Monday, March 14, 2005

Cogging in the media machine

Babble on.

I'd be lying to you if I said I wasn't having a bit of a puffed-chest moment reading this article this morning:

The initial exultation over military spending promises in last month's federal budget is giving way to sober second thought by some in the defence community.

Upon closer scrutiny, the government's promise of $12.8 billion in new spending over five years may not be all it's cracked up to be, say observers.

For at least the next three years, spending - adjusted for inflation - will still be well below peak levels in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

And there are no guarantees the minority Liberal government will be around to keep the promises, or that the economy that must support the spending increases will hold up.
One-time increases in defence spending over the next two years have been pegged at $500 million and $600 million, most of which is targeted specifically for infrastructure upgrades.

But figures adjusted for inflation indicate this and next year's budgets are only equivalent to or less than adjusted spending last year, when planes were grounded and ships tied up for lack of resources to operate them.

A look at defence spending from 1986 to the present suggests the military is still far below the peak 1988-89 level of $16.1 billion adjusted to 2005 dollars.

A look at defence spending since 1986-87, with figures converted to 2005 dollars in brackets. All figures represent billions of dollars. (Conversions were made using the Bank of Canada's Inflation Calculator):
1986-87 $9.9 ($15.5)

1987-88 $10.7 ($16.1)

1988-89 $11.2 ($16.1)

1989-90 $11.6 ($15.8)

1990-91 $12.3 ($15.7)

1991-92 $11.7 ($14.8)

1992-93 $11.9 ($14.7)

1993-94 $12.0 ($14.7)

1994-95 $11.8 ($14.3)

1995-96 $11.4 ($13.6)

1996-97 $10.6 ($12.4)

1997-98 $10.2 ($11.8)

1998-99 $10.3 ($11.8)

1999-2000 $11.5 ($12.9)

2000-01 $11.5 ($12.5)

2001-02 $12.2 ($13.2)

2002-03 $12.4 ($12.8)

2003-04 $13.2 ($13.4)

2004-05 Projected at $13.3

2005-06 Projected at $13.4

Mr. Stephen Thorne is a man of his word.

What strikes me is that the government of Canada spent more on our military in constant dollars in 1995-96 than it will in 2005-06. So much for a "renewed commitment" from our Liberal oligarchy.

I am inordinately proud of having played a miniscule role in all this. More than that, I'm glad someone's saying what needs to be said: we can't continue to underfund our Armed Forces if we're going to keep sending men and women in uniform into dangerous situations. Even if you put moral issues like that aside, our lack of miltary resources is crippling our foreign policy. The Liberal smoke-and-mirrors budget is a drop in the bucket - no, a promised drop in the bucket.

Now, since a picture is worth a thousand words, we need to get a graphic presentation of these figures into circulation. Time for this techno-idiot to get off his duff and finally figure out how to post an original image with Blogspot.

Babble off.

Update: VW at The Phantom Observer beat me to the graphic. I still have to figure out how to put something like that up myself, though.


At 12:11 p.m., Blogger Andrew said...

Wow - awesome job!

At 12:23 p.m., Blogger The Monger said...

Good for you, Babbler!

At 1:47 p.m., Blogger VW said...

Damian, I've plugged the CP numbers into Excel and come up with a chart, here.

Good job, finding that article.

The Phantom Observer

At 2:05 p.m., Blogger RightJab said...

Well done!... I saw that article and immediately thought of your post.

I haven't commented on this story myself because after 25 years in the Canadian Forces, I'm just not able to discuss military budgets without swinging my arms around, rolling my eyes, feigning punches to my abdomen, and shrugging my shoulders a lot. If you also factor in the incredible amount of alcohol required to calm down, it makes posting about it insanely impossible.


At 5:57 p.m., Blogger Babbling Brooks said...

RightJab, with that level of experience, you should really chime in on military matters.

We need some Canadian milbloggers!

At 6:12 p.m., Blogger Shannon said...

Wow. You rock, Damian!

Not bad for a teenage diary that hardly anyone reads by a guy who doesn't have the foggiest idea what he's talking about. Keep it up and you might get a real job someday!

At 6:29 p.m., Blogger Robert McClelland said...

I must be missing something because I don't see what the big deal is over something that is undisputed common knowledge.

And how do you know you had anything to do with this story? Did the writer contact you or are you just assuming that because you both wrote about the same thing it must have been a result of your research?

At 7:16 p.m., Blogger Shannon said...

Robert: You are missing something. Go back and read what Damian wrote two posts ago.

At 8:49 p.m., Blogger treehugger said...

Man o man...This is a disgrace and I can’t believe that I am the only dissenting voice. Damian, you know well we are on different sides of the fence on many issues. No, problem, you and I can tip a pint now and then carry on.

I am outraged by this incident for a different reason. His "eminence" Norman Spector just finished posting an op/ed in the National Post last week about how Canadian bloggers have few achievements and are ineffective in comparison to our American counterparts.

Damian's post that caught Mr. Thorne's eye was a real accomplishment in the Canadian blogosphere. It was something unprecedented. First he captured Well’s endorsement for a well argued rebuttal of his own regurgitation of the budget speech in classic lazy-ass media style. Wells gracefully acknowledged Damian’s research and convincing post referring his readers to this site. Thorne has not given anything resembling the same courtesy in his article.

My point to this long winded comment is, where was Thorne's credit to Damian for the inspiration to his story? He quoted plenty of military "experts" but apparently the source of his original thoughts on the matter, Damian, was not worthy of mention.

Damian did the heavy lifting on this one and deserved better from Mr. Thorne. Damian earned a big pat on the back for his work on this one whether you agree with him or not on the contents of the post. Mr. Thorne should be ashamed of himself for going ahead with his article and not giving any credit to Damian for the inspiration of the content of the article.

This isn’t about left or right bloggers, it is about sticking up for the credit that is due. Norman Spector doesn’t get it; apparently Stephen Thorne doesn’t either.

The fact that Damian got no credit from Thorne is a disgrace.

At 9:43 a.m., Blogger Babbling Brooks said...

Thanks TH, you're a stand-up guy.

Honestly, though, I'm OK with it. If a blogger had treated the story this way, I'd be upset.

But the MSM still plays by different rules, and this is Thorne's day-job. If you got a great work idea from the blogosphere, and wanted to clear it with your boss or clients, would you make sure they knew you got the idea from your blogging hobby?

Thorne and I have spoken by phone and e-mail, and he knows. The people in the blogosphere I respect know. That's all the stroking my fragile little ego needs.

It's probably a good thing he didn't mention the blog at all: my prime motivation is to get the information out there, and we all know that anytime the MSM mentions a blogger, it turns into a story about blogging. This is a story about defence budgets, and Liberal smoke-and-mirrors.

At 1:34 p.m., Blogger Declan said...

It would be interesting to see the inflation adjusted defense figures plotted with similar figures for federal government spending in total, or spending exlcuding interest payments on the debt, or transfers to the provinces. Or maybe plotted as a percentage of ogvernment spending.

That way we could tell if the defense spending cuts were just the same medicine that all federal spending received over the 1995-2004 period or if they were treated worse than other areas.

I guess I too need to figure out the whole chart thing (I appreciated the Phantom's description of how to do it)

Anyway, good work Damian.

At 7:22 p.m., Blogger treehugger said...

"Honestly, though, I'm OK with it. If a blogger had treated the story this way, I'd be upset.

But the MSM still plays by different rules, and this is Thorne's day-job."

I can't help but thinking what kind of shit would fly if the roles were reversed in this case. You deserved a mention, as a source or whatever.

At 8:11 p.m., Blogger What it takes to win. said...

Well Done Damian!


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home