Friday, May 28, 2004

A little note of explanation ...

I have been a bit remiss in making sure to post at least one article each day, I'll be the first to admit. To be frank, I have been trying to remain a little detached from the goings on of this contentious day and age. The level of vitriol in this country, especially among those who occupy opposite ends of the political spectrum, is not only disheartening to me, it's astonishing. I know all of the reasons and rationales, but it still shocks me when I buckle in and dive down in the trenches of what constitutes contemporary discourse.

I firmly believe that each of us has an obligation to be aware of what is going on here, and I'm not saying the LLL's (Looney Leftist Liberals) aren't doing just that. It's what they do with that awareness; the filtering of fact that when rendered in no way resembles what it once was. Organized political disinformation has created a cluster bomb from a model airplane, if you will.

Some might say that this is payback for Republican harassment of former President Clinton, and "payback's a bitch", ad infinitum, ad nauseum. There is some truth to that, but I am not convinced that what President Bush faces today is a fair approximation of that which beset President Clinton. The Republicans who made it their life's work to muckrake all and sundry aspects of Bill Clinton's life were few in number: they were vocal and determined, but they never constituted a majority of the party. Those Democrats who dog President Bush, however, are manifold. And they are financed in a way that would have made Trent Lott, Dan Burton and their ilk salivate like an english mastiff. Not a pretty image: forgive me.

Part of this blame goes to the Internet. There are no fact checkers at Indymedia, a site whose stated purpose is that of being a "alternative news source" (started by the truly odious Bill Moyers, a devil in parson's clothing if one has ever existed). Indymedia is in fact a site where the most bizarre and nefarious rumors can be posted as established fact, and in some instances these stories have made their way into mainstream media such as the New York Times and CNN.

George Soros' and its' affiliate PAC (Political Action Committee) is used as a legitimate news source by a surprising number of print and television media outlets, and no admission as to the nature of MoveOn and it's mission is made at any of these points of publication. It's a pretty damning indictment of conventional media, but everyone seems to be looking the other way. Except my fellow bloggers, of course.

When I look at the weblogs of of truly accomplished bloggers, such as LGF's Charles Johnson, Glenn Reynolds' Instapundit, Bill Whittle's Eject!Eject!Eject!, and Roger L. Simon's eponymous site, I am humbled and a little intimidated at even attempting to imitate what they do far better than me.

But I must also admit that I am encouraged by the "upstarts", newbie bloggers who thrive when presented with the challenge inherent to publishing one's thoughts and opinions on the 'net:
Colt's "Eurabian Times", the inimitable humor that is Iowa Hawk", or the unique military perspective of former Air Force officer Baldilocks". Each of these people, and countless more, are changing how I look at goings on in America, Europe and the world at large. If by tiny chance you have made it here to my blog, take special care to make sure you also look at theirs, as I cannot promise to be as productive nor as articulate as they are.

But I'll sure as hell try.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Zachary Selden in WSJ's Opinion Journal: What Europe Doesn't Understand

What Europe Doesn't Understand: Neoconservatism is neither neo nor conservative. It's just American.

A portion of this wise and illustrative essay ...

Although there are notable exceptions, many European commentators and much of the public are resorting to conspiratorial theories to explain the direction of U.S. foreign policy and somehow overlook the fact that American public opinion runs in favor of the president's handling of foreign affairs. Perhaps more important, however, they overlook the deep historical roots of the current direction of American foreign policy. It is not driven by a "neocon cabal." Rather, it is that certain individuals associated with the neoconservative label have been particularly articulate in expressing a set of policies that flow from two ideas that resonate deeply in American public opinion. The first is a belief that the United States has a responsibility to spread its vision of individual liberty. The second is that the primary and perhaps exclusive task of the federal government is to protect its citizens from external threats. Whatever the actual causes of U.S. action in any particular instance, those principles loom large in the public debate and shape how and when the United States becomes involved in other countries' affairs.

If you really want to understand where neoconservatives are coming from, and I count myself among those who accept the label, this piece will help you to understand the principles that form the basis of neoconservatism. It's worth the read, and written in an accessible way that most people can understand.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Bill Cosby's Right

First of all, I will admit that I am a white, upper-middle class woman. I didn't grow up in the concrete jungle, but I am the product of one of the most racially mixed suburbs in the Chicago area, so I know at least a little bit of whence I speak. I also spend one night a week working with teen girls who are incarcerated in the juvenile detention system, so I'm at least clued in to Ghetto: its' culture, its' code of honor, its' priorities, if my connection to these young women counts for anything. And it's left me agreeing, albeit amazedly, with Bill Cosby's comments, spoken at a Washington DC rally commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, are right on the money:

As Cos tells it, we ain't learnt nothin' yet

"Ladies and gentlemen, the lower economic people are not holding up their end in this deal," he said Monday night. "These people are not parenting. They are buying things for kids - $500 sneakers for what?

"And they won't spend $200 for 'Hooked on Phonics.' ...

"They're standing on the corner and they can't speak English," he said. "I can't even talk the way these people talk: 'Why you ain't.' 'Where you is.' ... And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk. And then I heard the father talk. ... Everybody knows it's important to speak English except these knuckleheads. ... You can't be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth!"

Of Course, NAACP President Kweisi Mfume and NAACP legal defense fund head Theodore Shaw were present at the event, and Shaw made the pointed comment (to paraphrase) "that most people on welfare are not African-American, and many of the problems his organization has addressed in the black community were not self-inflicted".

It should be noted that at no point in the speech did Cosby specifically claim that blacks alone were those he saw fit to admonish.

The girls I volunteer with are Black, Caucasian and Hispanic, and they are the first to acknowledge that screwed up priorities are colorblind, and that the things their parent(s) by them, if they buy them anything, are often impulse purchases. This would seem to bear out Cosby's claims. Gifts are bought to satisfy a temporary need or to soothe hurt feelings, not to foster intellect or encourage ambitions beyond sports stardom (this goes for all groups).

Secondly, if the NAACP thinks that the problems in the black community are not, at least in part, self-inflicted, then their purpose is in fact a ruse.

Dr. Martin Luther King spoke and wrote very movingly about the role of racism in holding blacks back.

* He did not absolve Americans, regardless of color, of their own transgressions or failures in race relations.

*He did not absolve whites of judging others on the color of their skin: he implored us to look at who people were and what they made of themselves, first and foremost.

*He did not absolve black men, women and children of their part in creating the characters upon which they would, in a just world, be judged.

This is how I understood his speeches and writings, and Mfume and Shaw's statements lead me to wonder how out-of-touch the organization he once headed has become.