Thursday, January 13, 2005


The Moose concedes that the show will go on.

Several weeks ago, the Moose suggested that we forego the inaugural festivities and use the massive private donations to give to the families of those who lost loved ones in the war against terror and for the wounded. This was not intended as an anti-Bush gesture, but rather a small measure of sacrifice during a time of war.

It is obscene to hold a lavishly funded official ho-down in the nation's capital while our troops go into harms way thousands of miles away from home. Only a few miles away from the waltzing, brave young men and women will be struggling to walk again at Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval.

It is apparently such a national priority that we hold the Black Tie and Boots Ball that the Bushies are forcing the local authorities to take money from Homeland Security that is supposed to be used to protect us from the evil doers. Hook'em horns, four more years and let the party begin!

But only chumps really believe the flacks at the Inaugural Committee who contend that the festivities are a "celebration of democracy." Rather, it is a tribute to transactional democracy. President Bush has made his primary domestic objective ushering in the Second Gilded Age and his corporate cronies have responded in kind according to the Washington Post,

"President Bush wants to lower barriers to building nuclear power plants, and the lobby that promotes nuclear energy could not be happier. To show its thanks, the group has given $100,000 to help pay for his inauguration.

"He's a big supporter," said John E. Kane, chief lobbyist for the Nuclear Energy Institute. "Our donation is just a small way of supporting him."

"The nuclear energy industry's contribution is part of a record-breaking outpouring of corporate cash for next week's inaugural festivities. At least 88 companies and trade associations, along with 39 top executives -- all with huge stakes in administration policies -- have already donated $18 million toward a $40 million goal for the country's 55th inaugural celebration."

In this "all corporate access cash and carry inauguration", the big money is forking over piles of bills so that they will continue to enjoy a sympathetic ear in the Administration -

"Wall Street investment firms seeking to profit from private Social Security accounts; oil, gas and mining companies pushing the White House to revive a stalled energy-subsidy bill; and hotels and casinos seeking an influx of immigrant labor are among the 44 interests that have each given $250,000 and the 66 that have donated $100,000 to $225,000. And the money keeps pouring in.

"Practically all the major donors have benefited from Bush administration policies, especially from corporate and individual tax cuts, deregulation and the new prescription drug benefit that is part of Medicare. Most also stand to boost profits further because of Bush's second-term proposals, which include limiting medical malpractice suits, creating private investment accounts as part of Social Security and making a tax-code revision that is expected to reduce taxes on investments."

All of this patriotic fervor brings tears to the eyes of the Moose. He can't wait to see the Financial Securities Sector's Private Accounts Float, the Pharma Marching Band, the K Street Clydesdales and the HMO Fife and Drum Corps. Unfortunately, the Moose can't afford the fee that is charged to sit in the stands along Pennsylvania Avenue to watch the Corporate Excess Celebration of Access.

Here are two numbers to keep in mind - $40 million and $12,000. Forty million is the amount that is earmarked for the inaugural partying. Twelve grand is the amount of a military death benefit. Where are our priorities?

Fortunately, Senator Lieberman has introduced legislation (The Honoring Every Requirement of Exemplary Service Act - Heroes Act) to increase the death gratuity to $100,000. Of course, no amount of money can match the ultimate sacrifice that has been made by our fallen heroes. But, at least, we can began seriously honoring the debt the nation owes to their families for their loved ones' profound sacrifice.

This legislation should be the first order of business for Congress. There is no more important work.

-- Posted at 8:40 AM | Link to this post | Email this post