Sunday, June 18, 2017

After wrecking the Democratic Party, and helping elect Donald Trump & Goldman Sachs, Barack Obama is cashing in - big time


Above: In this short video clip, from Inside Edition, we see former President Obama kitesurfing with billionaire Richard Branson in February 2017. Youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGMSAgaYFTM.

In 2009, President Obama entered office on a wave of populism. The American people were hungry for change. They were sick and tired of the banks and the super-wealthy rigging the economy with all manner of greed, fraud, and white-collar crime. By the time Obama left office, however, his uninspiring, weak-kneed, and corporate-submissive approach to public policy helped leave the Democratic Party in shambles. The White House was lost, the Congress was lost, the Supreme Court was lost, and about 1,000 state-level positions were lost (e.g., governors, state senators). It wasn't all his fault, of course, but his role in the devastation was substantial (see my blog post, "15 reasons why pseudo-progressive Barack Obama is the worst president in U.S. history," for many of the reasons he left progressives, independents, and liberal Democrats in a state of disillusion).

Make no mistake about it, President Obama and his neoliberal mindset helped set the stage for what we have today: a maniacal Donald Trump & Goldman Sachs presidency; a mean-spirited Republican Congress; an increasingly backwards Supreme Court; and a shift in state-level politics that is putting our Constitution at risk of being re-written into a radical right-wing manifesto that may, among other things, see the general welfare clause and the separation of church and state removed. If you're not frightened, you should be. If things keep going the way they've been going, you may soon be forced to take an oath of fealty to the likes of Jim Bakker, Jerry Falwell, Jr., Jay Sekulow, and other arrogant, obnoxious, and overbearing religious radicals. You think Trump is bad? You ain't seen nothin' yet if right-wing extremists open up a constitutional convention (see, "A Billionaire-Backed 'Movement' Is Dangerously Close to Calling a Constitutional Convention," Alternet, June 14, 2017).

But all of this matters little to former President Obama. He's been cashing in - big time. And, short of a nuclear war, he'll suffer not a bit under right-wing rule. In fact, right-wing voters and politicians who say they don't like Obama are almost certainly going to lavish him with massive tax breaks.

President Obama receives a luxurious $200,000+ yearly pension. He's also, very predictably, going on the infamous Wall Street speaking circuit, collecting even more cash (see, e.g., "Obama’s $400,000 Wall Street Speech Is Completely In Character: Ask all the bankers he jailed for fraud." Huffington Post, April 26, 2017). But that's chump change. You see, he and Michelle recently inked record-setting book deals worth $60 million. And this, we can be sure, is just the beginning of the Obamas' post-presidential lottery haul.

So, let's get this straight: Obama kitesurfs with billionaire Richard Branson (see video above); schmoozes with billionaire David Geffen (as well as Oprah Winfrey, Bruce Springsteen, and Tom Hanks) on Geffen's half-a-billion dollar yacht; and is collecting large sums of cash from the public coffers, and also from his post-presidential deal-making, while the rest of us are left to be persecuted by corporations and governments--federal, state, and local--who want to keep our wages low and shred our social safety net. In sum, the Obamas cash in and we suffer.

Does that seem right to you? Is that the outcome you were hoping for, from an Obama presidency?

Instead of cronyism, nepotism, economic elitism, and post-presidential "lotteryism," wouldn't it be great if we had another, even stronger New Deal for everyday Americans? Wouldn't true progressivism, as opposed to pseudo-progressivism, be better?

(By the way, President Franklin Roosevelt--also very rich--was so committed to greater economic equality that he gave his beloved home in Hyde Park, New York, to the American people. I'll be holding my breath, waiting for Barack Obama to do the same with his book proceeds, or for Donald Trump to do the same with Trump Tower.)

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