Barack's Passage To India

What’s the benefit of this trip? is the overwhelming risk worth the improbable net gain that’s being used as an excuse for this multi-stop tour?

I got a phone call this morning from one of our staff, Doug Palumbo. One of his fellow coworkers at the day job told him about a news item that’s being reported by many different outlets. The gist of this item is how President Obama is planning to leave this week for India in an air, land and sea caravan. That will consist of a few (40?) jets that will include Air Force One that will contain himself, his family, his cabinet and members of the press. There will be three naval battle groups comprised of 31 battleships to defend the President and his entourage while he’s in the same region of the world, and sleeping in the same hotel, that was the center of a terrorist attack implemented by Al Qaeda.

It’s been reported that the price tag for this adventure will be upwards to $2 Billion dollars, but that figure has been disputed by FactCheck.org

Q: Is President Obama’s trip to India going to cost $200 million per day?

A: This highly doubtful claim originated with one Indian news agency quoting an anonymous source in Mumbai. The White House says it is "wildly exaggerated," and there’s no evidence to support such a huge figure.

There are a few concerns that I would like to have addressed, some of them aren’t mine originally but I’ll take credit for repeating them and being bold enough to ask here…

OK, let’s take it for granted that this is not going to cost that much money… or if the trip is going to cost $2 Billion then it’s for the whole trip which will include stops in China, South Korea and Russia, which is the actual part of the itinerary. Or let’s just assume that this trip is only going to cost half that $1 Billion. Or $500 Million… or just $100 Million? No matter what the cost; is it worth it?

What exactly do politicians accomplish at these summits? Besides sitting around each other in an effort to look stern and important? Seeing the world leaders trying to look interested in what the others are saying looks great for the camera and the idea of a summit isn't one you can argue against. Would you rather have the world leaders confab together in person rather than go to war? I know it's hard to get a lot of people in a room and get them to agree on something. Ever try to order pizza for a group?

The price tag of these junkets would be irrelevant if I felt assured and confident that this would lead to an accomplishment in the near future. Go ahead and spend “$2 billion” if it means my sons have good jobs in the future and don’t have to die in a war in the future that could be prevented today.

Second Issue, I heard that this is the third time this trip has been planned. It’s the same itinerary each time. Can we really be sure that this trip is going to be secure? Have we eliminated most of the threats to a reasonable extent, and not just the coconuts from the trees that grow along the path where Mr. Obama will be walking. How do we not know that some of the places where our President will be haven’t been corrupted by the same people responsible for the 2006 and 2008 bombings in that same region?

Tell me if I got this wrong, kids.. did I hear correctly that The Obama Family or members of their entourage will be staying at a hotel that’s already proven that their security is lax because of the bomb that almost destroyed it a few years back? Do I have the picture right?

Do a quick Google search… has there ever been an American president who’s been Assassinated over seas?

Obama Phone

Finally, is this really the time for The President of The United States to go on a junket after the party of his enemies- I mean opponents- just won a huge victory by securing a majority in the house and half of the senate on a platform of ending wasteful spending in government? People marched and paraded on the issue of “no more wasteful spending” then a couple of days later the President and gang go on a working vacation with 4 stops in exotic locations with all of the tools, equipment and transportation needed? Is this really the message they want to be sending with a trip like this? Even if it’s not going to cost $2 billion, it’s still going to cost a lot of money. There’s also the principle and the image seared into the minds of voters until November 2012.

For the Obama supporters, who don’t see anything wrong with this, let me put it to you this way. Imagine we live in an alternate universe were the white republican President Barry O’Brian was planning on spending $2 Billion on a trip exactly like this this one. There are people here in The United States who need that more than The Republican O’Brian; Unemployment benefits are going to run out for many, there are people losing their homes, programs like AIDS research are underfunded, roads and bridges are in need of repair, the list goes on. Shouldn’t The Republican President O’Brian be spending that money more wisely?

I almost forgot… since the government is paying for the transportation and accommodations for the press, how can we get in touch with The White House and get on board?

Links

Press Trust of India, Updated: November 04, 2010 22:42 IST 34 warships sent from US for Obama visit

Telegraph.co.uk: Coconuts removed from trees in preparation for Barack Obama's India trip - India is preparing for Barack Obama's first visit to the country by removing coconuts from palm trees in Mumbai to protect the US president. Published: 7:00AM GMT 04 Nov 2010

Guardian UK: Claim that Barack Obama's India visit will cost $200m a day is 'wildly inflated'- White House spokesman dismisses claim made by Indian news outlet and seized on by rightwing US talkshow hosts" Chris McGreal in Washington - Thursday 4 November 2010 18.34 GMT

DNAIndia: "Mumbai - Tunnel for Obama near Mani Bhavan," Published: Thursday, Nov 4, 2010, 1:59 IST By Pandurang Mhaske

FOXNews: "Obama Faces Chillier Reception Abroad," Published November 05, 2010 | The Wall Street Journal

CNN: "Obama heads to India - Fresh off an electoral shellacking, President Obama heads to India today, the start of a 10-day Asian trip to strengthen security cooperation."

CNN: "The $200 million-a-day myth" Added On November 5, 2010 CNN's Anderson Cooper looks at the controversy over the $200 million myth surrounding President Obama's trip to India.

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