2005 Inaugural Celebration

After doing a bit of house-cleaning1 and trying to fix a problem with Ariesna‘s computer2 when I decided to take a break and read some blogs off my portal page. At AWelkin‘s page, I ran across this link: 2005 Inaugural Celebration.

Estimated cost of the 2005 Presidential Inauguration celebration: $40 million
Amount currently pledged by the United States to aid victims of Sunday’s tsunami: $35 million
….
I read that the cost of your upcoming inauguration has surpassed $40 million. I also read this morning that the tsunami death toll has reached 114,000, and that more than 1,300 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq since our 2003 invasion. I know too that many Iraqi civilians have suffered this past year.

I think it would be a magnanimous and inspiring act of Christian goodwill and worldwide solidarity if you were to forgo the planned inaugural celebrations this year and instead pledge those funds to worldwide disaster relief and the rebuilding of civilian infrastructure in Iraq. I think it would be a gesture that Americans, and indeed, the world, would never forget.
….

I thought that was rather inspired and stopped a moment to do the same. I post about it here to try spreading the word to encourage others to do the same.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I hope you all have a happy, safe & properous new year!

1 Stop that sniggering! Everybody has to clean their place some time and while I dislike doing it; sometimes the mood hits me. Today it hit me because I was drying a rug on the shower curtain bar and the water that came out of it was funny colored. It rather resembled the cat vomit that hit the rug last night; hence my desire to clean the tub before using it today.
2 Sorry dear, it’s still not working. I’ve got an alternative plan in mind now but it’s ugly. Tell you about it later.

11 Comments

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The cost of the inaugural celebrations are mostly due to the costs associated with increased security due to this being the first inaugral celebration since 9-11. The US has a much higher pledge as of today – we simply needed to allow time for the situation to be assessed so the proper amount of money could be allocated. Also, unlike most other countries with HUGE tax rates, we like to rely more on personal donations from the American people instead of the government. Isn’t it wonderful that we live in a land were we can control our own money like that? America will have the biggest outpouring of monetary support from actual individuals than in any other country – ever thought of it like that?

America will have the biggest outpouring of monetary support from actual individuals than in any other country – ever thought of it like that?

To be honest, I’d not thought about it like that; however that’s not really the point here. Rather why does the President need to spend MILLIONS of dollars on a party to say he’s the President? Especially when there are so many worthy causes out there that could desperately use the funds?

To quote former President Franklin D. Roosevelt:

Mr. Chief Justice, Mr. Vice President, my friends, you will understand and, I believe, agree with my wish that the form of this inauguration be simple and its words brief. . . . We have learned that we cannot live alone, at peace; that our own well-being is dependent on the well-being of other Nations, far away. We have learned that we must live as men and not as ostriches, nor as dogs in the manger. We have learned to be citizens of the world, members of the human community.

It’s me again. In response to your response to my post – I just thought I would imform you that the inauguration was mainly financed through private money. Bush and the administration have basically no say-so on how much of that money is spent or what it is spent on. I’m sure if Bush had it his way he would have spent that night snuggled up on the couch taking it easy, instead of attending the lavish yet boring balls that were thrown in his honor.

You should try taking a look at this article from MSNBC.

The estimated budget for the event is $30-40 million, but that will not cover security costs.
The Department of Homeland Security has designated the inauguration as a National Special Security Event, which makes the high-profile gatherings eligible for federal money and heightened security overseen by the Secret Service.

Jeanne Phillips, a veteran Texas GOP fundraiser, said she has worked with the Bush family on three previous inaugurations. She served as Executive Director of the 2001 committee for George W. Bush and in 1989 for his father’s inauguration.
Phillips explained that the Bushes are always personally involved in the planning process.

The emphasis added above was mine. From the way that article reads, none of the money raised for the celebrations will be going to security. It also doesn’t sound particularly like Bush would have prefered to “spent that night snuggled up on the couch taking it easy”.

Lastly, while it is wonderful that we live in a country that allows us to have more direct control over our money; wouldn’t it be nice if we had a leader that would channel that money to better serve our country than by throwing lavish parties? For instance, according to some figures I’ve seen; $40 million dollars could have bought:
* between 160-222 newly armored Humvees for our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
* 47,114 different sets of Level IIIA Ballistic Steel, Ceramic or Polyethylene Body Armor to protect the troops.

Given that he committed this country to a war; maybe he should have insisted that he would spend the night on the couch, taking it easy and spent all that money on protecting our troops that he’s put in harm’s way.

Well let me just say this – this is a traditional part of American history in which all other 54 presidents have taken part. In times of war and in times of peace. I will not begin to describe the wasteful ways our money is used in other sectors – given away to people who seem to think that we just print new money! Furthermore, how about Clinton? Spending money left and right all the while received information that America was being threatened – there were several terrorists attacks during his administration – some published, some not. But alas, he did nothing about it. Instead he sat back and enjoyed being praised for things he did nothing to create, and not once taking a hard look at the realities America would have to face sooner or later. Then Bush comes to office and BAM! All of what Clinton put off came to fuition. He has done the best job any man could have done. People seem to forget that he has much greater intelligence than we do from our 5:00 news. We don’t know exactly all that is going on around us. We must simply trust our president – a man that obviously cares so much for the health of this nation.

You do certainly make strong emtional appeals, but you’ve yet to give us any evidence to support your claims. Additionally, you point out that “all other 54 presidents” have taken part in Inaugural celebrations; however the last time I checked Bush was only the 43rd President of the United States.

Kathryn, Mark may be what we in the reality-based community refer to as “too polite” to write a fact-based screed to set you straight on Bush, or he may simply realize that it’s an exercise in futility to try to spoon-feed facts to someone who has already made up their mind on a subject. But I’m a sucker for futility, so:

Inaugurations are traditional, but sticking the city it’s in (DC) with $12 million cost for security is not. Yes, there is a lot of waste out there, but pointing that out does not excuse this waste. Similarly, pointing out that Clinton spent money (though less than Bush) has zero to do with defending Bush. Nor does stating the falsehood that Clinton did nothing about terrorist attacks during his administration. That’s so blatantly false, it sounds like something Hannity or O’Reilly would spout. Some of Bush’s chronological record includes:

– Bush, to win the primary, had a company call voters in South Carolina pretending to be an “independent polling agency.” Their question? It was “If you knew Senator McCain had an illegitimate black baby, would you be *more* likely to vote for him, or *less*?” Actually, John McCain and his wife had adopted a baby from Bangladesh. But you have to admit, the slander helped get Bush elected. And in that respect, Bush was already starting to show us what kind of a “good job”, as you put it, he was going to do.

– Upon gaining office, he said he would “refuse to tolerate North Korea getting a nuclear weapon.” He then pursued that policy by … steadfastly refusing to negotiate with the Pyongyang regime. Way to work hard. It’s estimated they have 6 to 10 nuclear warheads, now. Oops.

– The Graham/Rudman report, which was initiated by the Clinton administration to find out the most likely or imminent terrorist threats to the U.S., was finished after Bush took office. Graham pressed to get time with the administration to discuss its conclusions, that the biggest threat to our security was a catastrophic attack on our homeland. But the Bush administration didn’t want anything to do with something the Clinton administration wanted done. And Rudman had been a McCain supporter against Bush in the primary, so Bush wouldn’t meet with Rudman. And Hart, the other pusher of the report, was a democrat, so Bush wouldn’t meet with him, either. Way to work hard. The report, which eerily details weaknesses exploited for 9/11, was completely ignored. Oops.

– Bush appointed Cheney to find out who would be best to run an anti-terrorism taskforce. Cheney came back with one person: himself. So Bush appointed Cheney chair of this taskforce and … they never meet. Nine months into Bush’s presidency, there were exactly zero meetings of the anti-terrorism taskforce. And this is “the best job any man could have done”?

– 9/11 happened, and Bush invaded Afghanistan, which was the right thing to do to undercut large terrorist cells, operations, and recruitment. Yes. Score one for Bush.

– Bush fought military combat pay increases, and instead pushed to cut taxes. A bill to lessen part of Bush’s tax cuts (for those who already earn more than a million dollars a year) in order to increase port security, were shot down in the House under pressure from the White House. That’s the best job he can do? Did he have “greater intelligence” that showed our ports were safer than security experts were saying, and that tax cuts were more necessary for U.S. security? Riiight. Way to work hard.

– He then pressed to invade Iraq, which had no large terrorist cells, operations, and wasn’t a center for recruitment. This drew attention and resources away from Afghanistan, and now our undersupported effort in Afghanistan is floundering. Oops again.

– Bush has ignored his military commanders’ advice, and the CIA and Military College’s report on post-invasion necessities, because the recommendation to use hundreds of thousands of troops to invade Iraq was an unpopular way to sell the Iraq invasion to the U.S. The Bush administration claimed these experts were “wildly off the mark”, and one general who pressed the point that it would be costly and take lots of troops was forced into retirement. Instead, Bush pressed ahead with his preformed plan to “invade-on-the-cheap.” His administration said — over the entire operation — invading and stabilizing Iraq would cost the U.S. absolutely no more than $50 billion. Now we see that invading too early with too few forces, to put his ideology ahead of our troops’ safety, has cost us in lives and gargantuan deficit spending. Double oops.

– The unanimous 9-11 Report revealed that the Bush administration ignored the August 6th 2001 presidential briefing titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike within The U.S.”. This report was created by the independent 9-11 Commission, which Bush fought to keep from forming, and later fought to keep from interviewing him or Cheney. This is not to be confused with the congressional 9-11 investigation which Bush also had fought to keep from forming. The bipartisan 9-11 Report, read in hindsight, is startling in its specificity and accuracy. It talks about how Al Queda was looking into hijacking, had flown planes into buildings in the past, and was looking at targeting downtown New York buildings. This briefing immediately prompted both Bush, and Cheney’s terrorism taskforce, to do what you describe as “the best job any man could have done”. That is, abso-tively nothing. Wow, was THAT ever an oops.

– So we have Iraq. Hundreds of billions of dollars. Soldiers on their fourth tour of duty or some pulled out of twenty years of retirement. 1200 ongoing multi-year indefinite incarcerations, without charges, representation, or contact with family, and only one of those people brought to trial. And you know what you *don’t* hear Bush saying? “Oops.”

Now, as an effort to spend money left and right, and to boost terrorist recruitment around the world by several times over, Bush’s policies have actually been a resounding success. But man, really, what a complete flop.

As for Clinton, it seems you got that almost exactly backwards as well, though I’m always up to read evidence to the contrary. We must NEVER simply trust our President. History shows us that, consistently, government will take and abuse as much power as we let slip from the people’s fingers. I am not arguing that Bush doesn’t care for this nation, just that he’s an incompetent boob when it comes to protecting it.

Just thought I’d mention Clinton’s actions, since it looks like Kathryn’s not too interested in finding out what was really going on.

Clinton talked about terrorism in every State of The Union speech. Tripled counter-terrorism funds to the FBI, doubled counter-terrorism funds overall. Captured tried, and convicted the first World Trade Center bombers. His administration thwarted plots to: kill the Pope, blow up 12 US jet-liners simultaneously, attacks on UN headquarters, the FBI building, the Israeli Embassy in Washington, the LA and Boston airports, the Lincoln and Holland tunnels and the George Washington bridge. Right after the Oklahoma City bombing, Clinton introduced legislation to increase intelligence agencies ability to wire-tap terrorists. Strangely, republicans wouldn’t pass it. This, in contrast to the omnibus Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act (USA PATRIOT Act) introduced after 9-11, which in addition to aiding law enforcement is also an ugly blot on personal liberty and counter to the ideals of the Constitution. And guess what? Bush spent 42% of his first 7 months on his ranch, at Camp David, or in Kennebunkport, vacationing. Clinton, on the other hand, met with his counter-terrorism tree regularly and often. Imagine that! For a while, near the millinium, he met with them every day!

If Clinton was “doing nothing” and Bush was “doing the best any man can do”, then for the safety of our country, I sincerely wish that Bush would stop doing his best.

HAHA! You guys are a hoot – just further proof that commen sense isn’t all that common . . . have a lovely day gentlemen.

I thought about just deleting Kathryn’s last comment, but then I realized she’s (partly) right. Common sense isn’t all that common and she’s living proof. She comes to a low traffic blog, makes a bunch of emotional arguments, fails to back up her arguments with any sources or facts and then comes back weeks later to mock those who had been discussing the issue.

It is interesting that someone would counter evidences and checkable facts, not with facts of her own, but with, “oh, you guys a hoot.”

In the context she’s using, I’m used to ‘hoot’ meaning ‘lacking veracity’ or ‘not checking sources. But then, she does neither of these things, so this is obviously some use of the words ‘hoot’ and ‘common sense’ that I’m not familiar with.

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