Saturday, November 6, 2010

Information, Too Much, Not Enough, Left Leaning, Biased Right.....Frustration!

I've written before about some of my frustrations with the growing options in conservative media.  Yes, I consider myself politically conservative.  Yes, it ought to be obvious to anyone who cares to think about it objectively that the Mainstream Media is biased left.  Yes, the growing variety of neutral news sources or even those biased toward the right (when it is openly so) is a good thing.  Options are good.  Variety of voices and opinions are good. 

But that doesn't mean I don't get frustrated sometimes with the quality of news coming out of the right leaning sources.  And anyone who claims that we "Right Wing Extremists" are just sheep following blindly, if you ever took the time to ask, you'd find we "extremists" do have our own opinions.  We like to do our research and check up on what we read and hear.  Our thoughts and frustrations and opinions sometimes differ markedly with those of our news sources.  This post is one lowly example.

Wow, that's a bit of statement insurance, is it not?

The subject of my current frustration is the seeming obsession with the cost and opulence of President Obama's current Asia trip.  Every station I turned to when I was in the car for a little while yesterday afternoon was full of it.  Several links on my husband's news readers were filled with it.

OK, I understand that we're talking about a huge amount of money.  Yes, our nation is struggling economically here at home and some might find this money badly spent.

But in none of the news sources did I see or hear a comparison to what previous presidents have spent.  Nor did I see or hear specifics of what Mr. President or his security detail ought to have cut out or changed.

I'm going to pull some examples from this Daily Mail article.  Yes I do realize it's a British source.  Regardless of the source, these are the kinds of complaints I heard and saw everywhere yesterday and this morning, and they are handily in one location for me to cite.
Probably not since the days of the Pharaohs or the more ludicrous Roman Emperors has a head of state travelled in such pomp and expensive grandeur as the President of the United States of America.
This is the opening paragraph.  Kind of sets the tone for the article.  But it makes it sound as though the Obama's are living the high life.  Perhaps they are, but I don't see specifics of that in the article.

The paragraph immediately following the above reads,
While lesser mortals – the Pope, Queen Elizabeth and so on – are usually happy to let their hosts handle most of the security and transport arrangements when they venture beyond their home shores, the United States creates a mini-America on the move to ensure that nothing is left to chance.
Should we begrudge our president his security.  Or lessen it since we're in tough economic times?  Is it even the president's choice to have this style of security arrangements?  Is it out of the ordinary compared to the arrangements of previous presidents?  Should we choose the security measures we demand for our president based upon the arrangements made for dignitaries of other countries?

The article continues by describing the "near tank" quality of the limo the president will ride in, his use of Air Force One, its luxury accommodations and its expense to operate.  Again, we provide all our presidents with these same measures, don't we?  If we don't like it, we can go through democratic processes to gradually change the standards.

Or maybe we don't provide these same things for all our presidents, but if not, then tell us how it's different.

There is, apparently, a squadron of naval ships patrolling off shore.  A fleet of 45 armored limos (half decoys), and a collection of dogs trained to sniff for explosives.

The president has reserved the entire Taj Mahal Palace hotel.  Again, security measures were cited, since the hotel was the target of an attack in 2008 by Pakistani militants.

The author of the Daily Mail article goes into great detail describing how the US security forces decided to secure the President's visit to the Ghandi museum using an above ground bomb proof tunnel (nearly a kilometer in length) to get him inside safely.  The entrance to the museum is within shot of a sky scraper and within a highly populated area that make the area difficult to secure.

The article describes some of the cost figures being bandied about.  I heard one talk radio personality scoff that the White House will not release the exact cost details.  He couldn't accept the idea that a detailed listing of security measures might compromise the security being sought.

Please, if this is out of the ordinary for American presidential security in a post-9/11 world, please tell me how it's different.  Tell me what specifics might be unnecessary so I can come to an opinion of my own.  Don't just complain.  And please do not imply that the the expense of the trip is presidential luxury instead of his safety.   If there are unreasonable luxuries the Obamas have chosen, then tell me that.  Don't list security details as examples of opulence.

The article then continues with a lengthy description of President Obama's business goals for the trip.  Since I'm not really up on international business, you'll have to read this part yourselves.  I've heard President Obama repetitively criticized for not doing presidential things.  For not addressing the economy enough or doing enough to help American business.  The goals described in this article and the manner the president is trying to achieve them seem reasonable.

To sum this up, I don't agree with President Obama on many policy issues.  I do think he behaves in a manner, and has in the past written in a manner, consistent with Marxist philosophy.  I do think most of the things he has striven for so far in his presidency will hurt America in the long run.  I do agree that in international situations, he generally seems to have his "America tail" between his legs.  He does not speak up for the good America represents, and he even seems ashamed of us internationally and almost grovelling in his manner.

That said, he is our elected official.  Our President.  We do live in dangerous days.  I wouldn't want his security compromised.  Within my limited understanding of international business, I can imagine that the goals discussed in the cited article are worthy and might help our economy.

I don't know how President Obama's security measures and their costs compare with those of previous presidents.  And really, only the second President Bush ought to be used for comparison.  Things need to be different in the post-9/11 world.

There may very well be valid concerns about the cost of the trip, the extent of the security measures, the opulence of the accommodations, even the business goals. 

I'd like to be given some information on those fronts.  From my conservative news sources, within the limited amount of time I was able to listen and read, I only heard and saw complaints of the cost.  I didn't even hear details of things the commentators thought were wrong.  I didn't hear anything about the business goals the president hopes to achieve.

I only heard complaints.  And scoffing.  And criticism.  That doesn't help me to form an opinion.  It just makes me mad.

And it disappoints me.  And embarrasses me.

If we conservatives want our ideals to flourish and if we believe them worthy of being passed on, we better make sure we have the information we need.  If we want to avoid the accusations of the left regarding our bitterness and shallowness, we had better not fall into the habits of the left, of merely complaining and criticizing and using emotive language designed to rile up an audience.

We are smarter than that.  We need to demand better of our news sources.

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