Are you better off than five years ago?


Daniel M Pourkesali
by Daniel M Pourkesali

That was the question posed in the latest Pew Research Center national public opinion survey and the results were dubbed as the most pessimistic assessment of personal progress in the last five decades of polling conducted by the Pew Research and the Gallup organization. Over half the respondents said that they were worse off financially than they were five years ago, nearly the same percentage responding to another poll conducted by USA Today/Gallup last month.

As historic as these results may be, they should come as no surprise to anyone. After all, deep economic downturns and high gasoline prices don’t exactly boost consumer confidence. But what about those other people? You know the ones whose country we invaded right around the same time frame five years ago. Has a similar question been posed to them? Well, if you have to know the answer is ‘yes’ and the results were even more dismal than the ones conducted here with 90% of respondents feeling that the situation in Iraq is far worse today than it was before the U.S.-led invasion.

Now let us explore just some of the reasons behind this high level of dissatisfaction – People living in Baghdad, a city with an average high temperature of around 43C/110F during these hot summer days, have actually next to zero electricity to power their fans or air conditioning.

After more than 5 years under U.S. occupation, Baghdad residents can now count on only an hour of electricity a day while they received 16 to 24 hours under Saddam’s rule despite severe economic U.N. sanctions of the kind that are now being increasingly imposed on Iran. Ironically, little electricity that the Iraqis are generating is being supplemented by Iran. Things have gotten so bad that Mr. Bush has all but stopped including how long the power stays on in his weekly report of the state of affairs in Iraq to Congress.

But as bad as the electric situation may be, it is the least of a multitude of far more serious problems faced by over eight million Iraqis who are without water, sanitation, food and emergency aid according to this report by a major international relief agency and corroborated by the latest Iraq Index released by the Brookings Institution which shows major declines in almost every major economic and quality of life indicator when compared with estimated prewar levels.

So why did the President of the United States declare this tragic experiment as “Mission Accomplished” and his administration continues to characterize it as a smashing success despite such irrefutable catastrophic results that have also cost the lives of a million Iraqis and over 4000 Americans not to mention trillions of dollars and counting which will be for our children and grand children to repay?

The answer is neither complicated nor elusive as one might think -- Five months before the terrorist attacks of September 2001 and shortly after taking control of the White House, the Bush administration declared Iraq as “a destabilizing influence to the flow of oil to international markets from the Middle East” for which US “military intervention” might be necessary.

Sounds familiar but not quiet convinced? Well, don’t take my words for it just ask Mr. Greenspan and then prepare for even more financial turmoil ahead as our government makes its case against that other pesky “axis of evil” member with “all options on the table” except real diplomacy.

The question each and every one us must now ask is this – Do we continue on as mere spectators and then read the bleak consequences of our inaction in yet another opinion poll five years from now? The answer stares us in the face every time we pull into a gas station.


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more from Daniel M Pourkesali

Who is Jamshid?

by De-Anonymous (not verified) on

Jamshid => Parivz Khashaki => Parkhash => god knows how many of the anonymous comments.

This guy has a history of vitriolic attacks on this site, but the style is always the same: insults wrapped with vanity and a modicum of pseudo-intelligence.

Food for Thought

The truth about the US economy

by Food for Thought on

Something everyone should watch if they want to understand the chaos created by the Federal Reserve.

Coast to Coast AM with Rollye James. Guest Andre Eggelletion talks about the US Federal Reserve and the fact that private bankers run our monetary system. Lookup "JFK Executive Order 11110".

In four parts how the corrupt system is losing control:

part 1: //

part 2: //

part 3: //

part 4: //


The Islamist/lefty moral majority?

by Fred on

How come when talking or writing as an individual all the Islamists/Anti-Semites and their likeminded lefty allies including Islamist wedding photographers with bogus names, bashful Islamist lobbyists/apologists and alike always employ the plural format? Tell us, provide us, show us, enlighten us, identify yourself to us... is it some sort of moral majority complex?

Food for Thought

The Iie at each level is different

by Food for Thought on

Daniel - thanks for your contribution. I agree with your sentiments. I don't often write on these issues because of all the abuse people write when their pre-conceived views are challenged. What I've found is that many people aren't prepared to look behind the facade of politics. They feel more comfotable to swallow the lies they are fed by the mainstream media. The nature of us all is to automatically believe what makes us feel comfortable rather than look for the evidence which would shed light on the misconceptions we are 'sold'.

Craig - I used to think like you but there are far more layers under the facade which I think you should look into. I don't mean to offend but I think your analysis is far too simplistic and trusting. Our egos resist the truth when it comes from someone else's mouth. We want to believe we are knowledgeable but to grow we must look beyond our egos with an open mind. Don't look to always be right when someone opposes your viewpoint but sleep on it, look into it, reflect on the alternatives and you might see there is more to every story than what you believe. The media is controlled.

As you read this, Craig, you will feel like responding straight away, and maybe you will but that will be your pride (ego) talking and not the reflective individual you can be if you are prepared to investigate these issues deeply. It's up to you!

You admit you are not an expert on economics. All I will say is that the people who control the economies do so for their own gain. The market is not 'free'! Booms and busts are created because it benefits a certain class of powerful investors who pull the strings. They do this by expanding and contracting the money supply on purpose, again, because it creates opportunities to re-gain the wealth they lent to the 'have-nots'. It's a crooked game. All those in positions of influence are there because they do what they're told. It's a club! You have to be invited to take part. That's how certian politicians rise into positions of power while others are left by the wayside even if thewy are talented and speak the truth. Only those who can be controlled are invited to join the elite club.

So what is the aim of this club? It has always been to control the world through the might of the US. But they are not the US. They have hijacked the US like they are trying to hijack Iraq. Global hegemony by hook or by crook.

Jamshid - The IRI is corrupt and many of the points you make are valid, however, the notion that these people will respond to someone writing to them is naiive. The Iranian regime is not set up to tolerate open criticism. And the US policy only helps to validate their stance!

Daniel's point is that, in a democratic system, however controlled it might be, people still have the right to criticise. This is a hope for all humanity. The US constitution must be defended as it cannot be taken for granted for ever! The founding fathers believed in it and if the American people wake up and see that it has been corrupted by those who don't want true democracy or transparency then, perhaps, US interference in other countries could be a force for the good. However, Daniel is right in pointing out that their record contradits this at present.

The US is not a force for the good, as 'Q' points out the only 'Cheney' and the corporations the US government represents truly benefit form such planned interference. Such people don't give a damn about democracy! They 'buy' it to do their dirty work for them. It's all about control and power. And all this is done by hoodwinking the US population to believe in this 'war on terror' through mass manipulation using the media. They've been suckered into paying for these huge corporate profits with their tax dollars to fund the huge US deficit which also benefits the same corrupt elite, who control the banking system. Thay have us all by our gooleys!

Look beyond the lies! It's time America woke up. The true enemy is not what you're told...


programmer craig


by programmer craig on

So lets hear it , what is the reason for the bad economy beside the
foreign affairs?

Well, that's a long story. You remember when the dot com (NASDAQ) crashed at the end of Bill Clinton's Presidency? And then 9/11 happened shortly afterwards? Remember how much the stock market fell in the first couple months after 9/11? And we hadn't even recovered from yet from the .com fiasco? People began investing in real estate, because they no longer trusted the stock market. Over the next 7 years, a tremendous realestate "bubble"grew, where home values were tremendously over-inflated. A lot of people took out mortgages they couldn't really afford (I won't even talk about the people who were foolish enough to go with high risk variable rate mortgages) because they assumed their homes would continue gaining in value. But the n the bubble burst... and those people got stuck in homes that were worth a fraction of what they had bought them for, and they couldn't make their mortgage payments... and they couldn't sell their houses, because they were worth quite a bit less than the amount they still owed... and so on.

The fact that oil tripled in price at the very same time didn't help. But if this was due to US foreign policy, everyone else wouldn't be taking it in the shorts as well. But, they are. The situation with fossil fuels is not going to get better any time soon, no matter who is US President or what their policies are. Chian and India are not even fully industrialized yet. the demand for oil is going to keep growing, rapidly, and the supply is pretty static.

Is that enough or do you want me to continue? I'd rather not, because I'm not an economist and I'm not even interested in finance as a hobby. 

For sure all those billions spent on massacring the
Iraqis and the high price of oil caused by liberating Iraqis has
nothing to do with it , right ?

That's right. Look at US history and tell me when war has ever been bad for the economy?

BTW , the main  reason for that Regonomic you are so proud of was
oil falling from $38 a barrel to $8 because of the Iran/Iraq war , not
to mention the cuts in Social programs that made the wealthy wealthier
.With friends like you America doesn't need enemies . 

Nice analysis. So, when the economy goes from deep recession to extreme prosperity, that's called "the wealthy getting wealthier". Cute :D





Re: Poursaleki, here is the enlightenment you requested

by jamshid on

Sheding tears, exposing horrible facts, etc. Let's not play with words here.

You wrote,

"tell us if you really believe those conditions are going to improve with sanctions or a possible military attack on our people."

You are implying (and reading my mind too) that I believe war or sanctions are going to improve things in Iran. Would you enlighten me and show me where in this thread or anywhere else in this site I ever made such conclusions? If you can't find any reference then why write such deceitful accusation?

Perhaps, you are either do not like ciriticsm of the IRI, or automatically associate such statements to being a warmonger/sanctionist. Exactly what the IRI propoganda machine wants.

The current misery Iranians are enduring in Iran (which you don't have to feel a bit) are due to domestic and foreign policies of an illegitimate, criminal and corrupt IRI. The additional miseries that Iranians might endure from a possible war or tougher sanctions would be due to BOTH the policies of the IRI hardliners and their American Neocon counterpart.

I don't see you criticize IRI's role in the misery Iranians are enduring today, or in their role of inching Iran closer to war or tougher sanctions. Why?

Again, why? And I sincerely hope you are not one of those deceivers who claim that "I am an American and I live in the US, so I must work only towards changing the US government policies, not the IRI's"

Now go to your keyboard, Mr. Poursaleki, and visit the sites I have listed below, and write to the IRI officials, and ask them for change. Do so with the same vigour and intensity as you demand change in the US foreign policies.

Don't forget to include your detailed analysis and "multitude of sources" in your letters to the IRI officials to backup your demands for change. Ask Iranians who live in the US to do the same.

When you write them, ask for change in IRI's foreign policies in order to save Iran from another war or tougher sanctions.

Ask them not to endanger the Iranian people's welfare by constantly threatening Israel. Tell them Iran is first, and Palestine and Israel a distant second.

Ask them to stop funding terrorists in the region.

Demand the observation of human rights in Iran.

Write and ask for the immediate release of Iranian political prisoners.

Demand a stop to all kind of tortures. 

Demand a stop to all political executions.

Demand equal rights for women.

Ask for the corrupt IRI leaders to be brought to justice.

Demand that barbaric Sharia not to be practiced in Iran.

Demand the abolishment of velayate faghih and the Guardian Council.

Demand the abolishment of bonyaads and the return of its funds to its rightful owners, the Iranian people.

Here are some links you can use:







After you are done writing them, since I consider you a much better writer than myself, would you please be kind as to post a copy of your letters to these officials? Maybe there are those who could learn something from them and be motivated to write to the IRI as well.


No, nobody is better off, except Cheney and War contractors

by Q on

thank you for speaking truth to power Daniel.

Fred: Thanks for reminding us about the "elephant" in the room, which was your own hypocrisy. Last time you raised this "forgotten" issue, I asked you if you were willing to share at least the same amount of information about yourself, where you work and where you live that you constantly demand on others.

We found out you were too "special" to play by the same rules that you expect of the people who you don't agree with. Your demands are only one-sided and self-serving. That day people really understood what you are all about.

The offer still stands. If you want to keep even one shred of credibility, show your true face. Otherwise, stay hidden (in this land of the free), but don't expect anything other than hysterical laughter when you attempt to "expose" others.

jamshid: I suggest you write about the assessments of personal progress in your own country which would be FAR worst than in the US

For all this constant bitching and moaning that you do of just about everyone, I have never seen you take the time to research any of this stuff, even about Iran or IRI. Where are your informative articles and research papers? Why is it that you want random people to drop what they are doing and jump on your program but you yourself are too lazy to do it? Seriously, hit the library and write all the anti-IRI articles you want. You have a right to do it and I may even help you. It will certainly raise your crediblity.



by Mojgan on

So lets hear it , what is the reason for the bad economy beside the foreign affairs? For sure all those billions spent on massacring the Iraqis and the high price of oil caused by liberating Iraqis has nothing to do with it , right ?

BTW , the main  reason for that Regonomic you are so proud of was oil falling from $38 a barrel to $8 because of the Iran/Iraq war , not to mention the cuts in Social programs that made the wealthy wealthier .With friends like you America doesn't need enemies . 

programmer craig


by programmer craig on

Way to turn the bad economy into a rant about foreign affairs! Don't forget how Reagan turned the carter economy around though. This may not be the winner you think it is!

And look how the usual (anti-American) suspects around here praise you :D 

That alone should tell you that you are on the wrong track, when people who want what's the absolute worst for the US tell you how great your solutuions are.




Agha Jmshid , Fredy and his ilks !!

by Mojgan (not verified) on

G-d Knows I love to hear the solutions you have for Iran's problems !

No doubt it is a little of "shock and awe" , a bid of legalized starvation or as you call it "sanctions" , dash of liberation "Iraqi style " ,mixed in with your few drops of "crocodile tears" and cooked by carpetbaggers freedumb lovers like you , Right ?!

Daniel M Pourkesali

Please enlighten us

by Daniel M Pourkesali on

Agha Jamshid,

Thank you for your comments. Obviously you did not care to read any of the multitudes of sources referenced in this article. I’m not pouting about the condition of Iraqis, nor shedding “alligator” or any other kind of reptile tears but simply exposing the horrible facts as they are. If you know so much about the plight of Iranians, why don’t you enlighten all of us with a documented article of your own? Then tell us if you really believe those conditions are going to improve with sanctions or a possible military attack on our people.


Re: Pourkesali

by jamshid on

aghaye Pourkesali:

Please stop sheding aligator tears for the poor Iraqi souls or for the Americans, and instead focus on your own countrymen in Iran. 

You wrote about the results of Pew and Gallop polls indicating pessimistic assessments of personal progress, and that over half the respondents said that they were worse off financially than they were five years ago.

I suggest you write about the assessments of personal progress in your own country which would be FAR worst than in the US, as more and more Iranians fall below the poverty line while at the same time, the oil income has quadrupled in the last decade.

You wrote about high gasoline prices not exactly boosting US consumer confidence. I suggest you write about why Iran, the fourth largest exporter of oil, has to import its own gas, and how could this possibly "boost" Iranian conusmers confidence.

You wrote about Iraqi's lack of electricity in hot summer days, I suggest you write about not only lack of electricity, but also lack of many other basic necesssities of life in places such as Bam with temperatures far higher than Iraqis are experiencing.

You wrote about major declines in almost every major Iraqi economic and quality of life indicator when compared with estimated prewar levels. I suggest you wrote about the decline in every major Iranian economic and quality of life rate of growth indicator when compared with pre-revolution levels.

You tell us that the question each and every one us must now ask is "Do we continue on as mere spectators and then read the bleak consequences of our inaction in yet another opinion poll five years from now?"

Have you asked this question from yourself regarding Iran, Mr. Pourkesali? Or is the answer still staring you in the face every time you turn your back to your own countrymen in order to shed another tear for Iraqis and Americans?


Look At the Responses!!

by Anonymous500 (not verified) on

Mr. Fred:

Look at the responses that this guy Poursalak is getting: few here and there and that's it.

The reason is very simple: no body with an ounce of brain believes that these guys are legit other than lobbying for this God Damn IRI on a daily basis. These guys are bent to shove this forced-logic down our throat: you either should follow their lead and go and shout under their comical banners, or you are a warmonger who is desirous for getting our people bombed and destroyed.

For these guys IRAN=IRI no matter how criminal and warmoner this regime has proven itself during the past thrity years. Period. This deceptive strategy is so obvious that it is no longer funny, but goes hand in hand with the IRI's plans for a limited confrontation with the USA. This plan is something like the following that I have itemized:

(1) First, provoke a limited confrontation with the USA.

(2) Second, get as many innocent Iranians killed, injured and hurt who have been unabashedly and deliberately left uninformed and indefensable at the same time for the mullahs and their functioneries impenetrable bunkers have been dug and constructed; these are reported of being constructed under ground impervious to bunker-buster bombs.

(3) Third, once the limited sahbang is over (as it is very unlikely that during such a rancerous Presidential elections in the USA, a long-sustained hostilities can continue) get the top mullahs back in power all intact and continue their usual "Rowzeh Khooni" against the "Global Arrogence" this time with hundreds of thousnads of our people dead or injured and billions of Iran's properties destroyed.

(4) Fourth, in the mean time, the mullahs have divided the SEPAH into 31 divisions and housed them in Iran's 31 Provinces to massacre potential rioters in case such limited confrontation led to regional uprisings against these "Deev-Safat" mullahs.

(5) Fifth, in diaspora, the IRI supporters would intensify their anti-Resistance, anti-Democratic, anti-Human Right propaganda in order to intimidate those who reject both War and IRI regime and ask for its overthrow, be it the likes of the NCRI, or any other honorable groups and political personalities who have not fallen victim to this deceptive mantra.

In my humble opinion, any response to these IRI lobbyists must emphasize these points:
No to War, No to IRI, Democratic Cahnge From Within.

It is this just and legitimate slogan of the Iranians Resistance FORCES that these lobbyists hate and try to demonize. You will never find these lobbyist to have ever had raised the issue of the IRI's crimes against our people. There is no such condmnation. Period.


'The FBI's plan to "profile"

by LE (not verified) on

'The FBI's plan to "profile" Muslims': It's unconstitutional, un-American -- and it might hurt, rather than help, the FBI's effort to stop real acts of terror.


' The U.S. Justice Department is considering a change in the grounds on which the FBI can investigate citizens and legal residents of the United States. Till now, DOJ guidelines have required the FBI to have some evidence of wrongdoing before it opens an investigation. The impending new rules, which would be implemented later this summer, allow bureau agents to establish a terrorist profile or pattern of behavior and attributes and, on the basis of that profile, start investigating an individual or group. Agents would be permitted to ask "open-ended questions" concerning the activities of Muslim Americans and Arab-Americans. A person's travel and occupation, as well as race or ethnicity, could be grounds for opening a national security investigation. '



Zionazis and alike

by XerXes (not verified) on

Are those who are fine with killings as long as it done to those who oppose them. They are the Zionist democratic front. They are racist who want equality on their terms. They are more dangerous than KKK and should be watched by the FBI and anti criminal institutions. In short, they are terrorists. Just hear all their logic, people who support suffering of others for the greater good (Like Hitler and Zionists) are the real terrorists.
Neo Cons are Zionists and Zionists are nazis. Simple as that. Don't believe it? read and hear their logic at any topics. Interestingly enough, they are not aware of their racists and anti human behavior. Very strange bunch, reminds me of Nazi Germany in many movies and films. That's Zionazis for ya.

We are better than we would be if McCain gets in. But we will continue to decline as long as Zionazis are in power.


with a president such as "W", what do you expect?

by ./. (not verified) on

Thanks for th very nice analysis and article.
Here are some of my two cents (although those cents are losing their value by the day!)
USA as once the greatest nation on the face of earth has lost its respect among nations, its once mighty DOLLAR is becoming worthless by the day, its economy is in shambles, and its leaders once treated as icons around the world are now shunned around the world.
I really can't comprehend what happened and when it started, but in the words of a wiseman who was spoking about Iran's 1953 and what US did to Iranians then, and what it is doing to Palestinians, and others now, "this empire also has an end. That end will not come militarily, but will be an emplosion". I think his statements from some 35 years ago are coming out to be true.


Where is your brain?

by farokh2000 on

Common "Fred", you are blaming the Mullahs for the miseries of Iraq?

You can blame them for a lot of things, but the troubles in Iraq?

 I guess you have a very short memory span and forgotten who invaded that country in 1991 and again in 2003, after bombing them and having the restrictions/sanctions on them for all those year that caused the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

Mullahs are criminals, no question but they are not the ones who are occupying anyone's land and killing them on a daily basis.

Please educate yourself before expressing your ignorant opinion here.

Thanks Daniel for the nice piece. 


The forgotten big elephent

by Fred on

To help heading off the Isalmist republic's inspired disaster in the making, perhaps the CASMII lobby should shift its focus of attention.  Constantly highlighting the effect of the war between the Islamist republic backed Islamist murderers who kill scores of innocent Iraqi civilians on a daily basis and the Iraqi forces backed by the Western ones and not mentioning the big elephant in the room is rather pointless and banal. The lobby should put as much pressure on the single most effective contributor to the massacres, the Islamist republic.