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What they really mean about Obama’s Wall Street speech

What they really mean about Obama’s Wall Street speech is that it is tainted by the suspicion of an agreement that when he resigned, certain people would pay to hear him speak in return for favours given.

You can’t bribe a president in office or before he gets into office. You can’t bribe a prime minister, or a first minister, or any leader in a relatively open society. You can’t because sooner or later they will be found out. The money can be paid to an offshore account behind a wall of secrecy – but sooner or later it will be found out.

Or if it isn’t found out, then the tension of worrying that it might be found out will drain all the joy out of the money.

There is a simpler way. Just promise that when the president or the prime minister, etc., resigns – that he or she can give speeches at $10,000 a plate or whatever. And the speech can be deadly dull and not worth the cost of attending. But those who promised to attend will attend – and the money will be paid and nothing can be proved – and that is how people get away with it.

Not that anyone thinks Obama has done this – the problem is that he is tainted by the whiff of suspicion on those who wouldn’t think twice and perhaps haven’t thought twice about doing it.

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LONDON — Is British business fretting about the risks of the country drifting out of the European Union? Or does it crave a looser relationship with Continental allies, one free from meddlesome regulation?
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Never much attracted to the idea of European unity,…