Educate All Students: Larry Miller's Blog

August 14, 2012

Article Shows Ryan Money Connection to Koch Brothers, Tea Party and Right-Wing

Filed under: Koch Brothers,Right Wing Agenda,Tea Party — millerlf @ 1:42 pm

Ryan Has Kept Close Ties to Donors on the Right

By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE August 13, 2012 NY Times

This month, as a handful of Republicans auditioned at town halls and on bus tours to be Mitt Romney’s running mate, Representative Paul D. Ryan joined a private conference call. For 20 minutes, he walked through his plan to cut government spending and bashed President Obama for weakening welfare work requirements.

His audience: Several hundred field organizers for Americans for Prosperity, the Tea Party-inspired group founded by the billionaire conservative philanthropists Charles and David Koch.

When Mr. Romney announced that Mr. Ryan would be his running mate, his campaign emphasized the congressman’s detailed knowledge of the federal budget and his chemistry with Mr. Romney. Less well-known are Mr. Ryan’s close ties to the donors and activists who have channeled Tea Party anger into a $400 million political machine, financed by a network of conservative and libertarian donors that now rivals, and occasionally challenges, the Republican establishment behind Mr. Romney.

Mr. Ryan is one of a very few elected officials who have attended the Kochs’ biannual conferences, where wealthy donors sit in on seminars on runaway government spending and the myths of climate change.

He is on first-name terms with prominent libertarians in the financial world, including hedge fund billionaires like Cliff Asness and Paul Singer, and spent his formative years immersed in the Republican Party’s supply-side wing, working for lawmakers and conservative policy advocates like Jack Kemp.

He has appeared for years at rallies, town hall meetings, and donor briefings for groups like the Club for Growth, which spends millions to defeat Republicans deemed squishy on taxes and spending, and Americans for Prosperity, a grass-roots group focused on economic and budget issues that is now trying to channel Tea Party energy into a permanent electoral force. Its fourth chapter was founded in Mr. Ryan’s home state, Wisconsin.

Now Mr. Ryan could provide Mr. Romney with a critical political and intellectual bridge to the rising conservative counterestablishment represented by the Kochs and their allies, who are planning to spend hundreds of millions of dollars and deploy thousands of volunteers to defeat Mr. Obama. Should Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan win in November, a constituency that has for years fulminated against the failure of Republicans to live up to their own principles could soon have a close — and powerful — friend in the White House.

“There’s three guys that we courted for president: Paul Ryan, Mitch Daniels, and Mike Pence,” said Matt Kibbe, the president of FreedomWorks, a national advocacy group closely allied with the Tea Party, who worked alongside Mr. Ryan when both were staff aides on the House Budget Committee. “Up until yesterday, there was a 100 percent commitment to fire Obama. There was not a lot of enthusiasm about Romney.” Mr. Daniels is the governor of Indiana, and Mr. Pence is a congressman from Indiana.

Mr. Kibbe added, “From a Tea Party perspective, the overwhelming response on all of our networks has been extremely positive.”

Mr. Ryan’s ties to that world began with a job at Empower America, a group founded by Mr. Kemp that ran “candidate schools” for aspiring conservatives and advocated for a flat tax and lower spending. As a rank-and-file congressman during the presidency of George W. Bush, Mr. Ryan advocated for the privatization of Social Security, helping push the idea toward the Republican mainstream and cementing his reputation as a conservative intellectual.

Privately, Mr. Ryan would later say, he was also stewing over what he and other conservatives viewed as the Bush administration’s fiscal profligacy and ideological drift, including the addition of a drug benefit to Medicare and, later, a bank bailout plan, the Troubled Asset Relief Program. (Mr. Ryan voted for both.)

That dissatisfaction was shared by the Kochs, who in the middle of the last decade began organizing conferences of like-minded donors and founded Americans for Prosperity.

Mr. Ryan, who became House budget chairman in 2006, began attending and speaking at Americans for Prosperity events. In 2008, the Wisconsin chapter gave Mr. Ryan its annual “Defender of the American Dream” award. Mr. Ryan also began attending the Kochs’ annual donor seminars. Last spring, Mr. Ryan was a speaker at a “Hands Off My Health Care” rally organized by Tea Party leaders outside the Capitol, drawing enthusiastic applause.

In Congress, he emerged as a skeptic of mainstream climate change theory — opposition to which has been a top priority of Koch-affiliated activists and research groups — and a reliable vote against energy efficiency standards, including a House vote to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases.

The relationship helped Mr. Ryan’s campaign coffers as well as his career: the Koch Industries PAC has donated more than $100,000 to Mr. Ryan’s campaigns and his leadership PAC, more than has any other corporate PAC, according to a New York Times analysis of campaign records.

Mr. Ryan has also developed relationships with other people in the Koch orbit, like Mr. Asness, a libertarian-minded financier known for his open letters blasting Mr. Obama, and Kenneth Griffin, a Chicago hedge-fund executive: wealthy donors whose taste for number-crunching and policy minutiae match Mr. Ryan’s own.

Mr. Griffin and his wife, Anne, introduced Mr. Ryan to Chicago’s deep-pocketed Republican donor circle — he has raised more money there this campaign than any other city — and promoted his budget proposals, including arranging a speech last year at the Economic Club of Chicago.

But it was Mr. Ryan’s aggressive promotion of his budget plan that has cemented his place the counterestablishment’s rising star. Mr. Ryan’s plan, viewed warily in its early form by other Republican leaders on the Hill, became an organizing document for the Tea Party’s Beltway wing, particularly the dozens of Tea Party-inspired freshman lawmakers who arrived on Capitol Hill after the 2010 elections. Many of them came to rely on Mr. Ryan for counsel on whether to accept budget compromises with Mr. Obama.

Outside political groups and research organizations praised Mr. Ryan’s plan, one of the few comprehensive conservative budget proposals detailed enough to be scored by the Congressional Budget Office, as rigorous and credible.

“Paul was one of the first guys that we looked at and said, ‘Hey, that young guy could be the guy,’ ” said Tim Phillips, Americans for Prosperity’s president. “And when he put out the budget and defended it, that’s when they said, ‘He could go all the way.’ ”

Officials with several outside groups that had been skeptical of Mr. Romney in the past said that the selection of Mr. Ryan had assuaged some of their doubts.

More important, they said, Mr. Ryan would fire up their grass-roots members, some of whom had doubted Mr. Romney’s commitment to cutting the size of government. Last week, before the announcement, Americans for Prosperity announced that it had begun its largest ever ad campaign against Mr. Obama, a $25 million broadside in 11 battleground states.

And on Monday, Romney officials said that the campaign had raised millions of dollars in the wake of Mr. Ryan’s selection, not only from grass-roots small donors, but from the many big donors who rank among his fans.

Griff Palmer contributed reporting.

October 20, 2011

Koch Brothers Pay for Voter Suppression

Filed under: Koch Brothers,Voter Suppression — millerlf @ 6:59 am
Block the Vote: How the Koch-Backed American Legislative Exchange Council Aims to Keep You from Votinghttp://blog.aflcio.org/2011/10/17/block-the-vote-how-the-koch-backed-american-legislative-exchange-council-aims-to-keep-you-from-voting/

by Adele Stan, Oct 17, 2011

Across the country, voters in a number of states will face obstacles to casting ballots in the 2012 elections, in large part because of model legislation drafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the organization backed by, among others, billionaires Charles and David Koch. It was ALEC’s draft legislation that inspired a spate of recently passed voter ID laws that, if allowed to stand, are expected to marginalize the impact of students and people of color at the polls in Texas, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Kansas. (Under the Texas law, for example, a college ID is not an acceptable form of identification for voting, but a military ID is.)

In a recent article published at The American Prospect, author Patrick Caldwell sheds light on ALEC’s M.O. For all the talk about preventing voter fraud—which was been shown to be a minimal threat to voting integrity—these new laws appear to be more about deciding just what kind of person gets to vote.

One of the most jarring examples of ALEC’s influence is the recent overturning of Maine’s longstanding same-day voting law by a newly elected Republican legislature. Maine’s law had been on the books since 1973, allowing the state to boast a much higher level of civic participation than the nation at large.

Caldwell explains:

After trying and failing to pass a voter-identification law, they succeeded in repealing same-day voter registration. Republican Gov. Paul LePage signed the bill in June.

The push against voting rights in Maine is just one example of the most direct assault on ballot access since the Jim Crow era. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the influential corporate-funded group that writes model bills for Republican state legislators, has pushed Republicans across the country to impose new restrictions on voting and to overturn progressive laws like Maine’s. “I don’t want everybody to vote,” ALEC co-founder Paul Weyrich said three decades ago. “As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

In Ohio, where voters will vote next month on whether to overturn an ALEC-modeled law passed earlier this year that would greatly curtail collective bargaining for public employees and abolish binding arbitration for the settling of disputes, the assembly also passed a law that is designed to repress the vote through new absentee-ballot restrictions and new rules for poll workers.

In some states, Caldwell writes, the voter ID laws seem to directly target African Americans:

As many as one in four African Americans lack the identification these states now require, leading Georgia Congressman John Lewis to call the laws “poll taxes by another name.” (Under the Voting Rights Act, voter-ID laws in Texas and South Carolina must be approved by the Department of Justice because of those states’ history of minority-voter suppression. At press time, the department had not yet ruled.)

Rock the Vote has a map on its site of where new laws designed to suppress voter turnout have been enacted, and is encouraging activism to overturn the restrictions and/or minimize their impact.

The people of Maine will have the opportunity to overturn the state’s new voting restrictions and restore same-day voting by voting yes on Question 1, a public referendum question that will appear on the November 8 ballot. According to Project Maine Votes, a coalition of 18 groups that support the restoration of full voting rights, more than 70,000 signatures were gathered in less than a month on a petition to get Question 1 on the ballot.

In Ohio, where the legislature passed House Bill 194, which will shorten the time period allowed for early and absentee voting, Ohio activists, with the help of the AFL-CIO, gathered more than enough petition signatures to prevent the new restrictions from taking effect in the 2012 elections. The Ohio law would also forbid a poll worker from informing a voter that she or he was casting a ballot in the wrong precinct, setting that voter’s ballot up for rejection in a recount.

Elsewhere, the labor-allied One Wisconsin Now is calling attention to an attempt by tea party-aligned members of the state legislature to alter the formula by which the states electoral college votes are determined in the presidential election.

You can read Patrick Caldwell’s article, “Who Stole the Election?” at The American Prospect.

September 12, 2011

Charles Koch Calls President Obama “Saddam Hussein”

Filed under: Koch Brothers — millerlf @ 9:21 pm
By Jake Tapper Sept 6, 2011

Billionaire Conservative Activist Charles Koch on 2012 Election: “We Have Saddam Hussein, This Is the Mother Of All Wars”

Not the White House, nor the Obama 2012 campaign, nor Democratic National Committee had any immediate comment Tuesday when contacted by ABC News and asked about comments made by Koch referring to the 2012 campaign as a repeat of the Iraq War.
“We have Saddam Hussein, this is the Mother of All Wars we’ve got in the next 18 months,” Koch said in comments at a private gathering in Colorado in June, first reported by the progressive Brad Blog and Mother Jones Magazine. ”For the life or death of this country.”
ADD Philip Ellender, President and COO, Government and Public Affairs for the Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC, said in a statement that “Koch was not referring to President Obama in his remarks. The ‘Mother of All Wars’ is a common phrase, frequently attributed to Saddam Hussein on the eve of the first Gulf War. Amid record U.S. unemployment, continued economic decline, and loss of liberty, the U.S. has been plunged into its own ’mother of all wars.’ Our nation’s future will be determined in the coming months by the choices Americans make to address the serious economic issues facing our country.”
The billionaire brothers Charles Koch and his brother David have given tens of millions of dollars to various conservative and libertarian causes over the years. The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer wrote about them last Summer.
Earlier this year, Democrats in Wisconsin – pointing to their support for the Republican government and the conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, said the Koch brothers were “the poster children of the effort by multinational corporate America to try to redefine the rights and values of American citizens,” as Democratic Representative Gwen Moore told the New York Times.
Ellender also said in his statement that, “It is a matter of public record that similar seminars – all of them private and off-the-record – are held by those who seek the opposite: ever-greater government influence and control over our lives. There are reports about surreptiously (sic) recorded audio taken out of context from a June 2011 conference hosted by Koch Industries. As is typical by far-left groups, these reports attempt to make more false claims about Koch. Specifically, they assert that Charles Koch referred to President Obama as ’Saddam Hussein.’”

April 21, 2011

Nation Magazine: Article on How the Koch Brothers Try to Control Their 50,000 Employees

Filed under: Koch Brothers,Right Wing Agenda,Tea Party — millerlf @ 3:06 pm
Published on The Nation (http://www.thenation.com)

Big Brothers: Thought Control at Koch

Mark Ames and Mike Elk | April 20, 2011

On the eve of the November midterm elections, Koch Industries sent an urgent letter to most of its 50,000 employees advising them on whom to vote for and warning them about the dire consequences to their families, their jobs and their country should they choose to vote otherwise.

The Nation obtained the Koch Industries election packet for Washington State [1]—which included a cover letter from its president and COO, David Robertson; a list of Koch-endorsed state and federal candidates; and an issue of the company newsletter, Discovery, full of alarmist right-wing propaganda.

Legal experts interviewed for this story called the blatant corporate politicking highly unusual, although no longer skirting the edge of legality, thanks to last year’s Citizens United Supreme Court decision, which granted free speech rights to corporations.

“Before Citizens United, federal election law allowed a company like Koch Industries to talk to officers and shareholders about whom to vote for, but not to talk with employees about whom to vote for,” explains Paul M. Secunda, associate professor of law at Marquette University. But according to Secunda, who recently wrote in The Yale Law Journal Online about the effects of Citizens United on political coercion in the workplace, the decision knocked down those regulations. “Now, companies like Koch Industries are free to send out newsletters persuading their employees how to vote. They can even intimidate their employees into voting for their candidates.” Secunda adds, “It’s a very troubling situation.”

The Kochs were major supporters of the Citizens United case; they were also chief sponsors of the Tea Party and major backers of the anti-“Obamacare” campaign. Through their network of libertarian think tanks and policy institutes, they have been major drivers of unionbusting campaigns in Wisconsin, Michigan and elsewhere.

(more…)

April 12, 2011

Beware of the Heartland Institute: Brought to you in part by the Koch Brothers

Filed under: Heartland Institute,Koch Brothers,Tea Party — millerlf @ 12:10 pm

As an elected school member in Milwaukee, each month, I receive a stack of polished newspapers from a Chicago-based right-wing ”think tank” called the Heartland Institute. Under the banner of “free market” solutions to education, healthcare, taxes, the environment, telecommunication regulation and budgetary issues the Heartland Institute is a highly funded propaganda publishing house advancing the arguments of the most reactionary elements of corporate America. They are connected to Tea Party activism and see themselves as a “…clearinghouse for the work of 350 other think tanks and advocacy groups.”

 

Heartland publishes 5 slick monthly newspapers. They are:

  • Budget & Tax News
  • Environment & Climate News
  • Health Care News
  • Infotech & Telecom News
  • School Reform News

 

Their claimed audiences are the nation’s 16,700 national, state and local government officials. They wish to affect policy at every level of government in the U.S.

In their most recent expenditure statement they reported spending over $28,132,000 since 1998 receiving funding from right wing foundations including the Heritage Foundation , Cato Institute, Reason Foundation, Manhattan Institute along with corporations and individual. The Koch brothers are supporters.

This dangerous “think tank” represents an ideological movement whose goal is for corporate America to have a free hand to do anything they wish for profit and without regulation. They are working for complete privatization of the public sector and either elimination or privatization of the public’s safety net at the federal, state and local level.

They are key propagandists to the present right wing movement in the U.S, supporting any demand that increases corporate profits and weakens the peoples’ movements and democratic rights. In education vouchers are at the center of their reform demands. Their healthcare goal is to cut and privatize Medicare and Medicaid, giving the insurance industry free reign over the market. They fuel the movements at the state government level with “data” and arguments against unions, for cutting education and any safety net spending, including healthcare for the poor and elderly,  while supporting enormous tax breaks to businesses.

Their propaganda on the environment is clearly exposed in the April issue of their Environment and Climate News. Articles include:

  • Arguing that Japan’s “nuclear crisis” is more a media-contrived crisis than a real one. Explosions at a nuclear power facility damaged by the mid-March earthquake and tsunami did not expose civilians to dangerous levels of radiation. The science director for the Heartland Institute said of nuclear meltdown in Japan, “It is likely that at least one of the Fukishima reactors will totally melt down, but the danger to human health will remain slight.”
  • Celebrating a new study from the United Kingdom casting doubt on the claimed environmental benefits of reusable shopping bags.
  • Encouraging the U.S. House to keep the U.S. economy free of EPA-mandated carbon dioxide restrictions.
  • Welcoming the New Hampshire House vote by an overwhelming margin to end the state’s cap-and-trade program. The 246-104 vote approved a halt to the state’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. The bill now moves to the New Hampshire Senate.
  • Defending fracking, drilling and advancing unlimited nuclear energy.
  • Ridiculing San Francisco’s rebate program to induce installation of low-flow toilets.

They are completely opposed to renewable energy sources publishing studies that say they “kill jobs.” They deny global warming even claiming that “rising CO2 benefits plant life.” One of their tactical goals is to eliminate the EPA and base environmental controls at the state level. This would allow Governors to decimate environmental protections. An example is Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker proposal to cut state funding for recycling.

The Heartland Institute is based in Chicago. Their address is:

The Heartland Institute
19 South LaSalle Street #903
Chicago, IL 60603

To view Heartland’s website and publications go to:

http://www.heartland.org/about/

To view their most recent annual report go to:

2010Prospectus

March 29, 2011

The Kochs Are Coming

Filed under: Koch Brothers,Scott Walker — millerlf @ 11:06 am

This is an op-ed by Jim Hightower describing events around a Koch brothers strategy retreat in January.

by: Jim Hightower, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed Thursday 03 February 2011

Rancho Mirage, California – The multibillionaire Koch brothers are used to running their nefarious network of political front groups from behind closed doors, keeping their identities and self-serving involvement secret from the media and us hoi polloi.

For more than three decades, Charles and David Koch have been quietly funneling tens of millions of dollars from their industrial fortune into the Cato Institute, Federalist Society, Heritage Foundation, Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks and dozens of other right-wing organizations set up to push their extremist laissez-faire agenda of plutocratic rule. From behind their plush curtain, they’ve operated as the right wing’s Wizard of Oz — only Ozzier.

But now, the curtain is being pulled back, and there they are — buck naked and butt ugly — for all to see.

What an unpleasant surprise it must have been for the brothers last Sunday to find ordinary folks peering at them and their fellow Republican billionaires. About 200 of the wealthy elite were comfortably sequestered behind the gated walls of the Rancho Las Palmas Resort, presumably untouchable in the Southern California desert.

They had been invited to this lair of luxury to participate in an exclusive four-day political retreat that Charles periodically organizes to plot strategy with his peers and get money commitments from them for the next national election.

In the past, these have been totally clandestine pow-wows. They allow the Kochs and their corporate cohorts to huddle privately with such top GOP officials as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas and to hob-knob with such right-wing sparklies as Karl Rove and Glenn Beck.

This year, however, the letter of invitation from Koch Industries was leaked to researcher Lee Fang at the Center for American Progress. In it, Charles bragged that “we will assemble an exceptional group of leaders” at Rancho Las Palmas. And he did — but not the kind of leaders he intended to bring together!

Instead, he found some 1,500 grass-roots leaders gathered at the resort to greet the elites. Accompanied by national media, these uninvited guests succeeded in uncloaking the Kochs, turning the family’s name into a four-letter word — as in, “to Koch” democracy.

I was among the “rabble” intruding into this corporate getaway, having been invited by the political reform group Common Cause to speak and emcee the people’s Las Palmas rally. I can testify that the Koch crowd was not happy to see us — indeed, photographer Michael Cline snapped a wonderful picture of an exasperated David and Julia Koch glumly watching us from their resort’s balcony.

The purpose of our public protest was not merely to expose the handful of wealthy interests who are using front groups and secret corporate cash to gain political supremacy — we “outsiders” were also there to organize support for repealing last year’s infamous anti-democracy edict by the Supreme Court. A five-man cabal of corporatados on the Court ruled that a corporation is a “person” entitled to use unlimited sums of corporate funds to elect or defeat any candidate of its choosing — thus enthroning special-interest business money over all other interests in our society.

Unfortunately, to reverse the Kafkaesque hubris of the five Supremes who’re trying to play God, we need to pass a constitutional amendment that explicitly makes the obvious point that, to be a person, you have to have a navel. While passing any amendment to our nation’s basic governing document is difficult, it can — and must — be done if America is even to pretend to be a government of and by the people.

The good news is that Americans are up for it. A nationwide poll in January found that four out of five of our people support the passage of just such an amendment — including 68 percent of Republicans.

Two hundred and thirty-six years ago, Paul Revere rallied the American public’s resistance to the democratic repression with the cry, “The British are coming!” Today, the rallying cry is, “The Kochs are coming!” To join the resistance, go to www.freespeechforpeople.org.

National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be – consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.

March 2, 2011

Koch Brothers Right Wing Group, Americans for Prosperity, is on a Bus Tour Supporting Walker and Stopping at Serb Hall Tomorrow. Lets Welcome Them!

Filed under: Koch Brothers,Right Wing Agenda,Scott Walker — millerlf @ 5:27 pm

Americans for Prosperity are doing a bus tour around the state.  We think it would be appropriate that we show them a warm welcome wherever they are going.

What:      Americans for Prosperity

Bus Tour and Stop

When:     Thursday, March 3rd

Time:        11:45am

Where:      Serb Hall

5101 W. Oklahoma Ave.

Milwaukee, WI

From:Milwaukee Area Labor Council AFL-CIO

For more information: Jenissee Volpintesta 262/364.6751

jvolpintesta@wisaflcio.org

February 25, 2011

Walker Connection to Koch Industries

Filed under: Koch Brothers,Scott Walker — millerlf @ 10:10 am

Walker devoted 20 minutes to Koch call. Why?

Billionaires back conservative causes, issues

By Thomas Content of the Journal Sentinel Feb. 23, 2011 |

When a prankster called pretending to be billionaire David Koch, Gov. Scott Walker took 20 minutes out of his packed schedule to provide an unguarded briefing on the political stand-off in Madison.

No wonder: Koch is one of the biggest financial backers of conservative causes in the country, including Walker’s campaign for governor.

David Koch (pronounced “coke”), the man impersonated in the phone call to Walker, and his brother Charles control Koch Industries Inc., a privately held company with estimated revenue of $100 billion a year.

Last year, Koch Industries’ political action committee contributed $43,000 to Walker, the largest donation the Republican candidate received from a corporate committee, and the group’s largest gift in Wisconsin.

In addition, David Koch, executive vice president of the company, wrote a check for $1 million to the Republican Governors Association last year. Koch Industries also contributed an additional $50,000 to the governors’ group.

The Republican Governors Association spent $65,000 on ads supporting Walker and an additional $3.4 million on TV and radio spots attacking Mayor Tom Barrett, Walker’s Democratic opponent.

“They’re clearly right-wing kingmakers on the national stage,” said Michael McCabe, executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, which tracks political contributions in the state. “It’s also clear that they decided to invest in Scott Walker.”

Koch Industries, based in Wichita, Kan., has a significant presence in Wisconsin, with operations that include pipelines, coal shipping and paper mills. Most of its 3,000 employees are employed at its two paper mills in Green Bay acquired five years ago when the company bought Georgia-Pacific Corp.

(more…)

February 23, 2011

Walker Conversation Transcripts and Video: He Considered Sending “Troublemakers” Into Crowds of Protestors

Filed under: Koch Brothers,Scott Walker — millerlf @ 9:47 pm

There is a history in the labor and civil rights movements of using “troublemakers” to provoke discord and cause violence to try and discredit their legitimacy. Ethics and labor law violations should be considered.

The following is a transcript of a nearly 20 minute conversation on February 22, 2011 between Ian Murphy, a columnist for the website known as The Buffalo Beast, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Murphy was posing as conservative activist David Koch. The conversation was initially posted to the YouTube.com website.

To hear the actual conversation go to:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/23/scott-walker-buffalo-beast-phone-prank_n_827058.html

———-

WALKER:  Hi, this is Scott Walker.

MURPHY:  Scott, David Koch, how are you?

WALKER:  Hey, David, I’m good, and yourself?

MURPHY:  I’m very well.  I’m a little disheartened by the situation there, what’s the latest?

WALKER:  We’re actually hanging pretty tough.  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 almost to the last point to where it can be unamendable but they’re waiting to pass it until the Senate is in, but they’re — the Assembly Democrats have about 100 amendments to go 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 that members on 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 them about this morning, he told the Senate Democrats about, and he’s going to announce it today, and that’s 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 into your checking account…

MURPHY:  Beautiful.

WALKER:   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 desks on the floor of the state senate.

MURPHY:  Now, you’re not talking to any of them Democrat bastards are you?

(Double-click “more” to finish the transcripts)

(more…)

February 22, 2011

New York Times Article Today on Billionaire Brothers’ Money and Walker

Filed under: Koch Brothers,Scott Walker,Tea Party — millerlf @ 7:29 am

By ERIC LIPTON Published: February 21, 2011

WASHINGTON — Among the thousands of demonstrators who jammed the Wisconsin State Capitol grounds this weekend was a well-financed advocate from Washington who was there to voice praise for cutting state spending by slashing union benefits and bargaining rights.

The visitor, Tim Phillips, the president of Americans for Prosperity, told a large group of counter-protesters who had gathered Saturday at one edge of what otherwise was a mostly union crowd that the cuts were not only necessary, but they also represented the start of a much-needed nationwide move to slash public-sector union benefits.

“We are going to bring fiscal sanity back to this great nation,” he said.

What Mr. Phillips did not mention was that his Virginia-based nonprofit group, whose budget surged to $40 million in 2010 from $7 million three years ago, was created and financed in part by the secretive billionaire brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch.

State records also show that Koch Industries, their energy and consumer products conglomerate based in Wichita, Kan., was one of the biggest contributors to the election campaign of Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, a Republican who has championed the proposed cuts.

Even before the new governor was sworn in last month, executives from the Koch-backed group had worked behind the scenes to try to encourage a union showdown, Mr. Phillips said in an interview on Monday.

State governments have gone into the red, he said, in part because of the excessively generous pay and benefits that unions have been able to negotiate for teachers, police, firefighters and other state and local employees.

“We thought it was important to do,” Mr. Phillips said, adding that his group is already working with activists and state officials in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania to urge them to take similar steps to curtail union benefits or give public employees the power to opt out of unions entirely.

To union leaders and liberal activists in Washington, this intervention in Wisconsin is proof of the expanding role played by nonprofit groups with murky ties to wealthy corporate executives as they push a decidedly conservative agenda.

“The Koch brothers are the poster children of the effort by multinational corporate America to try to redefine the rights and values of American citizens,” said Representative Gwen Moore, Democrat of Wisconsin, who joined with others in the union protests.

(more…)

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