Gov. Scott Walker · Wisconsin Public Service Employees' Protests · Wisconsin Unions · Wisconson Fiscal Crisis · Wisconson GOP

Madison Police Chief: Scott Walker’s Koch Call ‘Troubling’

Ya think?


Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) may have more than his own embarrassment to deal with in the wake of the prank call from from a progressive blogger claiming to be David Koch.

The police chief in Madison, Wisc. — site of the protests at the state Capitol — tells the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel the he found parts of the recorded call between Walker and “Koch” “very unsettling and troubling.”

Specifically, Chief Noble Wray says that Walker’s claim that he considered sending infiltrators into the crowd (prompted by a suggestion by “Koch,” played by blogger Ian Murphy) made him nervous.

“I would like to hear more of an explanation from Governor Walker as to what exactly was being considered, and to what degree it was discussed by his cabinet members,” Wray said. “I find it very unsettling and troubling that anyone would consider creating safety risks for our citizens and law enforcement officers.”

Here’s what Walker told Murphy posing as Koch:

MURPHY: What we were thinking about the crowds, was planting some trouble makers?WALKER: Well, the only problem, because we thought about that, my only gut reaction to that would be, right now, the lawmakers I’ve talked to have just completely had it with them. The public is not really fond of this. The teachers union did some polling and focus groups, I think, and found out that the public turned on them the minute they closed school down for a couple days. The guys we have left are largely from out of state, and I keep dismissing it in my press comment saying, ‘eh, they’re mostly from out of state.'”
I’m saying hey, ‘we can handle this, people can protest, this is Madison, you know, full of the 60s liberals.’ Let them protest. It’s not going to affect us. And as long as we go back to our homes, and the majority of people are telling us we’re doing the right thing, let them protest all they want.

Walker has dismissed the calls, saying “I take phone calls all the time,” and claiming that he didn’t say anything different to the man he thought was a conservative super donor than he has in public.

The cops in Madison have for the most part been highly supportive of the protesters. In statement released to the Journal-Sentinel along with Wray’s comments, the department again praised the thousands gathered in and around the capitol building for their decorum.

“Crowd behavior has been exemplary, and thousands of Wisconsin citizens are to be commended for the peaceful ways in which they have expressed First Amendment rights,” the department told the paper.

Koch Brothers · Koch Industries · Wisconsin Public Service Employees' Protests · Wisconsin Unions · Wisconson Fiscal Crisis · Wisconson GOP

Koch Industries Opens Madison Lobbying Office

Crooks & Liars

Oh, look at the shiny new offices of Koch Companies’ lobbyists. Right now they have seven of them on staff, ready to do the bidding of their BirchMasters at the drop of a hat.

Via The Capital Times:

Charles and David Koch, who co-own Koch Industries Inc. and whose combined worth is estimated at $43 billion, have been recently tied by many media outlets to Walker’s push to eliminate collective bargaining rights for public workers. The two have long backed conservative causes and groups including Americans for Prosperity, which organized the tea party rally Saturday in support of Walker’s plan to strip public workers of collective bargaining rights and recently launched the Stand with Scott Walker website.

Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, acknowledged in a New York Times story Tuesday that he had encouraged Walker even before the election to mount a showdown with labor groups.

Koch Industries, which owns Georgia-Pacific Corp. and the Koch Pipeline Co., operates a coal company and toilet paper factory in Wisconsin as well as gasoline supply terminals.

And they’re about to own a whole lot more, if Walker gets his way. Those no-bid sale/lease contracts for public utilities in Wisconsin are looking pretty for the Koch Industries folks, and the lobbyists are certainly ready to roll for their very special client.

And of course, if you’re Koch Industries, the first thing you want to do is break the unions not only to weaken their voice in elections, but also so you can do things like this…           Continue reading…

Gov. Scott Walker · Politics · Rush Limbaugh · Wisconsin Public Service Employees' Protests · Wisconsin Unions · Wisconson Fiscal Crisis · Wisconson GOP

Rush Limbaugh On Gov. Scott Walker Prank Call: “There’s No News Here”

I get the sense that Limbaugh knows that Scott Walker and the GOP are not winning their fight to bust state service employee unions…


The big news of this morning was the prank call by Ian Murphy of Buffalo Beast (which is still down as of this writing) to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in which Murphy got Walker to believe he was actually David Koch. While protest sympathizers will eagerly be combing the 20 minutes of conversation looking for anything embarrassing or incriminating, Rush Limbaugh quickly demonstrated what will doubtlessly be the strategy of the opposing side: arguing that there really isn’t any there there.

“There’s nothing new here. There’s no news. By the way, there wasn’t anything in the whole call, he didn’t say anything that he hasn’t said publicly. So there’s no gotcha here. But the media’s having fun with it all because it’s a…’secret conversation.’”

Part of the reason all of Walker’s defenders will be using this strategy is because, well, he’s pretty much right. Whatever you have to say about the tone of the call or the familiarity with Koch, the protesters will be hard pressed to find any juicy sound bites to hurt him with. Even his agreement to visit “Koch” could be brushed past as being polite to a powerful supporter.


Libya Unrest · Muammar Qaddafi · North Africa Unrest

The Best of Wikileaks’ Qaddafi Dirt

Muammar Qaddafi is certifiable.  It’s a wonder how he stayed in office so long…


How crazy is hopefully-soon-to-be-deposed Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi? Why don’t we check Wikileaks to find out? (Spoiler alert: He is pretty crazy.)

Wikileaks, the secrets-sharing website that began to release a huge cache of classified diplomatic cables last year, has several messages about Qaddafi and Libya. As, we guess, some kind of retrospective of corruption, despotism and derangement, both The New York Times and ABC News combed through the state department’s Qaddafi-related cables, trying to flesh out our picture of Qaddafi’s regime. And, wow! It’s pretty awful. Obviously, there is some charmingly flamboyant eccentricity, as in this now-classic cable:

Qadhafi appears to rely heavily on XXXXXXXXXXXX and reportedly cannot travel with his senior Ukrainian nurse, Galyna XXXXXXXXXXXX. He also appears to have an intense dislike or fear of staying on upper floors, reportedly prefers not to fly over water, and seems to enjoy horse racing and flamenco dancing.

Or, in a cable intended for then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice preparing her for her visit to Libya (emphasis ours):

Muammar al-Qadhafi is notoriously mercurial. He often avoids making eye contact during the initial portion of meetings, and there may be long, uncomfortable periods of silence. Alternatively, he can be an engaging and charming interlocutor, as he was during NEA A/S Welch’s meeting on August 14. A self-styled intellectual and philosopher, he has been eagerly anticipating for several years the opportunity to share with you his views on global affairs. We’ve been told that issues he might raise include Sarkozy’s Union for the Mediterranean proposal (which al-Qadhafi opposes), the Georgia conflict, illegal migration (Libya is a key transit country), Iran, Iraq and the Arab-Israeli conflict (including his “Isratine” one-state solution), and Africa.

But for every “Isratine,” there are ten cables about the regime’s corruption and brutality. Like this one:

Qadhafi often speaks out publicly against government corruption, but the politically-connected elite has direct access to lucrative business deals. This commercial access can easily be cut off when individuals fall out of favor. The Qadhafi family and other Jamahiriya political favorites profit from being able to manipulate the multi-layered and regularly shifting dynamics of governance mechanisms in Libya. They have strong interests in the oil and gas sector, telecommunications, infrastructure development, hotels, media distribution, and consumer goods distribution. The financial interests of Qadhafi and his key allies present both opportunites and challenges for reform efforts in Libya. Any reform is likely to be cyclical over the long-term.

Much more here…

President Barack Obama · President Obama

Obama’s ‘Apology Tour’ As Told By His Detractors

The GOP and Tea Partiers have been reading their talking points from Frank Luntz because they all have been saying the same thing lately…

The Washington Post – Fact Checker

“I think he had made a practice of trying to apologize for America. I personally am proud of America.”
–Former defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Feb. 20, 2011

“I will not and I will never apologize for America. I don’t apologize for America, because I believe in America.”
–Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (author of “No Apology: The Case for American Greatness”), Feb. 11, 2011

“Mr. President, stop apologizing for our country.”
–Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, Feb. 11, 2011

The Fact Checker senses a campaign theme emerging: Obama the apologist.

As the above quotes illustrate, it is an article of faith among top Republicans that President Obama has repeatedly apologized for the United States and its behavior. Even more, the argument goes, he does not believe in American strength and greatness. The assertion feeds into a subterranean narrative that Obama, with his exotic, mixed-race background, is not really American in the first place.

The claim that Obama is an apologist for America actually began to take shape shortly after he became president. It had been bubbling in the conservative blogs before Karl Rove, the former political adviser to George W. Bush, published an article titled “The President’s Apology Tour” in the Wall Street Journal on April 23, 2009, just three months after Obama took the oath of office.


Let’s look at the evidence.

The Facts

Most of the criticism stems from a series of speeches that Obama made shortly after taking office, when he was trying to introduce himself to the world and also signify a break with the Bush administration with new policies, such as pledging to close the detainee facility at Guantanamo Bay.

Most of the criticism stems from a series of speeches that Obama made shortly after taking office, when he was trying to introduce himself to the world and also signify a break with the Bush administration with new policies, such as pledging to close the detainee facility at Guantanamo Bay.

This is typical of many new presidents. George W. Bush, for instance, quickly broke with Clinton administration policy on dealings with North Korea, the Kyoto climate change treaty and the international criminal court, to name a few.

Rove built his case around four quotes made by Obama:

Mr. Obama told the French (the French!) that America “has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive” toward Europe. In Prague, he said America has “a moral responsibility to act” on arms control because only the U.S. had “used a nuclear weapon.” In London, he said that decisions about the world financial system were no longer made by “just Roosevelt and Churchill sitting in a room with a brandy” — as if that were a bad thing. And in Latin America, he said the U.S. had not “pursued and sustained engagement with our neighbors” because we “failed to see that our own progress is tied directly to progress throughout the Americas.”


The Pinocchio Test

The claim that Obama repeatedly has apologized for the United States is not borne out by the facts, especially if his full quotes are viewed in context.

Obama often was trying to draw a rhetorical distinction between his policies and that of President Bush, a common practice when the presidency changes parties. The shift in policies, in fact, might have been more dramatic from Clinton to Bush than from Bush to Obama, given how Obama has largely maintained Bush’s approach to fighting terrorism.

In other cases, Obama’s quotes have been selectively trimmed for political purposes. Or they were not much different than sentiments expressed by Bush or his secretary of state. Republicans may certainly disagree with Obama’s handling of foreign policy or particular policies he has pursued, but they should not invent a storyline that does not appear to exist.

Note to GOP speechwriters and campaign ad makers: The apology tour never happened.

Four Pinocchios