Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Saturday, February 19, 2011



"Koch Industries Slashed WI Jobs, Helped Elect Scott Walker, Now Orchestrating Pro-Walker Protest

Wisconsin’s newly elected Republican Gov. Scott Walker is facing a growing backlash over his attempt to cut pay and eliminate collective bargaining rights for public employees in his state. Although Walker is claiming his power grab is an attempt to close a budget gap, the budget “crisis” was engineered by Walker as soon as he got into office. As Brian Beutler reported, half of the budget shortfall comes from Walker’s own tax cuts for businesses and other business giveaways enacted in January.

A number of the big business interests standing with Walker are beneficiaries of his administration’s tax giveaways. But the greatest ally to Walker is the dirty energy company Koch Industries. In response to the growing protests in Madison, Koch fronts are busing in Tea Party protesters to support Walker and his union-busting campaign. Last night, MSNBC’s Ed Schultz reported on the involvement of Club for Growth and the Koch-financed Americans for Prosperity in the pro-Walker protest scheduled tomorrow. Watch it:

"Koch Industries is a major player in Wisconsin: Koch owns a coal company subsidiary with facilities in Green Bay, Manitowoc, Ashland and Sheboygan; six timber plants throughout the state; and a large network of pipelines in Wisconsin. While Koch controls much of the infrastructure in the state, they have laid off workers to boost profits. At a time when Koch Industries owners David and Charles Koch awarded themselves an extra $11 billion of income from the company, Koch slashed jobs at their Green Bay plant.

Officials at Georgia-Pacific said the company is laying off 158 workers at its Day Street plant because out-of-date equipment at the facility is being replaced with newer, more-efficient equipment. The company said much of the new, papermaking equipment will be automated. [...] Malach tells FOX 11 that the layoffs are not because of a drop in demand. In fact, Malach said demand is high for the bath tissue and napkins manufactured at the plant.

Koch Industries was one of the biggest contributors to Walker’s gubernatorial campaign, funneling $43,000 over the course of last year. In return, Koch front groups are closely guiding the Walker agenda. The American Legislative Exchange Council, another Koch-funded group, advised Walker and the GOP legislature on its anti-labor legislation and its first corporate tax cuts.

According to the EPA, Koch businesses are huge polluters, emitting thousands of pounds of toxic pollutants. As soon as he got into office Walker started cutting environmental regulations and appointed a Republican known for her disregard for environmental regulations to lead the Department of Natural Resources. In addition, Walker has stated his opposition to clean energy jobs policies that might draw workers away from Koch-owned interests.

Moreover, other organizers for the pro-Walker protest are from groups associated with corporate and Koch interests. American Majority, a Virginia-based front group founded by organizers funded by millionaire investor Howie Rich, is on the ground contacting Wisconsin Tea Parties to support Walker in Madison. Austin James, an American Majority official who was caught teaching Tea Party members to spam profiles of liberal books with negative comments, is the contact for the Facebook page organizing the pro-Walker protest. Eric O’Keefe, a longtime conservative operative who helps lead American Majority, attends Koch strategy meetings.

Update: Koch's Americans for Prosperity group has launched a new website and petition called The new site attacks all collective bargaining, not just for public sector unions. Koch's front group also declares: "In fact, every state should adopt Governor Scott Walker's common sense reforms."


BB-Idaho said...

Pretty much sounds like Walker is a Koch sucker.
The thought struck me that perhaps the term has been used prior. Googled and found 2,370,000 refs. (!)

TAO said...

CNN had a special report today on how business leaders are complaining about our educational system and how our students are not proficient in math and science.

So along comes another group of business leaders, the Koch Brothers, who want to destroy our school systems by destroying the teachers union.

Exactly how are we to prepare our children for the future when we want to decimate the livelihoods of our teachers?

Since the Koch Brothers and their buddies got 140 million dollars in benefits from Governor Walker and are now expecting the teachers unions to make up the deficit these benefits created why not expect the US Chamber of Commerce to explain exactly how we are to prepare the next generation of employees for these companies to hire when they do not want to pay to teachers a living wage?

What sane human being would want to rack up thousands of dollars in student loans to become a teacher now?

K. said...

WARNING: The following is pure speculation, but no one can blame me for thinking it: The same "leaders" probably complain about a business tax rate of over 0% and couldn't wait to voice their support for extending the Bush tax cuts. If they really want results, start by not supporting Republicans.

kid said...

Tell me what will it take to wake people up about the corruption of Niles and Frazier Crane, AKA the Koch brothers? They're laying off people in Wisconsin and making record profits.

Octopus said...

In bringing out counter protestors comprised of Bagheads and bigots, in essence the Rethug governor of Wisconsin has brought out the basij. If war is what they want, then lets not mince words: War is what they'll get!

okjimm said...

Wisconsin is still in turmoil.... but I would like to relate a story told me by a teacher in Madison yesterday.
" I was walking by the Tea Party group when I notice one of signs a young man was holding had spelled 'benefit' wrong. I told him that politely, and that I was a teacher. Before he could react someone next to me said, 'I'm a teacher, too, and I have a marker. Let me correct that for you.' She did. The Teabagger politely said,'Thank you'."

approximately 75000 in Madison yesterday... no arrests, no violence. We are progressive.

Shaw Kenawe said...

BB-Idaho, Ha! I hadn't heard that term, but I had heard of KOCHroaches. It's juvenile, I know, but funny.


Some of my conservative friends have been pounding about at the "capital sucking" public sector workers who contribute nothing and cost the tax payers everything. These geniuses forget that union people pay taxes too.

But I doubt this is about taxes. It's about busting unions and weakening the Democratic Party.

K., Grover Norquist has dreamed of drowning government in a bathtub.

We are government. He's out to destroy US.

kid, I understand, but the far right is in thrall with being contra their own self-interest. Divide and conquer is working well for the corporate overlords. PS. Did you turn off comments on your blog?

(O)CT(O), thanks for your comment. I always learn from you.


And thanks to okjimm as well for giving us up-to-date news on what's happening in Madison.

Knute said...

Why is it that when it is suggested that it is unfair that 2/3 of Wisconsin corporatio­ns pay ZERO in corporate taxes, there is no suggestion of "sacrifice for the good of all," but only GOP excuses that corporate taxes will cause businesses to flee to other states or export jobs to China?

Why is it that when it is suggested that the rich should sacrifice a little since the top 1% of the population has had income gains of 8% a year for the past 30 years and the top 1/10 of 1% has gained 20% a year, the only GOP response is the cry of "class warfare" and "milking the rich?"

Meanwhile, the bottom 99% has had flat or declining income for 30 years (since Reagan), and are expected to work longer hours, forego vacations, pay for their own retirement in 401K's, and pay a larger share of health benefits (if they get benefits at all).

Yea right, it's the working class' fault we're in this mess, and it's on them (in this case meaning mostly teachers) to clean it up.

okjimm said...

Stuff is getting crazy here. On friday the state Assembly tried to attach a couple of amendments to the bill.... without the Dem representatives.

a quick video of my State Assemblyman, Gordon Hintz, going nutz on the Capital floor. The Republicans in our Statehouse are trying to trample all discussion. It is why the Sate Senators walked out.

it is happening here, now, but it will be coming to a neighborhood like yours. Stand United.

I have met Gordon several times, in social settings. He is a clear thinking, congenial person. Nixonian dirty tricks are coming back.

billy pilgrim said...

i think there has to be national pollution standards. with state and local controls it's easier to buy off the politicians and more importantly industry can threaten to leave a state and move to where they are allowed to spew toxins to their heart's content. iron clad national standards are needed.

Shaw Kenawe said...


GOP Moves to Slash 29% of EPA’s Funding


Kevin Robbins said...

Shaw, very nice posts on this. Is anyone talking recall yet?

Shaw Kenawe said...


Laws governing recall in Wisconsin

From Ballotpedia

"The citizens of Wisconsin are granted the authority to perform a recall election by the Wisconsin Constitution, Article VIII, Section 12 to all elective officers after the first year of the term for which the incumbent was elected."

Both sides targeting state senators for recall elections

Darth Bacon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dave Miller said...

Actually Darth, the unions and the Dems have agreed to salary cut backs and reductions in benefits.

The problem is the governor says he needs those cutbacks to balance the budget.

Now whether that is true or not may be open to debate.

What is not open to debate is the reason the teachers are on strike. In addition to the givebacks that the union is willing to accept, the governor wants to also end the ability of the union to collectively bargain.

Anyone who thinks this is about a wage dispute, is just misinformed at best, or ignoring the factual evidence.

WHich category do you fit in?

Darth Bacon said...

Nice try at a False Dichotomy there, Dave. But I'm afraid I don't fit either of your convenient stereotypes.

Here's where I stand, in case it's not clear:

Public Sector unions should have NO collective bargaining power.

The Peoples' interest is more efficient, cheaper government services.

As FDR said, the unions' interest is diametrically opposed to the will of the people- their interest is in ever-more pay and benefits. When you compare the 140 million your bogey-men the Kochs allegedly benefitted from, it is but a drop in the bucket compared with the current (not to mention the pensions unheard of in the private sector) costs of public servants' compensation.

Care to take a stab at any of my substantive points, such as why it's fair for an ever-increasing group of people to keep pouring millions of dollars of taxpayers' money to candidates who promise to give them even more? Manifest unfairness aside, do you think it's sustainable for 51 percent of the country to DEMAND subsidy from the other 49?

Shaw Kenawe said...

The following description is from Bacon guy's own blog where he has a photoshopped picture of a man sodomizing another guy:

"Rantings of A Bitter Man
Mindless character-assassination, self-indulgent carping, barely-informed polemic."

If that's supposed to be satire, it fails.

Go back to Lisa's blog and where you can enjoy your juvenile name-calling and puerile blather.

You're not welcome here.

Dave Miller said...

Darth, regardless of where one stands personally, for people to say that the Wisconsin unions are unwilling to give back and take lower pay and benefit packages is a lie.

Have you heard any conservative commentators saying that the unions and the dems are willing to agree to that? If not, perhaps you should ask why that is.

Could it be to influence the debate with untrue information?

Now if the Governor of the state would have just come out before the election and said he wanted to decertify the unions and take away their collective bargaining rights, do you really believe he would have been elected?

While that may be legitimate point of discussion, the fact remains candidate Walker did not make that part of his campaign did he? Again, one must wonder why.

As for FDR and his stance, let's remember the will of the people is not always right, moral, or ethical. Might seldom makes right.

Shaw Kenawe said...

I deleted the comment where "Darth Bacon" engaged in taunts and name-calling.

Shaw Kenawe said...

From the Wisconsin State Journal

"Walker's budget repair bill, introduced last week but stalled by the protests, would give the state Department of Health Services the authority to restrict eligibility, modify benefits and make other changes to Medicaid with less legislative review than required now. If the federal government didn't grant permission to make some of the changes, the state would drop at least 50,000 people from Medicaid next year.

Cullen Werwie, Walker's spokesman, said changes and flexibility are needed to plug the $1.8 billion hole in the state's Medicaid budget over the next two years. The program, which includes BadgerCare Plus, Family Care, SeniorCare and other health plans, accounts for half of the state's estimated $3.6 billion budget gap.

Advocates acknowledged the possible need for cuts but criticized the process Walker is proposing.

Jon Peacock, research director of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, compared Walker's plan to President Barack Obama hypothetically ordering Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services secretary, to quickly and substantially cut Medicare, the federal health plan for the elderly, with little review.

'Imagine the rallies around the country at a power grab like that,' he said."

Shaw Kenawe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shaw Kenawe said...


I will continue to delete your comments so long as you engage in taunts and name calling.

Please note: I did not delete the comment in which you managed to discuss your point civilly.

dmarks said...

I know a guy named Kevin who eats bacon.

dmarks said...

Tao said:

"So along comes another group of business leaders, the Koch Brothers, who want to destroy our school systems by destroying the teachers union."

Explain the connection? How does freeing up money for the school to hire more teachers and buy more school supplies "destroy the school system" ?

Shaw Kenawe said...

"There is no question that public-sector unions and the thousands of contracts they have negotiated over the years have improved wages and pensions of government workers and made government service more attractive. But union leaders are quick to point to studies showing that overall compensation for government employees is slightly lower than for private-sector employees of comparable age and education."

And this:

"Citing an anticipated budget deficit of $137 million this year and a $3.6 billion shortfall over the next two years, Mr. Walker argues that his measures to curb union power and bargaining are essential to help balance the budget. Union leaders say that several of Mr. Walker’s proposals — including the one that would require elections each year to determine whether a majority of public employees want to keep their union — are really intended to cripple unions, not balance the budget.

Other governors, Democrat and Republican, are also grappling with budget deficits. But many of those governors, like Jerry Brown of California and Andrew M. Cuomo in New York, both Democrats, and Rick Snyder of Michigan, a Republican, are not trying to strip bargaining rights. They are instead using public pressure and the threat of layoffs to persuade public-sector unions to make far-reaching concessions.


“Wisconsin has become ground zero for the process of pushing back against unions,” said Steve Meyer, a professor of labor history at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “People are waiting to see what happens here. That’s why the labor movement has become so deeply involved trying to stop this process.”

As happens so often in today’s increasingly partisan politics, the battle reflects how differently Republicans and Democrats view a particular subject — in this case, unions and their power. Many Republicans see public-sector unions as greedy, powerful special interests that are taking too many taxpayer dollars. Many Democrats see them as natural allies and a vital part of a labor movement that has helped build the nation’s middle class.

The furious demonstrators in Madison have shown that public-sector unions still wield real power. But if the Legislature enacts Mr. Walker’s bill, a tipping point might well be reached, with the power of public-sector unions tilting into decline.

IOW, union busting.


Octopus said...

To the Darth Bacons and other reactionary scum who troll liberal forums:

Lets clarify the terms of engagement. There was a time when our legislative process practiced the fine art of compromise and consensus such that the interests of diverse stakeholders were heard. No longer!

Your goddamn party has adopted a “my way or the highway” mentality that disenfranchises constituencies, mainly the middle class that built this country.

Understand this: It is not just your fucking tax money. It is my money too. It is not just your fucking priorities. I want MY government to reflect my core values and priorities too. It is not always about what you think or what you want. I resent you’re your hypocritical politics that trades on pious buzzwords like “democracy and freedom” when the first thing your candidates do when they get into office is persecute and oppress the loyal opposition.

Don’t fucking tell me how my tax money should be spent, what church dogma becomes the law of the land, or how I should act in the privacy of MY own bedroom. Up yours!

I resent the Republican war against the social safety net, against environmental protection, against healthcare and women's reproductive rights, against infrastructure investment, against regulations that prevent fraud and abuse committed by those who bought and sold your goddamn party.

And if you don’t like my attitude, then shove it up your ass. There is an angry backlash building on my side of the political aisle, and you better be fucking careful about what you ask for.

Octopus said...

I don't know if you checked his blog yet, but that Darth dude is one super-size SICKO.

Shaw Kenawe said...

I checked it out, (O)CT(O).

Apparently the Bacon dude gets even with his "enemies" by photoshopping them as sodomites.

That takes an amazing amount of courage, dunnit?

He's an angry, spittle-flecking Randian. But worse than that, BOOOOORING!

Anonymous said...


that bacon guy is definately a bowl noob.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Bacon dude,



I don't know if he is. Is that you D.S.?

D.S. said...

whoa. that dude can't stay away from you shaw. go to my page on fb. D.S.

TAO said...


I believe Shaw has a post that documents exactly how good the Wisconsin school system is.

Since I have nieces and nephews in the Wisconsin school system and nieces and nephews in the Kentucky school system I can also tell you that the Wisconsin system is much better...

You want to destroy the unions to get in more teachers and more supplies...

Quality is expensive....I personally have found that one great highly paid employee is better than two mediocre employees paid less...