Wednesday, October 29, 2008



By Kevin A. Stoda

As America faces the 2008 Presidential elections next Tuesday, the issue of homeless war veterans in America is often ignored. This is why it is more than appropriate that BBC has decided this October 29, 2008 to begin a multipart program on America’s 150,000 homeless veterans—homeless from recent and ancient wars.

Neither Bush, Obama nor McCain are currently trying to seriously disentangle the U.S immediately from creating more troubled vets by demanding an end to U.S. wars in the furthest corners of the planet. (Obama seems to be supporting Bush’s policy in Afghanistan—as does McCain.)

You can download BBC’s THE HOMELESS VETERANS here

or at

The BBC’s THE HOMELESS VETERANS is a fairly multicultural presentation--with veterans from many different cultural backgrounds and experiencing a great variety of stages of PTSD involved in dissecting the issues that returning veterans face.

In 2006 an internal report for the DOD admitted that the VA was overwhelmed because such a high number of veterans were coming home from the Gulf and Afghanistan with PTSD and other problems from war experience.

That is, these soldiers were obviously victims of a traditional military hostility to recognizing the PTSD issues and their enormity for decades.

The National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH) define Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) as: “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include violent personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, or military combat.”
One speaker on the BBC program on veterans stated that far-too-many Vietnam veterans had historically been so disappointed with the VA that they had often simply walked away in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s—and not necessarily to homes.

Although there has been some improvement recently in the speed in which claims are handled, compensation for war veterans returning back to the US continues to take much longer than most other types of claims for assistance through the VA (Veterans Administration).

This is frustrating and as one formerly homeless vet stated, “It’s almost criminal in our country that this still happens.”


According to BBC, “The current conflicts are already swelling this vagrant population - as more soldiers reach their point of discharge from the army. When the process of eventual withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan begins, it's likely to put further strain on an overburdened system. Almost half of these 'lost veterans' have drug abuse problems and over a third have serious psychiatric disorders. Many have been to prison.”

The case of Phil Northcutt is just one of many personal interviews shared on the program, “In 2006, Phil Northcutt was sent to jail for growing marijuana. The only drug which stopped the recurring nightmares of his time in Iraq. He was imprisoned for 11 months. When the Marine Corps offered him an 'other than honorable' discharge, meaning the loss of benefits, he took it. Andrew Purcell spoke to many of those, like Phil, trying to get back on track. He finds out more about their struggles reintegrating into civilian society, and why they feel abandoned by the US military.”

According to U.S.A TODAY, U.S. war veterans already make up 1 in 4 of the homeless adults in the U.S.A.—i.e. a land that spends a lot on war and new military technologies, but consistently fails to put away money for taking care of victims afterwardss


Here are some websites for veterans, their families and friends:










U.S. Department of Labor: Veterans Employment and Training Services


I would suggest that readers suggest other important organizations for homeless and troubled veterans in the comment or discussion section at bottom of this article.

It is also important to find veteran legal and other support sites, with the intention of sharing them on line with others, esp. if these sites have a particular interest or twist. Here is a site that shares the legal process and rights of veterans and housing rights.


HUD Veteran Resource Center,

Overview of Homeless Veterans,

O’Reilly Downplays Numbers on Homeless Vets,

Story: “ . . . Nearly 200,000 per Night” ,

Veterans for Commonsense video,


Sunday, October 26, 2008



By Kevin Stoda

About 28 years ago this autumn, I met the Peace Pilgrim. That day she was in the midst of a fast of silence for a few weeks, so I was not able to communicate with her well. However, her eyes were special and she certainly glowed with spiritual bliss.

One year later, she would pass a way, but her memory is still around.

The Peace Pilgrim was born in 1908, so this year is the 100th Anniversary of her birth. She was born in New Jersey and began a perpetual pilgrimage around the world in the 1950s, i.e. in the Dark Era of Potential Nuclear Winter, which the planet knew as the Cold War.

She was constantly on a journey of witness for peace and was known by U.N. circles in her day--even as her feet took her over 25,000 miles around the planet between 1953 and her death in 1981. (NOTE: After 25,000 she kept walking but stopped counting the miles.)

At the end of this decade of global turmoil, a film on the Peace Pilgrim’s journey and lifelong witness has become available on-line in both English and Spanish. It is entitled: PEACE PILGRIM—AN AMERICAN SAGE.

The Peace Pilgrim’s journey was naturally also a spiritual journey in the 1950s—long before such a radical spiritual journeys were in vogue.

In turn, Peace she was an environmentalist and a poet, too. She walked America for decades vowing to "remain a wanderer until mankind has learned the way of peace, walking until given shelter and fasting until given food.”


Peace wrote a little booklet on Steps to Inner Peace that was published in many languages, including Russian and Chinese, over the past decades.

These steps are summed up as the Four Preparations, Four Purifications, and Four Relinquishments:
1. Assume right attitude toward life
This means living in harmony..
2. Live good beliefs.
“Obedience to these laws pushes us toward harmony; disobedience pushes us toward [being] inharmony. Since many of these laws are already common belief, you can begin by putting into practice all the good things you believe. No life can be in harmony unless belief and practice are in harmony.”
3. Find your place in the Life Pattern.
“You have a part in the scheme of things. What that part is you can know only from within yourself. You can seek it in receptive silence.
4. Simplify life to bring inner and outer well-being into harmony.
“Unnecessary possessions are unnecessary burdens. Many lives are cluttered not only with unnecessary possessions but also with meaningless activities. Cluttered lives are out-of-harmony lives and require simplification.”
1. Purification of the bodily temple.
Are you free from all bad habits?
2. Purification of the thoughts.
“It is not enough to do right things and say right things. You must also think right things. Positive thoughts can be powerful influences for good. Negative thoughts can make you physically ill. Be sure there is no unpeaceful situation between yourself and any other human being. . .”
3. Purification of the desires.
“Since you are here to get yourself into harmony with the laws that govern human conduct and with your part in the scheme of things, your desires should be focused in this direction.”
4. Purification of motives.
“Obviously your motive should never be greed or self-seeking, or the wish for self-glorification, you shouldn't even have the selfish motive of attaining inner peace for yourself.”
1. Relinquishment of self-will.
“You have, or it's as though you have, two selves: the lower self that usually governs you selfishly, and the higher self which stands ready to use you gloriously. You must subordinate the lower self by refraining from doing the not-good things you are motivated toward, not suppressing them but transforming them so that the higher self can take over your life.”
2. Relinquishment of the feeling of separateness.
“All of us, all over the world, are cells in the body of humanity. You are not separate from your fellow humans, and you cannot find harmony for yourself alone. You can only find harmony when you realize the oneness of all and work for the good of all.”
3. Relinquishment of attachments.
“Only when you have relinquished all attachments can you be really free. Material things are here for use, and anything you cannot relinquish when it has outlived its usefulness possesses you.”
4. Relinquishment of all negative feelings.
“Work on relinquishing negative feelings. If you live in the present moment, which is really the only moment you have to live, you will be less apt to worry. If you realize that those who do mean things are psychologically ill, your feelings of anger will turn to feelings of pity. If you recognize that all of your inner hurts are caused by your own wrong actions or your own wrong reactions or your own wrong inaction, then you will stop hurting yourself.”

I particularly need to take some of Peace Pilgrim’s advice. Peace warns me personally in the film that I can’t expect to live in peace with others until I practice living a life of peace.
Incidentally, the on-line film shows us that in her own life, Peace had a life of unrest until she started her journey.
Eventually, after a decade of more, peace grew within the Pilgrim. Later, she was then able to change the consciousness of others.
Peace Pilgrim said, "We who work for peace must not falter. We must continue to pray for peace and to act for peace in whatever way we can, we must continue to speak for peace and to live the way of peace; to inspire others, we must continue to think of peace and to know that peace is possible."
NOTE: By the way, some writers compare Peace Pilgrim to my great-great-great-great grand-uncle John “Johnny Appleseed” Chapman.
One recent writer on the Peace Pilgrim sites Elise Boulding in trying to explain the Peace Pilgrim’s and other Peace Witnesses.
In Cultures of Peace: The Hidden Side of History, Boulding states: "The great humane nurturer-leaders of the past have always come walking. They do not sit either on thrones or horseback but engage in dialogue at eye level. [...And] they have always sought solitude and privacy in alternation with their work in the public arena."
Incidentally, FRIENDS OF PEACE PILGRIM have been working since the 1980s to spread the Peace pilgrim’s message and story of her journey and impact.
Peace Pilgrim, like Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., have left an impression on non-violent activists and peacemakers around the world.
Let’s teach our children about the Peace Pilgrim and other important heroes—and do it NOW before the children get too many modern distractions to listen to the silent witness of people like her—i.e. while we and our children are needing to search for inner and social peace.

I received a photo from my friend Bill Walker this past Christmas. Walker told me that he had been on the hill (the Mount of Olives) overlooking Jerusalem where Jesus had wept over the city two millennia ago.
Just moments after Walker left the chapel that overlooked the walls of Jerusalem and the garden of Gethsemane, he came across a silent Peace Pilgrim.
Walker saw an Eastern European women, dressed like her American counterpart of decades before in the USA.
This Eastern Europe was wearing baggy clothes--including wearing a sweater with the words “Peace Pilgrim” sewn on it.
This modern Peace Pilgrim was walking all the hills of Israel that very winter 2007-2008 praying and witnessing for peace.
We should be prepared for such a witness this year—and the next . . . . and the next . . . and the next.
In the meantime, download a book on the Peace Pilgrim—in her own words—at this website:


Saturday, October 25, 2008

REDISTRIBUTION of WEALTH and Centralized Planning of Society is Often BIBLICAL, i.e. NOT NECESSARILY SOCIALIST only

REDISTRIBUTION of WEALTH and Centralized Planning of Society is Often BIBLICAL, i.e. NOT NECESSARILY SOCIALIST only

By Kevin Stoda

There has been a lot of misguided anti-socialist mudslinging in terms of progressive taxation and government role in our lives lately.

McCain has called Democratic voters and Obama socialist in nature—as though socialism is anti-Christian or anti-American.

I know Socialism and Obama is no Socialist. Many other political economists around the U.S. and the world certainly agree.

Publisher Richard MacArthur of Harpers magazine states, “You could make the argument that Barack Obama always puts Wall Street first.”

Moreover, on the charge that Obama is socialist, MacArthur chuckles, “Barack Obama is a socialist like Harper’s Magazine is a media conglomerate. It’s the most preposterous charge I’ve heard in a pretty crazy campaign. When they keep saying that Barack Obama puts socialism ahead of entrepreneurship, I keep thinking of the vast amount of money he’s been collecting from Wall Street for his campaign. His number one bundler is Goldman Sachs, which is—has given him up to this point I think about $740,000. The New York Times, just the other day, has revealed that there’s a new way the two campaigns have come up with to get cash out of Wall Street, and this is Democrats and Republicans alike, with these joint campaign committees. Twelve Goldman Sachs employees were revealed in this latest report to have given more than $25,000 apiece to Obama’s campaign.”

Obama, according to the Harper’s editor McArthur, “This [current Obama tax proposal] is a very modest, very, you might even say, timid response to what’s, in the last fifteen years, been a redistribution of wealth from the bottom up to the top. What is the mortgage crisis, except Wall Street picking on people who don’t know better, who are not very well educated about the finance market, and really robbing them, taking the money up to the top? That’s redistribution of wealth, upwards.”


MacArthur explains that the two top parties are nowhere near discussing basic socialist (or even right-wing) tenants of state overall intervention in the economy.

Since the current housing market- and banking recessions are the worst in nearly a century, progressives are needed in Washington at a massive level.

McArthur explained in his recent Democracy Now interview, that historically “since 1912, when we instituted an income tax, when the top—remember, the top rate in 1964, the last time we had this kind of crazy debate between the Goldwater Republicans and Lyndon Johnson, the top marginal rate was 91 percent. Barack Obama is only proposing to raise or restore the top marginal rate from the current 35 percent to 39.6 percent, which is what it was under the Clinton administration.”

MacArthur states that we Americans need a coherent planning mechanism—not a Soviet Union style plan.

He explains, “[T]here are a lot of things we could do, short of outright government takeover or outright socialism or communism, that could improve the situation.”
In Harper’s magazine’s November publication, a large number of economists weigh in on a variety of topics related to the economy and what the role of government should be. These include former Nobel Prize laureate, Joseph Stieglitz, who says “a simple regulation requiring mortgage originators to put their own money at risk in each transaction—say, 20 percent of the loan amount—would curb some of the abusive practices that have taken place.”

Moreover, in Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Tyagi also chime in with the “suggest[ion of] the creation of a consumer product safety commission for financial products. . . [T]hey talk about how we’ve had these tremendous advances in consumer protection when you buy a toaster, but not when you buy a mortgage, so to speak, or a stock or a bond.”

That is we have protections on physically produced products but note on bank, security, mortgage, and other financial notes.

Finally, the most important thing continues to be now that America needs to think globally but act locally. One theorist of this old mantra is Bill McKibbens who notes that “relocalizing the economy” is the key. McKibbens has explained, “We’re wasting vast amounts of money using fossil fuels to transport—thanks to ‘free trade,’ quote-unquote—to transport products all over the world, so that they can be made by—in cheap labor locales and then sold in richer areas. The cost of fossil fuel is going to continue to go up. It’s going to continue to diminish as a resource. We need to localize. We need to grow food close to where we eat it, for example.”


The news is more than in the wind.

Americans are hot-under-the-collar about all the lack of responsibility by the nation’s banking and business leaders from ENRON to Worldcom to CitiBank to Wall Street.

Americans want more fairness from are government—whether we are talking about income redistribution or whether we are talking about bad economic subsidies and bad laws that deform the economy. Those subsidies promote jobs going overseas. Those bad laws or lack of regulation allows companies and banks to flee from responsibility.

Naturally, we want fairness and better treatment from our financial and business sectors.

We also want legislation and government agencies--with a bite--to make certain that our government has oversight and the ability to regulate--and even arrest--dangerously bad business practices and malpractices.

Americans who have been picking up the tabs all these years to bad governance and lack of responsible businessmen are saying NOW—“Enough is Enough”!!!!

Progressivism is needed with a tinge of centralized planning—not soviet style planning—but good long term planning and regulation of badly running parts of the economy. This could be in terms of housing and banking.

For example, Luigi Zingales, in The Economist’s Voice writes that U.S. congress needs to target needy areas of the country where housing prices have dropped 20% or more in recent years. This new targeted regional planning would include as a first step the passage of fast-track renegotiation downwards of mortgages allowing, say up to 30% reduction in mortgages so (1) locals will be encouraged to keep their homes instead of bailing out and (2) leaving banks with even more losses in bankruptcies.

Zingales explains that economic research already provides good background on zip code by zipcode on housing prices. (We don’t need to help, for example, zip codes with positive housing price growth or with small losses.) In turn, at the time the house is eventually resold—i.e. if resold for a good profit—, the mortgage lender could be partially reimbursed at a much later date for agreeing to the terms of providing mortgage relief of 30%.

To me, this is only a tepid response, but it indicates or typifies where thinking and acting locally can make a difference.

Similarly, targeted investment in local alternative power industries need to be done on a scale that the US did in the rural electrification sector in the 1930s and 1940s.

An aggressive government promoting progressive human needs is welcome and needed in America. Similarly, in the banking sector, the government could do more to promote local banks and credit unions over poorly run and managed mega-banks and finance houses, like Sallie Mae, Freddy Mac, and others.


In Leviticus 25 (and in Numbers), the Bible talks about redistribution of wealth. Redistribution of property and wealth is mentioned explicitly under the rules regarding Jubilee. Jubilee was a mechanism stemming from the All-Mighty’s desire that communities live in harmony and enjoy social justice and prosperity.

Simple Bible research finds that the concept of biblical Jubilee is related not necessarily related to the concept of socialism but to key words such as justice, emancipation, liberty, freedom, fairness, and social or communal harmony—as well as respect for the commands of the Lord.

Similarly, today, worldwide movements—in no case necessarily socialist movements—who look for fair redistribution of goods and resources from both liberal and conservative religious agendas.

Initially, the evangelical right in America was mixed in its response to worldwide movements related to Jubilee.

However, by 2000, many of the extreme radical right had given in and had come to support the international Jubilee movement.

In short, Catholics, evangelicals, born again Christians, Jews, Muslims and peoples of many faiths respect the concept of Jubilee--and wealth or resource redistribution on behalf of development, redevelopment. They do so by following what the biblical scriptures say on these concepts:

(1) Fairness
(2) Justice
(3) Freedom
(4) Liberty
(5) Harmony
(6) Emancipation

I see no reason why America as of 2008 cannot talk about redistribution and some forms of central communal planning for communal development and improvements--without mudsling at one another, i.e. calling somebody a communist or Soviet style dictator or even fascist just for talking about these six virtues and America’s need for redistribution of government’s role in helping coordinating a badly run supposedly free market.

This understanding of justice, emancipation, liberty, freedom, fairness, and social or communal harmony should go for (a) the progressive religionists, (b) non-religionists, (c) evangelical religionists, (d) conservative religionists or (d) whatever religionist you are.

Dear America, if socialism is a bad word and central planning is anathema too you, at least, look to your religious and cultural heritage to see that progressive taxation, government regulation and good planning belongs here—along with communities working together for fairness, justice, freedom, liberty, emancipation and harmony is a great thing to stand for in 2008, 2009, 2010 and onwards!!!!


Harper’s Magazine,

Hudson, Michael, “Thinking the Unthinkable, A Debt Write Down and Jubilee Year”,


Jubilee Debt Campaign,

Jubilee USA,

Jubilee 2000,

“McCain Calls Obama Socialist”,

Zingales, Luigi, “Plan B”,


PARDON ME--HCAN is not single-payer

PARDON ME--HCAN is not single-payer

By Kevin Anthony Stoda

This last week I wrote about Healthcare for America Now (HCAN) and its campaign for a much better health care plan for America.

I have since been informed by reader, Doug Rogers that HCAN—sponsored by Barack Obama and ignored by John McCain—does not actually meet many of poorer America’s needs. Moreover, it seems to be a plan to make more money for the current health care insurance and industry players. As far as I can tell both Cynthia McKinney (Greens) and Ralph Nader are supporting much better single-payer plans.

Perhaps this is why in Missouri the alternative parties are doing so well.

The following is exactly what Doug Rogers conveyed to me.


HCAN is not single-payer.

No, it is not a single payer plan. The original bill that was introduced by John Conyers is called Healthcare Now. It is a single-payer plan. It is backed by Dennis Kucinich and presidential candidates Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney.
This other initiative, which is called Healthcare for America Now or HCAN(confusing right?) is backed by the mainstream Democrats, (I cancelled my membership because of it), Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. It is well-funded and is getting a huge push right now and threatens to swamp the single-payer initiative.

I don't know who the unseen players are in its promotion. But the thing you have to ask yourself is why would anyone go into a negotiation asking for less than what they wanted? If you had an agent negotiating the sale of your house and you were hoping to get $200,000 for it, but the agent offered it for $180,000 and then told you he ended up settling for $150,000, what conclusions would you draw? Either that he is totally incompetent or that he was getting something on the side from the other party in the negotiation.

That is the situation we have with the Democrats right now. Obama is receiving massive contributions from the health insurance industry, so it’s not hard to get the picture.

Please check this out and let as many people as you can know what's really going on. This is our last and best opportunity to reform healthcare and if the insurance companies can kill it it will be a generation before we get another opportunity.


Moreover, Doug Rogers had written earlier on this topic:

HCAN is not your friend.

Unfortunately HCAN is a decoy to once again kill healthcare reform in this country. Obama's plan is essentially Clinton's plan. She found that the insurance lobby was so powerful that the best approach was to just give them what they want. So the Obama/Clinton/HCAN plan is to leave the private health insurance industry in control, allowing them to keep insuring the healthiest and wealthiest people and reaping the profits of that, while the poor and sick would become the burden of the U.S. Treasury.

So just like in the Medicare reform that the Republicans passed, we will have to incentivize coverage for the unprofitable- that is give taxpayer dollars over to the insurance industry at whatever level they decide is adequate. The problem is the Treasury is about to go bankrupt with the multiple corporate scams that siphon tax dollars into private hands. So it will be easy for conservatives to say there's not enough money to help poor people and the whole thing will crash once again.

The only plan that will actually reduce what we spend on health care, which is really our only option, is single payer. That is Medicare for all, private delivery but publicly financed. We need many more people to say no to HCAN and yes to the Healthcare Now initiative (you can see how they even co-opted the name to confuse people). A strong counter-mandate to Obama's pro-corporate agenda by voting for a single-payer third party candidate is imperative.


Stoda, Kevin , “Health Care for America Says …”


Wednesday, October 22, 2008



By Kevin Stoda

I am 46 years old and I have suffered from chronic illnesses for over two decades. On at least five occasions I have decided to go abroad to live (or have decided to extend a year or two living abroad) to get better health care than what a young single man in America can get, i.e. in terms of health care in America. This has historically been due to the rules permitting insurance companies in the past to not allow for pre-existing conditions.

This is ridiculous! (America needs to take care of its own better.)

This idea of having to go abroad to get health coverage can extend to family members suffering illnesses, too. It is heart rending when you consider how many husbands and wives (or sons or daughters) have joined the military or national guard to support loved ones due to health care issues in their own families.

Specifically, illnesses in the family have put the family on financially shaky grounds and some Americans seek jobs elsewhere on the planet to help pay off family debt or to pay down related costs as extended family falls short of cash due to health care related financial stress and bankruptcies. (I have met an Egyptian national in Kuwait who had served with the U.S. in Iraq and he swore that every American there was working to pay down a mortgage or other debt.)


HEALTH CARE FOR AMERICA NOW is a non-profit organization concerned with this matter of better health care in the USA today. They wrote me recently and stated: “The insurance industry is pushing for less regulation. They want more leeway to drop people with pre-existing conditions and deny you care. Today, people around the country are standing up and calling Congress to stop them. . . .With health care costs rising and wages falling, causing one bankruptcy every nineteen seconds, it's clear any solution to America's economic crisis has to include health care reform. Even if you've called your Members of Congress before, please do so again.”

According to the HEALTH CARE FOR AMERICA NOW advert, “For months now the insurance industry has been on tour, pushing for more industry-friendly policies. And even though massive deregulation is what caused the current financial crisis that threatens our economy, the insurance industry wants more deregulation so they can take more of your money and give you less in return. The industry has said that they are fundamentally against the real solutions we need: A guarantee of quality, affordable health care for everyone in America. So today across America, we're engaging all of our partners and supporters to have thousands of people call Congress and demand real health care reform. The insurance industry has made it clear where they stand, but do your Members of Congress know where you stand?”
Here is the list of 109 congressmen that HEALTH CARE FOR AMERICA NOW claim are supporting their demand—rather, our American demand, isn’t it !!!!??

Representative Raul Grijalva

Representative Marion Berry
Representative Mike Ross

Representative Joe Baca
Representative Bob Filner
Representative Michael M. Honda
Representative Barbara Lee
Representative Adam Schiff
Representative Hilda L. Solis
Representative Henry Waxman
Representative Lynn Woolsey

Representative Joe Courtney
Representative Rosa DeLauro
Representative John B. Larson
Representative Christopher Murphy

Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

Representative Corrine Brown
Representative Kathy Castor
Representative Kendrick B. Meek
Representative Wasserman Schultz
Representative Robert Wexler

Senator Richard Durbin
Senator Barack Obama
Representative Rahm Emanuel
Representative Luis V. Gutierrez
Representative Phil Hare
Representative Jesse L. Jackson, Jr.
Representative Janice Schakowsky

Senator Tom Harkin
Representative Leonard L. Boswell
Representative Bruce Braley
Representative Dave Loebsack

Representative Nancy Boyda

Representative Ben Chandler
Representative John Yarmuth

Representative William Jefferson

Representative Tom Allen

Senator Benjamin Cardin
Senator Barbara Mikulski
Representative Elijah Cummings
Representative Donna F. Edwards
Representative C.A. (Dutch) Ruppersberger
Representative Chris VanHollen

Representative William Delahunt

Senator Debbie Stabenow
Representative John Conyers, Jr.
Representative Dale E. Kildee
Representative Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick

Representative Keith Ellison
Representative Betty McCollum
Representative Jim Oberstar

Representative Russ Carnahan
Representative Emanuel Cleaver

Representative Shelley Berkley

New Hampshire
Representative Paul Hodes
Representative Carol Shea-Porter

New Jersey
Senator Frank R. Lautenberg
Senator Robert Menendez
Representative Rush Holt
Representative Frank Pallone, Jr.
Representative Bill Pascrell
Representative Steven R. Rothman
Representative Albio Sires

New York
Representative Michael A. Arcuri
Representative Timothy Bishop
Representative Yvette D. Clarke
Representative Joseph Crowley
Representative Kirsten Gillibrand
Representative John Hall
Representative Brian Higgins
Representative Carolyn Maloney
Representative Carolyn McCarthy
Representative Michael R. McNulty
Representative Gregory W. Meeks
Representative Jerrold Nadler
Representative Charles B. Rangel
Representative Edolphus Towns
Representative Nydia Velazquez

Representative Marcy Kaptur
Representative Tim Ryan
Representative Betty Sutton
Representative Charlie A. Wilson

Representative Earl Blumenauer
Representative Peter DeFazio

Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr.
Representative Jason Altmire
Representative Robert A. Brady
Representative Mike Doyle
Representative Chaka Fattah
Representative Paul E. Kanjorski
Representative Patrick Murphy
Representative Allyson Y. Schwartz

Rhode Island
Representative Patrick J. Kennedy
Representative Jim Langevin

South Dakota
Senator Tim Johnson
Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin

Representative Lloyd Doggett
Representative Al Green
Representative Gene Green
Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee
Representative Ciro D. Rodriguez

Representative Peter Welch

Representative Norman D. Dicks
Representative Jim McDermott
Representative Adam Smith

West Virginia
Representative Nick. J. Rahall

Representative Tammy Baldwin
Representative Steve Kagen
Representative Ron Kind

I note that only one Kansas representative and no Kansas Senator has spoken up. So, personally, I have to call on Senator Pat Roberts and others in that state to get on the horn and speak out for us.
As far as I can tell, only Obama supports this initiative directly. I imagine that there are other alternative candidates who support the core idea of universal and no-precondition health care in America. Both Nader and McKinney (Greens) support a single-payer plan in the USA.
Now, I encourage Republicans and others to speak up and make sure that this 2008 election health care is tied to the election results and the peoples needs and desires are acted on NOW.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

LOYAC, Kuwait for Kenya (K4K), and Nutri Viva Speak at AWARE Center—Is there hope for Kuwait and the Gulf Nations to Pick Up Slack in Development from

LOYAC, Kuwait for Kenya (K4K), and Nutri Viva Speak at AWARE Center—Is there hope for Kuwait and the Gulf Nations to Pick Up Slack in Development from WEST in Future?

By Kevin A. Stoda, Kuwait

On the evening of October 16, four youth-led organization volunteers--sponsored under the umbrellas of Kuwait’s LOYAC (Lothan Youth Achievement Center)--spoke at the AWARE center in Surra, Kuwait.

These two groups were K4K (Kuwait for Kenya) and Nutri Viva. The former group was formed in 2006 to help promote youth and leadership programs and their locations at 3 training centers in Mombasa, Kenya. The latter organization, Nutri Viva, was founded a bit more recently by Kuwait University students concerned with bad health in Kuwait promoted by the lack of common awareness about nutrition.

LOYAC is a non-profit foundation which seeks to train and empower youth in Kuwait—regardless of nationality--to build a better country and to build a better planet. Alas, many non-Kuwaiti youth are not aware of this great opportunity, so to date very few other nationalities have been represented in many of the LOYAC activities in a country where many schools are technically segregated by nationality, tribe, class or wealth.

Besides the Nutri Viva and the K4K groups, LOYAC sponsors drama and thespian groups. LOYAC also supports youth sports clubs and intra-school competitions. It assists students to study or serve as ambassadors for the organization or country in various lands around the globe. Some of these youth have recently worked in the United Nations or the British Parliament.

Moreover, LOYAC offers both mentoring and training seminars, such as on the 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL COLLEGE STUDENTS.

At a time when Kuwait has run many budget surpluses and as Kuwaiti-paid wages have increased at 10% annual rate in recent years, it is certainly a hopeful sign that Kuwaiti youth have an interest in reaching across borders and promoting international peace and development.

Youth in Kuwait have a few outlets, like LOYAC, to empower young leaders to reach out. The presentations at the AWARE Center on the even of WORLD FOOD DAY provided a very important glimmer of HOPE that the country of Kuwait—infamous for its badly run economy and for too many youth left to drug problems and drag racing on busy highways at rush-hour—can develop stronger leaders in decades to come.


According to K4K’s own website, “The K4K (Kuwait for Kenya) project was sparked by the painful sights of the streets of Mombasa through the eyes of Kuwaiti youth. Children of five sniffed glue and gasoline as an alternative to food. HIV/AIDS is very prevalent and spreads uncontrollably among the youth, not to mention the millions of children born positive to it. Poverty is everywhere in Mombasa, which means furthering one’s education or career is not always possible. The flickering light of hope comes in the form of MYCC (Mombassa Youth Counseling Center) and K4K.”

At the AWARE center, two Kuwaiti volunteers, Sarah and Mariam, spoke on behalf of K4K. Both young 20-somethings had been active in the organization for the past year. After returning from studying abroad and after helping raise funds for K4K through various activities, exhibitions, auctions, and other projects, both Sarah and Mariam were obviously enjoying the fruits of their efforts.

When asked by the audience whether they would return to Kenya again and volunteer, both Sarah and Mariam stated, “We’d go [if we have the chance] again and again and again. They [the Kenyans] were so happy. The Kenyans are amazing people.”
When asked whether they experienced any risks in going to Kenya to work on building projects and to teach in schools, the reply was, “Basically no, we had our full vaccines and took pills. Kenya is just the friendliest place…. Of course, there are dark corners in every country where you don’t want to go alone.”

K4K projects in recent years have enabled three training centers for youth (their age and younger) in Mombasa to improve their infrastructures significantly over the past three years.

K4K volunteers have been involved in financing and building school rooms, blackboards, classroom desks, computers, and water installation projects. These Mombasan partner centers for K4K centers are the Goodwill Academy, the Mombasa Youth Counseling Center (MYCC), and Child Development Center (CDC).

K4K’s projects at the these three centers for 2009 include:

-At the Child Development Center (CDC)—K4K will be installing and fitting a new library, new kitchen, dining hall and the replacement of one old rickety classroom with 3 three new ones
-At the Mombasa Youth Counseling Center (MYCC)—volunteers working with their Kenyan partners, will be upgrading the HIV lab and the VCT screening center as well as upgrading or renovating the conference hall
-At the Child Development Center (CDC)—K4K activists will be donating new computer sets, purchasing student and teacher desks and tables and providing supplementary school uniforms to scholarship students.


Similar to problems faced by youth and families in the United States and in many other developed and developing countries, Kuwaiti adults and youth are overweight.
This life-threatening situation has partially to do with the permissiveness of parenting in Kuwait and is also due to the lack of nutritional oversight in households where children are handed over to maids at an early age.

In Kuwait, growth in obesity related problems have also to do with the fact that good nutritional educational role models are lacking in many corners of the land. NUTRI VIVA, founded by Kuwait University students and supported by LOYAC, was set up to counter these bad trends that are leading to an increase in diabetes and other advanced diseases in Kuwait (at a level heretofore not known in this corner of the globe).

Nutrition knowledge and food sciences are underdeveloped in a region of the world that went from great relative poverty to unknown opulence over the last 50 to 60 years. The opulence brought a mass importation of foreign and fast food eating habits in countries with few nutritionists around the Gulf.

NUTRI VIVA is not only interested in health but in the body. That is, the volunteer group is wants to improve the situation in Kuwait in terms of more holistic development. NUTRI VIVA leaders, Dalal and Dalal, speaking at the AWARE center on October 16 just prior to the K4K presentation have with their peers organized at the Department of Family Sciences at Kuwait University a host of orientations for parents and their children.At the AWARE Center, the two Dalals shared slides of education days where both mothers and their children were educated separately.

The children’s orientation was done through fun and games. Dalal and Dalal are also receiving funding and support in producing a kids-educational animated-cartoon with a story line to teach children about nutrition and how to live and eat healthily.


In Kuwait, a chronic problem over the past thirty or more years has been the lack of things for young people--of whatever nationality--to be involved in. Indeed, there are, for example, in Kuwait too many clubs who don’t want membership from such-and-such nationality. I was happy to hear that recently two Jordanians had worked this past year on the fund-raising projects of K4K.

As a whole, there are also not enough sports clubs and other activities allowed or promoted in most public and private schools in Kuwait to a significant degree. This great lack leads to a lack in people trained to be leaders through achievement—i.e. not having leaders chosen by which tribe happens to have more voters or representatives on a committee.

Therefor, it is certainly great that such new organizations, like those sponsored under LOYAC since 2003, are beginning to make a dent in the consciousness of Kuwaiti youth. (By the way, according to the LOYAC website, youth from age 15 to 30 years of age can get involved. There are also many mentoring opportunities for volunteers from any nationality.)

Finally, I hope that the LOYAC will be able to get more non-Kuwaiti’s involved, especially as Kuwaiti youth make up less than half the country’s population, and many forces, rules and traditions in society keep the country ghettoized to a great extant. This keeps the land of Kuwait from developing positively as a successful multicultural model, which events of recent history could enable the country to become.

Also, I personally also encourage all Kuwaiti youth to look to the positive examples in LOYAC sponsored organizations. You, too, have opportunities now to become involved and help wealthy Kuwaiti society to make a more positive dent in its self-image and positively shine lights in other corners of the globe.

With rich lands like the U.S. in very troubled economic times, Kuwait and other Gulf states need to become more effective in aiding people-to-people development across our troubled globe. These leaders should focus on cultivate youth as LOYAC does to start leading the way NOW.



K4K (Kuwait for Kenya) 2007,

Lothan Youth Achievement Center,

Loyac International Scholarship holders,


Monday, October 13, 2008

AS THE 2008 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION DRAWS NEAR IT IS TIME TO SUPPORT THIRD PARTY CANDIDATES—I’ll ask my supporters in Kansas to vote for Nader-Gonzalez,

AS THE 2008 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION DRAWS NEAR IT IS TIME TO SUPPORT THIRD PARTY CANDIDATES—I’ll ask my supporters in Kansas to vote for Nader-Gonzalez, but others need to choose carefully whom to choose on other state ballots


I have been watching the ability of the Nader-Gonzalez ticket to succeed in getting on the Kansas’ and another 44 state ballots. That is pretty good for a pair of candidates on a shoestring budget.

I have also appreciated the daily e-mails with consistently good insight on the enfolding financial and quality of living crises in the USA in 2008. Sign up for those mails here at .

One of the more recent blogs from the independent candidates’ website cites Noam Chomsky and John Dewey in the same breath on economy, politics, and business: The article is entitled POLITICS IS THE SHADOW CAST ON SOCIETY BY BIG BUSINESS .

“As Noam Chomsky put it this week: ’The United States effectively has a one-party system, the business party, with two factions, Republicans and Democrats.’”
While John Dewey noted, “Politics is the shadow cast on society by big business.”


According to Nader, John Dewey defined power in the American system as “business for private profit through private control of banking, land, industry, reinforced by command of the press, press agents and other means of publicity and propaganda”.

Another recent blog by Nader is “In the Public Interest: Derivative Casino”.
In the blog, Nader reminds us political economic historians, “In 1995, Congress enacted the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (PSLRA) of 1995, which imposed onerous restrictions on plaintiffs suing wrongdoers in the stock market. The law was enacted in the wake of Orange County, California's government bankruptcy caused by abuses in derivatives trading. An amendment offered by Rep. Ed Markey would have exempted derivatives trading abuse lawsuits from the PSLRA restrictions. In defeating the amendment, then-Representative and now-SEC Chairman Chris Cox quoted Alan Greenspan, saying “it would be a grave error to demonize derivatives;’ and, ‘It would be a serious mistake to respond to these developments [in Orange County, California] by singling out derivative instruments for special regulatory treatment.’”

Nader reminds us that Greenspan and Congress were sleeping at the helm in the 1990s (as well as in this decade) in protecting American pensioner and investor interests. This was done simply for short term gains on the stock market.

This writing of Nader is on par with Paul Krugman’s writings—and Krugman just got the Nobel Prize in economics. This is the sort of analytical eye that a third party can bring to American politics—if Americans allow both third parties and alternative candidates to come forward and threaten the system, as Ross Perot did in 1992.

In Kansas currently, McCain has a 12 to 14 percent lead over Obama, so I do not foresee me endangering Obama’s chances of kicking the badly run Republican Party out of the White House.


Meanwhile, Kansas has a number of other candidates on the presidential list this year. There are the Libertarians, with Barr and Root
as presidential and vice-presidential posts. Moreover, there is the perennial Reform Party, with Baldwin and Castle topping their party lists.

Interestingly, the Kansas State authorities tried to have Chuck Baldwin taken off the ballot in September, but this has been cleared up.
By the way, here is what the American Reform Party of Kansas stands for:

The Reform Party, among many other issues, in there platform are calling for recognition of Cuba and demanding the U.S. remain current on its UN contributions. Moreover, the Reform Party requires clear access to third parties on the ballot on par with what the Democrats and Republicans experience.

In short, Kansans have no excuse for NOT voting for someone they like--rather than voting for someone they only feel like sticking up their noses at.


Similarly, opposing the inadequate and aging U.S. Senator Pat Roberts who blank-checked so many questionable pro-Bush bills and decisions (like going to war in Iraq or bugging citizens’ phones) over the last 8 years—or more—are again the Libertarian and Reform parties.

Randall L. Hodgekinson is leading the Libertarians
on this portion of the ballot as is the Reform Party member, Joseph L. Martin.

Oh, yes, Jim Slattery is running on the ticket for the Democrats against Pat Roberts, as well. Slattery’s advertisements are popular on the web.

Too bad he is on the Democratic ticket, eh? Anyway, all alternative candidates can run similar radio ads. (The TV controllers of American life make it difficult for poorer folks to get time. Let’s get control of the airwaves, cable, and satellite networks in this campaign. Throw all the bums out or scare them almost-to-death. Vote for alternatives.)

Both the Libertarians of Kansas and the Reform Party are putting up candidates in each of the state’s four U.S. House of Representative.


In many neighboring states, like Nebraska and Missouri, the presidential candidates are the same as in Kansas.

I have looked at Missouri sample ballots, and there are also two alternative (third party) candidates for governor, but elsewhere on the Missouri state ballots there are almost no other third party candidates to be found anywhere. (I found only one libertarian.)

This situation is found too often in America. Most states have absolutely no choice but to vote for the status quo—Republicans and Democrats.

To the north, in Nebraska, the Green Party, with Cynthia Anne McKinney as presidential candidate made it on the presidential ballot along with the five sets of parties that Kansas has.

NOTE: If someone wants to duplicate my research a great website for doing so is


On this site, I looked up Colorado presidential elections and was astounded at the number of candidates pending—16 presidential candidates in all!

Astounding! Coloradoans should be able to find a good candidate among that group:

On the other hand, it appears that Oklahoma has no other presidential candidate options than the parties Chomsky warned us against—Democrat and Republican.

After reviewing the 5 central U.S. states—Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Colorado—I would have to say that non-Democrat and non-Republican voices are often not being heard as well as they should be. Oklahoma is a particularly sad case. (No wonder most of America’s newest casinos are opening in Oklahoma—the Republicans and Democrats love casinos, derivatives, gambling and taking your money without giving much back.)

Let this election be the one when the death-toll to these two parties’ stronghold, go out and vote for the alternatives, NOW.


I just sent in my ballot for Kansas. I voted for the Nader-Gonzalez for President and Vice President to encourage voices in politics that emulate Paul Krugman

or Noam Chomsky more than they mimic Dick Cheney or Paul Volker.

Whoever you vote for, please really consider supporting alternative voices in 2008!!! Vote wisely and sincerely for someone you want.


Saturday, October 11, 2008



By Kevin A. Stoda, in Kuwait

In 1904, ten years before the era in which the British domination of the world’s financial sector began to end (i.e. in the wake of WWI and WWII), the former colonial secretary of Great Britain, Joseph Chamberlain spoke to British Bankers, “Granted that you are the clearing house of the world, ‘but’ are you entirely beyond anxiety as to the permanence of your great prosperity? . . . Banking is not the creator of our prosperity but the creation of wealth; and if the industrial energy and development which has been going on for so many years in this country were to be hindered or relaxed, then finance and all that finance means, will follow trade to the countries which are more successful than ourselves.”

As both regionally, first Dubai and now Kuwait seek to become new financial capitals over the coming two decades, it is now time to reckon what it means to put one's future development primarily into the hands of the financial and debt sectors.

In his chapter on “Debt” in the non-fiction work AMERICAN THEOCRACY(2006), Kevin Phillips cited Joseph Chamberlain’s speech to bankers in Britain of 1904, i.e. in a land--similar to the U.S.A. in 2001--which had gernerally determined that investing in homeland productivity had less and less value. In short, over a hundred years ago this decade, British financiers, lenders, and bankers had determined that chasing global investment and investments in financial gimmicks were easier money than promoting productivity in the United Kingdom.

Phillips notes, “But while this [perspective of Joseph Chamberlain] was one of the most accurate predictions in British commercial history, it did not carry the day.”

Such was the case over the past two decades as critiques from all over the political spectrum in the U.S.--from Kevin Phillips to Paul Krugman to Nome Chomsky--warned America about its decision to hollow out its commitments to the poorest echelons of the society while focusing on the financial post-industrial development of the USA. The United Kingdom, Iceland, Hong Kong and other countries have mimicked the USA model of the past decades.

Kevin Phillips, in AMERICAN THEOCRACY, gives the examples of more balanced economies (than Britain and the United States) to make clear how the myths concerning the positive facets of post-industrialism should have been called into question by both the USA and the UK leaders over the past two decades. The three countries that Phillips lifted up as alternative models to the under-exploited industrial and productive capacities of the USA and its Atlantic counter-part are: Japan, Switzerland and Germany.


Phillips begins his attack on the U.S. model (mimicked from Spain in the 15th and 16th Century, Holland of the 17th and Britain of the 19th Century) by warning American readers, “Postindustrialism, then, may be more a quest for genteel retirement than a real economics-based future for a major power.”

That is, if you want to retire as a superpower, you might try the financial emphasis.

Nontheless, as the U.S. federal reserve has already given 850 billion dollars in "cash for trash" in 2008 without reducing poor people's debt and housing losses AT ALL.

Furthermore, Phillips argues, “All three nations have wages or overall production costs higher than those in the United States. All have reasonably successful financial sectors and postindustrial accomplishments (tourism, ecological awareness, and renewable-energy emphases—wind in Germany, solar power in Japan). However, they balance these with highly developed manufacturing industries. For Germany, machinery, vehicles, chemicals, and metal products are the great exports; for Switzerland, chemicals, metal products, machinery, and mechanical-engineering products (especially clocks and watches); and for Japan, vehicles, electronics, and computers. Each nation’s products command global respect for quality.”

This, of course, does not mean that the U.S. doesn’t have quality production. It has wonderful production out of Silicon Valley and other IT firms—as well as high tech weaponry. It also has some medical technologies--which many poorer Americans can't afford--to export. It also currently has some nascent alternative energy research and techniqes to offer.

However, the U.S. is not competitive in super fast passenger train technology as are the Japanese and Germany. (China now through its purchase of such high level transport technology has gained greater command in this field than the U.S. offers.) Nor is it very competitive in the car market or any number of areas of which it had dominance over the 1940 to 1970 period.

As usual Phillips, backs up with a lot of statistics and research what he has been warning conservative, neo-con, and neo-liberal America about since the 1980s in his non-fiction books like, WEALTH AND DEMOCRACY.

Phillips notes, “Indeed, German, Japanese, and Swiss export prowess puts the once-mighty United States to shame. In 2003 and 2004 the U.S. trade deficit in manufactured goods rose from $470billion to $552 billion. The three better-balanced economies, by contrast, enjoyed huge surpluses in trade in manufactured goods and large ones in their overall current accounts. A set of statistics will demonstrate the point. Estimates for 2004 provided by the CIA in mid-2005 put Germany first in the world with $893 billion in exports (mostly manufactured goods)—this from a national population of 82 million. The united states places second with exports were dwarfed by $1.3 trillion worth of imports. The Japanese, chalking up the world’s third-highest export total, $538 billion, did so with a national population of 127 million. Pocket-sized Switzerland was even more of a per capita powerhouse: with a national population of only 7.5 million $131 billion worth of goods in 2004.”

Most Republicans and Reagan Democrats over the past 28 years have failed to read Kevin Phillips, even though Phillips is the Republican architect of most of the Post-1960 rebirth of the Republican party in the USA.


I recall this head-in-the-sand approach to Phillips at Texas A& M in graduate school history seminar. In review of Phillip’s writings, I observed one Reagan-Republican classmate (a doctoral candidate) stand up and say that Phillips, in his WEALTH AND DEMOCRACY and THE POLITICS OF RICH AND POOR, was simply using his own liberal and uninformed statistics to make his case. In short, he was poo-pooing facts and well researched documents on the hollowing out of the Middle Class in the USA in the 1980s and 1990s.

This particular doctoral student was simply going through college life assuming that everything is an argument and nothing matters but point of view—i.e. not statistics or facts on the ground. This politicization of logic in the US academia mirrored what was happening in the herd mentality in U.S. politics and political economics since the 1960s.

Americans have got to get their feet on the ground and stop believing facts are always political.

Both the U.S. and the UK were full of information and in-the-know-critiques, such as economist Paul Krugman, who have made clear over the past two decades that the overemphasis on financial sector was no-go in the long run. Moreover, the hollowing out of the social commitment of the state to the non-retired American citizen was also fodder for critique and alarm by Phillips, Krugman and others dating back to 1980 when John Anderson walked out of the Republican Party and ran against Ronald Reagan and voodoo economics.

Meanwhile, the Republican takeover reigned over by William (Bill) Clinton in the 1990s only continued the hallowing out of the U.S. social and mass transport infrastructure at a national level.


As many Americans, have been noting, i.e. as more and more jobs, companies and investments leave the USA over the NAFTA era, post-industrialism can be a dead-end to certain facets of many of America’s (and Mexico’s) local economies. We can't allow the old-mentality that OUR COUNTRY CAN'T AFFORD TO HELP THE POOR AND THE HURTING.

If we can help out wealthy and hurting bankers and financiars--and other schoundrals to the tune of nearly a trillion dollars in 2008 alone--we have to get it clear that we could have done better in the social contracts of the past 3 decades than to end up bailing out bad debtors. We could have competed with Switzerland, Germany, and Japan on providing high wages and high quality of life to our citizens.

Meanwhile, the bailouts of Wall Streets in banks are going to be over one-trillion dollars in 2008 and 2009. So, Americans need to collar the government leaders in these November 2008 elections. We must notify them of change.

I suggest one way of doing this is to vote for third party progressive candidates (and any other real progressives who are lucky to be on the big tent party tickets) who are willing to help out homeowners and debtors.

We also need to return to a progressive tax system to pay off the big 30-year party on Wall Street and in the Financial Industry in the USA and around the globe.

Please comment below what other progressive political economic change is needed as of 2009 below in the comment section. (For example, health care for all!!)




Saturday, October 04, 2008

How do we send this to CONGRESS??? --an article by a very concerned American with the correct mindset

My mother passes me e-mails. This one seems timely--but Congress doesn't seem to listen. What do you believe?

How do we send this to CONGRESS???
Sounds Reasonable to Me !

Ladies and Gentlemen ,

I'm against the $85,000,000,000.00 bailout AIG. Instead, I'm in favor of giving $85,000,000, 000 to America in a 'We Deserve It Dividend' program.

To make the math simple, let's assume there are 200,000,000 bonafide U.S. Citizens 18+.

Our population is about 301,000,000 +/- counting every man, woman and child. So 200,000,000 might be a fair stab at adults 18 and up..

So divide 200 million adults 18+ into $85 billon that equals $425,000.00.

My plan is to give $425,0 00 to every person 18+ as a 'We Deserve It Dividend'.

Of course, it would NOT be tax-free.

So let's assume a tax rate of 30%.

Every individual 18+ has to pay $127,500.00 in taxes.

That sends $25,500,000, 000 right back to Uncle Sam.

But it means that every adult 18+ has $297,500.00 in their pocket.

A husband and wife has $595,000 .00.

What would you do with $297,500.00 to $595,000.00 in your family?

Pay off your mortgage - housing crisis solved.

Repay college loans - what a great boost to new grads

Put away money for college - it'll be there

Save in a bank - create money to loan to entrepreneurs.

Buy a new car - create jobs

Invest in the market - capital drives growth

Pay for your parent's medical insurance - health care improves

Enable Deadbeat Dads to come clean - or else

Remember this is for every adult U S Citizen 18+ including the folks who lost their jobs at Lehman Brothers and every other company that is cutting back. And of course, for those serving in our Armed Forces.

If we're going to re-distribute wealth let's really do it...instead of trickling out a puny $1000.00 ( 'vote buy' ) economic incentive that is being proposed by one of our candidates for President.

If we're going to do an $85 billion bailout, let's bail out every adult U S Citizen 18+!

As for AIG - liquidate it.

Sell off its parts.

Let American General go back to being American General.

Sell off the real estate.

Let the private sector bargain hunters cut it up and clean it up.

Here's my rationale. We deserve it and AIG doesn't.

Sure it's a crazy idea that can 'never work.'

But can you imagine the Coast-To-Coast Block Party!

How do you spell Economic Boom?

I trust my fellow adult Americans to know how to use the $85 Billion 'We Deserve It Dividend' more than do the geniuses at AIG or in Washington DC.

And remember, The Family plan only really costs $59.5 Billion because $25.5 Billion is returned instantly in taxes to Uncle Sam.

Ahhh...I feel so much better getting that off my chest.

Kindest personal regards,

A Creative Guy & Citizen of the Republic.

PS: Feel free to pass this along to your pals as it's good for a laugh

Glenn Freezman

Family Abstract, Inc.


I Called it Right! I Called it Wrong

I Called it Right! I Called it Wrong

By Kevin A. Stoda

In December 2000, I had cavalierly told my old Texas A&M political science professor, Dr. John Robertson, that after a four more years of the Reagan-Bush Economics era (under the incoming Cheney-Bush Administration), Americans would finally have had enough the guiltless route to wealth for the elite. I predicted that th U.S.A. needed to really comprehend how bankrupt the myths of the 1980s were in order to return to an age of “capitalism with a more human face”.

In short, in December 2000 I had naively and optimistically predicted that within a few years of suffering under George W. Bush regime, the American economy would be so far off-course by 2004 that the combination of neo-conservatism and neo-liberalism would be shamed out of office.

I was extremely certain in my naivety that the American political pendulum could and would swing back to the eras which had brought America recovery and social-political-economic expansion, like those decades between the mid-1930s and 1960s.


By that particular December of 2000, I had already worked or traveled in nearly 70 countries and I knew that the political economic dogma of the prior 35 years had produced only a consistent series of boons and bust, whereby the U.S. economy was basically overseeing the largest (defense) spending in world history (using tax dollars) on things-that-go-boom.

These weapons and war bonds would lead to wounded veterans and worse, without really gaining much in the way of better transportation, educational, nor energy infrastructures. In short, American standards of living have only barely been treading water--despite the greatest growth in the stock markets which America has known in over half a century.

Only the booms (1) in the aircraft industry and (2) in areas of communication technology have really improved the homegrown U.S. economy much over the past 3 decades. For example, in my home state of Kansas, Cessna and the aircraft sector did particularly well for the last two decades of the 20th Century. Meanwhile, the related IT sectors and cable satellite sectors also expanded quickly, paving the way for a world of internet for nearly all.

Aside from those two sectors (and possibly the still growingly-expensive higher education sector), America was far from a global model for development for most of the developing world.

Why? Because homegrown debt is not a positive export product for most developing countries to try and mimic.

From 1983 to 2000, I had traveled and worked in regions around Japan, the UAE, Western Europe, and Nicaragua. Everywhere I went as a lifelong educator, I have bemoaned the hype about America Inc. as “the business model” for either the developed or developing world.

I, therefore, advocated that travelers from various lands not constantly look to the USA to find models for development. I had told several Brazilians and Argentineans whom I met in Hungry in 1987 specifically not to copy the USA in terms of getting their housing sector improved and developed. I explained that the USA model was based on debt or expensive rent—with only a little government help in the getting-the-loan stage.

These South Americans looked at me in dismay and said, “Where should we look for a model? Our country only looks at El Norte for its business and socio-economic development models these days, especially as communism and socialism seems to be collapsing around us.”


One area I have suggested developing countries look into, i.e. an area not pursued by the USA, is the idea of creating post-office banks, as used by many in Germany and Japan where I lived in the 1980s and 1990s. In those countries, I had observed that post offices actually functioned as banks, filling a great gap in countries where savings rates were being encouraged by government and by commerce. In fact, by 1995 the bank with the most customers on the planet was the Japanese Post Office Bank.

These nationwide-post-office-banks should have gained great appeal for most of the developing world in the era before micro-lending began to be practiced—banking by cell phone became possible. Especially, small businesses and farms should have liked the idea of keeping banking local when possible.

Threats of run-ons of banks would have become lessened for many people throughout the 20th century had there been a greater variety of types of global banks. Moreover, better access to locally based loans could have been possible by creating banks wherever a post office existed across the globe.

In summary, I am fairly certain that the idea of doing banking and encouraging savings at a local post office bank would have brought savings & loan service to millions in even the most rural areas of Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Such nationwide systems would have allowed loans locally to exist where they were otherwise being ignored by city- and international banks.

NOTE: On the other hand, it should also be mentioned that credit unions are, indeed, used in America and certainly could be a great model for some non-USA regions to consider. Kuwait, where I am currently living, does not have credit unions at all.


In both urban areas, like Kuwait, and in rural developing regions, like Nicaragua, there has been a consistent lack of a capital for funding the creation of (or building of) banking-credit service networks and providing loans in many of the poorer rural areas of the planet. They have not been put together due to lack of initial capital input, i.e. a problem which a national post-office bank could have overcame.

As a matter of fact, I am certain that the Japanese post-office banking model was appropriated from Europe nearly a century ago.. After WWII, Japanese quickly began stuffing their hard earns savings into such a post office bank—i.e. until they had saved enough to open other more speculative accounts with private banks.

For over 20 years from Peru to Thailand and back to Mexico, I have observed one very great common need. (This world-wide need was not only to empower and encourage Americans to save money better.) It was a worldwide need for people from all countries to be able save more and invest more locally.

“How could so many people all over the world do so without local banking firms concerned with their local community?” I pondered.

I asked this because I had already observed whole sectors of US urban neighborhoods losing their local banks throughout the 1970s and early 1980s. In Chicago, for example, in and around Woodlawn where I once studied urban economics, there were several hundred thousand people without local bank.

Only one community bank existed in South Chicago by January 1983. This was the South Shore Bank where I did my practicum.

Moreover, continuing through the year 2000--from places as remote as Peru to Indonesia to Mexico to Egypt or India, I had observed many citizens from all-walks-of-life actually stuffing their pillow cases with dollar bills. (Many still do so to this to this very day—although some are also hiding their purchased gold, silver, and Euros.)

On the other hand, during my many travels, I had observed not-only-capital flight from poorer countries around the planet on-and-off during the boon and bust cycles of the most recent 4 decades, but I had observed the whispering of a common dream in many underdeveloped countries. This common dream was to one day actually be able to invest their one earnings and/or national currency in their own local economy. People of classes have similar desires.

“How could people be encouraged to save and invest where it was needed locally?” I asked myself.

In my homeland, we were only being encouraged to borrow and spend—even in the wake of 9-11.


The only answer Wall Street and big banking conglomerates offered was to grow and demand more injections liquidity—often with investments coming from the farthest corners of the world to bailout the bad business practices and lack of long term planning and business development in the U.S.A.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the U.S.A. federal government was headstrong on allowing banks to grow and take each other over.

After my college days in those same decades, my own local-bank-originated student loans were taken over by either Citibank or by Sallie Mae. There was no government oversight to keep my moneys in local Kansas—even though some of these same Kansas banks had assured me in advance that those loans would be held only locally.

--No oversight!

--No responsibility to the local borrowing and lending industry affected Americans adversely and ran up costs in higher education for all Americans!

By around 1994, my sister and her husband had a combined college debt of a sum which would eventually reach to 100,000 dollars owed or paid to-date.

My sister was a teacher. How could she ever pay that debt back in any reasonable amount of time? My brother-in-law eventually had to enter military service to keep up with the Joneses and to pay off debt.

This same couple later bought a house, and luckily they were subsequently able to sell that same house just before the housing crashed two years back—but imagine how much more of a mess my siblings would have been had they not been so lucky as to have sold that house?

Hundreds of thousands of American military families are similarly adversely affected by DEBT.

This is one reason that many young and middle aged citizens still sign up to join the U.S. military or national guard these days—even though the executive-in-chief has not run the military industrial economy and policies any better than I had presumed back in 2000.


In short, Professor John Robertson had correctly warned young Americans against allowing the W. Bush Administration from taking office under the peculiar election conditions that December 2000, i.e. as the Supreme Court Justice votes counted more than the uncounted ballots in Florida.

NOTE: Recall the strategy in 2000 mis-election was the same by the news media as it is today in 2008. In both November and December 2000, news media claimed that a decision had to be made NOW—the markets couldn’t wait.

The Cheney-Bush Administration spent beyond my wildest dreams between 2000-2008, without even offering Americans high yielding war bonds to fight wars on multiple fronts simultaneously as had occurred in WWII.

I admit, too, I had failed America, too. I should have quit university in January 2001 and joined the protests and underground to stop the inauguration of the unelected Bush Presidency that same month. Instead, I just washed my hands of the fiasco and naively prayed that the better day would come soon.

Later in 2001, I also failed to go to Washington personally and lobby Congress to have Dick Cheney investigated for bullying the General Accounting Office. Recall that the GAO in 2001 was fully ready to investigate what the Vice-President of the United States had promised on the White House grounds to oil and energy producers starting in February and March 2001. (Not enough Americans stood up for the GAO investigators who could have uncovered Evidence of malfeasance and ridded the nation of Bush-Cheney before they had time to double-team America into unnecessary war and debt.)

I also failed to go personally to put my life on the line protesting the Invasion of Iraq in 2003. Recall that several witness for peace types died in Iraq in march 2003 standing in support of the victims of Bush’s war!--nor did I go to Washington to help make a million (or two million) man march on the capital in opposition to that unwise and ill-informed war.


Naturally, I have not been the only American to have failed to stand up more aggressively against bad governance and bad political economic theory.

Americans, like me, must take into account our failure to wipe out the status quo in Washington and Wall Street before now.

Many progressives, like me, know we have not been able to stop the flighty notions of neo-liberal, neo-conservative, and conservatism wiping out much of what was positive development in America after WWII to see that Americans could afford good housing, good and inexpensive higher education, and good infrastructure from our government.

These are things that we can do better on in the future by providing better banking services and government support—rather than an endless series of bailouts for badly run mega-firms, previously supported blindly by growth-at-all-cost capitalism over recent decades (even though we had already begun to see limits-to-growth without energy development and properly homegrown production facilities across the nation).

We have tried. We have spoken out, but so far, we have blown it, Progressives!

Let’s make sure that in elections 2008 we set a progressive tone for the next 3 or 4 decades.

Think out of the box.

Look to Scandinavia for improving the standard of living for all. Look to Australia for a better and more entertaining alternative to the US election process. Look at parts of the German political-economic system that are doing well.

Look around the world for good progressive examples and follow them! (We can talk about leading later.)

It’s catch-up-ball time, America!

Let’s not blow it, again. All we need to do is to remember that even in a recession, the USA leads the world in combined human resources and natural resources for political economies of its size! We just need to use and tocirculate those resources more equitably and efficiently.




By Kevin Stoda

In many ways, the world has been changing so fast that most of the planet has forgotten that less than two decades ago there were to Yemens in existence.

It was in 1990 when the Marxist People’s Republic of South Yemen joined in union with the Yemen Arab Republic. The former state had been sponsored by the Soviet Union from the 1960s onward.

Similar to the aftermath of the Democratic German Republic and the Federal German Republic becoming united in the autumn of 1990, some people in Yemen have nostalgia for a bygone era. This is particularly true for those Yemenis who have made their living in the tourist trade. These people are predominately (but not exclusively) found in the Southwest corner of Yemen.

Alas, the younger generation now live in a post-unified Yemen world where either Al-Qaeda is active or where regionally disenfranchised citizens practice kidnappings of tourists in order to gain attention for their causes. This has hurt Yemen’s chances of becoming a successful global tourist hotspot, like its neighbors Egypt and Jordan. Yemeni citizens are certain that they as much to offer the world of tourism as does Jordan—and certainly much more to offer the United Arab emirates, where Dubai is located.


Until this year, it has been primarily in either the northern or eastern half of the country of Yemen where many of the more extremist religious groups come from. On a positive note though, it is in these regions where most of the renegade movements have recently agreed to make peace in return for more governmental aid in the future, i.e. as part of what is seen as the Sa’ada peace process.

Make the modern Yemeni identity even more complicated though is the fact that Yemen has both an Arab identity and an identity of itself which predates Islam by several millennia. For example, it is claimed that Yemen was founded by Noah’s son Sham, and even earlier, Adam--of Adam and Eve fame--gave his name to one of the country’s major cities and former capital of South Yemen: Adan.

As well, the Queen of Sheba is thought to have arrived in Israel from the Sabaean Kingdom of Yemen. Recall, Queen was actually one of Solomon’s biblical contemporaries—and visiting house guests.

For this reason, until 1948 a very significant faction of Jews had lived in Yemen. Sa’ada is one of the few regions where the handful of remaining Jews are found today.

Meanwhile, Al-Qaeda has become active with a so-called Yemeni Jihad group attacking the US Embassy in Sa’ana this month. According to Ginny Hill, writing in the YEMEN OBSERVER, “Cash-strapped Yemen lacks the financial resources to tackle terrorism in the same robust manner as the Saudis; its per capita gross domestic product of $2,300 is dwarfed by the $23,200 seen across the northern border.” The article is entitled “Yemen Faces New Jihad Generation”.

Of all the countries not currently at war, Yemen has been the victim of the greatest brunt of attacks in 2008—with five in the last three months. This situation is not likely to improve soon unless the government of Yemen can put more money and training behind anti-terrorist and anti-terrorist recruitment campaigns.

The attack two-weeks ago on the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a, the capital of modern Yemen, left 17 locals—including one Arab-American—dead. The U.S. Embassy immediately sent non-essential personnel and families home. It also told all Americans to stay away from Yemen.


Years of tribal infighting, numerous kidnappings of foreign tourists, attacks on others, have left the Yemen economy far-underdeveloped than it should be. It is in this context that the Yemeni government under long-term President Ali Saleh made a peace agreement this past year.

The treaty is known as the Sa’ada peace treaty—named after the region where most of the recent fighting amongst the government and tribal forces had taken place over the prior five years. The Yemeni government has agreed to give an amnesty to all involved fighters, but not to fighters aligned with Al-Qaeda.

It is in the absence of any place at the negotiating table in Yemen, where disenfranchised Islamic Jihadist groups in Yemen seem to have decided to accept aid and inspiration from Al-Qaeda, i.e. ratcheting up the level of Yemeni hostilities in recent months.

Hakim Al-Masmari, editor of the YEMEN POST, has written, “Last month in my editorial, I stressed that President Saleh was desperately trying to end all his problems with the different sides. He started with the Sa’ada peace treaty, which everyone believes the country lost a lot in the negotiations, Then he released nearly all opposition political prisoners from prison, even the ones who were sentenced to prison by court.”

Al-Masmari complains, “I agree with President Salah for not negotiating with Al-Qaeda, but on the other hand if you are not going to sit on the negotiating table, then you better start saving people from their attacks to happen.”

Worse still, Al-Masmari claims, “Al-Qaeda knows that the government has no strategy to stop them, therefore, making innocent locals and vulnerable of being attacked.”

Yemen has not received much aid to fight terrorism from neighboring Saudi Arabia and it has had an on-again off-again relationship with the U.S. since the bombing of U.S.S. Cole 8 years ago.

Sadly, it is not only foreigners who are under threat.

Yemenis are also most often under attack. For example, there have been 8 bombings or attacks on mosques in the past year alone. In short, 18 years after unification, modernist and religious forces in Yemen are still having it out with one another—just as had occurred much more aggressively in the 1960s and 1970s..

Meanwhile, tribal and modernist factions are both continuing to seek to dominate the political landscape in the years before the long-term presidential strongman Saleh retires in two years—as he has announced he will do.


Meanwhile, as Hill notes in a more upbeat tone, “In recent years, the Yemeni government has pioneered a dialogue programme and poetry recitals to influence violent jihadis and tribesman. The most recent initiative is a two-hour feature film intended to educate the public about extremism.”

Hill explains, “The film, called THE LOSING BET, follows two Yemeni jihadis who return home after being radicalized abroad. They [the characters in the film] are directed by an al-Qaeda mastermind to recruit new members and carry out a ‘martyrdom operation’. News footage from the aftermath of a real suicide bombing is edited into scenes of this creative new drama and produced by a famous Yemeni director.”

In the years since the infamous bombing of the U.S.S. Cole off the coast of Adan, American foreign policy has shown a love-hate relationship with the Yemeni government and its peoples. On the one hand, the U.S. appears to have been high-tailing its way out of Yemen at every bombing—whether it be the bombing of the Cole or the bombing at the embassy.

On the other hand, the U.S.A. and many European countries have on-and-off invested a lot of money and human resources at times in a great variety of projects—not just in the area of tourism but in the area of public works.

For example, the very first day I arrive in Sana’a this past week, my taxi driver pointed out that both the canal and road system had recently by restored through moneys through U.S. government agencies and funds.
In Zabid, I observed German contractors working on projects to restore different times of ancient canals that UNESCO World Heritage Site. Likewise, in the small town of Makanah in the Hajar mountains, Japan was active in construction projects for the city.. Elsewhere French and Italian water projects were observed and appreciated.

The U.S. has also recently helped Yemen with long-term refugee problems--building housing for African refugees, some of whom have been living here for generations.

Everywhere I traveled in Yemen, local peoples appeared to be happy in acknowledging positive manifestations of tourism, achievements of foreign government projects, and NGO assistance which might be offered to these wonderful and hospitable Yemeni citizens.


In conclusion, from what I could tell from my tour of Sana’a and Southwest Yemen this Eid Holiday, Yemen has a lot to offer the world—and especially those Yemenis in this mostly-formerly Marxist region—seem openly welcome more western-Arab interaction.

Yemen is not a closed land like Saudi Arabia. It is very open to people-to-peoples cooperation and exchange.

I think it is time to rethink our developmental- and military policies in the Middle East in such a way that tourism and other infrastructural investment can be implemented in those neglected regions which have recently signed onto the Sa’ada peace treaty.

The U.S. should not be seen now—even in the wake of a recession--as abandoning any peaceful country or region to Al-Qaeda—especially in regions of Southwest Yemen, where citizens are continuously reaching out to the West to make investment. The West and neighboring Arab countries, like the oil-rich Gulf states, need to help them regain their footing on the way to modernization (at a tempo appropriate to the needs and efforts of the Yemenis on the ground these days).

In short, high unemployment is likely the biggest obstacle to combating radicalism in Yemen. This means public works projects will be quite beneficial in the short- and intermediate term. Empowering women can become part of the project if the West is creative in implementing such large scale training and construction efforts.

Nonetheless, with the expensive banking debacles in the West this decade, most of the developing world and Ban Ki Moon at the UN are all extremely nervous that the U.S. and European governments, NGOs, and private investors will not try to do more to (1) fight Al-Qaeda by (2) targeting development moneys along with (3) providing some military training to those under-trained regimes, who are overwhelmed by Al-Qaeda.

Yemen is the place to start to really win hearts and minds. Both Gulf state oil money and (NGO or) foreign government cooperation with Yemen is a very important project to focus on in 2009 and 2010, i.e. before new elections in Yemen take place and change the political landscape.


Al-Masmari, Hakim, “Exactly What I Said”, YEMEN POST, September 22, 2008, p. 6.

“Global Financial Crisis Could hurt UN Program”, YEMEN OBSERVER, September 23, p.10.

“Yemen Faces New Jihad Generation”, YEMEN POST, September 22, 2008, p. 9.