American Culture

Nota Bene #25

Got hot links if you want ’em.

In a New York Times article on Memorial Day, “The Wars We Choose to Ignore,” David Carr writes: “Even as we celebrate generations of American soldiers past, the women and men who are making that sacrifice today in Iraq and Afghanistan receive less attention every day. . . . Given public indifference to a war that refuses to end, perhaps a third statue should be added: America at peace with being at war.” Yes, we’ve grown accustomed to the face of war.

In a Telegraph article, “John Bolton escapes citizen’s arrest at Hay Festival,” Steven Adams reports on world-class environmental columnist George Monbiot’s attempt to arrest Bolton in England: “‘This was a serious attempt to bring one of the perpetrators of the Iraq war to justice, for. . . an international crime,’ he said. During Mr Bolton’s talk. . . Mr Monbiot had asked Mr Bolton what difference there was between him and a Nazi war criminal.” Bolton got away — this time.

In “Why I’m Kinda Fonda Obama (And More So Each Week)” at Smirking Chimp, law professor David Michael Green writes: “The right have many nightmares which keep them up at night — an end to their greedy feeding at the public trough, having to share resources with the rest of the world, a black man or a woman in the White House, etc. — but, trust me on this, nothing shakes them up quite like the existential threat of someone intelligently and forthrightly discussing policy questions in America. Once that crack in the dam appears, they are finished forever.” Now it’s up to the American public to prove they’ll no longer be baited by the right’s appeals to their lowest common denominator.

Even socialists are standing up and taking notice of Obama’s candidacy. At Workers World Larry Homes writes: “Obama is not a revolutionary and he poses no threat to the capitalist system. Still, in a relative sense, it is hard to imagine a more dramatic sign than Obama’s electoral success that the people of the U.S. want to break with the reactionary, warmongering, racist and xenophobic political climate that has endured seemingly forever and certainly since 9/11.”

In “Is Bob Barr the Ralph Nader of 2008?” on AlterNet, Alexander Zaitchik reports on the Libertarian convention: “One despondent member of the Libertarian Radical Caucus [said] ‘This is a disaster. [Barr, the chosen candidate] hasn’t been around long enough to be one of us. . . . He still has so much to learn about Liberty — and much to atone for.'”

In “A Sensible Path on Iran There’s More to Middle East Extremism Than the Iranian Boogeyman” at World Politics Review, Brian Burton writes: “The best way to counter expanding extremism and Iranian influence is not through. . . military action or diplomacy. It is by beating Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Sadrists at their own game: Standing up for repressed populations of the region, addressing their local grievances, demonstrating care for their concerns, offering aid and a clear vision of a better future.”

In “Evaluating Iran’s missile threat” at Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Richard Garwin explains how: “The United States wants to use technology that doesn’t work to stop an Iranian missile threat that doesn’t exist. . . . The proposed European missile defense system is intended to guard against a missile attack originating from Iran — yet Iran’s missile capabilities are relatively limited.”

As even the man on the street is learning, much of the price of crude oil comes from unregulated futures speculation by hedge funds. In fact, writes William Engdahl writes at Global Research: “Much of the world has yet to be explored for oil. . . . The major problem faced by Big Oil is not finding replacement oil but keeping the lid on world oil finds in order to maintain present exorbitant prices.” Thanks to him, the editor now believes in the abiotic theory of oil.

In a blockbuster piece “China’s All-Seeing Eye” at Rolling Stone, the incomparable Naomi Klein writes: “With the help of U.S. defense contractors, China is building the prototype for a high-tech police state. . . . But during my time in Shenzhen, China’s youngest and most modern city, I often have the feeling that. . . . China is becoming more like us in very visible ways (Starbucks, Hooters, cellphones that are cooler than ours), and we are becoming more like China in less visible ones (torture, warrantless wiretapping, indefinite detention, though not nearly on the Chinese scale).”

Criminal Justice Degrees Guide presents “20 Civil Liberties Laws Every American Should Know“: “While there are literally hundreds of laws. . . . understanding the basics of these 20 laws is an important first step for every American to know the extent and limitations of the civil liberties he or she is afforded.”

In an AP article, “Condoleezza Rice meets rock band Kiss,” Rice said, I was thrilled.’ . . . Rice, a classically trained pianist, said she has eclectic musical tastes ranging from Beethoven to Bruce Springsteen. Hard stadium rockers like Kiss are included in the mix and Rice said her favorite tune of theirs is ‘Rock and Roll All Nite.'”


In a Dallas News article, “Status of Dallas Cowboys’ Roy Williams slowly sinking,” Kevin Sherrington writes: “Ever since Darren Hambrick infamously asked, ‘What do voluntary mean?’, the necessity of attending the NFL’s voluntary off-season workouts has been called into question. . . . If you think the local media always seems to be bashing Williams for his coverage skills or horse-collar tackles or a lack of insight that passing up the [workouts] demonstrates, you’re right. . . . Williams is a constant topic of scrutiny because of the inexplicable slide his career has taken in Dallas, and his woeful response.”

The next day, also in the Dallas News, Calvin Watkins adds a comment by a defensive-backfield mate of Williams last season: “[Terence] Newman also said there have been times when Williams has had a deer-in-the-headlights reaction to some plays.”

1 reply »

  1. Engdahl really doesn’t know what he’s talking about regarding oil prices. The fact is we’re in a bull market in oil, and will remain in one until circumtances change. Speculators get a bad rap for going long oil in a rising market, but the same people who complain about the speculators don’t mind when speculators buy the equities market and add value to their 401K’s.

    The market’s going to do what it’s going to do, in the long run, regardless of speculation.