Yesterday, Erwin Geschonneck, a well-known East German actor, celebrated his 100th birthday. As an anti-fascist in a time and place when it meant risking your life, Geschonneck's life itself would make a good movie. He was arrested by the SS in Czechoslovakia in 1939 and spent the next five years in Nazi concentration camps. But what really makes his life extraordinary is that he was one of the few survivors of the Cap Arcona incident. Read the details by clicking here.
I've developed a theory which correctly predicted the failure of the latest round of the talks ostensibly aimed at denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. According to the theory, the real target is China. Read the details by clicking here.
Using terror to achieve international objectives is terrorism, right? Wrong. It turns out that if States do it, it's not, but if persons do it, it is. Read this officially twisted logic by clicking here.
For months now, the Times has been designating, for a week at a time, one of its department heads to answer questions from readers. This week, the Managing Editor, Jill Abramson is up. This was a good opportunity for me to ask a question. Read my email to Jill by clicking here.
In 1990 West Germany annexed East Germany. To justify their ideological need to destroy a landmark public building built by the former Communist government they needed a rationale. Read my essay about this and how it connects with the toxic dust cloud generated by the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9-11-01 by clicking here.
North Korea detonated a nuclear device on October 9th. If it was the Bush regime's policy to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, this could be chalked up to another of their colossal failures. In this essay the detonation of a nuclear device by the DPRK is seen as a step in a scenario devised by Washington. Read the essay by clicking here.
The World Socialist Website printed a detailed analysis of the rising mortgage rates and the squeeze this is putting on people who were suckered into buying houses they couldn't afford by the Federal Reserve's lose money policy of the past 5 years. Coincidently, and with no appreciation of the irony involved, the Wells Fargo bank published an ad offering to help the financially strapped with more debt. See the ad and read the essay by clicking here.
Obviously infected by the real estate craze and doing its bit to promote it too, the Times made itself, as it sometimes does, an ideal target for satire. Read the spoof by clicking here, but be warned, its almost too good not to be true.
Bob Woodward reveals that George Tenet briefed Condoleezza Rice on an imminent al qaeda attack on 9-10-01. Nobody remembers anything. See my cartoon, The National Security State on High Alert by clicking here.
On September 16th, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in a UN speech called Bush a devil who had left a stench of sulfur at the podium where he had previously spoken. This is the kind of provocation which defines patriotism as it is understood by our ruling elites: Support for the government. The NYT Times and Representative Charles Rangel, among others, took the bait and looked stupid. Read my critique of the Times' lame criticism of Chavez's speech and the WSWS's critique of Rangel by clicking here.
The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare commissioned a study which concluded drinking green tea, besides enriching the sellers, promotes longevity. Reuters did its share in the campaign by printing an article on the study and a picture of two nice Asian ladies serving the stuff. Karl Marx even added his recommendation on how to do even better. Check it out by clicking here.
In an essay published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Avner Cohen and William Burr elucidate a perfect example of the "special relationship" that exists between the US and Israel. In the light of the starkly contrasting US reaction to the DPRK's accession to the nuclear club and Iran's nuclear program their essay also is a perfect illustration of state hypocrisy. Read my comments and their essay by clicking here.
The discovery of patterns, whether in the natural sciences, human behavior, or the behavior of nations is fundamental to knowledge. Such patterns invariably are indicative of fundamental forces at work and an elucidation of these leads to predictability, which is the basis of understanding. In this essay I trace a pattern of US state violence across an interval of 6 decades defined by Harry Truman's Secretary of State, James F. Burns, in 1945 to George W.Bush. The fact that both of these men come from two states of the former Confederate States of America, for which slavery was its economy's cornerstone, is probably not coincidental. Read the essay by clicking here.
In reading the latest biography of J. Robert Oppenhiemer I came across the name of Melba Phillips. Because she refused to cave in to the promoters of one of America's earlier attacks of hysteria she was dismissed from her teaching positions. Read my essay on this subject by clicking here.
In an article about Daimler-Chrysler's decision to export its European mini-car, the Smart, to the US, the Times asks rhetorically whether Americans are ready for it. The Ironical Chronicle answers that dumb question quite unrhetorically. Read the question and the answer by clicking here.
In a review of a book about the Bush regime called The One Percent Doctrine the NYT's reviewer Michiko Kakutani, by failing to make certain important connections, reveals the ideological boundaries at the Times. Read my critique of her review which does connect the dots by clicking here.
The Ironical Chronicle likes to recognize members of the Military Capitalist Complex when they themselves exhibit exemplary commitment to the Western Values which their weaponry, produced on a virtually zero profit basis, is used to export. Read the particulars of the award to the CEO of the Raytheon Corporation by clicking here.
On February 15, 2006, with the Bush regime getting a lot of bad press, the NY Times took the occasion of reviewing a book about the Red Army to revile that army's performance in WW2. The desired propaganda effect, presumably, is to divert attention from the Iraq disaster. Read my attempt to counter the propaganda by clicking here.
On February 5, 2006, Reuters published a short article on Israel's reaction to the Iran crisis. The reaction was summarized by quoting from Ehud Olmert's speech made at the beginning of an Israeli Cabinet Meeting. Olmert said, " Iran will pay a very heavy price." Given the fact that Israel has a nuclear arsenal, that seemed pretty cheeky to me. The result was an essay and a cartoon. Read it all by clicking here.
The issue is the audacity of Iran to undertake the enrichment of its spent nuclear fuel rods. This is a necessary step, one of a long chain of steps, to develop nuclear weapons. The acquisition of nuclear weapons by a state is a touchy subject for the US, the primary cause of the tension being the US's acquisition and use of them in 1945 and its refusal to renounce them thereafter. To aggravate the tension, the US allowed Israel to acquire them, a highly destabilizing event since no other state in the Mideast has them. Now Iran, which is not a US client state, if it were to develop them, would neutralize Israel's nuclear monopoly in the region. This is the US's concern, since Israel exists as the US agent whose purpose is to prevent the coalescence of Arab nationalism, which by definition would make a credible demand for control of the region's petroleum resources. Thus the Iranian crisis is driven by the US need to protect the regional nuclear monopoly it granted to Israel, a wholly subsidized and militarized state whose only purpose is to serve US interests. This is classical imperialism with very high stakes. The crisis ratcheted to the next level on January 31, 2006, when Russia and China agreed to allow the matter to be brought before the Security Council. On February 1, the Berlin newspaper junge Welt published an interview with Mohssen Massarrat on the issue. Read the translation by clicking here.
On January 26, 2006, the Palestinian Authority held elections to its governing council. In a major upset, Hamas, which is committed to armed struggle against Israel, the US' proxy in the Mideast, won. The Bush regime can add this to its list of colossal failures which also has the effect of exposing a lot of hypocrisy. Read the essay by clicking here.
Astronomers, using the phenomenon of light bending in a gravitational field as predicted by Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, have used the technique to discover a planet orbiting a star about 20,000 light years from earth. The results were reported on January 25, 2006. The Ironical Chronicle's art department has prepared a nice graphic to illustrate how optical gravitational lensing works. Read the essay which, besides the science, has some deserved disparaging remarks re the Times' coverage by clicking here.