As told to one of his favorite stenographers, Peter Baker of the New York Times, Barack Obama has now found such a strong voice on race that he will parlay its dulcet tones straight into a post-presidential "initiative" (neoliberal code for any scam pretending to help the hammock-trapped poor) which bears an uncanny resemblance to the Clintons' own
|Obama and Baker Share Tender Moment at WH Correspondents' Dinner|
Baker displays an uncanny knack of his own for maudlin presidential mind-reading:
All you need is love. Love is all you need.As he reflected on the festering wounds deepened by race and grievance that have been on painful display in America’s cities lately, President Obama on Monday found himself thinking about a young man he had just met named Malachi.A few minutes before, in a closed-door round-table discussion at Lehman College in the Bronx, Mr. Obama had asked a group of black and Hispanic students from disadvantaged backgrounds what could be done to help them reach their goals. Several talked about counseling and guidance programs.“Malachi, he just talked about — we should talk about love,” Mr. Obama told a crowd afterward, drifting away from his prepared remarks. “Because Malachi and I shared the fact that our dad wasn’t around and that sometimes we wondered why he wasn’t around and what had happened. But really, that’s what this comes down to is: Do we love these kids?”
But wait. It gets worse:
Many presidents have governed during times of racial tension, but Mr. Obama is the first to see in the mirror a face that looks like those on the other side of history’s ledger. While his first term was consumed with the economy, war and health care, his second keeps coming back to the societal divide that was not bridged by his election. A president who eschewed focusing on race now seems to have found his voice again as he thinks about how to use his remaining time in office and beyond.Notice the passive voice. Obama didn't bail out the Wall Street banksters and throw underwater mortgagors under the bus. He was consumed by the economy. He didn't escalate the war in Afghanistan, bomb Libya into terminal instability, or assassinate thousands of people with drones. He was eaten alive by the war monster. He didn't reject universal single payer medical coverage, selling out the American people behind closed doors to the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. He was gobbled up by health care. It was all beyond his control. Now he is ready to cross, if not race, across the Race Bridge. And it's not the Selma Bridge he crossed earlier this spring for a photo-op. It's the bridge from Wall Street-on-the-Potomac to Wall Street itself.
In the aftermath of racially charged unrest in places like Baltimore, Ferguson, Mo., and New York, Mr. Obama came to the Bronx on Monday for the announcement of a new nonprofit organization that is being spun off from his White House initiative called My Brother’s Keeper. Staked by more than $80 million in commitments from corporations and other donors, the new group, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, will in effect provide the nucleus for Mr. Obama’s post-presidency, which will begin in January 2017."Unrest" is the popular neoliberal buzzword for the citizen revolt against both racism and the oppressive economic policies that fuel it. Obama's post-presidency is staked by $80 million that can only metastasize to Clintonoid proportions.
I've criticized My Brother's Keeper before. Since its propaganda stems from Obama's own autobiography as a fatherless son, it specifically leaves out women and girls, and positively drips with noblesse oblige and the gospel of Bootstrapism.
Organizers said the new alliance already had financial pledges from companies like American Express, Deloitte, Discovery Communications and News Corporation. The money will be used to help companies (my bold) address obstacles facing young black and Hispanic men, provide grants to programs for disadvantaged youths, and help communities aid their populations.
Joe Echevarria, a former chief executive of Deloitte, the accounting and consulting firm, will lead the alliance, and among those on its leadership team or advisory group are executives at PepsiCo, News Corporation, Sprint, BET and Prudential Group Insurance; former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell; Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey; former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.; the music star John Legend; the retired athletes Alonzo Mourning, Jerome Bettis and Shaquille O’Neal; and the mayors of Indianapolis, Sacramento and Philadelphia.There apparently will be no direct cash aid to the Bro's. It needs must recycle through corporations and politicians before (maybe) finally trickling down. See my published Times comment at the end of this post. But first, some hilarity (Hillarity):
They are very well aware of Obama's commitment to transparency. His administration has been widely and rightly called the most secretive in recent memory. Josh, earnestly and with tongue planted firmly in cheek, confirmed that the plutocratic grifter class has nothing to fear from Big Guy. He is utterly committed to them and their interests. That is why, in the same breath that Obama denied a direct role in the donations, he will be spiritually present when the money changes hands.The alliance, while nominally independent of the White House, may face some of the same questions confronting former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as she begins another presidential campaign. Some of those donating to the alliance may have interests in government action, and skeptics may wonder whether they are trying to curry favor with the president by contributing.“The Obama administration will have no role in deciding how donations are screened and what criteria they’ll set at the alliance for donor policies, because it’s an entirely separate entity,” Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, told reporters on Air Force One en route to New York. (Peter Baker makes sure to brag that as an insider with unique access to power, he got a cushy ride on AF One) But he added, “I’m confident that the members of the board are well aware of the president’s commitment to transparency.”
There's more to Baker's article, including the obligatory juxtaposition of Ted Cruz (R-Paranoia) which is designed to deflect possible criticism of Obama's motivations right into a stampede of tribal support from "the base." The only criticism permitted an airing (besides the smarmy, dainty tiptoeing into the Clintonoid sleaze arena) is the crazy criticism from the Right, the better to transform Obama into a victim-hero for the ages.
Here is my published comment on Baker's piece:
Venture philanthropists have been out in full force ever since the 2008 meltdown, drumming up self-serving publicity as they pretend to alleviate the very economic misery they helped to create in the first place. Do-gooderism by corporations and billionaires is designed to deflect our attention from the fact that they have demanded -- and gotten -- the cruel austerian policies that cut food stamps, closed schools, ended long-term unemployment benefits and depressed wages.
So now it's time for some reputation-salvaging, as what Peter Buffett has called the Charitable-Industrial Complex deigns to bestow a few pennies from their corporate welfare slush funds upon the victims of 30 years of Reaganomics.
It is no coincidence that some of the same businesses donating money to My Brother's Keeper are also pushing hard (either directly or through their lobbyists) for passage of the job-destroying, poverty-creating Trans-Pacific Partnership.
And what a travesty that News Corp, which has made demonization of the poor and demonization of the first black president its raison d'etre, is now welcomed into the philanthro-capitalist fold with open arms. How nice that they're using the spoils of racism to now pretend to fight racism.
Charity is fine, but it's no substitute for good public policy. We need a wealth tax and a stronger safety net, not "promise zones" and the occasional handout from a tycoon in a board room.One final thought. Since Bill Clinton was dubbed the first black president, is it PC to call Obama the first black Clinton?
We used to have a democracy. Now we have Downton Abbey.