IS PETER KING (R-New York) THE NEW JOE McCARTHY? – His Words And Actions Are Certainly Just As Un-Umerican
Joe McCarthy died alone, alcoholic and nearly forgotten, three years after a vote of censure in The Senate all but finished him as a politician.
EXCUSE ME? ….. Joe McCarthy, the “reds under the bed” guy? ….. Congressional hearings, communist hysteria ….. that Joe McCarthy?
Isn’t this post meant to be about Representative Peter King, the guy from New York that looks like he detoured through early ’90s Serbia to pick up his facial expressions, I hear you say?
Well, yes, in fact, it is. But it is also a look back at a shameful time in American history when a mediocre senator from Wisconsin realized his Un-God-given talent for viciousness and spurious accusation was his ticket to immortality.
Times I certainly have no wish to see resurrected.
Immortality McCarthy achieved, though not of the sort he’d imagined. Has Mr. King, Congressman of our times, forgotten the lessons of red-baiter Joe’s fall from grace?
Though King is already scoffing at the comparison, the ghost of McCarthy can be rather uncomfortably sensed hovering over King’s shoulder.
You see, the parallels between Rep. King and Senator Joseph McCarthy are a little too queasy to be ignored and the former is already being labelled a quasi “son of” the latter, even before the ink is dry on his first subpoena.
King is no Congressional spring chicken – in January he begins his 9th term in the House of Representatives. I know that might surprise you since he is hardly a household name but he’s puttered around long enough to gain a reputation among his fellow servants of the nation.
The National Journal Almanac, a non-partisan Washington Beltway publication, summarizes King’s politics as follows:
“King’s voting record ranks him near the ideological center of the House. He is more conservative on foreign-policy issues than on economic or social ones, but with distinctive interests. He opposes abortion rights, racial quotas and preferences, bilingual education, and gun regulation. He supports English-only laws and opposes aid to illegal immigrants. He has been an ardent supporter of the Irish Republican Army. Within days of his election in 1992, he flew to Belfast to meet with leaders of Sinn Fein, the IRA’s political arm, and he had a role in 1998 peace negotiations carrying messages between the IRA and the Irish government. His activism on the issue led to an unusually close bipartisan relationship with President Bill Clinton, who helped broker the agreement. But in 2005, after Sinn Fein’s suspected involvement in a bank robbery and a highly publicized murder, King called for the IRA to disband. He often seemed more comfortable with Democrats and labor leaders—the sort of people he dealt with in Nassau County—than with Southern or Western Republicans. Over the years, King has been a provocative presence on radio and television chat shows. He also gained attention with two novels about politics and diplomacy in Northern Ireland. In one of them, Deliver Us From Evil, a thinly disguised Long Island congressman is the protagonist.”
There is a bit more to King’s IRA connection, apparently, than is listed in the Almanac and, should that intrigue you, please see a previous post -”Have You Read Any Of The Wikileaks, 12/19/10 – on this blog.
However it is King’s recent behavior that prompted this current post. And here’s why.
King is about to become Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee – a post which would appear to suit him about as much as lingerie on a hyena.
The Committee concerns itself with such matters as border, port and transportation security, infrastructure security, intelligence, emerging threats, privacy, civil rights and civil liberties.
Weighty stuff indeed and one requiring a steady, even and balanced hand on the tiller.
You would think.
One is forced, however. to wonder about the steadiness of King’s hand. He is certainly lacking steadiness in other joints, judging by his knee-jerk reactions to various issues.
Herr King, having spent the last few weeks accusing Julian Assange, the Wikileaks man, of endangering every creature with a pulse on the planet (at least, those with an American accent) and calling for Wikileaks to be designated a “terrorist organization” (presumably so we can send a drone to plummet through the chimney of Assange’s current country bolt-hole), has now moved his head fractionally and zeroed in on to a new target for his inflammatory rhetoric.
“Uncle” Peter King (as he is not called) announced he will open proceedings upon assuming his new post by launching an investigation into “the radicalization of the American Muslim community”.
Said Commissar King …..
“We want to assess the extent of the radicalization of the Muslim community,” he said. “It’s clear to me there has not been sufficient cooperation.”
Wow, talk about light blue touch paper and stand clear! Way to radicalize the American Muslim community, Mr. King, Sir!
To make sure he pressed home his vague but threatening intent, King yesterday travelled to the parallel universe known as Fox News and expanded on his proposed Muslim hounding:
“We have to break through this politically-correct nonsense which keeps us from debating and discussing what I think is one of the most vital issues in this country, that we are under siege by Muslim terrorists,” King said. “And yet there are Muslim leaders in this country who do not cooperate with law enforcement. We have the reality that Al-Qaeda is trying to recruit Muslim American and yet we have people in the Muslim community who refuse to face up to this and will not cooperate with the FBI or the police.”
Under siege? Infidels at the gates? A terrorist under every water bed?
A veteran of public office should know much, much better than to spew forth such vicious and divisive drivel, especially one about to don the mantle of House Homeland Security Committee Chairman.
Mister Chairman, if I may – It’s really not nice to be singled out as a living, breathing 24/7 threat to humanity if, in fact, you’re simply trying to earn an honest living as a loyal American ….. and you just happens to also be a Muslim.
This is an apt description of virtually the entire American Muslim community.
Now, I’m not saying there are NO radicalized, dangerous Muslims living in America. Hell, there’s way too many radicalized, dangerous Americans living in America!
Ergo, to showboat like Ayatollah King and, with literal reference to his words, condemn an entire and substantial group of Americans, amounts to irresponsible, insensitive and utterly unnecessary behavior.
I’m afraid it also leaves King’s motives open to serious question.
Forget not, Sir, it was this white American piece of trash …..
….. who did this to the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, January 1995 …..
….. killing 168 innocent people (including 19 children) and injuring over 800 others.
Perhaps Mr. King simply lacks a way with words and doesn’t at all mean to sound suspiciously demagogic when he blurts out such nasty over-generalizations.
The problem, however, is ongoing – he appears to have had no way with words ever since he stumbled onto the national stage.
Islam is not a new bugaboo of King’s – he has been spouting the same inflammatory, meaningless rhetoric for quite some time.
Witness this 2007 rant:
Here’s my question ….. is three years way too short a time to give King to actually come up with some factual content supportive of his claims?
Because, without such support, his assertions amount to alarmingly bigoted anti-Muslim yelping.
It really would be helpful, for example, if Rep. King would define his claim of Muslim “non-cooperation” for us all.
Does his definition include individuals who have no knowledge of any Al-Queda or other radical activities and therefore, quite naturally, might say, “I know nothing”, when prodded for information?
His statements certainly imply this to be so.
So it’s surely a reasonable question to inquire in what manner King thinks such individuals may be guilty of “(in)sufficient “cooperation”?
What about 5th Amendment rights? You know, “you have a right to remain silent” and all that? A right granted to every American citizen, regardless of race, color, or creed.
Does King’s definition carry an addendum along the lines of, “but, if you’re an American Muslim and assert your 5th Amendment right, you’re not cooperating, and that makes you a little terrorist turd in my eyes”.
What about just plain old fear – or simple suspicion – of law enforcement?
If I was an American Muslim in these present days, I’d be hard pressed not to feel apprehension and distrust for American authority figures – especially if a Congressman, who is also Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, is prone to hurling out generalized and vague statements that, by their very tone and wording, suggests he harbors a deep suspicion of all American Muslims.
Notwithstanding the above, Muslims are meant to trust us without reservation?
That’s a little twisted, wouldn’t you say?
As a nine-term Congressman, one wonders if King actually is in touch. Did he not read the recent Congressional Research Service report, which concluded:
“(S)oon after 9-11, American Muslims “recognized the need to define themselves as distinctly American communities who, like all Americans, desire to help prevent another terrorist attack.”
You’d think, the way King, P. is carrying on, that the above quote can’t be accurate. Believe me, it is entirely accurate.
If you have any reason to doubt my word, read the report for yourself. All 135 pages can be found here.
As further noted in a recent article on Salon.com:
“(T)he Muslim Public Affairs Council has crunched FBI data, information in government press releases, and media reports on potential al Qaida-related plots and determined that since 9-11, Muslim Americans have helped thwart 11 al Qaida-related plots, nearly one-third of all such planned attacks that threatened the United States. (A vivid example of an American Muslim warning authorities of a problem: a Muslim was the first to report to law enforcement last May the suspicious vehicle in Times Square which turned out to be a dud car bomb.)
The cooperation from American Muslims is no secret to law enforcement officials, who have established, all the way down to the local level, formal and informal connections to American Muslim communities to cultivate the flow of intelligence — like the Muslim Community Affairs unit of the Los Angeles Sheriff Department, established in August 2007. For their part, Muslim-Americans have established a litany of organizations to better understand and refute extremism, like the Muslim American Society’s “Straight Path Initiative,” which focuses on rooting out potential extremism, particular on Muslims aged 15 to 30. The CRS report on American Jihadist terrorism contains a list of examples of American Muslim organizations established to rebut extremism and an appendix listing federal, state and local authorities’ efforts to work with American Muslim communities.”
And here’s something to be filed under “never a truer word”. The Salon article concluded with this paragraph:
“Some American Muslims are also frustrated by grappling with anti-Muslim sentiments while simultaneously working so hard against extremism and assisting law enforcement to root out terrorists. “Ironic doesn’t even begin to explain this,” said Alejandro Beutel from the Muslim Public Affairs Council. He said Islamophobes are “failing to see who are the potential enemies and who are the potential allies.” Beutel predicted, however, that this new evidence of American Muslims’ role in thwarting attacks wouldn’t change the minds of many Islamophobes, saying, “Nothing we do is going to be good enough for them.”
Little wonder Muslim Americans fear a new era of McCarthyism when a man in Master King’s position disgorges such hateful utterances.
McCarthyism, eh? Uurgh!
You’ve heard about the odious Joe McCarthy, I’m sure. He was the senator who, in the 1950s, saw, or claimed to have observed, a “red under the bed”.
The place was lousy with them. The State Department was, according to Joey, practically an arm of the Kremlin. And, as for the Army, jeez!
Joe made it sound like they read “Das Capital” to each other as a bedtime story before snuggling into their red sheets in their red pyjamas.
McCarthy shot to prominence on the back of a speech in 1950 during which he held up a piece of paper he claimed contained the names of State Department officials who were Communist Party members. Much to his initial surprise, what he had spouted from a podium in West Virginia that evening became a national media sensation.
Tapping into the inchoate fear of communism infecting the nation, McCarthy seized his opportunity in the hot lights and went on a rampage during which nobody, it seemed, was above suspicion.
McCarthy, for example, went for the throat of George Marshall, Secretary of Defense in the Truman Administration and author of the Marshall Plan, which helped put Western Europe on the road to recovery after World War 11.
The massive economic aid package in Marshall’s plan simultaneously buttressed Western Europe against the threat of communist encroachment and handily enriched America in real terms for decades to come. A nice added bonus.
Yet McCarthy blamed Marshall for the communist takeover of China. Non-specific as the accusation was, it strongly implied Marshall was guilty of treason and alleged him to be part of “a conspiracy so immense and an infamy so black as to dwarf any previous venture in the history of man.”
All, it became apparent with the passage of time, without any foundation or a single shred of evidence.
Yet, so successful was McCarthy at whipping up a national fear of communism, he was able to continue his systematic destruction of lives for some four years without ever producing any concrete evidence to support his assertions.
In an eerie echo of a possible future, McCarthy utilized his position as Chairman of a Congressional Committee – the Senate Committee for Government Operations – to hold his most notorious hearings (which were televised to a galvanized nation).
The tide, however, slowly but surely began to turn against McCarthy as his aggrandizing grew ever more shrill and the nation shifted uncomfortably on the realization that they had been hoodwinked. McCarthy, for a time inviolate through the fear of bogus accusation, began to be challenged to actually produce the evidence he claimed he possessed of this vast communist conspiracy.
Instead he tried slinging yet more accusations around until famously stopped in his tracks by the words of the Army’s chief legal counsel, Joseph Nye Welch, during Senate hearings concerning accusations flying back and forth between the military and McCarthy in 1954:
“You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”
Reference is made in the clip above to a certain Fred Fisher and The National Lawyers Guild. As an aside of interest, a short note on who and what is referred to:
The National Lawyers Guild was, and is, an American bar association. Established in1937 as an alternative to the American Bar Association (which at the time excluded blacks and Jews from membership), the Guild is still active today.
The organization’s website lists the following philosophy as a guiding principle:
“Our aim is to bring together all those who regard adjustments to new conditions as more
important than the veneration of precedent; who recognize the importance of safeguarding and
extending the rights of workers, women, farmers, and minority groups upon whom the welfare of
the entire nation depends; who seek actively to eliminate racism; who work to maintain and
protect our civil rights and liberties in the face of persistent attacks upon them; and who look
upon the law as an instrument for the protection of the people, rather than for their repression.”
A noble purpose, I’m sure most of you would agree. If, like the Palins and McCartheys of this world, you believe the National Lawyers Guild to be a “communist” or “socialist” organization, then you, Sir/Madam, are a fool.
The Guild’s website is located here.
Fred Fisher went on to become a partner at Welch’s law firm and served as president of the Massachusetts Bar Association in the ’70s.
McCsrthy’s histrionics unbalanced America for years and resulted in unwarranted accusations of communist sympathies being slapped onto numerous unfortunates, destroying reputations and lives in a whirlwind of paranoia.
Joey the Rat’s vile actions spawned the descriptive term, “McCarthyism”, which we see once again rearing its ugly head courtesy of Peter King’s noxious rants.
Initially used as a moniker for McCarthy’s anti-communist witchhunt, the term, in time, developed an alternative, now standard, meaning …. the demagogic practice of issuing vicious, reckless, unsubstantiated accusations against political enemies, real, perceived, or simply made up.
It’s how odious bottom feeders get their kicks.
McCarthy’s fall from grace was almost as rapid as his ascent. His legacy is one of shame. Personal shame, and a nation’s shame.
Nevertheless, King seems determined to don the mantle of McCarthy and has clearly selected his fall guy – Islam.
According to The New York Observer, King:
” is in close contact with Muslim leaders and said, “They are good people but they just don’t seem to appreciate the necessity of why they should be coming forward.””
What a ridiculous statement! Does he believe every American Muslim should “come forward” on a regular basis to inform law enforcement they know nothing of radical Islamic plans, just to prove their loyalty to this country?
What’s next? Vocalizing a deep suspicion of monkeys for their failure, to date, to type a complete Shakespearean play?
(What are these primates up to?)
Furthermore, call me old-school, but I simply fail to see how followers of Islam can be believed by King to be “good people” while, at the same time, he’s engaged in a systematic verbal attack against all of them, utilizing rumor and vile unsubstantiated accusation as his main tool.
It’s just so Un-American! And wholly counter-productive.
“The cause of anti-communism, which united millions of Americans and which gained the support of Democrats, Republicans and independents, was undermined by Sen. Joe McCarthy … McCarthy addressed a real problem: disloyal elements within the U.S. government. But his approach to this real problem was to cause untold grief to the country he claimed to love … Worst of all, McCarthy besmirched the honorable cause of anti-communism. He discredited legitimate efforts to counter Soviet subversion of American institutions.”
By his idiotic and hateful anti-Muslim bile , King stands to do yet more damage to the image of America in the eyes of the rest of the world. Even worse, his intolerant, ignorant and baseless accusations endanger every American and promotes an entirely unacceptable Islamophobia he should be working to prevent.
This is McCarthyite demagoguery at its worst.
Compare King’s rhetoric to the following nonsense hurled out of McCarthy’s mouth:
You can, of course, make up your own mind but, to me, there is a chilling and eerie similarity to the unsubstantiated muck slithering out of the mouths of these two brothers-in-arms.
As McCarthy used the ill-defined menace of communism to scare an entire nation, King appears intent on making a national name for himself by similarly demonizing Islam.
As McCarthy did, King appears to have usurped his Chairmanship of a Congressional Committee to turn it into a podium for hate-mongering, which he must know divides and polarizes.
And, just like McCarthy, King spews forth these horrible generalizations without regard to factual content – a truly demagogic tactic. With McCarthy, it was “lists” ….. with King, it’s “guys in law enforcement tell me this stuff”, despite numerous documented indications to the contrary.
“This stuff”, of course, being American Muslim “non-cooperation”, a concept devoid of meaning, as phrased.
Try proving you’re “cooperative” when you have no knowledge of anything to do with any illegal or radical activity. Bit of a double negative that. An impossibility, in fact.
And a typical tool of dictatorial repression throughout history.
You should be aware that “Uncle” Peter King has also lend virulent opposition to the proposed mosque in New York near the site of the fallen Twin Towers, calling it “an affront to the memory of all those murdered on 9/11″ – as if all Muslims, even the peaceful moderates behind the mosque project, bear responsibility for the actions of extremists.
As reported by The New York Daily News, King:
“also labeled the project’s imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf, a “radical” – even though Rauf was picked by the Bush administration to help the State Department promote American values and spread the gospel of democracy in the Middle East.”
The Daily News added:
“King also accusingly demanded an investigation of the Islamic center’s financing – without evidence that anything improper was afoot. As has become increasingly obvious, the sponsors had no real financing to speak of.”
It would be well, America, to remember it was an American Muslim who was the first to report to law enforcement last May the suspicious vehicle in Times Square which turned out to be a dud car bomb.
So why is King so bound determined to alienate his fellow Americans? Why is he nurturing the seeds of division and conflict and thereby putting this nation’s entire population at risk?
Why is he hindering law enforcement’s noble efforts to keep this country safe?
Much of this work depends on good relations and the building of trust between the authorities and the U.S. Muslim community, an example of which is the Muslim American Society’s “Straight Path Initiative,” which focuses on rooting out potential extremism, particular in regard to Muslims aged 15 to 30 and at their most susceptible. (The Congressional Research Service report on American Jihadist terrorism contains a list of examples of American Muslim organizations established to rebut extremism and an appendix listing federal, state and local authorities’ efforts to work with American Muslim communities.)
Is Peter King deliberately trying to undermine the patient and diligent work of our law enforcement agencies? It’s certainly difficult to pinpoint any other purpose to his verbal insults.
It is crystal clear, however, that King’s outrageous behavior is the polar opposite of how he should be conducting himself as a man in his position.
This man, through his own words and actions, is showing himself to be totally unfit to hold a position of authority, let alone one as important and sensitive as Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. He should be relieved of his pending chairmanship before he does irreparible damage to this nation.
Famed journalist and broadcaster, Edward Murrow, a man universally respected for his integrity, best summed up the McCarthy years of hysteria in his closing remarks on his television news show, “See It Now”, on March 9, 1954 with these measured and profound words:
His words ring fresh and true in today’s climate of hate, ignorance and paranoia and we, as a nation, would do well to heed his words.
See you at the hearings!