"If you break the public unions in Wisconsin you can break them everywhere." — Rachel Maddow

Ok, maybe Julian Assange didn't exactly parachute into Wisconsin. But he might have! And the pathetic fact is, that link-baiting baloney is what got you here. And that was my mission.

Why? Because with Gov. Scott Walker's outrageous effort to crush collective bargaining for state workers, the right wing has effectively declared war against unions, progressivism, and the American middle class, while most of the left is still sitting on the side of the road, like a brooding Rent-A-Wreck, with its ass stuck in neutral.

My good friend @karoli can bring you quickly up to speed.

With her usual knack for cutting through all the clutter, via Crooks and Liars:

Conservatives Declare War on Unions While National Media Snores

But my mission here….

Is to point out that while this issue has been building for well over a week, the American left has been mostly asleep until yesterday.  Naturally, the mainstream media did its best to help it snooze for as long as possible.  Only yesterday did CNN even show up in Wisconsin. And until last night, Twitter and Facebook were mostly abuzz with the usual updates about Wikileaks, Bradley Manning, Glenn Beck, a dwindling bit of Egypt, the Chris Christie Minstrels, and the usual celebrity cacophony of moronic blither-blather.

No one was expecting this Battle of the Bulge for the Democratic party and our fading unions to come up in this way, or this suddenly. But here it is. And now, the big question is, will progressives finally fight hard, or just die quickly?  If you can't see what the GOP is doing with this issue, you simply don't get anything that's happened to  this nation over the past 30 years in general, and certainly in the past five years since Fox News became the steering gear for the Republican Party's ship to nowhere. So just shut the fuck up and get out of the way.

But if you do get it, then you realize that this can and should be a magic moment in our history. A moment where we can rise up and show this fetid teaparty army and their plutocratic puppet masters like David Koch and Sheldon Adelson that there is still a strong majority of sensible people in this country who know that a fair society is the only one that will ever survive long term.  And this generation of wrecking crew Republicans won't just delay that fair and just society. They will crush out any possibility of there ever being one. At least in this country.

And that would be a sad fail of unparalleled dimension. An easy win will have passed us right by due to our own apathetic lethargy and a mass delusion that all the horrible things happening to us were never quite as bad as they seemed. Our collective will to resist an obvious insurrection of selfishness will have failed to come alive at the very moment that it must, and the American experiment will probably die right here in the lab.

So maybe we needed a Julian Assange to land in Wisconsin. We shouldn't have needed anything that dramatic to smack us out of our cynical slumber. But now something even better is on the ground our there in cheesehead country. Something very big and very beautiful. We only have to get behind this moment and push it with all our might… and we can win.

We really can win.

Yes we can.

Vital View

Rachel Maddow: Wisconsin Is About The Survival of The Democratic Party

Vital Read

Labor's Last Stand, By John Nichols (The Nation)

Related Reading

Angry Wisconsin workers occupy Capitol (Peoplesworld.org)

DNC Expands Role In Labor Protests To Ohio, Indiana, by Amanda Terkel (Huffington Post)

George Carlin on the American Dream (with transcript)

Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle

In Taking Stock of WikiLeaks, by George Friedman (Stratfor Consulting), a well known geopolicy analyst, provides the best snapshot yet of the overall panorama of the big Wikileaks facts and issues. It frames them from the perspective of someone who deals with geopolitical people and realities every day, as opposed to the legions of journalists, pundits, bloggers and entertainers who have saturated the Internet with every conceivable position, posture, and permutation on this interesting—but which might not ultimately prove all that significant of a—moment in our global digital history.

While it never really takes a strong position about the rightness or wrongness, it does appear to find that question irrelevant, as it marks down many extravagant claims by Assange, and others, that the entire affair matters much at all—except perhaps to the people blogging it for hit traffic, and those career government spooks who will be tasked with keeping our future secrets.

I don’t like to give anyone else the final word, but in this case Robert Gates’ view is definitive. One can pretend that WikiLeaks has redefined geopolitics, but it hasn’t come close.

Is this just an insider wonk's pragmatic take on this hyperbolic issue, or another attempt to minimize the entire issue for the benefit of the administration, and those defense industry CEOs in desperate need of pithy poolside remarks that debunk all those shrill civil libertarians? You can decide for yourself.

As for me, while I know it's not stylish to withhold judgment on breaking issues, I've remained relatively agnostic on the whole Wikileaks show.  I think it contains many thorny issues that should not be discussed too cavalierly by the uninformed public, who are quick to make bad decisions about complex things, nor too openly vetted by the really informed professionals for fear that someone can wind up with a lot of scratches—or dead.  It's certainly one of the trickier issues to responsibly parse as we've seen in a very long time.

My working, but still tentative position is that releasing this stuff is a crime, and must be one, but publishing it is perfectly legal, and must remain so. The government's jihad against Assange and Wikileaks is probably far more about looking tough before our allies, and intimidating future leakers, than any  concerns about national security. Michael Moore's passion for drama, notwithstanding, this may not actually be all that big a deal, when you strip away all the hyperbole and what if scenarios. But then again, it might be in ways we can't see yet. I am not Glenn Greenwald, so I don't have to be sure of my position on anything.

It would be absurd to suggest that espionage or treason be legal, just as it would be ridiculous to block the truth once it is released. That's why I've encouraged people to download a copy of the Wikileaks data and keep it safe for history.  The problem I have with it all is "whose truth is it, anyway?"  It's very easy to see future leaks being gamed for their disinformation value, just as it's easy to see even our casual confidences now being hidden more deeply, and our really big secrets getting burrowed so deeply that almost no one will ever know what or where they are.

But as I said, I am still grokking all this, so while I try to figure all this out in my own head, I look for good explainers that help me grasp those nasty nagging nuances. This article, while clearly taking a policy wonk's dismissive tone toward any claims of revolutionary importance, is nonetheless the best overall summary of this fascinating story that I have read.

Pass it on. It's useful.

Read: Taking Stock of WikiLeaks


Clay Shirky: Wikileaks and the Long Haul

Video: NYU's Jay Rosen on Wikileaks


Hat tip to my long time friend @fantomaster for alerting me to this item

Dear friends:

As some know, I am alway hesitant to make charitable appeals, because the Internet is rife with cases of scams, phony dramas,  or attention whores claiming some fender bender caused them serious trauma and need your dollars to survive (or more likely, buy more Spaghettios for their dinner). Few ever try to confirm these things, or confirm them well, and many get stung. Even if they don't know they were stung, it happens far too often.

And almost as irksome, is the fact that it's so hard to decide who is deserving of Internet appeals for charity.  We can't help everyone, but that shouldn't mean helping someone is out of the question. In the end, like much in this life, it's the luck of the draw.  My own rule of thumb is that for someone to really warrant broad-based Internet appeals, the beneficiary must have extended their own life or generosity to others in some measurable way. I feel this case passes that smell test and deserves our generosity.

Since I never accept Internet appeals at face value, I have personally spoken with @chrisWiggins (at his Google number) and confirmed all of this. I hope my word is good, and you can rely on this being completely legitimate.  His mother has a marvelous record of human kindness and generosity, and deserves all the life we can buy for her.

I hope you will help with whatever you can afford. Even a single dollar will count.

Thank you so much.


The story: Please help Karen Wiggins

The donation page: http://karenwiggins.eventbrite.com/

@chriswiggin's  Linked-in Page: http://linkd.in/9vqNsF



Yes, Chris is a recent hire at Google. But they have working stiffs, too.(They're not all Googleaires).  He's no more able to save his mother alone than most of us would be in a similar circumstance.