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Zero Sum

In prank call, Wis. gov discussed tricking Dems

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Filed: Lift. Cond. (apr) Country: Spain
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On a prank call that quickly spread across the Internet, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was duped into discussing his strategy to cripple public employee unions, promising never to give in and joking that he would use a baseball bat in his office to go after political opponents.

Walker believed the caller was a conservative billionaire named David Koch, but it was actually a liberal blogger.

The two talked for at least 20 minutes a conversation in which the governor described several potential ways to pressure Democrats to return to the Statehouse and revealed that his supporters had considered secretly planting people in pro-union protest crowds to stir up trouble.

The call also revealed Walker's cozy relationship with two billionaire brothers who have poured millions of dollars into conservative political causes, including Walker's campaign last year.

Walker compared his stand to that taken by President Ronald Reagan when he fired the nation's air-traffic controllers during a labor dispute in 1981.

"That was the first crack in the Berlin Wall and led to the fall of the Soviets," Walker said on the recording.

The audio was posted on the Buffalo Beast, a Web site in New York, and quickly went viral.

Editor Ian Murphy told The Associated Press he carried out the prank to show how candidly Walker would speak with Koch even though, according to Democrats, he refuses to return their calls.

Murphy said he arranged the call Tuesday after speaking with two Walker aides, including his chief of staff. He made the call using Skype and recorded it.

Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie confirmed that it is Walker's voice on the call.

The governor said he was ratcheting up the pressure on Senate Democrats to return to the Capitol a week after they fled to block the legislation. He said he supported a move to require them to come to the Capitol to pick up their paychecks rather than have them deposited directly.

He also floated an idea to lure Democratic senators back to the Capitol for negotiations and then have the Senate quickly pass the bill while they are in talks.

Walker said aides were reviewing whether the GOP could hold a vote if Democrats were not physically in the Senate chamber but elsewhere in the building.

Democrats seized on Walker's recorded comments as evidence that the governor plans to go beyond budget cuts to crushing unions.

"This isn't about balancing the budget. This is about a political war," Rep. Jon Richards of Milwaukee yelled Wednesday on the floor of the state Assembly.

The governor's plan would strip most public employees of their collective bargaining rights and force them to pay more for their health care and retirement benefits. Unions could not collect mandatory dues and would face a vote of its members every year to stay in existence.

The proposal has set off more than a week of protests at the Capitol.

The GOP-controlled state Assembly began debating the bill Tuesday and was still hearing dozens of Democratic amendments nearly 24 hours later before taking a break. Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald said he expected to take a vote on the bill by the end of the day.

On the call, Walker said he expected the anti-union movement to spread across the country and he had spoken with the governors of Ohio and Nevada. The man pretending to be Koch seemed to agree, telling Walker, "You're the first domino."

"Yep, this is our moment," Walker responded.

The remarks showed Walker's private relationship with David Koch. He and his brother, Charles, own Koch Industries Inc., which is the largest privately owned company in America and has significant operations in Wisconsin.

Its political action committee gave $43,000 to Walker's campaign, and David Koch gave $1 million to the Republican Governors' Association, which funded ads attacking Walker's opponent in last year's election.

The Kochs also give millions to support Americans For Prosperity, a conservative business group that launched a $320,000 television ad campaign in favor of Walker's legislation Wednesday.

On the recording, after Walker said he would be willing to meet with Democratic leaders, the caller said he should bring a baseball bat to negotiations.

Walker laughed and responded that he had "a slugger with my name on it."

The caller suggested he was thinking about "planting some troublemakers" among the protesters, and Walker said his administration had thought about doing that, too, but decided against it. Walker said the protests eventually would die because the media would stop covering them.

At the end of the call, the prankster says: "I'll tell you what Scott, once you crush these bastards, I'll fly you out to Cali and really show you a good time."

"All right, that would be outstanding," Walker replies, adding that the standoff is "all about getting our freedoms back"

The caller: "Absolutely. And you know, we have a little bit of vested interest as well" and laughs.

Werwie, the governor's spokesman, said 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."

Walker's budget bill also allows his administration to sell power plants that heat and cool state buildings to private companies without any bids.

Critics have seized on this provision, saying they are convinced the Koch brothers' business interests would be able to buy power plants on the cheap, and then profit by running them and driving up the price of energy.

Koch Industries has denied any interest in buying the plants, and Walker's administration argues the private sector, not state government, should run the facilities. Republicans tried to privatize Wisconsin's power plants in 2005, but the plan was vetoed by Gov. Jim Doyle.

Immediately after taking office, Walker also pushed for legislation that would limit damage awards in lawsuits against many businesses.

Koch Industries lobbied for the bill, and Walker signed it into law last month. Walker is also pushing for another Koch Industries-backed bill to weaken state regulations by giving him the power to approve all rules proposed by agencies, a proposal that is moving quickly through the Legislature.

Koch Industries recently opened a lobbying office in downtown Madison a block from the Capitol. Seven lobbyists have registered in Wisconsin to lobby for various Koch Industries companies.

Even before recordings of the call surfaced, the government watchdog group Common Cause in Wisconsin released a statement saying Walker's agenda matched with that of Koch Industries.

"Koch Industries and other corporate citizens have legitimate interests in Wisconsin, but their demonstrated willingness to push large amounts of money into state politics has given them a dangerously outsized voice," said Bob Edgar, the group's national president. That voice, he said, is "now demanding a return on its investments."

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Filed: AOS (pnd) Country: Canada
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You do realize that he's not saying anything there he hasn't said publicly already.

I mean of course let's ignore the left wing nuts that Pelosi meets with on a weekly basis in congress and did as Speaker of the House.

Let's ignore people like Media Matters and MoveOn.org who fund Democrats and are funded by Soros. Yup.

Please.


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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Russia
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Actually the Gov seemed like a pretty decent guy, he had a 20 minute phone call about the politics of the day and he never ragged-out one person, imagine if that were say Joe Biden or Obama talking to his "Chicago gangland" connections...

I'm betting the tone would have been quite a bit different.


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"Those people who will not be governed by God


will be ruled by tyrants."



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Filed: Lift. Cond. (apr) Country: Spain
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Actually the Gov seemed like a pretty decent guy, he had a 20 minute phone call about the politics of the day and he never ragged-out one person, imagine if that were say Joe Biden or Obama talking to his "Chicago gangland" connections...

I'm betting the tone would have been quite a bit different.

I just listened to the 20 minute call. VERY telling the depths he was considering to go to to sabotage a legitimate concern of his very own constituents. And also very telling the attention he was paying this impersonator as to the specifics. Which of course, many will write off as spin and rhetoric that does not help his cause that is pretty clear: destroy unions, above and beyond saving the tax payers some cash.

He also came across as a nice guy in tone. That is at least one plus for him.

Too bad his actions as governor betray any ideal of wanting to work as a united society.

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I just listened to the 20 minute call. VERY telling the depths he was considering to go to to sabotage a legitimate concern of his very own constituents. And also very telling the attention he was paying this impersonator as to the specifics. Which of course, many will write off as spin and rhetoric that does not help his cause that is pretty clear: destroy unions, above and beyond saving the tax payers some cash.

He also came across as a nice guy in tone. That is at least one plus for him.

Too bad his actions as governor betray any ideal of wanting to work as a united society.

delusional much?

Our President does it every day. So why not expect it from a Governor?


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2/22/2010 - I-129F Packet Mailed

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8/14/2010 - Touched!

10/04/2010 - NOA2 Received!

10/25/2010 - Packet 3 Received!

02/07/2011 - Medical!

03/15/2011 - Interview in Montreal! - Approved!!!

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Filed: Lift. Cond. (apr) Country: Spain
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Not wanting to work for all of one's constituency and calling only the side that gave a mandate for budget reform, not an all-out attack on collective bargaining is delusional behavior. Please use a dictionary next time to properly use that term.

Edited by Zero Sum

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Regarding our President, I suppose he's guilty of his fair share of unilateralism. As are those in the GOP that used the filibuster more than any other party in history to deny the legislative process access to proper votes.

Two wrongs make not a right, nor do an opposing viewpoints' wrongs make one's own wrongs right.

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I just listened to the 20 minute call. VERY telling the depths he was considering to go to to sabotage a legitimate concern of his very own constituents. And also very telling the attention he was paying this impersonator as to the specifics. Which of course, many will write off as spin and rhetoric that does not help his cause that is pretty clear: destroy unions, above and beyond saving the tax payers some cash.

He also came across as a nice guy in tone. That is at least one plus for him.

Too bad his actions as governor betray any ideal of wanting to work as a united society.

The reality is> he ran on promises to do certain things, should he disregard his leadership because any act is bound to be an affront to the concerns of any one group?


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"Those people who will not be governed by God


will be ruled by tyrants."



William Penn

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The reality is> he ran on promises to do certain things, should he disregard his leadership because any act is bound to be an affront to the concerns of any one group?

Indeed. He should do exactly what he campaigned to do. And he did not campaign to specifically curtail collective bargaining as a method of budget reform. Which only to the politically and economically schizophrenic, is a proven method of budget reform.

Perhaps the point of this bill was to allow no-bid contracts in Wisconsin under the anti-labor smokescreen. Who profits in such a case? A few companies. Who would get stuck with the bill? Wisconsin's taxpayers.

From yesterday: (I HOPE THE LINKS TRANSFER. IF NOT, SEE ORIGINAL SOURCE)

What Did Walker Campaign On?

22 Feb 2011 09:59 am

Last night, I heard on Fox News from Stephen Hayes that Wisconsin governor Scott Walker had run on a platform to end collective bargaining rights for public sector unions. I can find no evidence of this in the public record. It isn't on his campaign platform where he deals with "government spending and reform". It's clear that he vowed to slash pay and benefits for public sector unions. Here's an obviously liberal-leaning report that says

Republican gubernatorial front-runner Scott Walker is vowing to cut state employee wages and benefits to help reduce state taxes on the wealthy.

But not end their collective bargaining rights on everything but wages. There's no reference to any such bid in the final gubernatorial debate. Here's another substantive piece on Walker's positions on public sector unions from before the election. Again no mention of collective bargaining. The same can be said about his State of the State address on February 1.

Why does this matter?

Because it seems to me that Walker has a case that democracy means he gets to fulfill his campaign promises. And it also seems to me that the public sector unions should concede much of what Walker is asking for in contributions to their pensions, healthcare etc. And here's why:

Between 1958 and 1974, public teacher pay increased an average of 6 percent a year. After a bitter 1974 teachers’ strike in the small town of Hortonville that galvanized public unions, teacher pay increased an average of 7 percent annually for the next 16 years. It was also during this time that the state and local governments began paying the full amount of public employees’ pension benefits.

That very generous deal was doubtless helped by a very cosy relationship with the Democratic party which is in turn is largely financed by unions, often public sector ones. Hence the inherent tendency for such unions to over-influence their own compensation through the political process. There is an argument, especially after the Citizens' United ruling, that such special clout is necessary to counter-act the massive clout of business or people such as the Koch brothers. But in Wisconsin, it sure doesn't look to me as if the public sector unions have been struggling for the last few decades.

So I think Walker is absolutely right to target such benefits for cuts, given the outlook for the state budget, and the current strains on those in the private sector (although I think it's nuts to simultaneously reduce revenues). But I can also see, given the record of the campaign, why this radical new move - raising the stakes far higher - has prompted the response it has. If you campaign on one platform and then suddenly up the ante, you cannot cite democracy in your defense. And there is something bizarre about Republican commentators who cheered on Tea Party protests against a clear Obama campaign pledge - health insurance reform - suddenly decrying public protests against something a politician didn't campaign on.

Maybe I've missed something in the historical record. And if Hayes - or anyone out there - has evidence of a campaign pledge by Walker to end public sector union collective bargaining on benefits, please let me know. But going through this thoroughly, as long as the unions are prepared to make serious concessions on pay and benefits, I think Walker is over the line.

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Perhaps the point of this bill was to allow no-bid contracts in Wisconsin under the anti-labor smokescreen. Who profits in such a case? A few companies. Who would get stuck with the bill? Wisconsin's taxpayers.

the idea that a bill that aims to "balance the budget" while allowing no-bid state contracts boggles the mind.


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You do realize that he's not saying anything there he hasn't said publicly already.

Really? He has publicly stated that he actually considered infiltrating the protests with provocative elements that might help make said protests less peaceful? To turn the public against the protesters? He has said that? When? Where?

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Im guessing you are talking about recording the call.

I also noticed it was done on skype. I wonder if that was done to avoid certain legal problems.

If he feels he is the victim of a crime, he can always file criminal charges. He is a governor after all.

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