consultants are sandburs

Saturday, April 29, 2017

"Despite the objections, an Obama spokesperson dismissed the idea that the large speaking fee compromised the former President's convictions. 'As we announced months ago, President Obama will deliver speeches from time to time,' Eric Schultz, a senior adviser to Obama, said in a statement Wednesday. 'Some of those speeches will be paid, some will be unpaid, and regardless of venue or sponsor, President Obama will be true to his values, his vision, and his record.' "

The headline is two paragraphs run together, out of this CNN report.

The man's record is the biggest Wall Street bailouts in history, no senior leadership forced to step down, not one single Wall Street crook got put into the slammer. True to that? Well -

$400,000 for first Wall Street speech. Big advance on book contract. Surely it would have looked unseemly had this all not waited until after the Trump inauguration. Even allowed a few extra months, how much more sensitive can you be?

Before Trump's inauguration, Cornel West wrote in this Guradian item:

Eight years ago the world was on the brink of a grand celebration: the inauguration of a brilliant and charismatic black president of the United States of America. Today we are on the edge of an abyss: the installation of a mendacious and cathartic white president who will replace him.

This is a depressing decline in the highest office of the most powerful empire in the history of the world. It could easily produce a pervasive cynicism and poisonous nihilism. Is there really any hope for truth and justice in this decadent time? Does America even have the capacity to be honest about itself and come to terms with its self-destructive addiction to money-worship and cowardly xenophobia?

Ralph Waldo Emerson and Herman Melville – the two great public intellectuals of 19th-century America – wrestled with similar questions and reached the same conclusion as Heraclitus: character is destiny (“sow a character and you reap a destiny”).

The age of Barack Obama may have been our last chance to break from our neoliberal soulcraft. We are rooted in market-driven brands that shun integrity and profit-driven policies that trump public goods. Our “post-integrity” and “post-truth” world is suffocated by entertaining brands and money-making activities that have little or nothing to do with truth, integrity or the long-term survival of the planet. We are witnessing the postmodern version of the full-scale gangsterization of the world.

The reign of Obama did not produce the nightmare of Donald Trump – but it did contribute to it. And those Obama cheerleaders who refused to make him accountable bear some responsibility.
Barack Obama forever changed black America | Peniel E Joseph
Read more

A few of us begged and pleaded with Obama to break with the Wall Street priorities and bail out Main Street. But he followed the advice of his “smart” neoliberal advisers to bail out Wall Street. In March 2009, Obama met with Wall Street leaders. He proclaimed: I stand between you and the pitchforks. I am on your side and I will protect you, he promised them. And not one Wall Street criminal executive went to jail.

The Obama legacy will stand in history with the [Bill] Clinton legacy. Uninspiring giving it the greatest leeway; awful by other measure. Bush with a brain. "Little or nothing to do with truth" is a phrase West wrote. It fits. Well-spoken in the process. But it fits.

These may appear as new critiques by people newly revulsed by the magnitude of the Wall Street low hanging fruit being picked now that the tires driving from the White House have cooled a bit. However, voices of the jaded did not need this particular mega-fee transgression to voice dissatisfaction earlier; here and here.

HOPE and CHANGE were a crock. Very sound people, with differing degrees of grace and constraint, are saying so.

Lesser evil than McCain-Palin; lesser evil than vulture-voucher [Romney-Ryan], is not mere faint praise. It is no praise at all. Properly so. Earned.

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