About Me

My photo
This blog is the work of an educated civilian, not of an expert in the fields discussed.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Today's Papers over in Slate has more "trouble for Bush" news than usual. Four key stories: US Leadership misleading Aristide/Aristide not just some crazy nut; mad cow/possible governmental wrongdoing; fun with mercury (great link to a graphic comparing language of the administrative proposal and that of a lobby group and more on the "policy over science" theme of this administration), and a comment that four deaths in Iraq is no longer "big" news for major papers [suggests a box on the front page with a running tally]. I also respond to today's article about use of maiden names, here.


Foreign Affairs: A fairly consistent theme, including in my local paper (sigh), is that the people of Spain misguidedly gave in to terrorists by voting their leaders (supporters of our Iraqi policy) out of office after the 3/11 series of bombings. Others, including some who support our policy, point out that correlation doesn't prove causation -- after all, didn't we (like Bin Laden wanted) eventually take our troops out of Saudi Arabia? Also, perhaps, the people of Spain saw the attacks as proving their leadership's way (which the people as a whole opposed long before 3/11/04) didn't work. Or rather, thought the response (including early on insisting [via shoddy evidence] that clearly Al Qaida didn't have anything to do with it) proved the current leadership had to go.

Since the tragedy of 9-11 which understandably shook and outraged everyone in this country, we have increasingly embraced at the highest official level what I think fairly can be called a paranoiac view of the world. Summarized in a phrase repeatedly used at the highest level, "he who is not with us is against us."

I say repeatedly because actually some months ago I did a computer check to see how often its been used at the very highest level in public statements. The count then quite literally was ninety-nine. So it's a phrase which obviously reflects a deeply felt perception. I strongly suspect the person who uses that phrase doesn't know its historical or intellectual origins. It is a phrase popularized by Lenin (Applause) when he attacked the social democrats on the grounds that they were anti-Bolshevik and therefore he who is not with us is against us and can be handled accordingly.

-- Zbigniew Brzezinski, in a foreign policy speech worth reading in full

Also of Interest: A State Department discussion of the Bill of Rights, including privacy and voting rights (their account of Election 2000 is a bit, um questionable, but overall, interesting stuff here). And, for those so inclined, a law review article on how severity of crime affects application of rights. Ah, I also hear Illinois had a primary ... I believe Kerry won it, but perhaps I should double check to make sure.