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Not healthy for the nation

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Today’s Boston Globe has a slew of columns about Larry Summers’ remarks over the weekend. Apparently it takes the folks on Morrissey Blvd a couple of days to get up a full head of steam. I did not find any of them particularly interesting. What was interesting was an editorial which criticized the Bush inauguration while trying to sound even handed. For example:

For instance, historians have noted that the ceremonies have frequently been muted in time of war, notably by Woodrow Wilson in 1917 and Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945. Two Democratic congressmen have informed colleagues that Roosevelt gave a short speech in the White House and served guests “cold chicken salad and plain pound cake.”

Of course the Globe doesn’t mention that FDR was in poor health, so poor that he had less than 3 months to live. Nevertheless his very short speech, also given in wartime, is one that would choke any Democrat who tried to give it today, but rather has a sound like many of today’s Republicans. Take a look – it’s only 1 page – right here.

Digging the hole deeper, the Globe oracles write:

But most troubling from the perspective of domestic policy is those who are funding the fun in Washington. The McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill, passed after enormous public pressure, limits political contributions to $2,000 and bans direct “soft money” gifts. But the big givers have found other routes, writing huge checks to “independent advocacy groups,” the parties’ national conventions, and now the inaugural events.

Apparently overcome by the need to keep up appearances, Bush has this year restricted inaugural contributions to no more than $250,000. This is a big step up from the $100,000 limit he imposed four years ago but still far less that the seven-figure checks some supporters wrote during the campaign.

Unsaid here is that the Kerry campaign and left-leaning 527s received many more seven-figure checks than Bush and conservatives. Finally, digging down to China (emphasis mine):

Interests, whether individuals or corporations, make such contributions for a reason, and it is a reason that is not healthy for the nation. In the future they should be limited to throwing their own parties, with an official inaugural ceremony and ball paid for with public money and modest public contributions. That would be a better start for any president.

Got that? “Not healthy for the nation”, regardless of the source or the level of public disclosure. Instead we should be spending the taxpayer’s money for a suitably Puritannic celebration.

On a lighter note, is this story of a morning breakfast club of liberal Kerry voters in nearby Lexington (was there once a battle fought there over something or other?), who are still in various stages of mourning over the November outcome. The article includes comments by some of the loons who were demonstrating outside of Kerry’s Beacon Hill home recently. That fellow says:

He does not trust the media to [expose the ‘fact’ of Bush’s election stealing] — ”They make us look like idiots, conspiratorial” — and he does not trust Congress to do it. So this week he launched a website, www.bushstole04.com, that includes links to other websites launched by citizens’ groups that contain information about voter fraud. ”It’s really up to the everyday person to realize they’re not finding the truth from the media and the entire system is corrupt,” Lopisi said.

The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy has apparently expanded to include the mainstream media. Somebody better inform the folks over at CBS, and quickly!

Looking past the next 4 years of a Republican executive, one liberal breakfast clubber remarks (entirely innocent of the irony):

“Parties can self-destruct,” Jim Fesler offers hopefully. “They’re pushing a lot of stuff that could put them out to the fringe.”

Do tell.

From Squaring the Boston Globe

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About Harry

  • I have seen reports of our soldiers in Iraq doing jailtime for stealing scrap to make into armor. I would think that corporate spending on a lavish inauguration and party would not be healthy for the nation, at least in terms of us coming off looking like idiots.

  • Good article Harry.

    Steve, how about linking to one story about a soldier doing jail time as you say. It’s called NJP, non-judicial punishment. And I’ve NEVER heard of any military person being charged under the UCMJ for stealing garbage. Just show me one legitimate story!

  • Andy, on this thread here, in comment 1, I originally linked to the story, just over a month ago. The link is to yahoo news and it’s from a Chicago tribune story, you can tell by the URL. You get a page expired message now.

    I did find on this page, a story from the AP, dated around the same time. About 70-80% of the way down the page, you’ll see this headline:

    Six Army reservists court-martialed for scrounging equipment in Iraq

    By John McCarthy

    12:54 p.m. December 12, 2004

  • Great article.

    If there were courts martial for scrounging earlier in the war, they’ve stopped since then. I’ve seen a number of soldiers publicly admit to scrounging with no repurcussions.

    My guess would be that the nature of the scrouging in cout martialed cases would be more comprehensive than just armor. What they want to discourage is borderline looting and trophy taking, and I bet some of that went on especially early in the war, and that should get you a court martial.


  • Nevertheless, my original point still stands; that there is a perception of our men over there severely underprotected and a lavish party costing millions, no matter who pays, can’t possibly win any political points.

  • I suspect most of the negative commentary is fueled by sour grapes. Inaugural celebrations are paid for by those who are celebrating, and that’s appropriate.

    BTW, Steve S, if you spend your life trying to control other people’s perceptions of you, you will not only not succeed, but you will go crazy in the attempt. Better to do what you’ve determined is right, and let people think what they will anyway.

  • BTW, Steve S, if you spend your life trying to control other people’s perceptions of you, you will not only not succeed, but you will go crazy in the attempt. Better to do what you’ve determined is right, and let people think what they will anyway.

    DrPat – That’s really amazing advice — seriously. I need to print it out and tape it to my wall. I once heard Chris Robinson proclaim at a Black Crowes concert, “Let your freak flag fly,” but it really boils down to the same thing.

  • Well, Eric, they don’t call me “the doctor” for nothing…

  • Indeed!

  • So the soldiers in Iraq shouldn’t worry about the perception of them not having enough armor. Okay, I got it.

  • Did you read that article Steve? It says they scrounged 2 tractor trailers! Not junk, 2 working trucks.

  • Thanks all.

    A bit of info for you Gex X youths, the phrase “Let my freak flag fly” antedates the Black Crowes by a few decades. It is from an old CrosbyStillsNashYoung lyric of the late 60s:

    “Almost Cut My Hair”

    Almost cut my hair
    It happened just the other day
    Was gettin’ kinda long
    Coulda said it was in my way,

    But I didn’t and I wonder why
    Guess I had to let my freak flag fly
    I feel like I owe it to someone.

  • yeah, Andy, I read it. It says that soldiers didn’t have what they needed to complete the mission so they took abandoned vehicles that still have not been reported as missing, and they got jailtime for trying to protect themselves. That’s what I read.

  • It also said that they tried to hide the act by removing all identifying material off the trucks after they were done with them.

  • hehe. Andy, it’s not a partisan issue.

    The point being, soldiers have to steal to get protection. Whether they get punished or not, is NOT my point.

    Juxtaposing that with a lavish expensive inaugration for a man who sent all these soldiers into harms way with inaequate protection is the point.

  • They didn’t steal it for protection, they stole the trucks to get the job done. As one higher up said in the article, it wasn’t taking the trucks that was the bad thing, it was not returning them. I never said it was a partisan issue.

  • They didn’t steal it for protection, they stole the trucks to get the job done.

    The point about the money spent on the inaugration remains.

  • Steve S, the advice about perceptions was apparently too subtle for you. Here are both my points in plain-text:

    Griping about someone else choosing to celebrate only illuminates your sore loser status.

    Saying a thing is true doesn’t make it so – and the up-armoring issue is a bad lie that gets smellier every time it is uttered. So your insistence that we care about a perception built on a falsehood is ludicrous.

  • DrPat, I am talking about lack of funding for troops, which is painfully obvious, even troops are talking directly to Rumsfeld on camera about this. Not even Rumsfeld would call that a ‘perception built on falsehood’.

    Dismiss it, and the need for an extravagant lavish party if you want, my point is, the rest of the world is not. I haven’t heard the rest of the world come to believe that underfunded troops during a time of war is just the ludicrous falsehoods of some guy on the net.

  • **still holding nose**

    I saw the whole conference you refer to, not just the sound-bites being used to push this falsehood.

    Can’t stay to debate ya tonght, I’m off to the dance. I expect to see my Marine nephew there, too, just back from Iraq.

  • mlneil

    Then you all don’t know — and neither do the troops overseas — that our diplomatic corps is supposed to be searching for mucousal oracle beads as compliance with the International Rules of Diplomacy and religious agreement? [Imagine a world where the ‘geiger counter’ was not invented to detect metal.]