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Nigeria could be worse than Iraq April 10, 2006

Posted by Steve Gallagher in Government & Politics.

Nigeria is a huge country. 130 milllion citizens. They also have 35.9 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, the eighth largest on earth. They export 2.5 million barrels a day and plan to double that by 2010. They are the 5th largest supplier to the US now. Predictions are that within 10 years they will supply one quarter of America’s oil.

One trouble with this: they are potentially even more unstable than Iraq. The reason that oil prices have gone up in the last week has been trouble in Nigeria. In 2002 the White House the oil in Africa (Nigeria and 5 other countries) a “strategic national interest”. The significance of this: the United States may use military force if necessary to protect it.

One of Nigeria’s main problems is corruption. During the last 25 years, Nigeria earned more than $300 billion in oil revenues, while per capita income plummeted from $1000 to $390. Now more than 2/3’s of the population subsists on less than $1 per day. Meanwhile, since 1960, it’s rulers have systematically squandered or stolen $400 billion in govenment money. A World Bank report in 2004 stated that 80% of the country’s oil wealth went to 1 % of the population.

Nigeria has this: corruption, oil wealth, a burgeoning Muslim population, and a value to the US as an energy supplier. Osama bin Laden has called Nigeria “ripe for liberation”.

The US could find itself facing an Islamic population almost 5 times thet of Saudia Arabia, radicalized, and in control of abundant oil reserves which America has vowed to protect. This makes for a potential military intervention more massive than that in Iraq, and more important than Iran.

Interested in discussing government and political issues? Visit www.forum.govern.us

The True Cost of the Iraq War January 23, 2006

Posted by Steve Gallagher in Government & Politics.
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“In 2002, Lawrence Lindsay, then director of the White House National Economic Council, suprised the Bush administration by saying that a war in Iraq could cost $100 to $200 billion.” – Scott Wallsten

Soon afterwards he was fired. In 2003 Paul Wolfowitz testified before Congress that the war would pay for itself, using $15 – $20 billion a year in oil exports, $10 billion from an escrow account run by the UN, and billions more to be confiscated from Saddam’s own personal bank account.

Andrew Natsios, Chief for International Development at the State Department stated in an interview that the cost of the reconstruction of Iraq would be exactly $1.7 billion. Scott Wallstern has estimated that thru this past summer, direct costs to the United States has reached $300 billion, with the worldwide costs, including costs to the US, Iraq, and coallition partners has reached $500 billion, with future costs expected to double this. Before the war, several economists gave their predictions, including a calculation from William Nordhaus of Yale, with a figure of $100 billion to $2 trillion.

For more info go to: www.bepress.com/ev

To make your own prediction, go to: http://aei-brookings.org/iraqcosts/ 
where there is a chart with changable values. By moving the sliders for such statements as; “What will be the last year US troops are in Iraq”, and “How many US troops will die each year”, the chart automatically recalculates a dollar figure.

Government and Political Discussions January 23, 2006

Posted by Steve Gallagher in Government & Politics.
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Yesterday I started a discussion forum, set up on www.govern.us at www.forum.govern.us. The purpose of the forum is to allow people to have a common place to post facts and opinions about the government. Whether you feel strongly about some issue, or feel the need to help educate the masses on some subject you are familiar with, this is the place to do it. It has some aspects in common with writing a letter to the editor of your newspaper, with  added advantages of world wide access, and the ability to get replies and comments posted.

So try it out and have fun. You can also make a poll and post it, and see what results you get.


Cross Country Skiing in Vermont January 15, 2006

Posted by Steve Gallagher in Vermont.

I’m finally getting around to writing something here. I’m going to try out putting some images here. Click on them and you should go to a larger version of the photo.

These are from a 4 mile ski trip we took last weekend. Me, my wife Sarah, and my son Isaac. We were joined on the pond by my Mom and Dad. I hadn’t been on skis for 3 years, because of being in Mexico the last 2 winters. (Click on the thumbnails below)