Unpopular ideas and why they're worth protecting

I've been thinking a lot about the situation in the SW United States. You know the one, Senate Bill 1062 which was passed by the Arizona Legislature last week and most recently vetoed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, ironically, at the behest of at least three state senators who "made a bad decision in a rushed process." The process was pandering to the state's constituency that no longer thinks the right is far right enough. The bill, which at two pages in length is a nice contrast to the usual Federal bills that obfuscate by expanding to thousands of pages, allows for the "Exercise of religion [which] means the PRACTICE OR OBSERVANCE OF RELIGION, INCLUDING THE ability to act or refusal to act in a manner substantially motivated by a religious belief, whether or not the exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief." Of course that is meant to be a shield against litigation and, in effect, allowing American business to discriminate. 

At first, I had the same general reaction of as a lot of the world; one of shock and dismay at the seemingly backwards step away from the tolerance and compassion that this country has worked so hard for in the last half-century. Upon further reflection, however, I can understand it. I don't support it by any measure. But I can see the value of a government that would allow such unpopular opinions to not only exist but be heard and legislated. Change only occurs if unpopular opinions are allowed to be disseminated and considered. That is how progress is defined. Benjamin Franklin stated that dissent is the highest form of patriotism. No one is forced to live in Arizona, Massachusetts, California, Texas nor any state which upholds strongly held beliefs on one side of the sociopolitical spectrum or another. In our republic democracy, we are free to live, vote, or legislate to our own values. And if Governor Brewer's veto stands, isn't that democracy, complete with checks and balances at work?


Wow, WI governor Scott Walker got Crank-Yanked and reveals who's the pimp and who's the ho!

So, just when you thought the politics of WI couldn't get get much slimier, Scott Walker reveals where his loyalties are to "David Koch" and the Tea Party. He gets his crank yanked by someone posing as


Scott Walker just got the Sarah Palin's treatment when someone called him while posing as David Koch. Just like Palin, Walker believed it and fall into the trap.

In fact, if you hear closely to the tapes or read the transcript, you will be just as outraged as I was when I first heard the tape.

Part I:

Part II:

Here the 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.

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.

I wonder if Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough will continue to cheer for the guy after hearing how he laughed at a sexist joke aimed at Mika.
Updated by LaurenMonica at Wed Feb 23, 2011, 09:53:53 AM

Take your bets : Which Cable news network will be the first to report about this ? MSNBC? CNN ? or Fox News? Or None of them?


Updated by LaurenMonica at Wed Feb 23, 2011, 10:11:22 AM

I know it's an Audio Tape so It's hard to identify Walker but the voice sounds like Walker's voice but I can be wrong.


Updated by LaurenMonica at Wed Feb 23, 2011, 10:31:36 AM

Huffington Post's Sam  Stein just tweeted that he talked to the website publisher who told him the call was legit

samsteinhp Sam Stein
Publisher of the Buffalo Beast, tells me the Walker audio is "absolutely legit" -- call made by skype, no camera function obviously
6 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply

Updated by LaurenMonica at Wed Feb 23, 2011, 10:39:35 AM

Mother Jones has the story up now

http://motherjones.com/...

Listen to the tape and wonder, as I did, if the honorable governor has more hot air or slime leaking from him. He can't pat his back enough about his ability to crush the union with a baseball bat. All the while, he's reporting back to his boss about all the support and "getting our freedoms back," presumably in Cali where he's going to be shown a "good time."

Why Constitutional Fundamentalists (read Tea-Partiers) are off their rocker.

More to the point is that the constitution provides few answers to the hard questions thrown up by modern politics. Should gays marry? No answer there. Mr Klarman argues that the framers would not even recognise America’s modern government, with its mighty administrative branch and imperial executive. As to what they would have made of the modern welfare state, who can tell? To ask that question after the passage of two centuries, says Pietro Nivola of the Brookings Institution, is to pose an impossible thought experiment.

Everyone wants to just point to a magic potion/paper/person and say this is the answer to what ails us. Politics and government is a dirty business. It has always been and always will be.  Blindly following the ideals of any document, even one such as the US Constitution without accounting for period and global policy is asinine.

TP, you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

“I’m sure that they probably said that about Thomas Jefferson and George Washington and Benjamin Franklin,” she said. “And truly, when you look at the Constitution and our founding fathers and their writings, the things that made this country great, you might draw those conclusions: That they were conservative. They were fiscally conservative and socially conservative.”

Seriously, she's holding up the commander of the Revolutionary War as a paean to conservatism? This is the guy who challenged of the mightiest empire and government of the time. That's not conservative, ma'am, socially or fiscally speaking.