what’s in the $2.3 trillion 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act?

I’ve borrowed bits from three pieces at RT.com, plus: the Grayzone, Newsweek, off-guardian.org, yahoo finance, rge Federal News Network, the Chicago Tribune, wsws.org, and the Twitterverse without attribution. Apologies if I double-up on items.

The pdf of the 5593 page full text of H.R. 13 is here

(click for larger)

Of the $6.1 billion appropriated for funding foreign militaries, a whopping $3.3 billion — more than half — “shall be available for grants only for Israel,” and must be “disbursed within 30 days of enactment of this Act.”

We get a check for $600; what they got is rancid pork, but the worst is bucks for regime change ‘Democracy Projects’ and cash injections for Pet Friends Projects like Israel.

Israel will receive $3.3 billion in grants, while Egypt will get $1.3 billion from the foreign military financing program. Burma, also known as Myanmar, will receive $135 million in aid “for programs to promote ethnic and religious tolerance and to combat gender-based violence” in addition to mitigating ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims.

Colombia will receive $461 million in aid. Colombia must take steps to hold government and military officials accountable for any crimes or human rights violations.

$2.417 billion, and $6.175 billion on the “Foreign Military Financing Program.” Another $112.9 million is appropriated for “International Military Education and Training.”

$6 billion more is allocated toward the domestic procurement of US Air Force missiles and US Navy weapons of war. This is in addition to the $740 billion defense bill passed earlier in December.

$671.5 billion allocated to “base defense spending,” with another $77 billion going to “overseas contingency operations.”

$300,000,000 shall be made available for a Countering Chinese Influence Fund to counter the malign influence of the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Chinese Communist Party and entities acting on their behalf globally.

$8 million to NGOs for activities in Tibet or to support the Tibetan government-in-exile.  An entire section of the bill is devoted to defining US policy “regarding the succession or reincarnation of the Dalai Lama.”

$85.5 million in assistance to Cambodia is contingent on it “taking effective steps” to enforce “international sanctions with respect to North Korea,” and “assert[ing] its sovereignty against interference by the People’s Republic of China.”

Not less than $33,000,000 shall be made available for ‘democracy programs’  for Venezuela; $461.3 million for Colombia.  [Under NATO’s umbrella, from which USAID ‘aid’/s convoys were launched into VZ.

$453 million appropriated for assistance to Ukraine, $290 million for “countering Russia,” $173 million for NATO, and $132 million for NATO ally Georgia, or about billion dollars toward new cold war policies against Moscow.

Not all the money being sent overseas is for buying weapons, some is for backing coups. Venezuela and Belarus get special mention here, each getting their own section of the bill detailing how terrible their “illegal regimes” are.

One site said Iran was mentioned 28 times, but with no explanation.  (Small wonder, although I’d spent far too long Bingling that with no luck.)

In Hong Kong, where CIA cutout the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has given financial support to activist groups leading riots that rocked the city for months on end, the United States is now devoting $3 million for local destabilization efforts, including “internet freedom,” activists’ legal fees, and “democracy programs.”

(I’d been saving this Tweet):

4 BILLION dollars for the Gates-funded GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance.

Vaccine “misinformation” is also a concern, and the bill provides for a pro-vaccine propaganda campaign – or rather a “PUBLIC AWARENESS CAMPAIGN ON THE IMPORTANCE OF VACCINATIONS”

So-called stimulus bill includes $4 billion for GAVI, the Bill Gates-controlled vaccine consortium that is the leading edge of Pharmaceutical Imperialism

The sole mention I’d found on Bucks for the USPS was ‘the USPS receives a reprieve on repaying $10 billion in Treasury loans authorized under the $2 trillion HR 748 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed in March.’  That would be in aid of funding the Post Office through the Nov. election, iirc.

Small wonder to then read :

Doubtless with foreknowledge of the so-called “new normal,” Bill Gates invested heavily in FedEx, UPS and Amazon.

One disturbing section dramatically expands copyright law to the point that anyone caught in “unauthorized streaming” of copyrighted content more than once could face 10 years in prison – even if they didn’t know the content was protected.

In an unconscionable giveaway to major entertainment conglomerates, the bill creates a new “copyright claims court” to further skew copyright law against independent content creators, who already face frequent content takedowns on YouTube and other platforms for what is technically (and legally) “fair use.” This court will be staffed with taxpayer-funded attorneys, who – the bill specifies – can only be paid as much as the highest-paid senior federal employee. That’s a relief!

The eviction moratorium that was set to expire at the end of the month has been extended to the end of January, staving off the flood of destitute Americans into the streets for another month. While $25 billion has been set aside for rental assistance, that’s just over a third of what Americans owe, and the procedure for accessing that money is (perhaps deliberately) complex.

New Smithsonian museums: Establishes the Women’s History Museum and the National Museum of the American Latino as new Smithsonian museums located near the National Mall.

Intelligence programs: Reauthorizes intelligence programs for 2021.

Kennedy Center ($26 million), Smithsonian ($1 billion), Nat’l Art Gallery ($154 million), Natl. Arts and Humanities ($167 million), W. Wilson Center ($14 million).

Included in the combined relief and spending bill are generous tax incentives for large businesses totaling over $110 billion for liquor producers, wind energy lobbyists, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and electric motorcycle manufacturers.

While the bill is the longest in US history at nearly 6,000 pages, not a single line was devoted to protecting career federal employees from political retaliation and termination. Two weeks before the election, Trump issued an executive order that allowed him to reclassify federal employees and civil servants who work within government agencies, such as the Office of Budget and Management, allowing them to be dismissed with little cause, similar to political appointments. It is unknown how many of the 2.1 million federal workers, many of whom deal with crafting policy or giving confidential advice to top officials, could be affected.

The bill continues the bipartisan war on immigrants with $15 billion set aside for Customs and Border Protection, nearly $8 billion allotted for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and an additional $20 million for “border processing coordinators.”

Over a third of the bipartisan relief bill is dedicated to the Small Business Administration, including $284 billion for the misnamed Paycheck Protection Program, which was ostensibly created to provide low-interest grants and loans to small businesses, but has instead been used by large corporations, sports teams, the politically connected and wealthy landlords to enrich themselves while laying off thousands of workers. The program has generated nearly $3 billion in revenue through fees for large US banks such as JPMorgan and Citibank.

The $25 billion in rental assistance is several factors lower than what is needed, meaning that millions of families will face eviction in roughly one month, pending further congressional action. Another $15 billion was provided to the major airlines, which already received $25 billion earlier this year and still proceeded to lay off over 90,000 workers.

For your further enjoyment, ‘US Federal Reserve backstops rising corporate debt mountain’, wsws.org, Dec. 24, 2020  (a few outakes to wet your whistles…)

“As the WSWS noted, there was one notable feature of the passage of the $900 billion relief bill through the US Congress earlier this week that demonstrated the absolute loyalty of the Democrats to the Wall Street financial oligarchy.

After abandoning aid for cash-strapped cities and states to provide services and agreeing to a grossly inadequate one-time payment of $600 to most working people, they rose up in arms against at attempt to restrict operations by the Fed to bolster major companies.”  […]

“Initially debt was raised to cover the loss of income due to the pandemic. But what the Financial Times called “the largest corporate borrowing spree on record” has developed as companies have used the ultra-low interest rates facilitated by the Fed to build up their cash holdings in order to take advantage of any favourable buying operations.

The significance of the Fed’s intervention into the corporate debt market, which the Democrats were so desperate to ensure continued unimpeded, was underscored by Jonny Fine, the USA head of debt syndicate at Goldman Sachs. He described it as “the most important piece of central bank policy-making I have seen in my career.”

(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)

 

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