Monday, January 24, 2005

Recap of Bush's tasteless inauguration week
The Daily Outrage
Ari Berman

Well, at least it snowed. Here's our choice recap of Bush's tasteless inauguration week.

** Remember when Tom Ridge upped the terror alert in the run-up to war in Iraq? Then again after Abu Ghraib and the 9/11 Commission hearings in May? Then three days after the Democratic Convention for New York and New Jersey? And it stayed orange all the way through the election. Finally, with Bush safely re-elected, Ridge lowered the alert a week before the inaugural. "In retrospect," the Washington Post wrote, "[the alerts] were based largely on faulty intelligence, dated information educated guess." Thanks for informing us now.

** But just in case, the Department of Homeland Security shut down 100 square blocks of downtown and deployed 7,000 troops. Who footed the bill? The financially squeezed District of Columbia. Breaking with past precedent, the Bush Administration forced D.C. to cover $12 million in security costs with its own homeland security funds. Apparently taxation without representation wasn't harsh enough.

** While DC pays, who parties? Corporations and their executives. According to a report by Public Citizen, corporate fat cats donated 96 percent of the $24.9 million raised as of Tuesday, with the finance and investment sectors leading the way at $6.3 million. In no way did Bush's plan to privatize Social Security influence their charity.

** Of course, when cash flies, lobbyists follow. The top Washington law shops vied to party with guests from the White House and Congress as the parade wrapped around Pennsylvania Avenue. "I find it a celebratory time, regardless of who wins," said high-profile lobbyist Wright Andrews. We bet he does. Especially when the food, flowers and booze are tax-deductible.

** With all this money whirling around, it's important to keep a little faith. That's why the right-wing Family Research Council (FRC) threw a "Values Victory" party on Tuesday at the ageless Willard Hotel. Partisan preachers Gary Bauer, James Dobson and Tony Perkins honored the 106 Congressmen who earned a perfect 100 on the FRC scorecard by voting to ban gay marriage, raise broadcasting fines for wardrobe malfunctions and oppose bipartisan hate crime legislation. In all, Jesus would've appreciated the absurdity of throwing nine balls, three candelit dinners, a rock concert and fireworks, followed by an inaugural prayer service.

originally published Jan 21, 2005