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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

And the band played on: Obama's House party at taxpayer expense

One of the classic signs of imminent collapse of a culture is the brazen decadence that its leaders and elites start to exhibit.  Nero and Commodus magnified lavishness to scales unprecedented even as the Roman Empire was rotting from the inside and slowly collapsing.  The nigh-invincible Babylonians were in a drunken stupor of self-edification until Cyrus invaded and Alexander after him.  Louis XVI wasn't a "bad" man per se but he was too busy partying and having fun while being horribly negligent about the affairs of the French people... and then he lost his head as bad as anyone could.

There are too many other examples that could be cited from the tale of years.  And you would think that we might have learned something from six millenia's worth of them...

But here was the scene last night at the White House.  In spite of the "sequester" that is halting performances by the Blue Angels and nearly derailed the annual Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn and is now threatening to shut down air traffic control towers, Barack and Michelle Obama held a glitzy, vainglorious command performance in their own honor.

Barack Obama, White House, sequester, Memphis Soul concertBarack Obama, White House, sequester, Memphis Soul concert

It was called the "Memphis Soul" concert.  Queen Latifah, Justin Timberlake, Booker T. Jones, Al Green, Cyndi Lauper and others performed for the President and First Lady and their closest friends and supporters.

But none of the peons got to attend.  We did get to foot the bill for this however.  The money for this and the nine other concerts the Obamas have "hosted" all came from the publick treasuries.  But if you feel bad about that, at least PBS let everyone watch it live last night...

If a group of musicians want to celebrate soul music, fine.  I don't see a problem with that.  But they should do it on their own dime, not mine or anybody else's.  I don't even have a problem with them using the White House for their celebration of an art form... but they should pay rent for the privilege.  Pay it to us.  Because that's our house, not Barack Obama's.  The President - whoever he or she might be - is only a temporary tenant.  We The People own it... or we're supposed to own it anyway.  It's funny: celebrities like Timberlake, Queen Latifah and others can get the red carpet treatment at the White House, but school children are completely shut out.

There's not enough money for you and I to visit the people's House but there's plenty of money for the Obamas to get down and boogie.  It's like grand theft squattery.

Let's drop the pretenses.  This was all about Barack and Michelle Obama feting themselves.  Unfortunately it is not a new occurrence.  I've watched shameful waste of our money at the White House for years now, irrespective of whether it's a Democrat or Republican in the Oval Office.  And this should be something to outrage everyone regardless of their political affiliations.  But it has to be said: Obama has taken it to a whole new level.  Between he and Vice President Biden, they've had eight vacations so far this year.  Also paid for by us (Biden's one-night stay at a hotel in Paris cost $585,000: that better have been the best mint on a pillow in the history of anything).

Eight vacations in just over three months?  In that same time I've been doing everything from writing to computer support to farm work to make ends meet.  I'm looking hard for employment... and I'd dare say that I've done more real work than Obama and Biden put together.  Where the hell is my vacation, huh?!

A lot of people are looking for good, honest work.  They want to support themselves, their families, make a better future for their children.  What little money they can scrape together, they want and deserve to use it for their own benefit.

It wasn't meant for Barack Obama or anyone else to squander on parties for themselves.


Marie said...

Why are we allowing this? What can be done to stop the money squandering?

Anonymous said...

You get what you pay for. In this case, a majority of Americans decided four years of this administration weren't enough. The problem is, the rest of us have to live with what they bought.

I just hope we have something left after four more years to recover!

Anonymous said...

And while Rome was burning, Nero played his fiddle.

We are in big trouble.

Anonymous said...

These White House concerts have been going on since Carter, every president since has hosted them .... Reagan did 17 concerts. He had a lot of show-biz friends. They are held to promote the arts, not as personal parties. You might try a simple Google to get the facts rather than just passing along the right-wing blog stuff. Criticize spending money on arts if you want but don't misrepresent Obama as doing something out of the ordinary. I know you don't like him but be a little creative instead of paraphrasing your daily surfing destinations.

Anonymous said...

If I may say in response to the person above me, Chris did mention in his write up that our current president and first lady are not the first to do this. The issue he takes is not with promoting the arts as you put it, but that they are holding such expensive parties and taking a lot of vacations with high cost to the taxpayers.

If America were in a position of prosperity or even just "breaking even", there would be far less of a problem seen in what they are doing. We, however, are being told that critical elements of our security and safety are being cut due to being so far into debt that the best estimates for getting out of it are a decade from now IF they can agree and stick to a budget.

If nothing else, look at it from this point of view. If your income changes or you realize that you are spending more than you are making, the responsible thing is to make cuts and sacrifices. We drop cable, negotiate the phone bill and stop going to the movies or other places of entertainment until we get it under control. For some unknown reason, these simple rules do not apply in Washington. I have enough issues going paycheck to paycheck making sure everything is falling into place and getting paid without having my taxes go to nonessential excesses. Unfortunately, both sides are very much to blame.

My response to you isn't personal, but I wanted to give you an opinion from someone on this side of things.