Gaius Publius: Obama Harvests His Presidency

By Gaius Publius, a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, and Naked Capitalism. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius, Tumblr and Facebook. GP article archive  here. Originally published at DownWithTyranny

My words fly up, my deeds remain below.
Words without deeds never to heaven go.
—Barack, Prince of Denmark, Act III, Scene 3

This is a story I didn’t want to produce, but fully expected to. For years I’ve been writing about Barack Obama and his legacy, the one he wants to have and the one he actually has. In 2013 I listed the four economic items Obama wanted to achieve to complete what he considered his legacy list before his presidency ended:

Privatized “Medicare expansion” (the ACA). Benefits cuts for SS and Medicare. Keystone [pipeline built]. TPP [passed]. If Obama gets these four, he’s a happy man, and in his mind he goes out in glory.

He succeeded on the first; tried and tried and tried on the second; bailed on the third only when forced to by popular opposition; and pulled out all the stops, every last one of them, to pass the fourth in the last months of his last year, even as his chosen Democratic successor, Hillary Clinton, under pressure in the primary, finally came out as opposed. (Obama’s chosen DNC chair, Tom Perez, was never opposed, nor was anyone else close to his administration, though Perez doesn’t talk about that much these days.)

If it weren’t for Tea Party and Freedom Caucus Republicans, he’d have been three for four — Social Security “reform” and TPP would have passed. Obama didn’t lose for lack of trying.

Obama’s real legacy also includes zero bankers jailed for fraud despite the rampant criminal behavior of Wall Street in the run-up to the 2008 economic devastation. As he told a group of Wall Street CEOs in 2009, “My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.” He was right, and proved an effective shield.

For all of those efforts, those that succeeded (passing ACA, protecting Wall Street CEOs) and those that failed (cuts to SS and Medicare, TPP, Keystone), he fully expected to be granted a “Bill Clinton future” — the big money, the big foundation, the international love and acclaim.

You can read about his fundraising for the foundation here. It’s quite a story in its own right. You can hear the international acclaim grow stronger by the day, thanks to the serendipitous contrast with his successor, Donald Trump. And now the money is starting to flow.

“Bill Clinton Money”

Fresh from his vacation on privately-owned Necker Island with billionaire Richard Branson, Obama has just inked his first lucrative speaking deal. The fee: $400,000. The venue: Wall Street.

Mark Hensch at The Hill:

Obama to net $400K for Wall Street speech: report

Former President Obama has agreed to speak at a Wall Street conference for $400,000, according to a new report.

Obama will appear at Cantor Fitzgerald LP’s healthcare conference in September, Fox Business Network first reported Monday.

Fox Business said it confirmed Obama’s appearance with senior members at Cantor, a financial services firm.

Obama will serve as the keynote speaker for one day at the company’s event, sources there told Fox Business.

The following is from the underlying Fox Business report by Charlie Gasparino and Brian Schwartz, who broke the story. Note the criticism that looks to us like praise (my emphasis):

When he was president he called them “fat cats,” but now he’s likely thanking them for a huge payday.

Former President Barack Obama, less than 100 days out of office, has agreed to speak at a Wall Street conference run by Cantor Fitzgerald LP, senior people at the firm confirm to FOX Business. His speaking fee will be $400,000, which is nearly twice as much as Hillary Clinton, his secretary of state, and the 2016 Democratic Party candidate, charged private businesses for such events. […]

News of Obama’s speaking deal with Cantor, which had yet to be reported, comes as the former president made on Monday his first public comments since leaving office after an extended vacation. In those comments to college students at the University of Chicago, the president spoke broadly about the need for public service and studiously avoided any mention of the current president, Republican Donald Trump, or how he intends to make a living now that he’s a private citizen.

It’s also likely to be a source of criticism against the former president given Obama’s record of attacks against Wall Street bankers for making huge salaries while average Americans were suffering from the ravages of the 2008 financial crisis. Obama, a progressive Democrat, spoke frequently about Wall Street greed during his eight years as president, and now he’s accepting a speaking fee from the industry he singled out as the main culprit of the banking collapse.

I’ll return to the Fox piece in a moment. First, about the timing, compare Obama’s first post-presidential days to Bill Clinton’s immediate post-presidential trajectory (my emphasis):

On December 21, 2000, President Bill Clinton signed a bill called the Commodities Futures Modernization Act. This law ensured that derivatives could not be regulated, setting the stage for the financial crisis.

Just two months later, on February 5, 2001, Clinton received $125,000 from Morgan Stanley, in the form of a payment for a speech Clinton gave for the company in New York City. A few weeks later, Credit Suisse also hired Clinton for a speech, at a $125,000 speaking fee, also in New York. It turns out, Bill Clinton could make a lot of money, for not very much work.

Notice that just like Clinton was fresh off his late December win for Wall Street deregulation, Obama is fresh off his highly focused effort to pass TPP in the final days of his own presidency. Unlike Clinton, who won, Obama ultimately failed, but Obama’s win would have been much more monumental than Clinton’s. Commodities futures deregulation enriched just one industry, though it did help wreck the whole economy. TPP was truly “NAFTA on steroids,” a multi-industry monopoly protection scheme, and nearly everyone in America with real money would have benefited, not just the bankers.

By the way, if you compare Obama’s speaking fee with Clinton’s early fees, you may notice the price has gone up. (Clinton’s later fees grew in line with those prices. His 2015 fee was $500,000 per speech.) A good example of asset inflation — and that’s not sarcasm. Everything the rich are buying these days is rocketing up in price. See “Art and real estate are the new gold, says Blackrock CEO.”

Word and Deeds

I quoted Gasparino and Schwartz’s piece for a reason. In it you can see the double benefit Obama gets — Wall Street reward money, plus undeserved credit for opposing Wall Street while in office.

Fox, in hitting him for hypocrisy — “given Obama’s record of attacks against Wall Street bankers for making huge salaries while average Americans were suffering from the ravages of the 2008 financial crisis” — actually praises him as an kind of “anti-Wall Street warrior” during his presidency, something (a) he certainly was not, but (b) something he desperately wants to be thought to have been.

After all, you can’t retire as a “champion of the people” if you don’t at least appear to champion the people. And you can’t be internationally loved in your “retirement” years if the world sees you as a quid-pro-quo greed head. Managing how the world sees him will be crucial to Obama’s success going forward.

And typical of Obama, the issue is words versus deeds. That “record of attacks” was entirely verbal. Obama’s deeds were the opposite of attacks; they were entirely supportive. Which is entirely to be expected given the level of funding Wall Street poured into making and keeping him president in the first place:

Wall Street Responsible For One-Third Of Obama’s Campaign Funds

One-third of the Obama re-election campaign’s record-breaking second-quarter fundraising came from sources associated with the financial sector, the Washington Post reports.

That percentage is up from the 20% of donations that came from Wall Street donors in 2008, and contradicts reports that a growing Wall Street animosity towards the Obama administration may jeopardize his re-election bid.

And please don’t forget that Obama’s real legacy, the one involving actual deeds, includes what David Dayen called “the greatest disintegration of black wealth in recent memory.” Of that I wrote this:

Occasionally, when there’s justice in the world, one is not just branded by the manicured and curated image one tries to project. One is branded instead by what one actually does in the sight of others.

Will Obama see more justice than the millions whose homelessness he caused? I guess that part of the story is still being written.

One can hope. It will be interesting to watch this unfold.

You Get What You Pay For

Bottom line — Wall Street invested millions in Barack Obama’s career in 2008 and 2012. That investment paid off over the eight years of his presidency to the tune of billions upon billions in profit and millions upon millions per year in executive compensation and bonuses.

It would not be at all surprising if Wall Street bankers were now saying “thank you” by giving him money he can keep. In fact, it would be entirely surprising if they weren’t.

UPDATE: I discussed this issue and post on “The Attitude with Arnie Arnesen,” WNHN-FM, progressive radio on New Hampshire. You can listen here; start at 30:00 (or earlier to listen to Garth Brooks sing “It Pays Big Money”).


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  1. Madeleine

    Honest question: what do banks get out of paying a former president to lecture them?

    Isn’t it likely that Obama underregulated because he agrees with the neoliberals, without the need for quid pro quo/influence peddling? I’m sure he always planned to cash in, but I read him as true believer in markets anyway.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      They are demonstrating to the next Obama that good deeds go rewarded. Its the same reason why so many ex politicians get insanely large book deals for books nobody ever reads from media companies. The point is not to give money to an ex politician, its to remind the next generation of politicians the rewards they can reap if they are good boys and girls.

    2. Benedict@Large

      Exactly. They are telling the next President so inclined to be of aid to them that there are massive piles of cash waiting for them for things like being “the only thing between [them] and the pitchforks.”

    3. Michael Fiorillo

      Sure, he’s a True Believer, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to get paid.

      According to the tenets of the Faith, he must be paid.

    4. cnchal

      Banksters are expressing gratitude for the millennia of prison time they don’t serve for their crime waves.

      Bernie Sanders: The business of Wall Street is fraud and greed.

    5. Moneta

      To make the conference attendees feel like VIPs so they keep on believing in the importance of networking with the .1%. Then, if they believe in the game and in their special powers, they will buy the financially engineered products.

      It’s all about feeling as if you are part of the winning group.

    6. RUKidding

      Do you really think Obama was a “true believer” in anything other than himself and making stacks and gobs and bags of money??

      I don’t see a whole lot of difference between Obama and Trump, other than that Trump is crude, rude and loud and obnoxious. Obama just spoke purty werds in a nicely modulated voice. Other than that…

      I’m sure Obama would’ve much preferred to run as a Republican but he couldn’t bc blah.

      1. Allegorio

        No, he did not prefer to run as a Republican because his purpose, and what he is being rewarded for, was to prevent a truly progressive Democrat from getting on the ballot by pretending to be a truly progressive and then betraying them. There is fat chance of a progressive being nominated by the Republican party, although that was Trump’s trick, running to the left of Clinton and then betraying his supporters. Fortunately for Trump his supporters are so low information that they don’t even notice.

      2. Crazy Horse

        Trying to analyze the “belief systems” of a creature like Obama is a delusional exercise.

        After all, everybody knows his history. He was discovered as a teenager lying on a beach in Hawaii, stoned out of his mind by a couple of NSA agents on vacation. Since he was the right color (pale black) and didn’t seem to belong to anybody they bundled him up and shipped him off to their Chicago laboratories. Once there he was placed in a conditioning vat for a year where the last traces of his memory were extracted and a Trojan Horse profile carefully constructed within the empty reaches of his cranium.

        Of course Obama wasn’t the only cyborg the Institute manufactured for future use. He may well have remained in his community organizer chrysalis indefinitely, or just became another law professor, but psychological studies of the guilt profile of the American Liberal mind indicated that the time was right for a president who could pass as a black man and a progressive, all the while remaining completely under the control of his creators.

        The rest is history.

    7. Roger Smith

      That is precisely the point. He isn’t qualified to talk about anything, nor was Clinton. He still has to report that money by some “legitimate” means though.

    8. John k

      True believer in what? That CEO corruption should never be punished because markets? That big banks should become even bigger systemic risks because markets? That only insurance companies should provide health care because markets? That we should bomb every Middle East country because MIC markets? That it’s ok for police to shoot unarmed blacks because markets? That reps should prevent minorities from voting because markets?

      Let’s face it: he’s a right wing rep that ran as a dem because his skin prevented him from running as a rep, plus that same skin, plus great skill reading speeches, plus of course the right wing bit, makes him a perfect match for today’s dem identify politics. First black pres! Policies very close to Clarence Thomas. And bill and Hillary Clinton. And, it seems, Chelsea.

    9. pissed younger baby boomer

      He’s Republican lite since he was state senator from the land of Lincoln .

  2. /L

    It would look very bad and send the wrong message if those who have served you well didn’t get rewarded. Compared to the service they received it’s a real bargain.
    He rented a house in DC that have rental market price equivalent to his presidential pension. Negotiations for the 60 million book remuneration was probably already finished.

  3. Darius

    I always thought one of the goals of passing BS healthcare reform was to use it as a bargaining chip to get Democrats to accept Social Security and Medicare cuts and privatization. It would have worked but for that pesky Tea Party that couldn’t take yes for an answer from the Kenyan Muslim atheist socialist. Despite his every effort to bend over backward and kiss their asses

      1. skippy

        Thing is el’trumpo has $interests$ before moving in to the WH…

        Disheveled…. The great orator was just a lowly community organizer for both developers and subprime lenders…

      1. Avalon Sparks

        I’ve been thinking the same thing recently. As long as they continue to cock block most items on the table, at least things can’t get much worse.

        The Progressives need to get their own party block of Reps in there as soon as possible.

  4. Eustache de Saint Pierre

    The French it seems are missing a trick by relying on a candidate with all of the charisma of a dead fish. I imagine it would not be too difficult to find a popular game show host type who can sing a little of the repertoire of a Gallic version of Al Green, follow an autocue with a touch of pizazz & generally charm all & sundry.

    Judging from what I have read on my FB feed, the man can do no wrong, especially it appears among the female contingent, one of whom suggested it was racist to criticise the cool cat for licking up the presented cream. I have also noticed a similar reaction from the females to one of the latest additions to the Neoliberal crew, ” Pretty Boy ” Trudeau.

    Sometimes I despair.

    1. timotheus

      “licking up the presented cream”

      Yes! and though the forgiveness is not surprising, I am stunned by the furious reaction at any attempt to criticize O for promptly cashing in. It includes statements like, Oh c’mon, you want the guy to work for free to be morally pure?? Or, it’s just like big name artists who finally make it and then people resent that they make good money. The litany of excuses nearly always comes from people who find Trump appallingly greedy, crude, vulgar, corrupt, etc.

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        I probably should add that this is not just a female phenomenon as from my experience, many males have also been taken in by the above tailor’s dummies.

        I am somehow reminded of the situation that developed when that infamous smoothie, Ted Bundy appeared in court.

    2. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you.

      You highlight something which I have been thinking about recently and welcome suggestions from the “Nakeds”, if only so I can ask the bookies for a quote at Newmarket next week-end. After Obama, Trudeau and Macron, who are the next pretty boys and girls the neo-liberals can use to advance their interests? Are there any empty suits with a USP out there? I was thinking of Corporate Hooker, but we have just had Obama. One of the twins from Texas or the pretty boys from San Francisco? I can’t think of any in the UK apart from Chuka Umunna and Sadiq Khan.

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        Yes, but you do need the opposite for the contrast & the hisses & boos from the groundlings. For instance, that Neoliberal hellhole Romania in a future election might consist of a battle between some decorative one time Eurovision song contest winner & the equivalent of Vlad the Impaler.

        I must admit though, that if Juliet Binoche stood for the far right, the devil would be whispering in my ear.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, Eustache.

          On that note, how about Lea Seydoux? She comes from a rich and well connected family.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        I saw one of Jeb’s! kids give a speech several years ago. Pretty boy, biracial, smooth talker and a Bush. He’s not that old yet so if the clan can reinvigorate themselves after the damage Trump did to the Bush pedigree, watch out for that one.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you.

          I had forgotten about the little brown one as George HW Bush called his grandson George P Bush. One can get a bet for George P Bush and Chelsea Clinton to square up in 2024.

      3. ocop

        Kamala Harris seems like the perfect pol to put on the identity politics express train, if a bit older than the Obama, Trudeau, Macron set. But, in addition to her many desirable demographic features, she’s already shown she’s willing to let bankers walk after they steamroll the middle class via foreclosure.

        And, as if on cue… Dems Might Begin Again with Kamala Harris and California!

        1. RUKidding

          You beat me to it.

          Kamala Harris is being groomed.

          Also don’t forget another NeoLib El-Favorito, Cory Booker – he who voted against importing cheaper presecription drugs from Canada. If Booker isn’t the Poster Boy for the next coming of Obama, I don’t know who is.

          Former Sacramento Mayor, Kevin Johnson (a former NBA “star”), who is married to the execrable Michelle Rhee (of charter school infamy), whould LOVE to be in line for the big money shot. He kinda made a hash of his position as Sac Mayor, and did a lot of scurrilous stuff that got too much attention. So I think he and Michelle – who scrambled mightily to get a jawb with Trump’s Admin (but she wasn’t rich and connected enough like DeVos) – are taking a break right now. I expect to see them attempting climb back up the ladder sometime, though. Ex Mayor KJ would love to be the second coming of either Cory Booker or the Barackstar. I wouldn’t count him out of the running. He’s the perfect poodle with the perfect wife for the jawb.

    3. Moneta

      The difference between France and Canada is that millions of French households are feeling the negative impacts of neoliberalism and bad EU policies while most Canadian households are still clueless, basking in their home equity or should I say home debt.

    4. Will S.

      A meme I saw on my FB feed said “So you want the black man to work without pay? I think there’s a name for that.” As if the only other option is that he give free speeches to Wall Street. That he give paeans to the fat cat bankers is beyond question…

      Interestingly, the only people whom I’ve observed actually offended by this are the Yglesias types, who recognize the corruption the speech implies but haven’t recognized that this is just payment for the grift, the grift is already done.

      1. jrs

        No he could give the speech for minimum wage maybe $10 an hour or whatever it is,netting well under $50 a speech, I think there’s a name for that. Oh yea capitalism that’s the word I was thinking of …

        Or why is it not a scandal when plenty of people including black people earn that? Outrageous income inequality justified as “at least it’s not slavery” Pretty sick.

      2. Allegorio

        Don’t despair. All the excuses for Obama are just the Hasbara. Trust me real people do not feel that way and the anger and resentment are building.

        1. different clue

          Don’t the Hasbarobamists believe it though? Don’t millions upon millions of Race Card Voters still venerate the Beloved Obama? Just as millions upon millions of Clintonites still venerate the beloved Hillamonster?

    5. Avalon Sparks

      This is why I think Bernie needs to take a handsome young guy under his wing and mentor him to carry the Progressive banner forward.

      Based on the women I know, I hate to admit it but a good looker would be a pretty big draw to pull some women out of the Hillary Rah Rah camp. Almost all the women I know don’t follow politics at all, and were only voting for Hillary because of the woman thing. I guarantee a charming, good looking orator would have the same effect. Optics….

      1. Altandmain

        The closest thing we have to that right now is Tulsi Gabbard.

        Oh and Tulsi is a woman – kills 2 birds with 1 stone.

          1. Marina Bart

            Precisely because she is a threat.

            It’s interesting. They let Tulsi onstage at the convention, but not Nina Turner. I assume that’s because Hillary perceived Nina (for good and obvious reasons) as the greater threat.

            But since the election, they’ve gone after Tulsi more. That’s probably because she’s elected, with a base that looks like it will back her regardless of what national Democratic leadership says or does. Nina is stuck being a “public speaker,” more vulnerable to pressure from the Ds on whoever offers her anything (and yes, I’m aware of the suggestions that she’s tainted by association with Our Revolution and Soros). I hope she runs for Governor of Ohio. That seems like the right next step for her, but I don’t know enough about Ohio to have any sense of whether she could get elected, if the state party at least stepped out of her way.

            Liberals are conditioned to fall for pretty. While it’s normal to be attracted to beauty, I don’t think running someone pretty is needed for the left. It could even backfire, precisely because as a political tactic, it is so strongly associated with neoliberals.

            I think its impact may also be overstated. Justin Trudeau probably also benefited from his father’s political legacy (which IIRC was not neoliberal), and the fact that he was the change on offer, just as Obama’s laying claim to black identity and the civil rights movement was a factor in his appeal.

            Obama’s not actually any more handsome than any other mainstream politician. They generally tend to be tall and well-proportioned, with symmetrical, pleasing features. That would also describe Biden, O’Malley, Baby Bush, Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Mitt Romney, etc. I don’t see a strong correlation between traditional physical beauty metrics and winning presidential elections. They’re usually pretty attractive. I suppose it’s possible that Kerry lost a crucial thin layer of voters who turned away from him because of his looks, but that seems like a stretch to me. Does anybody doubt that Bernie would crush Tom Cotton or Rick Perry in a national head to head?

          2. different clue

            We have to make DNC/Clintonista slanders and insults into a recommendation. If the DNC/Clintonistas are against you, you must be doing something right. Probably a lot of somethings.

        1. phil martin in KC

          She’s too dangerous–is actually interested in truth (vide the Sarin gas attack), versus the party line. Independent thought must be stamped out.

      2. Tim

        Actually I really appreciated the fact that Bernie doesn’t play any of that shit. It’s a big part of his draw, and I think if you added the usual razzle dazzle bullshit he would lose most of his admirers.

      3. Allegorio

        The trouble with pretty young things raised in our celebrity culture is how corruptible they are. Remember Obama was a pretty young thing. I prefer a grizzled old Progressive who is beyond vanity, that I believe is a big part of Senator Sanders appeal.

    6. Allegorio

      The French election is a replay of the Clinton Trump race. A candidate Clinton/Macron with an establishment program, already rejected by the French, who campaigns not on his program but on how terrible his opponent Trump/LePen is, hopefully with the same results, LePen wins. The difference is that LePen is genuine and will derail the globalist agenda whereas Trumpenstien is closet globalist and lied through his teeth to get elected. If LePen actually wins despite everything the globalists throw @ her, all hell will break loose. Keep your fingers crossed and don’t buy all the negative propaganda about the “racist” National Front and Russia did it. Compared to Clinton and Obama Le Pen is a progressive.

  5. David J.

    If you have a copy of Gordon Wood’s “The Radicalism of the American Revolution” pull it off the shelf and reread Chapter 14: “Interests.” He adroitly describes the shift from disinterest to self-interest in that period.

    I’d enjoin Obama to read that chapter, too, if I could. He could learn something from non hip-hop Hamilton.

    Hamilton knew that many public officials were using their connections to get rich, but he did not want to be one of them. In 1795, at a time when he was very much in need of money and out of public office, his close friend Robert Troup pleaded with him to get involved in business, especially speculative land schemes. Everyone else was doing it, said Troup. “Why should you object to making a little money in a way that cannot be reproachful? Is it not time for you to think of putting yourself in a state of independence?” Troup even joked to Hamilton that such moneymaking schemes might be “instrumental in making a man of fortune–I may say–a gentleman of you.For such is the present insolence of the World that hardly a man is treated like a gentleman unless his fortune enables him to live at his ease.”

    But Hamilton refused. “Saints,” he said, might get away with such profit-making, but he knew that he would be denounced by his Republican opponents as just another one of those “speculators” and “peculators.” He had to refuse “because” as he sardonically put it, “there must be some public fools who who sacrifice private to public interest at the certainty of ingratitude and obloquy–because my vanity whispers I ought to be one of those fools and ought to keep myself in a situation the best calculated to render service.” Hamilton clung as long and as hard to the classical conception of leadership as anyone in post-revolutionary America. Unfortunately for the Federalists, however, Hamilton’s classical vision of aristocratic leadership required more than just himself and Washington, more than just a handful of farsighted, cosmopolitan, and great-souled gentlemen who remained virtuous and above the concerns of crass moneymaking.

  6. rob adams

    can anyone direct me to sources citing Obama wanting to reform Medicare & SS?? This isn’t surprising, but I guess I was too busy trying to make a living at the time.

    1. Arizona Slim

      The late, great Firedoglake gave this issue a lot of coverage during O’s first term.

      1. nycTerrierist

        R.I.P. Firedoglake

        excellent reporting on Obama’s ‘catfood commission’ – Jane Hamsher’s phrase, iirc –
        among other issues.

    2. Allegorio

      Obama’s grand bargain, the chained CPI that would have reduced SS benefits. He convened the Simpson Bowles commission to come up with proposals to reform “entitlements” Simpson and Bowles were aggressive entitlement cutters and I believe came up with the “catfood” “throw Granny under the bus” chained CPI. Any politician that uses the word “entitlement” instead of social insurance is Wall Street stooge. The ACA made cuts to Medicare to help fund subsidies for the insurance companies. The ACA the biggest corporate give away in history, worth at least a 400K honorarium.

  7. KYrocky

    “Bottom line — Wall Street invested millions in Barack Obama’s career in 2008 and 2012.”

    It started well before 2008. Even before Obama’s 2004 speech at the Democratic convention he had drawn the attention of the movers and shakers, and after his speech Obama essentially entered into their world, became friends with and an acolyte of Pete Peterson and that whole circle.

    Their investment paid off handsomely for Wall Street and the Republican Party; America and the Democratic Party are the worse for it.

    1. Martin Finnucane

      Mr. Obama was a made man from the get-go. I think he actually sincerely wanted to help the oligarchy from an early age. These have been cited here before many times, but always worth a re-view:

      1996, Adolph Reed pegs the young state senator Obama: In Chicago, for instance, we’ve gotten a foretaste of the new breed of foundation-hatched black communitarian voices; one of them, a smooth Harvard lawyer with impeccable do-good credentials and vacuous-to-repressive neoliberal politics, has won a state senate seat on a base mainly in the liberal foundation and development worlds. LINK

      2008, the late great Robert Fitch connects the dots from Chicago to the WH.

      1. Allegorio

        He and Michelle started their career working for the Chicago real estate interests , the Pryskers and Sam Zell, gentrifying Black neighborhoods. The first black president is actually half white and was raised in a white family whose mother is suspected of being a CIA asset working for the Ford Foundation. Clever how the Blob played on racial stereotypes that a Black man must be a Progressive. Proof positive that skin color is just that skin color.

        1. Allegorio

          Likewise, Barry Obama, progressive, presided over the biggest cut in Food Stamps in the history of the program, by signing off on a formula that mandated that a Food Stamp recipient no matter how little his income had to pay a third of it toward food, resulting in a massive cut in individual benefits. Republicans called him the Food Stamp President for good reason. Will the ironies ever stop!

  8. geoff


    “[Obama] just a few days ago went and met with the editorial board of The Des Moines Register, the leading newspaper out in that portion of Iowa, and he had a discussion off the record, and emphasized that because it was off the record he could be more blunt, and said that his first course of business, and one that he believed he could get done very quickly should he be reelected, would be to strike a grand bargain. And he described the grand bargain, and there would be $2 in budget cuts for every dollar in increased taxes.

    So this grand bargain is: we will weight this much more heavily towards killing social programs, or at least cutting them back significantly and raising taxes on the rich.”

    Bill Black on RNN 10/31/12

  9. templar555510

    It’s just one nice, big happy family club – sans politics, sans dissent, sans life ……..What part of a f..of you plebs don’t you get ?

  10. kees_popinga

    Can you imagine *wanting* to vacation with creepy smiler Richard Branson? That says it all, right there.

    1. different clue

      Branson doesn’t have a Private Pedo Island the way Epstein did . . . and which hard-core funsters like Bill Clinton loved going to. But he has some kind of private island, and they must have some kind of fun there. At least good food on the beach. So why wouldn’t Obama want to know Branson?

      Money only goes so far if you are ostracised by the fun crowd. And becoming a Branson pal probably confers immunity-from-ostracism in some quarters. Fun quarters. On an island. With good food on the beach.

  11. Chauncey Gardiner

    Nice, and more than enough to buy a lot of illusion. No wonder the protracted wars continued and there weren’t ANY criminal prosecutions in the wake of the 2008 financial collapse as he and his appointees “looked forward, not back”. Along with the advance on the $65 million book deal, voilà!… soon enough in that fraction of the One Percent Club.

    But to me, the amazing (and heartening) part of this story is that We the People and our remaining members of Congress were able to successfully stymie ANY of his administration’s legislative initiatives under the so called “elite’s” Citizens United framework, particularly considering their media and other tools featured in the other half of “an offer you can’t refuse”.

    1. Vatch

      the advance on the $65 million book deal

      How can a publisher possibly make a profit on a deal like that? I don’t have a link, but I’ve seen speculation that some of this money might be supplied by someone outside of the publisher, such as a politically active billionaire, as a bribe or a reward for the author. I don’t know how the accounting would work, since this seems awfully similar to money laundering.

      Here’s some information about royalties for authors (I don’t know how reliable this information is):

      Let’s run some numbers. A mass-selling hb probably has a list price of $22. Most of the royalties will be in the “after 10,000 copies are sold” level, so they get 15% of list price per copy sold. That’s $3.3 per copy, or $330,000 per 100,000 copies sold.

      For a mass market paperback, most of the royalties will be in the 10% level, and the price will be maybe $7.99 per copy, or $0.79 per sale in royalties. That makes it $79,000 per 100,000 copies sold.

      Combine the two, and you’re looking at an “average” of about $140,000 per 100,000.

      Some bestselling authors actually get more per copy, because their publishers deliberately overpay on the advance. They do this so that they can pay more money without setting a precedent on royalty rates for other authors.

      But if the publisher overpays the advance by too much, it will be impossible for them to make money, hence the suspicions about money laundering or shady bribes/rewards. If the Obamas’ books sell 5 million copies in hardcover, that would be $15 to $20 million. And if they sell 10 million copies in paperback, that would be an additional $10 million or so. That’s a lot less than the $65 million advance.

      Here’s some information about how many copies of bestselling books are sold. Unfortunately, political books are intentionally excluded from the list:

      1. David Carl Grimes

        I was wondering about that myself. In a few years, I expect those books to sell for $0.01 on Amazon plus $3.99 in shipping.

    2. Allegorio

      If there is any justice in this world there is a bullet proof glass box waiting for Barry Obama at his war crimes tribunal. There is more hope that the war criminal Obama will be prosecuted that the war criminals the Clintons, because the Hague only seems to prosecute African mass murderers, and Obama’s father, whom he hated by the way, was Kenyan.

      1. different clue

        Your hope is a vain one, and false. Obama is American all the way. And if he goes down, he would do his best to bring the Bushes and the Clintons down with him. Not that he would necessarily succeed. But he would try. And he would be right to try.

  12. Heebus Jeebus

    Sure, Hillary gets $200k and Obama gets twice that. Yet another example of a man being paid more than a woman for the same work. You know, if folks were only paid (off) equally regardless of gender…oh nevermind.

      1. Heebus Jeebus

        Ya got me there. If the president cannot demand more than the former SoS then there’s something wrong with the corruptocracy.

  13. RUKidding

    Just in case anyone’s forgotten the true evil that are the banks, esp during the height of the foreclosure crisis, here’s a neat little article about one family’s macabre ordeal here in the Sacramento area:

    They won their case against evil Bank of America, who, of course, is appealing the verdict. It’s worth a read.

    A question I have relates to this:

    In 2014, President Barack Obama’s Justice Department compelled the lending giant into a $16.65 billion settlement with federal and state officials for the mass selling of toxic mortgages on the eve of the recession. The settlement against BofA was for actions it engaged in, along with those of its subsidiaries, Countrywide Financial Corporation and Merrill Lynch.

    What happened to that money? Who got it? Where did it go? I am most likely naive and ill-informed, but we have witnessed these various banks and criminal gangs like Goldman Sachs being “fined” for some biggish bucks (chump change to them, admittedly). Where does this money go? Who gets it?

    Certainly not regular citizens who’ve been robbed and screwed over like the Sundquists.

    1. Allegorio

      The Tarp was sold to Congress as giving relief to the mortgage holders. Instead of bailing out the debtors, Obama’s “pick” of Treasury Secretary, “Turbo Tax” Timmy Geitner, author of the 2006 subprime debacle at the NY Fed, vetoed that and instead bailed out the creditors precipitating the foreclosure crisis, without a peep of protest from Barry. Turbo Timmy ended up at Pincus Warburg for an 8 figure salary. Paul Warburg was a founder of the Federal Reserve on Jekyl Island in 1913 along with Rockafeller family scion Senator Aldrich.

      The Warburgs are an old Venetian banking family whose bank Brown & Brown funded the Nazis after moving to Hamburg Germany. Senator Prescott Bush was president of Brown and Brown. It all comes together doesn’t it when you lift the curtain a little. Peter Orszag, Obama’s OMB director, went to work for Citibank after Obama’s first term for a $12 million dollar salary. So you see, the pattern has been set even in Obama’s first term, with scarcely a mention in the main stream media. No pay to play here, nothing to see here, time to move on. After all, as the Hasbara has been tasked to telling us, making money in the US is no crime. After all doesn’t everybody aspire to be rich?

  14. Gman

    Most people know, understand and grudgingly accept that the politics of the right is guided by self-interests, and few genuinely believe the ‘what’s good for me is ultimately for everyone’ BS anymore, so at least there’s a kind of honesty there – basically ifyou’re not a fully paid up member of the club, you’re more likely to get shafted.

    What makes the Clintons, the Obamas and Blairs of this world all the more despicable is the false hope these master manipulators initially cynically cultivate in peoples’ hearts purely for their own selfish (and their paymasters’) ends.

  15. David Carl Grimes

    When are people going to realize that Saint Obama is no saint? He never was and he never will be a saint. His deeds never matched his words – in anything he did. Yet everywhere I go in DC and NYC, he is heralded like the second coming of Christ and Trump is treated as a bumbling reincarnation of Hitler/Satan. It’s almost considered blasphemous to talk ill of Obama.

    If it took almost two decades before black people realized that the policies of Clinton, our supposed “first black president”, were detrimental to the well-being of black people, then how long will it take them to realize that the policies of Obama, our first real black president, were very harmful to black Americans and most Americans in general? After all, Hillary was counting on the Southern Black vote as her “firewall” against the insurgent Bernie Sanders, in the democratic primaries last year. I think Obama’s very blackness shielded many people for seeing what he really was – a sellout that sold impoverished Americans down the river from the very start of his presidency. How could a black guy instigate policies that destroyed the economic wealth of his own race?

    As I was taught in liberation theology, there is such a thing as personal sin and structural sin. Obama himself is considered to be personally pious (a good father, no hint of a sex scandal) but is full of structural sin. He didn’t jail a single major banker that wrecked the economy. He sought to reduce the safety net of the poor. He executed Americans on foreign soil without any regard to due process. He bombed the shit out of at least seven countries. Income inequality grew massively under his watch. He continued supporting the creation of a surveillance state.

    When are people here going to see that Trump happened precisely because of Obama? My guess is that it will take a generation for that paradigm to shift, especially in the coastal democrat strongholds. Perhaps more and more history books will take a not so kind look at the Obama legacy. By then Obama will be old and grey but will well on his way to becoming a billionaire.

    1. different clue

      Here’s when Black America will admit to Obama having been a problematical president. Never. Ever.

  16. J.Fever

    After reading all the above egregious acts of chicanery employed by Mr. Obama, to me the worst by far was the dissolution he injected in voters/believers/naive rubes of a generation or two.
    I was a max contributor to the Hope/Change campaign. “You should have looked at his voting record”, “It’s just “Campaign Politics”, “Blah!”.
    Thanks, (…..).
    The whole thing was pointless, basically, for the working class, the middle class, and…..

  17. Altandmain

    Basically Obama cashed in and sold out.

    This says a lot about what the Democratic Party really stands for. False hope then selling out once they’ve left politics. It also sets a dangerous precedent as others have noticed.

    I doubt Obama ever meant to be a change president. Ladies and gentlemen, this is why the US is becoming a plutocracy. The rich don’t care about the people and the politicians don’t either, save only a few principled people.

    We got to see what the Democrats really stood for.

    Oh and he is about to do it again:

  18. Dave

    when do we pull out the pitchforks and guillotines these f u c k e r s deserve……. be right back as someone is knocking at my door

  19. Rubber Maid

    Teehee: tis’ Obamakudari! (a play on the Japanese ‘Amakudari’ – the descent from Heaven)

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