Thursday, April 14, 2005

This morning's New York Times

In this morning's New York Times, we'll note Neil A. Lewis' "Guantanamo Detainee's Suit Says Prison Guards Beat Him:"

The suit, filed on behalf of Mustafa Ait Idir, an Algerian, is based on accounts that he gave his American lawyer on a recent visit to Guantánamo, in Cuba. Mr. Idir's lawyers said he told them that sometime in the spring of 2004 he was forcibly removed from his cell and that while he was shackled and lying on the ground, a guard jumped on his head. As a result, the suit said, Mr. Idir apparently suffered a stroke and has one side of his face paralyzed.

It just gets uglier and uglier. Of course if 60 Minutes II wants to do a story on it these days and had photos, they'd display them on the screen but make no comment.

(Yes, I saw that nonsense last night. We'll comment later this morning.)

Check out National Briefing in the paper this morning to read of all the wars on reproductive rights, but we'll note this item:

The state would monitor abortion clinics more intensively under a measure passed by the House of Representatives. A similar bill is moving toward a final vote in the Senate. Supporters say the measure, which would set an array of new standards for clinics, would make abortion safer. Opponents say that increased costs and other burdens would force many clinics to close. Abortion clinics are already licensed by the state and subject to annual inspections. Courts have blocked past efforts to tighten regulation of abortion clinics, but supporters of the new measure say it is constitutional because it focuses on those offering second-trimester abortions.
Abby Goodnough (NYT)

You can see this an individual action, but it's part of a climate and you can read all about in the national briefing and, in fact, in the story of Eric Rudolph.

Douglas Jehl's "Senator Asks U.N. Nominee to Explain His Security Requests" is worthy of attention. We'll note two paragraphs:

John R. Bolton, nominated to be the next ambassador to the United Nations, used his position as a senior State Department official to obtain details about intercepted communications involving other American officials that were monitored by the National Security Agency, according to Mr. Bolton's own account.
[. . .]
Mr. Dodd asked Mr. Lugar on Wednesday to hold a third public hearing on Mr. Bolton's nomination, to allow testimony from a top Central Intelligence Agency official and three State Department officials. In closed-door interviews conducted with the panel's staff, all four officials have provided accounts of two episodes in which, they said, Mr. Bolton sought to remove intelligence analysts from their posts.

Maybe they've got a Guffman this time? A real Guffman?

Who knows. But the issue should be about our place in the world and the kind of world we want to have. Appealing to America's better nature and rejecting fear-based operations would go a long way in helping Democrats better define what they stand for and would also crystalize why Bolton is the wrong person for this job.

Bush falsely claimed he got a mandate (about as idiotic as those who questioned Juan Cole on the history of nation-states), he claimed that 2004 was a vote on his outlook on the world. That's not the case and Democrats would do well to grasp that point and make it central to the discussion.

I wasn't able to listen to Randi Rhodes yesterday but Alabama e-mailed on it and I'll check Air America Place for it later today. Scott Ritter's comments, as reported by Alabama, go to the sort of "goals" we will pursue and how we will pursue them. Any Senate Democrat not up to having this conversation probably isn't up to running for president in 2008. (I could be wrong.)

One of the pluses of being sick this morning is that in the stops and starts that are making up this post, I notice something I might otherwise overlook. Case in point, on the way back from the bathroom, I stopped at the bookcase to pick up a book that had fallen, Noam Chomsky's Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda.

On the cover of this paperback, there's a question about something we're being forced to ask, "What kind of a world and what kind of a society we want to live in, and in particular, in what sense of democracy do we want this to be a democratic society?"

That's your debate. That's your reason for opposing Bolton. That's the point to be hammered.
It's not that he's a boss from hell worse than ___ (fill in the blank), it's the way his tantrums and explosions are used to stifle debate and to silence facts. Americans don't like being played and they don't like being lied to (as recent polls on the Schiavo matter attest).

Bolton had a tirade (or worse) against a staffer. Emphasize it by all means. But put into context. Tell the people why this action is worth noting. Drive the point home repeatedly.

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