Rupert Murdoch and David Koch Collude Against Wisconsin Workers
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[Obama] accused the new Republican governor, Scott Walker, of launching an "assault" on unions with his emergency legislation aimed at cutting the state budget.
The real assault this week was led by Organizing for America, the successor to President's Obama's 2008 campaign organization. It helped fill buses of protesters who flooded the state capital of Madison and ran 15 phone banks urging people to call state legislators.
WSJ's Fund: No Free Speech For the Little People
Speaking directly to Wall Street Journal readers, Fund laid out his case against organized protests in a video on the paper's Web site: they tend to inconvenience upper-middle-class people who are just trying to have a nice life. He complained about a protest staged outside Wisconsin Gov. Walker's Wauwatosa home. "[T]he protesters showed up there, they put up signs, they yelled, and the neighbors were upset because they said, look, this is just a stunt; the governor's not even here. Go up to Madison; go to the governor's mansion. So, again, if it were just the people involved, it would be one thing, but there are neighbors and children involved, and I think this goes too far."
Fund told horror stories of a protest staged outside the Washington, D.C., home of House Speaker John Boehner, in response to an $80 million cut to the federal appropriation, another mounted against the developer who is building a Wal-Mart in D.C., and a demonstration in front of the home of a Bank of America executive.
"So these protests, I think, are violating people's rights," Fund said, "not just engaging in free speech."
When I last saw Fund, he was presenting on a panel at the annual RightOnline conference convened by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, which is chaired by David Koch, who also founded the organization. There, appearing before an audience of managers and business-owners, Fund got all folksy, telling a tale of how Ronald Reagan, while in the employ of General Electric, saw firsthand the virtue of "educating" workers in a business-friendly view of economics. The session offered tips on how to talk to one's employees about the Employee Free Choice Act legislation, which would make it easier for workers to organize (panelist Tim Nerenz of the Oldenburg Group said he simply tells his workers, "We don't run a union facility"), and was moderated by Linda Hansen, a close associate of Mark Block, who was then the state director for the Wisconsin chapter of Americans for Prosperity. Block now runs the potential presidential campaign of Herman Cain, the radio talk-show host and former CEO of Godfather's Pizza.
WSJ's Moore: Created By Koch, Employed By Murdoch
But in the realm of cable news, it's WSJ editorial board member Stephen Moore who seems ubiquitous. Moore takes speaking fees from Americans for Prosperity, for which he seems to have a pretty steady gig. "We pay Stephen Moore a speaker’s fee on an event-by-event basis, which is based on a specific negotiated honorarium," Americans for Prosperity spokesperson Mary Ellen Burke emailed to me. "This is the same process we would follow when asking any public figure to speak at an AFP event."
Americans for Prosperity is directly involved in mounting support for Walker's plan; last week, the group attempted to bus in counter-protesters to Madison, but apparently got few takers. Undaunted, AFP took part in a "Stand With Scott Walker" rally on Feb. 19, and released a television ad this week by that title. That didn't stop Stephen Moore from presenting himself as nothing more than a journalist to the investors who watched CNBC on February 22, presenting figures in a deceptive way about the level of benefits received by public employees, and couching the battle in Wisconsin as one over pension and benefits -- even though the major unions have offered to yield to the governor's demands for greater worker contributions in those areas.