- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 24, 2011

DEMO-DRAMA

Wisconsin union rallies are about to get a lot noisier. MoveOn.org has joined the fray and is in the mood for melodrama. At high noon Saturday, the progressive activists plan rallies to “save the American dream” — more than 60 nationwide in fact, with participants instructed to wear yellow foam cheeseheads and anything in red and white to honor University of Wisconsin colors. The group also has talking points right out of a Depression-era novel: “We demand that the rich and powerful pay their fair share. We are all Wisconsin. We are all Americans.”

The sympathetic press will likely frame the endeavor as a noble thing, with inevitable Hollywood embellishment. Organizers - who are summoning environmentalists, union members, students, community organizers and grass-roots types — also have formed an umbrella group called the “Job Party” and talk as if they are ready to rumble.

“We’re drawing a line in the sand. The entire progressive movement is putting everything we have into one massive display of progressive solidarity nationwide,” says Democrats.com founder Bob Fertik. “We won’t let Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker — or any other billionaire-bought tea party governor — break the unions. Unions created America’s middle class, and if they disappear we’ll all end up as corporate slaves.”

UNREST ELSEWHERE

Meanwhile, the ever-savvy American public is dealing with reality: 77 percent are concerned that “radical Islamic terrorists may try to exploit the unrest in Arab countries to further their violent aims,” says a new Rasmussen Reports survey. Another 58 percent say the ongoing discord “will lead to a major new war involving the United States.” That number goes up to 70 percent among Republicans, incidentally.

WIKILOOKS

When in doubt, go into merchandising. He may have lost his fight against extradition to Sweden on sexual molestation charges, but Julian Assange knows good shopping when he sees it. The WikiLeaks founder has opened a gift shop to raise money for his whistle-blowing enterprise. The online storefront peddles tote bags, T-shirts and even baby clothes that quote George Orwell (“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act”) and Mr. Assange himself (“What does censorship reveal? It reveals fear.”)

Yeah, well. Skittish online commercial services such as Amazon and PayPal have abandoned Mr. Assange. But merchandise? Not so threatening. Mr. Assange’s new gift shop is hosted online by Spreadshirt, a Pennsylvania-based provider.

ON THE RADAR

He spent lots of time answering questions about the 13-story “ground zero mosque” before stepping down from its religious leadership. Now he comes to Washington. Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is in town Sunday to address both the massive “J Street Conference 2011” organized by the advocacy group J Street and the Friends Meeting of Washington. The New York imam says he is intent on creating “a forum for open and peaceful dialogue.”

Imam Feisal is founder of the Cordoba Initiative, which led efforts last year to build Park 51, an Islamic community center within two blocks of the 9/11 site. He is currently on a national speaking tour.

BUMPER PATROL

“Global warming means a longer golf season.”

Bumper sticker spotted in Harrisburg, Pa.

THE MILITARY OPTION

Pandemonium in Libya has brought pandemonium to the press — vigorous riot footage, State Department warnings to unauthorized journalists now considered “al Qaeda collaborators,” detailed accounts of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s wardrobe. Yet the situation also prompts recommendations.

“Since our leaders evidently have no clue what to do in Libya, lets give them a few ideas. The basic rules are easy: Dont do anything that is likely to make things worse, and you can forget about ‘negotiated settlements’ once the bloodshed has reached the dimensions now engulfing Libya. Finally, forget the United Nations,” advises foreign policy analyst Michael Ledeen, a contributor to Pajamas Media and the National Review.

“The first thing to do is deprive Gadhafi of as many instruments of mass murder as possible. The most obvious of these is the Libyan air force, which is a small and outdated collection of aircraft. … Destroy them. Its easy. Our Air Force can probably wipe them out in less than half an hour,” Mr. Ledeen continues.

“If we want to play ‘good ally,’ we can invite other NATO countries to join in. … That wont ‘solve’ the problem, but it will ease the people’s pain, and it might lessen the dreadful impression we have created, especially during the Obama years, that we only talk or negotiate slow-acting sanctions; we dont go in for decisive action. That is so Bush.”

POLL DU JOUR

56 percent of Democratic “insiders” say a government shutdown would be in their party’s interest.

19 percent of Republican “insiders” agree.

29 percent of the Democrats say a shutdown would not be in their party’s interest.

65 percent of Republicans agree.

14 percent of Democrats and 11 percent of Republicans say a shutdown would be in neither party’s interest.

Source: A National Journal Political Insider’s Poll of 200 Democratic and Republican campaign consultants, party officials, strategists and lobbyists conducted Feb. 21 to 23.

• Tip line always open at jharper@washingtontimes.com. Follow the column at twitter.com/harperbulletin.

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