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February 23, 2011

Comments

Beautiful, beautiful.

This link claims that the Koch Brothers are already advertising for a manager of the power plant Wisconsin will be giving him. However, it doesn't really verify that it is the Kochs who are advertising for a Wisconsin power plant manager: http://current.com/news/93018923_koch-bros-are-so-sure-theyll-own-wi-power-plants-that-theyre-already-hiring.htm

Here is the URL of the ad itself: http://www.thinkenergygroup.com/think.nsf/J/84239?Opendocument

I have no idea how many coal-fueled power plants there are in Wisconsin.

Gary,

Have you seen the story about how Walker's prior union-busting effort involved firing a bunch of unionized Milwaukee security guards and replacing them with [drumroll, please...]

Wackenhut?

This guy is such a principled defender of freedom, I tells ya!

Wonder what Walker will have to say about this? Murphy will probably get into trouble for impersonating a Koch (pronounced "cock"), but my hunch is he'll find plenty of people willing to stand with him. Nice work, Gary.

What a maroon.

There are 70 coal-fired power plants in Wisconsin.

Link

Murphy will probably get into trouble for impersonating a Koch (pronounced "cock")

Pronounced "Coke", actually.

You say coke, I say cock...meh. They both screw people.

Walker:Thanks for all the support and helping us move the cause forward.

This shows that lower minions are true believers. not really in bad faith, but just a lack of empathy and econ101 understanding makes them easily played with.
The fact that they can win elections shows the same about US level of education and myth believers, cult personality followers.

If Obama was to order to drop a bomb on al-Gaddafy, i believe the US would recover some of the moral standing in the world. Maybe even signal some things to kings of Saudi Arabia and prevent blockage of oil from there, $200 oil price, and following US economic crash.
Sorry to get off topic, just sharing some ideas.

Sure. Taking out despotic heads of state is almost always a good idea, and will lead to almost certain applause from the rest of the world.

What we really ought to be planning for, though, is a zombie apocalypse. Which, note to self: stock up on .30-06 cartridges.

Anyone want to hear more of my unfiltered and completely unconsidered internal conversations? Could be a hoot.

Assassinating a head of state is (1) illegal and (2) likely to be construed as an act of war. Do we really want to have a third ongoing war with a Muslim-majority nation? All this ignores the fact that during the last Gulf War, the US military was really really bad at "targeted leadership strikes". I believe that were about 70 such strikes directed against Hussein just before the war and they were all total failures. Many of them killed random innocent people.

I don't know why it is so hard for Americans to accept that there are problems in the world we simply cannot solve, especially with our military.

Slarti
I you could read zerohedge.com and March 20 start of revolt in Saudi Arabia and implications it could have on delivery of oil.
Laugh at me after that

http://www.zerohedge.com/article/if-mountain-will-not-come-muhammad-revolution-will-come-saudi-arabia-march-20

Do we really want to have a third ongoing war with a Muslim-majority nation?

Wait, only 3? You're making Pakistan and Yemen feel left out.

I don't know why it is so hard for Americans to accept that there are problems in the world we simply cannot solve, especially with our military.

Because we don't all hate the troops like you Turb. They're Gods among (formerly straight only) Men.

Damn, I totally forgot about Yemen and Pakistan. Thanks for the reminder Ugh.

CT, not a good idea. Not at all. We tried that once. We missed. He's not a very big target.

I you could read zerohedge.com

What, you're going to believe some pseudonym at zerohedge over me?

I'm not sure where you're going with this.

But you've convinced me. Absolutely, the way to have a March 20 revolution in Saudi Arabia is to launch a Facebook page to that effect, and then have maybe 4000 people like it. It's an idea whose time has come!

There's one thing I don't understand about this notion that Koch is planning on buying up WI's coal fired power plants. Does the state government actually own any power plants? As far as I know, they don't, but I could be wrong.

It is different to find a leader when the whole country is available to hide in, Gaddafi is limited to movement in half of Tripoly only, and if the order includes only one attempt to hit, it will not incite a negative reaction.

Should I be interested in CT's newsletter, do you think?

Crithichal thinkherer: There are open threads here from time to time, if you'd like to bring up totally unrelated topics without looking like you're trying to derail an existing discussion.

It is different to find a leader when the whole country is available to hide in, Gaddafi is limited to movement in half of Tripoly only

When you're hunting for one single man, there ain't much difference between the whole country and just one city: they're both impossible. Note that during the last Gulf War, all of the "targeted leadership strikes" were in and around Baghdad. They all failed.

and if the order includes only one attempt to hit, it will not incite a negative reaction.

I don't know how to explain this to you, but...people don't like getting bombed by bombers from a foreign country. Even if it is just once. It makes them really really mad. They take it personally. They generally don't believe that the bombers are trying to "help" them...instead, they tend to assume that the bombers are trying to kill them and/or take advantage of momentary failures in their national institutions.

There are many people in the US who think that the US defense budget is way too big. But none of those people were happy on 9/11.

All this ignores the fact that during the last Gulf War, the US military was really really bad at "targeted leadership strikes".

C'mon, we got at least a half dozen AQ Number 3's.

Does the state government actually own any power plants?

These guys are publicly owned non-profit utilities, however it's not clear they're owned or managed by the state itself.

Everyone else I could turn up is private, i.e., investor owned.

Getting back to the original post...

The funny thing about this sort of information IMO is that we already basically knew this. We knew that the guv was out to break the unions (as opposed to having strong feelings about the state deficit), that he dislikes liberals, etc.

So we get direct confirmation. And the result is:
1)The people who already knew this yell "huzzah" and wait for it to sink in with the general population
2)The general population either doesn't hear it or doesn't care, continuing to work off of their preconceptions and the bland, substandard info from the MSM.

Not that I don't appreciate the effort this guy went through to get it, but it's not a game-changer. I wish I knew what a gamer-changer would be, something that would get the AP writers to say "Can we keep a straight face saying that this is about the budget? Nope? Ok, let's go with the real story then: Wisconsin gov wants to break public unions at any cost despite popular support for them".

Madison Wisconsin: Not Gov. Scott Walker’s first attempt at union-busting:

In 2009, then Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker promised he would save the county money by firing unionized courthouse security guards and replacing them with private security guards. Walker claimed that using a private security firm at the courthouse and other county facilities would save taxpayers more than $125,000 a year. The plan was rejected by the County Board.

In March of the same year, Walker, in an “emergency budget measure,” (sound familiar?) unilaterally ordered the ouster of the security guards and replaced them with a private firm after Walker claimed a potential 2010 year-end deficit of about $7 million.

In January of 2010, an arbitrator ruled against Walker's actions. “The county did not have a true budget crisis at the time and county officials failed to give the union representing the security guards an opportunity to make some alternative cost-saving proposals before laying them off,” said arbitrator Amedeo Greco.

According to a report filed at time by Steve Schultze, of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Journal Sentinel: "It's another example here of penny-wise, pound-foolish," said Patricia Yunk, policy director for District Council 48 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. She said Walker's emergency outsourcing move of courthouse security was an example of how his strategy of punishing unions that failed to agree to concessions went awry.

Although the total cost of Walker’s decision remains unknown, the ruling called for“immediately hiring back the laid-off county workers with back pay, with any unemployment compensation or wages from a new job subtracted. It also called for a guarantee of at least 180 days of work - the amount of time that Greco said should have been given to the security guards' union to react to Walker's privatization plan.”

It gets worse- The private security company hired by Walker to replace the unionized security guards was none other than G4S Wackenhut, whose employees, while guarding the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan allegedly had wild, drunken, nearly naked ‘hazing’ parties as reported by Mother Jones. (WARNING! The photos are graphic and may be disturbing to some).

And still worse- The supervisor assigned by G4S Wackenhut to the Milwaukee County Courthouse and other details was removed from his post after being found to have several criminal convictions including operating a firearm while intoxicated and disorderly conduct.

© 2011 Domenick Pilla

About that Afghanistan Wackenhut drunken hazing?

Some guy I know wrote about it: Wednesday, September 02, 2009

CONTRACTING FOR LORD OF THE FLIES

That Amygdala post by some guy was fairly substantive and detailed. Funny, that.

About that oil crisis? Relax, Libya oil crisis is no big deal - watchdog. There are a ton of similar articles. Yes, there's a momentary spike. Yes, it could get worse. Yes, there's peak oil. Yes, to some degree they want to prevent a positive feedback of panic, and some is bs.

But, still.

Meanwhile, bombing Libya would be completely insane.

A no-fly zone, yes. But that may already be moot, with senior membes of the Air Force defecting to Malta with THEIR PLANES. :-)

But seriously, a no fly zone is also a no-brainer. Especially given the choppers Kaddafy has, and by the way, the reports that they are Apaches is bs; they're old Soviet Hinds, and otherwise quite old, and not American. You'd think people could figure that out, but noooooo. :-)

But if people want to discuss that, the Libya comment thread is lonely and forlorn.

Governor Walker snorts Koch.

Gary
I am sorry to get off topic, but you really covered all angles in the post and audio says it all. Nobody dares to debate about it cause of the quality and depth of the revelations you presented. Especially since in previous treads, bloggers that were warning about whats behind closed doors were called paranoid.

"Not that I don't appreciate the effort this guy went through to get it, but it's not a game-changer. I wish I knew what a gamer-changer would be,"

Probably something that wasn't this:

The funny thing about this sort of information IMO is that we already basically knew this. We knew that the guv was out to break the unions

or if you quit making the leap that the previous quote somehow implies this:

(as opposed to having strong feelings about the state deficit)

an I haven't seen anything that would lead me to believe he would deny disliking liberals.

I have no illusions that the politician in question is any more idealistically pure than, well, any other politician. I don't believe his political opponents are either. They have their contributors who they would have similar conversations with. They just wouldn't be talking bad about people you like.

None of this means he doesn't care about the budget, or want to be a good governor, or care about the people of Wisconsin. It means he is a politician.


"Walker reveals that he and other Republicans are looking at whether they can charge an "ethics code violation if not an outright felony" if unions are paying for food or lodging for any of the Dem state senators."

Well, wouldn't it be? I mean, seriously, set aside the fact that they're your guys, wouldn't you think it a serious ethics violation, possibly a felony, if anybody you didn't like paid legislators to stay away from work?

"So we get direct confirmation. And the result is:
1)The people who already knew this yell "huzzah" and wait for it to sink in with the general population
2)The general population either doesn't hear it or doesn't care, continuing to work off of their preconceptions and the bland, substandard info from the MSM."

Or possibly the general population does hear it, and likes it.

As an aside, I think it is interesting to note that he doesn't know David Koch. At least not well enough to recognize his voice on the phone.

Or possibly the general population does hear it, and likes it.

Nice try. FOX tried that one too.

Good to know that if you ever need a good hearty "both sides do it!" you can count on Marty.

"Good to know that if you ever need a good hearty "both sides do it!" you can count on Marty."

Yes. On a recent thread he bemoaned the fact that 'the other guys do it too' used to 'not be good form' at Obsidian Wings.

He really cracks me up.

"Good to know that if you ever need a good hearty "both sides do it!" you can count on Marty"

Occasionally pointing out that someone is complaining that the "other" guys are doing something that is really common for everyone to do seems necessary.

If for no other reason than to point out how silly it is to get all worked up because, say, a politician had a conversation with a contributor.

This isn't even "Some of you guys are bad too", this is "Everyone who holds an office would have this conversation with somebody".

Marty, given the number of people a politician running for office meets and talks too, I think it is highly unlikely he's going to know Koch's voice, especially attenuated over a phone line. I have a really really good memory for a lot of things (for the most part, not very useful), but I have huge problems over the phone because the bass and the treble are cut off to reduce the amount of information that is transmitted (also, though I have really good ears, when I deal with japanese people, I rely a lot on body language, facial expressions etc to get meaning)

in fact, one of the main areas of research by telephone companies was to determine how little signal was necessary for the listener to comprehend the message. This is why the voice frequency band of your telephone is 300 to 3400 Hz, even though the fundamental frequency of the human voice is around 100 hz for men and 175 for women. This is because the overtones can give the impression of the fundamental frequency, but, like the difference between listening to a recording and listening to something live, you lose something. So it is not unsurprising that Walker got punked in this way.

Brett, as his fashion, reveals his single minded focus on what the other guys are doing when he shows how concerned he is for the unsubstantiated possibility of the unions supporting the Dems in their flight from Egypt, while ignoring the fact that Walker appears to accept Koch's offer of hospitality. Of course, now called on it, if pattern holds, Brett will say that he thinks anyone who would even consider taking on public office is a sociopath, so he can run away from the fact that Walker shows a willingness to commit the same thing that Brett has such a problem with when it is an unsubstantiated accusation against the Dems. I know Brett doesn't live in Wisconsin, but I would think that even from where he is, he would want the governor to resolve the fricking stand off so things could go forward rather than spending his time trying to catch out the Dems with investigating whether they are getting their happy meals paid for by the constiuency they are defending. But clearly, the only one's who can support the Dems financially are people who have absolutely no stake in the decision. That is the only way for true neutrality to be observed.

Marty
Yes, it also shows that he never spoke with him before, and that there is no master plan to take over america, no conspiracy. And nobody was talking that there is.
The thing is that most of the liberals can not grasp what is behind such destructive policies that republicans are advocating.

Can you agree that liberals think that the policies republicans are pushing for are destructive?
I am not asking you if those policies are destructive.
I am asking you if you agree that liberals think that?

"Can you agree that liberals think that the policies republicans are pushing for are destructive? "

I agree that SOME liberals think that SOME policies that SOME Republicans are pushing for are destructive.

So what you are telling me is that you believe that most of the republicans have your view, not the view of 99% republicans in legislatures across the states and federal who vote in lockstep, 99% of them vote in lockstep on about 99% of new laws.
Not all elected representative Democrats are liberal, maybe about half are. And policies i am asking about are policies that there are total divide between Dem and Rep.
Do i really need to write the whole page and cover all angles in order for you not to avoid answering?

"Do i really need to write the whole page and cover all angles in order for you not to avoid answering?"

Huh? I don't even think that 99% of the the Republicans in the House vote in lockstep. At this point I think Boehner can count on more Blue Dog democrats than Tea Party republicans on budget issues. So what are you exactly trying to ask.

JFK's definition of a liberal:
...someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a 'Liberal', then I’m proud to say I’m a 'Liberal'.[3]

Obama's continuation of Bush policy on terrorists and recent budget proposal to cut on back of the poorest almost disqualifies him as liberal.
And republican policies are not new ideas, they were existing since the beginning of governments.

Every liberal think that policies that hurt poor and weak (unions are week comparing to lobbying power of corporations) which republicans push for, are destructive.
Do you agree with me that liberals think they are destructive?

Look, two points:

1. If Republican lawmakers had fled Washington to Belize in order to prevent a quorum for Obamacare, (Admittedly an impossible hypothetical, since the quorum would have been 50%, not the 3/5ths Wisconsin demands on financial votes.) and it developed that their airfare and hotel rooms were being paid for by a health insurance company, I'd certainly view it as an ethics violation, and I'm damned sure Democrats would be searching for charges to bring them up on.

Now, I don't know if the Wisconsin Democrats were actually stupid enough to make this trip on somebody else's dime, but if you don't think it would be an ethics violation if they had, I think that's evidence you just don't think anything that advances your causes is unethical.

2. I think it's quite possible, though certainly not assured, that if this really becomes a knock down drag out fight over whether government employee unions are a good idea, that a plurality of the public will decide it isn't. Right now the issue hasn't had that much salience, so public opinion is very shallow. I don't think that will remain the case for much longer.

Just saw a poll on Rachel Madow that only 78% of Democrats disagree with Walker's proposal. That's how many Dems are liberal. That shows that Dems did not have purity cleansing as GOP have going on.

2. I think it's quite possible, though certainly not assured, that if this really becomes a knock down drag out fight over whether government employee unions are a good idea, that a plurality of the public will decide it isn't. Right now the issue hasn't had that much salience, so public opinion is very shallow. I don't think that will remain the case for much longer.

This is Bellmore-ian for, "Well, the evidence is apparently against me, but if I just clap loudly enough . . . !"

Occasionally pointing out that someone is complaining that the "other" guys are doing something that is really common for everyone to do seems necessary.

So you really think that every other governor in the United States refuses to take phone calls from the major mayors in his state -- the Democratic mayors of both Milwaukee and Madison say the governor has never taken one of their phone calls -- while hopping on the phone with a billionaire, out of state campaign contributor whose identity nobody has even bothered to verify, but who led off his conversation with jokes about having his maid deported?

Really?

This isn't even "Some of you guys are bad too", this is "Everyone who holds an office would have this conversation with somebody".

Everyone who holds office would tell an out-of-state campaign contributor -- one who, by the by, already is viewed with suspicion for his political activities across the US -- that, among other things, he had considered planting fake agitators among legitimate protestors?

Really?

First polls at the beginning of WI showed that 51% of Americans supported public union ideas. Seven days later, newest poll are at 61%. Which shows that WI Dem senators plan is working. "even tough we can not prevent Walker from implementing new law, we will delay it and give the chance to the public nationwide to find out more about what's going on here"

if you don't think it would be an ethics violation if they had, I think that's evidence you just don't think anything that advances your causes is unethical.

Sure, but given that the only evidence that you provide is Gov. Walker's assertion, this is throwing mud and seeing if it sticks. Walker is not 'searching for charges' he is, as you are, throwing out accusations. Like your chorus on the WI prison guards, you've got nothing to substantiate what you said. So in this case, rather than mistaking that someone was talking about someplace else, you have to rely on the word of someone who looks sleazier and sleazier by the minute. In fact, if you read this comment, you can note this passage.

Erpenbach said the situation is difficult for all of the senators. He said he has a part-time job and will have to call in Monday morning to see if he can take off work for the foreseeable future.

I have this sinking feeling that you will take this as evidence that the senators are obviously getting funding, because people in that situation would never be able to afford to do what they have done. The logic is the same as saying that a black man driving an expensive car means that it is stolen, because he obviously doesn't earn enough to buy it.

lj
In short, it is Reductio ad Hitlerum

Reductio ad Hitlerum is no more than guilt by association, a form of association fallacy.[1][2] The fallacy claims that a policy leads to—or is the same as—one advocated or implemented by Adolf Hitler or the Third Reich, and so "proves" that the original policy is undesirable. For example: "Hitler was a vegetarian, so vegetarianism is wrong [because the things Hitler did were wrong, or because it could lead to results ideologically or morally aligned with Hitler]." Instances of reductio ad Hitlerum are also likely to suffer from the fallacy of begging the question or take the form of slippery slope arguments, which are often false as well.[1] Used broadly enough, ad Hitlerum can encompass more than one questionable cause fallacy type, by both inverting cause and effect and by linking an alleged cause to wholly unrelated consequences. Hitler was fond of dogs and children, but to argue that affection for dogs and children is wrong on this basis is not logically sound.

I don't believe his political opponents are either. They have their contributors who they would have similar conversations with. They just wouldn't be talking bad about people you like.

Sure, Id expect exactly that kind of conversation. My problem here isn't the governor's positions per se, it's the inability of the media to report his positions. If someone recorded a rough conversation with Obama where he swore up and down- but maintained positions consistent with his public positions and the media narrative about those positions- that'd be unsurprising. If he says "I cant wait to shut the government down and blame the GOP", I would be surprised, and then surprised again if the media didnt front-page it.

None of this means he doesn't care about the budget, or want to be a good governor, or care about the people of Wisconsin.

It's not that he does or doesn't care about the budget, people, etc. It's that he *caused* the current deficit, and that the unions are offering short-term givebacks to meet the needs of the next few years. So this crisis *isnt* about the budget, but the media is allowing the governor to continue to portray it as driven by a budgetary crisis.
It's that he admitted that he would try to trick the Dems into talks just to get a quorum, pretty clearly bad faith, and this doesnt raise eyebrows. It's that he admitted that he's threatening public workers with layoffs to put pressure on them (as opposed to some budgetary necessity) and this doesn't raise eyebrows.

"Really?"

Or the equivalent "oh my god i can't believe he said that", yep. Any given day.

Well, wouldn't it be? I mean, seriously, set aside the fact that they're your guys, wouldn't you think it a serious ethics violation, possibly a felony, if anybody you didn't like paid legislators to stay away from work?

Well, it'd only be a felony if there's a law against it, right? So it ought to be easy to point to that law, rather than wondering aloud why we don't think it would be.
Is it an ethics violation? Legislators accept trips, meals etc all of the time. There are rules around that. And without your obviously unwarranted assumption that the meals etc are bribes, without which the legislators wouldn't be avoiding the statehouse.
Maybe they broke some ethics rules about gift giving, *if* they are in fact receiving gifts and *if* those gifts in fact violate the ethics rules in Wisconsin. Lot of ifs to get indignant about.

Or possibly the general population does hear it, and likes it.

Id believe that if the media were regularly reporting it, and the polling etc favored the governor. Instead, we get media reports that this is about the governor saving money, and the polling appears to be going against him.
If overt union-busting were popular, then it seems like the gov would just push that agenda rather than cloaking it, right? That's indirect, but suggestive as well.

I've included a bunch more news and links in another update. I'd love it if everyone read all of the linked pieces, but do whatever you have time for, and see what you think.

Then tell us what you think.

All you lurkers: write and argue, support, whatever. We lurve to hear from lurkers.

"It's that he admitted that he would try to trick the Dems into talks just to get a quorum, pretty clearly bad faith, and this doesnt raise eyebrows. It's that he admitted that he's threatening public workers with layoffs to put pressure on them (as opposed to some budgetary necessity) and this doesn't raise eyebrows."

To accomplish what? You are still only attacking tactics and assuming that he doesn't think it is necessary to fix the problems. Not "as opposed to".

Turbulence:

I don't know why it is so hard for Americans to accept that there are problems in the world we simply cannot solve, especially with our military.
I have no idea what his immigration or citizen ship status is, but crithical tinkerer has stated that crithical tinkerer lives in Arizona, but is Croatian.

I don't know why commenters assume that commenters are Americans.

Crithical:

I you could read zerohedge.com and March 20 start of revolt in Saudi Arabia and implications it could have on delivery of oil.

Laugh at me after that

Indeed, who could laugh at at a link to a link to a Facebook page that 4800 random Facebook members, out of 600,000,000 members of Facebook have gone to the huge effort of clicking "like" on, and not find that compelling evidence that absolutely proves that "the revolutionary wave will come to Saudi Arabia on March 20. That will also the day crude passes $200."

After all, a posting from a fictional character from a movie clinches the assertion.

CT:

Especially since in previous treads, bloggers that were warning about whats behind closed doors were called paranoid.
You may not have noticed that "in previous threads," we've been talking since 2003. You possibly might want to read some of the previous threads from before the past four days. Also, I understand that English is not your first language, but referring to yourself in the third person to make yourself sound persecuted is also not a very convincing style of argument.

As a very tiny, ultra-trivial point of English, a "blogger" is someone who has a blog; a "commenter" is someone who comments on a blog. Or could you be specific as to which blogger you're referring to? I may easily be misunderstanding you entirely.

Let's clear that up: who, specifically, by name, at which time-stamp, in which thread, are these "bloggers that were warning about whats behind closed doors" who "were called paranoid"?

Specifically? You say it's true. Who are they?

I also suggest considering the fact that this blog didn't start last week, or last month, or last year, and neither did conversations here, neither did most of the readers, and neither did some of the front pagers.

It's useful to make yourself familiar with a writer's work, and a blog's culture, before you lecture them on what they should know, and it's particularly useful when you continue to do it, over and over and over again, after having it suggested to you, repeatedly, that doing so is not, perhaps, the best means to gain credibility and whuffie.

Al Sirois, very lovely to see you here, and thanks muchly for the kind words, although I've seen since writing my original post that everyone on teh interwebs, more or less -- that is, in the blogosphere, and thus into the mainstream press, where we're all interwoven these days -- has been all over the video/audio calls for at least a number of hours.

I'm not going to time out how much sooner I got there before who, but I certainly picked it up from the sources I linked to, so it spread like... things on the internet spread. :-)

Brett:

Or possibly the general population does hear it, and likes it.
Or possibly I'm a dog, but we could look at what's known:
Survey of polls show public siding with Wisconsin protesters

[...]

The best poll on the issue may come from USA Today/Gallup. That poll, with a sampling of over 1,000 Americans, found that 61% of people oppose a law in their state similar to the one Walker is proposing in Wisconsin. Just 33% were in favor of a similar law. Another poll commissioned by the AFL/CIO, but conducted by an independent firm, found that 62% of Wisconsin voters view the public employees favorably, compared to just 11% who have an unfavorable view. In comparison, just 39% of Wisconsin voters now have a favorable view of Walker, compared to 49% who have an unfavorable view. Finally, the poll found 52% of Wisconsin voters oppose Governor Walker's plan while 42% favor it.

Conservatives like to cite a Rasmussen Reports poll which purports to show 48% of likely votes supporting Walker with just 38% supporting the protesters. However, many have looked upon the Rasmussen poll with a great deal of skepticism. Polling expert Nate Silver wrote a column strongly criticizing the Rasmussen poll. Silver points out that Rasmussen tended to be bias toward Republicans by an average of four points in the 2010 elections. Silver also takes issue with the ordering of the questions in the Rasmussen poll. The poll first asks respondents about a possible strike by firefighters and policemen (which is not even part of the Wisconsin bill or controversy) before going on to ask them about the bill itself. Silver argues, with statistical evidence, that the question wording could lead respondents to support the bill. Silver ends his column with a harsh rebuke saying,

"Because of the problems with question design, my advice would be simply to disregard the Rasmussen Reports poll, and to view their work with extreme skepticism going forward."

So, Brett, what do you think are the possibilities, beyond your imagination?

It would be improper for a front-pager to suggest that Marty and ct should take their act on the road, but a commenter might suggest that some comedy clubs could welcome the team, although I'd have to warn anyone concerned that comedy clubs pay nothing other than exposure, just like blog comment threads do.

CT:

So what you are telling me is that you believe that most of the republicans have your view, not the view of 99% republicans in legislatures across the states and federal who vote in lockstep, 99% of them vote in lockstep on about 99% of new laws.
Give us a cite on that, please?

Or could you please stop making up numbers, facts, claims, and arguing by assertion, then throwing yourself a self-pity party?

I don't think you're a troll, but I have to observe that a troll couldn't do much better of a job of looking like a troll than you are, and as Howard W. Campbell Jr. observed:

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.
Something to consider.

Not all elected representative Democrats are liberal, maybe about half are.
Cite?
And policies i am asking about are policies that there are total divide between Dem and Rep.

Do i really need to write the whole page and cover all angles in order for you not to avoid answering?

Yes, please. Write "the whole page," give your cites, and then don't avoid answering. Please do that thing.

Thanks. Or it might look like you're a troll.

And intent doesn't matter. See Howard W. Campbell, Jr.

Marty, you'e a nice guy, and I'm going to do you the favor of not otherwise commenting on your comments.

You are still only attacking tactics and assuming that he doesn't think it is necessary to fix the problems.

Speaking purely for myself, I'm quite sure Walker thinks it's necessary to address the budget shortfall. I applaud any constructive effort he takes to do so. Not that it's any of my beeswax either way, I don't live in WI.

What I find objectionable is his attempt to remove the privilege of collective bargaining. That, and selling stuff without any kind of review, which is, shall we say, bad form. But mostly removing the collective bargaining.

It's extraordinarily hard for me to read that in any way other than his attempt to undermine organized labor. As Brett notes, for many folks that's a feature not a bug. I'm not one of those folks.

CT, I do appreciate that English is your fifth language. But without being a troll, you might want to think carefully before hitting the keyboard, and you might want to be prepared to back your any and all statements with citations, around here, or otherwise don't be surprised when people who can and will give citations come at you, hard, asking for them, and start laughing if you can't or won't.

I'm offering you advice here, as an observer of this community. It's just a suggestion, nothing more.

Marty:

To accomplish what? You are still only attacking tactics and assuming that he doesn't think it is necessary to fix the problems. Not "as opposed to".
Marty, I've given you a lot of links in my posts and updates. Please go read them, then come back when you're done, and tell us if you stand by this, okay?

Or are you telling me you actually read the articles linked in my original post?

Because people don't like it when I start quoting at length, and I find it, frankly, impossible to believe that you could be taking these stances, and making these statements, if you'd actually bothered reading the information I've provided.

So please do us all a favor, and read the information, okay? Thanks muchly.

If necessary, I'll give you more links. But there's a point at which I run out of time for this sort of thing, and I'm already pretty much there.

To accomplish what? You are still only attacking tactics and assuming that he doesn't think it is necessary to fix the problems. Not "as opposed to".

Well, first he clearly says that he's threatening layoffs in order to pressure the union, not out of any budgetary necessary for layoffs.
So the layoffs aren't about fixing the immediate budgetary shortfall. And, as I pointed out, if the governor cared a great deal about the existing budgetary shortfall, he ought not have created it. If he cared a great deal about the budgetary shortfall, he would take the givebacks on the table.
So, he may care about the short-term budget, but he clearly cares more about breaking the union.

Again, it's not the tactic of threatening layoffs. It's that his publicly stated motives aren't accurate, and that this is a straightforward inference from the available information.

4800 viewers in two days since it was established on 2.21.11 is not that insignificant, give it another 30 days. It could be genuine, small chance but who knows.
My use of English language is unsophisticated, and harsh on occasion, but my knowledge and experience is not, Gary. Even if i earn the whuffie crown or not i will comment less when start another job, which is tomorrow.

You are still only attacking tactics

It goes to his underlying honesty. He obviously doesn't want to fix the problems because collective bargaining is, in and of itself, not part of their current budget problem. And that's what's getting him into trouble. Marty, I've consistently observed that you simply lack a moral compass with these issues. You detached "both sides do it, I'm not bothered" is just a pose to cover up for the fact that you ultimately support torture and things like Walker's thuggery and dishonesty.

Gary,

I think I read most of it. I listened to the call. I read Mother Jones. I read Forbes quoting Mother Jones. I read a few things about the Kochs spending 43k supporting him. I long ago read the New Yorker article on the how evil the Koch's are in general and specific. I am not sure it changes my point any though.

Unless you are an avid union supporter outraged at the very thought that someone might be trying to reduce the power (or effectiveness?) of the unions, there isn't anything very exciting here.

Everything potentially controversial in the call was raised by the Koch standin and was answered very politically by Walker. Kind of good ole boyish but not really agreeing.

And, I will repeat, even from the very start of the call, where it seemed Walker was surprised by the call, he clearly didn't know Koch well enough to know his voice.

Gary
I disagree with most of your accusations on me. I'd like a second opinion, third, fourth. Anyone??

It's extraordinarily hard for me to read that in any way other than his attempt to undermine organized labor. As Brett notes, for many folks that's a feature not a bug.

Those "many folks" are known, in plain English, as "conservatives". At least, that's what they call themselves.

I withdraw this statement, in advance, if anybody demands cites to statistics or scholarly definitions of "conservative". Life is short.

--TP

Nice job, Gary. Thank you.

On the other hand, I welcome crithical tinkerer, even if he is a troll, which I don't think he/she is.

If a troll, good handle.

Marty, I can't tell you how bored I am with me, but your Dobie Gillis act is getting even older.

"He obviously doesn't want to fix the problems because collective bargaining is, in and of itself, not part of their current budget problem"

This is about the 5000th time I have heard or seen this now, so here is my take.

It doesn't have to be THE current problem to be part of the solution.

Once you start cutting the state budget you also should put in place appropriate controls to ensure the spending plans over some period of time are controllable and having to renegotiate contracts with 300,000+ state workers two years from now ensures you have not done that.

It IS part of the solution, from my (and his)perspective.

It is just as valid to say he isn't trying to solve the problem because he isn't raising taxes, or passing an amendment requiring a balanced budget, or any of a number of possible other things that could be done if you think they should be a part of the solution.

Those are policy choices.

Count,

What would you prefer?

I don't know, "My Little Margie", for a change.

"I don't know, "My Little Margie", for a change."

I wrote a really long answer to ct today that was full of *#@'s(deleted) and then a very short one to someone else(deleted) and then I bored myself to tears with every I wrote today.

I am going back to the sports open thread.


I'm with Marty on this one. I listened to the whole thing. Walker came across as calm and reasonable. He brushes off most of the caller's lame (really lame) attempts to get him going. Some are getting caught up in the "troublemakers" comment or the baseball bat or the ethics violations or his "trick" to get the senators to come back. IMHO, all really lame stuff. He's being diplomatic at worst not confronting Koch on the "troublemakers" or the "Cali" etc. I think any financial pressure he can bring on the senators is fair game as is any ethics violations (if there are any). And in light of the bad faith Illinois vacation, he SHOULD use every effort to get them back. How is getting them back into session a "trick?" I took it as a condition. I would think the senators would already know the consequences of going into session. So how is this bad faith (as opposed to leaving the state)? Please tell.

I also noted he is a true believer. He spoke of doing "the right thing" several times, invoked Reagan (and noted it may have been a bit melodramatic) and pointed out that FDR himself had a problem with public unions noting the irony of using taxpayer $$ to lobby for spending more taxpayer $$. I found his tone likeable, sincere and in line with his public tone. I really don't think he said anything damaging. I challenge you to find another politician of either stripe who could claim the same after a similar phone call.

And the caller was just lame (did I already say that?). I score it with Slarti for the tie in this thread with the "beautiful, beautiful" comment. Tied with Octopus' "Governer Walker snorts Koch" line.

Good stuff. Beautiful.

I appreciate russell's straightforward disagreement with Walker. Everyone knows he wants to get rid of the public unions. No secret there. Why not just disagree with him rather than focus on non-existent "gotchas" like this phone call?

Because "gotcha" works, Mr. Breitbart.

You mean, Democrats ought to stick to intoning on "Meet The Press", if even invited, while "gotcha" is the winning game.

You want us to bring disagreement to a gotcha fight.

Hell, I don't even agree with Gary Farber that Joan Baez should be wheeled out one more time to warble kumbaya.

bc, OBWI ain't the real world.

Walker has refused discussion and compromise.

So f*ck discussion and compromise.

Discuss with these vermin:

http://blogs.ajc.com/jay-bookman-blog/2011/02/23/a-call-for-armed-counterprotesters-to-atlanta-labor-rally/

Also, bring it the f&ck on.

I assume http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/02/indiana-dep-ag-loses-job-after-advocating-live-ammunition-for-protesters.php>this deputy was not a liberal. Don't know about his employers but at least they have shown a bit of decency (not a given with state attorney generals these days).

Unless you are an avid union supporter outraged at the very thought that someone might be trying to reduce the power (or effectiveness?) of the unions, there isn't anything very exciting here.

It is just as valid to say he isn't trying to solve the problem because he isn't raising taxes, or passing an amendment requiring a balanced budget, or any of a number of possible other things that could be done if you think they should be a part of the solution.

From the latest article from the AP (ie an arbitrary one): "Walker reiterated Wednesday that public workers must make concessions to avoid thousands of government layoffs as the state grapples with a $137 million shortfall in its current budget and a projected $3.6 billion hole in the next two-year budget."

To reiterate, my point is that Walker is not being honest about his motives; if you've listening to him speak on the issue, he clearly paints this effort as needed to meet the current crisis, not general union-busting.
But that's not true- he created the immediate shortfall, and the unions are willing to give back iirc everything he's asked for over the short term (ie 2-3 years) window. The sticking point here is long-term busting of the union.

If Walker wants to push this anti-collective bargaining position because he thinks that the public wants that, he ought to say so. Instead, he's using a short-term crisis partly of his own manufacture to justify a long-term change in the relationship between the state and its employees.

Brett seems to think that union-busting might be popular. You seem to like it. But Walker isn't pushing that angle. And the media are letting him get away with it. And *that* is my point.

And in light of the bad faith Illinois vacation, he SHOULD use every effort to get them back. How is getting them back into session a "trick?" I took it as a condition. I would think the senators would already know the consequences of going into session.

If it wasn't a trick, if the Dems really would come back knowing that Walker could then pass the bill, then why is he talking to his lawyers about anything? If the Dems agree to that as a condition? This borders on incoherence.
Not sure what about the Illinois thing is "bad faith"- you really want a tu quoque here for some reason. Perhaps as a fallback position once your incoherent 'is this even a trick' first line of defense inevitably falls?

I also noted he is a true believer. He spoke of doing "the right thing" several times, invoked Reagan (and noted it may have been a bit melodramatic) and pointed out that FDR himself had a problem with public unions noting the irony of using taxpayer $$ to lobby for spending more taxpayer $$.

People rarely see themselves as villains. And do you have a problem with eg defense contractors using taxpayer $$ to lobby for spending more taxpayer $$? Agricultural businesses? Physicians or hospitals who take Medicare patients? Road-construction firms?

Everyone knows he wants to get rid of the public unions. No secret there.

And I have yet to read a newswire article that doesn't permit him the fig leaf of the budget crisis. Some merely quote him and then quote Dems saying the opposite, others go whole hog and present the issue as primarily a budget battle- Walker trying to fix the budget, unions trying to protect their interests.

What "fig leaf" of a budget crisis? That $3.6 billion in the next two years isn't imaginary, and it *does* kind of have something to do with the unions, you know. The cost of union benefits is a major part of it.

4800 viewers in two days since it was established on 2.21.11 is not that insignificant,

As someone who makes his living in marketing, I can assure you that it is.

It's that he *caused* the current deficit

I asked this on ( I believe) the LAST Wisconsin thread, and got nothing like an answer.

So, again: what are you referring to as "the current deficit" that Walker is taking issue with, and what portion of it is Walker responsible for?

I'd like a second opinion, third, fourth.

Gary speaks for me in this matter. Without cites, you're just making things up.

I'd like a second opinion, third, fourth.

Consider this your third opinion then.

I appreciate russell's straightforward disagreement with Walker. Everyone knows he wants to get rid of the public unions. No secret there. Why not just disagree with him rather than focus on non-existent "gotchas" like this phone call?

Why not both? Nothing like the light of day to reinforce the fact that Walker is a fool and a liar.

In fact, I'd even suggest James O'Keefe contact Murphy and request a tutoring session.

It doesn't have to be THE current problem to be part of the solution.

True enough.

There are probably 1,000 approaches to resolving the long term financial problems in WI. Walker has decided to focus, intractably, on the one that is nearest and dearest to hearts of folks who want to undermine organized labor.

So that is what the fight is about. Not about the budget, not about whatever financial reforms are needed. It's about whether public employees can engage in collective bargaining.

This is not about the unions making concessions to help the state get past hard times, because they have already done exactly that. It's about Walker advancing an anti-labor political agenda, in a state that's basically one of the historical homes of progressive labor politics.

He wants to be the poster boy, so the poster boy he will be. Poster boy for what remains to be seen.

That $3.6 billion in the next two years isn't imaginary, and it *does* kind of have something to do with the unions, you know. The cost of union benefits is a major part of it.

From here:

Gov. Walker's budget proposal saves nearly $30 million by having employees contribute to their pensions and contribute a larger percentage of their salary, 12.6%, toward their health care premiums.

So, the givebacks Walker is asking for, and which the unions have agreed to, are worth a little less than one percent of the total budget shortfall for 2010-2011.

One percent does not constitute "major".

This is about breaking the back of organized public labor. That either floats your boat or it doesn't, but there's no reason the unions and/or the citizens of WI generally should just roll over and take it.

There was no need to eliminate collective bargaining in order to address the financial situation in WI. The unions in that state have a record of bargaining in good faith and of giving back agreed-upon benefits when times are hard.

Walker's making a Great Big Point. However this all turns out, this is on his head.

Brett, as his fashion, reveals his single minded focus on what the other guys are doing when he shows how concerned he is for the unsubstantiated possibility of the unions supporting the Dems in their flight from Egypt, while ignoring the fact that Walker appears to accept Koch's offer of hospitality.

I detect three separate themes here: (1) the phone call reveals Walker is a bastard, and possibly an unethical bastard, (2) they are all that way, and (3) they are all that way, so let's chat about the substantive positions (my take on what Russell said.

I am in the 'what Russell said' if I am reading him correctly. It's fair comment and more than fair comment to point out 'the other side does it' when that is exactly the case. Complaining that politicians are ruthless corner cutters who suck up to the money people is beyond pointless and complaining only when it's the side you don't like is a double standard worth noting. Did Walker create the budget crisis? It appears he did not. Is he using it to advance his agenda? Of course, and this is hardly new and there are plenty of examples 'on the other side' doing exactly the same, so complaining is hypocrisy. Is he out to repeal collective bargaining rights for public employee unions? Yes. Is there any justification that anyone can even dream of for allowing the unsupervised, unchecked disposition of taxpayer owned property to private interests? Not only no, but hell no.

As for the invite by Koch, that's nothing. How many times does someone say, "Hey, we need to get together dinner" or whatever. The responding party usually says "Sure" or "that would be great", having no intention of actually doing anything. It's a social convention and, in this case, a set up. Had Koch said, "Look, I can have 50K in your designee's hands by the close of business, tell me who" and had Walker replied "my main man Phil can carry the bag", then we would have an issue. But nothing like that happened and acting like it did is a sideshow.

McKinney,

First, re your last comment in the other thread, the Boston local of the ObWi commentariat includes me and Russell, Turbulence, Bernard Yomtov, and (sometimes) Janie M. I'm not speaking as the shop steward, only for myself: give us a heads up if you're ever out here.

Now, about this: Is there any justification that anyone can even dream of for allowing the unsupervised, unchecked disposition of taxpayer owned property to private interests? Not only no, but hell no.

Are you referring to the provision in Walker's bill about selling off state-owned power plants? Or are you hell-no-ing "unsupervised, unchecked" union contracts?

--TP

TP--Boston it is. If I can find my way up there.

The power plants. It makes no sense whatsoever and sets an awful precedent. Seems corrupt on its face. Is anyone trying to defend it, to supply some context that I haven't seen?

Are you referring to the provision in Walker's bill about selling off state-owned power plants?

There just might be some reasons for selling state-owned power plants on the cheap:

The state is already spending more than $250 million to convert a coal-fired plant that powers the University of Wisconsin-Madison to run on natural gas and biomass after a federal judge agreed with the Sierra Club that it was violating the Clean Air Act.

There's more. Roughly half of the 32 state-owned power plants are being cited for violation of the Clean Air act, and will require costly renovations to bring them up to code.

Doing all of that on a no-bid basis is, I agree, a bad thing. Selling those assetts at reasonable prices in view of the information linked above is not necessarily a bad thing, in my estimation.

McTx,

Take a look at this TPM article. It suggests there's less to the power plants provision than meets the eye. Surprising.

--TP

Slarti/TP--point taken. Still though, and I am no fan of red tape, no oversight whatsoever?

TPM appears to be possibly a little more adept with Google than I am.

They might have mentioned the EPA CAA violations, or gotten more specific than "a few dozen", though.

Marty, Marty, Marty. Collective bargaining is one of those basic human rights of labor. Trying to take it away is just using the pretext of a crisisnto engage in some curb stomping of a hated class you want to bash on. Scott Walker, of course, is simply doing to bidding of the hate group that represents the republican party whose job it onto bash unions, and he was going to lie and steal to do it, even if it didn't have budgetary ramifications. I think your attempt to make excuses for Waller is just some pathetic act of toadying, just as you cheered on the use of torture in the hopes that republicans would love you more and see you as "honest.

Koch groups and companies have engaged in multi million dollar independent expenditures in support of Walker and many republican causes, including the movement to indoctrinate the republicans into a fanatical bout of manic and rageful global warming denialism and spearheaded and unhinged propaganda of Al Gore hate you see vomited from right wing politicians. These are hateful, hateful people, to the point where their followers,'like Walker, felt free to threaten the use of violence against middle class protestors.

Oh. Looks as if Walker clobbered the $250 million project to renovate that power plant.

That 9 Megawatt power plant.

While the dust is settling on the power plant issue, can someone tell me why the Koch brothers are widely regarded to be evil? I've read his Wikipedia entry and don't see any unusual inherent evilness. I don't know that OW has done a specific expose on the Kochs, possibly because the other left-wing blogs have been all over it.

But I don't read any of them.

I, for one, don't really care about the Koch brothers. They're just doing what plenty of other rich people do: invest in politics.

That politics is quite right-wing, at least economically (I actually don't know very much about their political activities, so while it may be that they are involved in the culture wars, I'm not aware of it). Naturally, if you think right-wing econ politics is bad, the Koch brothers are funding bad things. The obvious comparison is Soros.

can someone tell me why the Koch brothers are widely regarded to be evil?

they are the right-wing equivalent of what the right imagines George Soros to be. they quietly fund an uncountable number of far-right-wing causes,

Slart,

The best, and most realistic explanation, is in the New yorker article Gary linked to above They aren't really nice guys.

The gala marked the social ascent of Koch, who, at the age of seventy, has become one of the city’s most prominent philanthropists. In 2008, he donated a hundred million dollars to modernize Lincoln Center’s New York State Theatre building, which now bears his name. He has given twenty million to the American Museum of Natural History, whose dinosaur wing is named for him. This spring, after noticing the decrepit state of the fountains outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Koch pledged at least ten million dollars for their renovation. He is a trustee of the museum, perhaps the most coveted social prize in the city, and serves on the board of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where, after he donated more than forty million dollars, an endowed chair and a research center were named for him.

Sounds scary. Evil, even.

Yes, I'm aware that there's more.

Yeah I know, its how they spend some of the other billions that I am not fond of, even for a centro-conservative Dobie Gillis(which is now how I officially define my political affiliation, CCDG). Didn't say they were so evil, just not so nice.

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