And so having disposed of the monster, exits our hero, stage right through the front door-none the worse from his harrowing experience

One size does not fit all

Capitalism in both rich and poor countries has been afflicted by problems of rising inequality and environmental degradation. Globalization has increased anxiety everywhere about job security. This underlines the value of social safety nets in coping with adjustments to market competition.

We need to explore the many ways in which equity can be enhanced without giving up on efficiency. These include expansion of facilities of education, training and health care. In many poor countries the barriers faced by large numbers of people in credit markets sharply reduces the society’s potential for productive investment, innovation and human-resource development.

Protest is not enough. It is necessary to explore viable and sustainable ways of constructing alternatives to capitalism.

On the other side, it is important to stress that single-minded pursuits of efficiency are bound to be counterproductive. In particular, a standardized policy prescription that ignores social and institutional diversities or the complexities of a particular society is a recipe for failure.

I wish he wouldn’t have stated the alternatives in quite that this way “sustainable ways of constructing alternatives to capitalism”. Its not the basic recipe for capitalism that is the problem, its the inflexibility of some of its adherants. It is also like fundamnetalists dogma – they have this rigid idea about what free enterprise should be and things like Social Secuirty and public health-care are dangers to that imagined purity. Actually the social safety net helps capitalism by giving people a certian level of security and relieving a bit of our social tensions. Ask a Google employee if all the social perks of their job doesn’t makes them happier and more productive.

Bush and Abramoff have met. Here is the photo.

As we saw as recently as last Friday, the Bush Administration has gone to great lengths to prevent any access to information documenting a relationship with Jack Abramoff.

Speaking of capitalism. Great idea for an entrepreneur The Encyclopedia of Conservative Corruption and Cover-ups.

Ain’t nobody support’s de surge boss, Poll Shows Dropping Support For Bush And Iraq “Surge” Idea

Is this any surprise really. BushCo has been claiming they’re winning for years, we’ve turned so many corners we’re back to square one. It’s a do over, just give us one more chance to get your spouse or children killed America we swear it’ll be worth it.

The Least Immoral Choice

I hope that when President Bush discusses sending more troops to Iraq, knowing that we will have to pull out sooner rather than later, that the conversation comes around to the human suffering. Does anyone at the table ask about the personal anguish, the long-term effects, emotional, psychological and financial, on the families of those killed, wounded or permanently disabled?

When I hear about the surge, all I can think of is those young soldiers on the plane to Texas. We have already lost more than 3,000 soldiers, and many more have been wounded and disabled.

We have three choices here. All three are immoral. We can keep the status quo and gradually pull out; we can surge; or we can pull out now. When I think about those young soldiers on that plane coming back from Japan years ago, I believe pulling out now is the least immoral choice.

Michelle Malkin’s credibility, R.I.P.

Despite the volcanic violence unfolding inside Iraq recently, the pursuit of the Hussein story produced giddy times for warbloggers. They named the scandal “Jamilgate” and created a special “Free Jamil Hussein” logo for bumper stickers. Somebody even produced a phony Jamil Hussein blog, while fake Jamil Hussein emails (aka “JMail”) were posted online amidst much chuckling and backslapping.

At the height of the self-congratulatory frenzy, Michelle Malkin, who wrote incessantly about the Hussein “scandal,” triumphantly announced warbloggers had caught the AP faking a source. The verdict for the mainstream media? As delivered by Malkin it was simple: “MSM credibility, R.I.P.”

Malkin didn’t have any credibility going into this, but as usual with conservative pundits its not the facts that matter it is how much manure they can push out of the fringe Right noise machine.

“And so having disposed of the monster, exits our hero, stage right through the front door-none the worse from his harrowing experience.” Bugs Bunny

[Bugs Bunny lays down a mattress to catch the falling Yosemite Sam]
Bugs Bunny: You know? Sometimes me conscience kinda bothers me… But not this time.
[Pulls away mattress at the last moment]
Bugs Bunny: Poor little maroon. So trusting. So naive.

from Bugs Bunny Rides Again (1948)

He who rejects change is the architect of decay

The Right loves to piss and moan about the media and at the end of the day that’s all it is. AP doesn’t lean left unless you take a closed mind and combine it with tunnel vision. As a matter of fact AP can hardly retrain itself even after three years of ineptitude in Iraq from giving Bush the benefit of the doubt, Bias And The Associated Press

Next week Bush will unveil a new Iraq strategy that entails political, military and economic steps to win the war. The military solution, which has attracted the most attention and skepticism from Congress, is expected to include an increase in U.S. troops, possibly 9,000 additional troops deployed to Baghdad alone.

As the AP tells it, Bush has a complete plan “to win the war,” but Congress is skeptical about one aspect of that strategy. Victory is only a 9,000 person surge away and Congress is fighting him! But perhaps recognizing that this near affirmation that victory is near is a stretch for everyone but Laura and Barney, the AP tones it down in the updated version:(emphasis mine)

Bush, who met on Saturday with his national security team, has tapped new military commanders to lead the war effort and will disclose a new war strategy as early as Wednesday that is expected to include political, military and economic components

.

AP doesn’t skip a beat in going along with a narrative that Karl Rove could have written. They don’t take a half second mental pause to ask where this winning strategy was a year ago or two years ago, or for that matter the plan to succeed after the initial invasion. U.S. lacked plan for rebuilding Iraq, report says – and that story is from the Republican Moonie Times. How many American lives did Bush’s lack of planning costs and why do conservatives dismiss those lives as nothing but chump change or try to dismiss them in some delusional doublespeak about about spreading democracy. People that can’t get Iraq’s electricity up and running are definitely incapable of spreading democracy. It’s the Wuss Movement hiding behind grand words.

Get serious, Democrats

Did Democrats win a hard-fought campaign to take back Congress, only to govern like fiscally prudent Republicans — delivering balanced budgets but with shamefully low levels of social investment? If that turns out to be the case, there will be a chasm between the Democrats’ rhetoric and their program — a huge gap between what voters chose and what Democrats delivered. The risk is that, by embracing pay-as-you-go rules but flinching at the task of restoring tax equity, Democrats set themselves a trap.

The solution, of course, is to embrace a progressive tax code. A repeal of the Bush tax cuts for the rich, coupled with more relief for working families, would allow both fiscal balance and some increased social spending.

For now, too few Democrats are embracing this path. Kent Conrad, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, says he could support some tax increases, but as part of a grand bargain that would also restrain social spending.

In normal times I would say that damn the new Democratic controlled Congress has had all of a few working days how about giving them a chance, but Kuttner is right to start the prodding NOW. If Democrats make too many promises and start getting lost in wrangling they can kiss anything but a few degrees off the status quo good by. The American people are anxious for a turn in a better direction and seem to like what they hear so far. While Republican shenanigans have turned us all into cynics we are also still a nation of hopes and dreams, it is misguided to think the electorate will settle for less then a smart budget that delivers on the things they need without the dump on the middle-class Bush Scheme.

The NYT had William Safire and then David Brooks. Some people might look at that succession and ask why can’t the press media find a good conservative pundit. Its because that is an oxymoron. You can choose to be a conservative or a good pundit, but not both, Why Oh Why Can’t We Have a Better Press Corps? (Yet Another New York Times Edition) In which David Brooks gives Nancy Pelosi no credit at all for her financial achievements and equates M’s Pelosi’s modest start in life with George W. Bush who was born into what can be described as all the trappings of old European royal elite. Photos at the link.

Too bad Senator John McCain(R-AZ) thinks that the best path to the Whitehouse is over the bodies of more dead Americans, Hiatt’s profiles in courage

For now let’s just say that while term limits for committee chairs sounds like a good idea, its a little more complicated then that, Term Limits and Matthew

“He who rejects change is the architect of decay.  The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.” – Harold Wilson

“Facts are stupid things”

Fox News’ Hume: AP “has been vindicated” on Iraq atrocity story

HUME: And the Associated Press says the Iraqi Interior Ministry has acknowledged now that an Iraqi police officer whose existence had been widely — had been denied even by both the Iraqis and the U.S. is in fact an active member of the force, who now faces arrest for speaking to the media. Captain Jamil Hussein was one of the sources for an AP story last November about the burning and shooting of six people during a Shiite militia attack at a Sunni mosque. The AP was widely accused at the time of making up Hussein’s identity in order to disseminate false news about the war. No explanation was offered about why it took so long to confirm his name or why it is being disclosed now, but the AP, it appears, has been vindicated on this.(emphasis by MM)

Republican blogger Patterico’s Pontifications writes, Media Matters Distorts Something (Yawn) Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:32 pm

That is hardly the same thing as saying the AP was vindicated on the issue of the Burning Six, which is what Media Matters implies in its summary.

At least Media Matters included the transcript in its post. But its summary pushes the false narrative that lefties have been pushing for the last 44 hours or so: that the mere existence of Jamil Hussein means that The AP Has Been Vindicated on Everything, Because All Warbloggers Claimed He Was a Made-Up Person.

I know. The idea that Media Matters might distort something is hardly news. Still, you gotta call ‘em on it occasionally.

…Media Matters is absolutely shameless.

If Pat is coherent enough one of his friends might want to explain to him what he and the other right-wing bloggers tried to do. There was the explicit implication that if Jamil didn’t exist then the kerosene incident never happened. Not only would AP’s failure to produce Jamil mean the death by kerosene incident didn’t happen, but that as many as 60 other AP reports would lack any credibility. Now Pat is saying the proof of Jamil’s existence, which their entire case against the AP rested on, that nugget of doubt to which they clung so dearly did not matter, it meant anything at all. If we made back pedaling an Olympic event Pat might actually prove to be good at somethign. A Google search finds right-wing articles ad nauseam with the same spin, no Jamil equals no kerosene incident, no kerosene incident equals AP and the press in general were in collusion with terrorists – (AP staffer found dead in Iraq – I guess he wasn’t working hard enough for the terrorists). Nitpicker on Hot Air’s semi-apology, Hot Air guy is *gasp* clueless!

Conservative blogger Flopping Aces takes a unique approach to getting out of admitting wrong, he was confused and who wouldn’t be considering that Jamil used transportation to travel from one area to another, New Twists In The Jamil Hussein Saga, Posted by Curt on January 6, 2007 at 10:51 AM

2. The real issue is this: Jamil works in Al Khadra (think of Staten Island) — he’s telling the media about Al Hurriah murders (Think of Queens — it’s a different area of the city): ( In Curt’s world Jamil has no shoes, his feet are blistered and as a policeman he has no access to a car)

* Why would any reporter consider this guy a reliable source under these circumstances? ( under what circumstances would those be, the one in Curt’s day dreams where he gets to fill in all the facts with his fantasies. That is not an argument or proof, just more gossip and right-wing speculation passed off as fact)
* When you consider that he’s been quoted in more than 60 AP stories, you have to ask how much of that information was secondhand or rumor, considering there is no evidence this last report of his ever happened. ( well if Curt was really following this story he would know that there were at least four other witnesses. So considering Curt’s negligent, sloppy to nonexsistant fact gathering we can, using Curt’s rules of fair play and ethics assume that he has no credibility along with his conservative clones Patterico, Allpundit, and Malkin)

You have to give the Right credit for their willingness to throw themselves on the sword of lies in the Great Conservative Cause. It is a pattern that is repeated over and over again. The Right lies or distorts events and issues beyond recognition and when caught nitpick their way through their own words trying to find an escape hatch to avoid responsibility. Its the Bush-Rove school of political discourse in all its gutterish glory.
Late Nite FDL: Malkin Credibility, R.I.P.

Nope, sorry Greg. The wingnutosphere never eats crow. First they’ll acknowledge that Hussein does exist, but then add that there are still a lot of questions to be answered about the AP’s report. The next thing that happens is they never answer those questions and move on. Lastly, they start leafing through every goddamn wire photo on the Internet to search for evidence of photoshopping or tampering of any kind. When they finally find something (or hell, even if they don’t) they’ll start braying and shrieking about how the Iraq war is going just fine, and that journalists only report bad news because they hate the troops. This is how they play the game. They will never change because they have no souls.

Not an expert on the souls thing, but let’s say that right-wingers wouldn’t know what a value was if it flew up their collectives asses. Values, ethics, truth and facts are all tied together. The Right seems to disassemble those virtues at their convenience and their lack of remorse at doing so smacks of problems that go far beyond political discourse.

Digby’s take on events re Jamil and the Wing-nut-sphere, Eason On Down

One of the more sickening aspects of this awful little story is the Eason Jordan sideshow in which the former president of CNN, who was scalped earlier by a rightwing mob for saying that the military may have been targeting journalists, has been using this story to gain credit and linkage from the same wingnuts who took him down. I had wondered in the beginnning if perhaps he wasn’t playing some sort of advanced jiujitsu to get revenge, but that’s obviously not the case. He’s clearly trying to curry favor with the wingnuts.

“Facts are stupid things.” President Ronald Reagan

“There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.” – Douglas H. Everett

See in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over again for the truth to sink in….to kind of catapult the propaganda

Unclaimed Territory has a post up that begs the question should we start calling the Right the Wrong, The “credibility” of the right-wing blogosphere

Nobody is less interested in media accuracy than they are (Glenn refers to conservative bloggers and media pundits). Correcting media mistakes is so plainly not their agenda. They are nothing more than hyper-partisan hysterics who jump on any innuendo or rumor or whispered suspicion as long as it promotes their rigid ideological views and political loyalties and hatreds. They have a long, shameful and really quite pitiful history of incidents filled with ones like this Jamil Hussein debacle, including:

Glenn’s roundup up stories in which conservative bloggers as self described media watchdogs of accuracy includes the Jamil Hussein story, accusing AP photographer Bilal Hussein of colluding with terrorists ( never happened), accusing the WaPo of helping terrorists by publishing photos of Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld homes which they both gave permission to do, and the bizarre assertion by Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds that Iran is blackmailing the U.S. with nuclear weapons. Then there was the John Kerry dines alone story, ANOTHER WINGNUT TALL-TALE GOES DOWN IN FLAMES: NEW PROOF THAT THE “LONELY KERRY” STORY IS BOGUS. and more in depth here,

Specifically, it turns out that Kerry was at that table to conduct an off-the-record breakfast discussion with two reporters, so there would have been no reason whatsover for troops to be sitting with them. In fact, Kerry and the reporters even sought out empty seats, I’m told.

The two reporters who met with Kerry that morning are Marc Santora of The New York Times and Mark Danner of The New York Review, The New Yorker and other publications. Both Santora and Danner confimed to me that they met with Kerry — on the morning of Dec. 17, according to Kerry’s office and to Danner. (The person who posted the photo also confirmed that it was taken that morning.)

Danner confirmed to me that he’s the guy with his back to the camera, saying his jacket and the back of his head looked the same as in the photo. He added that his position in relation to Kerry was the same as the photo showed. And here’s what Danner had to say to me about the empty seats: “If there were empty seats it’s because we sought them out. We wanted an empty table so we could talk. It’s that simple.”

The Right swearing that they’re the lonely guardian angels of the truth is a Pravdaization of reality. It is not just that they lie constantly, in many cases they don’t seem mentally capable of distinguishing their fantasies from reality.

Bush loyalist The Strata-Sphere, Democrats Complete First Item On Their Contract With Al Qaeda – Surrender Iraq, Posted by AJStrata on Friday, January 5th, 2007 at 2:19 pm.

Music to the ears of Bin Laden and Zawahiri, I am sure. The Somali’s and Ethiopians were able to chase Al Qaeda out of Somalia in a few short weeks, but the Dems are so ready to give up they think leaving millions of Iraqis to die at the hand of terrorists is honorable! The American people are going to have a bad case of buyer’s remorse now.

Bin Laden is as far as the world knows alive and well in either Pakistan or Afghanistan because Bush let him escape at Tora Bora. Zawahiri is probably getting fat in Afghanistan, why? The Decider could do his job and make capturing him a priority. “The Somali’s and Ethiopians were able to chase Al Qaeda out of Somalia in a few short weeks” – uh there was no al-Queda presence in Iraq until Bush lied us into a war there – Strata doesn’t even see the irony of what he’s saying the Somali’s and Ethiopians accomplished in a few weeks what Bush has not been able to accomplish in three years ( Bush is in severe need of some informed defenders). The invasion of Iraq was Bush’s gift to Islamic extremists of any stripe. Bush gave them targets to shoot at. Remember the “flypaper theory”, a concept that the Right fully embraced, the morally vacant theory that by invading Iraq we would keep the jihadists so busy they wouldn’t have time for another 9-11 – then we had the Madrid bombings and the London plots. That we didn’t have another 9-11 probably speaks to a combination of two things – intelligence gathering and even Al-Queda can’t find suicide bombers on every street corner. It strains the rational mind to imagine that Iraq has kept al-Queda so busy that they couldn’t spare a few guys to come over and cause some kind of trouble. Strata hopes that his readers are as wantonly ignorant as he is. Al-Queda is primarily an organization of Sunni extremists while Iraq has a Shia majority. It is close to impossible to imagine that a Shia dominated Iraq will let al-Queda thrive. Five years after 9-11 and over three years since the neocons lied us into Iraq and Strata still cannot tell one faction from another and the various ethnic and religious affiliation that are creating the strife in Iraq. Millions killed? Well Bush is at least partly responsible for the deaths of half a million Iraqis so the Right can spare us the fake tears of concern since they’re the ones that turned Iraq into a living hell. If Strata and his like minded conservative cohorts can’t tell who the players are how can they possibly have an informed opinion on exit strategy or the way things will play out on a U.S. exit. Senate Regrets the Vote to Enter Iraq

ABC News decided to survey the views of the senators who served in 2002, most of whom remain in the Senate. The survey indicates that those senators say that if they knew then what they know now, President Bush would never have been given the authority to use force in Iraq.

“See in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over again for the truth to sink in ….to kind of catapult the propaganda” – G.W. Bush, May 2005

History is philosophy teaching by examples

The Right can’t seem to get anything right. Jamil is alive and well and facing arrest for talking to the media and telling the truth. It s a double layered irony cake. The Right accuses the AP of being less then ethical, but the rules of the Iraqi government, that shining example of Bush’s Unsaturated Democracy Spread has rules against people telling the truth. The war on truth has been the only thing the Right and their idol in the Whitehouse have been even marginally successful at. It was a mistake for Michelle Malkin and her loyal unquestioning blog echo to put all their eggs per KaroseneGate in one basket. They made the story about K-Gate about Jamail ignoring all the other sources. Typical of the rabid Right to get so caught up on their agenda that not only did the foundation of their blanket indictment against AP fall apart, but we still have the facts of the horrendous story itself. Another horrifying testament to the Bush team’s hubris saddled with tunnel vision. If the Malkin Miscreants of the Right think that going to such shrill lengths to find some tiny pebble of redemption for their fake ranch messiah is patriotic no wonder they see Iraq as an oasis of peace and democracy, zealot vision tends to have that effect, Shocking Twist: Iraqi At Center of Dispute Over AP Source Does Exist — And Faces Arrest for Talking to Media

BAGHDAD (AP) — The Interior Ministry acknowledged Thursday that an Iraqi police officer whose existence had been denied by the Iraqis and the U.S. military is in fact an active member of the force, and said he now faces arrest for speaking to the media.

Ministry spokesman Brig. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, who had previously denied there was any such police employee as Capt. Jamil Hussein, said in an interview that Hussein is an officer assigned to the Khadra police station, as had been reported by The Associated Press.

The captain, whose full name is Jamil Gholaiem Hussein, was one of the sources for an AP story in late November about the burning and shooting of six people during a sectarian attack at a Sunni mosque.

The U.S. military and the Iraqi Interior Ministry raised the doubts about Hussein in questioning the veracity of the AP’s initial reporting on the incident, and the Iraqi ministry suggested that many news organization were giving a distorted, exaggerated picture of the conflict in Iraq. Some Internet bloggers spread and amplified these doubts, accusing the AP of having made up Hussein’s identity in order to disseminate false news about the war.

Khalaf offered no explanation Thursday for why the ministry had initially denied Hussein’s existence, other than to state that its first search of records failed to turn up his full name. He also declined to say how long the ministry had known of its error and why it had made no attempt in the past six weeks to correct the public record.

Tracing “Jamil Hussein’s” footsteps and ignoring anti-blog hatred, By Michelle Malkin · December 20, 2006 03:17 PM

To repeat: Both CPATT sources in the U.S. and Iraq have confirmed that Jamil Ghdaab Gulaim denies speaking to the AP.

That leaves a couple of unanswered questions:

1. Is Jamil Ghdaab Gulaim the real name of AP’s oft-cited source?

2. If not, where is “Captain Jamil Hussein” currently working?If he is a Baghdad police officer, as AP asserts, why hasn’t anyone–not CPATT, not MOI, not Marc Danzinger’s sources–been able to locate him?

I’ll be sending these questions to AP executive editor Kathleen Carroll.

She might also want to take a look at Bob Owens’ thorough post exploring the ethics of using undisclosed pseudonyms for sources. He surveyed journalists and media mavens from all parts of the ideological spectrum with these three questions:

Right-wing web site Newsbusters, Investors Business Daily Weighs in on Jamil Hussein, Posted by Tom Blumer on December 29, 2006 – 00:26.

This goes to the credibility, and ultimately the business viability, of the entire AP operation.

Intellectual consistency and honesty considered will News Busters admit that in their self appointed role as media watch dogs, an internet “no spin zone” as it were that they and Malkin have seriously compromised their credibility.They spinned the story one way, AP’s account of the kerosene incident was dubious thus all AP stories were dubious.
Conservative blogger Flopping Aces writes, Free Jamil Hussein Posted by Curt on December 5, 2006 at 2:08 PM

And as I wrote about earlier, this Jamil Hussein was mentioned as a source in 61…get that? SIXTY ONE articles by the AP. His partner in crime Lt. Maithem Abdul Razzaq was mentioned as a source in 23 articles until the Iraqi government issued a warrant out for his arrest for impersonating a government official.

I mean think about it. If they have used Jamil for 61 stories, how many more fraudulent sources are used every single day by our MSM?

Curt made his case without a single shred of evidence, discounting at least four other witnesses that had talked to AP. Curt’s post is an example of the, to paraphrase our right-wing bloggers at work, how many more fraudulent stories, questionable sources, and twisted statistics do conservatives and their blogs foist on the public everyday.
From Hot Air after the confirmation of JH’s existence, AP: Iraqi government confirms that Jamil Hussein exists, osted at 7:06 pm on January 4, 2007 by Allahpundit

Update (from Michelle): Just to clarify, I’m not apologizing for anything. Also, I await response/reaction from my sources and will keep you updated.

Finally Republican blogger The Jawa Report, The Moonbats (Finally) Notice Jamil Hussein, By Ragnar Danneskjold, Pawn of the Illuminati at January 4, 2007 11:04 PM |

Despite a virtual moonbat blackout of the Jamil Hussein story for most of its lofe so far, they’re all a-twitter now. Turns out the moonbat bloggers knew about the story all along–they just didn’t want to publicize it. Now that they see a chance to ding the media skeptics on our side, they’re all over the story.

Its good to know that Rag reads every single patriot blog and web site daily, how could he have missed this post by Eric Boehlert, Michelle Malkin fiddles while Baghdad burns, Mon, Dec 11, 2006 7:54pm EST. or this one For warbloggers, “The Media Are the Enemy” , Fri, Dec 22, 2006 12:26pm EST. I’m not an A-list blogger, but Ive done three or four posts. My POV hasn’t changed, that Jamil wasn’t all that relevant to the story, that there were other witnesses. Here again we have the Right trying wrangle themselves out of a rhetorical trap that they sit for themselves. One blogger is still in denial and as I checked the comments in a few blogs many of the wing-nuts are still denying it. They aren’t now and never have been interested in facts, they’re interested in propaganda. They’re interested in squelching any information that doesn’t jell with their beliefs. An adult with any kind of moral courage faces the truth head on and deals with it. Where are the adults on the Right.

Speaking of the press and fair coverage. Nancy Pelosi achieves the historic honor of becoming the first woman Speaker of the House and the media decides that every time she has a disagreement with another female its a cat fight, unbelievable. We Are Women, Hear Us … Meow?

The matter of holding the president accountable for his actions is one of the foremost – if not the foremost – issues facing the 110th Congress. To frame the Pelosi/Harman dispute as a “catfight” trivializes both the leaders involved and the underlying importance of Congress’ duty to challenge the president. See, it’s a two-fer: Belittle the players, belittle the issue.

“History is philosophy teaching by examples.” – Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War

Figures don’t lie, liars figure

I’ve had some time to go over some of the statistics and the slight of hand that the Right has been playing with the military fatality numbers as typified by this post from right-wing blogger Murdoc (for new readers, I don’t link to right-wing web sites) The date doesn’t coincide with the landmark of 3,000 troop deaths in Iraq, but this post was echoed across the conservative blogs on that tragic day – March 22, 2006, Military Deaths (all causes) 1980-2004

George W. Bush . . . . . 5187 (2001-2004)
Bill Clinton . . . . . . . . . 4302 (1993-1996)
George H.W. Bush . . . . 6223 (1989-1992)
Ronald Reagan . . . . . . 9163 (1981-1984)

Even during the (per MSM) utopic peacetime of Bill Clinton’s term, we lost 4302 service personnel. H.W. Bush and Reagan actually lost significantly more personnel while never fighting an extensive war, much less a simulaltaneous war on two theaters (Iraq and Afghanistan).

I will link to this pdf document from which Murdoc extracted his numbers, Death Rates.

Always go to the link as they say. It turns out that conservatives web sites that are flogging the military death statistics have done more then cherry pick, they have completely ignored the relevant data. The total number of military deaths from 1980 to 2004 doesn’t particularly tell us much. What would be relevant and not mentioned on the charts that Murdoc, Instapundit and Red State among other conservative sites is the military fatalities from Hostile Actioncategory, from 1980 to 1984 there were 19, from 1985 to 1991 there were 199, from 1992 to 2000 there was 1, from 2001 until 2004 ( the last year on the chart that Murdoc links to) there were 1102 military fatalities due to hostile action, more then the previous 20 years combined. Military deaths due to terrorist attacks, according to this chart had a one year peak of 263  under Reagan in 1983. The next highest year for terrorist caused military fatalities was 55 in 2001 under Bush. Amid all this pettiness and statistics manipulation the Right couldn’t help but ultimately place all responsibility for their failings at the feet of President Bill Clinton. Bill hardly laid a glove on the military, he inherited the military that was cut to the bone by none other then Dick Cheney – Cheney’s past defense cuts questioned

WASHINGTON — Vice President Dick Cheney, who has been charging that John F. Kerry would be a dangerous commander-in-chief because he opposed many key weapons that the military now relies on, himself presided over the biggest cutbacks in defense programs in modern history when he was secretary of defense under the first President Bush.

As Pentagon chief from 1989 to 1993, Cheney canceled or cut back many of the same weapons programs — bombers, fighter planes, tanks — that he says Kerry tried to deprive the armed forces of.

Many of the Cheney-era cuts were made at the end of the Cold War, when the administration of President George H.W. Bush was seeking to reduce the size of the military and secure a ”peace dividend.” But some of these downsizing efforts would have affected the military of today.

Cheney proposed, for instance, disbanding part of the Army’s Fourth Infantry Division, Congressional Quarterly reported in 1989. Troops from that division captured former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein last December.

The latest Bush-Cheney campaign ad depicts weapons such as the B-2 stealth bomber flying over a battlefield and then disappearing into thin air, attempting to convince voters that if Kerry prevailed back then, US military forces would be underequipped.

Yet Cheney canceled the B-2 bomber program after 20 planes, even though the Air Force saidit needed 132. He also canceled the Navy’s A-12 bomber and scaled back the Seawolf submarine.

During his Pentagon stint, the size of the Army was reduced by more than 26 percent, the Air Force by 22 percent, the Navy by 14 percent, and the Marines by 10 percent, according to the Pentagon’s official biography of Cheney.

But support for particular weapons ”is not a very useful way to judge strength or weakness,” said a former congressional defense staffer who asked not to be named. Using such a yardstick, he added, President Jimmy Carter was the ”strongest” because his budgets resulted in the weapons that won the 1991 Gulf War.

The Right would like to conflate the size of the military in 2001 with its ability to handle nation building in Iraq. The military that Bill Clinton left was capable of the initial military victories in Afghanistan and Iraq. Bush diverted military resources from Afghanistan to Iraq, leaving Afghanistan a squandered victory. The force used to basically destroy anything and everything in Iraq was adequate, but it was not adequate for acting as a police force for 25 million Iraqis. Bush was warned about that strong possibility and ignored it in his itch to do what he wanted to do rather then what was best for the national security of the U.S. or what was best for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush lost Iraq, not the Associated Press or Democrats, Bush was warned about troop levels and occupying a country as opposed to winning a military victory, Bush Should Honor ‘Mission Accomplished Day’ by Resigning

Aside from the things Bush obviously knew before invading Iraq – that Iraq possessed no weapons of mass destruction and had nothing whatsoever to do with September 11 – he also had a direct warning from Army Chief of Staff, General Eric Shinseki. Shinseki warned Bush and Congress on February 25, 2003 that the U.S. was not preparing adequate forces, with appropriate troop levels, to ensure peace and stability after the initial invasion.

When asked by Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) to estimate the size of an allied occupation force after victory, Shinseki said “Something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers are probably a figure that would be required.”

“We’re talking about a post-hostilities control over a piece of geography that’s fairly significant, with the kinds of ethnic tensions that could lead to other problems,” said Shinseki.

Update on Kenneth Tomlinson, Kenneth Tomlinson’s ethical problems don’t prevent reappointment

Tomlinson, a close friend of Karl Rove, has a decidedly spotty record in government service, having been previously forced to resign from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting over charges that he tried to politicize that agency.

In early August, the New York Times reported that Tomlinson had barely survived an effort by fellow Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) members to remove him from his post.

According to the Times, “a report… by the inspector general at the State Department… [found] that Tomlinson had used his office to run a horse-racing operation and that he had improperly put a friend on the payroll.” The Associated Press pointed out that the investigation found that while with the BBG, Tomlinson “signed invoices worth about $245,000 for a friend [retired VOA employee Les Daniels] without the knowledge of other board members or staff.”

“Tomlinson also used the board’s office resources to support his private horse racing operation and over-billed the organization for his time, in some instances billing both the Broadcasting Board of Governors and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for the same time worked.”

After a review by the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington concluded that a criminal investigation was not warranted, it did acknowledge that “a civil investigation related to the charges he hired a friend as a contractor was pending,” AP reported.

George W. Bush just doing his part to keep the Culture of Conservative Corruption alive.

“Figures don’t lie, liars figure.”- Mark Twain (attributed to)

“Data is a lot like humans: It is born. Matures. Gets married to other data,
divorced. Gets old. One thing that it doesn’t do is die. It has to be killed.” – Arthur Miller

Propaganda is a means to an end. Its purpose is to lead the people to an understanding that will allow it to willingly and without internal resistance devote itself to the tasks and goals of a superior leadership

Just judging from my own experience I would have thought that the most dangerous roads in the world would be any major city thoroughfare during rush hour. I was way off and judging by the photos at this site my definition of a road is pretty conventional too, The Most Dangerous Roads in the World – If waist deep mud wasn’t enough the Russian Siberian Road to Yakutsk some suspect that there is a kind of gas leak in the area potent enough to put some drivers to sleep.

Interesting way to catch up on your reading, get them by e-mail, DailyLit . For the most part they seems to be books that are now in the public domain.

For warbloggers, “The Media Are the Enemy”

For instance, in my last column, I noted the Burned Alive incident as reported by the AP was “no more than a few sentences” within a much larger dispatch from Baghdad that day. Prominent warblogger and AP foe Rick Moran at Rightwing Nuthouse announced that my description was “absurd on its face and bespeaks” an “extraordinary ignorance of the facts.” Hmm, here’s a copy of the original, November 24 AP dispatch. Feel free to count the number of sentences in the 1,000-plus word article taken up by the Burned Alive angle…That’s right, the answer is two. But, according to Moran, it’s “absurd” to suggest that the Burned Alive story took up no more than a few sentences of a larger AP story.

Whatever.

Warbloggers also make a big deal that I didn’t mention that the AP has used Jamil Hussein as a source for approximately 60 articles, which proves they’re not obsessed over a single story, but think it represents a wider, systemic problem. But warbloggers have had a month to dissect those 60 articles that quote Hussein and, as far as I can tell, they haven’t found a mountain of factual errors in any of them. The only error they claim to have uncovered is in the Burned Alive story. So my point still stands; they’re questioning a few sentences from a single AP report — one article out of literally thousands that the agency has filed from Baghdad since 2003 — to suggest that the AP’s reporting is not trustworthy.

This is the story that Boehlert links to, Shiite Militiamen Kill 25 Sunnis in Iraq

The Baghdad attacks appeared to have been a reaction to the deaths in Sadr City on Thursday, when Sunnis unleashed bombs and mortars that killed 215 people and wounded 257 in the deadliest assault since the U.S.-led invasion. The killings threatened to tip Iraq’s widespread sectarian violence into full-scale civil war pitting majority Shiites against minority Sunnis.

The Right has not so transparently moved the story about the Karosene deaths and the multitude of carnage that occured within a 48 hour period from whether the events occurred to whether Jamail Hussein can be made to appear before the grand Inquisition of The Almighty Warbloggers to answer to them. Let’s spell that out, if Jamail doesn’t exists that means the carnage never happened- note shades of Holocaust denial . Will the bed wetters prove the more pertinent question true or false, did several deadly incidents take place that day or not. If those attacks and the resulting deaths were part of some widespread devious plot by the AP and the insurgents, where is the Right’s proof. They seem too lazy to do much except hurl conspiracy theories from mommy’s basement. The warbloggers will never undertake such an exercise in proofs because they don’t care about the truth, they care about wedging in a layer of doubt and pumping up the poor beleaguered martyr syndrome at which they excel. The poor maligned Right, the constant victim of vast powerful forces of the left. Makes you want to shed a little tear doesn’t it. The modern conservative can’t even manage some new and inventive propaganda and manipulation, we or rather history have seen this same phenomenon before ( another of the Right’s ironies is they hate the environment yet are happy to recycle political dogma) , Nazi propagnda minister Joseph Goebbels at Nuremberg — 1934

Propaganda is a means to an end. Its purpose is to lead the people to an understanding that will allow it to willingly and without internal resistance devote itself to the tasks and goals of a superior leadership. If propaganda is to succeed, it must know what it wants. It must keep a clear and firm goal in mind, and seek the appropriate means and methods to reach that goal. Propaganda as such is neither good nor evil. Its moral value is determined by the goals it seeks.

Propaganda must be creative. It is by no means a matter for the bureaucracy or official administration, but rather it is a matter of productive fantasy. The genuine propagandist must be a true artist. He must be a master of the popular soul, using it as an instrument to express the majesty of a genuine and unified political will. Propaganda can be pro or con. In neither case does it have to be negative. The only thing that is important is whether or not its words are true and genuine expressions of a people’s values.

There is part of the Left’s problem we refuse to genuflect to the propaganda of 3rd rate actors like Jack Abramoff, George W. Bush, or Mark Foley. Should the bed wetters choose to get off their asses and get to the bottom of how the vast liberal conspiracy controls every word that comes out of the media maybe they can find out how we convinced the boots on the ground that the war Bush misled the nation into sucks, Poll of military finds dimmer view of Iraq war

Only 35 percent of military members polled this year said they approve of the way Bush is handling the war, and 42 percent said they disapprove. While approval of the president’s war leadership has slumped, his overall approval remains high among the military.

Just as telling, only 41 percent of the military now say the United States should have gone to war in Iraq, down from 65 percent in 2003. That closely reflects beliefs of the general population — 45 percent agreed in a recent USA Today-Gallup poll.

A play is made by sensing how the forces in life simulate ignorance-you set free the concealed irony, the deadly joke

I’m not sure which is the more apt description of the Right’s support of Bush’s never ending middle-east debacle, that they are some the world’s most gullible suckers or they’re so dim that they think informed Americans buy Iraq as equivalent in moral purpose and importance as America’s Civil War, WW I, and WWII. Saddam Hussein was an aggressor all right ( as the media continues to play the Right’s tidy narrative), he invaded Iran with the full support of Reagan and Dick Cheney. He only invaded Kuwait because the first Bush administration had supported him with billions of dollars and the continued aid of the CIA and Bush Sr had signaled that he didn’t really care. Saddam didn’t invade Kuwait to expand his power he invaded because Kuwait wouldn’t forgive Saddam his foreign debt to them. Colin Powell who always liked to have his cake and eat it too would fight along side Dick Cheney in the Congressional ditches to stop them from imposing sanctions on Iraq after he had used chemical weapons. Saddam was as dangerous as Jefferson Davis was to the future of a United States or Hitler was as a threat to the free world? Saddam only had teeth because the same right-wingers that now claim he was a threat to America’s national security gave him those teeth. The Right has had a certain degree of success in jerking the United States around in a full circle. First using their power and our tax money to create a middle-east puppet in their image and then to spend the lives and treasure of ordinary Americans to get rid of him. Now that he’s gone we still have a never ending state of civil war in which insurgents get to pick off our troops at the rate of a few a day. That hardly matters to the Right because the rate of military deaths has only risen slightly under Bush. Let me repeat that because it will fly over the head of any rational human being, the Right thinks that Bush lying us into Iraq is the best thing since cream filled cupcakes because the total death rate during Bush’s time in office is not too out of line with other presidents. The family and friends of those killed must find that childish trivialization of their children’s death a great consolation. Of course the 500,000 dead Iraqis, you know the people that the Right cared about releasing from the terrible tyrant that they put in power don’t even count in the death trivialization game, nor do the millions of Iraqi’s that live without a dependable water supply and whose lives are one hellish day after another. The Right thinks their hell is all sweetness and light and only their buddy Saddam’s was worse. We all know people like that. People who are singularly incapable of self reflection, genuine remorse, or insight. They are the ultimate dead enders. Bush has used up his credit limit, he’s charged 3000 deaths and paid us back with one lynching, A Lynching…

America the savior… After nearly four years and Bush’s biggest achievement in Iraq has been a lynching. Bravo Americans.

And that was written by an Iraqi. If Iraq was as important as saving the Republic or possessed all the moral implications of WW II then why was Bush, Cheney, and a Republican controlled Congress so unserious about its reconstruction, you know stability’s first cousin, Iraq’s Reconstruction a Boondoggle by Design

The Center for Public Integrity (CPI) found that 60 percent of the top 70 firms getting reconstruction contracts in Iraq — the New York Times called them “among the politically best-connected in Washington” — had high-level employees or board members who came out of the military or the government. The group donated almost $50 million to PACs and candidates since 1990. Charles Lewis, then director of CPI, said that there’s “a stench of political favoritism and cronyism surrounding the contracting process in both Iraq and Afghanistan.”

How does a good Republican administration justify trashing the free market’s competitive spirit when they spend so much time kowtowing to its wonders? They simply redefine “competition”; according to the Project on Government Oversight, a contract is considered “competitive” when “a few favored contractors” get a shot at it, or even when it’s not bid out at all. There are government procurement rules that require open competition, but there are also plenty of loopholes.

Iraqis maybe Muslim, but they’re not dumb contrary to what the media, the Right, and Fox would have us believe, Top Ten Iraq Myths for 2006

2. “US military sweeps of neighborhoods can drive the guerrillas out.” The US put an extra 15,000 men into Baghdad this past summer, aiming to crush the guerrillas and stop the violence in the capital, and the number of attacks actually increased. This result comes about in part because the guerrillas are not outsiders who come in and then are forced out. The Sunni Arabs of Ghazaliya and Dora districts in the capital are the “insurgents.” The US military cannot defeat the Sunni Arab guerrilla movement or “insurgency” with less than 500,000 troops, based on what we have seen in the Balkans and other such conflict situations. The US destroyed Falluja, and even it and other cities of al-Anbar province are not now safe! The US military leaders on the ground have spoken of the desirability of just withdrawing from al-Anbar to Baghdad and giving up on it. In 2003, 14 percent of Sunni Arabs thought it legitimate to attack US personnel and facilities. In August, 2006, over 70 percent did. How long before it is 100%?

The Bushies are like the team in some screw-ball comedy, you call them when you want to lose. Not to pile it all on Bush he couldn’t accomplish so little and cause so much carnage without the support of his dead ender Republican supporters. For Iraq’s Shiites, a Dream Deferred Breeds Mistrust of U.S.

Lefta’s friend Wisam al-Taieb, 27, a gaunt Oil Ministry worker with dark, intense eyes, stood next to him at the mosque.

“What future?” Taieb demanded. “Now the Shia are suffering from a campaign of genocide. The Americans are in total control of our security forces. Our elected government does not have the power to move a single military unit. How do you expect me not to be pessimistic?”

Wait, but more Americans died in the Civil War. Don’t pay attention to current realities pay attention to the Right’s irrelevant clownish comparisons. With Iraq War Come Layers of Loss

“Grenade!”

Manning a .50-caliber machine gun in the turret of a Humvee, Pfc. Ross McGinnis could see the insurgent on a rooftop fling a hand grenade at his vehicle. He shouted and tried to deflect it, but it fell inside. Four of his buddies were down there.

What followed was a stunning act of self-sacrifice. McGinnis, a 19-year-old from rural Pennsylvania and the youngest soldier in his unit, threw himself backward onto the grenade, absorbing the blast with his body. He was killed instantly. The others escaped serious injury.

With the death toll for U.S. service members in Iraq past the 3,000 mark, McGinnis’s heroism, on Dec. 4, stands as one extreme in the vast spectrum of how Americans are experiencing the Iraq war.

[ ]…John, 40, said he feels frustrated, too, but recognizes that many other wounded troops are even worse off. “There are so many people like me,” he said, his words slurred. “People need to know.”
‘Working Our Way Out of It’

With a long scar on his face, metal holding his jaw together and more reconstructive surgery ahead, 23-year-old Sgt. Doug Szczepanski Jr. often finds people staring at him on the street. “Sometimes I’ll make up stories and tell them it was a shark attack, or a skateboarding incident,” he said. “Then when I tell them the truth, they’ll look at me all weird and say, ‘What? You got blown up in Iraq?’ They don’t know what to say.”

Szczepanski was wounded in September 2005 when a suicide bomber exploded an Opel sedan packed with artillery rounds next to his convoy north of Baghdad.

The Right’s echo across the blogs, radio, TV and all their other soap boxes in the last few days is that none of the grenade victims, the half blind, or maimed matter. What matters is that according to their nice little charts is the victims of the little Bush party in Iraq are hardly a blip. Why mention all the deaths, its another liberal conspiracy to spoil the parade and flouridate their water. Just keep quiet and let the party go on.

“A play is made by sensing how the forces in life simulate ignorance-you set free the concealed irony, the deadly joke.” – Arthur Miller

Conservative blogger proves he doesn’t get statistics, national security or morality

Republican blogger Riehl World View throws up some statistics and fails to see how they prove the Right’s view of Iraq and terrorism wrong. A neat trick that would require copious amonts of liquor for anyone but a conservative to achieve, Riehl World View Sunday, December 31, 2006 63,000 – Yes, That’s Some Number

While neither the media nor the Left will pause to take note, there are a few other numbers we can justifiably project for ourselves on this New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, 2006.

An estimated 16,692 persons were murdered nationwide in 2005, an increase of 3.4 percent from the 2004 figure.

Murder comprised 1.2 percent of the overall estimated number of violent crimes in 2005. (Based on Table 1.)

There were an estimated 5.6 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.

Based upon the 2005 figures, approximately 46 Americans are killed within our borders every day. The Iraq War officially began on March 20, 2003 – approximately 1,375 days ago. Consequently, one can project that well over 63,000 Americans have died at the hands of other Americans since the beginning of the war.

Riehl makes the case quite clearly that Americans are a more imminent threat to Americans then Iraq is ( The two predominant religious sects in the U.S. are Catholicism and Protestantism). That Americans have killed in the year 2005 more then 5.6 times the number of people killed by al-Queda on 9-11; and if we use the 63,000 figure and 1,375 days, Americans have killed 21 times the number that al-Queda killed on 9-11. In the daily course of living one’s life in America clearly the greatest threat to that life is a follow citizen. In Riehl-Bush World doesn’t that mean we should shock and awe ourselves, then occupy ourselves. This is not to mean that al-Queda isn’t a threat, but it does mean that it is time to put that threat in proper non-paranoid proportion. Measuring threats, carefully weighing our actions is what adult citizens with values do. Being a democracy some citizens can opt out of responsible behavior, but if they choose that course they shouldn’t become president or write blogs. Iraq didn’t attack us on 9-11 and as I posted before Saddam Husein and the neocon conservatives like Riehl were quite close at one point – How Reagan Armed Saddam with Chemical Weapons.
That aside Reihl started out that post with some tired shrillness about the Left (otherwise known as Patriotic Americans),

It’s unfortunate that one might predict an almost celebratory tone in announcements from the media and the Left that US deaths in Iraq have reached 3,000. I had to search around to find a news story that actually named the individual.

I literally looked at two dozen major liberal blogs and web magazines and cannot find a single solitary “celebratory tone”. What I can find are posts like Riehl’s that are trying to minimize and trivialize the deaths of those 3000 troops that were sent to Iraq based on lies and distortions about WMD and connections to al-Queda. Don’t look at the Iraq death toll, look at WWII, don’t look at the Conservative Movement’s attacks on the Constitution look at Linclon’s attack on habeas corpus and FDR’s internment camps. You see in fringe Right Land past deaths and past law breaking makes the Republican lies and law breaking OK. Let’s all imagine the conversation they have with their teenager that took the car without permission and the kid’s excuse is that others have done it before. Maybe so many Americans are killing each other because Conservatives have made morality into the world’s most bendable pretzel.

Three thousand. Why? By Joseph Hughes

As the administration kept soldiers in Iraq far longer than promised, they not only failed to adequately protect them with proper armor when they were there, but they also neglected them once they returned home, vastly undercutting their health benefits. And, once American soldiers died, the administration also callously ignored grieving mothers like Cindy Sheehan, going so far as to use the right-wing noise machine to badmouth a woman who paid the ultimate sacrifice, whose only crime was wanting to know why her son was killed. And whenever the Sheehans of the world spoke out, the Ann Coulters of the world mocked them, lamenting the fact that their personal tragedies prevented critics from personally attacking them.

At every turn, those asking “Why?” were called into question. Following the news of the 2,000th U.S. death in Iraq, Army Lt. Col. Steve Boylan, director of the multinational force’s combined press center, said in an e-mail to reporters, “I ask that when you report on the events, take a moment to think about the effects on the families and those serving in Iraq. The 2,000 service members killed in Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom is not a milestone. It is an artificial mark on the wall set by individuals or groups with specific agendas and ulterior motives.” Fox’s Rupert Murdoch said, “The death toll, certainly of Americans there, by the terms of any previous war are quite minute.” What’s more, the president famously characterized the disastrous state of affairs in Iraq as “just a comma” in the final history of the nation.

The Kool-aid fueled bloggers of the Right have had nothing to say about their draft avoiding hero George W. Bush calling the multitude of deaths in Iraq just a “comma”. The Conservative cadre have no problem with the owner of the ultra-right Fox News trivializing the deaths of the troops.

One of those damn liberals Juan Cole writes, What the Number 3000 Hides

Iraqi guerrillas killed 6 more GIs and AP put the total dead in combat at 2998. The dreadful milestone of 3000 is upon us.

Like all statistics, this one is deceptive. It does not include US troops killed in Afghanistan, that oddly forgotten war where the US still has a division engaging in active combat. Nor is it nice to ignore NATO dead in Afghanistan, including French and Canadians (yes).

It doesn’t sound to me as though Professor Cole is being ” celebratory”. Maybe this is the kind of liberal press celebration that Dan Riehl was referring to, Time to Reflect As Iraq Toll Hits 3,000

The grim milestone was crossed on the final day of 2006 and at the end of the deadliest month for the American military in Iraq in the past 12 months. At least 111 U.S. service members were reported to have died in December.

Each of the fallen resting here on a grassy slope facing the Washington Monument could stand for many others _ traditional heroes decorated for acts “above and beyond the call of duty,” and those whose families say their heroism consisted of putting on their country’s uniform during a time of war.

Arlington honors each with a glistening 232-pound Vermont marble headstone marked with the most basic of information _ and a number.