He’s happy because planning for his retirement allows Obama to
corral large groups of extremely rich and powerful people for the
express purpose of discussing his favorite subject: himself. People
like Spielberg, with a net worth of $3.6 billion, who’s “helping to
develop a ‘narrative’ for Mr. Obama in the years after he leaves
office.” And people like Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg,
whose net worth is in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and who
dined with the creator of E.T. and President Obama “at a Beverly
Hills hotel in California” — as opposed to a Beverly Hills hotel in
Latvia — “in June.”
Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/422905/obama-plans-post-presidency
While the growth of social inequality has dramatically accelerated following the 2008 crash, this is a continuation of a decades-long process. The report notes, “Top 1 percent incomes grew by 80.0% from 1993 to 2014. This implies that top 1 percent incomes captured almost 60% of the overall economic growth of real incomes per family over the period 1993-2014.”
In fact, the US government’s response to the 2008 crash has been dedicated to inflating the wealth of the super-rich while driving down incomes for the vast majority of the population. The White House has protected Wall Street executives from legal prosecution, while the Federal Reserve has handed out trillions of dollars in cheap money through “quantitative easing” programs, leading share values to triple on major US exchanges.
On Thursday, US President Barack Obama plans to unveil what he has called a major new policy initiative in a speech in La Crosse, Wisconsin. The proposal entails new federal rules that would make an additional 3 percent of the US population eligible for overtime pay. If adopted, the change would add a mere $1.3 billion to worker’s wages annually. This is a tiny fraction of the trillions of dollars that have been transferred to the financial elite since the 2008 financial crisis.
OBAMA: SERVANT OF THE 1%
Richest one percent controls nearly half of global wealthThe richest one percent of the world’s population now controls 48.2 percent of global wealth, up from 46 percent last year.
The report found that the growth of global inequality has accelerated sharply since the 2008 financial crisis, as the values of financial assets have soared while wages have stagnated and declined.
COLLECTING HIS BACK-END BRIBES
Reporters Michael D. Shear and Gardiner Harris reveal the “methodical effort taking place inside and outside the White House as the president, first lady, and a cadre of top aides map out a post-presidential infrastructure and endowment they estimate could cost as much as $1 billion,” or about as much as Obama fundraised for the 2012 campaign.
This effort began in November 2012, shortly after his reelection, when the president hosted filmmaker Steven Spielberg at the White House for a screening of Lincoln. President Obama was “spellbound,” the Times reports, as Spielberg held forth “about the use of technology to tell stories.”
Such technology, Spielberg went on, could also be used to tell Obama’s story — to somehow convince future Americans, against all evidence to the contrary, that his presidency was an experience they would like to repeat. “Ideally, one adviser said, a person in Kenya could put on a pair of virtual reality goggles and be transported to Mr. Obama’s 2008 speech on race in Philadelphia.” I’m sure they’ll be banging on the door to get into that exhibit.
The president has raised, to date, “just over $5.4 million from 12 donors,” which puts him $994.6 million from his goal. Those donors include “technology entrepreneur” Jim Symons, whose co-CEO Robert Mercer, a Republican, was described by the Times the very next day as a “hedge-fund magnate.” These two billionaires are business partners — can’t they both be magnates? Or are some technology entrepreneurs more equal than others?
More remarkable than the Times’s bias, however, is the fact that Obama’s team, led by a former Washington Post reporter, has been unable to come up with a unifying idea — or even a single location — for his post-presidency. The library, for example, will be built in Chicago, and President Obama may also have an office in New York City, where he and his wife have often said they’d like to live — though they might remain in Washington until Sasha finishes high school.
Post-presidencies have become as competitive and grueling as presidencies themselves, requiring elaborate libraries and foundations, meaningful causes, books and speeches and appropriately timed social media indignation, all with the goal of remaining, even tangentially, in the media spotlight. Having a post-presidency that is, in the words of David Plouffe, “a blend” of the reticent George W. Bush and the money-grubbing Bill Clinton will still be expensive. But this money, unlike the big-dollar donations that fueled his two campaigns, Obama seems happy to fundraise.
He’s happy because planning for his retirement allows Obama to corral large groups of extremely rich and powerful people for the express purpose of discussing his favorite subject: himself. People like Spielberg, with a net worth of $3.6 billion, who’s “helping to develop a ‘narrative’ for Mr. Obama in the years after he leaves office.” And people like Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, whose net worth is in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and who dined with the creator of E.T. and President Obama “at a Beverly Hills hotel in California” — as opposed to a Beverly Hills hotel in Latvia — “in June.”
For an example of what these dinners with the president are like, the Times reported extensively on a bull session at the White House held last February. The president and first lady invited 13 guests to the residence, including:
- Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, net worth $4.7 billion
- John Doerr, ex-boyfriend of Ellen Pao, net worth $3.4 billion
- Vinod Khosla, green energy crony, net worth $1.7 billion
- Marc Lasry, former player at high-stakes poker games tied to the Russian mob, net worth $1.7 billion
- Eva Longoria, failed steakhouse entrepreneur, net worth in tens of millions
- Toni Morrison, who dubbed Bill Clinton our “first black president,” net worth in tens of millions
- Malcolm Gladwell, New Yorker journalist, net worth in tens of millions
I tried to imagine the scene as President Obama sat back in his chair, sipped his first extra-dry Grey Goose martini of the night, and asked this hand-selected group of bold-faced names, seemingly plucked at random from Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential” issue, what he should do with his life. The pomposity, the self-importance, the snide remarks, the raised eyebrows, the sidelong glances, the oblique references to Taos and Nantucket and St. Tropez and Telluride, the mutual self-regard, the flattering small-talk, the knowing head-nods and chin-pulls, the pretentious lips-pursing — all of this combustible vanity squeezed into the pressure-cooker of the residential dining room. It’s a wonder the house didn’t explode.
Because it’s a trick question: conversations about Obama’s future are really cues to celebrate his past. To cheer his accomplishments, list the ways he has changed this country, explain his historical and geopolitical importance, lament the obstacles he’s encountered from recalcitrant conservatives, obstructionist Republicans, nativist, racist, sexist, backward elements of the population, recount how he overcame them, joke about how he deserves a vacation, mention the best courses he has yet to play, ponder the work of social justice and transformation that must still be done, affirm that history is, indeed, on the side of progress.
And this conversation goes on — on and on and on — with digressions into the latest fads in Silicon Valley and the nuttiest invention Khosla can come up with after two Manhattans, with genuflections at the altar of Elon Musk, explications of the markets from Doerr, Lasry, and Hoffman, mysterious oracular pronouncements from Toni Morrison, bird-like regurgitations of the latest Paul Krugman and Fareed Zakaria columns (how envious Fareed must be that he wasn’t invited!), tedious on-the-one-hand-on-the-other lectures from the president on the lead story in the Times, the most recent editorials in the Washington Post, late night comedy he found unfair, clever “This is Sportscenter” commercials, episodes of Game of Thrones and Homeland, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Michael Jordan’s handicap — and with caustic put-downs from Michele, partisan bromides from Longoria, witticisms spiced with anecdotes from academic studies no one besides Gladwell has read, and bottle after bottle of wine, course after course after course of chewy overcooked hard to swallow smugness.
And then, when you’ve grown tired, when the Grenache is making you sleepy, when all you want to do is retire to the Oprah suite at the Ritz Carlton for a dirty movie and shuteye, the president forbids you to leave. You can be one of the most powerful people in the world, manage thousands of employees, but he won’t let you go. You’re stuck! Around midnight, we learn, Reed Hoffman said kindly to President Obama, “Feel free to kick us out.” And the president replied, snidely, “I’ll kick you out when it’s time.” And Hoffman sat down, like a disciplined child, because what could he do — even the co-founder of LinkedIn can’t walk out on the president of the United States. So the conversation went on, according to the Times, “well past 2 a.m.”
Trapped in a room with a collection of pompous and entitled people utterly convinced of their brilliance and moral purity, whose conversation ranges from what’s in this month’s Atlantic to what’s in this week’s Economist, who haven’t been told “No” in years — and then being informed that there is no escape? This, friends, is the vision of hell that greeted me in Monday’s paper: not of other people, but of self-important ones, in a well-appointed house with no exit, eating an organic gluten-free farm-to-table meal and endlessly repeating the conventional wisdom as if they were coming to it for the first time. To look at the plans for Obama’s retirement is not just to see that big-dollar fundraising never stops. It is to peek inside the Bobo abyss, to visit the purgatory of the coastal elite — to enter, in horror, the balsamic inferno.
— Matthew Continetti is the editor-in-chief of the Washington Free Beacon, where this column first appeared. © 2015 All rights reserved.
The lies, spin and then more lies… THAT IS OBAMA’S
STAGED “HOPE and CHANGE” performance after
performance. He’s simply a fraudster… George Bush’s THIRD
and FOURTH TERMS!
for Obama, it's all about staging the LIES and then SPINNING them in every direction but the truth!