The Essays: Prior page

Fun at the NY Times' Expense

The Times' cluelessness sometimes makes it the perfect target for satire. On December 25, 2005 (was the A-Team opening Christmans presents, caroling, or sipping apres ski brandys?) it published yet another article about some professor, physics of course, failing to show the proper reverence to the Fuehrer and the Fatherland. This violation of Democracy was reported to the Pennsylvania branch of our leadership by a pretty student with the suitably American name of Jennie Mae Brown (will we ever see one named Salka Viertel, for example), who got her indoctrination about these matters while in the US Air Force.

These brownshirted yahoos, who have been designated our superiors, know a serious matter when it comes a-knocking and responded appropriately. The Ironical Chronicle, ever alert to the opportunity for a little fun at the expense of the buffoon class, also responded. Read it by clicking here.

As the differences disappear…

To Marxists, fascism is the response of a capitalist state to a crisis that threatens its very existence. The United States has traditionally been regarded as immunized from this Marxist generalization by its constitution, the system of checks and balances between its three branches of government, and its independent press. Thus the disappearance of differences which distinguish the US from the fascist states of the first half of the 20th century is a matter of great interest. The handling of persons considered to be a threat to the security of the state is one such difference. You can read a comparison of two specific cases, Willi Gleitze and Khaled El Masri, by clicking here.

Yellow Journalism at the New York Times…

On November 29, 2005 the Times showed us how it buries a scary story when it wants to. By contrasting this treatment with the opposite it used to panic Americans with stories of non-existent WMD's in Iraq we get a valuable look at the latest propaganda techniques employed at the journal of information which serves the US elites.

You can read my analysis by clicking here.

Teach the junkyard dog…

The US media breathed a very audible sigh of relief when hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. Up until that moment, Cindy Sheehan, whose pain of losing her son gave her the moral authority to pin Bush to the wall like a squirming cockroach, dominated a spellbound media who couldn't look away from the spectacle. Katrina broke the spell and enabled them to switch from the disaster in Iraq, in which they are complicit, to the disaster in New Orleans, in which they are not. The government's momentary weakness gave the normally craven media moguls a rare opportunity to exact revenge against their co-conspirators in war crimes, who had cost them their credibility.

Frank Rich, of the NY Times, continues this ultimately harmless spat among thieves in his column for September 18, 2005 in which his meaningless conclusion is:

What comes next? …At this point, merely plain old competence, integrity and heart might do.
Might? Rich is promising a future miracle, like teaching a junkyard dog to walk on his hind legs.

You can read my commentary by clicking here.

Nations of Outlaws

While every state claims the opposite, international relations are characterized by lawlessness. On September 1, 2005, a German court, after hearing an appeal by Major Florian Pfaff of the German army, who was demoted for disobeying an order in relation to German support for the US/UK war against Iraq, issued a detailed opinion. This is reminiscent of the case of Captain Howard Levy during the Vietnam war, but the outcome is entirely different. In 1967, Levy was sentenced to three years in prison while Pfaff was supported completely by the court. The German court's decision found that the US/UK war in Iraq is a violation of international law. It also found that Germany, despite its public claims, is violating the requirements of neutrality. You can read my commentary and translation of the original press article by clicking here.

The Bush Regime in New Orleans

The US is probably the oldest, continuously functioning, capitalist government on the planet. If you want to see what geriatric capitalism is like, this is the place to look. One of the remarkable things you see is that government agencies with suggestive names like the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have largely become, belying their names, agencies for regulating access by their respective industries to federal funds.

In line with the primary role of these agencies, they are staffed by political appointees who are invariably politically connected lawyers whose skills are in adjudicating competing claims based on power relationships. Unfortunately, there are occasions, quite beyond the control of the agency, which challenge its original, by now essentially vestigial function, for which it is quite unprepared.

This is the background for FEMA and hurricane Katrina when it struck the Louisiana-Mississippi-Alabama Gulf coast on the morning of August 29, 2005. You can read my attempt to capture the contradictory roles of this typical federal agency by clicking here.

Someone Tell Frank Rich…

Frank Rich is a motion picture and theater critic and also a frequent OP-ED columnist for the NY Times. Frank Rich is also smart but, like almost all Americans, he implicitly accepts the paradigm that not only is the United States a democracy, it is actually the defining example of a democracy. In an otherwise intelligent column published on August 14, 2005 in which he reviews the lies the Bush regime used to justify its invasion of Iraq, he is led to a false conclusion by his adherence to the US-democracy paradigm. You can read his column and my critique of it by clicking here.

August 6, 1945: 50 Years Later; Deconstructing the Propaganda

The NY Times' report on the bombing of Hiroshima is littered with spin in a successful attempt to whitewash a crime against humanity. Here's my attempt to despin at least some of it. To read my annotated version of the original Sidney Shalett report click here.

Book review: Until The Final Hour: Hitler's Last Secretary

Traudl Junge was one of Hitler's three personal secretaries. She was in his bunker in Berlin to the very end of the Third Reich and managed to survive the chaos. In her later years, she agonized over her role and ultimately accepted her guilt in failing to resist the Nazis. My perspective is that this role for Germans was made in America for a specific American purpose. To read my review of the book click here.

Archaeology of Propaganda

On the occasion of the January 30, 2005 Iraqi elections, a reprint of a NY Times article on a similar election held in Vietnam in September of 1967 surfaced on the internet. After writing an essay on the subject, I decided to see what I could find out about the author of that article. To read what I found and my conclusions click here.

Capitalism's Health Benefits "Crisis"

Inflation was designed to screw workers out of prior victories in the class struggle. One of the unanticipated advantages to the workers of health benefits is that, compared to money, they are inflation proof. As a result, they have been under attack for as long as inflation has been official, though denied, US policy. As usual, the NY Times does its share on the propaganda front. Read my comments by clicking here.

Credibility Crisis

Even for America's prodigious media apparat, "…fooling some of the people all of the time." is something it cannot do. In its standard procedure for handling such cases, the government appoints an image damage control committee. The committee released its report on March 31, 2005. Its conclusions are so predictable, one wonders why they bothered. Read my comments and the details by clicking here.

Rogue State Outsources

Hannah Arendt in reporting on the Eichmnann trial in Israel coined the phrase "the banality of evil." The US appears to be doing its best to prove that evil isn't necessarily banal. In 2002 it kidnapped Maher Arrar, a Canadian engineer, when he was changing planes at Kennedy Airport in New York on his way home. If this were Berlin in 1935, the Gestapo would have taken him to their headquarters at 8 Prinz Albrecht Strasse where they had cells in the basement of the building for just such purposes. They would have interrogated him over days, weeks, or months. Depending on the case, these interrogations frequently included vicious beatings. This is too banal for America. It sends its victim in chains via a chartered deluxe turbocharged jet to Syria at a cost of $120,000 to be beaten with a steel cable and interrogated for ten months. Surprisingly, the NY Times is aggressively reporting this story. Read my comments and the details by clicking here.

History as Nostalgia

History, if it is to have any value, needs to be used as a prism to analyze the glare of the present into its component parts and thus to assist in understanding it. The number of ways the media avoid doing this is surprising. One way is to treat history as nostalgia. Another is to fetishize some historical event or personality, such as the US Civil War or Leni Riefenstahl. In both these approaches, the analytical use of the past is avoided. On March 25, 2005, the NY Times did a review of an exhibition of photographs done by German and Austrian photographers between 1900 and 1938. It's hard to imagine a time and a place whose history is more important in shaping what came after. Did the Times get it right? Nope. It went the nostalgia route. A sheer dead end. I tried to balance things up a little by adding some pictures and text from a book by Kurt Tucholsky, Deutschland, Deutschland über Alles, Berlin 1929. Read the nostalgia and my supplement by clicking here.

Car Crash Study Report

On March 6, 2005, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released a report which showed that SUV's destroy smaller cars when they hit them in the side. The NYT assigned a reporter to write up the story. What could be simpler? Read what this birdbrain wrote by clicking here.

A Face from America's Past

General Nguyen Cao Ky was elected Vice-President of the US puppet regime in South Vietnam on September 3, 1967. On January 16, 2004, the German newspaper Neues Deutschland, published a thumbnail biography of Ky on the occasion of his first visit to his homeland in 28 years. The depressing thing about him and many others like him, down to the present day, is that a conquering power can always find local collaborators to act as front men for the destruction of their country. Read about this former collaborator by clicking here.

An Archaeological Find

On February 3, 2005 a microfilmed image of a September 3, 1967 NY Times report on elections which had just been held in "South" Vietnam surfaced. It's a valuable artifact against which to compare the Times' coverage of the January 30, 2005 elections in Iraq. Read my comments and the original Times article by clicking here.

Not Reading Their Own Editorials

In 2003, Russia was fighting a civil war in Chechnya. In the midst of this war, Putin decided to hold elections. The NY Times correctly saw through this ruse as a strategy to break the rebellion and said so in an editorial it published on January 14, 2003. Two years later, when the shoe was on the other foot, it forgot everything it wrote and gushed over the success of the Iraqi election held on January 30, 2005. Read the original Times editorial and my take on the dramatic switch by clicking here.

Revising Official History

Official history is more than comforting. It flatters, especially, the state that produces it and there's even a shred of its rich tapestry for everyone, down to the lowest declassed denizens of neighborhood bars and beggars for whom it may be their most valued possession. Understandably, its truthfulness or even facts which might undermine it, are of zero interest to the vast majority of people with a vested interest in its comforting illusions. My own readings in German history have led me to a formulation of an outline of history from 1914 to 1990 which has as its leitmotif the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. It's accessible by clicking here.

Washington, D.C. as a Source of (Un)natural Disasters

Scientists have elucidated the sequence of events that lead to the large scale calamities known as tsunamis. The utterly blind tidal wave that causes the actual death and destruction has its source thousands of miles away in the clash between sections of the earth's crust deep beneath the sea. Through the use of instrumentation to capture data and wave theory to organize it, scientists have even determined the locations of these geological faults. Rather than being evenly distributed, there are specific probability focii which, over geologic time, are the places most likely to be the sources of the initiating events.

This description of tsunamis is an interesting analog of a typical US war of aggression. The victims are far removed from the source which is always concealed under an ocean of propaganda. The probabalistic focus of the epicenters has been traced to Washington, D.C. which is where the clash between powerful interest groups is resolved. A difference is that we can study the source more closely. The first step is to drain the propaganda sea which conceals it. The Ironical Chronicle has assembled data about a specific lethal aftershock from the March 2003 unnatural disaster. It's accessible by clicking here.

China's National Defense in 2004

On December 27, 2004, the People's Liberation Army of China published an important policy document. The document is called China's National Defense in 2004. I read parts of it and came across two discrepancies, a contradiction and a double standard. You can read them and my reaction by clicking here.

Striking Out On Slow Balls

On December 22, 2004, the founder of the US national newspaper USA Today published a modestly anti-war column in that newspaper. Considering the normally war-chanting US press, this created somewhat of a sensation resulting in a lot of letters to the editor. The press industry magazine Editor & Publisher published a selection from these letters and the Ironical Chronicle decided to do an analysis of the pro-war ones. click here to read it.

Message from the Iraqi Resistance

To see the most sophisticated multi-media message from the Iraqi Resistance yet click here. The file size is 9.59MB and it's in Windows Media format.

Lying Liars

On December 12, 2004 the Times published what sounded for all the world like an agonized confessional by the Pentagon as it sought forgiveness from the Father for lying "in the greater cause." Ashes, sackcloth, flickering votive candles, and a Gregorian chant would have added authenticity, but were not available in this low budget production. The Ironical Chronicle looks at this hocus pocus with a jaundiced eye and ferrets out one of the confessors as a professional liar who lies for a DoD paycheck. Click here. the last drop of someone else's blood.

To this observer, one of the purposes of the "war" in Iraq is a belated attempt by the Pentagon to learn how to destroy, by means other than nuclear weapons, a desperately poor people who are unwilling to submit to subjugation by a foreign power. And what's the payoff for learning this skill, besides the moral debasement of the people of the United States to a level we used to call "good Germans?" The NY Times, a key player in the process of advancing America's interests, illustrating its own moral debasement, gives us an example. Click here to read about it.

Opportunistic Parasite

Can you compare a country to a thing like that? Not if you write for the embedded press, no matter how useful the analogy might be, but the Ironical Chronicle can. Click here to read about it.

I'm gonna miss Colin Powell

For someone who enjoys discovering fatuity in the US government as much as I do, the fading away of the old soldier is going to be a sad day. So let's enjoy him while we can. Here's his latest pregnant pronunciamento apropos of the dust-up in the Ukraine:

"If the Ukrainian government does not act immediately and responsibly, there will be consequences for our relationship, for Ukraine's hopes for a Euro-Atlantic integration and for individuals responsible for perpetrating fraud," Mr. Powell said in Washington. "We cannot accept this result as legitimate." [NY Times, Nov. 25, 2004, "Ukraine Premier Is Named Winner; U.S. Assails Move."]

Speaking of threats and blackmail, there's something for everyone in those words. Where do you learn to talk like that? My guess is that he watched the Godfather series over and over on his VCR so that, in spite of a compromised memory, certain lines would eventually stick. In using this language, he's forgotten that he said, in justifying the US's initial refusal to negotiate with North Korea over their building nuclear weapons, that the US "does not submit to blackmail." But everyone else does, I guess. Or else, mamma mia!

After delivering himself of the above omnibus threat and being told that Putin had openly campaigned for his candidate, Viktor Yanukovich, he said he had no comment. Given his track record of thinking on his feet, I'd say he couldn't think of anything.

He also forgot how quickly the US Supreme Court shoveled the US electoral mess under the rug in November of 2000 rather than calling for a new election. That the US elites value expediency over democracy was something the rest of the world considered an internal matter. Not Colin, though. His job in the US campaign to destabilize the Ukraine is to act mad because the $240 million the US spent trying to swing their election didn't work. If this one doesn't work, heads will roll in the CIA! Colin is definitely a team player.

In justifying the US's unprecedented move of removing its signature from the Rome Treaty establishing an International Criminal Court he said, "The US does not want to subject its soldiers to 'frivolous lawsuits.'" This was three years before Abu Ghraib. Frivolous lawsuits? Sure, so were the Nuremburg Trials, if you were a Nazi.

In his now infamous WMD speech before the UN, he said he knew the exact geographical coordinates of Saddam Hussein's desert WMD factories. Sure, but it turned out to be a trailer for inflating balloons. And the arsenal with 640 tons of conventional munitions? The US Army walked right past it and its been stripped bare. Where did the stuff go? Across the border to Syria, where they are using it to make New Year's Eve fireworks. Sure. Click here to see what this stuff can do.

When asked for comment on North Korea's justification for developing nuclear weapons, that, as a poor country, such weapons were cost effective, he said, "I'll have to think that one over." Did he ever come up with anything? Sure, but the dog ate his homework.

Given that the federal bureaucracy spends December Christmas shopping and planning which New Year's Eve party to go to and, for the short-timers like Colin, January cleaning out their desks, this may be our last chance to roast him. So, so-long Colin! You got yourself a reserved seat in the first class car of the gravy train.

Old Horrors Never...

If it's true that, "Old horrors never die, they just fade into the subconscious," then in a few years the average American's store of buried memories will look like a Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. What is really interesting is how the International Communist Conspiracy, usually represented by a red octopus with its tentacles covering the northern half of the earth's globe and poised to take over its southern half, has slithered back into Poseidon's kingdom. A perfect example of this is that the worst the leader of the Free World can say about Kim Jong Il, the leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and a verifiable member of the Marxist, Workers Party of Korea, is that he's a recluse. A mere RECLUSE! Why not, a COMMUNIST!

My theory about this is that propaganda epithets have a finite half life which is driven by the need of the elites that invent them to have an occasional, even if only symbolic, victory.

These easy victories are created by simply retiring the associated epithet from use by the propaganda apparatus. You don't even have to send some moron from the top of the military-bureacratic heap to land on an aircraft carrier to make the announcement. And with the exquisite sensitivity of the punditocracy in detecting changes in the wind direction, the disappearance of the old epithet is instantaneous.

Without wishing to be alarmist, I feel it is my civic duty to report that there is evidence that the old sly octopus may be out of mind, but he's definitely not out of sight. Read about it by clicking here.

Qualifying for the Axis of Evil

If you've ever wondered what it takes to qualify for membership in this most exclusive club, we now have something to go on. Sometimes called, informally, Washingtons "S_List," North Korea, known formally as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and the senior resident on the S_List, has given us a clue. And it's not aspiring to possess Weapons of Mass Destruction, disdaining Human Rights, being Reclusive, or even Poor. Those are merely the mandatory adjectives, laboriously assembled by the Adjective Division of the Propaganda Ministry, which must precede any mention of an S_List member in the Official Media. The real trick is accomplished by simply stepping on one of Uncle Sam's bunions. Find out how its done by clicking here.

Class Consciousness at the Times

The revelation of ignorance and incompetence in the US health care industry has become so commonplace that it's hardly worth commenting on. Today's (June 23, 2004) revelation that doctors are testing millions of women yearly for cancer in a body part that they've had surgically removed is bad enough, but the reaction to this dangerous fraud is interesting in its own right. To read my essay and the Times article click here.

The Poop Keeps Rising

On May 26, 2004, the NY Times admitted, in an article headlined, "The Times and Iraq," that it spread disinformation about Iraq's non-existent WMD's. It also promised an internal review to prevent this from happening again. I've written an essay commenting on this unprecedented admission and, by examining the wording of their reportage from Iraq for June 13, 2004, show that it's business as usual at the Times. To read my essay click here.

The State of the US Debacle in Iraq: A German View

The world, and especially Americans, can thank the collection of failed corporatists and their hangers-on that the Supreme Court appointed to run the Free World for four years for the spectacular Made-in-the-USA catastrophe in Iraq. If a picture is worth a thousand words, this panorama is worth a trillion dollars and you don't even have to bid on it at Sotheby's. It's ours, paid for in cash and IOU's, lock, stock, and barrel. It's blaze is sufficient to illuminate, with the hard light of reality, the quadrennial Democracy Pageant which passes for an election, the phoney congressional hearings whose real purpose is damage control, the moronic White Senators who conduct them, and the boundless opportunism of the few Blacks willing to serve this white, Judeo-Christian ship of fools.

Even the embedded US media, normally the drumbeaters for US imperialism and thus consigned to cluelessness, sense that something, something which threatens the whole game, is wrong. The Berlin newspaper, junge Welt, for today, May 26, 2004, carries a short commentary by Werner Pirker on the current state of the catastrophe. To read it click here.

A Sign of a Stirring

The second-most shocking fact about the Catherine Genovese rape/murder, which I have used as an analogy for the US invasion of Iraq, is that people in a position to help her did nothing. The analog of those bystanders to rape/murder is the international community of nations. Least enigmatic of this general immobility are the capitalist states, who, after all, are eternally indebted to the US for vanquishing their common bête noir, the Soviet Union. The most enigmatic, at least to me, is the official silence of the leadership of the Communist Party of China. Beyond its obvious glee at the spectacle of the Pentagon spiking one of the big guns in the State Department's propaganda arsenal, namely human rights, the China People's Daily's ire is strictly confined to the merest verbal departure from subordination to China by the Taiwanese leadership. If this is Communism, did we really have to spend trillions of dollars and millions of lives to defeat it?

Well, while China sucks its Taiwanese thumb, several European individuals have found the courage to call for assistance to the Iraqi Resistance. To read about it click here.

A Rape, Up Close

I've been struggling to assimilate the images of depravity from the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq since I first saw them over a week ago. I've finally found a referential framework which has enabled me to do that. Given the material with which I had to deal, the images evoked by the language are crude. I ask the reader's forbearance. To read it click here.

Maureen Dowd Dumps Her Man

After a "relationship" that lasted less than two months and which provoked two essays on this website (which you can read by scrolling down a couple of pages), Ms Dowd, an NYT Op-Ed columnist, has let it be known in her column of today, April 29, 2004, that John F. Kerry is no longer "her man." Well, it's good to see that matronly common sense has triumphed and that our respect for her intelligence has been vindicated. It's also enough to provoke another essay which you can read if you click here.

No More Overtime

I've often wondered what a Secretary of Labor does in a presidential dictatorship in which the presidency is never occupied by a laborer. In 1980, Reagan guaranteed that the answer would be "absolutely nothing" by appointing Raymond J. Donovan, the President of the Schiavone Construction Company of Secaucus, NJ, as the Secretary of Labor. As if appointing a fox to guard the chicken coop wasn't enough, the FBI immediately produced evidence that Donovan was present when another executive of Schiavone handed $2000 to the head of the Blasters Union for, what else, "labor peace". Under US labor law, this is a felony and Donovan spent the rest of his tenure defending himself.

That was the "bad old days". Well, we've come a long way since then. We now have a Chinese-American millionairess Secretary of Labor married to a US Senator introducing legislation to exempt the capitalists from having to pay overtime to additional categories of labor. It actually gets better. This airhead forgot that, since 9-11, which was a windfall for them, a lot of cops are now in the 6-figure salary bracket and, in the first draft of her legislation, they would have been in the no-overtime category. This produced a snarl from the blue gang heard all the way to the Whitehouse where there is greater clarity about just what it is that props up the Democracy. There was a quick scurry back to the drawing board where the lawyers found the right words to pacify the labor category comprising the most ardent patriots we have. Click here to read the NY Times's reportage. The accompanying Northrup Grumman link is peripherally associated with this subject in the sense that engineers are always swindled out of overtime, but surprisingly, unlike the cops, they don't seem to mind.

The New Math as Applied to Body Counting

As the Iraqi Resistance's Operation Drive the Infidels Out on Their Knees looks increasingly capable of succeeding, the NY Times's role as the embedded cleaner of the Pentagon's Augean stables looks increasingly pathetic. On April 17, 2004, by the Pentagon's count, 11 American GI's were killed in Iraq. The Times metamorphosed that number to 5 and, in an article which looked more like a blivot of clichés, made a desperate attempt to hide reality. To read my comments on it please click here.

Gratuitous Pontification from the Propaganda Flagship USS Pinafore

With their latest War of Liberation Operation Iraqi Freedom coming down around their ears, the armchair admirals at the NY Times are losing their nerve. It was less than a year ago that they were wrapping up a year-long campaign of aiding the Bush war criminals with a germ warfare scare campaign by the putative CIA agent Judith Miller. Then, when the death machine began clanking, they performed additional service by relaying the reportage of their embedded journalists. This was the war that was scripted to shock and awe Bush's "Axis of Evil" first and the rest of the world second and the only question was supposed to be, "Whose up next?" In this state of panic someone at the NYT was tagged to write something profound about the lynching of the four US mercenaries from Blackwater USA, a hire-a-killer corporation in Moyock, NC. They should have let it pass. To read my comments on it please click here.


The killing of the four American agents in Falluja, Iraq on March 31, 2004 reminded me of the lynchings which were common in the United States, especially in those of the former Confederacy. It's hard to believe that outlawing lynching was a controversial topic, but it was. Another thing that's hard to believe is that enterprising businessmen issued picture postcards of these horrible events. What's not hard to believe is that the decline of lynchings in America coincided with the period of its competition with the Soviet Union for the hearts and minds of the world. James Allen and John Littlefield have assembled a collection of these postcards and posted them to a website. Read my thoughts on the subject and access a link to the Allen-Littlefield collection by clicking here.

Hegemony Meets Sovereignty

Ever mindful of its responsibility to advise its readers of impending world wars, the Ironical Chronicle is pleased to reprint an editorial from today's [April 4, 2004] China People's Daily. It's recommended reading for those who've gotten used to the idea that China's national aspiration is to be the preferred supplier of consumer goods to America's proletariat at prices which enable American capitalism to hold down its wage bill. Read it by clicking here.

Maureen Dowd and Leni Riefenstahl

Some intelligent comments from a friend inspired an additional essay on the subject of Maureen Dowd's infatuation with John Kerry. As unlikely as the pairing of her with the recently deceased German film maker Leni Riefenstahl might seem, there is a rationale for it. Read it by clicking here.

The Ironical Chronicle Celebrates Law Enforcement

Fiercely committed to law enforcement, as is its sister publication The New York Times, the IC enjoys a "one-upper" as much as any one else. On March 10, 2004, the NYT took pleasure in reporting on a lady who tried to pay her bill at the Wal-Mart checkout counter with a $1 million bill which we presume she had made herself, since the Treasury doesn't. A more flippant newspaper than the Times might have wondered if the lady wasn't satirizing the US Government's printing of money to finance its extravagances, but that's dangerous ground for the "newspaper of record" to tread. (I think there's a screenplay in it, but that's another story.)

But what about the "one-upper"? Well, that's the best part. The flippant folks at the IC actually found an even better story! And in the same town yet! Read it all by clicking here.

Maureen Dowd Picks Her Man

Ms Dowd, a columnist for the NY Times, is good at satire. In her column of March 7, 2004, without apparent irony, she plugs her, and the Times's, pick for the Democratic nominee for the presidency of the US. I took the opportunity to create a little satire myself, including a cartoon, but also to make what I think is a serious observation about the US political process. Click here to read it.

The Bank of America/NY Stock Exchange Scandal

In its issue of March 4, 2004, The NY Times did its best to report, and yet not report, on the ever widening stench of its favorite ism. The effort is clearly straining them. For the rest of us, its hard to resist the opportunity for a little irony at the old whore's expense. Click here to read their "coverage" and my commentary.

The New Imperialism

The old imperialism was well summarized by the truism, "First came the missionaries, then came the businessmen, and then came the army," which has come down to us from 17th century Japan. The export of jobs to low-wage third world countries is a newer form which is currently in the news. A version of imperialism where an investment bank can hire former politicians to both anticipate and influence foreign policy to enhance the value of its investments on an international scale is less well known. The Carlyle Group, based in Washington, D.C. is an example of this. Dutch Television recently broadcast an investigative report on them and the NY Times, in its studied clueless manner, reported on Carlyle's sale of its share of ownership in a Korean bank to Citygroup, a New York bank which has a policy of expanding outside the US. To read about Carlyle and watch the Dutch TV broadcast, which lasts about 48 minutes, click here.

Do They Even Read Their Own Newspaper?

The NY Times, in its issue of Dec. 29, 2003, reported at length on a great deal of churning in the US government over their Mideast "image" problem. On the preceding day, they had an article which summarized a series of articles on US atrocities in Vietnam being run by The Toledo Blade. Part of the former, all of the latter, and my prefixed ironical remarks can be read by clicking here.

Mental Illness In The US Elites

There is evidence that psychopathology is not rare in the Bush regime and its ideological apparatus. This essay points out two recent examples. Click here to read it.

The Murder of Mazen Dana

Mazen Dana was an experienced cameraman working in Iraq. He was covering the aftermath of an attack by Iraqi irregular forces on the US-guarded prison at Abu Ghraib outside Baghdad. The manner in which he was killed (two shots were fired at him at point blank range from a US tank while he was filming) and the story floated by the military (the tank crew mistook his large video camera for a grenade launcher) suggest that Mazen saw, was about to see, or was believed to have seen, something he wasn't supposed to see. To read the story click here.

The Blackout of 2003

In the massive coverage of this event I found a few things worth commenting on.

One is the ad nauseum repetition as fact of something which is obviously unknown. Here is a typical statement from the NY Times: "Federal, state and local officials are trying to pinpoint the cause of the breakdown, but they said terrorism was not involved." Ignoring the gratuitously obsequious flattery [Pinpoint? They don't even know which state.] of US officialdom worthy of a Tony Blair, at this time the lack of knowledge as to the cause and its geographical location is both massive and understandable. Given this fact, how does this army of officials know with absolute certainty that it wasn't sabotage, or to use the current terminology, terrorism? The answer is that it obviously doesn't and any objective investigation of this event would have to hold open that possibility. What will they do if they find a large transformer at a power substation in the wilds of upper Michigan with a bullet hole in it, the cooling oil drained out of it, and an adjacent circuit breaker with its contacts welded together by an enormous current surge? Hunters were spotted in the area, I guess.

Another is Bush's use of the word "we" when things go wrong, as in,

"I view it as a wake-up call," Bush told reporters during a visit to the Santa Monica mountains, adding that the massive blackout was "an indication we need to modernize the electricity grid."
The electric power grid is private property and, as of the 1990's, deregulated at that. We all remember the free enterprise mantra: Efficiency, Low prices, and Optimization of resources and investment. Is Bush a closet Socialist? Or is this the old shell game of privatize the profit and socialize the losses? I'll give you one guess and suggest you hold onto your wallets.

Finally, my favorite German newspaper junge Welt, in their coverage of the blackout was the only one to notice the parallel between it and what happened in Yugoslavia and what is happening in Iraq. That's something which the US press with its "embedded" perspective is totally incapable of. It used to be called Gleichschaltung.

To read a translation of the jW article click here.

Something That Works, Virtually

It may be that everyone has seen this Honda TV commercial but me. If you haven't seen it or would like to see it a few more times click the button. It's a Quicktime movie file and it's 11.6 megabytes in size. On a DSL connection it begins playing instantly. Be sure to have your sound turned up. It definitely enhances the experience. You will need Apple's QuickTime player to display this. If you don't have it click here to download it. If you want to read how the movie was made click here.

Honda Commercial

Back by Popular Demand: The virtual gold watch

This is a javascript program which draws a Tiffany gold watch on your screen. Besides looking good it also tells time and it is as accurate as the clock chip in your computer. Unfortunately, because of the lack of standardization between javascript for Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator the program will not work on the latter. For the Navigator users there is a version which is a distant second. It is an animated gif file which does no more than rotate its unsynchronized second hand.

Internet Explorer   Netscape Navigator

The Murderers Are Among Us

Scene from the film The Murderers Are Among Us
The killing of Saddam Hussein's two sons and a teen aged nephew by the US Death Machine released a shocking display of glee by the Bush regime. The immediate echo from its media yahoos was proof of the massive gleichschaltung which has taken place here.

Normal human beings find the death of another person, even an enemy, a sobering event. The American ruling elite and their appointed executive committee in the White House are clearly not normal.

The NY Times, which goes to great lengths to feign an attitude of cultured discreetness, forgot itself and gloated over the deaths of these two men.

These are very revealing times: A lot of people are dropping their cover and we should be paying attention to who among us are the psychopaths.

I am reminded of the first postwar feature film shot in Germany in 1946, Die Mörder Sind Unter Uns (The Murderers Are Among Us). The murderers referred to in the title are the German war criminals.

The World Socialist Website has an excellent essay on this subject. Click here to read it.

For a synopsis of the film click here.

Bush In Trouble

The Berlin left-wing daily newspaper junge Welt in its edition of 16 July 2003 published an article under the headline above in which it summarized the unraveling of the Bush administration. It seemed worth translating and posting here because it probably represents European public opinion at this time. One of Bush's problems cited in the article is that the American budget deficit has spun to a level of $4.8 billion per month(!). If you add to this Bush's concurrent tax cut for the wealthiest 10% of Americans you can deduce a clear example of the blatant class warfare engaged in by this administration: whatever benefits accrue from the conquest of Iraq will go to the rich while everyone else will bear the cost. The wealthiest Americans have mastered the governing principle of late capitalism: How to get what you want at someone else's expense.

Click here to read the article.

The Bush-Hitler Comparison

In its edition of September 20, 2002, as the Bush regime, with the enthusiastic support of the US media, was building its crescendo of lies to justify its invasion of Iraq, the NY Times reported that a minister in Gerhard Schröder's government had equated the American president to Germany's erstwhile leader.

The general algebraic representation is simply W = x, where x = H. Had x been anything else, e.g., Otto von Bismarck, Konrad Adenauer, Ludwig Erhardt, or even Willy Brandt or Kurt Kiesinger, it might not have been so bad, perhaps even welcomed, but H has been so thoroughly metamorphosed into a demonic myth by the American propaganda apparat that the equation triggered the crashing of tectonic plates along the deeply buried Berlin-Washington fault line.

The story was authored by Steven Erlanger, that faithful toiler in the engine room of the flagship of the American propaganda flotilla, and he spun the story as "anti-Americanism." At that point in the build-up to the war, this was the standard way for the propaganda apparat to dismiss foreign criticism. This approach corresponds precisely to one of the cardinal principles of propaganda: never, ever, try to refute the factual content of a criticism. Instead, if it's too serious to be ignored, bury it under a negative label.

The outcome of the episode was that the offending minister was dismissed. Given the historical degeneration of German Social Democracy, the party of Chancellor Schröder, into opportunism, no other outcome was possible.

My reaction was to flesh out the W = H comparison with some historical realities. I chose to frame the comparison in the form of a letter of resignation by the offending minister. The essay was written on September 23, 2002, but never published. I came across it yesterday, and in view of some of the media's backtracking on their season of lies, I've decided to post it. Click here to read it.

New Spin On The Anne Frank Story

The NY Times printed a story today (12 June '03) on how the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, by popular demand, has expanded its Anne Frank exhibit. The fact that this exhibit is to be opened by First Lady Laura Bush illustrates the continued importance attached to Anne Frank as a propaganda theme in the US (former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt wrote the introduction to the first edition of Anne Frank's diary). And, probably not coincidentally, the Holocaust Museum's featured book this month is Melissa Müller's, Anne Frank: The Biography, (Henry Holt & Co., NY, 1998). On April 28, '02 this website posted an essay on the remarkable difference in the attention paid to Anne Frank and Olga Benario, both Jews who were murdered in Nazi concentration camps. That hasn't changed. But there has been an interesting change in the spin on the Anne Frank theme. For the last 50 years the spin has been "victimhood." The new spin is "humanity's loss of a talented writer." No longer a victim, Anne is now allowed to smile and this is evident in the dust jacket of Melissa Müller's book and the image hung in the museum. Contrast this with the image on the dust jacket of the first edition of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, Doubleday & Co., Garden City, NY, 1952.

Current dj First ed. dj 1952

My first reaction when I saw the new dj was, "Is this the same person?" followed by, "Is the new image a drawing?"

Why the switch?

Let's speculate. Since 1952 the US and its Zionist ally have accumulated their own trail of victims and can take their place alongside the Nazis. Hence, victimhood is out and budding talent-hood is in.

Or is the Times wrestling with long-term psychological morbidity in the sense of showing an unwholesome inability to transcend tragedy? Unlikely, because here's a picture they published just a few weeks ago and it didn't bother them any more than dead Polish Jews bothered Heinrich Himmler.

NY Times photo
US invasion of Iraq (March 20, '03): A man grieves over his dead children in the village of Hilla, Iraq

Read the NY Times story here and my original essay here.

Posted June 12, 2003

Spam Dissected

I spent a little time today (May 12, 2003) dissecting a simple spam message I received on May 10, 2003. The results are interesting. Until now I didn't realize that, just by opening them, these messages send information back to the spammers. Read about it here.

Posted May 12, 2003

Language in the service of the state

The US war against Iraq was justified on the grounds that Iraq had "weapons of mass destruction," that Saddam Hussein, its leader, was an evil man who would not hesitate to use them, and that this combination represented an immediate threat to the security of the United States and its allies. With the inevitable defeat of Iraq now a reality without a WMD having been used or even found, the US propaganda apparat is faced with a very serious problem. Read about it here.

Posted April 22, 2003