Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Obama goes to Copenhagen

President Obama's recent junket on Air Force One to Copenhagen and its results reminded me of a line from the Russian short story, QUEEN OF SPADES by the famous Russian 19thc author, Alexander Pushkin: NEVER RISK THE NECESSARY TO GAIN THE SUPERFLUOUS. Obama’s trip was to secure Chicago as the site of the 2016 Summer Olympics. He instead rolled snake eyes and returned empty handed.

It was a setback for Obama because it was a case of raising expectations unnecessarily, and helplessly watching them tumble. He invested his prestige, time and taxpayer money in failure. His airplane ride alone had to cost 40-50,000 USD. I learned that to play in the Olympic bidding for 2016, it cost an additional 50 million USD; uncertain whether it is Chicago money or Washington, DC funds. There is evidence of promised federal financial assistance to Chicago if construction started.

In 2006, desperate Chicago sold its city parking garages and in December 2008 accepted 1.2 billion dollars for a 75 year lease on all city parking meters. All this to stem budget deficits.

Chicago Mayor Daley claimed the Olympics would bring 13 billion into the city. Uncertain how much would trickle down to the iron worker, hod carriers and brick layers, but you can bet the the land developers, building construction companies and infra structure costs would dwarf the pay to the building trades. And remember PAY TO PLAY is a Chicago city hall pastime. Stimulus packages, no matter how you dress them up, are by nature dirty and difficult to police.

After Obama returned to Washington DC, Valerie Jarret, one of the president’s closest White House advisors, herself a Chicago real Estate developer, declared that Obama made the decision to fly to Copenhagen at the last minute because he was advised by members of the US Olympic Committee and Mayor Daley that his presence would make the difference in the selection process. This was bad information: the US was the first country eliminated in the four remaining countries. Obama's attendance amounted to throwing in the kitchen sink; he was sadly the sink.

US selection as the 2016 site was always problematic. The winter olympics at Salt Lake City was replete with scandal only rescued by Mormon Mitt Romney. The olympics at Atlanta was hit by a bomb and smacked of cheap commercialism with too much Uncle Tom Cabins and Swanee River. Listening to Michele Obama's pitch before the Olympic Committee reminded me of Atlanta with too much OLD BLACK JOE smarmy dialogue. With US travel restrictions many are reluctant to travel to the US. This mood plus the fact the US is involved in two colonial wars did not help the US candidacy.

Finally the International Olympic Committee has its own code of conduct which is not American. It is based on secret bribes and long term reciprocity – one hand eventually washes the other. Balloting in the main is secret and block voting is evident. The US olympic representatives and the Chicago contingent did not understand or misplayed it; otherwise Obama would not have so foolishly wasted his time.

The Right Wing was venomous in its glee over Obama's failure... how these jackasses call themselves patriotic Americans is beyond me. The members of this group are advocates for permanent war and wrap themselves in the flag at the drop of a hat; yet they openly prefer Rio over Chicago. They are sick puppies. Bet they cannot dance the Bossa Nova... come think of it: Are the born agains permitted dance? One thing for certain, sin abounds in Rio.

Just in case you did not know: the Socialist led regime in Brazil reciprocated to GW Bush post 9/11 visa restrictions with a sharp vengeance. If you are planning to attend the 2016 games in Rio, start your Brazilian visa application now – if the regime finds you are an American right winger, the application will get lost.

Obama is rapidly developing a perception problem as a political weakling; he starts things, but backs away when encountering resistance. He has no stomach to hit the Republicans back and has tacitly encouraged their outrageous conduct. Ironically, the only time he has stuck his neck out recently is on the Olympics; he had his head chopped off. That is what happens when you listen to cronies whose agendas reflect self interest. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA Ret


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