Celebrating diversity, Madison-style

It’s almost impossible to venture outdoors in Madison without being instructed by someone’s rear bumper to “celebrate diversity” or “coexist.”  It’s also nearly impossible to miss the fact that what might be just another mush-headed  Liberal admonition anywhere else is considered a mandate in Wisconsin’s capital city, a mandate with a narrow set of compliance options.

And as happens so often with mandates issued by the Left, the Left is exempt.

In a story by former Capital Times reporter Dave Blaska, published by In Business Wisconsin, Blaska describes a note placed on the windshield of a truck with a pro-Walker bumper sticker, parked in one of Madison’s lefty neighborhoods. The note reads:

“Dear neighbor:  We value opinions and diversity—so color yourself lucky. In every other neighborhood in this town, your truck would have required bodywork or at least a paint job (for key damage) by now. We cannot wait until your hero leaves our Capitol in handcuffs—and you this neighborhood!”

It would be a dangerous mistake to assume the note-writer is not representative of the Dane County mentality. Imagine a person so mentally twisted as to pay tribute to his own broadminded tolerance and superior virtue by means of a menacing, anonymous threat. Then imagine hundreds of thousands of such people, seething with hatred and intent upon nullifying any decision by the statewide electorate that displeases them.

The stakes in the upcoming recall elections could hardly be higher. It’s an instructive moment when the Left tells us exactly how high, in its own poisonous words.

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Succeeding in spite of it all

If we seem to be dwelling on the horrors of Liberal intolerance, there are at least two good reasons why we do it:  1) We don’t want to see the rest of our state successfully ambushed in off-schedule elections; and 2) We want to make sure people of good will recognize the urgency of defending themselves in those elections.

Nevertheless it’s refreshing to have good news to celebrate, some positive things to support when we go to the polls in April…   and May …and June….

That good news showed itself in a couple of ways this past week. One was the forecast by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, which prepares economic projections for all 50 states, saying it expects a 1.95 percent growth rate for Wisconsin’s economy over the next six months.

If the number sounds modest, bear in mind Wisconsin has seen nothing as good since 2003. Maybe it’s just a coincidence but we can’t help remembering 2003 was the year Democrats began their eight-year control of the governor’s office.

More good news turned up in the February employment figures, with unemployment holding at 6.9 percent, the lowest rate in more than three years and lots better than the national numbers. Four thousand new private-sector jobs were created along with 4,300 in the government sector, which puts the lie to Leftist howling about the public sector being impoverished by the Walker reforms.

All told, a good week, considering the need to buck a federal headwind of ballooning deficits and dictatorial regulation. Here’s to solving that problem before the next February jobs report comes out.

What’s going on here?

Maybe it’s just the standard blather but then again, maybe we’re spotting the front edge of yet another coordinated propaganda campaign.

Within a five-day period in mid-March, two ostensibly independent reports turned up singing the same tune: the accusation that state government in Wisconsin operates in the shadowy mists and is to be suspected of lacking integrity.

We bow to no one in our certainty that government needs to be kept under close watch at all times, but two highly similar suggestions that something is fishy, timed less than a week apart, make us wonder, especially considering the sources.

The first “report” came from WISPIRG, the Wisconsin arm of a Ralph Nader operation that dines upon involuntary student fees on college campuses nationwide.

WISPIRG (Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group—no kidding,) says it detects insufficient transparency in state government spending. That’s the kind of Homer Simpson moment we’ve long since come to expect from the clumsy WISPIRG, which—wait for it!—doesn’t disclose the sources of its own funding.  (Its web site says it’s citizen-financed, without mentioning that the citizens don’t get a choice.)

The second “report,” popping up five days later, is equally easy to spot for a set-up job, because it’s a product of the George Soros-funded Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism which, unlike the transparency mavens at WISPIRG, identifies its funding sources if you take a few minutes to look.

We can’t claim to know this is a coordinated campaign offensive, but Liberal front groups pumping up clouds of suspicion around state government with off-schedule elections just a couple of months away? Let’s just say it wouldn’t be a big departure from the Leftist playbook.

Breach of trust

It was bad enough that four members of the UW Board of Regents signed the Walker recall petitions. Then we learned 29 circuit court judges did likewise.

Nobody’s required to like Scott Walker. But these people are entrusted with serious public responsibilities and should exhibit something better than base ignorance. Their positions demand what an old teacher of ours called “a sense of the fitness of things.”

These judges and regents who apply our state’s laws and guide its leading educational institutions dislike policies resulting from the informed choice of a majority of voters, and have joined a minority seeking to overturn lawful elections.  If that’s consistent with “a sense of the fitness of things,” lock your doors.

Sadly, the week brought other examples of institutions of civil society wallowing in the toxic swamp of anything-goes politics. The state Judicial Commission, evidently intent on purging Justice David Prosser from the Supreme Court, urged he be punished for the notorious “choke-hold” confrontation with Justice Ann Walsh Bradley.

Bradley’s flimsy story collapsed last summer and a special prosecutor dropped the matter. But Milwaukee attorney Franklyn Gimble, investigating for the Judicial Commission, wants another shot.

We guessed the Associated Press reporter who wrote the story might have forgotten something and whaddya know? We needed five minutes to discover Mr. Gimble is a recall petitioner and campaign contributor who, between 2008 and 2010, gave more than $5,000 to Liberals including Tom Barrett, Jim Doyle, and, SHAZAM! Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, who mentored Prosser’s 2011 re-election opponent.

The eight-member Judicial Commission itself included two recall petitioners, five contributors to Liberal candidates including Justices Bradley and Abrahamson and one member whose term actually expired two years before the Prosser/Bradley incident. Good luck, Justice Prosser.

Clearly, prevailing in the recall elections is only one step toward reclaiming Wisconsin’s civil institutions from those who use them as political blunt instruments.

Moonbat alert

Last week we drew your attention to a valuable new project to hold the media accountable for their politically convenient omissions and often misleading coverage.

With so much skullduggery to comment on, there’s never enough space to mention it all, but here are two positively bizarre items we’ve held onto from mid-March.  First is a convoluted scenario cooked up by ex-Journal-Sentinel business reporter Avrum Lank:

Mr. Lank, a petition signer with a Recall Walker sign prominently displayed at his residence, appears to be so deep into Walker Derangement Syndrome that he’s confused the Governor with Richard Nixon—or perhaps pretending Walker is Nixon makes it more satisfying for Liberals to hate him.

It’s worth emphasizing that in his weird yarn-spinning about a Walker resignation driven by the ongoing John Doe investigation, Lank doesn’t mention it was Walker who requested the investigation in the first place.  Surely he knows that; it’s even been mentioned in the paper he used to work for.

Second is this astonishing Journal-Sentinel column by Eugene Kane, parroting the Lena Taylor line that Democrats really, really, oh-so-badly wanted to pass mining legislation and it was those worker-hating Republicans who killed it and threw away thousands of jobs.

The Journal-Sentinel is far from unique: Wisconsin is teeming with reporters and editors who evidently think the people of this state are mostly idiots. The Hold Them Accountable project is a fine way to show them otherwise.

You might also consider giving the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editors a call to let them know what you think of their impartial news coverage.

MARTIN KAISER, Sr. Vice President/Editor
(414) 224-2345 mkaiser@journalsentinel.com 
GEORGE STANLEY, Vice President/Managing Editor
(414) 224-2248 gstanley@journalsentinel.com

Trying it their way, VII

Regular readers know we’ve given lots of attention in recent months to the one thing Democrats never seem to think it’s important to discuss: their program for Wisconsin if they should succeed in removing Governor Walker from office.

We’ve looked at states where government employee unions have been able to conduct business as usual, and the effect this has had on those states’ fiscal condition and the burdens borne by their taxpayers and job-creators. It hasn’t been a pretty sight.

This week we get to look at a city run forever by Democrats in a state that, like Wisconsin, elected a Republican governor in 2010 to replace a Liberal Democrat.

That city would be Detroit, bankrupt in all but name because of impossible promises made to government employee unions.

Republican Governor Rick Snyder is trying to work out a plan for the state of Michigan to help Detroit bridge the gap financially while it rationalizes its labor agreements. How tough that will be was outlined last Thursday by the Wall Street Journal.

The Journal points out that Democratic Mayor Dave Bing is laying off city employees to save money, but his hands are tied by collective bargaining agreements that forbid benefit changes.  Detroit’s benefit obligations to retirees are so immense that Bing could lay off all 11,000 current city employees and still not solve the problem, the Journal notes.  Where do you go with this?

“The best solution would be for the state to limit collective bargaining as Republican Governor Scott Walker did in Wisconsin,” the Journal says.

Thankfully, Walker got it done before Wisconsin found itself like Michigan, with 109 cities in financial distress.  We applied the brakes in time.  Recall supporters will never say it, but their agenda is to cut the brake lines.

D is for Destruction

Iron mining is dead in Wisconsin for the time being, but we aren’t close to finished dealing with the consequences or holding the job-killers accountable.

It was Dale W. Schultz who handed them the bullet to kill mining jobs, but it was Democrats who pulled the trigger, and it was a communal effort: Remember, not one Democrat in either house voted for the mining bill.

If this seems bizarre, it should. Why would every last member of a legislative delegation vote to deny their constituents the opportunity for a good job?  One explanation is the deliberate dumping of blue-collar constituencies in favor of the public employee unions who care more about defeating Scott Walker than keeping their own members employed.  A letter signed by public union bosses from South Eastern Wisconsin illustrates their callousness toward their own members.

Blue-collar union members like Lyle Balistreri are starting to get the message and they blame the 16 Senate Democrats for killing thousands of jobs at a time when they are badly needed.  Balistreri, President of the Milwaukee Building and Construction Trades Council, sent recall enthusiasts and their Democrat puppets an equally clear message at a rally in Milwaukee last week.

“For the Senate Democrats to vote against this bill is a sign that they’re not with us. They’re certainly not job creators, and in fact they’re job killers. … The working people in the state of are taking a beating. Democrats and Republicans are at each other’s throats, and this sort of thing has to stop.”

After standing with the government unions in Madison last winter, laborers, carpenters, and electricians have been slapped in the face more than once by Democrats.

Hours before Democrats killed mining jobs; we saw an e-mail from Wisconsin Progress, the Madison branch-office of the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress. It served notice that a deal in the making had been detected, and any “weak-kneed Democrat” who followed through and voted for mining jobs would become a target. The word “primary” wasn’t mentioned. There was no need.

If you’re a skilled-trade union member and you think you have a home in the Democratic Party, we’ve got some bad news.