Thursday, January 31, 2008

BIG OIL tries to BRIBE Iraqis to pass OIL THEFT LAW

Each member of parliament is being offered $5 million dollars to vote for the law.

I don't know why the oil companies didn't think of this sooner since it works so well with our Congress.

Bush, Congress, the World Bank, and IMF have all been pressuring Iraq to pass a Hydrocarbon Law that will give up to 88% of income from new oil fields to big oil companies, a deal no other major oil producing country would take without a gun to their head.

Iraqi oil workers, scholars, and former oil ministry bureaucrats all oppose the law, and polls of Iraqis show they want their oil developed by a national oil company NOT foreign oil companies. This is true even in the Kurdish region that has seemed most cooperative with the Bushies.

Even the most venal, self-interested legislator will probably think twice about taking the bribe, if not to avoid betraying their country, to avoid being shot by their countrymen. I would only take it if it included a plane ticket out of the country too.

Even the most corrupt and Bush-compliant Iraqi parliament knows their are limits to what their people will tolerate before they storm the walls of the Green Zone.

Occasionally, when someone reminds a candidate that all the reasons given for the Iraq War, WMD, terrorism, and spreading democracy have turned out to be embarrassing, childish lies, the politician will tell a more grown up lie, that we need to protect our "vital interests" in the region or even bluntly say we need "access" to that oil. However, if the war was just about access, we could have gotten it the same way China is getting it from Iran and Venezuela: with long term contracts. Even if the military presence was part of an effort to secure "access," you would think we would accept any deal the Iraqis found agreeable to preserve the flow of that oil. Instead, we are putting a gun to their heads solely to maximize oil company profits, and increasing the hatred of our presence in the region. Oil company executives were even concerned that without a war in Iraq, when the sanctions came off, Saddam would pump too much oil and drive prices down, so we are effectively fighting a war to pay MORE not less at the pump.

The oil companies push to control Iraq's oil reserves is rarely discussed in American newspapers, and is blacked out from TV news, which makes it all the more important that stories like this is forwarded to anyone who will read it and voted up on the newsranking sites linked below.


American Oil companies offered five million dollars to each Iraqi MP to pass the Oil law

Reported today on Akhbar Alkhaleej newspaper via Road to Iraq

An Iraqi MP preferred to remain anonymous told the newspaper that highly confidential negotiations took place by representatives from American oil companies, offering $5 million to each MP who votes in favor of the Oil and Gas law.

The amount that could be paid to pass the votes do not exceed $150 million dollars in the case of $5 million to each MP, pointing out that the Oil law requires 138 votes to pass, which the Americans want to guarantee in many ways, including vote-buying, intimidation and threats!

Focusing on the heads of parliamentary blocs and influential figures in the parliament to ensure the votes, the Americans guaranteed the Kurdish votes in advance but they are seeking enough votes to pass and approve the law as soon as possible.

Google translation of original Arabic article


Sunday, January 27, 2008

TO HELEN THOMAS: cover oil motive for Iraq War


When I saw the headline of your column asking Democratic presidential candidates to "come clean on Iraq," I thought you meant about the true motive for the war, a prize worth tens of trillions of dollars, which none of the candidates for president, with the exception of Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul, have directly addressed apart from tangential references to "strategic access": OIL.

Investigative reporters who have documented the oil motive have found a stronger case for giving control of Iraq's oil to multi-national corporations rather than trying to secure a cheap supply to run our economy. In fact, before the war, Oil & Gas Journal said that without a war against Iraq, when the sanctions came off Saddam would pump too much and drive prices down.

Invading Iraq was a win-win situation for the major oil companies. If it had gone smoothly, they would have gained control of the spigot in Iraq, and by controlling supply, they could control the price, keeping it relatively high so they get more profit for less work. If the war went poorly, which it has, less of Iraq's oil would make it to market which would also drive up the price.

The most obvious piece of evidence though is the Hydrocarbon Law Bush and even the Democratic congress have tried to force on the Iraqis. Only a few lines have to do with how the oil is divided between the ethnic groups. The rest is designed to give up to 88% of the oil revenue to oil companies, a deal no other major oil country would accept without a gun to their head.

When someone bothered to poll Iraqis about this, more said they would trust a national oil company to develop their oil resources than the private corporations Bush is fronting for. Iraqi oil workers, scholars, and bureaucrats from the former regime familiar with what the administration is advocating all oppose it as well.

If we were just concerned about spreading democracy and having a steady supply of oil, we would be pushing for a law that no Iraqi could possibly object to. Instead, Bush's eagerness to line the pockets of his cronies is probably getting more of our troops killed than any peace marchers here or Iranian subversion over there.

Politicians will dodge this question by saying it's water under the bridge, but if you don't know who will profit from us staying in Iraq, you cannot effectively fight them to get our troops out and begin to salvage our reputation in the Arab world.



Thursday, January 17, 2008

ORWELL's 1984: War economy exists to prevent equality and democracy

I heard Tim Robbins reading this on the Randi Rhodes Show, and it struck me as profoundly true and sad.

Ironically, by choosing George W. Bush to be their public face, the wealthy did more to destroy the myth that they are somehow morally or even intellectually superior than any progressive, commie, anarchist, or nonpartisan curmudgeon ever could.

1984 excerpt

The primary aim of modern warfare (in accordance with the principles of doublethink, this aim is simultaneously recognized and not recognized by the directing brains of the Inner Party) is to use up the products of the machine without raising the general standard of living. Ever since the end of the nineteenth century, the problem of what to do with the surplus of consumption goods has been latent in industrial society. At present, when few human beings even have enough to eat, this problem is obviously not urgent, and it might not have become so, even if no artificial processes of destruction had been at work. The world of today is a bare, hungry, dilapidated place compared with the world that existed before 1914, and still more so if compared with the imaginary future to which the people of that period looked forward. In the early twentieth century, the vision of a future society unbelievably rich, leisured, orderly, and efficient -- a glittering antiseptic world of glass and steel and snow-white concrete -- was part of the consciousness of nearly every literate person. Science and technology were developing at a prodigious speed, and it seemed natural to assume that they would go on developing. This failed to happen, partly because of the impoverishment caused by a long series of wars and revolutions, partly because scientific and technical progress depended on the empirical habit of thought, which could not survive in a strictly regimented society. As a whole the world is more primitive today than it was fifty years ago. Certain backward areas have advanced, and various devices, always in some way connected with warfare and police espionage, have been developed, but experiment and invention have largely stopped, and the ravages of the atomic war of the nineteen-fifties have never been fully repaired. Nevertheless the dangers inherent in the machine are still there. From the moment when the machine first made its appearance it was clear to all thinking people that the need for human drudgery, and therefore to a great extent for human inequality, had disappeared. If the machine were used deliberately for that end, hunger, overwork, dirt, illiteracy, and disease could be eliminated within a few generations. And in fact, without being used for any such purpose, but by a sort of automatic process -- by producing wealth which it was sometimes impossible not to distribute -- the machine did raise the living standards of the average humand being very greatly over a period of about fifty years at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries.

But it was also clear that an all-round increase in wealth threatened the destruction -- indeed, in some sense was the destruction -- of a hierarchical society. In a world in which everyone worked short hours, had enough to eat, lived in a house with a bathroom and a refrigerator, and possessed a motor-car or even an aeroplane, the most obvious and perhaps the most important form of inequality would already have disappeared.
If it once became general, wealth would confer no distinction. It was possible, no doubt, to imagine a society in which wealth, in the sense of personal possessions and luxuries, should be evenly distributed, while power remained in the hands of a small privileged caste. But in practice such a society could not long remain stable. For if leisure and security were enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who are normally stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to think for themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner or later realize that the privileged minority had no function, and they would sweep it away.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Which will end up having shorter reign: soviet style communism or Friedman's free market extremism?

I'm reading THE SHOCK DOCTRINE, and the ''free market'' scam of forced debt, privatization, deregulation, and dissolving of government services looks scarcely less destructive than what Bush is doing with bombs and bullets in Iraq.

I'm no fan of communism. I think the Keynesian balance between business and government is good enough though euro social democracy would be better.

What the corporate elite have done to the rest of the world the last couple of decades and has finally tried to turn on the US in full force after 9/11 has more in common with Mao's Great Leap Forward or Pol Pot chasing everybody out of the cities into the fields in Cambodia than it does with any rebalancing of the business/government relationship in the West.

The three that really haunt me are Poland, Russia, and South Africa because each had that moment of hope and triumph of democracy and that victory was snatched away from them by these free market extremists. Infant morality, income inequality, and unemployment all went up and life expectancy went down.

In the case of Russia, they not only crushed the hopes of those people, they destabilized and antagonized a nuclear power, keeping the possibility of a nuclear holocaust alive.

All so a very, very few could profit.

They deserve their own circle of hell, wiping the asses of other moral filth.

So how long will this last compared to the Soviet model's 70-ish years?

Short video on Shock Doctrine by director of Children of Men

shock doctrine milton friedman naomi klein



A good brief summary of neoliberalism

How ''economic hit men'' set it up and enforce it

How Bush is plundering Iraq's OIL

Klein on the plunder of Iraq

Which will end up having shorter reign: soviet style communism or Friedman's free market extremism?
Friedmanism is like gravity or evolution. It is just a law of the universe that will last forever
It will be a thousand year reich like feudalism
It won't be a thousand years, but given the rise of the surveillance state, it will be a long time before it's taken down
It will last about as long as soviet communism then rot apart at the top
The natives are already collecting their torches and pitchforks (they've already chased their Friedman overlords out of most of South America)
I don't know what the fuck you are talking about
I'm George W. Bush, and you should be worrying about yur family and terrist, and leave the worrying about money to people who have it
I'm forwarding this poll to Homeland Security and the Chamber of Commerce. What size orange jumpsuit would you like at Gitmo?
Jeeves! Turn on the electric fence! The serfs are trying to get in again.
Free polls from

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Rudy Giuliani's swan song: Nosferatu
(sung to tune of "Desperado" by Henley & Frey)

Sung to the tune of ''Desperado''
(by Don Henley/Glen Frey)

Why don't you come to your senses
Ben talking nonsenses, for so long now
Oh, you're a hard one
say you are Mr. 9/11,
but you are screwing the victims, you villain
we all know it somehow

Don't you dress like the queen of diamonds boy
Far right will beat you if they're able
You know that finding new wives is always your best bet
But till then your gay friends will set a place at their table
Far right caught you there, they would beat you to death

Oh, you ain't gettin' no younger
Your vain and your hunger, they're drivin' you on
And freedom, oh freedom, well that's just something worth squashin'
Your prison is waitin' and Kerik will welcome you home.

Don't your heart get cold in the wintertime
The voters won't show and the press keeps lying
It's hard to tell when they cover you everyday
but you're losin' all your polls are low
Ain't it funny, they all want you to go away

Why don't you come to your senses
Be a lobbyist for defenses, open the gate
It may be rainin', but there's a rainbow above you
You better let some lobby hire you, Wall Street will love you
You better let bloodsuckers love you
Before it's too late...

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Fuck experience: in this election, it equals betrayal

Actually, it has equaled betrayal for a couple of decades if not always.

If you look at the ''experienced'' candidates' record in power, it is largely one of betraying the middle class and kowtowing to corporations, particularly on trade and foreign policy.

While the war in Iraq is the most glaring example of this, their support of trade deals that eviscerated American jobs and neoliberal shock therapy for other countries that reduce most people to poverty and demand the end to any New Deal type social programs have been going on for decades with bipartisan support.

After 9/11, experts familiar with what Wall Street has directed our foreign policy to do to other countries said they were surprised the hijackers weren't from Latin America given our century of crushing their desire to raise their standard of living and control their own natural resources since it would have cut into mining, sweatshop, and banana plantation corporations' profits.

In the Middle East, our experienced leaders have supported vicious dictators like Musharraf, the Saudi royal family, the Shah of Iran whose rule led to our current bad relations with that country, and even Saddam Hussein until 1991. So long as these guys played ball with American corporations, our experienced leaders did not give a rat's ass about what they did to their own people and even trained them in how to keep the plebes in their place.

In Iraq, already a profit-making machine for defense and rebuilding contractors, Bush is twisting the arm of the Iraqi parliament to pass an oil law that will give 88% of their oil wealth to big oil companies, a deal other oil-rich countries would never accept without a gun to their head. Do you think that might some Iraqis mad enough to have killed some of our 4,200 troops who are dead? Was giving that oil to ChevronTexaco, ExxonMobil, and BP worth killing over a million Iraqis and spending up to half a trillion tax dollars, more than the whole federal budget was in 1988.

And in case you haven't noticed, those corporations have a bad track record of sharing the profits from those foreign assets acquired with our military with the rest of us. The privatize the profits and socialize the cost.

Our representatives in Congress knowingly lied about the causes of the Iraq War as well. Every member of Congress is old enough to remember the Cold War knows that even if Saddam Hussein or any other third rate dictator gets a handful of nukes, he would not dare use them on us or give them to terrorist who would because we have 10,000 nuclear warheads and would burn their country off the map before the mushroom cloud cleared here. And we would still have enough left over to do the same to every other country on earth every day for a week. That was enough to stay the hand of the Soviet Union for four decades even though they had MORE nukes than us. Americans may have forgotten that, but the rest of the world has not.

To the degree that we have a legitimate need for defense, it is in part to protect us from those who have suffered at the hands of our experienced leaders.

I would trust someone more who isn't on a first name basis with Zbigniew Brzezinski, Madeleine Albright, George Shultz, Colin Powell or any of the other technicians of these policies.

With the exception of Dennis Kucinich, presidential candidates in both parties have the ''experience'' of largely supporting these policies that impoverished average Americans and the rest of the world. Kucinich is largely ignored and mocked by the media precisely to prevent him from getting power or even being able to force the debate to the realities of our policies and away from haircuts and fairy tales about spreading democracy and fighting the boogey man.

This makes two relatively inexperienced candidates, Edwards and Obama, look more attractive. Both have their drawbacks. Neither would cut insurance companies out of health care altogether. Obama takes corporate donations. Edwards voted for the Iraq War. But their relative inexperience means they are more likely to change their ways just as a relatively inexperienced JFK did once in office and as his brother did before he ran for president.

So in this election, fuck experience.