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January 18, 2005

Half Mast

I've been relatively quiet around the political issues lately while taking a little break to recover from well, you know. But with the inauguration just around the corner, I think it's time to get back up on that soapbox and start making noise.

Here's a pretty good place to start. The Age has a story about the lavish plans for the the inauguration ball:

...Precedent suggests that inaugural festivities should be muted - if not cancelled - in wartime," Mr Weiner wrote. He suggested that the money could pay for 690 Humvees and provide a $US290 bonus for each soldier in Iraq.

He cited President Franklin Roosevelt, who celebrated his 1945 inaugural with cold chicken salad and pound cake...

In my head I've been writing my letter to the White House, to be sent on J20. It's a little reminder to those in the White House that 52% does not a mandate make. That the man in the Oval Office said that he would work for unity. That the world watches while America makes her move.

Yeah, I get that it's probably going to be deleted by some White House staffer. Which is why I've also planned to write my reps, Jim McDermott, Patty Murray, and Maria Cantwell, to thank them for making the effort to represent me accurately and to support them in the upstream battle that they are continuing to fight for Civil rights. And the environment. And diplomacy under, for crying out loud, Condeleeza fucking Rice. You know, the one the Chevron tanker was named after? 40 million on the inauguration when nearly 80 million American live without health insurance? Call me crazy, but I'm pretty sure we could insure them for .5 million a piece. It's basic math, people!

It's a kind of a haul from here to the embassy, but if I do manage to get there, I hope I won't be the only one, dressed in black, quietly flying the American flag at half mast on what is, to me, a day of tragic national mourning for the American that I love.

Posted by pam at January 18, 2005 07:03 AM | TrackBack
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$40 million for an opportunity to influence policymakers at a huge, multi-day party may seem like a grotesque display lacking sensitivity or even sense to you. But to those hundreds of lobbyists in DC and their policy advisor counterparts on the staffs of our elected officials it is the price of doing business with this administration. They would never think of donating the $ if it wasn't going to pay for access so arguing about how they are spending it is moot. If it wasn't for this, the money would never have been raised.

And to think, people were outraged by Clinton letting entertainment, political and corporate big shots sleep in the Lincoln Bedroom.

What is really pissing me off is the $17.3 million that it is going to cost to provide security for all of the events. This is coming straight out of $ allocated to Homeland Security, our tax $. Congress won't cover this bill. They are still underfunding the efforts to secure NYC and other significant population centers. So, Bush's Bash is just going to drive DC further into debt and force them to cut other programs like education and health services.

Is this really the price of governing or is it just the quadrennial wholesale of US political integrity?

Posted by: terry on January 18, 2005 02:04 PM

Will you also haul along your calculator, please?

Is this what the NEA dumbing-down of America is all about? I think someone's using some of that liberal "fuzzy math" again--like the kind used to say the top 20% of income earners -do not- pay 80% of all federal income taxes, when they do. See for yourselves:

Anyway, we certainly could insure some people very well for $0.5 million each, but when you spread $40 million inaugural dollars over 80 million uninsureds, that comes out to only 50 cents each, just enough to insure their...shoelaces???

It's basic math, people.

***I think Terry has a reasonable point in Para. 1.

Posted by: Nate on January 19, 2005 02:14 AM

In spite of my SHAMEFUL math (ARGH! I totally deserve the spanking and am leaving this open, even though in my red-faced horror I want to kill the post) I think the point holds. Also in this article:

"Precedent suggests that inaugural festivities should be muted - if not cancelled - in wartime," Mr Weiner wrote. He suggested that the money could pay for 690 Humvees and provide a $US290 bonus for each soldier in Iraq.

The President is spending megabucks on a party while the term Hillbilly Armour makes it into the public vernacular.

I'm not saying that I don't get the Money=Influence equation. I'm not saying I don't get that the money wouldn't otherwise be there. I guess I'm just saying it could be spent otherwise. Okay, simplistic and fuzzy. Okay. But throwing this huge party while soldiers are fighting seems, to me, somehow very disrespectful.

It's my liberal fuzzy feelings that lead me to holding this point of view. They are slightly more reliable than my liberal fuzzy math. (ARGH! The shame. ARGH! )

Posted by: on January 19, 2005 02:58 AM

It was all in good-natured fun, Pam. I know you made a simple mistake as we all do. Thanks for leaving the post open. I enjoy reading your view of the world--it keeps me thinking. Thank you for that.

Sure, we are all entitled to spend our money as we wish, and we usually do according to personal priorities, but I cannot help but agree with you and think you have a valid point on the lavish wastefulness that's happening around this inauguration, considering all other things. While the military is already receiving lots of funding, a little more certainly would not hurt. And who better deserves a $290. bonus and more equipment right now than an American soldier?

Would John Kerry be spending any differently had the tables been turned?

All the best Pam.


Posted by: Nate on January 19, 2005 02:45 PM
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