Politics & Policy

L’Affaire Moore, &c.

(Reuters photo: Marvin Gentry)
The tragedy in Alabama, the tragedy in Venezuela, the arrogance of presidents, a medal ceremony in the Persian Gulf, and more

If you’re Roy Moore’d out, I don’t blame you. But I’d like to make a few Moore points nonetheless. (I didn’t mean that as a pun, I really didn’t.)

From what he has said over the years, Moore regards the 9/11 attacks as punishment for America’s sins. I wonder whether he sees his current predicament in a similar light. It would be interesting to see him address this at some point (after the election, surely).

‐A lot of good Alabamians, no doubt, contributed to Moore’s charity, the Foundation for Moral Law. (Wonderful name, wonderful concept.) He ripped them off, using the foundation as a personal piggy bank. And now he has ripped them off in another way, you could say: He has embarrassed them and the “cause.”

For years and years — ever since the Scopes trial in the 1920s — the religious Right has tried to escape the stigma of Gantryism. And time after time, the Roy Moores — the Jimmy Swaggarts, the Jim Bakkers, the Falwell Juniors — kill them.

At least that’s the way I see it …

‐Nigel Farage was one of the many people who rallied for Roy Moore in the Alabama primary. (The Right welcomes foreign interference, at least some of the time!) He saw the primary in a global light. Support of Moore, he said, was “important for the whole global movement across the West that we have built up and we have fought for.”

(Farage had just been in Germany, campaigning for that country’s alt-Right — a literal alt-Right, known as the AfD, which stands for “Alternative für Deutschland.”)

Has “the whole global movement” been harmed by the Moore affair?

‐Farage was doing his radio show the other day — a call-in show. In called Ahmed from Leyton, who had a point to make: People were talking about the Kremlin’s influence on America, but what about AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) and Israel?

A good point, said Farage. “There are about 6 million Jewish people living in America, so as a percentage it’s quite small, but in terms of influence it’s quite big.”

Wrapping up, Farage thanked his “new caller from Leyton” and said, “He makes the point that there are other very powerful lobbies in the United States of America, and the Jewish lobby, with its links with the Israeli government, is one of those strong voices.”

Get the difference: The Kremlin is a foreign government, interfering in American elections; the “Jewish lobby” is composed of Americans, petitioning their government. And what is the largest pro-Israel lobby in the United States? Christians United for Israel, with more than 2 million members.

Perhaps Mr. Farage could mention them the next time he is highlighting the Jewish influence on America.

‐While we’re on the subject: A man posing as a Washington Post reporter was trolling around Alabama. He was offering cash in exchange for dirt on Roy Moore. Between $5,000 and $7,000! He was trying to discredit the Post’s reporting, of course.

And what was he calling himself? “Bernie Bernstein.” Interesting. Wonder if the name was chosen at random. Could just as easily have been “John Smith,” right? Or even “Lucy Hickenlooper.”

(This was the real name of Olga Samaroff, the pianist who married Leopold Stokowski, the conductor, who was also married to Gloria Vanderbilt, who is Anderson Cooper’s mother.)

‐Have you seen the Nicolás Maduro video? It’s great. Maduro, the boss of Venezuela, had already been criticized for gaining weight in the midst of a food crisis. Venezuelans are starving.

Maduro was giving a speech on live television. After he finished, he reached into his desk and pulled out an empanada, which he readily chomped. The cameras were still rolling.

“Not a good look,” as they say on Twitter.

To see it, go here.

‐We on the right often criticized President Obama for his arrogance, among other things. We often quoted something he said in 2008, when he was running: “I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.”

I thought of that when listening to President Trump — who was asked about all the vacancies at the State Department. “Let me tell you, the one that matters is me. I’m the only one that matters.” (This is a cousin of “L’Etat, c’est moi.”)

Here is Trump again: “The reason our stock market is so successful is because of me. I’ve always been great with money.”

This puts Obama in the shade, I think.

‐Bernie Sanders (not “Bernie Bernstein”) tweeted this: “We are the wealthiest country in the history of the world. How is it possible that 2 months after Hurricane Maria half the people of Puerto Rico don’t have electricity?” The senator may be right about Puerto Rico: that reconstruction is going way too slow. I don’t know, as I have not studied the issue.

But I think I know this: If we are, indeed, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, it’s because we have steadfastly rejected the system that Senator Sanders would impose on us.

‐The Virginia gubernatorial race seems a thousand years ago, I know. But I’d like to mention this: The GOP gave the impression that they liked immigrants less than Confederates. This is, I think, a bad impression.

How can you propose a sensible immigration policy, and staunchly oppose illegal immigration, without coming off as anti-immigrant? For one thing, you can point out that immigration has been a boon to this country. To us all. We owe our very presence here to immigration.

That is not too elementary to point out. And it might make the “medicine” of restrictionism go down better.

‐A musician friend of mine writes something funny (maybe inadvertently so): “How is ‘molto moderato’ not a contradiction? What the hell does it mean?”

“Very moderate.” Heh. True. Kind of a puzzler. I think it might mean “determinedly moderato. Don’t you budge from it!”

‐I learned something, and saw something, via Tom Gross. The video is here.

A big international judo competition was held in Abu Dhabi. Israelis participated — though they were the only participants forbidden to attach their national flag to their clothing. One of them, Tal Flicker, won a gold medal.

At the medal ceremony, flags of the place-finishers were raised. But not the Israeli flag. In its place — the gold-medal position — was the flag of the International Judo Federation. The Israeli national anthem (“Hatikvah”) was not played. In its place was the anthem of the International Judo Federation. (Who knew?)

There on the stand, the gold medalist sang his national anthem anyway. “The anthem that they played from the world federation was just background noise,” he later said. “I was singing ‘Hatikvah’ from my heart.”

So great, so great.

‐I returned to the United States from abroad the other day. There were two lines at the airport: “U.S.” and “Non-U.S.” Oh, give me a break. “Non-U.S.”! People are terrified to say “foreign.”

Remember when Ted Turner forbade CNN to say “foreign”? You had to say “international” (which has a different meaning).

Golf announcers, announcing PGA Tour events, speak of foreign players as “international players.” Oh, you mean the guy holds multiple passports? He’s from Trieste or something?

So silly, so unnecessary. Anthony Daniels — a.k.a. Theodore Dalrymple — says that he likes being a foreigner: He likes the status of foreigner, he likes being in countries not his own. Anyone can understand this.

‐Earlier this week, I passed a restaurant called “Mexicue.” Now, I love Mexican food and barbecue above most things on earth. What about the combination? Heaven? Or more like a hell? Two great things are not necessarily great combined. (Fruit and chocolate, my sister would argue, and I tend to agree.)

I’ll let you know …



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