1/11/05 – 1/19/05
6:10 pm CST
Winning hearts and minds:
Child appears unhappy after parents slain in Iraq
So much for Homeland Security:
"We drove a full-scale WMD 800 miles across the United States and no one stopped or questioned us Š"
8:35 am CST
Iran vows deterrence after Bush refuses to rule out an attack
7:55 am CST
Blood for oil ...
US Iraq Casualties Projected at 6,000 Dead, 48,000 Wounded
Bush Tells Troops 'Much More Will Be Asked of You'
Marine determined to die rather than return to Iraq Commits Suicide by Cop
Meanwhile, back in the Land of the Free ...
Missiles deployed for inauguration
D.C. has stifling security blanket
Ex-KGB and STASI Chiefs to Work under Chertoff
To Try to Net Killer, Police Ask a Small Town's Men for DNA
Police Begin Fingerprinting on Traffic Stops
8:59 am CST
The War Widens
Bush: Attack on Iran can't be ruled out
Report: U.S. Conducting Secret Missions Inside Iran
Four Teens Tasered by Miami Police
Police Taser Naked Jogger
5:14 am CST
The NWO was happy to have Martin Luther King's crusade for "civil rights" increase federal control over state governments and private businesses. But when that was done and he started criticizing their precious Vietnam killing fields, he was a goner.
Recalling Who Really Killed MLK
4:44 am CST
Sending a Message
Here's a story to ponder on Martin Luther King Day. The undercover narcotics agent in Tulia, Texas, whose perjury sent dozens of innocent black people to prison on phony drug charges has been found guilty, and as a result has been given a very firm, very harsh, and deadly serious slap on the wrist ...
Jury Suggests Probation for Ex-Drug Agent
2:19 pm CST
Yesterday, in Sunday morning's Austin American-Statesman, I read a book review of When the News Went Live: Dallas 1963, a memoir by four Dallas journalists-George Phenix, Bob Huffaker, Bill Mercer, and Wes Wise-who covered the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It sounds like an interesting book. During the course of that memorable weekend in 1963, one of the men spoke with Ruby in Dealey Plaza the day after the killing, another interviewed Oswald's mother, another was present when Ruby killed Oswald, and so on. And yet, if you are looking for substantive information about the assassination, you are not likely to find it in this book. The review states: "From the get-go, the authors declare themselves 'weary of conspiracy theories.'"
It is not surprising that they should be so averse to conspiracy "theories," for had they embraced such "theories" in their coverage of the assassination they might have ended up like Jim Koethe and Bill Hunter.
Koethe was a reporter for the Dallas Times Herald; Hunter for the Long Beach Press Telegram. On the night of November 24, 1963, the two ventured to Jack Ruby's apartment where they interviewed Ruby's roommate George Senator and Ruby's attorney Tom Howard. Less than a year later, Howard, Koethe, and Hunter were all dead. Howard died of an apparent heart attack. Hunter was shot in the head by a Long Beach police officer who, after repeatedly changing his story about the killing, was eventually convicted of manslaughter and given a probated sentence. Koethe was killed a few months later in his Dallas apartment when he emerged from the shower to be karate-chopped in the neck by an unknown assailant.
Koethe and Hunter's deaths no doubt served as an example to other journalists, and may have been a factor in the large number of Dallas journalists who left Dallas and found other professions in the wake of the Kennedy assassination.
Phenix, Hufaker, Mercer, and Wise, however, were not part of this exodus. Their coverage of the assassination turned out to be a boon to their careers, rather than an impediment. Not only did they remain in the profession, they prospered. Phenix went on to co-found the Texas Weekly; Hufaker became an editor at Texas Monthly; Mercer became a prominent sportscaster; and Wise served as Mayor of Dallas in the 1970s.
These men, then, owe much to the assassination-it got them where they are today. But they sure wouldn't have gotten there if they had embraced those wearisome conspiracy "theories."
11:58 am CST
It was brought to my attention this weekend that my article Dealey Plaza and the Dream is being discussed on the JFK Lancer forum. (See this link.) JFK researchers find it interesting that when I visited Dealey Plaza the morning after the assassination I saw two men on the fire escape of the Dal-Tex building (the building next door to the School Book Depository) looking through the scope of a rifle mounted on a tripod. It was apparent that these men (whoever they were) were investigating the possibility that there might have been another shooter in Dealey Plaza. Meanwhile, of course, the world was being told that it was an open-and-shut case against a lone shooter.
12:44 pm CST
U.S. mulls strikes on Syria
Greg Palast: CBS Cowardice and Conflicts behind Purge
New toll puts tsunami casualties at 272,000
6:43 pm CST
Well, it seems there's no stopping people from taking that silly Swift Report satire seriously.
When I did a web search this morning, I discovered that the story has been picked up by even more websites.
Also, rather than posting the original article that started this brouhaha, some websites are posting Dr. Alan Cantwell's denunciation of the fictitious "political paranoia" legislation. This is not good, because people will read Dr. Cantwell's article, and without the satire as a reference point, will be even more inclined to believe the legislation is real. This will, in turn, cause people to write articles based on Cantwell's article, which will in turn cause people to write articles based on those articles, and on and on, until finally the original satire will be forgotten.
This is unfortunate, because (as I pointed out in the blog entry below) we do not need a satirical fiction as a basis for concern over the New Freedom Initiative (or, for that matter, possible future actions of the American Psychiatric Association); the FACTS are far scarier.
5:05 pm CST
A READER WRITES: Hey Mack,
Interesting piece on the satire alert, which reminded me of something written by H.L. Mencken. Before and during WWI, Mencken believed that the mainstream media was reporting nothing but lies and inaccuracies (not unlike the "truth" we get now, heh) and felt compelled to do something about it. He meticulously fabricated the following piece and the results were beyond his imagination. The public not only believed, but began referencing it!
A Neglected Anniversary
For a more in-depth (and astounding) description of what happened after it was written (as well as references to his attempts to fess up-which I have unfortunately been unable to find online) I would recommend the following article.
The Bathtub, Mencken, and War
Also, if you know where I might find online the articles "Melancholy Reflections" and "Hymn To The Truth", I would greatly appreciate it. The link from the original site seems to be broken. Thanks.
Thanks for writing! I got a big laugh reading Mencken's hoax, also enjoyed the article about the hoax. It just goes to show you how a piece of writing can take on a life of its own quite apart from what the author intended.
After reading the articles, I was interested to read Mencken's "Melancholy Reflections" and "Hymn to the Truth." I did a quick Google search, but it turned up nothing. If anyone reading this knows where they can be found on line, please email me.
7:15 pm CST
Beware of a certain article currently making the rounds of the Internet that describes legislation in Congress (introduced by the redoubtable Senator from Tennessee, Bill Frist) that would compel the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to add a new mental illness, "political paranoia," to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM).
Folks, this article is a satire. It makes a point similar to the point made in a satire I wrote last summer (see blog entries 6/16 and 6/21/04)--namely, that Bush's New Freedom Initiative, which recommends mental health screening for all Americans, could ultimately be used to institute "political psychiatry" in this country. (See the Geneva Initiative for Psychiatry for a report on the practice of political psychiatry in China.) However, unlike mine, the satire in question is written as if it were a real news story, and is written so convincingly that the satirical intent is lost on many readers. As a result, it is being posted and linked on a number of websites as if it were real, and several writers have been sufficiently alarmed by the fictitious legislation to write scathing denunciations of it. (See this and this on Rense.com.) An exception is a PrisonPlanet.com article (see this) that has expressed skepticism about the article's authenticity, suggesting it might be disinformation, but even this article unfortunately leaves open the possibility that the legislation might be genuine.
Well, it's not genuine. The article is satire, which can be readily verified by looking at the other articles on the source website (SwiftReport.com); all the articles are satirical, albeit of a troublesome kind that treads the fine line between satire and hoax. (An examination of reader comments posted on the site reveals that some of the other articles have caused confusion similar to the one in question.)
It is of course understandable why so many have been fooled by this article. After all, any Congress that would pass an atrocity such as the New Freedom Initiative is capable of anything, and without question the New Freedom Initiative does indeed set the stage for the very thing depicted in the Swift Report satire: the use of psychiatry as a weapon of the police state.
This practice is not without precedent, the most notorious examples being the Soviet Union and present-day China. Also, it is a fact that political psychiatry has been recommended by at least one psychiatrist working for the CIA. In 1974, MK-ULTRA scientist Dr. Jose Delgado, Director of Neuropsychiatry at Yale Medical School, stated in testimony to Congress: "We need a program of psychosurgery for political control of our society. The purpose is physical control of the mind. Everyone who deviates from the given norm can be surgically mutilated."
Therefore, we dare not lapse into the false security of thinking it can't happen here. It certainly could happen here, and the New Freedom Initiative brings us much closer to that reality.
But will it happen as the Swift Report satire depicts? Will Congress suddenly, and brazenly, pass a law to compel the APA to declare politically incorrect thought a mental illness? No, of course not; that would be too obvious, and it would be unnecessary. No, when it happens, it will not be suddenly, but rather by incremental steps, and it will not happen in the political arena; it will instead happen within the mental health profession, and it will be made to seem entirely benign.
How do I know this? Because the process has already begun.
There is now serious discussion within the APA, led by Harvard University's Dr. Alvin Poussaint, to classify politically incorrect thought--specifically, racism--as a mental illness. Quoting Pouissant: "If we want to do any kind of prevention, psychiatrists have to know and believe themselves that this [racism] is a serious mental disorder."
That word "prevention" coming from a Harvard psychiatrist is worth our considered attention, for what it suggests is that "racism" can be treated as an organic disorder, either with drugs or psychosurgery. Already, one psychologist, Dr. William von Hippel, claims to have pinpointed the part of the human brain where racism is located. Not surprisingly, it is in the frontal lobes, thus can be fixed by lobotomy. (A painless procedure, I'm sure: One slice of the scalpel and--voila!--no more racist thoughts. Of course, there are no more thoughts of any other kind either, but that's beside the point.)
So there you have it. While everyone is engaged in all this brouhaha over a satire, an attempt is already underway within the APA to declare politically incorrect thought a mental illness. And it is no satire; it is real.
Should this attempt succeed--should racism find its way into the DSM--then we can expect all the other politically incorrect thoughts to follow: sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, xenophobia. And we can expect their definitions to broaden accordingly. One already runs the risk of being labeled "anti-Semite" merely for disapproving of the actions of the state of Israel. And the accusation of being xenophobic has been lobbed at those who object to Arnold Schwarzenegger becoming President of the United States. Can you imagine the implications of these "politically incorrect" thoughts being classified as mental illnesses? Don't make the mistake of thinking it can't happen here. The process, as I say, has already begun.
Rep. Ron Paul: The Therapeutic Nanny State
The Spectator: The Multi-Cultural Thought Police