Biden Hotel Tab for 2 London/Paris Nights? $1 Million!
Oliver Knox on January 18, 2013 published this in his article in yahoo news “Bidens head to crisis-hit Europe”:
Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, will travel to Germany, France and Britain, the White House announced.
This will be no pleasure cruise, and it could even be (to paraphrase the vice president) a big frikkin' deal. Those allies have been wrestling with Europe’s profound economic woes, which threaten America's recovery ...
Yes, indeedy. The economy has tanked in both Europe and the U.S. Millions of people are struggling to keep their lower lips above water economically.
Joe Biden was also scheduled to visit wounded American vets in a German hospital, another constituency struggling for economic benefits and survival. That was good of him, no argument.
But, I can appreciate that hearing about the luxury our heads of state travel in and enjoy abroad might trouble average Americans.
It sure as hell troubles me.
Their luxury at home also pisses me off.
Most of the mostly Gucci-loafered or Tiffany-bejewelled very well-paid politicians on either side of the aisle (with their lifetime prime healthcare for them and their families, incidentally) are certainly hard to reach in terms of soliciting pro-active empathy over the suffering their austerity stances are causing us in the middle class, working class, non-working class, poverty class, etc. Not to mention the gratuitous amoral wars that will kill or displace millions they so easily and callously monger for.
But I digress.
Biden’s trip to Europe was only five days in February. And two of those days cost the US taxpayers approximately one million dollars for Biden and entourage on hotel accommodations.
The first to release the hotel costs of only two of the five days of Joe Biden’s trip was the Weekly Standard.
Apparently, The Hotel Intercontinental Paris Le Grand charged Biden et al. $585,000.50 for one night.
Apparently, The Hyatt Regency London charged Biden et al. $459,338.65 for one night.
Arlette Saenz of ABC News was told by a State Department official this is "par for the course" (not quite the comfort to some of us that the official probably intended I’m thinking):
“These costs are nothing out of the ordinary. They are in line with high-level travel across multiple administrations,” the State Department official said. ”The contract costs cover the entire range of support, including accommodations for military, communications, secret service staff, and other support professionals. Security experts are also required to travel in advance of the president or vice president. Safety and security are not negotiable.”
A 1999 GAO report showed that trips President Bill Clinton took to Africa, Chile and China in 1998 cost $42.8 million, $10.5 million and $18.8 million, respectively – adding up to over $72 million. There were 1302 travelers to Africa, while 592 and 510 people were on the trips to Chile and China, respectively.
The White House normally does not disclose the amount paid for the vice president and president’s travel. Last year, an Air Force official told ABC News that one hour of flying time aboard Air Force One totaled $179,750 in FY2012.
These disclosures from Todd Beaman of Newsmax:
Vice President Joe Biden’s one-day trips to Paris and London in February cost American taxpayers more than $1 million, according to multiple reports.
Biden and his security detail rung up a $585,000.50 tab for a single night on Feb. 4 at the Hotel Intercontinental Paris Le Grand, a luxurious five-star hotel near the Louvre Museum, The Weekly Standard reports.
Meanwhile, The Daily Mail in London reports that Biden’s group spent $459,388.65 for one night on Feb. 5 at the Hyatt Regency in London, where the vice president met with Prime Minister David Cameron.
The contract for the London trip specified that Biden’s crew required 136 hotel rooms for that one-night stay, The Daily Mail reports.
Biden’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden, accompanied him to Paris on his European trip, which also included a stop in Germany.
The Mail reports that Biden’s entourage required more than 100 rooms at Le Grand. One night in the presidential suite there costs more than $3,800.
Here’s how the Intercontinental Paris Le Grand is described on its website:
“With floodlit views of the Opera House, this superbly renovated luxury hotel is at the heart of Parisian society. Opened in 1862, it defines historical grandeur, from Café de la Paix to La Verriere Restaurant, set in an 800 square metre winter garden. Elegantly appointed, the hotel’s boutique-style suites overlook stunning landmarks. Located … close to the Louvre Museum, shopping, theatre and banking districts, this luxury Paris hotel is an icon in the City of Light.”
I have many images in my head right now.
One -- a sentimental one -- is of Arthur Frommer’s seminal book about Americans traveling in Europe on such and such a number of dollars a day. $5 a day the bestseller boasted in the late 50s. $10 a day it boasted sometime in the 60s. When the book was retired in 2007, the title boasted $95 a day. Wonder what Frommer would arrive at today? Wonder what he would say about Biden's budgeting?
Okay, then there is one that disgusts, a fuzzy but glittering and golden image of "Versailles", a favorite label by us lefties for Washington, DC itself.
The rest of the troubling and embittering images have to do with the horrifying devastation of innocent peoples across the globe. Food insecure children. Homeless people. People dying prematurely from inadequate health care. Vets committing suicide at horrifying rates. People unfairly incarcerated, being used for slave labor. Young people deprived of advanced education, saddled with crippling debt dooming their futures. Foreign peoples bombed, shot, tortured, killed, maimed, displaced, raped, starved, critically sickened. So many lifeless dead bodies. Hapless survivors without clean water, electricity, sewerage, homes, food. Some living with the buzz of drones torturing their existence. Some being tortured directly by fellow humans. Gitmo prisoners near death from an ignored mass hunger strike. Syrian, Iranian and other foreign populations destined for horror and death, in the cross-hairs of a hungry imperialist mafia.
The global ruling class elites enjoy the best of the best. Engorged on profits and rewards, they make incredibly impactful decisions on the fate of the members of the family of men and women and children.
Most of their realpolitik talk is predatory, sociopathic and based on gamespersonship not statespersonship.
Serious and honorable diplomacy circled the bowl and disappeared long ago. The proverbial moral compass consulted only by an “eccentric” few.
Crony capitalism prevails. Might makes right. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
"It's not the earth the meek inherit, it's the dirt" as an old Broadway song goes.
Hearing of opulent accommodations for any members of the betraying US political class negotiating with well-heeled foreign peer elites for the purposes of exploiting and preying on the global “under classes” I find vomit inducing.
Especially when, once again, so much of their comforts and evils unleashed are paid for with our tax dollars and the blood of our young people.
[cross-posted on open salon]