Martyrology 101—an elective course

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Aug. 14 2006 3:15 AM

Martyrology 101

It's an elective course.

(Continued from Page 4)

The result of our imposition of sanctions is usually a very stable state: our government has pleased the general population by expressing its disapproval of the dictator, and the dictator has earned an external enemy that he can rally his own people against.

The people of both countries respond with nationalistic support of our side in this peaceful conflict, and with no actual military activity, and no economic interaction to destabilize either side, this can go on forever, at least in political terms. Thus we propped up the Ayatollah, andSaddam and Castro, and now we can add Chavez to the list.

Of course, all of this posturing is very hypocritical. Our multinationals create foreign subsidiaries that do business with those disfavored regimes (Halliburton, while Cheney was CEO, had a subsidiary that did oilfield development work in Iran). And smart people in our government are well aware that our imposition of sanctions strengthens the internal political position of the dictator. But it does tend to freeze any expansion and limit any major offenses by the dictators (notable exceptions: Cubans in Angola and Saddam in Kuwait). And the US politicians look like they are doing "something", and that something is very low risk.

So we have supported Castro in Cuba for 45-odd years, and we so overplayed our hand in Iraq that Saddam actually thought we'd let him take Kuwait. And North Korea, and Iran seem like they will go on forever.

But the Cubans in Miami are happy. That's what really matters.

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Tuesday, August 1st, 2006

In her latest column, Dahlia Lithwick evaluates the validity of privacy claims made by Robert Steinbuch, counsel to Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, after Steinbuch's affair with a D.C. office intern was widely publicized on the Internet, causing him "humiliation and anguish." 

The piece was inflammatory enough to prompt Steinbuch's lawyer Jonathan Rosen, writing under JSRosen, to contest alleged inaccuracies in Slate's reporting.

yggy systematically tears down the plaintiff's case on the following grounds:

First, what Cutler wrote and said is substantively true. Second, Steinbuch is himself a borderline public figure. His actions do reflect on Sen. Mike DeWine and are therefore privy to the public. Third, Cutler did not identify Steinbuch by name. She could have perhaps been slyer than "RS," and if she had been there would be no case today, but any number of people inside the Beltway could share those initials.

Rejecting "Lithwick's half-hearted effort to prop up a straw woman of 'political interest,' " rundeep disagrees with yggy's viewpoint: "the fact that salacious information has a high readership is hardly indicative of its value to political or public discourse."

While showing little sympathy for Steinbuch, MomboMan-3 outlines a possible recourse for the plaintiff: "go after the money she is making from books, HBO and Playboy. After all, her story is a story because she had a relationship with him, therefore his is entitled to a portion of the gains from that relationship. Without her sex partners, she has no story, and no monetary value."

On the question of privacy and personal experience, Merritt30 makes a liberal free speech argument:

To my non-legal mind, at least, it seems like there is a crucial difference between Cutler describing something she may have heard about Steinbuch and something that she personally experienced with Steinbuch. She was not merely repeating gossip that she heard from a third party or describing something she had seen through a hidden camera; she was talking about her own experience.

It seems to me that one should be free to talk about one's own personal experiences pretty much without legal restriction (except perhaps if the event were specifically intended as a set-up to embarrass someone, e.g. a candid-camera type situation). Otherwise, say, it would be possible for an abuser to sue his victim if she were to publish an account of his "private" behavior. One's right to publish a memoir or autobiography of any sort would be in question.

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