Monday, June 06, 2016

Things People Blame the Jews For, Volume XXVI: Stabbings in Bangladesh

A simmering human rights tragedy has been unfolding over the past few years in Bangladesh, where Islamist militants have taken to brazen public attacks against secularists, atheists, religious minorities, gay rights activists, and other liberal public figures. Many of the targets have been hacked to death in their homes or on the street. And Bangladeshi police have had virtually no luck in tracking down culprits (critics accuse them of not being particularly interested in tracking down culprits).

But perhaps we can cut them some slack. Local police are no match for a coordinated campaign of terrorism launched by you-know-who:

Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan has suggested an Israeli link to the recent killings of secular bloggers and minorities. 
He said an opposition politician had met an Israeli intelligence agent and there was evidence of an "international conspiracy" against Bangladesh. 
He gave no more evidence. Israel says the claim is nonsense. 
Critics say the government is in denial about the killings, most of which have been blamed on or claimed by Islamists. 
The "meeting" referred occurred when a Bangladeshi politician met an Israeli diplomat in India. The Bangladeshi was quickly arrested and charged with sedition.

BBC's Dhaka correspondent predicted that Khan's unsubstantiated conspiracy-mongering will play well in Bangladesh because most of the country is sympathetic to the Palestinians.

If I didn't know better, I'd almost think that anti-Israel and anti-Jewish scapegoating are a tool used by political elites to deflect from their own failings.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Scientists Discover New Evidence for the Universal Extreme Left-Right Convergence Theory

One well known phenomenon in political science is that, while we talk of left and right as being diametrically opposed (a political "spectrum" ranging from far-left to far-right), the extreme edges of the left and right often seem difficult to distinguish from one another. This has led to what is known as the Extreme Left-Right Convergence Theory* -- the idea that, at the extremes, left and right wrap back around to converge upon one another. The classic example was European fascism and communism -- despite being at opposite edges of the political spectrum they end up looking virtually identical (the so-called "Brown-Red alliance").

In recent years, though, political scientists questioned whether it made sense to view "left" and "right" as a single linear spectrum. Are communists more "left" than radical environmentalists? Are Leninists more "left" than RadFems? While the well known joke of leftist "splitters" caused theorists to initially focus on left-wing examples, similar questions can be asked of the right (are neoconservatives more "right" than paleocons? Is the "alt-right" more right-wing than Randians?). Instead of a single uniform "line" progressing from left to right, it has become more fashionable to think of the spectrum as "fraying" at the edges -- with many different and disparate groups occupying positions on the left and right frontiers.

This complicated the Extreme Left-Right Convergence Theory, since of course convergence of two particular extreme edges (e.g., fascists and communists) does not prove that the theory is generalizable. And ever since, political scientists have sought to demonstrate the validity of the Universal Extreme Left-Right Convergence Theory -- that every branch of left and right, at their extreme, wraps around to converge with each other extreme. For the past few decades, researchers have been hard at work seeking examples of such convergence (for example, Cynthia McKinney provides the link between the Green Party and Neo-Nazis -- the "Green-Brown" alliance).

Today, a major breakthrough emerged as political scientists announced a link between two seemingly distant extremes -- the anti-colonial left and the alt-right -- in the form of Rania Khalek. Khalek had already been on the radar screens of researchers after promoting David Duke's concept of "Jewish Privilege", and with recent declarations that Trump was actually superior to Clinton on trade issues and has been a boon on deportations (heighten those contradictions!), the community is now confident she represents the convergence point between these particular extreme left and right branches.

The name for this particular left-right alignment has not been settled, though inside reports have suggested that the "Khalek-Weir Axis" is an early front-runner.

* Note: I made this up. This is satire.