It’s Not Just Michelle

The “Earth Summit” aimed at combating hunger, poverty and pollution is showing off the modest habits of politicians from around the world.

The head chef of the swanky hotel hosting Earth Summit bigwigs described the mountains of posh food he is laying on for their pleasure.

And Desmond Morgan declared: “Money is no object.”

The chef is in charge of meals at Johannesburg’s five-star Michelangelo Hotel, where world leaders and other VIP delegates are staying during the “save the planet” conference, which opened yesterday.

While people are going hungry at shanty towns just a couple of miles away, Mr Morgan told how he had stocked up with an extraordinary array of delicacies and fine wines.

It includes 5,000 oysters, more than 1,000lbs of lobster and other shellfish, buckets of caviar and piles of pâté de foie gras.

He has also got in more than 4,400lbs of fillet steak and chicken breasts, 450lbs of salmon, 220lbs of a tasty South African fish called kingclip ? and more than 1,000lbs of bacon and sausages.

The huge bill is paid for by taxpayers of participating nations including Britain.

Mr Morgan said: “Whether they want Beluga caviar, foie gras or bacon sandwiches ? we have it all.

“In my experience, heads of state don’t decide what they want to eat or drink until the last minute.

“So I have to make sure I have everything they can possibly want.”

Vintage champagne, fine wines, spirits and liqueurs have been flown in from around the globe so the VIPs can wash down their meals in style…

…Yet close by, families scratch a desperate existence in the sprawling shanty town of Alexandra.

They live in corrugated shacks. Hungry children play among piles of rubbish and queue for water at standpipes.

More champagne, please, waiter, while we discuss these matters.

There has been much discussion of the haircuts to be taken by investors in Greek bonds. But taxpayers closer to home are getting a haircut from the Senate, whose barbershop is receiving a bailout from the taxpayer.

It needs a bailout because it lost more than $300,000 last year, as a result of the barbers being federal employees and therefore grossly overpaid.

Fitzgerald contrasts the salaries and benefits of the Senate’s stylists to what is offered by Capitol Barber, three blocks away.

Capitol’s four barbers and stylists made $22,000 to $30,000 last year with no benefits, manager Lynn Dang said. At the Senate barbershop, formally called Senate Hair Care Services, the top four barbers and stylists made more than twice that — $54,761; $70,349; $73,658; and $81,641 — plus they have a generous 401(k) plan, health care and paid vacation. In all, the government contributed $230,000 in benefits for the barbershop, said Eve Goldsher, a spokeswoman for the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Michelle does not have a monopoly on extravagance, she is just more “in your face” about it. Reminds me of Leona “only little people pay taxes” Helmsley.

Only the little people go to jail, of course, as Obama’s team has engineered a free pass for the big banks whose foreclosure fraud has caused so much grief. They settle out of court, and the headlines say they’re paying $30 billion or so. But the neat part is they’re not paying. They give out principal reductions at the expense of mortgage investors who in effect pay the fine by reducing the value of their assets.

And of course another “not little” person, Jon Corzine, is getting his free pass. Even though MF Global customers are out some $1.6 billion from their supposedly “segregated” accounts, Big Jon will be OK as the criminal investigation is being allowed to quietly die.

When commodities brokerage MF Global imploded, the FBI and federal prosecutors were quick to launch an investigation to pursue what seemed obvious to outspoken regulators and lawmakers: laws were broken and crimes were committed.

More than three months later, it is far from clear that anyone will face criminal charges over the disappearance of more than $600 million in customer money as MF Global spiraled towards bankruptcy in the brokerage’s final, frantic days in the last week of October.

Actually as I mentioned at the time, a free pass for Corzine was a sure thing given his connections to the administration.

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