Monthly Archives: December 2014

Here We Go Again

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SpyingFor readers under 60, the name Frank Church won’t ring many bells.  Readers over that age will recognize the late Idaho Senator as the Diane Feinstein of the 1970s, and realize that the reckless moral preening exhibited last week by Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats is nothing new.

History may not always repeat itself but one sure bet is that wars supported at the outset by Democrats will be denounced by Democrats the instant they see political gain in doing so.  So it is with the War on Terror, so it was with Vietnam.

Maybe Vietnam was the right place for a confrontation, maybe not. But what most Americans, including most Democrats (at the time) saw as the expansion of murderous communism, Senator Church saw as evidence of an “awakening world” where the exercise of American power was a very bad thing.

About the time that war ended, Church went hunting for criminal conduct by the U.S. intelligence community. Sound familiar?

Through it all, the handmaiden of Liberal efforts to bollix U.S. intelligence-gathering, a/k/a The New York Times, has been there to chronicle their success, then:

…and now:

In the late 1970s the Church committee gutted and demoralized U.S. intelligence. By the early 1980s Islamist terrorism was on the rise.

Knowing what we know about the inhuman savagery of radical Islamists it’s prudent to assume they never cease plotting. When we pass a day without hearing they’ve committed some obscene barbarism, it’s because that day, the barbarians were thwarted or delayed by actionable intelligence.  They stop committing evil when they are dead and the United States Government has no higher or better purpose than to render them so.  Crippling its intelligence capabilities assures a result we’ve seen before.

FLASH: Obama to Expand Right-to-Work

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lunchroomBarack Obama wants Wisconsin to become a right-to-work state.

That would be one way—a very strange but ultimately logical way—to interpret the 3-2 vote last week by the Obama National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) allowing unions to hold organizing elections on such short notice that no employer would have time to assemble reasonably comprehensive arguments against unionization, and mandating union access to employer-owned email systems and employees’ personal information for use in “organizing” (read: intimidation) campaigns.

Unions can conduct votes on ten days’ notice.  Employers must hold a pre-election hearing within eight days of receiving notice. No information that isn’t presented in an employer statement one day before the hearing can be brought up at the hearing. Oh, and unions get to use company email and employees’ home addresses, home phones, and home email to “convince” them to support organization.

The weekend The Wall Street Journal said the NLRB compares union email access to employees gathering on their own time at a “cafeteria” to discuss union activities. Well, okay, but there’s a word for people hanging out at a “cafeteria” for purposes other than business with the cafeteria: Loitering.

In Wisconsin, at least, this is an especially inopportune moment for the NLRB’s naked display of strong-arm tactics. It will succeed mainly in giving a high-octane boost to the growing momentum for right-to-work legislation.  Unions might get to exercise the powers asserted by the NLRB—so strongly suggestive of a Mafia protection racket—but if they can’t force workers to pay dues, what’s the point?

Think of it as the NLRB giving Big Labor bosses permission to fish on Wisconsin employers’ pond.  The NLRB may be able to do that, but there’s nothing to prevent the Wisconsin Legislature draining the pond before the bosses get there.

This Is What Accountability Looks Like

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voterThe deceptively-named Government Accountability Board had, on Friday, what we may hope will be a close encounter of the last kind with Wisconsin’s nonpartisan, nationally respected, and formidable Legislative Audit Bureau.

Among other things, the GAB has not conducted timely inquiries to detect the possibility of ineligible voters casting ballots and has been inconsistent in applying its own penalty schedule for campaign finance, lobbying, and ethics violations. Here’s the full audit report.

Beyond establishing cause to rid Wisconsin of a contemptible agency, the report prompts reflection on how government should pursue accountability. Question One: “Accountable to whom?”  Implicit in its misbegotten title is the idea of holding government accountable to the public, but the GAB doesn’t properly do that.

It’s a creation of politicians whose natural reluctance to be held accountable extended to an aversion to the sometimes uncomfortable business of holding others accountable—fobbing off the task on unelected regulators who proved  all too accommodating to the proclivities of a Liberal staff.

Republican plans to replace the GAB are already being labeled “partisan.”  It’s the GOP’s responsibility to make its case that thoughtfully-designed partisan government is preferable precisely because it is accountable to voters.  The public will have no trouble deciding which party does the better job of keeping government honest.

Unaccountable government is what you get when elected officials punt their responsibilities to unelected panels of experts on the pretense that they will be above politics. Expect results at least as undesirable as the GAB if the Left ever succeeds in creating sham nonpartisan commissions to put control of legislative redistricting or judicial selection beyond the reach of voters.

The false promise of eliminating partisanship succeeds only in allowing partisanship to be conducted surreptitiously by agents who are immune to accountability on Election Day.

Renewables, Gruberized

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The lampsIt isn’t possible to repeat this too often: In January 2008, Barack Obama told the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle that his plan to save the Earth from global warming would “cause electric bills to necessarily skyrocket.”

In other words, every time you see higher costs for using electricity, a/k/a the stuff that makes a 21st-century, first-world civilization possible, it’s because Obama and his environmentalist cronies have deliberately contrived another way  to artificially raise the price.

This artificial price-raising has two purposes: to force people of modest means to consume less and, more importantly, to make expensive, unreliable energy sources like wind and solar appear to be price-competitive with fossil-fueled energy.  They aren’t and never will be. Quite a few people have known that for a long time but keep quiet for fear of government and media retaliation.

We bring it up here because the Obama administration’s run of bad luck continued just before Thanksgiving as two architects of a renewable energy scheme—neither one named Gruber—let the cat out of the bag in a professional journal.

On November 18 in the IEEE (Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Spectrum, two of Silicon Valley’s best and brightest admitted that today’s renewable energy technologies simply don’t work for their government-mandated purposes.

Just like Obamacare, renewable energy has been sold on false premises, and just like Obamacare, we’ve now heard about it from people who toiled to put part of the boondoggle together.  The only difference is, this time the architects aren’t bragging.

Don’t think for one minute that this will stop the federal government and any number of ditzy (read: “east- and west-coast”) states from mandating even more “renewable” energy. But now at least there’s a stronger foundation for the necessary ridicule.

Happy Thanksgiving, here’s your layoff notice

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pinkslipLast Wednesday, while lots of families were getting turkeys ready for the oven, the Obama Environmental Protection Agency served up a turkey of a different sort, to borrow Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce’s apt description.

The turkey in question is a new ozone regulation, ridiculously tightening the existing and fully adequate standard to one many areas of the U.S. won’t be able to meet without curtailing energy use and, especially, new growth of manufacturing businesses.

Some of the areas that can expect problems meeting the new standard are in eastern Wisconsin. The way it works is, if you aren’t in “attainment” of the federal ozone standard, no emissions can be added. Nothing new can get built unless something else shuts down:  before a new manufacturing facility could be built, one with a higher emissions profile would have to cut back or close.

It’s been that way for years, but the existing standard is achievable—sorry—“attainable.”

Attainable, though, isn’t what seems to interest the current EPA crowd. What interests them seems to be how far they can go, messing with private business, limiting economic activities to those that suit their tastes, and restricting energy use.

It shouldn’t pass unnoticed that barely a month ago, WMC was warning about the costs to Wisconsin consumers from an entirely different Obama EPA regulation, the pending carbon dioxide emissions rule.

All of this is happening because the administration is conducting an ideological jihad against any activity that depends on reliable sources of energy.  Let’s hope the new Congress has the fortitude to pull the EPA’s plug before it succeeds in pulling countless others.

Distraction by Destruction?

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In journalism school, Lesson One is usually the dual-purpose phrase “he said.” It identifies the source of a remark, but just as importantly, affirms the impossibility of knowing what’s in another person’s mind.

One byproduct of last week’s havoc in Ferguson, Missouri is the abundant speculation over President Obama’s reaction.  Between the lines it’s not hard to find backhanded approval: he deplores arson and vandalism, but because it compromises the rioters’ message.

On Tuesday, he was quoted saying “The frustrations that we’ve seen are not about a particular incident. They have deep roots in many communities of color who have a sense that our laws are not always being enforced uniformly or fairly.”

We don’t know if he winked.

But that’s been covered to death; we’re still wondering what was in his mind.  Was it unsubtle encouragement of racial score-settling, or a masterfully subtle attempt to direct Ferguson’s frustrations toward something besides legitimate disappointment in a half-century of expansionist government, currently overseen by someone they understandably regard as their own guy?

Black unemployment is double the rate for whites. The black poverty rate is nearly double that for whites. Both gaps have worsened under Obama. Median black household income has lost two percentage points against the white median since he assumed office.

Our hunch is a lot of Ferguson residents are frustrated, and have no need for those statistics because they’re living with the practical consequences. The administration’s trick is to deflect the blame.

If U.S. racial friction is at frightening levels, the new Republican congressional majorities have a precious opportunity to disarm it with a pro-growth agenda offering color-blind opportunity. It would be brilliant politics. Even better, it would be the right thing to do.

Time to give workers a choice

Posted in Jobs and the Economy, Wisconsin News on by .

Guest Column by Lorri Pickens

On Monday, I was pleased to announce the launch of Wisconsin Right to Work (WRTW), a grassroots organization dedicated to advancing freedom in the workplace. I will serve as its first Executive Director. Our primary goal is to ensure that all individuals, whether or not they choose to join a union, have the same benefits, rights and protections.

A Wisconsin-based organization, WRTW has no national affiliations and will advocate for Right to Work reforms through citizen engagement.  We believe now is the time to engage our citizens in a meaningful dialogue with opinion leaders and policy makers.

Wisconsin’s public employees’ strong desire for their right to choose is evidenced by the sharp decline in enrollment in teacher unions following the passage of the ACT 10 collective bargaining reforms. Wisconsin Right to Work believes private sector workers should have the same right to choose.

The benefits of giving all Wisconsin workers the freedom of choice extends beyond the freedom itself. Right to Work states enjoy faster job growth, lower unemployment rates and higher per capita income than non-Right to Work States.

Simply put, our economic future depends on workforce and labor reforms. As Wisconsin residents age out of the workforce, Wisconsin employers will rely, in part, on a young and educated pool of professionals. Yet between 2008 and 2012, Wisconsin lost on average 14,000 college graduates, while Right to Work states saw an increase of 11.3 percent in workers aged 25-34 over an eight year period.

Please visit our website at http://freedomtoworkwi.com, or like us on Facebook  and help spread the word.  For more information, contact Lorri Pickens at lorri@freedomtoworkwi.com.