April Showers

We call last week “astounding.” How else to describe a run of seven days in which the President of the United States:

  • Proposed to limit the amount of the earnings Americans are permitted to save in an IRA or 401k, lest too many end up with “substantially more than is needed to fund reasonable levels of retirement saving.”
  • Responded in his familiar why-must-I-be-bothered-by-this manner to the massacre of innocent Americans—in Boston!—and 48 hours later,
  • Revealed what he does care about in an angry rant accusing his allies of political cowardice for rejecting his gun control bill and its real purpose: the political exploitation of crime-victim families.

Elsewhere:

  • Workers at the lower rungs of the entertainment industry saw Obamacare slash their incomes.
  • Obamacare’s chief Senate architect, Max Baucus (D) Montana, lectured Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius—that he sees a “huge train wreck” coming as the abominable health insurance takeover is implemented.
  • And political hit man David Axelrod test-drove Obama’s reflexive slander that the Boston murders might have been the work of presumably right-wing tax protesters.

Despite having amassed a sizeable re-election war chest, Monday Montana Senator Max Baucus joined a growing list of incumbent Democrat Senators to announce that they will not seek re-election next year.  It makes you wonder what they’re anticipating a repeat of 2010.

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Another judicial embarrassment

The 19th century Chicago journalist Finley Peter Dunne wrote that newspapers took it upon themselves to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” In the present century the mission seems to have degenerated into covering the ample posteriors of the comfortable.

Last week the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel strained so hard covering a comfortable posterior that it made our heads hurt miles away.  An incumbent judge in Ozaukee County evidently needs help explaining his signature on the 2011 Walker recall petition and why it shouldn’t be seen as the kind of partisan political act judges are supposed to avoid.

The Journal Sentinel urges upon its readers the fantastic tale that Judge Thomas Wolfgram signed the recall petition only because he wanted more information about the Governor’s Act 10 collective bargaining reforms.

Say what? A 19-year veteran of the Ozaukee County bench wanted to learn more about complex legislation and concluded this worthy goal would be best served by removing the governor from office?

If Wolfgram actually believes what he told the newspaper, he shouldn’t be judging pie-eating contests, much less disputable matters of law and justice.  And if the Journal Sentinel believes it, the writers and editors badly need to converse occasionally with almost anybody outside their circle of co-workers.

Aside from its helpful snapshot of the current state of American journalism, the Journal Sentinel account does provide one locally useful bit of information: A highly-qualified opponent is challenging Wolfgram in the April election. Ozaukee County voters may reasonably conclude that whatever else candidate Joseph Voiland might do as a judge, it would be difficult to imagine him or anyone else spinning a yarn more preposterous than what Wolfgram has said trying to keep his job.


Breaking through

Because we never hesitate to criticize the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, we feel an obligation to give credit when it’s due—in this case, to the Journal Sentinel’s parent company, Journal Communications.

Newsradio 620 WTMJ is launching a new multimedia, multi-platform website called Right Wisconsin.  With mid-morning host Charlie Sykes as editor, rightwisconsin.com will create a new community of Conservative thought.

As Charlie himself puts it:

“The bias and the arrogance of the mainstream media have created an opportunity for conservatives, an opportunity we need to take advantage of.”

“RightWisconsin will be a digital community, a rallying point, a one-stop source for conservatives on the front lines [but it] will be more than simply another conservative website; it will have a full-time staff and multiple platforms, including mobile apps as well as Facebook and Twitter applications. It will aggregate conservative commentary from around the state—all in one place—feature key stories that other media won’t cover; links to stories that I’ve talked about on the air, podcasts, exclusive videos…a daily email blast, alerts, updates. ‘Essential Reads,’ daily ‘darts and laurels,’ a ‘Wisconsin wire’ of stories from around the state, and something we will call ‘Right Channel.’”

“We can do all of this because we have the resources of a major media company behind us, including the state’s biggest radio station and top-rated television station. In other words, we have built-in platforms for promotion as well as the infrastructure to make RightWisconsin multi-media.”

Charlie tells us RightWisconsin won’t compete with other conservative groups but will “provide another outlet for them.”

“And it will drive the left and their allies nuts.”

A beta of the site is to be launched before Thanksgiving. The full site goes live in 2013.  Sign up now and be there when RightWisconsin.com launches.

Four more?

Speaking of Charlie Sykes, lately he’s asking listeners what they’d expect the United States to look like four years from now if Barack Obama is reelected.

We suspect many people resist even considering the possibilities.

From day one, the Obama administration has operated as a gangster government, openly contemptuous of the rule of law and the constitution, exhibiting an attitude of “stop me if you can.”  Anyone who thinks that’s going too far needs to explain:

  • An Attorney General who keeps his job after his department smuggles weapons to Mexican drug lords, leading to the murders of a U.S. federal agent and countless Mexican civilians;
  • Systematic federal obstruction of state laws enacted to defend against voter fraud;
  • Administration demands that defense contractors ignore federal law requiring layoff notices to thousands of workers, and bad-faith assurances that taxpayers will be on the hook for legal expenses resulting from the unlawful conduct;
  • Trashing established bankruptcy law to stiff General Motors bondholders, plunder the company’s assets and award them to the United Auto Workers Union.

We could go on and on but you get the idea. Conservative critics often use the word “socialism.” To us, this list looks more descriptive of fascism. We therefore conclude that a second Obama administration would consider absolutely nothing out of bounds.

Theft in progress

A recurring theme in these columns is that Liberalism so deeply corrupts the institutions of civil society—the media, the courts, government bureaucracies—that they can no longer be trusted to render judgments or deliver services impartially.

In Dane County, you can add the Sherriff’s department to the list.

In the matter of absentee voting by jail inmates, a Dane County sheriff’s deputy complained that deputies have been ordered to obtain absentee ballots for any prisoners requesting them and see that they’re processed and delivered for counting, without checking an inmate’s potential felony status, even though it’s illegal for felons to vote. Superior officers in the Sheriff’s Department say weeding out felons who vote illegally is the election clerks’ job. In Dane County, they call this law enforcement.

In other words: “It’s not our job to prevent convicted felons from committing another crime.”

And while Dane County cops—willingly or just following orders—facilitate illegal voting by criminals, actions by other institutions thwart voting by the very people who put their lives on the line to defend, among other things, our right to free and honest elections.

First, the Federal Voter Assistance Program posted incorrect information that would have caused Wisconsin military voters to blow the deadline for returning absentee ballots by a full week.

Then we learn that dozens of Wisconsin municipal election officials missed the federal deadline to send out absentee ballots to military voters.

And then we find there’s been an astonishing loss of interest in voting by members of the military whose absentee ballots would count toward the totals in several battleground states.

It’s been said that once is an accident and twice may be a coincidence, but three times is a trend. We’re at four, and counting.

A real education

Long-term, we hope the education reforms Governor Walker rolled out last Thursday accomplish their objectives on behalf of Wisconsin school children, especially through improved reading skills and evaluation of the performance of teachers and schools.

Short-term, we’re all getting an education from the reform plans—or more accurately from Democrats trying create clouds of suspicion over them.

Here’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers, as quoted by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “I have not been involved in the drafting of the education proposals that have been announced.”

Evidently the “nonpartisan” Superintendent forgot he put together one of the three task forces that generated recommendations for the reforms. And that the specifics of legislation in drafting are always held in confidence between legislative sponsors and the Legislative Reference Bureau. That’s one way the Bureau stays nonpartisan.

Another task force participant—who doesn’t even pretend to be nonpartisan—detected evil intent in bills she hasn’t even read. State Rep. Sondy Pope-Roberts (D-Middleton) just knows it’s all bad:  “I have not yet seen the legislation being drafted by the Governor and the Republican leaders and am very concerned that the bipartisan efforts that have come from this group’s work thus far are being hijacked for political gain.”

If anybody’s seeking political gain, it looks to us like the people who participated in putting together the reform proposals and are now denouncing them before they’re even introduced. Pope-Roberts went so far as to accuse the Governor of mandating programs without funding them, something he specifically said was important not to do. Even the Journal Sentinel managed to report that much.

So in one sense, the reforms are already adding to our store of knowledge: We now have a better understanding of Madison Liberals’ concept of integrity.

The Numbers Racket

You’ve probably noticed Democrats in the Wisconsin Legislature are lining up to play a numbers game with Wisconsin employment statistics.

Ah, statistics. You know what they say about them: statistics can be tortured to confirm anything you want to prove. Democrats are trying to prove that Governor Walker is failing at job creation. They can find some numbers that might seem to help their argument, but it’s a very dangerous game for them to play.

Start with the numbers that, according to Democrats, show Wisconsin has lost jobs in each of the last six months. They love numbers like that because everybody knows Wisconsin lost so many jobs when they were in charge, more people wound up working for government than in manufacturing.  States, indeed whole nations, go broke that way.  Never mind; the Democrats’ idea of a positive program is to argue that the guy who replaced them is just as bad as they were.

Except he’s not.

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD), which doesn’t get to make things up, reports that the number of people working in Wisconsin rose by almost 7,000 in December compared with November, and by more than 21,000 compared with December 2010.

Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is better than those of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.

We mentioned that this is a very dangerous game for Democrats to play. That’s because when you trash someone else’s performance you invite comparison.  The DWD reported that Wisconsin’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.1 percent, from 7.3 percent the previous month and 7.5 percent the month before that.  Why is that dangerous for Democrats? Because the nationwide unemployment rate is 8.5 percent and it’s their guy who owns that number.