The Right Sources for 2/10/2007

A few of you may still recall that I started to post links from think tanks a while ago as background for my posts. I opportunistically take links from sources that are easy to search & free and I only post those I think are useful, so my offerings are a bit idiosyncratic. Some people have asked me to characterize my usual sources. I am unqualified to do that, so I just copied the appropriate sections of their mission statements and included them below.

After the Surge
Blaming the West will not Solve Muslim Woes
Bush Budget
Can You Trust What Polls Say About Obama’s Electoral Prospects?
China’s Expanding Role in Africa
Creating an Africa Command: Bush Makes the Right Call
Cry for Latin America
Economic Snapshot for February
Forces Shaping the Future U.S. Workforce & Workplace
Fueling Global Prosperity: Worldwide Gains for Farmers Are in Reach,
Global Warming Simple Remedy
How Bush's Health Care Tax Plan Will Raise Wages
Plans for a Post Surge Iraq
Saudi Arabia’s Own Iraq Nightmare
The New Africa Command
Traffic Congestion Solutions
What Americans Pay for & How

*****

Sources
The American Enterprise Institute’s purposes are to defend the principles and improve the institutions of American freedom and democratic capitalism--limited government, private enterprise, individual liberty and responsibility, vigilant and effective defense and foreign policies, political accountability, and open debate. Its work is addressed to government officials and legislators, teachers and students, business executives, professionals, journalists, and all citizens interested in a serious understanding of government policy, the economy, and important social and political developments.

The Brookings Institution is a private nonprofit organization devoted to independent research and innovative policy solutions. For more than 90 years, Brookings has analyzed current and emerging issues and produced new ideas that matter—for the nation and the world.

The Center for American Progress is a progressive think-tank dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through ideas and action. We are creating a long-term, progressive vision for America—a vision that policy makers, thought-leaders and activists can use to shape the national debate and pass laws that make a difference. The Center for American Progress is headed by John D. Podesta, former chief of staff to President William J. Clinton and a professor at Georgetown University Center of Law.

The Center for Media and Democracy strengthens participatory democracy by investigating and exposing public relations spin and propaganda, and by promoting media literacy and citizen journalism, media "of, by and for the people." Our programs include PR Watch, a quarterly investigative journal; six books by CMD staff; Spin of the Day; the Weekly Spin listserv; and, Congresspedia and SourceWatch, part of our wiki-based investigative journalism collaborative to which anyone, including you, can contribute.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) seeks to advance global security and prosperity in an era of economic and political transformation by providing strategic insights and practical policy solutions to decision makers. CSIS serves as a strategic planning partner for the government by conducting research and analysis and developing policy initiatives that look into the future and anticipate change.

The Council on Foreign Relations is an independent, national membership organization and a nonpartisan center for scholars dedicated to producing and disseminating ideas so that individual and corporate members, as well as policymakers, journalists, students, and interested citizens in the United States and other countries, can better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other governments. The Council, which is headquartered in New York with an office in Washington, DC.

The Congressional Research Service. American taxpayers spend nearly $100 million a year to fund the Congressional Research Service, a "think tank" that provides reports to members of Congress on a variety of topics relevant to current political events. Yet, these reports are not made available to the public in a way that they can be easily obtained. A project of the Center for Democracy & Technology through the cooperation of several organizations and collectors of CRS Reports, Open CRS provides citizens access to CRS Reports already in the public domain and encourages Congress to provide public access to all CRS Reports.

Factcheck.org is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, "consumer advocate" for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews, and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding.

The Harris Poll is one of the longest running independent opinion polls in the United States and now is conducted in Western Europe. Policy makers, business leaders and members of the media all rely on the unquestionable integrity of this poll to obtain accurate, reliable information on topics as diverse as our participants.

The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institute - a think tank - whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.

The Hudson Institute is a non-partisan policy research organization dedicated to innovative research and analysis that promotes global security, prosperity, and freedom. We challenge conventional thinking and help manage strategic transitions to the future through interdisciplinary and collaborative studies in defense, international relations, economics, culture, science, technology, and law. Through publications, conferences and policy recommendations, we seek to guide global leaders in government and business.

The New America Foundation brings exceptionally promising new voices and new ideas to the fore of our nation’s public discourse. Relying on a venture capital approach, the Foundation invests in outstanding individuals and policy solutions that transcend the conventional political spectrum. Through its fellowships and issue-specific programs, the Foundation sponsors a wide range of research, writing, conferences and public outreach on the most important global and domestic issues of our time.

The Pew Research Center’s purpose is to serve as a forum for ideas on the media and public policy through public opinion research. In this role it serves as an important information resource for political leaders, journalists, scholars, and public interest organizations. All of our current survey results are made available free of charge.

The Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) launched WorldPublicOpinion.org (WPO) in January 2006 to provide a source of in-depth information and analysis on public opinion from around the world on international issues. With the growth of democracy in the world, public opinion has come to play a greater role in the foreign policy process. WPO seeks to increase understanding of public opinion in specific nations around the world as well as to elucidate the global patterns of world public opinion.

RAND. For nearly 60 years, the RAND Corporation has pursued its nonprofit mission by conducting research on important and complicated problems. Initially, RAND (the name of which was derived from a contraction of the term research and development) focused on issues of national security. Eventually, RAND expanded its intellectual reserves to offer insight into other areas, such as business, education health, law, and science.

Terror Free Tomorrow is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization established in Washington, D.C. We are the only organization dedicated to a new strategic vision: leading the fight against terror by winning the popular support that empowers global terrorists.

The University of Southern California Center on Public Diplomacy is a joint academic research, teaching and training Center created and run jointly by the USC Annenberg School for Communication and the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences School of International Relations

YaleGlobal Online is the flagship publication of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization. The magazine explores the implications of the growing interconnectedness of the world by drawing on the rich intellectual resources of the Yale University community, scholars from other universities, and public- and private-sector experts from around the world.

Posted by Jack at February 10, 2007 10:54 AM
Comments
Comment #207471

Mission Statements from think tanks? Nice cop out. “not qualitifed” so you don’t have to commit to anything or provide opportunity to discuss the merits of those sources. Especially disingenuous given that some of those sources are the worst idea whores in circulation and one never knows for sure when it’s just a paid opinion piece.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at February 10, 2007 11:51 AM
Comment #207474

Dave

I thought I was unqualified to make an expert assessment, but I now see there are those who know a lot less than I do.

I think all the sources I mentioned are credible and the mission statements honestly show their leanings.

I can see you are passionate about what you feel, but passion should not substitute for reason. You evidently believe anybody who disagrees with you is an “idea whore” or paid off. My experience is bit broader and more liberal.

Posted by: Jack at February 10, 2007 12:06 PM
Comment #207482

Jack, I usually criticize you, because it’s fun to argue, but here I think Dave1 is a bit off the beam.

Unless we are think ourselves geniuses with the only valid notions in the world, we are all “Idea whores”

I often read these sources myself, and Jack and I do not have the same political views.

Posted by: gergle at February 10, 2007 12:58 PM
Comment #207484

Jack, that’s great that you use information out of such a variety of sources. I find information that comes out of think tanks and opinion surveys to be suspect, however. Whenever a think tank uses words such as “promote”, “advance” or “defend” in their mission statement one’s antenna should go way up. Mine does. I find organizations such as Move On to be just as disingenuous as the Heritage Foundation or the AEI or the Manhattan Institute.
People disagree, argue, debate, confront because they have a vision of what it is they want to attack or defend and, from that point of view, they collect the facts needed to advance that view.
It should be just the opposite.

Posted by: charles Ross at February 10, 2007 1:01 PM
Comment #207493


Jack: You forgot the Project for a New American Century. Although some might say that they have gone underground, the main man is the power behind the throne and the organization is still directing the administrations foreign and domestic policy.

Posted by: jlw at February 10, 2007 1:39 PM
Comment #207499

I think Jack is being very generous in revaling his sources and not passing them off as his own thoughts. Each of these sources advocates a position. I have no problem with that as long as they don’t manufacture facts. Our system of government was set up to be advisarial. I don’t mean this in a negative way. Look at our system of justice, each side comes together and advocates for their client, whether it be for the people or for the accused.The jury decides on what the “truth” is. There was once a time when the loyal opposition was respected and considered neccesary. Today it is often maligned rather that dicredited based on reason.

Posted by: 037 at February 10, 2007 2:34 PM
Comment #207503

037, (such an intimate name, when were you produced?) The problem I have with many think tank organizations is that they are, or have become, hired guns (a much nicer, although less accurate description than “fact whores), funded by business’s who stay largely in the background, while THEIR views are promoted.
Issues discussed on this board: the economy, the war, family values, religion, are all surrounded by facts that can be used to support one’s position. Big macro issues are complicated and, at the end of the argument, there may not be absolute truth arising out of indisputable facts.
The comparison of discussions in the political realm and the adversarial realm of the courtroom is an interesting one, but know that, in a court room, anything goes. Defense attorney may make any argument he wishes, however doubtful the facts or logic, in defense of his client. It would be more useful and informative to approach a question like: “What shape is the economy in today?” with a balance of facts that produce the answer rather than starting out with “the economy is good/bad because . . . . (log onto google and find the reason why).

Posted by: charles Ross at February 10, 2007 3:12 PM
Comment #207506

FYI - You can access sites like Wall Street Journal, zacks, morningstar etc for free with a netpass from: http://news.congoo.com

Andrew Tobias blogged about this last week, I thought it was a great tip!

Posted by: Dennis Richards at February 10, 2007 3:21 PM
Comment #207508

Jack, I love this term: ‘democratic capitalism’.

That’s where you get most of the capitalists together in a room with the politicians and the capitalists vote on the nation’s agenda for the politicians in return for their campaign support.

I would much prefer a democracy in which capitalism is prevented from its own excesses by the interests of the majority and the nation’s future well being.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 10, 2007 3:33 PM
Comment #207510

Charles,
May I call you Charlie? Names seem to be a concern to you? Could you define fact-whore for me. I don’t quite understand the term. Does it mean that facts are paid for? Being from a scientific background, the word fact has a particular meaning to me. It either exist or it does not. But all facts require context. Unfortunately in politics a fact becomes what most people believe, perception becomes fact. Reality is not measureable. Nothing is objective in the world of public perception. In my opinion a large problem we face as a society is belief in the “spin” not realizing the agenda of the spinner. Once we understand this bias, the spin, we get perspective fron which we move toward truth and accuracy.
In science anything goes also, buy it is often countered by fact, logic, and reason.

Posted by: 037 at February 10, 2007 4:15 PM
Comment #207511

What a room that would be. Most of the capitalist in one room.
You talk like there is only handful. We live in a capitalism economy and there are millions of capitalist.

I believe what you truly prefer is economic equality, at the expensive of personal property rights. The good(bad) old, tried, and Failed Income redistrbution. Being generous is so easy when it is other peoples money your being generous with.

Posted by: Steve at February 10, 2007 4:21 PM
Comment #207513


Jack: I read many of the articles and made comments, but the site just ate them. I guess it decided I didn’t have anything to say that was worth saying which is probably true.

Posted by: jlw at February 10, 2007 5:09 PM
Comment #207517

Gergle

Thanks

Charles

They are advocates. I describe myself as that. It is not a bad thing to be. I never write things that I know to be untrue, but I do not consider it my job to seek out arguments for the other side or try to be fair and balanced. I really think it is impossible for anyone to be really fair and balanced about things they believe. I have sometimes changed my mind in response to what I have learned, but then I just advocate for the new thing.

You always make choices and decisions without knowing all the facts. If you wait for all the facts, you can never come to conclusions.

David

Owners, managers, investors etc are also voters and part of the democratic process. In fact most of “the people” fall into some of these categories. The business of America is business and most of us are involved in it. We are the majority.

Jlw

Sometimes I get that not available message. If you just back click ONLY once, you usually have your comments back and you can resubmit them.

Posted by: Jack at February 10, 2007 5:48 PM
Comment #207543

Jack, you do better than most.

Posted by: charles Ross at February 10, 2007 11:02 PM
Comment #207567

Jack:

Don’t take offense but I think you are disingenuous in just posting a think-tanks Mission Statements. If you REALLY wanted to show their true selves, show us the money and their Board of Directors!!!

Like this:
American Enterprise Institute.
Background and History
Most of AEI’s Board of Directors are CEOs of major companies, including ExxonMobil, Motorola, American Express, State Farm Insurance, and Dow Chemicals.

Big donors include the top conservative foundations, including Smith-Richardson Foundation, the Olin Foundation, the Scaife Foundation, and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.

Corporate supporters have included: General Electric Foundation, Amoco, Kraft Foundation, Ford Motor Company Fund, General Motors Foundation, Eastman Kodak Foundation, Metropolitan Life Foundation, Proctor & Gamble Fund, Shell Companies Foundation, Chrysler Corporation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, General Mills Foundation, Pillsbury Company Foundation, Prudential Foundation, American Express Foundation, AT&T Foundation, Corning Glass Works Foundation, Morgan Guarantee Trust, Smith-Richardson Foundation, Alcoa Foundation, and PPG Industries.

Kenneth Lay, CEO of Enron, was until recently on the board of trustees of American Enterprise Institute. Other famous former trustees include Vice President Dick Cheney

Posted by: Juan dela Cruz at February 11, 2007 5:23 AM
Comment #207592

Juan

So what? These things are easy to find out and generally well known. BTW you could find very similar lists if you looked into the contributors to universities, public television, even the democratic party.

Those that have money tend to support things because w/o money you cannot make much of a contribuiton.

Heritage takes so much pride in the founding conservatives (such as Coors) that they have a big picture in the front.

Key Lay was an important businessman. Democratic Texas governor Ann Richards appointed Lay to the council of business advisors. The DNC recieved his money. Clinton’s commerce Department helped ENRON win big overseas contracts. There was no reason to shun him. When he was disgraced, AEI severed relations, as I assume the Dems did.

I think you are missing an important point. Somebody like me is PROUD of an association with major leaders of industry. You can get the best ideas from people who actually create important things. You seem to think it is a bad thing, like being associated with the likes of Michael Moore or Jane Fonda.

Charles

Thanks.

Posted by: Jack at February 11, 2007 12:56 PM
Comment #207593

I like that Jack is upfront with his sources.

What I’m going to say next may sound off topic, but bear with me. In a month or so I have to give a lecture on a metaphysical poet, so I’ve been doing research. Literary criticism is much like political analysis; it’s sometimes a bit nutty. But I read all I can anyway, because every now and then I come across something I didn’t know, or a point I hadn’t considered. That makes an article worthwhile to me, and I’ll use what I’ve learned in my own way. (For my present purposes, I really don’t care how some critic claims a poet negotiates the subject/object division or how he appropriates the female body.) The point is, even rightwing think tanks sometimes provide good raw material.

Posted by: Trent at February 11, 2007 12:57 PM
Comment #207602

Many of these are biased sources of information. Certainly if I looked up anything from MoveOn.org I would consider it biased. An organization like the Heritage foundation has an agenda, and I’m likely to suspect any data from them as disinformation or at least not the full story.

For the last decade or so Republicans have been claiming that all major news outlets are biased toward a Democrat perspective. Now we find that this administration leaked what it knew was faulty intelligence to conservative outlets. Later, they claimed these were the most reliable sources of information, and these news outlets said nothing about the fact that this administration was basically justifying a war based on intelligence they hand fed them.

We went to war on faultly disinformation promulgated by this administration, because of a conservative argument that all news is biased in some way when you get right down to it. I don’t disagree with that, but conservatives used this as an excuse to drop even the pretense of objectivity or journalistic integrity and start producing massively biased news and studies that disputed even well known facts. There are no news standards anymore.

I believe our recent acceptance of overtly biased news is destroying our citizens’ ability to understand the issues that face us. Hopefully, we’ve seen where it leads us (this crummy war), and places like the Heritage foundation, or any overtly politically biased news outlet, will start to receive the skepticism they deserve.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/10/opinion/10sat1.html

It took far too long, but a report by the Pentagon inspector general has finally confirmed that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s do-it-yourself intelligence office cooked up a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda to help justify an unjustifiable war.

The report said the team headed by Douglas Feith, under secretary of defense for policy, developed “alternative” assessments of intelligence on Iraq that contradicted the intelligence community and drew conclusions “that were not supported by the available intelligence.” Mr. Feith certainly knew the Central Intelligence Agency would cry foul, so he hid his findings from the C.I.A. Then Vice President Dick Cheney used them as proof of cloak-and-dagger meetings that never happened, long-term conspiracies between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden that didn’t exist, and — most unforgivable — “possible Iraqi coordination” on the 9/11 attacks, which no serious intelligence analyst believed.

Posted by: Max at February 11, 2007 1:48 PM
Comment #207606

Max

Heritage has an agenda. They publish it up front. Every organization has an agenda. Some just hide it.

Do you really believe anybody can be a neutral observer?

Even in science, your perceptions depend on what you choose to study. I trained in ancient history. It is amazing how biased ancient history is. We are very biased toward civilizations that wrote history we can easily access or those that left big monuments made out of stone. You cannot be unbiased. All you can do is recognize it.

If you look up something at Heritage or moveon.org, you should judge whether it makes sense and then check the basis of their arguments. You really are not much of a thinker if you just dismiss or accept something only because of who said it.

If you look at my list of sources, BTW, they lean toward business, but they are not unbalanced. Brookings, for example, is much more associated with Dems. The Center for American Progress is essentially a Clinton think tank. If you find this list way to the right, you are probably uncomfortably to the left.

Posted by: Jack at February 11, 2007 2:31 PM
Comment #207615
Heritage has an agenda. They publish it up front. Every organization has an agenda. Some just hide it.Do you really believe anybody can be a neutral observer?

Yes, all news is biased, and even biased in ways we can’t be aware of (see Al Jezeera yet?), but this should not be used, as it has been, as an excuse to stop striving to produce unbiased, balanced reports of what’s going on in the world. In the past, journalists were expected to try and rise above petty differences and try to inform the public as to the true state of affairs. In the last ten years that went out the window, and the results have been disastrous.

I trained in ancient history. It is amazing how biased ancient history is.

I studies pre-historic art history, and it is incredible how biased we can be. What we view as abstract art is sometimes a detailed and very realistic map from a certain vantage point. But how do we start to find out the “truth”? By becoming aware of our biases and removing them one by one. If historians were to suddenly believe it was okay to hype alternative information without verifying it, or decided their personal agendas for what history should have been are more important than what it really was, there would be no history.

Most importantly, a fact is a fact and sometimes it’s obvious when it’s being skewed. The Heritage society has been guiltly of this plenty of times.

Example:
http://www.truthout.org/docs_05/012905E.shtml

Posted by: Max at February 11, 2007 3:22 PM
Comment #207619

Jack,

Actually, I think a good example of what we’re talking about is the link above. The Heritage Foundation claimed that blacks don’t get their fair share of social security, because their life expectancy is shorter than whites. But, as Krugman points out, life expectancy does not measure when people die, it’s an average that takes into account people dying very young, etc. Most blacks that live into old age can expect to live as long as whites, and collect just as much social security.

The Heritage foundation was certainly aware of this, and certainly spun the truth when they suggested blacks die earlier than whites. This was not a case where the truth lies somewhere in the middle or there are many points of view, this was a disengenuous and dishonest presentation of the true state of affairs.

Now, knowing that - are you ever going to be able to read anything from them again uncritically? Shouldn’t we, as a society, really try and hold these organizations to higher standards?

Posted by: Max at February 11, 2007 3:54 PM
Comment #207620

Max,

I’m curious about your views on Al Jazeera. (Your teaser comment teased me.) I think it does a very good job of presenting the news non-polemically, better than many American news shows. It seems to take seriously its journalistic responsibilities. This is not to say it is unbiased because such a thing is impossible.

Posted by: Trent at February 11, 2007 4:01 PM
Comment #207627

Oops, beyond re-reading, I see I made a slip in the above comment. Of course I, like most Americans, have never seen an Al Jazeera news cast. What I have seen is the English version of its website.

Posted by: Trent at February 11, 2007 6:41 PM
Comment #207632

I’ll stand by my first statement. No need for any defense as it was well supported by Charles, Max, and Juan.
In the end, it’s not whether the sources know “alot”, or whther they are ‘left’ or ‘right’. It’s whether they speak the truth. As Jack has admitted, they are free to lie and have no obligation beyond thier sponsors. To expect respect for using such sources is simply an elitist attitude from one of ‘those who know a lot less than I do’

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at February 11, 2007 7:45 PM
Comment #207634

Dave

Perhaps you would enlighten me with a list of unbiased sources of analysis.

And do not misrepresent me. You are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts. I specifically wrote that I never intentionally say things I know to be untrue. But unlike too mnay people, I understand the limitations of my ability to be unbiased.

Let’s get to the most simple thing - a number. Is a 4.5% unemployment rate good or bad? Is it possible to be biased with this?

Max

It depends exactly when they die and how much they have paid in. Klugman also assumes blacks are poor and will stay that way. In short he does not debunk, he merely substituts his own bias. Maybe we should hold him to higher standards.

Check out the factcheck.org. Interestingly, the latest one debunks moveon.org.

We have to look at all things critically.

Posted by: Jack at February 11, 2007 8:24 PM
Comment #207651


Even the names of many of these think tanks is very misleading. The Center For American Progress bills itself as a progressive think tank, but it certainly is not. The article Fueling Global Prosperity tries to claim that biofuels will be a boon for small rural farmers even though the trend is towards agribusiness and away from small farmers. For instance, since NAFTA was passed, one third of the small farmers in Mexico have been driven out of business. This is probably one reason why so many are seeking work in America.

No one ever mentions what affect a large use of corn, soybeans, etc. will have on food prices. In Mexico, the price of tortillas has risen by 50 to 400% because of American demand for corn to produce ethanol. I wonder what the price of a dozen ears of white sweet corn will be in the stores this coming summer?

Although I once thought that biofuels would be good in the short term, I now think the opposite. We know that it is possible to produce electric cars that can be recharged in the driveway can be designed and that they will probably be the best solution in the long run. I hope that this will not leave the door open for the nuclear industry because if we go that route there is a good possibility that other alternatives will never get their chance.

Posted by: jlw at February 11, 2007 10:00 PM
Comment #207657

jlw,

I’m not crazy about nuclear power either, but since I tend to think that we’re going to need a variety of alternative power sources, I don’t think we should outright dismiss nuclear power plants — especially if electric cars become the thing. Ye gods, think of the demand for increased electricity if even a quarter of the transportation sector goes electric.

I’m skeptical about biofuels, too. Oh, I think they have their place, but the numbers don’t seem to add up for them to be the main alternative to petroleum.

Posted by: Trent at February 11, 2007 10:53 PM
Comment #207668

Trent,

By Al Jazeera I meant the movie Control Room, in which our correspondents and theirs often watch the same scenes and come to completely opposite conclusions. I didn’t explain myself well at all. Highly recommend that movie by the way.

Posted by: Max at February 12, 2007 12:46 AM
Comment #207676

Max,

Yes, I think Control Room is definitely worth watching, too. Much more revealing than that documentary attacking Fox (I forget the name) which just made the same point over and over.

Posted by: Trent at February 12, 2007 1:24 AM
Comment #207857
Is a 4.5% unemployment rate good or bad? Is it possible to be biased with this?…Posted by: Jack at February 11, 2007 08:24 PM
4.5% is neither “good” nor “bad” when it’s just a number. You might compare it to historical values, still it is what it is. But once you attempt to apply adjectives, especially ones as vague as those two, there is nothing but bias since the number by itself means almost nothing. You have to answer “what is unemployment?” “Who is working?” “what jobs and income and wealth and stability and opportunity do they have and what did they have?” “what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’?” To answer your question; it is absolutely possible, in fact it is almost certain, for there to be bias in a good/bad answer. Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at February 13, 2007 1:13 PM
Comment #207884

Dave1

Unemployement has been figured more or less the same way for many years.

The things you mention have been addressed. If you cannot even agree that a number is unbiased, how can you possibly think anything else is or should be?

Posted by: Jack at February 13, 2007 3:24 PM
Comment #207898

Jack,

It’s obvious you either didn’t read or didn’t understand my post.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at February 13, 2007 4:49 PM
Comment #207903

Jack dismissing substance in favor of a simple summation laden with assumptions?

Dave1, it’s just par for the course. Jack stumbles onto a good point here and there, but substantiating them, right or wrong as they might be, is not his strong-suit. I can’t count the times I’ve told him the devil is in the details, only to be thereafter ignored.

But we do need to understand that his listing his sources seems to be his way of openning up a window into his thought process or leaving a trail of crumbs. After all, its the quick and easy way of doing so.

Posted by: Kevin23 at February 13, 2007 5:04 PM
Comment #207924

Kevin,

Perhaps you’re right and I’ve been giving too much credit. Maybe I will give a simpler reply:

Jack,

4.5% is a number that is neither good nor bad. It is objective and there is no bias.

Saying 4.5% is good (or bad) requires bias since good and bad are subjective terms

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at February 13, 2007 6:56 PM
Comment #207941

I read and understood your post, maybe better than you did.

I do not think it is possible to be unbiased. The best we can do is recognize it and declare it up front. The fact that you believe it is impossible to interpret a number that describes something we have been studying for years w/o ideological context tells me you agree.

Kevin

Sometimes I move to a different point and sometimes I just get sick of repeating the same ones.

Posted by: Jack at February 13, 2007 8:29 PM
Comment #207984

Better than I did? Now that’s funny.

A ‘number’ is unbiased (unless of course it comes from the Bush administration, then it’s just made up to justify a failed agenda… lol)

Interpretation is biased. On that we agree.

Finally, I believe it is possible to be sufficiently ‘unbiased’ such that the error in the bias is below the sensitivity of the measurements. That is only possible when a person is not an advocate of a result and instead view the world from the scientifc method.

You freely admit that you advocate, fine. You intentionally ignore contrary data and viewpoints, yet somehow expect your conclusions to be considered valid when often there is clearly so much evidence against it that you can not refute except by repeating opinion. That’s Madison Ave’s role, “buy my crap”, not one for a debate.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at February 13, 2007 11:41 PM
Comment #208183

Dave

Advocating does not imply ignoring contrary viewpoints. I just understand my limitations better than most people understand theirs.

I have not noticed very much objectivity in your posts. Maybe you just cannot see it - more’s the pity. There is none so blind as he who will not see.

You perhaps will understand that even the scientific method will produce different results depending on what you choose to study. That is why science has proven so many things in the past that we now consider unscientific.

It is hard to believe that you do not see your own bias or that you really believe your sources are unbiased. Maybe you should take a look at some of my sources. As I wrote, if you think they are all far right, you must be really far left.

Posted by: Jack at February 15, 2007 12:37 AM
Comment #208214

Jack,

I’ve never said I wasn’t biased, in fact I said the opposite. Nor did I say all your sources are to the right, in fact I said the opposite. Nor did I say my sources were unbiased, I never addressed my sources. I’m not priviledged to have access to the privately sponsored reports that are not freely distributed (i.e. the ones where actual investigation is paid for without the expectation of the report supporting a certain result) so any sources are suspect.

What I said was (a) some of your sources are “idea whores” meaning they are paid to advance an agenda in the guise of truthseeking(b) that you advocate instead of debate (c) that you rarely acknowledge or address data contrary to your opinion.

What I will also say is linking to liberal/centrist sources doesn’t mean you actually repeat, support, refute, or address any of their conclusions or tenets in your posts.

In science it often happens that scientists say, ‘You know that’s a really good argument; my position is mistaken,’ and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn’t happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time someting like that happened in politics or religion.—-
Carl Sagan

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at February 15, 2007 10:11 AM
Comment #208415

One last item, for posterity

Evidence that AEI is FOS
“love” this from AEI 10/24/04:
The operational good news coming out of Iraq was the destruction of the Mahdi army that served the rebel Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr.


Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at February 16, 2007 12:22 PM
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