Monday, June 13, 2005

Then and Now in America

Bill Bonner writes in an article titled Hollow Dummies in his Daily Reckoning newsletter:

"Many years ago, when the country was still a modest republic, American presidents were available to almost anyone who wanted to shoot them. Thomas Jefferson went for a walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, alone, and spoke to anyone who came up to him. John Adams used to swim naked in the Potomac. A woman reporter got him to talk to her by sitting on his clothes and refusing to budge.

But now anyone who wants to see the president must pass have his background checked and pass through a metal detector. The White House staff must approve a reporter before he is allowed into press conferences. And when he travels, America's head of state does so in imperial style; that is, he moves around protected by hundreds of praetorian guards, sharpshooters on rooftops, and thousands of local centurions. When President Clinton went to China in 1998, he took with him his family, plus "5 Cabinet secretaries, 6 members of Congress, 86 senior aides, 150 civilian staff (doctors, lawyers, secretaries, valets, hairdressers, and so on), 150 military staff (drivers, baggage handlers, snipers, and so on), 150 security personnel, several bomb-sniffing dogs, and many tons of equipment, including 10 armored limousines and the 'blue goose,' Clinton's bulletproof lectern."

and:

"The Secret Service has over 5,000 employees: 2,100 special agents, 1,200 Uniformed Division employees, and 1,700 technical and administrative employees...Everywhere Bush travels, his security is handled with the usual American overkill-thousands of guards and aides, walled-off compounds, tightly scripted movements from one bubble to another. Security was so tight during the visit [Ottawa, Canada in 2004] that some Members of Parliament were refused entry into the building for lack of a special one-time security pass, an act which actually is against the laws of Canada. Americans never hear of the grotesque measures taken when Bush travels abroad. After Bush's stay at Buckingham Palace in London, the Queen was horrified by the damage done to the Palace grounds. They were left looking like the parking lot at a Walmart two-for-one sale."

That kind of says it all, doesn't it? The complete article is a must read. Go there now.

2 comments:

  1. Why does Air Force One have to be a Boeing 747? Can't they use a smaller, more fuel-efficient aircraft, so they aren't spending so much of our tax money on jet fuel?

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  2. And couldn't they get along with fewer staff, say 100 instead of 500 or whatever? Not that we care so much in Canada what your president does but our political bozos here have swelled heads too and we don't want them to get too many big ideas elsewhere.

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