Taiwan explains Wisconsin

Taiwan explains Wisconsin


As previously noted, Taiwanese animations are the future of all mainstream news. Here the folks at NextMedia have distilled US TV news, newspaper commentary, blogs, and twitter feeds on the Wisconsin standoff into an easily digestible two minute animation. I actually think four posts in a row on the same subject is probably two too many, but as this story is winding down anyway, I’ll give NMA the last word.

[I think Jacob said he would put the weekly Open Thread out today, but if not – feel free to use or abuse this one.]

This is what a cheesehead protest looks like in Taiwan:

“Republican Scott Walker was elected governor of Wisconsin in the US mid-term elections last year. He ran on a conservative platform emphasizing fiscal responsibility.Once in office, Walker set about dealing with Wisconsin’s debt problem. He targeted the benefits of Wisconsin’s public sector unions.Knowing that they would lose if the matter came to a vote, Wisconsin’s Democratic senators fled to deny Republican lawmakers from bringing the matter to the floor. When Walker started threatening to cut benefits, public sector workers like teacher, firemen and nurses were enraged. Despite threats from Walker that he might mobilize the national guard against the unions, 25,000 strikers converged on Wisconsin’s state capitol to protest the proposed cuts. The protest struck a chord all over the world. A local pizzeria got orders from as far abroad as Egypt to help feed the strikers. But what will happen to Wisconsin’s fiscal condition if they get what they want?”

I wonder why I waste time watching the news. It is easier to just wait for NMA to distill every story down to its essence.

They did miss all the giddy excitement on the left about the embarrassing prank call to Governor Walker from a fake David Koch. Walker did not say anything in the call that is going to change the dynamic in Wisconsin. The problem is not anything he said. The problem is that he took the call. The only likely effect will be to Walker’s presidential ambitions and potential re-election. He’ll be running against that audio recording for the rest of his political life. So it goes. He took the call, now he’ll live with it. I’m good with that.

Taking that call fanned the flames of left wing paranoia about David Koch which is beginning to take on the epic proportions of right wing paranoia about George Soros. But as far as the legislative standoff is concerned, this is a foregone conclusion. Walker will win.

Wisconsin Democrats run for the exits.

Polls do not support the AWOL Wisconsin Senators. The Wisconsin State Assembly passed the Walker Budget Repair Bill after beating back a filibuster and the Senators will have to return sometime or be recalled. The protesters in Madison will have to go back to work or be fired. The Republicans have the votes and Walker has the will. Done deal.

It is all Kabuki Theater in Wisconsin from this point. To quote another blogger who occasionally posts at this site and is currently basking on a Mexico beach “Moving on.

X-posted from “Divided We Stand United We Fall

  • gerryf

    Look at you–you’re just becoming a posting machine these days.

    Ah well. Where to start. Quoting a right leaning attorney about the “embarrassing” prank call not meaning anything hardly means it doesn’t mean anything. And I mean it.

    What part of “we considered” sending in some troublemakers into the protest doesn’t make you seriously worried about Walker? That he rejected it because it might make him look bad if he got caught?

    I used to tell my kid when he was five that stealing a cookie before dinner wasn’t OK if he did not get caught. Leave it to the right to spin a “I didn’t do it because I didn’t want to get caught” as some noble gesture.

    You’re right that it’s not what he said that is a problem. You’re wrong when you say the problem is that he took the call as if all that matters here is that his future political aspirations are in the toilet. What’s going on in Wisconsin is exactly what appears to be going on–a continued attack on the lower and middle class at the direction of the super rich. Shame on you for contributing to the smokescreen.

    You are also wrong when you compare the “paranoia” of Soros to the Koch brothers.

    I will confess, I hate even bringing the Koch brothers up because it was only a matter of time before the right started spinning it that way. Happy to see you did not disappoint, MW.

    Find me a case where Soros donates to a cause and is caught red-handed in a quid pro quo or even a potential self-serving quid pro quo. You cannot. Personally, I wish Soros would go away too. We do not need the super wealthy buying elections for either side.

    Furthermore, to claim polls show a lack of support for the AWOL senators and then cite the as usual tainted Rassmussen polling is just beneath you. At least at one time you would have cited pro and con polls and then tried to dispute the one that doesn’t agree with you.

    Now you’re just mailing it in.

    Divided Government or not, you’re defense of the Wisconsin rightwing puppet show (not Kubuki Theater) is seriously strainging your credibiity

  • Jacob

    Open thread is on it’s way!

  • http://westanddivided.blogspot.com/ mw

    Just trying to keep you entertained Gerry, until the boss gets back.

    I’ll pick a few of these off…

    I defended nothing that Walker said on the call. I said there was not enough there to have any effect on what is going in Wisconsin. That seems obvious.

    Your language (“puppet show” “smokescreen” “attack on the lower and middle class at the direction of the super rich”) validates the point that the Koch conspiracists are directly comparable to the paranoid rants from the right on Soros. I will make one correction. I said the Koch paranoia was beginning to look like the Soros paranoia of the right, implying it was not there yet. Congrats Gerry – you’re there! At full BECK-CON 5.

    I don’t need to show a quid pro quo for Soros. You need to show one for Koch. All you’ve got is the exact same kind of circumstantial, conspiratorial, draw-lines-on-a-white-board speculation that Beck trades in. It just looks to me like two rich guys who have passionate political convictions and are willing to put their money where their mouths are by supporting causes and candidates that align with their views.

    What was clear to me from the call, is that Walker and David Koch have never spoken, as Walker did not recognize it was not DK’s voice. This comports with what Koch Industry representatives said, which is that they have never spoken, never met, and have no interest in the state owned power plants. Exactly how does the puppet master pull the strings of a puppet he has never met or spoken with? But I don’t expect that to be convincing to you. The hallmark of any good conspiracy theory is that the conspiracy expands and contorts to encompass all new facts.

    What I have not said in any of this, is what I actually think about Walker. I see an ambitious, arrogant pol who shoots from the hip and has more balls than brains. The political pendulum swung way too far left in Wisconsin, and now it is going to swing too far right with his help. Is he over-reaching? Yes, but its not with the Unions. I don’t have any problem with limiting the public unions ability to collective bargain on anything but wages. The benefits and work rules are part of the problem. To a large degree, the media focus on the unions and the on-going circus in Madison distracts from the real problems with the Walker Budget Rescue bill.

    The bill is practically impossible to read and understand. I did read it – or at least tried to. There are lots of references to changing laws and rules that are not in the language of the bill itself. It does seem that many of these changes accrue a lot of power to the executive invoking a budget emergency and it permits the Governor to make many changes almost by fiat. This includes the bit you cite about selling off state owned power and land assets. There appears to be more in there that permits regulations being over-ridden, wetlands being redefined, regulatory agencies losing headcount and funding at the executive’s discretion. Not sure if I am reading it right, but if so, it’s a bad idea.

    I cannot opine on whether this concentration of power is really needed to solve Wisconsin’s budget problems or not. I have my doubts. It does look like an overreach. These things usually do not end well in the hands of an arrogant executive. The temptation and power to confuse the interests of the state with the interests of the executive and the party opens the door wide to the kind of crony capitalism and graft that both parties indulge in routinely on a local basis. Reference – Democrats in Chicago.

    I doubt that the Kochs would get involved in this though, they’re too smart for that, and it is likely to more like Chicago style penny ante graft if it happens. Maybe land deals, zoning changes, regulation overrides for realtors, retailers, developers – stuff like that. And if that happens, the pendulum will swing again, with new elections and new consequences.

  • kranky kritter

    In the short-term, I think Walker will “win.” Over the longer term, I think the GOP pays a price for the sort of inflexibility and hostility they’re displaying. One price, for example, will be something like 80 or 90% turnout of union workers to vote for democrats across the country.

    Walker came across as a douche in the phone call, but the left is IMO way overplaying this card. Mostly, this is based on a face value interpretation: that because Walker said to Koch that they considered dirty tricks like planting troublemakers, they really did consider it seriously. My gut feeling from the way he said it is that he wanted to say something conciliatory to a powerful donor. If you’re all the way up the food chain to governor, you stay out of the planning for that sort of stuff. If it happens, your hand are clean.

    Of course, I have no evidence for that, and no one who is a left partisan will ever concede any plausibility to what I suggest. Regardless, I can’t get worked up about the left’s high dudgeon on the particular alleged “smoking gun.” Waker’s opponents seem blissfully unaware of the rather obvious counterpoint, which is that undertaking the fake phone call itself is an unscrupulous dirty trick. Walker’s opponents used a dirty trick, and in so doing, got Walker to say to a powerful donor that they considered a dirty trick. I call that a wash. It reflects a bit poorly on Walker, but he doesn’t strike me as a bright light, even though his current status is that of a bete noire for the left.

  • gerryf

    Sorry MW, but it’s not really about the Koch brothers. There’s no paranoia here. They are a convenient example that represent what Walker is really about–and that is the continuation of 40 years of moving wealth and power from the poor and middle class to the rich.

    Tax breaks for the rich. Check
    Gut the opposition. Check.
    Privatize. Check.
    Hand over the public resources to the rich. Check.
    Cut services for the less privileged. Check.

    That is the plan he has put in place. It doesn’t matter who gets the goods–we know it is not us.

  • Chris

    MW you’re missing the details like usual. In the bill is a number of things, I’ll ignore the parts related to unions and public employees, as those are well documented. The other parts are replacing 38 civil servants with governor appointees, allowing the governor to sell any and all power/heating/cooling plants to whomever he wants in no-bid contracts without any oversight, removing the power of the legislature to make changes to badgercare and handing all that power to his appointee at the DHS, as well as some fun language about allowing state hired contractors to discriminate based on sexual orientation.

    The koch brothers spent:
    1 million on the gop governors
    3.4 million on attack ads during the campaign
    43k directly to walker

    and now 340k in attack ads against unions

    One has to wonder… why do they care so much? What do they have to gain by this legislation passing?

    The kochs own a number energy and paper related industries in WI, and it’s interesting that the first 2 things that walker did was kill the train (mass transit) and kill a bio-energy power plant that was being built in Madison. It’s now going to a natural gas power plant. I wonder who owns those pipelines…..