Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The National Review: Such Pretty Lies

Click for high def

Byron York Embarrasses Himself... Again

The National Review, home of bigots, cowards and fools, has outdone itself with the latest from the "Breck Girl of the right," Bryon York.

Let's deconstruct some of the bullshit:

National Review - Bryon York

Has MoveOn Betrayed the Democratic Party?

Another edition of Short Answers to Foolish Questions.
With its full-page "General Betray Us?" ad in the New York Times, MoveOn.org has once again put itself at the forefront of the antiwar movement. And if past patterns are any guide, a number of Democrats are embarrassed, and even angered, by MoveOn’s actions but are afraid to reveal the true extent of their feelings. MoveOn simply has too much fundraising clout — and a fear-inducing inclination to attack Democrats who stray from the MoveOn line — for many in the party to take it on.
Well, yeah.

Afraid? Of being called liars for siding with General Betray Us? Well... he is.

He went to Congress today and lied. The numbers he gave them weren't true. He said the attacks are going down. Sunday, Hubris pointed out the attacks are going up. As did the Washington Post Thursday citing a GAO report.

While General Petraeus is busy lying to Congress in order to make the surge look good (what has Bush/Cheney promised him?), the GAO, the back pages of the Washington Post, TPM & TPM again, DailyKos, and others are all struggling to find the truth. And the truth looks very much like General David Petraeus, Liar liar pants on fire.

Let's take a swing through some numbers and citations.

It is unclear whether sectarian violence in Iraq has decreased—a key security benchmark—since it is difficult to measure perpetrators’ intents, and various other measures of population security from different sources show differing trends. As displayed in figure 4, average daily attacks against civilians have remained unchanged from February to July 2007.
Washington Post

The intelligence community has its own problems with military calculations. Intelligence analysts computing aggregate levels of violence against civilians for the NIE puzzled over how the military designated attacks as combat, sectarian or criminal, according to one senior intelligence official in Washington. "If a bullet went through the back of the head, it's sectarian," the official said. "If it went through the front, it's criminal."

"Depending on which numbers you pick," he said, "you get a different outcome."

Challenges to how military and intelligence statistics are tallied and used have been a staple of the Iraq war. In its December 2006 report, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group identified "significant underreporting of violence," noting that "a murder of an Iraqi is not necessarily counted as an attack. If we cannot determine the sources of a sectarian attack, that assault does not make it into the data base." The report concluded that "good policy is difficult to make when information is systematically collected in a way that minimizes its discrepancy with policy goals."

Recent estimates by the media, outside groups and some government agencies have called the military's findings into question. The Associated Press last week counted 1,809 civilian deaths in August, making it the highest monthly total this year, with 27,564 civilians killed overall since the AP began collecting data in April 2005.
Talking Points Memo

The one set of numbers we've found that appears to go back some way (a couple years) and have a consistent methodology are those compiled by the Associated Press from police reports about deaths in Iraq. To further the confusion, though, the AP seems unwilling to assemble these numbers together in one place, so you need to go back and piece together the separate monthly numbers from individual stories.

So far, with some sleuthing yesterday by myself and Spencer Ackerman, we've got these numbers.

Jan 07: 1,604
Feb 07: 1,552
March 07: 1,572*
April 07:
May 07: 2155
June 07: 1640
July 07: 1760
August 07: 1809
Got that?

a) Deaths are UP. Not down as the General told Congress today. Up.

b) The base numbers are off. "Information is systematically collected in a way that minimizes its discrepancy with policy goals." That means not just a little off. Systematic under-reporting from the military. This happened in Vietnam, just the other way. Body counts were used to measure progress.

When ever people are measured based on a statistic, they will figure out a way to game the stat. Enormous integrity is necessary FROM THE TOP DOWN in order to get truthful numbers. And the last thing anyone at the top of the Bush administration has is integrity. Or wants is truthful numbers.

All of which makes General David Petraeus a big ol' liar, pulling a hat trick of lies:

1. Intentionally lying to Congress;

2. The military system of systematic lies, and

3. Loyal soldier in the chain of command stove-piping hot lies to Das AllIstGuhFuchtBunker for Dick to feast as he eats BRAINS, plotting evil while playing Risk with school girls and nuns.

Now why would members of Congress be worried about siding with the General or taking on MoveOn.org? See, Bryon baby pookey bear, when you're backing a liar -- and it isn't like these numbers weren't known yesterday before Petraeus left for the hill -- it's stupid to piss people off who are ready and able to confront you with the hard facts.
Blah blah blah, blah blah blah, Fahrenheit 9/11 and Michael Moore is evil, blah blah blah.

Several leading Democrats, including then-Sen. Minority Leader Tom Daschle, showed up at the movie's Washington premiere. But the connection with MoveOn worried other Democrats. "You've got to reject Michael Moore and the MoveOn crowd," Al From, of the Democratic Leadership Council, remarked, calling MoveOn's members "elites, people who sit in their basements all the time and play on their computers." Other critics noticed that MoveOn attracted a membership that was mostly white, well-to-do, far-to-the-left, and not entirely representative of the Democratic party as a whole.
STOP. Rewind.

"A membership that was mostly white."

I've got your obsession with race right here, scuzzball, sung by the master. (Bring it Gilly.)

Al From. Al-fucking-From, loser of elections. Triangulator supreme-o. A Republican's Democrat? That Al From? The asshole?

A modest suggestion. Al From and the entire DLC can move to Eureka California and make an honest living growing weed in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Not like they're ever going to man up a 50 in the sandbox. Or even an aid station, you know? At least they can try and bring a little happiness to an AIDS patient, since the Gods know they've managed to fuck up the last eight years of our lives with incompetent advice.

Listen chuckles. Ain't no one stupid enough to listen to them again; conversely anyone who does by definition is out of the Democratic mainstream. Really, no kidding. Candidates may take DNC money but From and his corporate & media pals don't get to sit at the strategy table. Al From and the DNC blow two incredibly winnable national and countless state & local races. Who the fuck listens to repeat losers running the same losing strategy even though the entire world has changed? Oh... yeah, you are a George Bush republican. Sorry.

Nice try with the whole concern troll bait though.

A quick point. No one here says the Petraeus is a traitor. That's classic right-wing crap designed to force the middle to stay away lest they be tared unpatriotic American-hating commies. We didn't call the General a traitor. Right-wing attack dogs did hoping for raw meat. Who is the traitor to America and doesn't respect our troops? Who keeps voting down VA reform?
Now, with the "General Betray Us" campaign, those Democrats again face the question: Do they dare to cross MoveOn? Not long after the 2004 elections, Pariser famously said of Democrats, "Now it's our party. We bought it, we own it, and we're going to take it back."
You radically don't understand. You didn't understand when Gilly explained it to all y'all bitches a year ago. You don't understand now. Not gonna understand when we're done.

Like demonstrating the number three to someone who lives inside the set of even numbers. Move a three into the set of even numbers and what happens to the three?:
  1. Shows up as an even number.
  2. Goes "poof" and vanishes into nothing as it hits the set boundary. Literally can not exist inside the set. To an observer inside, nothing happens. No "poof"; nothing.
  3. Is invisible. Able to act, but can not be seen. Only ever can act with the properties of an even number.
  • There may well be others I haven't thought of; maths isn't my specialty.
  • The point is, inside the set of even numbers, the number three can not be, or at least, can not function as a three, can only "be" as an even number. Why? Because it's in the set of even numbers.
What I'm trying to say to you... What Steve Gilliard said to y'all fifteen months ago... This is outside the ontology you committedly and unexaminedly live. To get this requires shifting into a reality-based non-authoritarian quantum world. Any interpretation you make from where you now live will have as much validity as a kid in kindergarten assessing a Ph.D. physics project: "Oh... shiny." You just can't get there from here.

I'll use small words anyway although no way I'm gonna improve Gilly's original riff (linked below.)

Listen up... This whole Pariser quote:
Now it's our party. We bought it, we own it, and we're going to take it back.
MoveOn doesn't own anyone. They aren't leading anyone. Markos doesn't lead anyone, and neither do Jane or Josh. To talk about MoveOn owning the party misunderstands fundamental what they mean.

Yes, they meant something but you have to get it, intuitively like a Zen person grasping a koan. Otherwise it's just a bunch of annoying words which piss you off. No wonder MoveOn has you pissing your pants.

The people of the United States are angry. They're tired of being lied to and told to be afraid. They're VERY tired of incompetence, corruption, and fundamentalism galloping through their government. Economic giveaways to the wealthy. And war. Especially wars.

Liberal democrats are good people, many of whom believe in God. So many of them likely would not actually rip you and the entire Bush administration limb from limb given a chance. Although you shouldn't risk it. A hell of a lot more of us have served in the military than you have.

Blogs and groups like MoveOn are here because people want a focus for their commitment to make a difference. We're not driven by fear and anger and surrendering control to Big Daddy like right-wing sexually-repressed in-the-closet nut jobs. We do our best to live in the real world, making our very own decisions based on information available.

It's a bit more messy but has resulted in civil rights to social security, womens' suffrage to the winning of two world wars. Not to mention the longest economic success in the history of the United States. *waves to President William "Bill" Clinton*

Republicans fought bitterly against all this "progress", up to and including selling weapons to our mortal enemies. GWB's grand-pappy was there. There are records.

No one owns anything, least of all MoveOn. (Although your historical ancestors owned slaves, as did the people currently voting Republican in the south. What is this obsession with control?)

They: TPM, DailyKos, firedoglake, even Salon and Huffington Post, let alone an emerging publisher such as Group News Blog... we're happy if we just manage to get our posts up and do a good job writing. Our readers -- MoveOn's donors -- will go somewhere else in a moment if we fail to deliver the goods.

What goods? Oh yeah...that.

I'm the Publisher & Editor. I also write, that is, I blog. Last week my colleague Lower Manhattanite wrote “Do you understand where you are?”, what I consider the single-best article on racism I've read as an adult.

The article was a grand-slam home run for us, our single most successful story to date linked by hundreds of sites including the front pages of some of the largest blogs in the world. Teachers wrote they are assigning LM's piece to University classes. Simply reading the comments left others and I in tears.

LM's article changed everything for us. We didn't lead anything. He wrote what he wrote and people responded. We can't write hits to order. No one can. Well... maybe Willie Nelson.

Lead? *cracks up* You should join Al From in California smoking weed. We just work every day to put out a good publication, build a certain reputation, and take care of our readers.

What lies beyond? Hell if I know. Although... there's always “Surge Seasoning”.

What I am certain of is... I am not in control of people. For sure, not our readers. I love them. They're smart, funny and talented. But they have their own desires, wants and concerns. They move where they move when they move. If they wouldn't tolerate Steve telling them what to do for ten seconds -- and they didn't -- why in the hell would they take it from me or our gang for five?
Steve Gilliard

Let me send this message to the consultant class right now, the right will miss it. You do not have to worry about Kos, Atrios, Matt Stoller or anyone else, certainly not me. We are not your problem. It's enough to control what's posted to our blogs on a daily basis.

Our readers, otoh, are a different story. They hate you, they would like nothing better than to drive you from business and into penury. They would hunt you down like dogs and seize your homes. They blame you for ruining America. Bloggers are just conduits for the feelings of lots of people. You confuse the two at your peril. Anyone who thinks our readers are docile slaves, well, they're nuts. They can challenge us like it was a sport. Parse our words like lawyers. And you can never tell what will drive someone nuts.

Piss them off and you've got a problem. We know, we've all done it. Kos has been the scene of nasty fights, same with most sites. Our readers hold us accountable in a way which would make Jake Tapper cry.

It was the readers who propelled the Lamont bid, not the blogs. At best, we're pointmen for a lot of ordinary people. People forget that at their peril.
Anyone stupid enough to think Pariser meant it when he said he "owned" the party, simply doesn't understand Pariser, MoveOn, people, or how modern media works enough for anyone to ever take them seriously or listen to them again.

Not that anyone outside of your own echo-chamber is, you twerp.

So why then did I break all this down? Courtesy.

This article helps knock down some common right-wing lies. More importantly, it helps provide what Sara Robinson calls Landing Zones, a safe place for disillusioned soon-to-be-former right-wing authoritarian (RWA) followers, bravely tunneling and bridging out of authoritarian groups. These people need to know they are welcome here. And that you're a goof-ball and the DNC are idiots. *smiles sweetly*

When we make mistakes here at GNB, our readers call us on them immediately. And they don't stfu till we fix them. *sighs* (I mean, how wonderful it is our readers pay such close attention.) In the last 24 hours I've fixed at least one mistake...on a post already scrolling off home page, ordered a book recommended by a reader, put up a "Breaking" story emailed by a regular, and haven't slept in 24 30+ hours. I'm not directing anyone. Damn.

I don't expect you or the other pointy-hat NR fools to get it. You still don't have Iraq right and that's well...