Sunday, December 14, 2014

VETO Dreams

The New Obama Policy:
Deal with Terrorists
Maybe it's not really that bad...

MeanMesa was, at first, somewhat "taken aback" with the news that the President was actively soliciting Democratic House members' vote for the $1.1 Tn spending bill that Speaker Boehner has "fixed up" at the last minute. By this time we have all listened to Representative Pelosi and Senator Warren "share" what they thought of this piece of crap.

The billionaires and their Congressional servants have clearly had a "moment of vision" when it comes to timing. We saw the first evidence of this with the half billion dollars their otherwise rather "meat handed" Super PACs kept in their pocket until the 59th day before the election in November. Once this immensely generous gift bundle of "patriotic, freedom loving" dough was "disclosed" the day after the election, that is, the 60th day after the big presents were distributed to the denizens of the mid-term clown car, even MeanMesa was impressed with the self-control and discipline involved.

[And, it's hard for the oligarch crowd to impress MeanMesa. Most of the time in the past, this comical little pack of "pirate wanna-be's" has typically been no more impressive than a scurrying mob of starving rats in the process of dying from rabies.]

Well, Boehner's strategic geniuses in the House pulled off a similar scam this week by hiding the spending bill's "special favors" in pay backs to their bosses until hours before the government was scheduled to shut down...again. The tea bag spending bill which was hiding all this little "skunk business" passed the House with 2 votes at 9 P.M. Thursday -- 3 hours ahead of government "shut down" time.

The tactic was that these "problem riders" in the spending bill apparently were only to "appear" magically at the last minute. There would be no time for any bothersome debate, just time enough for back room deal making. The legislation "dropped dead" the first time it was considered, but Boehner's clock was ticking. With the "check books smoking," the corpse breathed new life once the sun had set.

The thing still had to get through the Senate, an impossible task for the 180 minutes left on the clock. No problem. The reactionaries in charge of the House "corralled" those pesky Senators. A House "continuing resolution" budget scam would give the Senatorial geezers just enough time to complain about being rail roaded and out maneuvered before they have to hold their noses and pass it themselves.

[At the time of this post, the Senate hasn't passed this thing -- yet. Although there may be some compelling arguments against passage, it doesn't look like there will be any time under the protection of Boehner's "continuing resolution" schedule for much debate.]

A MeanMesa Terrorism Primer
... in one paragraph
Pass the dynamite, please...

Gee, I don't know...[image source]
Terrorists offer a threat and a "way out" of the threat. Think of it as receiving a message along these lines: "Do what we want, or we will do this to you." As this is applied to contemporary politics, the terrorist message from the oligarchs is: "Give us what we demand, or we'll have our Congressmen shut down the government and probably impeach the President. Oh, and by the way, you should remember that if you get testy, we can wreck the economy any time we like. After all, the people have spoken, and this is the will of the people, right?"

[In a certain sense it really is the will of the people -- slightly more than half of the 38% of the voters who bothered to vote were mindlessly determined to elect "R's" no matter what the candidate might look like -- who could be persuaded by the $500 Mn "bundle dump" of "campaign assistance" cash funnelled in by the oligarchs at the last minute. At this point, anyone who didn't cast a ballot in the mid-term has no business complaining about the outcome.]

The House Dishes Out Special Favors:
They Get, You Pay
Come on, after all it is Christmas...

Now, MeanMesa is particularly disturbed by two specific elements of the "ransom demand." There is, no doubt, a special "little something" in the stocking for all sorts of folks, but these two are the ones which "stuck in the craw" of this particular old geezer.

"Special Favor" Number One:

The good old days [image]
The spending bill includes a rider which retracts the part of the Dodd-Frank banking regulations which prohibits the big banks from using FDIC insured assets in their crazy, high risk derivative market schemes. With this passed into law, the same big banks that hurled themselves "over the cliff" in 2008 will be able to legally do it again -- with the Feds insuring the money they gamble. If there is a profit, they keep it. If they lose their shirts -- like they did last time, we bail them out of the soup.

2008 was six years ago. Is this evidence of a "short term memory" problem?

Is anyone even trying to remember?

"Special Favor" Number Two:

The bill expands the limit a donor can legally give to a political campaign by ten times. The limit used to be around $32,000. The new legal limit will be around $320,000. Citizens United and the "social welfare" 501C4's the fascists like to use are popular because "donations" can remain anonymous, but this is "the other side of the coin."

This means that you and all your neighbors can watch your local billionaire just write a check for $320,000 right out in the light of day, and it will be perfectly legal. MeanMesa figures that the $500 Mn these plutocrats dumped in the 2014 mid-terms at the last minute will "blossom" into billions for 2016. Why would "remaining anonymous" even make any difference to them now?

Hmmm. Wonder who they'll appoint to be our next President?

If you are still speaking with a Republican who voted for this bunch of bandits, ask him "Exactly how do these two parts of the spending bill benefit Americans?"  This is not a trick, "gotcha," question. After all, the "basic idea" of the House of Representatives is to handle our cash in a way which benefits Americans.

[You can forward any answers to MeanMesa in the "comments" section of this blog. Everyone would like to know.]

The Spending Bill's Other "Lesser Favors"
Santa apparently didn't requisition any coal and sticks...

Of course, the spending bill is riddled with every GOP "vengeance kiss" that has been simmering in the tea bag stench of the House "back rooms" as one of the oligarchs' "chosen ones" after another [McCain and Romney -- there will be another one after the 2016 election] has beached a Presidential campaign since 2008. There is the undeniable "racism rage" and a good dose of revival tent dominionism at play, but remember -- the oligarchs don't care about any of this beyond its utility for turning out hill billies and bigots of the party's base.

The "get even" riders in the spending bill make the full gambit of "buffet style" looting. 60% of spending goes to military procurement and pentagon "war spending." There is a dribbling down payment on the $3 Tn infrastructure hole into which thirty years of the thinly disguised GOP "austerity" fit has plunged the country, but even this Spartan "wish list" looks suspiciously similar to the "emergency, no-bid, Hallibuton contracts" in the days of the Bush W. autocracy.

Let's just say that if "someone" gets a highway contract, it will be because a serious investment was made in some GOP campaign somewhere, and the Road being built will "coincidentally" lead directly to the front gate of some Paradise Terrace development owned by a "lucky" GOP Congressman.

Pensions which -- until a month ago promised to provide some retirement income for workers who had invested in them weekly for decades -- are now served raw on a platter to the hedgies and banksters for a snack. Jim Zarroli during an NPR interview:  [read the entire article here - NPR]

"On Tuesday, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers unveiled what they say is a solution to the problem. It would allow troubled plans to undergo a process that would reduce benefits for their members, even for some current retirees under the age of 80. The cuts would have to be approved by the plan's trustees, which typically include representatives of both companies and labor unions. Democratic Congressman George Miller of California helped draft the bill."

It's worth noting that existing law allows corporations with employee pension plans of various types to "blend" pension trust accounts with assets during certain kinds of bankruptcy settlements. This feature was which one parasitic "company obliterators" such as Mitt Romney's Bain Capital could use to incorporate pension funds into their "dime on the dollar" liquidations after which pensioners would recover only 30%-40% of their benefits from the Federal program which guaranteed such accounts.

Other things that oligarchs hate paying for also took hits -- additional funding for child care and existing legislation to lessen the crippling impact of student loans were name specifically. Of course, if this is "the icing on the cake," the two scrumptious layers of "devil's food delight" in the actual cake under the icing are Obama's "reactionary infuriating" executive immigration orders and the old reliable "wart on the frog," the Affordable Care Act.

So, why was Barack Obama lobbying to pass this thing? 

MeanMesa hasn't yet been able to fully rationalize the redefinition of this "pillaging and plundering scheme" as anything particularly resembling a "bi-partisan compromise." However, MeanMesa's arrival at this "new understanding" may turn out to be only be a matter of time. Please read on a little further.

Scrutinizing the Obama Strategy
What are these rooks doing on our checker board?
...and just when things seemed to be going so well...

Be assured that the billionaires' think tanks have already prepared the onslaught to be presented by their obedient media on the occasion of an Obama VETO based on any of these hideous little "additions" to the spending bill. Both the President and the billionaires are acutely aware of this.

For starters a VETO on the crooked spending bill would open the "media doors" for embroidering the blame for another government shut down squarely on Obama's lapel. Likewise, Obama VETOs on other, similar riders will offer the same PR opportunities. 
For example, although the country has been waiting for infrastructure spending and the potential economic activity and employment improvements associated with it, if Obama were to -- rightfully -- VETO a House bill heavily laden with crooked, "sole source, sole benefit" contract requirements, the same opportunity to exploit the predictable public out cry would be snatched up instantly.

However, in each case of such propaganda opportunities, there is a "fly in the ointment" for the billionaires' public opinion control plans.

The GOP doesn't realize that its media blockade won't block the President's explanation of the VETOs. The hill billies will want to know. The more the tea bags scream and whine, the deeper into the news cycle the story will penetrate -- deeply beyond the media executives' mandate to deny the President all possible chances for visibility.

When the President addresses the nation to explain his most recent VETO, the media's glacially suffocating "news control" will fracture. It will be too big of a story to ignore.

The high school educated hill billies in the GOP base haven't heard anything Pelosi or Warren have said about this. This bunch has no grasp whatsoever on the numbers and facts concerning any of these issues -- they listen to FOX news. Further, they aren't going to hear anything about this, either. The visitors to this little blog may have heard plenty, but the hill billies and tobacco spittin' crackers have heard nothing.

Tens of thousands of hours of hate radio are "paying dividends" right now. The Republican base has been patiently taught to despise Pelosi with a fire as hot as Hades, but they can't tell you why. They have never heard of Senator Elizabeth Warren beyond the flimsy "she's a durned red skin" scandal from the campaign of the now permanently retired, pink leather short shorts, "Wall Street concubine," Scott Brown.

"Taking the Hits" of Number One and Number Two
It's going to be 24 long months before the new sheriff arrives...

As for the "Number One" and "Number Two" Special Favors mentioned above, The President is clearly prepared to "take the hits." The point here is that what the think tanks and the billionaires imagine "taking the hits" will mean is quite different from what the President is planning. Let's take another, cooler look at what might emerge in the game.

Number One
Treasury Guarantees for Wall Street and Big Bank Gambling Debts

Even the remote prospect of this is terrifying to Americans who lost 40% of their entire residual wealth in a matter of sixty days in 2008. Further, even the possibility of, once again, dumping $20,000 worth of new debt on every man, woman and child in the country to bail out the financial sector after another -- now legal -- wild derivatives gambling binge is equally abhorrent.

But, while the mere mention of such things is enough to elicit instant revulsion among voters, these dark prophecies are only going to actually occur if the economy falters from over looting as it did during the autocracy.

However, for the time being, Obama concludes that Number One is not too risky so long as the economy remains strong. Yes, there will be an additional $2.5 - $4 Tn loaded into the National Debt by the time these looters leave Washington in 2017, but it turns out that this will just be the price which must be paid to survive the damage voters inflicted upon the democracy in November.

Most of that National Debt increase will wind up in the pockets of the same billionaires who "bought" the 2014 mid-term, but does this mean that they will be even more effective in "buying" the Presidential race in the next election?

Number Two
Opening the Spigot for Even More Billionaire "Contributions" to Campaigns

MeanMesa likes to think that there is, actually, an "upper limit" to the degree that campaign spending can deliver the goods in an election. Also, that "upper limit" seems to be somewhat higher in the case of mid-terms than in Presidential election years. If this is the case, that $320,000 limit on disclosed contributions may lose some of its "punch" before the law has a chance to start demolishing under funded candidates.

However, quite aside from that "mechanical" limit on campaign contribution effectiveness, there may be another "fly in the ointment" on this count, too.

During the 2014 mid-term campaigns there emerged the first significant "whispers" of voter concern about the legitimacy of billionaire financing as "single source" candidate funding. In the media reporting MeanMesa either watches daily or "samples" regularly there has been plenty of continuing discussion on the topic, and the prediction here is that this will expand as the 2016 campaigns get going.

Of course such information will never reach the brain dead audience of FOX or, most likely, all that many of the exhausted, "severely injured" viewers of the alphabet networks, either. But the "range of influence and dominance" of these fortified bastions of corporate opinion control is patiently diminishing. Now, absent the blind trust such organizations have traditionally enjoyed in better days and amid a growing  population of alternative sources, this message may actually have a chance to spread to an "actionable" percentage of voters.

If it does, this could become an insurmountable credibility problem for Republicans as early as 2016. 

A massive amount of campaign resources will become legally available if the spending bill becomes law -- perhaps exponentially more than even the politically confounding dose "liberated" by Citizens United. Political strategists planning for 2016 [on both sides] will be incorporating the "new reality" of this essentially unlimited GOP cash into their campaign models.

But can it sink the "clown car?" [photograph source]

One Last Note

A respectable citizen of the republic would be hard pressed to understand the "benefit to the general welfare" of the country to be found in any of these Republican House proposals lodged in the spending bill. That's not news.

What is news is that we, as a nation of citizens, are apparently quite comfortable with this.
MeanMesa's compliments -- and continuing support -- the the President.

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