Friday, October 03, 2008


A Cuppa Joe With Ol Joe

God, I've missed Mark Steyn. The prosecution he faced for accurately quoting Muslims about Muslims which POed other Muslims (hypersensitive ones) in a nation, our polite neighbor to the North, which once defended freedom of speech, put him in a fit of pique and silent for a while.

But he's back in a pretty big way with a review of the recent Vice Presidential debate, with a focus on Biden, and it was very good, as usual, and insightful but the second to last paragraph made me laugh out loud, twice. Here's a taste from another paragraph or two.

By contrast, Biden was glib and fluent and in command of the facts – if by "in command of the facts" you mean "talks complete blithering balderdash and hogwash." He flatly declared that Obama never said he would meet Ahmadinejad without preconditions. But, on Debate Night, the official Obama Web site was still boasting that he would meet Ahmadinejad "without preconditions." He said America spends more in a month in Iraq than it's spent in seven years in Afghanistan. Er, America has spent over $700 billion in Afghanistan since 2001. It's spending about $10 billion a month in Iraq. But no matter. To demonstrate his command of the "facts," Sen. Biden sportingly offered up his own instant replays:

"My friend John McCain voted 422 times against tax cuts for the middle classes. Let me repeat that so the American people are clear on this. My friend John McCain voted 673 times against tax cuts for the middle classes."


I don't know the truth here, but it can't be Steyn. Here's the chairman of the CBO (feb 11 2008):

appropriations for military operations and other war-related activities in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere in the war on terrorism will rise to $188 billion this year and to a cumulative total of $752 billion since 2001.

I think we've spent more than 52 billion in Iraq!
oh, and I did a search on 422 and 673 in the speech transcript. Found neither. It was "477 times" and Biden immediately called it a "bogus standard". Can't find "673 times"...

Maybe the reason we have to endure Palin's tune is that there are no words. Kinda like that aweful "Na na na.." part in Hey Jude! and please, please, plase don't wink at me any more - I'm actually a grown-up!
The cost for the war fighting is only part of the money we've spent in Afghanistan trying to rebuild that poor country. The 673 was humorous fiction. Grown or small, I have to admit I've always liked a wink from a pretty woman. Thanks for the comments.
Oh, wow, 700 billion on the war on terror AND 700 billion (or so) on Afghanistan, a country with a GDP of 20 billion. Who knew? Doesn't seem that money's been well-spent then does it?

The 673 thing was in quotes in Steyn's article. I believe that's meant to imply the guy actually said it - I guess I just don't get Steyn's humor. Like "complete blithering balderdash and hogwash" (Just reminded me of the old Batman shows: "Blam!!! Whamo!!").

But let's get serious. So Biden's one attempt at folksiness failed. oh well. Let's compare that with the utter drivel of a Palin:

"what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the healthcare reform that is needed to help shore up our economy, helping the - it's got to be all about job creation, too, shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health-care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans. And trade, we've got ot see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive, scary thing. But one in five jobs being created in the trade sector today, we've got to look at that as more opportunity. All those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is part of that".

I'm not laughing.

(OK I did laugh when Palin said "nucular" in the debate).
So you prefer clearly delivered misinformation to less articulate truth? Got it.
Does the $20 Bil figure include the heroin trade?
The problem markswrite is having is in understanding that Biden claimned we were spending more PER MONTH in Iraq that we had in SEVEN YEARS in Afghanistan: "He said America spends more in a month in Iraq than it's spent in seven years in Afghanistan."

markswrite is correct in saying that more has been spent IN TOTAL in the Iraq campaign than has been spent IN TOTAL in the Afghanistan campaign, but that's not what Biden claimed in the debate, and it is not the point of what Mr. Steyn was pointing out. Pay attention to the details, fellas!
Roger, not sure how you deduced that from what I said. I believe Biden's was not misinformation, but was somewhat misleading - he was comparing our military spending in Iraq with our "country-building" spending in Afghanistan. Steyn I think is just plain wrong (or being "humorous"), and that was my main point Marya, although I haven't got all the Afghanistan spending facts ($172 billion on military appropriations is what I'm seeing).
Fine, we'll use your figures: $172 Bil does not equal %10 Bil--not even close. It's not Steyn lost in the figures here. Thanks for the assist, Marya.
Wow, I am having difficulty getting this across aren't I? OK, last time:

* Biden made a comparison between the amount we spend a month in miltiary appropriations (say 10bn) and the aid we give to Afghanistan (not including military) - less then 10bn. Why he did that, I admit, is beyond me and I think it was confusing - it was an "apples to oranges" comparison. But the figures are right

* we spent 172bn on military in Afghanistan. Plus the 10bn is 182bn. Nowhere near 700bn

* my simple point was, why mock a guy for being unfactual using figures that are themselves way off? Unless Steyn has some backing for his 700bn I would say yes, he's lost in the figures!
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