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Ear to the Ground

Gov. Walker, Check Your Caller ID

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Posted on Feb 23, 2011

This is one for the annals of political pranks: On Wednesday, divisive Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said a lot of things he no doubt wishes he hadn’t while on what turned out to be a prank call with the editor of The Buffalo Beast, posing as conservative billionaire David Koch. Needless to say, this development didn’t improve Walker’s position vis-á-vis his opposition.  —KA

Jump past the excerpt below to listen to the call.

AP via The Houston Chronicle

Editor Ian Murphy told The Associated Press he carried out the prank to show how candidly Koch would speak with Walker 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 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.

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By wildflower, February 24, 2011 at 8:04 pm Link to this comment

It would have been great if Murphy could have also worked in the subject of
Wisconsin’s energy plants. There is a provision in Walker’s emergency bill that
gives Walker the power to sell the plants via the “no bid” process.

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By Tom Semioli, February 24, 2011 at 6:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There should be calls from Democrats, Obama and
Republicans for Gov. Walker’s immediate resignation. If
Walker were a Democrat, the Republicans would demand
resignation and/or impeachment.

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By mryarbles, February 24, 2011 at 5:00 pm Link to this comment

If the shoe was on the other foot, Fox News would have pounded this story until it was on the front page of every newspaper in the country for a week. In our American upside-down universe, this story was hardly a blip: I don’t think it showed up in the LA Times at all; the NY Times and ABC News focused on the “prank” aspect of it and not it’s substance, NBC’s Nightly News did a story on it, but hardly gave it the importance that it should have had.

He’s been spouting the fiscal imperative of his measure for weeks. This “prank” call, however, lays bare his real motivations, which are purely ideological and are all about crushing unions.
There could even be illegalities in this conversation, yet the main stream media is ignoring it. The guy admitted to contemplating putting agitators amongst the protesters, for fuck sake! How can this not be a scandal of the highest order?

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morongobill's avatar

By morongobill, February 24, 2011 at 2:14 pm Link to this comment

What must seem obvious to the people who count in
Wisconsin- *hint* there are only 2 men who count, at
least to the governor- is the FACT that they better
toss this clown under the wheels of the bus, before
he personally drives it into a crowd of peaceful
protesters.

This guy must appear to the oligarchs like a train
wreck waiting to happen.

The key to the oligarchs plans are simple, it’s the
goldilocks approach.

If you stick to the poor saps too much, like this
jackass governor is doing, you run the risk that the
lower classes might start sharpening their
pitchforks.

The masses need to accept their lot in life with
minimal fuss, this dumbass just revealed the little
man behind the curtain, pulling the strings.

I look for him to be receiving a private missive
soon, if he already hasn’t already, from his masters
and it won’t be a nice one.

He will either shape up to their wishes and act a
little more circumspect, or he’ll be gone- dead man
walking.

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By rayme, February 24, 2011 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart did a good job with the whole incident .  - Feb. 
23rd.  episode

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CJ's avatar

By CJ, February 24, 2011 at 11:42 am Link to this comment

What Big B wrote.

This (to be perfectly uncivil in the case of the uncivil in so, so many ways
beyond merely verbal) punk pretty boy, Walker, is all-too-typical of the all-
too-common ignoramus of a pol these days. Americans electing more and more
of them out of their own profound ignorance as to their own interests, at the
same time so many Americans are applauding events in the Middle East. The
disconnect is astounding. Naturally, mega media’s been doing its exploitative
part, as always when it takes clowns like Walker seriously. Not that he shouldn’t
be taken seriously given the threat to humanity he represents, but that’s not the
part blithering-idiot (as my mother used to call me from time to time) media
talks about.

Media’s been a principle in busting unions at least since Reagan set out to
accomplish that feat. (Which is one major reason Reagan remains the worst
president in American history—he really despised the middle- and working
classes, no matter constant patter to the contrary and for which so many fell,
media in particular.)

This prank was terrific insofar as revealing Walker for the toady he really is. But
aren’t all members of the Big Business Party, regardless of faction? Most all with
a handful of exceptions. Repubs and Dems both having taken up once again
the shop-worn debt-crisis cudgel so as to beat down labor once again, 17%
unemployment evidently not enough to satisfy those really on the dole—pols
like Walker and businesses like the Koch Bros.’.

The Kochs and their ilk sponsor and thus run operations—obviously as
demonstrated by the prank under discussion. Wall Street more generally, which
by market measure lately isn’t remotely happy with events in the Middle East
where democracy could be breaking out.

We can look forward to yet more devastation caused by the Walkers (and
Obamas) of the nation as they seek underhandedly to continue to reward their
sponsors, primarily by way of further tax cuts. Media will continue in collusion,
naturally. In “objectivity,” Hedges was just writing of.

If Mubarak and Ghaddafi were tough to remove, Americans have a far larger
task in seeing to the removal of frauds like Walker, and Obama too. These guys
disguise themselves well as (small “d”) democrats while delivering like Middle
Eastern dictators never did or could, not even to themselves. Not least, if pols
here get their way, delivery of Social Security to Wall Street. We’re talking a few
trillion smackers for which Wall Street lusts more then Hefner for a 20-
something bimbo.

I expect they’ll get it too, at which point Americans might finally, though
probably not, awaken to ongoing fraud disguised, as noted, as democracy.
Sadly, I expect most Americans, rollzone, remain on Walker’s side despite
protests by labor in Wisconsin. Polls seem to show Americans oppose all
unions, so fine a job have pols and media done in demonizing them. Not that
unions have done much to convince the vast non-unionized of their virtue,
what with so much corruption and what with having done their own kind of
selling out since, or even before, the 1930s. (Thus, Wobblies.)

American labor, organized or not, has become a bad joke too. Had it not, the
UAW would have occupied GM when it had the chance. Yeah, that would have
resulted in the kind of violence Obama is “outraged” over in Libya. (That patter
from a guy “droning” Pakistani and Afghani civilians. And from Clinton who had
Ray McGovern beaten up by American “thugs” just a week or two ago.)

On a slightly hopeful note, maybe these people out in serious numbers in
Wisconsin (used-to-be-most-progressive state) will get all our attention,
despite media’s ceaseless “balanced” spin. (Media HAS reported facts more
accurately than usual, but Walker is still granted credibility that is entirely
unwarranted from universally moral standpoint.)

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Napolean DoneHisPart's avatar

By Napolean DoneHisPart, February 24, 2011 at 11:12 am Link to this comment

System is flaud… remember, many government agencies MAKE a profit ( police for ex ).

Too many believe the lies politicians have been feeding them from the mic, the podium and the marketing campaign… but they are ALL LIARS!!!

And guess what? 

You either work for money or have money work for you… and the latter takes more responsibility and a fine character… and most people chasing the carrot regard their fellow man after they regard themselves and their account first and foremost.

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By Big B, February 24, 2011 at 8:57 am Link to this comment

Unfortunately, this once great nation is still filled with people like rollzone that are unwilling, or unable, to comprehend what has been going on in the US for the last thirty years. Taxes HAVE been lowered. Regulation HAS been eliminated. Government services HAVE been privatized and outright eliminated. And these HAVE been the major factors in why there are huge federal and state deficits.

It’s time for americans to wake up and realize that “Reaganomics” is the reason we are in dire straights. Cutting taxes HAS NEVER led to sustainable economic growth. De-regulation LEADS to lower tax revenue, because it permits businesses to LESSEN the value of jobs in the US by moving them elsewhere, thus LOWERING the amount of collectable tax revenue from those positions.

During poor economic times taxes need to be kept steady or raised in order to make up for the inevitable shrinking revenue. That, or you will run at a deficit! The other option is, of course, to cut local, state, and federal services. But how do you do that in a nation of 320 million that needs its extensive infrastructure constantly maintained and expanded(infrastructure is not just the roads and bridges folks, its teachers, cops, firemen, judges, utilites…in short, its everything built for the common good that gets you from your shower to your workplace and back.) Are the major corporations going to pay for all that? They won’t even pay their fair share of taxes to fund the infrastructure now. Thanks to “Reaganomics” most US based corporations pay a smaller rate of taxation than you do! (most now pay 6% or less)

Bottom line, how good an education is your future accountant going to receive from a teacher making less than the national average salary, and no benefits or retirement plan?  That’s right, you won’t need an accountant, because you won’t be making enough money to warrent one, because as tax revenues go down, salaries go down for all of us.

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By BobZ, February 24, 2011 at 1:18 am Link to this comment

Wow, that was the best candid moment of an unscrupulous public official since
the Nixon tapes were released. Possibly calling in goons to disrupt a peaceful
demonstration, admitting he just wanted to bust the unions, talking that long to
what he thought was a powerful businessman, when he wouldn’t give the time of
day to his Democratic colleagues, trying to trick Democratic state senators into
coming back into the state so he could quickly get a vote. Scott Walker sounds like
your perfect slimy politician who has two constituents: the Koch brothers.  He
even gets his facts wrong. Almost 2/3 of Wisconisn voters are against this bill. He
did not campaign on “busting the unions”. His best course of action now is to
resign immediately. He is damaged goods.

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By Thomas Billis, February 23, 2011 at 10:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

After glancing at the some of the previous comments it looks like David Koch is commenting under the name of rollzone.When you find yourself on the same side as billionaires and you are not ,one of you is a moron ,and I am betting it is not the billionaire.

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By rollzone, February 23, 2011 at 10:00 pm Link to this comment

hello. good journalism, devious method, shameful
broadcast, and i agree with everything the Governor
had to say. he may not think the significance is as
world shaking as President Reagan firing the tower
traffic controllers, but many of us Americans do.
standing firm against tax payers paying more, while
local private economies are being destroyed; is the
line in the sand for other states to follow, so we
can put America back to work: in spite of what goes
on around the Beltway. be unprecedented, set the good
example: deliver on campaign promises; and keep a
good slugger nearby. the only revealing statement i
heard, was about someone leaving office to make real
money in the private sector, by getting positioned in
an alphabet agency, and then returning to public
office for a private agenda. that spoke volumes about
modern political revolving door corruption. censored again.

Report this

By rollzone, February 23, 2011 at 9:54 pm Link to this comment

hello. good journalism, devious method, shameful
broadcast, and i agree with everything the Governor
had to say. he may not think the significance is as
world shaking as President Reagan firing the tower
traffic controllers, but many of us Americans do.
standing firm against tax payers paying more, while
local private economies are being destroyed; is the
line in the sand for other states to follow, so we
can put America back to work: in spite of what goes
on around the Beltway. be unprecedented, set the good
example: deliver on campaign promises; and keep a
good slugger nearby. the only revealing statement i
heard, was about someone leaving office to make real
money in the private sector, by getting positioned in
an alphabet agency, and then returning to public
office for a private agenda. that spoke volumes about
modern political revolving door corruption.

Report this

By gerard, February 23, 2011 at 6:53 pm Link to this comment

“Beautiful!  Talk,not negotiate. Baseball bat!  Beautiful!”

“Moment-of-truth journalism.  Beautiful.”

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