False colors 

False colors

Straight talk was seriously abused when right-wing extremists started calling moderates like President Obama “Nazis” and “Fascists.” We'd have thought it a joke, except those people don't joke. They stew, they plot, they obsess, they lie, but they don't joke.

Nor, we suspect, do the sponsors of a proposal to levy a “flat tax” in Arkansas. They're calling themselves the Arkansas Progressive Group, but regress, not progress, is their goal. They propose to make an already regressive state tax structure even more so, reducing taxes on the well-off while increasing taxes on middle- and low-income families. That the group is headquartered in Fort Smith pretty well gives the game away. Truly progressive movements don't come out of Fort Smith.

The reactionaries have won the attorney general's approval for the ballot title and popular name of a proposed constitutional amendment they hope to put on the general election ballot. The popular name is “A Constitutional Amendment to Repeal All State Taxes and Establish a Flat Rate Sales tax.” A more apt name would be “A Constitutional Amendment to Soak the Poor.” The graduated income tax requires that people who can afford to pay more in taxes do so. Elimination of graduated tax rates would be a crushing blow to poor and middle-income Arkansans, who'd have to pay a hugely increased sales tax to make up the revenue lost from other taxes. They'd have to pay, that is, if they wanted to keep things like public schools, highways, and health care. The “flat tax” amendment is a scam, and an especially cruel one. Its promoters need around 77,000 signatures of registered voters to get it on the ballot. Don't give them one.

Manson had convictions

Hideous misuse of the language occurred in a Kansas courtroom too. Honest discourse seems to have gone out of style. The attorney for the murderer of a physician suggested to the jury that his client was a heroic figure, more deserving of a statue in his honor than a prison sentence. Scott Roeder fatally shot Dr. George Tiller in the church where Tiller was serving as an usher. Tiller had performed abortions. Roeder thought that he shouldn't have. His attorney, Mark Rudy, told the jury “no one should be convicted based on his convictions.” He mentioned Martin Luther King as someone who stood up for his beliefs. The jury saw through this sophistry, and found Roeder guilty. King had convictions, but he didn't kill anybody. Hitler, and the terrorists of 9-11, and Scott Roeder had convictions and they killed people. It's an important distinction. We celebrate King. We don't celebrate murderers.

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