Monday, January 19, 2009


Obama is a hypocrite. His hype: "With billions of people living on just dollars a day around the world, global poverty remains one of the greatest challenges and tragedies the international community faces," Obama said.

His reality: "The country is in the middle of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, which isn't stopping rich donors and the government from spending $170 million, or more, on the inauguration of Barack Obama."

His hype: "It must be a priority of American foreign policy to commit to eliminating extreme poverty and ensuring every child has food, shelter, and clean drinking water. As we strive to rebuild America's standing in the world, this important bill will demonstrate our promise and commitment to those in the developing world."

His reality: "They are not the $20 and $50 donors who helped propel Obama through Election Day," said Massie Ritsch, communications director for the Center for Responsive Politics. "These are people giving mostly $50,000 apiece. They tend to be corporate executives, celebrities, the elite of the elite."

His hype: "It matters little if you have the right to sit at the front of the bus if you can’t afford the bus fare; it matters little if you have the right to sit at the lunch counter if you can’t afford the lunch."

His reality: Obama's Inauguration has been financed partially by bailed-out Wall Street Executives

37.3 million Americans were living in poverty in 2007 and that number is much higher now. The country lost 21,000 jobs in one day. "Among the inaugural expenses: a Bruce Springsteen concert, the parade, large-screen TV rentals for all-free viewing on the national Mall, $700,000 to the Smithsonian Institution to stay open and, of course, the balls, including three that are being pitched as free or low cost for the public.

Meanwhile, back at the reality ranch, How much rice does it take to feed a person for a day?
In countries where rice is a staple part of the diet, WFP provides, on average, about 400 grams of rice per person, per day. That is intended for two meals that include other ingredients to ensure a minimum of 2,100 kilocalories per day. There are about 48 grains of rice in a gram. How many grams of rice would 165 million inaugural dollars buy? A LOT.

As the 'elite of the elite' dance the night away, and the bills for this expensive party come rolling in, think about how many grains of rice that party money could buy. Think about a president who ran on a platform of vowing to eradicate the tragedy of world poverty, yet is happily throwing the biggest and most expensive inaugural party of all time.

ABC NEWS: What Recession? The $170 Million Inauguration

more at the link. Much more. If you dare.


Christie said...

Here's what is different:

Obama capped donations at $50,000 per person, which is still more than 10 times what individuals could give to his campaign, but a lot less than the $250,000 cap President Bush had at his last inauguration. Contributions from corporations, labor unions, political action committees and registered lobbyists are not being accepted by Obama.

At the very least, he's trying to be different.

Tammy said...

I would venture to say that even MLK would have advised against this inauguration. Let him take oath quietly and get to work.
I am unemployed, cannot find a job....and while my children are not hungry yet....I think about the children who are...and how that money could have been spent to help America.

For the first time in my life, I am ashamed of my country.

Anonymous said...

Whoops! The figures comparing the cost of Obama's inauguration and Bush's are, yep, unsubstantiated - and the numbers for Bush's are false, because they do not include the cost of security.


Did you hear that "some are saying" Barack Obama's inauguration will cost "$160 million," which is $100 million more than George W. Bush's last swearing-in? That's the tale the crew at Fox & Friends was telling on January 15. "Why does the thing have to cost so much?" demanded co-host Gretchen Carlson. "I don't get it. George Bush spent $42.3 million and that was just four years ago." She wondered why Obama needed "another $100 million" for his celebration.

The Fox News crew wasn't alone. The Internet and cable news were filled with chatter about the jaw-dropping (and unsubstantiated) number suddenly attached to Obama's swearing-in. But the sloppy reporting and online gossip about the price tag illustrated what happens when journalists don't do their job and online partisans take advantage of that kind of work.

It also highlighted the type of news you can generate when making blatantly false comparisons. In this case, it was the cost of the Obama and Bush inaugurations. The connection was unfair because the Obama figure of $160 million that got repeated in the press included security costs associated with the massive event. But the Bush tab of $42 million left out those enormous costs. Talk about stacking the deck.

The misinformation first arrived in the form of an underreported newspaper article in America, and then one in London. Between them, and thanks to furious transatlantic online linking, the reports gave birth to the story that Obama's inauguration was going to cost nearly four times what the country spent on Bush's bash in 2005 -- that the Obama inauguration would cost almost $120 million more..........
Here's why using the $160 million number and comparing it with Bush's 2005 costs represented a classic apples-and-oranges assessment: For years, the press routinely referred to the cost of presidential inaugurations by calculating how much money was spent on the swearing-in and the social activities surrounding that. The cost of the inauguration's security was virtually never factored into the final tab, as reported by the press. For instance, here's The Washington Post from January 20, 2005, addressing the Bush bash:

The $40 million does not include the cost of a web of security, including everything from 7,000 troops to volunteer police officers from far away, to some of the most sophisticated detection and protection equipment.

For decades, that represented the norm in terms of calculating inauguration costs: Federal dollars spent on security were not part of the commonly referred-to cost. (The cost of Obama's inauguration, minus the security costs? Approximately $45 million.) What's happening this year: The cost of the Obama inauguration and the cost of the security are being combined by some in order to come up with the much larger tab. Then, that number is being compared with the cost of the Bush inauguration in 2005, minus the money spent on security.

In other words, it's the unsubstantiated Obama cost of $160 million (inauguration + security) compared with the Bush cost of 42 million (inauguration, excluding security). Those are two completely different calculations being compared side-by-side, by Fox & Friends, among others, to support the phony claim that Obama's inauguration is $100 million more expensive than Bush's.

That's why the right-wing site confidently reported that Obama's swearing-in would cost "nearly four times what George Bush's inauguration cost four years ago." So did Flopping Aces, a shining light of the right-wing blogosphere:

President Barack Obama's inauguration next week is set to be the most expensive ever, predicted to reach over $150m. This dwarfs the $42.3m spent on George Bush's inauguration in 2005 and the $33m spent on Bill Clinton's in 1993.

If portions of the press and the blogosphere want to now suggest that the cost of security should also be factored into the final tab for presidential inaugurations, they need to go back and recalculate the cost for Bush's 2005 swearing-in in order to have an honest comparison. Because with security included, the 2005 inauguration cost a lot more than $42 million -- just as with security factored in, Obama's will also cost a lot more than $45 million. (The final tab, though, likely won't be known for months.)

The question for the press then becomes: How much did the government spend on security for Bush's 2005 inauguration? How much did it cost for the wartime administration's unprecedented move to turn the nation's capital into something akin to an armed fortress, with snipers on rooftops, planes flying overhead, Humvee-mounted anti-aircraft missiles dotting the city, and manholes cemented shut?

Back in January 2005, that figure was impossible to come by. "U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said last week that he was unable to estimate security costs for the inauguration," The Washington Times reported. The cross-town Washington Post also had no luck in 2005 finding out the cost of security: "[Government] spokesmen said they could not provide an estimate of what the inauguration will cost the federal government."

However, buried in a recent New York Times article published one week before the controversy erupted over the cost of Obama's inauguration, the newspaper reported that in 2005, "the federal government and the District of Columbia spent a combined $115.5 million, most of it for security, the swearing-in ceremony, cleanup and for a holiday for federal workers" [emphasis added].

You read that correctly. The federal government spent $115 million dollars for the 2005 inauguration. Keep in mind, that $115 million price tag was separate from the money Bush backers bundled to put on the inauguration festivities. For that, they raised $42 million. So the bottom line for Bush's 2005 inauguration, including the cost of security? That's right, $157 million.

Unless the Obama inauguration tab (including security) ends up costing $630 million, we can safely say it certainly won't cost four times what the Bush bash did in 2005. And unless the Obama inauguration tab (including security) runs to $257 million, we can safely say the event won't cost $100 million more than Bush's, as Fox & Friends claimed.

So, for now, can the press and partisans please stop peddling this malignant myth?


There's more. Here's the link to the story:

So, guess Obama's inauguration expenses aren't so extreme after all! No surprise here.

Elizabeth Prata said...

You single out Fox & Friends. ABC News reported: ABC News: "What Recession? The $170 Million Inauguration". CNN had hauled out its calculators too. I am suspicious of all downplaying of the costs. By all accounts there are millions involved as spectators, unpfrecedented security, many galas...

It is to the Obamabots' advantage to counter the costs by putting out their own myths.

Elizabeth Prata said...

According to The Daily Nation

"The cost of festivities surrounding Barack Obama’s historic inauguration on Tuesday as the 44th president of the United States has been estimated at $40 million dollars, according to The Associated Press."

[are we to be suspicious of the AP now?]

Continuing--"According to the US Office of Management and the Budget, the federal government has allocated another $49 million for administrative aspects of the inauguration, including $15 million for increased security."

[Are we to be suspicious of the Office of Management now?]

"The federal government and the District of Columbia spent $115.5 million on administration and security for both events"

this can be checked too. Suffice to say, it's going to be more expensive than Bush's and more money than should be spent in a depression.

Anonymous said...

Actually, read the full story via the link. I did not paste the entire story. The story refers to the ABC News unsubstantiated, unreferenced "estimate."

Anonymous said...

QUOTE: "UPDATE: Unlike AP, ABC News at least tries to substantiate the huge figure the media have been tossing around in terms of the cost of Obama's inauguration. (Hint: Most of it is for security.) But even with ABC's actual reporting, the article still falls short. (Hint: No context.)"

and the link:

So, the guestimates and comparisons have no basis in fact and have been debunked. Most of the cost is for security, and you have to have security for a Presidential inauguration, especially one 2-5 million Americans are flocking to. I'm sure there are some racists out there who would like for them to skimp on security for this event. Ain't gonna happen.

Elizabeth Prata said...

sigh. There are enough real sources putting out the numbers to tell us that it is going to cost TOO MUCH MONEY. OK?

Elizabeth Prata said...

"NO basis in fact" LOL. Now you have gone overboard. Tsk tsk, overreaching spolis your credibility.

Just because you say it isn't factual doesn't make it non-factual. LOL. There are plenty of good estimates, facts,a and figures out there to say the new president is spending too much money and is going overboard with splash in a time of stress, hardship and penury.

Tammy said...

First off I believe none of this should happen until he gets the economy on track. I read about his menu...lobster...etc. There are kids that are going without dinner, Anonymous. Does that not have an impact on you? MILLIONS of Americans are losing their jobs, and their homes. Shelters are at capacity in many cites....don't you get that? This is not a time of celebration. The man needs to recongnize that.

Oh but is not about us. It is about HIM and YOU.

Tammy said...

Oh wow...Anonymous....did you see the comment from Demond Wilson. He is a smart man. He gets it. I wish he could explain it to you.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Bush is President. So, actually, Bush is the one authorizing all these expenditures. Your beef is with Bush, not Obama.

I know this... in these parts we ain't spending a DIME of tax dollars and the PAR-TAY is ON!

Enjoy whatever inaugural celebrations you have planned or plan to attend and be safe!

Elizabeth Prata said...

And now we have a true example of Obamabot delusional syndrome. Anonymous, that was really and truly a ridiculous statement.

Obama is spending too much money on lavish parties, and is making too many stops, tours, and speeches during a time of hardship, uncertainty and hunger. Deal with that fact if you would be so kind

Anonymous said...

No, it's appropriate for the biggest inauguration in history. I don't think it will cost 160 million, but if it does, I'm just surprised it will be that low. Sounds like a major bargain to me when you factor in all the events and security. As I said, 2-5 million people = A LOT of security and A LOT of celebrating is in order. And that's just the people in D.C. Literally, everyone I know is taking off work tomorrow, and my friends in Europe, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, and Japan are excited as well. Whatever it costs, it's worth it. We won't have another "First" African American President. All those millions of people going to D.C. and the rest of the hundreds of millions in the rest of the U.S. and the billions around the globe are ready for a celebration...I say it's our duty as Americans to give 'em one and set an example that, "Yes We Can" and "Anything Is Possible!"

Again, be safe in whatever way you choose to observe and / or celebrate this historic event. It's been a dark, depressing eight years, that's for sure, but let's celebrate...America is BACK!

Tammy said... I get the picture. This is about African-Americans. Not about suffering Americans. I got it now. could I have expected the President of the United States to put his citizens first? Silly me....I forgot this is about BLACK America....not all Americans.

Elizabeth Prata said...

see you at the poor house. But while you're wasting away there, you'll have a happy memory of a nice party. That should fill your belly and keep you warm.

Literally no one I know are ditching their work responsibilities to party. And if you are only excited that he got elected because he is half black, as you keep stating, then I feel sorry for you that you are so shallow. Harping on his blackness as a qualification and reason to be excited is reverse racism in itself. But maybe that is his only qualification, since he has done little else except dazzle with color.

Anonymous said...

OK. No one is going to force you to party and celebrate with us...sorry, we aren't going to be depressed and feel guilty, this moment is too big and too important to let some little ol' economic problems that some are experiencing stop the celebration. Those of us who didn't buy more house than we could afford, didn't mortgage our house to buy extra homes and / or unnecessary junk, didn't have kids we couldn't pay for, didn't put money in the stock market shell game, and work for responsible employers or managed our businesses responsibly / worked or continue to work multiple jobs, and aren't afraid of a little old fashioned work, aren't noticing a bad economy because we always stayed within our means.

Regardless of your economic situation, take a day off and keep your kids out of school to witness this awesome achievement for the betterment of our country that I'm sure most of us did not think we would witness in our lifetimes.

It's almost the 20th and it's sinking's happening! Hallelujah! Don't you feel good? I'm going to have to bid you adieu and leave this debate to you two. I made a New Year's resolution to avoid cynics and those who can't see the good in things, and, well, this blog seemed interesting for a while, but now it just seems the people here just want to see the cynical side of EVERYTHING, even our first African American President, and, well, if you only look at the bad in things, that is probably how your life will turn out...bad. Good luck with was fun...gotta go now and get some supplies for tomorrow. God Bless you two.

Elizabeth Prata said...

Oh boy. Anon might not be 'racist' but that was the least compassionate and frankly most myopic comment I have ever heard. I pray for Anon!!

Tammy said...

Oh so it is the Americans fault they are losing their jobs. This Anonymous person is the reason our country is not united. kid is NOT watching the events tomorrow, nor am I.

You do not live in reality.

How damn dare you tell people who face losing their jobs to take the day off. And you just remember not all Americans on on welfare just because they have kids.

You.... will join the ranks sooner or later...and I suspect sooner.