Thursday, February 13, 2014

Obama And Hollande - Scenes From The Class Struggle

President Barack Obama's gala hosting of France's Socialist President François Hollande was a unique moment in an administration that has had a number of them.

Both men make a fetish of being 'men of the people', denouncing those whom they deem fat cats and plutocrats and beating the class warfare drum on the campaign trail about 'income inequality'.

So let's look at how they live and conduct themselves at the people's expense.

There is a perfectly good and functional hall in the White House called the State Dining Room that is specifically designated and designed to host state dinners of this sort. But that, of course, was not good enough for President Obama's Socialist comrade in arms or the rest of their 350 guests feeding at the trough.

 The festivities began with a gala reception in the State Dining Room , accompanied by  a selection of cheeses and hors d'oeuvres along with Maine trout, smoked on gen-u-wine  Maine hardwood.

At huge expense, a huge special heated pavilion was erected on the White House's frigid South Lawn complete with chandeliers and turned into a spring-like scene inspired by Claude Monet's Water Lilies paintings, with quince branches in full bloom, irises, blue agapanthus and lilies. The party,of course,weren't expected to walk in the cold to the feast. They were chauffeured over in special little heated trolleys.

And the menu? The First Lady might make noises about obesity and force schools to take away perfectly healthy lunches their students bring from home in exchange for ill favored skimpy school supplied lunches, but that nonsense stops at the White House,believe me.

Let's peruse the 2500 calorie fair that the President, his fellow class warrior and the rest of their party chowed down on:

 A place setting is displayed during a media preview of Tuesday's state dinner to honor French President Hollande in Washington

American  Osetra caviar of course, farm raised in the streams of Illinois as an appetizer, followed by Pennsylvania quail eggs, and 12 different varieties of potatoes. Then on to the salad, served in a terrarium-like bowl, featuring herbs from the White House kitchen garden and honey from the White House's own private beehive.You may have noticed the staggering rise in the price of honey at your supermarket lately that's put it out of the reach of working people without a handy EBT card. Not to worry at Chez Obama! 

The main course followed, specially aged ribeye beef from a farm in northern Colorado accompanied by Jasper Hill Farm blue cheese from Vermont and charred shallots, oyster mushrooms and braised chard accompanied by choice wines from California, Washington State, and an amusing but pricy little chardonnay from northern Virginia, just to add a little local color.

Dessert? Certainmot! Hawaiian chocolate-malted ganache, fudge made from Vermont maple syrup, and puffs of cotton candy dusted with orange zest.There were also a number of hand made sugar roses and fleur-de-lis, the official flowers of the U.S. and France respectively. “We made 38 of each‚that’s more than 1,800 petals,” said Pastry Chef Bill Yosses.

Oh, and entertainment for your dining pleasure..Grammy award winner Mary J. Blige.

The First Lady, of course had yet another new outfit for the party..a Carolina Herrera custom design that costs around $12,000, although the FLOTUS probably paid much less (if anything) because of the advertising and prestige value to Ms. Herrera :

michelle obama

Somehow, I don't remember Eleanor Roosevelt tricked out in high fashion at an affair like this when her fellow Americans were suffering during the Depression, but obviously times have changed.

Oh, and what was the cost to the American people for all this merriment? The White House is coy about releasing figures (in fact, the State Department is still refusing to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed seven months ago regarding the costs of an especially pricy  dinner was that held for British Prime Minister David Cameron on March 14, 2012), but a similar gala with a smaller guest list for India's president and without the special heated pavilion cost over $600,000. So I think we can put this one at between $700,000 and $800,000, give or take. In case you're wondering, that works out to well over $2,000 a head for one meal.

You know, I sort of understand this. Under President Obama, the number of Americans on food stamps at the taxpayer's expense has skyrocketed. When you think about it, this is simply another meal on the taxpayer's dime, just a lot more blatant, expensive and over the top.

Actually, President Hollande probably needed a nice night out. His approval ratings back home are the lowest of any modern French president, mostly because of high taxes and his miserable failure on things economic, but also because of a particularly sordid scandal he was involved in after he was caught cheating on his long time 'partner' Valerie Trierweile (marriage? quelle bourgeoisie!) with French actress Julie Gayet, who's about 20 years younger than Monsieur le Président. Hollande and Trierweile split in a particularly nasty public brawl, and that was a bit too much even for the normally tolerant French, who are a bit more conservative in these matters than most Americans realize. Hollande arrived here in the U.S. on his own.Oddly enough, he was seated between the Obamas,separating them.Now, at formal dinners, it's not unusual for a husband and wife to sit separately, so that they can host and hostess guests at different parts of the table. But for them to sit at the same part of the table, separated by the guest of honor...unusual.

During the visit, President Obama pulled a few of those gaffes the media simply shies away from mentioning ala' President Bush's pronunciation of the word 'nuclear'. The first one came during a tour of President Jefferson's home in Monticello with his French counterpart, when the president decided to tour the landscape, something that's normally against protocol. As the president explained to Monsieur Hollande, as president, "I can do whatever I want."

Not exactly a gaffe, but perhaps unwise coming from an increasingly imperious president who had illegally announced he would be delaying the Obamacare mandate for businesses unilaterally. Again. If this was a lil' joke by the president, let's just say I doubt that most of the American people struggling with the mess he's created got the humor.

The second one was a real howler, with the president yesterday in his speech at the White House referencing someone named “Alex” De Tocqueville.

Now, he likely meant Alexis De Tocqueville, the French author of 'Democracy in America' and other works. But no one whom ever actually read his books would refer to him as "Alex". And certainly not this president, considering how critical De Tocqueville was of socialism in his native France. The POTUS should have stuck to referencing works by Marcuse, Alinsky and Cornell West, books he's obviously a lot more familiar with.

Just another one of those little gems like 'corpseman' and 'the fifty seven states' that somehow slip out of the mouth of the person the Obama media keeps informing us is the smartest man ever to be president. Of course, since his college transcripts are a closely guarded secret, one has to wonder.

Now, let's briefly discuss the substantive parts of this coming together of these two class warriors.

In a joint press conference, the president mentioned Syria, of course, which he called a 'crumbling state'. Oddly enough, neither France or America is in a position to do much about it, and since Bashir Assad has already fallen way behind schedule on delivering those chemical weapons to Russia and the Russians don't seem inclined to press him, Syria is likely to remain crumbling a bit longer.

The president also brought up Iran. He mentioned that the United States will maintain existing economic sanctions on Iran while six world powers negotiate a durable nuclear pact with Tehran, which as regular readers of these pages know is a flat out lie. The sanctions to all intents and purposes no longer exist, the president threatened to veto legislation that would have re-established them if Iran doesn't comply with its commitments (and those seem to be changing every day, and not in the West's favor), and as a special bit of irony, France was one of the first countries to run to Tehran seeking trade deals. And I can guarantee you both presidents knew all about that.

In fact, President Obama even obliquely mentioned it, saying that French businessmen who have visited Iran recently should know that “they do so at their own peril right now, because we will come down on them like a ton of bricks” if they violate existing sanctions that the United States enforces.

Except both presidents know full well that there are no existing sanctions really, and certainly none being enforced. The president watered them down from day one and virtually ceased enforcing them months before the agreement that wasn't quite an agreement was agreed upon in Geneva last November.

And the biggest lie during the entire press conference? It's a tough pick, but I'll go with this one, from President Obama: “We are absolutely united on our ultimate goal, which is preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

The exact opposite is true...President Obama and to a slightly lesser extent President Hollande are just  fine with a nuclear armed Iran and have fantasies of some kind of grand bargain with the Ayatollahs that will result in normal relations and containment, provided those pesky Jews in Israel can be dealt with somehow. They're horribly wrong  and it will eventually cost us a great deal in blood and treasure. 

My guess is that because of Hollande and Obama's shared ideology, the president is trying to make France the new Great Britain, with a similar special relationship. After all, he's made it abundantly clear he doesn't care for the UK, even if they're unbelievably slow on the uptake to realize it.

For now, we're treated to the spectacle of two 'socialist' politicos behaving in exactly the way they picture the Evil Rich Plutocrats do. But with this important exception; the people they demonize mostly earned their money honestly, rather than as ticks feasting on the people of their respective nations.

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