James Fallows writes from Beijing that the activities of Republicans in Wisconsin remind him of … Beijing.
A University of Wisconsin history professor, William Cronon wrote an op-ed for the New York Times critical of Gov. Scott Walker, and now Wisconsin Republicans are in all-out McCarthyite witch hunt mode, trying to find some way to shut him up or discredit him. More details from Josh Marshall and from Professor Cronon.
The state Republican Party wants access to the professor’s university email account so that they can see who he’s been talking to about Gov. Walker and his union-busting activities. Writes James Fallows,
The reason this strikes me particularly hard at the moment: I am staying in a country where a lot of recent news concerns how far the government is going in electronic monitoring of email and other messages to prevent any group, notably including academics or students, from organizing in order to protest. I don’t like that any better in Madison than I do in Beijing.
Since Cronon is a state employee his university emails legally are public property, but if there’s any reason for the Wisconsin Republicans to go after the professor’s emails other than intimidation, I can’t think of it. See also John Nichols.
No rightie blogger that I’ve seen has commented on this yet, but when they do, I predict they will defend the Wisconsin Republicans and then go back to screaming about how they’re the defenders of liberty from Big Government.
Speaking of emails — an Indiana deputy prosecutor has resigned because of an email he sent to Gov. Walker suggesting some staged union “thuggism.”
â€œIf you could employ an associate who pretends to be sympathetic to the unionsâ€™ cause to physically attack you (or even use a firearm against you), you could discredit the unions,â€ the email said.
â€œCurrently, the media is painting the union protest as a democratic uprising and failing to mention the role of the DNC and umbrella union organizations in the protest. Employing a false flag operation would assist in undercutting any support that the media may be creating in favor of the unions. God bless, Carlos F. Lam.â€
The prosecutor, Carlos Lam, also said the pro-union protests presented â€œa good opportunity for whatâ€™s called a â€˜false flagâ€™ operation.â€ The email was obtained by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, which obtained Gov. Walker’s emails concerning the union-busting bill.
What strikes me about the email is the implied assumption that Republican thuggishness is justified, even sanctioned by God, because the DNC and unions are inherently bad, somehow. It was no secret that the DSCC and the AFL-CIO supported the pro-union protests, but I guess the union thugs weren’t being thuggish enough.
And yeah, another blogger already made the comparison with Donald Segretti and CREEP.
In other developments from the Cheese State — yesterday a state appeals court punted the legal challenge to the Wisconsin’s union-busting bill to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.