The Roving Ambassador To European Fascism Is An Iowa Congressman, Popular With His Ignorant Constituents
But he's been doing more than just voting badly. He's Congress' and the Republican Party's unofficial ambassador-at-large to the European fascist parties, cultivating relationships with the neo-Nazi parties all over Die alte Welt-- espaecially Islamophobes.
The Congressman -- who is infamous for accusing child asylum seekers of smuggling drugs into the U.S., keeping a confederate flag at his desk, and asking what contributions nonwhite people have made to society — has been openly forming political partnerships and personal friendships with a wide array of leaders on Europe’s xenophobic and populist right. Among his stated acquaintances are members of populist and nativist parties from Austria, France, Germany, and the Netherlands.In December, Iowa Farmer Today published a shocking story about how King's constituents are committing suicide at the highest rate in history.
King’s collusion with fringe right wingers, including many holding anti-Muslim beliefs, should come as little surprise. This is the same man who once said that Islam is incompatible with American values and called for the government to spy on American mosques.
King was recently seen palling around with the leaders of Austria’s Freedom Party. The Freedom Party, founded by a former SS officer in 1956, ran an unsuccessful campaign for the Austrian presidency last month. King tweeted out his condolences to Norbert Hofer, the Freedom Party’s candidate, at the time.
“The cause of freedom and our friendship remain,” he wrote. “Onward!”
But Hofer is just one of King’s many friends on the European far right.
The Iowa congressman also hosted noted Islamophobic Dutch politician Geert Wilders in Washington, D.C. in April 2015. Wilders, leader of the Netherlands’ Freedom Party (sensing a theme here?), is riding the international populist wave and could grasp victory in his country’s elections this March. Wilders has frequently and openly expressed a willingness to stem immigration-- particularly Muslim immigration-- to the Netherlands; among his myriad anti-Muslim statements are gems like, “the right to religious freedom should not apply to Islam.”
At a rally in 2014, Wilders asked a crowd: “In the Netherlands, do you want more or fewer Moroccans?”
“Fewer! Fewer! Fewer!” the crowd in the Dutch city of The Hague replied.
“Then I’ll arrange it,” Wilders said at the time. He was later tried and found guilty for discrimination and inciting hatred.
King was recently spotted meeting with Wilders alongside another far right-wing politician, Frauke Petry. Petry leads the Alternative for Germany party (AfD)-- an anti-immigrant party that reminds some in the country of the Nazi party. The New Yorker described the AfD as Germany’s “most successful nationalist phenomenon since the Second World War.”
In October, King met with Marine Le Pen-- a far right party leader in France who has had a surge in popularity in recent weeks and is considered a real contender in the French presidential election, set to take place in May. Le Pen is running on a platform opposing immigration and has repeatedly stoked fear of Islam to bolster support for her campaign.
King was the first elected American official to publicly meet with Le Pen, and the two are set to meet again, this time in Washington, D.C. in January.
Le Pen tweeted in October that she had an “interesting exchange” with King on France, the U.S., and international affairs.
Although King’s outreach to the European far right is exceptional, he’s not the only American politician currently trying to establish ties with leaders such as Hofer and Le Pen. Heinz-Christian Strache, head of the Austrian Freedom Party, said in December that he had met with President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. At the time, Trump’s transition team described the report as “fake news.”
And top Trump adviser Steve Bannon, now a member of the president’s National Security Council, turned Breitbart Media into a platform for boosting the European far right when he was the publication’s chief executive.
We tend to think of the 1980s as the most prominent mental health emergency in rural communities, marked by high rates of suicide and violence.That also describes typical Hate Radio listeners, Fox News viewers Trump voters and supporters of Steve King. It's not a coincidence. By its very nature, fascism is a high anxiety state and drives large numbers of people to despair and suicide. Steve King is the wrong man for Iowa's 4th Congressional District.
The events of the farm crisis were serious enough to mobilize statewide and national resources. For example, the Rural Concern Hotline, now the Iowa Concern Hotline (1-800-447-1985), was started as a direct response to help farm families experiencing economic and mental health challenges during this period.
The National Farm Medicine Center in Marshfield, Wis., tracked farm suicides during the 1980s in the Upper Midwest, the region most affected by the farm crisis, to try to better understand the relationships between the farm economy and suicide.
They found that 913 male farmers in the region committed suicide during that decade, with rates peaking in 1982 at 58 suicides for every 100,000 male farmers and ranchers.
Rates among the general population were around 31 suicides per 100,000 white males over the age of 20 during that same time period.
Compare that with this year’s CDC report, which found that current national suicide rates for people working in agriculture are 84.5 per 100,000 overall, and 90.5 per 100,000 among males. This means that suicide rates among male farmers are now more than 50 percent higher than they were in 1982, at the peak of the farm crisis.
...While some may appear to be depressed or uninterested in activities, others may be more irritable and prone to anger or rage or show signs of anxiety.
Suicide rates among farmers are now higher than any other occupation, and even higher than they were at the height of the farm crisis.