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September 03, 2003 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-09-03

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 3, 2003


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SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of
the Daily's editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

And if you liked
the economy under
Bill Clinton,
America, you're
going to love it
under John Kerry."
- Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) officially
announcing his intention to seek the
Democratic nomination for the presidency
on the deck of the U.S.S. Yorktown
in Charleston, S.C.


-- - - - - - - - - -

My Ifolow Marfrc'us,
T.. Scott Baekula, ome
to you today wf m some
sad crews..

Ou.rrinds at Stick
Figures Are Awesome
wiii be retir~ng from
the ,rTI oonq btis'es
if)just a s ort tiMe.
. OH NO!

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WM be replaced by
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you~ think that
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h~ank{you f or your time,
A. tHooray'

What the hell is a neocon?


ttila the Hun.
Genghis Khan.
Paul Wolfowitz.
Young freshmen, you
as rising scholars are
entering a stage in life
when you begin to under-
stand how the world
works. But rather than let
you wallow in four years
of hard studying and personal misery to find
the answer, I'll just tell you what causes
problems like a dying economy, countries
rotting in their own piss and bad things that
happen to good people. It's all because of the
Some people shy away from the neocon
conspiracy theory because it is reminiscent of
ancient anti-Semitic "Hymie rules the world"
myths. For example, many of my fellow stu-
dents (myself included) were offended when
Hussein Ibish of the American-Arab Anti-
Discrimination Committee called neocons
"idealistic, crazy and chauvinistic Jewish-
Americans," at a speaking engagement at the
Michigan League last year.
But in that accusation lies a sad fact. They
are hard-line ideologues whose personalities
and foreign policy can be characterized as
chauvinistic, and mazel tov, they're all Jew-
ish. A quick note to the anti-Semites: This
doesn't vindicate Jewish conspiracy theories,
as most American Jews have remained
A little background. Most neocons were
all the same in their past lives as Trot-
skyites.. This isn't.surprising, as Trotskyism
is similar to neoconservativism in that they

are both anti-democratic and demand all-
out, uncompromising war against their
enemy (capitalists for the Trots, everyone
who is not America or Israel for the neo-
cons) and seeks to be the overarching, sin-
gle ruling hegemony.
Furthermore, it's not uncommon for peo-
ple to keep to the extremes. For example,
the now-racist David Horowitz was thought
to be naive by his friends for his enthusias-
tic support for the Black Panthers in his
Marxist youth.
Most of them made the switch in the
'60s, like Irving Kristol, when they found
themselves supporting Israel when the left
was rallying for the Palestinians. They also
came from urbane, New York intellectual
society, and were disgusted at what they
perceived to be the filth that was sex, drugs
and rock and roll that stood at the center of
left-wing social life.
As Kristol in his trademark, elegantly
pompous tone, said, "A neoconservative is a
liberal who's been mugged by reality."
In short, nationalism got the best of them.
Zionism started out as a left-wing movement,
an anti-racist agenda that stood side by side
with the civil rights movement. But along
came a distrust among the Zionists. They felt
no compromise could be made with the
enemy. They shunned the leftist aspects of
Zionism and traded "peace now" for "piece
now" and salivated at the thought of armed
conflict. Similar developments happened
when violent, bigoted "white devil" attitudes
emerged from Black Nationalism.
But what makes right-wing Zionists a
problem for this country? A few of them, like

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz
and Defense Policy Board member Richard
Perle, hold high positions where they can
dictate policy. Neocons care not about the
domestic problems that plague our nation -
abysmal public education and unemployment
to name a few - but about funding Israel
and sticking with the hawkish Likud Party
and flexing military muscle against anyone
that steps out of line with America.
Don't take my paranoid, left-wing word
for it. Perle himself said, according to The
Christian Science Monitor, "The President of
the United States, on issue after issue, has
reflected the thinking of neoconservatives."
And just look at the numbers. There's never
enough money for schools but there is always
billions of dollars available for Israeli aid and
whatever war Bush and the neocons want to
fight. This nation doesn't suffer from a lack
of money, it suffers from an unbalanced allo-
cation of available funds. In fact, some esti-
mate that the Bush administration is actually
spending more money on the neocon agenda
than Johnson did on his Great Society
domestic policies.
This isn't to say that United States should
stay away from brokering peace between
Israel and the Palestinians. On the contrary,
the United States should spend a reasonable
amount of energy on ending war and secur-
ing ourselves from terrorist threats. But aid-
ing the Israeli extremist position is unhelpful
and damaging for the region, and turns a
blind eye to more important domestic ills.

Paul can be reached
at aspaul@umich.edu.

Don't worry, be happy

spent my summer
break in Ann Arbor.
I took a class and
worked a couple of jobs.
I also watched a lot of
really bad TV. Almost
every day of the week
was filled by a different
TV show that would
waste at least an hour of
my time. MTV's 10 Spot is a great way to
waste time, and the start of the new Fox
show "The O.C." will keep the fun going
during the school year. The best consola-
tion I can think of to comfort myself for
wasting so much time is that I am not
Americans are obsessed with this breed
of TV. Not many of the people in this
country can name six of the Democrats
running for president, but I feel confident
saying that they probably know who Clay
Aiken and Ruben Studdard are. The com-
bination of filth and reality TV is a potent
formula for networks lacking creativity
and looking for ratings. The names of
Fox's new TV series are usually so funny
on their own now that "Saturday Night
Live" will no longer be able to poke fun at
But television is not the only cultural
medium in decline. This year two of the
biggest movie stars of an earlier era,
Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck,
passed away, while Colin Farrell, who by
the way does a very impressive American
accent, has rocketed to the top of the
industry. The great majority of movies are
now under two hours long (a noteworthy

exception being "The Hulk") and try to
attract moviegoers by having the coolest
and loudest explosions.
Popular music has also gotten a lot sil-
lier, not to mention happier. 50 Cent is
now the biggest hip-hop artist, ending his
friend Eminem's reign over the genre.
While the era of depressing punk rock ush-
ered in by Nirvana is becoming less popu-
lar, Sean Paul and Justin Timberlake now
dominate the airwaves and the "TRL"
countdown. Everything is lighthearted and
fun now.
This column, however, is not meant to
be a moralistic attack on these changes or
American tastes and preferences. As I
noted above, I have been known to indulge
in this junk myself. What is so striking
about these changes, however, is the polit-
ical climate in which they have taken
Between the tenuous international cli-
mate threatening the country to the feeble
state of the U.S. economy, common sense
suggests that we'd be a little more
depressed right now. Instead, it feels a lot
like it did in the 1920s. People are just
partying the time away. Popular culture's
response to John Kennedy's assassination
in the '60s, such as Don McLean's "Amer-
ican Pie," and its reactions to the Vietnam
War, such as a string of movies and scores
of record albums, were entirely different
from its reactions to Sept. 11 and the war
in Iraq. A generation ago, people actually
seemed as if they cared that the world and
their country were changing before their
As the world around us has gotten

darker and more frightening, Americans
have begun expressing themselves in more
carefree and lighthearted ways. While
every poll shows that people are serious
about national security issues, it's hard to
think of one way in which anyone has
actually changed his life in the last couple
of years to reflect this attitude.
It's possible that this preference change
reflects a need to forget about serious
issues - a desire for comic relief. But this
disconnect from reality is not only trou-
bling, but it should make many Americans
feel guilty as well.
While I laughed at contestants on "Par-
adise Hotel" as they drunkenly stumbled
around while trying to manipulate each
other, some of the kids I went to high
school with were in Iraq fighting a war. I
got better grades than they did in high
school, but I have a hard time feeling
superior to them in any way as I goof
around in Ann Arbor learning academic
theories and philosophy.
This disconnect between the cocoon
many Americans are living in and the
world outside of this cocoon cannot exist
forever. A little bit of fun is fine, but
slashing taxes and telling people to go
shopping after Sept. 11 not only denies the
seriousness of the situation facing the
country, but it is a typical reflection of the
Bush administration's superman attitude
toward policy. They make the big deci-
sions, and we go about our happy little


Pesick can be reached


Alumnus supports
divestment from Israel
I would like to thank the Daily for printing
the article, Israeli commission criticizes police
force (09/02/03), which reports that "the Jewish
state has systematically neglected its Arab
minority." Last May, the Israel Democracy

land dispossession and allocation, education,
language, economics, culture, and political par-
ticipation, is further evidence. This does not
even take into consideration the disenfranchise-
ment of 3.6 million Palestinians living under a
brutal Israeli military dictatorship.
Many scholars and academics have begun
to brand this political system as an "ethnocra-
cy." Universally, this is known as apartheid. In
1984, the University divested from apartheid in
South Africa. Given this precedent, there are

between bias and opinion.
I must concede that the Daily is technically
correct. By definition, an editorial should be
biased. However, too many Daily editorials
blindly justify their arguments. They often
acknowledge the opposing viewpoint, but rarely
reason their viewpoint in relation to the oppos-
ing viewpoint. Daily editorials tend to say,
"Here's what I think, not much else exists and
I'm correct." Yes, editorials should express
strong opinions, but they should not cursorily

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