Archive for Thursday, February 24, 2011

On prank call, Wisconsin governor discusses strategy

February 24, 2011


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 the editor of a liberal online newspaper. 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, which surfaced Wednesday, also showed 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 by the Buffalo Beast, a left-leaning website based in Buffalo, N.Y., and quickly went viral.

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 the governor’s chief of staff. He placed the call using Skype and recorded it.

Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie confirmed that it was Walker’s voice on the call. At a news conference, Walker acknowledged being deceived but stuck to his message that the union changes were needed to balance Wisconsin’s budget.

“I’m not going to let one prank phone call be a distraction from the job we have to do,” Walker said. “The things I said are the things I’ve said publicly all the time.”

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 the money 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. At the news conference, he insisted that idea was not a trick but an effort to get Democrats back to work.

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.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

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aa469285 6 years ago

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

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sr80 5 years, 12 months ago

Mickey Mouse & Superman were among your thousands, at least the governor is real !!!!

jafs 6 years ago

Again, no comment on the substance of the governor's comments.

How do you like the part where he takes the call from Koch (supposedly) even though he's claimed he doesn't take calls from them. Or, from another story yesterday, the part where the fake Koch promises to send the governor on a nice vacation when he's done wrecking the union?

Liberty275 6 years ago

Here's one: Enact a federal law that requires every state to be right-to-work (including those of public employees) and make it illegal for public employees to strike, ever.

LOL... it's koch's fault that teachers would rather engage in sick-scams than teach our children; and teachers wonder why the general public holds them in such low regard.

verity 6 years ago

I would have thought that as a libertarian you would support the rights of the people to collective bargaining.

And I think you're way wrong about teachers being held in low regard by the general public.

jafs 6 years ago


So you'd like for employees to be fireable at will for no reason across the country?

Well, that's clear at least - you're very anti-labor.

And, neither of your comments are about what the governor said - still waiting for something substantive - it's ok with you that private industry (ie. Koch) promises an elected official a nice vacation after he's done busting the union?

Scott Drummond 6 years ago

Or that a Governor sworn to protect the State's citizens both considered himself and discussed with other republicans sending thugs out amongst the peaceful protesters to cause "a ruckus?"

Sure would like to know who discussed what and when.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 12 months ago

" Enact a federal law that requires every state to be right-to-work"

You should at least call if for is really is-- Right-to-fire-on-a-whim.

Scott Drummond 6 years ago

The pimp tape was also heavily edited and doctored to create a false impression. The 20 minute phone call speaks for itself.

notanota 6 years ago

The full, unedited audio is available here. Where's the full uncut O'Keefe video?

Fossick 6 years ago

"The call, which surfaced Wednesday, also showed Walker’s cozy relationship with two billionaire brothers who have poured millions of dollars into conservative political causes, including Walker’s campaign last year."

What Mr. Foley seems to be missing here is that if the governor could be fooled into thinking his interlocutor was really David Koch, then he does not have a "cozy relationship" with the brothers; he has likely never even spoken to them on the phone before.

After all, how likely are you to be fooled by someone calling you up and claiming to be one of your closest friends?

Bob_Keeshan 6 years ago

I'm not sure this makes it better. If anything, it just demonstrates that Walker believes he has a cozy relationship with the Kochs.

That's even worse. That doesn't make him a co-conspirator, that makes him a puppet.

jafs 6 years ago

I wondered how he didn't recognize the voice as well.

Maybe we'll find out in upcoming stories or statements.

But he didn't have any problem with the fake Koch sending him on a nice vacation when he finished crushing the unions.

werekoala 6 years ago

My closest friend? Not very.

My boss's boss? Over a bad connection? Yeah, I'd probably be an eager beaver, just like Walker.

/thats the best you've got? Really?

Fossick 6 years ago

"Yeah, I'd probably be an eager beaver, just like Walker."

Do you have a 'cozy relationship' with your boss' boss? Yeah, I thought not.

I'm not defending Walker - good grief I barely defend people I voted for. I am merely pointing out that Mr. Foley of the AP is drawing an incorrect conclusion - and more likely a wishful thought - and presenting it as a fact.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

"I am merely pointing out that Mr. Foley of the AP is drawing an incorrect conclusion"

Which conclusion is that?

Fossick 6 years ago

The one in quotes in the original comment, which is also paragraph three of the original story.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

Sorry, I missed it.

It would have been more accurate to say the cozy relationship that Walker either believes he has, or would like to have with the Kochs.

Regardless, this phone call certainly confirms that the Koch brothers are indeed instrumental in driving this whole campaign.

werekoala 6 years ago

A cozy relationship? No.

Would I drop everything to get some face time & try to impress him like walker did? Yeah, if I had that kind of job.

Look, this is just one of those stories that separates the fellow travellers from the kool-aid drinkers.

Scott Drummond 6 years ago

The sad thing is that this Governor has that kind of job.

Some in this country still expect better than a common criminal in their elected offices.

werekoala 6 years ago

So the talking points are: 1) this is just some unethical guy who tricked poor Walker (pay no attention to the Breitbart behind the curtain) 2) its totally okay for a state governor to rearrange his schedule and act like an out of state billionaire's syncophant, just as long as he doesn't recognize the guys voice.

Got it, thanks. Did I miss any?

I guess generating spin & talking points is what the guys who were too unethical to make it as trial lawyers end up doing...

gudpoynt 6 years ago

we certainly make it easy for them

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

I guess it isn't permitted to provide an accurate one-word descriptor of this governor. But we all know what he is.

At any rate, this clearly demonstrates that what Walker wants to do to the public employees' unions has absolutely nothing to do with repairing Wisconsin's fiscal problems. His intent is purely to bust unions, and he very blatantly stated as much.

Republicans are overreaching, and this phone call where he thought he was toadying up to David Koch shows that their agenda is to shift as much power to the oligarchy he represents as possible. He believes that if he's successful, they'll take very good care of him-- and he'll get way more than a trip to Cali out of it.

A real celebration of corruption.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

I really like the part where he said he considered sending in some thugs to the demonstration to stir up a riot, but decided not to because it might backfire on them, not because it would have been wrong and likely illegal.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 6 years ago

Regardless of left leanings or right leanings, only a scumbag says these things. Especially the part about the protesters. That's Nixon-style dishonesty.

I don't like unions and I disagree with the moral agendas of the left, but this governor needs to seriously apologize at the LEAST. I'd even say that it wouldn't be inappropriate for the populace to ask for his resignation.

And this is coming from someone who agrees with a major part of his political stance.

Scott Drummond 6 years ago

Thank you.

There is a one year period that must pass before recall effort may be launched against him. I think it a safe bet to say that there will be an effort.

xclusive85 6 years ago

How many of you listened to the prank call? Below is a link to a transcript. The reporter stirred everything up. The reporter suggested the thugs in the crowd. The reporter suggested the trip to Cali. The reporter suggested the baseball bat. Nothing that Walker said in the prank call was that bad. It seems like a liberal tried to trick him into saying something that would derail his lesislative agenda, but couldn't. The whole tricking Democrat senators back to the capital wouldn't even have come up if they didn't run out on their jobs!

bad_dog 6 years ago

Yep. Devil reporter stirred him up & made him do it. Dad gum liberal lamestream media tricksters and their baseball bats anyway!

jafs 6 years ago

The governor responded to those questions.

He said he had considered the thugs in the crowd idea, and was quite willing to accept the gift, etc.

You don't have a problem with any of that?

Scott Drummond 6 years ago

Governor in Wisconsin swears a duty to "protect" citizens.

Wonder how that squares with the contemplated dispatching of agitators to create a ruckus. Would the women and children in the crowds be "protected" by such actions?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 12 months ago

Contemplating the incitement of violence would seem to be a felony, no? Especially for the chief executive of the state.

Will the AG be investigating?

jafs 5 years, 12 months ago

I don't think "contemplating" it is, or should be, a crime.

If thought police type laws are enacted, we're all in trouble.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 12 months ago

If they actually had discussions over committing illegal acts, that could constitute a criminal conspiracy, even if they didn't follow through.

Not that I expect any charges to come of this.

jafs 5 years, 12 months ago


So if you and I talk about robbing a bank, and then decide not to do so, we can be charged and convicted of a crime?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 12 months ago

The problem with conspiracy charges is proving intent.

If prosecutors could prove that the discussions were held with the actual intent to follow through, I believe it's a crime.

If it was just something interesting to talk about over a few beers, it wouldn't be a crime.

But in this situation, with the extremely high stakes involved, intent may very well have been there, especially in light of the governor's remarks in this phone call.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 12 months ago

Looks like things are heating up for the gov on this front.

Why Did Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Participate in Discussions About Disrupting Peaceful Rallies? by John Nichols

Bob_Keeshan 6 years ago

Nixon-style? I guess Cal Thomas was wrong yesterday when he compared Walker to Cal Coolidge.

He meant to compare him to Richard Nixon.

Fossick 6 years ago

That is exactly what he should have done.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

"Both Walker and the ACORN folks had no idea what was going on."

Actually, in most instances the ACORN staff thought O'Keefe's antics were quite strange, and he was often asked to leave. It took a great dealing of staging and editing of the video to make it seem otherwise.

Scott Drummond 6 years ago

Step One: Citizen's United. Political corruption is just free speech and besides the unions and corporations can both fund whoever they want.

(leave aside for the moment the huge disparity in corporate vs. union funding)

Step Two: Crush the unions and destroy their ability to fund campaigns

Step Three: One party rule

Will Americans allow it?

blindrabbit 6 years ago

Regardless of the politics; this proves the Governor's bulb is pretty dim!

usnsnp 6 years ago

Best way to settle this problem is to either get all the money out of political campains or have every politician show in real time where and who his momey is comming from. Also all organizations should be required to show in real time from where and who their money is comming from. The public should have the right to have this information so they can look at who is supplying the money and what agenda they are pushing.

voevoda 6 years ago

The views Gov. Walker voiced on this tape (whether prompted by the interviewer or not) are profoundly troubling. He wants to destroy unions and stick it to public employees. He intends to use whatever dirty tricks he can in order to ram through the legislation he wants, without revising it to incorporate the legitimate interests of others. I know that some posters on this forum applaud this, but recall that it is the unions that raised American workers from deep poverty to the middle class, leading to a society that was prosperous for the majority, instead of solely for a small, wealthy elite. Remember that Europeans in countries with strong unions have a higher standard of living, less poverty, better benefits, shorter working hours, and longer vacations--things that all Americans want. And their economies are (mostly) recovering faster than ours. I know that some posters on this forum despise public employees. Remember that they do their necessary jobs honestly for modest pay, even though they have many opportunities to enrich themselves through corruption. I know that some posters on this forum despise teachers. They do the hardest and most important work in our society--preparing children to be productive, responsible citizens. They deserve higher salaries than they get, and more respect. When irresponsible people deride them, they undercut their authority with the children and their ability to teach them. Don't do it!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 12 months ago

"I know that some posters on this forum applaud this,"

They don't mind if he's an A-hole, as long as they think he's their A-hole.

gr 6 years ago

Shouldn't Ian Murphy be prosecuted for a crime?

I mean, if someone irritates someone over the internet and the "victim" could choose to read or not read, how much worse is it for someone pretending to be someone else over the phone?

verity 6 years ago

Possibly---I seem to remember Diane Sawyer and company getting into trouble for misrepresenting themselves by getting people hired by Red Lyon and then exposing them.

But I'm thinking the Koch's really prefer to stay in the background and pull the puppet strings. They've been really secretive and keeping this in the public view would not make them look good.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 12 months ago

Yea, I imagine that Koch would rather just have this thing die away than to give it more life by filing a suit that looks a bit weak, anyway.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

No, the Tea Party would have made up most of the interview and highly edited the rest.

Cait McKnelly 6 years ago

I read about this long before LJW printed it. I wanted to find it funny but there was too much of a part of me that found it too sad. Up the proletariat!

Fossick 5 years, 12 months ago

Bozo FTW!

God, I never thought I'd type that ;)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 12 months ago

I became bored with heavy metal about the time they made it big, but I still like a lot of their stuff. (I'm too old to do that head-banger head shake without needing physical therapy afterwards, though.)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 12 months ago

Wanna know why the Koch brothers (who own major power-generation interests in Wisconsin) really needed to buy a controlling interest in the governor there? The union-busting budget bill also includes the following--

"For example, the bill includes language that would allow officials appointed by the governor to make sweeping cuts in health coverage for low-income families without having to go through the normal legislative process.

And then there’s this: “Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the department may sell any state-owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state. Notwithstanding ss. 196.49 and 196.80, no approval or certification of the public service commission is necessary for a public utility to purchase, or contract for the operation of, such a plant, and any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest and to comply with the criteria for certification of a project under s. 196.49 (3) (b).”

What’s that about? The state of Wisconsin owns a number of plants supplying heating, cooling, and electricity to state-run facilities (like the University of Wisconsin). The language in the budget bill would, in effect, let the governor privatize any or all of these facilities at whim. Not only that, he could sell them, without taking bids, to anyone he chooses. And note that any such sale would, by definition, be “considered to be in the public interest.”

If this sounds to you like a perfect setup for cronyism and profiteering — remember those missing billions in Iraq? — you’re not alone. Indeed, there are enough suspicious minds out there that Koch Industries, owned by the billionaire brothers who are playing such a large role in Mr. Walker’s anti-union push, felt compelled to issue a denial that it’s interested in purchasing any of those power plants. Are you reassured?"

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