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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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|Scene from the film The Murderers Are Among Us|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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
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