These talks brought vividly before him the political corruption of the state and the misery of the unprivileged classes

It is not only not  surprising, but boring in its predictability that that the Cult of Bush finds the Lancet report on the number of Iraqi deaths caused by the invasion in error. The administration and its supporters swore there were WMD, that Iraq was an imminent threat, that Saddam was in league with al-Queda, and that making Iraq the front in the “war on terror” would strike a fatal blow into the heart of jihadist terrorism around the world. They have been absolutely dead wrong on about everything, so the Bush Cult will have to excuse more rational Americns if we don’t believe you when to not only suggest the Lancet study is wrong, but like a chorus of hoarse throated parrots the fringe Right extremists also claim that the study was timed to sabotage the mid-term elections. They bring out that old dog about every report. Every report about Iraq. Every report about healthcare and poverty. Every report about the consequences of the ballooning national debt. Every report about everything. Even if the Lancet study was off by 10 percent the right-wingers that claim that the invasion of Iraq served some greater humanitarian good would still have a lot of back peddling to do. Since the conservative movement excels at back peddling this shouldn’t cause them too much strain. Even if they can’t manage to mangle the facts beyond recognition they can always resort to the classic reframe –  they don’t believe the facts and they have the right to believe whatever they like and liberals are intolerant for not going along with their blind faith in their wholly made up reality. Bottom line, was the invasion of Iraq the moral thing to do in light of the death and hardship that it has caused. Or in the Ed’s diner over coffee parlance, did Bush do more good then harm? The answer to that is an obvious no, he did not and still has not made a moral or strategic case for invading Iraq, The numbers do add up

That qualitative conclusion is this: things have got worse, and they have got a lot worse, not a little bit worse. Whatever detailed criticisms one might make of the methodology of the study (and I have searched assiduously for the last two years, with the assistance of a lot of partisans of the Iraq war who have tried to pick holes in the study, and not found any), the numbers are too big. If you go out and ask 12,000 people whether a family member has died and get reports of 300 deaths from violence, then that is not consistent with there being only 60,000 deaths from violence in a country of 26 million. It is not even nearly consistent.

This is the question to always keep at the front of your mind when arguments are being slung around (and it is the general question one should always be thinking of when people talk statistics). How Would One Get This Sample, If The Facts Were Not This Way? There is really only one answer – that the study was fraudulent.[1] It really could not have happened by chance. If a Mori poll puts the Labour party on 40% support, then we know that there is some inaccuracy in the poll, but we also know that there is basically zero chance that the true level of support is 2% or 96%, and for the Lancet survey to have delivered the results it did if the true body count is 60,000 would be about as improbable as this. Anyone who wants to dispute the important conclusion of the study has to be prepared to accuse the authors of fraud, and presumably to accept the legal consequences of doing so.

This is from a column in the UK where you can suffer consequences for impugning people’s professional findings, unlike here where right-wing pundits are free to make up whatever they like and cast aspirations with impunity. There is some consolation in watching the right-wing cultists fall over themselves to muddy the truth or shrike their responsibility for the moral catastrophe that is Iraq. The collectice denial of the Right does serve to  assure patriotic American everywhere how morally bankrupt conservatives are. This is what George W. Bush said, Bush discredits Iraqi death toll report

“I don’t consider it a credible report,” Mr Bush told a White House press conference in response to a study published in the medical journal The Lancet.

Note that Bush did not offer one thin sliver of documentation. he didn’t point out any flaws in the methodology. He didn’t offer up his own report,

” As Luce reminded me, he said, without data, without facts, without information, the discussions about public education mean that a person is just another opinion. (Bush – September 9, 2003)

Bush and the Right have skunked back into a hole of the faith based world of argument. Just believe what they say. How intellectually lazy and morally relativistic can conservatives get, there looks to be no limit. Connecticut’s GOP Rep. Christopher Shays Self-Destructs

U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays was under fire yesterday after saying in a debate earlier this week that the abuse at Abu Ghraib prison was not torture but rather a “sex ring” involving National Guard troops.

I try not to think of day old oysters. Just as I also try not to think of conservatives and sex at the same time. Jerry Falwell and Chris Shays are two reminders of why that is a good rule,

According to an Amnesty International bigwig Shay’s comments are dismaying for another reason as well:

This is outrageous for a sitting congressman who was shown pictures (of Abu Ghraib) that were not even available to the public because they were supposed to be more provocative,” said Joshua Rubenstein, Northeast regional director for Amnesty International. “The photographs did not only depict humiliating and degrading treatment of prisoners. They showed prisoners who were killed.”

For those conservatives who close their eyes and put their fingers in their ears everytime they hear about the Conservative Culture of Corruption might want to click over to another web site now, FBI investigates Rep. Curt Weldon

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department is investigating whether Republican Rep. Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania traded his political influence for lucrative lobbying and consulting contracts for his daughter, according to sources with direct knowledge of the inquiry.

War and Piece has more on Crazy Curt
Feds probe trip that Kolbe(R) made with pages and hat tip to BlondeSense for this Congressman Runs Ad to Apologize for Affair

Rep. Don Sherwood, a Republican fighting for re-election in northeastern Pennsylvania, says in a TV ad that he is “truly sorry” for cheating on his wife but denies ever abusing the woman he had the affair with.

Ney pleads guilty, says he’ll resign

WASHINGTON – Rep. Bob Ney (R) (news, bio, voting record) pleaded guilty Friday in the Jack Abramoff influence-peddling investigation, the first lawmaker to confess to crimes in an election-year scandal that has stained the Republican-controlled Congress and the Bush administration.

This is all part of a carefully timed and executed plan on the part of the Republican party to push voters into ballistic outrage fatigue. Either that or most of them are just the worthless assclowns that they seem to be. Maybe if they spent more time on careful reflection of their personal demons rather then spying on Quakers and students, conservatives might find some kind of redemption, Documents Reveal Scope of U.S. Database on Antiwar Protests

Internal military documents released Thursday provided new details about the Defense Department’s collection of information on demonstrations nationwide last year by students, Quakers and others opposed to the Iraq war.

The documents, obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, show, for instance, that military officials labeled as “potential terrorist activity” events like a “Stop the War Now” rally in Akron, Ohio, in March 2005.

The Defense Department acknowledged last year that its analysts had maintained records on war protests in an internal database past the 90 days its guidelines allowed, and even after it was determined there was no threat.

Like sands through an hour glass so are the values of America’s right-wingers.

These talks brought vividly before him the political corruption of the
state and the misery of the unprivileged classes. All the land in the
duchy was farmed on the metayer system, and with such ill results that
the peasants were always in debt to their landlords. The weight of the
evil lay chiefly on the country-people, who had to pay on every pig they
killed, on all the produce they carried to market, on their farm
implements, their mulberry-orchards and their silk-worms, to say nothing
of the tithes to the parish. So oppressive were these obligations that
many of the peasants, forsaking their farms, enrolled themselves in the
mendicant orders, thus actually strengthening the hand of their
oppressors. Of legislative redress there was no hope, and the Duke was
inaccessible to all but his favourites. The previous year, as Odo
learned, eight hundred poor labourers, exasperated by want, had
petitioned his Highness to relieve them of the corvee; but though they
had raised fifteen hundred scudi to bribe the court official who was to
present their address, no reply had ever been received. In the city
itself, the monopoly of corn and tobacco weighed heavily on the
merchants, and the strict censorship of the press made the open
ventilation of wrongs impossible, while the Duke’s sbirri and the agents
of the Holy Office could drag a man’s thoughts from his bosom and search
his midnight dreams.
from The Valley Of Decision by Edith Wharton