Monthly Archives: February 2015

Step away from the steak…

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cowThe results of the last two sets of nationwide midterm elections give us reason to believe normally rational people understand this, but it’s never a waste of time to reiterate that big-government Liberals  will never, ever, be satisfied that enough of your life is under their control.

Take, for instance, last Friday’s report from a pair of federal bureaucracies advising Americans to adopt the dietary habits of ruminant quadrupeds, pay a special tax if they eat dessert, and submit to workplace hectoring by officious twits tasked with issuing helpful reminders that we really shouldn’t eat so much, or at minimum should eat more things no one enjoys.

It will hardly come as a surprise that at least some of the impetus for this latest assault on our freedom to decide what we put in our mouths comes from that most smugly loathsome branch of the Leftist family tree, the environmental movement, which grafted itself long ago onto the most pathetic branch, the vegetarians, to make common cause against global warming.

Our recommendation is that they waste no time, head immediately to Boston, begin accosting people who are braving single-digit temperatures to figure out what to do with nine feet of snow, and advise them that they ought not be stocking up with candy bars or digging into a steak when their work is done, because meat production is overheating the planet.

Those people just elected a Republican governor and they will have shovels.  It could be amusing.

The Giuliani Eruption

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It’s increasingly obvious that the scandalized chatter over Rudy Giuliani saying he doesn’t see evidence that President Obama “loves America” aims at two things: portraying Giuliani as a typical Republican nut case, standard playbook stuff for the Left, and discrediting Scott Walker because he was in the room when it happened.

But the harder the Left sells those themes, the more its spin replicates the White House penchant for denying the obvious: The Liberal media dismiss Obama’s lifelong associations with people who detest the United States, even as they loom inevitably in the background of the hit pieces against Giuliani.

Here’s this week’s clue to Obama’s attitude toward the nation—more specifically toward its system of ordered liberty under a constitution that limits the powers of government:

Tomorrow, the Federal Communications Commission votes on applying early 20th century telephone regulation to the Internet, in a thinly-veiled ploy to extract new taxes and stifle political speech.

Obama and his puppet FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler say don’t worry, they won’t enforce the law’s more antiquated and burdensome provisions.  Translation: they’ll enforce the law selectively, to suit their own convenience. Which group do you think likeliest to be discovered violating federal law? Obama supporters or Obama critics?

We admit they don’t hide what they’re doing, and it doesn’t resemble the European socialism Obama is often accused of favoring nearly so much as the unbridled lawlessness of a third-world dictatorship.

Rudy Giuliani wasn’t wrong but he teed up a needless question, relevant mainly as an excuse for a pretend controversy useful in disrupting the defense of America’s civic and cultural institutions against Obama’s fundamental hostility.
A good rule is to pay less attention to what any president says, than to what he does.

UW: “Math is hard!”

Posted in School Reform, Weekly Newsletter on by .

calculatorThe Washington Monument Game was a familiar con long before anyone talked about so-called government shutdowns.

Its local version, the School Board Game, is the tactic of responding to taxpayer demands for spending restraint by saying, “Sure, we can control spending.  We’ll eliminate band and football.”  At the federal level, read: “…we’ll close the Washington Monument.”

Well, the Washington Monument reopened last spring after being closed for three years—not by budget cuts but to repair earthquake damage. Meanwhile, the University of Wisconsin system’s political seismographs picked up a tremor from Governor Walker’s budget plan, and the UW’s top brass are all playing the school board game.

The state funding cuts in the Walker proposal amount to 2.5 percent of the UW system’s $6 billion budget and come with fewer, not more strings attached; that is, greater independence for the system, whose reaction suggests less money and more oversight might be an even better idea.

School Board Game Alert: Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank, obviously in need of remedial arithmetic, has concluded the 2.5 percent cut means a six percent cut reaching throughout the sacred university system and layoff notices will go out in April.

Meanwhile, the self-serving bureaucracy, still impervious to the idea of being held accountable, uses taxpayer-funded university resources to orchestrate political push-back against the Walker budget and continues sitting on a giant slush fund discovered by legislators two years ago. School Board Game Alert No. 2: The UW couldn’t possibly use that slush fund to cushion budget cuts.

Oh, and the noisiest faculty critics of Walker’s budget don’t teach any classes. As in n-o-n-e.

Cows don’t typically dig holes, but Wisconsin’s most sacred cow is in one, and digging deeper.

True Leadership

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Contact-your-legislatorIn the debate over Right to Work in Wisconsin, one leader stands out: State Senator Scott Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald recognized a vacuum of leadership on the issue and stepped up to fill it.

With a Republican governor and strong majorities in both houses of the legislature, Fitzgerald understood that his party could not indefinitely delay action on Right to Work.

“This has to be dealt with now and early in the session,” said Fitzgerald. “We can’t tip toe through this session without addressing Right to Work.”

Ironically, momentum for action on Right to Work began building after former Assembly Speaker and union lobbyist John Gard, admonished Assembly Republicans to steer clear of the issue at a private donor meeting in December.  Gard was joined by Terry McGowan, president of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 139. McGowan told the group that his union had supported Republicans in recent elections.

According to Rightwisconsin.com, “Gard told the group of Republican legislators that they must be concerned about the politics of addition, not subtraction; and that the headwinds faced in the 2016 election mean that Republicans cannot afford to lose support or members. The implied message was that pursuing Right to Work could cost some members their seats in 2016.”

Last week, Fitzgerald announced that he had the votes to pass Right to Work in the Wisconsin State Senate, and he and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos called an extraordinary session to take up legislation this week.  As the Capitol Square in Madison is once again flooded with union activists who want to deny your right to choose whether or not to join a union, remember to say thank you to State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and his members for having the courage to stand up and be counted.

And please contact your legislators at 1-800-362-9472 today. Tell them that you’re standing with them on Right to Work.

Not sure who your legislators are? Click here, then Find My Legislator

The Energy Policy Shell Game

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Shell game with moneyThe environmental community has always tied itself in knots trying to attribute absolutely everything that happens, weather-wise, to human-induced global warming, but the past two weeks have been especially, um…challenging.

The same week that major airports closed and thousands of flights were cancelled by January’s New England blizzard, EPA administrator Gina McCarthy headed for Colorado to worry that winter sports would soon be a thing of the past.

We didn’t see it but somewhere, we’re betting, some leftist asserted that the blizzard was both caused by global warming and reduced in immensity by global warming.

The Greens’ gyrations are best understood as what passes for subtlety in the Left’s comprehensive campaign to restrict American energy use, exemplified last week by the Obama administration’s combined claims and announcements about U.S. oil production.

The president, 1) claimed credit for the increased production that’s occurred in spite of his active measures to suppress it wherever he can exercise control; 2) announced he was putting an additional umpty-million acres of prime Alaska territory in wilderness status—thus preventing oil exploration—and 3) trumpeted his opening of certain East Coast waters to offshore oil leasing.

Don’t be fooled. The reason he opened the eastern waters is that the combined local opposition and lack of nearby supporting infrastructure make it unlikely anyone will want to try drilling there. And the reason he closed the Alaska acreage is to starve the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, which under federal law must be shut down and dismantled if its throughput falls below prescribed limits.

Contrived by a private entity, this would be called sabotage. Committed by the Obama administration, it’s known as energy policy.

If you’ve got it, they want it

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stealing_ideasThe Obama administration’s walk-back of its proposal to tax so-called “529” college savings accounts mustn’t be confused with a loss of interest in the idea. Here, the only principle that matters is that if you have money, they are thinking about how they can get it.

The general outrage that followed the State-of-the Union proposal is easily understandable in that taxing withdrawals from 529 accounts would be a brazen breach of taxpayer trust, but it also needs to be understood on an even more fundamental level.

Remember, the idea was to use the proceeds of taxing 529s  as a funding source for the “two years of free community college for everybody” rolled out a couple of weeks earlier—in other words, to take the money families had saved and use it to pay for a government-issued version of the thing they were saving for.  And therein lies a flawless, textbook illustration of what the Obama administration stands for, and what it most despises and fears.

People who work and save to provide for their own children’s education represent a mortal threat to the kind of government the current administration strives to become.  When people give their offspring a chance to avoid indebtedness and dependency on government, they also liberate them from fearing to hold thoughts or perform actions the government might dislike.

Holding a 529 in today’s America makes you an Enemy of the State.

Noisily “withdrawn,” the tax thievery proposal is still in the Obama budget.  This document is dead on arrival in Congress, but don’t be complacent.  As the burden of growing entitlements pushes government finances closer to outright collapse, ideas like this will look better and better to a Congress of either party.

Got a Roth IRA?  Just asking…

Finish the Job

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jobcreatefuture Young public school teachers filled with enthusiasm for their profession, state pensioners, and property taxpayers statewide have reason to be grateful for the Act 10 collective bargaining reforms introduced four years ago.

The young teachers now get to keep their jobs instead of being laid off to preserve burned-out time-servers, the pensioners can expect their state trust funds to remain solvent, and the property taxpayers save all around.

Those were urgent priorities, optional only if the prospect of a bankrupt state is considered acceptable. Four years later, there’s one more task to complete. This one is optional, but it’s the right thing to do: Extend the same right—the free choice to join or not join a union—to private sector employees.

This week we ran across a pointed reminder why the Act 10 public-sector changes were not a discretionary matter.

But why is it important to extend a right-to-work law to cover employment in the private sector?  Because there is no justification for private sector workers to be subject to the kind of coercion public employee unions have used to manipulate the taxpayers at large. There is no need to allow it, and there is no excuse for government permitting it.

Call it equal protection. You could look it up under “Fourteenth Amendment.” Properly understood as the worker’s right to choose union membership or decline it, the public supports right-to-work. The Legislature should pass it. The Governor should sign it.