US Press: pick of the papers

The ten must-read opinion pieces from today's US papers.

1. The GOP establishment trap (Washington Times)

According to Brett M. Decker, it's a mistake to think Tea Party conservatives can't win.

2. Big Government: Sometimes It Does Work (Hartford Courant)

Just ask disaster victims, says Susan Campbell.

3. Phony Fear Factor (New York Times)

Despite what Republican presidential candidates are saying, regulation and taxes are not responsible for America's weak job growth, writes Paul Krugman.

4. Where Are the Bond Vigilantes? (Wall Street Journal) ($)

During the Clinton administration, interest rates served to discipline government spending. That vital check is now missing, says Ronald McKinnon.

5. No Child waivers make sense for now (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Those railing against the Obama administration's decision to grant waivers from the sweeping No Child Left Behind education law have little ground to stand on, says this PI editorial.

6. A middle class victory (Washington Post)

The Senate is finally standing up to China, writes Harold Meyerson.

7. Who Nadia is up against (New York Daily News)

The Daily News asks Republican presidential candidates if 20-year-old Nadia Habib of Queens NY deserves deportation.

8. The Lessons of the Shale Gas Revolution (Wall Street Journal) ($)

North American oil production can double by 2035, according to Lucian Pugliaresi.

9. An autism treatment worth funding (Los Angeles Times)

A California bill would require insurance companies to cover the cost of applied behavioral analysis for the autistic. It's good policy, writes this editorial.

10. Filling the world's most important job in the world's stupidest way (The Plain Dealer)

The presidential campaign is too darned long, says Kevin Horrigan. Today's campaigns primarily are a way to transfer money from special interests to local television stations, while feeding a lot of influential people along the way, he argues.

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Must I unremember the day I wept over the long, slow suicide of a 27-year-old man?

At that time we did talk about the occupation of Ireland. Now we have to pretend we didn’t and it’s all the jolly UK and thank you, England for the peace process.

The misremembering of history interrupts these tales of my own squalid past. Very often I find myself wishing my memories were wrong, or that I’d forgotten more than I have. This would certainly be the case were I to be a politician, albeit a small-time one in big-time government. In the era of renunciations and sincere apologies, I would have to say sorry most of the time.

But I can’t. I can’t get past that clear day in May 1981, when the tangy cold spring air of a New York day got right inside me. Ambling home from another long, messy night in the Village, I was near 52nd when I saw people carrying a coffin.

“It’s not him, of course. It’s a fake coffin,” said a woman who saw the shock on my face. Maybe I was already crying. I knew and didn’t know but asked anyway.

“Yes. Bobby.”

Bobby Sands had died. Crowds were gathering with banners about Smashing Long Kesh and Smashing Thatcher.

The shock of it has never left me and God knows “martyrs” come two a penny now. Yet the idea that someone can starve themselves slowly to death for an idea is shocking. The idea that someone can let them do it, either “for” a United Ireland or “for” a United Kingdom, remains profoundly disturbing to me.

I need no lectures about what vile and murderous bastards the IRA were, or the numbers of innocents they killed. Nor about the smeary sentimentality of martyrdom itself. All I can say is that I had little idea of what “we” did in Ireland as long as I lived in England. A boy at school had run off to join the IRA. My mum said, “Well, he’s always been tapped, that one.”

We were kept ignorant. For some stupid reason, I did not think that Thatcher would let the hunger strikers die.

Their demands, remember, were the right not to wear prison uniform or to do prison work, rights to free association and education within the prison, one visit, one parcel, one letter a week. They wanted to be treated as political prisoners. Thatcher said Sands had no mandate. He was actually an MP, with more votes than she ever won in Finchley.

In New York that day, when we got to Third Avenue, there was anger and then solemnity. There were mumblings about what a death like that entailed . . . Mandela then instigated a hunger strike on Robben Island. There were protests in Milan and Ghent. French towns would name streets after Sands.

At that time, though, yes, we did talk about the occupation of Ireland. Now we have to pretend we didn’t and it’s all the jolly UK and thank you, England for the peace process.

So, must I unremember that day when I sat down on the pavement and wept over the long, slow suicide of a 27-year-old man? Let me know how to uncry all those tears shed for that terrible, terrible waste.

Suzanne Moore is a writer for the Guardian and the New Statesman. She writes the weekly “Telling Tales” column in the NS.

This article first appeared in the 01 October 2015 issue of the New Statesman, The Tory tide