Obama, France's Hollande make pilgrimage to Jefferson's Monticello

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia Tue Feb 11, 2014 12:12pm EST

1 of 3. U.S. President Barack Obama (R) and French President Francois Hollande shake hands after touring the Virginia residence of Thomas Jefferson at Monticello in Charlottesville February 10, 2014. Jefferson was one of the United States' earliest envoys to France.

Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia (Reuters) - President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande toured Thomas Jefferson's plantation estate on Monday in a show of solidarity for Franco-American ties that have endured for more than two centuries despite the occasional tempest.

The visit to Monticello, home to America's third president, served to showcase a relationship that stretches back to the founding of the United States in the late 18th century, an alliance still strong despite spats over U.S. eavesdropping and trade talks with the European Union.

Hollande, 59, who split from his partner, Valerie Trierweiler, last month after an affair with an actress, arrived solo for the first state visit hosted by Obama since he won a second term in 2012.

The two leaders will get down to business on Tuesday with White House talks, covering topics such as Iran, Syria, restive North Africa and trade, followed by a joint news conference. A Tuesday evening state dinner features aged rib-eye beef and American wine and a musical performance by Mary J. Blige.

Monday was all about symbolism. Obama met Hollande at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington shortly after the French leader arrived from Paris, and together they flew aboard Air Force One to Charlottesville.

At Monticello, they toured the unique home designed by Jefferson, including its distinctive crowning portico and the Cabinet room Jefferson used for writing, architectural drafting and scientific observation. They saw the basement kitchen equipped with utensils he brought back from Paris after serving as U.S. ambassador to France.

"Thomas Jefferson represents what's best in America, but as we see as we travel through his home, what he also represents is the incredible bond and the incredible gifts that France gave to the United States, because he was a Francophile through and through," Obama told reporters.

He said the house also represents the complicated history of the United States since "slaves helped to build this magnificent structure.

"It's a reminder for both of us that we are in a continuous fight on behalf of the rights of all peoples," Obama said.

Hollande noted the significant role played by a French general, the Marquis de Lafayette, in helping George Washington defeat the British colonial power.

"We were allies in the time of Jefferson and Lafayette. We are still allies today. We were friends at the time of Jefferson and Lafayette and will remain friends forever," he said.

Today's collaboration is a far cry from the strains of a decade ago, when France refused to join the Iraq war. But France also has made known its unhappiness over National Security Agency spying practices. Hollande told Time magazine that the agency's tactics "should never have existed" and had caused "a difficult moment, not just between France and the United States but also between Europe and the United States."

Washington's relations with the European Union have also been ruffled by a U.S. diplomat's secretly recorded expletive to disparage the EU's handling of the political crisis in Ukraine.

The United States and France have cooperated in diplomacy on Syria and Iran, but do not always agree on economic issues, such as a U.S.-EU trade deal on which negotiations began in July.

France set several preconditions before allowing the talks to start, insisting that the audio-visual sector, including cinema and books, be excluded from discussions.

French tax authorities have also put U.S. Internet giant Google under audit about accounting procedures that channel sales through Ireland. Google rejects suggestions that this is an attempt at tax-dodging.

(Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton; Writing by Steve Holland; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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Comments (8)
Alexaisback wrote:
……………
Obama can learn a lot from Hollande:

French unemployment rate hits new record
Published: 27 Jan 2014 The Local

” The French President François Hollande could not keep his famous promise. New figures released on Monday showed that France has set a new record for the number of unemployed which now stands at 3.3 million. ”

SO WHAT SHOULD ONE DO ????

Les Echos
Holland wants to “get things done” in 2014

” And to achieve “get things done” despite a 2014 parliamentary calendar constrained by elections (local and European), the Head of State urged to use “decrees” or “orders,” said the door- government spokesman. “President of the Republic [...] also called [ministers] to make sure you do go through the law only when it is strictly necessary, and ensure during this time to advance records in other ways: by decrees, orders, “said Najat Belkacem-Vallaud leaving the first Council of Ministers. ”

AND IF YOU GET ANY LIP
lesobservateurs
” Motif invoqué : ‘ outrage au Président ‘. Reason given: ‘insulting the President.

“When expressing his opinions becomes a crime. David, , the founder of the website ‘Holland demission.fr’ in a sad experience on Wednesday. . For driving a car where the slogan “Holland demission.fr” shining, the latter was arrested Porte de Passy to 16 hours per 4 riders. ‘. Reason given: ‘insulting the President.

. This mini-event was then taken out of proportion: the police seized the car, which was then removed by vehicles impounded. Près de trente policiers ont été diligentés sur place. Nearly thirty policemen were diligent on site. . The circulation is found completely blocked.

.

OH AND IF THE WORD GETS OUT —— MAKE SURE YOU SUE AMERICANS TOO !!!!

” Gagging Doubt: French Crackdown On French And American Bloggers Who Question Megabank Balance Sheets

Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 2:10AM

Instead of going after the megabanks that have wreaked so much havoc, French regulators are going after bloggers who try to shed some light on them. It’s more convenient.

France’s Financial Markets Authority (AMF) announced on Nov. 14 that its Sanctions Commission had decided to slap fines on two bloggers, Frenchman Jean-Pierre Chevallier and American Mike “Mish” Shedlock, “for having spread inexact information about the level of indebtedness” of megabank Société Générale.

…………………….

Feb 11, 2014 1:36am EST  --  Report as abuse
Alexaisback wrote:
……………
Obama can learn a lot from Hollande:

French unemployment rate hits new record
Published: 27 Jan 2014 The Local

” The French President François Hollande could not keep his famous promise. New figures released on Monday showed that France has set a new record for the number of unemployed which now stands at 3.3 million. ”

SO WHAT SHOULD ONE DO ????

Les Echos
Holland wants to “get things done” in 2014

” And to achieve “get things done” despite a 2014 parliamentary calendar constrained by elections (local and European), the Head of State urged to use “decrees” or “orders,” said the door- government spokesman. “President of the Republic [...] also called [ministers] to make sure you do go through the law only when it is strictly necessary, and ensure during this time to advance records in other ways: by decrees, orders, “said Najat Belkacem-Vallaud leaving the first Council of Ministers. ”

AND IF YOU GET ANY LIP
lesobservateurs
” Motif invoqué : ‘ outrage au Président ‘. Reason given: ‘insulting the President.

“When expressing his opinions becomes a crime. David, , the founder of the website ‘Holland demission.fr’ in a sad experience on Wednesday. . For driving a car where the slogan “Holland demission.fr” shining, the latter was arrested Porte de Passy to 16 hours per 4 riders. ‘. Reason given: ‘insulting the President.

. This mini-event was then taken out of proportion: the police seized the car, which was then removed by vehicles impounded. Près de trente policiers ont été diligentés sur place. Nearly thirty policemen were diligent on site. . The circulation is found completely blocked.

.

OH AND IF THE WORD GETS OUT —— MAKE SURE YOU SUE AMERICANS TOO !!!!

” Gagging Doubt: French Crackdown On French And American Bloggers Who Question Megabank Balance Sheets

Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 2:10AM

Instead of going after the megabanks that have wreaked so much havoc, French regulators are going after bloggers who try to shed some light on them. It’s more convenient.

France’s Financial Markets Authority (AMF) announced on Nov. 14 that its Sanctions Commission had decided to slap fines on two bloggers, Frenchman Jean-Pierre Chevallier and American Mike “Mish” Shedlock, “for having spread inexact information about the level of indebtedness” of megabank Société Générale.

…………………….

Feb 11, 2014 1:36am EST  --  Report as abuse
Alexaisback wrote:
.
.WHERE IS THE MEDIA OUTRAGE — WHY IS THIS AUTHOR NOT OUTRAGED ?????

Bloggers Who Question Megabank Balance Sheets

Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 2:10AM

Instead of going after the megabanks that have wreaked so much havoc, French regulators are going after bloggers who try to shed some light on them. It’s more convenient.

France’s Financial Markets Authority (AMF) announced on Nov. 14 that its Sanctions Commission had decided to slap fines on two bloggers, Frenchman Jean-Pierre Chevallier and American Mike “Mish” Shedlock, “for having spread inexact information about the level of indebtedness” of megabank Société Générale.

The same bank, incidentally, that entered the annals of the silly when it blamed and successfully hounded a low-level trader, the hapless Jérôme Kerviel, for its €5 billion zinger of a loss during the financial crisis, while other banks blamed their toxic assets.

The press release explained that an investigation had been opened in August 2011 concerning “rumors about the indebtedness” of SocGen. The sinful act: On August 14, 2011, Chevallier posted an analysis (in English) of SocGen’s financial statements that came to the conclusion that the bank’s leverage ratio was much higher than it had indicated – namely 50:1 – and that the Tier 1 capital ratio wasn’t 9.3% but 2%, that in fact, there was hardly any capital left in the bank.

The AMF accused him, a “former finance professor who taught financial analysis,” of having spread “information that he knew was inexact with respect to the accounting rules in effect and the applicable principles of ‘Basel II,’“ which govern capital requirements for banks. And he was slapped with a fine of €10,000 ($13,400) for having doubted the sacrosanct veracity of SocGen’s financial statements.

As we have seen innumerable times, the truth about a bank’s financial condition seeps out only after a bank collapses and someone picks up the pieces and counts what’s left. The AMF knew this all too well. The shakiness of the French banks was no secret: Belgian-French megabank Dexia collapsed in October 2011, after having already been bailed out in 2008, and after having passed the European Banking Authority’s “stress tests” a few months earlier which determined that it was the 12th safest bank of the 91 banks examined! Strung-out French taxpayers are still paying the tab for it.

Feb 11, 2014 1:40am EST  --  Report as abuse
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