I wanted only to pick at a single knot; but when I had got that undone, the whole thing raveled out

It is a conventional wisdom and as far I know, unlike some others not a malicious one that the native civilizations of the Americas had an oral tradition rather then a written one. It looks as though the Inca with the help of Gary Urton and Carrie J. Brezine of Harvard University may prove that history mistaken. Unraveling an Incan mystery

WASHINGTON – The Incas’ curious knotted strings called khipu were probably used by bosses and accountants to keep track of taxes and tributes and carried both words and numerical information, two experts said yesterday.

Many of these strings have turned out to be a type of accounting system, but interpreting them has been complex.

The Inca have long been described as an advanced civilization excepting that they frustrated anthropologists who thought of writing as the benchmark for complexity. The Inca did have everything else – a monetary system, political institutions, mathematics, art and architecture. Urton and his team of researchers have taken their theories about khipu a step further (see the January 2007 print edition of Wired). They think the knots (photo at link) are clearly more then simple bookkeeping and contain a complex language that is akin to a three-dimensional binary code. As Wired points out this could be the most important discovery in language and writing since the deciphering of ancient hieroglyphics.

The right-wing bloggers obsession about denying the level of civil strife in Iraq reminds me of Holocaust deniers. While they seize the opportunity to use Holocaust denial by Iran’s current president to condemn him, Holocaust denial has been a hallmark of America’s fringe Right since the fifties. The denial of inconvenient truths are and have always been a full time occupation of the unAmerican Right, Tracing “Jamil Hussein’s” footsteps and ignoring anti-blog hatred. By Michelle Malkin · December 20, 2006 03:17 PM

This is not just one story. It is at least 61. And all of these. And this big one. It is not about conservative bloggers ignoring the bona fide, grim realities on the ground. It is about the credibility, veracity, trustworthiness, and accountability of the world’s “essential global news network”–more important than ever in a time of war.

Some notes on Malkin’s post and the genuflecting echo across the blogs of wing-nuttia: Malkin is still calling Jamail Hussein Jamil Hussein. You can’t confirm sources if you can’t spell the name correctly. I don’t read Makin’s blog very often, but it is amazing how often she uses titles to her posts that portray her as some poor beleaguered victim while at the same time using wild speculation and bizarre suppositions to drag her opponents of the moment through the mud. The names game can get confusing, but let’s introduce or rather reintroduce a name into the proceedings – Imad al-Hasimi – New Savage Twist to Violence in Baghdad

Imad al-Hasimi, a Sunni elder in Hurriyah, confirmed Hussein’s account. He told Al-Arabiya television he saw people who were soaked in kerosene, then set afire, burning before his eyes.

While I have read this name once at Hotair it generally goes unmentioned or the importance of it has not taken root in the brains of the Iraq Civil War-Kerosene Deniers. No one on the right has questioned his existence or his account of events. I don’t have time to read every wing-nut blog, but you would think that the major rightie blogs, when not regurgitating Malkin’s rhetoric would at least bother to discredit him too, not to mention three other witnesses. Then there is the Right’s twisted logic: if the Kerosene story is not 100% pure without even a few mitigating details here or there then every report (61?) filed by AP in Iraq is false. Can we hold Michelle Malkin, Power Line, Wizbang, Confederate Yankee, Flopping Aces, Newsbusters and an assortment of the usual conservative suspects to that same standard? If we find one falsehood on their blogs or their books in Malkin’s case, then we have licence to assume that everything they have written is spurious. The Associated Press lost Iraq? by Eric Boehlert

Warbloggers are obsessed with all things AP, or the “Associated (with terrorists) Press,” as Malkin subtly calls it. Which brings us back to news of Lutfallah’s death and the odd silence that emanated from the warblogs — and by odd, I mean, wildly hypocritical, because the silence sprang from the fact that the circumstances of Lutfallah’s murder didn’t fit the warbloggers’ ideological script. Namely, that Lutfallah was executed by insurgents, which completely undermined the warbloggers’ theory that the AP enjoys close ties to terrorists.

According to warblogger logic, the insurgents should have made sure Lutfallah got the best film of the gun fight with police; in fact, insurgents might have even tipped him off that a battle was going to take place. That’s how the drill is supposed to work. Yet insurgents in Mosul, after seeing the AP cameraman filming and then identifying him, approached the father of two and emptied five bullets into his body, took his equipment, cell phone, and press ID. They shot him like a dog in the street. (emphasis mine)

Eric Boehlert goes on to highlight 6 deaths of the 129 journalists and associates that have been killed by insurgents in a country that is not in a civil war.

Unfortunately, given her widely read blog and her platform as a Fox News analyst, Malkin has influenced a new generation of right-wing press critics, who sloppily draw all sorts of dark and dishonest conclusions about the press. The phenomenon has been rampant during the Hussein controversy.

Here’s one small example. Warblogger Curt at Flopping Aces raised doubts about a December 12 AP dispatch, which reported that 66 Iraqis had been killed by an insurgency car bomb in downtown Baghdad. The number of dead was probably inflated, according to Curt at Flopping Aces, given the “prior reporting history by the AP.” Specifically, the warblogger questioned the report because it was written by the two AP journalists who had previously quoted Jamil Hussein, the “fake policeman,” which meant “anything printed by these two” was possible fiction. [Emphasis added.]

Slight problem: Central Command quickly confirmed that a car bomb on December 12 did kill 66 people in Baghdad, which matched what AP had reported. So much for that round of media gotcha.

So playing by right-wing rules, rules that Curt and Malkin have issued, everything that Flopping Aces has written is suspect and is not to be taken as an honest attempt at citizen journalism, but pure Pravda-like propaganda.
When the Republican bloggers get finished with AP they can start on UPI, Eye on Iraq: The other Iraq report

The new report, entitled ‘Iraq`s Sectarian and Ethnic Violence and Evolving Insurgency: Developments through mid-December 2006’ is by Anthony H. Cordesman, who holds the Arleigh A. Burke chair in strategy at the center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank.

The 92-page report was released to none of the media hoopla and obsession that greeted the Iraq Study Group report chaired by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and former Democratic congressman Lee Hamilton. But it is even more frank and harsh in its assessments of the current chaos in Iraq than the ISG document.

The CSIS report acknowledged what we predicted and then saw confirmed in the fall: that the ill-fated U.S.-led Operation Together Forward II in Baghdad had only made ‘slow progress in clearing the volatile neighborhoods, and the initiative lacked sufficient forces to maintain peace in cleared areas’

‘Baghdad was the center of the sectarian conflict, but violence spread to surrounding towns — particularly Baquba, Balad, and Amara — as the civil war threatened to engulf the entire country,’ the report said.

Cordesman noted that the United Nations had concluded that by mid-December, sectarian violence was killing 120 Iraqis a day. Back in the spring, we warned that the escalating violence by that point was on schedule to kill more than 30,000 people a year in Iraq., even if things did not get any worse.

Cordesman has now confirmed things have gotten worse than that. The U.N. figures he cites mean that even if the current levels of violence in Iraq do not deteriorate further (in fact they show every sign of doing so) 43,800 people will die next year there at the current rates of carnage. (emphasis mine)

“It was then that I began to look into the seams of your doctrine. I wanted only to pick at a single knot; but when I had got that undone, the whole thing raveled out. And then I understood that it was all machine-sewn.” –  Henrik Ibsen