Obama Goes From White House to Wall Street In Less Than One Year

Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during the Seeds&Chips Global Food Innovation Summit on May 9, 2017 in Milan, Italy. (Photo: Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)

By Max Abelson for Bloomberg – Last month, just before her book “What Happened” was published, Barack Obama spoke in New York to clients of Northern Trust Corp. for about $400,000, a person familiar with his appearance said. Last week, he reminisced about the White House for Carlyle Group LP, one of the world’s biggest private equity firms, according to two people who were there. Next week, he’ll give a keynote speech at investment bank Cantor Fitzgerald LP’s health-care conference. Obama is coming to Wall Street less than a year after leaving the White House, following a path that’s well trod and well paid. While he can’t run for president, he continues to be an influential voice in a party torn between celebrating and vilifying corporate power. His new work with banks might suggest which side of the debate he’ll be on and disappoint anyone expecting him to avoid a trap that snared Clinton. Or, as some of his executive friends see it, he’s just a private citizen giving a few paid speeches to other successful people while writing his next book. “He was the president of the entire United States — financial services are under that umbrella,” said former UBS Group AG executive Robert Wolf, an early supporter who joined the Obama Foundation board this year. “He doesn’t look at Wall Street like, ‘Oh, these are individuals who don’t want the best for the country.’ He doesn’t stereotype.”

Newsletter: Climate Breakdown

Telephone Road in Houston, August 27, 2017, during Hurrican Harvey floods.  By Thomas B. Shea for AFP-Getty

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. Climate breakdown is happening before our eyes at the same time the science on climate change grows stronger and has wider acceptance. Hurricane Harvey, which struck at the center of the petroleum industry – the heart of climate denialism – provided a glimpse of the new normal of climate crisis-induced events. In Asia, this week the climate message was even stronger where at least 1,200 people died and 41 million were impacted. By 2050, one billion people could be displaced by climate crises. Climate disasters demonstrate the immense failure of government at all levels.

Who’s Behind Fossil Fuel Extraction– Not Just Republicans

A service truck drives past an oil well in North Dakota, November 2014.
REUTERS/ANDREW CULLEN

By Alison Rose Levy for Truthout. Obama clearly signaled his pro-gas and oil industry policy intentions during his 2012 re-election campaign. At a stop in Cushing, Oklahoma, the president famously stood before massive pipes, and signed an executive order to expedite permitting for pipelines and other related infrastructure. “Obama’s Worst Speech Ever,” was how Joe Romm, founding editor of Climate Progress, characterized the speech. He quotes the former president: “Over the last three years, I’ve directed my administration to open up millions of acres for gas and oil exploration across 23 different states. We’re opening up more than 75 percent of our potential oil resources offshore”. We’ve quadrupled the number of operating rigs to a record high. We’ve added enough new oil and gas pipeline to encircle the Earth and then some. . . It is becoming ever clearer that protecting the climate will require holding elected officials on both sides of the aisle accountable.

How the US Undermined the Copenhagen Climate Summit

Copenhagen climate summit protest - Protestors take part in a sit-in protest inside the Bella Centre

By Oliver Tickell for Ecologist. Looking at the evidence as a whole there can be little doubt that the Copenhagen climate talks were deliberately and highly effectively scuppered by a ‘dirty tricks’ operation carried out by the NSA and other US security agencies – including the pivotal leak to The Guardian of the Danish text. Following Snowden’s revelations, we know that they had the ability to do that in spades. They also had motives. The US wanted: * to protect their politically powerful fossil fuel industries, and their right as a nation to carry on polluting; * to avoid having to pay out billions of dollars in climate funding to developing countries; * to deny China the global leadership role it sought to secure for itself, and instead leave it humiliated; * to present the USA and its President Barack Obama as trying against the odds to secure a climate agreement, in the face of obdurate resistance by other countries.

Officials In Obama’s Drug Czar Office Wanted To Decriminalize Marijuana

ALESSANDRO GAROFALO/REUTERS
So close, President Obama, but so far.

By Jason Cherkis for The Huffington Post – WASHINGTON ― Officials at the Office of National Drug Control Policy under President Barack Obama wanted to take a more lenient stance on marijuana, with one former official telling HuffPost that staff pushed to ease federal prohibitions against the drug. But they never made that case directly to the public. “ONDCP was in favor of decriminalizing but not legalizing,” explained former deputy director A. Thomas McLellan, who worked in the White House office during Obama’s first term. Such a policy shift could have given a shot of momentum to efforts to relax marijuana laws across the country. But it never happened, in large part because officials were worried it would consume the office at a time when they needed to focus on the more pressing issue of the opioid epidemic. The Office of National Drug Control Policy, which is more commonly known as the drug czar’s office, also determined that it couldn’t publicly support decriminalizing marijuana because of a provision in the legislation that authorized its existence. The bipartisan 1988 law that created the drug czar’s office declared that “the legalization of illegal drugs is an unconscionable surrender in the war on drugs.”

Obama Intel Agency Secretly Conducted Illegal Searches On Americans For Years

U.S. President Barack Obama finishes a statement to the media about the government shutdown in the briefing room of the White House in Washington

By John Solomon and Sara Carter for Circa – The National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall, according to once top-secret documents that chronicle some of the most serious constitutional abuses to date by the U.S. intelligence community. More than 5 percent, or one out of every 20 searches seeking upstream Internet data on Americans inside the NSA’s so-called Section 702 database violated the safeguards Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011, according to one classified internal report reviewed by Circa. The Obama administration self-disclosed the problems at a closed-door hearing Oct. 26 before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that set off alarm. Trump was elected less than two weeks later.

Obama’s New Job: Guardian Of Official Lies

From blackagendareport.com

By Glen Ford for Black Agenda Report – The ruling class is seriously rattled over its loss of control over the national political narrative — a consequence of capitalism’s terminal decay and U.S. imperialism’s slipping grip on global hegemony. When the Lords of Capital get rattled, their servants in the political class are tasked with rearranging the picture and reframing the national conversation. In other words, Papa Imperialism needs a new set of lies, or renewed respect for the old ones. Former president Barack Obama, the cool operator who put the U.S. back on the multiple wars track after a forced lull in the wake of George Bush’s defeat in Iraq, has eagerly accepted his new assignment as Esteemed Guardian of Official Lies. At this stage of his career, Obama must dedicate much of his time to the maintenance of Official Lies, since they are central to his own “legacy.” With the frenzied assistance of his first secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, Obama launched a massive military offensive – a rush job to put the New American Century back on schedule. Pivoting to all corners of the planet, and with the general aim of isolating and intimidating Russia and China…

Obama's $400,000 Speech Shows Depth Of Corruption

Credit Reuters, Kevin Lamarque

By Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. Former President Obama seems to be cashing in or receiving a payoff for his policies as president. He will be receiving a $400,000 payment from a mid-size investment firm, Cantor FItzgerald to speak at a healthcare conference in September. Obama had the chance when his party controlled the House and Senate to actually solve the healthcare crisis by putting in place improved Medicare for all (and don’t fall for the BS that he could not have done it). Instead he put in place the failed Affordable Care Act whose centerpiece was to force people to buy inadequate health insurance. The ACA has failed to control the cost of premiums, co-pays and deductibles while providing shrinking health coverage. It was a gift to the insurance industry, pharmaceutical industry and investors who profit from healthcare. Cantor Fitzgerald is one of those healthcare profiteers that benefits greatly from the ACA.

Trump Succumbs To Bush/Obama Perpetual War

An Israeli strike caused a huge explosion in a residential area in Gaza during the Israeli assault on Gaza in 2008-2009. (Photo credit: Al Jazeera)

By Ann Wright for Consurtium News – In my letter of resignation, I wrote of my deep concerns about Bush’s decision to attack Iraq and the predictable large number of civilian casualties from that military attack. But I also detailed my concerns on other issues: the lack of U.S. effort on resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict, the U.S. failure to engage North Korea to curb nuclear and missile development, and the curtailment of civil liberties in the United States through the Patriot Act. Now, three Presidents into the Iraq War and other unsettled conflicts, the problems that I was concerned about in 2003 are even more dangerous a decade and a half later.

Sessions Says Obama Marijuana Memo Is ‘Valid’

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By Tom Angell for Mass Roots – S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is indicating that he might keep Obama-era marijuana enforcement guidelines in place, perhaps with some modifications. “The Cole Memorandum set up some policies under President Obama’s Department of Justice about how cases should be selected in those states and what would be appropriate for federal prosecution, much of which I think is valid,” he said in a question-and-answer session with reporters on Wednesday following a speech in Richmond, Virginia. That memo, adopted in 2013, lays out guidelines for how states can avoid federal interference with their marijuana laws.

Three Lessons From Fighting Obama Raids To Organize Under Trump Regime

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By Jacinta Gonzalez for Mijente – As many community members start to plan out emergency response teams and community defense, there is a need to think out short and long term organizing strategies that we can use so that we do not fall into patterns of solely doing individual deportation cases, press and mobilizing work, but are also thinking about long-term power building. While enforcement under the new regime represents an expansion and escalation, it is built upon past practices that can provide us with key lessons now. In 2013, the New Orleans community was facing an increasing ICE presence in immigrant neighborhoods including raids

Trump, Like Obama And Bush, Pursues ‘Regime Change’ In Venezuela

Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami (L) and U.S. "Insane Clown President" Donald Trump (R) | Photo: Tareck El Aissami Official Site / Reuters (teleSUR combination photo)

By Joe Emersberger for Tele Sur – Based on allegations of drug trafficking, the U.S. government has added Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami to its list of “sanctioned” Venezuelan officials. Unsurprisingly, Westerns journalists uncritically spread the allegations. Borrowing from Einstein, a definition of corporate journalism could be “the practice of uncritically citing the same dishonest sources over and over again no matter how catastrophic the result.” The targeting of El Aissami is part of the United States’ “regime change” policy toward Venezuela that goes back nearly two decades. It began shortly after the late President Hugo Chavez was first elected in 1998. As always, the international media’s collaboration with U.S. government objectives is crucial.

DeVos, Obama, Booker, Trump – All Enemies Of Public Education

blackagendareport.com

By Glen Ford for Black Agenda Report – Sometimes, when ruling class competitors collide, the villainy of both factions is made manifest. Donald Trump did the nation’s public schools a great service by nominating Betsy DeVos, the awesomely loathsome billionaire Amway heiress, for secretary of Education. In turning over that rock, Trump exposed the raw corruption and venality at the core of the charter school privatization juggernaut. Only an historic tie-breaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence saved DeVos from rejection by the U.S. Senate. Two Republicans abandoned their party’s nominee, joining a solid bloc of Democrats, including New Jersey’s Cory Booker, a school privatizer that crawled out of the same ideological sewer as DeVos and has long been her comrade and ally.

Trump Moves To Aggressively Protect Wall Street

Barack Obama signs the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act on July 21, 2010. Photographer: Win McNamee/Pool via Bloomberg

By Justin Sink, Elizabeth Dexheimer, and Katherine Chiglinsky for Bloomberg – President Donald Trump will order a sweeping review of the Dodd-Frank Act rules enacted in response to the 2008 financial crisis, a White House official said, signing an executive action Friday designed to significantly scale back the regulatory system put in place in 2010. Trump also will halt another of former President Barack Obama’s regulations, hated by the financial industry, that requires advisers on retirement accounts to work in the best interests of their clients. Trump’s order will give the new administration time to review the change, known as the fiduciary rule.

Newsletter: The Problem Isn’t Trump, It’s Bigger

System is guilty

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. The awakening of mass protests against Donald Trump’s executive orders and appointments could become a real movement, but it must realize a critically important point: Trump is not the problem, the system is. Illusion of Democracy hides oligarchyTrump is a symptom of a long-term trend of a failing democracy that is too closely tied to Wall Street and the war machine. Both the Republican and Democratic parties are part of this failed system that does not represent the people of the United States. We are all working to build a mass movement for economic, racial and environmental justice that is bigger than Donald Trump. As the extremist actions of the Trump administration are put in place we need to remember that extremism for the wealthy, for war and ignoring of environmental catastrophe is consistent with the actions of all recent presidents and the leadership of both corporate parties.