As ThinkProgress has reported, the global conglomerate Koch Industries not only helped elect Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), but is the leading force orchestrating his union-busting campaign. Koch gave Walker over $43,000 in direct donations and its allies aired millions of dollars worth of attack ads against his Democratic opponent. Then, Koch political operatives pressured Walker to crush labor unions as one of his first priorities. Tim Phillips, a former lobbying partner to Jack Abramoff and current president ofKoch Industries is the company established by Fred Koch who, together with Robert Welch, went on to found the extremist right-wing organization The John Birch Society in 1958. His sons co-founded the Libertarian think tank, the CATO Institute and have continued his right-wing political crusaded.
Americans for Prosperity, a front financed by David Koch, told the New York Times that Koch operatives “had worked behind the scenes to try to encourage a union showdown.” A Koch-financed front group, the American Legislative Exchange Council, has prepped Wisconsin GOP lawmakers with anti-labor legislative ideas.
Destroying unions has been a long term project for the Koch Brothers and for the CATO Institute. Walker is just one of their more recently purchased tools.
Addendum 02/23/2011 11:21 AM CST
When I tried to go to the buffalobeast.com I kept getting a "Database connection error" notice. But these are on utube now. This is allegedly a buffalobeast prank call to Scott Walker. Buffalo Beast is (apparently) the online presence of a political comedy operation from Buffalo, New York.
Essentially this is a politician bringing his boss and financial backer up to date.
Note: I find it interesting that the comment I have received on this post was posted prior to the time that I posted these utubes.
Addendum II 02/23/2011 11:45 AM CST
Here is a report confirming that Scott Walker did, in fact, fall for the Buffalo Beast prank call.
UPDATE: Walker's office confirms governor pranked by blogger posing as Koch brother
Posted by scontorno at 2/23/2011 9:36 AM CST on greenbaypressgazette.com
From Spokesperson Cullen Werwie:
"The Governor takes many calls everyday. Throughout this call the Governor maintained his appreciation for and commitment to civil discourse. He continued to say that the budget repair bill is about the budget. The phone call shows that the Governor says the same thing in private as he does in public and the lengths that others will go to disrupt the civil debate Wisconsin is having."
Addendum III 12:31 PM CST
Steve Benen has some interesting background on the phone call from Koch to Walker.
First, it's remarkable Ian Murphy, pretending to be Koch, even got through. He talked to Walker's chief of staff, Keith Gilkes, and said he couldn't leave a return number because, "My goddamn maid, Maria, put my phone in the washer. I'd have her deported, but she works for next to nothing." This, oddly enough, led Gilkes to invite "Koch" to call back and speak directly to the governor.This call says a great deal about who Scott Walker is. He is an untrustworthy extremist ideologue who will screw over anyone who tries to deal with him - unless that person is providing money and support as David Koch is. He does not see himself as "public servant" who works for the people. He sees himself as a king or dictator who is there to get government to force others to do things his way.
Second, and more important, is the fact that Walker talked about a scheme to bring state Senate Democrats back to the capitol.
"An interesting idea that was brought up to me by my chief of staff, we won't do it until tomorrow, is putting out an appeal to the Democratic leader. I would be willing to sit down and talk to him, the assembly Democrat leader, plus the other two Republican leaders -- talk, not negotiate and listen to what they have to say if they will in turn -- but I'll only do it if all 14 of them will come back and sit down in the state assembly. They can recess it... the reason for that, we're verifying it this afternoon, legally, we believe, once they've gone into session, they don't physically have to be there. If they're actually in session for that day, and they take a recess, the 19 Senate Republicans could then go into action and they'd have quorum because it's turned out that way. So we're double checking that. If you heard I was going to talk to them that's the only reason why."
In other words, Walker's plan was to bring Dems back under false pretenses, set the trap, then screw them over. So much for the notion of acting in good faith
And third, when the Koch impersonator suggested a scheme involving "planting some troublemakers" among the protestors, Walker conceded, "[W]e thought about that," before explaining that he questioned its impact. Perhaps the governor's office can clarify this one -- it's certainly not what the governor has been saying "in public.
Addendum IV 1:03 PM CST
By way of Blue girl here is a copy of the transcript of the converstation:
Walker: Hi; this is Scott Walker.OK. So I am offering one-stop-shopping for this news event and commentary on it. Feel free to add comments yourself and even links to other good comments.
Koch: Scott! David Koch. How are you?
Walker: Hey, David! I'm good. And yourself?
Koch: I'm very well. I'm a little disheartened by the situation there, but, uh, what's the latest?
Walker: Well, we're actually hanging pretty tough. I mean-you know, amazingly there's a much smaller group of protesters-almost all of whom are in from other states today. The State Assembly is taking the bill up-getting it all the way to the last point it can be at where it's unamendable. But they're waiting to pass it until the Senate's-the Senate Democrats, excuse me, the assembly Democrats have about a hundred amendments they're going through. The state Senate still has the 14 members missing but what they're doing today is bringing up all sorts of other non-fiscal items, many of which are things members in the Democratic side care about. And each day we're going to ratchet it up a little bit.... The Senate majority leader had a great plan he told about this morning-he told the Senate Democrats about and he's going to announce it later today, and that is: The Senate organization committee is going to meet and pass a rule that says if you don't show up for two consecutive days on a session day-in the state Senate, the Senate chief clerk-it's a little procedural thing here, but-can actually have your payroll stopped from being automatically deducted-
Walker: - into your checking account and instead-you still get a check, but the check has to be personally picked up and he's instructing them - which we just loved - to lock them in their desk on the floor of the state Senate.
Koch: Now you're not talking to any of these Democrat bastards, are you?
Walker: Ah, I - there's one guy that's actually voted with me on a bunch of things I called on Saturday for about 45 minutes, mainly to tell him that while I appreciate his friendship and he's worked with us on other things, to tell him I wasn't going to budge.
Koch: Goddamn right!
Walker: ...his name is Tim Cullen-
Koch: All right, I'll have to give that man a call.
Walker: Well, actually, in his case I wouldn't call him and I'll tell you why: he's pretty reasonable but he's not one of us...
Koch: Now who can we get to budge on this collective bargaining?
Walker: ...I think the paycheck will have an impact...secondly, one of the things we're looking at next...we're still waiting on an opinion to see if the unions have been paying to put these guys up out of state. We think there's at minimum an ethics violation if not an outright felony.
Koch: Well, they're probably putting hobos in suits.
Koch: That's what we do. Sometimes.
Walker: I mean paying for the senators to be put up. I know they're paying for these guy-I mean, people can pay for protesters to come in and that's not an ethics code, but, I mean, literally if the unions are paying the 14 senators-their food, their lodging, anything like that...[*** Important regarding his later acceptance of a Koch offer to "show him a good time." ***]
[I was stunned. I am stunned. In the interest of expediting the release of this story, here are the juiciest bits:]
Walker: ...I've got layoff notices ready...
Koch: Beautiful; beautiful. Gotta crush that union.
Walker: [bragging about how he doesn't budge]...I would be willing to sit down and talk to him, the assembly Democrat leader, plus the other two Republican leaders-talk, not negotiate and listen to what they have to say if they will in turn-but I'll only do it if all 14 of them will come back and sit down in the state assembly...legally, we believe, once they've gone into session, they don't physically have to be there. If they're actually in session for that day, and they take a recess, the 19 Senate Republicans could then go into action and they'd have quorum...so we're double checking that. If you heard I was going to talk to them that's the only reason why. We'd only do it if they came back to the capital with all 14 of them...
Koch: Bring a baseball bat. That's what I'd do.
Walker: I have one in my office; you'd be happy with that. I have a slugger with my name on it.
Walker: So this is ground zero, there's no doubt about it. [Talks about a "great" NYT piece of "objective journalism." Talks about how most private blue-collar workers have turned against public, unionized workers.]...So I went through and called a handful, a dozen or so lawmakers I worry about each day and said, "Everyone, we should get that story printed out and send it to anyone giving you grief."
Koch: Goddamn right! We, uh, we sent, uh, Andrew Breitbart down there.
Walker: Good stuff.
Koch: He's our man, you know.
Walker: [blah about his press conferences, attacking Obama, and all the great press he's getting.] Brian [Sadoval], the new Governor of Nevada, called me the last night he said-he was out in the Lincoln Day Circuit in the last two weekends and he was kidding me, he said, "Scott, don't come to Nevada because I'd be afraid you beat me running for governor." That's all they want to talk about is what are you doing to help the governor of Wisconsin. I talk to Kasich every day - John's gotta stand firm in Ohio. I think we could do the same thing with Vic Scott in Florida. I think, uh, Snyder - if he got a little more support - probably could do that in Michigan. You start going down the list there's a lot of us new governors that got elected to do something big.
Koch: You're the first domino.
Walker: Yep. This is our moment.
Koch: Now what else could we do for you down there?
Walker: Well the biggest thing would be-and your guy on the ground [Americans For Prosperity president Tim Phillips] is probably seeing this [stuff about all the people protesting, and some of them flip him off].
[Abrupt end of first recording, and start of second.]
Walker: [Bullshit about doing the right thing and getting flipped off by "union bulls," and the decreasing number of protesters. Or some such.]
Koch: We'll back you any way we can. What we were thinking about the crowd was, uh, was planting some troublemakers.
Walker: You know, well, the only problem with that - because we thought about that. The problem - the, my only gut reaction to that is right now the lawmakers I've talked to have just completely had it with them, the public is not really fond of this...[explains that planting troublemakers may not work.] My only fear would be if there's a ruckus caused is that maybe the governor has to settle to solve all these problems...[something about '60s liberals.]...Let 'em protest all they want...Sooner or later the media stops finding it interesting.
Koch: Well, not the liberal bastards on MSNBC.
Walker: Oh yeah, but who watches that? I went on "Morning Joe" this morning. I like it because I just like being combative with those guys, but, uh. You know they're off the deep end.
Koch: Joe-Joe's a good guy. He's one of us.
Walker: Yeah, he's all right. He was fair to me...[bashes NY Senator Chuck Schumer, who was also on the program.]
Koch: Beautiful; beautiful. You gotta love that Mika Brzezinski; she's a real piece of ass.
Walker: Oh yeah. [story about when he hung out with human pig Jim Sensenbrenner at some D.C. function and he was sitting next to Brzezinski and her father, and their guest was David Axelrod. He introduced himself.]
Koch: That son of a bitch!
Walker: Yeah no kidding huh?...
Koch: Well, good; good. Good catching up with ya'.
Walker: This is an exciting time [blah, blah, blah, Super Bowl reference followed by an odd story of pulling out a picture of Ronald Reagan and explaining to his staff the plan to crush the union the same way Reagan fired the air traffic controllers]...that was the first crack in the Berlin Wall because the Communists then knew Reagan wasn't a pushover. [Blah, blah, blah. He's exactly like Reagan. Won't shut up about how awesome he is.]
Koch: [Laughs] Well, I tell you what, Scott: once you crush these bastards I'll fly you out to Cali and really show you a good time.
Walker: All right, that would be outstanding. [*** Ethical violation much? ***] Thanks for all the support...it's all about getting our freedoms back...
Koch: Absolutely. And, you know, we have a little bit of a vested interest as well. [Laughs]
Walker: [Blah] Thanks a million!
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