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Thursday, 24 February 2011
Unions? What Unions. . .?
Topic: Decline of the West


And speaking of Our Great and Glorious Supreme Commander…excuse me, President Obama…it appears that after sticking his toe into the roiled waters of the battle between the unions and state governments, he has become a prey to second thoughts.


Governors in states where the unions have been stripping taxpayers to the skin are no doubt glad to see Obama butt out. Some Democrats and union leaders seem relieved that he’s running for cover. Others argue that he ought not to turn his back on a key segment of the Democratic Party base at a moment of high crisis. As usual, by making a rash move and then falling into a sudden funk, Obama has muddied his image without producing results. What a jerk.

Posted by tmg110 at 8:32 AM EST
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How Progressives Mind Their Manners
Topic: Liberal Fascism


The next time I hear some smarmy progressive nosebleed whining about the lack of civility in American public life (a complaint to be understood as an attack on conservatives), a one-word response will suffice: Wisconsin.


In Wisconsin and elsewhere, progressivism has bared its ugly face. Union goons—acting on behalf of teachers!—are engaged in a campaign of threats and intimidation against the Republican governor and the Republican majority in the state legislature. (Typical protests sign message in Madison: "Scott Walker: The Reason We Need Planned Parenthood." Walker is the new GOP governor of Wisconsin.) And why are they doing this? To protect their members’ unjustifiable, gold-plated benefits packages, which happen to be bankrupting the state. It’s a thoroughly disgusting spectacle, not least because the President of the United States is supporting these union thugs in their vicious attacks on Wisconsin’s duly elected officials. No class, no conscience—that just about sums up Barack Obama and the political faction he represents.

Posted by tmg110 at 8:10 AM EST
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Wednesday, 23 February 2011
The City and the Man Have Met
Topic: Liberal Fascism


Fresh from a less-than-triumphal tour of duty as our Maxim Leader’s…excuse me, President Obama’s…chief of staff, Rahm Effing Emanuel has been elected Mayor of Chicago. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer municipality.


Over the six years of my residence in Chicago, I’ve come to cordially detest the Windy City. From its rapacious tax regime and moribund economy to the racial spoils system that dominates its politics, Chicago exemplifies everything that’s sick, corrupt and decadent about contemporary American civic culture. What else to make of a city where such repulsive characters as the Rev. J. White and Minister Louis Farrikan are honored citizens?


Chicago suffered a shock to its puffed-up pride when the 2010 census revealed that the city’s population has sunk to its lowest level since 1920. What was even more eye-opening than the overall decline, however, was the demographic makeup of the group that split. The majority were black—this in a city where politicians pander endlessly to the black vote. During his campaign, Emanuel even came out in favor of slavery reperations. Despite all this belly crawling before the idol of racial politics, blacks in Chicago are the chief victims of all the city’s economic and social ills. It’s no surprise to me that so many of them have been voting with their feet.


Having symbolically tongue-polished the wingtips of the Chicago establishment, Emanuel will find himself ill positioned to tackle this city’s problems as mayor. The outgoing mayor, Richie Daley, did manage to maintain a certain stability, but only at the price of all possibilities for reform and renewal. After him, the deluge. I don’t feel sorry for Chicago—its people have freely chosen their fate. And I positively look forward to Rahm Emanuel’s discomfiture. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving politician.

Posted by tmg110 at 7:53 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 23 February 2011 10:33 PM EST
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Tuesday, 22 February 2011
He Steps On It (Again)
Topic: Liberal Fascism


Every time our Great Helmsman…excuse me, our Dear Leader…excuse me, President Obama, inserts himself into some local issue, a public relations disaster ensues. Now once more the Tamer of the Tides is beginning to look more than a little bit silly, having sided with greedy public-employee unions against the taxpayers of Wisconsin. As NRO’s Rich Lowry notes:


When the Republican governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, proposes changes to put his state’s relationship with public-employee unions on a footing more appropriate to our straitened times, Obama instinctively sides with the unions, defending privileges dating from the mid and late 20th century. The president’s former campaign arm, Organizing for America, supports the anti-Walker protesters, who deploy hoary tactics — the chanting, the drums, the sit-ins — that could have been pulled from a 1970s time capsule.


Yes, that’s precisely what’s so hilarious about Mr. Hope-and-Change, he of the outsized intellect (and with an ego to match). Ideologically speaking, Obama is a relic of the distant past. His policies are no more relevant to modern conditions than the Pragmatic Sanction. It’s very strange indeed to see this black man, with his exotic background, channeling a bunch of long-dead progressives and New Dealers. It's even stranger to find that the suave Obama has such poor political instincts. In that regard, he would have fitted in well as one of the later Austro-Hungarian foreign ministers.

Posted by tmg110 at 8:45 AM EST
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No Cookies for You!
Topic: Decline of the West


It’s one of the oldest tactics in the teachers’ unions’ arsenal: Criticize public education employees, their unions or the failing schools they run and you’re accused of launching an assault on “the children.” That’s the cry today in Wisconsin—a cry familiar to anyone who pays attention to the activities of organized labor in the public sector.


That “the children” are actually benefitting from Wisconsin teachers’ fat-bellied benefits package is an arguable point, to put it at the lowest. And finally, I think, people are beginning to realize the fraudulence of the unions’ tactic. Closing down Wisconsin’s public schools by calling in sick, i.e. by lying? Comparing the governor of their state to Hitler, Stalin, Mubarak? Posing as oppressed working-class stiffs when they in fact enjoy pay and benefits that are the envy of many in the private sector? “Unseemly” doesn’t begin to describe their behavior. "Childish" or perhaps "infantile" seem more appropriate.


And that’s why the unions are going to lose this fight. They remind many grownups of the temper tantrums thrown by little kids when they're told they can't have cookies before dinner.

Posted by tmg110 at 8:23 AM EST
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The World According to Allah
Topic: Decline of the West


Here’s a timely reminder that the savage sexual assault on CBS journalist Lara Logan in Cairo was not the work of some generic “mob,” such as might be found in any city gripped by political unrest. No it was a manifestation of what Western apologists are pleased to call “mainstream Islam”:


Tahrir Square is…the place where, in the frenzy after Hosni Mubarak’s fall, CBS news correspondent Lara Logan was seized and subjected to a savage sexual assault by an Egyptian gang. Coverage of the attack has been muted.… We have heard much about the attack, but have heard next to nothing about the attackers. You are just supposed to assume it was a “mob”—the sort of thing that could have happened in any setting where raw emotion erupts, say, Wisconsin’s capitol.


Except it doesn’t happen in Madison. It happens in Egypt. It happened in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, in the riots that led to Suharto’s fall—as Sharon Lapkin recounts, human-rights groups interviewed more than 100 women who had been captured and gang raped, including many Chinese women, who were told this was their fate as non-Muslims. It happens in Muslim countries and in the Muslim enclaves of Europe and Australia, perpetrated by Islamic supremacists acting on a sense of entitlement derived from their scriptures, fueled by the rage of their jihad, and enabled by the deafening silence of the media.


That’s according to Andrew McCarthy at National Review Online whose observations, however disturning to politically correct elites in Western Europe and America, have the force of the facts on their side. A world in which a woman like Lara Logan—or like your mother, your sister, your wife, your daughter—can be raped and beaten for “impiety” is the world of “mainstream Islam.” Do you want to live in a world like that?

Posted by tmg110 at 7:53 AM EST
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Monday, 21 February 2011
Day of Shame
Topic: Decline of the West


Amazingly—shamefully—the President of the United States has nothing to say about the massacre underway in Libya. From our Secretary of State, however, we got this serving of pabulum:


The world is watching the situation in Libya with alarm. We join the international community in strongly condemning the violence in Libya. Our thoughts and prayers are with those whose lives have been lost, and with their loved ones. The government of Libya has a responsibility to respect the universal rights of the people, including the right to free expression and assembly. Now is the time to stop this unacceptable bloodshed.  We are working urgently with friends and partners around the world to convey this message to the Libyan government.


“The government of Libya has a responsibility to respect the universal rights of the people…” I like that. When has the Qaddafi regime ever betrayed the slightest sign of regard for the rights of the Libyan people? And of course, there is the usual reference to the mythical “international community,” which is prepared to do precisely nothing about Libya. Those who in the past have assured us that Hillary Clinton is one tough nut must blushing with chagrin at this hour.


Clinton added not one single word of condemnation of Qaddafi or of his brutal regime. The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol calls this statement “truly pathetic.” He is too kind.


Whether the United States should support the Libyan people against their oppressor with anything more than words is a difficult question. But the words, at least, should be clear and strong. Ronald Reagan would have understood this. So, I imagine, does George W. Bush. Barack Obama, however? No clue.

Posted by tmg110 at 7:56 PM EST
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A Sorry Spectacle
Topic: Decline of the West


It’s almost—almost!—fun to watch the Obama Administration stare like a deer into the headlights of the onrushing Mideast crisis. As Libya descends into chaos amid scenes that suggest the start of an all-out civil war, the US State Department’s spokesman found it impossible to say whether the repulsive Muammar Qaddafi is a dictator. And as reports of a death toll in the hundreds trickle in, you can hear the crickets chirping around the White House.


Yes, it would be fun to watch all this—except for the fact that it makes a spectacle of the absolute shambles to which Barack Obama and his dim-witted associates have reduced US foreign policy.

Posted by tmg110 at 9:26 AM EST
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Friday, 18 February 2011
Progressives: Not on Your Side
Topic: Liberal Fascism


The term “labor movement” summons up a composite image of horny-handed, poorly paid sons of toil, slaving away in some dark and smoky Victorian mill. That, no doubt, is what the soft-handed lefties of the Nation want you to see in your mind’s eye when they use the phrase “Labor’s Last Stand” to describe what’s going on in Wisconsin. But of course, the sons of toil in this case are a bunch of lavishly compensated public employees, engaged in a last-ditch defense of their unjustifiable privileges. But the Nation doesn’t see it that way. Oh, no, according to “union and community organizer,” i.e. left-wing activist, Jane McAlevey, unions are not the problem. They deserve everything they can possibly squeeze out of government—and the taxpayer be damned.


McAlevey’s article breathes the panic of a political faction that is watching helplessly while one of its chief supporters, the public-sector labor movement, circles the bowl. I greatly enjoyed reading it.

Posted by tmg110 at 8:21 AM EST
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Greedy Bastards
Topic: Decline of the West


I rummaged around for different, perhaps softer, words with which to title this blog post. But really, there are no other words that accurately describe what’s going on in Wisconsin right now. At a time when taxpayers in the state and around the country are hard-pressed to make ends meet, Wisconsin’s public employees are up in arms because the new Republican governor has dared to question the sanctity of their gold-plated benefits package.


To be specific: Governor Scott Walker is proposing that public employees contribute 12% percent of the cost of their health insurance plans and contribute 5.8% of their salaries to their pension plans. They currently pay about 4-6% of the cost of their health insurance, and most contribute nothing to their pension plans. Looked at one way, this amounts to an 8% pay cut for state employees. Looked at another way, it brings their benefits package more into line with those of taxpayers who work in the private sector. Additionally, Walker is proposing a ban on most collective bargaining for most state union employees—essential to ensure that any reforms of the benefits package that are enacted today are not bargained away tomorrow.


All too predictably, these modest proposals have ignited a firestorm of union protests. Though banned by law from striking, the teachers of Madison have been calling in “sick” in such numbers that public schools have shut down. This, of course, not only shows them up as a bunch of greedy bastards, but proves them liars in more ways than one. Besides the obvious lie—no one’s really sick—this performance shows that all teacher union “for the children” rhetoric is so much eyewash. What is certain is that teachers in Madison who are calling in “sick” don’t give a hoot about the children of their city, however they may rationalize their behavior.


This column by Patrick McIlheran in the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel argues that the public-employee unions are attempting to overturn the results of the 2010 election, which brought in a governor and legislative majority committed to fiscal conservatism. It looks that way to me also—and it isn’t a pretty sight. I suspect, however, that the union thugs in Wisconsin have gone too far. Suppose you were sitting at home in Wisconsin, with your mortgage under water and a layoff notice on the kitchen table—what would you think of all this?

Posted by tmg110 at 7:59 AM EST
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