BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Cash & Carry

Hello.

Methinks the Bushies have a new "enemy"...and the Wal-Martians have a new "boogey-man": Anti-US leftist clinches Bolivia election

But first...

Presidential Pipeline: Bush's top fund-raisers see spoils of victory

Surprised?
President Bush's corporate champions see the spoils of his administration in coal. And timber. And credit-card payments, Afghan electric lines, Japanese bank transfers and fake crab.

America's business leaders supplied more than $75 million to return Mr. Bush to the White House last year -- and he has paid dividends.

Bush administration policies, grand and obscure, have financially benefited companies or lobbying clients tied to at least 200 of the president's largest campaign fund-raisers, a Toledo Blade investigation has found. Dozens more stand to gain from Bush-backed initiatives that recently passed or await congressional approval.
What did YOU get?

(More on that below.)
The investigation included targeted tax breaks, regulatory changes, pro-business legislation, high-profile salaried appointments, and federal contracts.

Mr. Bush's policies often followed specific requests from his 548 "Pioneers" and "Rangers," who each raised at least $100,000 or $200,000 for his 2004 re-election.

The help to business fund-raisers sometimes came at the expense of consumers or public health concerns.
You're kidding.

Key example:
Executives of defense contractors United Technologies and The Washington Group, which won contracts potentially totaling more than $6 billion to supply American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and rebuild both countries' infrastructure. The same contractors won far less government work under President Bill Clinton.
Defense contracting: A good gig if you can get it!

And, remember, if you're in the business of war...you need war for business.
When MBNA's customers filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy, courts wiped their credit balances away. MBNA wrote off $4.1 billion in unpaid credit-card bills last year.

To stem the losses, the company worked to change the rules. It spent nearly $20 million from 1998 to 2004 to lobby Congress on issues including bankruptcy reform. Even before Mr. Clinton killed a reform bill late in his second term, MBNA had turned to George W. Bush.

MBNA employees gave the Bush campaign more than $200,000 in 2000, the most of any company, and allowed the campaign to use an MBNA corporate jet. The new president pushed bankruptcy reform in his first term, but an unrelated congressional dispute scuttled it.

The company worked hard for Mr. Bush again last year. Former MBNA CEO Charles Cawley and Vice Chairman Lance Loring Weaver both qualified as Rangers, each raising at least $200,000 for the president's re-election.

MBNA surpassed Enron last year to become the largest corporate patron of Mr. Bush's career, according to the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington.

The eight-year struggle for bankruptcy reform ended within 90 days of Mr. Bush's second inaugural address. The 500-page law, initially crafted by a financial services lobbyist, mandates credit counseling for prospective filers and makes it harder to escape credit-card debt.
Take a very close look at the columns in your monthly statements, people: The numbers they are a changin.'

More on what YOU get.

House Passes Deficit Cuts to End Year

Actually, more on what they want to give you:
WASHINGTON - House lawmakers opened the way for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and approved $29 billion for hurricane relief during an all-night session Monday bringing their legislative year to a close.

The House also narrowly passed a plan to cut deficits by almost $40 billion over five years in legislation hailed by GOP conservatives as fiscal discipline and assailed by Democrats as victimizing medical and education programs for the poor.

The ANWR provision was attached to a major defense bill, forcing many opponents of oil and gas exploration in the barren northern Alaska range to vote for it.
Brilliant: That's how it works.

Forget about reforming the system: That move has beneffited both sides...since day one.
While House lawmakers were heading for the exits, the end was not in sight for the Senate, which can't leave for Christmas until it deals with spending bills and the deficit-cutting package and overcomes a filibuster on renewing the Patriot Act. A Senate vote on the deficit reduction bill could come Monday.

A $453 billion defense spending bill became the flypaper for issues that have eluded congressional compromise.

Those included, along with the ANWR provision, $29 billion in federal aid for victims of Katrina and other storms; an additional $2 billion to help low-income families with home heating costs; and $3.8 billion to prepare for a possible bird flu pandemic. Of the defense money, $50 billion is for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

*

Democrats and moderate Republicans have for years blocked drilling in ANWR, and its inclusion in the defense bill exposed that bill to a possible filibuster in the Senate that can only be broken with a 60-vote majority.
Don't hold your breath.

The rest of the country has gone into HYPER-XMAS MODE, so this stuff might slip by without notice.

That's what they're hopin,' leastways.

(The Grove was out of control yesterday, BTW.)
Planned spending on Medicare was estimated to fall by $6.4 billion and Medicaid by $4.8 billion. Another $13 billion would be saved from student loan programs, in part by establishing a fixed 6.8 percent interest rate instead of maintaining lower variable rates.

The largest single savings in Medicare would reduce anticipated federal funding for the private HMOs established under 2003 Medicare legislation.

Officials said the changes to Medicaid include an attempt to make it harder for the elderly to transfer their assets to children or others in order to qualify for federal nursing home benefits.
Huh?!

I have a headache.

(Grr.)

Finally, a look toward the future.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Evo Morales.

Bolivia's President-elect...and your new boogey-man.

Anti-US leftist clinches Bolivia election

Wait. What?

Anti-US leftist?!

Wow.

How about, "New Bolivian leader elected?"

"That kind of headline does not tell the true story, you libtard."

Sorry.
LA PAZ, Bolivia (Reuters) - Evo Morales, a leftist former coca leaf farmer vowing to be a "nightmare for the U.S.," was poised to become Bolivia's first indigenous president on Sunday after likely clinching one of the biggest electoral victories in the country's history.
Okay, why not, "Bolivia elects first indigenous president?"

"How about, 'Bolivia elects...drug dealer as president?!"

Jesus.
Morales appeared certain to take office in January when his rivals conceded defeat and results tabulated by local media showed him garnering slightly more than 50 percent of the vote, much higher than predicted.
Evo's first mistakes?
A high-school dropout who herded llamas as a boy, Morales has vowed to nationalize Bolivia's natural gas industry and roll back a U.S.-backed eradication program of coca, a key ingredient used to make cocaine but also prized by Indians for traditional medicinal uses.
Dude hasn't even moved into his new offices and he's already f*cking up.
Washington considers Morales an enemy in its anti-drug fight in Bolivia, the third biggest cocaine producer after Colombia and Peru.
They also consider him an enemy in their FIGHT for NATURAL GAS.
His critics fear a Morales government could jeopardize the country's flow of multi-million dollar economic aid from Washington.
You can "bank" on that.

Like you, dear credit card user, Bolivia's "APR" just went through the roof.

Capice?
Morales often invoked racial imagery on his campaign, feeding hopes among the impoverished Indian majority that one of its own could help reverse what most saw as more than 500 years of discrimination under leaders of European descent, which began with slavery in Spanish colonial silver mines.

Preliminary official results were expected to be released on Monday. Should Morales gain more than 50 percent of the vote he would avoid having to face a congressional choice between and him and his leading rival, rightist Jorge "Tuto" Quiroga.

Quiroga, a U.S.-educated engineer who served as president from 2001-2002, had vowed to keep Bolivia on a free-market path and implement U.S. coca eradication policies. Most of the country's coca leaves are processed into cocaine.
Hugo Chavez - Castro supporter. Evo Morales - cocaine dealer.

You have your talking points.

"Profits from the sale of Bolivian cocaine have...funded terrorist organizations around the world, including groups...inspired by Al-Qaeda."

Don't know when we'll read that sentence, but I'm thinking it'll be sometime in '06.

Peace out: Go Steelers.

More later...

2 Comments:

  • Brendan,

    Great "dot-connecting"...scary stuff, though.

    By Blogger doomsy, at 11:12 AM  

  • The funny thing about the coca cultivation is that is is pretty similar to poppy cultivation in Afghanistan. It's practically vital to the Bolivian economy. The economy in most of the country is so tied into coca production, that eradicating it without replacing it with something equally profitable is devastating to the locals. Also, the US would like to exploit the coca as much as they want to exploit the poppies of Afghanistan. This means that the US will use it as a rhetorical wedge against this new president, not because he won't eradicate the coca, but because he won't play ball with them on the gas resources.

    I praise all world leaders, especially recently elected ones in South America for standing up for their country first and not bowing to US economic and military pressures.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:39 PM  

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