Monday, February 25, 2019

A long history of extremism

While the rest of the press corps was slavering over Jusse Smollett (who I had never heard of) Rachel Maddow was using her time to reveal some newly-discovered Spiro Agnew documents.

There were two sets.

In one, Vice President Bush, in a close race with Mike Dukakis, turned for campaign advice to Agnew. It seems in character. Following his recent death, we were all invited to admire how decent he was, compared to today's politicians. I didn't buy it then, I always thought he was mean as a snake.

The Agnew letters confirm it.

The others had Agnew  seeking money from the Saudis in order to attack Jews. No surprise there, except perhaps that at that late date in his sordid life it seems overoptimistic for him to have thought anybody would care about him. Poppy Bush excepted, of course.

 Comes now  E.J. Dionne to weep crocodile tears over the sad decay of decency among the Republicans. While I suppose there must have been some decent Republicans in the past, the overall tenor of the party during all of my lifetime has been ignoble, vicious and racist.

I tend to agree with some political scientists who think FDR's electoral success drove the Republicans out of their minds, although that does not explain 1) why the Democrats did not do likewise during the long GOP ascendancy from 1860 to 1932; or 2) why the Republicans did not regain their equilibrium during their ascendancy since 1952.

Look at the record. Endless investigations in Congress intending to prove Roosevelt plotted to have Pearl Harbor attacked.  McCarthyism. "Twenty years of treason." Southern strategy. Whitewater. And now Trump, who really was a Democrat (to the extent he was anything but a Trump) most of his life.

It should have been so easy for the party -- if it had some decent core that only Dionne seems to be able to palpate -- to have brushed aside Trump and forced him on the Democrats.

Proverbs 26:11.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Purity leagues

A Jewish friend called to ask to ask what I thought about Congresswoman Omar's remarks about AIPAC. I said I understood her to be saying that AIPAC is an effective lobbying organization. I suppose AIPAC would be disinclined to disagree.

I said I thought the ever vigilant heresy hunters were going a step too far by declaring that to be anti-Semitic. He agreed. There are many American Jews -- himself included--  who support the state of Israel without liking the policies of the government of Israel.

I am not a fan of alternative history but sometimes I wonder idly what would've happened had the Arabs in Palestine -- there were no Palestinians in those days -- met the Jewish settlers from Europe not with sticks and rocks but by working and dealing with them as has been customary in that part of the world for 3,500 years. since Elam laid down comprehensive regulations for getting along economically with foreigners.

It is well to remember that when the European Jews showed up, the Arabs were being oppressed and had been oppressed for 400 years by colonizers -- not Europeans, the Turks.

Having chosen to go down the path they did choose, today no one can stand the Palestinians. The closer people are to them the less they can stand them. Egyptians, Saudis, Jordanians and Lebanese want nothing to do with the Palestinians, and the Jordanians and Lebanese fear them, for good reasons.

Turks have no more use for them then any of the other parties in the area, although they have chosen to cynically manipulate them. This is not done the Palestinians any good, although it might be hard to find the Palestinian who has figured this out yet.

You might suppose the historic oppressors of the Arabs in Palestine would meet with more skepticism about the political intent of the Turks toward them, but the political imbecility of the Palestinians is boundless.

And not only te Palestinians.

This past week the Turks decided to be the champions of the Uigers against China and accused China of ethnic suppression. Human Rights Watch, not much more politically sentient than the Palestinians, praised the Turks.

The Turks in this respect are even worse than the Chinese. China is attempting to assimilate the Uighurs, the Tibetans and other minorities but not necessarily to eliminate them, whereas the Turks have devoted themselves to exterminating the Armenians and the Kurds and to extinguishing other minorities within their territory.

Some years ago I made a passing reference in this blog to the Turk suppression of Bulgarian speaking residents of Turkey who are. for example, not allowed to give their children Bulgarian names. I cannot believe that I have any readers in Bulgaria but thanks to Webcrawlers I got a good many approving responses from Bulgarians.

You might suppose Human Rights Watch would know about this but apparently not.