February 24, 2011

So will the poop-scanners replace the porno-scanners? The porno-scanners cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for each machine (plus training and maintenance) and it's likely that the new scanners won't be a bargain either. Australia is reviewing the new machines because of the 60 pounds of drugs that were found smuggled inside the bodies of travelers last year. Once again, this sounds like a pretty bad return on investment. Is sixty pounds of drugs worth millions in new machines and training?NEW X-ray technology that can reveal drug smugglers' internal cavities will be trialled at airports under a plan to fast-track security searches.

Legislation before Federal Parliament would enable customs officers to use new body scanners instead of sending suspects to hospital for internal X-rays ordered by a doctor, reported the Herald Sun.

Federal police wasted more than 4600 hours in hospital waiting rooms last year because of drug smugglers waiting for scans.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
Mr. Butts Um excuse me. So family values are only what you promise to do in the future, and not what you have done in the (quite recent) past? That's a nifty new definition. We only judge people by their future promises. Not sure the religious right would agree with Newty on that one (though I do believe I recall the religious right already gave Newt a pass on his adultery, since they too are really all about GOP politics and not promoting anything they actually preach).

(AMERICAblog Elections: The Right's Field has some great video of Gingrich being questioned, publicly, about his adultery, and Gingrich using the lamest of excuses to avoid answering.)

Now, why should you care that Newt Gingrich has had three marriages (two divorces) and at least one adulterous affair? Because Newt Gingrich cares about your marriages, to the degree that he wants to legislate them. He cares about banning gay marriages so much that just six months ago Gingrich reiterated his call for an amendment to the United States Constitution banning gay marriages.

Yes, the man who told his first wife he was divorcing her while she was recovering from cancer, Gingrich, the man who admits he was committing adultery while going after Bill Clinton for pretty much the same thing (oh, you say, it was Clinton's "lie" that Gingrich was going after? - then what do you call cheating on your wife? sounds like a lie to me.), the man who wants to now amend the US Constitution to "sanctify" marriage, wants you to ignore the fact that he's already had three marriages and at least one case of adultery.

If a Democrat had pulled a Gingrich, and claimed that their utter hypocrisy on family values, that their sexual promiscuity was irrelevant to their public agenda of chastity, Gingrich would eviscerate them.

The man is a pig. A charlatan. A hypocrite.

And a bit of a slut.

Which is all fine. Just don't run for President as the paragon of family values, while trying to legislate how other people run their own marriages. Otherwise expect to be asked about your penile indiscretions again and again and again.

Maybe it's time we brought back Mr. Butts (actually called 'Butt Man' at the time) (who famously harassed Bib Dole on the campaign trail in 1996) for Newt's presidential run. But rather than a 6 foot cigarette, someone should follow Gingrich around as a 6 foot... oh the possibilities.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics

NASA TV will be covering the launch from the Kennedy Space Center, online, at that time.

Orlando Sentinel:
Discovery is set to launch at 4:50 p.m., with a crew of six commanded by Steve Lindsey, a retired Air Force colonel. Its 11-day mission – ferrying supplies and a humanoid robot to the International Space Station -- will be its 39th since 1984, and its last.The mission marks the beginning of the end of the 30-year space shuttle program. Discovery, arguably the most-storied and versatile spaceship in the fleet, should be followed by Endeavour in April, and, if all goes well, Atlantis as early as June. Then, for the first time in nearly 60 years, the United States will have no government-owned rocket ready to launch.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
Of course they will. What won't be a surprise either is if the GOP then blames it all on the Democrats. What would then be even less surprising would be the Democrats making another quiet attempt to push back before crumbling as they so often do. The problem today is that because the Democrats (especially the White House) keep repeating the same Republican language, they are adding fuel to the fire. Even the "best case" scenario of a deal between the White House and the GOP House will cut the growth by 1% of GDP. ABC News:
A confidential new report prepared by Goldman Sachs for its clients says spending cuts passed by the House of Representatives last week would be a drag on the economy, cutting economic growth by about two percent of GDP.

“Under the House passed spending bill [which cut spending by $61 billion],” says the report, which was obtained by ABC News, “the drag on GDP growth from federal fiscal policy would increase by 1.5pp to 2pp in Q2 and Q3 compared with current law.”More likely, the report says, is a deal to cut spending by $25 billion this year, followed by a cut of $50 billion next year.

Even those more modest spending cuts, Goldman Sachs predicts, will cut economic growth rates by one percent of GDP.NOTE FROM JOHN: It's time for the President himself to go public and say that there will be NO cuts this year, period, lest we send the economy back into a recession.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
Via Chris Hayes, I think Matt Stoller makes an important connection here (my emphasis): Today, the city of Providence, Rhode Island sent out layoff notices to every single teacher in the city. Every single one of them. If you want to understand why this is happening, why wages in the US keep getting cut, this chart tells the story.

[Click through for the chart. There are almost no 1000-worker strikes since, well, PATCO.] ... What you’ll notice is that people in America just don’t strike anymore. Why? Well, their jobs have been shipped off to factory countries, their unions have been broken, and their salaries until recently have been supplemented by credit. It’s part of a giant labor arbitrage game, that the Federal Reserve and elites in both parties are happy to play. Strike, and you’re fired. Don’t strike, and your pay is probably going to be cut. Don’t like it? Sorry, we can open a plant abroad. And we have institutions, like the IMF, to make sure that we get goods from those factory-countries, and get them cheap. In passing, note that point — "their salaries have been supplemented by credit." Those days are gone forever; and with it the salaries.

The key connection is here: "Don't like it? Sorry, we can open a plant abroad." And that's where Cairo comes in. Cairo is "abroad." And Stoller makes the case that all of these second- and third-world revolutions ... are labor revolts. Stoller again (emphasis his): I noted a week and a half ago that the Egyptian revolution was a labor uprising against Rubinites. So to the extent that global labor arbitrage relies on sweatshops and environmental degradation in poor countries for cheap goods, successful strikes in poor countries undercuts the whole system. The reason to outsource work in the first place is to prevent workers in rich countries from gaining pricing and political power. Now workers in poor countries are getting pricing and political power? It’s actually a fragile system of control, and can be broken through either crackdowns on tax havens and oligarchs in wealthy countries or protests/strikes where the goods are made.

The Egyptian revolution was really a series of protests and highly politicized strikes, which is why people in Madison are taking inspiration from Cairo. In fact, the actions in Egypt may be creating a wave of labor actions worldwide, rippling to Wisconsin, Indiana, and Ohio. All of these strikes are aimed at a collusive set of tight relationships. He goes on to detail those relationships, the key elements being a world-wide wealth transfer upward (duh) and the creation of crony-controlled world-wide shadow governments "in the form of security contractors, corporations, and banks that are supported with taxpayer money but consider themselves part of the 'private sector'." There are complexities in the article, and not all of it is to agree with, but I'm certain the prime connections are valid.

Cairo sent pizza to Wisconsin because it's all one big anti-Rubinite labor action, and the rest of the world is where the workers are. Mubarak's regime was neoliberal to the core. The world-wide labor action only looks political — because the agent of the Rubinite wealth transfer is captured government. And if captured government is the agent of control — well, you always strike the bosses, don't you.

Playing to win — Notice that Cairo played to win. They pushed till Mubarak was gone, and they know the game isn't over. We need to do the same. And you can't do that if you don't know who's playing opposite you. Stoller says that this spirit of uprising "didn’t come from the Democratic Party leadership," and that Obama "is really nowhere, meekly tut-tutting about union busting while gravely acknowledging fiscal realities and tough choices." The Rubinites are, after all, Democrats.

It may just be that changing the Democratic party dynamic is our best road to leverage. Primaries, anyone? How about "early and often," as they say in Chicago. And how about playing to win.


Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
This means that there is still lots of room for the bankers to pack their bags and move. C'mon guys! The region is ripe with the kind of chaos that only a banker could love and nobody will think twice about bonus handouts. The bankers always make threats to leave if they don't get everything they want so now is the time for them to show the world that they're not just a bunch of freeloading spongers. Think about how much fun their families can have living in the middle of the global uprisings. They can start moving their operations now but with the construction still going, they can probably get even better deals in a few months. Make good on your threats and go for it bankers!Forty percent of the buildings in Dubai are vacant, according to Arabian Business.

For comparison only 28 percent of homes are vacant in America's ghost town, Detroit.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
Nice economic model, if you can get it, though the banks always get it. Remember how the apologists told us that it was critical for the banks to retain talent or else? Well? It looks like that talent isn't as impressive as they told us. Outside of the banks and government, everyone else knew that.Bailed out Royal Bank of Scotland reported losses of £1.1bn for 2010 – but still plans to pay out bonuses of £950m to its bankers.

The loss is an improvement on the loss of £3.6bn a year ago and the record breaking £24bn loss in 2008, when it was rescued by the taxpayer.

RBS returned to the black in the final quarter even though it was hit by a £1.1bn charge for its Irish banking unit, Ulster.

The proportion of revenue the bank uses to pay its investment banking staff rose to 34% from 26% a year ago.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
This from the country that used violence and intimidation against protesters last year. Reuters:Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose security forces crushed protests against his 2009 re-election, on Wednesday condemned state brutality against demonstrators in Libya.

Speaking for the first time about this year's Arab uprisings, Ahmadinejad expressed horror at the use of extreme violence and urged governments to listen to their people.

"How can a leader subject his own people to a shower of machine-guns, tanks and bombs? How can a leader bomb his own people, and afterwards say 'I will kill anyone who says anything?'" he said in televised comments.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics

February 23, 2011

The Indianapolis Star is reporting that a Deputy AG has been fired for not being civil and courteous "toward all members of the public". You decide if his offense is lack of civility (my emphasis):
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has dismissed a deputy, Jeff Cox, for posting inappropriate comments online critical of the labor union protesters in Wisconsin.

Cox sent out a message on his Twitter account saying that police should "use live ammunition" against the protesters.

A staffer for the political news site Mother Jones sent a message back to the person, who was then only known by his online account name. Cox messaged back that the demonstrators were "political enemies" and "thugs."

"You're darned right I advocate deadly force," Cox wrote to the Mother Jones staffer.If me in a bar, armed only with a tall Coors Lite, says "shoot 'em" — that's uncivil. If a man with a gun — I mean, someone from the attorney general's office, in a state facing an outbreak of Wisconsin activism, says "shoot 'em" — well, that's a man with a gun saying "shoot 'em". Seems like a different beast somehow.

But maybe that's just me; maybe I don't know Republican jokes like I should.


Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
When is enough enough? If the GOP was serious - and we know that they're not - they would cut into the DoD budget which is already the most bloated of them all. Let's not squeeze the poor with stripping heating subsidies or cutting school lunch programs and then let the fattest of the fat cat get even larger. CNNMoney:
As a practical matter, though, the impact of the proposals is easiest to grasp when compared with 2010 funding levels, which are in effect until March 4.

By that measure, defense would not be hit by the $60 billion in spending cuts passed by the House before dawn on Saturday.

In fact, the defense budget would increase to $533 billion, up from $526 billion currently.

That doesn't count the money that will be spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or the money spent on defense-related activities through other agencies, said Lawrence Korb, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, who served as assistant secretary of defense under President Reagan.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
Isn't it amazing how quickly they find the checkbook when their entire position is at risk? What will it take for our own political leadership to figure out that the middle class and poor can no longer be drained to prop up the Wall Street elite? As long as we continue voting for the same old losers (and new losers) it will never happen. It's not as though the Democrats have been active about fixing the decline of the middle class.
Saudi King Abdullah returned home on Wednesday after a three-month medical absence and unveiled benefits for Saudis worth some $37 billion in an apparent bid to insulate the world's top oil exporter from an Arab protest wave.

The king, who had been convalescing in Morocco after back surgery in New York in November, stood as he descended from the plane in a special lift. He then took to a wheelchair.Not that it's exactly the same, but remember how when Bush came into office and we didn't have enough money to afford the Kyoto agreement? It was much too expensive. The next thing you know, we found a lot more money and invaded two countries while draining the budget.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
Yet another sign that the end is near for Gaddafi.
The aircraft, an ATR42 turbo-prop, flew to Malta without prior notice and when asked whether it had permission to land, the pilot gave details of a flight which was supposed to have landed in Malta on Tuesday, the sources said.

Landing permission was refused and, after circling for 20 minutes while trying to reverse the decision, the pilot decided to return to Libya.

The sources said it was not clear who was on the plane, but Al Jazeera reported from Malta that a civilian aircraft that was refused permission to land and flew back to Libya was believed to be carrying the daughter of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
Thank you everyone, for donating to help the protesters in Wisconsin. My friend there says they're doing fine now, in terms of money, because of the donations they've received from us and others in the past 48 hours.  I'm just sending the last installment momentarily, so thank you all again.  Well done.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
How long did it take for him to realize that this was offensive and completely wrong? Even now he can't bring himself to say anything bad about the KKK leader who massacred African-American Union troops during the Civil War. Why did this take so long?Mississippi GOP Gov. Haley Barbour on Monday issued his strongest language yet on a state license plate honoring a Ku Klux Klan leader, telling the Associated Press he would not sign the proposal if it reached his desk.

"I said accurately this is not going to happen," the Republican said in an interview. "The bureaucracy denied it, the legislature won't pass it and if the legislature passes it, it won't become law because I won't sign it."

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
A number of you have been asking whether the Obama administration's decision today to stop defending Section 3 of DOMA in court is really such a big deal.  In order to get you some answers, Joe and I have invited Prof. David Cruz back to the blog to answer your questions about this issue.  Come back at 630pm Eastern when Prof. Cruz will be taking your questions.  Thanks.

<p>&amp;amp;amp;lt;p&amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a href="http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php/option=com_mobile/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=da553d6ce2" &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;DOMA Chat with Prof. David B. Cruz&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;gt;</p>

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
That kind of sanity will get you nowhere in Washington. You must be a bootlicker for the bigger banks or else they will collectively throw a hissy fit and throw hundreds of millions of dollars against you and destroy you. Common sense is strictly forbidden among the ruling class."We must break up the largest banks, and could do so by expanding the Volcker Rule and significantly narrowing the scope of institutions that are now more powerful and more of a threat to our capitalistic system than prior to the crisis," Hoenig told a meeting of the Women in Housing and Finance.

Hoenig called for "Glass Steagall-type" provisions that would no longer allow commercial banks to engage in the riskier activities normally confined to the investment sector.

"We must make sure that large financial organizations are not in position to hold the U.S. economy hostage.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
If there was any doubt about Gaddafi's ability to hang on, it looks slim now. His army is crumbling so he has to resort to mercenaries, his air force would rather crash their aircraft than bomb their own and now the ex-Juctice Minister is throwing him under the bus. The former British government can't be comfortable with this turn of events since they did their oil-for-murderer deal only last year.Libya's former justice minister claims Moammar Khadafy personally ordered the 1988 Lockerbie bombing that killed 270 people, a Swedish tabloid reported Wednesday.

"I have proof that Khadafy gave the order about Lockerbie," Mustafa Abdel-Jalil told Expressen newspaper. He did not provide the proof to back up his claim.

Khadafy apparently gave the order to Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the only man convicted in the bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland that killed all 259 people on board and 11 more on the ground.

"To hide it, he did everything in his power to get al-Megrahi back from Scotland," Abdel-Jalil told Expressen.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
This is welcome news from the Obama administration. Finally, some really fierce advocacy. The President thinks Section 3 of DOMA, which DOJ has been defending up until now, is unconstitutional -- and the Obama administration will no longer defend that section of the law in the courts. This is HUGE.

Section 3 is the portion of DOMA that limits federal marriage benefits to opposite-sex married couples. There are over 1,000 such benefits at the federal level, from social security to tons of other health care benefits, tax benefits, and more.The following excerpts are the main provisions of the Act:

Section 2. Powers reserved to the states:
No State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship.

Section 3. Definition of 'marriage' and 'spouse':
In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word 'marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word 'spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.
The other portion of DOMA deals with ensuring that one state isn't forced to recognize another state's marriage of a gay couple - today's decision by the President doesn't affect that, but I'm not sure the issue is even ripe yet.

Note that we were one of the first to write about the fact that the President did not have to defend DOMA. Former Clinton White House official, and now head of Equality Matters, Richard Socarides wrote on this blog, on June 14, 2009:I was equally troubled by the administration’s explanation that they had no choice but to defend the law. As an attorney and as someone who was directly involved in giving advice on such matters to another president (as a Special Assistant for civil rights to President Bill Clinton), I know that this is untrue.

No matter what the president’s personal opinion, administration officials now tell us that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) must defend the laws on the books, and must advance all plausible arguments in doing so. Thus, the theory goes, the DOJ was just following the normal rules in vigorously defending the anti-gay law.

I know and accept the fact that one of the Department of Justice's roles is to (generally) defend the law against constitutional attack. But not in all cases, certainly not in this case – and not in this way. To defend this brief is to defend the indefensible.

From my experience, in a case where, as here, there are important political and social issues at stake, the president’s relationship with the Justice Department should work like this: The president makes a policy decision first and then the very talented DOJ lawyers figure out how to apply it to actual cases. If the lawyers cannot figure out how to defend a statute and stay consistent with the president’s policy decision, the policy decision should always win out.

Thus, the general rule that the DOJ must defend laws against attack is relative – like everything in Washington. Some said we were wrong. It turns out, we were right. All the pressure - your pressure - mattered. We won because you didn't give up.

I am posting the full statement from the Department of Justice: The Attorney General made the following statement today about the Department’s course of action in two lawsuits, Pedersen v. OPM and Windsor v. United States, challenging Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage for federal purposes as only between a man and a woman:In the two years since this Administration took office, the Department of Justice has defended Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act on several occasions in federal court. Each of those cases evaluating Section 3 was considered in jurisdictions in which binding circuit court precedents hold that laws singling out people based on sexual orientation, as DOMA does, are constitutional if there is a rational basis for their enactment. While the President opposes DOMA and believes it should be repealed, the Department has defended it in court because we were able to advance reasonable arguments under that rational basis standard.

Section 3 of DOMA has now been challenged in the Second Circuit, however, which has no established or binding standard for how laws concerning sexual orientation should be treated. In these cases, the Administration faces for the first time the question of whether laws regarding sexual orientation are subject to the more permissive standard of review or whether a more rigorous standard, under which laws targeting minority groups with a history of discrimination are viewed with suspicion by the courts, should apply.

After careful consideration, including a review of my recommendation, the President has concluded that given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimination, classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny. The President has also concluded that Section 3 of DOMA, as applied to legally married same-sex couples, fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitutional. Given that conclusion, the President has instructed the Department not to defend the statute in such cases. I fully concur with the President’s determination.

Consequently, the Department will not defend the constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA as applied to same-sex married couples in the two cases filed in the Second Circuit. We will, however, remain parties to the cases and continue to represent the interests of the United States throughout the litigation. I have informed Members of Congress of this decision, so Members who wish to defend the statute may pursue that option. The Department will also work closely with the courts to ensure that Congress has a full and fair opportunity to participate in pending litigation.

Furthermore, pursuant to the President’s instructions, and upon further notification to Congress, I will instruct Department attorneys to advise courts in other pending DOMA litigation of the President's and my conclusions that a heightened standard should apply, that Section 3 is unconstitutional under that standard and that the Department will cease defense of Section 3.

The Department has a longstanding practice of defending the constitutionality of duly-enacted statutes if reasonable arguments can be made in their defense. At the same time, the Department in the past has declined to defend statutes despite the availability of professionally responsible arguments, in part because – as here – the Department does not consider every such argument to be a “reasonable” one. Moreover, the Department has declined to defend a statute in cases, like this one, where the President has concluded that the statute is unconstitutional.

Much of the legal landscape has changed in the 15 years since Congress passed DOMA. The Supreme Court has ruled that laws criminalizing homosexual conduct are unconstitutional. Congress has repealed the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Several lower courts have ruled DOMA itself to be unconstitutional. Section 3 of DOMA will continue to remain in effect unless Congress repeals it or there is a final judicial finding that strikes it down, and the President has informed me that the Executive Branch will continue to enforce the law. But while both the wisdom and the legality of Section 3 of DOMA will continue to be the subject of both extensive litigation and public debate, this Administration will no longer assert its constitutionality in court.More to come.

Here's the letter from the Attorney General to Speaker Boehner, as required by 28 U.S.C. § 530D, indicating that the administration will not defend Section 3 of DOMA:
DOJ Letter to Speaker Boehner on DOMA

And here is previous DOJ correspondence to the Hill, dated 1996, explaining various cases in which the administration either enforced a law while refusing to defend it in court, and cases in which the administration also refused to enforce the law at all. The question remains whether the administration will continue to enforce DOMA - i.e., refuse to provide benefits to the spouses of gay federal employees. The administration has the option to provide those benefits now that they believe the law unconstitutional. But they've already said they will continue to enforce the law - that's one dark lining to today's cloud:"Section 3 of DOMA will continue to remain in effect unless Congress repeals it or there is a final judicial finding that strikes it down, and the President has informed me that the Executive Branch will continue to enforce the law."hatch (2)

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
This is kinda stunning. Last night, the Republican Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, delivered an address to the people of his state. But, yesterday, Walker also got on the phone with someone who really matters to him -- billionaire GOP activist David Koch, who is behind much of what is happening in Wisconsin, but also funds GOP far-right GOP activism nationwide. Well, that's who Walker thought he was talking to. Much of the transcript is at the end of this post, courtesy of Buffalo Beast, the blog that made the call.

Ian Murphy, a blogger at Buffalo Beast, managed to talk to Governor Scott Walker by pretending to be Koch. Apparently, those are magic words to gain access to GOPers. (The Buffalo Beast site is down.) The post is titled, Koch Whore. Now, keep in mind, Walker won't talk to Democratic State Senators. But, he found plenty of time for Koch.

More details from the call are emerging - Greg Sargent at the Washington Post has a few:
* Walker doesn't bat an eye when Koch describes the opposition as "Democrat bastards."

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

* Walker says he's sending out notices next week to some five or six thousand state workers letting them know that they are "at risk" of layoffs.

"Beautiful, beautiful," the Koch impersonator replies. "You gotta crush that union."Listen so you'll know that Walker really is one of Koch's minions. And, this is about crushing unions and workers. In fact, you'll hear Governor Walker admit that he "thought about" it when fake Koch suggested the idea of "planting some troublemakers" among the protesters in Madison. Were they going to come in on horses and camels?

Two things: 1) Recording a call like this is legal in Wisconsin; 2) Sam Stein got confirmation about the call from the publisher of Buffalo Beast:
Publisher of the Buffalo Beast, tells me the Walker audio is "absolutely legit" -- call made by skype, no camera function obviouslyUPDATE @ 11:37 AM: The call has been confirmed as real by the Governor's office.

Partial unofficial transcript:
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.


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.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
It didn't take the Teabagging GOP very long to overreach. The Koch Brother funded anti-union attacks are popular among the far right extremists but the American public is behind the unions. USA Today:Americans strongly oppose laws taking away the collective bargaining power of public employee unions, according to a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll. The poll found 61% would oppose a law in their state similar to such a proposal in Wisconsin, compared with 33% who would favor such a law.

Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Republican legislators in Wisconsin have proposed cutting union rights for most state government workers and making them pay more for benefits. Ohio, New Jersey, Indiana, Iowa and other states with Republican governors are considering similar laws.

Thousands gathered in Madison for an eighth day to protest Walker's plan. Rallies were also held in Columbus, Ohio, Des Moines and Montpelier, Vt.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics