Monday, February 28, 2011

Republican Governors Association Launches Pro-Walker Ad in Wisconsin

At LAT, "GOP governors to launch ads backing Wisconsin Gov. Walker":

In a sign of the ramifications the budget standoff has beyond Wisconsin's borders, the Republican Governors Assn. plans to become the latest outside group to launch an advertising campaign in the state, supporting Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's effort to end collective bargaining rights for public employees.

The association's chairman, Rick Perry, announced the ad campaign during a briefing with reporters Monday in Washington, where the Wisconsin showdown has loomed over the annual meeting of state leaders.

"Republican governors aren't going to back down from our support of Scott Walker and what he's doing to make the tough decisions in his state to balance the budget," said Perry, the governor of Texas.

The television ad says leaders "don't run away from tough problems," referring to Democratic state senators who have left the state to prevent a vote on Walker's plan. It mentions the Republican governor's position that state employees should pay for more of their own benefits, but it omits the issue of collective bargaining that has fueled weeks of demonstrations at the state capitol.

The ad campaign by the Republican governors is the first salvo of what Perry said would be a two-year effort by the association to "provide some effective oversight of the Obama administration" and offer solutions to issues affecting the states.

Why Koch Industries Is Speaking Out

From Charles Koch, at Wall Street Journal (via Memeorandum):

For many years, I, my family and our company have contributed to a variety of intellectual and political causes working to solve these problems. Because of our activism, we've been vilified by various groups. Despite this criticism, we're determined to keep contributing and standing up for those politicians, like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who are taking these challenges seriously.

Both Democrats and Republicans have done a poor job of managing our finances. They've raised debt ceilings, floated bond issues, and delayed tough decisions.

The essay focuses on much more beyond Wisconsin, although for Koch Industries, and freedom-loving people everywhere, the Madness in Madison is the tipping point.

The Battle of Wisconsin Rages On

The Hill has the Beltway angle, "AFL-CIO Chief Blesses Obama's Handling of Wisconsin Labor Battle." (And more at Memeorandum.)

But see Weasel Zippers, "
Top Union Chief Refuses to Condemn Protester Signs Comparing Gov. Walker to Hitler ..." And especially, Rich Trzupek, at FrontPage Magazine:

Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press yesterday, AFL-CIO Richard Trumka was given two golden opportunities to do the very thing the left claims is so important to them: tone down violent, incendiary rhetoric. He couldn’t bring himself to do it. Asked to condemn the angry words and images that union supporters have employed in Wisconsin, Trumka chose to dance around the question instead:

“We should be sitting down trying to create jobs,” he said. “In Wisconsin, a vast majority of the people think this governor has overreached. His popularity has gone down. They’re saying to him, sit down and negotiate; don’t do what you’ve been doing. So he’s losing.”

Even if one were to accept the dubious premise that Governor Scott Walker is “losing” his battle with the teachers union in Wisconsin, Trumka’s answer is at once disingenuous, troubling and typical of the leftist mindset. The disingenuous part is obvious: Trumka never actually answered a question that was posed twice. Imagine how the old media would have reacted if a conservative leader like Sarah Palin or Rand Paul sidestepped an opportunity to denounce violent rhetoric on the right.

What’s troubling, though sadly unsurprising, is what this reveals about the way a leftist leader like Trumka thinks. Asked to denounce a tactic, he comes back with an answer that implies that such tactics are working. Trumka doesn’t actually come out and say that the end justifies the means, but it’s pretty obvious that he feels that way. Far from discouraging leftist protestors from employing violent imagery and rhetoric, Trumka’s answer sounds an awful lot like a nod of approval for the results that those tactics have supposedly achieved ....

The left says that public discourse ought to be civil, unless it involves a position that’s important to the left, in which case anything goes. Teachers unions are always demanding more for their members in the name of the best interests of the kids they educate, but they don’t have a problem orchestrating what amounts to an illegal strike when the union’s interests are threatened. Elections and majority rule are wonderful concepts on the left, until they lose an election and are in the minority. In that case, running away and hiding so that you don’t have to accede to the will of the majority is perfectly acceptable. If the battle of Wisconsin proves anything, it’s another demonstration of the self-serving hypocrisy that permeates the left in America.

"Wisconsin Police Union in Solidarity with Progressives, Socialists, and Big Labor Squatters," and "Public Unions and the Socialist Agenda."

Note: I pulled the Meet the Press clip with Trumpka, but check Weasel Zippers, where it seems to be playing fine.

Wisconsin Police Union in Solidarity with Progressives, Socialists, and Big Labor Squatters — UPDATE! Police Threaten Insurrection!!

Well, the Boing Boing commies are down with the Big Labor squatters in Madison, and the cops are as well, "Wisconsin Cops For the Win":

And here's this, from
Glenn Reynolds:

YOU CAN SEE WHY TEA PARTY PROTESTERS WORRY THE COPS MIGHT TAKE SIDES: L.A. Police Union Urges Members to ‘Stand in Solidarity’ with SEIU and MoveOn.Org. The folks at BoingBoing seem to like it that the Wisconsin cops are siding with protesters, but where’s the reason for trust from those who feel otherwise? Do we want police to take sides in political disputes?

Apparently some do. This is why (1) you should always bring a camera; and (2) public employee unions should be illegal. If union protesters turn violent — as they increasingly have — can you trust pro-union police to intervene?

More at the link.

RELATED: At Althouse, "'The administration of Gov. Scott Walker abruptly locked out protesters from the Capitol on Monday morning...'"

UPDATE: From William Jacobson, "Wisconsin Police Union Members Threaten Insurrection":
It's unclear to me what the lines of command are in Wisconsin, and whether the departments in which these policemen work ultimately are under the control of the Governor and/or legislature. Clearly, the Governor does control the National Guard. Regardless, the police union members involved have actively advocated and offered to participate in insurrection against the legal authority in Wisconsin.

More than anything, this shows the dangers of public sector unions. Those who work for the state occupy a different position than those who work in the private sector because they carry the weight of state authority. When those state workers are in law enforcement, they carry special obligations not to use their positions for political purposes.

When an off-duty policeman wearing police insignia takes a megaphone and announces that he and his fellow police union members will disobey orders, that policeman -- at a minimum -- has dishonored his pledge to uphold the law.

It appears that by the end of today we will know whether the police union members' talk of insurrection was bluster (which I suspect is the case), or if they really will risk their careers by disobeying lawful orders from legitimate and duly elected state authority.

Public Unions and the Socialist Agenda

One of the more interesting things about the left is the refusal of its partisans to admit they're socialists. The truth, of course, is obvious to anyone who witnesses the massive progressive demonstrations, of recent years, for example the big One Nation rally the Democratic base held last year (see, "Democrats, Union Workers, and Communists Rally Together in Washington"). Indeed, we often hear that conservatives are chasing after "imaginary communists" and that attacks on Democrat Party extremism is "McCarthyism." The only problem for the left's denialists is that when one actually goes out to the protests and mobilizations, communists are everywhere, and they're usually in fact the key organizers. Progressives know that if the socialist label sticks they'll get slammed at election time, and rightly so, since Americans are by nature individualistic and entrepreneurial. By definition, then, the social program is anti-American, to say nothing of totalitarian. So it's interesting to see the AFSME members saying here that they're all about inclusion, and that they'd prefer the socialist alternative to the rational budget planning of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

And see also, Robert Tracinski, "
Public Unions & the Socialist Utopia" (via Memeorandum):

The Democratic lawmakers who have gone on the lam in Wisconsin and Indiana-and who knows where else next-are exhibiting a literal fight-or-flight response, the reaction of an animal facing a threat to its very existence.

Why? Because it is a threat to their existence. The battle of Wisconsin is about the viability of the Democratic Party, and more: it is about the viability of the basic social ideal of the left.

It is a matter of survival for Democrats in an immediate, practical sense. As Michael Barone explains, the government employees' unions are a mechanism for siphoning taxpayer dollars into the campaigns of Democratic politicians.

But there is something deeper here than just favor-selling and vote-buying. There is something that almost amounts to a twisted idealism in the Democrats' crusade. They are fighting, not just to preserve their special privileges, but to preserve a social ideal. Or rather, they are fighting to maintain the illusion that their ideal system is benevolent and sustainable.

Unionized public-sector employment is the distilled essence of the left's moral ideal. No one has to worry about making a profit. Generous health-care and retirement benefits are provided to everyone by the government. Comfortable pay is mandated by legislative fiat. The work rules are militantly egalitarian: pay, promotion, and job security are almost totally independent of actual job performance. And because everyone works for the government, they never have to worry that their employer will go out of business.

In short, public employment is an idealized socialist economy in miniature, including its political aspect: the grateful recipients of government largesse provide money and organizational support to re-elect the politicians who shower them with all of these benefits.

Put it all together, and you have the Democrats' version of utopia. In the larger American culture of Tea Parties, bond vigilantes, and rugged individualists, Democrats feel they are constantly on the defensive. But within the little subculture of unionized government employees, all is right with the world, and everything seems to work the way it is supposed to ...

This is why the left is treating any attempt to fundamentally reform the public workers' paradise as an existential crisis.
Well, some folks are for the insurrection, as we've been seeing for weeks.

See also, Pejman Yousefzadeh, "
Marxists. I Hate These Guys" (via Instapundit).

Well, of course Ezra Klein doesn't hate 'em, "
Do We Still Need Unions? Yes" (via Memorandum).

Natalie Portman Wins Best Actress at Oscars 2011

Commentary from Betsy Sharkey, at Los Angeles Times, "'Black Swan's' Natalie Portman made worthy sacrifice for her art."

Oscars: Natalie Portman and the anatomy of a dress." And some coverage at New York Times, "Oscar Coronation for ‘The King’s Speech’."

Wally Pfister's Union Call Out at Academy Awards

More Oscar coverage later, but the Wally Pfister call-out captured the imagination of the neo-communist left, "Oscar Winners Celebrate Union Crews That Are ‘A Very Important Part Of The Middle Class’" (via Memeorandum):

Notice the part about supporting "any other country." Hey, there's some neo-communist international solidarity for ya!

RELATED: At PuffHo, "Charles Ferguson's Oscar Speech Rips Wall Street: 'Inside Job' Director Levels Criticism During Acceptance."

Also, from Jammie, "
Shocker: Obama Makes Oscars Cameo": "I'd have probably thrown up if I'd bothered to watch this dreck."

New York Times Searches for Union Victory in Wisconsin Protests

More reporting from Althouse, "The NYT strains to find a "victory" for the Wisconsin demonstrators." The "victory" is the police capitulation to the union thugs:

Notes Althouse:
A decision was made that it wasn't worth the drama to oust these people who've been clean and orderly enough. Plus, the police are — it seems to me — sympathetic to the protest. As for the GOP politicians who dominate the state government: Why would they want to make martyrs out of the folks who've worked so long and hard to demonstrate how strongly they care? They've been hanging out in the Capitol, enduring the cacophony of their own drumming and chanting and sleeping on the hard stone floor for 10+ days. They're punishing themselves. Why not let them suffer, unmolested, and continue to generate images that disturb the Wisconsinites who voted the Republicans into office 3 months ago?
Plus, from Michelle, "Capitulation: Madison capitol police give in to Big Labor Slumber Party occupiers":
In Madison, Wisconsin — the Berkeley of the Midwest — deadlines don’t mean diddly-squat. Rules don’t apply. And the People’s House belongs not to hard-working taxpayers, but to Big Labor squatters who have grimed and slimed up the Capitol for almost two weeks.

The Capitol police had set a deadline this afternoon for the grievance mob to clear out their sleeping bags, crock pots, and other makeshift camp paraphernalia. The occupiers ignored them. The Capitol police then promptly…capitulated. Rest assured, rewarding the breakdown of civil order will lead to more civil disorder. Way to go, Madison.
The New York Times piece is here: "Demonstrators Can Continue Overnight Stays in Wisconsin Capitol." (Via Memeorandum.)

More at Pundit & Pundette, "
Monday various & sundry."

Unions Plot Strategy to Prolong Wisconsin Protests

At Chicago Tribune, "AFL-CIO works to keep Wisconsin protests going":

WASHINGTON — AFL-CIO leaders, sparked by the strength of pro-labor protests in Wisconsin, are deciding how they can help keep the crowds large and the pressure high as demonstrations enter a third week.

Officials at the nation's largest labor federation said Monday they are looking for a more strategic approach to keep the protests going strong.

"This thing rose from the streets of Wisconsin, and if you've got any brains as a leader, you see a parade, you get out in front of it," said Greg Junemann, president of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers and a member of the AFL-CIO's executive council.

"Before this thing starts to diminish, we need to make sure it gets a shot of vitamins at all appropriate times," he said.
Also, at New York Times, "In Wisconsin, Flinging Blame and Citing Deadlines." And from Ed Morrissey, "Walker gives 24-hour deadline to fleebaggers."

Oil Flows as Rebels Gain

At WSJ, "Libyan Opposition Presses Gadhafi, Establishes Government, Sets Crude Shipment":

Libyan rebels pressed the regime of Col. Moammar Gadhafi Sunday, taking control of a key city near the capital of Tripoli, declaring a provisional government and allowing oil shipments to resume from territory under their control.

An oil tanker was expected to depart the port of Tobruk in the northeast corner of Libya sometime Sunday night carrying 700,000 barrels of oil, said Hassan Bulifa, a member of the management committee of Arabian Gulf Oil Co., Libya's largest oil producer and the only oil company based in the country's opposition-controlled eastern territory.

The management committee has assumed control of day-to-day operations at the company after its chairman, Abdulwanis Saad, resigned during the uprising against Col. Gadhafi. Mr. Bulifa said he believed the tanker would be bound for China.

The turmoil across the Middle East, cradle of much of the world's oil production, has sent prices soaring. Last week, crude oil for April delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose $8.17 per barrel, or 9.11%, to $97.88, and for the seventh time since 1982 prices jumped 10% within two days. Month-to-date, U.S. benchmark crude is up 6.17%.

The Arabian Gulf Oil shipment would be the first oil exported from the eastern territory in more than a week—the last left on Feb. 19, before much of eastern Libya had slipped out of government control. Money earned from exports from rebel-controlled territory still goes into the accounts belonging to the National Oil Co., which is based in Tripoli and remains under the control of Mr. Gadhafi's government. Nevertheless, the relaunching of exports would be good news for Arabian Gulf Oil, which has had to cut back production rates for fear of running out of storage capacity amid a lack of export outlets.
More at the link.

'These People Hate'

Yeah, well, I was saying the same thing yesterday about my deranged commenter, who may well have been the deranged hatemaster REPSAC = CASPER. Horrible people, progressives. See Nice Deb, "Video: Fox News Reporter On Madison Protesters – “There’s Hate In Their Eyes”":

Partial transcript via The Daily Caller.

“One thing I think should make clear – the people coming after us from every live shot here, these people hate,” Tobin said. “These are people who don’t respect diverse viewpoints. In fact, they’re so afraid I’ll present a diverse viewpoint, that’s why they try to heckle me and shut down every live shot. They’ve made it clear, that what they want to make it harder for me to do my job. They are proud of that when they disrupt a live shot, when they really trample over the First Amendment rights or the First Amendment’s obligations of a reporter. Now, I am not saying that’s all of the people. Those are the people that come here and heckle and try to disrupt things. I look in their eyes – there is hate in their eyes. They don’t want to hear any kind of viewpoint that is different from their own. That’s why they do what they do.”

Yep, that's them.

Nice Deb's got additional commentary, and see the thugs beating on the reporter at Freedom's Lighthouse, "Fox News’ Mike Tobin Shouted At and Hit During Live Report In Wisconsin."

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Andrew Sullivan Moving to Daily Beast

The news is here.

And when you finish that recall the piece a while back at The New Ledger, "
Through the Looking Glass With Andrew Sullivan."

And always entertaining commentary from The Other McCain, "
Who Speaks for America?":

A Harvard-educated, AIDS-infected, Internet-cruising, marijuana-using gay British expatriate presumes to speak for Americans who reject Sarah Palin because of “a meanness, a disrespect, a vicious partisanship.”

We await a response from Sarah Palin’s uterus ...

In any case, I saw this first on Twitter, but if Memeorandum starts a thread I'll be updating. Last time I really read Sully was during the Iran democracy protests in 2009, and he was indeed a force of nature at the time. Other than that, I can do without RawMuscleGlutes.

ADDED: In bonus pervy news, I'd forgotten that David Frum was blogging a while back at the left's leading forensic gynecology outlet, and from that whacked pedestal he defended pro-pedophile blogger Alex Knepper against the folks at NewsReal Blog. And of course recall how well that turned out: "Pro-Pedophile Propaganda: For It Or Against It, David Frum?"

OKAY, now a thread at Memeorandum. And the link there to New York Times, "Andrew Sullivan Joins Tina Brown’s ‘Daily Beast’/'Newsweek’ Team":
The launch date of Tina Brown’s reinvented Newsweek after its merger with her Daily Beast Web site remains vague, but Ms. Brown’s efforts to continue building an impressive roster do not: Andrew Sullivan announced Sunday that his popular blog, “The Dish,” would be leaving and joining Ms. Brown’s team in April.
Also, Tina Brown's announcement, "Andrew Sullivan Joins The Daily Beast!"

I tweeted on this a little earlier, suggesting that Sully might actually lift Newsweek's viability. When Niall Ferguson published his critical cover story over there a couple of weeks ago it was the first time that I'd been genuinely interested in reading the magazine. Tina Brown's a veteran at this sort of thing, although as for Newsweek's potential success, it's like "the British are coming," or something ...

Libya Rally Toronto

The video's c/o Blazing Cat Fur:

And see Michael Coren, "
Absence of Outrage":
The bigots, the blind, the barbarous and the bullies have formed a coalition. Know them and expose them, before it’s too late.

The Latest Frank Rich Hissy Fit

The entire country is focused on the left's fits of moral depravity and violence, and once again for Frank Rich of the New York Times, it's the tea party that's the biggest threat to democracy, "Why Wouldn’t the Tea Party Shut It Down?" (via Memeorandum):
The highest priority of America’s current political radicals is not to balance government budgets but to wage ideological warfare in Washington and state capitals alike. The relatively few dollars that would be saved by the proposed slashing of federal spending on Planned Parenthood and Head Start don’t dent the deficit; the cuts merely savage programs the right abhors. In Wisconsin, where state workers capitulated to Gov. Scott Walker’s demands for financial concessions, the radical Republicans’ only remaining task is to destroy labor’s right to collective bargaining.

That’s not to say there is no fiscal mission in the right’s agenda, both nationally and locally — only that the mission has nothing to do with deficit reduction. The real goal is to reward the G.O.P.’s wealthiest patrons by crippling what remains of organized labor, by wrecking the government agencies charged with regulating and policing corporations, and, as always, by rewarding the wealthiest with more tax breaks. The bankrupt moral equation codified in the Bush era — that tax cuts tilted to the highest bracket were a higher priority even than paying for two wars — is now a given. The once-bedrock American values of shared sacrifice and equal economic opportunity have been overrun.
That last line is the laugher of the month, but of course progressives have seized on it faster than union dues from a teacher's paycheck: "Frank Rich: “The once-bedrock American values of shared sacrifice and equal economic opportunity have been overrun”."

Yes, bedrock values have been thrown out the window, but it's progressives doing the dumping. Ann Althouse has had the best coverage, for example, "
Althouse and Meade return to the Veterans Memorial and encounter apologetic protesters, the police, and a rudeness expert":

Ann also destroys petulant Eric Kleefeld of Talking Points Memo, "
Who invited Peter Yarrow to the Wisconsin protests? And why was he the only entertainer on the bill?"

Ann's the best.

Foaming Rabid Union Thug Captures and Exemplifies Today's Progressive Politics

I'm very thankful for some of the praise of my readers, for example, Stogie at Saberpoint and my friend and occasional contributor Norman Gersman from New York. I have other readers as well who correspond by e-mail but would prefer to stay out of the scrum of the left's demonic totalitarianism. I've called out REPSAC = CASPER recently, and I've been requesting that he retire his stalking blog American Nihilist. REPSAC = CASPER is perfectly representative of the demonic progressive left, and I wouldn't be surprised if he logged in anonymously and left this comment at my blog last night:

Anonymous said...

Actually, all Republicans are Satanic Nazi rapist terroristic treasonous child-molesting scumbags, who would rape my two year old niece to death happily, and sell the video on

Anyone who doesn't agree with this truth, as priven by Scott WalKKKer, Satanic Nazi rapist pig whore governor of WisKKKonsin, let them rape, torture, and brutally murder me - I would rather die than support all of you Satanic Nazi rapist terroristic treasonous child-molesting scumbags.

February 26, 2011 9:27 PM

Hey, words fail, but how about this, from Rebel Pundit, "Exclusive: Rabid Union Thug Foams at the Mouth $1Mil bet GOP Hearts KKK.. “Wussy MotherFxxkers, I’ll make you pay, Tea Baggers”" (via Lonely Conservative and Memeorandum):

Behold today's Democrat Party progressive left. When conservatives stand up for values, they're standing up for right and goodness in the world. The opposite of right is found in the left's relentless campaigns against truth, decency, and the individual in society. The hatred at websites such as REPSAC = CASPER's --- and in the comments cited here, and in endless attacks by union thugs --- are perfect examples of the new neo-communist totalitarianism. What's sad is that the lamestream press is totally in the tank, so again that's all the more reason for folks of God and decency to stand up.

Sweden Sees Backlash Against Open Immigration Policies

You think?

At New York Times, "
In Sweden, Immigration Policies Begin to Rankle":
MALMO, Sweden — Nick Nilsson, 46, decided to vote for Sweden’s far-right party last fall because of a growing sense that his country had gone too far in letting so many immigrants settle here.

A truck driver, Mr. Nilsson lives a half mile from the Rosengard section of this city, where dreary apartment buildings are jammed with refugees from virtually all the world’s recent conflicts: Iranians, Bosnians, Palestinians, Somalis, Iraqis.

“No one has a job over there,” Mr. Nilsson said recently. “They are shooting at each other. There are drugs. They burn cars. Enough is enough.”

For a time, Sweden seemed immune to the kind of anti-immigrant sentiment blossoming elsewhere on the European continent. Its generous welfare and asylum policies have allowed hundreds of thousands of refugees to settle here, many in recent years from Muslim countries. Nearly a quarter of Sweden’s population is now foreign born or has a foreign-born parent.

But increasingly, Swedes are questioning these policies. Last fall, the far-right party — campaigning largely on an anti-immigration theme — won 6 percent of the vote and, for the first time, enough support to be seated in the Swedish Parliament.

Six months later, many Swedes are still in shock. The country — proud of its reputation for tolerance — can no longer say it stands apart from the growing anti-immigrant sentiment that has changed European parliaments elsewhere, leading to the banning of burqas in France and minarets in Switzerland.

In Malmo, a rapidly gentrifying port city in Sweden’s south, support for the far-right Sweden Democrats was particularly strong, about 10 percent of the vote. It is a place where tensions over immigration are on full display.

The city’s mayor, Ilmar Reepalu, a Social Democrat, ran his hands over a city map in his office, pointing out working-class neighborhoods like Mr. Nilsson’s that voted heavily for the Sweden Democrats, as might be expected, he said. But he could point to wealthier neighborhoods, too, that produced support for the far right as never before.

“We must dig deeper to understand that,” he said quietly.
There's more at the link, but really? Dig deeper? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that North African and Middle Eastern immigration is straining the Swedish political culture and stressing the melting pot ethic of the socially progressive Swedes. And tack on high unemployment and the social disintegration that comes with it, and what's the mystery? What's going to be a bit more challenging to explain is how an essentially leftist social services regime will be able to accommodate the increasing influence of rightist parties not particularly hostile to fascist doctrines and exclusionist solutions the national crisis. It's not going to fall neatly into the "racist" framework, since too many citizens of a more tolerant persuasion will also be throwing up their hands. The best that can be hoped for is that economic growth remains robust in Sweden and elsewhere, although given the vote in Ireland this weekend it's still going to be a while for economic prosperity --- however modest --- to take some of the pressure off. Not only that, some folks argue that Europe's already given itself over to immigrants from the less developed world, and Islamization itself. Depending on your perspective, that will hardly be good for the preservation of the Western ideal.

Who Was Worse, Hitler or Stalin?

At New York Review, "Hitler vs. Stalin: Who Killed More?":
In the second half of the twentieth century, Americans were taught to see both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union as the greatest of evils. Hitler was worse, because his regime propagated the unprecedented horror of the Holocaust, the attempt to eradicate an entire people on racial grounds. Yet Stalin was also worse, because his regime killed far, far more people, tens of millions it was often claimed, in the endless wastes of the Gulag. For decades, and even today, this confidence about the difference between the two regimes—quality versus quantity—has set the ground rules for the politics of memory. Even historians of the Holocaust generally take for granted that Stalin killed more people than Hitler, thus placing themselves under greater pressure to stress the special character of the Holocaust, since this is what made the Nazi regime worse than the Stalinist one.

Discussion of numbers can blunt our sense of the horrific personal character of each killing and the irreducible tragedy of each death. As anyone who has lost a loved one knows, the difference between zero and one is an infinity. Though we have a harder time grasping this, the same is true for the difference between, say, 780,862 and 780,863—which happens to be the best estimate of the number of people murdered at Treblinka. Large numbers matter because they are an accumulation of small numbers: that is, precious individual lives. Today, after two decades of access to Eastern European archives, and thanks to the work of German, Russian, Israeli, and other scholars, we can resolve the question of numbers. The total number of noncombatants killed by the Germans—about 11 million—is roughly what we had thought. The total number of civilians killed by the Soviets, however, is considerably less than we had believed. We know now that the Germans killed more people than the Soviets did. That said, the issue of quality is more complex than was once thought. Mass murder in the Soviet Union sometimes involved motivations, especially national and ethnic ones, that can be disconcertingly close to Nazi motivations.
Ultimately, folks'll have to assess this essay themselves, given the nature of the discussion. The author, Timothy Snyder, isn't as clear as he should be, given that he's claiming the Nazis killed more than the Soviets. But the basic gist is that the Soviet numbers have been revised downward. And does it matter at this point, despite the discussion of the marginal enormity of one more single death out of the 100s of thousands or even millions? Only God knows the suffering of each of the families that lost loved ones. It becomes a metaphysical thing, at some point. And despite the author's numerical exegesis, I'm not convinced that Stalin's modernization planning and ruthless political liquidation programs are of the same kind of totalitarianism that resulted in the Holocaust. It's all depressing, and if folks recall Hannah Arendt's Origins of Totalitarianism, the permissive causes (especially anti-Semitism) were found all across Europe following the turn of the 20th century. Beyond this, I'm leaving it to the experts. At least in reflecting on these things, the last thing that comes to mind is the GOP's budget balancing programs today. Progressive Democrats are hoisting signs emblazoned with STALIN, HITLER, WALKER. And the effect --- beyond sheer stupidity --- is simply to illustrate how fleeting is the left's legitimacy and its grip on the social welfare state in early-21st century America.

'Wall of Lies' From David Horowitz Freedom Center

At FrontPage Magazine, "UCLA Daily Bruin Prints Center’s “Wall of Lies”."

NewsReal Blog Editor David Swindle debuted the Wall of Lies at CPAC, and the response was a bit unexpected. See, "
The Anti-Semites Who Swarmed Us at CPAC and the Future of the Right."

I'm looking forward to attending a campus event featuring the Wall of Lies, especially given my recent visit to UCLA, "
Israeli Apartheid Week, Students for Justice in Palestine, UCLA, February 23, 2011."

RELATED: At Jawa Report, "'Islamo-Fascism Awareness Campaign' vs 'Israel Apartheid Week'."

Wall of Lies

Saturday, February 26, 2011

100,000 March on Wisconsin Capitol

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has the story, "Protesters deriding bill again fill Capitol Square."

And the video's c/o Althouse, "
Outside the Capitol today — a march, snow, and Peter Yarrow":
Yep. Watch the clip and see that sign. The enormity of evil, trivialized.

RELATED: At Legal Insurrection, "
50-State Union Protest Falls Far Short Of Predicted Turnout" and "FAIL… Dems Left Red-Faced; Protesters Fail to Materialize at National MoveOn Rallies" (via Instapundit).

And Los Angeles Times blends it all together, "
Protesters out in force nationwide to oppose Wisconsin's anti-union bill":
Nearly two weeks into a political standoff, tens of thousands rallied in Madison and in dozens of cities around the nation to oppose a bill that would severely limit collective bargaining rights for most Wisconsin public employees.

Joel DeSpain, spokesman for the Madison Police Department, said the rally — in steadily falling snow — drew between 70,000 and 100,000 and may have been the largest protest in Madison since the Vietnam War.

"I've been around Madison for 50 years, and I have not seen anything like it so far," he said.

A Republican-backed bill containing the anti-union provisions prompted 14 Democratic state senators to flee Wisconsin, denying the Republican majority a quorum to pass it. The Republican-dominated state Assembly passed a version of the bill early Friday, but the Senate remains stymied until Democrats return.

Despite exhortations by Republican Gov. Scott Walker, the Wisconsin Democrats were still hiding in Illinois as supporters rallied across the nation. The liberal group said it organized rallies in 66 cities, including every state capital.

"From what we can tell, it was kind of an amazing wave of energy around the country," said Executive Director Justin Ruben.
Look, I marched with 50,000 people last year in Phoenix. Seeing 100,000 in the snow in Madison is absolutely nothing to sneeze at. That said, I think the Times is gilding it a bit on the rest of the nation business. We'll be seeing more protests when the budget axe starts to fall in other Statehouses. Today is Madison's glory.

End Hamas' Violence

An impressive essay, from Molly Cornfield of UCLA's Bruins for Israel, at The Daily Bruin:


In 2005, Israel evacuated all Israeli citizens from Gaza. This peaceful gesture went unrecognized, and Hamas responded with an increase in rocket attacks. Hamas also retaliated by perpetrating 52 suicide bombings, killing 288 Israelis and wounding hundreds more.

Hamas refuses to pursue a peaceful coexistence between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples, despite the compromises Israel has made. Hamas’ charter and spokesmen continue to call for the destruction of Israel and the killing of Jews. What the international community had hoped would be a thriving Palestinian democracy has become a launching pad for terrorism. Efforts have been made by the international community to revive the peace process.
More at the link.

PHOTO CREDIT: Sheikh Ahmed Ismail Hassan Yassin, founder of Hamas, "
Israeli Apartheid Week, Students for Justice in Palestine, UCLA, February 23, 2011."

Wisconsin State Capitol as Permanent Free Speech Zone

Althouse isn't thrilled by the idea, "Is it viewpoint discrimination under the First Amendment for Wisconsin to permit the protesters to use the Capitol building as it has over the past 10+ days?":

The Capitol has for years and years been a solemn place. For 25 years, I have brought visitors there and walked slowly through the beautiful spaces looking at the different colored and patterned marble on the walls and gazing with awe up into the dome. This is the Capitol Wisconsinites know and treasure. It can't become an all-purpose free-speech forum.
And in related news, from Glenn Reynolds, "A NEW WEB AD targeting those fugitive Wisconsin legislators":

Also at Hot Air, "Perry: Fleebagging tactic “immature, juvenile”."

More news at New York Times, "
In Wisconsin and Beyond, Rallying Behind Unions." And The Hill, "Labor secretary: GOP govs asking workers to give up their rights." (via Lonely Conservative and Memeorandum).

Gaddafi Massacres Protesters: U.N. Security Council to Meet on Libya

Some sources are claiming that thousands have been killed in Libya's protests. See Monsters and Critics, "Libya death toll mounts, officials warn of chemical weapons' use." Also, the Los Angeles Times reported earlier, "United Nations chief warns of escalating toll from violent crackdown." And The Lede is running updates with reports from Tripoli, "Latest Updates on Libya’s Revolt and Mideast Protests." Here's video (note security forces dragging a wounded protester at the second clip):

See also, Business Week, "
Qaddafi Vows More Deadly Attacks as Army Units Defect." Plus, at New York Times, "Following U.S. Sanctions, U.N. Security Council to Meet on Libya."

And from last night, at Los Angeles Times, "
Enough with the warnings, Obama finally sanctions Libya and Kadafi," and USA Today, "Obama: Gadhafi should leave Libya 'now'."

RELATED: At Big Peace, "
U.S. Concerned Libya May Use Chemical Weapons."

Unions and Ventriloquist Journalism

A couple of entries worth sharing. For background, check Mark Steyn's essay, "STATES OF THE UNIONS." Following the links takes us to John Hinderaker at Power Line, "No Word From Eric Lipton." The Lipton in question is a New York Times correspondent and author of the recent report, "Billionaire Brothers' Money Plays Role in Wisconsin Dispute" (the article's previous title was even more explicit, "Koch Brothers' Money Fuels Wisconsin Fight." And it turns out that some of the statements at the article have been manufactured, or at least completely decontextualized from the actual statements of those on record, specifically Tim Phillips of Americans for Prosperity.

Here's Steyn's
excellent summary:
The Times managed to get the salient feature of the story entirely wrong. They were not an “anti-government” mob, but a government mob, a mob of "public servants" objecting to austerity measures that would end, for example, the tradition of 14 monthly paychecks per annum. You read that right: the Greek public sector cannot be bound by anything so humdrum as temporal reality. So, when it was mooted that the “workers” might henceforth receive a mere 12 monthly paychecks per annum, they rioted. Their hapless victims - a man and two women - were a trio of clerks trapped in a bank when the mob set it alight and then obstructed emergency crews attempting to rescue them.

You don’t have to go to Athens to find "public servants" happy to take it out on the public. In Madison, politicized doctors provide fake sick notes for politicized teachers to skip class. In New York's Christmas snowstorm, Sanitation Department plough drivers are unable to clear the streets, with fatal consequences for some residents. On the other hand, they did manage to clear the snow from outside the Staten Island home of Sanitation Dept head honcho John Doherty, while leaving all surrounding streets pristinely clogged. Three hundred Sanitation Department workers have salaries of over $100,000 per year. In retirement, you get a pension of 66 grand per annum plus excellent health benefits, all inflation proofed.

That's what "collective bargaining" is about: It enables unions rather than citizens to set the price of government. It is, thus, a direct assault on republican democracy, and it needs to be destroyed. Unlovely as they are, the Greek rioters and the snarling thugs of Madison are the logical end point of the advanced social democratic state: not an oppressed underclass, but a spoiled overclass, rioting in defense of its privileges and insisting on more subsidy, more benefits, more featherbedding, more government.

Big Unions fund Big Government. The union slices off two per cent of the workers’ pay and sluices it to the Democratic Party, which uses it to grow government, which also grows unions, which thereby grows the number of two-per-cent contributions, which thereby grows the Democratic Party, which thereby grows government… Repeat until bankruptcy. Or bailout.
Well there you go.

It's endlessly fascinating how the New York Times is perfectly playing the hardline Soros-backed class warfare attack on capital. What's not reported by Think Progress and the other progressive goon outlets, is that unions have actually dominated political giving in recent election cycles, and it's the Democrat Party that's benefited from the huge public-sector sugar daddy. It's taken bloggers to cut through the bull and bring some real clarity to the issues. So it's worth checking Steven Hayward update at Power Line, "
The 'Ventriloquist Journalism' Beat" (at Memeorandum).

Anyway, here's a palette cleanser from last year, featuring MSNBC's inveterate liar and progressive propagandist Rachel Maddow:

Pam Spaulding Promotes 'Barebacking' Blog Post With '1000 Load F**k (NSFW)' Videos

Call it milestones in gay rights.

First is the news that
the Obama administration has chosen the first-ever homosexual man to be the next White House Social Secretary. It's one thing for this to be about appropriate gender roles, but the dude's gay, so that complicates things a bit. Perhaps that's a sop to the radical gay left-wing lobby. Lord knows Obambi's been dealing these folks a cold cucumber since he took offfice. But second is Pam Spaulding's mainstreaming of the radical gay sex culture of "barebacking," which is the practice of condomless homosexual sodomy: "It's Time to Get Angry About the Promotion of Unsafe Sex in the Gay Community." The author claims to be upset by the breakdown of safe sex norms in the radical homosexual community, but what's quite revealing is the depth of this dude's expertise on the gay fringe sexual culture of non-commitment and the extreme left's bareback/rim-station hookup scene. I mean seriously. I'm reading the comments, at Pam's House Blend and at the cross-post to Daily Kos (natch). It turns out for the gay left, non-infected HIV-negative is the new virginity. There's progressive self-loathing for you. Let's just f**k until we're dead, y'all. But again, what really tripped me out is that if the diarist is so angry about the rejection of the healthy norms that followed the gay plague of the 1970s, you think he'd avoid links to the extreme gay porn websites that aggressively extol the culture. Labeling this stuff NSFW is hardly warning enough. Folks would be advised to rethink their kids' Internet usage after this. Just think, young middle school students looking for information on same-sex marriage might just pull this up and then find 1000 loads of cum dumped up some guy's behind. Is this the art and culture that new White House Social Secretary Jeremy Bernard is now going to promote?
“Jeremy shares our vision for the White House as the People’s House, one that celebrates our history and culture in dynamic and inclusive ways,” President Obama said in a statement, “We look forward to Jeremy continuing to showcase America’s arts and culture to our nation and the world through the many events at the White House.”
See that? Inclusive ways. Wouldn't want to alienate the gay radical barebacking community.

And for those who click through to

Naomi Houser Comments on Suspected Restaurant Hoax

Naomi Houser commented here, twice. It's an interesting story, mainly because it's so inexplicable --- and inexplicably dumb.

In contrast to the prank Koch brothers phone call to Governor Walker, the lamestream press hasn't taken up this story. But Houser's registered at Firedoglake, so that's a clue. FDL is widely read on the neo-communist left, and these folks have the most to gain by the politics of personal destruction. In fact, I mentioned the comments at FDL last night, and see this one, for example, with weird digressions on Governor Walker's appearance:
Blessings to the fine folks at “Madison Restaurant” who asked the scumbag to leave their fine establishment.

Walker may find that he has become a pariah, not only in Wisconsin, but across the country. Some have noted that he has a weird looking, beady-eyed face. It is not fair to judge people based on their appearance, but it is fair to judge people by their actions.

Scott Walker has lost. Hopefully, he will be removed from office (one way or another,) sending a big message to Rethug creeps like the Kochs.

We can hope
And this one, suggesting that Governor Walker's equivalent to a murderer:
I believe this is referred to as the O.J. treatment. I remember when O.J. was persona non-grata at restaurants, golf courses and other public places virtually making him a public paria. One can only hope the Governor becomes a prisoner in the mansion and only ventures out where other conservative parasites congregate.
This stuff should be disseminated widely, for while progressives think they've got the moral high ground, they'll be destroyed in public opinion, where taxpayers outnumber the union thugs. It'll all come out at the ballot box, in any case.

Also Blogging: Da Tech Guy, "
More Democratic Civility," Lonely Conservative, "Madison Restaurant Made Up Story About Denying Governor Walker Service," and Legal Insurrection, "Story About Gov. Walker Being Kicked Out of Restaurant Appears to Be a Hoax."

And see Althouse on Firedoglake, "
Lefty blogger loves the idea of restaurants refusing to serve people that their other customers express open hatred toward":
Swopa loves that a Madison restaurant asked Governor Scott Walker to leave when customers booed him. He/she links to a Madison blogger who deleted the name of the restaurant after the restaurant received threats. (Threats? Were they reported to the police?) Swopa notes that he edited his post to delete the name of the restaurant, but he leaves in his "via Howie Klein on Twitter" link, and the name of the restaurant is right there.

Idiot. Don't rely on Firedoglake to protect you. They care. They want to protect you. But they just can't quite pull off the protectiveness they'd love to give you
That's gold. More at the link.

Are You a State Senator From Wisconsin? Hideaway in Rockford!

At Michelle's, "Best tourism video ever: Rockford IL woos Fleebaggers":

Sandy Fonzo Lets Loose on 'Cash-for-Kids' Judge Mark Ciavarella

I watched Megyn Kelly's panel discussion yesterday of the emotional story of Sandy Fonzo, the Pennsylvania mom whose son killed himself after being jailed by Judge Mark Ciavarella. The Wall Street Journal has the story, "Judge Found Guilty in Cash-for-Kids Case; Mother of Child Not Pleased":

Last Friday, a jury found a former Pennsylvania judge accused of sending large numbers of children to detention centers in exchange for kickbacks from the builder of the detention guilty on 12 counts of money laundering and conspiracy.

The jury also acquitted the defendant, Mark Ciavarella, on 27 counts, including extortion. Click here for the AP story; here for the story from the Scranton Times-Tribune; here for the story from the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader.

But the jury verdict hardly ended the drama.

Ciavarella was allowed to remain free pending sentencing after the conviction Friday. And after the verdict, he made rather strident statements to the media outside the courthouse.

“Never took a dime to send a kid anywhere. … Never happened. Never, ever happened. This case was about extortions and kickbacks, not about ‘kids for cash,’” said Ciavarella, who plans to appeal.

In response to the judge’s being able to walk pending sentencing, Sandy Fonzo, whose son was jailed by Ciavarella — and committed suicide last year at age 23 — screamed obscenities at the judge and even poked him as he and his attorneys held a news conference on the courthouse steps. (Click here for the video, which contains obscenities).

“My kid’s not here anymore!” yelled Fonzo. “He’s dead! Because of him! He ruined my f——- life! I’d like him to go to hell and rot there forever!”

Ciavarella glanced at Fonzo, then turned his back ....

Also at Bloomberg, "Grieving Mom Screams at Pa. Judge, Becomes Symbol."

Friday, February 25, 2011

Conflicting Reports on Governor Scott Walker Being Denied Service at Madison's Merchant Restaurant

Firedoglake's still going with the story, "Late Night: You’ll Never Eat Dinner in This Town Again." But the original post at Mind Stain has been taken down, "Scott Walker Asked to Leave Local Restaurant." And it turns out the Badger Blogger contacted the restaurant and claims that this audio is evidence that progressives tried to pull another punk job:
Well my friends, this is the case of a Madison restaurant trying to gain liberal credibility by making up a total lie about how they booted out Scott Walker out of their establishment. When BadgerBlogger called them to confirm the story, the staff refused to confirm or deny, and continued to obfuscate until they hung up the phone… But in fact, they didn’t hang up, it appears that they accidentally put the phone on speaker…. And BadgerBlogger tapes continued to roll.

Our audio captures the restaurant staff talking about how they have to take down the blog posting because people are starting to call about it, you can actually hear them logging into the blog and deleting it. Too late.

We confirm with Governor Walker’s staff that the Governor has never been to that restaurant, this was an attempted “punking” by employees of The Merchant Restaurant, but look who got punked… In the words of Joe Wilson, You Lie!

You can listen to our audio, and judge for yourself. Do not turn it off after the hang-up, that’s when it gets good.

I Googled "Merchant Restaurant" and no newspapers had reported this story. And I'd say this comment from the Badger thread sounds about right:
Who knows what to believe? For all I know, it’s just the 8th year UW undergrads humping tables and not the owner who came up with this half-baked scheme. True or not. I’m still surprised a business would invite controversy like this.
What gets me, if you go back to the Firedoglake entry, is that for progressives, discriminating against Governor Walker would be a cool thing to do --- that they would applaud the kind of action they would vehemently denounce if done to a minority, or even a progressive Democrat. This is not how students learn about democracy in school. And frankly, this isn't how politics should be conducted. Governor Walker is not an arch segregationist. His programs are not about to exterminate the sick and aged. Progressives know this but they've shown they'll do anything to distract from the issues at hand: the sweetheart deals between the unions and the Democrats and the fiscal sinkhole the State of Wisconsin is facing. Public opinion doesn't favor the Democrats. And refusing the governor's budget will only delay the reckoning and further blemish the left's reputation.

Unreal, in any case. Check all the links at

Protesters Disrespect Wisconsin Capitol

I e-mailed Ann last week thanking her for her coverage, and mentioned that I wished I was in Madison. And now this bugs the heck out of me, "At the Capitol today... there were signs taped up everywhere":

Wisconsin Disrespect

More pics at that top link, and video here: "Protesters at the Wisconsin Capitol disrespectfully have taped signs on and piled junk against the Veterans Memorial."

Southern Poverty Law Center Slurs Pamela Geller's SIOA as 'Hate Group'

The story's at New York Daily News, but notice how the designation includes Geller's "followers."

Hey, badge of honor. I hung out with both Pamela and Robert Spencer on the first day at CPAC. I'm probably more than a "follower." Maybe an "evil" co-conspirator for the preservation of American freedom. Oh, that sounds terrible. Can't stand up for liberty these days without being slurred as racist, that's for sure. Anyway, PR Newswire has this, "Human Rights Organization SIOA Vows to Fight Far-Left Propaganda Group's 'Hate Group' Designation":
A prominent national human rights and advocacy organization has vowed to fight against its designation by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a hard-Left propaganda group, as a "hate group."

The day after yet another deadly Islamic jihad terror plot involving weapons of mass destruction was thwarted in Texas, the SPLC issued its latest list of hate groups, including Stop Islamization of America (SIOA).

SIOA Executive Director Pamela Geller declared in a statement: "It's outrageous that the SPLC designates a group dedicated to protecting the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, and legal equality for all Americans as a 'hate group.' The SPLC, instead of standing for those freedoms, is carrying water for the real haters, the real neo-Nazi Jew-haters: the forces of Islamic supremacism and jihad. The SPLC doesn't even have a category for Islamic jihadi groups. The greatest threat facing our nation, our people, our world, and they are shilling for them."

SIOA Associate Director Robert Spencer pointed out that the Islamic supremacist hate group known as the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which the Justice Department designated an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terror funding case and has had several of its officials convicted of jihad terror activity, is not listed by the SPLC as a hate group. "That the SPLC would list SIOA and not CAIR as a hate group shows the hollowness and political motivation of the SPLC's classifications," Spencer said.

The Washington Times reported in November 2010 that "the SPLC is a small, hard-left political activist outfit known for promoting a panoply of radical liberal causes. The Center holds itself out as an objective monitor of potentially violent or subversive hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, skinheads and other white supremacists.

"But in recent years - and with increasing abandon - the SPLC has leveraged (abused, really) its rapidly decreasing political capital and waning credibility to target and undermine organizations that, rather than dealing in the business of genuine 'hate,' instead pose a direct threat to the advancement of postmodern secular-socialism generally - and to the Democratic Party specifically. ... In sum, the SPLC has become an extremist wolf in 'watchdog' clothing."

"My group is a human rights group," Geller said. "And these people are taken seriously? This is the morally inverted state of the world."
And see Pamela's, "Southern Poverty Law Center Maligns SIOA as 'Hate Group'."

I'm looking at
the list at SPLC, and it includes the 9/11 Christian Center at Ground Zero. Seriously. A Christian Center at Ground Zero is designated as a hate group, but the Park51 jihadis are in the clear. It's like Pamela says, "This is the morally inverted state of the world."

Saudis Vow to Boost Oil Production: Potential Unrest Threatens World's Biggest Petroleum Exporter

At Los Angeles Times, "Saudi Arabia's move to keep oil flowing brings crude prices down":

Reporting from Washington - Crude oil prices pulled back from highs not seen since 2008 as leaders from Saudi Arabia to the White House offered fresh assurances that the world wouldn't run short of oil despite violence in the Mideast and North Africa.

Oil futures hit $103 a barrel in New York trading Thursday but ended the day at $97.28, down 82 cents. In Europe, oil also fell in electronic trading after nearing $120 a barrel.

Petroleum prices had surged on fears that political unrest in Libya, Egypt and other countries could reduce global supplies — pushing fuel costs higher and throwing the fledgling global economic recovery into reverse.

But energy traders were calmed Thursday by news that Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter and OPEC's de facto leader, was in talks with European refiners to fill the gap caused by the disruption in Libya, which pumps about 2% of world oil consumption.

In addition, the International Energy Agency, a Paris-based energy advisor to industrialized countries, said it would tap oil reserves if needed. And the White House said the U.S. and other countries had the ability to act if world oil supplies were constrained.

Saudi Arabia's promises to rein in prices by boosting production might appear surprising given that its economy is almost entirely dependent on oil revenue. And Saudi leaders, finding themselves surrounded by unnerving populist revolts, have been frustrated that the U.S. seems sympathetic to the uprisings.

But the latest assurance makes public what the Saudis have been doing quietly since the fall: gradually increasing production to keep up with growing demand and to damp prices.

Like much of the rest of the world, the Saudis fear runaway oil prices. They understand that prices over $100 a barrel threaten to sap global economic growth and with it, demand for oil. With its vast reserves and infrastructure, Saudi Arabia is uniquely positioned to put a lid on prices, an imperative that politics so far has not derailed.
More at the link.

Mostly, the Saudis are worried about losing the support of Washington amid regional instability. Excellent discussion at the clip above. If Saudi Arabia topples, that'd be on the scale of the Egyptian revolution.

Oil Prices Surge on Middle East Unrest."

Union Fight Could Reshape American Politics

Well, I hope so. This is getting ridiculous. Crush the bastards.

See Mark Barabak, "
Republican Governors Are Going Up Against Organized Labor, Hitting at the Heart of the Democratic Party, Which Depends Heavily on Union Money and Manpower":

The labor fight blazing in Madison, Wis., and other state capitals is more than a feud over budgets or the rights of government employees. It is a battle that could fundamentally change the practice of politics in this country, with enormous consequences in 2012 and beyond.

By striking at organized labor, a pugnacious group of Republican governors is hitting at the heart of the Democratic Party, which banks heavily on union money and manpower. That explains the resistance from the White House, Democrats in Congress and, most fiercely, their liberal allies from New York to California.

"This is all about pure political power," said Paul Maslin, a party strategist whose office is just a block from Wisconsin's Capitol. "If they break the unions here, it will spread state by state, nationwide."

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has proposed deep cuts in benefits for most state workers, saying the belt-tightening is necessary to help close a projected $3.6-billion deficit. Labor unions have agreed to cuts in retirement and healthcare plans; if givebacks were the only issue, the impasse would presumably have ended by now.

But Walker, a newly elected Republican, has gone further by seeking to strip state employees of most of their collective bargaining rights. He would also make it harder for unions to organize state workers and collect dues, moves that could diminish labor's clout and deplete its coffers, ultimately hurting Democrats who lean on that support.

Republican governors in Ohio and elsewhere are eyeing similar moves, in what amounts to the greatest threat to organized labor since President Reagan fired striking air traffic controllers in the early 1980s.
More at the link.

See also Charles Krauthammer, "
Rubicon: A River in Wisconsin" (via Memeorandum):
Obama's Democrats have become the party of no. Real cuts to the federal budget? No. Entitlement reform? No. Tax reform? No. Breaking the corrupt and fiscally unsustainable symbiosis between public-sector unions and state governments? Hell, no.