“The real owners are the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians, they’re an irrelevancy. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the statehouses, the city halls. They’ve got the judges in their back pockets. And they own all the big media companies, so that they control just about all of the news and information you hear. They’ve got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else.” - George Carlin
The entire episode has been nothing but Kabuki Theater. Both parties have proven to be puppets marching to the tune of Wall Street moneyed interests, while further entrenching the status quo by voting to allow more corporate influence over the election process. Each side of the aisle allowed just enough dissent to make it appear they might not reach an agreement. But at the end of the day Pelosi, Boehner, Reid and McConnell joined hands and gave it to the American public good and hard. And of course we had the candidates for president in 2016 Warren and Cruz playing to their constituents with speeches and maneuvers designed to make them look like fighters for the common man. It was nothing but a show, as they did nothing substantive to stop the bill from passing.
What this entire debacle has proven is that voting doesn’t matter. Your vote is meaningless. Political parties are nothing more than a front for the vested interests. The corrupt politicians are bought and sold by Wall Street and corporate interests. The bills are written by lobbyists for the vested interests. When a spending bill is over 1,700 pages, the purpose is to obscure, hide and insert provisions that will benefit those with money to influence the process at the expense of average Americans. None of the perpetrators in Congress actually read this bill. The public had no say regarding this bill. If this is what bipartisan cooperation looks like, I’ll take gridlock. The system has been so completely captured by those pulling the wires, they no longer even pretend to care what we think. They keep winning and care not about the consequences of their ruthless despicable pillaging.
Politicians decry money in politics when they are paraded onto the mainstream media talk shows. They profess to be men and women of the people, fighting for our rights. So how do they go about getting money out of politics? They dramatically expand the amount of money wealthy political donors can inject into the national parties, drastically undercutting the 2002 landmark McCain-Feingold campaign finance overhaul. A wealthy donor who could only give a maximum of $32,400 this year to the Democratic National Committee or Republican National Committee can now give ten times as much – a total of $324,000. Do you think these wealthy donors might have ten times more influence over government policies, laws, regulations, and tax codes? Do you think these donors are contributing these funds to fight for the rights of average Americans making $50,000 per year? This change just further entrenches the rich vested interests. Your vote just became even more meaningless.
The most outrageous provision in the spending bill is Wall Street putting the American taxpayer on the hook for when their $250 trillion of derivatives of mass destruction blow up the worldwide financial system again. Elizabeth Warren, playing her part in this farce, feigns outrage, knowing it will pass anyway:
“Mr. President, Democrats don’t like Wall Street bailouts. Republicans don’t like Wall Street bailouts. The American people are disgusted by Wall Street bailouts. And yet here we are five years after Dodd-Frank with Congress on the verge of ramming through a provision that would do nothing for the middle class, do nothing for community banks, do nothing but raise the risk that taxpayers will have to bail out the biggest banks once again. You know, there is a lot of talk lately about how Dodd-Frank isn’t perfect. There is a lot of talk coming from CitiGroup about how Dodd-Frank isn’t perfect. So let me say this to anyone listening at Citi —I agree with you. Dodd-Frank isn’t perfect. It should have broken you into pieces. If this Congress is going to open up Dodd-Frank in the months ahead then let’s open it up to get tougher, not to create more bailout opportunities.”
Senator Warren does hit at the heart of the matter. The Too Big To Fail banks should have been made too small to matter after they created the 2008 worldwide financial collapse. Congress should have reinstated Glass Steagall, the insolvent Wall Street banks should have been liquidated or sold off piece by piece, and the American taxpayer shouldn’t have had to pay one dime. Instead, those banks became bigger, more powerful, more arrogant, and more reckless. And now they are writing the laws supposedly regulating them. Regulatory capture at its finest.
Dodd-Frank was already a behemoth mess of a law, written by bank lobbyists, and so complex it was always destined to fail. The law that set up America’s banking system in 1864 ran to 29 pages; the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 went to 32 pages; the Banking Act that transformed American finance after the Wall Street Crash, commonly known as the Glass-Steagall act, spread out to 37 pages. Dodd-Frank was 848 pages long. One of the few beneficial sections of the law was the provision that required banks to “push out” their derivatives trading into separate entities not backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Essentially, this provision prohibited the Too Big To Trust Wall Street Banks from using the deposits of customers to gamble on derivatives, with no capital behind the gambling. Any Wall Street bank that wanted to trade derivatives had to do it in non-insured subsidiaries, and when these trades blew up in their faces, the banks would be solely on the hook. They prefer the they win you lose method.
This spending bill included language written directly by Citigroup and inserted by the politicians in the back pocket of Jamie Dimon and the rest of the Wall Street cabal. Dimon showed no shame as he personally called lawmakers to insist they pass this bill with the gutting of Dodd Frank. Wall Street bankers can now gamble with the deposits of their clients without impunity generating obscene insider profits, and when they inevitably blow up the financial system again the American taxpayer will be on the hook for the losses. In a shocking development, the members who voted for the spending bill had received vastly more political contributions (bribes) than those who voted no. Simon Johnson, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund and a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, concisely sums up the goal of this provision:
“It is because there is a lot of money at stake. They want to be able to take big risks where they get the upside and the taxpayer gets the potential downside.”
And there will be downside. Like Captain Renault in Casablanca, Jamie Dimon and the rest of the Wall Street CEOs will be shocked to find there has been gambling going on in their upstanding institutions of finance, as they cash their $10 million bonus checks. The markets are already overvalued, built on a foundation of debt, and rigged by the Wall Street scumbags. They make Bernie Madoff look like an upstanding citizen. It seems awfully coincidental this provision was inserted into the 1,700 page bill just as the markets have begun to tremor. Wall Street wouldn’t be preparing for another earthquake, would they? The fact that Obama signed this bill is a reflection of him being a spineless toady figurehead, doing the bidding of the ruling class.
The Republicans have run against Obamacare since the day it was passed in 2009. They have threatened to overturn it, de-fund it, and scale it back. This spending bill fully funds Obamacare just as it was passed. Dozens of Republicans voted for a spending bill that fully funds the program they despise. Obama recently subverted the U.S. Constitution once again with his latest executive order allowing illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. and enjoy our wonderful welfare system. The Republicans were morally outraged and their response was to fund Obama’s executive order to the tune of $2.5 billion. There’s $948 million for the Department of Health and Human Service’s unaccompanied children program — an $80 million increase. The department also gets $14 million to help school districts absorbing new immigrant students. And the State Department gets $260 million to assist Central American countries from where of the immigrant children are coming.
So much for principles, ethics, and courage. You see bipartisanship in Congress means that one side will agree to fully fund the welfare state as long as the other side will fully fund the warfare state, while both sides do whatever Wall Street instructs them to do. Neither side cares that the National Debt increases by $2.5 billion per day. That’s what the Fed is for. The neo-cons in the Republican party were happy, as their dreams of World War III come closer to fruition. There’s $1.3 billion for a new Counterterrorism Partnership Fund; $5 billion for military operations to combat the Islamic State, including $1.6 billion to train Iraqi and Kurdish forces (I thought we already trained them once before); $500 million for a Pentagon-led program to train and equip vetted Syrian opposition fighters; $810 million for ongoing military operations in Europe, including requirements that at least $175 million is spent in support of Ukraine and Baltic nations. And you were worried about Defense cuts. The military industrial complex will never allow their profits to decline. If we run out of real enemies, we just make them up out of thin air – ISIS, or go back to the Cold War playbook and declare Russia to be an imminent threat to our safety and security.
Despite running $800 billion actual (not the BS reported deficits) annual deficits, the political hacks of the ruling party still funnel $3.1 billion per year to Israel, $1.3 billion to the dictator in Egypt, and $1 billion to our puppets in Jordan. This hyper-interventionism in the affairs of countries around the globe, either through military intervention, supplying arms, overthrowing elected leaders, or funding dictators has destabilized the entire world. Russia is not the aggressor on the world stage, as portrayed by the mouthpieces for the state in the mainstream corporate media. The American empire has created the conditions for havoc, disarray and war to flourish. Someone will ultimately do something stupid and the fury of hell will be unleashed across the globe. And it is our fault.
You’ll be happy to know the trucking industry still has some pull in Congress. Their drivers will be allowed to work 82 hours per week, versus the far too restrictive 70 hours per week. When you are driving your economy car on the interstate and that 18 wheeler is barreling down on you from behind, thank Congress when the drowsy dude behind the wheel is working his 81st hour of the week. And if you were a hard working middle income blue collar worker in businesses such as trucking, construction and supermarkets and were promised a pension, tough luck. Hidden inside the bill was a haircut for pensions. This provision allows the promised pension benefits of up to 1.5 million workers and retirees to be cut. It affects the pooled pension plans — called multi-employer plans — of mostly union workers across a bunch of companies, where it looks like the plans won’t be able to cover full benefits in coming decades.
Could it be any clearer that we are nothing but lowly peasants and the aristocracy inhabiting the protected luxury skyscrapers suites in New York City and the government buildings in Washington D.C. have nothing but contempt and scorn for our plight, as they gorge themselves like pigs at the trough of working people’s wealth? They use taxes and inflation to siphon your savings and earnings, rig the markets so they always win, write the laws to favor themselves, and use the mass media and the police surveillance state to crush dissent, control the message and intimidate the masses. The ruling class fears the masses and continues to prepare for a coming conflict. Within the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2015, passed this week, was written a new section that grants the executive branch virtually unlimited access to the communications of every American.
Sec. 309 authorizes “the acquisition, retention, and dissemination” of nonpublic communications, including those to and from U.S. persons. The section contemplates that those private communications of Americans, obtained without a court order, may be transferred to domestic law enforcement for criminal investigations. Sec. 309 provides the first statutory authority for the acquisition, retention, and dissemination of U.S. persons’ private communications obtained without legal process such as a court order or a subpoena. The administration currently may conduct such surveillance under a claim of executive authority, such as E.O. 12333. However, Congress never has approved of using executive authority in that way to capture and use Americans’ private telephone records, electronic communications, or cloud data.
The majority of American people still believe they live in a democracy where their vote matters. Sadly, they are living in a delusional fantasy world, as they actually live in a corporate fascist welfare/warfare surveillance state run by one party of vested corporate interests. Until consent is withdrawn and the pigmen are violently confronted, nothing will change. The existing social order will be swept away within the next fifteen years as this Fourth Turning reaches its bloody conclusion. You may think we are all equal under the law, but Orwell knew that some are more equal than others. Can you distinguish the pigs from the men?
“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.” ― George Orwell, Animal Farm
Read more Jim Quinn at The Burning Platform