The Beast’s “David Koch” Speaks to Wisconsin Governor Walker

I was alerted about and listened to this recorded phone conversation between a caller claiming to be David Koch and Walker a couple hours ago and did not post it then over concern that might not be real. However, the governor’s office has issued a press release attempting to defend the governor’s half of the conversation. Per reader Doug Smith, who pinged me about the official statement:

Here’s the press release from Walker’s office:

The Governor takes many calls everyday. Throughout this call the Governor maintained his appreciation for and commitment to civil discourse. He continued to say that the budget repair bill is about the budget. 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.

I listened to the full tape. Walker said nothing at all that would indicate his appreciation for civil discourse. For example, at one point he describes a gambit under consideration where he’d invite the 14 Senators to join him in a conversation. Walker says ‘not a negotiation, a conversation’. Then he goes on to describe the purpose of this conversation: if they can get the 14 into a room, the law may support the notion that the session has officially begun — at which point, even if the 14 leave again, the quorum for the session would be there and the Republicans can move forward with votes even in the absence of the 14 Dems. Walker says, he’d be happy to have the 14 ‘scream at him for an hour’ if he could accomplish this legal tactic.

Civil discourse? Not a whiff of that in anything Walker said when he thought he was speaking to Koch.

Oh, at one point after “Koch” suggested Walker bring a baseball bat to the possible meeting, Walker did say “I’ve got on in my office. A Slugger”.

You can listen below:

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  1. knighttwice

    Yves, we should not be encouraging such guerilla tactics. This call was fraudulent….surprised you would add it to your blog. Walker won the election, as did the Reps in the WI Senate and Assembly. They get to control the legislative agenda. Dems are free to oppose and rally the populace for a return to Democrat rule in the next election cycle. I do not care for Obamacare, but I would not encourage any member of Congress to run from the debate.

    1. bdblue

      I can’t imagine ever voting Democratic again on the national level (Green, progressive, etc., for me from now on), but it is rich to hear GOP/conservatives complain about the Democrats’ tactics in Wisconsin. For starters, leaving the state was something they learned from Republicans (and that was over gerrymandering, excuse me, redistricting). Add to that that the standard GOP tactic in the Congress has been to obstruct, obstruct, obstruct. We have a record number of vacancies on the federal judiciary because they can’t get through the Senate (which is controlled by Dems thanks to election results). This is the first time in a long while any Dems have actually fought back against the conservative* assault on the 98% of Americans who don’t make up the elite and the whinging is just amazing.

      Of course, citing election results would only really matter if we had fair and free elections in this country, which we don’t. Between corporate cash, electronic “voting”, Bush v. Gore, ballot access restrictions (supported by both legacy parties), and an outright push to prevent the poor and underclasses from voting, it can hardly be said that the Wisconsin election or any election represents the will of all of the people in Wisconsin (I believe I read that just a little more than a million people voted for Walker in a state with a population of 5 million).

      * I say conservative and not GOP because why the GOP is leading the assault, gawd knows they have more than a fair share of Democrats, including national party leaders, joining in with them

      1. Knighttwice

        BD, a couple of points in reply. First, it was not the Reps who bugged out over redistricting, in was the Dems in TX in 2003. Second, judges were NEVER filibustered in the US Senate until the Dems began doing so during W’s first term. Look it up. I have. Third, so we are suppose to rail against banks (as I do) for their fraudulent practices but then condone someone pretending to be Koch? Seems an “ends justifies the means” approach and you can be happy in that dilemma without me. Fourth, so Koch contributing his millions for his agenda is BAD but Soros contributing his is GOOD. Okay, gotcha. My point to Yves was simply a hope that this blog, which I truly enjoy and read every morning at 5am, will not turn into the Drudge Report or some other titillating venue. Keep it serious and fact based. Regarding only 25% of the people voting for Walker, who is to blame? If you are pro-union and stayed home on election day you really can’t complain about the results of the democratic process.

        1. Yves Smith Post author


          This is what the Japanese would call a height competition among peanuts. As the end of the Clinton era a record number of Federal judge appointments were on hold due to Republican obtsructionism. That renders the particular form it takes moot.

          1. Knighttwice

            OK I stand corrected. I was not referring to “holds”, which have been used by both sides. I was referring to filibusters of judges who have had majority support but not enough to overcome a filibuster. In these circumstances, it is only the Democrats – in the history of the US – who have used this obstruction.

        2. lambert strether

          Wow, I never realized that looting trillions of dollars from the banking system and a prank call were equivalent. I’d say the big difference here is this: Any governor who doesn’t screen his calls deserves the Darwin award that Walker just won. The banksters deserve the Darwin award, too, but they bought off the judges and so they haven’t received it, yet.

        3. emca

          knighttwice sez:

          “it is only the Democrats – in the history of the US – who have used this obstruction.”

          (referring to filibuster of judicial nominees)

          Ever hear of David Hamilton of the seventh circuit or is a filibuster not a filibuster because its terminated with cloture?

          1. knighttwice

            Sorry, emca, you are right. My previous reply was poorly crafted. What I meant to say was that the Dems during W’s first term were the first to EVER use the filibuster against judges that would survive an up-or-down majority vote. Since then the Reps have used the same tactic against Obama nominees. Apologies.

    2. ScottS

      Guerilla tactics? We are talking about a prank call. This, I find, much preferable to “second amendment solutions.” And what a prank call has to do with obstructing governance, as you imply, I don’t understand.

        1. ScottS

          Yves, we should not be encouraging such guerilla tactics. This call was fraudulent….surprised you would add it to your blog. Walker won the election, as did the Reps in the WI Senate and Assembly. They get to control the legislative agenda. Dems are free to oppose and rally the populace for a return to Democrat rule in the next election cycle. I do not care for Obamacare, but I would not encourage any member of Congress to run from the debate.

          Your words. The points you make are:
          1. Don’t encourage “guerrilla” (or guerilla, however you want to spell it) tactics. Nevermind what makes irregular combat. I guess you prefer troops lining up in formation and firing volleys at each other.
          2. Republicans were vote in and can do whatever they like. Apparently they have no obligation to the 49% of people who voted for someone else.
          3. Democrats should not run from the debate. Yet “running from the debate” would be if they just caved in and let the vote proceed. They are following the letter of the law if not the spirit to accomplish something in the public’s greater good. They aren’t lazy, as I’ve seen other people in office complain.

          You explain to me how you connect those dots. You smashed those ideas together, so something about the prank call relates to your objection to the Wisconsin Democrats playing hooky.

          Frankly, everyone on this blog knows that the Democratic state legislators are only saving their own hide by standing by the unions. They would gladly screw the public unions too if it was in their interest. That doesn’t make it any less appropriate to see the Koch plan exposed and opposed by whomever does the exposing and opposing.

          Stick around, troll. This should be entertaining.

    3. attempter

      You sure have a depraved view of democracy, if you think “winning” with c. 25% of the electorate (including the 50% who refuse to demean themselves by participating in a kangaroo “election” and instead vote No to Kleptocracy with their feet) gives one a mandate to do anything at all, let alone anything so aggressive.

      This is the stark tyranny of a small thug minority. All citizens have an obligation to reject such Mubarak regimes as illegitimate.

          1. Veri

            With electronic voting, the only results that matter are the results the person counting wants. There are enough problems with electronic voting machines to warrant their discontinuation.

            Google ‘Diebold lost votes’ for a primer on how ‘voting’ really works in America.

          1. ScottS

            First of all, the 2000 presidential vote was decided by an activist (conservative) Supreme Court decision. No Electoral College needed.

            Second, the Electoral College was, in fact, a way to deny the popular vote in case the people got it “wrong.” So what is there to like about the Electoral College? It’s fundamentally anti-democratic.

            You bring up an excellent point, though. It’s time for DIRECT democracy, with judicial oversight to protect minority groups.

          2. Knighttwice

            Technically, you are correct about FL. However, I believe more than one newspaper determined later that if the FL recount had been permitted that Bush would have won anyway. Regarding the merits of the electoral college, it’s a close call, but I think there is a benefit to providing an incentive for candidates to visit the small population states rather than only focusing on the coasts. On the other hand, Reps don’t spend much time campaigning in CA, NY or IL. As I said, a close call but in such cases prefer to stick with the Founders.

          3. Yves Smith Post author


            Again wrong. This has been reported extensively pretty much everywhere in the world by the BBC’s Greg Palast but is apparently censored here.

            Jeb Bush hired the HIGH bidder (of 4 or 5) on the contract to scrub voter rolls of felons. Florida is one of those states where felons can never vote, even if they’ve repaid their debt to society.

            The contractor proceeded (this is documented) to scrub the rolls of voters whose names resembled the name of felons and were almost certainly black (think first names like Lakisha or Tyrone).

            The estimate of non-felon blacks denied the right to vote by this method was at least 90,000. It may have been as many as 180,000. There were lots of reports at the time of blacks in Florida being told that they were not on the voter rolls when they had been registered.

            Take the low number, 90,000. 30% voter turnout. 90% black voter propensity to vote Democrat. You get 24,300 more votes for Gore.

            This swamps the convenient diversion of the hanging chads. That election was stolen, period.

          4. kohler


            The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

            Every vote, everywhere would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. Elections wouldn’t be about winning states. Every vote, everywhere would be counted for and directly assist the candidate for whom it was cast. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states.

            In the 2012 election, pundits and campaign operatives already agree that only 14 states and their voters will matter under the current winner-take-all laws (i.e., awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in each state) used by 48 of the 50 states. Candidates will not care about 72% of the voters- voters-in 19 of the 22 lowest population and medium-small states, and big states like CA, GA, NY, and TX. 2012 campaigning would be even more obscenely exclusive than 2008 and 2004. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. Policies important to the citizens of ‘flyover’ states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

            The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes–enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

            The Electoral College that we have today was not designed, anticipated, or favored by the Founding Fathers but, instead, is the product of decades of evolutionary change precipitated by the emergence of political parties and enactment by 48 states of winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution.

            The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for president. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

            In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong in virtually every state, partisan, and demographic group surveyed in recent polls in closely divided battleground states: CO– 68%, FL – 78%, IA –75%, MI– 73%, MO– 70%, NH– 69%, NV– 72%, NM– 76%, NC– 74%, OH– 70%, PA — 78%, VA — 74%, and WI — 71%; in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE –75%, ID – 77%, ME — 77%, MT – 72%, NE — 74%, NH –69%, NV — 72%, NM — 76%, OK – 81%, RI — 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT — 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and border states: AR –80%, KY — 80%, MS –77%, MO — 70%, NC — 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, VA — 74%, and WV – ‘81%; and in other states polled: CA — 70%, CT — 74% , MA — 73%, MN – 75%, NY — 79%, OR – 76%, and WA — 77%.

            The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers, in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in AR, CT, DE, DC, ME, MI, NV, NM, NY, NC, and OR, and both houses in CA, CO, HI, IL, NJ, MD, MA ,RI, VT, and WA . The bill has been enacted by DC, HI, IL, NJ, MD, MA, and WA. These 7 states possess 74 electoral votes — 27% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.


        1. attempter

          wow, the same comment in two threads attempter?

          show up and vote, that’s how it works.

          Wow, the same comment in two threads, Marie?

          You keep telling me to eat cake, but you still don’t tell me where’s the cake.

          Besides, I don’t want cake. I want real food.

        2. Veri

          Google ‘Diebold lost votes’. This is how voting works. And remember, with paperless electronic voting machines, the only correct results are the results you want.

    4. Rex

      “Yves, we should not be encouraging such guerilla tactics. This call was fraudulent….surprised you would add it to your blog.”

      What we, Knightman? Top of the replies… You guys are quick. Monitoring the blogs to try to do some quick damage control?

      You aren’t trying to say that it wasn’t actually Walker, are you? We all know he is a Koch-sucker. I guess not to the level to know his phone voice well.

      1. Knighttwice

        It was Walker and I was not monitoring. Happenstance. I live on the east coast. Enjoying your fantasyland?

    5. DanP1966

      Guerilla tactics? Come on…it was a funny prank call. Walker was just an idiot for not catching on.

    6. Tao Jonesing

      “we should not be encouraging such guerilla tactics. This call was fraudulent….”

      Ah, I love the smell of concern trolling in the mid-afternoon.

      I’ll take the unvarnished truth any way I can find it these days. If it takes this kind of “fraud” or “guerilla tactics” to make Walker take off his mask and speak the truth, what does that say about what he’s doing the rest of the time? Perhaps that’s another species of fraud?

      1. Ina Deaver

        Thing is, this is the entire call. There aren’t “editing breaks” where the context of what is being said is being warped beyond all recognition. There aren’t people seeking to completely defund services to poor women, or seeking to portray people working at clinics as felons. No one plotting to sexually harass a reporter, and capture it on tape. Hmmm . . . .

        This particular prank call tactic goes back a long way on radio shows. When it comes to people who are actually elected officials – public persons – who are induced to speak about matters of public interest, and their words are honestly represented in full, I sort of cease to have a problem with it. Call me biased (hell, someone will).

        When our government is completely corrupted, I’m afraid that underhanded is the only way that you get it into the light of day. I wish it weren’t so.

        1. Tao Jonesing

          The fact that the recording is unedited is one of the things that makes me appreciate it even more. Unlike the Breitbart ACORN tapes or Shirley Sherrod, which were highly edited to compel a false conclusion, or even the Alan Grayson campaign ads with the edited recording of his opponent took things out of context, this recording is what it is.

          The funny thing is that some people listen to the whole recording and can’t seem to find anything wrong in what Walker said, and I think that’s because we’ve become so used to being told what the conclusion should be that we can’t seem to come up with one of our own. Unless there is the outrage-equivalent of an applause sign, many members of the American “audience” are incapable of figuring out for themselves what they should be angry about.

          It’s sad.

          1. Lidia

            I love the part where Walker wants to get Dems on ethics hangups, and then says this:

            “Fake Koch:…once you crush these bastards I’ll fly you out to Cali and really show you a good time.
            Walker: All right, that would be outstanding.”

    7. Goodby Fatcats!

      Dems are free to oppose and rally the populace for a return to Democrat rule in the next election cycle

      Wrong! Special elections are in order to recall all the senators in America. Our system is corrupt and needs replaced ASAP. Lobby groups and special interests are the core of this nation-wide problem. One can only hope and pray that Wisconsin does recall as many senators as possible on both sides and then wait a year to oust walker and other governors. Obviously we also need a new President that isn’t sleeping with the fatcats as well!

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        The problem is in Wisconsin the governor has to be in office a full year before a recall can be initiated.

        1. Hillary

          There are a fair number of assembly members and state senators who’ve been in office more than a year. I heard recall petitions are already circulating.

    8. Doug Terpstra

      Uh, speaking of “fraudulent” double standards, how about Walker’s false pretenses in calling on Dems to “talk not negotiate” in order to trick them into a legal quorum. Oops … never mind. The key difference is that the Dems may not be quite as gullible as Walker is. Truth is maybe a $40,000 bribe from the real Koch would do the trick.

    9. Yves Smith Post author

      Your argument is utter tripe. This action is hardly “guerilla”, it simply exposes that an embattled governor will take the call of one of his true masters and spend a pretty generous amount of time with him too.

      Threatening to send state troops anywhere in the state to physically detain state senators and drag them to the capitol and making coded threats to call out the National Guard is vastly more radical. Interesting to see how you lack any sense of proportion when it concerns the interests of the moneyed classes.

      1. YankeeFrank

        Yes, and why does it feel like we’re talking to creationists when we talk to “the other side”?

    10. Jimbo

      Emphatically agree. When I worked for a strategy consulting firm, we often had to get competitor data. It would have been so easy to call, misrepresent ourselves, and persuade a low-level employee to share proprietary data.

      But we never did.

      This guy explicitly misrepresented himself.

      No excuse.

        1. Veri

          Bingo. The question is, “Why aren’t the Democrats using this?” This is corruption to the core. And what happens to rates when privatization sets in? Rates go up, service and quality go down. There are enough examples to show that corporations are horrible at providing public services. Hell, counties are buying back public utilities after selling them off due to the poor performance of corporations, otherwise called ‘efficiency’ by the delusional.

      1. Yves Smith Post author


        Try Google. The famous “David Koch” is hardly the only David Koch in the US. There was apparently no effort to verify who the caller was.

        And per your getting high and mighty regarding competitor interviews, I’ve done a zillion of them. And with very senior executives, I might add, at least business unit level. In person. Always said I was a consultant. Always gave a general description of my client. (I do happen to give good phone, but that’s a separate issue). The only people to refuse me (and this was consistent) was Normura and the old Salomon.

    11. lambert strether

      So far as I’m concerned, the Ds who are preventing a quorum call are using the rules to their advantage. That’s doing their job, and about time, too.

      The conservatives and Kochist bultigaya who are yammering about this would be the first to quote Edmund Burke and shout praise for courage and high principle if their guys were doing the very same thing.

    12. Nimrod

      run from the debate

      They’re not running. They’re filibustering. The republicans have the power to remove the collective bargaining provision from the budget bill and vote on it as a separate bill. If they do so, they would only need a quorum of 17 instead of 20. Why don’t they do so?

    13. rjs

      the law wants to use live ammo, and you want to wait for democracy to work:

      Indiana Official: “Use Live Ammunition” Against Wisconsin Protesters – On Saturday night, when Mother Jones staffers tweeted a report that riot police might soon sweep demonstrators out of the Wisconsin capitol building—something that didn’t end up happening—one Twitter user sent out a chilling public response: “Use live ammunition.” From my own Twitter account, I confronted the user, JCCentCom. He tweeted back that the demonstrators were “political enemies” and “thugs” who were “physically threatening legally elected officials.” In response to such behavior, he said, “You’re damned right I advocate deadly force.” He later called me a “typical leftist,” adding, “liberals hate police.” Only later did we realize that JCCentCom was a deputy attorney general for the state of Indiana.

    14. Jessica6

      So what alternatives do you propose for people who cannot afford to buy access even to their own supposed representatives?

      This phone call highlights the arrogance and willingness to break the rules and game the system by those at the top of a supposed meritocracy.

      If a drug kingpin or child pornographer had been nabbed by an FBI crank call would you have been similarly upset?

  2. Sufferin' Succotash

    The post stated that the call was fraudulent, so that’s not exactly earth-shattering news. What’s interesting is what Walker said in the conversation and how his staff is trying to laugh off the whole thing. Heh heh.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The call was not “fraudulent”. The call was real, as in Walker was on the line. It was a prank.

      1. Sufferin' Succotash

        I guess what I meant to say was the Walker’s caller was fraudulent, i.e. not the Koch Beast From 20,000 Fathoms.
        Great movie, by the way…
        What Walker said was, of course, not fraudulent.
        It was a pretty accurate representation of contemporary conservatism on the job, building a better future for America!

      2. Adam

        Sorry, but State and Federal laws governing recording of calls don’t cover intentional misrepresentation, whether it’s a “one-party”, or “two-party” State. What this guy did was illegal, and should be worried that Feds don’t show up a-knockin’ at his door.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          American Express as a matter of policy has its phone reps use non-exotic assumed names while at work if their real name is obviously ethnic or unusual. Having had Amex as a client, they are very careful of the law.

          It is also legal in New York State to record your own conversations, and any parties to that conversation, without notifying them. Third party wiretaps are another matter entirely.

          I suggest you look at actual statutes before playing amateur lawyer.

          1. JDNMesq

            Hear, hear! Always nice when someone points out that there are *gasp* actual statutes that are supposed to structure our society. It’s just that the “rule of law” has lost most of its credibility.

          2. Ina Deaver

            Wiretapping laws do not at all cover whether you misrepresent who you are. Wiretapping is about accessing other people’s phone calls, or recording same so that they can be accessed. If you are a party to the call, and the other person KNOWS you are a party to the call, you fall within the one-person states. Otherwise, law enforcement would need a wiretapping permit for everything they do.

            What is extremely interesting is that the law is entirely open about where a phone call takes place: when New York calls Wisconsin, whose law applies? What if the number is a Jersey area code on a cell phone that is bouncing off a tower in Connecticut? Since we’ve gone wireless, where a phone call happens is especially interesting. The laws were all written for technology that is now only used in the breach.

  3. Jade in NM

    LMBBAO… and remembering the delightful phone call Sarah Palin took from “President Sarkozy” of France during the 2008 election.

    In this unguarded moment, Walker reveals much — not the least of which is his eagerness to take a phone call from his campaign fund masters. Apparently, $43,000 and the promise of a sweetheart deal to buy a utility company goes a long way in Wisconsin.

    “Koch Whore” is oh so apropos.

    1. readerOfTeaLeaves

      Yeah, I was also intrigued by what Walker revealed:
      — an “us vs them” mentality
      — mentioning a Dem as ‘not one of us’, and ‘not a real conservative’, but a ‘pragmatist’. Evidently, in WalkerWorld ‘pragmatist’ is code for ‘useful tool’.
      — The NYT and media **only do good reporting that is not ‘librul’** when they report something that he wants to hear, that fits Walker’s preconceptions. Otherwise, it’s just ‘librul bias’. So much for the NYT or any other media source trying to present facts; those are evidently not what Walker wants.
      — his threats of layoffs are a brazen **political** ploy, a tool of power to gain Walker’s political agenda; so much for governing, it’s apparently all about leverage to make workers cave.

      As for Walker’s attempt at creating a ruse to get the Dems (or even one or two) to return only long enough for a quorum TO BE CREATED, I believe that Walker is correct. I’ve done exactly this thing: sometimes, it’s easier to get a quorum, then have those who can make the meeting move the agenda items forward so that things can proceed farther up or down the feed chain in a timely fashion.

      But Walker’s use of this method as a ruse to deliberately screw one party, along with state employees, strikes me as remarkably stupid. Talk about whort term thinking (!). He can pound his fist and win this round, but to get anything done long term requires a lot more savvy and consideration for others than I see exhibited in this phone call.

      Walker seems like Exhibit A in what’s wrong with American politics and governance at the moment; short term power plays over longer term network building.

    2. Richard Kline

      So Jade, I agree with everything but your math: Walker took $1,400,000 dollars from the Koch machine. The rest of it was funneled through third parties. Scott Walker would nto be Governor of Wisconsin without this politically dedicated money. And eleven months from now, NO amount of money is going to keep Walker in office. He’s a cynic, cruel, without ethics, and a stupe on the phone to boot. Even people who might agree with him will want him gone to cut the stink come a year and less some from now.

  4. emca

    An excellent example of Scott walk(er)in’ the Koch (talk).

    I’m remind of that old cartoon strip where the little dog is jumping around big dog saying, “did I do well Spike-huh-huh- did I do well?!”

    I was just wondered what big contributions would buy, now I know:


    1. ScottS

      The funniest thing is how cheap respect comes. $65,000 plus some attack ads? Really?

      Of course, it’s the cushy work after paying your dues in public office that’s the real lure, I imagine.

  5. Campbeln

    Alright, call me nieve, but where in the hell are the adults?

    Change procedural rules so their checks are not direct deposited, but instead locked in their desks in the assembly room?

    Goad them into a meeting so as to declare a quorum then when they leave, scream “nah nah, nah na nah NAH” and move forward on your agenda?

    How about honest negation and an honest attempt to represent the people you were elected to represent? Nevermind… corporations are “people” too so I guess “they” ARE being represented.

    This is just a disgusting look inside politics. Nothing but tricks and bullshit to force one solution/opinion/whatever over the other rather then an honest intelectual effort to develop a true solution.



      1. ScottS

        You must be new around here. Obamacare is not too popular with anyone who posts regularly that I’ve seen.

        Sorry, not everyone fits into your round/square peg-holes.

        If you read the blog for five minutes, you would understand that. I gave you the benefit of the doubt on the first post, but you are obviously a 50-cent troll.

        1. Campbeln

          My guess is that Knight is an astroturf’er so there’ no need to understand the conversation, just try to divert it.


      2. Campbeln

        First, nice straw man. Obamacare… really? How the hell does that apply to my comment above?

        Now, onto the matter at hand…


        Divide and conquer, damnit! We have been divided and are being conquered!

        “But but BUT… the blue did it before the red! WAHHHHHHHH!”

        Give me an adult to represent me, damnit! Someone who will actually do their damned job rather then cover their own asses and interests.


    1. Derbil

      And that’s why SAT scores have been losing their weight recently in many college admissions decisions. If the knuckle draggers in Wisconsin can score well in SAT tests, something MUST be wrong! Look who they elected (and will re-elect!) for governor!! Should rename the state NONsensin or WisCONNEDsin… hahhhahhhhahhhh!! Hey Wisconsin, Grab a Koch and a smile!! Hah haaaaa haaa!!!

    2. purple

      Be careful with those scores. Only 3% of Iowans took the SAT, the kids planning on attending East Coast Ivy League schools usually.

      In other words, a select group. You can’t compare it with a New York where 85% take the test.

      Most in the upper Midwest take the ACT.

      That being said, the area does have an excellent education system.

      1. svaha

        As an East Coast Ivy League student from Missouri I can attest to this. Not many kids take the SAT. Please don’t get me started on Midwest education… I surprised I survived it.

  6. War on thr middle class

    State-by-State Scorecard for Civil War?

    Poverty in the U.S. spikes
    Regionally, the South was the poorest area of the country, with a rate of 15.7%. It also experienced the biggest jump in poverty, 1.4 percentage points from 14.3% in 2008.

    The West had a poverty rate of 14.8%, the Midwest rate was 13.3% and the Northeast rate was 12.2%.

    Mississippi is the poorest state in the nation with an average of 20.6% of the population earning less than the threshold rate over the past two years. Arizona, at 19.6%, and New Mexico, at 19.3%, also recorded much higher poverty than the national average.

    New Hampshire, at 7.3%, had the lowest percentage of poor residents with Connecticut, at 8.3%, and Utah, at 8.6%, also scoring well.

    The state comparisons may not be very fair, according to Sawhill. They make no provisions for differences in living costs. Groceries, housing, prpoerty and sales taxes and lots of other costs can vary greatly.

    “I think we need to revise the poverty measure to take into account regional cost differences,” she said.

    Census seems to agree. It announced an initiative to work with other agencies to develop a supplemental poverty measure that will incorporate non-cash factors, as well as cost of living differences, to better describe economic well-being. The new gauge will not replace the poverty report.

  7. YankeeFrank

    As long as people aren’t led to a conclusion that is counter to reality there is no fraud. The problem with Breitbart and that little toad who defrauded Acorn is that they DOCTORED the documentary evidence they obtained. Dirty tactics and trickery have been part of politics forever. The problem is that now we have all this video and audio editing software that allows for people to take the truth and turn it into a lie. As long as the Koch Beast fellows did not edit the tapes to create a false sense of reality their work is fair and unimpeachable. Its the lies that need to be outed, and unfortunately the MSM has no interest in doing the real work of journalism to make sure the lies are filtered out, so its left to us. Breitbart is a lying creep and should lose all credibility. The problem is that the right wing is perfectly comfortable with lies as long as the lies lead us to their “reality”. It is unethical and immoral what they do — but then again they are the ones who assassinate the people they really don’t like, so why should we expect any different? That is why its a coup when we can get one of these turds on tape showing their true colors, and bravo to Koch Beast for doing just that.

    1. Lidia

      YankeeFrank, this is the problem with sociopaths: they will ALWAYS take it farther than sane or fair people are willing to go.

      1. YankeeFrank

        That is true Lidia, but nonetheless we should not stoop to such tactics. In the short term it may mean we take more losses, but eventually, justice will out.

  8. Derbil

    Hey WisCONNEDsin: I hear Mubarak is looking for a job. Do I hear the next governor of WisCONNEDsin coming down the pike? Good news!! Gadhafi is also available!! And he knows how to call air strikes on protesters!! Hahhh ahhh haaaa ha!! Bad news: Adolph left the building, but you have your choice between two very promising candidates… Just tryin’ to help you out.. CBS cares /\.

  9. Sam

    The comparison to Reagan firing air traffic controllers is amusing for how dumb Republicans are. At work the other day, someone commented, “I had teacher certification for teaching psychology in high school. I wanted to switch to kindergarten teaching, but I couldn’t afford kindergarten certification.”

    I have never heard Republicans talk about teacher certification in Wisconsin. How long does it take to acquire teacher certification at both levels? How much does tuition cost? How far do you have to drive to any Wisconsin university campus? Does Wisconsin have reciprocal arrangements to recognize certification with neighboring states? Because my thinking is that, unlike the Republican claptrap, you cannot just hire anyone off the street to teach in any state, not for the long term, anyway.

    1. Fattigmann

      Re: WI teaching cert.
      Excellent system, draws top candidates. High debt (40 k), extremely competitive state-wide. Net surplus of teachers. Schools heart-and-soul of communities. Pay varies by district. Typically starts in low-to-mid 30s. Goes up gross 1400 per year with grad classes. Grad classes reimbursed some, but increasingly rarely. Masters out-of-pocket for 14000. Walker will make WI like the south with private schools for those with means. Home-schooler-type who despises successful public institutions. Progressive rural state increasingly galvanized by fox news to resentment and blame game. American anti-intellectualism directed against educated public employees.

  10. skippy

    Tis enjoyable when high level political individuals conversing with those they wish to emulate, act in behest of, is reduced to its lowest common denominator:

    Regional drug dealer getting a call from the Cartel Boss…ROFLMAO.

    Skippy…whom is mimicking whom…may I ask.

    1. bob

      That really is the power dynamic on that call. Pregnant pauses used by the caller to keep him talking worked.

      What’s really sad is that Walker thinks that he might actually be high enough on the totem pole to warrant such a call. Apparently he has never really spoken to him before, just taken his checks to the bank.

      I would have used this dynamic a little bit different, maybe a quick second phone call “Walker, get down here immediately, we need you in chicago, the redcoats are coming.”

      1. skippy

        What the hell does a sitting Governor do, when his relevancy, has been equated to the receiving end of early morning talk jock buffoonery.

        Skippy…redcoats eh…that would have stood the test of time…immortalized!

  11. Bernard

    if the opposition doesn’t use any and all tactics to stop the Elites from destroying America and freedom, what good will “honor” and “dignity” be.

    being morally “right” and losing the war is not a “good” outcome. We are living in dangerous times, like Weimar Germany. to turn the other cheek may not be the best path here.

    the enemy of American freedom, aka Corporatism, doesn’t care how they win.

    as Vince Lombardi said, “Winning is all that matters!”

    stopping the Koch mentality is what is necessary. knowing when to say when is what this is all about.

    1. YankeeFrank

      We can use deception as the buffalo beast just did, but lying and/or violence will only weaken our cause ultimately. Look at Breitbart — most of the country can’t stand that guy because the saw what a liar he is. Sure fox and friends love him, but they are a small minority compared to those who detest being lied to. Let the other side lie and debase themselves, but using a little deception to get at the truth is completely fair in politics. I take exception to the notion that our heroes in buffalo did anything unethical frankly. The tapes are unaltered and we get to see who this Walker fellow really is. How is that wrong? If buffalo beast had claimed it was a real call between the real Koch and Walker that would be a true deception. They did not — they were up front with everyone (the public) but the party who is guilty of the union-busting going on in Wisconsin, and he is fair game.

  12. Jean

    Walker admitted to using state employees to find a way to hang his political opponents, the Democratic senators, with felonies. I’m not a lawyer, but that is the single most damning thing I heard in the tapes.

    The most amusing was citing the man who left state employment to “make real money” in the private sector. Hey, I thought this was supposed to be all about the private sector making less than the public sector.

    1. Linda R.

      I wish the rest of it was as widely quoted:

      “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).”

      IOW, If I say it’s in the public interest, it’s in the public interest. Your only option is to agree.

  13. Rollback Education NOW!!!

    SAT/ACT Factoid Debunked

    How about the Wisconsin second place-finish? Well, that is accurate for the SAT, but notably only 5 percent of Wisconsin students took the SAT — a negligible rate. On the ACT, which is the main test taken in the Badger State, Wisconsin finished 13th — not bad, but hardly great.

    ==> Yah, trash Wisconsin for being in the Top 10, for education performance; do the math CATO!

    Sell the schools to the lowest bidder… crap, walmart…. walmart could take over the education system nationwide and deliver those … what are those things they do… those, ahhh, mmmm, ahhhh, rollbacks — yah that’s it, roll back edcation in America with Koch and walmart NOW!

  14. Who are the twins?

    I’m getting this Darth Vader kinda felling near my dangling appendages, as I continue to read about the Kock Kocckh Koke Twins .. whatever

    Who are these twins anyway and how did they inherit so much dough? I can only assume that these twins are part of the Hilton Klan DNA and that somehow these mutated twins morphed into some new species that intermingled with zombies .. but who are these Darth Vader-like twins … I guess this goes full circle … I guess this goes round and round and back to the question to why any truck driver in America, or anywhere in the world would continue to deliver products manufactured by these evil twins? It seems that the little fella should just ignore the cargo that the twins need delivered. If the twins can’t grow cash flow, the twins will have less dough, and if the twins have less dough … America can get back to being in control of ridding itself of scum like these.

  15. psychohistorian

    It is interesting to note that Yves blog is now at the top of the fascist hit list as evidenced by the immediate “controversial” comment to her postings.

    It is encouraging that she is being read by folks that are troubled by what they see but still holding tightly to those faith based beliefs/propaganda causing their dissonance.

    Will the MSM ever cover this Walker stupidity?

    1. psychohistorian

      I can feel the pearl clutching already…

      I want to go slightly OT here and point out the name of a recent posting by Brad Delong titled: Politics is undermining our economy.

      Those of us that have read ECONNED can obviously see the dissonance projected here…..politics and economics only exist in combination, all else is BS. Unfortunately, this is what the good side of the profession has to say to profess any indignation of our current situation.

      Where the economics profession (gag) infuriates me is in their externalizing the military industrial complex from all “serious” studies, models and discussion. After all, that is politics and that is separate. Face it Krugman, Thoma and Delong, you are apologists for a religion that doesn’t exist….there are no animal spirits, just power and control.

  16. East Coast Guy


    I have been reading your site for about six months. I have appreciated the articles and the discourse in the comments.

    This is the first time I have commented. I wish that I had posted some previous comments for the many things that we agree on. (Bank fraud and the Wall St bailout would be high on the list.)

    On this issue, I just cannot see it as you do. Here are my questions for you.

    1) How can you justify supporting the Wisconsin senators (D) walking out on their job? Is this really how you want politics to be conducted? If I refuse to do my job because I don’t like the policies that management is proposing, I’d be fired. Why shouldn’t that be true for the AWOL senators?

    2) Who was it that said “Elections have consequences?” Gov. Walker campaigned and said that he was going to do exactly what he is trying to do now. Isn’t this what democracy is all about? If you don’t like the results, get out and vote different next time.

    3) I believe it is still illegal to record a phone conversation without informing the other party that you are doing so. Is this the kind of behavior we want to encourage? How will you feel when somebody breaks into your house and videotapes you (eating dinner, reading a book, I don’t care what you are doing). I think you would be outraged and rightfully so.

    FWIW, I have been an employee for a state agency in a right-to-work state for the last three years. Prior to that, I ran a successful small business for eight years. Prior to that I worked for a non-profit agency for five years (a name everyone would know instantly).

    Thanks again for many previous posts. I just can’t swallow this one.

    1. Dave

      ECG, I agree with you. I came to this blog during the financial crisis in ’08 because I enjoyed Yves’s anti-establishment viewpoint, but I don’t see that in this case. Public sector unions seem to be just as much a part of the establishment as the Goldman Sachs’ of the world (although have probably done less damage). Unfortunately there are probably many readers like us who won’t bother dropping by to leave a comment before they look elsewhere for their financial commentary.

      1. psychohistorian

        Dave and EastCoastGuy,

        If you haven’t read ECONNED and a bit of history, then yes, perhaps you should go elsewhere for your financial commentary that suits your notion of how the world works…or doesn’t.

        The pearl clutching is entertaining though….pass the popcorn.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        If you don’t understand that the Kochs are the establishment, you are not paying attention. They are major derivatives players and very long standing clients of Goldman, BTW.

        This is the struggle of our age, and if you think your interests are aligned with those of Walker and the Kochs, I can’t help you. This is the top 1%, their companies and their operatives against the rest of us. You may not like the look of some of your allies, but if we don’t hang together, we lose.

        Denying a quorum is a legitimate legislative tactic and hardly unusual. The fact that Walker was willing to sic state troops on them and forced them to leave the state is the unusual part here. The Democrats are serving their constituents by denying that quorum. This is not “not working”. That’s the spin Walker’s crowd has put on it and you have bought their PR.

        The Republican fight to win. The left either has to learn to respond in similar style or lose. You may not like how ugly the results are, but they did not throw the first punch in this fight.

        Re that call, police engage routinely in much more aggressive versions of that tactic, WITHOUT court orders, and it’s not considered entrapment. Amex has employees make calls under assumed names as I described earlier in the thread. Wisconsin may have tighter laws than most states, but you’d need to know where the call was made from. And it went through a switchboard or a secretary which provided a second level of screening. It’s hard to say Walker was abused. Most powerful people don’t just call a governor, particularly in the middle of a crisis. They have their secretary schedule a call.

        And you are free to leave. As Barry Ritholtz says of his readers, “Embrace the churn.”

        1. Knighttwice

          I suppose Soros is anti-establishment…..and therefore immune.

          I’m sure you’ll call me wrong again, but I believe under WI law it is the head of the Senate that sent the troopers after the Dems on the lam. I am unaware of WI’s laws but after a quorum call there may be a mandatory “call of the house” that is enforceable?

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Straw man. What does Soros have to do with Wisconsin?

            You really like diversion when you are losing the argument.

    2. Linda R.

      ah, but DID he say this was what he was going to do?

      From what I’ve heard, he said he was going to cut spending, get the budget on track – the usual Republican campaign talking points – maybe even get concessions from the public sector unions. But it seems he did NOT say he planned on such a draconian restriction of collective bargaining – or that he intended to do an end run around approval process for the sale/licensing of power plants.

      In fact, on the prank call he describes a celebratory dinner with his cabinet in which he uses the words, “drop the bomb” in referring to these actions.

      If he never mentioned these rather significant details in his campaign, he election couldn’t be seen as a referendum on them – even if more than 50% of the eligible voters voted for him.

      1. knighttwice

        What if we stipulate that he never mentioned ANY of the anti-collective bargaining policies. Does that make it illegitimate to propose such changes for a vote by the Legislature? Isn’t this our system? If the proposals are passed by the Legislature without popular support, the offending politicians will be kicked out in the next cycle. To wit, the Dems losing the House last November. What is the alternative? Governors and Legislatures can only propose laws that they campaigned on? Seems unworkable.

        1. Sufferin' Succotash

          Being reasonably honest with the voters certainly seems unworkable…if you’re Scott Walker.

  17. Doug Terpstra

    It is now Walker’s ethics and tactics that are under fire following this call. The Nation’s John Nichols:

    “The 20-minute call, which the governor’s office has confirmed Walker participated in, raises questions about collaboration between the governor and benefactors of his 2010 to enact legislation that would benefit those interests.”

    “Those questions point to a more profound question: Has Walker violated Wisconsin’s strictest-in-the-nation ethics rules, which require elected officials to “maintain the faith and confidence of the people of the state” when it comes to their actions?”

    “Here’s the critical exchange:”

    “Koch caller: ‘Well, I tell you what, Scott: once you crush these bastards I’ll fly you out to Cali and really show you a good time.'”

    “Governor Walker: ‘All right, that would be outstanding. Thanks for all the support in helping us move the cause forward….'”

    “Koch caller: ‘Absolutely. And, you know, we have a little bit of a vested interest as well.'”

    ” ‘Well,’ replies Walker, ‘that’s just it.'”

    “When someone who Scott Walker thought was a major donor to national groups that aided Walker’s 2010 gubernatorial run – as that gave the Walker campaign $43,000 directly, via Koch Industries’ KochPAC – said he had a ‘vested interest’ in a budget plan being pushed by the governor, Walker replied ‘Well, that’s just it.'”

    “The conversation is so stunning in its brazenness that the Center for Media and Democracy, which had already filed a freedom-of-information requests for records of contacts between the governor and his aides and representatives of Koch industries, is stepping up those demands…”

  18. Patrick

    Yves – Could you rebut the Wall Street Journal’s “Two-Track Economy” graph implying cause and effect between union membership and economic growth? The link to the article is here and the graph half-way into the article. Thanks!

  19. Doc Holiday

    Use of Foodstamps Soars, as Dow Spikes Higher

    ==> One version of this legislation, the Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act of 2007 was passed by the United States House of Representatives on July 27, 2007. Despite opposition from some senators, including a failed amendment proposal by Senator Richard Lugar and a veto threat by President Bush, the Senate version of the bill, called the Food and Energy Security Act, was passed by the Senate Agriculture Committee on October 25, 2007 and later by the full Senate on December 14.[2][3] In late April 2008, congressional negotiators finally reached a deal to reconcile the House and Senate bills. The deal increased spending on food stamps and other food programs while mostly maintaining the current farm subsidies, despite record farm profits.[4]


    Tentative Deal Reached in Congress on Farm Bill

    Published: April 26, 2008
    The bill, which would cost more than $300 billion, includes an increase of $1 billion a year for food stamps and other nutrition aid, and it would make a modest cut, of about $40 million a year, to a much-criticized farm subsidy that is paid based on acreage even if it is no longer farmed.

    The deal also contains tax cuts of up to $1.8 billion, including depreciation incentives for racehorse breeders sought by the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. And it includes a new $3.8 billion disaster relief program for farmers, scaled back from the $5 billion proposed by the Senate.

    Emerging from an all-day negotiating session in the Capitol, Mr. Peterson and Mr. Harkin joked about seeing white smoke emerging from a window — the signal that a new pope has been chosen. And Mr. Harkin told reporters that there were “no major sticking points after this afternoon’s meeting.”

    The Bush administration has called for much lower limits that deny subsidies to anyone with an average adjusted gross income above $200,000 a year. And while some of the last-minute maneuvering was intended to address White House concerns, it remained unclear if the administration would support it or will renew veto threats.

    ==> Does that seem surreal to anyone?

    ==> subsidies to anyone with an average adjusted gross income above $200,000 a year

    Are you fucking kidding me that any of the people in congress are not in drugs, and that the American people are fucking retarded?

    Bush destroyed America and all the pieces that weren’t obliterated are being subjected to chemical warefare by Wisconsin’s walker and the new era of politicalized civil war against anyone that doesn’t make at least $200,000!

    The reason for civility in Wisconsin today — and America in the future, is due in large part to Federal foodstamps and the vodka and opium cocktail-like impacts that create a methamphetamine lethargy in Americans that are unemployed. Americans fail to understand that while they’re in the gutter, the boot heels of the Koch Brother Twins are being ground into their faces … and they have no fucking clue what’s going on, because they’re all able to go buy tasty goodies with foodstamp and ignore the fact, that these subsidies to consumers fuel growth — growth for the new economy that will exclude the middle class and anyone that doesn’t make more than $200,000.

    ===> test??? Anyone home????????????

    Q??? What is … no, no…

    Who is:

  20. nonclassical

    To those of us who have faced nightsticks before, the egregious portion of “the call” is Walker’s assertion he had originally thought to solicit instigators to turn protests into violence (ala “Grapes Of Wrath”) by creating “false flag” violence..

    No surprise the return of Fox fundamentalists to Nixon politics…

  21. affinis

    A point related to all of this. The WI bill would permit sale of WI state-owned powerplants in a no-bid process (apparently to whomever the Walker administration wishes). Perfect setup for control fraud.
    Now, I don’t know whether the Koch brothers would benefit directly, but a reporter at Salon stated (incorrectly): “the Kochs, as far as I can tell, do not seem to be in the business of actually buying, selling or operating ‘heating, cooling and power plants.'”
    Here’s a clear counterexample to that statement:

    On a related note – one of the primary powerplants involved (i.e. the Charter St plant in Madison WI) was in the process of being converted from coal to biomass. Looks like, under Walker’s orders, it will be converted to natural gas instead (Koch Industries is a major natural gas supplier).

  22. Richard Kline

    *HAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHA* —And the smug bastard took the call without even _attempting_ to verify the source.

  23. profoundlogic

    Walker shows his true colors and the Indiana deputy attorney general loses his job for doing the same.

    These recent events highlight the level of entitlement and greed within the monied elite. In their Utopian world, they can have their cake and eat it to, all from the privacy of their gated compounds. The little people, those pesky workers who might actually be doing something productive needn’t bother with issues like decent wages, health care or retirement benefits.

    Kudos to Wisconsin for shedding some light on the rampant corruption in American politics.

  24. a

    I do agree that Wisconsin shows that the US is a banana republic, but not for the usual reasons.

    Everyone is getting worked up about worker salaries (payments by the government), whereas fewer are mentioning the revenue side, when Walker gave tax breaks that created the budget deficit. Americans are still living in la-la land, where you expect government to pay for things but think that revenue somehow magically shows up.

    The most important step that must be done now is to raise taxes, especially on the wealthy, and certainly not cut them. If that can’t be done, then government (unfortunately) has to shrink.

  25. Tenney Naumer

    East Coast Guy bears all the hallmarks of a concern troll.

    The worst part of Walker’s conversation was where he stated that he had considered bringing in troublemakers.

    1. Sufferin' Succotash

      I couldn’t help but notice the speed with which Walker got defended on this blog. I guess the Paid Shill alert went out pretty quickly after word of this phone conversation became public.

    2. East Coast Guy

      Not a troll. Just have a different viewpoint on this one.

      To Tenney (below). Thanks for clarifying the consent issue. I’d like retract the third point in my post.

      Yves: I don’t plan to stop reading the blog based on one post. I have learned (and thought) about many things thanks to what I read here.

  26. Tenney Naumer

    Yves, I have this just in from a highly respected journalist from Minn.

    You can tell Yves that Wisconsin is a “one-party” consent state for the purposes of recording a phone call. Federal law is one-part consent, but states can make federal law stricter but not more liberal. So, some states have two-party consent laws. Wisconsin only requires the consent of one of the people in the conversation, and that is, always, the recording party.

Comments are closed.