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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Moat in a $1 Billion Embassy in London - Is It Gov't Waste?

Bill Smith, Editor,: From the UK TimesOnline, we learn today that the Obama Administration and more specifically Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is plans to build a new $1 Billion Embassy in London which includes a "moat." Are we to expect a drawbridge next? Or, maybe a few gators, to discourage wood be scuba attackers? When did an Embassy have to be a palace? As one person shared concerning the noted article, "Are they kidding me, at what point do they stop this! Oh that's right when it all collapses..."

The new American Embassy is being built "behind Battersea power station known for its gay clubs." This comment reminded me that back in May, 2009, Secretary Hillary Clinton made history by increasing federal spending in ways not supported by a significant majority of Americans. But, really can we expect any less from the Obama administration. Hillary extended funded benefits to "domestic partners" of state department diplomats and employees. Clinton said at the time, “At bottom, the department will provide these benefits for both opposite-sex and same-sex partners because it is the right thing to do.” Her decision grew the operating cost of the State Department and passed this new cost on  to the taxpayers and added to the growing Obama administration national debt. She extending medical, travel, housing, and all other benefits to cohabiting ("shacked up") partners of state department employees who are not legally married. So, "We the People" now pay for the transitory lady and men friends of state department employees. On top of this, by sanctioning of these relationships and granting these "partners" diplomatic status, the State Department  has granted protection in countries where such cohabiting relationships are illegal and immoral. So much for the U.S. being diplomatic.

Back to Hillary's London moat! What is going on in the State department? President Obama what are you doing to reign in cost at the State Department? Having been attached to the American Embassy in Brussels, Belgium and having traveled throughout much of Europe, I noted that the state department diplomats and American employees in England and numerous other European countries are very fortunate to be posted to these countries and to live on a perpetual paid European vacation at the taxpayers expense.

Obviously, this cannot be said for diplomats and employees serving in more remote high risks areas of the world. It is in these other places that the State department needs to provide the resources to assist and protect our diplomats, employees and their families. Note the mention of  the cost various of embassies in high risk countries are less than the new embassy in the "mother county" which we saved twice in the last hundred years.  We must have worn out are welcome "over there" - maybe it is time for a majority of the state department employees to come home.  We could then have much smaller embassy.  Obama, are you listening - cut the number of employees in the State Department stationed in Europe starting with London!

One more point, please don't be fooled by the statement that the old embassy is being sold for enough money to cover the new construction of this luxury embassy with its moat. It is our money and personally I want it back! But since that is unlikely, the monies above the cost to build a less luxuriant embassy [even if maybe they need the moat - I know, but see the story] should be returned to meet other more "needed" projects or maybe even to help offset the a few days of the cost of  Sec. Hillary Clinton's domestic partnership benefits.

The UK TimesOnline reports:
The United States has unveiled plans for its new $1 billion high-security embassy in London — the most expensive it has ever built.

The proposals were met with relief from both the present embassy’s Mayfair neighbors and the residents and developers of the Battersea wasteland where the vast crystalline cube, surrounded by a moat, will be built.

The decision to abandon the former site in Grosvenor Square by 2016 came after a prolonged battle with residents angered by the security measures demanded after the September 11 attacks. More than a hundred residents took out a full-page advertisement in The Times to oppose tighter measures that they said would leave the area more vulnerable to attack.

The new embassy, on a former industrial site behind Battersea power station known for its gay clubs, will be designed by Kieran Timberlake, the Philadelphia architect. A moat 30 meters (100ft) wide and rolling parkland will separate the building from the main road, protecting it from would-be bombers and removing the need for the blast barriers that so dismayed the people of Mayfair. [So the Moat is to mute would be bombers.]

The State Department sought to play down the cost of security measures, noting the expense of London building work. But the price puts the London embassy above the US’s most fortified missions, including the Baghdad embassy, which cost $600 million (£390 million) but required a further $100 million of work on air conditioning, and the Islamabad embassy, still under construction, which has cost more than $850 million.

. . . The new location will take the embassy out of the Central London congestion zone. US diplomats owe an estimated £32 million in congestion charges and fines, which they refuse to pay on the ground that they are exempt from taxes in Britain.  . . . the embassy learned in November that its Grosvenor Square premises were to be given a Grade II listing. Despite the development limits imposed by the decision, the embassy was still sold for more than $1 billion to a Qatari company that plans to turn it into a luxury hotel.

The embassy said that a statue of Ronald Reagan soon to be put up in Grosvenor Square will not be part of the Battersea site. “It will absolutely not be moved,” an official said. “Nor will the Eisenhower.” [In other words, they are leaving Reagan and Eisenhower behind for the British pigeons.]

Tags: government spending, Harry Hillaker, London, U.S. Embassy, United Kingdom, United States To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 11:03 PM - Post Link

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