Thursday, March 31, 2011

The GOPCon Perversion of Social Security for US National Socialism

Oh dear.  Another snarky little blog ready to compare Social Security to Nazism?

Maybe we can undertake such a matter a little more academically than what one might encounter otherwise.  After all, very many "water cooler" conversations almost inevitably migrate to conclusions requiring that someone or something be deemed a "Nazi"  or a "Communist." 

National Socialism - The Academic Model

However, also perhaps too frequently, what conversation follows after such a conclusion almost automatically plunges into a murky swamp of misconceptions and illogical sorts of "mixtures" where the point one of our "water cooler combatants" desires is founded essentially on intuitive, background generalities rather than sweet, crisp ideological thinking.

After all, most Americans sporting a high school diploma define a Nazi as someone who invades his neighbors and kills Jews and defines a Communist as a Russian who is a "godless communist" and schemes to expand the Soviet empire.  Stepping aside from whatever broken shard of truth may rest somewhere in these overly casual definitions, we are left with a couple of rather specific economic models.

All the "Jew killing" and "godlessness" relate to the activities of people who, just by the way, happen to have found a home in one of these economic models.  This posting is about the economic models which are left when the historical melodrama has been removed, especially the national socialism model.  Even then, MeanMesa will find itself inescapably discussing the German example of national socialism, not because it is the only one, but because it is the most convenient.

So, let's give it a whirl.

We can begin with an abbreviated definition of the model which is relevant to this argument.

Germany in WWII

In this context, National Socialism, as the name implies, replaces the directing incentive for production found in more transactional systems with an elevated priority for national interests.  In the German model, an inebriating mixture of oligarchic industrialist interests combined with pressing national needs to form -- in the case of Germany's participation in WWII -- a nationally controlled and subsidized industrial base.

Farms are supposed to grow food!(image source)


In no time an unanticipated manufacturing efficiency developed.  German factories were not only employing vast numbers of Germans, but they were also producing war equipment on what we would now call "government contracts" at an astonishing rate.  The contemporary German monetary policy which made this possible, especially after the almost total economic collapse of the German economy a few decades earlier following WWI, rested squarely in the temporary benefits of national socialism.

If "regular socialism" is presumed, roughly, to be the model which values benefits to individuals in  a social  culture, "national socialism" may be, again roughly, regarded as one which values benefits to national objectives, in the case of Germany, the nation's war making capacity.

This MeanMesa post is not about the rather destructive slide of values which occurs when production priorities descend to national interests instead of market appetites.  Instead, we will look at an "accidental" side effect of the process.  That is, we will consider the advantages found in such a system as they develop for the oligarchs "standing in the sidelines."

The Oligarchs - Then and Now

As Germany gradually adopted this approach, certain industrialists were suddenly enjoying a new opportunity to really make some money.  These factory owners and bankers (The grandfather of the now infamous Bush family, for one...) would have made this "German money" in any case, but as things progressed, they found that their industrial and banking profits could be enhanced even more by their active participation in the decision making being done by the ever more powerful Nazi government.

So, although "national socialism" was primarily designed to benefit the national government, it turns out that, with just a little "tweeking" here and there, it could also serve to benefit this clutch of oligarchs who had, by this time, carefully insinuated themselves into the government decision making process. 

The point is that we now see a disturbing similarity to developments in our own country all these years later.  Right away, we see that this more modern version has the obvious catastrophe of contemporary military procurement, but when we look more closely, we see that the cancer has spread to current ambitions of the GOPCon crowd as they serve their oligarch masters with respect to the Social Security system.

Social Security was designed to service a social priority, that is, designed to provide a specific social value as an insurance system for the elderly.  Yet, we see now that the resources of the Social Security system are being targeted for a reassignment.  The dream of the neo-cons is to convert the system to serve as an economic benefit to the banking system, and inevitably, to the oligarchs who both control that system and benefit from it.

This modern version of national socialism does not direct the benefit of this conversion of the system to the nation so much as to the oligarchs.  One might think that this conclusion conveniently removes the process from the definition of classical national socialism, but maybe not.

When we carefully consider the flow of wealth the German industrial and banking oligarchs derived from the national socialist model once business priorities shifted from normal commerce to the service of the state, we can also see the potential flow of wealth which American oligarchs would enjoy if the Social Security system were diverted from its designed priority of social service to a new one which served, primarily, the banker and investor class.

The "prize" in WWII Germany was created by the reckless inflation of the German economy to finance the war effort.  A huge amount of "ready cash" became available as the German printing presses roared into action to pay for the Third Reich.  The modern version of this huge amount of "ready cash" relates to the $2.5 Tn Social Security Trust Fund.  

The national socialism model allowed the German government to detach the common value of its money -- the value traditionally enjoyed by Germans in the previous economy -- from its actual value in favor of government priorities.  The value of a German Mark began to depend on its usefulness to government priorities rather than to its commercial value to a German consumer.

The Modern Form of National Socialism

The recent effort in the US has similar underpinnings.  The intended value of a dollar in the Social Security Trust Fund was originally designed to provide the services of the program, not to provide investment opportunities for the oligarchs of the moment.  If such a change could be effected in the system, the "prize" would fall to these billionaire interests as an unearned influx of "ready cash" which could be exploited and expanded for their personal wealth and the conversion of the previous priority for providing a social service to one of providing for wealth redistribution would be inevitable.

FDR Signing Social Security bill (image source)


The oligarchs have already "tasted" the great rewards made possible by such a diversion of "ready cash."  The autocrat's heavily soiled TARP program moved literally trillion of dollars from the tax payers' General Fund into an "investment subsidy" for the oligarchs in the banking and investment class.  With this sudden influx of investment money, these billionaires, naturally, started to make huge profits almost at once.

The stock market, banking industries and other elite economic groups are showing an unprecedented increase in wealth thanks to the sudden influx of even more capital made possible by TARP.  The autocracy knew that since such folks make money based on the money they have to invest at the moment, the more money they had to invest -- again, coming from the huge TARP bailout -- the more money they would make.

A $2.5 Tn Social Security Trust Fund represents the same kind of opportunity for them.  All that is left to be decided is the means and mechanisms of a process which could successfully divert all that money from its intended use to a new one, from its role as a social "safety net" to a new role as a sudden, unearned influx of new investment money.

But, one might say, national socialism implies an economic model designed to serve the nation.  What has been described here is an economic model designed to serve the oligarchs.  This seeming contradiction is not as much of a problem as it might first appear.

After thoroughly inundating the national psyche with the idea of the synthetic value of "trickle down" economic stimulus models, the economic ruling class now firmly believes that a benefit to them is a benefit to the nation, one so valuable that it should be undertaken regardless of cost.  Swamped in the psychological hubris of the "uber-riche," these economic sociopaths see the very existence of the Social Security Trust as nothing other than a violent affront to their self-considered, divine right to make more and more profit.

And it's not just the money in the Trust they find so appealing, either.  If, through their carefully purchased Senators, they were able to raise the retirement age of Social Security to an even higher level, the resulting flood of workers into the labor market would further reduce the wages they must pay, increasing the profits of their businesses even more.

Finally, we must consider the remarkable success the oligarchs and their media have enjoyed as they "sold" this idea to the disastrously under-informed voter.  A very promising -- for the oligarchs -- anachronism has created a voting block to which these arguments have an unexpected appeal.

That situation comes from the growing numbers of Americans who were able to "out smart" the Social Security systems revenue stream while they were wage earners.  By "hook or by crook" these American workers found a way to not pay the Social Security taxes on years and years of their pay checks.  Now, they see others who did pay enjoying the social benefits of participating in the program in their retirements.

To the oligarchic class this remorse represents a potential advantage which can now be exploited politically during elections.  As these "non-paying" workers see their neighbors enjoying the retirement benefits of a life time of Social Security payments, they become an "army in the night" for manipulation by the billionaires salivating at the prospect of redirecting the Trust Fund monies into their "investment" schemes..

Last Words

MeanMesa thinks that should the oligarchs get this "second huge basket of unearned 'investment' cash," the economic advantages it will provide will permanently move the country's economic system to a new, even more deeply entrenched, wealth inequality.  Such an increased disparity of wealth will inevitably -- under our current system where "wealth = voice" -- result in the final plunge of what had previously been laissez faire capitalism into a dismal oligarchy which will, sooner or later, finally precipitate a violent "revolutionary correction," at least, an economic one.

Capitalizing on the current confusion between the late autocracy's unfunded Medicare program and the well funded Social Security system, the oligarch media has gone to great lengths to imply that the social system is in financial trouble.  The numbers paint quite a different picture, but it is a picture which Americans seldom see.  The economic ruling class will exploit this confusion to the fullest in hopes of realizing their "take over" dream.

We have to face facts.  National socialism re-directs immense amounts of money to purposes for which it was never allocated.  We have to see the implications of the current "targeting" of the Social Security Trust Fund in the same light.

We already have the American equivalent of the Krupp families.  We shouldn't be feeding them extra bones in the fleeting hope that they will, somehow, treat us better.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Comprehending the GOPCon/Tea Bag Agenda of 2011

As MeanMesa watches the final dissolution of what used to be the Republican Party, an eerie fascination emerges with regard to precisely what this bunch will do next as the previous, famously unanimous "marble buttress" slowly becomes a jumbled collection of disjointed "marble blocks" on the wind torn field of political reality.  

Yes, we're talking about the equivalent of civil war, perhaps better described as the unavoidable onset of a messy, intra-party divorce.

Tripoli, Carthage, Hannibaal, Boehner, Scipio and Obama
History Repeats Itself?

The Third Punic War closed with the final collapse of Carthage at the hands of the young Roman General, Scipio -- later Scipio Aficanus.  Armed with the maximum effort of the Republic's armies and fleet, Scipio was given orders that "no two stones of Carthage were to remain mortared together" when his task was completed.  Because Carthage essentially suffered this fate, nothing remains on that rocky Southern Mediterranean coast today but the blocks.

This is the kind of total destruction which what remains of the old Republican party has now unleashed upon itself.  This has been carefully designed as the GOPCon "strategy moving forward."

Le Destruction de Carthage by Scipio Africanus 146 BCE (image source)
The analogy referring to the destruction of Carthage has an unsettling vector into the heart of contemporary affairs.  The ancient city was located in Eastern Libya, and its final end came at the hands on an unlikely, young Roman.  Might our present day situation also include a modern counterpart to Rome's noble Scipio?


Of course the GOP dinosaurs are still stumbling in circles around their old hunting grounds, but their breath is becoming labored and their once mighty teeth are now dropping from those formidable jaws.  The old bellowing and intimidation stills jerks along in fits and starts, but there is a strange new odor in the air.  It is the dull, grey suspicion of an approaching extinction, the causes of which are not yet clearly understood.  The list of participants, however, is as clear and bright as the bodies of song birds in the first dawn after a thermonuclear war.

Any observer of current political realities must fully accept the prospect of "end game" maneuvering on the part of the Republican remnant.  As their strategic conditions continue to decline even further, we can expect the disheartened GOPCons to behave with even more hubris as they wander through the sun set phase of their "looting wet dreams."

The hackneyed joke to the raiding Vikings, an attractive epitaph to the likes of Boehner and his unruly tea bags, comes to mind:  "Rape, pillage and plunder first, then burn."

So, what can we expect from the final chorus of this neo-conservative "Swan Song?"

The GOPCons' Final Agenda 
-- priorities by the numbers

"Drink up!" The Party's Almost Over!(image source)
1. Maintain the Conservative Base in an Incendiary State

Although FOX News has been assigned the main "heavy lifting," tea bags and other Republican stragglers must relentlessly continue the "God, Guns and Gays" talking points until the very end.  A few cynical lies about "Trickle Down" economics can be injected, but not if they are too complicated for the consumption of the hill billies and bigots.  The drawling "dirty shirt preachers" of the halcyon days during the autocracy seem to be losing their appeal amid the continuing wreckage of the economy.

2. Attempt to Complete the "Death Sentence" for Organized Labor

Oh sure, it started with Ronnie Raygun's night attack on the air traffic controllers, but since then the effort has turned into an on-going toothache.  The union members are pumped full to the gunwales with adrenalin after the "daylight attacks" in the states, and the ossified neo-con base has tired of hearing about the latest, phony union "outrages."  Wisconsin and Ohio haven't helped.

3. Continue the Moral Majority "Ground War"

Gingrich, while busy ripping apart the American government, commanded that the neo-cons of the day go to work making his "Moral Majority" a permanent blight by becoming dog catchers, librarians, city engineers and the like.  This strategy has matured to the present "train wreck" we see in the states with shiny new tea bag governors and legislators -- and recall petitions.  As usual, the  latest horde of semi-literate "eager beavers" neglected reading any local history before they commenced the latest series of poorly disguised "over reaches."

4. Keep Asking Independent Voters for a Date in 2012

This fickle block of 40% of voters elected Obama and a Democratic Congress in 2008, but were "wooed" back to "traditional values" under an onslaught of super weird GOPCon media frauds in 2010.  They still maintain their status as the "low hanging fruit" which might, in better times, have consolidated the GOPCon take over for one more election.  It turns out that Independents are just as horrified by the state-level "looting festival" as the most snarling, ultra left wing Democrat might be.

5. Exploit the Price Collapse in the Housing Market

Yawn.  Oh sure, everyone knows where this ugly mess came from, why it happened, who won and who lost.  However, GOPCon geniuses remain convinced that, somehow, the disaster can still be attached to Obama and the Democrats.  The essential GOPCon strategy is based on the idea that an Independent, middle class voter careening into personal bankruptcy with a foreclosed mortgage and a pink slip will automatically vote Republican in 2012.  Housing price problems and Independent voters are "sewn together" at the hip," but the GOPCon tactical error is the assumption that the incipient "mind numbing" rage has not abated.  It has.  Under water home owners are now fully awake.

6. Keep Attacking Obama - Even After It Has Quit Working

At first, the Presidential ad hominems were masked with a courteous film of "political discourse."  However, as the GOPCon nosebleeds continued, all the window dressing was removed, revealing an almost comical, adolescent obsession.  Voters gradually tired of hearing the jabs and pokes embedded in every third noun clause of the Rupert Murdoch approved "reporting."  This heavily soiled, sub-Goebbels propaganda campaign drew a little blood at first, but has now joined the rest of the GOPCon "tooth ache masquerading as a lolly pop" advertised -- while still in its wrapper -- as a delicious Birther, Kenyanite Socialist delight.

7. Stop Health Care at Every Possible Opportunity

Both the well paid GOPCon Congressmen and their generous insurance company sponsors know that the American voters will actually really like the Affordable Care Act if it should ever reach implementation.  The "sickness industry" has been plowing a million dollars per week into the project in a wide ranging panoply of subterfuge and obstruction efforts.  The whole tribe of "health haters" -- including allegedly Democratic Senators such as Max Baucus -- has accepted the task as an excellent paying, second job from the outset.  All will be lost for the multi-trillion dollar extortion scheme if the Act every reaches Main Street.

8. Maximize Citizens United Corporate "Stink" Money

The oligarchs have paid plenty for their "ownership title" on Supreme Court decisions.  The job now falls to the GOPCon strategists.  They must  now use the newly legalized corporate money flow to deliver votes.  The hill billies and bigots are still a bargain, but the price tag on the Independents has inflated every time the economy has gone further down the "crackow."  OMG, some of the citizens have dug out those old civics texts and looked up both "national socialism" and "democracy!"  Oooops.  Too late to burn the books.  Bad planning.

9. Sell Every Scrap of DeRegulation Which Can Be Found

The traditional GOPCon "cottage industry" of eliminating every shred of regulation which might, even possibly, lower illicit corporate profits will continue unchecked.  The hilarious but soul wrenching movie, Catch 22, was about WWII, but the neo-con play book will deliver an utterly un-regulated US culture to the same state.  Watch a few You Tube snippets of the movie, Catch 22, here.

Meanwhile, every foundational regulatory law on the books is in peril -- from child labor to Wall Street to environmental protection.  And, they are all for sale for the right price.

10. Protect, Maintain and Refurbish the Lobbying Industry

Even after every newly elected tea bag has packed his Congressional office with every lobbyist who might possibly ever be useful, there remains more hordes of the greasy little, sub-human beasts in nests on K street and the Christian bastion on C Street.  Every one of them has a Bible in one hand and a check book in the other.  Whether it's legalizing the dumping of pig manure into a river or murdering homosexuals in Uganda, some billionaire will pay for the favor.  Because the GOPCons are totally dedicated -- usually at the expense of democracy -- to the "care and feeding" of big business interests, the lobbyists must also be nurtured as smelly, but necessary, mechanisms for cash transfers.

11. Crush Effective Public Education

This "old rag" from the days of the founding fathers just makes it harder and harder to win an election based on Republican platforms and policies.  In this sense -- and MeanMesa is sure that the Roberts "Court" would agree -- it represents an attack on, uh, free speech.  Plus, all those greedy teachers are union members sucking oligarch money into their pockets like educational vampires!  If you are already a semi-literate tea bag, watching American kids learn enough to see through your scam can be quite uncomfortable.  They get uppity.

12. Try to Keep the Tea Bags From Getting on the News

The rolling onslaught of tea bags originally appeared as something which could be conveniently exploited by the oligarch master of the Republican Party.  However, after a few dozen episodes of drooling Southerners being interviewed on the national media fraud, the facts of the matter have surfaced -- something akin to a "fart in a spacesuit."  Now, all the corporate phone calls to Boehner are frantic pleas to just shut them up before they wreck the "looting scheme" Republicans are paid to protect.  Oh sure, the GOPCon image handlers bought them all new ties for their "media camera/mouth junk sorties," but it turns out that there's just not enough lipstick to make them look serious.

The tea bags have gradually transformed themselves from a possibly useful, public interest anomaly into a full fledged, raging drunk, embarrassment. The rich old "fat cat" GOPCon bosses don't like the dust storm and laughter any more.

13. Convert Austerity and "Spending Cuts" Into Wealth Redistribution

This little task is extremely straightforward.  Begin with a onslaught of incendiary propaganda about discretionary spending, carefully avoiding the inclusion of military procurement, no bid contracts, corporate welfare and tax cut subsidies.  Move on to highlight every possible benefit which poor, elderly or young children might receive, villainizing every Federal check which has gone to one of these "freeloaders" instead of into a corporate purse, all while carefully  obscuring and protecting the real "short circuits" in the corporate economy.

14. Obliterate All Consumer Protection Laws

Long cherished "doo dads" in banking regulations, credit card policies, screwy  mortgage frauds and the like represent a respectable chunk of corporate profits which must be protected.  Over charges on phone bills, penalties on payments incorrectly submitted, "not quite delicious" meat and produce offerings -- you name it.  Every one of these little issues is costing some billionaire corporatist a few cents of his "hard earned money."  GOPCons understand this.  They understand this even better while they are opening a campaign contribution envelope.

15. Protect Corporate Welfare

Okee-dokee.  Exxon is the most profitable corporation in the history of the planet.  This means that if you are a GOPCon, you must not only make sure that Exxon never pays a dime in corporate taxes, but also continues to receive $15 to $20 Bn dollars worth of subsidies from the government every year.  Right?  It's not just Exxon, either.  There are 300 top corporations in the US who either don't pay any taxes at all or even receive a check after tax time (hmmmm, "No tax time?").

If you are a well fed GOPCon you need to keep this going.

16. Crush Every Possible Kind of Renewable Energy Plan

The campaign contribution checks from coal companies spend exactly the same as the ones from big oil.  The tobacco checks have dwindled, but the dirty energy and oligarchy checks are flowing in faster than ever.  During this last great moment of the Republican Party the "money bins" must be force fed in every possible way so the cash will be there when the crooks finally think it's safe to sneak back into town.  Far sighted GOPCons are now perfecting their strategy to regain power in the absence of the current, constant flow of corporate energy dollars.  The  anti-democratic "death grip" of the energy corporatists may well be broken before the  Republicans can start winning elections again.

17. Block Tax Reform, Election Reform, Education Reform
and Prison Reform

In GOPCon logic any term which includes the word "reform" must be navigated to mean "against states' rights."  Once the first stuttering "states' rights" quips have inflamed the hill billies, the additional terms "Constitutional" and "founding fathers" can be safely added.  If the propaganda begins gaining traction, "against the Bible" can be added, later.  The basic criteria for such selections seems to be whether or not some reactionary throw back policy is similar to what might have been around in Alabama during the 1940's.

Conclusions, Conclusions

Because this posting has gone on so long already, MeanMesa will step aside now, encouraging visitors to Short Current Essays to add a few of their own selections.  So, rest a minute, then get busy!

All this nasty stuff is going to jump out, front and center, during the 2012 election.  Think of preparing yourself for the "water cooler" wars as being something akin to sharpening the stakes we will have to drive through the hearts of the denizens of this freak show to get the job done.

Get yourself ready.  Their day is coming.




Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Part Four - Wealth Redistribution in Disasters

Lest we forget, a primer on capitalism.

MeanMesa takes a longer look at a suspiciously obscured reality.  This is the fourth of series of postings on illicit wealth redistribution in a free market system.

Wealth Redistribution Following Natural Disasters

Part Three of this series dealt with illicit wealth distribution in times of economic disaster.  However, we know that all disasters do not originate from economic manipulation, some begin as natural phenomena.  The point in this post is that, while these latter cases may begin with earthquakes, tsunamis or volcanoes, they become interludes of remarkable economic opportunity as the damage is repaired.

The discussion, for this reason, settles on observations and conclusions of the rather dated concept of "the commons."  Although a favorite line of discussion on Thom Hartmann's radio show (The Thom Hartmann Show, AM1350 KABQ, Albuquerque, 10AM - 1PM weekdays), the precise concept derives from the historical period when the possibility of publicly owned infrastructure emerged from the previous system where the nobility owned everything.

The new system which arose from these changes was one which relied upon public resources to construct such things as road and bridges, and included the idea that access to such things was conveyed to the public by certain rights.  We can see why such a development required such a long time.  The old aristocracy was not immediately enthusiastic about such fundamental changes.

Further, it would be something of a misinterpretation to characterize this change as exclusively a political or ideological matter.  Its major impetus arose from tax paying middle class folks wanting to increase the amount of public infrastructure beyond the level previously sponsored by the wealthy elite. 

All they needed to add was to create a government sufficiently free of corruption which could offer the prospect that their tax payments -- or, at least most of them -- would wind up in construction projects for things they wanted and could use.  Once such improvements were in place, the local economy, now hosted by such advances in infrastructure,  exploded.

Yes, "exploded" in the sense that there occurred a valid wealth redistribution downward to the growing middle class.  The social culture of the times quickly came to rely on this process to continually improve the physical infrastructure  and, hence, the new opportunities -- which supported its growth.

A "natural disaster" can be coarsely defined as one which damages the public infrastructure.  Recent examples are plentiful.  Katrina, the Indonesian earthquake and tsunami, the Indus flooding in Pakistan, various hurricanes, droughts, and most recently, the damages in Japan which not only included an earthquake and tsunami but also a subsequent nuclear infrastructure disaster.


The "Commons" 

However, when viewed through the frame of "the commons," infrastructure damage and repair moves quickly to the issue of illicit wealth distribution.  A week before the disaster, we found oligarchic interests benefiting from the infrastructure while paying essentially no taxes to fund its creation or maintain it afterwards.  MeanMesa visitors know, by now, that this serendipitous coincidence is fundamentally the result of the corporatist penchant for  "controlling" ("lobbying") the government's tax funding.

The "Commons" - an old idea? (image source)


A week after the disaster wrecks the infrastructure, subsequent chapters of the same story begin to unfold.  It will be middle class tax money which funds the reconstruction.  On the side lines -- and in the back rooms -- it will be advantages to the oligarch class which will govern the new design.  It will be well connected corporations which will supply the materials for reconstruction, and it will be equally well connected contractors who turn out to be the only viable choices in the "bidding" process to do the work, if there is one.

The recovery process will be an arena where "anti-union" values become persuasive attributes of companies seeking contracts.  Further, while lower class tax money is being spent in largess to support the mutilated contracts, the oligarch's public relations campaign will shift into high gear embedding the idea that whatever work will be done is too expensive, even though its sponsors will be paying basically no part of the cost, anyway.

Finally, cynical "side agendas" will emerge as the project proceeds.  For example, in the carefully crafted "rehabilitation" of New Orleans 9th Ward, a huge block of Democratic voters wound up -- more or less permanently -- in FEMA trailers in Arkansas while a major voting block of the party contested city miraculously migrated to the Republican side of the future election results.  Prior property ownership enters a carefully designed Draconian bureaucratic labyrinth with predictable results.

Idealistic Altruism or Just More Looting?

MeanMesa's point here is that it seems we almost entirely abandon the idealistic possibility of actually helping disaster victims recover in favor of a rampage of extracting every possible profit advantage from the ensuing chaos and misery.  The illicit wealth redistribution crowd starts salivating when the first trees fall or the first trash cans are hurled down the street by the wind.  After this stage, the question of "to loot or not to loot" is not a matter of police action around the electronics store.  It is the orgiastic frenzy of plutocrat lobbyists in the back rooms of the Senate.

"Great job, Brownie!" (image source)


US disaster relief in foreign country's ravaged by natural catastrophes too often takes the same turn.  Materials and contracts arrive via "American altruism" but they have been purchased and shipped at monumental costs compared to what more rational purchases from local or near by vendors might have been.  The corporate media floods the domestic "news" channels with "feel good" footage while the illicit profits stream from the US general fund to  opportunistic, corporate, domestic  pockets.

Further, when some of the "profits from disaster" are left on the table when the American oligarchs are through looting the pile, select foreign elites get the next chance to make a few bucks.  Even after the food and medicine arrives where it is desperately needed, it too often winds up in warehouses temporarily on its way to markets where it will be sold to the victims.  Worse, political supporters too often find something to eat long before the unconnected or opposition plates are filled.

This has been the case with every disaster from the Christmas tsunami in Indonesia to the drought in sub-Saharan Africa.  The Obama government has done better with this with the Pakistan earthquake and Indus flooding and the Haitian calamity, both occurring during a more sincere effort already in progress to assist the development of local economies in both places, suggesting that the first thoughts of an "ex-community organizer" in such matters are refreshingly more effective than those of a "profit at any cost" autocrat.

MeanMesa was shocked when the W authorized serious financial aid to save the "AID's sinners" in Africa, but the old, hollow skepticism rushed back when Indian companies which had previously made generic (cost effective) anti-virals were prohibited from continuing the practice in favor of "sky-high priced" front line American pharmaceutical alternatives.

Our altruistic hearts may be in the right place for such undertakings, but we must rededicate ourselves to a new, far more committed state of idealistic diligence in the future.  The fortunes made on the backs of previous disasters have already flowed into the family coffers and trust funds of new aristocrats who will enjoy the lavish returns for generations.

We can -- and must -- do better in the future.  It begins with elections.







Monday, March 28, 2011

Renting Gaddafi's U-Haul -- Not To Caracas

Finding a New, "Warm Nest" 
for a Ragged Old Dictator

In the best of all possible worlds, the murderous madman in Tripoli will, sooner or later, realize that all his hyperbolics about dying a martyr in Libya are now creeping toward a far more literal nature.  Should Gaddafi remain in Tripoli, his soon to be realized, dramatic finale will be more similar to Romania's old dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, than the more genteel relocation enjoyed by his Egyptian equivalent, Hosni Mubarak.

So where could Gaddafi go when he's through tearing peoples' arms and legs off in his Libyan prisons?

His timely withdrawal from Tripoli would result in a serious reduction in the violence required to finally rid that capitol city of the mercenary remnants of his gang.  If Gaddafi's "death wish" turns out to be sincere, these "paid by the hour" foreigners would find themselves stranded in a city surrounded by insurgents while the fading King strummed "Nero tunes" on a melancholy lute in his palatial, well fortified, 1950-Holiday Inn-style,  Bab Aziza.

Further, those insurgents would most likely have already long ago disabused themselves of any compassionate reluctance to settle the matter quickly and permanently.

As far as the pundits in our domestic media go, the suggestion has been Venezuela.  Of course, there is no particular ideological reason why the Venezuelans would welcome this tired old dictator.  However, there is a very material reason why Venezuela keeps coming up in the wing nut "talking points" gushing around the US.

Why, exactly, is it that the dirty shirt talking points puppets continue to speak of Gaddafi retiring to Venezuela?  

Well, it may have more to do with Venezuela than with Gaddafi.   This means, of course, that it may have more to do with Venezuelan oil than with Gaddafi oil.  The spigot for Gaddafi oil is slowly closing, making the prospect of, somehow, "recapturing" Venezuelan oil all the more infatuating to the temporarily bored , trust fund Petrogarch. ("Petrogarch?"  A delightful new and economical MeanMesa abbreviation for the longer term, "petroleum oligarch.")

Why God Commanded 
Americans To Hate Hugo Chavez 

This Proves Nightmare Is Real (The Reagan Report)

Oooops.  (image source)

Oooops.  (image source)

Oooops. (image source)


Chavez replaced his more acceptable (That is, "more acceptable" to American Petrogarchs, at least.) predecessor, Rafael Caldera, in the wake of that previous oligarch's violent suppression of practically every Venezuelan who was not among the country's elite.  Aside from the obvious disadvantage of being the "wrong color," Chavez went on to nationalize the country's oil, feed the poor and create a fairly respectable universal health care system.


Quick Petrogarch Recipe for Creating a South American "Terrorist" Cake at Home

Yummmmm!

Beautiful Venezuelan Terrorist Cake ready for Dictator in Exile Decoration (image source)


One "wrong colored" Venezuelan Reformer
A few well connected, US Petrogarch families
Impressive oil Reserves
A South American Country With an Oppressive Elite Class of "Patrones"

  1. Pre-heat oven to "Political Revolution" temperature
  2. Shoot protesters in street to preserve US oil interests
  3. Throw Head of Reform Movement in Prison for two years
  4. Elect Head of Reform Movement President
  5. Elitists Fail to Stop Enfranchisement of women and indigenous people
  6. Reform President Nationalizes Foreign Oil Interests in Country
  7. Reform President Begins to Divert Oil Revenues to Social Causes
Bake until an oil well casing comes out clean when drilled into center of cake.  Cover cake with elitist terrorism frosting when cooled.  Add decorative Libyan dictator in Venezuelan exile to re-inforce media idea that Chavez is a Terrorist.  Serve with plenty of cold Kool Aide to wing nut talk show pundits.

Enjoy!


Cheap Talking Points versus 
Bargain Priced Moving Crates


So, of course, the talking point puppets were absolutely besides themselves with the possibility of linking the conveniently, already soiled, Libyan dictator to the walking, talking, "terrorist threat" in Venezuela.  What better plan than to suggest -- over and over, of course -- that Gaddafi should go to Venezuela when he is run out of Libya by the revolutionary forces there.

Given the current "color state" of the elected President in the US, Chavez's "wrong coloredness" shock value has, happily, faded into oblivion.  His survival of both a recall election and military coup suggest that the Venezuelan people seem to prefer his popular "socialism" to the old starvation and  intimidation  scheme of the previous owners.


Naturally, the Glenn Becks of the fallen world find themselves only moments away from another bizarre "talking points" orgasm when they discover this new, threatening possibility to further horrify their illiterate listeners with the hopelessness of America's predicament.  These "mouth junk" miscreants would like to blame a rainy day on the President -- even if it meant taking a hit in their already teetering credibility and ratings.


The fact is that no one in their right mind would invite Gaddafi to a "new home" now that the International Criminal Court has begun a "crimes against humanity" investigation into the murderous old crow's record.  If Chavez were to actually allow the old Libyan a safe resting place for his last years, it would have more to do with his strong foundation of "community responsibility" --- not seeing twenty thousand Libyans die taking Tripoli -- instead of ideology.


So, if you're calling Tripoli Rent a Truck for Gaddafi's U-Haul, plan on the mileage to The Hague instead of Caracas.











Sunday, March 27, 2011

Why the Libya Intervention Must Be CONFUSING! uh, CONFUSING!

Failed Governor and Fox "Queen of Confusion" (image source)


Why "Mission Confusion" is Selling Like "Whores in a  Lumber Camp"

What a remarkable coincidence.  Does anyone join MeanMesa in the conclusion that an amazing homogeneity seems to always "automatically" emerge when a few wing nut "talking points" seem to be gaining traction among the public?

We've seen it before.  For example, in commentaries on the Great Republican Depression the country's economy is now staggering through, the words "predictability" and "unpredictability" have been trotted out over and over and over as an explanation for the reluctance of the current illicit wealth holders to not actively rejoin the faltering economy.

We know, of course, that "reluctance" based on "unpredictability" is actually a carefully crafted scheme to justify waiting until wage earners have become even more desperate and the prices of troubled businesses have become even lower.

Well, a disturbingly similar mindless repetition has emerged in the US participation in the Libyan crisis.

This time, the catchword is "confusion."

Keep up.  "Economic unpredictability" has been temporarily replaced by "military mission confusion."

The possible advantages are clear enough.  If the Libyan intervention can be re-defined as "confused," yet another cheap shot at the President emerges.  If the striking obvious difference between shooting protesters in the streets of Bahrain  and ringing a city of 3 Mn Libyans, Benghazi, with a offensive Howitzer and tank columns can be obliterated by enough false comparisons, no one will be able to see through the veil.  The charge of "hypocrisy" can be leveled at Obama.

Why America is, uh, Totally Confused About the Mission

MeanMesa explored a few of the offerings on the first page of Google's response to the "confusion" question.  Here are a few samples of what pops up from such an inquiry.

"Confusion!" "Confusion!" "Confusion!"

Is anyone surprised?

CBS News - Politics
World Famous "War Expert," Donald Rumsfeld 
Read the entire article here.


Donald Rumsfeld, who served as defense secretary under President George W. Bush, said Wednesday that the Obama administration allowed the mission in Libya to become "confused" because America did not take the lead in determining a course of action. 


"I've always believed that the mission should determine the coalition," he told Politico. Instead, Rumsfeld said, America let coalition partners in Europe dictate the mission. 

Ideally, he added, "you decide what it is you want to do and then you get other countries to assist you in doing that." But in Libya, he said, "the opposite was done," leaving the mission "confused." 

"If peoples' lives are at risk and you're using military forces, you need to have a rather clear understanding as to who's in charge and who's making the decisions," said Rumsfeld. 




Read the entire article here.

Leader: The dangers facing the west’s confused mission in Libya


The fear remains that intervention will do more harm than good. 

For the third time in a decade, Britain is engaged in a major military action in a Muslim-majority country. David Cameron and his allies have resurrected the doctrine of liberal interventionism, which had been poisoned by the disastrous invasion of Iraq, to justify the use of force in Libya. The notion of a "responsibility to protect", born of the genocides in Rwanda and Bosnia in the mid-1990s, is one that justly retains political support. It was right to intervene in Kosovo in 1999 to halt Slobodan Milosevic's murderous drive for a "Greater Serbia" and it was right to intervene in Sierra Leone in 2000 to defend that country's democratically elected government from the nihilistic Revolutionary United Front.



My Central Jersey
Read the entire article here.

U.S. confused about mission in Libya

Are we protecting civilians or trying to remove Gaddafi?


Is it just me? Am I the only one who's utterly confused about the rationale, goals, tactics and strategy of the U.S.-led military intervention in Libya?

Thought not.

I call it a U.S.-led operation because, people, let's be real. Without U.S. diplomatic leadership, there would have been no U.N. Security Council resolution. Without U.S. military leadership, there would have been no coordinated shock-and-awe attack to put dictator Moammar Gaddafi's rampaging forces back on their heels. One of these days, when our allies finish their bickering, we'll hear a grand announcement that someone else is in charge — maybe NATO, maybe France. Don't believe it. The United States will be functionally in charge, and thus on the hook, until this ends.

So what the hell are we doing? I realize that President Barack Obama and his advisers have answered this question many times, but I feel it's necessary to keep asking until the answers begin to make sense.



The News Star
 Read the entire article here.


Libyan mission is most confusing

 

I am confused. England, France and the United States went to the United Nations and got permission to bomb and kill Libyans to keep them from killing other Libyans. We all know that it is George Bush's fault, because he started it in Iraq.

Now it all is clear. Are we letting Hillary take out her frustrations on Gadhafi since she can do nothing about Bill and his women?

Bush was wrong when he went into Iraq on the say so of the United Nations and Obama is wrong now. Congress alone has the power to declare war. Here we have nothing, except people who want to take over from Gadhafi. Who are they? Does anyone know them? We are told that France does, but who can trust the French? We have spent or committed to spend one and a half billion dollars for what? French, English and Italian oil? How does that help us? I am still confused But I am sure the politicians in Washington can explain it to me.

Joseph W. Cole Jr.

So, is the Libyan intervention actually "confusing?"
 
Hmmm.

Not if you read the UN Security Council Resolution.

Not if you listen to what the President has said repeatedly about it.

Not if you look at a map of Libya.

Not if you take five minutes to size up what Gaddafi is trying to do at Benghazi and how different in murderous scope it is from other cases which aren't particularly similar.

Next, we unavoidably arrive at the second most popular propaganda attack on the President. It emerges from all sorts of cheap, false comparisons between what is happening in Libya and what is happening in other Middle East countries.
The favorite "pregnant" question -- always introduced with a disturbing little elitist whine on the pundits voice -- is engineered to promote a cynical background of "unpredictability" and "incompetence" in the listener's view of the President.

It usually starts with something like this.

"If we are going to do this in Libya, what about Syria or Yemen.  The dictators in those countries are shooting protesters, too.  Why are we going into Libya and not these other places? Is it because Obama's a hypocrite?"

It goes on further.  "The American people are confused -- they don't understand the mission.  Obama should have explained it to them again, and again, and again.  The American people don't understand the mission.  They are confused."

"And, by the way, the American people are confused.  They don't trust this President.  They are confused.  They don't understand the mission.  Why doesn't the President explain the mission to them?  They are confused."

"And, by the way, what about the exit strategy?  The American people are confused about the exit strategy.  Why doesn't the President explain the exit strategy?  The American people are confused."

The "dirty Black man," "Kenyan anti-colonialist," "anti-American socialist" stuff comes out later.

The "exit strategy" question really becomes difficult for the President.  For one reason, he has made it abundantly clear that we don't intend to "enter," making the "exit" even harder to explain.

For grins, ask a neo-con wing nut exactly what it is about the mission which is confusing.  Once the talking points begin to be "used up" in his panicky, breathless response, this "precious" -- yet disgustingly artificial -- "confusion" becomes as gaseous as the rest of the right wing "mouth junk."

Of course, we all expect the new talking pundits to insist on knowing every "nut and bolt" of the Obama plan for Libya -- otherwise, they will not be able to sustain their PR attack by using even the slightest deviation as a weapon.

Finally, we can return to "unpredictability" for a moment.  Our perpetual critics of everything the President does are, it turns out, a bit "risk averse" and "codependent."  In this case, as with all the others, their pathetic, weird control issues are vomiting out front and center.

The Voice of the Public at

"Down Home Harry's Happy Times"


Just to drive this point home a little, let's drop into "Down Home Harry's Happy Times Motel -- Bowling, Beer & Breakfast" lounge to try to catch the mood of the folks on the street.

"Excuse me, sir. I'm conducting a public opinion poll about Libya. Do you have a few minutes to tell me what you're thinking?"

"You betch'a. I know 'xactly whut I'm thinking."

"Great! And, what's that?"

"Wahl, no one knows whut th' mission is. Thu mission is confusin' 'cuz the President, he don't know whut th' mission is. Thu 'Merican people don't know, neither. It's confusin' cuz the President never told no one whut th' mission is."

"Can you tell me a little more about why it is that you find it so confusing?"

"Shore. Becuz the President done criticized Bush fer doin' thu 'xact same thing. Plus, there ain't no exit strategy. They means thu' mission is confusin', right?"

"But the UN wrote out exactly what the mission was in the Resolution, and the President said he was doing exactly what the Resolution said. The President said that there would be no American boots on the ground in Libya and that the Air Force was going to try to stop Gaddafi's plan to slaughter his citizens. Didn't you think that was pretty clear?"

"Nope. Thu problem is there's no exit strategy. Plus, the American people are confused about whut the mission is. Ah mean, the President said we wasn't going to throw Gaddafi out, but then he started bombing the tanks and stuff. See, A'hm confused cuz Obama ain't no leader."

"But if there aren't any troops there on the ground, why would we need an exit strategy?"

"On account of the fact thet we don't have one. That's why we need one. Plus, the mission is confusing. How do we know when thu troops are gonna' git pulled out? Plus, wha' don't Obama git in there to hep them other folks tryin' to get liberty? See, it's confused. No one knows whut the mission is."

"So, you don't think it was a good idea to try to stop the slaughter?"

"Wahl, first off there ain't no slaughter cuz the tanks got blowed up, 'n second there ain't no exit strategy. Obama ain't gonna' fool me with some hare brained scheme to jest use the Air Force anytime he wants when there ain't no exit strategy and no one understands what thu hell the mission is in the first place."

"Well, I can see that you've thought about this quite a bit. Thanks for the interview."

Okay.
 
The President is going to try one more time to explain the mission in his address to the nation Monday evening.

The speech will probably not be on the television in "Down Home Harry's Happy ...whatever," oh, just forget it, because it won't be on FOX News.

A Couple of Parting Thoughts

1.) Think about it. If you were simply another Middle East dictator who was considering slaughtering a few hundred of your citizens wouldn't "unpredictable" be a bigger problem for you than something definite?

2.) One last note. We Americans have paid heavily for the military we presently enjoy. It is filled with honorable, well trained, well disciplined, determined men and women who are our fellow citizens here. Considered as a whole, it is as noble as any army has ever been throughout history.

It is also one hell of a bad ass outfit. Given a competent Commander in Chief to lead it, our military doesn't lose a scrap or fail its mission. Ever.

How have we been convinced to think so badly about the US military? Even more interesting, who, exactly, might benefit from the widespread distrust and negative assessment of it? Why are the streets and offices of the United States filled with cynical, negative people who constantly expect the US military to fail?

MeanMesa's compliments to the Commander in Chief, the elected President of the United States, Barack Obama.






Saturday, March 26, 2011

Finally, the Fat Lady Sings

Clamoring for the  FOX microphones, check books in hand and campaign contributors on speed dial, here they come.  Although MeanMesa could write an encyclopedia about these petty crooks, wanna be's and criminals, we'll just let the pictures do the talking.

Now, straight from the GOPCon Clone Factory, may we present the finest, richest, greediest miscreants in the nation's history, all prepared for some good "ole tahm'  back stabbin' sessions" to thin the herd and take the White House.

The American People Love Us (image source)
"So, start buying stock in the voting machine companies, get Rove on the phone to start cookin' up some dirty tricks and check with FOX News about exactly what to say.  Meanwhile, make sure the economy stays in the crapper and start a close audit of what's left in the Treasury while I get mah lootin' duds back on!  They thought we was done when the Bush went home, but this party ain't nearly over yet!"

Ho hum. We still don't like it.   Maybe we should all stay at home again to deliver another "message" to the Democrats.