The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Obama Starts Cashing In Directly for Bailing Out Wall Street

Not confirmed, at this point.

“What sources are telling FOX Business Network is that former President Obama, now less than 100 days out of office, has agreed to a speaking engagement during Cantor Fitzgerald’s healthcare conference in September,” FBN’s Gasparino said. “We understand that he is going to be the keynote speaker for the lunch, and he’s going to receive a fee of $400,000. We should point out that that’s in line with what Hilary Clinton got… we should point out that Cantor will neither confirm or deny.”

Politicians are owned, not because of campaign donations, but because they are taken care of once they out of office. For many (though not Obama), it’s also because, while in office, their friends and family are taken care of.

Other than this being domestic bribery, and legal, I don’t see a great deal of difference between this and Trump’s conflicts of interest. The bottom line is that Obama made sure the bailouts for Wall Street continued, and he is being rewarded for it.

This is corruption. It is evil. And millions of people suffered for it. Many died. Obama’s administration was very deliberate in not helping homeowners in any serious way (in fact, harming them). They didn’t help homeowners because they felt doing so would hurt banks. Millions lost their jobs, and the economy never fully recovered.

Obama wasn’t the worst president, but that’s because there is lots of competition. But he was a terrible wasted opportunity, is corrupt and did immense evil. The inability of many to recognize that people like Obama (and Bush, and Clinton, and Trump, and Harry Reid and…), in real terms, are far more dangerous to them than someone like bin Laden, is a very real and proximate cause of vast suffering.

There will be many who defend him, but this is indefensible, as was much of his behaviour in office. If you hate Trump, understand that, absent Obama’s failure to make enough Americans better off, there is no Trump as president.

And now, now he’s getting his pieces of silver. I hope they are worth what he sold for them.

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Macron vs. Le Pen in France


Open Thread


  1. bob mcmanus

    I predicted back in 2009 that Obama would be the first billionaire ex-President, partly because of his relative youth. Now I think it will happen pretty quickly. Apparently he wants it. If he is “lucky” in where he puts his book and speech income it could happen in 5 years. It’s horrifying.

    The skill set is fairly interesting, the low-key, soft-sell, cool charm, they don’t need us to like them, at a genius level. I see nothing else really outstanding in the guy, intellect, analyst, rhetorician, writer…at least as exercised.

    Kennedy, maybe FDR, Reagan, Clinton, even GWB…and then actors like Stewart, Newman, Wayne, Garner. I guess charisma is real and can be developed.

  2. Tom W Harris

    Obama pre-boasted about this in a snip from his last appearance at a White House Correspondents’ Dinner:

    “‘If this material works well, I’m gonna use it at Goldman Sachs next year. Earn me some serious Tubmans. That’s right. That’s right.”

    Doesn’t get much more brazen than that.

  3. Willy

    I’ve oft wondered what I would’ve done had I been in his shoes. He was getting zero-tolerance stonewalling from Republicans. He was being called “Socialist!” or “Uh… a Muslim” by conservative cultists. But all those hopeful progressives! Would I have called in the tri-lam homeboys to pop some heads like a killer clowns prank in the hood gone bad? Maybe not. But I think I might’ve tried to combine “presidential” with a fair amount of “Bully!” (if I’d had the balls to campaign for such a public office to begin with). I once thought the combination of “history” and oligarchic persuasion changed his apparent direction, but it’s looking more like it was all just a ruse, and that being there just accelerated his trajectory.

  4. The Stephen Miller Band

    Speaking fees, exorbitant as they are, won’t get him to a billion dollars. Book deals will, but more importantly, book deals coupled with the Obama Foundation will be the tram (hat tip to Erdogan) he needs to billionaire status, so look for it soon — it’s coming, I assure you. All he has to do is hang out that Foundation Shingle, and the money will flow in like Manna from Heaven Above.

  5. hidflect

    So many things Obama reneged on. Jimmy Dore reminded me of another one I’d completely forgotten; his promise to renegotiate NAFTA. Never even referred to it once after winning office. Too busy walking with the unions in comfortable shoes, I guess…

  6. Ian Welsh

    I don’t expect Obama to be a billionaire. 10 years after office, the Clintons were worth, iirc, about 100 million. So that’s the minimum. He’s starting from a higher total, mind.

    The point is simply that he sold out Americans, and he’s being paid off. This is only one part of it. (I wrote about his book deals as well.)

  7. It is interesting that people here one to screw other people on the same side, rather than worry about real problems. China is the real problem, Canada is not. When you get this basic lesson through your head, call me.

    Your brains are too small, how do you leave in them?

  8. Webstir

    Now that the bloom is off the globalist Clinton rose, will the Obama’s look to fill the void by cultivating a similar strain?

    He definitely doesn’t appear to be taking a turn for the Bern’.

  9. bob mcmanus

    I don’t expect Obama to be a billionaire. 10 years after office

    Obama has expressed enthusiastic interest in Silicon Valley Venture Capital Funds. Presidential Library. A foundation or two. Start with Wall Street partners some hedge funds betting on foreign affairs.

    I think he is competing, and wants to make a point. Rub it in our faces.

    Ten years, I’m taking the under.

  10. The Stephen Miller Band

    Ian, I understood your point and agree with it. I was just sayin’. He will milk it for all it’s worth, no doubt, and in fact already is as you’ve pointed out.

    As an aside, many of you probably don’t know this but the first head transplant, or is it body transplant?, is scheduled for December 2017. Imagine if it’s successful.

    My question is, considering that, what if Trump’s head was transplanted to Hillary Clinton’s body? Would his supporters still support him considering he would still have the same mind yet another, sexier (hardly) body? How about if Hillary’s head was transplanted to Trump’s body? Would her diehard supporters still support her even though she suddenly felt the insatiable impulse to grab pussy?

    Either way, it’s food for thought. Frankenstein, as it turns out, was a Documentary of the future. Think it — and it will come to be, eventually.

    The Audacious Plan to Save This Man’s Life by Transplanting His Head

  11. S Brennan

    Willy, in an Orwellian rewrite said of Obama:

    “I’ve oft wondered what I would’ve done…[Obama] was getting zero-tolerance stonewalling from Republicans.”

    Obama took office with both the House and Senate under Democratic control, he then pushed unpopular programs, leading to the loss of the House in 2010 and the Senate in 2012. Obama and his faithful fans have only themselves to blame.

    The Democratic Party Got Crushed During The Obama Presidency –

  12. click

    Obama is the worst president because he had a clear mandate to do what was necessary, and he not only did not try, but he deliberately worked in the opposite direction, and set the conditions necessary for the rise of Trump. Worst. President. Ever.

  13. click

    oh, and if he did the right thing, he would’ve still been a millionaire, so he’s an evil fuck for sure.

  14. Ché Pasa

    Is there any other reason for someone to get into the game of modern politics but Big Bucks. If they can’t profit from the deal, why bother?

    Obama is cashing in.

    So? He was already a millionaire. He’s been on his way to becoming a multi-hundred-millionaire, and who knows, maybe a billionaire like the men and women he pals with. So? You expect anything different from any politician who reaches his level? I’m not defending the practice of modern political payoffs; I am saying it is the way high level politics has worked in this country for a (very) long time, for both major parties, and focusing ire on individuals or a particular party, while ignoring the systemic nature of what’s going on is kind of ridiculous.

    Much of the internet has long held Democratic politicians to the standard of Caesar’s Wife. They hold Republican politicians to no standard at all. This might feel good, but it doesn’t correct the problem.

    It intensifies and perpetuates the problem.

  15. Willy

    @S Brennan:

    I live in an exurban zone in the boundary between suburban and country. Our local state rep was a “lower taxes more freedom” style wingnut, but was recently defeated, I believe, because urban problems had grown out to here and YOYO just didn’t cut it anymore.

    If most people simply project what works for them onto everybody else, it’s easy to see why country folk don’t understand and want to pay for urban problems. And then it sure seems like we have many oligarchic think tanks plotting and scheming to take advantage of that, and all the cultural differences. They say the tea party had astroturf roots, after all.

    Still, would Obama have acted with a more forceful political will if he’d just had better strategists behind him? Or maybe “motivated” is the better word. It’s easier to think things aren’t going so badly for others if your own life is going well, that others problems are their own fault, and you have ‘experts’ telling you to just chill about the others while they figure it all out for you.

  16. Willy

    @Ché Pasa
    And then the binary thinkers hold Obama up as their poster boy for ‘proof’ why progressivism doesn’t work.

    I had a lot of local small government types come to believe I was one of them when I was actually calling for smarter government in a local initiative where competency was the issue. It seemed physically impossible to them that government could ever actually be competent.

  17. ProNewerDeal

    Ian: “The inability of many to recognize that people like Obama (and Bush, and Clinton, and Trump, and Harry Reid and…), in real terms, are far more dangerous to them than someone like bin Laden, is a very real and proximate cause of vast suffering.”

    +1 Thank you for this sentence, Ian. The T3r1sm (3K USians killed in 2001) vs. blocking MedicareForAll (45K USians/yr murdered, per Harvard Public Health Profs) chasm in back-a*wards BigPol & BigMedia focus vs the actual real death toll impact is insane. Props to you Ian, one of the few politics commentators I’ve observed to state this obvious fact.

  18. Hugh

    The Clinton Foundation should really be considered part of the Clintons’ net worth. Family foundations are just a scam whereby the rich keep control of their wealth but in a tax free shell. Presidential family foundations take the scam to the next level since the money that flows into them is coming from other people.

    And as we have said before, ridiculous money and positions going to politicians and government officials after they leave government is how “legal” bribery is practised nowadays. The payoff does not precede the act but comes after it.

  19. Steve C

    Obama is a courtier, an ass kisser, not an ass kicker. I’m sure he likes money as much as the next guy. But he’s in it for the acceptance and approval of the capitalist class. He lives for them to pay him on the head and tell him what an impressive young man he is. This speech is to him another sign of their approval.

  20. Binky

    He said to make him do the things that he promised to do. Nobody did. Should he build houses for poor people like Jimmy Carter, a likewise hated Democratic former president? This is America and this is what we want and it is who we are.

  21. Tom W Harris

    Actually it does get a lot more brazen.

    Spokesman defends anticipated Obama speaking fee

    In a statement, spokesman Eric Schultz dismissed the mounting criticism of the planned speech at a healthcare conference run by Cantor Fitzgerald, noting that Obama instituted Wall Street reforms during his tenure.

    “He recently accepted an invitation to speak at a health care conference in September, because, as a President who successfully passed health insurance reform, it’s an issue of great important to him,” Schultz said in a statement, according to a Huffington Post reporter.

    “With regard to this or any speech involving Wall Street sponsors, I’d just point out that in 2008, Barack Obama raised more money from Wall Street than any candidate in history — and still went on to successfully pass and implement the toughest reforms on Wall Street since [President Franklin D. Roosevelt].”

    Ya gotta love it.

  22. bruce wilder

    @ Tom W Harris, above

    The crazy thing is that so many people will “hyper-normalize” Obama’s open corruption and brazen behavior with exactly these kinds of rationales. Dodd-Frank is the “toughest” reform evah. Obamacare is the hugest redistribution of income evah.

    He did a fantastic job of sinking liberalism into a scam valuable only to the plutocracy.

  23. Tom W Harris

    @bruce wilder,

    It’s not just blind grass-roots partisanship at work here, it’s Dem officeholders at work ensuring they get paid after leaving office.

  24. Rich

    “Obama is a courtier, an ass kisser, not an ass kicker. I’m sure he likes money as much as the next guy. But he’s in it for the acceptance and approval of the capitalist class. He lives for them to pay him on the head and tell him what an impressive young man he is.”

    Yes, indeed a perfect indictment of this person’s shallow, venal personality.
    I’d also add, symptomatic of our (his and mine) entire generation of men.

  25. Sandra

    I just cringe when people, especially my fellow black folk, defend this neoliberal piece of shit. He made it his purpose in life/office to help, shield the predatory bankers from harm at the expense of black wealth and destroyed black agency in the process! Fuck him!!

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