Former President Obama to receive Kennedy Center award

Former President Barack Obama has won the Kennedy Center's 2017 Profile in Courage Award for a speech he is to give to Cantor Fitzgerald, the Wall Street brokerage house. Obama will be paid $400,000 for the speech, which is expected to take him about forty minutes. That works out to about $10,000 per minute or $600,000 an hour, which means Obama will earn over 10,000 times more per hour than the average American worker. This is one of two speeches paying President Obama $400,000 that he has reportedly lined up so far, less than four months after leaving office.

"It takes real courage to be such a blatant hypocrite," said the Kennedy Center's honorary executive director, Caroline Kennedy, who was appointed an ambassador to Japan by the former President, in a sort of quid-pro-quo for the late former-Senator Ted Kennedy's endorsement of Obama in the 2008 presidential primary.

"After his support of the 'Occupy' movement and decrying the influence of big money in politics, it takes guts to immediately start sucking on the teat of big business and Wall Street," she said. "That, plus my ambassadorial appointment, has earned President Obama this special recognition and award," the former Ambassador said.

Obama, who has been spending time on tropical islands, mixing with celebrities and playing golf, will have to make the trip to Boston to pickup his award. "I have prepared an acceptance speech, which will be covered live by NPR, but since I'm not being paid cash money, it will be short," he said in a prepared statement.

The award is given to "public servants" who demonstrate exceptional courage, and is based on the book by John F. Kennedy. Past examples of courage have included Democrats who stand up against Republican opposition and Republicans who stand up against Republican opposition.

"Standing up to Republicans' mean-spirited, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, sexist, ageist, religious, bigoted, Islamaphobic, transgender-phobic, and poly-gender-phobic positions is just one of the many criteria we use in determining who might win our annual award," Kennedy said. "Others are politicians with contacts to large-donation bundlers to the Democratic Party and public-sector union support."

The former winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, President Obama has enjoyed remarkable success in the private sector, turning his government experience into what will surely be millions of dollars in personal income. "I used to complain about millionaires and billionaires not needing to be so greedy, but my thinking has evolved since leaving office," he said.

"I won't consider myself a success in the private sector until my net worth exceeds the Clintons'," he added. "Just $300 million more to go...it shouldn't take long at $600,000 an hour," he said.

Meanwhile, Obama was able to criticize the foreign policy of his successor. "Under my presidency, we didn't have military brinkmanship like we do under the current administration," he said. "We learned how to peacefully coexist with the Iranians, the Syrians, the Russians, the Chinese, the Cubans, and the North Koreans. Now, the minute I leave office, we are facing conflicts around the world and the danger to America has never been greater, and I blame Donald Trump," the former President said.

"It takes courage to lead from behind, to have an official policy of constructive negligence or strategic indifference, and the only thing that surprises me is that I didn't win the Kennedy Center Award last year, and the year before that, and the year before that," he said.

The award ceremony will be broadcast live on NPR, starting at 8 pm.