Monthly Archives: October 2013

Transparency, yes; intimidation, no

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applicationLike so much that happens nowadays, the minor controversy over a modest proposal to revise Wisconsin’s campaign finance law says more about the political Left and its motivations than it says about the controversy itself.

State Senator Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) has introduced a bill raising to $500 the threshold at which a campaign contributor’s occupation must be disclosed in public records, from the $100 specified by current law. Grothman’s proposal also eliminates the requirement that the contributor’s employer be named.

Naturally, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign is horrified.

We won’t deny finding the Democracy Campaign’s database useful for tracking money contributed to Liberal candidates, but our use of it—criticism of ideas in the public policy debate—is different from the uses made of it by the Left.

Note the Capital Times’ reference to a Madison bank closing in 2011 over concerns about what union protesters might have done, guided to their target by campaign finance records. Note also that Madison police recommended the closing, the idea of securing private property and lawful commerce against mob action evidently being at best secondary to the convenience of protesters. “Nice little bank ya got here. Be a shame if anything happened to it.”

Which is precisely our point. Supposed “good government” operations, in the case of the Democracy Campaign, run by an ex-P-R flack for the Madison school district, tend to reserve their indignation for lawful behavior by Conservatives, overlooking the thuggish tactics of the Left.

We can’t speak for them and claim to know why they’re untroubled that disclosure of contributors’ personal information has triggered boycotts, a/k/a political extortion, and worse. But we can’t help noticing these are things the Left does to the Right, rather than the other way around.

Bless you, DNR

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Devil's Lake State Park, WisconsinWe’ve written thousands of words about the positive changes in Wisconsin government since the Walker administration took office, and after all that effort, one little event comes along that sums up the whole thing better than a million words of advocacy journalism.

Last week the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources replied to an order to shut down state parks and recreational facilities by essentially telling the federal government to buzz off and mind its own business.

There’s unmistakable improvement in attitudes at the top of the agency, but let’s face it: There are more productive ways to spend your time than trying to remember the last time people of  Conservative inclination were moved to cheer the DNR.

And it’s not just talk. Last week, DNR employees stepped up and physically removed barriers placed by federal officials, restoring public access to places where there’s no defensible reason people should be prohibited to go.

Like the symbolic—and in practical terms, fanciful—closure of the World War II Memorial, any closures in Wisconsin accomplished nothing other than to illuminate the breathtaking cynicism of the Obama  administration, since the closures required extraordinary actions by a government supposedly unequipped to perform ordinary ones.

Governor Walker suggested things would be better if the federal government worked more like Wisconsin’s, and since we could all use a good laugh, read through to the end of the Journal-Sentinel story where State Senate Minority Leader Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) takes a swipe at Walker’s alleged “my way or the highway” style of governance.

Did he mean Walker forced him and his 13 colleagues to hit the highway for nearly a month back in 2011 when they couldn’t have it their way?  Duh.

Anyway, three cheers for the DNR.

Remember the Memorial

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WWII MemorialIn recent weeks we’ve seen newspaper headlines from both sides of the Atlantic describing the President of the United States as a “small” man, and “petty.”  Those adjectives will need updating.  Our small, petty president this past week has done the impossible and further downsized himself.

There’s been no shortage of commentary on the “closing” of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., but even after more than a week, we won’t be denied our two cents’ worth.

First, make no mistake: This is an Obama operation.  Some will claim decisions about government shutdown-related closures are made by the various departments. But if the President of the United States wants veterans to have access to their memorial, they’ll have it, period.

Since he obviously doesn’t, we have this trashy episode of guerrilla street theater, serving no purpose but to insult veterans and their families with the despicable lie that Republicans are to blame for their embarrassment and inconvenience.

Okay, it serves one other purpose: It demonstrates, like nothing ever before, that the Left and especially Barack Obama can never stop themselves from overplaying their hand.

Millions of people who may not have realized it now fully understand that the World War II Memorial is situated in an open, public space, unguarded. Anyone can freely go there at any time of day or night, all year ‘round.  Unless someone very small and petty—and let’s add cruel —decides to make it an instrument of his malice.

And finally, the World War II Memorial isn’t a present from government. It was built with private donations from individual Americans. It would probably be rude and disrespectful to tell our amazing micro-president, “You didn’t build that.”

Darn! There we went and said it.