Rep. Peter King, R-NY has offered material support to terrorists. Acts would would result in jail for anyone else. But as the Bush era proved Republicans can get way with pretty much anything – IRA terror victim speaks out against Rep. Peter King, R-NY
Now that Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., has assumed the chairmanship of the House Homeland Security committee and is promoting hearings on Muslim “radicalization,” there’s been a burst of media coverage surrounding his decades-long support for the IRA, the Irish terrorist group, which he broke with only recently, in 2005.
But for Tom Parker, an official at Amnesty International in Washington who hails from Britain, the distaste for King is personal. As Parker notes in a new Op-Ed, and explained further in an interview with Salon Thursday, he survived an IRA terrorist bombing in 1990 when he was 21.
“I have no problem with his support for a unified Ireland. What really bothers me is the hypocrisy of the man,” says Parker, who is now policy director for terrorism, counterterrorism and human rights at Amnesty International USA.
It was King’s designation of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as a terrorist that prompted Parker to go public. Parker himself is critical of Assange, “but to call him a terrorist when you have supported people who actually blow stuff up, it seemed to me that was really beyond the pale,”…
In a recent post I noted the cherry picking conservatives were doing to show red states were setting an example for the rest of the country. Low taxes and minimal regulations were the main reasons for the red state miracles. Those would be the same red states which collect more federal dollars than they contribute. And this is not to pick on red states per se. Lots of descent hard-working Americans are struggling in those states as everywhere else. Which is exactly the point. Those states are, despite claims to the contrary, not immune from the slow job recovery we seem to be having and the loss of state revenue – The Texas Omen
And that reality has implications for the nation as a whole. For Texas is where the modern conservative theory of budgeting — the belief that you should never raise taxes under any circumstances, that you can always balance the budget by cutting wasteful spending — has been implemented most completely. If the theory can’t make it there, it can’t make it anywhere.
How bad is the Texas deficit? Comparing budget crises among states is tricky, for technical reasons. Still, data from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities suggest that the Texas budget gap is worse than New York’s, about as bad as California’s, but not quite up to New Jersey levels.
The point, however, is that just the other day Texas was being touted as a role model (and still is by commentators who haven’t been keeping up with the news). It was the state the recession supposedly passed by, thanks to its low taxes and business-friendly policies. Its governor boasted that its budget was in good shape thanks to his “tough conservative decisions.”
Oh, and at a time when there’s a full-court press on to demonize public-sector unions as the source of all our woes, Texas is nearly demon-free: less than 20 percent of public-sector workers there are covered by union contracts, compared with almost 75 percent in New York.
A brief review of who the Right thinks the bad guys are. ACORN – a community organization that promoted a combination of sweat equity and the power of the ballot to empower low-income Americans – to help them fully participate in our country and economy. The Right decided they were evil. George Soros and Tides – a flimsy cobbling together of conspiracy theories that would make even the most imaginative comic book writer blush at the incredulity. Unlike the bed wetting keyboard warriors on the Right, Soros has actually risked his life fighting communism and fascism. They declared war on science and scientists who dared come to scientific conclusions which contradicted the beliefs beamed to the Right via the wing-nut grapevine. In other words anyone or any organization that stands up for the rights of the average American or stands up for reason, surely makes its way onto the Right’s hit list. In the months ahead look for public employees and their unions to be the next target, The Shameful Attack on Public Employees
The final Republican canard is that bargaining rights for public employees have caused state deficits to explode. In fact there’s no relationship between states whose employees have bargaining rights and states with big deficits. Some states that deny their employees bargaining rights – Nevada, North Carolina, and Arizona, for example, are running giant deficits of over 30 percent of spending. Many that give employees bargaining rights — Massachusetts, New Mexico, and Montana — have small deficits of less than 10 percent.
Public employees should have the right to bargain for better wages and working conditions, just like all employees do. They shouldn’t have the right to strike if striking would imperil the public, but they should at least have a voice. They often know more about whether public programs are working, or how to make them work better, than political appointees who hold their offices for only a few years.
Don’t get me wrong. When times are tough, public employees should have to make the same sacrifices as everyone else. And they are right now. Pay has been frozen for federal workers, and for many state workers across the country as well.
What are Republican priorities? Not full employment. Not laying the ground work for an economic recovery through alternative energy and innovative technology. Not looking out the Joe and Jane Average and their rights. Above all else the well off must be protected from any tax increases. No one loves taxes, but at some point fighting small temporary tax increases to save the few at the expense of the many becomes self defeating for everyone.