No War, Economy Expanding

Long time readers know I am a fan of Barron’s, and frequently reference
the usually fine Econoday updates of daily economic data. But the NYT’s Floyd Norris points to what can only be described as the single most absurd commentary on Sentiment data you will likely read in your lifetime.

"Consumer confidence is unusually low, at its fifth all time worse reading in 40 years of Conference Board data. The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index literally plunged in June, down nearly 8 points to 50.4. The expectations component is at a record low of 41.0, down more than 7 points, with the present situation at 64.5, down nearly 10 points for its worst reading since the early part of the ongoing expansion in 2003. But there is an expansion still underway and this is not a time of war, which makes the results difficult to figure."

Normally at this point in our conversation, I would be railing about whether the economy is expanding, given the negative readings in jobs creation, manufacturing, income, and consumption, and how understated inflation makes GDP look better than it is regardless. 

But considering that this is not a time of war, I must have another explanation. It seems I have fallen thru a tear in the fabric of spacetime into an alternate universe. Back in my universe, where the US is likely in a recession, there is also two wars going on, one in Afghanistan and one in Iraq. 

This tear in the fabric of spacetime does explain some of the more absurd commentary we have heard over the past few years: That the credit crisis is contained, or the economy was doing well, that real estate has bottomed, etc. We are simultaneous inhabiting two separate universes, one where everything is going swimmingly — and this one.

The disagreements about the state of the economy, the housing debacle, and the credit crisis seem to come about when someone from THAT universe — the one where the economy is expanding and there is no war — accidentally falls into OUR universe — but keeps discussing their universe.

Other than that, I can find no other explanation for the Barron’s Econoday commentary. Can you?




We’ll have more on Sentiment data later today . . .

NOTE: This data is not te same commentary found in Barron’s the weekly financial magazine, but rather, is via Econoday, which feeds some data and commentary to Barron’s.  Its not the sort of thing you can blame Rupert Murdoch for . . .


Are We Too Gloomy?

War? Recession? Not Here
Floyd Norris
June 25, 2008,  3:41 pm

Consumer Confidence  10:00 ET

Barron’s Econoday, June 25, 2008

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What's been said:

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  1. Someone of no consequence commented on Jun 26

    While the alternate universe theory is attractive, I find that it is more likely that cognitive dissonance overload is more likely.

    It’s what happens when people spend so much time positing theories that are diametrically opposed to the facts at hand that they create a virtual alternate universe.

    Every day we see examples of this syndrome.
    We’ve had many sophisticated financial folks who continue to maintain that we can borrow our way out of a debt problem. Last week it was politicians who were convinced that drilling our way out of an energy problem was as easy as eating your way out of an obesity problem.

    The worst thing about cognitive dissonance overload is that eventually the victims’ heads explode from the intracranial pressure, and it’s awfully messy. Don’t stand very close to any mainstream political pundit, Fox news personality, or a representative from a realtors group.

  2. Formerly known as… commented on Jun 26

    The elites in this country do live in another universe, It’s called denial.

    Oh, and don’t forget there are ladies at Walter Reed also.

  3. John commented on Jun 26

    I’m not quite such a fan of Barrons as you BR. They’ve long been fully paid up members of the Rose Tinted club like their stablemates over at the ed page and to some extent the reporting pages of the WSJ. To be honest I only read it intermittently but the “tone” is basically always the same so I assume this reflects their editorial stance.

  4. Donkei commented on Jun 26

    Obviously you haven’t been keeping up w/ modern physics. According to some variants string theory, there may be several trillion simultaneous universes (but, can or should the word “universe” ever be used in it’s plural form?) and we just happen to be in one of them. Sort of gives you an idea of why a lot of physicists prefer finance to theoretical physics. Well, that and the money.

    Now get in your worm-hole and you can travel to one of the other universes if you dare.

    I prefer the universe of Rock Candy Mountain, where work is a four letter word, and the rivers flow with whiskey.

    But seriously, the economy has not yet collapsed, and neither of the two wars are existentially threatening. I see the sentiment numbers as evidence of the innate fear of gravity. Once at the top, which really the US, more or less still is, and has been for a while, all roads lead down. I think people are beginning to come around to the notion that things are not apt to get any better for awhile, (or, at least not until our new Messiah Obama is crowned)and in the meantime, they might just get a good bit worse.

  5. cinefoz commented on Jun 26

    Lower the price of oil … Save The World. It’s just that simple. Everything else is old news, which is not to say it doesn’t have an effect. Nobody really cares that much about financials except those who are unlucky enough to own some at this time and those who want a bottom so they can satisfy some avarice.

    Most people believe the price of oil is fake. By inference, the system is crooked and investing in it is not safe. You not only have economic risk, you now have the risk of being ripped off by someone sending out another memo in an attempt to bird dog another price jump. All problems will begin to unwind and correct properly when Congress fixes the oil mess, hopefully in July.

    It is astounding how many analyst types and pundits ignore oil when ‘noticing’ there are problems in the financial world. It’s still housing, financials, rating agencies, write offs and the like. Yes, those are important, but they are yesterday’s news and only affect a segment of the economy.

    Rather than note oil is sapping disposable income, pin head pundits remember the recent past use of the home as an ATM and forget that not everyone is as clumsy with their personal finances as those who are so much fun to write about. Rather than apply a little common sense to oil prices and the rapid price run up and the lack of shortages of anything made from oil, pin head pundits speak the catechism of the ostrich, and talk stupid.

    Rather than examine the complex way derivatives can be used to invest in oil, most stump brained thinkers only think of vanilla shorts and longs in commodity futures and ignore exotic methods. Plus, greed speaks … “It couldn’t be MY investments causing this mess!”

    Incidentally, I up a little from my return back into the markets a couple of days ago. It could disappear in a day, but I’m happy. I went nowhere close to oil or anything related to natural resources. I’m going to buy them on the dip, or possibly crash, in August. I’m expecting everything else to look like Goldilocks on meth and crack combined later this summer.

  6. gunthestops commented on Jun 26

    Did Kudlow help write that article??????

  7. bdg123 commented on Jun 26

    I love Alan. Santoli is a thoughtful guy but I knew Jack Kennedy and he’s no Jack Kennedy.

    The comment about elites is right on. The reality is the minions are in a fight for their life. Those writing for Barron’s live in an alternative universe. That is reinforced by the circles they report about.

    Before we start a new cycle, NYC will become an epicenter of the real estate crisis and Wall Street with see layoffs in size and scope larger than at any time in our lives. THEN we shall see Barron’s reporting that the world is coming to an end.

    That’s when I will be buying.

  8. gunthestops commented on Jun 26

    cinefoz<---you still around buddy--I thought they would have kicked you out of your trailer by now--how the heck do you get internet service living in a cardboard box under a bridge----you are one crafty dude!!!!

  9. insaneclownposse commented on Jun 26

    It’s very sad what Murdoch has done to all the Dow Jones properties, including Barron’s. Barron’s has been very far behind the curve during this entire bear market. I recall a Mike Santoli column this past December claiming that “things aren’t all that bad.” Three months later Bear Sterns got vaporized.
    I gotta think what Barron’s has been spewing for the past nine months leaves two possibilities: either the journalists working there have been lobotomized, or — more likely — Murdoch has sent down a directive for all the publications to maintain a bullish tone regardless of what the facts say.
    Clearly Murdoch is no journalist. However, he is a tremendous businessman. Whether his strategy to take the Dow Jones properties down market to provide financial information to the masses will actually work remains to be seen.
    For me, the take away lesson is that now nothing in Dow Jones publications can really be trusted… which is sad because the WSJ was probably the greatest newspaper in the country before Murdoch ruined it.

    Remember that Murdoch was behind the Iraq war based on oil prices.

    “The greatest thing to come out of this for the world economy, if you could put it that way, would be $20 a barrel for oil. That’s bigger than any tax cut in the any country.”

    great call Rupert…..

  10. Michel Caldwell commented on Jun 26

    Maybe the war Barrons was referring to is the one between Israel and Iran which — as far as I can tell — hasn’t started yet. I have heard that if/when it does, it could have an even larger effect on the world’s markets.

  11. Risk Averse Alert commented on Jun 26

    Yes, I have an alternate explanation for all this: President Adolf Blair and his propaganda plants embedded in the not-so-well disguised “free press” are having a “Mission Accomplished” acid flashback out of respect for the passing of George Carlin.

  12. cinefoz commented on Jun 26

    cinefoz—-you are one crafty dude!!!!

    Posted by: gunthestops | Jun 26, 2008 8:49:08 AM

    reply: Damn right. I’m also good looking, muscular, popular, well liked by all, and just about perfect in every way. My only flaw is that I continue to underestimate my perfection. Thanks for noticing.

  13. Risk Averse Alert commented on Jun 26

    Yes, I have an alternate explanation for all this: President Adolf Blair and his propaganda plants embedded in the not-so-well disguised “free press” are having a “Mission Accomplished” acid flashback out of respect for the passing of George Carlin.

  14. cavjam commented on Jun 26

    This is but an example of increasingly common quantum leakage from what scientists call “Murdoch World,” a pyramid-shaped planet (all power and truth flow from the top) in the same neighborhood as Bizarro World. In this planet’s non-wars, the 20% of the non-troops which suffer brain injury begin to discover logic and threaten historical instability.

  15. grumpyoldvet commented on Jun 26

    Well…it’s really very simple…As Ron Suskind in a NYT article some months ago wrote when interviewing an administration spokesman…and I am parphrasing….You guys live in reality. we create our own reality…..Simply don’t admit what is happening and it isn’t……….

  16. John_Doe commented on Jun 26

    Yes BR I can explain the absurd comments… the Republicans/Conservatives along with the Wall St. criminals all enjoy lying…. if a person tells a lie enough then the lie becomes TRUTH to him.. a la Hitler. Now I am not equating these people with Hitler..but the same principle is correct. Bush thinks he is the Christ sent savior of America and must bomb Iran to save it along with the rest of the Middle Eat…. similarly, Ahmadinajad thinks he is the savior of Islam and must destroy the Great Satan…

    Let’s face it, almost everyone in our society is either in denial or blatantly lying…. Maybe Art Bell should Really President, he is the Savior sent by the Aliens..


  17. Bob A commented on Jun 26

    Isn’t this paper now a part of the organization owned by the same Rupert Murcoch who said the Iraq invasion would result in $20/bbl oil?

  18. BG commented on Jun 26

    Below are excerpts lifted from a Time Magazine article that came out this morning. Boy, this ought to cheer you up!
    “…The announcement came after North Korea handed over a long-awaited accounting of its nuclear work to Chinese officials on Thursday, fulfilling a key step in the denuclearization process. Bush said the move was “a step closer in the right direction” although he made clear the United States remains suspicious about the communist regime in Pyongyang.

    “The United States has no illusions about the regime,” Bush said in a statement that he read to reporters in the Rose Garden.

    Specifically, Bush said the U.S. would erase trade sanctions under the Trading With the Enemy Act, and notify Congress that, in 45 days, it intends to take North Korea off the State Department list of nations that sponsor terrorism.

    North Korea’s declaration falls short of what the administration once sought, and the White House already has come under criticism from some conservatives. Bush said there was still a long way to go.

    Bush said the U.S. message to North Korea was, “We will trust you only to the extent you fulfill your promises. I’m pleased with the progress. I’m under no illusions. This is the first step. This isn’t the end of the process. It is the beginning of the process.”

    “If North Korea continues to make the right choices it can repair its relationship with the international community … If North Korea makes the wrong choices, the United States and its partners in the Six-Party Talks will act accordingly.”

    While welcoming North Korea’s declaration, Bush repeatedly said it was just a first step….”
    One thing is for sure…that report will not be worth the paper it is written on. This is just one more reason why we should be so happy with the current state of affairs.

    Sometimes reality is a bitch!! As stated by others above, you can either deal with it or ignore it.

    I think our family jewels are clearly exposed on this one. It’s hard to straddle the two camps on this issue; but Bush has had no luck on this issue either. I kind of feel sorry for Bush. Everything he has touched has turned to @#it. Much of this has been brought on by the current Administration; but not all of it.

    Source: Time Magazine
    Title: Bush Will Lift N Korea Sanctions,8599,1818078,00.html?xid=feed-rss-netzero

  19. maybe panzner’s on to something commented on Jun 26

    we’ve become a nation of cognitive dissonance, wikiality and truthiness.

    If the market sees a waterfall decline this summer like summer 01, blame above.

  20. cinefoz commented on Jun 26

    I just read a WSJ story about oil prices. It appears that everyone who USES oil products claim the problem is being caused by investment banks and exotic investments. The people who sell the exotic investments blame everyone else. By inference, the Mafia doesn’t commit crimes, it just works in the system. Anyone who complains about Mafia antics is just expressing sour grapes.

    So, the people closest to the problem all point fingers at the same place. Either they’re too dumb to know their business, or they want Congress to stop the thieves. The thieves, of course, blame the victims.

  21. MarkM commented on Jun 26

    Uh, anyone notice that Europe is tanking?

  22. sergtat commented on Jun 26

    >>>”All problems will begin to unwind and correct properly when Congress fixes the oil mess, hopefully in July.”

    XAXAXA Do they ever fixed anything?

  23. Philippe commented on Jun 26

    Is Mr Abelson not writing for Barrons?
    I remember many months ago his editorial posted on BP and himself digressing on the dim prospect of profits within the SP universe. Assuming that there is only truth in sciences the theory of black holes driving to different universes may have been applied today.

  24. Jim Haygood commented on Jun 26

    That Barron’s parrots the standard administration line — “the U.S. economy is fundamentally sound” — is unsurprising. After all, that’s their job as stenographers.

    But it’s the folks who actually SUBSCRIBE to read this bilge that worry me. Why would you spend your hard-earned money on a diet of toxic lies? Just nibble on some rat poison or something.

  25. grumpyoldvet commented on Jun 26

    BG…..heard Bush’s presser this AM on CNBS about the North Korea agreement….one of the reporters asked a question and the answer from KingBoy was amazing…it was full of pauses and squinting eyes as if his earpiece wasn’t working and he had difficulty hearing how he was to respond…If this wasn’t the case then his inability to formulate an answer to a question was truly remarkable…Our representative to the world

  26. Michael Donnelly commented on Jun 26

    “I’ll take some of whatever she’s having.”

    When Harry Met Sally (1989)

    I don’t know what’s in the water at Barrons’ but serve me up some, that’s got to be some good stuff…

  27. Winston Munn commented on Jun 26

    I guess “war expectations” must be at a low, then, and “growth expectations” at a high. After all, didn’t Bernanke teach us all that it is only expectations that matter – that reality is illusion?

  28. BustaMove commented on Jun 26

    Guess no one at Barrons has had to bury a loved one brought home from Iraq/Afghanistan.

  29. N commented on Jun 26

    Past few Barron’s propoganda covers.

    June 2nd: Buy GM — down big since that cover

    April 28: Big money poll — most institutional managers are bullish/neutral; markets down since that cover

    some time in April/May: Bulls are back

    March 25: Banks have finally hit bottom? (trying to lure suckers in)

    Feb: Buy Wells Fargo

    Jan: Whack That Bear

    At what point do they question themselves or their intelectual honesty as a journalist

    (forgive any typos — he I am not hurting the country with typos)

  30. mike in pr commented on Jun 26

    I guess we have ignored the war so it has gone away.

  31. Bill Chrystal commented on Jun 26

    It has been a while since I read it but it has a Orwellian 1984 flavor to it – maybe they believe peace is war?

    One could debate there are three distinct wars being fought – Iraq (Sunni, now Shia insurgents), Afghanistan (Taliban, Pashtun ethnics) and the global fight against multinational Al-Qaeda. At least far more debatable then the absurd statement at a paper I normally respect.

  32. jjcomet commented on Jun 26

    “…which is sad because the WSJ was probably the greatest newspaper in the country before Murdoch ruined it.”

    We must have been reading two different versions of the WSJ. The op-ed page of the paper has been delusional for years; their contributors have been some of the biggest cheerleaders of the disastrous policies of this administration. The “stars” of the paper are people like Broder and Krauthammer, who haven’t had a clue in decades. Murdoch’s presence has only accelerated the paper’s slide to irrelevance,

    “Whether his strategy to take the Dow Jones properties down market to provide financial information to the masses will actually work remains to be seen.”

    I never understood this strategy or how anyone thought it might work. The “masses” don’t own enough financial equity to make it worth their while to subscribe to a paper like the WSJ. According to a recent study by an NYU economist, the top 20% of earners hold 91% of all stocks and about 93% of the total financial wealth of the nation. The “average” American portfolio contains less than $5,000 worth of investment instruments; the median is likely far less than that. I can’t see how Murdoch plans to make the paper relevant to the vast majority of Americans and keep it in anything like its current format.

  33. mark commented on Jun 26

    You people in NY do inhabit a different universe. That’s been the case for decades. Out here in the real world the shit is about to hit the fan. It would all be great fun to watch if I didn’t inhabit the real world. The pain ain’t begun yet!!!

  34. Pat commented on Jun 26

    Presumably the author is writing for a target audience who’s pocketbooks are growing because they own Halliburton and Exxon and they watch Fox News if any news at all. This isn’t a parrallel universe but a safely insulated one.

  35. RW commented on Jun 26

    Re original post: I was thinking it’s probably mass psychosis but alternative universe sounds more interesting and less pejorative; after all, they couldn’t all be liars, could they?

    Re Oil: (a) Everyone talks their own book; (b) the commercial traders don’t like the way ‘index speculators’ (AKA hoi palloi) are changing commodity market dynamics and want them out; (c) other factors such as ‘speculation’ (by the commercials too), risk premia levels, carry cost, collusion and market rules have probably always affected price to varying degrees but no one appears to really know by how much, possibly because these other factors are inherent in the way the markets actually operate.

  36. JT commented on Jun 26


    Your problem is you chose the red pill NOT the blue. Wall Street has chosen the blue. Better to eat virtual steak than cold oatmeal.

  37. Bob commented on Jun 26

    Yes, I can explain it. We are not at a state of war; we are at a state of occupation.

  38. Eric commented on Jun 26

    I know it’s not what they meant, but what’s happening in the Middle East cannot accurately be described as “war”, but rather as “chaos”. Seriously though, it speaks volumes about our society and this administration that Iraq would simply slip someone’s mind.

  39. Unscripted Thoughts commented on Jun 26

    Alternate universe that is apparently math challenged as well. Actual drops from 57.2 to 50.4 (11.88% in a single lump and really bad if annualized) and is below the consensus numbers (although that should be no surprise to anyone). Yup…looks okay to me. Nothing to see here folks…move along.

  40. wunsacon commented on Jun 26

    >> You people in NY do inhabit a different universe.

    Uh, dude. Watch the broad brush, huh? Thanks.

  41. lutton commented on Jun 26

    YOu know what really peeves me about things like “economy expanding; no war?”

    That when it comes time to cover their tracks provide immunity for domestic spying, or bail out financial institutions, they turn around and emphasize the global WAR on terror, or economic distress.

    It’s as if they say whatever fits the narrative for that moment, with no correlation to what they said yesterday, or what they’ll say tomorrow.

  42. squeezed commented on Jun 26

    “It could disappear in a day, but I’m happy.”

    Wow…that was prescient!

  43. dave54 commented on Jun 26

    To be contrary they’re pivoting off this:


    Even if the price of oil fell, the cost of ‘energy’ will keep on rising?

  44. Unsympathetic commented on Jun 26

    The people who publish the trifling nonsense in Econoday are paid to toe the company line. When it comes to macro issues – much like Ben’s inflation expectations, it’s not the reality that’s the issue, it’s our FUTURE EXPECTATION that matters.

    The emperor has no clothes.

  45. bluestatedon commented on Jun 26

    The problem is that Barron’s alternate universe is the one in which Ralph Nader was killed in his Corvair in 1962, and so wasn’t around to peddle the notion that there was no difference between Gore and Bush in 2000, meaning Al Gore won Florida by a tight yet unassailable margin, and outright won the Presidency that he assumed upon the resignation of Bill Clinton in 1998.

    Which means in turn, that the Bush tax cuts never occurred; that Iraq was never invaded, and resources were not diverted from the task of rebuilding Afghanistan in the war Congress authorized after the discovery of the Al Queda plot to attack New York and the Pentagon. By the close of his second administration, Gore had managed to maintain the fiscal situation he inherited from Bill Clinton, in large measure by persuading Congress and the American people that a temporary tax increase was necessary to pay for the war costs in Afghanistan. In addition, an alert President Gore vetoed the bill containing the rider sneakily tacked on by Phil Gramm that did away with the remnants of Glass-Steagall, which in turn meant that the mortgage and housing crisis that afflict our economy never occurred in President Gore’s universe. While there still has been a dramatic rise in the price of oil, the Gore administration initiatives passed by Congress early in his first term meant that by 2008 the U.S. was leading the world in the development and engineering of renewable energy technologies. Gore’s decision to push for a renewal of the nuclear power industry was bitterly attacked by environmentalists, but his overriding concern about global climate change led him to alter his previous opposition to nuclear power.

    After his defeat by Gore in 2000, George W. Bush purchased the Houston Astros, and they have languished in the bottom of their division since then. His daughter Jenna volunteered for the Army, and has served in Afghanistan for three years. Dick Cheney resumed his position at the head of Halliburton, but his 17th heart attack forced his retirement to his ranch in Wyoming, where his daily routine consists of shooting penned-up game birds and strangling rabbits with his bare hands.

  46. Bruce commented on Jun 26

    Enough gloom, I am here to cheer you up…we need a new term to take the place of stagflation….stagflation I would think would be if there were significant inflation in a stagnant economy..

    But what we have here is inflation in a shrinking economy…so we need a term to cover this event…

    A few ideas…anyone??


    Bruce in Tennessee

  47. mephisto commented on Jun 26

    Shameful. They need to print a retraction.

  48. michael schumacher commented on Jun 26

    Wait until we see the next president have to deal with agencies chock full of Liberty U graduates…

    The term cluster-fuck will have a new meaning.
    Think it’s bad now??? We’ll have an additional 4 more years of it regardless of who gets “elected”.


  49. Jenna’s Bush commented on Jun 26

    There certainly is no war for the children of the Republican elite working at Barron’s. Serving in the military is for “the little people”.

  50. bluestatedon commented on Jun 26

    A new president always has a significant amount of influence, direct or otherwise, on who is at regulatory agencies. While a President McCain would probably keep Liberty U grads in place, if not promote them as a sop to the evangelicals, an incoming Democratic President would normally make wholesale changes.

    This is the hidden dimension of the Presidency that Ralph Nader ignored in his fatuous assertion that there was no meaningful difference between Gore and Bush. There is not a particle of evidence that Al Gore would have appointed a former horse show manager to be the head of FEMA, along with the amazing number of hacks, incompetents, crooks, and cronies that Bush has appointed over his two terms to virtually every government agency. What Nader never acknowledged — because it would have destroyed the basic premise of his argument in 2000 — was that Al Gore, whatever his faults, believes that certain government functions are necessary and therefore have to be done competently and honestly. George Bush and his lackeys think that “expertise” and “competence” are irrelevant, because there is no such thing as a common public good that requires good governance. To Bush, government exists only insofar as well-connected Republicans can enrich themselves at public expense, which is the essential practical philosophy behind Bush-era outsourcing. There is no other explanation or justification for the gigantic cost overruns that Halliburton and KBR are charging the taxpayers in the course of providing basic services, to pick just one example.

    If the financial mismanagement, waste, fraud, and abuse that has occurred in Iraq under Bush had taken place during a Gore administration, the GOP would already have impeached him, and Rush Limbaugh would have been leading the charge. Since it’s all occurred under a Republican, it’s all good to Rush and company.

  51. BABH commented on Jun 26

    Um… Typo? Barron’s editing is always pretty sloppy, and the sentence makes much more sense when you drop the “not”.

  52. VJ commented on Jun 26 No War, Economy Expanding

    Eyes wide shut, steno pen in hand.

  53. Peter Principle commented on Jun 26

    “Other than that, I can find no other explanation for the Barron’s Econoday commentary. Can you?”

    It’s because we’ve gone Sen. Aiken one better: We’ve declared victory and NOT come home.

  54. Ralph commented on Jun 26

    Think Kubler Ross.

    Still in the Denial phase! Granted this guy has an oversized case.

    Can’t wait for Anger. This guy will be skewering everyone and anyone. Look out below Mr Bernanke.

    Then bargaining. Making a patriotic appeal to buy stocks. Support your country! Now that is a real solution!

  55. VoiceFromTheWilderness commented on Jun 26

    No wonder our War President needs all those extra spying powers — he needs to figure out who stole his war.

  56. constantnormal commented on Jun 26

    Were it not for the maimed and dead in Walter Reed and other facilities, I would be tempted (and AM tempted, but only tempted) to write off our current indulgence in the “war on terror” as similar to the previous “war on drugs” and “war on poverty”. While I suppose that there are certainly some DEA agents pushing up daisies from the “war on drugs”, so far as I know of, the “war on poverty” has yet to claim the life of a single bureaucrat.

    However, our approach to the “war on terror” is strikingly different from previous actual wars, in that we are not going after the leaders of the opposition in any serious manner, instead putting most of our effort into securing a permanent Middle Eastern military base in Iraq (where the oil is, silly) — as opposed to invading Pakistan (our “friend” who helps North Korea with nukes and shelters Osama bin Laden and the Taliban) and cleaning out the nest of vermin therein.

    It’s kind of like if we had focused all our energies on securing North Africa and the Philippines in WWII, instead of driving into Germany and Japan and securing a victory.

    It strikes me that we are in a “war” for PR purposes only, and not for the purpose of defeating the enemy. Therefore, it is not really a “war”, dead military personnel and civilians notwithstanding. Our current administration finds terror to be as effective a tool as does Osama bin Laden, and they are unwilling to do anything to lower the terror level.

    After a thousand years of our Iraqi occupation, Al Qaeda will be as strong as ever (probably stronger), and Osama bin Laden’s successors will be in firm control of Islamic peoples everywhere.

  57. higgsnyc commented on Jun 26

    could just have been a poorly written sentence by someone trying to make a deadline.

    Curious, though, rather than rip that one sentence, shouldn’t we be looking at the spending on the current 2 wars versus other wars as % of GDP to see if the current spending is on a similar scale? war / no war is easy, but the next level of analysis would seem to be the effects of these wars versus those of the past.

  58. Itchy Brother commented on Jun 26

    When a war is paid for with a credit card, fought by the economically disadvantaged or private contractors, and more or less hidden from the public view, is it really a war?

  59. Greg0658 commented on Jun 26

    Posted by: bluestatedon | Jun 26, 2008 12:05:13 PM
    I’m in that version of Camp Reality

    BG – if I remember my facts correctly, Iran supplies China oil – Have we been treating China rightly generally as a whole? Or….

  60. Kathleen commented on Jun 26

    glad you got a sceen cap. It’s gone now, with no note that it’s been edited.

  61. Francois commented on Jun 26

    “It’s as if they say whatever fits the narrative for that moment, with no correlation to what they said yesterday, or what they’ll say tomorrow.”

    They’ve all read 1984 at the Federalist Society and the Club for Growth.

  62. bartkid commented on Jun 26

    >Its not the sort of thing you can blame Rupert Murdoch for . . .

    Y’mean outsourcing editorial content?
    Yes, I think this is very much the sort of thing I can blame Mr. Murdoch for.

    I believe all of the Murdoch-owned media outlets are acting like there is no Iraq or Afghanistan warfare. Quick look, apparently Obama is a country club snob!!11!!

  63. C. Fountain commented on Jun 26

    Hey, haven’t y’all heard? The Surge is working! Petraus is tooling around Baghdad in an unarmed Humvee. We won the war. Al qaeda’s on the run. I know cause McCain told me so.

    (Oh, but of course we STILL can’t come home.)

    Peace be with y’all.

  64. iLarynx commented on Jun 26

    Technically, and Constitutionally speaking, we are NOT in a “state of war.” It is an important legal distinction to make as this administration is using this “in a time of war” ruse to shore up support for its failed policies. Constitutionally, a state of war exists when Congress issues a formal declaration of war. This triggers all sorts of legal issues related to domestice issues along with international treaties. A formal declaration of war was never made. Bush’s own AG pointed this out a few years ago. To refer to the military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan as the US being in a “state of war” give the impression that the actions have backing the backing of Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution through a formal declaration of war, which they do not.

    HOWEVER, from a financial perspective, our military adventures of invading two sovreign countries is putting a tremendous drain on our financial resources. Why they didn’t phrase this as being in the midst of an “expensive military action in two countries” is beyond me.

    Certainly, the soldier suffering from any wounds doesn’t care about declarations of war – he suffers in any case. BUT, to continue to refer to the USA as being in “a state of war,” is simply incorrect, and only serves to legitimize the illegitimate military actions this administration has conned our country into.

  65. Simon commented on Jun 26

    cinefoz gunthestops is right. you are a very crafty dude!

    But the we can’t be sure gunthestops is gunning in the right direction either.

    Beware of people with guns. They may be turning them on themselves in time.

  66. pft commented on Jun 26

    I see no evidence of a war on CNN. Also, technically we occupy Iraq and Afghanistan. There is no war, that was over with in 2003. Wars are fought against armies of soverign nations, and prisoners of war get covered under the geneva convention. Resistance against an unlawful occupation by poorly armed insurgents is just a messy peace. The price to be paid for access to trillions of dollars of oil.

  67. Brian commented on Jun 26

    “After a thousand years of our Iraqi occupation, Al Qaeda will be as strong as ever (probably stronger), and Osama bin Laden’s successors will be in firm control of Islamic peoples everywhere.”

    I’m guessing that after a thousand years that Osama will still be alive and terrorizing the US

  68. Element 5 commented on Jun 26

    This isn’t a “time of war”, it’s a time of using the military to facilitate the objectives of American corporations. The U.S. isn’t at war with Afghanistan, it has simply taken over the country to build an oil pipeline through it (and located its military bases along the path of that pipeline, originally at the behest of Enron). The U.S. isn’t at war with Iraq either, it attacked the country to control its oil fields (oh, and to generate a trillion dollars in no-bid contracts for companies linked to the Bush administration). Everything you need to know about this is located in the Energy Task Force documents that President Cheney refuses to release.

    However, impeachment is off the table.

  69. flenerman commented on Jun 27

    Re your Correction/Clarification: NOW can we blame Rupert Murdoch? Can we, can we?

  70. nick gogerty commented on Jun 27

    Barron’s relevancy fades. Long Bits, short ink on dead trees.

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