The difference it makes

What difference does it make whether the U.S. Ambassador to Libya was murdered by Al Qaeda operatives or just some bad boys looking for a thrill?  What difference, indeed?

Maybe it was because Hillary Clinton’s remark came perilously close to suggesting indifference to the terrorist killing of four Americans, that her coterie of media protectors so effusively praised her appalling performance in last week’s congressional inquiry. Maybe it was for the same reason that MSNBC host Chris Matthews felt such an obviously urgent need to trash-talk Senator Ron Johnson for asking the question lots of people would still like to hear answered.

But whatever their immediate motivation, the performance of the leftist media had the unmistakable look of a fire brigade in full panic mode.

Much conservative commentary too easily concedes the Secretary of Prevarication got away with shifting blame to underlings, and even playing down the idea that there was anyone to be blamed at all. But the media reaction clearly betrayed an understanding that something seriously bad was happening to the deceitful people and the false narrative they labor every day to sustain.

To borrow Clinton’s formulation, the difference it makes at this point is that, watching her theatrical wriggling to escape giving a straight answer, most neutral observers would recognize telltale signs that the highest officials of the Obama administration were angered by the Benghazi murders primarily because they contradicted a carefully crafted political lie, and only secondarily because they constituted an unprovoked act of war against Americans.

Stated more simply, unless the administration’s own convenience is impaired, they don’t give a damn, and now a lot more people know it.

That’s the difference it makes.

Check your sources

The past week brought stories about declining union membership, nationwide and here in Wisconsin.

Especially interesting is a Milwaukee Business Journal story noting shrinkage of Wisconsin union participation since Governor Walker’s Act 10 reforms introduced an element of choice.

The Business Journal quotes David Madland of the Center for American Progress Action Fund saying the decline in union membership is “alarming for all Americans.” He touts the eminently fair-minded view that “all workers who would like to join a union [should be] able to do so.”

But one detail is missing.  What’s the “Center for American Progress?”

Founded by ex-Clinton White House chief of staff John Podesta, it is run by Neera Tanden who helped pass ObamaCare after serving as domestic policy chief for the 2008 Obama-Biden campaign. The Action Fund is run by Virginia Democrat Tom Perriello, bounced from Congress after one term in which he proudly supported Cap and Trade legislation and Obamacare.

That helps clear up who finds declining union membership “alarming.” It also underlines the immense importance of Friday’s federal appeals court decision that Obama “recess appointments” to the National Labor Relations Board were unconstitutional and invalid. Our supreme leader violated the constitution so he could use the NLRB to dragoon workers into union membership, making them involuntarily disgorge dues money that might as well be paid directly to the Democratic Party as to the unions.

And there’s the fundamental dishonesty of David Madland claiming labor law reforms like Wisconsin’s impair the right to join or not join a union: His outfit is dedicated to prohibiting the worker choice he pretends to advocate.

As a deceased radio commentator used to say, now you know the rest of the story.

The Mickelson Effect

We regret Pro-golfer Phil Mickelson’s apology for hinting that he isn’t altogether comfortable with government taking upwards of 60 cents from every dollar he earns, but we understand.

It’s not Mickelson’s job to go around the country advocating for competitive tax rates. It’s Mickelson’s job to go around the country holing 12-foot putts with tens of thousands of dollars on the line, a complicated task made considerably more so if he’s thinking about some jackass from the Associated Press—advocating higher taxes is evidently understood to be part of the assignment even for sportswriters here in Obamaland—hectoring him to mind his manners and line up for the fleecing.    

On the other hand, some of the most Liberal people we know are experts at sheltering, deferring, and otherwise manipulating income so as to minimize its exposure to taxation, hence preventing its expenditure in service of priorities they and their fellow Liberals hold dear.

On that basis we conclude that Liberals don’t believe most people are so abjectly stupid as to sit still while the bulk of their income is confiscated for other people’s purposes. So why do they get in such a snit whenever someone else shows he’s not that stupid?

Wisconsin Club for Growth & Right Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Club for Growth is proud to be a founding sponsor of Right Wisconsin, a new multi-media forum for conservative news and commentary.

If you haven’t already signed up to receive the free daily Right Wisconsin Newsletter, please do so now.  The website launch is just six days away, and thanks to your continued support Wisconsin Club for Growth is making it possible for you to enjoy a free one week trial of the new website and all its features.

Wisconsin Club for Growth and Right Wisconsin are excited to partner in this effort to expand and improve conservative news and commentary in Wisconsin.

The blue band muddies the waters

Democrats in the Wisconsin Legislature are doing what they always do when someone tries to create jobs that aren’t on government payrolls: They’re cooking up ways to derail the idea while attempting to obscure their hostility to private business.

As Republicans introduced a new bill revising and reforming Wisconsin law to enable the return of iron mining, Democrats were angling to gum up the works. Last Friday, a half-dozen Assembly Democrats sent a sweet-sounding letter to the Republican chairs of the relevant committees, asking for public hearings and expert testimony.

Since it’s a no-brainer that those things will happen anyway, our guess is that the letter is intended to give Democrats an excuse to oppose the bill claiming the process was tainted because hearings aren’t being conducted in precisely the manner they requested.

Yesterday, the handwringing officially began with a press release from Senator Bob Jauch and Rep Janet Bewley.

“This is just another arrogant show of disrespect to the citizens of Northern Wisconsin, who have had to fight to have their voices heard throughout this process, despite the fact that they would be the ones most affected by the proposed mine” said Jauch. “Not only will this hearing be next to impossible for most north woods citizens to attend, those who are able will have their testimony limited. The chairs clearly have their minds made up about the future of the bill, making this a cruel hoax, not a public hearing.”

We have a question for Senator Jauch.

How easy was it for people from the north woods to attend Democrat Senator Cullen’s hearings in the same room last month?  Senator Jauch sat on the committee and never mentioned that his constituents weren’t heard.  In fact, they  couldn’t have their testimony heard because Jauch wouldn’t allow anyone he didn’t invite to speak.  Former DNR Secretary and lefty agitator George Meyer testified twice, but the hardware store owner from Hurley Jauch was supposed to represent never got to speak once.

The fact of the matter is that there were several public hearings on mining legislation last year, including more than one public hearing in Hurley.  Of course, things didn’t turn out so well for Senator Jauch and Rep. Bewley the last time they discussed mining with their constituents.

Meanwhile,  Janesville Senator Tim Cullen, who’s building a whole second career on seeming to support mining legislation, is complaining that the Republican bill’s 480-day timeline to decide whether permit applications are approved is too fast for the Army Corps of Engineers.

That will allow Democrats to claim they supported mining legislation no matter how relentlessly they oppose it.

It should surprise no one that the early going suggests another straight party-line affair. Democrats will spend the next several weeks bellowing their support for mining jobs, and they’ll kill the bill if Republicans allow them the latitude to do it.

Seventh Circuit Smack Down

Government unions haven’t said much about last Friday’s federal appeals court decision affirming the entirety of Wisconsin’s Act 10 collective bargaining reforms. Maybe that’s because even with one of the three judges, an Obama appointee, writing a partial dissent, the union plaintiffs were unable to get any of them completely on board.

That suggests limited prospects for a rehearing before the entire 11-member court, or for a U.S. Supreme Court appeal.

But the very possibility of the latter option underscores the importance of who is on the Court.  On Friday the 7th Circuit said state and local governments have no obligation to withhold dues on behalf of unions. Present and future Obama appointees might see it differently, whatever the law and constitution may say.

Similarly noteworthy is the importance of state judicial elections. Additional Act 10 lawsuits remain alive in other federal courts and the Wisconsin court system. As the campaign for state Supreme Court heats up in the coming months, “reformers” will turn up their chatter about doing away with judicial elections.

But electing judges is the citizens’ last line of defense against a judiciary hand-picked by Liberal elites. The Left feigns indignation over ugly campaign rhetoric, but attentive voters will note that the ugliness relates directly to the Liberal candidate’s probability of losing. And ugly campaigns are still preferable to crossing our fingers and hoping for the best.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (its motto—no kidding: “We Make America Happen,”) issued a statement Friday saying they’ll “continue using every method and avenue open to us and will not rest until workplace rights are restored for all public service employees.”

According to the 7th Circuit, workplace rights are safe and sound. Mission accomplished, AFSCME.

What we’re up against

A Pennsylvania five-year old has been suspended from kindergarten for telling a friend she intended to shoot her with a pink plastic “Hello Kitty” squirt gun that discharges soap bubbles.  School officials characterized this as “a terroristic threat,” later reducing the accusation to “threatening to harm another student.”

What’s this have to do with the Club for Growth agenda of economic freedom?

It’s an unparalleled example of the debilitated capacity of civil institutions to comprehend, much less apply, standards of personal responsibility and accountability. In an America with half its households receiving income transferred from the other half, at the direction of government, this presents a formidable challenge.

We’re at least three decades deep into a civic environment where timid authorities, paralyzed by the thought of suppressing actual bad behavior, resort to absurd demonstrations of force against whoever they can safely push around, to prove they are to be taken seriously.

The bill comes due when the only thing demonstrated is profound stupidity, exposing an unfitness to respond in any useful way should a genuine problem—say decaying math or literacy skills—arise. Closing the circle on the societal and economic consequences, it’s important to note that such incompetence is found to occur in conjunction with a legacy of government union dominance.

Reinvigorating the U.S. economy is a task made infinitely more complicated by civil institutions that lack the judgment—not to mention the moral confidence—to differentiate between children blowing soap bubbles and “terroristic threats.”

Getting the big things right requires first getting the little things right. There’s at least a generation’s work to do on the little things.