government and people who aren't lobbyist pandering career politicians. And then he's going to head out to California with 'Koch' so he can be shown a good time when he knows full well that the chaos within Wisconsin will continue, and probably escalate (hopefully not to the point of violence) if this bill gets passed. He employed your aforementioned 'Trojan Horse' to try to trick Democrats into surrendering their positions.

Does he think he's doing the right thing? You're right Jude; he does sound like it. But he has consistently gone about it the through the use of outright lies, trickery, dodging questions and threatening the people he has been elected to represent saying he will take away that which they use to feed their families and keep heat in their homes if they don't give him what he wants. Even when I attempt to look at it all from a neutral standpoint, I can't see the two courses of action as comparable.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Walker Admits to being in the Koch family's pocket
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2011, 11:07:06 AM »
It always makes me uneasy when one party can either stonewall or stampede the other. It made me uncomfortable when the Dems threatened to force through the healthcare bill under a technicality (I forget what it was called, something along the lines of reconciliation or something) in the Senate, and it makes me equally uncomfortable that the Repubs in WI are essentially trying to stampede the Dems there, too. Now, if the Repubs had hidden away from DC in order to avoid a quorum, it would have had people howling.

The more I think about it, the more I'm incredibly uncomfortable with what the WI Dems have done here. This legislation is shit, but it needs to be killed by the system, not stalled by crippling the system.

These actions are not heroic in any form or fashion, and the governor's bad behavior does not justify bad behavior on the part of WI Dems. There is a GOP majority because a GOP majority was elected; they are the rightfully elected officials of the state, and there are processes in place to un-elect them, even. The question is whether they've done enough to get thrown out of office. If they haven't, well, I guess the majority is still with the GOP.

Offline Valerian

Re: Walker Admits to being in the Koch family's pocket
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2011, 11:15:10 AM »
I agree; the phone call wasn't nearly as dramatic as it could have been.  If Walker was capable of better damage control, I don't think it would be nearly as much of an issue as it's shaping up to be.  He held a press conference to explain the phone call and only dug himself in deeper.

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/02/walker-on-koch-phone-call-i-take-phone-calls-all-the-time.php

Quote
"For us I think it's real simple. First I want to say I take phone calls all the time," Walker said, before being interrupted by a reporter in the crowd who yelled, "Not mine!." Walker continued: "I've talked to individual taxpayers across the state. As I said last night I've listened to people both pro and con in terms of the e-mails I've received. But bottom line, the things I've said privately are the same things I've said all along."

Regarding the idea of planting agitators in the crowds, Walker said: "We've had all sorts of options brought to us by staff and lawmakers and people across the state, but as you heard we dismissed them."

...

When the Q&A was over, Democratic state Rep. Brett Hulsey -- who had gotten in the room before the press conference began, took the governor's podium to give his own remarks and to take questions from reporters.

At this point, some young staffers from the governor's office opened the double-doors wide open -- so that the sounds of the thousands of protesters came pouring in, drowning out Hulsey. The reporters then asked for the doors to be closed, but the young men stayed at the doors, keeping them fully open.

And Madison Chief of Police Noble Wray has asked the governor to explain the possibility of planted troublemakers further, since he's justifiably upset over the idea that such a thing was even considered.  Mayor Dave Cieslewicz also wants an explanation.  If Walker can think of a really, really good one, he still might salvage this; but some damage has already been done.

As for the Democrats, the court of public opinion is still out there as well, though.  I'm ambivalent about the move myself.  Had they stayed, the bill would likely be on the verge of passing right now, and as far as I know, there's nothing else they could have done.

At this point, though, I'm afraid that killing it via the system simply cannot happen.  I doubt that could have happened before.  It will become law.  The only way it will be overturned is if in a few months' time, some recalls in the Democrats' favor actually happen and then the legislature can go back and repeal it.

Meanwhile, the Democrats have no way to come back gracefully.  Their supporters will hate them for caving, and their opponents will make their lives hell, one way or another.

Offline VekseidTopic starter

Re: Walker Admits to being in the Koch family's pocket
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2011, 11:54:11 AM »
Having listened to the tapes in detail several times I did not come to the conclusion that Walker is, in any way, a corporate puppet.

Did you bother noting up the fact that Democratic senators have not been able to so much as get a call with him, yet 'Koch' calls and gets fasttracked to the Governor's office?

Again, as he made it clear, he is not in the slightest bit interested in negotiating.

Quote
  Quite the opposite actually, he seems to actually believe in what they're doing.  Especially towards the end of the conversation, he references the bill as (paraphrased by I guarantee these quotes to be faithful to what he was intending to communicate) an attempt at "forcing public employees to make the kind of sacrifices that private sector employees have had to" and "about freedom."  His heart seems to be in the right place, as far as I can tell he really believes that what they're doing is what's best for America.

I think that's a reference to Koch's discussion of 'freedom', personally. It's not freedom as you think of it.

Quote
Furthermore, the liberal blogger's attempts at backing him into a corner to expose dirty tactics only paid off once (something I'll get to a bit later in my post).  Typically he made a nervous comment or attempted to change the subject with charming misdirection whenever the Koch impersonator tried to get him to confess or agree with a really nasty and/or illegal tactic.

I count four such
1) He openly admitted to considering plants.
2) He dodged the 'our vested interest' bit
3) He agreed to let 'Koch' show him a good time.
4) He actively solicits and discusses coordination with "Koch's" own efforts, such as shoring up potentially vulnerable Republicans. This may actually be a violation of the law.

Quote
At the end of the call "Koch" goes as far as implying that they're doing what they're doing for their own interests, not the state's, then leaves him a chance to agree or disagree.  It's then that the governor disagrees, or at least dodges the subject, with evident trepidation.  His comments also make it clear that he truly believes that the protesters don't represent a majority and that the electorate is largely with him.  He believes in the Democratic process... sorta.

Rather blatantly ignorant of polls, on his part, to say that.

Quote
I didn't write the above because I'm concerned for Walker's image.  That's really not it.  I disagree with what he's trying to do and many of his tactics (which I will delve into in the latter half of my post).  What bothers me about the way this is being reported is that if you listen to the call yourself and pay attention to what was said and the inflections in speech, this does not at all sound like a call between a politician and his corporate master.  This sounds like a call between a politician and an influential lobbyist where the elected official tries desperately not to offend one of the most powerful men in America by humoring him.  I really hope this doesn't become evidence, in the public consciousness, that the old adage about corporations having stolen our democracy is true.  I just don't see it that way and don't understand how anyone can having reviewed it myself.

Most damningly, of all, is the implicit discussion of coordinating tactics, and that is probably what will be used as legal and public evidence, and is far more relevant.

Quote
On the other hand, Walker is clearly a piece of shit.  He and his cohorts have apparently considered planting fake protesters to discredit the movement, a tactic which conservatives are always paranoid about when it comes to liberals ("Saul Alinskyism" as Glenn Beck puts it).  Walker basically said that the only reason they didn't move ahead with that tactic (which he claims isn't "unethical" by the way) is that it wasn't necessary because things were already well under control.  He also admits that the discussion which Wisconsin Democrats were to be offered as an olive branch to get them to return to congress was actually a Trojan Horse:  the plan was to use legislative rules to trick them into unknowingly surrendering their positions by returning.

I've been watching this unfolding with a degree of understanding for both sides, but leaning liberal.  If private employees are having their wages and benefits slashed, it makes sense to have some degree of parity with governmental employees.  Groups like the teacher's union do have a negative effect on our country in some ways.  I believe we have to balance the legitimate interests of both conservative and liberal ideologies in whatever we decide to do, but I seem to be vastly outnumbered in my opinion.

Look up conservative feats over the past few centuries, then compare them to progressive feats, and elucidate what you think the balance should be. Because in my analysis of history, conservatives have a long, proud tendency to be morally and logically wrong.

- Conservatives were pro-slavery, anti-civil rights.
- Conservatives were against the labor movement.
- Conservatives are against LGBT rights
- Conservatives were against World War II
- Economic conservatives want deflationary currency standards
- Economic conservatives oppose universal health care

Quote
People have tolerated and praised the anti-Democratic tactics of liberal legislators (hiding out in order to disrupt the vote)

The democrats are using the quorum rule for its actual purpose. It can certainly be abused, but it is not anti-democratic to oppose a bill that the majority of the population genuinely opposes.

As opposed to filibustering every single bill that comes up just because they want to stall the process in general, which is the Republican initiative.

Quote
despite the fact that their exploitation of the system is in opposition to our most basic premises of representative Democracy merely because they agree with the cause that these tactics are being used to fight for.

This is blatantly false. The purpose of representative democracy is to have a hedge against pure majority rule. The majority does not always make the correct decision.

Quote
Conservatives will justify Walker's bad behavior on similar grounds.  Democrats seem beholden to one interest group (Unions) while they criticize Republicans for theoretically being beholden to another (Corporations).  Emotions are running high, public displays of anger are more common than any reasonable measure of discourse, and both sides are praising any unrestrained passion they observe as long as it agrees with what they believe in.

Both parties are beholden to corporate interests. If the democrats were serious about reigning in corporate power we would be seeing 70% top tier tax rates again, as is proper.

The reason this is a fight is because the Koch family and Rupert Murdoch are nobodies compared to Rockefeller and Hearst. Democrats versus Republicans is, for the most part, a false divide. Democrats are moving back towards unions now because a movement got triggered and they can't afford to ignore it. Before this they were happy to throw unions under the rug.

Quote
I wish we lived in a country where respect for the processes which give us stability and fair governance was held higher than respect for personal political ideology, but I'm seeing more and more that that's not the case.  This is why there's so much corruption in our country:  we tolerate it as long as it's in our favor, which is tacit approval (whether we intend it to be or not) for the other side to do the same.

False equivalence.

We have an entire media apparatus devoted to spreading partisan lies and propaganda - Fox. An entire political party devoted to enhancing its own power - even openly admitting to harming the country in order to do so - Limbaugh wanting Obama (and thus the nation) to fail, Republicans filibustering judicial appointments, Ronald Reagan's 'trickle down' economics that we still, as a country, suffer from, and will for decades even if everyone woke up and realized that supply side economics is bullshit tomorrow. Media personalities openly discussing getting major political figures killed (Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly).

And then to highlight the slightest evil on 'the other side' and claim that they are the same. Part of the time no such evil exists - it is merely imagined. Part of the time it is actually a plant by the opposition. Part of the time it is genuine and does deserve to be called out - it will be and should be. What are conservatives going to do, when their only method of attacking their opponent is through deception and force? It's already looking like that.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Walker Admits to being in the Koch family's pocket
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2011, 01:12:04 AM »
I don't know Veks.. the folks in NC got somethings moving when they took control of the State House. Of course they are most likely going to be out on their ear in 2 years anyway. The Eastern Carolina Dems have run the state since the civil war.

Still surprised they did anythign to fix the Yadkin Bridge last fall. My brother used to joke that the only way it would get fixed by the state was if someone blew it up. They passed it off to the county and feds as many times as they could. If it was on the eastern side of the state it would have been fixed almost 10 years ago.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Walker Admits to being in the Koch family's pocket
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2011, 10:49:47 AM »
Can you two split the topic or start a dialogue or sommat? This seems to have meandered away from Walker, Koch, or anything related. ^^

Offline Zakharra

Re: Walker Admits to being in the Koch family's pocket
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2011, 11:19:46 AM »
 I'm willing to continue in another thread Trieste if Veksied is.

 On topic, Gov. Walker is not looking like a suave politician at all in this. He is damaging his party by his tactics.  It's odd, since the President was elected, it's as if politicians on both sides have grown more stupid by allowing their attitudes and tactics be a LOT more visible, and not caring if they are.

Offline VekseidTopic starter

Re: Walker Admits to being in the Koch family's pocket
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2011, 02:11:52 PM »