Fascinating Parallel to Planned Parenthood “Sting”

Fascinating Parallel to Planned Parenthood “Sting” February 23, 2011

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is a difficult man to reach. His political opponents say he will not communicate and will not return calls. Unless, that is, you are David Koch. Or call and pretend to be David Koch, as this blogger did. Not only did he get through to Walker, but he had a long friendly conversation, where it becomes clear that the union-busting strategy is being enacted with strong support from Koch, and indeed, is part of a larger agenda. True, Walker avoids some obvious pitfalls here, such as not taking “Koch” up on his offer to send some hired thugs to cause trouble (although he wasn’t exactly outraged with the suggestion either). But they shared some banter about who was or was not “one of us” and  when “Koch” claimed to have sent Andrew Breitbart over to stir things up, Walker was appreciative. The Walker on this tape is a supremely confident, supremely arrogant, man, who genuinely believes right is on his side and who is dead set on making the public sector unions pay.

I can’t endorse lying, but is any of this really a surprise? Wasn’t it clear from the outset that the attack on collective bargaining was cooked up in advance, in connivance with some of the richest and most powerful people in the country, people with a clear vested interests? I’m wondering if the short pants magisterium over at Catholic Vote will be following this as closely as the Planned Parenthood “sting” and hectoring their fellow bloggers to talk it up? I think we all know the answer to that.

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  • I can’t endorse lying, but is any of this really a surprise? Wasn’t it clear from the outset that the attack on collective bargaining was cooked up in advance, in connivance with some of the richest and most powerful people in the country, people with a clear vested interests?

    Given that the unions being fought with by Gov. Walker represent only public sector employees in a state where David Koch is not a tax payer, it’s hard for me to understand how Koch as a “vested interest” in breaking the Wisconsin unions. If he’s interested, it would seem to be simply an ideological interest, which means that the only difference between his interest and your interest is that he has more money than you do. I suppose one can hold that against him, but it’s unclear why having money disallows one’s having opinions.

    Also, as a side note, it seems hard to conclude that the whole Wisconsin situation was planned out in detail between the governor and David Koch if neither the governor nor anyone on his staff actually know what Koch’s voice sounds like and were thus easily fooled. (I’m reminded of an old story about how Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, in his college days, prank called the Vatican claiming to be Henry Kissinger and saying he wanted to talk to the pope. He got a ways up the chain until he got to a cardinal who had actually spoken to Henry Kissinger, and hung up on Jobs who obviously didn’t sound like Kissinger.)

    I’m wondering if the short pants magisterium over at Catholic Vote will be following this as closely as the Planned Parenthood “sting” and hectoring their fellow bloggers to talk it up? I think we all know the answer to that.

    Hmmm. Interesting question. Perhaps as a prerequisite it would be interesting for you to explain in what sense they ought to be equally outraged against Gov. Walker and against Planned Parenthood.

    Planned Parenthood is engaged in the slaughter of over a million human persons around the world each year, and Governor Walker is involved in trying to limit the power of a couple of public sector unions in one state — both in order to reach his budgetary objectives and also because they tend to use their deep pockets to fight him and other members of his party each election season.

    If you consider those two actions of equal moral evil, it would be interesting to understand why. And if not, it’s unclear why you think that Catholic Vote would be dishonest for covering the one and not the other. Or is that just a toss off jibe that’s not meant to be taken seriously?

    • Don’t be naive. This is a coordinated attack on the principle of collective bargaining. As with the tea party, it is financed by extremely wealthy interests.

      As for Catholic Vote, I don’t expect them to say anything about this. I was being facetious. But what I do care about is when they start defending this attack on collective bargaining, even if the right to form unions and bargain collectively has been a fundamental right under Catholic social teaching for over a century. You would think an association with “Catholic” in the title would take this a bit more seriously.

      • M.Z.

        Oh MM. Several contributors there took Listecki’s statement released in the specific context of Walker’s union busting to claim that Listecki wasn’t actually condemning Walker’s union busting. They took his statement to create a dichotomy between public and private unions that wasn’t there. I was embarrassed for them.

        • Blackadder

          Several contributors there took Listecki’s statement released in the specific context of Walker’s union busting to claim that Listecki wasn’t actually condemning Walker’s union busting.

          This is also the interpretation taken by Bishop Morlino of Madison.

          • I just read Bishop Morlino’s posting in it’s entirety and nowhere in it does it support union busting which Walker’s bill clearly sets as a goal.

            I also noticed that the Bishop clearly stated that unions should consider the economic times they are in and be prepared to make sacrifices for the whole.

            The unions in Wisconsin did in fact offer serious concessions to Walker but he rejected them out of hand and refused to remove the language that effectively killed the unions other than the sacred few that supported his campaign.

            Both Listecki and our own Compendium of the Social Doctrine of The Church clearly support the workers in Wisconsin in their right to retain their union. Period.

        • M.Z.

          Morlino prefaces his column with

          This column is the bishop’s communication with the faithful of the Diocese of Madison. Any wider circulation reaches beyond the intention of the bishop.

          I do not take Morlino’s opinion to be that of the conference. His opinion is ultimately unreasonable and incongruous with Church teaching.

    • The Koch’s have a political interest in breaking up public sector unions. Their financial interest comes back through the increased power of the party they support 100%—The GOP. If you destroy public sector union power then GOP outfits like Crossroads GPS have enough of a financial advantage to dominate all elections.

      In case nobody ever informed you, politics is a “you scratch (fund) my back I will scratch (cut taxes) for you” business.

      This is all about power and money. That is your ideology here. Right wing ideology is in fact mostly about obtaining and keeping power and money.

      Most important though is you sir are a Catholic and our church not only supports the rights of workers, they do discriminate like right wing news outfits do between public and private unions. In our church sir, workers are workers and are equal in rights.

      Gee I wonder where this concept that public sector unions are different came from for you?

      • “they do discriminate like right wing news outfits”

        should have been

        “they do not discriminate like right wing news outfits”

        • sean

          @ gisher. 2 things. 1- I believe that Gov. Walker wants to cut spending, reduce debt and crush UNIONS in general. And 2- Public sector unions are different than private sector ones, and it is a fair question as to whether they should exist in the form they do.

          That said Walker wants to destroy ALL unions to the benefit of capital and owners — which describes a rich guy like Koch. This agenda is plainly wrong and nefarious.

          • Neither our doctrine or Listecki make distinctions between public and private unions. Any such distinctions are political ideology not Church doctrine.

            Otherwise we are in total disagreement.

    • I guess I am pretty naive, in that I’m not clear how one state’s consideration of how to deal with public sector unions (which after all aren’t organizing against powerful capital, but rather against the voters and taxpayers of the state) comprises a destruction of collective bargaining in all public and private situations everywhere.

      As for the powerful moneyed interests behind the tea party and this initiative… I suppose. To the extent that there are a few powerful people with money who are willing to throw themselves into any particular subject. The libertarians have the Koch brothers and the far left has George Soros. So?

      • So what? The bottom line is OUR Church supports all workers? Would you like to personally tell us our Church is wrong?

        By all means please speak freely.

        • SB

          I see that no one is yet able to pinpoint a place where “the Church” has ever spoken to the issue of public sector unions, or even shown any awareness that such unions might raise separate problems, and deserve separate justification, from other types of unions.

      • Kurt

        public sector unions (which after all aren’t organizing against powerful capital, but rather against the voters and taxpayers of the state

        Only tyrants presume that organization of average working people is an adversarial act towards the state.

        Lower and middle graded public workers are not organized AGAINST taxpayers and voters. They are organized so that they can have solidarity and fraternity. They are organized for the purpose of advancing and defending their human dignity. They are organized against injustice. They are organized so that they may a voice on the job.

        • RCM

          Heck, even Fox News agrees with your analysis, MM! [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuuUV94bOW0&w=480&h=390]

      • I would add what I have just asked you on yet another thread. Are you a Catholic, or a right wing ideologue?

  • Thales

    Wait, are you saying that the phone calls shows that Gov. Walker is doing this at the bidding of David Koch?

  • Blackadder

    Here’s my question: how likely is it that Walker could have had a twenty minute conversation with the guy without realizing he wasn’t Koch unless he had never spoken to the real Koch before.

    • 1. Hard to believe they had never spoken before when Walker displayed such familiarity. 2. If they had never spoken, wouldn’t Walker’s press statement have mentioned that? 3. I’m really bad at recognizing voices and faces. So are many people.

  • I have been unable to actually hear Walker’s voice yet and in the process of moving to more sensitive listening gear I am now getting 404 errors which may mean the server is overloaded.

    • Getting audio now the site is back up. It does indeed appear to be Walker. For anyone who is ethical and humane, let alone a good Catholic, this tape while not surprising, is vile and disgusting.

      The vacation trip offered and then gleefully accepted by Walker at the end is not only unethical, it might be a slam dunk prosecution. At the every least, it should show anyone that is not in denial just how slimy walker truly is.

  • MarkH

    Ann Althouse:

    “You could say that it’s bad that the prankster got through, but that shows that he’s willing to talk to a lot of people and also that David Koch isn’t a frequent caller who gets special treatment and is recognized by his caller ID and his voice and manner of speaking.

    “Doesn’t this prank call prove that Scott Walker is not close to Koch? He doesn’t recognize his voice! He doesn’t drift into a more personal style of speech. He treats him like a generic political supporter.”

    • Listen to the content. Listen to what is said by walker. That is the real offense.

  • phosphorious

    What struck me as most damning about this interview was Walker’s deferential attitude to “Koch.” Unpromted, he was eager to stress that 1) he would not budge and 2) he does NOT talk to the opposition.

    It was a clearly a case of an inferior trying to impress a superior.

    • phosphorious

      And it’s all the more damning, it seems to me, if this is the first time he had ever spoken to one of the Kochs.

    • Many moons ago I worked for an “Association”. My job was to draft up bills for both state and federal legislators. Once finished they were hand delivered to a key members office. That member then walked the bill I drafted to the committee then to the floor where it ALWAYS passed.

      This practice was not new and it continues to this day. The guys we elect have always been inferior with the possible exception of the glory days of the founders when many of the land owners for whatever reason, were actually the elected officials.

      Booze, prostitutes, vacation trips, behind the scenes business deals with these puppets, plus steady campaign donations kept them in line and in single file. It’s a nice gig if you can get it, presuming you lack any morals whatsoever.

      • sean

        I don’t doubt your story. For those with corps & individuals with capital, why not ‘invest’ in politicians. There simply is nowhere else to get a better return on one’s money. Surprising to most people it doesn’t really cost that much. In terms of payback, pols can be had a rates often far better than pennies on the dollar.

        Public financing of elections anyone?

        • You have a second sir, but I doubt greed will just lie down and let us win this one.

  • Apparently Republicans aren’t the only ones who have opposed collective bargaining for public employee unions:


    • That is not really news, and further, I find it amusing that conservatives are now enlisting one of their top devils (the father of Social Security nonetheless) to front for them on union busting.

      More important is the fact that your own Church stands by the workers and calls for you to do the same.

      Bad is bad, and it really does not matter who is doing the evil act at all.

      • SB

        Given your comments on the abortion thread, you’re not exactly in a position to point fingers about agreement with Church teaching, EVEN IF there was such a thing as a Church teaching in favor of public sector unions.

        • Cindy

          It would be helpful SB if you pointed to what comments about church teaching you are referring to?

        • I beg to differ. I have never disagreed with Church policy on abortion ever. What I have had issue with is the way humans have chosen to address said policy.

          I am allowed by Church doctrine to dispute how humans choose to address these issues and especially so when I feel that the way in which they choose to do so is either harming the image of the church or fouling what the intentions are of the Church.

          As for your last point, the Church has never specifically addressed Grand Theft Auto either but that issue is covered by it’s policy on theft.

          The church has addressed the issue of the rights of workers and unions and specifically on the Wisconsin issue as I pointed out for you.

          That you do not like where the church stands and that you would like to define where it should stand on the issue, that is one for you to take up directly with the Vatican, not me sir.

    • Kurt

      Of course FDR opposed NFFE. Their primary agenda was to end presidential patronage in government jobs. A wonderful President FDR was not not totally above self-interest.

  • I think that just as it was important to condemn the actions of both LiveAction and the PP worker recently, we should also condemn the actions of both the blogger who made the call as well as Governor Walker.

    Even though Walker is an elected official, I am not sure this was a legal taping. If in fact it was not legal the blogger should be punished accordingly.

    As for Walker, it appears that at the very least, he skated very close to an ethical violation and possibly a criminal one, and if so, he should be dealt with appropriately.

    • Thales

      What was Walker’s ethical and criminal violation?

      • The lovely vacation package offered by the bogus Koch for starters.

        • Thales

          Sorry, I still don’t understand.

          • Toward the end of the tape when the fake Koch offers to bring Walker out to California and show him a good time when it is all over.

            We all know these things occur, it is nothing new at all. But to get some idiot to put on tape, that is precious.

            I said “may” earlier because I do not know precisely what the laws are on gifts in Wisconsin, nor do I know what the threshold is for prosecution.

          • Phosphorious

            That’s a bribe. Walker didn’t refuse it.

          • Thales

            I listened to the tape. It all happens when they’re finishing up their 20-minute conversation. “Koch” says “once you crush the bastards, I’ll fly you out for a good time.” Walker responds “That’s oustanding. Thanks for your support.”

            Pretty weak claim for a bribe, since “Koch” didn’t say “if you do X, I’ll give you a trip”. There’s no quid pro quo, no agreement between the parties that Walker would do X for a benefit from “Koch.” Sure, it doesn’t look good for Walker, but the “That’s oustanding” sounds to me like a throw-away line that politicians say just to be agreeable with people they come in contact with.

            I got into a fight with M.Z. about legal accuracy recently (heh) – and from that perspective this wouldn’t stand up legally as a criminal violation. As for an ethical violation? Ehh… I’m unconvinced. Should Walker have said something else, like “no, sorry, I don’t want any trip”? Definitely. But his embarrassing response doesn’t strike me as too damning.

          • Thales it is most likely an ethics issue. While bribe is emotionally correct it is not legally so. I am not up on Wisconsin torts but I do know that it is a crime to receive gifts in several states. As to whether they could nail Walker on that, I have said before that is up in the air.

            What is not up in the air is Walker is quite obviously so unsavory a person that few decent people would want him as their dog catcher.

  • WJ

    This is way I prefer to condemn everybody equally. 😉

  • I’m wondering if the short pants magisterium over at Catholic Vote will be following this as closely as the Planned Parenthood “sting” and hectoring their fellow bloggers to talk it up?

    A possible reason they may not is that they don’t consider taking a call from David Koch to be as outrageous as covering up child prostitution.