Obama’s flying limousine yet again visits California for more (taxpayer-funded) money-grubbing

The President has just wrapped up yet another (for taxpayers) expensive money-grubbing excursion to the West Coast.

Here’s a really fun fact : the imperial US presidential entourage is so vast and important that the presidential limousine travels in its own airplane on these trips. The President takes the presidential limousine on these cross-country jaunts and Limo One gets to travel cross-country in its very own airplane. And the huge Presidential motorcade, much in the manner of an ostentatious tin-pot dictator, consists of about 45 vehicles. “Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!” as Obamandias might declare.

The tragic absurdity of American politics is that taxpayers pick up the tab for all this. Overseas diplomatic trips may be ostensibly more worthy – although we can all raise eyebrows at, say, $100 million for a trip to Africa (the sort of spending that never ever gets mentioned when furloughs and sequestrations are in the news). As columnist Mark Steyn notes, this culture of unlimited spending and a huge entourage coupled with a complete lack of accountability leads to such farcical scenes as the Colombian hooker Secret Service fiasco.

To be fair, this is clearly a bipartisan issue that needs addressing. US politicians, theoretically employed by taxpayers, use taxpayer money to spend the majority of their time in office campaigning and/or raising funds for re-election, and both Republicans and Democrats take full advantage. But adding to government debt, whilst you are supposed to be actually doing the job the electorate pays you for, seems particularly perverse. And in addition to the Air Force One / Secret Service travel costs, there are large ancillary costs borne entirely by the local governments in terms of extra policing and security.

Somehow on his many visits to the Bay Area, Obama never seems to have time to check in with the Democrat-voter battery-farm housing projects in the Bayview, or to visit the equally loyal residents of the killing fields of the East Oakland flatlands. The reason is simple : they cannot afford to spend $38,500 for the unbridled joy of having lunch with the glorious Dear Leader. Just keep quiet, go back to your public housing, and vote for Democrats next election.

But even though his chosen California fundraising destinations are almost exclusively 1% oligarch neighborhoods, there is still an outcry from even these uber-wealthy residents about increased costs. In California alone, both Atherton and Newport Beach have tried to recoup money from the Democratic National Committee for increased policing costs. To reiterate – this is a bipartisan issue : the downtrodden 0.1% masses of tony Atherton were also victims of a Romney fundraiser in 2011 – which raises the intriguing possibility of, given a different 2012 election outcome, the presidential limousine getting to ride across the country in its own private jet to California and then go for a ride in Romney’s infamous car elevator in his San Diego house. With or without the equally infamous dancing horse.

But I digress. There is an extra level of distilled irony when an “environmental” Democrat President who loudly promised to “heal the planet” adds measurably to both the US budget deficit and the US carbon footprint by flying his imperial entourage across the country, just to meet an uber-wealthy environmental” campaigner to receive his next paycheck and marching orders. I fear that this is the logical end-point of some sort of crazy extrapolative thought experiment : What happens when you give a “limousine liberal” an infinite amount of government money (courtesy of the Bernanke the Money Printer)? Well, he actually ends up flying his very expensive limousine around the country in its own private jet. Which entails a significant amount of carbon emissions – as, to the best of my knowledge, Air Force One and Limousine Force One (and the rest of the Imperial Air Fleet) are not yet powered by some revolutionary new biofuel which is refined organically after harvesting Al Gore’s back fat.

But the sociopath politicians who control the country, and the rich sociopaths who buy and manage them, have a unique lack of self-awareness. As Bloomberg reveals, plutocrats comprising 0.01% of the US population (31,385 individuals) contributed 28% of the $6 billion spent on the 2012 election. These people are our masters. The likes of Google management fly around in their private jets, the fuel costs of which are, incredibly, subsidized by taxpayers. All this from a corporation that avoids tax in such a manner that the average taxpayer might think looks exactly like money laundering.

After his SF visit, the President moved down to LA to visit his other big money spigot in Hollywood – to collect money from more billionaires such as Jeffrey Katzenberg, Steven Spielberg and David Geffen who all own a piece of him. As blogger Glenn Harlan Reynolds, aka Instapundit has pointed out, Hollywood is one of the biggest hypocrites as far as “Corporate Welfare” goes. Leftist media, actors and politicians decry the process but pocket the rewards quietly. As recent stories indicate, Hollywood makes money by killing animals. They just don’t like to talk about it. So I guess we can consider the humble California taxpayer as just another horse that died in a Spielberg movie? Well, at least some money went to Obama.

The worst part of the process is this – the token immigration speech by Obama in SF is just an accounting gimmick : more of the costs of an avaricious fund-raising trip to the West coast would have fallen on the DNC if not for the fact some of trip is “official business”. Adding some sort of random speech event means the administration can pass off more of the cost onto taxpayers. In 2010, Obama raised money for Barbara Boxer at the Getty mansion (gasp! Big Oil!) before taking a helicopter ride on Marine One to give a speech at doomed Solyndra. In fact, Solyndra, sadly, is the blueprint for modern US crony capitalism and campaign finance corruption – they managed to turn their Obama campaign contribution into $528 million in federal loans, incinerated ALL of the taxpayer money, and left nothing but toxic waste. “Clean Energy” indeed.

Droneanne Feinstein : Warmonger Senator is the top recipient of Predator drone manufacturer’s campaign money.

It looks like Mommy Warbucks needs another war. MORE WAR for the Feinstein bank account!

The Chair of the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence argued in an “impassioned floor speech” for an eventual military strike. She was even fairly swift on the whole Godwin’s Law invocation of Hitler. Noticeably absent from her horror at the use of chemical weapons was the fact the US government has historically been totally fine with nerve gas, as long as it deems the use of chemical weapons strategically useful.

By happy coincidence, recently declassified CIA documents reveal how the US government was actively involved in helping Saddam Hussein use the very same sarin nerve gas to kill thousands of Iranians during the Iran-Iraq war. US politicians need to can the faux moral outrage they are exploiting in order to drum up the Next Big Profitable War.

As for Feinstein, it should come as no surprise to anyone that she is the Number One recipient of campaign donations from General Atomics, who happen to manufacture the Predator drone. “Targeted” strikes on Syria, anyone? 

 

 

 

California’s corporate war-whore : 4 of Dianne Feinstein’s top 7 campaign donors make … drones and bombs.

As the Syria war drums are being beaten louder and louder by Obama and US politicians (Democrats finally now having a chance for their own long drum solo after all those interminable Bush years), it’s always worth looking at who stands to benefit financially from The Next “Unavoidable” Conflict.

From OpenSecrets.org (2012 election cycle) :

http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/contrib.php?type=C&cid=N00007364&newMem=N&cycle=2012

Military contractors General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, General Atomics (manufacturer of your friendly neighborhood Predator drone), and BAE Systems all make the top 7 of Feinstein campaign donors. What do they expect in return?

As one half of a public sector/private sector “power couple” who are responsible for possibly the most blatant, dishonest and greedy crony capitalism in the entire country, Feinstein certainly has a bit of history in terms of voting for wars that benefit her bank account and political career (or the bank account of her “firewalled” private equity husband) – to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money. Think of her like Dick Cheney in drag, only even uglier and less trustworthy, but with much better PR – courtesy of a lot less criticism from the mainstream media.

So it might seem odd to the small number of voters still capable of critical thought that the Chair of the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has the inside line on all the super-secret intelligence … that allows her to decide whether or not the situation warrants the USA launching a butt-load of missiles that THE MILITARY CORPORATIONS THAT PAY FOR HER CAREER manufacture.

Crony Capitalism Express : Dianne Feinstein’s California high-speed bullet train is completely exempted from federal regulatory oversight.

It certainly pays to know the right people. It pays big-time. As we all know, DiFi is a renowned crusader against Big Government and excessive regulations, right? I think ruder people call her a crazy Tea Party extremist, don’t they? She has complete contempt for any sort of regulations; she’s all money-influenced and pro-business and new construction at any cost, eh? I heard she had a concealed weapon permit. What a right-wing gun-nut.

So, a mere matter of weeks after being initially excluded from the bidding process completely, a second magical thing happened to DiFi’s husbands’ former company. Lightning does indeed strike twice!

The first miracle was the Lazarus-like reincarnation of Tutor Perini during the bidding process after initially failing. After falling at the first hurdle, the lame blind DiFi/Blum/Tutor horse was diverted from the glue factory and helpfully prodded back towards the finishing line of the race. Those pesky technical bidding rules were altered when they failed to produce the desired Nomenklatura outcome. Happily, after changing the rules, the correct Nomenklatura candidate was chosen.

In Soviet California, expensive railway bidding process submits application to you !

If any rules conspire against the process of the ruling oligarchy enriching itself even further – well, it’s pretty handy if those same oligarchs control the entire government apparatus.

The second miracle is the (as of today) complete absence of any oversight. Let’s just simply bulldoze mountains of California (and federal) taxpayer money straight into the bank accounts of DiFi’s cronies.

For the admittedly now-tiny minority of Californians still capable of critical thought, all sorts of alarm bells are going off.  Let’s think back to Solyndra. Not so long ago. Same politician. Same state. Same president. Same “Green Energy” roofie slipped into the electorate’s drink. (“Mmm … Tastes like environmentally-friendly Kool-Aid!”)

In Solyndra’s case, it required Oklahoma oil billionaire George Kaiser (Gasp! Big Oil!) being a top 2008 campaign bundler for Infallible Chocolate Jesus in order to get the “loan” approved (plus 20 visits to the Obama White House, and the participation of, inevitably, Goldman Sachs). But extra machinations were still needed – like tactically inserting another top Obama bundler (Steve Spinner) as an advisor to Energy Secretary Steven Chu and charging him with “helping” oversee the loan guarantee program ….. and it probably helped that Spinner’s wife’s law firm represented Solyndra to the tune of $2.4m in federal funds for legal fees related to the Solyndra loan guarantee. In Solyndra’s case, the loan was “fast-tracked” before all due diligence was completed (and due to its economic fruit fly lifespan, died expensively even before some very valid questions could be raised).

Unbeknownst to anyone who relies on the California lapdog media for any real information, over $261 million of the $528 million Solyndra taxpayer dollars that were incinerated up into money heaven back then were received … by a subsidiary of Tutor
Perini, controlled formerly controlled by Richard Blum. At the time, California’s servile lapdog media were heroic in their non-coverage of the story, or indeed of acknowledging any financial link whatsoever to Mommy Warbucks or FeinBlumStein’s Monster, and the same pattern is now being dutifully repeated. (“Good media lapdog. Now give all your metadata to the government. Ha ha. We’re just kidding – we already have it. Who’s a good boy? Who gives endorsements even after they get abused? What a good boy!”)

The success of the Solyndra “keep it in the family” business model may have actually inspired FeinBlumStein’s fiscal monster to aim for even more expensive projects.

To DiFi’s credit, her innovative business model actually completely cuts out the pesky lobbyist/campaign bundler middleman. Just marry the crony capitalist instead. I believe Beyoncé paraphrased this with “Single Female Politicians (Get the Crony Capitalists to Put a Ring on It)”. Imagine Barack Obama gay-marrying Goldman Sach’s Lloyd Blankfein and you might begin to grasp the immense destructive financial power that such a union is capable of inflicting on the US taxpayer.

Updated 27 Nov 13 : Blum no longer controls Tutor Perini (he maintains a small stake) so the association is much more along the lines of Dick Cheney and Halliburton – CEO resigns shortly before former company receives massive government contracts for questionable taxpayer-funded project.