American Culture

Nota Bene #31

Got hot links if you want ’em!

Lawyer John Eisenberg, who’s arguing a case challenging wireless surveillance, quotes a Department of Justice Attorney: “They don’t know. . . . Let me make clear what I mean by that. When plaintiffs explain what they mean when they say they, in quotes, ‘know,’ they don’t know. What they mean when they say that is that they — although they think or believe or claim they were surveilled, it’s possible they weren’t surveilled. . . . When they say they know, what they mean by that, on their own terms, is that they don’t know.”

Noam Chomsky quoting Washington Post reporter Nir Rosen of the Washington Post: “There is no proxy war in Iraq. . . because the U.S. and Iran share the same proxy.” In other words, both they and us are backing al-Maliki’s government.

For another angle, the incomparable Gareth Porter: “The unexpected Iraqi resistance to the US demands reflected the underlying influence of Iran on the al-Maliki government as well as Sadr’s recognition that he could achieve his goal of liberating Iraq from US occupation through political-diplomatic means rather than through military pressures.”

Ernesto Londono of the Washington Post: “Suspected Shiite militiamen have begun using [IRAMs –] propane tanks packed with hundreds of pounds of explosives and powered by 107mm rockets [often fired] from the backs of trucks. . . . U.S. military officials say IRAM attacks, unlike roadside bombings and conventional mortar or rocket attacks, have the potential to kill scores of soldiers at once.”

Intelligence expert Thomas Powers: “It is as if the whole country listens to the administration’s threats [towards Iran] with breath held, wondering if Bush and Cheney really mean to do as they say, and in effect leaving the decision entirely to them.”

Scott Shane and Michael Gordon in the New York Times on Ahmad Batebi, an Iranian dissident granted asylum in the US: “He recoils when asked about the possibility of American military action against Iran, saying that if the United States attacked, ‘I might go back and fight for my country myself.'”

Robert Dreyfuss quoting Thomas Fingar, one of the top US intelligence officials: “Iran has kind of a hedgehog strategy. . . . It’s ‘Mess with me and you get stuck.'”

Robert Fox of the Guardian: “The worry is that some in Iran seem truly to believe that they can keep the whirligig of strategic ambiguity spinning like a perpetual motion machine.”

William O. Beeman at New American Media: “Elements of the Bush administration have begun to resemble semi-insane Captain Queeg in ‘The Caine Mutiny’ with regard to Iran. Reckless and obsessive to destroy Iran’s regime, they fondle their ball bearings.”

Naomi Wolf: “The sexualization of torture from the top basically turned Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay into an organized sex-crime ring in which the trafficked sex slaves were US-held prisoners.”

Paul Craig Roberts: “It turns out that product development, which was to be America’s replacement for manufacturing jobs, is the second largest business function that is offshored.” Talk about being gob-smacked, sucker-punched, anyway you want to put it.

Paul Krugman on an overlooked cause of the weak economy: “For a while, the spread of managed care put a lid on premiums, encouraging companies to expand their work forces. But premiums surged again after 2000, imposing huge new burdens on business. It’s a good bet that this played an important role in weak job creation.”

Michael Scherer and Michael Weisskopf in Time magazine on John McCain’s gambling habits: “In the past decade, he has played on Mississippi riverboats, on Indian land, in Caribbean craps pits and along the length of the Las Vegas Strip. ‘Enjoying craps opens up a window on a central thread constant in John’s life,” says John Weaver, McCain’s former chief strategist, who followed him to many a casino. ‘Taking a chance, playing against the odds.'”


Andy Martino in the New York Daily News: “Tiger Woods said Monday that he had himself tested twice in the last six months to make sure that his nutritional supplements were free of banned substances. . . . But BALCO founder Victor Conte is skeptical that an athlete would feel concerned enough about his or her nutritional program to conduct a self-test. . . . ‘It seems that it is now more likely that athletes screening their urine samples for steroids. . . would be doing so to confirm that the steroids they previously used had cleared their system.'”

“That’s Manny” Department

John Harper, also of the Daily News, quotes Mariano Rivera who threw three strikes past Manny Ramirez in a Yankee victory over the Red Sox: “I was kind of surprised that Manny didn’t take the bat off his shoulder. . . . I don’t know what he was thinking. That’s Manny.” Maybe he was being passive-aggressive since he was sent in to pinch-hit after being given time off while in a slump. Hey, at least that’s better than outright aggressive, like when he pushed the Sox’s 63-year-old traveling secretary to the ground.

2 replies »

  1. Nous Tenons Á Notre Avis

    It is in our nature to believe that our opinion is the right opinion. But everyone, be they liberal or conservative, understands that another war will break the back of the American economy.

    Add to this the fact that Iran has over ten million men of military age, and it becomes an issue of both blood and treasure. The only way that America can stand against such an opposition is through a prolonged campaign of lethal air strikes, which will involve the slaughter of innocent civilians and bring the rightful outrage of the entire world upon our heads.

    Not only would an attack against the sovereign state of Iran be wrong, it would be extremely foolish.

    President Bush-
    Il ne desire pas paix
    Il ne desire rien mais guerre.
    Il tient un livre de douleur et larmes
    Il tient á ouvrir.
    Il ne parait pas que il comprend
    Il ne s’agit pas de legs…
    Il ne faut pas ouvrir ce livre
    Il ne contiennent que mort.

  2. Roberts has been speaking the economic truth while no one listens for a long time now; Krugman is a hack who always leaves out the important bits.

    Captain Queeg is a good analogy, though Ahab would probably work too. Combined with Naomi Wolf’s take on Abu-Ghraib, one must consider that they may be playing with each other’s ball bearings.

    I loathe Manny Ramirez. It’s not even his lazy play that gets me, it’s the way he wears his uniform…he might as well put his name and number on the back of his pajamas. The pants to the shoe tops irks me bad enough, but that guy is way, way, way overboard.