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States of Emergency: The Object of American Studies

States of Emergency: The Object of American Studies

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Ear to the Ground

Powerful Money but Weak Speech at Obama’s Second Inauguration

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Posted on Jan 23, 2013
AP/Brendan Smialowsi

President Barack Obama is officially sworn in at the White House on Sunday before the public ceremony Monday.

The ceremony Monday—brought to us by Bank of America, Coca-Cola, AT&T and other corporations at a total cost of $124 million—was an exercise in misrepresenting the dangers of global warming, the purpose of education and the future of America’s wars, writes Dave Lindorff at CounterPunch.

Rather than portraying climate change as the looming existential crisis scientists say it is, Obama talked in his inaugural address about “storms … droughts and forest fires” and American “leadership in a new technological marketplace.” Education was reduced to “job training” rather than a means for “transmitting culture.” And 10 years of war were said to be coming to an end at a time when the administration is negotiating the indefinite stationing of 10,000 soldiers in Afghanistan and expanding its drone and special forces operations in Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan and elsewhere around the globe.

“Surely the most jarring disconnect, though,” Lindorff writes, “was the inaugural celebration itself. There is no reason why a Constitutionally-mandated ceremony has to be financed by private money, yet the president’s Inauguration Committee solicited and had, by this last weekend, accepted over $124.3 million in contributions from corporations and labor unions.”

That amount “dwarfs the $50 million that was raised in private donations for the president’s first inauguration. It also came in much bigger amounts, as the president this year dropped a $50,000 maximum donation limit he had set for his first term Inaugural. This time the limit was set at $1 million.” Exxon Mobil alone gave $260,000 to the inauguration committee.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

Dave Lindorff at CounterPunch:

All these companies and unions are donating not out of some sense of civic duty but to in order to buy favors from the White House during the president’s second term.

These contributors–and especially the corporate ones, since at least the unions are representing large numbers of ordinary working people — make a joke out of the lines the President spoke when he said, “For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it,” and later, “You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course. You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.”

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