Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has no time to talk to Democratic State Senators who left the state to bring his mad rush to pass union-busting legislation to a screeching halt, let alone a minute or two to share with Wisconsin unions, but he found quite a bit of free time to shoot the bull with a blogger who impersonated Tea Party billionaire David Koch. Here’s the entire conversation, in two parts.
What is remarkable is how freely Walker admits that the purpose of the “budget repair” bill is union-busting. The general tenor of the conversation was well-captured in this pithy selection:
“Koch”: 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.
A little background on David Koch: he and his brother Charles Koch, billionaire owners of Koch Industries, were the target of a August 2010 New Yorker expose which revealed their central role in the funding of a far right political agenda, including a number of Tea Party projects. According to the New Yorker‘s Jane Meyer,
With his brother Charles, who is seventy-four, David Koch owns virtually all of Koch Industries, a conglomerate, headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, whose annual revenues are estimated to be a hundred billion dollars. The company has grown spectacularly since their father, Fred, died, in 1967, and the brothers took charge. The Kochs operate oil refineries in Alaska, Texas, and Minnesota, and control some four thousand miles of pipeline. Koch Industries owns Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups, Georgia-Pacific lumber, Stainmaster carpet, and Lycra, among other products. Forbes ranks it as the second-largest private company in the country, after Cargill, and its consistent profitability has made David and Charles Koch—who, years ago, bought out two other brothers—among the richest men in America. Their combined fortune of thirty-five billion dollars is exceeded only by those of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.
With Koch Industries having recently been named as one of the top ten polluters in the U.S., the Koch brothers are funders of global warming and climate change denial. Charles Lewis, the founder of the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan watchdog group, told the New Yorker that “the Kochs are on a whole different level. There’s no one else who has spent this much money. The sheer dimension of it is what sets them apart. They have a pattern of lawbreaking, political manipulation, and obfuscation. I’ve been in Washington since Watergate, and I’ve never seen anything like it. They are the Standard Oil of our times.”
The “budget repair” bill is intended to ensure that when Walker and Koch have their cozy conversations about how to rule Wisconsin, there are no organized institutions of working people to provide a check and a balance.