Saturday, April 29, 2017

Don of the Hundred Days Vs. Barry the Buckraker

Everybody who's anybody in the corporate media bubble is talking about the First Hundred Days of Trump's presidency. Since I don't live in the corporate media bubble, I don't care about this milestone and won't contribute to the churnalistic echo chamber. I'll just sum it all up by observing that plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.The rich continue to get richer, the poor continue to get poorer. And our elected leaders and their greedy plutocratic clients will never lose their appetite for endless war and plunder all over the globe. For them, what should be the main course is always just the appetizer.

Meanwhile, there was a shallow phony outrage side-issue this week. The  media bubble is aghast, aghast I tell you, that the saintly Barack Obama is raking in $400,000 per speech. Liberals are upset not because Obama is proving himself to be just one more avaricious plutocrat, but because his shameless cupidity is making the moribund Democratic Party look even worse than it already does. With Buckraking Barry sucking up some of the negative energy from Dastardly Don, it's getting even harder for the party to salvage its tattered reputation as it sends out ever more feeble SOS's of virtue-signalling.

Michelle Obama should perhaps boil down her simpering battle cry from "When they go low, we go high" to "We live high."

Populist superwoman Elizabeth Warren daintily offered that she is "troubled" that Obama now has the audacity to be claiming his deferred compensation for all those hard years of being the only thing standing between the bankers and the pitchforks. But in the spirit of Washington etiquette, Warren studiously avoided criticizing the ex-president. She has finally achieved the true Insider status she once so passionately decried. 

In her first memoir, written in the waning days of her outsiderism, Warren described a dinner with Obama economic adviser Larry Summers: 
Late in the evening, Larry leaned back in his chair and offered me some advice. By now, I’d lost count of Larry’s Diet Cokes, and our table was strewn with bits of food and spilled sauces. Larry’s tone was in the friendly-advice category. He teed it up this way: I had a choice. I could be an insider or I could be an outsider. Outsiders can say whatever they want. But people on the inside don’t listen to them. Insiders, however, get lots of access and a chance to push their ideas. People — powerful people — listen to what they have to say. But insiders also understand one unbreakable rule: They don’t criticize other insiders.
I had been warned.
  Warren apparently heeded the warning. Because when confronted this week over the antics of Barry the Buckraker, she only groused generically about the influence of big money on "this place." Individuals are never held accountable for their actions in This Place. Only geography is held accountable. Or maybe it's The System.

Likewise for Bernie Sanders, fresh off his "unity tour" of trying to lure disgusted voters from their ruined lives into the stultifying atmosphere of the tattered Democratic tent. He hilariously called Obama's big payday "unfortunate." What he meant, of course, is that the optics are unfortunate, not that Obama's growing multimillion-dollar fortune itself is unfortunate.

As pro-Democratic organ Salon puts it, Obama wearing his greed right on his sleeve is really bad for the party's "brand." It's not that his piggishness will irritate his own loyal personality cult, it's that it makes him look like a hypocrite to the gleeful Vast Right Wing Alt-Right Conspiracy.

"It's not a good look," Sanders clarified.

Sure it is, Bernie! Look on the bright side, and think about it this way: Obama is putting some much-needed liberal gloss on the Gordon Gekko mantra. As an extra value-added bonus, his orgy of buckraking makes even the avaricious kleptocrat Donald Trump seem almost normal. If Obama is good and Obama is greedy, then it naturally follows that Greed is not only Good, it is better than ever. 

Trump should have nothing to worry about from here on out, especially if he continues to faithfully follow Obama's lead by sanctimoniously bombing the hell out of any country of his choosing. If he continues to satisfy the corporate media bubble's ravenous appetite for death and destruction, then the transition from indirect oligarchic rule under Obama to direct oligarchic rule under Trump might end up being remembered as a minor bump in the road. Trump's had very a rocky first hundred days of his on-the-job training session. He's found it difficult to master the art of public relations. Unlike his smooth-talking predecessor, he's been so uncouth. He unfashionably lumbers and blusters, and the media have become way too spoiled by the previous president charming and strutting and chin-stroking his way through office.

The Art of Obama Maintenance: Fashion To Die For

Bernie and Liz should just relax about the Zen Master of Cool's quest for cash. Pretty soon, nobody who's anybody will probably even care. Because as the magazine for men, Esquire, gushingly foretold just a couple of months ago, "Obama's most stylish days are yet to come."

When you wear a cool leather jacket while stepping off your private jet on your way to yet another schmooze-fest with your Wall Street buddies, nobody who's anybody in the churnalistic bubble will ever dare be so insensitive as to ponder how much money you're charging for gracing the world with your existence. They'll be too busy ooh-ing and ahh-ing over your sartorial splendor:
Returning from their vacation in the Virgin Islands, the former president and first lady were photographed in an excellent display of airport style. Michelle looked chic as always in a black turtleneck and oversized cardigan. And Barack absolutely nailed his casual style with dark blue jeans, a gray button-front shirt, brown leather shoes, and the crowning piece: a slim brown leather jacket.
If only Donald Trump could get his own fashion shit together so awesomely, the Esquire reporter sniffed in conclusion. Barry looks so laid-back and cosmopolitan wearing his mantle of dead cow, while Trump with his Archie Bunker accent and his polyester baseball cap and his oversized ties comes across as a "try-too-hard aging rocker." Ugh.

So let the shallow journalistic idiots continue scratching their heads and wondering why Trump's "deplorable" fans still swear their undying fealty to him despite all his broken promises to them and his failure to drain the swamp.

Let Obama keep raking in the bucks and showing the real world more of the true inner core lurking beneath the shiny weeds.

  Then let both sides of the Uniparty collapse from the weight of their own corruption that much sooner. Let new political organizations and movements rise from their neoliberal ashes and their pricey leather jackets and their money-laundering charitable foundations and their ever more unabashed use of public office for private gain.

Let the timeless, vintage fashion of social democracy make one of its periodic and long-overdue comebacks.


Zee said...

Guess Obama can now afford to shed those "mom jeans" once and for all:

And Elizabeth Warren--"champion" of the 99%"--has achieved "insider status" in more than one way. She and her hubby are now worth somewhere between $3.7M and $10M. Not too shabby for a couple of university profs.

voice-in-wilderness said...

This reminded me that I haven't run across anything lately that reports on the Obama presidential library, or Obama Presidential Center as it is called.

In Googling I find several February, 2017, news reports that say the OPC may cost as much as $1.5 billion, when the necessary endowment funding is included. So I went to the Obama Foundation web site and on the Center page, there are just four bland paragraphs, no showing of plans, no talk of money or deadlines.

So, as a retiree Obama may need to do a lot of $400K speeches to get things kick-started. But it is not impossibly daunting. If Obama wanted to chip in $100 million, then that would be 250 such speeches. Maybe President Trump could put Obama in touch with some Russian, Kazakh, or Persian Gulf funding sources?

Jay–Ottawa said...

Voice, you raise an issue I was remiss not to consider. Your math prompts me to put those $400,000 speaking fees into perspective. Two and a half speaking engagements add up to only $1 million. Obama will have to repeat those 2 ½ speaking engagements 1,500 times before he reaches $1.5 billion. The tip of his eloquent tongue will be put to the grindstone for years to raise that kind of money.

I am resolved to be much more sympathetic to our president emeritus. He's lost his old job and been evicted from its corporate headquarters; he's been reduced to––let's not be afraid to say it––the Panhandler in Chief.

He has been forced into word slavery upon retirement, just as the rest of us were reduced to wage slavery since our teens. He can't just lean back and enjoy retirement. The goal posts of a secure retirement have been pushed back for him, just as they have been pushed back for the recipients of Social Security. Obama is just another Scrat ever reaching for the golden acorn through the ice age of capitalism.

Imagine: evicted from the White House, he is forced to get by in a downsized Chicago MacMansion, probably doubling up with his mother-in-law and other family members. His big private jet, Air Force One, has fallen into the hands of a guy, once a friend, who maneuvered an unfriendly takeover.

Unemployment: How does it feeeeelll? The best he can get are temporary gigs on a contract basis from shady rich people. Will he be able to keep up with premiums for Obamacare? A regular guy needs a regular job. Is there no university in need of a chancellor, a college in need of a president, a corporation in need of a chairman? And who would be the dream candidate for those positions?

The Mortgage: Then, that humongous bill hanging over the rest of his days, the bill for his Presidential Library. Who among you wants to trade places with a guy who's under a $1.5 billion mortgage? He won't own his own legacy until he pays the last dime on that mortgage. What if he breaks a leg and can't stand behind a podium? What if he gets laryngitis and can't talk? He'll go broke, that’s what.

Let's wish him a long life, enough time to struggle long like other common folk to make ends meet. Let's contribute to the website––he must have set one up by now––where donations can be sent in to bail him out. Which one of us can't send in at least $3 for all he's done for us?

Neworking: Everybody out of a job must resort to networking. Pssst! touch base with the Clintons. Obama gave Hillary a big job and a springboard to more of it. Now it's their turn. Let the Clinton Foundation scratch the back of the Obama Foundation. Get on your Blackberry, man, to contact old Wall Street pals like Blankfein, Dimon and Corbat. How can they refuse inviting him back for an all expenses paid double dip? That's how it works: tit for tat; gratitude folded into an envelope in return for TARP's recapitalization; speaker's fees in return for bonus un-interruptus; foundation siphoning in thanks for quantitative easing.

How long before The Donald tweets: The downsizing of presidents emeritus stops here.

Zee said...

Off topic, but OMG! The Thing That Will Not Die!

Zee said...


I appreciate the noble attempt at satire, but I fear that Barry and Michelle will be laughing all the way to the bank no matter WHAT is said about them in the future, whether satirical, truthful, or anywhere in between.

Like Hillary, we should just allow the Obamas to fade into inconsequence. Except that they just won't go peacefully, damn them!