August 25, 2007

Fausta ... 20 Questions

Some time ago when I discovered blogs, one of the first I read regularly was, as have millions, Instapundit. Now, I didn't just log on to the internet one day in 2001 or 2002 and type in Glenn Reynolds URL, I went there from a newsgroup with a link in it. I had been reading news groups, participating in a few select ones (usually where I could argue with a liberal or twenty) for about 5 years. At any rate, one fine day and more than a couple of years later, Professor Reynolds linked to something called The Bad Hair Blog (at least I think it was Glenn Reynolds, it could have been someone else). BAD HAIR BLOG? What the heck is that, clicked over and enjoyed myself immensely. Over the next couple of years, especially after I started blogging in Nov. '04 I went there more often and within the last 12 months or so, have been going there regularly. Of course, it's no longer the Bad Hair Blog but Fausta's Blog and the proprietress is one delightful lady named Fausta. Now, Fausta has become both a friend, and a fellow Warrior in the war against stupidity. Fausta describes herself as .... well, I'll let the interview speak for itself

1. You are from Santurce, Puerto Rico which is Basque for St. George (Love that name … heh!). When did you come to the mainland, and why?

I transferred from the University of Puerto Rico to a university in the mainland after the UPR was closed from a riot. I figured it was up to me to live in a place where I could develop as a student without having that kind of political turmoil. And so I did.
2. Having lived well over two thirds my life in an area of the United States where Spanish is, if not dominant, at least very close, I have a very high level of appreciation for much of the Border Culture. What do you see as part of yourself that is richer for your having been born and raised in Puerto Rico.
The language, of course, but also the experience in being able to differentiate between an island society mentality and that of a much larger and open society, where your only limits are those you impose upon yourself.
3. I first came across your “Bad Hair Blog” when Glenn Reynolds mentioned you in a snippet. Since then, though initially an irregular visitor, I was struck by your logic in dealing with the political chicanery of the left. How did you come to be center right or conservative?
I used to be a small-“l” liberal, and to a great extent still am. I changed to mostly conservative over a very long period of time (nearly two decades), and one of the initial reasons was the emphasis from the women’s movement towards no-limits-abortion.

I wrote about the other reasons on January 2, 2006 That post got a lot of attention from a liberal blogger who of course said that I was (a) never a liberal and (b) ignorant of what a liberal is, or what it means to be a liberal. That anyone like myself could undergo such an extensive process of disenchantment over such a long period of time never occurred to that blogger or to the blogger’s commenters.

4. Some of my legal immigrant friends are very upset with Elvira and those supporting her. Which makes me wonder if the Hispanic community is as big a bloc for illegal immigration as the MSM makes it out to be with their coverage of protests etc. What are your thoughts?
Legal immigrants to the US have plenty of reason to be upset over activists who believe that the rule of law shouldn’t apply to everyone. Every legal Latin American immigrant that I’ve known has made the USA their country because they want to live in a country where the rule of law applies to all.

As far as the Hispanic community being a single bloc, I don’t believe it. There is as much diversity, to borrow a word, and differences of opinions among “Hispanics” as there are among all Americans as a whole. I have pointed out that there is no such thing as “Hispanic”, in that the moment each one of us “Hispanics” gets on a plane to travel to our lands of origin we go back to being Puerto Rican, Colombian, or Argentinian. I blogged about it here

There are two dozen Spanish-speaking countries in the Americas . Each one of those countries is as unique as countries can be. Their histories are different, their customs, foods, music, traditions, and even their slang, are different. Every "Hispanic" country has peoples of every ethnic origin, race, religion, economic status, family size, educational background, physical size and build, level of work skills, and intellectual and mental ability. You will find this to be the case even more dramatically in all cities with large ports, and in resort areas. A lot of people from other countries who come for trade and pleasure return to settle permanently in those areas.
5. Each of us has political heroes and villains. Who are yours?
Political heroes: Adam Smith, Milton Friedman and Fredrick Hayek Villains: Marx, Lenin, and every one of their followers
6. Why are Smith, Friedman and Hayek your political heroes? and 7. And Why are Marx and Lenin political villains?
The same reason for both: because the societies who most allow their citizens the rights to property, entrepreneurship and free commerce are the societies that most respect human dignity and man’s inalienable rights. As Milton Friedman said, in those societies, we are truly “Free To Choose”.
8. You do some really interesting podcasts. Have you a favorite podcast? Why was that one so notable for you?
My most favorite podcast is my first podcast . I had the good sense to invite Siggy, and had the good fortune that he agreed to read one extraordinary post he had written a while ago. I wouldn’t be podcasting if it weren’t for his support, and a lot of good things are happening because of these podcasts, so I have a lot to thank Siggy for. He has proved to be a real friend and yet we’ve never met. My second favorite podcast is the one interview I’m most proud of, with Dr John Fleming of Princeton University , one of the foremost scholars of our time, which I later transcribed and posted . I audited Dr. Fleming’s last class he taught at PU before officially retired and he is magnificent.

Both Siggy and Dr Fleming are people who I greatly admire as people, and that’s why those two podcasts mean so much.

9. You note on your blog profile that your interests include how news is reported in the French and Spanish-language media. Do you see significant differences between the English version of what the MSM reports vice what the French and Spanish versions report?
Oh yes. While we complain of media bias here, the media bias in foreign TV news is amazing. Just to give you an example, government-owned France2 news referred to John Kerry throughout the entire 2004 campaign as “ America ’s next president”.

The Spanish TV networks in the US are very pro-illegal immigration, and they also love to show gore and psychics, too. Latin American newscasts tend to like gory stories, but Spain ’s TV newscasts are a lot more like the French. There's more uniformity among EU TV newscasts than there is among TV newscasts in Latin America.

In both Europe and Latin America the newspapers declare themselves as liberal, conservative, etc., something you'd never find here.

10. Your thoughts about the Democratic Machine that has pretty much control over New Jersey ? What would it take for a more centralist or rightist party such as the Republicans to take political control?
I have become so put off over the state of current politics in NJ that I have scrupulously avoided posting about it for a while. At this point I believe that NJ voters will continue to vote against their own financial and economic interests for the foreseeable future, as they have in the past 10 years or so.
11. Many folk were decidedly upset with the way that Robert Torricelli was replaced with Frank Lautenberg and the N.J. courts decision that allowed that. What are your feelings?
That particular maneuver is what decided me not to vote Democrat!
12. You noted in the first question that you came to the US following the closing of the University of Puerto Rico because of the riots. Tell us about your experience of “Culture Shock” and how that may have influenced your political leanings today.
Bear in mind that there have been riots at the UPR since the 1960s up to and including 2001. Each time there’s one the university is closed for at least a month.

I didn’t have much of a culture shock, aside from going from taking all my college courses in Spanish (except English, of course) to English. Other than that I pretty much was very pleased to be in the continental US.

What affected my political leanings were things such as having to pay ever-increasing taxes, general disenchantment with Liberalism, and later on, September 11.

13. There was a major brouhaha over the Navy’s firing range at Vieques and the Navy pulled back. Now, there seems to be some second thoughts with the loss of income and jobs that the ranges brought to Puerto Rico. Do you get a sense that anything will change in the next few years? Especially if the Democrats take the White House?
I have a generally cynical view of Puerto Rican politics. Puerto Rican politics have concerned themselves with the “status”, i.e., whether PR is a state, a commonwealth, or independent, instead of focusing on the real problems, which in my point of view are:
a. Corruption and crime
b. A lack of civic conscience. People think of “what’s in it for me” every step of the way, instead of “what is the right thing in the long run.”

My prediction is that PR will be the same way in 50 years from now, as it’s been
from over 50 years ago.

As I said, I’m very cynical.

14. On my office wall, I have a pen and ink drawing of the Vista del Convento in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It is a beautiful drawing and one of my favorite pieces of art. Do you have a favorite view of PR and if so, what might that be?
My favorite image of PR is a photograph my favorite aunt took some 17 years ago of my nieces and me standing by the town square of my mother’s family’s hometown, across the street from my grandmother’s house.
15. The recent murders in NJ are big news. One of the perpetrators is an illegal alien from Peru. Most Americans make an incorrect assumption that when we talk about illegal aliens, we are referring to Mexicans but the reality is that illegal aliens encompass people from all over the world. What are your thoughts, given your postings on Elvira, on dealing with illegal aliens that are non-Hispanic?
My thoughts are that an illegal is an illegal, but not everyone believes that way! An illegal’s an illegal no matter where they come from. I posted about Arellano here where I said, Illegal aliens struggling to get away with crimes by insisting that the rules be changed to accommodate them at their whim are not what legal immigration is about.
16. There is a decided refocusing of national interest in France right now because of the election of Nicolas Sarkozy. What impact do you think this will have on the sometimes rather blatant anti-Americanism of the French press?
One thing about Sarko, he won clear and fair and he’s really getting his way. Just this week his Foreign Minister, Kouchner, announced that France wants to play a bigger role in Iraq. Of course, they’ll do it through the UN, but this is a huge step forward for two reasons: The first and obvious reason is that it’s a complete reversal of the UMP’s position on Iraq during Chirac (the UMP is Chirac’s & Sarko’s party). The second, and more important, is that Sarko’s no fool and wouldn’t be siding with the losing side.

Some sections of the French press and media will probably ease up on their anti-American attacks – others won’t. It’ll be interesting to watch how France2, which is government-owned, does their reporting/editorializing in the next couple of years.

17. You recently posted on The Anchoress’ bout with “Seymour” the kidney stone. You enter blog posts about the ups and downs of many bloggers and I know that your readers are well informed about much of the blogosphere because of your efforts. Tell us about developing and supporting relationships with other bloggers, you are a “fan of many” but possibly very many more, and I count myself there, are fans of yours.

Thank you! I have been extremely fortunate to count as friends many of the bloggers I list under “Bloggers I’ve met” in my blog. I also consider the ladies of the Cotillion (see my blogroll) my friends and have met two of them in person.

And then there are several bloggers that I regard as “friends I haven’t met yet”, including you and The Anchoress, whose blogs I visit daily. Of course I’m also a big fan [of] Siggy as I mentioned earlier in question 8 and am truly grateful for his help and support. The support he’s given me with the podcasts is truly invaluable.

The exciting thing about the internet is how it brings so many great people together in an exchange of ideas, prayers, and support. This really enriches my life daily.

18. Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night with an idea for a blog post and just have to get it down before you can go back to sleep?
That’s only happened once, for which I’m glad. Wouldn’t want to make it a habit!
19. You have covered many of the peccadilloes of the left and the right over the last several years. Do you have a favorite?
I wouldn’t call it a favorite, but the adoration of mass-murderer Che is particularly worthy of ridicule.
20. Last question. You are a wildly successful blogger with almost a half million visits, member of Pajamas Media Network, you have your own Blog Talk Radio show, the Cotillion, you are hailed by many as one of the stellar lights and all of this is deserved and more. So, what’s next Fausta Wertz, maybe a run for the Senate?
I might run from the Senate, not for the Senate! I don’t think I’d make a good politician.

What’s next? Continuing to improve the blog and the podcasts, growing as a writer (you realize I never did any writing until I started blogging) so I can become a good writer, and thanking you and all the friends whose support means so much every day.

Thanks Fausta!

Posted by GM Roper at August 25, 2007 07:17 PM | TrackBack

Yes, corruption is often the problem in political progress. The corrupt are falsely called "conservative" because they want the status quo and predictability. The corrupt person wants to know who is the correct person to bribe or threaten. So, no matter if he is a raging marxist, he is a "conservative."

I am saddened, but not shocked to hear it is thus in Puerto Rico. This is very much the case in Romania as well, and corruption, not religious sectarianism, is our main problem in Iraq.

Posted by Assistant Village Idiot at August 25, 2007 08:28 PM

Thank you GM! It is an honor and a pleasure.

BTW, when I started blogging I used the BHB name because NJ taxes make your hair stand on end.

Posted by Fausta at August 26, 2007 06:35 AM

Great interview. Very bright and smashingly smart lady! Insights as to all the semi-smart "intellectuals" (true, some are idealists, however their idealism often makes them "useful idiots" to really awful people) that want us to just sit and talk out our problems. Heck, most of the really sick and poverty stricken people of the world would love to have Army Rangers or Marines roll into town vice the Peace Corps or UN types.

My take is that the intellectual (gad, this gives a bad name to learning) - idealists end up being the chief enablers of the awful of the world.

No, force and guns isn't the answer everywhere and all the time, but I note that local thugs are still in Darfur...and scores, nay, hundreds of other places in the world. League of Nations didn't deter Mussolini, Tojo, or others for a millisecond and the corrupt UN doesn't either....sadly.

I wish above were not so. However, Rodney King's cry ("Can't we all just get along?") is answered with a very large NO. We cannot, at this juncture.

Thus, we need folks to stop the bad from oppressing the weak.

AVI, as usual says more in a few words than I do in many. And, no, that doesn't make me a Liberal, though I am (small) liberal on some things. I also read very many books and travel, too. (Gasp!)

Again, GM, great interview and great place to come for interesting and sometimes phunny items.

Posted by tad at August 26, 2007 12:00 PM

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