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Wisconsin's Republican Governor Scott Walker's become the symbol of conservative efforts to "slay the beast" of government. That's made him the target of public unions who want to regain the right to collective bargaining. We size up next week's recall election and what's at stake for the presidential campaign in a crucial swing state. Also, Syria's latest massacre of citizens could bring international action. On Reporter's Notebook, Exxon Mobil may be an American company, but the drive for profit from resources around the world has led it to form its own foreign policy — which may conflict with that of the United States.

Banner image: Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker speaks to supporters as he campaigns at the Waukesha Victory Center on May 24, 2012 in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images

Making News Houla Massacre Could Bring International Action 7 MIN, 24 SEC

The US has joined other countries in expelling Syria’s top diplomats, and Russia has signed a United Nations press statement condemning "outrageous use of force against [the] civilian population." Rania Abouzeid is in Beirut, Lebanon for Time magazine.

Rania Abouzeid, freelance journalist (@RaniaAb)

Main Topic The National Showdown in Wisconsin 32 MIN, 45 SEC

Three months after Wisconsin's Republican Governor Scott Walker took office last year there were massive protests at the state capitol. Democrats fled the state to prevent a legislative quorum for his proposals. But Walker finally got his way with enactment of new laws to restrict almost all collective bargaining for public employees and to increase their payments for health insurance and retirement benefits. The first-term governor is making the kind of history politicians fear most, becoming only the third governor in US history to face a recall election. But Walker's being called a "hero" by Mitt Romney, and his fate could have a major impact on this year's presidential election. Big-time money from Republican outsiders is pouring into a state that could be the archetype of political polarization. If Walker survives, will it help Romney's chances against President Obama in the industrial Midwest?  Will it be a blow to clout of organized labor?

Craig Gilbert, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (@wisvoter)
Lisa Graves, Center for Media and Democracy (@thelisagraves)
Luke Hilgemann, Americans for Prosperity (@AFPhq)
Christopher Toner, Wisconsin attorney
Gary Chaison, Clark University (@ClarkMatters)

Reporter's Notebook Inside ExxonMobil 10 MIN, 33 SEC

book.jpgApple may have challenged ExxonMobil as the biggest American company, but the business that deals with fuel for the energy that powers the world's economy is not much older. Now it's come to be state within a state — with its own foreign policy — and not one that necessarily conforms to the foreign policy of its home country. ExxonMobil is not "a US company," says its former president, Lee Raymond. "I don't make decisions based on what's good for the US." That's a quote from Private Empire: Exxon Mobil and American Power by Pulitzer Prize-winner Steve Coll, a staff writer for the New Yorker magazine and president of the New America Foundation in Washington.

Steve Coll, Author and Dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, CEO of New America Foundation

Private Empire

Steve Coll

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