Friday, March 19, 2010



By Kevin Stoda, Political Scientist

Well, many Americans—who argued against the attack and subduing of the country of Iraq back in 2002 and 2003--were jeered by FOX NEWS and scorned by the Bush-Cheney Administration as “Sadam’s Cool-Aid Drinkers”. The reference to “cool-aid” naturally referred to the Jim Jone’s self-suicide cool-aid of the 1970s cult. The implication was that we were brainwashed.

Who has actually been brainwashed, America?




Now, after EIGHT HORRIBLE YEARS of the illegal-Bush-Cheney-Administration long behind us, the effects of the Bush-Cheney Cool-Aid is continuing to destroy BOTH America and Iraq. Before I go over some details about the status-quo in Iraq and the USA, let me point out that educational problems, health-care underdevelopment, loss of American home ownership, and the insane foreign policies of America are due partially to 40 or more years of FREE MARKET cool-aid and massive MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX Cool-Aid Drinking. In other words, this horrific cool-aid drinking binge has brainwashed nearly 3 entire generations of American policy leaders.

Now, however, real change and cool-collective analysis must come to dominate. This is the only way to mark the 7th Anniversary of our suicidal war and suicidal economics lived through by millions and millions of Americans and Iraqis daily. In short, this is a nightmare, we need to wake-up from.

TODAY in Iraq --What is Your future?

In Baghdad, Yanar Mohammed, president of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, stated that the Green Zone has left a world-of-out of control--with“[p]rivatization, no security for the working class, much investment for multinational companies.”

This is happening in a country that already has 4 million homeless refugees. Anyone can see that whole-scale privatization of government-built structures and institutions in the midst of a civil war or in the midst of an ongoing major refugee crises is insane! Mrs. Mohammed is on the mark when she criticizes the go-ahead green-zone model of liaise-faire political economics being produced in Iraq over the last few years. Meanwhile, instead of integrating women into both the political and economic process, women’s rights have been constitutionally undermined specifically over the last two years, according to the head of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq.

Worse still, apparently the Iraqi government is taking out more loans from the World Bank at a time when Iraq’s oil revenue is growing rapidly.


Recall how Mexico and Venezuela were encouraged to take out bank loans during their petroleum booms of the 1970s??? That led to a grave dislocation of the economies and severely skewed the rdistribution of resources in both Mexico and Venezuela. Worse still, 4 decades have since passed and these huge international debts are still not paid off by either country—while the people in each land have suffered while they have had to often undergo draconian liaise-faire government cut-backs [over this same decades].

Does the Green-Zone or the Iragi regime really want to turn Iraq into a permanent economic basket case—even though with all its petroleum, it should be an engine of development for the region? Here is an accurate description of what happens when liaise-faire takes over oil economies found in most any economic textbook as a case study:

“The macroeconomic policies of the 1970s left Mexico's economy highly vulnerable to external conditions. These turned sharply against Mexico in the early 1980s, and caused the worst recession since the 1930s. By mid-1981, Mexico was beset by falling oil prices, higher world interest rates, rising inflation, a chronically overvalued peso, and a deteriorating balance of payments that spurred massive capital flight. This disequilibrium, along with the virtual disappearance of Mexico's international reserves--by the end of 1982 they were insufficient to cover three weeks' imports--forced the government to devalue the peso three times during 1982. The devaluation further fueled inflation and prevented short-term recovery. The devaluations depressed real wages and increased the private sector's burden in servicing its dollar-denominated debt. Interest payments on long-term debt alone were equal to 28 percent of export revenue. Cut off from additional credit, the government declared an involuntary moratorium on debt payments in August 1982, and the following month it announced the nationalization of Mexico's private banking system.”

Venezuelan’s historical development as [either] a democracy or as a military regime has also been [almost always] tied to it’s privatization and petroleum debt related practices.

“Between 1926 and 1980 oil profits permitted a sustained, broad social and economic improvement, with increases in real wages for workers and increasing profits for businesses, all of which strengthened democracy. Starting in 1980, the situation changed and produced a collapse of the oil model, the ramifications of which are shown by the economic crisis of 1983, the popular revolt of 1989, and the coups d'etat of 1992, resulting in the election of presidents Caldera and Chávez. The traditional political parties lost power and new social actors appeared: the radical left, the unorganized civil society, the political right, and the military that controlled the state apparatus.”

Roberto Briceno-Leon argues that in Venezuela “oil profits have played a role in the formation of society: creation of social classes by the government, economic autonomy of the state, dependence on imported products, exaggerated growth of public employment, state domination in all areas of the economy, and the overall subsidizing of society.”

In other words, how Iraq uses its petroleum wealth, i.e. either to create more or less debt in the long term, will be the biggest issue in the country’s development.

Will IRAQ follow the steps of underdevelopment in Latin America, i.e. Mexico? Will it turn out as bankrupt as the Iranian government? Or will it manage the economy like the Scandinavian land of Norway has done?

I will bet anyone that the Norwegian semi-planned economy would be the best option—and not the neoliberal nor neo-con choices now-focusing on versions of liaise-faire market capitalism in Iraq.

Currently, Yanar Mohammed appears to be on target in her description of the current run-amok-liaise-faire “ economic agenda in Iraq, the privatization, the heavy privatization, that’s happened in Iraq in the last two years, where tens of thousands of workers have been laid off, with no work to go to, with no social insurance to support them, while in the same time there is an economic agenda of supporting foreign investment in a way where there is protection for foreign investment, but there is no labor law, no unemployment insurance for people. And in the same time, we are being surprised by the Ministry of Finance telling the Iraqis that we need to have a loan from the World Bank, which will put the Iraq policies under such pressure, and it is a surprise to everybody because the revenues of oil are so high that we do not really need a loan from the World Bank. So, economically, it’s a rollercoaster here in Iraq—privatization, no security for the working class, much investment for multinational countries, and, in the same time, a democracy which has brought forward groups which are transformations of the first political forces that started off with militias, but now they are politicians and they are sitting in the Green Zone.”

MY COUNTRY TIS’ ITEE: My Dear Homeland

Now, turning back a half-world away to the United States of [North]America, we find another country continuing to follow the faux-pas of the liaise-faire approach to military and industrial development since WWII. The U.S. is celebrating the largest deficit in history and spending over 60% of its government budget for present, past and future wars. On this 7th Anniversary of the War on Iraq, led by the good ol’ USA regime, Capitol Hill is also finally trying decide whether Americans deserve health care or not. [No other developed country’s national government in the whole- world asks such a crazy question of its own commitment to its own citizens.]

In a short interview concerning the massive 7th Anniversary Protest March on the US Capital Building in Washington, D.C., Cindy Sheehan has noted, “[W]e still believe that the invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan for the multinational corporations using our US military were wrong under the Bush administration, they’re still wrong under the Obama administration. For the last, you know, thirteen, fourteen months, the antiwar movement has been giving President Obama a free pass. And while that’s been happening, people are still dying, people are still being displaced, people are still being tortured and detained. And, you know, like the woman from Iraq said, it’s to steal the resources and wealth from these countries and put them in the hands of the multinationals.”

I should explain that “Cindy Sheehan is the founder of the group Peace of the Action. That’s P-e-a-c-e. She has just set up a camp near the Washington Monument called Camp OUT NOW, calling on President Obama to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Sheehan’s own son was killed in Iraq as a soldier early on.

Sheehan says, “[E]nough is enough, and we need to go into the face of this military-industrial empire again and say, you have to do it on our timeline, the people’s timelines. Get our troops out of these countries. Let the people control their wealth, control their resources. Put them back to work. And maybe we can start to rebuild this country, where education is being gutted, healthcare is, you know, in extreme crisis, we don’t have jobs, you know, we’re losing our homes. And our economy is collapsing also. So we’re hoping not just to build a camp, but to rebuild this movement to have some kind of say in foreign policy.”

Meanwhile, one good example of the need for the federal government to take over where the states and cities fail to help U.S. citizens [in this case: American children] occurred this week in Arizona—a state that already receives more federal funding per capita than most states. According to Democracy Now and The New York Times, “Arizona has become the first state to eliminate its Children’s Health Insurance Program, leaving tens of thousands without coverage. On Thursday, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed a new budget canceling the program, which covered around 47,000 low-income children. The move will coincide with cuts to Medicaid coverage for childless adults, dropping an additional 310,000 people from the rolls.”

WAKE UP, AMERICA!!! Stop the mediocrity of the country—its economy, etc.-- and push for proper federal leadership in our many crises.

Stop letting the leaders in Washington steal our great resources and help America, by saying, “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, AMERICA. GO OUT AND MARCH!”

I am tired of the green-zone-like-cool-aid that has been drunk in AMERICA far too long. Aren’t you?

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Blogger Kevin Anthony Stoda said...

I'm writing to ask you to oppose the plan currently being negotiated by Senator Graham with the White House to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay at the expense of the US Constitution and our system of justice.

As reported in the Wall Street Journal story "Deal Near on Gitmo, Trials for Detainees" on March 19, 2010, Senator Graham is willing to support the closure of Gitmo and the purchase of the prison facility in Thompson Illinois if President Obama agrees to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other top terror suspects in a military commission and leave 48 detainees detained indefinitely without being charged with a crime. Not only are military commissions inferior to criminal trials in convicting terrorists, this deal undermines core American values like the right to a fair trial that the founding fathers enshrined in the Constitution and our men and women in uniform risk their lives to protect.

Closing Guantanamo is not about a piece of real estate. It's a symbol of the gross human rights abuses of the Bush/Cheney Administration. Closing it in exchange for violating our system of justice and rule of law is not progress. Its a betrayal of core American values. I urge you to publicly oppose this plan.

10:31 AM  

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