Steve King friendly with another Nazi

Another shocking-but-not-surprising thing from Representative Steve King, the Republican who represents this very district: he shared, approvingly, a social media post from a British neo-Nazi, Mark Collett.  That’s not just my characterization of Collett’s views, he describes himself as a “Nazi sympathizer” and an admirer of Hitler’s Germany.

There can be no doubt about Collett’s abhorrent vision. As a Slate  piece explained, “According to HuffPost, Collett was once the youth leader of the British National Party, an extreme far-right party, and he once said that AIDS is a ‘friendly disease because blacks, drug users, and gays have it.’ He has also espoused anti-Semitic beliefs and appeared frequently on far-right and white nationalist podcasts. In his Twitter feed, he talks about white genocide, a popular concept among white supremacists, and the ‘price of multiculturalism.’”

But what matters in this case is not Collett’s disgusting worldview. It’s not even Steve King’s unsurprising willingness to promote Collett’s online content.

What shouldn’t go overlooked is the Iowa Republican’s ability to get away with stuff like this – because the right-wing congressman’s party has an endless tolerance for his offensive antics. Or put another way, the question is less about Steve King and more about what GOP leaders intend to do about Steve King.

For example, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) is running for a full term this year, and she chose King to serve as one of her campaign co-chairs.

This isn’t new behavior for Steve King.  We have previously documented some of his white supremacist statements here and noted his friendly relations with fascists in France.

If the Iowa Republican Party is OK with this, and obviously they are, then they are un-American, and unfit to be in government.

A culture of shameless corruption

Let us be clear about what Republican government is.  It is government by people who line their own pockets with public funds.  It is government by people who openly accept bribes.  The Republican Party, which still claims to stand for the rule of law, has given us a government that is proudly, brazenly above the law.

If you doubt it, consider:

  • EPA Director Scott Pruitt enjoys the support of the President and most Republicans in Congress, despite being the subject of more than a dozen investigations.  He has spent millions of taxpayer dollars on a security detail that apparently runs errands for him, including picking up his dry cleaning.  He spent $163,000 in first class air travel during his first year.  Lobbyists arranged his travel to Morocco and Italy, and tried to arrange a trip to Israel that was cancelled.  He stayed in a Washington condo for $50 a night, thanks to a lobbyist who had business before the EPA.  He had his scheduler find him a Washington house on federal time.  He spent $9600 decorating his office.  He used his office to try to get his wife a Chick-fil-A franchise.
  • Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has been the subject of four investigations, including his questionable travel paid for with funds meant to fight wildfires, and his attempt to spend $139,000 in taxpayer money on new doors to his office.
  • Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson famously got caught spending $31,000 in taxpayer dollars on a dining room set.
  • The Chinese government will contribute half a billion dollars to the Trump Organization, to help build an Indonesian theme park that features a Trump-branded golf course.  This immediately followed Trump’s pledge to help save Chinese phone company ZTE from bankruptcy, despite the fact that ZTE is under penalty for not just selling US-made surveillance gear to North Korea and Iran, but repeatedly lying to US investigators about it.
  • Speaking of Chinese payoffs directly to the Trump family, Ivanka Trump has enjoyed 13 new trademark approvals by the Chinese government in the space of just three months.
  • President Trump proposes to pardon former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.  He does not assert that Blagojevich is innocent of trying to sell a Senate seat, rather, he says that Blagojevich’s corruption simply wasn’t that big a deal.  To quote him directly, “Plenty of other politicians have said a lot worse.”  That’s a very low moral standard indeed.
  • The President asserts “the absolute right to PARDON myself.”  He further claims he cannot obstruct justice, because he is personally in charge of all Justice Department investigations.  (His legal claim is wrong, and we know that because of an Office of Legal Counsel opinion on the subject.  Richard Nixon resigned because he found out he couldn’t pardon himself.)  If you wondered when Trump would claim that he is simply above the law, you can quit wondering.  We’ve arrived.

Trump appoints torturer to head CIA. Here are the Democrats who helped.

President Donald Trump’s pick Gina Haspel was voted in by the Senate as the new head of the CIA, despite playing a key part in post-9/11 torture programs under President George W. Bush.  It could not have happened without the help of six Democratic senators.  Only one of them, Bill Nelson of Florida, still has a primary opponent. As for the rest of them, when you get a fundraising call from the Democratic National Committee or the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, tell them NO, you won’t help the national Party until they stop supporting these terrible senators.  Give your money to local candidates instead.

  • Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia – already won his primary
  • Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana – was unopposed in the primary
  • Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida – primary opponent is Tamika Lyles, primary is August 28
  • Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota – unopposed, Dustin David Peyer withdrew. Primary is June 12.
  • Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire – not up for reelection until 2020
  • Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia – not up for relection until 2020

Every one of these senators also voted with the Republicans to deregulate banks.

Ted Nugent says Democrats should be shot.

NRA board member Ted Nugent compares Democrats to rabid coyotes who should be shot.  Not in a private conversaion, which would be bad enough, but on the radio.

So here’s a question for Matt Windschitl, Republican leader in the Iowa House:  what does it take for you to denounce Ted Nugent and the NRA?

Oh, wait, I think we already have Windschitl’s answer.

A short list of things Republicans only pretend to care about

What matters is doing the right thing now

On Friday I saw two examples of a man faced with a moral decision.

Bill Maher hosted Billy Bush, forever infamous for laughing along with Donald Trump on the Access Hollywood tape, as Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women.  Bush explained why he didn’t stand up to Donald Trump at the time, which basically amounted to fear of losing his job.

Friday was also the 50th anniversary of the My Lai massacre, a war crime committed by the United States in which at least 347 civilians were murdered by U.S. troops.  Many who know of that crime are unaware that an American helicopter pilot, Hugh Thompson, caught the perpetrators in the act and put a stop to it, literally threatening to open fire on U.S. troops if they continued to fire on civilians.

Thompson literally saved the lives of people who were about to be murdered.  And he did so at great cost to himself: he was condemned and harrassed by his fellow soldiers.  But in the moment, he chose to do the right thing.

Bush kept quiet, and kept his comfortable job, by keeping silent when he should have spoken up.  He regrets it now, which is not worth nothing, to be sure, but it’s not really worth much, either.

When a future generations asks what we did to stop the rise of fascism in the U.S., are we going to say we wish we had done more when it counted?