It is a time of freedom and fear, of Gaia and of borders, of many paths and the widening of a universal toll road, emptying country and swelling cities, of the public bought into privacy and the privacy of the public sold into invisible data banks and knowing algorithms. It is the time of the warrior's peace and the miser's charity, when the planting of a seed is an act of conscientious objection.
These are the times when maps fade and direction is lost. Forwards is backwards now, so we glance sideways at the strange lands through which we are all passing, knowing for certain only that our destination has disappeared. We are unready to meet these times, but we proceed nonetheless, adapting as we wander, reshaping the Earth with every tread.
Behind us we have left the old times, the standard times, the high times. Welcome to the irregular times.
Republican Party Chief Ed Gillespie Lies for Bush
Saturday, September 27, 2003
In his September 26, 2003 letter to Bush campaign supporters, Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie yet again demonstrates the willingness of the Republican Party leadership to engage in bald lies in order to defend Bush's missteps.
After referring to criticism of a President as "hate speech," Ed Gillespie lays down the mission of the recipients, conservative political activists called "GOP Team Leaders": "As Team Leaders, we are dependent upon you to make sure communities across this great nation get the FACTS." It's too bad that Gillespie's "FACTS" are not, in fact, factual.
In order to diffuse criticism of the mounting costs of Bush's War in Iraq, Gillespie says "Compared to similar conflicts the cost of fighting the war in Iraq is small. The cost for this war amounts to approximately 0.5% of Gross Domestic Product, compared with 130% for World War II and 15% for the Korean War."
Gillespie gets these estimates from an article entitled The Economic Consequences of a War with Iraq by Yale Economist William D. Nordhaus. Reading his Table 2 and surrounding text in which the figures for Korea and World War II are calculated, we find to arrive at this figure, the total cost of the war (no matter how long it takes) is divided by the average annual Gross Domestic Product during the war. This tells us how to make a parallel calculation.
So, is it true that the cost of Bush's War in Iraq is only 0.5% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP)? In order to figure this out, we need to know what the Gross Domestic Product is. We can't know for 2003, since that year is still underway. A reasonable guess would be to go with the U.S. GDP for 2002, which was 10.4462 trillion dollars (source: Bureau of Economic Analysis at http://www.bea.doc.gov/bea/dn/gdplev.xls). How much has Bush's War in Iraq cost so us so far? Let's be generous and not count the costs involved in long-term medical care for wounded American soldiers, or the cost of buying new bombs, missiles and bullets to replace the ones that are being used, or any other indirect costs. No, to be nice to Gillespie let's make an absurdly conservative calculation of costs and just focus on the costs of war having directly to do with Iraq: invasion, occupation and reconstruction. $79 Billion were appropriated by the U.S. Congress for Bush's War in Iraq in the spring of 2003. Bush has already asked for another $71 Billion just for Iraq (the $87 Billion figure is widely quoted, but includes continuing multibillion-dollar costs for Afghanistan). That makes for $150 Billion already, which is 1.5% of the last available annual U.S. GDP. That's three times Gillespie's figure, not including any indirect but real costs of the Iraq war. Ed Gillespie reads the newspapers. He knows these numbers. Ed Gillespie is lying.
Of course, the war in Iraq is, unfortunately, not over. A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators estimates that we'll be in Iraq for five years. Let's be extra nice and not only ignore the indirect costs of Bush's Iraq War but also assume that the cost of Bush's war will be cut in half each year, so that in year 2 we'll only need to fork out $35 Billion, then $17 Billion in year 3, then $8 Billion, then $4 Billion, and then nothing at all afterward (riiiight...). This brings the total cost of the war to $214 Billion, or 2% of annual U.S. GDP. That's four times Gillespie's figure, making the nicest of assumptions on Gillespie's behalf. Gillespie isn't a fool. Even to his own political shock troops, Gillespie is a liar.
(Sources: CNN September 17, 2003, Washington Times September 25, 2003, Reuters , Bureau of Economic Analysis, The Economic Consequences of a War with Iraq by William Nordhaus)
Friday, September 26, 2003
Wesley Clark Fizzles at Debate
Was Wesley Clark at the Democratic presidential debate last night? I saw a suit about his size standing at a podium, but Clark himself didn't seem to be filling it up.
Mostly, Wesley Clark talked about how he hasn't been in politics long enough to know very much or to have a plan for how to run the country. The question that immediately comes to mind is: Why is Clark bothering to run for President if he doesn't have a clue about what he wants to do when he becomes president?
Wesley Clark also failed to address his first and most important question: Why should Democrats vote for Clark when he has so consistently supported extremely conservative Republicans, from Nixon to Reagan, from Bush to Bush? Yes, as recently as two years ago, Wesley Clark was lecturing Americans about how glad they should be to have George W. Bush in the White House.
Wesley Clark failed to answer these questions, and faded into the background for the rest of the debate. If he keeps up this kind of performance, Clark can quickly expect to sink down into the single digits in the upcoming Democratic primaries.
Thursday, September 25, 2003
$87 Billion Dollars?
$87 Billion isn't the half of it!
No, it's something more like the 5th of it. If you've got questions about whether the $87 Billion dollars that George W. Bush is spending on the war in Iraq, you'll be just itching for answers when you find out that the House of Representatives just passed Bush's request for a $368 Billion budget next year. The $87 Billion for Iraq is an extra item that has to be added on to the rest of the military budget, for a whopping total $455 Billion for the Pentagon.
Right now, the American public is paying around $4 Billion every month to the military for the war in Iraq. The strange thing is that, every month, only $2.5 Billion of that $4 Billion is accounted for. Where is the missing $1.5 Billion going? Well, George W. Bush refuses to tell the American public, and won't even make a hint to Congress. It's another one of his secrets. Bush likes secrets.
One Senator suggests that this $1.5 Billion in missing money could be going to bribe foreign leaders to get them to consider sending a few hundred soldiers to Iraq to make Bush look better. The fact is that the $1.5 Billion dollars that goes missing from the Iraq war every month could be going anywhere - heck, it could be going as kickbacks to Bush campaign supporters, for all we know. Missing money tends to be a sign of corruption at the highest levels of government. Yes, I'm talking about the Bush Administration when I say that.
Bush Puppets Move Away From Democracy in Iraq
Wednesday, September 24, 2003
Mother Davis closes her eyes and remembers,
They told us that we were bringing Democracy to Iraq, remember? They criticized the Iraqi government for not allowing a free press, remember?
How is it, then, that the American dictatorship over Iraq is now outlawing journalistic groups that disagree with the occupation, censoring them from having representatives in Iraq? That's bringing Democracy to Iraq, huh? Well, then, I hope Bush never decides to apply his kind of Democracy back here in the United States.
Reporters without Borders called the censorship "without any doubt a blow to press freedom... Such measures augur ill ... for a rapid transition to democracy in Iraq."
Now, all journalistic entities in Iraq must toe the party line of the "ruling council" that was handpicked by George W. Bush and Paul Bremer. Sounds kind of familiar, doesn't it?
Trying to remember that in Bush's mind, censorship is freedom,
Tuesday, September 23, 2003
In a new Gallup Poll, George W. Bush has hit his lowest approval rating ever since entering office.
Meanwhile, our irregular statistics show evidence that Wesley Clark is not just a flash in the Clinton conspiracy or moony media pan. There's something real going on here. Six times as many Clark stickers as Dean stickers have sold off our shelves in the past week. Clark meetups added 1,248 new members yesterday, while Dean meetups added 474. All of a sudden, Clark has the second-largest meetup mass of all the candidates.
This shouldn't be read as a Clark surge at Dean's expense, but as an independent phenomenon. The sticker shock happened not just because all the Dean people already have stickers: the rate of Dean sticker purchases haven't gone down, the Clark sticker purchases have just soared. Similarly, the rate of about 400 new members a day is a long-term average for the Dean campaign, meaning that the Dean engine is still chugging along at an impressive clip (Kerry and Kucinich add roughly 30 new members a day, and the Bush, Gephardt, Lieberman and Edwards campaigns add 1 or 2 new members daily -- if they're fortunate enough not to actually lose membership).
Our statheads conclude that in these two measures of popular support outside the view of the media circus, Clark and Dean are the dynamos of the moment.
Return to the Irregular Times Main Page
Read our Blog Archives