Skip

Wisconsin O'Keefed?
February 23, 2011 8:03 AM   Subscribe

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is refusing to talk to Senate Democrats in (or rather currently not in) his state. He is, however, apparently willing to talk to David Koch, because that's who The Buffalo Beast's Ian Murphy pretended to be when he got on the phone with Walker and recorded a 20-minute conversation about breaking unions, tricking the Democrats into coming back to pass legislation, the hotness of Mika Brzezinski, and how Walker would love to be "shown a good time" next time he visits Koch in California.

Audio of the exchange is also available on YouTube (part 1, part 2). Several left-leaning blogs have reached out to the Beast, which has for their part insisted that the recordings are real and not a parody. Gov. Walker's office has so far refused to offer any comment.

The Koch Brothers hold a special place in the Beast's editors' hearts, having been #2 on their most recent "50 Most Loathsome" list. Koch Companies has also recently opened a lobbying office in Madison and funded an anti-union ad in support of Walker's recent legislative actions.
posted by XQUZYPHYR (913 comments total) 62 users marked this as a favorite

 
Uh oh--the "pretended to be when he got on the phone..." link is borked.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:09 AM on February 23, 2011


Oh hell yes.
posted by DU at 8:11 AM on February 23, 2011 [8 favorites]


Yeah, looks like entire Buffalo Beast site is down. Got any links to those claims it's not a parody?
posted by rkent at 8:11 AM on February 23, 2011


Meanwhile, Mother Jones has discovered that a Twitter feed advocating that "live ammunition" be used by riot police responding to protests belongs to an Indiana Deputy Attorney General.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:11 AM on February 23, 2011 [41 favorites]


yup...borked here too
posted by lampshade at 8:11 AM on February 23, 2011


The whole Beast site is down.
posted by nevercalm at 8:11 AM on February 23, 2011


While this is bad for Walker, I didn't hear anything damning enough that his die-hard followers won't dismiss it. As a Wisconsin resident, I am ashamed that this tool got elected in the first place. The last couple of weeks have been one disappointment after another. The man is obviously deluded enough to believe what he is doing is "the right thing", even if it's totally abhorrent. What's even more heartbreaking is how many people are buying the whole "budget crisis, gotta crush the unions to survive" crap he's spewing. I am hopeful there will be fallout from this, but not optimistic.
posted by cosmicbandito at 8:11 AM on February 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


I think I read about this fifteen years ago in a Bloom County strip.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:13 AM on February 23, 2011 [29 favorites]


Unless some evidence comes out that the audio was doctored, he wasn't O'Keefed. Or at least some evidence that "Koch" was dressed as a pimp while on the phone.
posted by aaronetc at 8:13 AM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


The whole site is down?
posted by zachlipton at 8:13 AM on February 23, 2011


Yeah, cosmicbandito. Aside from the toadying up to the caller, there wasn't much there.
posted by notyou at 8:14 AM on February 23, 2011




Those fools, they forget to edit the somewhat-benign conversation to be as malicious as possible!
If it's not re-edited to tell a maximally damning story, it can't be an O'Keefe.
posted by Theta States at 8:14 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's google's cache of the Buffalo Beast, which, yeah, is down now for some reason.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:15 AM on February 23, 2011


Ugh. If the site's down I'd say refresh because it would be very recent--I had it up five minutes ago. Buffalo Beast page is an intro paragragh along with a transcript of the two audio files viewable in the YouTube links.

Got any links to those claims it's not a parody?

Statement made to Sam Stein. Currently Walker's office has refused to comment.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:15 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, I've made a checklist of things being done to protesters in the Middle East that are being said/done here. No live ammo yet, but plenty of "outside agitators" and people on drugs and suspension of web access.
posted by nevercalm at 8:15 AM on February 23, 2011


As a Wisconsin resident, I am ashamed that this tool got elected in the first place.

That's the thing. While we probably all agree on Walker's tool-hood and the evil of his cause, I'm pretty sure that if it was Republican legislators leaving the state to keep a duly-elected Democratic-majority legislature from passing something progressive, we would be quite displeased.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:15 AM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


What the hell is O'Keefed?
posted by ReeMonster at 8:17 AM on February 23, 2011


I'd say pretty early confirmation could come from the local post office, if there was a way to confirm that 6000+ letters had been mailed out to "at risk" state employees. On the phone, Walker says they'll get these letters by tomorrow. No one had said anything about that, up until now. If that's true -- the rest of the call is kosher.
posted by thanotopsis at 8:17 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Reemonster:
James O'Keefe, film editing master-baiter and destroyer of ACORN.
http://articles.cnn.com/2010-09-29/us/okeefe.cnn.prank_1_hannah-giles-undercover-videos-james-o-keefe?_s=PM:US
posted by 1adam12 at 8:18 AM on February 23, 2011


ReeMonster: "What the hell is O'Keefed"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_O'Keefe
posted by Perplexity at 8:19 AM on February 23, 2011


While we probably all agree on Walker's tool-hood and the evil of his cause, I'm pretty sure that if it was Republican legislators leaving the state to keep a duly-elected Democratic-majority legislature from passing something progressive, we would be quite displeased.

I wonder how much the public's being against him has anything to do with that? How often do Democrats subvert the will of the people and then leave the state to try to get away with it? Seems to me that an overwhelming majority being in favor of maintaining the right to collective bargaining aren't going to be pissed that Walker isn't being allowed to run roughshod all over everyone.
posted by nevercalm at 8:19 AM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


ReeMonster: "What the hell is O'Keefed"

What that little jackass James O'Keefe did to ACORN, and tried to do to PP.
posted by notsnot at 8:19 AM on February 23, 2011


Nope. It's dead. The Buffalo Beast site is completely hosed.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:20 AM on February 23, 2011


I just got the site to load.
posted by brina at 8:20 AM on February 23, 2011



Nope. It's dead. The Buffalo Beast site is completely hosed
.

I'd imagine some of the other aggregators got their greedy paws on the story too, and overloaded the servers.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:21 AM on February 23, 2011


Cos it is getting a massive amount of hits right now. Check reddit for alternate links, I'm sure mirrors have gone up.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 8:21 AM on February 23, 2011


Please, please, let this be true.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:21 AM on February 23, 2011


I'm pretty sure that if it was Republican legislators leaving the state to keep a duly-elected Democratic-majority legislature from passing something progressive, we would be quite displeased.


Eh, screw that noise. Long live The Killer Bees.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:22 AM on February 23, 2011


You can see it at alternet.org
posted by mareli at 8:22 AM on February 23, 2011


Jessica Arp of WISC-TV in Madison receiving confirmation from Gov. Walker's office that the conversation is real.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:22 AM on February 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


Ah.. thanks. For some reason I'm thinking Sean O'Keefe of NASA.. was that even his name?? Oh well.. Yeah that James was such a fucktard.
posted by ReeMonster at 8:23 AM on February 23, 2011


I got the site to load as well, and it's really mostly a transcript of the YouTube videos linked in the original post.
posted by zerbinetta at 8:24 AM on February 23, 2011


could someone link to a mirror or something with the transcript please? Copy and paste a comment if necessary.
posted by Think_Long at 8:25 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Your Corporate Oligarachy at work.

This is more evidence of a conspiracy to destroy the middle class, and Wisconsin is only the beginning. If they win there, the next goal will be every remaining union state and then the federal unions. How long from there until theyre after Medicaid, SocSec, FMLA, OSHA, child labor laws and anything standing between this country and dollar a day wages? Not long. These robber baron fucks want to turn this country into industrualized Bangladesh, and without prosecutions and real pushback from the government, theyre going to do it.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:26 AM on February 23, 2011 [17 favorites]


Democratic Member of Congress tells union members, "every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary."

Can we all agree that this violent rhetoric is beyond the pale?
posted by BobbyVan at 8:26 AM on February 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Transcript ("rushed" and annotated) from the Beast site:

Walker: Hi; this is Scott Walker.

Koch: Scott! David Koch. How are you?

Walker: Hey, David! I’m good. And yourself?

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

Walker: Well, we’re actually hanging pretty tough. I mean—you know, amazingly there’s a much smaller group of protesters—almost all of whom are in from other states today. The State Assembly is taking the bill up—getting it all the way to the last point it can be at where it’s unamendable. But they’re waiting to pass it until the Senate’s—the Senate Democrats, excuse me, the assembly Democrats have about a hundred amendments they’re going through. The state Senate still has the 14 members missing but what they’re doing today is bringing up all sorts of other non-fiscal items, many of which are things members in the Democratic side care about. And each day we’re going to ratchet it up a little bit…. The Senate majority leader had a great plan he told about this morning—he told the Senate Democrats about and he’s going to announce it later today, and that is: The Senate organization committee is going to meet and pass a rule that says if you don’t show up for two consecutive days on a session day—in the state Senate, the Senate chief clerk—it’s a little procedural thing here, but—can actually have your payroll stopped from being automatically deducted—

Koch: Beautiful.

Walker: —into your checking account and instead—you still get a check, but the check has to be personally picked up and he’s instructing them—which we just loved—to lock them in their desk on the floor of the state Senate.

Koch: Now you’re not talking to any of these Democrat bastards, are you?

Walker: Ah, I—there’s one guy that’s actually voted with me on a bunch of things I called on Saturday for about 45 minutes, mainly to tell him that while I appreciate his friendship and he’s worked with us on other things, to tell him I wasn’t going to budge.

Koch: Goddamn right!

Walker: …his name is Tim Cullen—

Koch: All right, I’ll have to give that man a call.

Walker: Well, actually, in his case I wouldn’t call him and I’ll tell you why: he’s pretty reasonable but he’s not one of us…

Koch: Now who can we get to budge on this collective bargaining?

Walker: …I think the paycheck will have an impact…secondly, one of the things we’re looking at next…we’re still waiting on an opinion to see if the unions have been paying to put these guys up out of state. We think there’s at minimum an ethics violation if not an outright felony.

Koch: Well, they’re probably putting hobos in suits.

Walker: Yeah.

Koch: That’s what we do. Sometimes.

Walker: I mean paying for the senators to be put up. I know they’re paying for these guy—I mean, people can pay for protesters to come in and that’s not an ethics code, but, I mean, literally if the unions are paying the 14 senators—their food, their lodging, anything like that…[*** Important regarding his later acceptance of a Koch offer to “show him a good time.” ***]

[I was stunned. I am stunned. In the interest of expediting the release of this story, here are the juiciest bits:]

Walker: …I’ve got layoff notices ready…

Koch: Beautiful; beautiful. Gotta crush that union.

Walker: [bragging about how he doesn't budge]…I would be willing to sit down and talk to him, the assembly Democrat leader, plus the other two Republican leaders—talk, not negotiate and listen to what they have to say if they will in turn—but I’ll only do it if all 14 of them will come back and sit down in the state assembly…legally, we believe, once they’ve gone into session, they don’t physically have to be there. If they’re actually in session for that day, and they take a recess, the 19 Senate Republicans could then go into action and they’d have quorum…so we’re double checking that. If you heard I was going to talk to them that’s the only reason why. We’d only do it if they came back to the capital with all 14 of them…

Koch: Bring a baseball bat. That’s what I’d do.

Walker: I have one in my office; you’d be happy with that. I have a slugger with my name on it.

Koch: Beautiful.

Walker: [union-bashing...]

Koch: Beautiful.

Walker: So this is ground zero, there’s no doubt about it. [Talks about a “great” NYT piece of “objective journalism.” Talks about how most private blue-collar workers have turned against public, unionized workers.]…So I went through and called a handful, a dozen or so lawmakers I worry about each day and said, “Everyone, we should get that story printed out and send it to anyone giving you grief.”

Koch: Goddamn right! We, uh, we sent, uh, Andrew Breitbart down there.

Walker:Yeah.

Koch: Yeah.

Walker: Good stuff.

Koch: He’s our man, you know.

Walker: [blah about his press conferences, attacking Obama, and all the great press he's getting.] Brian [Sadoval], the new Governor of Nevada, called me the last night he said—he was out in the Lincoln Day Circuit in the last two weekends and he was kidding me, he said, “Scott, don’t come to Nevada because I’d be afraid you beat me running for governor.” That’s all they want to talk about is what are you doing to help the governor of Wisconsin. I talk to Kasich every day—John’s gotta stand firm in Ohio. I think we could do the same thing with Vic Scott in Florida. I think, uh, Snyder—if he got a little more support—probably could do that in Michigan. You start going down the list there’s a lot of us new governors that got elected to do something big.

Koch: You’re the first domino.

Walker: Yep. This is our moment.

Koch: Now what else could we do for you down there?

Walker: Well the biggest thing would be—and your guy on the ground [Americans For Prosperity president Tim Phillips] is probably seeing this [stuff about all the people protesting, and some of them flip him off].

[Abrupt end of first recording, and start of second.]

Walker: [Bullshit about doing the right thing and getting flipped off by “union bulls,” and the decreasing number of protesters. Or some such.]

Koch: We’ll back you any way we can. What we were thinking about the crowd was, uh, was planting some troublemakers.

Walker: You know, well, the only problem with that —because we thought about that. The problem—the, my only gut reaction to that is right now the lawmakers I’ve talked to have just completely had it with them, the public is not really fond of this…[explains that planting troublemakers may not work.] My only fear would be if there’s a ruckus caused is that maybe the governor has to settle to solve all these problems…[something about '60s liberals.]…Let ‘em protest all they want…Sooner or later the media stops finding it interesting.

Koch: Well, not the liberal bastards on MSNBC.

Walker: Oh yeah, but who watches that? I went on “Morning Joe” this morning. I like it because I just like being combative with those guys, but, uh. You know they’re off the deep end.

Koch: Joe—Joe’s a good guy. He’s one of us.

Walker: Yeah, he’s all right. He was fair to me…[bashes NY Senator Chuck Schumer, who was also on the program.]

Koch: Beautiful; beautiful. You gotta love that Mika Brzezinski; she’s a real piece of ass.

Walker: Oh yeah. [story about when he hung out with human pig Jim Sensenbrenner at some D.C. function and he was sitting next to Brzezinski and her father, and their guest was David Axelrod. He introduced himself.]

Koch: That son of a bitch!

Walker: Yeah no kidding huh?…

Koch: Well, good; good. Good catching up with ya’.

Walker: This is an exciting time [blah, blah, blah, Super Bowl reference followed by an odd story of pulling out a picture of Ronald Reagan and explaining to his staff the plan to crush the union the same way Reagan fired the air traffic controllers]…that was the first crack in the Berlin Wall because the Communists then knew Reagan wasn’t a pushover. [Blah, blah, blah. He's exactly like Reagan. Won't shut up about how awesome he is.]

Koch: [Laughs] 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.

Walker: All right, that would be outstanding. [*** Ethical violation much? ***] Thanks for all the support…it’s all about getting our freedoms back…

Koch: Absolutely. And, you know, we have a little bit of a vested interest as well. [Laughs]

Walker: [Blah] Thanks a million!

Koch: Bye-bye!

Walker: Bye.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:28 AM on February 23, 2011 [67 favorites]



Can we all agree that this violent rhetoric is beyond the pale?


The protests in Wisconsin have been completely free of violence.
posted by drezdn at 8:29 AM on February 23, 2011 [27 favorites]


There is a (partial?) transcript at Oliver Willis' site.
posted by Eyebeams at 8:29 AM on February 23, 2011


Usually when protesters "get a little bloody" it's because they're being beaten down by the police.
posted by mecran01 at 8:29 AM on February 23, 2011 [88 favorites]


I am having a really shitty day and I'm not sure if knowing this is true would make it better or worse.
posted by desjardins at 8:30 AM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Other than more outragefilter over the imbecile Walker, what is the value of this faked encounter (if true)? Other than stirring up shit in a storm that's already got enough to go around and possibly creating sympathy for Walker?
posted by blucevalo at 8:32 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


What I got from the transcript is stuff we already imagined: the possibility of using "agitators" for the protests, to make them turn a bit ugly; there was no talk about fiscal problems or budgets, the goal was simply to break the unions; change payroll procedures so the senators, if absent for more than 2 days while session is in, have to pick up paychecks in person; GOP will be looking into felony violations if any union funds are being used for food or lodging for the senators; Walker's plans to get the senators back, by luring them in letting them think he will negotiate, but once there at the capitol voting process will start immediately but there will be no negotiation.

Hopefully site will be back up soon.
posted by l2p at 8:32 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can we all agree that this violent rhetoric is beyond the pale?

No, we can't.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:33 AM on February 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


Well, when he threatens to arrest Democratic senators if they accept lodging from the unions in the same conversation as he accepts an offer to be flown out to California for a "good time", that's kind of an important hypocrisy to publicize.
posted by kafziel at 8:33 AM on February 23, 2011 [36 favorites]


You know, this morning I logged on and thought, "Okay, world's spinning apart, weather sucks, I think I'm in the mood for a fresh dose of wacky hijinks. Metafilter, don't let me down."

And you didn't.
posted by AugieAugustus at 8:34 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


No, we can't.

I figured as much. Carry on, blue.
posted by BobbyVan at 8:35 AM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I made a Google doc of the Beast link, with the part where he writes about how the phone call got through.
posted by zerbinetta at 8:36 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


T.D. Strange: "Your Corporate Oligarachy at work.

This is more evidence of a conspiracy to destroy the middle class, and Wisconsin is only the beginning. If they win there, the next goal will be every remaining union state and then the federal unions. How long from there until theyre after Medicaid, SocSec, FMLA, OSHA, child labor laws ...
"

Not long at all - negative time, it would seem.
posted by notsnot at 8:36 AM on February 23, 2011


Other than more outragefilter over the imbecile Walker, what is the value of this faked encounter (if true)? Other than stirring up shit in a storm that's already got enough to go around and possibly creating sympathy for Walker?

For one thing it shows he's a lickspittle to the Koch family, confirming that they're actively pulling many of the strings behind the scene. Walker even admitted that he considered planting Koch-backed agent provocateurs.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:36 AM on February 23, 2011


You do realize, of course, that this sort of thing is actually a crime, yes? Recording a telephone call without the other party's consent can land you in jail, and pretending to be someone you aren't with the intent to have a target reveal information they wouldn't otherwise reveal cannot be the grounds for consent.

What O'Keefe did is slightly different in that in-person conversations are not afforded the same level of protection as telephone calls. Shitty, yes, but it doesn't clearly violate the same criminal statutes as what Murphy did.

I think Mr. Murphy can expect a warrant for his arrest and an extradition order in the next few days with PMITA prison in the near future.
posted by valkyryn at 8:37 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hope the expression "O'Keefed" goes away over time. I'd like to not be reminded of that guy.
posted by bz at 8:37 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I figured as much. Carry on, blue.

I, too, read this as refering to not being afraid to stand in the face of police aggression. If they are referring to starting violence then that would be bad, but I think that's an uncharitable reading (especially since it would be extremely dumb tactically and everyone knows that).
posted by jaduncan at 8:39 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


valkyryn, does it make a difference if the caller was not also in Wisconsin? Which state's laws apply, if they are different?
posted by desjardins at 8:39 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


http://www.buffalobeast.com/ is redirecting to the Wordpress install page (which is 404).
posted by steambadger at 8:39 AM on February 23, 2011


How is it that he wouldn't know it was a fake voice?
posted by josher71 at 8:39 AM on February 23, 2011



There are a couple really important points that come to light as a result of this :

1. Walker has no idea what is actually going on - he thinks the protests are dwindling and mostly from people out of town. This isn't the case and I think he's quite mistaken in our resolve.

2. He thinks he won his union fight in Milwaukee county - when in actuality, the county has to reinstate the fired union workers and provide them with back pay and a settlement. He lost, he just wasn't there to pick up the pieces.

3. He compares himself to Reagan. However, Reagan was a pretty suave negotiator at times and more importantly, people actually liked him.

4. He thinks the layoffs will make the unions balk, but really - he'll provide thousands of people with Free Time and Unemployment Compensation. Why not just fund the protests outright ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:40 AM on February 23, 2011 [46 favorites]


Uh valkyryn, the law says "If the person who records the wire, electronic, or oral communication is a party to the conversation OR has obtained prior consent from one party, he may lawfully record and divulge the contents of the communication." So if Murphy was party to the call he can record it.
posted by Eyebeams at 8:40 AM on February 23, 2011 [25 favorites]


Other than more outragefilter over the imbecile Walker, what is the value of this faked encounter (if true)? Other than stirring up shit in a storm that's already got enough to go around and possibly creating sympathy for Walker?

Because honestly I think it's the exact opposite. Walker went on TV last night to pose with soft light beside a old-timey stove and give a "fireplace chat" about how he's pained, PAINED with the dastardly yet unavoidable need to start firing thousands of people if he doesn't get everything he wants. Three hours or so earlier he was telling one of the richest men in America how much he wants to fuck unions over.

He's not an imbecile. He's incredibly full of shit, however, and while he's also clearly power-hungry he has to deal with several Republican State Senators being in districts that went Obama by double digits in 2008.

If he's done anything stupid at this point, it's thinking that being more and more of an asshole is going to rally people within his own local party. He may be the darling of Fox News but if he becomes radioactive to state legislators they're going to abandon him. Right now the unions just need four Republicans to do that.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:41 AM on February 23, 2011 [23 favorites]



You do realize, of course, that this sort of thing is actually a crime, yes?


In Wisconsin, you only need one party's permission.
posted by drezdn at 8:41 AM on February 23, 2011 [17 favorites]


Man, life has just been wacky as hell lately.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:41 AM on February 23, 2011 [27 favorites]


NY is also a one party taping state.
posted by JPD at 8:41 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


BobbyVan, I do have to say that I hope you'd be as strong in condemmning the calm consideration of the use of agent provocateurs and the acceptance by Walker that this is purely about a fight with unions rather than fiscal issues.
posted by jaduncan at 8:41 AM on February 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


You do realize, of course, that this sort of thing is actually a crime, yes? Recording a telephone call without the other party's consent can land you in jail, and pretending to be someone you aren't with the intent to have a target reveal information they wouldn't otherwise reveal cannot be the grounds for consent.

You're reading that wrong, I think. See bold:
If the person who records the wire, electronic, or oral communication is a party to the conversation or has obtained prior consent from one party, he may lawfully record and divulge the contents of the communication, unless he does so for the purpose of committing a criminal or tortious act. Wis. Stat. § 968.31.

The fact that they were a party on the call gives consent. Most states are like this - you're allowed to record your own phone calls; what you're not allowed to do is record OTHER people's phone calls.

Anyway...

I didn't see anything really damning in those transcripts regarding "being shown a good time" as anything other than verbiage that could LEAD to an ethics violation. You can't convict the guy for thinking about doing something, y'know.

Basically, it sounded like a conversation between two douchebags.
posted by Thistledown at 8:42 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


You do realize, of course, that this sort of thing is actually a crime, yes?

Was he calling from New York? New York is a one-party state—recording is permissible as long as one party (in this case, Murphy) consents. No recording was done in Wisconsin.
posted by enn at 8:42 AM on February 23, 2011


You do realize, of course, that this sort of thing is actually a crime, yes?

You're a way better lawyer than that. Don't be stupid. You only need on3 party to agree to be recorded.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:42 AM on February 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


While this is bad for Walker, I didn't hear anything damning enough that his die-hard followers won't dismiss it.

Why does the Left continually make this mistake? You are never ever ever ever ever ever EVER going to win the votes of the extreme Right. Win all the Left and enough of the Middle to win the election.
posted by DU at 8:44 AM on February 23, 2011 [65 favorites]


"Recording a telephone call without the other party's consent can land you in jail" Only if it is a two-party consent state and Wisconsin is a one-party consent state but, according to this, In Wisconsin "...a recording on the phone made from a out of state call or made to an out of state party, has to have the party informed of the recording and his consent or the tone on line, every 15 seconds, or a consent in writing before the recording is started.
"

posted by bz at 8:44 AM on February 23, 2011


1. Walker has no idea what is actually going on - he thinks the protests are dwindling and mostly from people out of town. This isn't the case and I think he's quite mistaken in our resolve

I thought he meant there were a few TP morons from out of state protesting in favor of the government?

Regardless: MORONS!
posted by theredpen at 8:45 AM on February 23, 2011


You do realize, of course, that this sort of thing is actually a crime, yes?

You do realize you should read your own link, yes?

If the person who records the wire, electronic, or oral communication is a party to the conversation or has obtained prior consent from one party, he may lawfully record and divulge the contents of the communication, unless he does so for the purpose of committing a criminal or tortious act. Wis. Stat. § 968.31.

Even if Murphy was actually in Wisconsin (he wasn't; I'll assume he called from New York which also allows single-party consent recording) he would be allowed to record it. Wisconsin bans illicitly recording other peoples' conversations; not your own.

But hey, way to make a rape joke there, buddy. You keep classy.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:46 AM on February 23, 2011 [25 favorites]


I sure want to know what caused the buffalo beast site to go down.
posted by bz at 8:46 AM on February 23, 2011


Oh, I didn't realize what PMITA stood for. Never mind, MrMoonPie. But valkyryn... dude, come on. You are better than that.
posted by desjardins at 8:49 AM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I sure want to know what caused the buffalo beast site to go down.

It's linked prominently at the Huffington Post, I'd think that was enough.
posted by nevercalm at 8:49 AM on February 23, 2011


I would rather that O'Keefe's name not be used as a verb, thanks.

And, desjardins, I think that it was valkyryn who lowered the tone with the PMITA reference.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:49 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh and yeah, nthing the disgust at calling for rape. Nice one. I thought we were now better than that, but guess not.
posted by nevercalm at 8:49 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I sure want to know what caused the buffalo beast site to go down.

Probably just traffic, it looks like its back up.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:50 AM on February 23, 2011


I think Mr. Murphy can expect a warrant for his arrest and an extradition order in the next few days with PMITA prison in the near future.

What the fuck is wrong with you? You're not a n00b around here.

Anyway. The situation in Wisconsin makes me so angry that I can hardly stand to read or hear about it. I had to turn off the radio on the way home yesterday because a report about it was giving me road rage.
posted by rtha at 8:50 AM on February 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


I hope the expression "O'Keefed" goes away over time. I'd like to not be reminded of that guy.

One could use the term "Sarkozied".
posted by peeedro at 8:52 AM on February 23, 2011


(if this is all legit) Yeah, this isn't going to convince Tea Partiers, it may well put a few more % from the middle out of his reach however. It also seems a bit of a long term blow politically, some people are going to have a hard time taking him seriously that he got punked so easily and completely, and some are going to be turned off because of his vocal, documented tight ties to Koch.

No a silver bullet, but perhaps a willow stick, and they sting.
posted by edgeways at 8:52 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can we all agree that this violent rhetoric is beyond the pale?

You'll note, I hope, that it is Walker who proudly notes he has a baseball bat in his office.
posted by Rumple at 8:52 AM on February 23, 2011 [13 favorites]


I'm still confused as to how he thought it wasn't a fake voice. Has he never spoken with Koch before?
posted by josher71 at 8:52 AM on February 23, 2011


Some states are "1-party" states and others are "all-party" states. The specific legality of recording a phone conversation depends upon the states or states in which the calls in question were made.

In general it's lazy lawyering to make a blanket statement about the legality of recording, for that reason; even so, far more states are 1-party than all-party, so if you were put in a position in which you had to guess you'd be much better off guessing that an arbitrary state is 1-party.
posted by hoople at 8:53 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


By the way, only reason I'm calling out valkyrn on this is because it really is a great example, yet again, of the pro-Walker mentality in all of this- the general excitement about punishing people. Whether it's busting a union, arresting a protester, "sending someone to PMITA prison," it's always about "winning." Winning and hurting.

If this was another James O'Keefe prank, sites like FreeRepublic and RedState would be filled with comments about how "oh LOL this is going to make liberal heads explode!" It's always about liberal heads exploding. This is why they want to fuck Sarah Palin and wanted to fuck Ann Coulter and I guess want to fuck Scott Walker. They don't accomplish anything, but boy are they mean to people they don't like. Political commentary in the 21st century is going to be a 22nd century sexual psychotherapists literary gravy train.

Walker got caught bragging about what a big tough guy he's going to be. The teabagger right is in love with him for it. Several thousand workers with families? Not so much.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:53 AM on February 23, 2011 [64 favorites]


I wish the guy had done more research before calling. It would have bene really interesting to hear about this language
16.896 Sale or contractual operation of state−owned heating, cooling, and power plants. (1) Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the department may sell any state−owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state. 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).
I.e. the governor would have the power to sell any power plant at any price, without soliciting bids.
posted by delmoi at 8:54 AM on February 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


(if this is all legit)

Again, it's legit.
posted by cashman at 8:54 AM on February 23, 2011


Enough on the legality of recording phone calls, folks. We understand.

Let's get back to the meat of the issue: Discussing how big of a scumbag douche Gov. Walker is.
posted by chasing at 8:54 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


This bit from the audio seems... well, I'm not sure it'll be actually damaging, but it seems pretty heartless (and at-odds with the "it's tearing us up inside to have to lay off all these people (and it's all the Democrats' fault for failing to go along with our budget)" rhetoric). Walker's talking about how to get the Democrats to give in.

The other thing is, I've got layoff notices ready. We put out the at-risk notices; we'll announce Thursday, and they'll go out early next week. And we'll probably get five to six thousand state workers will get at-risk notices for layoffs. We might ratchet that up a little bit.
posted by Vibrissa at 8:56 AM on February 23, 2011


The protests in Wisconsin have been completely free of violence.

What about the senseless assault on this poor camel?
posted by homunculus at 8:57 AM on February 23, 2011


Remember that time people from Canada prank called Sarah Palin durring the '08 election, and then she went away forever out of embarrassment?

Yeah, that was nice.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:58 AM on February 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


Oh, I didn't realize what PMITA stood for.

Punch me in the arm prison is no joke, it can really start to hurt after a while.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:00 AM on February 23, 2011 [23 favorites]


I for one, am glad so see someone taking the fight to these bastards. I'll contribute to his defense fund if he's busted over it.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:01 AM on February 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


The part that really got my goat about this call was Walker's dirty tricks plan to bait-and-switch the Dems into coming back into the Senate for "negotiations" and then passing the bill anyways after they leave again (apparently their presence earlier in the session would sustain quorum later in the day):

Walker: [bragging about how he doesn't budge]…I would be willing to sit down and talk to him, the assembly Democrat leader, plus the other two Republican leaders—talk, not negotiate and listen to what they have to say if they will in turn—but I’ll only do it if all 14 of them will come back and sit down in the state assembly…legally, we believe, once they’ve gone into session, they don’t physically have to be there. If they’re actually in session for that day, and they take a recess, the 19 Senate Republicans could then go into action and they’d have quorum…so we’re double checking that. If you heard I was going to talk to them that’s the only reason why. We’d only do it if they came back to the capital with all 14 of them…
posted by Fin Azvandi at 9:01 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


"We thought about planting troublemakers"? That should get him in hot water, shouldn't it?
posted by cashman at 9:02 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Punch me in the arm prison is no joke, it can really start to hurt after a while.

Seriously, those guys are huge and they can give a mean charlie horse too.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:02 AM on February 23, 2011


Jokes about rape jokes are as funny as rape jokes.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:03 AM on February 23, 2011 [8 favorites]


Punch me in the arm prison is no joke, it can really start to hurt after a while.

And if you get caught with a shiv, you get three weeks of monkey bites, minimum.
posted by phong3d at 9:03 AM on February 23, 2011


You know... those at-risk notices are not likely to cow anyone at this point. If anything it is likely to stiffen resolve.

One of my employees' dad is a cop just across the boarder (Superior WI) is a a die-hard conservative/republican etc etc, my employee is pretty liberal minded, so all last week he was walking on egg shells around his dad, then on Friday they had "the talk"about events in Madison, turns out this hugely conservative fellow is very pissed off at Walker and supports the protests (despite the Police being exempt from the Walker-fication of the contracts).


I think the only possible room for movement may come from 3 or 4 R Senators. If they can get the # of recall signatures in a handful or so of "purple" districts and say, "change your vote or abstain or we file these"... I don't know if that would have any affect, but it is more likely than Walker budging right now.
posted by edgeways at 9:04 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can we please stop this stupid derail?
posted by desjardins at 9:04 AM on February 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


"Punch me in the arm prison is no joke, it can really start to hurt after a while."

This is true; when I was in eighth grade, I had a friend who liked to follow me around punching me in the arm very lightly. Eventually, I stopped noticing it, until I slowly developed massive bruises from the constant very minor attacks.

For ninth grade, I changed schools to a place where I had no friends, but I think it was an improvement, that kid was weird.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:04 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Remember that time people from Canada prank called Sarah Palin durring the '08 election, and then she went away forever out of embarrassment?

Yes, hilarious ignorance and cold-hearted extortion speak is entirely comparable. They both involved phones!
posted by Taft at 9:05 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


While this is bad for Walker, I didn't hear anything damning enough that his die-hard followers won't dismiss it.

Very little is going to budge the die-hards. And Walker's reputation isn't that important. The reason this is something of a game-changer is that Walker described how he intends to manipulate the absent Dems to coming into the state on the pretense of "just talking." Now, that is not going to happen. And the one Democrat he was trying to sweet talk, and whom he didn't want Koch to call, is probably not going to be convinced anymore.
posted by zennie at 9:06 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Remember that time people from Canada prank called Sarah Palin durring the '08 election yt , and then she went away forever out of embarrassment?

Yeah, that was nice.


Mmm, but it may have contributed to McCain NOT getting elected, by helping paint his running mate as pretty idiotic. Seriously, even if Walker gets recalled next year, I am sure we will hear from him as a Fox commentator or some such for a long long time.
posted by edgeways at 9:08 AM on February 23, 2011


[Couple comments removed, please do not make this a thread about rape jokes and rape joke jokes.]
posted by cortex at 9:09 AM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I am sure it has been posted at other times on Metafilter, but there is a boycott Koch Industries FaceBook page, where the following Koch companies (among others) are listed:

Koch Industry Gasoline:

Chevron
Union
Union 76
Conoco

Koch Industry/Georgia-Pacific Products:

Angel Soft toilet paper
Brawny paper towels
Dixie plates, bowls, napkins and cups
Mardi Gras napkins and towels
Quilted Northern toilet paper
Soft 'n Gentle toilet paper
Sparkle napkins
Vanity fair napkins
Zee napkins
posted by Rumple at 9:10 AM on February 23, 2011 [31 favorites]


Meanwhile, Indiana deputy Attorney General says "live ammunition" should be used against Madison protesters.
posted by blucevalo at 9:12 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


We knew the guy was a jackass, this confirms it, but he was smart enough to say little that was very damning.

Walkers best response is to use this to show that the liberals are out to get him and will do anything to do so. This was a poorly thought out and poorly executed prank that will probably do more harm than good.
posted by tomswift at 9:17 AM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


And the call is at the top of Google News as of now.
posted by AugieAugustus at 9:19 AM on February 23, 2011


Man, this must be one of them contrapment things!
posted by GodricVT at 9:19 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


speaking of indiana, the democrats have fled that state, too
posted by pyramid termite at 9:20 AM on February 23, 2011


Meanwhile, Indiana deputy Attorney General says "live ammunition" should be used against Madison protesters.

Whuuuut?? You got a link on this?
posted by saulgoodman at 9:20 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


saulgoodman: here you go.
posted by enn at 9:21 AM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]




Walkers best response is to use this to show that the liberals are out to get him and will do anything to do so. This was a poorly thought out and poorly executed prank that will probably do more harm than good.

Yup. The FOX News screamentary writes itself. At the least it will net Walker a news cycle or two of "poor me" interviews with Hannity and company.
posted by blucevalo at 9:22 AM on February 23, 2011


*Points to Rumple's post* <---
posted by Eyebeams at 9:22 AM on February 23, 2011




Was he calling from New York? New York is a one-party state—recording is permissible as long as one party (in this case, Murphy) consents. No recording was done in Wisconsin.

It's not as simple as "whichever state the recording takes place in has the controlling law" in the general case (although it reduces to that in this particular case). The same site valkyryn links to also has a page regarding recording of interstate phone calls; it notes a case in which the California Supreme Court held that recording of a phone call between Georgia (a one-party state) and California (a two-party state), where the recording took place in Georgia, was illegal without the consent of both parties.

But like I said, in the case at hand it reduces to the law of the state Murphy was in anyway; since Wisconsin is a one-party state, if the state Murphy was calling from is also a one-party state, he's probably in the clear.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:24 AM on February 23, 2011


This doesn't help Walker at all. In the conservative narrative, it's all about power and appearing strong. Much of their radio broadcasts talk about how weak Obama is.

Falling for a prank like this makes Walker out to be a fool, a position that is hard to defend as one of strength. It's a crack in the ordinary conservative narrative. Plus, there's the chance more people will start wondering who the Koch brothers are.
posted by drezdn at 9:28 AM on February 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


This was a poorly thought out and poorly executed prank that will probably do more harm than good.

Poorly thought out remains to be seen, but it was executed expertly. Talk about giving a guy enough rope. I'm a little boggled by this, myself. Short of standing up and ripping off his human mask Walker couldn't do much more to demonstrate what a megalomaniacal robot he is.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:28 AM on February 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


I think I read about this fifteen years ago in a Bloom County strip.

Bloom County loved the Koch.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 9:31 AM on February 23, 2011


bz: "I sure want to know what caused the buffalo beast site to go down."

They're being linked everywhere this morning, from Wonkette and Gawker to most mainstream news media sites. Oh, and here.
posted by zarq at 9:34 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


octobersurprise: “Poorly thought out remains to be seen, but it was executed expertly. Talk about giving a guy enough rope. I'm a little boggled by this, myself. Short of standing up and ripping off his human mask Walker couldn't do much more to demonstrate what a megalomaniacal robot he is.”

You're making the rather dubious assumption that people will listen to the call or read the transcript. I don't think that's likely. There aren't really any good money quotes here; all most people will know is that a guy in New York prank called the governor of Wisconsin.

Really, this whole thing seems amateurish to me. Democrats really need to learn how to pull these dirty tricks. This isn't an O'Keefe, clearly, because we're sitting here trying to figure out if this will have any impact at all. At least O'Keefe goes after sure targets and coordinates with pending legislation. I mean, come on; what's gonna happen? Is the entire state of Wisconsin going to go through the recall process for their governor? I think not. This is a pointless stunt.
posted by koeselitz at 9:34 AM on February 23, 2011


L'Estrange Fruit: " Bloom County loved the Koch."

"I lost the body, says Bedfellow. Walker."
posted by zarq at 9:35 AM on February 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


This prank was silly, and just showed that Walker genuinely believes what he's doing is the right thing to do.
posted by shivohum at 9:36 AM on February 23, 2011


Democrats really need to learn how to pull these dirty tricks.

You're assuming "Democrats" are behind this prank call, koeselitz? Really? I've seen no evidence of that.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:36 AM on February 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Is the entire state of Wisconsin going to go through the recall process for their governor? I think not.

Actually, that's been discussed quite a bit lately. He can't be recalled until he's been office for a year, however, so we'll have to wait until next January.
posted by desjardins at 9:37 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Right, shivohum--because really, really believing you are right absolves you of moral responsibility no matter how dishonest and disreputable your tactics. Just like it did Nixon, and all the other conniving crooks in US history.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:39 AM on February 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


"The governor takes many calls everyday," Walker's spokesman, Cullen Werwie, said in a statement. "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."

Here.

So that's that.
posted by Eyebeams at 9:42 AM on February 23, 2011



(from the other thread, with a bit more elaboration on the call itself)

There's a lot TO fight in this bill - from the no-bid sell off our public power plants to some dubious shenanigans with medicaid and BadgerCare , it goes beyond the unions. The union stuff alone was enough to get me unhappy - these are my neighbors, my friends, the people I pass in the grocery store. I'm not in a union, but right now, the unions have the biggest voice, and so I think that that's the best route to try to get rid of this toxic piece of trash masquerading as a bill. I've been going down to protest and donating in support of the protesters, emailing the AWOL senators to let them know that I'm behind them and appreciate their hard work, and just trying to keep the ball rolling. Publicizing what's really going on downtown and fighting the republican sound bites is an important task, too. I would love to find the single most effective way to get this thing stopped, but I don't know if there is such a thing. My long term goal? Get rid of Scott Walker and replace him with someone who actually wants to serve the best interests of the state of Wisconsin. I agree with symbioid that the call doesn't really do anything earth shattering - but it's getting press, and I think it does cast the governor in a bad light in a lot of ways, so I'll take the exposure. Anything to get people to see that this guy is a tool - literally, a tool - of people like David Koch.

The call also does expose Scott Walker for exactly who and what he is - which he is alarmingly unashamed of. He is willing to discuss "plants" in the crowd, he honestly believes that most people chanting outside his office are from out of state, he is thrilled to be locking the paychecks of senators in their desks to force a quorum, he is even more delighted by the idea of tricking them in by agree to "talk to" those who don't like what he's trying to push through, and then pushing it through behind their backs. He's fine with dirty tricks, he thinks he's the king of Wisconsin, and he honestly believes this is all going just fine. I am hoping that that surety alone will turn off some of the people who might have been on the fence about all this.
posted by lriG rorriM at 9:42 AM on February 23, 2011 [18 favorites]


The fact that they were a party on the call gives consent.

Yes, people, I did read that. But you all forgot to read the rest of it: "unless he does so for the purpose of committing a criminal or tortious act."

Because what Murphy did independent of the recording is arguably a tort, if not actually a crime, the fact that he was party to the call is irrelevant.
posted by valkyryn at 9:43 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


"every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary."

"God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. ... What country before ever existed a century and half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."


Can we all agree that this violent rhetoric is beyond the pale?
No.
posted by hank at 9:43 AM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


valkyryn, what tort do you think he committed?
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 9:46 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Huh? Embarrassing someone is a tort ?
posted by Eyebeams at 9:47 AM on February 23, 2011


Right, shivohum--because really, really believing you are right absolves you of moral responsibility no matter how dishonest and disreputable your tactics. Just like it did Nixon, and all the other conniving crooks in US history.

What has he done that is so dishonest and disreputable? He's playing hardball for a cause you disagree with, but I don't see anything that's so against the rules of the game.
posted by shivohum at 9:47 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


saulgoodman: “You're assuming "Democrats" are behind this prank call, koeselitz? Really? I've seen no evidence of that.”

If they aren't, they should have been.
posted by koeselitz at 9:48 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's a David Koch story:

He famously bought Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis's apartment after her death. I was at a charity hoo-ha and heard some ladies breathlessly congratulating him on the purchase, to which he responded, "Yes, it's a nice place, but it's been hard to get that old-lady smell out of it."
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:48 AM on February 23, 2011 [11 favorites]


Because what Murphy did independent of the recording is arguably a tort, if not actually a crime, the fact that he was party to the call is irrelevant.

You just described an exponentially harder case to prove than "Oh he's going away tomorrow [insert prison joke]."
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:49 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


And -- read it in context:
http://odur.let.rug.nl/~usa/P/tj3/writings/brf/jefl64.htm

He's talking about Shay's Rebellion -- a misfeature, a stupid outburst of violence by nitwits. He's not saying it's smart to take up arms. He's saying it will happen and we have to be prepared for it to happen because stupid people will attack rather than learn what they're wrong about.

He's saying as others have pointed out about the contemporary quote -- that we have to be prepared to be attacked and get out there anyway.

I remember the T-shirts printed up after Kent State and Jackson State that many of us wore to Washington DC, with a silkscreened bullseye and the word Student.

We got lucky that time. Nowadays, I hope the youngsters will be equally lucky.
And at least as effective, if not more so, at making the government change.
posted by hank at 9:50 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Make that "in context"
posted by hank at 9:51 AM on February 23, 2011


He's playing hardball for a cause you disagree with, but I don't see anything that's so against the rules of the game.

It's not a game. That's part of the problem these days. Politicians get all clever and think they're being suave when they're really fucking with people's lives. It's not a game.
posted by cooker girl at 9:52 AM on February 23, 2011 [61 favorites]




Because what Murphy did independent of the recording is arguably a tort, if not actually a crime, the fact that he was party to the call is irrelevant.

I'd donate to his defense fund. Still though, I don't think Walker's going to press charges. Does he really want this all dragged through the media for months and months?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:53 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


what is the value of this faked encounter (if true)?

It seems like the main purpose was to associate Walker and the Koch brothers and to further promote the Koch name in the daily news cycle.

Moderately successful.

You are never ever ever ever ever ever EVER going to win the votes of the extreme Right. Win all the Left and enough of the Middle to win the election.

Exactly. Will more of the "independents," "undecideds," or less charitably "know littles" think about David Koch now? Maybe.

Will Wisconsin progressives lose support because of juvenile-prank guilt by association? Maybe.

End result: some clicks today.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:54 AM on February 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Why not? There's nothing for a modern TP/GOP politician to be ashamed of in that call.
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 9:54 AM on February 23, 2011


Politics is and always has been agame. Hell, there are even rules to the game, example Democratic legislatures fleeing the state.
To think otherwise is foolish.
posted by handbanana at 9:55 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


woah.
posted by Think_Long at 9:56 AM on February 23, 2011


Because what Murphy did independent of the recording is arguably a tort, if not actually a crime, the fact that he was party to the call is irrelevant.

Not an easy case to prove. How is what Murphy did over the phone different from what Sacha Baron Cohen does to people in person?

This is all to say nothing of how bad it would make Walker look to sue Murphy.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:56 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's not a game

It isn't, and shouldn't be, but the GOP have been playing it like a game they've been making the emotionless calculations needed to win.

If any party in opposition to the GOP wants to even have pieces on the board they best realize this and play accordingly.
posted by banal evil at 9:57 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Buffalo Beast article would be much better if it didn't use so much gratuitous and unnecessary foul language. The language and the ad hominem slurs really detract from the power of the piece. Walker is vile and reprehensible enough that his actions and words are enough to hang him.
posted by Daddy-O at 9:59 AM on February 23, 2011


valkyryn, am I to understand you're a lawyer? I'm curious about quite what your legal justification would be for the claim of a tort having been committed (especially given the first amendement protections for political satire and journalism).
posted by jaduncan at 9:59 AM on February 23, 2011


I don't think this has been said here yet but obviously, Walker's plan to trick the 14 into coming back has been exposed. I doubt that any of them would have fallen for it but I'm pretty sure they won't now and they'll examine any other proposal from every angle to make sure they aren't getting duped in some other way.

This prank call has also accomplished that.
posted by VTX at 10:01 AM on February 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


*NERD GASM SEPUKU*

This too great. I can't stand it.
posted by Skygazer at 10:01 AM on February 23, 2011




I mean, look at the statute. Criminal penalties only apply when there's no consent from anybody, so that's out.

Civil penalties are $100/day up to $1,000, plus fees and costs and punitives.

So the Beast is looking at $100 in fines (assuming they take everything down today), plus whatever punitives, fees and costs are appropriate; IF Walker could prove a tort (invasion of privacy? I don't know Wisconsin law or even remember the elements)

No jail time the way I see it, unless there's some angle that takes away consent.
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 10:02 AM on February 23, 2011


Pretty silly to ascribe all the game playing to the GOP.

All the copy cat walk-outs are making me puke. Actually they're making me puke and yawn at the same time. (Which, Kids, don't try this at home.) The story in WI is not the parliamentary game playing, it's the people in the streets.
posted by Trochanter at 10:03 AM on February 23, 2011


There's no way for us to know one way or the other, valkyrnn, as to whether:
- (a) you're backing and filling about the taping issue (without admitting it)
- (b) you thought it was tortious from the beginning, but for reasons we'll never know talked about taping laws rather than just naming the tort.

To be nice, let's assume (b), not (a). What tort did you have in mind?
posted by hoople at 10:03 AM on February 23, 2011


Oh, and isn't there a 10X limit to the multiplier on punitives? So Murphy's looking at about $1,100 plus fees and costs for this at worst. This is all just back of the envelope analysis, of course
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 10:06 AM on February 23, 2011


I'm not presenting this as serious legal research, but this pdf lays out Wisconsin's right to privacy laws. Seems like maybe Walker could prevail, but I don't know WI case law in the slightest.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:06 AM on February 23, 2011


The Buffalo Beast article would be much better if it didn't use so much gratuitous and unnecessary foul language.
The judge turned to me and said, "Do you hear his language!"

I told him I did not hear and he repeated to me Barney's answers. "He swears every other word," said the judge.

"Judge," said I, "that is the way we ignorant working people pray."
The Autobiography of Mother Jones
posted by enn at 10:10 AM on February 23, 2011 [8 favorites]


The Buffalo Beast article would be much better if it didn't use so much gratuitous and unnecessary foul language.

That's the Beast's house style. I think they have a copy editor in charge of inserting extra obscenities.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:15 AM on February 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


mecran01: "Usually when protesters "get a little bloody" it's because they're being beaten down by the police."

Especially, when it comes to Unions.

But Bobby Van will use false equivalencies to try and silence us.
posted by symbioid at 10:18 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


And so the thread stops being about Walker's accepting a bribe, and starts being about whether or not Murphy is committing torts and crimes in the eyes of valkyryn. Good troll.
posted by kafziel at 10:19 AM on February 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


"Right to work" tabled in Indiana.
posted by drezdn at 10:21 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


drezdn: "This doesn't help Walker at all. In the conservative narrative, it's all about power and appearing strong. Much of their radio broadcasts talk about how weak Obama is.

Falling for a prank like this makes Walker out to be a fool, a position that is hard to defend as one of strength. It's a crack in the ordinary conservative narrative.
"

Unfortunately, an equal part of the conservative narrative is their persecution complex. When "appearing strong" fails, that kicks in.
posted by brundlefly at 10:21 AM on February 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


T.D. Strange: "Your Corporate Oligarachy at work.

This is more evidence of a conspiracy to destroy the middle class, and Wisconsin is only the beginning. If they win there, the next goal will be every remaining union state and then the federal unions. How long from there until theyre after Medicaid, SocSec, FMLA, OSHA, child labor laws and anything standing between this country and dollar a day wages? Not long. These robber baron fucks want to turn this country into industrualized Bangladesh, and without prosecutions and real pushback from the government, theyre going to do it.
"

notsnot already pointed out the child labor thing in Missouri, but in Wisconsin, they are going after Badgercare and Medicaid in this bill, as well. It's not just Labor/Unions they're going after...

They're also trying to sell our public utilities to no-bid contractors.
Race to the bottom, indeed.
posted by symbioid at 10:22 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Unfortunately, an equal part of the conservative narrative is their persecution complex. When "appearing strong" fails, that kicks in.

This is not a new thing. Zombie McCarthy arises from the 50's grave to say that if you win it means you are a patriot and people should support you and if you lose it means that your voters are under threat from the opposition and should support you.

It's more us/them than it is based on sheer strength.
posted by jaduncan at 10:25 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Does anyone have a transcript with all the mentions of Tim Cullen and Janesville intact?
posted by dhartung at 10:28 AM on February 23, 2011


Indiana kills 'right-to-work' bill

Republicans in Indiana’s state senate on Wednesday killed a proposed “right-to-work” bill that would have reduced the power of unions in the state.

“It was a mistake,” said Senate President Pro Tempore David Long, a Republican, at a late morning press conference, the Courier-Journal reported.

posted by Theta States at 10:29 AM on February 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


blucevalo: "Meanwhile, Indiana deputy Attorney General says "live ammunition" should be used against Madison protesters."

And that's why Union folks just might end up a little bloody.
posted by symbioid at 10:29 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


All the copy cat walk-outs are making me puke.

"All" the copy-cat walkouts? How many others are there? Because Indiana is the only other one I'm aware of. And that's because it's the only way for the Democrats to prevent passage of the right-to-work bill there. (On preview: the Indiana Democrats' walkout seems to have worked.) What would you have them do? Sit back and let the bill pass?

Granted, protests in Indianapolis are a tiny fraction of the size of the ones in Madison. Partly because it's a different political climate. But largely because opposition to the Indiana right-to-work bill (which is already law in 20-some states) is a lot harder to sell than opposition to the massively overreaching Wisconsin bill.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:32 AM on February 23, 2011


By my count valkyryn has made less than 5 comments, one of which contained a rather tasteless remark.

The legal discussion is totally valid. Valkyryn is quickly becoming everyone's favorite mefite to hate, and it's kind of annoying to me.
posted by Think_Long at 10:35 AM on February 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


chill there mr. D

Oh, i'm faving and saving this post like a tenderloin tenderizing. I love this tactic. This is Smock at it's prime.....Q!!!!!

$_$---?---o_O
posted by clavdivs at 10:36 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, the hubris from Walker is just twisted. Also the insularized and Right wing media reality he's living in is bordering on psychotic. As in he's in a psychotic episode, really believing the crowds in Madison are mostly from out of town and that he's holding the winning cards here, because...well because if we think like Ronald Reagan and act like Ronald Reagan busting the Air Traffic Controllers union, there's no way to fail, as he thinks that was the first step towards bringing down the Berlin Wall.

That's fanaticism and delusion. It's pretty frightening. There's at least half a dozen things he said that should be played back to him and that should be more than enough for him to be recalled. As for the whiney namby pamby troll issue here, It think it should get sent over to MeTa. The legals here are the legalities.

No one forced Walker to make a Grade A Top-of-the line Man Whore of himself, because he thought he was talking to one of his bosses. ONe of the richest men in the world who can make a fucking call and get a psychotic pathetic tool on the other end swooning over, pieces of ass and baseball bats and showing that negro president his place, and planting troublemakers, and weakening the 14 Dems, and speaking of Unions as if they're the lowliest most vile things in the world.

Also the sign off by Walker to Koch: "Thanks a MILLION."

Yeah, I BET thanks a million. Fucker...
posted by Skygazer at 10:36 AM on February 23, 2011 [18 favorites]


Indiana Democrats' walkout not over
Republicans have killed a controversial labor bill that has sparked a Democrat work-stoppage and large union protests at the Statehouse.

But Democrats say that isn’t enough to get them back to the Statehouse.

Rep. Dale Grubb... said House Democrats are going to stand strong and won’t return to the state until Gov. Mitch Daniels and House Speaker Brian Bosma assure them they won’t resurrect four additional labor measures and six education bills....

Republicans say they will not give in, though they have agreed to put off the right-to-work issue.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:37 AM on February 23, 2011


oh...wow...what if this was a reverse burn. can someone verify this was not a reverse burn? or even cobble a reasonable argument why this was not a a reverse burn.
get to it metawizards.
posted by clavdivs at 10:40 AM on February 23, 2011


Trochanter: "The story in WI is not the parliamentary game playing, it's the people in the streets."

It's both.

The people in the streets are speaking out. The legislators who represent the people are taking action to give voice to that message. Both are communicating to a wider audience. Just as Walker is. It does no harm to Walker to have this phone call heard. He's preaching to the choir, not trying to wind hearts and minds.
posted by zarq at 10:53 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


What would you have them do? Sit back and let the bill pass?

I think that going outside the process is a dicey proposition when the other side views the process as an impediment in the first place.

I can almost hear a thousand GOP reps all over the country going, "Really? That's all we've got to do?"
posted by Trochanter at 10:54 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


One definite positive affect of this phone call is it helps keep up the protesters pressure in the news cycle.
posted by drezdn at 10:57 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think that going outside the process is a dicey proposition

Denying Quorum is part of the process...
posted by mikelieman at 11:01 AM on February 23, 2011 [16 favorites]


I can almost hear a thousand GOP reps all over the country going, "Really? That's all we've got to do?"

If Republican minorities weren't previously aware that they could use walkouts to stop bills, they became aware of it with the Wisconsin walkout. By that point, the Indiana walkout didn't tell them anything they didn't already know.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:02 AM on February 23, 2011


Oh come on, this is by NO means the first walkout. Texas 2003 anyone? Abe Lincoln even jumped out of a window once to prevent a quorum.
posted by jeanmari at 11:06 AM on February 23, 2011 [17 favorites]


"This afternoon, Marty Beil, executive director of the Wisconsin Public Workers Union, sent a message to the Governor’s office agreeing to the cuts to pension & welfare benefits sought by Walker in his bill. The governor’s response was “nothing doing.” He wants the whole kit and kaboodle – the end of the collective bargaining rights of the public unions.

I thought it was about the deficit?
posted by Eyebeams at 11:06 AM on February 23, 2011 [11 favorites]


the governor would have the power to sell any power plant at any price, without soliciting bids.

I hadn't heard about this portion of the bill, but I'm curious - does anybody know how many state-owned power plants there are in Wisconsin? I gotta think most of them are owned by the utilities; I'm just trying to get a handle on how significant this provision is.
posted by nickmark at 11:06 AM on February 23, 2011


I hear what you're saying, Trochanter. I know I wouldn't like it if a bunch of republicans just up and left the state to avoid voting on a bill I supported, for instance. What it comes down to, though, is that the Democratic senators felt that they were backed into a corner, and this was the only way to prevent the immediate passage of a controversial bill their constituents were up in arms about. They were trying to buy time - and it's worked. They were trying to raise awareness of the issues - and it's worked. They were trying to keep this thing from being shoved with a ramrod down the throats of everyone - and it's worked. Are they going to stay away forever? Of course not. But I do hope that they'll stay away as long as it takes for the other senators and the governor to realize that this piece of crap labeled a 'budget repair bill' is just not going to stand. Period.

I wonder if Scott Walker or any of the republicans standing firm on this issue have talked - really actually talked - to anyone with opposing view points. I know I've had long discussions with folks who support the bill, and most of their support comes down to "durn unions, costing us money, having stuff we don't." Seriously. Which is pretty amazing considering a) how much stuff that sucks is in this bill that has nothing to do with unions and b) that the unions have agreed to the financial aspects of the bill, but don't want to give up collective bargaining. Yeah.
posted by lriG rorriM at 11:07 AM on February 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


I thought it was about the deficit?

oh you poor naive thing
posted by desjardins at 11:08 AM on February 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


I gotta think most of them are owned by the utilities; I'm just trying to get a handle on how significant this provision is.

I don't have a number, but can try to get one for you. I do know that at least some of the universities have their own power plants, which means whoever buys the plants would just be selling electricity back to the state.

The power plant thing is interesting as some conservative sites (LGF) seem like they might be opposed to it.
posted by drezdn at 11:10 AM on February 23, 2011


Eyebeams: "I thought it was about the deficit"

Well, considering the deficit is a result of tax cuts Walker gave out to the rich, I'd doubt it.
posted by notsnot at 11:11 AM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Let's just take a moment to reflect on how absolutely brilliant the post title is. Seriously.
posted by stet at 11:12 AM on February 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


"The deficit" as of right now is a fiction. Seriously. Wisconsin's budget is required by our constitution to balance, and so far Scott Walker hasn't done his job and gone in to approve or disapprove various agency's proposals so that we can have a budget at all, much less a balanced one. The multi-billion dollar figure being cited is what it would cost if every state agency got everything they're putting on their wish lists, which of course they won't. For a cogent and articulate overview of the budget process and this fictional deficit, read this. It's an overview of how Wisconsin's budget works - or doesn't work, in this particular case.
posted by lriG rorriM at 11:14 AM on February 23, 2011 [13 favorites]


There is an easy way out of this for Scott Walker, but I don't see him taking it. He can say he won't back down then let the Assembly edit the bill to take out the union busting and let it pass saying he "has to, to keep the state solvent."

Then he can go back to his supporters and say "look how strong the unions are, we'll need more more money to defeat them in the next election."

He seems like too much of a true believer to back down though.
posted by drezdn at 11:16 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


There are at least 16 coal-fired power plants in WI that are owned by the State. Plus the planned power plant on the UW-Madison campus that was intended to use biomass fuels until Walker scuttled the plan last month in favor of a natural gas-burning plant.
posted by Fin Azvandi at 11:16 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Its probably not about electricity so much as water and sewer assets for sale. But there are lots of areas of the state with co-ops that own lots of wires that I could see infrastructure funds wanting to buy

Map (PDF) - Yellow and Gray are up for grabs theoretically

ETA: those are all tiny old coal plants - I doubt they would be worth much to anyone - probably more likely to be shut down or converted to other energy sources like Nat Gas or Biomass.
posted by JPD at 11:19 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


nickmark, the cited number is 34. They're not consumer utility power plants (to my knowledge); they serve state and university facilities, including the Capitol and Executive Mansion. By privatizing them, we would lay off 200-300 state workers, and in return be permitted to pay market rates for heating, cooling, and electric service. Such a deal!

The state does not own the co-op power plants. Co-ops are private entities just like a company or non-profit.
posted by dhartung at 11:21 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


One important thing to note about electricity in Wisconsin... The rates are set by the government such that whoever buys the plants is pretty much guaranteed a profit on them.
posted by drezdn at 11:23 AM on February 23, 2011


I think we're missing the forest for the trees here. Regardless of any of the actual statements made in the call, the fact is the Beast was able to call up and quickly climb the ladder to get 20 minutes with the Governor just by saying he was some (out-of-state, importantly) wealthy donor. Can any Wisconsin citizens hope to have similar treatment?

I find it comical that the governor is so skeptical that the people physically occupying the Capitol Building are imposters from out of state, but has no doubt that the mysterious voice on the other end of the line is David Koch.
posted by pmed at 11:26 AM on February 23, 2011 [43 favorites]


By privatizing them, we would lay off 200-300 state workers, and in return be permitted to pay market rates for heating, cooling, and electric service. Such a deal!

If the goal is to boot the employees on the public pay-roll to have smaller government, why not lease the plants?

That would be the smarter business move but this isn't about good business.



Well, considering the deficit is a result of tax cuts Walker gave out to the rich, I'd doubt it.

At this point, I don't think anyone who is following these events and is using their brains, thinks that this has ever been about the budget. The point of Walker's response is that he has come close to admitting it.
posted by VTX at 11:27 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Edit:

I find it comical that the governor is so skeptical that the people physically occupying the Capitol Building are anything but imposters from out of state, but has no doubt that the mysterious voice on the other end of the line is David Koch.
posted by pmed at 11:28 AM on February 23, 2011


Yeah, I was being sarcastic about it being "about the deficit". My bad.
posted by Eyebeams at 11:28 AM on February 23, 2011


drezdn - that's not a Wisconisin thing - every state regulates eletric utilities so that they earn a profit. Some only for the wires, but most of them for the wires + the generation.

my mistake on the co-ops I thought they were controlled by the municipalities.
posted by JPD at 11:30 AM on February 23, 2011


Yeah, I think my chances of getting Governor Walker on the phone for a 20 minute chat about this bill are just about zero squared. But hey, the Governor takes many calls everyday. Just not from his constituents or people he disagrees with, don'tchaknow.
posted by lriG rorriM at 11:32 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


From the Legislative Fiscal Bureau's analysis of the bill:
The Department of Administration identifies 37 heating, cooling and power plants, including 14 at University of Wisconsin institutions, 13 at Department of Corrections facilities, five at Department of Health Services facilities and five at other agency facilities. Since most of the heating, cooling, and power plants are tied into specific state facilities, it is likely that any purchase or lease would be agreed to only if there was an additional agreement requiring the state to purchase heating, cooling, and power from the purchaser or leaser. The long-term value of any sale, from the state's perspective, will hinge on any contractors ability to provide heating, cooling and power for less than it would cost to produce the same commodities on its own. The value from the perspective of any buyer or leaser would be based on that company's ability to recover more net profits (including sales price, production costs, and taxes and tax incentives) from the purchase or lease than in the absence of such a purchase or lease.

The UW System board, or a separate UW-Madison board if created -- rather than the Governor/DOA -- would have the authority to decide to sell its facilities, but the same conditions would apply.
posted by dhartung at 11:33 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Actually, I think Valkyryn has a partly legitimate point about the legality of this, because of the combination of taping with misrepresentation. There might be grounds for bringing charges...but the likelihood of anyone going to prison seems extremely remote. If charges were brought, the journalist would likely argue that Governor Walker does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy when it comes discussions of how he runs the state of Wisconsin - and although that would probably be a loser in pure legal terms, it would be a winning political argument and focus attention precisely where it would be most embarrassing (the Governor appearing to be at the beck and call of a private actor).

So even though it might be technically possible to prosecute such a case, it would be such awful political strategy that it will probably not happen, and I certainly hope it doesn't. But I think Valkyryn is correct to point out that it's not the legally risk-free activity that some people are making it out to be. IANAL.
posted by anigbrowl at 11:39 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the numbers; I figured the plants involved would probably be old and/or small and it sounds like that's the case. And it sounds like the financial impact (and the level of likely purchaser interest) would be "depends."

JPD - from how I read the bill, it doesn't look like transmission or distribution lines would be affected. Though you're right that in some places there are municipal co-ops that handle the power.
posted by nickmark at 11:43 AM on February 23, 2011


but has no doubt that the mysterious voice on the other end of the line is David Koch.

And why isn't Walker skeptical that the voice he's hearing is David Koch's? Maybe because he's only dealt with underlings before, never the Big Koch, and is absolutely thrilled to finally hear from the guy in charge.

Jesus. I can't wait to call Walker and tell him I'm Abe Froeman, the Sausage King of Chicago.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:45 AM on February 23, 2011 [27 favorites]


One thing local conservative media has tried to do is paint Walker as a possible presidential candidate. He might run some day, but he doesn't seem to be the brilliant mind they portray him as.

If he was so smart, he would have saw the possibility of breaking quorum and passed the collective bargaining measures as a non-fiscal issue (though it might have made it tougher politically).
posted by drezdn at 11:45 AM on February 23, 2011


what tort do you think he committed?

Both misrepresentation and potentially false-light defamation. Note that the plaintiff wouldn't be Walker, but Koch. Walker may have some claims there, but the claimant that came immediately to mind was Koch.

It probably isn't identity theft per se, as there haven't been any documents involved as far as anyone's said, but saying you're someone else is generally actionable by said someone else, particularly when you use that misrepresentation to suggest unsavory and potentially illegal things.
posted by valkyryn at 11:51 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


First of all, I admit I'm poorly informed in this area. The denial of quorum stuff strikes me as one of those deals like where "Every good man and citizen of Louisiana is entitled to a mule if he keepeth the sabbath," or something. It's on the books but it just never comes up. I could well be wrong. Maybe denial of quorum comes up all the time and I just never heard about it.

In Wisconsin, things seemed kind of honest and spontaneous. It was neat that they dug up this dusty old tactic, but the real story was not the parliamentary manoeuvring but the 70k people who protested. That really had to shake some people up. And it sort of legitimized the funky tactic.

Liberals had better hope they can translate that honest uprising into ballot success, because fucking around within the system is something the other side excels at.
posted by Trochanter at 11:51 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Both misrepresentation and potentially false-light defamation. Note that the plaintiff wouldn't be Walker, but Koch. Walker may have some claims there, but the claimant that came immediately to mind was Koch.

It probably isn't identity theft per se, as there haven't been any documents involved as far as anyone's said, but saying you're someone else is generally actionable by said someone else, particularly when you use that misrepresentation to suggest unsavory and potentially illegal things.


Interesting... so are you saying that you think Koch can use Murphy for false light; and that Walker can use the false light claim as the foundational tort for the Wisconsin recording statute?
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 11:57 AM on February 23, 2011


Oh yes, please let Koch get into a drawn-out public court battle.
posted by mullingitover at 11:58 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


sorry should be "Koch can sue Murphy"
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 11:58 AM on February 23, 2011


Please let Koch take the stand under oath. That would be AWESOME.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 11:59 AM on February 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


Somehow I think they want it to go away as fast as possible. Walker might just get to talk to Koch after all.

"Dude should we litigate this?"
"fuck no"
posted by edgeways at 11:59 AM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


The Assembly is back in session. Dems apparently have 100+ amendments to discuss, but repubs want to enforce time limits.

They're liveblogging from the Capitol here
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:02 PM on February 23, 2011


If Koch were to sue, wouldn't that open him up to discovery?
posted by drezdn at 12:03 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


the real story was not the parliamentary manoeuvring but the 70k people who protested

I'm not sure why you feel there was only one "real story". Yes, the turnout for the demonstrations has been fantastically empowering by all accounts -- but everyone in those demos was cheering the Senators for their maneuver, because when push comes to shove, you can't block legislation by marching around the capitol.

As to Walker, I think this was on balance good, even if he didn't say anything "damning" (whatever that might be, like "thanks for the live boy in my hotel room last night"). He revealed a certain naivete, and while he was "smart enough" to avoid saying much that was grossly stupid, he did say many things that were moderately revealing. While it might have been better for the Beast to prepare with more specific questions, it was probably a smarter tactic to say less and pepper the conversation with ambiguous encouragements like "Beautiful!", because that seemed to prompt Walker to keep talking -- whereas specifics might have tripped things up sooner. For Walker, this has the positive of showing he doesn't actually personally know Koch, but the negative of showing who he'll talk to and what about. There was no strategic reason for him to mention Cullen by name, and that was fairly indiscreet -- you can sense the alarm in his voice when "Fake Koch" suggests calling him next.

I think the story will generally play well with moderates and independents. Remember, as I've said, that the Tea Partiers are virulently anti-elitist, but only in ways that suit them (e.g. "those elite schoolteachers"). But few people are really cheered by listening to the rich and powerful getting (simulated) access. This also brings the Koch special-interests story to the fore. Remember, the right wouldn't keep repeating certain memes (union goons/thugs, elitist union bosses, ragging on celebrities) if they didn't have some traction. I think this wasn't a kill shot, but may just contribute to a tipping point mentality where people actually start asking questions about the bill and the Koch backing.
posted by dhartung at 12:06 PM on February 23, 2011 [8 favorites]


Hobos! Between that voice and the use of the word hobo, how did he not question this call?
posted by armacy at 12:10 PM on February 23, 2011


Both misrepresentation and potentially false-light defamation. Note that the plaintiff wouldn't be Walker, but Koch. Walker may have some claims there, but the claimant that came immediately to mind was Koch.

Really? The false light claim would require suggesting that the publication was to Walker (since the publication of the phone call to the internet wasn't suggesting it was the real Koch at all, and could thus not be false light) and this resulted in harm to Koch's personal feelings or dignity? I think that's a bit of a stretch, especially as the sole recipient of the publication was later made aware that it was not, in fact, Koch.

Misrepresentation is a tort of contract. Where are you suggesting an issue of contract could apply?
posted by jaduncan at 12:11 PM on February 23, 2011


Remember, as I've said, that the Tea Partiers are virulently anti-elitist

That's "Koch Industries/Georgia-Pacific Tea Party®iers", and don't you forget it...
posted by mikelieman at 12:12 PM on February 23, 2011




It's on Gawker; see also Wisconsin State Journal.
posted by cogneuro at 12:16 PM on February 23, 2011




Related: Fox flips poll results to falsely claim Americans support union busting

UN-FUCKING-BELIEVABLE.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:19 PM on February 23, 2011


We are Wisconsin.
posted by drezdn at 12:20 PM on February 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


Totally fucking believable.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:20 PM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hobos! Between that voice and the use of the word hobo, how did he not question this call?

I have to say I started weeping with laughter at that point.

posted by scody at 12:24 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]



Indiana Deputy Attorney General fired after suggesting protesters in Wisconsin be shot.

Too bad he didn't have a union to help him.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:26 PM on February 23, 2011 [38 favorites]




Indiana Deputy Attorney General fired after suggesting protesters in Wisconsin be shot.

Too bad he didn't have a union to help him.

*Takes off sunglasses*

Yeeaaah!
posted by jaduncan at 12:28 PM on February 23, 2011 [26 favorites]


the publication of the phone call to the internet wasn't suggesting it was the real Koch at all, and could thus not be false light

Sure it can. It's suggesting that those are the sorts of things that Koch would say and do. It certainly makes him look bad. Sounds like false light to me. And as the intention of recording the phone call was to commit that tort, that could easily be good enough.
posted by valkyryn at 12:34 PM on February 23, 2011


Oh man, Wisconsin is screwed anyway, apparently: Walker also recently signed a Bill that imposes a 2/3 majority vote approval for any tax increases in the state, just like the one that passed in California that's created a state of permanent budget crisis and legislative grid lock there.

So this isn't even close to the last time we're going to be hearing these budget shortfalls used to rationalize state cost-cutting. In response to a tax revenue deficit, Walker basically just permanently banned tax increases in Wisconsin! Was this even on anybody's radar?
posted by saulgoodman at 12:34 PM on February 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


Just received from my legislator...
Dear Fellow Citizens,

I wanted to update you briefly on what is happening at the Capitol.

The Assembly has been in session for over 24 hours, debating Gov. Walker’s sham “budget repair” bill. Assembly Democrats have requested that the bill be considered by the Labor Committee before pushing through such a radical attack on the rights of workers. The Republicans, to a one, rejected that request – determined to ram this bill through without fully considering its sweeping, non-fiscal, policy provisions.

Throughout the night, Assembly Democrats offered amendments to try to improve this terrible bill – to change the provisions stripping workers’ rights to collectively bargain, to stop the dismantling of SeniorCare and BadgerCare, and to prevent the Governor from adding 35 new cronies to the already-powerful executive branch, among others. Unfortunately, Republicans have tabled every single amendment, preventing us from even considering these potential changes. We have many more changes we will suggest, addressing other aspects of the bill, including the no-bid sale of taxpayer-owned power plants.

I am very proud of my colleagues for standing up for the citizens of Wisconsin. Many of them gave voice to our constituents, by reading their letters, emails, and comments on the floor of the Assembly. Many spoke movingly about the history of labor rights in Wisconsin – as we heard thousands of voices in the rotunda singing our national anthem.

We will continue to offer our amendments in an effort to stop this bill -- or if we cannot, to improve it. We will not rest, we will keep standing up for the hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites who have rallied, slept in the Capitol, contacted us, testified at our Democratic hearing, written letters to the editor, and tried mightily to make their voices heard over the past week and a half. Thank you for all the comments and feedback you have provided; it is an honor to serve you in the Assembly.

In Solidarity,

KELDA HELEN ROYS
posted by symbioid at 12:35 PM on February 23, 2011 [14 favorites]


Was this even on anybody's radar?

Rachel Maddow reported on it last night.
posted by hippybear at 12:40 PM on February 23, 2011




...35 new cronies to the already-powerful executive branch

Is a crony anything like one of them there czars that the tea party hates so much?
posted by madamjujujive at 12:42 PM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]



A call for armed counterprotesters to Atlanta labor rally


"The worst-tempered people I've ever met were people who knew they were wrong."~Wilson Mizner
From a comment on one of the Dem 14's facebook page.
posted by drezdn at 12:45 PM on February 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


Kelda Helen Roys is my Kelda forever.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:45 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, where we stand as far as this war on public sector unions go:

GOP Governors who have said they won't go after collective bargaining, or have backed off proposals.
- Terry Branstad, Iowa
- Mitch Daniels, Indiana (Though he ended public sector bargaining by executive order a while ago)
- Rick Scott, Florida
- Paul LePage, Maine
- Rick Snyder, Michigan
- Brian Sandoval, Nevada
- Chris Christie, New Jersey
- Tom Corbett, Pennsylvania

GOP Governors going forward with collective bargaining proposals, or support such changes in their state
- Butch Otter, Idaho
- Dave Heineman, Nebraska
- John Kasich, Ohio
- Bill Haslam, Tennessee
- Scott Walker, Wisconsin

GOP Governors who have expressed support of Walker
- Bobby Jindal, Louisiana
- Haley Barbour, Mississippi
- Brian Sandoval, Nevada (on the prank call, Walker mentions talking to him)
- Chris Christie, New Jersey
- Rick Perry, Texas
- Bob McDonnell, Virginia

Refused to take a position regarding collective bargaining
- Susana Martinez, New Mexico
posted by Weebot at 12:47 PM on February 23, 2011 [23 favorites]


A call for armed counterprotesters to Atlanta labor rally

I think the best way to handle stuff like this is to take a page from the Gandhi play-book, stay calm, stay peaceful, and let everyone see what real crazy looks like.
posted by VTX at 12:52 PM on February 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


Was this even on anybody's radar?

Apparently the bill requiring a 2/3 majority for tax increases only applies to the current Legislative session. It seems like more of a campaign-related stunt than long-term policy.
posted by Fin Azvandi at 12:52 PM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]



Apparently the bill requiring a 2/3 majority for tax increases only applies to the current Legislative session. It seems like more of a campaign-related stunt than long-term policy.


If it were to last longer, couldn't the law just be overturned with a simple majority?
posted by drezdn at 12:54 PM on February 23, 2011


A call for armed counterprotesters to Atlanta labor rally

*awaits the inevitable false equivalency stating that there's violence on both sides*
posted by scody at 12:54 PM on February 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


Koch successfully suing for false light or defamation seems unlikely.

Although without going to trial the exact legal status of the transcript will be difficult to ascertain, it's worth pointing out how peculiar this specific situation happens to be:
- (a) party A calls party B pretending to be party C
- (b) party A has no non-public information about party C
- (c) per (b), during the call party A reveals no non-public information about party C
- (d) party A later publishes a transcript of the call with party B
- (e) the publication frames it as "I pretended to be party C and called party B. Here's how it went." (N.B.: party A didn't frame it as "This is a real conversation between party B and party C.")

That's pretty far from a textbook example of defamation or false light, although nothing's truly impossible with enough money to spend on legal counsel.

Even if Koch says "although the publication explicitly said 'Koch didn't say those things; it was Murphy pretending to be Koch', it was clearly intended to imply those are the kinds of things I would say", there are two easy counterarguments to that specific line of reasoning:
- (1) claim that no, that wasn't intended; the goal was to get Walker to talk, and the specific statements made during the impersonation were chosen with that goal in mind (instead of with the goal of implying Koch's position)
- (2) regardless of (1), the fact that Walker believed he was talking to Koch for the course of the entire call means that the positions such statements imply Koch would hold can't be all that far from the truth, as otherwise Walker would've suspected something

...neither of which are slam dunks, but may be enough to deflate the charge that it was intended to show Koch takes particular positions.

Even if neither of those work, Koch still would have to deal with the fact he's a public figure, and thus there're much higher standards that'd apply.

It's a real loser of a legal theory, honestly.

Additionally, Koch successfully suing for misrepresentation seems right out; what possible grounds would Koch have to sue Murphy for misrepresentation? What contract exists between the two of them?
posted by hoople at 12:55 PM on February 23, 2011 [8 favorites]


scody: "A call for armed counterprotesters to Atlanta labor rally

*awaits the inevitable false equivalency stating that there's violence on both sides*
"

scody, Bobby Van already got that covered up thread.
posted by symbioid at 12:56 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


A call for armed counterprotesters to Atlanta labor rally.

If U.S. labor history demonstrates anything, it's that our elites are utterly ruthless, with zero qualms about having those who oppose them beaten or murdered.

While I'm glad that there hasn't been any violence in Wisconsin yet, I'm almost certain that union members will eventually have to shed some blood in this struggle. This is going to be a tooth-and-nail fight.
posted by ryanshepard at 12:59 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


If Republican minorities weren't previously aware that they could use walkouts to stop bills, they became aware of it with the Wisconsin walkout.

Didn't a group of Texans do the 'leave the state' thing last cycle?

And wasn't there some cases of this kinda thing back in the 1880's? (I want to say in new York)

Its not like the idea is "new" - and I'd rather see walk-outs/running away/however you want to label it than things moving to fist-o-cuffs or worse.
posted by rough ashlar at 12:59 PM on February 23, 2011



Hell, Republicans have even done it.
In the United States Senate, the procedure was used in the early morning hours of February 25, 1988. Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, then the Senate Majority Leader, moved a call of the house after the minority Republicans walked out in an attempt to deny the Senate a quorum after Senate aides began bring cots into the Senate cloakrooms in preparation for an all-night session over campaign finance reform for congressional elections. Bryd's motion was approved 45-3 and arrest warrants were signed for all 46 Republicans.

Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Henry K. Giugni and his staff searched the Capitol's corridor and Senate office buildings for absent Senators, and after checking several empty offices, spotted Senator Steve Symms of Idaho, who fled down a hallway and escaped arrest. After a cleaning woman gave a tip that Senator Robert Packwood of Oregon was in his office, Giugni opened the door with a skeleton key. Packwood attempted to shove the door closed, but Giugni and two assistants pushed it open. Packwood was "carried feet-first into the Senate chamber by three plainclothes officers" and sustained bruised knuckles.[9]
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:02 PM on February 23, 2011 [15 favorites]


Wow.
posted by cashman at 1:05 PM on February 23, 2011


In a just system, the Scott Walker phone call would be considered a smoking gun pointing to the corrupt collusion between entrenched money and the neocon right. I'm sure smart people do see it as such. Unfortunately, the people who really need to grok this situation will never connect the dots.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:08 PM on February 23, 2011 [5 favorites]




Speaking of history of political violence, there's even at least one case perpetrated by one politician against another, and take a guess what era that was, and which side used force?

(No, not the era of mass labor struggle... but, now that I think about it, it WAS a labor struggle):

Preston Brooks attacks Charles Sumner
posted by symbioid at 1:10 PM on February 23, 2011


Connecting the dots is for elitists.
posted by scody at 1:10 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Why don't the unions just say "we aren't negotiating either" and shut the state down. It's a public sector union, why not just lock the doors of the capital, let the fire fighters and police stay home, lock the schools and see how long the Republicans can stay hard out in the cold.
posted by fuq at 1:11 PM on February 23, 2011


Aren't several of the unions already officially on strike?

And don't essential personnel like firefighters and police not have the right to actually strike or something?
posted by Think_Long at 1:13 PM on February 23, 2011


scody: "Connecting the dots is for elitists."

And Pee-Wee Herman.
posted by symbioid at 1:13 PM on February 23, 2011


Why don't the unions just say "we aren't negotiating either" and shut the state down. It's a public sector union, why not just lock the doors of the capital, let the fire fighters and police stay home, lock the schools and see how long the Republicans can stay hard out in the cold.

Walker can and will bring in the national guard to keep essential services going.

As others have pointed out in other threads, the threat of a K-12 teacher's strike is the real threat. See how long the public supports him when parents have to stay home from work with their kids or spend a fortune on day-care.
posted by VTX at 1:15 PM on February 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


Nobody's on strike yet. There are promises to do so if the bill passes.
posted by echo target at 1:15 PM on February 23, 2011


The unions, AFAIK, are not on strike.

The South-Central Federation of Labor (an organization of 70 unions) has called for preparations for general strike, but they don't have the authority to call for a general strike.

http://www.scfl.org/

See the blue bar to the right.
posted by symbioid at 1:17 PM on February 23, 2011


fuq, There are two reasons I can think of.

1) Strikes cost money. Collective bargaining was put into place to prevent strikes, so I'd be shocked if unions have built up big strike funds.

2) It seems highly likely that Walker wants someone to strike so he can fire them. There's even a provision in the bill to allow it. The first to be hit would probably be the prison workers, which is what he hinted at with mentions of calling in the National Guard (and rumors are that NG members have already received possible prison assignments). He'd then privatize the jobs. The only group that couldn't be privatized easily, imho, would be the large school districts like Milwaukee Public Schools. The MPS union (MTEA) has 8k members. I'm not sure there are 8k other people that would be available and willing to take those jobs. There have been threats made against the MTEA in the last few days.
posted by drezdn at 1:17 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Apologies if this has already been linked: The Selling of Wisconsin: Enter Koch Brothers' Bag Man Jeffrey Schoepke
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 1:18 PM on February 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


And don't essential personnel like firefighters and police not have the right to actually strike or something?

Does that mean that they could be forced to work without pay?
posted by fuq at 1:18 PM on February 23, 2011


Hasn't Walker already done the "fire the union workers" thing once already?

It ended up costing the county nearly a half-million dollars.

Not really the money saving he keeps talking about.
posted by hippybear at 1:19 PM on February 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


I've read via people in the know that NG was touring prisons...
"OMG!! The National Guard is touring all the prisons for some odd reason..They say they routinely do this and it has nothing to do with the takeover of the prisons by out of state (Iowa) private companies instead of corrections officers when he busts the unions...no one who has worked there for years EVER saw any of these "inspections" before. Wisconsin jobs to out of state workers??? Big Brother is finally here!"
(that's from an email of a person who works at the prison)
posted by symbioid at 1:19 PM on February 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Not really the money saving he keeps talking about.

Savings for the People of Wisconsin or savings for the Koch Industries/Georgia-Pacific Tea Party®?
posted by mikelieman at 1:24 PM on February 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


Thanks symbiod.
posted by cashman at 1:28 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]




The funniest part of this is that Walker somehow didn't immediately wonder why David Koch sounded like a teenager imitating a gruff boss from a 1960s Hanna-Barbera cartoon.
posted by dgaicun at 1:34 PM on February 23, 2011 [17 favorites]


Why don't the unions just say "we aren't negotiating either" and shut the state down. It's a public sector union, why not just lock the doors of the capital, let the fire fighters and police stay home, lock the schools and see how long the Republicans can stay hard out in the cold.

Because, as others point out, the Governor could and probably would call out the WI national guard. Legal authority within the state is vested in the office of Governor, not in the unions; although they are employees of the state they don't have extra political rights as citizens.

Without supporting Walker or his policies, the fact is that he won an election and a lot of Republicans also won elections which give them a vote in the state assembly. Within the state of WI, election results (pdf) suggest that maybe the Governor has a majority of the voters on his side, even if they're out of step with the nation as a whole, or even if those voters didn't really think their decision through. No matter how much I disapprove of this policy, if the bill gets enough votes in the state assembly then it becomes law; I don't think there's a constitutional right to collective bargaining in the WI constitution or in the federal one (although it might be interesting to argue that one arises out of the first amendment....). Sometimes democracy yields unpleasant results.

Whatever the outcome, it's interesting that the language of the debate is very similar to that of the recent debate about healthcare reform, with the minority speaking of having things rammed down their throat and the majority accusing them of putting their own interests above the greater good, even though the groups in question are on exactly opposite sides. Maybe it would be useful to study these parallels further to get a better idea of what approaches move the public sentiment one way or the other.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:37 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Psst - Unions have rights. Enshrined in law. If you think Unions don't have rights anigbrowl, I'd suggest you do more research.
posted by symbioid at 1:39 PM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]



The WMC press release incorrectly states that the 3.3 billion dollar deficit is a 6,000 dollar obligation for every man, woman, and child in the state.

However, with the power of my engineering degree I have found that 3.3 billion divided by 5.6 million people is actually less than 600 dollars.

WMC math FAIL.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:39 PM on February 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


I like how Chris Christie managed to simultaneously be on both the "GOP Governors who have said they won't go after collective bargaining" and the "GOP Governors who have expressed support of Walker" lists.

and no one is going to prison (and especially not "PMITA prison") over this.
posted by Challahtronix at 1:40 PM on February 23, 2011


anigbrowl: "Whatever the outcome, it's interesting that the language of the debate is very similar to that of the recent debate about healthcare reform, with the minority speaking of having things rammed down their throat and the majority accusing them of putting their own interests above the greater good, even though the groups in question are on exactly opposite sides."

Haha, what.

Did we witness a different healthcare debate? Because I seem to remember endless compromise and capitulation by the majority there.
posted by mullingitover at 1:41 PM on February 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


it's interesting that the language of the debate is very similar to that of the recent debate about healthcare reform, with the minority speaking of having things rammed down their throat

But there were months of debates about the healthcare bill. Walker's budget "repair" bill came out of fucking nowhere and is being rushed through the legislature. That's what people mean by "rammed down our throats."
posted by desjardins at 1:41 PM on February 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


Also, the Wisconsin constitution has enshrined the rules on quorums; the federal constitution has no such provisions for filibustering.
posted by one_bean at 1:43 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Legal authority within the state is vested in the office of Governor derived from the People.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:44 PM on February 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


Because what Murphy did independent of the recording is arguably a tort

It was pretty sweet.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:45 PM on February 23, 2011 [13 favorites]


Maddow on Walker and butt vodka.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:46 PM on February 23, 2011


When will walker hold a festival of the supreme being, I have plate to burn.
posted by clavdivs at 1:47 PM on February 23, 2011


Why don't the unions just say "we aren't negotiating either" and shut the state down.

To some extent, that is a nuclear option they are holding in their deck for when, assuming if, Walker & Co. pass the legislation. But a complicating matter is that with so many municipal and local governments and school districts in financial distress this cycle, a lot of localized labor actions are probably contemplated. At some point, working things out with the local unit may be more tactically appropriate.
posted by dhartung at 1:47 PM on February 23, 2011



Psst - Unions have rights. Enshrined in law. If you think Unions don't have rights anigbrowl, I'd suggest you do more research.


Fewer than they need. Repeal Taft/Hartley!
posted by mikelieman at 1:48 PM on February 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


Challahtronix: Chris Christie is so two-faced he could be a Batman villain and so crooked he meets himself walking around corners. He's been aching to bust the unions in NJ (especially the teacher's union, which is a powerful one in the state) since he tossed his hat in the ring for Governor, and if you read his campaign literature carefully, it's got every code for busting unions and trashing minorities in there.

During the big snowfall at Christmastime, he refused to declare a state emergency, despite there being three feet of snow in some places, and an average of 18 inches across the entire state, and then went to Disney World with his kids and didn't answer the phone about anything at all, and (according to people who live there, who isn't me anymore) didn't do the proper process to let the Lieutenant Governor (the first one the state HAD, the office being created while the previous governor was in the hospital with multiple broken limbs due to his refusal to wear seatbelts) take over. Apparently, since he was in good health, her power to cover for him wasn't available; vacation doesn't automatically devolve the power to her.
posted by mephron at 1:49 PM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


RIGHT ON MIKELIEMAN.
(Wait, fewer rights than they need? Or more restrictions than they should?)
I'm down for some General Strike action which Taft-Hartley prevents...
posted by symbioid at 1:50 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


As in "Unions have fewer rights than they need"...
posted by mikelieman at 1:51 PM on February 23, 2011


Fewer than they need. Repeal Taft/Hartley!

mikelieman, you stole saulgoodman's thunder!
posted by VTX at 1:51 PM on February 23, 2011


And don't essential personnel like firefighters and police not have the right to actually strike or something?
Some states do have such clauses in their contracts. Not sure about WI.

Why don't the unions just say "we aren't negotiating either" and shut the state down.
Such a move would very likely evaporate a lot of whatever public support the unions enjoy in this matter.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:52 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Psst - Unions have rights. Enshrined in law. If you think Unions don't have rights anigbrowl, I'd suggest you do more research.

You did notice the part about "constitutional" in what you're responding to, right?
posted by nomisxid at 1:52 PM on February 23, 2011


Ah, ok, thanks for parsing that for me :)
posted by symbioid at 1:52 PM on February 23, 2011


And of course, the point being that I am also in favor of General Strikes, Solidarity Strikes, etc...
posted by mikelieman at 1:52 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ok, nomisxid, you are now claiming that law that's been settled by a hundred years of test through the courts is now "unconstitutional".

I see what kool-aid you're drinking.

Or do you mean only "Bill of Rights" and if it's not there, then it's not a "right" even though by law, it does contain certain rights?
posted by symbioid at 1:53 PM on February 23, 2011


There's plenty of chanting to go around for everyone!

I'll buy saulgoodman a drink sometime. We share a naming convention apparently...
posted by mikelieman at 1:54 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


anigbrowl: “... as others point out, the Governor could and probably would call out the WI national guard. Legal authority within the state is vested in the office of Governor, not in the unions; although they are employees of the state they don't have extra political rights as citizens... No matter how much I disapprove of this policy, if the bill gets enough votes in the state assembly then it becomes law; I don't think there's a constitutional right to collective bargaining in the WI constitution or in the federal one (although it might be interesting to argue that one arises out of the first amendment....). Sometimes democracy yields unpleasant results.”

Look, everybody here can moan about how you seem to have a different opinion than mine, but I really don't mind. I think it's nice to hear from other viewpoints.

However, maybe you (and others here) can explain something that I really don't understand. See, as far as I can tell, "collective bargaining" just means that a bunch of people that work together and talk about it outside of work (a union) are allowed to get together and threaten to walk off the job if they don't get wages or benefits that they believe are fair.

So you're saying they shouldn't be allowed to talk to each other? Or – what – they should be legally obligated to go to work? I'm guessing I don't quite understand the full extent of collective bargaining, but at the same time there's really not much the Governor or the Legislature or anybody else in Wisconsin or any other state can do. If a bunch of people don't like the conditions of working and decide to walk off the job, they can do so. And forcing them to stay is clearly unconstitutional. I don't really see how you can argue that it isn't.

Regardless of the details of collective bargaining, isn't this the case? They're threatening a strike if this bill passes. Are you saying the National Guard can come in and forcibly prevent people from leaving their jobs? Are you seriously suggesting that wouldn't be an abrogation of rights guaranteed by the constitution?
posted by koeselitz at 1:54 PM on February 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


Speaking of Constitutional rights - funny how corps are allowed to have them, but magically unions aren't.

(actually - maybe I'm misreading, so I don't mean to be so snarky - apologies... even if I disagree with you and I'm not misreading, I should still work on keeping it civil)...
posted by symbioid at 1:55 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Unions are the embodiment of the rights to Assembly and Free Association. Hell, our nation was formed as a kind of Union. ("In order to form a more perfect Union...")

And no one can be forced to work, whether they're union or not. Don't even bother taking this subject as a serious one.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:57 PM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]



So you're saying they shouldn't be allowed to talk to each other? Or – what – they should be legally obligated to go to work? I'm guessing I don't quite understand the full extent of collective bargaining, but at the same time there's really not much the Governor or the Legislature or anybody else in Wisconsin or any other state can do. If a bunch of people don't like the conditions of working and decide to walk off the job, they can do so. And forcing them to stay is clearly unconstitutional. I don't really see how you can argue that it isn't.

Collective bargaining involves a trade union (or other organization) as an intermediary between the employer and the employees.

A bunch of workers threatening to walk off the job after talking in the lunchroom would be a wildcat. As a well behaved anarcho syndicalist, I think the real organizing gets done on the shop floor, but that's beside the point. This would be a major blow to workers in Wisconsin, even though they can still wildcat and organize outside of officially recognized channels.

Does that make more sense? I'm not as familiar with American or Wisconsin labor law, it ain't my country.
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:00 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Since it hasn't yet been posted in this thread, here's a link to the live blog/feed thingie from the Isthmus, a Madison daily paper. It's got a better signal-to-noise ratio than Twitter.
posted by desjardins at 2:00 PM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Actually... in case it's not clear, I'd really like to know. What does "collective bargaining" constitute in this case? Just a set of guidelines under which collective bargaining can take place? I mean, maybe it's just me, but I take it as a given that the basic principles and most of all the power behind collective bargaining – that is, a person's right to walk off the job if she or he chooses – is pretty much guaranteed by the constitution already. So "collective bargaining" must be some formalization of this relationship; it couldn't be the basis of the relationship itself. Can someone explain what "collective bargaining" means here?
posted by koeselitz at 2:01 PM on February 23, 2011



Regardless of the details of collective bargaining, isn't this the case? They're threatening a strike if this bill passes. Are you saying the National Guard can come in and forcibly prevent people from leaving their jobs? Are you seriously suggesting that wouldn't be an abrogation of rights guaranteed by the constitution?


Precedent says that they'd be allowed to leave their job, but might not be paid or allowed to return to their jobs. The national guard could well lock them out, or protect the scabs that replace them.
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:01 PM on February 23, 2011


Going back to the topic of no-bid sales of State-run power plants, an amendment to strip that section from the bill just failed in the Assembly.
posted by Fin Azvandi at 2:04 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ok, nomisxid, you are now claiming that law that's been settled by a hundred years of test through the courts is now "unconstitutional".

Um no, I didn't say anything, I'm pointing out that angibrow was specifically referring to "constitutional law" in the sense that it's a law codified IN the the US or WI constitution, not the validity of the law. The constitution is way bigger than the first 10 amendments.

I am on neither side of this debate, but I hate to see people trash their own sides arguments by mis-reading what's been offered. Part of me is kind of the opinion that the people of Wisconsin made their bed, and now they get to lie in it. I have to wonder where all this political will was during the election season.
posted by nomisxid at 2:04 PM on February 23, 2011


Walker would be a fool (well, I suppose he already is one) if he thinks he could fire 8,000 teachers mid-school year, replace them and still get any sort of decent education for those students. The disruption to their education would be enormous and the political fall out, profound.

As others have pointed out, he seems a little disconnected from reality, but I think that's a hallmark of modern American politics, most especially at the Tea Bag edge of the spectrum.

In regards to the definition of Collective Bargaining, let me google that for you.

In this case, it means that the employees have the right to negotiate the terms of their employment rather than having those terms dictated to them.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:04 PM on February 23, 2011


Psst - Unions have rights. Enshrined in law. If you think Unions don't have rights anigbrowl, I'd suggest you do more research.

Sigh...I said I don't think there's a constitutional right to collective bargaining, not that I don't think unions have any rights at all. Why do I think that? Because I looked at the Wisconsin constitution (pdf) and I don't see anything in there guaranteeing the right to collective bargaining. I didn't write the damn thing, I'm just making an observation about it. If you see such a thing, please point out where I overlooked it because today is the first time I ever read the Wisconsin constitution and I might have missed that bit.

Why are you trying to twist my words to mean something completely different from what I said?

Did we witness a different healthcare debate?
I'm just talking about the language used to describe it in the media. Not the tactics, rules, ethics or anything else. It struck me that maybe finding some new and different terms, instead of well-worn catchphrases, would help the minority to get their point across to the public more effectively.
posted by anigbrowl at 2:06 PM on February 23, 2011


This is all to say nothing of how bad it would make Walker look to sue Murphy.

Ian Murphy talks to Salon:
" ... Murphy said he has not heard from Walker's office or, for that matter Koch's. He says he hopes Koch sues the Beast, citing the Streisand effect. He adds: I would just like it on the record that I'm not suicidal. If my body floats up in some Wisconsin bog or cheese factory, I was not suicidal.'"
posted by ericb at 2:07 PM on February 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


OK, and that's why I said that there is settled constitutional law for over a century now that deals with what rights Unions have and don't have.

Ah yes, the old "you voted him in, now you have to deal with it" canard. Lovely.

Here's the thing, a lot of stuff Walker is doing was NOT part of his campaign. Dont' get me wrong, I would never vote for a Republican anyways, but he's clearly going way more than even some of his supporters are willing to accept (as evidenced by recent polls).

I did my part at the voting booth.

The nice thing is that in a truly functional democracy, people have a right to assemble, organize and petition the government for a redress of grievances... In other words, democracy doesn't END at the voting booth, it STARTS there.
posted by symbioid at 2:07 PM on February 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


Purely from the standpoint of public opinion, I think the unions are better off forcing the issue and being laid off than going on strike. Like someone said upthread, if teachers walk off the job and force parents to pay for daycare, the parents will be mad at the teachers. If Walker lays them off, the parents will be mad at Walker.
posted by desjardins at 2:07 PM on February 23, 2011


As an ex-Sconnie in location (always a Sconnie in my heart), it's pretty cool to see people protesting like this. But I can't help wondering every time I see the pictures of the people protesting and hear everybody give their opinions: how many of these people did something that mattered and voted against Walker when he was running for office?
posted by bibbit at 2:08 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]



Purely from the standpoint of public opinion, I think the unions are better off forcing the issue and being laid off than going on strike. Like someone said upthread, if teachers walk off the job and force parents to pay for daycare, the parents will be mad at the teachers. If Walker lays them off, the parents will be mad at Walker.


A Good Work Strike?]

They're awesome. Probably one of the most clever things the labor movement has done.
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:10 PM on February 23, 2011 [15 favorites]


Walker would be a fool (well, I suppose he already is one) if he thinks he could fire 8,000 teachers mid-school year, replace them and still get any sort of decent education for those students. The disruption to their education would be enormous and the political fall out, profound.

The idea of directing the National Guard to perform military violence against school teachers — as well as involuntary and illegal incarceration — would probably horrify and sicken a significant portion of the rest of the country (even if Wisconsin's Tea Party voters made their bed for the rest of the state to sleep in).

Let's hope this phone call helps convince Walker of the significant consequences of instigating violence against peaceful protestors.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:11 PM on February 23, 2011




As an ex-Sconnie in location (always a Sconnie in my heart), it's pretty cool to see people protesting like this. But I can't help wondering every time I see the pictures of the people protesting and hear everybody give their opinions: how many of these people did something that mattered and voted against Walker when he was running for office?


I would rather see a strong union movement than a high voter turn out. And I'm not alone in that. It has a very real mechanism for change, at the grass roots level, and can be mobilized at the polls as well if need be. Where as a single vote doesn't guarantee much of anything.
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:12 PM on February 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


But I can't help wondering every time I see the pictures of the people protesting and hear everybody give their opinions: how many of these people did something that mattered and voted against Walker when he was running for office?

Well, as much as you might suspect that teachers unions et al are hotbeds of Republican support, actually they are more likely to have voted Democratic, don't you think?

Also they are doing something that matters *now*. It is perfectly OK to vote one way and have strong enough opinions on a policy of the person who you voted for to protest against (or indeed for) that policy; that is part of democracy.
posted by jaduncan at 2:13 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


how many of these people did something that mattered and voted against Walker when he was running for office?

Well, he didn't run on this issue and certainly to the extent he was going to do it. I think a large number of his supporters have been unpleasantly surprised.

Even at that, what should we do ? He's taking advantage of his recall immunity and political fortune for maximum gain - which, is a cheap shot, but allowed, IMO - and we are making it known that we don't like it.

A idiot once said "Democracy is untidy". Well, this is what it looks like.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:14 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


What does "collective bargaining" constitute in this case? Just a set of guidelines under which collective bargaining can take place?

Koeselitz, I think the distinction is the difference between a legal strike and an illegal strike.

Any non-unionized workers can agree to walk off the job whenever they want, to protest anything. However, the company can just fire them for not showing up at work.

The laws pertaining to unions say that if you're in a certified union, when you're contract's up you're allowed to strike for better wages/better working conditions, and the bosses can't just fire everyone and hire new employees. So the government can change those laws for when legal strikes are allowed, which is what Walker is trying to do.

Teachers have a lot more leverage than most, since a state-wide teacher walkout, illegal or not, puts the government in a pickle. But jobs like prison workers or sanitation workers can be contracted out, no problem, if the union workers stage a walkout.

(I may be wrong on how the laws work in Wisconsin. I'm not even American.)
posted by auto-correct at 2:15 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Stagger Lee, that Good Work Strike is utterly awesome! The public would love that type of strike!
posted by madamjujujive at 2:15 PM on February 23, 2011 [8 favorites]


I was amused by Walker's casual description of a Democratic representative as "He's not a conservative, he's just a pragmatist."

But this is the most damning exchange, in my view:
"Koch": What we were thinking about the crowds was planting some troublemakers."

Walker: [pause] You know, well... the only problem, because we thought about that, the problem, my gut reaction to that would be... right now, the lawmakers I've talked to have completely had it with them, the public is not really fond of this. The teachers' union did some polling and focus groups I think and found out that the public turned on them the minute they closed down school for a couple days. The guys we got left are largely out of state, and I keep dismissing it in all my press conferences, "Eh, they're mostly from out of state." My only fear would be is if there was a ruckus caused, is that that would scare the public into thinking "maybe the governor's got to settle to avoid all these problems." Whereas I'm saying, "Hey, we can this, people can protest, this is Madison, you know, full of the '60s liberals, let 'em protest. It's not gonna effect us. And as long as we go back to our homes, and the majority of people are telling us we're doing the right thing, let 'em protest all they want. So, that's my gut reaction, is that I think it's actually good if they're constant, they're noisy, but -- they're quiet, nothing happens, cause, sooner or later, the media stops finding them interesting.
Here we have an American governor taking in stride the suggestion from a right-wing billionaire that he use agents provocateurs to incite violence in a peaceful protest, and in fact the only reason he decided against covertly inflaming violence among his own constituents was for P.R. considerations, not because it's a fucking evil and fascistic tactic straight out of Nazi fucking Germany. Jesus Christ.
posted by Rhaomi at 2:15 PM on February 23, 2011 [42 favorites]


One thing I've thought as a pretend future candidacy is a "give em what they want" platform. Give the right EVERYTHING it wants. Crush unions, end social security (not even a "privatization" scheme) Gut it all.

Then see how many *really* wanna deal with the fallout.

I have a feeling we'd be seeing a resurgence of the union movement unlike anything.

Walker's doing very nice for the opposition.
posted by symbioid at 2:16 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hmm; how would a good work strike work, in terms of teachers? Passing everyone? Extra recess? All cafeteria lunches for free or cheap?

That's a toughie.

Much less cops and firefighters. Oh wait, cops could refuse to write parking tickets, and just give warnings, maybe?

I could see teachers, for example, refusing to work a minute past their regular hours, which means no grading gets done, no extra-curricular stuff.
posted by emjaybee at 2:16 PM on February 23, 2011


Ah yes, the old "you voted him in, now you have to deal with it" canard. Lovely.

Hey, I said "part of me". If you are claiming you don't have a crotchy old bastard part of you, I would point you at some of your own posts today.

Seriously, you need to get over this anger at people who have nothing to do with this situation, and start focusing it where it can do anyone some good; right now you just look like an ignorant emotional bag full of GRAR lashing out blindly.
posted by nomisxid at 2:17 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe teachers could pull a reverse strike and come in on a Saturday and offer an extra free day of school.
posted by drezdn at 2:19 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


The idea of directing the National Guard to perform military violence against school teachers — as well as involuntary and illegal incarceration.

What are you talking about? This is pure hyperbole, no one has suggested Walker's going to use military force against teachers or incarcerate them. All we know is that the National Guard seems likely to take over prisons if the prison guards strike/get laid off. Leave the fearmongering to the right.
posted by desjardins at 2:21 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Today's lesson: the history of unionisation."
posted by jaduncan at 2:21 PM on February 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


I mean seriously, just imagine for a second the unholy shitstorm that would be unleashed if Brietbart caught President Obama on tape saying, "We thought about planting some troublemakers at that Tea Party rally, but then we figured it might make us look weak on Fox News."

How is Walker's statement not a huge issue? Why is it being played away as nothing more than "LOL punk'd"? What is happening to this country?
posted by Rhaomi at 2:23 PM on February 23, 2011 [31 favorites]


cops could refuse to write parking tickets

already privatized.
posted by desjardins at 2:24 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


How is Walker's statement not a huge issue? Why is it being played away as nothing more than "LOL punk'd"?

The state's largest paper also owns the radio station WTMJ. WTMJ employed Walker's current chief of staff and his campaign manager was the wife of their most popular host.
posted by drezdn at 2:25 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


nomisxid: "Ah yes, the old "you voted him in, now you have to deal with it" canard. Lovely.

Hey, I said "part of me". If you are claiming you don't have a crotchy old bastard part of you, I would point you at some of your own posts today.

Seriously, you need to get over this anger at people who have nothing to do with this situation, and start focusing it where it can do anyone some good; right now you just look like an ignorant emotional bag full of GRAR lashing out blindly.
"

Damnit, ya got me ;)

No, but seriously? I did apologize already. Anyways, yeah, I'm cranky. I missed the "part of me" and yeah, I get vengeful. But seriously, ok, let's talk about the issue rather than bitching about "voters who deserve what they voted in".

In fact, it seems that my posts were an attempt to show that we ARE working towards solutions. If my language is strong it's because the situation is strong. It's not lashing out blindly, it has a very real and specific target named, in order "Capitalism", "Koch Brothers", "Tea Party", "Republican Party of Wisconsin", "Scott Walker", "Republican Assemblymembers" and "Republican Senators".

I think that's pretty much my list. Now, please make sure to know that just because I'm angry and using the word "target" does NOT mean I advocate violence in any manner. And maybe that makes me like Scott Walker, because violence will no doubt hurt our cause. The revolutions in Egypt and elsewhere show that we can win hearts and minds by doing what we're doing (non-violence, cleanup at the capitol, etc...)

OK, I'm done - 'nuff w/this derail... Apologies for my Grar towards you. No apologies with my Grar towards the system that is working to taking rights from my fellow citizens and workers away.
posted by symbioid at 2:25 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Stagger Lee's explanation is the same thing I am talking about. Public sector workers in Wisconsin have a right to walk off the job, and in turn the Governor has the authority to call out the national guard and assign them to do things like operate the prisons and provide fire and police services. You don't have to like it, or like him. All I'm saying is that he has the legal authority to do that. It's in Article V, section 4 of the state constitution.

As far as the constitutional thing goes, the point I am attempting to make is that if the WI assembly decides to outlaw collective bargaining among public employees, then it has the legal authority to do so because there's nothing in the WI constitution to stop the assembly from passing such a law. This does not mean I think it would be a great idea, or that there might not be other ways to challenge such a law.
posted by anigbrowl at 2:26 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


What are you talking about?

I'm not sure it is hyperbole:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker made the dramatic announcement this morning that he is prepared to call in the Wisconsin National Guard to respond if there is any unrest among state employees in the wake of his announcement that he wants to revoke nearly all of their collective bargaining rights.

His announcement has been cited elsewhere, I believe.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:26 PM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


OK, got where you're coming from anigbrowl. Sometimes short comments make it hard to get the full gist without clarification.
posted by symbioid at 2:28 PM on February 23, 2011


There are a bunch of fake Walkers on twitter, but this is the funniest, taking the governor's own tweets and subverting them.
posted by drezdn at 2:29 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


BP, I think the issue is whether or not that quote is a *threat* to use the NG against protesters or as staffing, as Walker apparently tried to clarify as his position.

We shall see, I guess, what happens when the strike happens.
posted by symbioid at 2:31 PM on February 23, 2011


Walker has pretty clearly been deliberately ambiguous on whether he intends to use the National Guard to scab or to actually attack strikers (and obviously, when you are sending in scabs who are armed military personnel, the line is pretty thin between the two to begin with). Many people have publicly wondered exactly what he intends and he hasn't yet responded to say that the Guard will be used only for non-military purposes, which he could easily do if he wanted to.
posted by enn at 2:31 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Even if the media forgets about the phone call tomorrow, the damage is done w/r/t the Kochs' opinion of Walker. You've got to figure they would prefer to keep their names OUT of the papers. I wonder how much the Kochs abandoning him would injure his political fortunes.
posted by AugieAugustus at 2:32 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


BP, I think the issue is whether or not that quote is a *threat* to use the NG against protesters or as staffing, as Walker apparently tried to clarify as his position.

After the fact, there were "clarifications" made about what the National Guard would be used for specifically (prison guard staffing). But the initial announcement itself was vague, and perhaps deliberately so, using the implied threat of violence to scare people away from protesting.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:33 PM on February 23, 2011


Where as a single vote doesn't guarantee much of anything.

For what it's worth, here in MN we just had two very close elections in a row. Franken, perhaps on of the most liberal Senators in office, won by 312 votes. that is the difference between a Senator I consider better then 95% of the Senate, and a Senator I would consider worse than 80%.

We also just had a recount for our Governor, the difference being a moderately Liberal (Dayton) beat someone who in all likelihood would have been just as bad, if not worse, than walker.

From my seat, no one can say single votes don't mean much.
posted by edgeways at 2:35 PM on February 23, 2011 [12 favorites]


"Even if the media forgets about the phone call tomorrow, the damage is done w/r/t the Kochs' opinion of Walker. You've got to figure they would prefer to keep their names OUT of the papers. I wonder how much the Kochs abandoning him would injure his political fortunes."

He's ground zero, as even he says. They can't abandon this fight, too many other reps would take note.
posted by jaduncan at 2:38 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


reddit user suggests welcoming Koch's PR office to Wisconsin with envelopes of FABULOUS GLITTER!

It's peaceful and so very pretty!
While it gives me giggles to think of it, I think it's not a particularly effective tactic of protest. Interesting idea, nonetheless.
posted by symbioid at 2:44 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, the thing about unions is... if you don't have collective bargaining, then what is the union for?

The whole point of a union is that you have a group of people who are working together for their common good against forces which would seek to do them harm. That harm, in this case, would be a drive toward lower wages, lack of wage increases, eroded health care benefits, eroded pension benefits...

It's not like if you're a member of a union that you can negotiate the terms of your employment as an individual. The union contracts stand between the individual and the overlords, and can be a benefit and an albatross for either side, depending on the terms of the contract.

If you have a union without bargaining rights, all you have is a defanged snake. It may make people uncomfortable to have around, but it has nothing to back up its harmless bite.
posted by hippybear at 2:44 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sending envelopes of glitter sounds waaaaaay to easy to spin as "unidentified substances mailed to offices of...."

Now, in the interests of the "Good Work Strike" above, perhaps with FTD deliveries? Send random flowers to low-level staff and freak them out with a kind act.
posted by mikelieman at 2:49 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]





Well, as much as you might suspect that teachers unions et al are hotbeds of Republican support, actually they are more likely to have voted Democratic, don't you think?


I'm not concerned about people who voted - it's the people who DIDN'T vote but then get all hot under the collar about things like this. I have no idea what the makeup of protesters actually is, so this could be a moot point.
posted by bibbit at 2:51 PM on February 23, 2011



At this point, some young staffers from the governor's office opened the double-doors wide open -- so that the sounds of the thousands of protesters came pouring in, drowning out Hulsey. The reporters then asked for the doors to be closed, but the young men stayed at the doors, keeping them fully open.


Once again, shifting the attention of the reporters to the HUGE CROWD assembled right outside in opposition to the policy...

Who's advising these guys? Krusty-Lu Consulting?
posted by mikelieman at 2:54 PM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


You know what? Screw that "if you didn't vote you can't complain" malarky.

Everyone has a right to petition the government, regardless of whether or not they voted or not. Maybe they did, maybe they didn't. Maybe we wouldn't be in this mess if they did. It's irrelevant to the situation at hand. We can't be fighting yesterday's battles, and we sure can't be fighting each other.

There is a game plan, and we need unity, not bicker and blame. That's what they want. They want us divided. We cannot let that happen.
posted by symbioid at 2:54 PM on February 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


EDIT: It's not "irrelevant" to the situation at hand, that was poor phrasing on my part...

I should say that focusing on it doesn't help matters now. Should we try to get others to vote next time? Sure. But right now there's something else going on, and I think that's where we need to regroup.

(Man I'm just tetchy today, I guess!)
posted by symbioid at 2:56 PM on February 23, 2011



Well, the thing about unions is... if you don't have collective bargaining, then what is the union for?

The whole point of a union is that you have a group of people who are working together for their common good against forces which would seek to do them harm. That harm, in this case, would be a drive toward lower wages, lack of wage increases, eroded health care benefits, eroded pension benefits...


Whatever, if they want to express communal rights in the form of an individual entity they should just start a corporation like everyone else.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:57 PM on February 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Just about to go onstage. Sending solidarity to the workers of Wisconsin from the dressing room of the Empire Music Hall in Belfast Billy Bragg
posted by Sailormom at 3:00 PM on February 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Whatever, if they want to express communal rights in the form of an individual entity they should just start a corporation like everyone else.

Some places already do this. Worker-owned cooperative is the name of that particular venture, and it generally works well for the workers, because they then also own the means of production.

Unions are only needed when the workers don't own the means of production and are seen simply as fodder for the machine instead of as people.
posted by hippybear at 3:00 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just recommended the flower-good-strike idea over on that reddit thread. The more I think about it, the more chuffed I get. A slow trickle at first. "Oh this is nice... Maybe not everyone in Madison hates us..."

"Oh, another bouquet? Strange."

As the deliveries roll in, and the workers are continually interrupted from doing their dirty deeds to accept these wonderful gifts from workers, and their office slowly gets turned into a biotic room filled with life (as opposed to the petrochemical artificial corporation that they represent)... A jungle of devious "love.

BEAUTIFUL!!! So who starts the facebook group?
posted by symbioid at 3:01 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


(oh chuffed doesn't mean what I thought it did... oops!)
posted by symbioid at 3:02 PM on February 23, 2011


Holy crap flowers are expensive. :\
posted by symbioid at 3:05 PM on February 23, 2011


On a related note, the Dropkick Murphys have released a song in support of the Wisconsin workers, as well as a limited edition T-Shirt, the proceeds of which go to Workers’ Rights Emergency Response Fund (https://afl.salsalabs.com/o/4002/wi-response).They're also on the way to Wisconsin to play live.

Stay strong, Wisconsin. Support is about to get LOUD.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 3:06 PM on February 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


The revolution has now been animated.
posted by drezdn at 3:07 PM on February 23, 2011


Walker would be a fool (well, I suppose he already is one) if he thinks he could fire 8,000 teachers mid-school year

Just to be clear, the teachers in question are not state employees (even the university faculty aren't), and the Governor cannot fire them. Only the individual school districts that employ the teachers could decide to do so, given many varied considerations.

The Governor's implied layoffs are state agency workers such as the DNR, DOT, DMV, DHS, DOC, etc.

symbioid: chuffed, adj.
posted by dhartung at 3:07 PM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Here is Ian's pizza board, tracking where the pizza orders have been coming from
posted by edgeways at 3:08 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


On a related note, the Dropkick Murphys have released a song in support of the Wisconsin workers

I would welcome a revival of union songs at this point in time. We don't have enough songs with social intent these days in general, IMO.
posted by hippybear at 3:10 PM on February 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


dhartung, that dictionary page is fantastic.
posted by Vibrissa at 3:10 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would welcome a revival of union songs at this point in time. We don't have enough songs with social intent these days in general, IMO.

Tom Morello a.k.a. "The Nightwatchman" - Union Song
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 3:12 PM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


On a related note, the Dropkick Murphys have released a song in support of the Wisconsin workers

Mike McColgan, their original singer, performed for the protesters as well.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 3:13 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, here's Tom Morello performing This Land is Your Land with the original, often omitted, verses.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 3:16 PM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I would welcome a revival of union songs at this point in time. We don't have enough songs with social intent these days in general, IMO.
posted by hippybear at 5:10 PM


relevent Onion
posted by symbioid at 3:21 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


So thinking about the flowerbomb concept.

Since it's so expensive, and it'd be ridiculous to ask all of us to send bouquets at such a cost, what if instead we did the whole cointelpro bit where we make a "SUPPORT KOCH INDUSTRIES" - link to the press about the Madison office -- then urge Supporters of Walker to send flowers, flood them with support and let them know that "YOU CARE!"

That way they're wasting THEIR money, AND it does the whole kindness activism AND delays them from getting work done and Junglifies their office.
posted by symbioid at 3:24 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Surprisingly, I didn't see anything on Reddit about the "troublemakers" conversation (which was buried halfway through the second video), so I went ahead and submitted a direct link to the audio and a transcript. The headline sounds a little sensational, but it's true, damn it, and it shouldn't be swept under the rug like some kind of joke. Be sure to stop by and give it an upvote if you have an account, since it doesn't look like it's being picked up on in any other submission.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:24 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Koch: Bring a baseball bat. That’s what I’d do.

Walker: I have one in my office; you’d be happy with that. I have a slugger with my name on it.


What an obsequious little sycophant.
posted by quin at 3:25 PM on February 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


Du lokken sharpen today, mein herr.
posted by Trochanter at 3:27 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I wonder whether this has caused any disruption for Koch. Is he having trouble getting people to take his calls today? I imagine not, but it's a nice thought, isn't it?
posted by stoneweaver at 3:29 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hmm; how would a good work strike work, in terms of teachers? Passing everyone? Extra recess? All cafeteria lunches for free or cheap?

I kinda like that first one. Let me suggest a variation, which I'll call "teaching, not testing." Teachers still teach the material, as usual. But there are no tests1 or quizzes. Teachers can still assign homework, but no grade is given for the homework. If it's feasible (depending on the nature of the class and time available), students check their own homework in class, with teacher guidance; if not (e.g., essay-type homework), the teacher still marks it up, makes corrections, etc., but doesn't actually give a grade. In any case, the teacher doesn't record a grade for the work. Deliberately, the only penalty for a student choosing not to do homework is that they won't master the material as well.

The students are still learning the material, if they want to, but there's no external measure of that learning.

1Except legally required standardized testing, but that generally doesn't count towards a student's grade, AFAIK.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:33 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Except legally required standardized testing, but that generally doesn't count towards a student's grade, AFAIK.

That's when the teachers give out the answers for the standardized testing so all of their kids are getting perfect scores and 100% of available funding.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 3:35 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I think the teachers really need to step up and do something about this bully!
posted by fuq at 3:38 PM on February 23, 2011


I'm a general strike kinda guy myself, but that takes total commitment to be successful.

The smart play these days is slow-downs and working to the rule. Make your point but don't give these assholes anywhere a legitimate reason to fire everybody ( because they're stupid enough to do that).
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:48 PM on February 23, 2011


quin: "Koch: Bring a baseball bat. That’s what I’d do.

Walker: I have one in my office; you’d be happy with that. I have a slugger with my name on it.


What an obsequious little sycophant
"

Are those words I'd need to get more than a C in college and not have dropped out to understand /lowblow
posted by symbioid at 3:50 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Are those words I'd need to get more than a C in college and not have dropped out to understand /lowblow

Don't worry, there is a C-word that you can use if all that is a bit too high faluting.
posted by jaduncan at 3:52 PM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Teachers on a "good strike" could just focus lessons on preventing bullying; power dynamics, labor & the history of labor, anti discrimination, civil rights for minorities, gays; feminism.

And also about science and evolution, and then segue into birth control.

Science! That would be provocative!
posted by madamjujujive at 3:52 PM on February 23, 2011 [11 favorites]


Well, it certainly boosts the Q rating of Ian Murphy, to say nothing of the Buffalo Beast (neither of which entity I had ever heard), so from that point of view, I suppose he was somewhat successful.

Mind you, much as it would like to be, it's no Spy.

Getting back to that other issue - so how is Wisconsin to get out of its fiscal hole? (I speak as an ignorant agnostic with real curiosity. I'm only recently aware of the whole thing.)
posted by IndigoJones at 4:10 PM on February 23, 2011


Unions are only needed when the workers don't own the means of production and are seen simply as fodder for the machine instead of as people.

I'm not sure that this approach adequately describes the provision of public services though, which are owned by the people rather than being run for private profit. Since government is often the sole employer in a given sector, labor relations have the potential for exploitation; on the other hand many public sector workers want to maintain a government monopoly in services, even though competition for good employees would in theory drive wages upwards. Given that there are some fundamental differences between the public and private sectors, perhaps the arguments for union involvement need to be fundamentally different as well.
posted by anigbrowl at 4:12 PM on February 23, 2011


IndigoJones, there's a lot of stuff out there discussing the issue (I'm still not *fully* clear on it), but suffice it to say that the "fiscal hole" is PR.

Here's an article by a retired budget analyst regarding the process of budgets and why the projected 3-4 billion deficit is hokum. Basically that includes all the requested items without accounting for the process of the governor determining what to accept in new spend and what to not spend.

According to the author, this is the process that every governor of Wisconsin has to go through. It's part of the job, and Walker is using it to gin up the "Crisis" (that said, we did have an economic meltdown countrywide, and things aren't uber-rose, but there isn't a crisis in the sense they're portraying)

I posted to reddit, and someone was bothered by the shorthand/misspellings and wanted to clean it up so it was a bit more presentable (i.e. thru instead of through)... Here's the cleaned up version (word doc format)
posted by symbioid at 4:17 PM on February 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


Getting back to that other issue - so how is Wisconsin to get out of its fiscal hole? (I speak as an ignorant agnostic with real curiosity. I'm only recently aware of the whole thing.)

Well. Walkers way it not do that. This deficit thing is a great hobby horse for him.

Any rational person would see that the projected deficit only adds up to an extra burden of 600 dollars per person and raise the gas tax 2 cents per gallon and call it a day.

Point is, the deficit isn't that bad, and its less than 1% of the state's GDP.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 4:18 PM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Given that there are some fundamental differences between the public and private sectors, perhaps the arguments for union involvement need to be fundamentally different as well.

Yeah, I read a Wall Street Journal pundit column with exactly this same idea in the past couple of days.

I think the main reason why unions are important in the public sector is to prevent wholesale firing of workers and then replacing them with cronies and party favorites with every election cycle. Union contracts keep this from happening, and I think that's a good thing overall.

I guess the real question is, why should working for a public institution have fewer worker rights than working for a private corporation? People working for the government have as much right to demand good working conditions, quality take-home pay, and benefits which are actually benefits as anyone else. They're still people, after all.
posted by hippybear at 4:20 PM on February 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


Getting back to that other issue - so how is Wisconsin to get out of its fiscal hole? (I speak as an ignorant agnostic with real curiosity. I'm only recently aware of the whole thing.)

As Rachel Maddow points out, he's used an invented budget deficit to bust a union before. Its the excuse for busting the union. Keep in mind he just reduced certain corporate taxes.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:22 PM on February 23, 2011


The other point to make at the risk of repetitiveness, is that the unions, including the exempted firefolks and police, have said they'd accept the proposed cuts (the increased contributions to pension and healthcare.
posted by Mngo at 4:24 PM on February 23, 2011


Well, it certainly boosts the Q rating of Ian Murphy, to say nothing of the Buffalo Beast (neither of which entity I had ever heard),

They do that "most loathsome people" list every year, and generally, so do we. They also got into a bit of a trademark kerfuffle with Tina Brown's Daily Beast, with whom they shared a namesake.

Getting back to that other issue - so how is Wisconsin to get out of its fiscal hole?

This is begging the question, i.e., assuming that there is a fiscal hole. Well, there sort of is one, and it's bigger than usual, but it's not nearly as bad here as in other states.

But the very phrasing of the question here seems to imply that the public employees are the ones responsible and must perforce sacrifice to close the gap. In truth there are many different budget-balancing strategies from cutting public benefits and services to raising taxes and user fees to accounting strategies to employee layoffs to, yes, actual negotiated contract terms that reduce expenditures, and no doubt all are valid and open to use. What is out of order here is the scapegoating as a means toward both imposing a contract by fiat and union-busting, and conflating these multiple questions does not help the debate.
posted by dhartung at 4:29 PM on February 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


So thinking about the flowerbomb concept.

If only we had some way to have a message sent over a long distance, yet delivered by hand to the recipient?

Then we could send this 'far-writing-thing' to Koch Industries workers with messages like, "You're a great person!" , and "If I was there, I'd give you a smile!"
posted by mikelieman at 4:55 PM on February 23, 2011


Endgame? Here's a tweet from Patricia Simms, of the Wisconsin State Journal:

WI Dem Sen. Chris Larson says WED he expects three Republican senators to soon request that the budget repair bill be withdrawn.
posted by Weebot at 5:01 PM on February 23, 2011


Reading Larson's twitter, it sounds more like he just hopes 3 republicans withdraw the bill.
posted by drezdn at 5:05 PM on February 23, 2011


Also interesting: SPJ scolds Buffalo Beast for call to Wisconsin governor
posted by Weebot at 5:10 PM on February 23, 2011


NB: As a proud (well, why not) bearer of the name of O'Keefe, please don't let "O'Keefed" become a thing. Srlsy. If it were possible to disown James O'Keefe from the lineage, I'd be most happy to do so.
posted by jokeefe at 5:13 PM on February 23, 2011


Kinda relevant?

Dead Kennedys - Riot (Live)

Dear Humanitarian, Dianne Feinstein (fineswine),
just like dear humanitarian, Ronald Reagan,
Don't give 2 shits about people.
They only care about their handlers...
A long hot summer,
I hope not, but it's looking bad.
... Gets awful damn cold.
Got no job and your cut off the GA(?) list.
Hey we gotta cut the budget, we don't want you,
we want more bombs
you wanna work? join the army.
we have big plans for central america...
Cold on the outside,
boiling on the inside.
(bass line.... badumbumdubmdubm)
posted by symbioid at 5:22 PM on February 23, 2011


Also interesting: SPJ scolds Buffalo Beast for call to Wisconsin governor

I wonder how SPJ views the ethical matter of American journalism being entrenched in supporting the viewpoints of wealthy and empowered interests, in the way that stories are selected, edited and reported on.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:24 PM on February 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


Yeah, James hasn't earned the right to go down in history as a verb. Besides, if anything, "O'Keefed" should be something that is made to appear both flowerlike and, well, you know...
posted by quin at 5:28 PM on February 23, 2011


I keep seeing O'Keefed as Queefed, so... You all just be happy.
posted by Trochanter at 5:37 PM on February 23, 2011




Indiana Deputy Attorney General fired after suggesting protesters in Wisconsin be shot.

It also has to be said that this headline makes him sound amusingly like a murderer, in true Eats, Shoots and Leaves style.
posted by jaduncan at 5:43 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


quin: uh, sorry, I don't know. (that picture is denied)
posted by mephron at 5:45 PM on February 23, 2011


Can anyone briefly explain why republicans/tea partiers are so dead set on union busting? Are unions just a boogey man to rally against?

(Having had experience on both sides, labor and management, I don't get it. Unions simply seek fair labor practice...AFAIK.)
posted by snsranch at 5:45 PM on February 23, 2011


Can anyone briefly explain why republicans/tea partiers are so dead set on union busting? Are unions just a boogey man to rally against?

(Having had experience on both sides, labor and management, I don't get it. Unions simply seek fair labor practice...AFAIK.)


It's the last remaining alternate power base. Media is corporatised, politics is heavily pro-corporate, lobbied and compromised, Where else will effective opposition come from but labour? Gutting the public sector unions is also a prerequsiste for cutting public services.

I once used not to be this cynical. This tape has not helped me go back on that change.
posted by jaduncan at 5:59 PM on February 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


Also interesting: SPJ scolds Buffalo Beast for call to Wisconsin governor

I initially read this as "SJP scolds Buffalo Beast" and I thought, "yeah, well, Sarah Jessica Parker also thinks there should be a Sex in the City 3, so her opinion isn't worth much."
posted by scody at 6:01 PM on February 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


snsranch...

"Unions simply seek fair labor practice...AFAIK"

That's why.
Well, it's more than that. That's all unions want, now. But back in the heyday when we had things like Haymarket we had a lot more going on than just "fair labor practice"... A large part of the labor movement was incited by communist/anarchist/socialist influences. Obviously those elements stood for the destruction of Capitalism. Capitalism can't stand that, so it seeks to destroy it.

The modern Capitalist Zealots (or at least, the rhetoric - we all know Republicans don't really believe in Free Market Capitalism espoused by the more Libertarian folks) hearken back to the days before all these burdensome regulations got in the way of the great and mighty free market.

It's a religion to them.
posted by symbioid at 6:01 PM on February 23, 2011


Can anyone briefly explain why republicans/tea partiers are so dead set on union busting? Are unions just a boogey man to rally against?

1) They think unions are a bastion of Democratic support, and more importantly, fund-raising. That's reason enough.

But more importantly-

2) Organized labor is the last true institutional advocate on behalf of the middle class. These new Teabagger Republicans are totally subservient to corporate power behind the scenes, and they've chosen to never let a disaster go to waste and launched an all out class war years in the making. The Believers like Walker know the game, and eagerly do the bidding of Wall St/capital or are so brainwashed as to actual believe the bullshit they've been fed. The foot soldiers/rubes are motivated by social issues ginned up to turn them against their own economic interests and 30 years of rightwing brainwashing.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:02 PM on February 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


I think the main reason why unions are important in the public sector is to prevent wholesale firing of workers and then replacing them with cronies and party favorites with every election cycle. Union contracts keep this from happening, and I think that's a good thing overall.

This doesn't just protect the workers either. It also makes sure that the people hired to do the jobs are actually qualified to do them. That aspect protects the tax-payer.
posted by VTX at 6:05 PM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I got home a little while ago. What my (soon to be no longer) roommate had open on one of our many house computers:

Wisconsin Unions vs. The Tea Party: A Classic Double Standard (NSF Your sanity or your soul)

If this article doesn't make you realize how crackpot some of the right-wing thinking has been lately, I don't know what would.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 6:21 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


For reasons I can't explain (not my idea), I've watched Fox News all week. This is what they are saying. It's all Obama's fault. He is supporting the unions. He is the one encouraging this anarchy. It's because that's how he won the election, with the support of the big, bad, boogy man unions. I wish I was exaggerating.

Okay, I will explain it. My SO hasn't worked in three weeks, so he is stuck here with me and chooses to watch Fox News all day and we are arguing like crazy. (I'd rather watch Sex in the City, and that is saying something.) I used to keep my liberal ideas to myself to keep the peace, but I'm not doing it anymore. I watched Glen Beck all week. Fucking Glen Beck. And the sparks have been flying. Glen Beck is talking about communists and socialists and OMG, the sky is falling!!! I asked him, "who are the communists?" Blank stare in response. Then he says, "Oh, he just means the government is taking over our lives." **face palm** His sister comes over and he can't wait to tell her that I think Glen Beck is nuts and Fox News lies. This does not bode well for my relationship. Nevertheless, I'm not shutting up anymore. I hope I'm not the only one.
posted by wv kay in ga at 6:25 PM on February 23, 2011 [39 favorites]


wv kay in ga: I'll say it before the AskMe thread appears. I'm sorry.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 6:29 PM on February 23, 2011 [8 favorites]


snsranch: The crude answer is because their constituencies -- business, in particular -- want the benefits of curbed union power, while at the same time there is no one else in the party who politically rewards pro-union sentiment.

That's actually what's so scary about this stand-off. If the Democrats lose here, and labor further declines in power, the Democratic Party won't simply go away. It will just adapt its coalition to include a larger business constituency until it can win elections again, further entrenching those interests. That's the one thing that has been so frustrating for me with regards to the Democrats from both a policy and political perspective: they don't work on issues that, in addition to solving long-standing problems, expand constituencies within their coalition.

Specifically, I'm referring to labor and immigration issues, where they've just punted on the Employee Free Choice Act and Comprehensive Immigration Reform. On the merits, the Democrats have the right positions on these issues, and having a more powerful labor and latino constituency within the Democratic Party would serve as a bulwark against the influence of corporate interests and xenophobia, respectively. But whatever.
posted by Weebot at 6:30 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can anyone briefly explain why republicans/tea partiers are so dead set on union busting? Are unions just a boogey man to rally against?

The general conservative argument (Republican / Libertarian / Tea Party) against unions is that they artificially inflate the market price of whatever trade / profession is unionized and therefore do not allow the "invisible hand of the market" to do its work. By demanding fair wages / benefits for jobs that non-union workers would do for less money they are distorting the market and thereby "taking money from your (taxpayer) pocket."

Indeed there are cases where unions do manipulate the market and distort pricing structures...but the negative consequences of these cases are blown way out of proportion.

Basically unions seek to prevent a "race to the bottom" type effect that can occur when employers hold all the cards. Preventing this effect frustrates big business interests.
posted by jnnla at 6:38 PM on February 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


Thanks for the explanations about union busting. This is very depressing and in my opinion totally Un-American!

So maybe it's obvious too that union busting republican voters and tea partiers are largely baby boomers, no longer involved in labor and now see labor as a threat to their SS benefits etc.

(Apologies to Mefi boomers, just seems that it may be the case.)
posted by snsranch at 6:49 PM on February 23, 2011


The general conservative argument (Republican / Libertarian / Tea Party) against unions is that they artificially inflate the market price of whatever trade / profession is unionized and therefore do not allow the "invisible hand of the market" to do its work.

Indeed, and if you ask nicely enough they'll draw you a little, extremely vague graph! It is the exact same argument that they have against the minimum wage - the price control that is the minimum wage means that wages are higher than the 'true' price, so companies hire fewer people.

What that means is that economists think you should be able to pay only a dollar a day if you can get people to work for it. I'm sure they don't think that applies to economists, mind you. Someone has to do the hard work of drawing those unlabeled lines next to capital Ls and pretending it is science.
posted by winna at 6:57 PM on February 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'm sure they don't think that applies to economists, mind you.

Thanks you. That actually made me laugh out loud.
posted by hippybear at 7:03 PM on February 23, 2011


The thing the conservative viewpoint really misses is that since the union leaders aren't negotiating wages for themselves as individuals but as a group, it is much easier to for them to view the larger picture and come an agreement that will benefit both the employees and employers.

As a non-union employee, I don't care about the welfare of other employees or the company so long as I get mine. I don't care about what happens to the company long-term. Unions have to think longer-term so the good ones will work for the interests of employers insofar as it benefits the long-term interests of the employees.

Case in point, the Wisconsin state employee unions are willing to take a pay-cut for the greater good. It does more good for more of their employees and helps the government stay solvent which is in the best interest of both parties. Never-mind the fact that need for the pay cuts are completely fictitious. How are you going find non-union employees willing to do that?
posted by VTX at 7:12 PM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Conservative viewpoint also misses basic facts about the value of a minimum wage increasing spending power of low income workers. Which would be ironic if they honestly believed their nonsense about "trickle-down economics." Trickle-up actually works, unlike trickle-down.
posted by mek at 7:17 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


(That's also basic common sense: the poor always spend all of their money, the rich can hoard.)
posted by mek at 7:20 PM on February 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


Thank you for your apology, snsranch. I can't help when I was born, and I am as far from a Republican Teapartier as you can get. Really. I'm with you.
posted by wv kay in ga at 7:40 PM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I really dislike that "boomer" generalization, and I've been busted here before for using it. It's hard to get around though, especially when I think of my own folks who happen to fit the bill. (republican/teapartiers, who hate unions for nonsensical reasons etc.)
posted by snsranch at 8:08 PM on February 23, 2011


So maybe it's obvious too that union busting republican voters and tea partiers are largely baby boomers, no longer involved in labor and now see labor as a threat to their SS benefits etc.

It's hard to get around though, especially when I think of my own folks who happen to fit the bill. (republican/teapartiers, who hate unions for nonsensical reasons etc.)


There are plenty of non-Boomers involved in the Tea Party (my cousin's daughter, for example, who is in her early 20s and worships Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck), and plenty of Boomers fighting for their rights in Wisconsin.

In fact, according to this analysis of the demographics of self-identified Tea Party supporters from about a year ago, age-wise they are evenly split between people who are over 50 and people under 50.
posted by scody at 8:10 PM on February 23, 2011


quin: uh, sorry, I don't know. (that picture is denied)

Her art has been commended as being strongly vaginal which bothers some men.
posted by stet at 8:21 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


If anyone is interested, the assembly is still in session right now. You can watch it here. Basically working through the proposed amendments for the "repair" bill. You can guess how those votes are going.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 8:23 PM on February 23, 2011


OK, I'm sorry if I'm harping on this topic, but the utter lack of reaction to Walker's casual appraisal of incited violence is the most discouraging and depressing thing to me about this entire Wisconsin mess, and about our political situation in general.

I just searched Google News for walker "troublemakers" -- on a weekday, more than 12 hours after this audacious, politically-juicy recording was released -- and there are only nine hits. Nine. Nine mentions in the mainstream media of a sitting governor considering covert violence against his own citizens, then ruling it out only because it might politically backfire, not because it's monstrous and wrong.

And of those nine mentions, only one focuses on that particular part of the conversation as the main story, as opposed to relegating it to a throwaway mention buried without comment within a larger piece. This lone mention is from the Isthmus Daily Page, a Madison paper so small I can't even find a Wikipedia profile for it. It's the only outlet I was able to find that even took the basic step of contacting Madison police to get their reaction to this damning exchange. And heck, just searching for the incriminating words on Google itself brings up a little over a thousand results.

Last year, a couple of right-wing muckrakers put together deceitful, intentionally misleading footage and promoted it through the Republican propaganda machine. This doctored material succeeded in taking the media by storm and bringing down one of the largest liberal organizing groups in the United States. Even after they were conclusively proven to be blatant liars, their slander machine ginned up the same widespread outrage over Shirley Sherrod (for awhile) and nearly did the same to Mary Landrieu, if they hadn't been arrested trying to infiltrate a senatorial office. And I don't doubt they could do it again, despite their extensive record of lies.

But here we have confirmed, undoctored audio of an already-scrutinized official who is quite explicitly placing his political fortunes and ideology above basic human decency and the safety of his own constituents... and it just goes nowhere. No comment.

One last time, imagine if this dialogue were leaked to the internet in the summer of 2009 and confirmed real:
"George Soros" (James O'Keefe): What we were thinking about the Tea Party health care protests was planting some troublemakers.

Barack Obama: [pause] You know, well... the only problem, because we thought about that, the problem, my gut reaction to that would be... right now, the lawmakers I've talked to have completely had it with them, the public is not really fond of this. The Tea Party Express did some polling and focus groups I think and found out that the public turned on them the minute they started disrupting town hall meetings. The guys we got there are largely out of state, and I keep dismissing it in all my press conferences, "Eh, they're mostly astroturf."

My only fear would be is if there was a ruckus caused, is that that would scare the public into thinking "maybe the president's got to settle to avoid all these problems." Whereas I'm saying, "Hey, we can handle this, people can protest, this is Washington, you know, full of astroturf lobbyists, let 'em protest. It's not gonna affect us. And as long as we go back to our homes, and the majority of people are telling us we're doing the right thing, let 'em protest all they want. So, that's my gut reaction, is that I think it's actually good if they're constant, they're noisy, but -- they're quiet, nothing happens, cause, sooner or later, the media stops finding them interesting.
Every vaguely conservative media outlet (and half the non-conservative ones) would have been demanding investigations, impeachment, riots, the president's head on a pike. It would have been the biggest political story of the year, the end of the Obama administration, Glenn Beck's wildest fantasies come to life. Hell, I would be beyond disgusted with him, and I happen to think that he is, despite his flaws, one of our last best hopes for getting the country back on the right track. But when a Republican in a position of power who is already in the spotlight gets caught saying the same chilling, amoral, anti-American things and gets exposed in the most audacious way possible, there is almost zero discussion or concern.

I first heard about this "prank" in this Salon write-up, and felt disappointed that the caller didn't prepare more, didn't use this unique opportunity to catch Walker revealing something more incriminating. But actually seeing the amazing statements the guy did get out of the governor, I'm wondering what more he could have done before the media actually took any serious issue with the guy.

When I see we live in a media environment where blatant, obvious lies from conservatives can kill entire progressive organizations, while completely factual revelations from liberals that catch conservative politicians revealing violent, quasi-fascist leanings restrained not by basic ethics but by political considerations alone... I feel like there's no hope for the truth to win out. The double standard here is just so vast. At what point does it become too much? It almost makes me anticipate a violent incident simply so it will finally motivate us to root out and reject this kind of toxic thinking before it destroys the country. Tucson was a wake-up call of sorts, and seemed to inspire a short term increase in civility, but I'm afraid we're just hitting the snooze button once again.
posted by Rhaomi at 9:17 PM on February 23, 2011 [29 favorites]


Rhaomi, not sure about your search results there. The largest paper in the state mentions "troublemakers" in the 3rd paragraph. This is the main story on the front page of their site (I don't get the print edition). Don't read the comments unless you are some sort of Zen master.
posted by desjardins at 9:34 PM on February 23, 2011


I'm sure the search results will fluctuate and Google News won't catch every story, but the numbers aren't really as important as the overall reaction. With the ACORN fiasco, the Brietbart video was top news on every channel, grabbed headlines on every website, the conservative blogs were howling in unison, every talk radio host was out for blood. It was a loud, outraged, coordinated attack on a liberal group based on unproven information, a strong enough reaction to convince Congress to bankrupt them with minimal investigation. But when we have incriminating information here that's confirmed true and direct from the source, the reaction is muted, especially compared to what you know the reaction would be like if the party labels were switched.

I'm just so tired of seeing faux controversies based on lies sweeping the nation on a weekly basis, and then when something real happens, it's largely ignored. If the media can't seize on this obviously troubling information and do something with it -- write articles, air reports, interview people on the ground about it, highlight historical examples, demand Walker explain -- then what does that say about the state of the press and its ability to confront even worse abuses? If Walker doesn't suffer blowback for even considering this, then how many other politicians will feel emboldened?
posted by Rhaomi at 9:53 PM on February 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


Walker's remarks about troublemakers sound like a diplomatic response to an insane suggestion from a wealthy supporter. Politely decline while administering a handjob. I'm sure all politicians are well-practiced in this maneuver.

Though it may sound like his heart wasn't in it, Walker's reply rejected the use of agent provocateurs and defended the people's right to protest.
posted by ryanrs at 10:18 PM on February 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


Because what Murphy did independent of the recording is arguably a tort, if not actually a crime, the fact that he was party to the call is irrelevant.

In the words of Burt Cooper, "Who cares?"
posted by Snyder at 11:16 PM on February 23, 2011


Don't know how much of this is valid, verifiable, or whatever, but this article: Report: The Kochs, A Nazi Past, Oil & The Foundation of The Right may be of interest.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:35 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


OK, I'm sorry if I'm harping on this topic, but the utter lack of reaction to Walker's casual appraisal of incited violence is the most discouraging and depressing thing to me about this entire Wisconsin mess, and about our political situation in general.

Agents provocateurs aren't a new story - see that English undercover cop who infiltrated green groups (because environmental sustainability is a true enemy of the state) or the repeated stories of "Black Bloc" protesters getting in and out of police vans without handcuffs during global justice/anti-globalization protests. Note also infiltration of "peace" groups and associated activity around the United States - because groups like the American Friends Service Committee are obviously another one of those enemies of the state. It should be discouraging and depressing, but it shouldn't be shocking that Scott Walker would think of this. It would be shocking if he hadn't.

As for the violence itself... we like violence when people we approve of are threatening it or doing it. Violence is the mark of the real man. The Tea Party is a blatantly authoritarian and violence-revering movement. From the stomping of a woman in the head during a Rand Paul rally (and Paul's "who, me?" response) to Joe Miller's praise of the East German security state - and, yes, Sarah Palin's "reload" rhetoric and calls for assassination of people she doesn't like (again, more of that "who, me?" plausible deniability), the Tea Party is saturated with people who believe in the myth of redemptive violence (which, unfortunately, is a common American belief, but the Tea Party takes it that much further). Violence isn't just regrettably necessary sometimes - it's a positive good for the true cause.

Walker's playing for a national audience at this point. What scares me is that American politics seems to be regressing to the point that casual threats of incitement of violence against labor (that's the point, right? Get some windows smashed so the police can bust some heads) are imagined - with good reason - to be proof of Presidential worthiness to large segments of a major political party.
posted by jhandey at 2:30 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


And I'll just note that if Walker wins, Ohio is next. Former Lehman Brothers employee John Kasich (I wish the Democrats would have said exactly that every time they mentioned his name in the 2010 election) wants to do the same thing in Ohio. He wants to show those thuggish special-education teachers (one of which happens to be my sister-in-law who has two young kids), among others, who is boss.

That's another reason why this story about Walker is important - Walker claims that he's talking to Kasich just about every day. Sure, Walker imagines himself as Ronald Reagan, but he's not alone. This isn't just one wacky guy.
posted by jhandey at 2:39 AM on February 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Rhaomi, the is our weekly alt paper, but with a great history--founded by striking journalists locked out of the two local dailies, which tried to break their unions, IIRC. There is a wikipedia entry for it, but it's really short and irrelevant, which I should go fix sometime...
posted by Mngo at 5:11 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


This doesn't just protect the workers either. It also makes sure that the people hired to do the jobs are actually qualified to do them. That aspect protects the tax-payer.

This hasn't actually been true in my experience working in a local government. I'm a theoretical supporter of unions, and a big supporter of the workers in Wisconsin, but in the government I work in there are many, MANY, completely incompetent workers who simply cannot be fired due to union protection. Further, even in cases where it isn't simply incompetence, but active refusal to work, it's virtually impossible to fire anyone. Meanwhile, since these employees are unionized they get automatic raises even in the face of non-performance. I haven't received a raise since coming to my present job ~three years ago, but the unionized employees whose work I do get a raise every year. (Cronies might not be any better, but they wouldn't be obviously worse.)

Believe me, I understand the importance of unions. I have no doubt that undeserving people would be summarily dismissed without the protections that make it so hard to fire those who deserve it. I know that managers are often mercurial and nuts. But unions per se do not make the world a better place, or make the taxpayer better served. In my experience unions do not discriminate against their own members. I.e., they do not look at particular cases on their merits and determine whether or not the employee they are seeking to protect deserves that protection. (I'm not even sure how that would work.) Indeed, many of the same people stridently supporting unions in this thread justly criticize the power of police unions to protect and defend corrupt and violent police.
posted by OmieWise at 5:12 AM on February 24, 2011


In my experience unions do not discriminate against their own members. I.e., they do not look at particular cases on their merits and determine whether or not the employee they are seeking to protect deserves that protection.

It's my (limited) understanding that they can't, that they're like a defense lawyer who is bound to defend his/her client. I may be wrong on this though. In any case, we have to differentiate between a right to do something and using that right responsibly. If we want to put it in terms a Republican can understand, the fact that some gun owners are irresponsible does not invalidate the 2nd amendment.
posted by desjardins at 6:28 AM on February 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's my understanding that unions act as an advocates for the employee during disciplinary proceedings. Sort of like a lawyer. And like a defense lawyer, a good union representative should present a forceful defense even when their client is obviously guilty. Yes, their actions are heavily biased. But the net effect is a system that is less biased overall.
posted by ryanrs at 6:28 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


but in the government I work in there are many, MANY, completely incompetent workers who simply cannot be fired due to union protection

What sector of government do you work in? And what level of government employees do you interact with?

In my experience in Florida what you describe isn't the case at all. It's the political appointees--in some cases they are technically career staff, but ultimately, they are the political spoils hires--that are the worst. The low-level, politically insignificant workers are generally overworked, harassed, and pretty much completely at the mercy of the fleeting whims of their politically connected superiors, who often look at their own positions as stepping stones to the next gig. This assessment of the status quo has been reaffirmed to me by many of my less biased colleagues and others I've known in state government work, and it's consistent with my own experience as well. Often, highly skilled and productive workers are marginalized and their work undervalued because they aren't perceived as aggressive or politically important enough in my experience.

So I can't agree with you in the slightest OmieWise, though of course, you have to let your own experience be your guide I suppose.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:33 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


...completely incompetent workers who simply cannot be fired due to union protection.

And I think this is a big part of perception problem that unions have. Everyone can point out the bad ones but nobody seems to point out the goods ones that do what they should. I had a finance professor who worked in the energy industry worked with unions all the time to staff power plants and service grids and...whatever else it is that they do. Point is, the unions she worked with were great. They protected their workers while keeping the big picture in mind. They wanted to do the most good for the most employees and made sure that everyone was qualified to do their jobs (I'm sure it helped that safety was such a big factor. I saw a guy get electrocuted once, he didn't like it.).

Just like there are good unions and bad unions, I'm sure there places without unions that are great and some that suck.

I wonder if there is some kind of research somewhere that really examines the quality of unions and how good they serve their functions and how effectively they help the organization their employees work for. In other words, I wonder if there is some data on union quality rather than just anecdotes.
posted by VTX at 6:35 AM on February 24, 2011


In other words, I wonder if there is some data on union quality rather than just anecdotes.

I'm sure guys like the American Enterprise Institute, Americans for Prosperity, and the Heritage Foundation have plenty of "data" on the subject.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:40 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, on the flip side, in the private sector, I've worked with guys from rich, politically connected families who went from entry-level positions to senior management positions managing multi-million dollar contracts within the span of less than a year simply because of who their parents were--guys whose connections put them in leadership positions they weren't qualified for only to get promoted to even higher levels of management after the projects they were managing ended up failing and costing the state millions of dollars with nothing to show for it due largely to their own incompetence.

For every "incompetent worker" you can't fire, there's at least one high-powered boss or political operator who no one dares touch due to their personal connections, wealth and perceived social status. They do far more harm and cost far more in tax dollars than the odd incompetent grunt-level worker does.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:50 AM on February 24, 2011 [12 favorites]


How is this story playing in Wisconsin? Seriously, it is a battle of narratives and perception. Is this story gaining traction or is it just being poohpoohed?
posted by jadepearl at 6:50 AM on February 24, 2011


I find this prank hysterical...but I'm really, really confused as to how Walker's staff could possibly be this incompetent.

Seriously, men like David Koch don't make phone calls that come in through the switchboard. Men like Koch have private numbers to the powerful. And even then...they don't make the call. Someone else makes the call and connects it to them when the underling protocol has been met.

That this call got through bespeaks a ridiculous failure of an incompetent or inexperienced staff. If Walker has surrounded himself with this level of stupid...I think it is probably a fair reflection of the man himself.
posted by dejah420 at 6:51 AM on February 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


VTX - there is very stong data on higher per hour productivity for union and other collectively bargained manufacturing jobs. The issue is that those workers tend to work fewer hours then those who do not have collectively bargained contracts, so from an employer perspective nearly all of those gains disappear and then some.

(Not meant as an anti-union statement at all - as a society should care a whole lot more about things other then the profitability of the capitalists. The arguement should be that unions are neutral to marginally negative to returns on capital, but a much larger net positive in other ways)
posted by JPD at 6:54 AM on February 24, 2011




How is this story playing in Wisconsin? Seriously, it is a battle of narratives and perception. Is this story gaining traction or is it just being poohpoohed?

It's dividing a lot of friends, I can tell you that. Facebook is on fire with the flamewars between the various ideologues.

That said, in my estimation it's the 30% hardcore republicans that think this is a good idea, everyone else thinks it sucks.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:57 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Let's not just call this a "prank" call folks. Former WI Attorney General sees ethics, labor law violations in Walker-Koch conversation, suggests inquiry

And a former Indiana Deputy Attorney General recently suggested using live ammunition against the protesters in Wisconsin. So what's your point? Attorney generals say stupid things sometimes?
posted by saulgoodman at 6:57 AM on February 24, 2011


Former WI Attorney General sees ethics, labor law violations in Walker-Koch conversation, suggests inquiry

We've got the AG we have now because Lautenshlager was a moron and got busted for DUI in a state vehicle in an election year.

The current AG is a republican water carrier - for example, in the 2008 election, he made much of the hundreds and hundreds accounts of voter fraud in the state. Dozens were charged.

4 were convicted.

In the 2010 election.... Apparently there wasn't any voter fraud at all; the Republicans won.

Point is, even if the governor had said something clearly in violation, nothing would come of it.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:01 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fin Azvandi: Great find. Interesting that a former AG sees huge problems with the content of that phone call. I'm sure nothing will come of it in the end, but it's kind of nice to read someone a bit more qualified than myself in these matters having the same misgivings as I did.
posted by hippybear at 7:01 AM on February 24, 2011


So I can't agree with you in the slightest OmieWise, though of course, you have to let your own experience be your guide I suppose.

I work in city government in Washington DC in the social services/healthcare. I’m in the non-unionized management service, firmly in the middle. I’m not an appointee, though I work closely with appointees, and I also work closely with line-staff. This is the second agency I’ve worked in in DC, and I worked in the Baltimore City government (although I was employed by a private employer) before this. You have no obligation to take my word for it (I do appreciate the graciousness of you letting me take my own experience as my guide, I suppose), but my experience is not mine alone. I know that the many good workers in my agencies share my experience. Dealing with crazy or incompetent appointees is certainly a problem, but here people are overworked because at least 25% of people don’t do their share (or, even anything), leaving everyone else to pick up the slack.

My argument is neither pro- nor anti-union, it’s simply a caution that unions do not necessarily save the tax payer from footing the bill for poor or shoddy work. This should be self-evident, as there is no exam or certification needed to join a public employee union, you just have to get hired. Your union protections can then be used for good or ill. (I completely understand the advocacy role of unions.) As much of a supporter of unions as I am (I’m looking at my pictures of Woody Guthrie and Joe Hill here at the office now), I don’t agree that a unionized employee is necessarily a better employee or worker. I’ve got no problem with that as a truism, but if you want to talk about unions then I don’t think it should be ignored.
posted by OmieWise at 7:04 AM on February 24, 2011


My point was that people seem to be focusing on the lulz of "the Governor fell for a prank call" and not that he

1) discussed the possibility of planting agents provocateurs to disrupt peaceful demonstrations

2) welcomed a quid-pro-quo of a trip to California in return for crushing the demonstrations

3) discussed coordinating political expenditures with a nominally independent PAC

I know the history of AGs in our state, and agree that it's doubtful anything will come of it, but would at least like to see these issues getting a little more attention in the court of public opinion.
posted by Fin Azvandi at 7:05 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Come to think of it, I was once involved in a dispute with my employer. It involved a large amount of money and the company was being especially idiotic in handling the situation. There was no union to mediate the process, so eventually I just sued them. Six months later they gave me everything I wanted, but an awful lot of time and money was wasted in the process. If you think union-negotiated processes are unacceptably time-consuming and wasteful, consider the alternative.
posted by ryanrs at 7:12 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fin Azvandi: "Let's not just call this a "prank" call folks. Former WI Attorney General sees ethics, labor law violations in Walker-Koch conversation, suggests inquiry"

Hey, Peg... I've got your ethics violation, right here:
In February 2004, Lautenschlager made national headlines after pleading guilty to drunk driving in Dodge County, about an hour away from Madison. A Dodge County sheriff's deputy reported to the scene to find her state-owned vehicle in the ditch, and her unharmed inside. Her preliminary breathalizer test at the scene showed that her blood alcohol level was 0.12, 50% above the legal limit of 0.08.
Sorry, I've got problems with drunk drivers.

posted by symbioid at 7:18 AM on February 24, 2011


Oh - I'm violating my "we need to focus on issues" rule. Apologies...
posted by symbioid at 7:18 AM on February 24, 2011


Some minor movement on the impasse. State troopers are paying visits to the missing Democrats' WI homes again—I sure hope none of them snuck back across the border for their cheese dip or something.
posted by AugieAugustus at 7:20 AM on February 24, 2011


How is this story playing in Wisconsin?

I was flipping through radio stations this morning and caught some DJs talking about this. This is the station that plays Justin Bieber and caters to 14 year old girls. It's a big fucking deal here.
posted by desjardins at 7:25 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


OmieWise - I've only ever worked in private, non-union businesses*, and I've seen lots and lots of lazy slackers who should have been fired and weren't. I'm not seeing your point.

*except for being a TA in grad school
posted by desjardins at 7:30 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I know the history of AGs in our state, and agree that it's doubtful anything will come of it, but would at least like to see these issues getting a little more attention in the court of public opinion.

There's no chance any prosecution happens in the state, but the phone call might be enough to get a US Attorney to start looking into Walker. Walker's former county employees are already under investigation for campaigning on the county dime. One of the big offenses was posting pro-Walker comments on the jsonline website during work hours. This may not seem like much, but similar on duty campaigning brought down some of the state's biggest politicians a few years ago.
posted by drezdn at 7:30 AM on February 24, 2011


OmieWise - I've only ever worked in private, non-union businesses*, and I've seen lots and lots of lazy slackers who should have been fired and weren't. I'm not seeing your point

While it definitely sucks to have a colleague slack off and leave you in a lurch, the never-ending, obsessive, management cult-driven quest for optimum worker efficiency and productivity will be the death of American culture, if it hasn't killed it already.

posted by saulgoodman at 7:36 AM on February 24, 2011


As far as how this is playing locally... I can tell you my personal bubble...

I've only seen anti-union stuff on my facebook from the usual suspects, and then only in the comments of friends' posts.

My dad and mom are swing either way moderates, but my dad is a retired teamster and urged my wife to stand up for her rights as a public union member. As far as I know, they had never called a rep before but they called theirs and told them to oppose the bill.

My dad has started complaining about Walker and how bad the bill is.

My In Laws are both republicans, but also both would be negatively affected by the bill. Both have called their reps to oppose the bill. In addition, they've given us info on what they're hearing from their side.

In my family, the only person not talking about the situation is my brother who is in the Iron Workers union (though unemployed) and who votes republican always.
posted by drezdn at 7:37 AM on February 24, 2011


WAKE UP, ISTHMUS!!
posted by desjardins at 7:44 AM on February 24, 2011


Uprising in Wisconsin vid
posted by drezdn at 7:45 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


OmieWise - I've only ever worked in private, non-union businesses*, and I've seen lots and lots of lazy slackers who should have been fired and weren't. I'm not seeing your point.

My point, which I now deeply regret making since even this level of nuance seems unacceptable in this thread, is that unions advocate for workers, not for customers (however defined) or good work. I don't think management advocates for those things either, but I was responding to the comment upthread that argued that unions=good for taxpayers. They may be, they may not be, but it certainly isn't tautological.
posted by OmieWise at 7:47 AM on February 24, 2011




Omiewise, workers are customers.
We already know what happens when workers cannot afford the goods they produce.
posted by handbanana at 7:51 AM on February 24, 2011


Oh don't be an idiot. You know what I'm talking about.
posted by OmieWise at 7:53 AM on February 24, 2011


Or you can make ad hominem attacks, I just don't see constructive conversation stemming from such efforts.
posted by handbanana at 7:56 AM on February 24, 2011


I don't see you engaged in a good faith effort. If it's beyond your comprehension, then I apologize.
posted by OmieWise at 8:00 AM on February 24, 2011


You know, I am going to defend OmieWise. When a worker fails to perform it is not just the union with a motive to defend a worker on the behalf of all workers that is part of the equation. It is also management's job to follow the rules to eject the worker on the negotiated methods of removal. Now the union is there to be sure that there is no arbitrary or rushed termination but termination can happen and does; it just takes time and patience.

When I see union people including *cough* faculty stay in their positions placing burden on their fellow workers/colleagues part of the problem is management not stepping up and having the will to do what was necessary to rectify the situation, but hide behind, "the union" won't like it". No, the union has negotiated the terms of engagement, it is you, high paid administrator, that is failing. Seriously, I have seen union people get booted and those who have clung and the difference was the will of the manager.

But that is my observation in both corporate and union environments.
posted by jadepearl at 8:03 AM on February 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Omniewise, you've clearly demonstrated your lack of comprehension at your failed attempt and further justification of trying to explain difference between workers and consumers when they are one of the same. With the caveat of their being more consumers in the US than workers.
posted by handbanana at 8:06 AM on February 24, 2011


Whoa, what's with the grar at Omiewise, I think that was a very well thought out and sincere comment.
posted by iamabot at 8:07 AM on February 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Omniewise, you've clearly demonstrated your lack of comprehension at your failed attempt and further justification of trying to explain difference between workers and consumers when they are one of the same. With the caveat of their being more consumers in the US than workers.

You wanna maybe step away from the keyboard for a while mr fighty pants?
posted by iamabot at 8:08 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, there's no good reason for the pile-on on OmieWise, even if you don't agree with him. So let's try to get back on topic...

There's a new Wisconsin related fpp up now, for the interested...
posted by saulgoodman at 8:12 AM on February 24, 2011


I have to confer with jadepearl. As a public school teacher I get sincerely pissed at some of my colleagues who repeatedly drop the ball. I have one colleague who shows movies two days out of three. What's more frustrating is that the administration knows this and does nothing. Not because they can't, but because it takes time to observe and document and actually do the right thing to justify action. Many would rather throw up their hands and say, "what can i do?"
posted by sciencejock at 8:17 AM on February 24, 2011


My intentions were not to pile on but to point out a logical fallicy that was created.Back to the topic at hand.
posted by handbanana at 8:17 AM on February 24, 2011


OmieWise, it's just such a heated issue but I hear you. I think the problem of the untouchable slacker is one we've all seen - both in union and nonunion environments - but in union environments, it can be a major PR issue that is used as a cudgel. I am a huge union fan, but I am not without my own gripes and anecdotes - I've run into some doozy situations. But I've run into frustrations in nonunion environments, too, and seen plenty of good people squashed or disposed of with no recourse in "rightsizings" while the slackers remain, so it is not endemic to unions.

I think it's an issue that unions have to somehow come to grips with since it is one that is used against them so often. They have to find a way to police themselves somehow. They can't be viewed as safe havens for bad or substandard teachers, for example.
posted by madamjujujive at 8:22 AM on February 24, 2011


The customers are the tax-payers. The union workers might be customers but they are not ALL of the customers. They, in-fact, a small portion of the customer base.

If I worked for a bank and my accounts are held by that bank, I'm a customer but I shouldn't be thought of as representing all of the bank's customers. The vast majority of the customers are not workers.

Omniewise has a good point and when combined with some of the data and anecdotes that followed, I've revised my position a little bit.

Maybe public unions protect against cronyism and maybe they don't. Maybe some unions do and some drop the ball. The point is that they could, and I think they should.

I'm going to take the controversial stance that unions are generally good but that some are great while others suck. The solution should be to work on improving the way unions operate rather that simply busting unions.
posted by VTX at 8:29 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's not an either/or. There are benefits and there are drawbacks to unionized workers. Most unions understand the importance of their members working-- if nothing else, having good workers aids negotiation. But many take the Us vs. Them approach, and say the employer should be advocating for the employer's needs, and if the employer fails to do so, too bad.

People who work for unions will often readily admit that when a union wrangles pay raises for its members, while non-union "regular" employees go without because of the employer's money problems, this can be a problem.

I think that unionization can increase quality of work. But there are lots of caveats.
posted by zennie at 8:30 AM on February 24, 2011


I absolutely agree, madamjujujive, but that's such a tough conversation for the union to have with itself. It seems to basically require them to admit that some of the complaints that people have about unions do have merit - and that's a really hard thing to do when you feel your existence is being threatened. Seems so much easier to focus on "they want to destroy us" and save the internal issues for sometime when things are more stable. It's always so hard to actually have shades-of-gray conversations.
posted by nickmark at 8:30 AM on February 24, 2011


Yeah, that's an interesting issue. In an ideal unionized workplace, the union and the owner would be working together to find the sweet spot for both the worker and the business. This doesn't include hanging onto underperforming workers simply because they have the job. I think a lot of unions probably don't address this well enough, although I'm really not certain what kind of measures could be put in place to alleviate the situation.

Having hurdles in place to keep random unfounded firings from taking place is a good thing. Making those hurdles unsurmountable is a bad thing. But then, being a supervisor who isn't willing to do the paperwork to get rid of a bad worker, I think, is shirking one's professional duties.
posted by hippybear at 8:30 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Life on the run for the WI 14.
posted by drezdn at 8:38 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


While I still think the far more serious problem in government work is incompetent management and the political spoils system, I can't deny that it's probably sometimes the case that there are bad union workers who benefit by their association with unions.

There are also guilty men who go free because of our society's legal system's insistence on the presumption of innocence. The two conditions are somewhat analogous.

But I still maintain vigorously that, on a proportional basis, there are just as many bad managers and bosses whose social positions effectively amount to a kind of union membership that makes them all but immune to criticism--not only can't you fire them, but when they screw up, they get to deflect the blame from themselves and fire other people who may or may not have actually been the problem--and there's no system of accountability, in the absence of organized labor, to prevent or even reveal these kinds of (IMO far more pervasive) problems.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:42 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


These "situational" problems being laid at the feet of unions is beside the point.

It's simple:

1. Management is, de facto, organized. They are free to run the company (or government) as well or as poorly as they want. If you don't think underperforming employees are ever protected by management, then we just disagree.

2. Labor can only protect their interests against organized management by organizing themselves. Size against size.

3. The "problems" don't arise out of thin air. All the work procedures are negotiated. Labor asks for everything under the sun (google blue-sky bargaining), management counters by offering as little as possible, and they,eventually, meet in the middle. If problems result from the contract, then it needs to be renegotiated for the next contract.

That's the only fair way to do it.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:45 AM on February 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


Someone should register unionthug.com and unionthugs.com and post pictures of the protesters in Wisconsin. Especially the grandmas.
posted by drezdn at 8:45 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]




How is the union leader supposed to know who is a good worker and who is bad? It's management's job to measure and document employee performance. That's what managers do!
posted by ryanrs at 8:49 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Union knit-in
posted by drezdn at 8:52 AM on February 24, 2011


In my experience unions do not discriminate against their own members. I.e., they do not look at particular cases on their merits and determine whether or not the employee they are seeking to protect deserves that protection. (I'm not even sure how that would work.)

I've been a union steward, and we absolutely did "discriminate"-- i.e. assess the merits of people's cases-- before deciding whether to settle at some stage of the grievance process or go to arbitration. It was our responsibility for our members' dues money to decide whether we should pay our half of the expenses of neutral third-party arbitration (and the union staff/legal time needed to arbitrate a case.)

I'm a theoretical supporter of unions, and a big supporter of the workers in Wisconsin, but in the government I work in there are many, MANY, completely incompetent workers who simply cannot be fired due to union protection. Further, even in cases where it isn't simply incompetence, but active refusal to work, it's virtually impossible to fire anyone.

I get so tired of hearing this kind of stuff (that's not just directed at you, I really am tired of hearing it everywhere.) I am pretty sure there are no union contracts that make it impossible to fire people-- what they generally do is require real, legitimate "just cause" reasons to fire and that there has to be a proper escalating process of progressive discipline to give the person a chance to improve before being fired. If managers are too lazy/don't think it's worth it to bother actually taking the time to document real problems and escalate through the proper disciplinary process, the problem is you have bad managers, not that you have a union contract. It's the manager's responsibility to make sure the resources are being used appropriately-- they were hired to manage-- and blaming it on the union contract because the manager's not willing/able to work within constraints tighter than "fire whoever you want, whenever you want" is an excuse.
posted by EmilyClimbs at 8:53 AM on February 24, 2011 [26 favorites]


Thank you EmilyClimbs, as I don't think the majority of people understand the internal workings of a union.
Every organization is plagued with incompetent workers. That point is moot.
posted by handbanana at 8:58 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


One of the women my wife works with is astonishingly incompetent and manages to screw up even the most simple of tasks. We're in an at-will state and the fact that she is awful at her job is known to everyone but she has been there for years without improving and without being fired. My wife and I are pretty convinced that the company would be better off paying her salary and telling her to stay home. There is no union and no reason not to let her go beyond the fact that she is kind of old and the company might be worried about an age discrimination suit despite the fact that they have mountains of documentation of her incompetence.

As Handbanana says, having incompetent workers is not a union problem.
posted by VTX at 9:07 AM on February 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


I've worked union, and I've worked on the corporate side, non-union. I can honestly say that in the non-union office world at a serious tech company, I met more people who had no idea about the basic tool of the job, their computer. Some of them could barely turn it on, and their "official" responsibilities involved things like querying databases and - embarassingly - email. I had to show my boss, who made well north of six figures, how to attach a document to an email no less than 10 times, and when the company decided to start "testing" on querying, I had several management people who asked me (always in hushed tones behind closed doors) to take their tests as them. Totally incompetant when it came to basic job skills in their job descriptions, and lying/corruption to boot, in faking testing.

Now, I work in a unionized business. Are there incompetent people in my line? Sure. Most of them are in management. In a company that makes tv it's business, they don't even know the basics of how a studio works. But you can be damned sure that they all know every line of my contract, and they all have bitching about unions down to a science.
posted by nevercalm at 9:22 AM on February 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


damn non-scrolling iPhone...

But don't get me wrong. I'm sure I could come up with plenty of people in management who aren't incompetent and corrupt.....
posted by nevercalm at 9:30 AM on February 24, 2011


The president said something a long time ago that's relevant to now.

Guess he needs to get to Wisconsin.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:40 AM on February 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


Wisconsin's union employees are upset about a loss of collective bargaining and a mandated increase in benefit payments, including for health insurance. But at least these employees would still have health insurance. What has been widely ignored about Walker's bill (in part because of the speed with which he's fisting it down Wisconsin's gullet) is a sneaky provision that paves the way for him to cut, or eliminate, Medicaid and BadgerCare healthcare benefits for low-income people.

Administrative rules changes sound about as interesting as the words "administrative rules." And Walker's "administrative rule" change is the kind of complex, procedural legislative legalese that few reporters are sickly masochistic enough to slog through. (And it's especially true that nobody reports on America's rising war on the poor. This was evidenced by the fact that major network stars have yet to appear in Madison, and, until this weekend, the tens of thousands sleeping in the capitol warranted segment bites equal in length and depth to the latest update on reporter Serene Branson's migraine.)

So in short: Walker's administrative rules change would allow the Department of Health Services, via the overwhelmingly GOP-controlled budget committee, to change state laws unilaterally, skipping the legislative process altogether. In terms Vicki McKenna can understand, this means Walker's bill will allow the governor to subvert the legislative process and make his own laws without going through the tiresome and long American tradition of lawmaking. But wait, there's more!
posted by hippybear at 9:50 AM on February 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


I have worked with people who make six figures who cannot turn on their computer without help. People who make strategic decisions for multinationals who can't understand the reports upon which those decisions are supposed to be made. Managers who don't understand the basic fundamentals of their job. I've worked with people who were actively bad for the organization - doing no work, causing a hostile environment, lying and doing unethical things.

And yet the worst employees never, never, never get fired. They always quit or get promoted to be even more incompetent at a higher pay grade.

This is not a union problem, because I've never worked in a union company. This is a human problem.
posted by winna at 9:54 AM on February 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


Lego my union.
posted by drezdn at 9:57 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Whether or not union employees are more or less competent than non-union employees is orthogonal to the issue of whether people should have collective bargaining rights. Rights are rights, whether you're a lazy slacker or an industrious ant.
posted by desjardins at 10:01 AM on February 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


Someone should register unionthug.com and unionthugs.com and post pictures of the protesters in Wisconsin. Especially the grandmas.

Great idea. I got all excited. I was gonna set you up a quick wordpress and post the username/pass in this thread.

Unfortunately, the fucking poachers have it.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:07 AM on February 24, 2011


*have them. As in the domain names.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:08 AM on February 24, 2011


I get so tired of hearing this kind of stuff (that's not just directed at you, I really am tired of hearing it everywhere.) I am pretty sure there are no union contracts that make it impossible to fire people-- what they generally do is require real, legitimate "just cause" reasons to fire and that there has to be a proper escalating process of progressive discipline to give the person a chance to improve before being fired. If managers are too lazy/don't think it's worth it to bother actually taking the time to document real problems and escalate through the proper disciplinary process, the problem is you have bad managers, not that you have a union contract.

Honestly, I don't think it's worth engaging in this discussion much anymore since it's pretty clear that any word that does not seek to gild the shit of union members is too much for most in this thread to bear. However, I don't think the experience you describe is how things really work on the ground in DC or Baltimore, where I've worked. The truth is that, as I said, it's virtually impossible to fire anyone. Every supervisor I know has horror stories about this. Now, it's possible, as others would have it, that the fault for this is all on incompetent management, and if the union members aren't working for 30 or 40 seconds it's only because they're too busy polishing their wings, but I don't believe this to be true. I think the public employee unions in these cities are obstructionist and unconcerned about bad apples. This point isn't moot, it is in fact, the point. When the claim is that unions=tax payer savings and better government work, it doesn't matter for shit what happens in the private sector.

I do think saulgoodman's point about incompetent managers is a good one, and one to which I will respond by email, but his point is orthogonal to my very clear point that it's a mistake to equate union goals with taxpayer and government consumer goals. (Which, by the way, no one has responded to.)
posted by OmieWise at 10:09 AM on February 24, 2011


The truth is that, as I said, it's virtually impossible to fire anyone.

Looks like management must suck at negotiating the contract then.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:14 AM on February 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Not to nitpick but Honestly, ~250 words is hardly disengaging from a topic.
posted by edgeways at 10:14 AM on February 24, 2011


I was about to chime in partially supporting you, OmieWise, but I'm afraid we're getting more heat than light. I think Desjardins is right that union influence or not is "orthagonal" (great expression) to the importance of union rights. I do think one factor on the first question that's worth considering is the role of unions in building worker pride, which certainly is a contributor to quality.
posted by Mngo at 10:17 AM on February 24, 2011


Since we're tallying up anecdotal evidence, I've never worked anywhere with a union, and I've seen lots and lots and lots of corruption and total incompetence on the part of both workers and management. I've held jobs despite not really knowing what I was doing and been fired from jobs that I liked and was good at while idiots stayed on and sank the place.
posted by vibrotronica at 10:23 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Omiewise apparently has been rubbed the wrong way by unions. The savings aspect is that as a state, the main interest is to provide services to the constituents. That is it. Companies that have been contracted to the state often always go over budget, want numbers? Look no further than privatization of prisons accross the country. The touted save the state money via privatization also questions whether the provided services are for public good or profiting of outside compaines with their own financial interests. In many instances due to the route private comapnies can take through legal means costing the state even more. Look up synagro in Detroit for an example. Particularly in the case of no bid contracts which occur more often than one might think, begging the question if the savings were a rouse for benefiting campaign donors which opens up other issues. Governmental services and for profit industry in privatization are conflicting interests.
posted by handbanana at 10:32 AM on February 24, 2011


From Hippybear's last link: "Wisconsin Education Association Council, Wisconsin's largest teacher's union—the one that Walker insists will not negotiate—just two weeks ago announced that it supports both merit-based pay reform and measures that would streamline the firing of under-performers."

Just because some unions make it impossible to drop dead-weight employees doesn't mean they all are that way or that the ones that are have to stay that way.
posted by VTX at 10:48 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]




However, I don't think the experience you describe is how things really work on the ground in DC or Baltimore, where I've worked. The truth is that, as I said, it's virtually impossible to fire anyone. Every supervisor I know has horror stories about this.

If you're going to disengage, disengage... otherwise, please offer some specific examples rather than general assertions. Maybe you're right (although I'd still argue that means that management has abrogated its share of the responsibility to negotiate a system that's workable), but in my experience, this kind of general rhetoric is a way for supervisors to try to deflect the blame and avoid taking responsibility for doing their jobs.

When the claim is that unions=tax payer savings and better government work...

You know, you don't have to believe that "if the unions got their way 100%, there would be taxpayer savings and better government work" to believe that having unions leads to better government and taxpayer savings. Of course unions aren't always right, and of course public employees' interests aren't identical to those of taxpayers as a whole (even though they share many of the same interests as taxpayers themselves, of course their employment adds additional interests.) I'm a huge supporter of unions and of public sector unions specifically, and even I don't think it would be good for unions to always get their way. But that's not the point.

The point is that when public sector employees have union rights and can bargain with management-- when workers have a collective voice that gives them a more equal balance of power with management, and there's a back-and-forth going on-- then I believe that process, with its balance of interests and power and perspectives and biases, etc, etc, leads to better government and is in the public/taxpayers' best interests. (The union fights against favoritism and bias and people getting fired for doing something "controversial" and unrealistic expectations that burn people out. Management-- often with at least some support from the union, but often not-- fights against incompetence and laziness. If each side is doing its job you end up with a system which gets and keeps the good people and gets rid of the bad. If management isn't doing their job, the solution is for management to do their job, not for the union to stop acting like a union to compensate for management not acting like management.) It's not that the unions are always right and management is always wrong, and that unions are 100% the defenders of the public's interests. It's that union rights and the collective bargaining process leads to better outcomes for the public/taxpayers than leaving things up to management alone.
posted by EmilyClimbs at 11:07 AM on February 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


EmilyClimbs: Well said.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 11:13 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have so enjoyed this derail! Can we do it some more?

A new newsblog has started up to cover the protests: Defend Wisconsin.
posted by dhartung at 11:33 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't say this hasn't appeared earlier in thread, but here's Paul Krugman's piece on the Wisconsin Power Play.

I'll excerpt a bit -- maybe OmieWise will read it. Heck I'll even add a little emphasis:
You don’t have to love unions, you don’t have to believe that their policy positions are always right, to recognize that they’re among the few influential players in our political system representing the interests of middle- and working-class Americans, as opposed to the wealthy. Indeed, if America has become more oligarchic and less democratic over the last 30 years — which it has — that’s to an important extent due to the decline of private-sector unions.

And now Mr. Walker and his backers are trying to get rid of public-sector unions, too.
posted by Trochanter at 11:34 AM on February 24, 2011


[sing it with me: ♬ we do not call each other assholes here ♬ xo ☃]
posted by jessamyn at 11:40 AM on February 24, 2011 [15 favorites]


Hey Obama... Let's get some shoes
posted by symbioid at 11:48 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The truth is that, as I said, it's virtually impossible to fire anyone. Every supervisor I know has horror stories about this.

My understanding is that it is difficult to fire union members because union contracts often require 'due process' - rather than simply axing employees (in the case of teachers unions, for instance). While I agree with you that this formality can gum up the system, I think the ideology behind this sort of mechanism is a good thing. I don't think we should throw the baby out with the bathwater. I would agree that in many cases unions do need reform - much the same way private sector corporations often need reform to manage their own human proclivities towards corruption - but to say that because cases exist where unions have cost taxpayers money, we should eliminate unions - is ridiculous. No one would seriously consider eliminating the Financial Sector entirely based on its large role in our recent economic depression.

Now, it's possible, as others would have it, that the fault for this is all on incompetent management, and if the union members aren't working for 30 or 40 seconds it's only because they're too busy polishing their wings, but I don't believe this to be true.

You're being hyperbolic - I don't think anyone absolves union members of sin whatsoever - but in the case of Wisconsin there is clearly a power disparity. There is a lot not to like about unions, but there is just as much not to like about the private sector and in this case there is a clear aggressor so obviously people are going to focus on that rather than make this a discussion about the intrinsic flaws of unified labor. Union membership in this country is around 6%, so to act as if they are some monolithic special interest group strongarming the US economy is rubbish. If anything its really the other way around.

I think the public employee unions in these cities are obstructionist and unconcerned about bad apples. This point isn't moot, it is in fact, the point. When the claim is that unions=tax payer savings and better government work, it doesn't matter for shit what happens in the private sector.

Fair enough...I'm not so sure that low-wage earning non-union government employees with no benefits would make the government work much better either, but you have your opinion. Ultimately when speaking about the efficacy of unions, especially in the Wisconsin context of effectively destroying them, then it does matter for shit what happens in the private sector because that's the alternative.
posted by jnnla at 11:48 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


[sing it with me: ♬ we do not call each other assholes here ♬ xo ☃]

Yeah, also this. Although I might not agree, I appreciate alternate opinions which help stave off the "echo chamber" effect. Kudos to those willing to go against the majority in debating this stuff...
posted by jnnla at 11:51 AM on February 24, 2011


fwiw via memail exchanges OmniWise is unlikely to be back in this thread, just to be aware he isn't going to be around to respond or rebut.
posted by edgeways at 11:51 AM on February 24, 2011


Worth a read: Ezra Klein interviews Andy Stern: It may not end beautifully in Wisconsin.

But this is what we do best in labor: fight back. Our question going forward is how do we change our posture on budget and fiscal issues so we’re not always looking like an impediment.
posted by madamjujujive at 11:54 AM on February 24, 2011


Looks like they are kicking the protesters out of parts of the capitol building.
posted by edgeways at 11:55 AM on February 24, 2011


Madison Police Chief: "“I spent a good deal of time overnight thinking about Governor Walker’s response, during his news conference yesterday, to the suggestion that his administration ‘thought about’ planting troublemakers among those who are peacefully protesting his bill. I would like to hear more of an explanation from Governor Walker as to what exactly was being considered, and to what degree it was discussed by his cabinet members. I find it very unsettling and troubling that anyone would consider creating safety risks for our citizens and law enforcement officers." (emphasis mine, source)
posted by desjardins at 11:57 AM on February 24, 2011 [15 favorites]



I do think this a Custer moment for Walker. However, as you will recall, Custer got handed his ass in his hat, and went on to have a national park and bunch of other shit named after him.

The people who actually won went on to be raped and pillaged for decades before being stuffed on reservations to die out.

My point is - there is no good end game here. Walker will be Governor for at least another year - and the dems won't pursue any real recall effort against any vulnerable repubs for far of reprisal. Simply, the dems aren't willing to go as far as the repubs are and that will give the right wing noise machine time to correct the public perception of Walker and his associates before the next election - and the whole time they can pursue their agenda with impunity.

The dems will never recover from this, and we are all the worse off for their spinelessness.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:03 PM on February 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


vibrotronica: "Since we're tallying up anecdotal evidence, I've never worked anywhere with a union, and I've seen lots and lots and lots of corruption and total incompetence on the part of both workers and management. I've held jobs despite not really knowing what I was doing and been fired from jobs that I liked and was good at while idiots stayed on and sank the place"

Sounds like the Peter Principle.
posted by symbioid at 12:04 PM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


jessamyn: "[sing it with me: ♬ we do not call each other assholes here ♬ xo ☃]"

Scott Walker, on the other hand...

posted by symbioid at 12:05 PM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can anyone get me a list of Wisconsin Legislators on twitter? I know Chris Larson, Lena Taylor, Robin Vos, and Walker but I need more Republicans for a twitter thing I'm doing.
posted by drezdn at 12:10 PM on February 24, 2011


Looks like they are kicking the protesters out of parts of the capitol building.

From 6pm to 8am.
posted by zennie at 12:23 PM on February 24, 2011


Yeah, what's with the overnight ban? Is that in order to allow overnight legislative sessions? Or hoping that if they clear everyone out they'll be able to keep them from coming back in? It's an interesting little restriction to that thing which doesn't make a lot of sense to me in this context.
posted by hippybear at 12:29 PM on February 24, 2011


well... they might hold a final vote in the Assembly tonight?
posted by edgeways at 12:31 PM on February 24, 2011


There is some police cost with leaving the building open, but it's definitely a tactic to break up the protests. There are reports that last night loud tvs were turned on at 4 a.m.
posted by drezdn at 12:31 PM on February 24, 2011


Photo set of today's solidarity rally in my city of 80,000
posted by edgeways at 12:38 PM on February 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


drezdn, forgot to tell you that there was a good showing of protesters on KK & Lincoln last night [Milwaukee]. I thought they were blocking traffic, but that turned out just to be an unrelated tow truck. :/
posted by desjardins at 12:45 PM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's a list of solidarity actions across the state that's happening today, I guess.

I'll just post the list here to save your finger some clicking:
Appleton at 5 p.m. at Lawrence University's Seeley Mudd Library.

Beloit at 4 p.m. at 1240 Riverside Drive.

Berlin at 5 p.m. in Eastside Park.

Eau Claire at 7 p.m. in Phoenix Park.

Fond du Lac at 4 p.m. at the Chamber of Commerce, 207 N. Main St., and 5 p.m. at the Opera House Square.

Green Bay at 4 p.m. at the Ray Nitschke bridge, the Walnut Street bridge, the De Pere bridge and two overpasses known as the Peshtigo 41 and the Oconto Falls overpasses.

Horicon at 4:45 p.m. at the IAM 873 labor hall, 258 Barstow St.

Janesville at 7:45 p.m. at the Rock County Courthouse, 51 Main St.

Kenosha at 4 p.m. at the UAW Local 72 labor hall, 3615 Washington Rd.

La Crosse at 4:30 p.m. at the clock tower on the UW-La Crosse campus.

Manitowoc at 4:30 p.m. at the Manitowoc County courthouse and at 6 p.m. at a town meeting at Time Out Sports Bar and Grill, 1027 N. Rapids Road.

Milwaukee at 11:30 a.m. at Milwaukee Area Technical College, 700 W. State St., at 2 p.m. at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex, 9201 W. Watertown Plank Road, and at 4 p.m. at Water Street and Wisconsin Avenue.

Platteville at 12:15 p.m. at University Plaza on the UW-Platteville campus.

River Falls at 6 p.m., at Meyer Middle School, 230 N. Ninth St.

Sheboygan at 5 p.m. in Fountain Park.

Stevens Point at 5 p.m. at the Ramada Inn, 1501 N. Point Dr., for a march to UW-Stevens Point for a 6 p.m. rally at the campus sundial.

Wausau at 4:30 p.m. at the Marathon County courthouse.

Rallies also are planned on Thursday for the 11th straight day, both inside and outside the State Capitol in Madison.
posted by symbioid at 1:41 PM on February 24, 2011


There's one planned for Saturday in Tallahassee, Florida, at noon the State Capitol as well.

Here's a MoveOn thing my wife sent me with a bunch of planned event listings.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:46 PM on February 24, 2011


There's a meeting on the East Side tonight @6:30 p.m.
at St. Mark's Church
2618 North Hackett Avenue.

One of the Dem 14 is scheduled to attend, as are the tea party and Fox News.
posted by drezdn at 1:49 PM on February 24, 2011


One of the Dem 14 is scheduled to attend

??? How does that work? Shouldn't s/he stay out of the state? That's Larson's district.
posted by desjardins at 1:53 PM on February 24, 2011



??? How does that work? Shouldn't s/he stay out of the state?


I think it was scheduled before the kerfluffle. My guess is that he'll teleconference if anything. Tea Partiers are supposed to be showing up, but that's an area that's so blue, smurfs are impossible to spot.
posted by drezdn at 2:00 PM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thank you Symbioid, Pogo_Fuzzybutt, and DHartung.

DHartung, truly, I’d no intention of blaming unions or anyone else, and I regret if it appeared that way. As I say, ignorant of the facts, just want to cut through some of the noise. Such a lot of it with this issue.

Ah yes, the most loathsome lists – shows how much impact the rag had on me that even three years running in the blue and I didn’t twig to it. Glancing through the links, I still maintain they’re a pretty weak copy of Spy. Too much anger, too little joi de vivre. I could see it working in the UK for that very reason, come to think of it.
posted by IndigoJones at 2:06 PM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pogo_Fuzzybutt: "My point is - there is no good end game here. Walker will be Governor for at least another year - and the dems won't pursue any real recall effort against any vulnerable repubs for fear of reprisal. "

Well, at least there won't be any repri--

GROUPS OFFICIALLY BEGIN RECALL PROCESS FOR SEVEN DEM. LAWMAKERS
The clock is now running for groups trying to collect enough signatures to trigger recall elections against seven Democratic senators, state officials said today.

Reid Magney, spokesman for the Government Accountability Board, said local groups have officially registered recall committees with his agency to try to recall Sen. Bob Wirch of Kenosha and Jim Holperin of Eagle River.

In addition, a Utah group, American Recall Coalition, has registered electronically to set up recall committees against Wirch and five other Senate Democrats - Lena Taylor of Milwaukee, Mark Miller of Monona, Julie Lassa of Stevens Point, Fred Risser of Madison and Dave Hansen of Green Bay.

Magney said his office is still waiting to receive paper registrations from American Recall Coalition but that the out-of-state group may begin collecting signatures for the recall elections in those districts.

"We thought we were going to have a quiet time after the election," Magney said. "Apparently not."

The only Democratic senator who is not currently the subject of a recall bid is Spencer Coggs of Milwaukee.
Oh.

(And since when can an out-of-state group petition for the recall of another state's local legislators? Does Utah have a special meddling permit or something?)
posted by Rhaomi at 2:34 PM on February 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


You know what I love about the recall thing? Elections cost money. So any recall effort will end up costing the supposedly broke state of Wisconsin a certain amount of money simply to replace any recalled senators.
posted by hippybear at 2:42 PM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


(And since when can an out-of-state group petition for the recall of another state's local legislators? Does Utah have a special meddling permit or something?)

Ummm, ask a few thousand couples in California. The answer is clearly yes.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:54 PM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


YAY!!! I am proud to announce that my father, who voted for Walker, Bush and McCain, has come around on this issue. He wrote a stirring email to some of his more conservative friends.

In part:
I worked 30 years in the [redacted] Union and was able to be insured of a safe working environment with enough staffing to help me with dangerous, two-man jobs when I needed help. I was provided with safe tools and equipment and a reasonably good working environment. I was given respect from my management with the ability to grievance sometimes ridiculous work expectations. My union stood behind me when I was pressured to cut corners to save a nickel for the company at the expense of safety. My union forged an agreement with the company to provide professional service in their [redacted] operation in return for a reasonable wage and benefit package along with working conditions that reflect the trust and professional dignity that we deserve as hard working human beings. [Redacted Corp] is a huge, money-hungry company that I seriously doubt would treat us as well as they have if we did not have union backing. But the employees are the ones who provide the service that brings in the cash and are responsible for the success of [Redacted Corp]. We have shared in the success over the years because we had a say in the day to day operation of the business. The state workers may very well lose their bargaining rights and no longer have the dedication and desire to help their particular work unit prosper. Making huge wage and benefit concessions are tough, but must be done. The people who rely on state services (taxpayers) don't want to support workers who haven't felt their pain and continue the status quo with no cuts. But to strip them of their rights to contest a safe, reasonable working condition is un-American and shouldn't be tolerated.
posted by desjardins at 3:18 PM on February 24, 2011 [28 favorites]


The only Democratic senator who is not currently the subject of a recall bid is Spencer Coggs of Milwaukee.

This is interesting. Coggs represents the north side of Milwaukee, in a heavily segregated city.
posted by drezdn at 4:06 PM on February 24, 2011




My deeply cynical voice says that Republicans don't want to canvass the north side for signatures.
posted by desjardins at 4:11 PM on February 24, 2011 [3 favorites]



My deeply cynical voice says that Republicans don't want to canvass the north side for signatures.


I don't want to come out and say this but *finger touching the nose gesture.*
posted by drezdn at 4:14 PM on February 24, 2011


desjardins, that brought a tear to my eye. There's still hope.
posted by symbioid at 4:50 PM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The start of a new International???

OTTAWA -- Leaders from one of Canada's largest private sector unions, the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, will join labour leaders in Madison, Wisconsin today in a show solidarity with the striking public sector workers.

CEP Secretary-Treasurer Gaétan Ménard will meet with counterparts to discuss strategic measures of support and bring back to Canada a first-hand account of events as they unfold.

"This is not just an attack against public sector unions, it's an attack against all those who seek fairness in the workplace through their trade unions," says CEP President Dave Coles. "Canadian unions have been battered by membership losses and anti-worker policies of right-wing governments. I have no doubt that the situation in Wisconsin could be the thin edge of the wedge for Canada."
posted by symbioid at 4:52 PM on February 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


30 examples of Internet memes at the Wisconsin protests

I'm disappointed that there hasn't been an All your Unions are belong to us, terrible secret of space, you're the man now dawg, Xzibit, Ceiling Cat, Hurf Durf Union Buster, or No soap...radio.

First achewood sign wins a no prize. Perhaps a Picture of Walker with "I proved myself a coward who would desert a dying man."
posted by drezdn at 5:09 PM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]






My wife just left the fair land of Canada to head to Wisconsin to document and support the protests. Stay safe and fight the good fight, sweetie!
posted by Theta States at 5:51 PM on February 24, 2011 [7 favorites]




I hear they have a really cool Day Shift Manager at the Willy Street Co-op.
posted by peeedro at 6:29 PM on February 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


<3 Willy Street! :)
(I remember when it was just a tiny little co-op with lots of grains in bins and a couple shelves of organic food, it done all growed up)

That said, my roommate does a lot of posting on this. She's disabled, so she is spending her time doing tons of research and link-finding. She's made a master list for the posts.

If you want, you can find it here (not sure why I didn't think to share this earlier...
posted by symbioid at 6:46 PM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]




Meanwhile, in Washington DC, two FreedomWorks operatives stick a cameraphone up in a pro-union demonstrator's face and harass him until he knocks the phone away. After freaking out about "assault" and free speech rights being taken away, the instigator of the video is now comparing herself to Lara Logan.

Slate's take:
Let me be clear: I abhor shoving of any kind. Shoving is never justified. The world would be a better place if there was no shoving, by anyone. Make loves, not shoves. But -- and I could be wrong here -- the gentleman's actions seem to be aimed at the lens of the video camera, and not intended to cause harm to the person holding it. Pushing a camera away from one's face seems less "thuggish" to me than it does ... defensive. And purposefully picking fights with people in order to provoke an angry response does not really prove much of anything.

None of that matters, of course. What matters is that everyone on the right was simply waiting for one of their content suppliers to produce the requisite "violence from a union thug" video, and here it is. The scripts were all written in advance. Now everyone has jumped on the story.

Because these people are completely fucking shameless, the woman from the video has compared herself to Lara Logan. I am not making that up. I wish I was making that up. But I would actually not make that up, because it would seem beyond the pale to accuse conservative activists of being so horrible, so desperate to play the victim, so morally depraved, so deep into their persecution fantasies that they've lost all perspective on the rest of the world.
posted by Rhaomi at 9:24 PM on February 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


So, I wonder if Fox news has this on heavy rotation yet. Looped again and again, while Walker entertaining the idea of planting "troublemakers" gets nary any notice.

If you treat people like thugs and disrespect space and their right to not be harassed, don't be surprised if they act out defensively.

The thugs here are the patronizing indoctrinated TeaPublican Nazi youth harassing this guy.
posted by Skygazer at 10:12 PM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Filed 3:27 Friday morning at TPM: WI Assembly GOP Passes Walker Budget In Surprise Vote -- Dems Chant "Shame!"

It seems the GOP leadership cut off any further motions or debate and took a quick sneaky vote and passed Walker's Budget Repair Bill.

More sneaky slimy moves from the Wisconsin GOP. Of course this is far from over. The 14 Dems are still absconded.

The protestors in the Capitol Building seem even more energized after this.
posted by Skygazer at 1:10 AM on February 25, 2011


Shame! Shame! Shame!
posted by Skygazer at 1:26 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thanks for that link Skygazer.

"For now, Wisconsin has become ground zero in an unexpected but pitched battle over the political future of the labor movement and the question of whether the Tea Party-fueled GOP resurgence of 2010 will trigger a backlash all its own."

Clearly it already has, and as they keep trying these ploys in other states, it will just grow more and more massive. But it just won't matter as long as the media continues to fail in its mission. Peaceful demonstrations won't hold the media's interest—that's about the only thing Walker's said that's true—and as soon as someone does something stupid, it'll be OMG VIOLENT UNION THUGS everywhere, even on PBS. My most optimistic guess is that we're seeing the beginning of a slow but inevitable erosion of what little is left of unions in this country, and that about 1-3 generations after they're gone, people will realize how necessary they were and try to reinvent them. My least optimistic guess?... Nah, it's too early in the morning for that.
posted by AugieAugustus at 4:58 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]




On-the-scene report from Talking Points Memo: WI Assembly GOP Passes Walker Budget In Surprise Vote -- Dems Chant "Shame!"
posted by madamjujujive at 6:21 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Good morning Wisconsin! Not exactly what I wanted to wake up to...

drezdn, any word on the east side meeting last night?

Anyone headed from Milwaukee/Waukesha etc. to Madison this weekend? I've got some personal business to attend to, but I'm toying with the idea of going.
posted by desjardins at 6:25 AM on February 25, 2011


I haven't heard anything about the meeting last night.

Either my wife or I will be heading towards Madison tomorrow, probably my wife.
posted by drezdn at 6:37 AM on February 25, 2011


Only one thing for it. Recall the Koch-suckers.
posted by madamjujujive at 6:39 AM on February 25, 2011


Could anyone on Metafilter whip together a website where people could post photos of their ids with address and DL# removed to show Governor Walker that people from Wisconsin oppose this bill?
posted by drezdn at 6:49 AM on February 25, 2011


If you want to do that quickly, you could do that in a Flickr group.
posted by desjardins at 6:52 AM on February 25, 2011


I think people would be skittish about other people having their address AND photo, though. Especially if those people are pro-Walker sympathizers or creepy guys who like attractive young women or something.
posted by desjardins at 6:54 AM on February 25, 2011


I figure everyone should cover up their address and other id info. Just the fact that it's a Wisconsin id should be enough. Flickr might be the way to go.
posted by drezdn at 6:56 AM on February 25, 2011


This is not democracy.
posted by drezdn at 6:58 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Might want to redact the DOB, and signature too. There is some mystery number on the side of the photo (starts with MBC...) that is probably some unique ID as well.
posted by desjardins at 6:59 AM on February 25, 2011


Could anyone on Metafilter whip together a website where people could post photos of their ids with address and DL# removed to show Governor Walker that people from Wisconsin oppose this bill?

If he cared, he'd know they are from WI. He doesn't care.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:00 AM on February 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is this guaranteed to pass the Senate?
posted by Theta States at 7:06 AM on February 25, 2011


Yes. The Republicans have the votes they need.

But it cannot pass as long as the Dems stay away.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:07 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


drezdn: "Could anyone on Metafilter whip together a website where people could post photos of their ids with address and DL# removed to show Governor Walker that people from Wisconsin oppose this bill"

I admire the motivation, but I think it's a terribly bad idea. The only thing the Teahadists are going to do with that show of solidarity is make "enemies lists", a la McCarthyism. There are multiple ways to use DL info to find out who it belongs to, where they live, in some cases, what party they're registered with, if any...and any other information the state may have on a citizen that can be tied to your identity.

Were I in WI, I would be out there carrying a sign, but under no conditions would I put my DL, even with info redacted, on the interwebs. And many people would have no idea how to redact info in an image file in such a way that the data couldn't still be retrieved. Keep in mind however, that my experiences with the Right have made me twitchy. Many people may not be as paranoid.

TLDR: I think the idea could put people at risk, which is why IMHO I think this is a bad idea.
posted by dejah420 at 7:15 AM on February 25, 2011 [5 favorites]



Is this guaranteed to pass the Senate?


The only way it wouldn't is if three Republicans vote no. So our hopes rest on the WI 14 staying out of state until Walker relents, something he made it harder for himself to do by not just letting the assembly amend the bill.


If he cared, he'd know they are from WI. He doesn't care.


I was thinking it might be aimed more at the moderates who might not know what to believe.
posted by drezdn at 7:16 AM on February 25, 2011


dejah420: You're probably right. It's sad that politics in America have gotten to this point though.
posted by drezdn at 7:22 AM on February 25, 2011



I was thinking it might be aimed more at the moderates who might not know what to believe.

Well, the TV is filled with pro-walker ads. Republican supporters have officially started recall efforts on the out of state dems. The weekend news shows are dominated with Republican governors and few if any Union/Dem/liberal talking heads. The national Dems have been.... mealymouthed in support.

You know what moderates are gonna think ? They're gonna think the dems suck.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:22 AM on February 25, 2011


Were I in WI, I would be out there carrying a sign, but under no conditions would I put my DL, even with info redacted, on the interwebs.

As a state worker, I am not allowed to actively campaign.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:23 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow. This is nuts!

Koch Industries has responded to the scandal over the prank call, basically acknowledging that they're engaging in Union busting and saying simply that they "Won't Back Off."

Gentlemen, these would-be fascists are going all in on this round of betting.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:50 AM on February 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


Hmm, sounds like they're trying to stop the overnight portion of the protests... no more sleeping on floors 2-4, and many other items (folding chairs, tables, extension cords, etc) restricted starting at 4pm today.
posted by Vibrissa at 7:51 AM on February 25, 2011




Gentlemen, these would-be fascists are going all in on this round of betting.


Wow, they're such victims. I cried tears for them reading that.

Also:
“Charles and David Koch are not going to be silenced. They are principled men and we have a principled company.”

Heh.
posted by Stagger Lee at 7:55 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


In an interview with National Review Online, Koch Industries executive vice president Richard Fink says the Koch brothers will not "back off."

Who made the decision to let a guy named "Fink" do an interview like this.

Definition of FINK:

1: one who is disapproved of or is held in contempt
2: strikebreaker
3: informer

Ironic no?
posted by VTX at 7:59 AM on February 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's like we're trapped inside the real-world version of a socialist propaganda novel.

Tip to the more clever capitalists out there: If you really don't want people to turn to socialism, you should probably try not to act so much like two-dimensional stereotypes of evil capitalists.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:09 AM on February 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


Meanwhile...
All teachers in Providence to get termination notices.
posted by zennie at 8:11 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


The drumming has ended, now comes the string section inside the capitol.
posted by drezdn at 8:58 AM on February 25, 2011



UW Regents special meeting to discuss separating the Madison campus.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:06 AM on February 25, 2011


Pizza Boxes recycled into protest signs.
posted by drezdn at 9:33 AM on February 25, 2011


The Assembly has passed the bill.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:35 AM on February 25, 2011



The WI senate is in session and has advanced the bill. It is no longer possible to amend it.

Any vote now will be up or down, apparently.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:48 AM on February 25, 2011


More perspective on Pogo's last post.
posted by AugieAugustus at 9:51 AM on February 25, 2011


Even though it's too early for recalls, is it too early to get the signatures that would make a recalls possible? This might be the best moment to get the numbers needed, while all eyes are on these Koch cronies and their cronyism is so transparent, and having the actual signatures in hand and ready to go as soon as possible would make the threat of recall a lot more potent and immediate a bargaining chip.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:53 AM on February 25, 2011


If the signatures were in hand already, the politics would be simple: You absolutely will go up for recall if you don't vote this bill down, and we already have the means to make it happen.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:54 AM on February 25, 2011


View from the Capitol today.
posted by drezdn at 9:55 AM on February 25, 2011


Even though it's too early for recalls, is it too early to get the signatures that would make a recalls possible?

In the case of Walker, yes. Not sure about the senators.
posted by desjardins at 9:55 AM on February 25, 2011


The WI senate is in session and has advanced the bill. It is no longer possible to amend it.

Any vote now will be up or down, apparently.


Which is just a really weak move to attempt to get the Dems back in the state. We are now pretty much back to where we were on day one, plus around 50 thousand protesters and some recall initiatives.
posted by zennie at 9:55 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think you have 60 days from the time you file for recall to collect the signatures, so it probably doesn't do any good to try collecting signatures now. Though at least 8 of the Republican senators are currently eligible for recall, and I've heard people talking about that.
posted by Vibrissa at 9:56 AM on February 25, 2011


You have 60 days from when you start collecting signatures to get enough. That's why United Wisconsin (IIRC) is collecting contact info for people, contacting them as soon as Walker's window opens.

There are republican Senators that are eligible for recall now, though. Organizations have been started for them, but I, for one, don't live in any of their districts.
posted by drezdn at 9:58 AM on February 25, 2011



Even though it's too early for recalls, is it too early to get the signatures that would make a recalls possible?

Republicans and some outside groups have already began recall efforts for Dem senators.

There is no "official" recall effort for republican senators. Dems have been on record as that not being an option.

Obama met with several Dem governors today. WI was not discussed.


Tin soldiers and Nixon coming.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:58 AM on February 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


In the case of Walker, yes.

I know they can't actually start the recall process yet, But do the signatures required to initiate that process actually have to be collected within some established timeframe prior to filing for the recall, or can they be collected now and filed later when the one-year time in office threshold has passed?
posted by saulgoodman at 9:59 AM on February 25, 2011


United Wisconsin (IIRC)

United WI is the organization of a failed independent candidate from the OshKosh area. I'm not so sure it's got the funding or the support required to drive a successful recall campaign.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:00 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


You have 60 days from when you start collecting signatures to get enough.

Ah--missed this on preview. Thanks!
posted by saulgoodman at 10:00 AM on February 25, 2011



Which is just a really weak move to attempt to get the Dems back in the state.


Walker has actually backed himself into a position where he has no way to compromise. I hope some of the Republican Senators realize that they live in districts that went 10 or more points for Obama.
posted by drezdn at 10:00 AM on February 25, 2011


Paul Krugman: Shock Doctrine, USA
posted by hippybear at 10:01 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]



The WIAA (state high school) wrestling tournament is in town this weekend. WIAA events usually bring 20k or more people in. Parking and hotel rooms will be short supply.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:03 AM on February 25, 2011


Yeah, as I understand it, the signature collecting for Walker can begin in November, but some of the senators are eligible now.

Add in the fact that a Colorado Teabagger group is starting to organize (wait, Scott, i thought you said you hated out-of-staters interfering, when are you gonna call out your out-of-state allies for not being in-state???)

I got done discussing the issue w/my co-worker (well, less discussion and more attempting to educate). It's so hard for me to remain calm, but I know he's not a bad guy, and he's fairly moderate, not a Republican True Believer. But I know that me getting worked up doesn't help my case. I did try to explain the situation clearly, while trying to listen to his points. Which were basically "they game the system by making certain years give higher pay to pension" or something. I.E. the pension pays for the top 3 years of salary, instead of a total average, so people game the system before they retire by doing overtime and making a huge wage" So I said "that's not relevant to the budget, and it's something you can discuss in... collective bargaining".

I also brought up the fact that the crisis was wall-street housing bubble, not state workers. But we hand out bonuses to wall-street while shafting the workers. Then I said that instead of bitching about them having good rights, and trying to bring them down, we should focus on our rights as non-union, non-public sector workers. I think that may have made sense to him.

Anyways. Heated, not violent, but definite passion in me. I hope I didn't turn him off. Because he's not a True Believer, he can be reached. I just hope I am able to do so. *sigh*
posted by symbioid at 10:04 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Senate has ordered the budget repair bill to a third reading on a voice vote, and has asked five senators to rise for another call of the house. During the roll call, Sen. Dale Schultz responded, "no," before correcting himself and responding, "here."

(The third reading moves the bill to the unamendable stage, and Dale Schultz is a Republican senator who tried to offer a compromise amendment in which the union-busting would expire after two years)
posted by Vibrissa at 10:14 AM on February 25, 2011


“Charles and David Koch are not going to be silenced. They are principled men and we have a principled company.”

Yes, I'm sure their father, Fred Koch who sold oil to the Third Reich, and the basis upon which their oil, paper and synthetics fabrics empire was built (The Kochs are worth 48 Billion dollars) was a very principled man. When Germany fell after WWII he used his family connections there to sell oil to the communists, until they grabbed all his assets and told him to get out of the Soviet Union.

At which point he comes back to the U.S. and helps find the John Birch Society. And McCarthyism comes alive through Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy and the shameful blacklisting begins.

Unbelievable.

To read about these folks makes one feel utterly helpless. The long arm of Nazi Germany is yet still alive through them it would seem. And an evil tentacle to an horrific door most people think is shut and done with, seems to be edging open...
posted by Skygazer at 10:15 AM on February 25, 2011 [8 favorites]



WI DOA has issued an announcement :
The State Capitol will NOT be closing at 4:00 today. This is a rumor. If you have posted any news items to this effect, please correct your story ASAP. Also, please share this information with your fellow reporters from your news organization working on this story.

"Capitol Police are working with protest organizers to begin removal of some large items that could pose fire hazards such as mattresses, folding tables and chairs.

"More detailed information will be released this afternoon about those efforts."
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:17 AM on February 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm sure it wouldn't happen, but what if the WI 14 denied quorum until the 2012 elections. Politically, it would probably cost many their jobs, but what would happen budget-wise? Would things just follow the status quo or would the government shut down?
posted by drezdn at 10:22 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


To read about these folks makes one feel utterly helpless. The long arm of Nazi Germany is yet still alive through them it would seem. And an evil tentacle to an horrific door most people think is shut and done with, seems to be edging open...

Nah. That door's been open a while. If you're going to look at the whole of history, please note that, on the whole, things have been improving, and continue to improve. There have been huge setbacks, some of them quite severe. There are no guarantees, yet here we are, still better than before.
posted by zennie at 10:26 AM on February 25, 2011


drezdn, I'd imagine it'd be a shutdown (I think that's what Walker is basically alluding to when he threatens that there will be a lack of funds of the Senators don't return, and hence the people who protested in their wheelchairs because this funding wouldn't happen -- I believe there was a link to an article about that above thread).

But it might be interesting to see what would happen if there was a law that said "if no budget is passed, then the same budget as last year would be in effect"

Of course, that would mean that any new agencies since the last budget might not get the funding and things like that. Not sure how it'd work.
posted by symbioid at 10:27 AM on February 25, 2011


Oh shit, you guys, I think I found the solution!

Wahabu
posted by symbioid at 10:33 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find him, maybe you can hire...

...Wahabu.
posted by AugieAugustus at 10:44 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]



The WI senate has adjourned for the weekend. Will resume Tuesday, just before the Governor gives his budget address.

All we can do now is protest and wait.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:55 AM on February 25, 2011


If the WI 14 can hold out until the budget address, I think they'll gain many followers.
posted by drezdn at 11:00 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Only people supporting Walker's proposal are those making more than $90k. (Which is a lot of money in Wisconsin)
posted by drezdn at 11:03 AM on February 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


Washington Post has URL shorteners now?
posted by hippybear at 11:09 AM on February 25, 2011


Washington Post has URL shorteners now?

So does google and the NYT.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 11:38 AM on February 25, 2011


Walker is now jetting all over the state to ask Senators to return.
posted by drezdn at 11:42 AM on February 25, 2011


Overnight in the Capitol
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:45 AM on February 25, 2011


I thought the senators weren't even in the state. If they were, the state police could be dispatched to make them show up.
posted by hippybear at 11:45 AM on February 25, 2011


From Drezdn's link to WaPo above (Only people Supporting Walker's proposal make $90K etc..):

As the Wisconsin standoff continues, it's worth stepping back and considering an underappreciated but heartening aspect of this whole affair: Public employees are turning out to be far harder to scapegoat in the public mind than many predicted. This was anything but assured. Many commentators expected that conservatives would have an easy time turning Americans against public employees by foisting the blame for our economic woes upon them. Wisconsin is showing that this is turning out not to be so easy, after all.

I've been saying this from the beginning. It's on thing to demonize America's first black president, as an abstract unknowable danger, especially one who is so stoic, practical has a unique family history, an open curious brilliant mind, and of course dumb shit like his birth certificate.

IT IS ENTIRELY A DIFFERENT MATTER WHEN IT IS TENS OF THOUSANDS OF MIDDLE CLASS FOLKS FROM THE MIDWEST.

The longer this goes on, and the GOP, the Tea Party and it's various corporatist organizations (Freedom Works, American's for Prosperity, Club for Growth, Tea Party Express), FOX NATION/NEWS, RUSH LIMBAUGH, GLEN BECK, PALIN, COULTER, HANNITY, Bill O'Reilly, the KOCH BROS., and the whole modern day Right wing propaganda machine tries to demoniz and scapegoat these people, the more they're doing real enduring harm to their own credibility.

I say, let the Wisconsin 14, remain outside Wisconsin for as long as possible. Everyday is another massive blow to the Right wing movement. If there was a killer app for tearing down these people above that is it. Period.

This is the true unvarnished and unmolested image of the extreme Right that America, for too long has been unable to see, whether out of lack of imagination or an unwillingness, and therefore a naivete or simply due to distraction and lack of focus...

It's time to see who the Right thinks are the true enemy of America as the envision it, and it turns out to be.......regular middle class American's.

This is also what eventually is going to have to be made understood to Walker by people more attune to this sort of thing than he is in his self-congratulatory haze of Reaganistic self-righteousness. And, sadly, someone will eventually get through to him and he'll have to drop this and backtrack and try and save his hide.

But the damage has been done, and there should be enough images and ammo here politically to demolish the Right in 2012.

One last hope is that this is a real wake up call to the union movement to re-tool and re-imagine itself into something better and more vigorous. A truly vigorous movement would've decimated Walker before he was anywhere near a governorship.
posted by Skygazer at 11:47 AM on February 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


Limbaugh, Beck Hannity and even Palin are union members from Bitteroldpunk's twitter.
posted by drezdn at 11:48 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


They're not in the state. And it's not really clear that the police could actually compel them to show up if they were; Wisconsin legislators generally can't be arrested while the legislature is in session.
posted by Vibrissa at 11:49 AM on February 25, 2011



They aren't. Apparently, anyone with WI plates in Illinois is being harassed or photographed for Teaparty websites.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:49 AM on February 25, 2011


Christ - Flatlanders AND Teabaggers??? (I kid, I kid! Only on the flatlander parts. I still hate the Teabaggers)
posted by symbioid at 11:50 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


They aren't. Apparently, anyone with WI plates in Illinois is being harassed or photographed for Teaparty websites.

Fuuuuuuuuuccccckkk. We're planning to visit relatives Saturday in Chicago.
posted by desjardins at 11:52 AM on February 25, 2011


Or Sunday. Whatever. I dunno. If I see any of the Dems I'll give them a hug.
posted by desjardins at 11:53 AM on February 25, 2011


Just carry your own camera and photograph anyone photographing you.

I find that's often just intimidating enough to make them back off.
posted by hippybear at 11:55 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]




Fuuuuuuuuuccccckkk. We're planning to visit relatives Saturday in Chicago.

Maybe you could hop over to ask.mefi and get some responses as to what your option are should you be a victim of harassment or maybe call the local PD and ask them what you can/should do if that happens.
posted by VTX at 11:55 AM on February 25, 2011




ericb: Have I told you lately how much I love what you do?
posted by hippybear at 11:59 AM on February 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


ericb: "FLASHBACK: Gov. Walker Promised To End Late-Night Votes Because ‘Nothing Good Happens After Midnight’."

Those fuddy-duddy republicans, always messing up a good time. After midnight is when the party gets started!
posted by symbioid at 11:59 AM on February 25, 2011


Limbaugh, Beck Hannity and even Palin are union members from Bitteroldpunk's twitter.

Has that ever been confirmed? Seems to me like they'd be fi-core.
posted by zerbinetta at 12:00 PM on February 25, 2011


Never mind. Just saw the PDF on that site.
posted by zerbinetta at 12:02 PM on February 25, 2011


On the subject of Glenn Beck, he was dropped yesterday from the local radio station in Madison.
posted by Vibrissa at 12:03 PM on February 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


Sure, Union Membership was a fundamental human right, but not Unions actually having power to do diddly-squat. That's a whole separate issue.
posted by symbioid at 12:04 PM on February 25, 2011


There are rumors that this is video footage of Assy. members voters for absent members. This is getting juicy.
posted by drezdn at 12:14 PM on February 25, 2011


Citizen's United ruling may prohibit union busting. Everything's coming up Milhouse!
posted by drezdn at 12:15 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you are trying to talk to people who think the union benefits & pensions are too cushy, use the info in this essay by professor & journalist David Cay Johnston, which breaks things down:
Really Bad Reporting in Wisconsin: Who 'Contributes' to Public Workers' Pensions?
posted by madamjujujive at 12:17 PM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wait... He invokes Reagan, saying union-busting is "all about having a balanced budget", and saying Reagans Air Traffic Union busting was a budget balancing move???

Funny how Reagan didn't seem to actually HAVE a balanced budget. I seriously... Is this like what the Bible talks about "seeing through a glass darkly"? Because it's all backwards alice in wonderland shit the more and more I get a glimpse of what they claim vs actual data.

Yes, yes, I *know* why they're really doing this. It's not about balanced budget, it's about corporate hegemony. But my god how are people so fucking latched onto this idea?

Hate. Spite. It's just pure emotion. (And yeah, I can get caught up in it, but my god...)
posted by symbioid at 12:27 PM on February 25, 2011


From the Krugman Op-Ed:

Instead of focusing on the urgent problems of a shattered economy and society [in Iraq], which would soon descend into a murderous civil war, those Bush appointees were obsessed with imposing a conservative ideological vision.

Proving yet again, that fanatics are incompetent, because they're blinded by ideology.

Blinded by a need to preach and spread what they see as the sanctifying "gospel" of the all-perfect, all-knowing, holy and sacred "Free market," and constitionally unable to think on their feet and see and listen to, or work on, real world solutions.

Walker does have the same stench coming off of him as those PNAC Neocons: Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Scooter, Rover, Pearle, who could not be reasoned with because they could see or would not see beyond their ideological funk. Their catastrophic one-size-fits=all ideological formula.

The only thing Walker has is his stubbornness. It is the only thing Bush had at the end there in the face of deafening failure and criminal incompetence. Thing is Bush is one thing, his emperor's new cloths have some major mojo. Walker not so much. He's a political sacrifice waiting to be made, he just does not know it yet.
posted by Skygazer at 12:34 PM on February 25, 2011



Republicans are trying to hurt the economy for political gain.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:35 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Republicans may have violated ASM rule #77

Assembly Rule 77. Voting mandatory; exceptions. When a question is put every member present shall vote either "aye" or "no" unless paired with another member who is absent with leave, or unless the assembly for special cause excuses the member from voting.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:46 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


If there's a Wisconsin version of Ronnie Earl, now would be the time for them to make a name for themselves.
posted by drezdn at 12:52 PM on February 25, 2011


Republicans are trying to hurt the economy for political gain.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt



They can decimate the unions, weaken the middle class (and teh Dem. party) and do it by misdirecting the blame by putting it on Obama's political "tab," as it were.

What geniuses.*




*As in Wile E. Coyote : Genius
posted by Skygazer at 1:02 PM on February 25, 2011


From @DefendWisconsin: ANNOUNCEMENT: The Wisconsin Professional Police Association will be joining us to sleep overnight at the Capitol
posted by desjardins at 1:08 PM on February 25, 2011 [7 favorites]




Remember Obama saying this?
"If American workers are being denied their right to organize when I'm in the White House, I will put on a comfortable pair of shoes and I will walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States."
Well, today a couple of us walked from the Capitol to the main downtown post office and sent him a pair. Will probably do more of this. On Facebook as "Shoes for Obama" if anyone's interested.
posted by Mngo at 1:34 PM on February 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


I wish Obama would take a stronger stand, but I could see it irking the states' rights crowd. Instead, I hope he has someone in DOJ investigating Walker as I'd almost guarantee he has broken some law or other.
posted by drezdn at 1:45 PM on February 25, 2011


I hope he has someone in DOJ investigating Walker as I'd almost guarantee he has broken some law or other.

It would be very unusual for the DOJ to investigate anything that wasn't outright corruption. Again, states' rights do actually take some precedence here. Most of the laws that he may have fallen astray of are state laws.
posted by dhartung at 1:49 PM on February 25, 2011


I wish Obama would take a stronger stand, but I could see it irking the states' rights crowd. Instead, I hope he has someone in DOJ investigating Walker as I'd almost guarantee he has broken some law or other.

I think there is something to be said for letting it be a people's movement. If he got involved to heavily it could start to look like he is taking things over.

It could be good to let the conservative movement know that it isn't Democrats who oppose them, its the people.
posted by VTX at 2:02 PM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


VTX, I agree. I hope it's a conscious choice by Obama to stay out of it for just the reasons you've stated.
posted by desjardins at 2:07 PM on February 25, 2011


I think there is something to be said for letting it be a people's movement.

I think there's a lot to be said for that. Frankly, I think it's good that Obama isn't making himself the center of attention here, as he inevitably would become if he "walked on that picket line".
posted by mr_roboto at 2:07 PM on February 25, 2011


Well, I'm sure nobody wants the appearance of WH meddling in state issues, but this is in part a partisan battle, and he's the leader of the party that's in exhile from our state senate. He could at least offer more than a single comment to a single state tv channel.
posted by Mngo at 2:07 PM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


LGBT activists on the front lines:
[Pride at Work Executive Director] Shorey added the stakes are high because union contracts are often the only protection LGBT workers have in states that lack LGBT-specific non-discrimination statutes. Without collective bargaining, many gay and lesbian public employees would also face a much more difficult road to gain domestic partner health coverage and other benefits.
posted by desjardins at 2:10 PM on February 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


I don't want the Democratic party to be on the sidelines on defending labor rights. I want them involved in every step and at every level and it is entirely appropriate for the leader of the party to send that message by showing up, like he promised to.

This is Obama's constiuency protesting here, it's not Tahrir Square.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:21 PM on February 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Granted, publicly it hasn't been a huge amount, but the president has done more than a single comment to a single state TV channel. Washington Post
posted by edgeways at 2:23 PM on February 25, 2011


From a guest comment on the Isthmus live blog: "The police will be sleeping over tonight and tomorrow night. I for one will find it somewhat disturbing if any of the male officers' jammies turn out to have attached, rubber-bottomed footies."

Personally, I would find it endearing.

Crazy impractical idea of the day: teddy bears for the overnight protesters.
posted by desjardins at 2:24 PM on February 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


He doesn't even have to go there - he could just throw them a bone or a tweet or something to help with morale for god's sake. This is his freaking base, they fought hard for him. The Democratic party has been too silent on this issue overall.
posted by madamjujujive at 2:26 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Funny, I'm not his constituency.

And from reading some people in this thread, I hazard that there's a good number of folks who don't feel they're his constituency.

This is bigger than partisan politics. Are dems involved? Yes, at the state level, and I'm damn glad they are.

But the more that comes from above nationally from one particular party, the more it looks like it's just a partisan political dispute. It won't change right-wingers views, but if we can make sure the center understands that it includes them and not just "Democrats" (while, make no mistake, beyond the handouts to Kochs, and general weakening of workers rights, IS a move against of the last power bases for Democratic financial support)... But the point is, it's more than that, and we should recognize that by trying to keep to the way it's been: A people's movement working from below.

I welcome him speaking out,and it would be nice for a *little* more consternation but we know that's not his style. And in this case, it might just be a benefit to us.
posted by symbioid at 2:28 PM on February 25, 2011


There is no debate on a general level labor is a Democratic constituency. Can't be argued.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:29 PM on February 25, 2011


This is where I imagine bizzaro conservative Metafilter. Conservatives are urging Republicans not to be so friendly to evangelical Christians because someone might have a cry over mean partisanship.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:31 PM on February 25, 2011


Edgeways, that WaPo pieces basically mentions two things--the single interview with a Milwaukee station, and OFA getting involved. OFA's contribution was, I'm sure, valuable, but the president could do a lot for morale here, for the career viability of the Dem senators, and so on.

Is it bigger than just a democratic issue? Yes, there's tons of independents and a hard core of folks left of the Democratic party. But Obama will want them all in the next election.
posted by Mngo at 2:31 PM on February 25, 2011


Obama should buy the protesters a pizza.
posted by drezdn at 2:48 PM on February 25, 2011



Starting Sunday, they will be kicking protesters out at night.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:57 PM on February 25, 2011


So the Department of Administration just issued a press release saying that the capitol will revert to regular business hours starting at 4 on Sunday. What would be the consequences if the protesters (peacefully) refuse to leave? Citations and fines?
posted by Vibrissa at 2:58 PM on February 25, 2011


Yes. Same as any other park or public space.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:59 PM on February 25, 2011


Democratic Governor To Walker: 'You Are Cutting Your Own Throat'

"If you are a successful CEO of a company or of a state, the most important thing you can do is to build morale of the people who work for you," said Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D-Mont.), citing his experience bargaining with Montana's public-employee unions, which agreed to forgo a salary increase two and a half years ago to avoid layoffs. "It is the people that work for you that make you successful, and when you do that to morale, you are cutting your own throat."
posted by Skygazer at 3:07 PM on February 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


Yes. Same as any other park or public space.

Funny... last I heard (and I know a bit about this, being involved with the Rainbow Gathering), public grounds are free and open for public assembly at any time unless otherwise posted.
posted by hippybear at 3:12 PM on February 25, 2011


Another day, another conservative poll with bad news for Scott Walker - by Dick Morris, no less.
posted by madamjujujive at 3:17 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Scott Walker Asked to Leave Local Restaurant
one of the owners ... politely asked Scott Walker to leave the establishment when other customers began booing him [last Friday]
posted by dhartung at 3:22 PM on February 25, 2011 [17 favorites]




Funny... last I heard (and I know a bit about this, being involved with the Rainbow Gathering), public grounds are free and open for public assembly at any time unless otherwise posted.

Right, the Capitols hours are as posted.

Look, I don't disagree that this sucks, but the cops and other authorities have been exceedingly generous and cooperative. I am amazed and proud that my hometown officials have done so well, and that the protesters have been so courteous.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 5:28 PM on February 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Scott Walker Asked to Leave Local Restaurant

This made my day.
posted by drezdn at 10:05 PM on February 25, 2011




Things might be about to get even more interesting. Anonymous may/may not have taken notice.
posted by drezdn at 7:26 AM on February 26, 2011




That's pretty tame for Anonymous. "Hey let's not buy paper towels." I actually hope they stay out of it; I don't want the grassroots progressive movement tainted by any illegal DDoSing. It's not going to do any good anyway.
posted by desjardins at 7:38 AM on February 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wisconsin cops for the win
posted by homunculus at 9:30 AM on February 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'm busy doing other things today, but my disabled roommates mom called and said their was a line of 8-10 buses long just to get to the Capitol Square. They live in Whitewater, so I'm guessing they took a bus to some station.

She said she had a sign saying that she was also marching for her disabled daughter who couldn't be there. I liked that.
posted by symbioid at 10:20 AM on February 26, 2011




Where can I go online to buy pizza/food/supplies for the protesters?

Anyone down there willing to drive a slat of beverages there?
posted by Theta States at 11:11 AM on February 26, 2011


MoveOn has live broadcasts of protests in various states today.
posted by madamjujujive at 11:27 AM on February 26, 2011


I'm heading downtown to the protest here in LA in a bit. Any awesome sign ideas?
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 11:34 AM on February 26, 2011


"Tyranny tastes great with Koch"
posted by drezdn at 11:41 AM on February 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


mandymanwasregistered, just heard about one sign in NYC that said "the cheese never stands alone"
posted by madamjujujive at 11:43 AM on February 26, 2011 [5 favorites]



My son made a sign - "Walker - All wurst, no cheddar"

He was pretty proud of it.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:52 AM on February 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


Heh, another good sign reported: Walker has no principals.
posted by madamjujujive at 11:53 AM on February 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


For those too lazy to follow Homunculus' link:

"Hundreds of cops have just marched into the Wisconsin state capitol building to protest the anti-Union bill, to massive applause. They now join up to 600 people who are inside."

"Police have just announced to the crowds inside the occupied State Capitol of Wisconsin: 'We have been ordered by the legislature to kick you all out at 4:00 today. But we know what's right from wrong. We will not be kicking anyone out, in fact, we will be sleeping here with you!' Unreal."

This made my day.
posted by VTX at 12:05 PM on February 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


"Police have just announced to the crowds inside the occupied State Capitol of Wisconsin: 'We have been ordered by the legislature to kick you all out at 4:00 today. But we know what's right from wrong. We will not be kicking anyone out, in fact, we will be sleeping here with you!' Unreal."

This made my day.


That made my WEEK.

When I was very actively protesting re: free trade and globalization, we used to talk with the cops herding us around about unions. It definitely changed the tone and their view of us from demons to people who were working on something they could identify with.
posted by nevercalm at 1:09 PM on February 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's the anti Walker ad the unions are running.
posted by madamjujujive at 1:49 PM on February 26, 2011


I guess that will have to do, madamjujujive, but I was really hoping there'd be some small mention of Walker's problems with necrophilia.
posted by Skygazer at 2:35 PM on February 26, 2011


Just got back from the protest in front of LA's city hall. It was a decent size considering the short notice. Not ginormous, what can you do? A pro-choice rally from nearby came marching along the street chanting "pro-choice pro-union" to join us, which was confusing until they were close enough to hear more than "choice" and "union". For a second I thought it was some sort of tea party showdown.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 2:50 PM on February 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


mandyman, the same thing happened in Chicago today with the pro-choice and union rallies. It was pretty cool.
posted by enn at 3:00 PM on February 26, 2011


"Hundreds of cops have just marched into the Wisconsin state capitol building to protest the anti-Union bill, to massive applause. They now join up to 600 people who are inside."

I wonder if this will cause some teabaggers to go over the edge and start sincerely decrying "socialized" law-enforcement...
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 3:04 PM on February 26, 2011 [1 favorite]








My crappy cell phone pic of the LA rally. I'm short, so don't expect a view of the whole crowd :p
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 4:02 PM on February 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Better pics from LA.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 4:07 PM on February 26, 2011


Theta States: Where can I go online to buy pizza/food/supplies for the protesters?

Businesses you can donate through.
posted by thebestsophist at 5:05 PM on February 26, 2011 [2 favorites]




desjardins: "Crazy impractical idea of the day: teddy bears for the overnight protesters."

Not crazy at all. Old Teddy would be proud of what's going on there today, I think.
posted by Rhaomi at 6:07 PM on February 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks, thebestsophist, just ordered $50 of breakfast burritos to be deliver in the AM.
posted by Theta States at 7:32 PM on February 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Very well done video showing the massive crowds in Madison

That was great, even with the sound down!
posted by cashman at 8:11 PM on February 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow. Has there been a count of how many people were willing to stand in the snow like that? And those adorable bundled up babies. At least I think they were babies. Coulda been fat starfish...hard to tell under all that padding.

Scott Walker should be run out of town on a rail for even considering harming all those people. He is a bad man, and should be removed from power.
posted by dejah420 at 8:21 PM on February 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Very well done video showing the massive crowds in Madison

The "Imperial Walkers" at 2:23 are fabulous. Ugh. And I thought they smelled bad on the outside.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:28 PM on February 26, 2011


Looking at the Ian's Pizza on State page on Facebook, they've gotten orders for the protesters from all fifty states, plus DC, fifty-eight countries, including Egypt, Afghanistan, Iran and China, and at least one order from Antarctica. Which is all kinds of awesome.

Here's an attempt at a link. YMMVDOWYHFBON (Your mileage may vary depending on whether you have Facebook or not.)
posted by gc at 10:48 PM on February 26, 2011


dejah420, I wasn't there last week to compare the view from the ground, so to speak, but the State Journal is repeating the "at least 70,000" number from Joel DeSpain. My general impression is that the streets on the square were not quite full until just before 3 p.m., when people gathered for Bradley Whitford, and the firefighters came marching in en masse, bagpipes and all, to great acclaim (as they were explicitly excluded from the bill, as a divide and conquer tactic, their participation along with the police is an enormous morale booster). I can only assume that the weather prevented yesterday from being obviously much bigger than the week before, but it was definitely a crowd in high spirits and I know that people will be going back home with fire in their bellies.
posted by dhartung at 12:27 AM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]





Part of the problem is that because of the weather, there are no good aerial photos. I'm gonna say it was at least 100k, because the square was absolutely packed, and so were the side streets leading up.

It doesn't matter though - Walker will never listen.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:26 AM on February 27, 2011


The Internet requires a Downfall video, and WIGovPR delivered.
posted by desjardins at 7:54 AM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


@DefendWisconsin
Folks from the WISCONSIN HISTORICAL SOCIETY will be collecting signs from the Capitol today for posterity. #wiunion
(because they are clearing the Capitol today at 4 pm for cleaning, and no one knows exactly what "cleaning" will entail)
posted by desjardins at 7:59 AM on February 27, 2011


Governor Walker was interviewed on Meet the Press this morning.

Spoiler: he didn't say anything new or different
posted by Vibrissa at 9:38 AM on February 27, 2011


This Week has Governors Brewer, Patrick, Hickenlooper, and Haley.

Face the Nation has Chris Christie.

Meet the Press has Scott Walker, Haley Barbour, John McCain, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, and Richard Trumka

Your liberal media. Still not liberal.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:19 AM on February 27, 2011 [4 favorites]




From @ACLUEMadison:
Phone number for attorney assistance if arrested: (608) 257-0945. Thanks to Hawks-Quindel & Hurley law for atty observer help. #wiunion
Just in case anyone gets arrested.
posted by thebestsophist at 11:15 AM on February 27, 2011


I'm not sure when they'll actually start clearing the capitol, but here's a link to the live feed.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 12:18 PM on February 27, 2011


And a livestream of outside the capitol. Word on the twitters is that the doors have been locked.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 12:26 PM on February 27, 2011


Eh, maybe not. Maybe they're letting one in for one out?
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 12:31 PM on February 27, 2011


There are a lot of conflicting reports of the Capitol situation the Isthmus live blog. Apparently there's a press conference at 3 for people who plan to stay overnight and risk arrest.
posted by desjardins at 12:44 PM on February 27, 2011


..ON the Isthmus live blog..
posted by desjardins at 12:45 PM on February 27, 2011


The latest I'm hearing is that the police will ask people to leave, but won't force anyone to. I hope everyone is safe, and that the governor realizes the capitol belongs to the people.
posted by drezdn at 12:47 PM on February 27, 2011


People inside the Capitol are asking those outside to form a human chain.
posted by drezdn at 12:49 PM on February 27, 2011


John Anderson: Speaking with Jason Huberty, a UW grad student, who says he spoke with an MPD officer: off-duty cops are planning to come to the Capitol to stand with protesters. Apparently you will be cited for disorderly conduct, and the cops are willing to take the tickets themselves. Link: http://understory.ran.org/2011/02/25/breaking-wisconsin-police-have-joined-protest-inside-state-capitol/
posted by madamjujujive at 12:54 PM on February 27, 2011


John Anderson: pls disregard understory link, that's old.
Sunday February 27, 2011 2:54 John Anderson

2:55 John Anderson: But not the rest of my rept
posted by madamjujujive at 12:57 PM on February 27, 2011


CNN, Fox in the capital & supposedly broadcasting. Can confirm CNN but never check Fox
posted by madamjujujive at 1:14 PM on February 27, 2011


AFLCIO has a live feed from inside. Several clergy, students & others spoke to press saying they intend to be arrested. Some reports say firefighters plan to be among those arrested.
posted by madamjujujive at 1:24 PM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


50 Photos from 50 States
posted by scody at 1:31 PM on February 27, 2011


Andrew Kroll posts this pic of a cop and ff inside the bldg who he says are planning to get arrested.

Crowd: Hell no, we won't go.
posted by madamjujujive at 1:52 PM on February 27, 2011


The concern trolls are really out in the isthmus live chat.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 2:06 PM on February 27, 2011


A friend just posted on his FB status a couple of minutes ago that the arrests have started inside the capitol building, but no link to any footage or other reports.
posted by scody at 2:37 PM on February 27, 2011


ustream is down, but fox (of all things!) has a live feed here.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 2:40 PM on February 27, 2011


scody, based on the isthmus live blog no arrests/no plans to arrest. And the capitol wifi is down for whatever reason.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 2:43 PM on February 27, 2011


Some people are wondering / specuating if any arrests do occur, that they might not occur until late night when least expected - like the sneaky votes. This is just chatter. People say the cops are relaxed and interacting well with the protesters, and that there are some cops & firefighters among the protesters.

Maybe Walker doesn't want all those photos of clergy, teachers, students, cops & ffs getting carried out. Particularly when the cops don't seem to keen on carrying out that duty.
posted by madamjujujive at 2:49 PM on February 27, 2011


based on the isthmus live blog no arrests/no plans to arrest

Whew! I'll ask him to clarify.
posted by scody at 2:50 PM on February 27, 2011


The ground floor has mostly been cleared but there are 6 or 8 protesters sitting down so media is focusing on that (what little media there is, fox appears to be only live feed - altho reports CNN is setting up).

Most protesters on the first floor / balcony.

People were just chanting "Thank you Fox"

legaleagle: Was just told by marshall that there will be arrests but not for a long time. My take - They're waiting those on outside out.
posted by madamjujujive at 3:06 PM on February 27, 2011




Size estimates:

PatSimmsWSJ: #wiunion. About 600-700 folks in Capitol. If people had known they wouldn't be prosecuted, more might have stayed.

John Anderson: Out of the Capitol now b/c the wi-fi was shut down. Last impressions: a good 1,000+ people are up on the 2nd floor. Still people milling around on the ground floor as well.

Twitter News3David: K9s going through building from the top floor down. #wiunion

Others report that GOP Sen Glenn Grothman allegedly called protesters "slobs cluttering up the halls"
posted by madamjujujive at 3:53 PM on February 27, 2011


on the comments of the mobile phone live stream (apparently the only live stream left?): "Hey Brandzel, I just heard this - can you confirm? "Apparently, there are too many people (1500-2000) for the police to arrest and that a deal has supposedly been made to allow protesters to stay. They will just move people from floor to floor as they clean. Spread the word!""
posted by flex at 4:02 PM on February 27, 2011


GOP Sen Glenn Grothman allegedly called protesters "slobs cluttering up the halls"

There are way too many people there for this to anything but a dumb idea for him. Maybe he just called one of my co-workers a slob. I don't agree with him politically but he is a good, smart guy and my rep just called him a slob. If people were on the fence out him this was a good way to get them to come down on the other side.
posted by VTX at 4:05 PM on February 27, 2011


cops are willing to take the tickets themselves

My kind of oath keepers.
posted by Trochanter at 4:08 PM on February 27, 2011


One of the Republican senators just announced that he will not vote for the budget bill. Crowd in the Capitol on the live stream going wild
posted by flex at 4:28 PM on February 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's unconfirmed, but they're reporting that it is Senator Dale Schultz.
posted by thebestsophist at 4:36 PM on February 27, 2011


w00t! He's the one that tried to get the 2 year compromise, right?
posted by madamjujujive at 4:40 PM on February 27, 2011


Mother Jones twitter feed says they've confirmed Schulz's vote with higher ups at AFL-CIO.
posted by gladly at 4:42 PM on February 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


They need more than one defection to defeat it tho - 2 more, I think. Still, if true this is big.
posted by madamjujujive at 4:44 PM on February 27, 2011


I probably would have stayed inside longer if I'd had better information. As it was, people coming in were being asked "are you willing to be arrested" as they entered, and that was kind of nerve wracking. I decided to head outside and get some pictures around 3:20, and stayed outside walking around and listening to rumors until around 5. I'm SUPER excited to hear about Dale Schultz seeing the light!
posted by lriG rorriM at 4:51 PM on February 27, 2011


They just announced in the Capitol the protesters can stay the night.
posted by flex at 4:54 PM on February 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yay, a good night all around.

Keep on keepin' on Wisconsin - you've been a pioneer in labor and worker rights for more than a century now, glad to see you trailblazing again, so awesome!
posted by madamjujujive at 4:59 PM on February 27, 2011


reports from twitter are -

PatSimmsWSJ: As expected, people in Capitol will get stay the night on the ground floor.
tarrjoe: Chief Tubbs made decision to keep Capitol open. He did not consult with governor
PatSimmsWSJ: Tubbs says each day will be re-evaluated as to whether they can stay the night.
AndrewKroll: Police spox says ppl can stay overnight. No sleeping bags, air mattresses. Can't leave and reenter. Limited food avail

There are pictures and the livestream showed cleaners on the first floor, then they said they protesters can come back downstairs and they'll be given dinner (pizza from Ian's).
posted by flex at 5:20 PM on February 27, 2011


How binding is something like that? If, hypothetically, enough republican senators say they won't vote for the bill and the 14 Dems re-enter the state to hold the vote and defeat the bill, can they just flop back? In other words, could this just be a ploy to get the vote to happen so they can pass it? With their majority, it isn't like they need the 14 democrats to work with them going forward. Could they just stab them in the back and carry on?

I'm a little wary after the stuff that Walker said in the call that started this thread.
posted by VTX at 5:24 PM on February 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm getting info from the Isthmus liveblog (http://www.thedailypage.com/walker/) and the livestream thebestsophist posted above (http://qik.com/Brandzel), btw.
posted by flex at 5:25 PM on February 27, 2011


Yay! Good news. Shame on Grothman.

I wrote to Schultz thanking him, making sure he knew that I wasn't in his district and felt I couldn't write previously to influence his decision since I'm not his constituent, but that I supported him in what must have been a struggle to make a stance. I don't think any of us were assholes to him, but I told him that if anyone from "my" side did do or say anything negative towards him that I was sorry. I said we need to face the problems confronting us as a state, working together for solutions.

I hope that at least keeps his mind open, and I sure wish we could have that vote down in stone and it's not just a gimmick whereby he may just switch it. Perhaps we can get a contract where he'd be liable to be sued if we got Dems back and all those Repubs who might claim to vote against it would shift their vote back in favor... What remedy could there be against such a move?
posted by symbioid at 5:26 PM on February 27, 2011


On Feb. 7, with Wisconsin united in the afterglow of a Green Bay Packers victory in the Super Bowl, brand-new Gov. Scott Walker convened a dinner meeting of his Cabinet at the Governor's Mansion.

Walker held up a photo of President Ronald Reagan, who had famously fired striking air-traffic controllers, and said his plan to sweep away decades of protections for state public employees in a stop-gap budget bill represented "our time to change the course of history."
Yes, well, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED on that score.
posted by scody at 5:34 PM on February 27, 2011


If, hypothetically, enough republican senators say they won't vote for the bill and the 14 Dems re-enter the state to hold the vote and defeat the bill, can they just flop back? In other words, could this just be a ploy to get the vote to happen so they can pass it?

It's scary that you say that, because now there are three wavering names--exactly what would be needed to get the 14 back--Hopper and Olsen in addition to Schultz. (That's from Young Progressives facebook).

With the newscycle taken up with Oscars and Charlie Sheen's interview, it's kind of a good time to flip flop.
posted by gladly at 6:14 PM on February 27, 2011



Are any of these flip-flopping senators up for recall? Being recalled may hold some sway over their heads if they're thinking about going back on their word about voting against the bill (once they actually do decide to not vote for it). Might be time to get some signatures on recall petitions.
You know, insurance.
posted by newpotato at 6:27 PM on February 27, 2011


Sen. Schultz is not one of the 8 currently eligible for recall, but has been seen as the most likely Republican to break with Walker on the bill. (He is the one who suggested amending the bill to restore collective bargaining rights in 2013).
posted by Fin Azvandi at 6:44 PM on February 27, 2011


Schultz got endorsements from the unions too, so he might know who butters his bread so to speak.

If three Rep. Senators said they would vote note just to bring the fourteen back, and then vote yes, I think it would poison the well for a long time. While the Republicans have control of the legislative branch now, our state has fluctuated a bit in recent history.

It's easy to imagine a scenario where a Senator who lies now from a position of strength would be unable to get help from across the aisle when they're back in the minority.
posted by drezdn at 7:28 PM on February 27, 2011


Yeah, there is nothing illegal about going back on a publicly stated vote position once the D's are back in town. But, I think it would be massive political suicide, I suspect the protests would continue, and it literally would piss a lot of people off. To what end, rioting(?) I don't know, but at least up until now the Senate has acted more or less above board (even if we don't like the intent), pulling a vote switch scenario would demolish whatever goodwill exists for a long time.

I can't help wonder how much is going on behind the scenes. On one hand I can't help think such a high profile defeat would be really bad for Walker, on the other, defection of 3 Senators is perhaps the only way out for him as well. There is no way Walker is going to budge, and what may have started as a token protest by the WI D Senators has metamorphosed into a pretty rock hard position.

No matter what Walker says publicly he has to realize that 2 weeks of continuous protest, which has lost him the police union, and has high level police officials publicly questioning his tactics and motivations is politically damaging, and the longer it goes on the less in control he seems, especially when orders to clear the Capitol are only halfheartedly acknowledged. Call in the National Guard? That might loose him a few more Senators and likely be a PR debacle.
posted by edgeways at 8:30 PM on February 27, 2011



Walker doesn't care. And he doesn't have to.

If the dems ever do make it back into office, they won't have the political clout or unity to undo half of what he'll have done. Even at that, it's a long two years away.

These protests have been good nostalgia porn, but in a day or two, after the news trucks pull away, they'll slip off the radar - Oh look, Oscar predictions! - and then the farce will be wholly, quietly, complete.

It's been this way for 20 years and the only real things that have tripped up the republican war machine is when their greed, corruption, or hypocrisy comes glaring through. And even then, as President Gingrich shows every other day on my Teevee, it's not necessarily enough.

Look at today's bobblehead shows - I had two more union supporters in my house today than they did and I was home alone with my wife. The noise machine was caught a little off guard at first, but they've found their voice and now it will be over soon.

I say this - I drive by that magnificent capitol building every morning on my commute. I honk my horn and raise my fist everytime I cross State Street. But the dems, god bless those feckless, shambling, idiots. This business with my Senator and his cohort hiding out in Illinois is the first time I've seen any actual life in that tired old party; its like the first blossom of spring.

Matter of time before the rest of the dems stomp it out. They're tall poppies now.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:10 PM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]




My friends' band has released Imperial Walker to support the protesters.
posted by drezdn at 5:03 AM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]




Please keep the updates coming, people! Or is there another open thread to check as well?
posted by Theta States at 6:03 AM on February 28, 2011


They're letting people out of the Capitol, but not letting people in. From here, it looks like Walker is trying a new tactic to break the siege.
posted by drezdn at 6:53 AM on February 28, 2011


It might be to add metal detectors.
posted by drezdn at 6:54 AM on February 28, 2011


New restrictions on Capitol access.
posted by drezdn at 7:08 AM on February 28, 2011


"Do You Hear the People Sing?" Les Mis' flash mob from yesterday.

That was my favorite moment of the afternoon! A friend and I were sitting there talking and missed the introduction, so to us it really seemed like the entire Capitol erupted in song.
posted by Fin Azvandi at 7:17 AM on February 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


From news3jessica (reporter for Channel 3000):
Dept of Admin says because Protesters stayed last night, no additional Protesters will be let in "until this situation is resolved" #wiunion
However, from benmasel
"NEW RESTRICTIONS" on #Wisconsin Capitol access violate precedent frm my 1987 suit v Tommy under State Constitution. #wiunion
If this is true, it would likely still take days if not weeks to sort out the legal issues, not helpful for getting people in right now.
posted by thebestsophist at 7:55 AM on February 28, 2011


Tweets say people are being told they won't be let in until at least 10:30am because they are not done cleaning and getting things in order. After that it seems like there will be an "official business" restriction on people entering... in other words, no loitering.

Interesting that there has been no denial on the Dale Schultz rumor. Maybe he is testing the water.
posted by zennie at 8:00 AM on February 28, 2011


I'm inclined to believe the Dale Schultz rumor - sometime last week (Friday?), somebody in the Republican leadership (maybe Senator Fitzgerald?) said that they still had 18 solid Republican votes. I think at the time I thought that he must have misspoken, but if Schultz is voting no, then maybe that was right.

I feel like restricting access to the capitol during normal business hours seems like a bad idea for the governor. It makes it look to me like he's getting desperate.
posted by Vibrissa at 8:05 AM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I guess it's kind of like those totally legit "free speech zones" now. Funny how those sort of went away.
posted by theredpen at 8:06 AM on February 28, 2011


The idea clearing the building (or not letting more in) because they need to "clean" is a bit ridiculous - somehow hospitals manage to stay clean without needing to evacuate on a daily basis. The demonstrators have been very cooperative with the police and it would not be difficult to set up a cleaning schedule where different wings/areas were closed off for a few hours at a time.
posted by Fin Azvandi at 8:08 AM on February 28, 2011


From twitter @evale72: From WI constitution Article I, §4 The leg cannot prohibit an individual from entering the capitol or its grounds. 59 Atty. Gen. 8.
posted by drezdn at 8:09 AM on February 28, 2011


And then they have three cleaning shifts right in a row, even after the protesters have reportedly been super careful to cooperate and not leave their state building a mess.
posted by theredpen at 8:11 AM on February 28, 2011


Yeah, I felt like evacuating people last night in order to clean felt like a flimsy (but distantly plausible, especially if you were inclined to trust what the governor says) excuse. Keeping people out right now is way more transparent.
posted by Vibrissa at 8:11 AM on February 28, 2011


Fin Azvandi - stop thinking about this logically :)
posted by desjardins at 8:11 AM on February 28, 2011


I feel like restricting access to the capitol during normal business hours seems like a bad idea for the governor. It makes it look to me like he's getting desperate.

No, it turns the focus away from protesters and the bill to vagrants who want to camp in state property.

Also, the news vans are already pulling away. We've had our fun, Walker won. Back to work.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:15 AM on February 28, 2011


P_F, I get your continued mantel of cynicism, it is a protective cloak of sorts. Don't get to hopeful, don't let yourself think positively about an outcome other than complete defeat. You may well couch it in terms of "realism", but seriously the extreme defeatism does more harm than good. Yeah, perhaps Walker will prevail, it is possible. It certainly becomes more likely if people talk about it as a done deal. You have railed against some democrats for not doing anything, and that is fair, but defeatism is a worse virus to spread. Give up! The media isn't with you. Give up! Washington hasn't backed you. Give up! The rich are against you. Give up! The Governor is sure to prevail. Give up! Give Up! Give up!
posted by edgeways at 8:31 AM on February 28, 2011 [5 favorites]




From where I sit, Walker looks like he's set to lose this battle. The missing Democrats have no political incentive to come back, and regardless of whether they will have any other power, they're it right now. The longer this goes on, the worse it will be for Walker if he continues his weak non-negotiation tactic because the only card he holds is the sketchy recall on the Dems. And he is very likely to face a recall himself, when his grace period is over. And his state GOP colleagues can see that, and are unlikely to want to go down with the ship. Y'all just need to please not give up... this is not just about Wisconsin.
posted by zennie at 9:01 AM on February 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, if the labor movement gave up because the media wasn't with it to start with, there would never have been a labor movement. And these days, with the media being as thoroughly on the payroll as it is, the last thing we should ever do is abandon to the media our responsibility for defining what is and isn't possible, and what is and isn't important. Every time in recent history we've allowed that to happen (the Iraq War, the financial crisis, the Gulf oil spill, etc.) the outcomes have been a disaster for America. Fuck the US media establishment. It chose sides a long time ago, and that side wasn't the one that gives a damn about the American worker.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:08 AM on February 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Aw, Schultz denies the rumor. He says he's undecided, though I'm not sure what room for compromise there is at this point, since the bill has passed the assembly and is unamendable in the senate.
posted by Vibrissa at 9:08 AM on February 28, 2011


He seems really on the fence though. All the thank-you emails will help a bit.
posted by zennie at 9:13 AM on February 28, 2011



One of my favorite political analysts, Ed Kilgore, has a very cogent essay on is happening and why.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:30 AM on February 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


edgeways: "P_F, I get your continued mantel of cynicism, it is a protective cloak of sorts. Don't get to hopeful, don't let yourself think positively about an outcome other than complete defeat. You may well couch it in terms of "realism", but seriously the extreme defeatism does more harm than good. Yeah, perhaps Walker will prevail, it is possible. It certainly becomes more likely if people talk about it as a done deal. You have railed against some democrats for not doing anything, and that is fair, but defeatism is a worse virus to spread. Give up! The media isn't with you. Give up! Washington hasn't backed you. Give up! The rich are against you. Give up! The Governor is sure to prevail. Give up! Give Up! Give up!"

Why am I imagining a sort of ironic Capitalist retort to a Union Folk Song...

"Give up O' Working Man,
The forces of Capital are allied against you.
Give up O Working Man,
The days of Labor are through..."

Etc...
posted by symbioid at 9:35 AM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Senator Lena C. Taylor (of the 4th district):
GOP blocks paying dem staff and dem senate offices from making copies/scans + went to my church to intimdate. Their overreaching is amazing!
posted by thebestsophist at 9:37 AM on February 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well at least Schultz didn't pretend that he was voting against it... He came out and said he's still undecided.
posted by symbioid at 9:41 AM on February 28, 2011


Hmm. What if that was a ploy to make the Union side look bad... "Oh yeah, I'll do it" Union comes out and "confirms" it. Then he says "Nah..."

Who looks like the liar and bad guy? I mean, to most people, not us. It might look like the Union guy was lying to apply pressure or convince people what we're winning, so when the Repub says that's not the case, then it paints the Union dude in a bad light. I dunno.
posted by symbioid at 9:43 AM on February 28, 2011


Most likely, the wrong person overheard that the Senator was leaning toward "no" and mistranslated it to "the Senator is voting No". Random speculation about motives is unproductive.
posted by zennie at 9:51 AM on February 28, 2011


You may well couch it in terms of "realism", but seriously the extreme defeatism does more harm than good. Yeah, perhaps Walker will prevail, it is possible.

It's all but certainty at this point.

My US Rep, Tammy Baldwin is a great lady. She's an openly gay woman who serves a very crunchy granola blue district.

Michell Bachman is a terrible person. She's a practicing psychotic moonbat fascist with crazy eyes and willingness to say anything.

Of the two - Bachman has been a thousand times more effective at moving the ball down the field. I love Tammy to death, but if she's got an agenda to forward, she hasn't really been doing it.

Harry Reid is a spinless chump who nearly lost his re-election to a woman who thought trading chickens for medical service was a good idea. Nancy Pelosi take ineffective to a whole new level.

Comparatively, the Republicans make the Dems look like Amateur Hour. At this point, I'm convinced I could do better - and I'm an autist with an illegitimate child who hates people.

In order to succeed - long term - we need a far better democratic party than the one we've got. With that pandering gropemachine Clinton's sycophants still calling the shots, we're better off seceding.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:52 AM on February 28, 2011


Everytime I start to feel that way, Pogo_Fuzzybutt, I just give this song another listen and suddenly I remember we really don't need any of them on our side to stand up for ourselves:

All You Fascists Bound to Lose!
posted by saulgoodman at 10:24 AM on February 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


I agree that a stronger Democratic party would be a good thing, but Michelle Bachman has nothing to do with what's going to happen in Madison. The one thing that would ensure the bill goes through is for all the protesters to give up and go home. I'm not sure why you're encouraging that.
posted by echo target at 10:27 AM on February 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


While I agree that, short-term, a more effective democratic party would help a lot. I'm thinking more and more that a real third party is a better long-term solution. I think it would force a lot more compromise and keep things from being so much about us vs. them. The two parties we have now probably wouldn't be able to take such an adversarial, contrarian stance on so many issues.

As for Michele Bachman, she is a full on nut-bar and she's loud but has she really done that much aside from talk a lot? She held up the Minnesota state senate for a while with her dumb same-sex marriage ban, she introduced the "Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act", and as otherwise voted with the party.

The party is really helped out by the fact that Bachman's district (the 6th) is really weird too. I live in Washington county so she is my representative but the area, in general, is pretty progressive. Her support comes from those big rural counties around St. Cloud. If they redrew the districts so that the demographics lined up better, I think we'd have one more democrat and one less republican in the house. We're redistricting this year but since our state legislature is somehow now republican controlled, I don't see that happening.

The point is, my state is generally pretty progressive. We don't have the democratic party here, we have the democratic-farmer-labor party after all. On behalf of the state of Minnesota, I apologize for Michelle Bachman. That women does not represent us. She'll probably make a failed attempt at being President or VP in 2012 in hopes writing a book and getting her own show like Sarah Palin and my hope is that she'll be out of politics and just go away.

posted by VTX at 10:40 AM on February 28, 2011


There's rumor on the twitters that the Republican Senators threatened to not let Schulz caucus with them if he voted no on the bill.
posted by drezdn at 10:44 AM on February 28, 2011






Walker is being sued for unfair labor practices.

Can someone translate this into non-lawyer speak for me? They want to force Walker to negotiate their contracts based on existing laws until this current dispute is settled? Am I understanding this filing correctly?
posted by VTX at 10:55 AM on February 28, 2011



About that Times article Walker loved so much...
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:59 AM on February 28, 2011


State rep Kelda Helen Roys (district 81) is being denied access to the Capitol building because she refuses to show her state ID.
posted by thebestsophist at 11:07 AM on February 28, 2011


One side effect of all this is, while it may be increasing Walker's profile among parts of the right wing. It's also created statewide knowledge of some figures within the state Democratic party (for example Roys, Chris Larson, Erpenbach and Lena Taylor)
posted by drezdn at 11:14 AM on February 28, 2011


There's a (twitter) rumor that the Madison police chief and sheriff have been kicked off the Capitol command staff and replaced by head of state patrol (who is the dad of the Senate and House Majority Leaders).
posted by drezdn at 11:16 AM on February 28, 2011


Wait a minute--it's illegal to block public access to the Capitol (See Article I, §4).

The police should be arresting Walker. I know he can't be recalled yet, but surely he can be found unfit for office for committing an obvious crime? I'm not kidding or making a rhetorical point. How can he get away with blatantly violating the Wisconsin Constitution?

Article I, §4 - ANNOT.
The legislature cannot prohibit an individual from entering the capitol or its grounds. 59 Atty. Gen. 8.

posted by saulgoodman at 11:31 AM on February 28, 2011


OK, note:

"The legislature"...

Scott Walker is Executive. Now, can we find out whether or not he has that right? I haven't seen anything indicating he can't.

Again. We have to make sure we don't go saying things that are easily rebuffed - I posted on boingboing when I saw that. If Walker is not disallowed under law right now, perhaps we can take it to court, or perhaps there *is* a prior ruling as well. But according to that link, there is nothing that says Walker/Executive cannot do so. Just the Legislature.
posted by symbioid at 11:39 AM on February 28, 2011


drezdn: "One side effect of all this is, while it may be increasing Walker's profile among parts of the right wing. It's also created statewide knowledge of some figures within the state Democratic party (for example Roys, Chris Larson, Erpenbach and Lena Taylor)"

Don't forget Krye Tuff.
posted by symbioid at 11:40 AM on February 28, 2011



Senate Dem staffers now need to have timesheets approved and signed by Senate majority leader Fitzgerald
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:53 AM on February 28, 2011


If Walker is not disallowed under law right now, perhaps we can take it to court, or perhaps there *is* a prior ruling as well. But according to that link, there is nothing that says Walker/Executive cannot do so. Just the Legislature.

That's technically correct, but I don't think there's anything that gives the executive this authority either (and typically, the executive's role is supposed to be executing the will of the legislature, so it's hard to imagine how the legislature would be expressly prohibited from doing this while the executive isn't). IANAL, but I think a decent attorney who really wanted to could easily make the case that Walker has overstepped his constitutional authority here.

See Section V of the constitution for the executive's specifically enumerated authority. From the previous section, it seems pretty clear the intent of Article I, §4 is to prohibit the state government from blocking public access to the Capitol, period, when it comes to assembly to petition the redress of grievances. It might not be an open and shut case, but it's not nothing.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:04 PM on February 28, 2011


That's fine if we can argue that, but I'm starting to see a lot of hype and echo-chambery stuff now and it's concerning me. I can grok what you're saying (and that's why I said I think we should take it to court).

The way people are painting it though is that the text they're linking to is proof that it's illegal, which is not a cut and dried case, and it does a disservice to us.

Regardless. Fuck them for all their powerplays. Fuck them for gaming us. Fuck them for all the shit they do to try to stop us.
posted by symbioid at 12:08 PM on February 28, 2011


Lobbyists have been let into the Capitol, but the citizens have been kept out. The Walker administration in a nutshell.
posted by drezdn at 12:09 PM on February 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well, that "Fuck them" bit I just did made me think of this infamous curse upon the Border Reivers...

In 1525 the reivers had become such a nuisance that the then Archbishop of Glasgow, Gavin Dunbar, put a curse up all the reivers of the borderlands.
"I curse their head and all the hairs of their head; I curse their face, their brain (innermost thoughts), their mouth, their nose, their tongue, their teeth, their forehead, their shoulders, their breast, their heart, their stomach, their back, their womb, their arms, their leggs, their hands, their feet, and every part of their body, from the top of their head to the soles of their feet, before and behind, within and without."

"I curse them going and I curse them riding; I curse them standing and I curse them sitting; I curse them eating and I curse them drinking; I curse them rising, and I curse them lying; I curse them at home, I curse them away from home; I curse them within the house, I curse them outside of the house; I curse their wives, their children, and their servants who participate in their deeds. I (bring ill wishes upon) their crops, their cattle, their wool, their sheep, their horses, their swine, their geese, their hens, and all their livestock. I (bring ill wishes upon) their halls, their chambers, their kitchens, their stanchions, their barns, their cowsheds, their barnyards, their cabbage patches, their plows, their harrows, and the goods and houses that are necessary for their sustenance and welfare."
And on and on and on into seeming infinity.
posted by symbioid at 12:09 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is Walker welding the Capitol's windows shut? I tried to link to the AFL-CIO (blog) but it wouldn't load. Is this true?
posted by futz at 12:21 PM on February 28, 2011


Ah, here it is.
posted by futz at 12:23 PM on February 28, 2011


I could be wrong, but I think the welded windows thing is just a rumor with little substance. It would create a fire hazard (in a place that's seen a few fires) and just seems too tyrannical to be true.
posted by drezdn at 12:25 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, maybe, we can kick everyone out, and let the Repubs stay in, and we can weld them in. Problem SOLVED!
posted by symbioid at 12:25 PM on February 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


Those were exactly my thoughts drezdn. I can't imagine that it is true although I hope it is because the craziness needs to be exposed. More likely, it is just a rumor spreading like wildfire.
posted by futz at 12:32 PM on February 28, 2011


From FDL: UPDATE on this: I’m hearing that a window latch simply needed repair, and that a women’s room latch was always screwed shut. So this may not be quite so nefarious.
posted by futz at 12:37 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


The way people are painting it though is that the text they're linking to is proof that it's illegal, which is not a cut and dried case, and it does a disservice to us.

Well, sorry for that, and I don't want to contribute to any rush in the wrong direction. But it may actually be illegal what Walker's doing, but even if it is, it won't be any part of the media or political establishment that starts making the case that he should actually be held responsible for breaking the law.

At the very least, this matter should be seriously examined as a potential source for more legal leverage against him. If Walker accidentally committed a crime and overreached his authority in reacting to the protesters, that's not something his opposition should hesitate for a moment to exploit. He wouldn't hesitate for a moment to exploit a comparable misstep on the other side. And it could be a viable route for removing him from office early. Why look a possible gift horse in the mouth?

We don't do a very good job of making guys in positions like Walker's follow our laws anymore, but remember, they are still our laws.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:42 PM on February 28, 2011


Can someone translate this into non-lawyer speak for me? They want to force Walker to negotiate their contracts based on existing laws until this current dispute is settled? Am I understanding this filing correctly?

That sounds about right. Prior contract ended in 2009, they have been in negotiations since, on a contract extension. Apparently changing the rules as Walker envisions is a violation of WI Labor Law...

Which could be the game in some ways. I imagine they'd have to hit the reset button, since the WI Assembly has voted on and passed a possilbly unlawful bill..
posted by mikelieman at 12:43 PM on February 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


They aren't being welded.
posted by thebestsophist at 12:44 PM on February 28, 2011



They're being bolted
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:48 PM on February 28, 2011


As I indicated a few posts upthread, it was a rumor but if you look at twitter it is a rumor that is spreading like crazy. This rumor is getting people riled up.
posted by futz at 12:49 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]




FDL: UPDATE on this: I’m hearing that a window latch simply needed repair, and that a women’s room latch was always screwed shut. So this may not be quite so nefarious.
posted by futz at 12:51 PM on February 28, 2011


Another pic of the bolts
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:52 PM on February 28, 2011


saulgoodman: "Well, sorry for that..."

Absolutely no need to apologize. I had a looooooong reply, but figured to just say I agree with you and that yes, we do need to investigate any claims, and if they are plausible and open a line of attack then we should pursue it with vigor.

posted by symbioid at 12:56 PM on February 28, 2011



Another bad news for walker poll.

Although - homes without union members have barely shifted.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:58 PM on February 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can someone post Chris Larson's phone number for me? I don't want to go trawling through political sites at work (I know, hypocritical since I'm already on mefi) but I want to step outside and give his office a call. Muchas gracias.
posted by desjardins at 1:03 PM on February 28, 2011


I wonder if anyone has gone to check the windows that opened previously. My understanding is that some bathroom windows were used to get food into the building this past weekend.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 1:04 PM on February 28, 2011


So - does this mean that "No, they're not welding, but Yes, they are bolting (though not in the way we want them to bolt)."

Or is this bolting something else, like a basic repair (as insinuated in some other places)

The pic makes it look like it *is* meant to keep the windows locked, just not welded, while allowing plausible deniability about "we're not welding!"
posted by symbioid at 1:05 PM on February 28, 2011


http://legis.wisconsin.gov/w3asp/contact/legislatorpages.aspx?house=senate&district=7

Here ya be...

Telephone
(608) 266-7505
posted by symbioid at 1:06 PM on February 28, 2011


Thanks, symbioid. Going to look for a quiet place to make a supportive phone call.
posted by desjardins at 1:08 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Isn't this cute -- Channel3000's main page no longer shows a nice crowd around the Capitol as an image... Just a pristine snowfall over the grounds. It used to, IIRC, show different pics from the protests.

Also, note that their camera seems to be getting feed now from a camera that's conveniently blocked by a lot of branches, where previously it was a nice wide-angled shot with a clear view.

Coincidence? Corporate Masters called in the orders? What's going on?
posted by symbioid at 1:09 PM on February 28, 2011


Also, note that their camera seems to be getting feed now from a camera that's conveniently blocked by a lot of branches, where previously it was a nice wide-angled shot with a clear view.

I wouldn't jump to conclusions. You can see people milling around down there, with signs and such. When it's supposed to be a traffic cam. Even before, I was wondering why it was trained on the front of the Cap building instead of properly on the road. If you look below that pristine picture you mention, you'll see a link to that same traffic cam inviting, "Watch Livestream Of Capitol Protests".
posted by zennie at 1:16 PM on February 28, 2011


I can't imagine what this bolt is intended to fix, if that's the claim they're going with. The problem is you don't know when it was put there. But there's no dust on the window frame, and there's a scrap of metal that could be from cutting the top off the bolt as claimed. So.
posted by zennie at 1:20 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah - it's just... odd to see how the pic changed from one of a crowd to... nothing. and the camera to give a shot that's much less clear. It startled me, honestly. I saw the pic and was like what? Then the cam looked like it was trained in an odd spot. So I dunno. It says it's DOT, so yeah traffic cam - maybe there's a few different cams and they are just using a different one than they used before. It's strange though... Was a nicer shot before, and that was, AFAIK, also a traffic cam.
posted by symbioid at 1:20 PM on February 28, 2011


Walker flew up to the NW part of the state to give a press conference today (was met by protesters) --- Just how much is WI is debt anyways?
posted by edgeways at 1:23 PM on February 28, 2011


Just talked to Chris Larson's office. Asked if there was anything I could do and the staffer said that the senator was "comfortable." He took my name and address (I am in his district). I asked if there was another way I could get involved and his suggestion was to come to the Capitol and protest. He was very polite but seemed a little hurried. I hope my call at least ends up as a checkmark in the "supportive" column.
posted by desjardins at 1:25 PM on February 28, 2011



Numbers are... fungible. Most agree that the current debt (from walkers retroactive tax cuts) is about 140million. Otherwise the budget is balanced until June.

After that, it varies - partly because he hasn't announced his full budget. But without any changes to the last budget it was ~3 billion dollars, or roughly 1% of WI GDP.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:25 PM on February 28, 2011



A better summary
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:36 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


edgeways: "Walker flew up to the NW part of the state to give a press conference today (was met by protesters) --- Just how much is WI is debt anyways?"

I guess that depends on how often he's gonna keep flying that plane around?
posted by symbioid at 1:37 PM on February 28, 2011


Govwalkerwi, a Walker parody account may be in legal trouble.
posted by drezdn at 1:50 PM on February 28, 2011



DOA statement on Capitol Access.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:15 PM on February 28, 2011


DOA statement on Protesters.
posted by symbioid at 2:19 PM on February 28, 2011


Is the DOA part of the Executive Branch or Legislative?
posted by drezdn at 2:21 PM on February 28, 2011


Executive
posted by symbioid at 2:26 PM on February 28, 2011


From the DOA webpage: http://www.doa.state.wi.us/category.asp?linkcatid=222&linkid=23&locid=0

"The Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) was created in 1959 to consolidate various independent units into a single agency. DOA offers direct services to Wisconsin residents and communities, including assistance with housing and energy efficiency improvements, but its primary function is to deliver a wide range of support services to other state agencies, such as maintaining the State Capitol and other state facilities.

The department is headed by a secretary appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the state senate. In addition to the Office of the Secretary, DOA is organized into nine divisions. Several small agencies, boards and commissions are also attached to DOA for administrative purposes."

So, yeah. Executive.
posted by lriG rorriM at 2:27 PM on February 28, 2011


Survey shows Walker and eight Republican State Senators vulnerable to recall (PDF)

So unfortunately this appears to me to be a biased survey (question wording is "Do you support or oppose Walker's plan to end collective bargaining?") but it is very interesting for what it's worth, in that it asks people if they think Walker should be recalled, and also in that it breaks down results for the districts of the 8 Republican Senators who are eligible for recall... finding that, for example, in Dan Kapanke's district 64% of voters are opposed to "ending collective bargaining" while in Glenn Grothman's district 39% are. (Statewide 52% oppose, and 6 of the 8 Senators have majority opposition in their district.)

Obviously all of this needs to be taken with a boatload of salt, between the question wording and the small sample size for individual Senate districts, but still interesting.
posted by EmilyClimbs at 2:54 PM on February 28, 2011


Nevermind on the Senate districts, I just did the math and realized that unless they oversampled (which I doubt) we're talking about like 25 people surveyed per district. So those results don't tell us much of anything at the district level. Darnit, wishful thinking, I'd just really love to know that!
posted by EmilyClimbs at 3:04 PM on February 28, 2011


Koch money trail infographic sourced
posted by dhartung at 3:07 PM on February 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I make it up to you with this lovely picture: Union Bride (although, alas, no bridesmaids with "Union Maid" signs...)
posted by EmilyClimbs at 3:08 PM on February 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


So according to tweets, Capitol staff have confirmed that Democratic Senator copy machine codes have been deactivated.

What next, taking away their parking passes?
posted by drezdn at 4:25 PM on February 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Restroom privileges, I think. And they'll have to raise their hands and wait for permission before addressing the teacher governor.
posted by thebestsophist at 4:29 PM on February 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


drezdn: "So according to tweets, Capitol staff have confirmed that Democratic Senator copy machine codes have been deactivated.

What next, taking away their parking passes
"

Fuck.
Them.
posted by symbioid at 4:55 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


This article from The Isthmus details the troubles the reporter had entering the Capitol today.

I did manage to get into the building at the one entrance (West Washington Avenue) that media are allowed to enter by showing a business card. But once inside I was blocked from going to the Press Room on the second floor because I lacked the gold card I was going there to get. I called the office of Rep. Mark Pocan, which sent an aide to get me back through.

Outside of the Press Room, I spoke to Dick Wheeler, of the Wheeler Report news service, who knows more about the Legislature than any other journalist in Wisconsin. I asked him if it was true that the Legislature cannot legally conduct business if the building is closed to the public. He confirmed this, pointing me to Article 4, Section 10 of the state Constitution.

It reads: "SECTION 10. ... The doors of each house shall be kept open except when the public welfare shall require secrecy. Neither house shall, without consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days." The section apparently applies only to when business is being conducted.

In other words, Gov. Scott Walker can keep people out, but the Legislature can't accomplish anything so long as he does. Neat trick.

posted by mandymanwasregistered at 5:00 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Parody twitter account @govwalkerwi is now @govwalkernot. Sounds like he was forced to change.
posted by drezdn at 5:11 PM on February 28, 2011


Obviously all of this needs to be taken with a boatload of salt, between the question wording and the small sample size for individual Senate districts, but still interesting.

Grain of salt, yes, but interesting to note that this group, Strategic Telemetry, did some microtargeting for Obama that was key in him winning some unlikely spots. They're not novices.
posted by zennie at 5:31 PM on February 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Milwaukee City Attorney says Budget Repair Bill is unconstitutional.

It'll probably come down to the results of the April elections though as the conservatives hold a majority of one on the state supreme court with one conservative member up for re-election.
posted by drezdn at 5:38 PM on February 28, 2011




From inside @mad_city_mom:
#wiunion reports today that protestors inside aren't "complying" - technically true. 1 or 2 people still in family area on 1st floor.
posted by thebestsophist at 6:20 PM on February 28, 2011


drezdn: it seems quite likely given other Repub gov actions that that is the ultimate plan (along with dismantling the unions). I really hope it doesn't come to that. And, as hopefully everyone knows at this point, WI's retirement fund is essentially fully funded (98% or something like that).

There is another issue brought up in an article from The Progressive about other potential lost benefits from Walker's plan:
Written by attorney Steven C. Zach, the memo advised union members in the public defender's office that "the only way to guarantee receipt of the SHI [Supplemental Health Insurance] benefit [accrued sick time that converts to health insurance premiums after retirement--worth tens of thousands of dollars in many cases] will be to resign State employment. Receipt of the benefit is conditioned upon retirement, death, or layoff."

In bold type on page two, the Boardman memo stated:

"[T]here are no assurances that, as of March 13, 2011, the SHI benefit will be available under the terms of the current colective bargaining agreement. . . . The worst case scenario is tha WSAA members would lose that benefit both retrospectively and prospectively on that date."


The article also discusses that blog post.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 6:20 PM on February 28, 2011


A buddy of mine decided to read through the so-called budget repair bill and he noticed something interesting. Apparently Walker wants to grant himself the right to sell off Wisconsin power utilities. No bids needed and he alone decides what a fair price is.

I copied his email to a google doc webpage here.

So what exactly do the Koch brothers do?
posted by Bonzai at 6:25 PM on February 28, 2011


Someone has started a blog of news from inside the capitol building.
posted by thebestsophist at 6:40 PM on February 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Wisconsin, you are winning this fight." Maddow saying. at #WIUNION.
posted by Skygazer at 6:56 PM on February 28, 2011


A Walkerville is being set up outside the Capitol for people to sleep outside.
posted by drezdn at 7:14 PM on February 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Welcome to the thread, Bonzai! If you want to know more about the Koch brothers, I suggest reading this extensive article (but not before bed because it'll give you the creeps).
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 7:36 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Going to put this in both active WI threads:

Petitions for Walker recall legally can begin begin on 11/3/11, once started there is only 60 days to collect 540,206 signatures. The group United Wisconsin is "pre-gathering" (read: setting up a database to tap into on 11/3/11) Wisconsin residence willing to sign a recall petition.
posted by edgeways at 7:45 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can a recall thing be over ridden by the same popular methods? Can we expect a counter mobilization?
posted by Trochanter at 8:27 PM on February 28, 2011


Twitter list of people inside and outside the capitol.
In case you want to follow people straight from the source.
posted by thebestsophist at 8:27 PM on February 28, 2011


Can a recall thing be over ridden by the same popular methods? Can we expect a counter mobilization?

Well, Walker could campaign and win the recall election. He would no doubt campaign against the recall.

You guys are lucky to have the recall referendum option; we don't have that here in Florida yet, but some people are working on fixing that.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:33 PM on February 28, 2011


Trochanter: "Can a recall thing be over ridden by the same popular methods?"

Sort of. A recall can be over ridden by re-election.
posted by Bonzai at 8:37 PM on February 28, 2011


Worth a read. Former MN Gov Arnie Carlson's take on the issue
posted by edgeways at 8:40 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


oh, and although Carlson was a Republican, the Republicans effectively banned him from the party in 2010 for at least two years
posted by edgeways at 8:44 PM on February 28, 2011


Great speech from Jeff Skiles, "Miracle on the Hudson" copilot, native Wisconsite, and proud union member. (thanks to dhartung)
posted by scody at 11:39 PM on February 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Protesters kicked out of the Capitol are not going away so easily and are camped out in the cold without tents (tents not permitted on Capitol grounds). You can follow with the #walkerville tag.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 11:56 PM on February 28, 2011


And I guess someone anonymous person put a mask on the Forward statue.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 12:12 AM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pic from Walkerville.
posted by drezdn at 4:35 AM on March 1, 2011


the full impact of what these people (the sleepers) are doing hit me yesterday like a brick. they are freedom fighters, they are sleeping on the cold hard marble floor (and concrete) so we don't have to. whether or not they prevail will affect all of us, whether you are a union member or not. if Wisconsin falls it's going to be a domino effect. if the sleepers do not prevail there MUST be general strikes, which will affect you whether or not you agree with them. I know we're all the same side here at mefi, but really give that some thought next time you lay down in your warm bed. I'm 36, not in the greatest shape, and I don't think I'm strong enough to handle 2 weeks of sleeping on a hard floor. I admire the fuck out of people who do, and they're doing it for me. And you and you and you.

excuse typos, just woke up
posted by desjardins at 5:28 AM on March 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am so damn tired of this bullshit:
Fox News has reported that Mike Tobin was "attacked," "punched," "hit," and "battered," yet has not released any footage of the alleged attack. This is because it didn't happen. How do I know? Because here's video of the alleged incident. Fox. News. Lies.
Meanwhile, on the nauseating "Fox Nation," Charles Koch pens an open letter and is mobbed by laudatory comments:
UNIONS are history...because they have always taken and taken and never given back to our country...You Union people can howl and scream all you want...but...WE THE PEOPLE...are tired of your BS...Our country is hurting because of you and many of our political leaders...primarily the ones you sent tons of money to...WE THE PEOPLE...are correcting that problem...NOW...

[...]

the progressives-socialist-communists only have 2 years to destroy this country and proclaim obama supreme leader of the new world order (at least in his pea-brain). they must do it while he is in office because in 2012 they will be hammered by the "We the Peope" and they cannot stand the thought of a America having the right to vote for a real President. soros, trumka and obummer will lose and hopefully tried for treason!

[...]

The unions try to protray themselves as American's but take a good hard look at what they are doing, THERE IS NOTHING AMERICAN ABOUT THEM OR THEIR LEADER, "barry from Kenya"
I wonder how many of these are paid commenters/sockpuppets/"personality management" and how many are True Believers. Is there even a meaningful difference at this point?
posted by Rhaomi at 6:36 AM on March 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


Koch is suing someone, maybe Anonymous?
posted by drezdn at 6:51 AM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Colbert did a bit last night involving the Koch brothers and Anonymous.
This could be the start of the lulz we've been waiting for.
posted by Theta States at 6:53 AM on March 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I sent a message to the blogger that thebestsophist linked, offering food or whatever other supplies I could order from my cubicle in Milwaukee.

I'm willing to donate to anyone else that is sleeping there for the long haul. My email's in my profile but the quickest way to reach me is on twitter. @desjardins The twitter site is blocked at work, so I can't follow hashtags and whatnot, but I can send/receive txts on my phone.
posted by desjardins at 7:00 AM on March 1, 2011


drezdn: "Koch is suing someone, maybe Anonymous?"

Umm... Looks like he's suing the dude from this post (the Daily Beast guy)?
posted by symbioid at 7:19 AM on March 1, 2011


Looks like he's suing the dude from this post (the Daily Beast guy)?

Why is he listed as a John Doe then? (Legitimately curious)
posted by drezdn at 7:27 AM on March 1, 2011


drezdn: "Why is he listed as a John Doe then?"

Maybe they're still not quite sure who it really is? (One can dream, anyway.)
posted by theredpen at 7:31 AM on March 1, 2011


The lawsuit is about a fake domain and press releases designed to make Koch industries look bad.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:35 AM on March 1, 2011


Pogo_Fuzzybutt: "The lawsuit is about a fake domain and press releases designed to make Koch industries look bad"


This suit is going after the Yes Men.
posted by dejah420 at 7:50 AM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Koch is suing someone, maybe Anonymous?

John Does 1-25.

And Exhibit C is apparently what they're pissed off about... I can't hotlink into the pdf, so here's a damned scribd link...

Methinks the clerks at the federal court are having trouble containing their laughter...
posted by mikelieman at 7:54 AM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


@legaleagle:
Initial restraining order GRANTED. Cap must remain open to public while Legislature is in session, hearings held, pending a full hearing!
Woohoo!
posted by thebestsophist at 7:59 AM on March 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


Text of order
Another hearing will occur at 2:30.

Also, the official count is that 44 people slept outside the Capitol building last night, with another 35-40 hanging about until 01:00.
posted by thebestsophist at 8:16 AM on March 1, 2011


Sorry for all the posts, but Public Policy Polling just released their Wisconsin numbers.

Wisconsin is really closely divided, but leaning towards the unions and Senate Dems on all the issues. Here's the rundown:

Do you side with Governor Walker or do you side with the public employee unions?

Public employee unions: 51%

Gov Walker: 47%

Do you side more with Governor Walker or with the Democrats in the state Senate?

Senate Dems: 52%

Walker: 47%

(The big one) Do you approve or disapprove of Governor Scott Walker’s job performance?

Approve: 46%

Disapprove: 52%


The last numbers are really telling, while the margin seems small, they were basically reversed at the election.
Full results (pdf).
posted by thebestsophist at 8:35 AM on March 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thanks Rhaomi. That shit just makes me seethe.
posted by cashman at 8:47 AM on March 1, 2011




damn Kochsucker
posted by edgeways at 9:04 AM on March 1, 2011


A judge has granted a restraining order saying that police have to unlock the doors and allow access to the Capitol.
http://www.defendwisconsin.org/2011/03/01/judge-issues-restraining-order/
posted by lriG rorriM at 9:07 AM on March 1, 2011



Good panoramic shot of the Tea Party counter protest on Saturday. If you look really closely, you can see both of them.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:18 AM on March 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


thanks, pogo ! my screen isn't big enough for all the awesome !
posted by g.i.r. at 9:27 AM on March 1, 2011


Well dammit: Ohio is set to vote soon to end all public worker collective bargaining rights in that state, including for fireman and policemen. For some reason, NY Times only seems to quote people resigned to just rolling over in the face of news like this.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:56 AM on March 1, 2011


The DOA is saying they're in compliance with the court order, although the governor says they haven't received it.
posted by drezdn at 10:21 AM on March 1, 2011


Word on the twitters is that they seem to be enforcing a one-in-one-out policy - that wouldn't actually be in compliance with the order, right?
posted by Vibrissa at 10:27 AM on March 1, 2011


Politico: For right, WI battle was years in the making
“We go back a long way on this in Wisconsin, and in other states, as well,” said Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, which for years has been urging its members to push their elected officials to reduce government salaries and benefits, and which has spent more than $340,000 on television and radio ads supporting the push by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s effort to strip union bargaining rights from state employees.

But while Phillips’s group has been the focus of liberal outrage, owing largely to its well-known connection to – and funding from – the billionaire industrialists David and Charles Koch, conservative activists say a more significant role may have been played by a network of free-enterprise, small-government think tanks in state capitals and Washington, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (or ALEC), Wisconsin’s MacIver Institute and Ohio’s Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions.

The groups – which collectively have received tens of millions of dollars in funding from some of the biggest conservative donors in the country, including the Koch brothers, the DonorsTrust funds and the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation (whose president chaired Walker’s campaign) – have considered the issue a top priority for the last few years. They’ve been churning out research warning of impending fiscal disaster if governors and lawmakers in their states didn’t reign in spending by slashing their governments’ payrolls, workers’ benefits and pension liabilities, and – in some cases – have produced legislative proposals that are now at the center of debate.
Underpaid government officials are easier to buy.
posted by zennie at 10:29 AM on March 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


The invisible hand of the market is jacking off under the table.
posted by Theta States at 10:36 AM on March 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


No one can find the head of the DOA to serve him. Could he be held in contempt of court?
posted by drezdn at 10:39 AM on March 1, 2011


A judge has granted a restraining order saying that police have to unlock the doors and allow access to the Capitol.

This is why judges are and should not be elected officials.
posted by VTX at 10:53 AM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


VTX: This is why judges are and should not be elected officials.

Actually, a lot of state judges, including Wisconsin's circuit courts are elected.
posted by thebestsophist at 10:57 AM on March 1, 2011


Actually, a lot of state judges, including Wisconsin's circuit courts are elected.

I know it and I noticed a big push around here (MN) in the last election cycle to for more elected judges and I don't like it.
posted by VTX at 11:00 AM on March 1, 2011


As it stands, the DoA is still keeping people out of the Capitol.

There is another hearing scheduled for 2:15 local time
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:02 AM on March 1, 2011


'On Tuesday, March 1st, the Story of Stuff Project took out a full-page ad in the Wisconsin State Journal with the banner headline: "Governor, Mr. Koch is holding for you on Line 3."'
posted by mrgrimm at 11:03 AM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]




There is actually a lot of good legal theory in support of (and against) the election of judges.

I'm on the fence, but my thought is that the way Federal Supreme Court judges are nominated and confirmed is absolutely useless. The popular election of judges gives much more oversight. Whether or not we think them as political, the legal theories judges follow to sure seems to fall along the lines of political ideology, even if they tend to be decent at sequestering themselves from cases they have personal stake in.
posted by thebestsophist at 11:09 AM on March 1, 2011


Sociological Images: On Media Coverage of the Wisconsin Protests
posted by flex at 11:11 AM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


There is actually a lot of good legal theory in support of (and against) the election of judges.

I hear you and I agree that it isn't an easy issue but that is a discussion for another thread.

Sorry for the derail folks. As you were.
posted by VTX at 11:15 AM on March 1, 2011


The Dane County sheriff has pulled his officers from the Capitol saying that their job is not to be "palace guards."
posted by drezdn at 11:26 AM on March 1, 2011 [7 favorites]


VTX: Indeed.

Despite the TRO, over three hours ago, people are still not being let in. Allegedly, police inside are saying: We don't know what the hell's going on or who's in charge.

Also, there are counter protestors, though not many.
posted by thebestsophist at 11:27 AM on March 1, 2011


To re-rail the de-rail, next month Wisconsin will elect a Supreme Court Justice. Currently, judicial conservative David Prosser holds the seat, and his re-election is likely. Very few incumbent justices are ever defeated; one of the few that was, recently, Louis Butler^, was unseated after a multi-million dollar campaign funded by the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce lobby, which relentlessly attacked Butler from the safe distance of a 527, and has openly involved itself in all recent Supreme Court campaigns. The Democratic-affiliated challenger, Joanne Kloppenburg, would be an essential addition to the court to redress a distinct conservative bias introduced in recent years.

Given the likelihood that today's hearing on the constitutionality of the DOA lockout is only the first in many court challenges to the Governor's program, having a right-wing imbalance on the court is going to be a significant handicap going forward.
posted by dhartung at 11:32 AM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


GovWalker tweets: Just spoke with job creators in Milwaukee who are looking to make major investments in WI's economy. They are excited to grow in WI.

I bet they are.
posted by zennie at 11:47 AM on March 1, 2011



Despite the TRO, over three hours ago, people are still not being let in. Allegedly, police inside are saying: "We don't know what the hell's going on or who's in charge."



Some on The Isthmus live blog are reporting of rumors that they are clearing the street near one of the entrances and that Walker is trucking in some tea party members into the gallery as a backdrop for his speech.
posted by greasy_skillet at 11:50 AM on March 1, 2011


There's something ridiculous enough about the Tea Party tunnel theory that has been floating around since last night that it seems like something Walker, Fitzgerald et al may have considered. But really, do you think they are so deeply entrenched that they think the image of him packing the gallery with supporters while crowds of protesters are locked out of the Capitol will work in their favor?
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 11:59 AM on March 1, 2011


Job creator has to be the weasel-est phrase ever tweeted.
posted by drezdn at 12:01 PM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


But really, do you think they are so deeply entrenched that they think the image of him packing the gallery with supporters while crowds of protesters are locked out of the Capitol will work in their favor?

This is not directed at you; rather, take this as a symptom of my general frustration.

HE.
DOES.
NOT.
CARE.
WHAT.
ANYONE.
THINKS.
posted by desjardins at 12:05 PM on March 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


mandymanwasregistered: "There's something ridiculous enough about the Tea Party tunnel theory that has been floating around since last night that it seems like something Walker, Fitzgerald et al may have considered. But really, do you think they are so deeply entrenched that they think the image of him packing the gallery with supporters while crowds of protesters are locked out of the Capitol will work in their favor"

It's the same sort of logic that lets Quaddafi say in an interview that the people loved him, and supported him. I'm not suggesting that Walker is an evil dictator, but I am saying that is the same level of self delusion. They believe...REALLY BELIEVE that the protesters are just a few noisy troublemakers, and they'll go away, but that the Peeepull want what they are pushing. Seriously, we're not talking about rational people any more.

This has gone on too long to believe that Scott Walker is a rational actor in any any philosophical sense.
posted by dejah420 at 12:05 PM on March 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Pretty much!
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 12:10 PM on March 1, 2011


I made a new post about the recent shenanigans
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:14 PM on March 1, 2011


pogo...haha, love that title...one of my protest signs reads 'is this WISCONSIN or WISCONISTAN?'
posted by g.i.r. at 12:19 PM on March 1, 2011


Thanks. It's my second FPP. The first... didn't go so well. Hope this is better.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:20 PM on March 1, 2011


Zennie wrote: GovWalker tweets: Just spoke with job creators in Milwaukee who are looking to make major investments in WI's economy. They are excited to grow in WI.

Yeah, and shortly thereafter he tweets:

Sen Democrats said they left WI to give public time to understand bill. Bill was introduced 2.5 weeks ago. They got what they wanted.

I'm totally with Maddow on this, and not because, she said it but because, I was beginning to see the same thing coming from Walker and it is simply greater now: For all the hubris and talk of "eternal optimism" (a dumb Reaganite deflection, if I ever heard one...), I see desperation coming from Walker. And Wisconsin IS winning and will win, unless some ultra slimeball maneuver happens under the radar, although that's going to be difficult as everything coming out of Wisconsin Gov is under a legal electron microscope at the moment (and obviously will need to stay that way until this man is far removed from any public office...).

I love to watch corporate uber-mensch wanna-be's squirm, and Walker is squirming.

It's twisted, but expected, that they're going to pack his budget speech with sycophants and Tea Party goons pretending to be the face of the true Wisconsinite.

I wonder if the Dems from the Assembly: Barca or Hintz, will be there and will they take him to task with the nation watching. That would be beautiful.

Anyhow, no matter, Wisconsin is winning this and they're really showing the whole country how to stand up to corporatist oligarchs.

GO WISCONSIN!
posted by Skygazer at 12:48 PM on March 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


N.Y. Times corrects story praised by Walker: Janesville "union guy" not so union as all that.
posted by dhartung at 1:07 PM on March 2, 2011


If you are trying to talk to people who think the union benefits & pensions are too cushy, use the info in this essay by professor & journalist David Cay Johnston, which breaks things down: Really Bad Reporting in Wisconsin: Who 'Contributes' to Public Workers' Pensions?

Johnson was on Democracy Now this morning: Media Parroting Walker’s False Claims of Taxpayer "Subsidies" for Workers’ Pensions
posted by homunculus at 8:44 AM on March 3, 2011


« Older Moooom, Daaaad, Google's being weird again!   |   Roadrunner 3D Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post