Thursday, June 7, 2012

When the News Reached the Bunker

Scott Walker decisively defeated the Wisconsin public employees unions and their Democratic surrogates on June 5th. Late that night word reached the offices of the president's reelection committee. Someone managed to smuggle out video of what happened next:
Progressive MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, discussing the debacle with Nancy Pelosi, notes that the Democrats can't win without union support and that legislation like Wisconsin's will kill the unions. She's only partly right. Wisconsin's legislation affects only public employee unions and not even all of those (police and firefighters are exempt). Even so, if PEUs lose strength it'll certainly diminish the ability of the Democratic party to elect candidates to office.
It should be noted that the strength of union support depends on their ability to compel employees to join and pay dues. Until Walker's reforms, union membership was mandatory and union dues were automatically deducted by the state from the employee's paycheck. The employee had no say in the matter. The state then gave the dues to the union which returned much of the cash in the form of political contributions and other forms of support to Democrats.

It was a hypocritical scam perpetrated on the taxpayers. I say hypocritical because it was foisted on the taxpayers by the party that proudly calls itself "pro-choice." Apparently, they believe you should be able to choose whether you will kill your unborn child, but not whether you will belong to a union.

In any event, Act 10 has done away with that system and allows people to choose whether they wish to join the union or not. As a result thousands of people, to the dismay of Democrats, have voted with their feet. The Wisconsin chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, a labor organization representing 17,000 public-school teachers, has seen 6,000 members leave its ranks in the last year.

The state chapter of AFSCME, the union that represents state, county, and municipal workers, has suffered the loss of 30,000 members in the same span, although many of these losses were due to government layoffs. Even so, when Walker first proposed his fiscal reforms in early 2011, AFSCME’s Wisconsin membership stood at 62,818. By February 2012, membership had shrunk to 28,745.

Look for the trend to spread across the nation and for more video of enraged Democrat party officials to appear on You Tube.

The Next Step

Debkafile has a story outlining what their sources tell them will be the next step in the war of nerves with Iran:
U.S. President Barack Obama has again persuaded Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to hold off attacking Iran’s nuclear program in the coming months by promising a new set of severe sanctions against Iran. U.S. administration officials assured debkafile’s Washington sources that Israel’s leaders were won over by the Obama administration’s promise to ratchet up U.S. and Europe sanctions against Iran if the next round of negotiations with the six world powers in less than two weeks gets bogged down again.

These are the new sanctions hanging over Iran as reported by our sources:
  • On July 1, the Europeans will activate the embargo that left pending on Iranian oil exports and banks.
  • In the fall, the US administration will bring out its most potent economic weapon: an embargo on aircraft and sea vessels visiting Iranian ports. Any national airline or international aircraft touching down in Iran will be barred from US and West European airports. The same rule will apply to private and government-owned vessels, including oil tankers. Calling in at an Iranian port will automatically exclude them from entry to a US or European harbor.
This sanction would clamp down an air and naval siege on the Islamic Republic without a shot being fired.
If the U.S. imposes this embargo they wouldn't need to confront ships or aircraft heading to or from Iran. They'd simply deny these craft any future access to sea and air ports in the U.S. and Europe. The result, hopefully, would be that no one will want to trade with Iran if it means loss of access to American and European markets.

Let's hope that some of these measures convince Iran to back off their plan to build nuclear weapons. I'm not optimistic that they will, but I do applaud the administration for trying everything it can before it sends in the bombers.

Debkafile has more on this story at the link.

A Lost People

Celebrated science-fiction writer Ray Bradbury died Tuesday at age 91. David Klinghoffer remembers a passage from his Martian Chronicles in which humans escape a doomed civilization on earth to colonize Mars and in the process wipe out the native Martians. Writes Klinghoffer:
The Martians, his protagonist Jeff Spender explains, saw their religion and their science as compatible, "each enriching the other." Not so the men of Earth as Bradbury imagines it in the near future:
That's the mistake we made when Darwin showed up. We embraced him and Huxley and Freud, all smiles. And then we discovered that Darwin and our religions didn't mix. Or at least we didn't think they did. We were fools. We tried to budge Darwin and Huxley and Freud. They wouldn't move very well. So, like idiots, we tried knocking down religion.

We succeeded pretty well. We lost our faith and went around wondering what life was for. If art was no more than a frustrated outflinging of desire, if religion was no more than self-delusion, what good was life? Faith had always given us answers to all things. But it all went down the drain with Freud and Darwin. We were and still are a lost people.
When people have no hope that their lives really mean anything, when they believe that they exist for no greater purpose than to indulge their senses and leave offspring, then culture collapses in a swirl of degenerate diversions, as Suzanne Collins illustrates so vividly in The Hunger Games. Jean Paul Sartre, who once wrote that his project was to "draw the full conclusion from a consistently atheistic position" writes in Nausea, "I was thinking (as he sat in a cafe) ... that here we are eating and drinking, to preserve our precious existence, and that there's nothing, nothing, absolutely no reason for existing."

Perhaps we, too, are a "lost people," but still too absorbed in our amusements to realize it.