Commentary on news and culture from a left wing perspective.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

In case you were wondering... Since the media has basically stopped carrying much news of American casualties who never played pro-football, its worth noting that US fatalities in May were running at close to three a day, the highest rates (excluding the months before the fall of Baghdad) besides November and April.
New York Times Public Editor Daniel Okrent weighs in on the weapons of mass destruction fiasco. He manages to type out the name 'Judith Miller', but makes no serious investigation into what she was up to, instead maintaining the fiction that this was all just about a too-eager pursuit of scoops. He claims "The excitement's over; now the work begins" to which one can't even begin to say 'not good enough!' The Times played a role in producing the 'excitement', it should commit to not doing so again. By the way, briefly mentioned in this piece is that the Times hired Ahmad Chalabi's niece for its Kuwait bureau for several months in 2003. Okrent pins some of the blame on Howell 'Jayson Blair' Raines--no surprise there, Raines is gone, he can be blamed for everything, but it should be said that the Times coverage of Iraq continues to stink--the big issue now is not their overreliance on CIA/exile community propaganda but a complete avoidance of any topic the US doesn't want covered, until they have to catch up with other publications (note the nonexistent role the Times played in covering the Abu Ghraib torture).

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

The New York Times apologizes for being saps for the neoconservatives. A few notes: their apology around Jason Blair was about five times longer. This comes after months of pressure from readers has been resisted by both the Times editors and their 'public editor' Daniel Okrent, who basically said 'before my time' and washed his hands. The turning point appears to be the fall of Ahmad Chalabi from the grace of the US. In other words, they're still taking their cue from the US government.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

India and China have both done really well over the past couple of decades by basically taking things at their own pace and ignoring the advice of Western investors.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

I'm fascinated by the way American liberals find so little to cheer about in the defeat of the nasty racists of the BJP in India.
Confidential to Colin Powell: Always more dignified to make real amends yourself than to demand them from others.
The New York Times looks for something positive about the current situation in Iraq. Even by their own standards, "defined realistically as an absence of civil war, a gradually improving economy, and slowly declining rates of political and criminal violence" the info they give in the form of a chart is quite unimpressive. Most notably, in terms of 'slowly declining rates of political... violence', the US casualty rate for April was four times that of December or August. As for the economy, the unemployment rate remains a staggering 45%. The number of Iraqis who want the US to leave has jumped. Oil production and electricity have not yet returned to pre-war levels (telephones are at higher levels than pre-war). 6% of Iraqi soldiers (in terms of the goal) and 19% of police have been trained. Interestingly, 90% of 'other security' have been trained--I'm guessing that's people who are given a gun and told to guard a refinery. Also 'Iraqi noncombatant fatalities' (is that Timespeak for civilians?) were way up last month--can't be a good sign. Interesting to ask why these Brookings Institution types feel so obligated to put a positive spin on this debacle.

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