Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Democracy as the Standard

I recently asked the question, Should democracies be held to a higher standard? There was a very good discussion the comments, but I thought that Cliff from Promethian Antagonist gave as good an answer as I’ve ever seen to this:
The countries of the world in general should be held to a democratic standard (don't expect help from the U.N. in this regard).

Democracy -- when it is genuinely attempted -- is a higher standard.


But I am left with another question. As I mused in the comments of that original post, “What would it look like if the media and citizens of democracies held the world’s nations to the standard of democracy?”

To begin answering this question, I want to state that I think the purpose of the news media is to inform citizens so that they can make good decisions, especially about their government. And, where their government is entangled with foreign governments, those governments should be explored and explained by the media just as much as our own, something the media on just about every level is failing to do.

I think most Americans, though they may know it intellectually, really don’t understand in any kind of meaningful way that many other nations really have no free speech or assembly rights, and that governments often simply manufacture history to keep their grip on their people. For example, the fact that street demonstrations are not necessarily about any real grievances, but rather often about government-generated (or power-group-generated) issues that may or may not exist, and that in many nations they cannot even take place without government endorsement at some level. I believe this is very important for Americans to know when they are being given like a report on riots or street demonstrations in another country. This is the needed context a journalist can give, rather than just the straight reporting of events. (There’s an interesting post that discusses some of these issues over at Dr. Demarche. Make sure to read the comments.)

As a concrete example, in a news article about anti-Japanese demonstrations in China sparked by Japanese history texts that whitewash Japan’s WWII crimes, it would be important to mention that Chinese history texts also whitewash their history, and that the Chinese don’t have the right to assemble, so the demonstrations must have at least tacit government approval to continue. An astute reporter might also mention that China and Japan currently have a number of political disagreements, over natural gas deposits in the Pacific for instance, and that democratic Japan has to give weight to public opinion, while communist China doesn't. Consequently, our highly dedicated reporter would write, the intentions of any attempt by China to influence Japanese public opinion must at least be questioned.

This would be the type of reporting I would find most useful. It doesn’t actually make democracy the standard, but it does compare and contrast, and I think most citizens of democratic nations would hold foreign nations to democratic standards if they knew these things.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Anti-War Protesters On Warpath Again

According to the Washington Post:
Thousands of protesters against the war in Iraq are rallying today in Washington and other U.S. and European cities to demand the return of U.S. troops in what organizers hope will be the largest gathering since the war began more than two years ago.

...

Protesters were coming from around the country to the Washington rally, arriving on buses, planes and cars, carrying signs that said "Bush Lied, Thousands Died," and "End the Occupation," among other messages.

Organizers hope today's rally and march will draw 100,000 people. The U.S. Park Police canceled all leave to deal with the rally, which occurs the same weekend as the twice-yearly meetings in the U.S. capital of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.


The WaPo also mentions the presence of about 100 counter-protesters, and also about 200 pro-war motorcyclists raising money for care packages to send to troops overseas.

For a first-hand report, check out Gateway Pundit. (With a mug tip to Instapundit.)

Well, what does everyone think about support for the war these days? The American lines are drawn; those who were anti-war seem to have remained untouched by the pro-war arguments, and vice versa. It seems to be a stalemate, except that the pro-war side has its bunch in power, so we move forward and the anti-war side is frustrated. Will this begin to change next year with our congressional elections? What will happen in 2008?

Any thoughts?

###



Update, Sept. 25: The Miami Herald has a good article about the demonstrations yesterday. An official quoted says the anti-war demonstrators probably reached their goal of having 100,000 people, notes the pro-war demonstrations planned for today, and gives Websites for both sides for further information. Good article, I thought.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

How's Bayou?

Anne, over at the dynamic just muttering by myself, comes up with a solution to both avian flu and restoring New Orleans to a healthy, clean city, in Two birds with one stone chicken.

I especially like the Voodoo part.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Friday, September 16, 2005

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

In my year as a blogger, there've been a lot of changes in the 'sphere.

Chrenkoff, Diplomad, Suburbs of the Afterlife, and Shooting Rockets at the Sun have all ended. Riding Sun has moved to his own server, and his blog works and looks much better. MJ's Metrolingua likewise has upgraded to a new look and still keeps up her always-informative posts.

Some of the blogs I used to read all the time, I don't anymore. Some blogs that didn't exist or that I'd never heard of a year ago are now regular fare.

These days, besides the blogs of my own regulars, I most often read Silent Running, a politically incorrect NZ/Anglosphere blog that informs me and makes me laugh, Countercolumn, a great and highly informative blog by an ARNG captain, fiddle player, and writer, Dennis the Peasant, who offers some of the most poignant, and oftentimes funny, commentary around, Blackfive, for military news and views, Dr. Demarche for international affairs and US Foreign Service news, Michael Yon for the best frontline news from Iraq, and finally, Instapundit, which I must be addicted to, because I can't find another reason I'd read it regularly. There are better news aggregators, like RealClearPolitics, and better legal commentary, like the Volokh Conspiracy, and so on, but it's Instapundit I keep coming back to. He's probably figured out how to implant nanobots in his readers to keep them coming back or something.

How about everyone else? What blogs do you consider indispensible, or simply good reads, and why?

If you want to provide links, you can type (or cut and paste a bit):
<a href="http://blogAddressHere.com">Blog Name Here</a>.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Happy Blogiversary To Me, Happy ...

Well, it's been a full year since I suited up in me PJs and started this here blog. It's been fun, and I've really enjoyed the regulars: MJ, Jean, Comrade Toverich, Cliff, Dr. Demarche, and Adolfo Velasquez. There are a number of others who come and go, and I appreciate them as well.

Thank you all for making it a great experience!

I'd also like to thank the blogs that inspired me, which can be found in my blog bagel on the right. And, oh heck, Mom, God, and the Academy.

OK, forget the Academy. They haven't done a darn thing for me.

Here's a glimpse of how it all began:
In the latter half of the 20th century, pajamas were often considered the uniform of choice for dangerous insurgents and subversives.

In the 1960's came the Viet Cong, famous for their black PJs and their attacks on US soldiers and South Vietnamese troops and civilians.

About the same time the VC were training up as the Vietminh, a pajama-sporting subversive named Hugh Hefner launched his movement to take porn mainstream.

With a history embracing both sex and violence, pajama-attired subversives were sure to be a hit in the media. Little did anyone suspect, however, that the third wave of pajama-wearing guerrillas would be of an entirely different weave ...


I wonder where year two will take us ...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Chrenkoff Says Goodbye

Arthur Chrenkoff is signing off.

His blog is one of the very few that I have consistently read from the time I discovered blogs. It was informative, moving, and filled a key place in the media needs of many. His work will be greatly missed in the blogosphere.

Vaya con Dios, amigo.

Melancholy and the Infinite Simpsons

Just watched the Simpsons for the first time since I got back from Japan. Matt Groening has become a bitter antagonistic ass. Or maybe he was just having a bad week. He decided to poke fun at youth organizations, which is absolutely fine. Everything is grist for the mill, right? Anyway, two organizations, the Pre-Teen Braves and the Pre-Teen Cavalry, get into an embittered competition ("war") in which Homer leads the Pre-Teen Braves in some dirty tricks while trying to win. (Get it? This is an organization dedicated to instilling values in children, you see.) So far, so good.

It all ends in a mass melee, as such cartoons often do, and as the two groups of children and all the fighting adults around them decide to make peace, one suggests a song, but, he says, not a song that glorifies war like the American national anthem. No, let's sing the Canadian national anthem. And they do. And then in the midst of all the smiling, happy people, one of the boys (Milhouse) says "I guess we learned that war doesn't solve anything." Bart then pipes up, "Except for all of America's problems."

I just wanted humor, folks. Is it really that hard just to make people laugh? Would it have been that hard to poke fun at both sides? Like JibJab, maybe?

It's really too bad that so much of the entertainment industry hates America. Noisy ghost (before he was exorcised to the nether realms) used to say the recent spate of bad movies is Hollywood's revenge for the re-election of Bush. I believe him.

I guess that's what I get for being a Nazi 'digital brownshirt' fascist warmongering 'little Eichmann' chickenhawk redneck 'American Taliban' idiot. Did I miss fundamentalist? Gulag guard? Anyway, I wouldn't complain, except this re-entry culture shock thing is magnified when you think half the country has lost its freakin' mind sense of humor.

Has anyone else noticed that the liberals are now the side of guilt? "Is this another youth organization that exploits the beliefs of the native peoples you slaughtered?" the Indian immigrant character asks Homer. Used to be the conservatives -- guilt for having sex, for having a beer, for having fun, for dancing to that evil rock 'n roll. Now it's the liberals who bank on guilt. Guilt for being male, guilt for being white, guilt for being Christian, guilt most of all for being American. Hollywood, which was the rebellious James Dean in the '60s, is now the wild-eyed reverend stabbing its puritanical socialist finger at everyone and shrieking "GUILTY! GUILTY! GUILTEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!"

Just like a cliched movie plot, this reverend of fundamentalist socialism is deeply hypocritical, blatantly exploiting its audience, tyranizing teenage filesharers, all the while accumulating obscene piles of wealth. At least, according to their own socialist doctrines. (I mean, really, how can you get rich unless someone else gets poor? Down with the Hollywood bourgouisie! Viewers unite! Seize the means of recording!)

Speaking of which, have you noticed how the rhetoric about terrorist attacks by the Michael Moore / Galloway crowd -- "You deserve it for your evil, capitalist ways!!!" -- is a mirror of the psycho-religious "You deserve it for your evil, homo-lovin' ways!!!" Both ignore reality outside of their own self-formulated worldviews (including the real reasons the terrorist attacks occurred), both are self-destructive, guilt-centered philosophies that preach the only route to salvation is their absurd one, and both point to the terrorist attacks as proof that those who do not follow their way will be destroyed.

Come to think of it, kinda sounds like Al Qaeda.

###



Comrade Toverich has a related post up on the Pervasive Leftist and DNC Sentiment in Hollywood Output.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Can Nature Be Evil?

I'm taking a philosophy class right now and, in its discussion of evil, the author of our textbook assumes that natural disasters are evil. It's under the discussion of 'the problem of evil,' which is basically, if there is an all-good, all-powerful God, why is there evil? He of course discusses free will -- if God took away the choice of evil, humans would be robots. But he says that does not explain why there are "natural evils" like tornadoes and hurricanes.

My question to you: Is that an appropriate use of the word 'evil'?

Koizumi's Assassins

The Star Tribune:

Armed to the teeth with blood-red lipstick and a killer smile, Yuriko Koike stormed the streets in a working-class Tokyo neighborhood with rapid-fire handshakes and a brigade of young campaign aides wearing hot-pink T-shirts and waving rose-colored flags. One of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's hit squad of female "assassins," the ex-TV news anchor vowed to take no prisoners in Japan's nationwide elections today.

"This is a ground battle for reform!" Koike, 53, shouted through a bullhorn to her giddy audience. "Let's change Japan!"

Koike joined a star-studded cast of female candidates sent out on the campaign trail over the past month by Koizumi, who has vowed to resign if his fractured Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) fails to win control of Japan's lower house. The women -- ubiquitously referred to in the national media as Koizumi's assassins -- also include Satsuki Katayama, a model-turned-bureaucrat, and Makiko Fujino, Japanese TV's version of Martha Stewart. Their mission: to take out the prime minister's political enemies in the old boys' network that long held sway over the LDP.


Cool. I've always liked Koizumi, and he is really trying to reform the Japanese system, which, like most governments, needs it. The 'old boys' network' the article refers to is strangling Japan, in my opinion, and has been the chief obstacle in any reforms. I hope his assassins can bring it down.

I do wonder if our reporter wasn't a bit too exuberant: "blood-red lipstick"? "giddy audience"? Hmmm ...

On the other hand, I want to call them 'kunohachi' (related to 'kunoichi').

Homophobes Defeated Kerry?

Really? According to Fox News:
In 2000, California voters approved by 61 percent Proposition 22, which created a state statute that recognizes marriage as only between a man and a woman.


Funny, the Kerry people trying to explain their loss last November never mentioned this.

Friday, September 09, 2005

The Doc is Back in Town

Hear ye, hear ye!

Ferns, Romulans, fellow blogospherans, lend me your ears!

Ye Goode Olde Dr. Demarche is back up and running after a several-week hiatus.

(Not that I would know anything about hiatuses, mind you. In fact, I am taking an introduction to philosophy course right now, and am thoroughly convinced that hiati, like the rest of reality, do not exist. At least until the next class. Question: Is metaphysics related to metadata? I may have missed that one ...)

But anyway, welcome back, Doc!