Why Are Peter King’s Hearings So Loathsome? Let Us Count the Ways

From Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hate Watch: http://www.splcenter.org/blog/2011/03/08/why-are-peter-kings-hearings-so-loathsome-let-us-count-the-ways/?ondntsrc=MBQ110370HTW&newsletter=HW031011

by Mark Potok

March 8, 2011

Some people seem to have great difficulty in understanding why U.S. Rep. Peter King’s hearings on radicalization of American Muslims, set to open this Thursday, are seen as so loathsome by so many. Let me try to explain.

Imagine, for starters, if another congressman — say, Keith Ellison of Minnesota, a Democrat and the first Muslim elected to Congress — decided to hold hearings on the Christian fundamentalist community and the radicalization of some of its members. After all, it is undeniably fundamentalists who have formed the bulk of the extremists who have burned or bombed hundreds of abortion clinics and murdered eight providers or their assistants. The vast majority of these people have been motivated, as most have said themselves, by their interpretations of Christianity.

Well, I think you can see where this is going. You wouldn’t have time to snap your fingers before outraged Americans, metaphorically speaking, surrounded the Capitol carrying pitchforks and torches, demanding the heads of their representatives. Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, to mention just a couple of the far-right talking heads, would erupt before their Fox News audiences. After all, just think back to the self-righteous hullabaloo that broke out when a leaked 2009 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report on the radical right suggested that hate groups were interested in recruiting returning veterans with military skills. Conservatives around the country went into outrage mode, shouting to the skies that the perfectly accurate report was calling all veterans potential Timothy McVeighs. The political right is the first to scream “demonization” when it feels it is being targeted.

There’s another very good reason why the hearings organized by King, a Republican from New York who chairs the Homeland Security Committee, amount to what an editorial in today’s New York Times called “Mr. King’s show trial.” Peter King does not come to the question of radical Islam with clean hands.

Continue reading at:   http://www.splcenter.org/blog/2011/03/08/why-are-peter-kings-hearings-so-loathsome-let-us-count-the-ways/?ondntsrc=MBQ110370HTW&newsletter=HW031011

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Hypocrisy has its benefits

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“Shame! Shame! Shame!”

From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/03/10-4

Lawless Legislators Approve Wisconsin Governor’s Anti-Worker Agenda

by John Nichols

Published on Thursday, March 10, 2011 by The Nation

Wisconsin State Representative Mark Pocan, the former co-chair of the legislature’s powerful Joint Finance Committee, says he is starting to feel as if he lives in a “third world junta.”

Wisconsin State Senator Bob Jauch, a senior Democrat, says that what he is witnessing feels like “a coup.”

Marty Beil, the head of the AFSCME Council 24, the state’s largest public employee union, said Wisconsin had been turned into “a banana republic.”

And thousands of Wisconsinites, men and women, adults and their children, public employees and private-sector workers, have poured into the state Capitol in Madison, shouting: “Shame! Shame! Shame!”

There were 7,000 people outside the Capitol at some points during night, and thousands inside.

At the close of one of the most remarkable days in American political history, a state once regarded as among the most enlightened and progressive in the nation finds itself ruled by rogue Republican operatives whose disregard for rules – and the popular will – is so extreme that the longest serving legislator in the nation, Wisconsin State Senator Fred Risser, a Madison Democrat, says: “They have not just bent the law. They have broken it.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/03/10-4

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US Congressional hearings may reignite McCarthyism

I find Rep Peter King’s racist attacks on Muslims, labeling them as terrorists highly hypocritical.  Rep. King has been linked by numerous sources to a terrorist organization that has over the last century been responsible for numerous terrorist bombings and murders.  The troubling allegations that Rep King is at least a fellow traveler if not an active member of that infamous terrorist organization (the IRA) makes his present engagement in witch hunt type activities all the more dubious.

Americans should have the right to at least expect their representatives not support international terrorism the way Peter King is alleged to have done in the past.

Rep. King, when did you stop supporting terrorists?


Why the Government’s Unemployment Rate is Dangerously Deceptive — And the Dark Reality it Hides

From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/economy/150182/why_the_government%27s_unemployment_rate_is_dangerously_deceptive_–_and_the_dark_reality_it_hides/

The latest jobs report indicates that the unemployment and job creation rates are better than a year ago, but there are problems with the numbers.

By Les Leopold

March 9, 2011 |

I’m here to confirm everyone’s gut sense that the way the government measures unemployment is a lie, and it matters.

The latest statistics compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicate the unemployment rate is 8.9 percent and the economy added 192,000 jobs in February. Yes, that’s better than a year ago when the rate peaked at 10.4 percent and we lost 35,000 jobs.

But there are two big problems with those numbers:

First let’s look more closely at the 192,000 new jobs that were created last month. It’s seems like a good looking number – like filling up two big football stadiums with people and giving them all jobs. But not quite. We need about 100,000 new jobs a month just to keep up with population growth. That means we can only move toward full employment if the economy creates many more than 100,000 new jobs a month. So in effect, one of those football stadiums each month is mostly filled with young people just coming into the labor force. And the other football stadium in February seats the 92,000 unemployed folks who actually found new jobs.

The pathetic pace of job creation

Since November when jobs growth started again, the economy has added an average of 136,000 jobs a month. Take out the 100,000 for new workers and it means we’re gaining ground on full-employment at only 36,000 jobs a month.

How far do we have to go? Using the most conservative numbers, we’re still down 7.5 million jobs since December 2007, when the Wall Street crash really started wrecking the rest of the economy. Do the math. Divide 7.5 million jobs lost by 36,000 per month of net new job growth and you get a little over 208 months or 17.4 years until we get back to pre-crash levels. That’s an entire generation! And that assumes we won’t have another recession or Wall Street crash. Fat chance.

But the darkest data buried in the BLS statistics, and in numbers the media tends to ignore because they don’t understand them –and they are numbers that are truly frightening– have to do with the long-term unemployed and the people who have given up looking for work.

Continue reading at:   http://www.alternet.org/economy/150182/why_the_government%27s_unemployment_rate_is_dangerously_deceptive_–_and_the_dark_reality_it_hides/

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Gov. Scott Walker Puts Out Fire With Gasoline

From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dave-zirin/gov-scott-walker-puts-out_b_833862.html

Dave Zirin
Sports correspondent, The Nation Magazine
Posted: March 10, 2011 12:09 AM
“If you think that by hanging us you can stamp out the labor movement, then hang us. Here you will tread upon a spark, but here, and there, and behind you, and in front of you, the flames will blaze up. It is a subterranean fire. You cannot put in out.” – Haymarket martyr August Spies.

I can only imagine that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is feeling very proud tonight. He’s proud that his state republican senators voted 18-1 to strip public sector workers of their most basic collective bargaining rights. He’s proud that teachers, child care workers, ambulance drivers, and many more will be pauperized to pay for the tax cuts he handed out to his corporate masters. He’s proud that the thousands upon thousands of people who have demonstrated peacefully at the Madison, Capitol for three solid weeks will taste bitter defeat. He’s proud that the confederate confines of right wing radio will be singing his praises tomorrow for taking down the “union thugs” that teach our children, care for our elderly, and treat our indigent. He’s proud because Gov. Scott Walker is an ignorant man, in the truest, most literal sense of the word.

How else to describe someone who “applauds” his own party’s state senators for destroying fifty years of civil and labor rights in a 30 minute closed-door session with nary an advance word to the public? How else to describe someone who sent his state into deficit by passing massive corporate tax cuts while preaching “fiscal responsibility”? How else to describe someone who expects people to applaud his desire to sell the state’s power supply using private, no-bid contracts? How else to describe someone who wants to defund planned parenthood, eliminate protections for same-sex couples, and then has the gall to preach “family values”?

How else to describe someone who carries the blank faced, cruelty most common to Czars and second-generation Presidents?

This is a man, who I would venture has never read a history book in his life that didn’t have the word “Reagan” somewhere in the title. Even the most modest reading of history would tell you that people can really only take so much damage and disrespect before they fiercely fight back. As Naomi Klein wrote, “Scott Walker may think this is his PATCO moment. But it’s actually his Waterloo.”

Continue reading at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dave-zirin/gov-scott-walker-puts-out_b_833862.html

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Wisconsin Republicans Force Through Bill, Protesters Retake Capitol

From In These Times: http://www.inthesetimes.com/working/entry/7039/breaking_wisconsin_republicans_force_through_bill_to_eliminate_collect/

By Joe Macare
Mar 9, 2011  8:37 pm

The Uptake’s summary beneath their live video coverage is explosive in its brevity: “Wisconsin Republicans pass a bill to strip public workers of collective bargaining rights. There is a call for a general strike. People are occupying the capitol.”

The Wisconsin GOP have gone ahead with what Dave Wiegel of Slate calls “the nuclear option.”

Or as Mother Jones’ ongoing Wisconsin Explained put it: “The Republicans have taken the pieces of Walker’s legislation that affect unions—including eliminating bargaining rights for most public-sector unions—and made them into a separate bill which they claim they can pass without Democrats being present.”

Why do Republicans hate unions quite so much, anyway? At Daily Kos, Laura Clawson reported today on the candor shown by Wisconsin State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald when he admitted to Fox News that a big part of their motivation is about winning elections and ensuring President Obama has a “much more difficult time getting elected.”

Working In These Times’ Mike Elk is providing updates via Twitter. In his words, “Gov. Walker just broke the glass on the fire alarm for the class war.” Elsewhere on Twitter, WORT News has reported that the University of Wisconsin Police Department “has delivered hundreds of plastic handcuffs to Capitol.”

Others worth following for on-the-ground updates via Twitter include journalist David Douglas and protest leader Thomas Bird. Shortly after 8.30pm CST Bird reported “We took back the capitol. Breached every door,” and has since announced “We are going to maintain peace, attempt to block assembly chamber.”

Complete article with updates at:  http://www.inthesetimes.com/working/entry/7039/breaking_wisconsin_republicans_force_through_bill_to_eliminate_collect/

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