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Automakers fail to cash in on big GOP donations L.A Times

GOP senators won’t budge on auto bailout Chicago Tribune

Rescue Bid for Detroit Collapses in Senate Wall Street Journal

Hope for auto rescue shifts to White House
Detroit Free Press

GM, Chrysler Survival Options Narrow After Vote Fails Bloomberg News

US car bail-out fails in Senate BBC News

Hope dims for deal to rescue carmakers as talks collapse USA Today

Auto bailout bill dies in Senate CNN

$14B auto bailout dies in Senate Associated Press

Rescue collapses as Senate rejects aid for auto industry The Detroit News

Auto bailout fails
Reuters

House’s Auto Bill Comes Under Republican Fire Wall Street Journal

Senate roll call on $14B auto bailout Associated Press

Options narrow for GM, Chrysler
The Detroit News

Auto bailout collapses Ft. Worth Star- Telegram

Bailout plan for automakers collapses
Kansas City.com

Auto Bailout Headed For Defeat CBS News

Auto Bailout Collapses on Wages Business Week

Senate Abandons Automaker Bailout Bid NY Times

Auto shares down as US auto bailout plan fails Press Trust of India

Automakers Try to Calm Jittery Suppliers Business Week

Auto industry bailout blocked in the Senate Poughkeepsie Journal

FACTBOX: Senators detail snags in auto bailout talks Reuters

Republicans torpedo House-passed measure
Wall Street Journal

Not one of these news reports is keen on Republicans. In fact, Republicans get kicked hard.

Who again was for it? The current president, the next president, 6/10ths of the House, and it passed 52-35 in the Senate… But wait… didn’t all the headlines say it failed?

Oh, Republicans invoked the rule of cloture, meaning that 60 votes were required to pass….

It appears that there is no person left on this planet who thinks that Republicans should be considered anything less than the villains they are. They certainly had no influence on the markets in Asia

Oh! My mistake! ….. Here’s one……

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Baker has three planks:  1) Smaller government that costs less. 2) New economic development and new jobs 3) and remove limits on new development.

First he wants to limit the size of Sussex County government, in a similar vein to what the Bush administration did to the banking industry..  What that deregulation amounted to, was letting certain groups police themselves… Guess what?  It doesn’t work.   It didn’t work for banks.. unless most Sussex Countians consider a 800 billion bailout to be a successful form of governmental policy.  It didn’t work for the Chinese, who took advantage of lax regulation to send over lead base toys for our children to play with… So why does Baker think it will work for Sussex County?  Deregulation or diminishing oversight may save a few dollars at first, but as we continue to see with the Bush’s administrations policies,  what sounds at first like a way to cut costs, winds up running our deficit over the cliff’s edge and into the ocean of insolvency below…

Baker wants to maintain low taxes for his term.  But actually the policies he is proposing open huge holes that Sussex Countians can’t afford to open and pay for later.. Ask yourself who will pay for the infrastructure needed to support those dreams of those who support Mark;s vision of development?  The answer with today’s economy is NO ONE.  The promised new roads will not be built. The sewer system without Federal help, will not be constructed.  The proposed environmental regulations will not be enforced.  There will be no money to stop algae blooms that kill life in the bay… The only option in today’s economy for Sussex Countians, is to never open the door…The only economical option we have is to never follow these procedures and allow it to happen.   Unfortunately for Sussex County, that is the exact opposite of what Mark Baker, Republican for Third District, is proposing to do…

We should anticipate less transfer tax income. Exactly why Mark Baker should not get elected… His policies will break our budget over time by creating problems…  600,000 new homes all on septic systems?  Instead of what Mark Baker proposes, Sussex County needs the same advice given by everyone’s doctor… Eat right now, to improve quality of life later…  Who wants to spend their last years on life support?  What kind of existence would Sussex Countians live with then?  To answer that question Sussex Countians should Just drive north to the Bear area… Up there it takes 25 minutes to drive 5 miles….every day!  And this is Mark’s dream?  He’ll say no… because it is an election year, but up there the policies Mark is proposing today, were implemented ten years ago…  Just 8 years ago, an area that looked similar to the area around Milton today, is wall to wall stock full of “affordable housing,” and the problems that come with it…. Mark Baker:  “we have to work together work for affordable housing…  allow “different types” of communities.”  (Affordable housing is used by members on the New County Council as an aphorism to convey the moving of people out of the inner city and into the suburbs, as well as the problems that move with them.)

Economic Development and New Jobs.  At what expense?  New Jobs at how much?  New jobs that pay too little?  New jobs that will put more burden on medicaid and medicare, because lacking benefits, they will encourage their employees to go on medicaid to get their medical costs down?  Let’s also look at the other side of the coin?  How on earth does one attract good jobs to Sussex County by cutting out necessary county services?  Gee, why would anyone want to move here?  Tax breaks?  Without the basic necessary county services, only those seeking to gouge, rape, and pillage our citizenry would be interested in moving into Sussex County under a Mark Baker philosophy…  “How little will it cost me if I move there?”  Under Mark’s thought process, his economic development plan will cost Sussex Countians far more later for roads, sewers, environmental monitoring, stoplights, health costs from air pollution, than they will receive in return from the lack of tax revenues coming in, that were waived just to get those businesses to move in here…

Do we have enough businesses in Sussex County already?  If we put one more shop on Route 1, from which old shop will that business flow from?   Which existing storefront will go out of business so the new business has some sales when it goes in?  You can see this “live” along the Route 40 corridor in New Castle County…  Again the very policies Mark is proposing, were enacted up there and unless a change is made in Sussex County, within ten short years, it will be the same.

Finally, land use issues….

Baker states he prefers local control.  What that means is that any state, or multi-state corporate developer, with millions at its disposal, prefers to deal with only one or two poor individuals when it wishes to amend long standing well thought out regulations put in place by the people of Sussex County..  In other words, these large developers want to be able to throw a little money around, then do whatever they please…  Mark Baker agrees with this policy.  He calls small government… good government.. As mentioned above, we see how well his philosophy has worked with our kids toys and our investments…  Not.  His philosophy doesn’t make sense when one looks at reality.

Mark states that he is against the transfer of development rights purchase programs.

Property ownership can be described as a bundle of individual rights. As you all know the ownership of land includes rights pertaining to minerals, timber, agriculture, riparian rights, surface and ground water, air, and development, to name the most common. Use of these rights is not absolute. Governmental entities DO have the right to constrain, to a certain extent, a property owner’s use of these rights and thus the economic value that the property owner can derive from the property. The most commonly used restraint has been on the exercise of the individual’s use of development rights primarily through zoning.

Baker is fond of saying “we” decide,,, who is “we”? The list of his contributors consists many of those behind the very development projects over which Sussex County is highly concerned ….Mark is against down-zoning land without compensation. Just like those bailing out Wall Street ($800 billion dollars), he believes those who took a chance and speculated and lost, should be bailed out and still get a substantial return on their investment, even if it hurts a plurality of Sussex County citizens in the process! In Mark’s world view, people are not important. Rich Collin’s money is. “How dare he lose money!….But finding sewage in my drinking water? … oh, well, we’ve all accepted that’s just a price we have to pay for progress…..”

He disagrees with those who work for increase preservation of environmental farmland. In his world view, every owner can do what he wants with his property. He is against society placing limits. That flat out is not true… Why should a citizen have to endure watching their neighbor ejaculate on his flower bed because that neighbor believes in organic gardening? That image is just an extrapolation of Mr. Baker’s reasoning.

As mentioned above, we have to work together work for affordable housing…  allow “different types” of communities. Although that sounds noble, it is a developers code for speaking of maximizing profits out of a single piece of land.. Odessa in New Castle County is going through this crises today.. Waking up and finding that no one had mentioned “by the way …we changed the zoning laws. The density factor has been shifted from 80 people to 480 people per 10 acres…” The farm next to your development, is to soon be a slum; the schools rated best in the state will now need one school built per year just to accommodate the five developments being built in as short of time… Since developers cannot sell $750,000 homes today, they want to bring property values down, by stuffing people who can ill afford to pay, into apartments…. The very fact that Mark brought this up, I thought was a revealing insight that he is a single issue candidate after all.. working to limit the average citizen’s say over new developmental projects in Sussex County… (the inside joke is that no one but developers when they talk about use the term “affordable housing.”)

He wants to allow the owners of property renting out to manufactured homes .. to be allowed to give 1 acre lots to grand-children….. ( He didn’t mention whether he approves rental patrons, who own the trailer upon those sites, to be given a first right to buy the land that is underneath them).

Maria Evans wants her son to live on her property.  Farmers and farm families do not want to see that right given away..  If the requirement proposed does goes through, where ten houses need a hundred acres, parents may not be allowed to have their children move nearby… But a simple amendment allowing exceptions could fix that issue… if it ever went that far.

Baker admitted that his policies were not beneficial to the towns… The town of Lewis is under pressure, at its borders… Controversy somewhat contentious surrounds the Townsend Business Center proposed to be built across from the High School.. 500,000 square feet,  Maria wants Macy’s and a coffee shop…and that’s all. Baker responded that her view presents both the dilemma and challenges… Rural patrons want new choices and conveniences without (remember the old days) having to drive to either Dover or Salisbury for a shirt…  With individual projects, we need to determine how they impact the community, where they are going… whether or not they are appropriate in that specific location…  Evans said there were only two roads into town, Beebe hospital was on one… Baker corrected here that now with the New Road, there is a third road into Lewes.

To Mark, Lewes is home, and he needs to be careful what happens to towns..  He believes he needs to increase communication so that there are no surprises…..  Every town is different, Slaughter Beach, Milton and Lewes.  Council represents everyone inside and outside towns…

Baker states that items like the forest buffer, and like what is open space, need to be clearly defined, so inspectors can enforce.  “Enforcement divisions are working to do better on those instances”, he states… “We can’t give up or stop on those efforts”. However, as mentioned above, the proposals in plank one of Bakers platform, would cut back regulating agencies under the guise of cutting costs, thereby stretching too thin those in charge or preserving the county’s integrity, and not allowing proper enforcement to occur…

Specific development opportunities: That of the Marshes…Was the buffer done right?

Even though he is running for council seat of the Third District, Mark Baker has not been back there himself. (Curiosity-seeker-extraordinaire Maria Evans has) But he saw pictures.. He blames county practices as the culprit which allowed things to be done like that.  (Blame the developer? No?) Ideally he would like it seen done the right way. He said dismissively. “Define it and allow developers to be part of it”.. If that is not what they want , do away with it. ( huh?) “It should be defined clearly, so those developing should be forced to make right.”

The Republican person running for Council Seat No. 3 in Sussex County has no computer. (for future historians, the year was 2008.)

Relief: email question coming in…..

Why Should the county pay for roads, and other infrastructure…?

If state were to give county all revenues they receive from Sussex County, then Sussex County could have a greater say in controlling developers (huh?)…Deldot paid $500 million out to consultants, for many projects not built. They just wasted 20 million on the IRB. (Indian River Bridge)  Baker says we have to hold the state accountable for putting new road structure into Sussex County.  For example, plans laid out in 1987 for the  East-West corridor improvement…  Yet nothing has been done by the state… If there is any new improvement on those roads, it was solely done in front of new developments paid for by developers themselves… the state has done nothing…

Once again we see the duplicitous nature of Mark’s remarks… His theme of
deregulation , of not impinging upon developers, of decreasing taxes, and then try to get some outside influence to pick up the bill…is Bush economics all over again.. Sussex County would do well to remember that this very philosophy espoused by one Mark Baker, did not do well on a national scale over the past eight years… Instead practices built off of his same philosophy, lead to a national debt of $38,000 being carried by every citizen of this nation: man, women, and child….

Relief from Perry: ” Mark only represents farmers, developers, and your own issues; but no one else’s.  Who are five top contributors?”

“Myself is the major contributor”, Mr. Baker responded.  “60% loaned out of own pocket.. Perry’s assessment is incorrect. The are composed of reckless baseless attacks on character which have no basis. Meanwhile the question is not answered….hmmm.. with a little research you can find the answer yourself here, here, and here….) Hmm….

Baker is proud to represent farmers. He has the support of agriculture community.  He feels that he represents the average citizen that lives here. He is going to be here for a long time… Quality of life is an issue for everyone..”I am beholden to myself, and my principals.” Sussex County will now have to decide whether or not they can afford Mark’s principals, since the are the same as George Bush’s 8 years ago….

Mark..says “I will keep taxes low”… “Critically important is that county government is efficient. (code for cutting out those responsible for our safety).   He says he will look at health insurance program (code for lower cost- meaning lower benefits). He will look at efficiency to keep taxes low. ( When his plan’s costs soar, will he borrow to keep his low tax pledge?) costing future interest costs?

Maria Evans with a funding question. “Mark, on your finance reports, you have lots of donations coming from those promoting the new controversial Townsend Center.. but you just said it was not something which you would support… When after election, (can you help me out?)  Mark’s response was “For $600, you expect me to commit a felony. I just am not interested in doing it….” Citizens of Sussex County, those are his words… Do you believe Mark Baker will be different from 99.9999999% of every politician who has ever lived or held public office….?

Over 98% of his contributors are listed and accounted for…  He will run County government like his finance reports: open and honest; no reason to hide… Personal reasons for which he is running? To give back to community.. and do what is right for the community as a whole. (Define interpretation of “community”)

Wrapping it up….

“Thanks again…”

“Good to get in. Amazing how quick an hour goes by”

“Its a good district.”

I live and work outside Milton every day on daily basis.  I care about Sussex County. Main issues is their financial situation, he will bring common sense business practices to government (just like Bush; didn’t work then).  Only he know the right way to approach things, and only he can bring “them” to county government.  He wants to promote economic opportunity, higher paying jobs so people can stay here ..He believes that land use is big concern …. We need to evolve, maintain control, preserve the environment, and maintain quality of life in order to attract more businesses, and more people to Sussex County…… (Note to self: before voting, make trip up to Bear, Delaware to see Mark’s policies in action)

For more, go to:

Mark Baker 2008 .com

Listing of issues, endorsements, contact information.. Ask questions…

Note to all: On election day, Marie will be at the Big GOP headquarters…. Oo la la…Can’t party with Sussexers…

Signed out….

Ok, My Synopsis:

Mark Baker wants to do for Sussex County just what George Bush did for America: remove cumbersome policies in place that protect citizens. But those policies are there for a reason; we are paying a huge price now for having taken them away. Development is permanent. A development never returns back to a farm. Those decisions need to move slowly with all future implications weighed out beforehand before a decision is rendered. Baker want to bypass that arrangement.

The results of his policies implemented to their fullest degree, can be seen in their beginning stages in Bear, Delaware right now, and at their full implementation in North Manhattan, otherwise known as Harlem. Unregulated development is okay at its early stages. Just like unregulated binging is not very harmful to a teenager. But we all know a controlled disciplined approach to growing and developing is so much better. Bakers policies do not work. Although they seem innocent at first, after several years problems occur and only tons of taxpayer monies can solve the crises… By then the developers are long gone…

Maria Evans stated that the taking away of personal property by the government and giving it to some developer, it the issue of eminent domain…. really burned her up…. She would be interested to know that many of those names on Mark Baker’s contributor list, are the very ones fighting against the eminent domain bill which was passed minus Tony DeLuca’s vote ( he knew ahead how it would play out) and was then vetoed by Governor Minner. She would be interested to know that these same people also bent Minner’s ear to veto, and Tony’s to override that same veto…. What was done was an attempt to give politicians cover to say they voted against eminent domain, without having it get done… (in case you already did not know…)

Who supports Baker? Those same people who got Minner to veto the eminent domain bill which would prohibit those in power from taking away your property and giving it to developers…

Sussex County would be better off without the single issue candidate Mark Baker whose campaign finance records mirror the lists of those who supported the taking away of private property for developers… As you learned from Bush… don’t trust what they say… look at who is behind them….

Courtesy of DelawareLiberal.net

I'll Never Trust a Man Who Doesn't DrinkI'
photo courtsey of Mousey Tongue, courtesy of The People’s Cube

For Al Mascitti of WDEL:

In honor of this morning’s coverage of Last Night’s Debate.

In an ironic twist, the Security Wall going up along the southern border, may have a different motive than what was expected. As was the wall debated around Berlin, depending on ones perspective,  one must question whether it was built to keep people out, or perhaps keep people in.

This was in USA Today and although it is tongue in cheek, perhaps it opens the possibilities that having an accessable third world economy next door may not be such a bad thing.

“”With the right facilities in place, Mexico could give (American retirees) a better quality of life at a better price than they could find in the United States,” says Flavio Olivieri, a member of Tijuana’s Economic Development Council, which is seeking funding from Mexico’s federal government to build more retirement homes. “We think this could be a very good business as these baby boomers reach retirement age,” he says.”

Got an arm or leg to spare?

As I pulled up to the pump this morning, due to a set of bizarre circumstances, I was able to remember exactly the price of gas I paid for at the same time, at the same gas station this time last year. For those of you with long memories you also may remember at this time in 2006 we were paying around 3.29 per gallon of regular.

Of course with public outrage, we were told there was nothing that could be done about it. Refineries were off line. Crude was too high, world wide demand was forcing up the price. We grumbled and willingly paid and then found out that Big Oil scored a 35 billion profit in one quarter.

No one mentioned the real reason. That was because republicans controlled all three branches of government. There was no way the people could investigate and determine whether they were paying a fair price, or being gouged. And for some unknown reason, any attempt by a Democrat to hold a public hearing, was squashed by both Hastert and Frist.

Face reality. If there is no reason to not to raise prices, why would one forgo the extra money pouring into the corporate coffers? And because of the tremendous amounts of money funded to “W” for both his campaigns, and the tight connections between Cheney and the Big 4 oil executives, they were guaranteed no interference from any of the branches of our republican government.

But that changed in November. Due to Rove’s miscalculation and an underestimation of the number of fake votes needed to win the election, Democrats were able to gain the upper hand in both the House and Senate.

Of course the republican complicity in this was brought up at election time. And of course the republicans tried hard to dismiss it, but the voters this time, did not buy it. Perhaps more than any other reason, dissatisfaction with republican leadership over this one issue, caused massive defections over to the other side.
So where are the facts? If you take a hard look at this chart, anyone with a smattering of economic knowledge will see that for all intents and purposes, that the price of gas should be even higher this year than last, not 50 cents per gallon lower. So by default, that means that whereas gas was 3.29 a gallon, it really could have been sold fairly at say 2.79 a gallon.

The same excuses use by republicans last year to pump up the costs, are even higher this year. The only difference between the two summers is that during this summer, we have Democratic control of the Congress. For this alone, Americans need to hold republicans accountable for all the lost money that was robbed from them last year.

How much was that? At 50 cents a gallon times each 40 gallon fill-up, that would be an extra 20 dollars per fill-up. At two fill-ups per week times the twelve weeks of summer, the republican gasoline scam cost most families around 480 dollars last summer.

So ladies and gentlemen,…. the Democrats, ….just by being in control of only one branch of government, have saved every American family at least 480 dollars over this summer. I don’t know about you, but that is what I call ……real politics………………

Fake politics is deciding to drop the price the day campaign season starts in earnest on Labor Day. A summer of profit taking, …….that’s all it was.

Remember the movie Matewan? When courageous West Virginian miners stood up to the union busting coal companies, and risked everything to win their right to live as Americans should? Today, American unions aren’t the same. Perhaps spoiled by their success during the twenty’s, today they rarely show that much muscle and instead pat themselves on each others backs whenever they finagle an agreement that often capitulates to corporate owners, but, in turn, increases their own personal net worth as wealthy individuals.

Fortunately that is not the case in Iraq. In a little known story, the unions of oil workers, located in the southern area of Iraq near Basra, organized and stood up to first Bremer’s coalition government, then Halliburton’s storm troopers, and now the puppet government of Maliki. As we now are coming to realize, the current military buildup or Surge as it is called, which we all knew had little chance of overall success, is simply a political move to apply pressure and force Iraqi passage of the Hydrocarbon’s Act, which as mentioned elsewhere, guarantees a whopping 70% instead of a normal 10% of Iraqi oil profits to American oil companies. The surge is there not just to protect a few American supporters, but is intended to intimidate and to suppress any Iraqi opposition that would naturally be expected to occur whenever one nation is forced to give up its national treasure to another. But as is often the case, when one pushes too hard to exert a pressure, a counter-resistance grows beneath their thumb.

So it is with the Iraqi unions. Their broken country is saturated by corruption, fed by the US interests, Exxon-Mobil, Phillips-Conoco, and Chevron, all of which exert a strong influence upon those “oil ministers” who were groomed on these shores months before this war began. In this environment, it is only the labor unions who have found the moral courage, as did Americans of old, to stand up against impossible odds, and proclaim “no, this just isn’t right.”

What bravery those unions are showing against impossible odds, is even more admirable when compared to the ethics of those at home, right here in our “land of the brave”.

Unfortunately, the moral courage, once possessed by our reporters and newsman on which many of us were weaned during the Nixon-Watergate years, now seems to have ebbed somewhat. Today if one wants truth, only the blogs are speaking it.

Just recently Kucinich’s magnificent 50 min speech which only got to the floor by a rare parliamentary move, outlines for the first time on the hallowed floors of Congress, exactly the horrific terms we are forcing upon the Iraqi’s with this Hydrocarbon Bill. Any mention of this historical event was buried deep on the back pages of America’s mainstream media, or worse, met with silence.

But bloggers jumped all over it. One must shake his head in shame. How can one honestly explain why newspapers, which of course, are primarily funded through advertising revenues, could possibly be loathe to print, and want to bury, a news story that now rivals the Watergate cover-up as the prime example of our government going over the edge? Does not this Hydrocarbon Bill, developed here inside the Beltway’s oil-funded think-tanks, and now being forced through the Bush administration’s approved and appointed Iraqi ministers, when read fully, prove without a doubt that we went to war for oil? Can any reasonable person assume a different outcome? Can anyone also explain why none of 2008’s front runners, also funded primarily through large corporate donors, have dared to mention this outrage in any of their campaign whistle stops?
Afraid of something they must be.

Are PSA’s really that bad? Here is what the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (page 87) had to say about them.

“PSAs are the oil industry’s equivalent of sharecropping contracts. As with the latter, economic theory suggests that PSAs are inefficient contract forms because the FOC
does not receive its marginal product. Thus, the question arises how and why this inefficient form of an oil contract flourishes. Principal-agent theory helps to explain
how risks and rewards have to be balanced in order to nonetheless let this type of arrangement prosper. The fact that PSAs are one of the dominant exploration and
development agreements points towards their efficiency as an institutional arrangement for risk sharing even if they are inefficient in terms of economic theory. In that sense it can be argued that a PSA is a political rather than an economic contract.”

What this says in “Oxford”ese, is that PSA’s are simply one sided agreements, like slavery, that cannot occur in free markets where both parties are willing. They can however, occur in forced arrangements.

We have taken the Matrix pill. And now it is clear. This is why we went to war. This is why we are spending a Trillion Dollars. This is why Rumsfeld hamstrung the Pentagon so success on the ground could not happen. This is why Cheney was so adamant not to release the Energy Task Force’s documents to the GAO. This is why the Vice President went to such great lengths, resulting in his imprisoned chief of staff, to discredit the notion that Iraq did not have nuclear weapons. This is why, against US law, records of who visited the Vice President, were erased. This is why Wolfowitz was put in charge of the IMF. This is why, when the officers on the ground, who we were repeatedly told were the ones being listened to, said emphatically that the surge was a waste of men and money, many names were passed over until a military commander was found who would say, even if only indirectly, that he could support it.

But enough about cowardly squeamishness. I came to praise the Iraqi Oil Unions….

Just last week they received concessions from the Maliki government, and a strike was averted. This threatened strike would have, if it had occurred, shut down all oil flowing onto tankers out of southern Iraq. Those of you who understand Moslems, know that they place great symbolism upon certain numbers. Very important to them is the number 14. Article 14 in their demands states as follows:

14- Submit the draft of the new oil law for our union to study; we have reservations and questions concerning it.

If one continues reading one soon finds this clause in their list of initial demands.- Make a determination on oil companies’ profits margins on the basis of the amendments to which you agreed and to determine those margins according to the certification/attestation from the south region financial/tax jurisdictions, not according to the formula adopted by the Minister that has been deemed detrimental to our membership.

In American prose, that means “Don’t go with the American plan.” Perhaps I alone am guilty of showing my personal ignorance in my assuming that the barbarity of Saddam’s regime flowed through all Iraqis, and that the cruel bombings of civilians showed a lack of polish on their entire culture. I was somewhat take back by the civilized beauty of this statement.

It was our hope, after the fall of that statue, to witness the dawn of a new era marked by the recognition of the legitimate rights of our members in the oil sector. This sector that for so long has suffered injustice and been denied equity. Since the advent of this new era, we focused our efforts into effectively thwarting all attempts to exploit this sector and tamper with our resources. You have been informed of how we stalled foreign companies in their attempts to control our oil fields and refineries, and how we forced them to leave. In addition, we worked hand in hand with the ministries and agencies to accelerate the pace of oil production, and to safeguard the means of production, and raise awareness amongst workers of investing to boost the chances of success for the new era. Unfortunately, our demands for entitlements were ignored, despite four years of continued promises by ministry and government officials. In fact, we took our demands to the highest levels of the government.
We kept the prime minister apprized of our demands, but were disappointed when we came to realize that our demands fell on deaf ears. Throughout this period we worked to defuse anger and resentment and address criticism leveled by our members who mistakenly thought of us as the ones failing to put forth their legitimate demands.

In a joint statement, the Iraqi Labor Unions demand that the new oil laws be renegotiated. Knowing more than anyone else, what was at stake, this group has tried everything possible to convince rational human beings that these laws are not fair to the average Iraqi citizen.

In some commentary spoken in London, Hassan Juma’a, President of the General Union of Oil Employees in Basra, gave some illuminating testimony.

Particularly he provide some insight how Iraqi’s feel towards us when it comes to our actions with their oil. One can see the heavy hand of Bremer was instrumental in many of the problems we face today.


Paul Bremer’s decrees banned the formation of trade unions and associations in order to protect US interests. [They said that the 1987 decree remained in force]. We expected that the living standards of the workers would increase, but a table of wages was issued by Paul Bremer with eleven steps, where the oil workers’ wage was set at the equivalent of $35. That was strange for a country which has the second largest oil reserves in the world.

Meanwhile, workers brought from Asia by KBR [a subsidiary of the US corporation Hallliburton, granted contracts by the occupation authorities for reconstruction] were getting twenty times as much.

Then, in subtle understatement he describes the struggle, that must have mirrored the struggle at Matewan.

In the oil union we objected to the wages decision. The US administration refused to listen to us, so we staged a strike on 10 August 2003. We stopped oil exports for three days. It forced the Americans, the Oil Ministry, and the Finance Ministry to scrap the two lowest scales in the wages table.

We think it’s important KBR gets out, because we believe that US strategy is that military occupation should be followed by economic occupation.

So why has it taken so long for oil revenues to pay the cost of rebuilding Iraq. The finger again points to Cheney. According to the Union:

The Federation has announced it “will endeavor to to prevent exploitation by foreign companies and their flagrant interference in production and exports,” blaming the companies for “exploiting the current political vacuum and chaos in the country.” They claim that the Iraqi oil industry, far from needing external investment, is in fact being deliberately starved of funds to the tune of $4.5 billion this year, simply to worsen the country’s negotiating position as infrastructure slowly collapses. In fact the unions have been active in voluntarily maintaining infrastructure to fend off the need for external investment. They are also working on publicizing these secretive deals and building resistance.


As evidence accumulates one story at a time, the trend becomes very disheartening to any American familiar with the story of our founding Fathers. It will be hard to explain to our children, our complicity in letting Cheney do to Iraq, what we rebelled against Great Britain for doing to us.

Cheney took us in to rape Iraq. That is the only conclusion one can reasonably assume when presented with all of the unadulterated evidence.

It is truly ironic that American values are much more prevalent in a labor union halfway across the globe, than they are here within our hallowed halls of government.

1) Republicans want the surge to last till September. Why?

2) Dick Cheney is off somewhere in the middle east, on another secret mission, immediately just after Rice got back. Why?

3) We still do not have oil flowing from Iraq, four years after ‘mission accomplished”, Why?

Is there a connection between these three threads?

Now four years after the war was won, we still do not have a contract with a legitimate Iraqi government to remove the oil from Iraqi sands. What is wrong with those Iraqi’s. Don’t they want our oil revenues to rebuild their country?

The holdup seems to be what is known as the PSA’s (production sharing agreements). These clauses guarantee US oil companies 70% of the profits up to amortization and 20% after that, whereas the going standard rate is 10% of profits to oil companies, and 90% to the country. This oil bill must be passed before the Iraqi congress goes on recess May 31st, just 21 days from the date of this posting.

The oil companies estimate that it will cost between 1$ and 1.50$ to extract a barrel of Iraqi gold, the premium of all crudes. At today’s prices of 75$ a barrel this rate of return would be equivalent of kicking a baby in its face and stealing its candy.

Iraqi resistance understands this. And yet this insider’s fact has not even made our evening news.

This is not the result of a random compilation of events.

As we moved in immediately after the invasion, instead of allowing Iraqi’s oil engineers to redevelop their own oil fields, (we are talking about the same men who kept the oil flowing during the sanction years to the amazement of the world, with little more than ingenuity), two Texan companies, Halliburton and Bechtel, were both put in charge. As recent congressional hearings have discovered, these non-bid corporations were paid on a nominal cost-plus basis, meaning they used the most expensive technology available, thereby running up the costs as well as their percentages, and then stopped, unfinished, right before the wells were working. Now, at this point in time, no one else but either of these two companies can “turn on ” the wells, with the quick installation of one or two mother-boards. They sit now, bidding their time, while they wait for a “legitimate contract” which once passed, will guarantee at least 70% of the substantial profits.

This is actually the fuel that flames the insurgency. Iraqis want the oil developed, not stolen. The bomb we saw that killed the Iraqi Vice President Mahdi, a feverish PSA oil law supporter, was detonated at the same time while the preliminary oil bill was being debated in their congress. As with all Arab attacks, the timing of these events is important; it is meant to send a message. Again, as far as I know, no one in the US news media, has yet made the connection.

This rape of the Iraqis’ oil rights, finally explains why Iraqi sentiment shifted so drastically after the war. In the beginning the Iraqi’s welcomed us with open arms, (Viva George Bush) until they realized we really were moving in on their oil. This also explains the timing of the insurgency, and why the fighting continues, as well as to why there is a Civil War.

The Sunnis benefit if the oil bill is to pass, since they will get 10% of the profits: (1/3 of 30%); Sunni’s have little or no oil resources on their territory if the country splits into three federations. The Shiites, and Kurds, both who have an abundance of oil, want Iraq to develop their own oil at contracts similar to their neighbors, with oil company’s taking a paltry 10% of the profits, and 90% coming back to Iraq.

So what’s behind the Cheney visit? Why now?

Last week, the Kurds signed deals with both Norwegian and Turkish companies to develop new oil fields in their province. These were not at 70% PSA rates.

This electrified Cheney and his Iraqi leadership, which said that any contracts signed before the new law was passed, would be invalid and illegal.

Right now the Kurds hold 58 out of the 275 seats in the Iraqi Congress. At a 29.10 % voting bloc, the oil bill can be passed without one Kurdish vote, if the Sunnis decide to hold firm and in one bloc vote together. Hence Cheney’s visit to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, and now Iraq.

He needs to persuade (pressure) those governments to lean on the Iraqi Sunnis and force them to line up behind the Oil Bill, so that none of the votes of the Kurds are needed.

In a democracy it is commonly assumed that open discussion will generate the best results. However as of May 6, the Iraqi legislature had not yet seen a draft of the Oil bill that Cheney wants passed by May 31st. Who has seen it? Here is what Chinese intelligence had to say about it:

The law was in essence drafted, behind locked doors, by a US consulting firm hired by the Bush administration and then carefully retouched by Big Oil, the International Monetary Fund, former US deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz’ World Bank, and the United States Agency for International Development. It’s virtually a US law (its original language is English, not Arabic).

The right to self determination in a democracy apparently does not apply to oil. Condoleeza Rice was ineffective in her tactics of persuasion and now Cheney (not as Vice President, but as a representative of “Big Oil”), has gone to play hardball. Expect him to say behind closed doors: “Our meters are on your wells. You will have NO oil, and no income period, unless you give me the PSA’s. If you refuse, you no longer have our confidence in your leadership. Without our protection, you are at the mercy of your own people…….”

And we saw what happened to VP Mahdi even with our protection.

With this much pressure being placed by the US on this one bill, we can now understand why Cheney and his supporters told us the surge was so important. He needed it to provide enough stability in Baghdad so this bill could pass. It is now clear why Republicans are saying “wait till September”. At that point we will have our 70% rate of return. We can further decipher why Democrats are saying “we will know by June”. They are implying you’ve got till May 31st, Mr. President, or we are pulling the plug.

In the meantime, people who we were told are terrorists, continue to fight a nation who seems intent on stealing their livelihood from out of the very ground they stand on.

al Basra Oil Terminal

Thanks to Chatterjee and CorpWatch for this reporting. This is one more grain of evidence that this war was fought not for the benefit of America, but for the benefit of Cheney’s stock futures which expire in 2009, well after his current term has ended. Harsh as that statement may sound on its surface, if one uses this frame of reference as a polarizer, then the “idiotic decisions” that have led this country to its current situation inside of Iraq, actually make financial and rational sense.

 

What idiotic decisions? Those very decisions that seem to prolong the war, instead of resolving it.

 

The trail starts with a map found in Cheney’s drawer showing Iraq carved up into parcels of real estate. It runs through the Energy Task Force, through his private “Iraqi reading room” in Langley Field; it continues through deliberately misleading America in the case to invade Iraq, through micromanaging the personnel decisions within Garner’s team at the onset of the Iraqi reconstruction, through the shifting of funding from successful Iraqi programs to unsuccessful ones, through his insistence of “no-bid” contracts, and now through these new revelations.

 

What was revealed six days ago was that the meters measuring the Iraqi crude now being pumped into tankers at the mouth of the Euphrates, do not work. And have not worked since the invasion in 03. The responsible party is none other than Halliburton. This supposedly quick fix, is still pending. Basically no one, no one, can monitor how much crude is leaving Iraq.

 

According to this contributor at the Stars and Stripes, a back of the envelope calculation, that every centimeter lowering of a tanker equals 6000 barrels of crude, is how business is done. A miscalculation by a couple of inches, can mean the difference of 30,000 barrels or oil or at today’s price of 75 dollars a barrel, 2 ¼ million unreported dollars.

 

If you don’t already have stock in Halliburton, you need to invest today. In fact, being a betting person, I would say the odds are good that Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Mike Castle, and every other congressperson who votes in line with Cheney on this issue, has some Halliburton hidden somewhere in their portfolio. For they are certainly not voting for the American people.

 

For if truth is to be known, as long as there is chaos in Iraq, Halliburton will continue to reap enormous profits. Ironically, it is only when we actually do succeed, and the Iraqi’s can proclaim their own self rule, will the bonanza end for all of those holding stock options in Halliburton. Ending the war early, will no doubt cost Republicans dearly, literally.