Thursday, January 31, 2008



By Kevin A. Stoda, Kuwait

Last November and December 2007, the King of Jordan and Jordanian officials met and spoke several days with their European Union counterparts about creating solar and other alternative energy sources in a partnership in coming years in the Jordanian deserts, with the goal of making both Jordan and Europe less dependent on traditional sources of energy in this 21st Century.

In both German DeutscheWelle news and on BBC, in both November and December there were many lengthy reports on how the Hashemite Kingdom was looking to create a partnership with Europe prior to the Global Warming Conference in Bali.

Suddenly, in the months after the conference in Global Warming conference in Bali, hardly any new sources in Europe have mentioned again the offer from Jordan to produce in partnership with Europe large quantities of solar power in the Middle East and sell a great part of it back to Europe.


Most disappointingly, the United States has ALSO not been at the forefront once again IN promoting non-petroleum and/or non-nuclear based energy development in the Middle East.

Due to the ongoing problem of disposing of nuclear waste, even energy poor states like Jordan and Egypt do not prefer nuclear energy development over alternatives. That is, cleaner solar, wind, and other non-petroleum sources of energy are more attractive in their own nation’s development than are alliances based on petroleum and nuclear technology transfers?

In contrast to the EU’s (and USA’s) lack of commitment to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Italy has indeed shown greater interest in developing solar energy projects in the deserts of Libya. However, it is not clear why Jordan has been so slighted—is it simply due to the EU’s fear of investing in a country neighboring Iraq and Israel?

Interestingly, recently as part of the global privatization process, Jordan has sold off a majority of its stake in its energy supply chain to a Dubai-based (UAE and Jordanian) business consortium.

This unique show of interest by the UAE in Jordanian energy projects means that even though the Western countries are a greater consumers of energy than the all of the Middle Eastern countries combined, the West wishes to continue to focus on the Middle East almost solely in terms of petroleum development and trade.

Why can’t the West see that its continued dependence on the same energy broker states in the Middle East (along with Russian actors) is a NO-GO in this age where everyone needs to reduce dependence on single main sources of energy?


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Dear U.S.A. & Kuwaiti Foreign Ministries: A LETTER requesting aid for imprisoned Fijiians in Iraqi Jails who currently have no clear support from th

Dear U.S.A. & Kuwaiti Foreign Ministries: A LETTER requesting aid for imprisoned Fijiians in Iraqi Jails who currently have no clear support from the Outside world,

Here are the contents of a letter from jiuta wakolo in Fiji. Mr. Wakolo has been campaigning on behalf of worker rights and support in the Gulf, especially in terms of aiding Fijians, over the past year. Fiji has no embassy in the region-- and like many poorer Asian nations--has no clear means of supporting workers abroad in the Gulf states.

I have contacted the U.S. embassy more than once in the past year about supporting the creation of a Fijian Embassy in the Gulf but I have yet to receive a single response.

Mr. Wakolo wrote me the following this past week.

Dear Kevin,

I hope your well. Despite not hearing from your good self for sometime, I hope you can still help me. I wish to bring to your attention some very unfortunate incidents that have taken place in Iraq concerning. Two of my Fijian brothers have been in an Iraqi Jail since 18th November, 2007.

I was just notified by their immediate families in Fiji, and they have requested me to help if I can to find out the truth of what transpired on the dark 18th November that that has left their family running around from government to embassies asking for help.

According to our source the following security personal from Fiji were jailed in Iraq:

1- Name: Elia Koyanamate Tawake
- Code Name: Whisper
- Security company : Alarm Co.
- Position: Personal Protection Offices
-Passport No.: 547019
- Date jailed ; 18th,Novenber,2007

2 - Name: Tikomaihawai Mara
- Security Company: Alarm Co.
- Passport No.: 628051
- Position: Personal Protection Offices
- Date Jailed: 18th November,2007

The above two gentleman were part of the contingent that we were recruited together in 2005 to work for the PWC Logictics / Agility.

They were experienced drivers and were lucky to get a visa in 2005. After sometime, they decided to jump ship and join an American Company by the name of Alarm Co.

They haven’t met with their families for after two years ,

It seems that the Fiji Government cannot do much and their family have been referred to me as I was their Representatives when I was in Kuwait.

This was part of the reason that I wrote in my proposals (way back in 2005 and reviewed in 2007) to the Fiji Government that Fiji needs to have the advantage of creating and establishing Diplomatic ties with Kuwait and the Gulf regional countries. I had explicitly warned that "if it happens that some of my fellow Fijian workers get trapped by rebels or get caught by the peculiar laws in the region, it will be easier to negotiate on their behalf on a Diplomatic level".

Other factors that I briefly discussed in my proposals are slowly starting to materialize, like the continuing rises in fuel prices is leading to increases in prices of other products and services. This troubles the Fijian economy and peoples as have the natural disasters, like Tsunamis, hurricanes, floods and earthquakes and civil disturbances

I have determined that my proposals will be an economic gospel for Fiji now and in the future. It is high time that Fiji do something to implement my proposal to safeguard our economic interest and security now. This involves improving support for Fiji rights abroad and through the creation of a Fiji diplomatic presence in the Gulf, probably in Kuwait.

It is our concerted prayer that your good self will find some ways of helping the grieved families of the two jailed Fijians in Iraq and of course bring to pass some elements of pressure as they will be in a better position to except the truth of what transpired and its consequences.

Despite what has occurred or what will happen I trust that through your contacts we will find some relief Iraq and in the region in terms of obtaining the release of the Fijian prisoners in order to meet the hopes of their beloved families.

Yours Sincerely

Jiuta Wakolo

Suva City, Fiji Islands


Monday, January 28, 2008



By Kevin A. Stoda

The longtime leader of Indonesia, Suharto, is dead, but aside from the funeral on a few TV stations and aside from a handful of flags at half mast around Bali, life goes on in this tropical paradise.

I am spending a few weeks this rainy season in Bali, Indonesia.

I’m recovering from the unseasonably cold January in Kuwait—where for the first time in well over a decade that years the temperatures at night dipped below freezing for nearly an entire week. In the first time in memory snowflakes fell in the rural region of Abduli about ten days ago.

Are these weather peculiarities this winter in Kuwait a result of global warming? It seems to be a possibility

From Kuwait to Indonesia to the USA and Davos, Switzerland (where Bono & Al Gore spoke) every one around the planet is talking about either both global warming and/or the U.S.A.’s economy being in recession these days.


Interestingly, Indonesia was the first country I have visited in the last half-a-year where almost all economists and business personages have publicly admitted that the United States is in a Recession. One sees this diagnosis of “recession” in the Bali and Jakarta press here often--as well as in discussions with investors and international currency traders.

Meanwhile, the experts everywhere else in the OECD part of this planet Earth is hesitant to use the R-Word (Recession). These supposedly wise economists and business geniuses are acting as though the world economy will be jinxed through simply admitting the fact that the USA has been in recession for some time.

That is, it seems to be a common fear that simply uttering the word “Recession” is expected to make the problem worse.

It is fascinating to phenomena to witness, i.e. the supposedly more western and modern parts of the planet that are so superstitious, and these so-called developed nations and their public figures seem to actually believe that by invoking the R-word peoples around the world will be condemned to an even worse set of economic developments in 2008--and in the years to come.

That is non-sense. (On the other hand, the U.S. government has been in denial on many fronts for most of this decade.)

The last time Southeast Asia found itself in a free-fall recession itself was 10-years ago.

Amazingly, the long-downtrodden people in Indonesia bravely went into the streets that year and protested against the economic and political cabal running their country.

Unlike in the USA, where protests against a government waging wars against the will of the local populace and where popular indignation at a badly run economy & justice system seem to be shaking up very little politically and socially, the Indonesians of only one decade ago oversaw the deposing of a nearly 25-year old dictatorship of the now defunct president Suharto.

What is more… that abrupt resignation and ending of a tyrant’s rule [Suharto’s 24-year rule] in Indonesia (1) led to beneficial & greater autonomy in terms of economic and political development across the great federation of the Indonesian archipelago and also (2) led to enough political freedom in Indonesia to lead numerous coalitions of individuals to take the former tyrant and his family to court several times over the past decade. [However, almost no moneys have been recovered through the courts.]

Transparency International says that Suharto and his family milked the peoples of Indonesia of 35 billion dollars—the greatest acts of government corruption of the whole 20th Century. [Sadly, the Suharto family has only given apologies—but no monies have been paid back to the people of Indonesia.]

Currently, in 2008, economists and businessmen are feeling that Southeast Asia is still in pretty good shape despite economic recession in the USA.

Through increased federalization in Bali and other Indonesian islands (i.e. growth of local autonomy over the economy throughout Indonesia), the impact of the falling dollar and trade with the USA is not as strong as it was a decade ago—except in the area of petroleum sales.

Any international investment losses from the U.S.A are slowly and consistently being recovered, though, by petrodollars from the Middle East being transferred to investment projects in both China and in Southeast Asia. [China is also a big investor in Southeast Asia.]

Sadly, as far as Bali goes, it still suffers under the stigma of having had two terrorist attacks this decade on its tourism industry. However, the federal government of Indonesia has recently increased its level of visible protection of the island’s tourism efforts—even as the federal budget has continued to reduce defense spending per capita in order to increase spending on social and educational infrastructure.


After ex-dictator Suharto’s death on Sunday, January 27, the current president of Indonesia called for a week of mourning.

From a modern Western perspective, this call for empathy with the Suharto family appears to be an amazing turn-around in the fortunes of the Suhartos, who are still facing charges in court for embezzling 1.5 billion dollars which peoples throughout Indonesia had donated to provide scholarships to students.

Does this attempt at reconciliation with Suharto supporters and the supporter family pose a threat to democracy on the island? Actually, it appears to be a traditional means of moving on with life and reducing the negative influence of memories on the past in the present-day Indonesian archipelago.

Even more interesting than the official 7-days of mourning is the largess or gesture of forgiveness offered recently by the head of East Timor, a land invaded and occupied by Suharto’s Indonesian forces in 1975—i.e. as Henry Kissinger and cronies stood by.

Last week, the current President of East Timor, Jose Ramos-Horta, called for his nation to forgive the “ailing” ex-dictator of Indonesia, Suharto.

Agence France-Presse reports that the East Timorese president had stated, “It is impossible for us to forget the past, but East Timor should forgive him before he dies, I ask people to pray for Suharto as the former president of Suharto.”

This is a quite amazing approach to an ex-dictator who has been charged with genocide in both Indonesian and international courts.

For example, according to the CIA’s own reports in the 1960s, during Suharto’s takeover of the country [in 1965-1966], anywhere from ½ a million to one million Indonesians died or were massacred.

Moreover, in the takeover of neighboring East Timor a decade later thousands had died.

On the other hand, as one of the founding members and supporters of ASEAN, Suharto had already begun an image makeover in the West that by the 1990s had him carrying out visits with President Clinton.

In addition, Suharto had successfully settled decades-long disputes with neighboring Malaysia over the control of the large island of Borneo—now shared peacefully among, Indonesian, Malaysian, and Brunei governments as this third millennium dawned.

Conversely, although Suharto and the Suharto family may still have currently some strong backers in- and out of government, Suharto’s death is likely to allow the Shadow of his iron-fisted regime to more quietly recede from memory of the newer generations of Indonesians. The youth of modern Indonesia have already seen two free elections since people-power ousted Suharto from power a decade ago.

Alas, the legacy of crony capitalism and corruption of Suharto will continue to haunt the coming generations of Indonesians, i.e. those who try to build a new and better world for their children in the 21st Century.

Despite a call for ”a week of mourning” by the current Indonesian president, most peoples in the islands of Indonesia are moving on with their lives this week.

Little mourning is seen, for example, in Bali where many suffered in the 1965-1966 massacres and civil war.

When I coyly asked with several Indonesians here on Bali over whether there was a possibility that the Suharto family will move beyond simply apologizing for the crimes of their father (and would begin to return the billions owed the people of Indonesia)?

These Indonesians looked at me and laughed.

They belly-laughed at the thought that the Suharto family would ever (on their own free will) move beyond simply apologizing—unless courts and the Indonesian government finally do what is right and just in handling these vast episodes of corruption.

In short, the forgiveness offered Suharto at his death by so many victims of his rule, may or may not bring some moral or emotional benefits to new generations of Indonesians.


Native Indonesian faiths, including Hinduism, Islam, and other atavistic religions and tradions emphasize days of renewal and forgiveness.

Interestingly, Christians in the West generations ago used to focus on these public acts of contrition, forgiveness, and atonement to a much greater degree in public life than we do today.

Meanwhile the image of Japanese Samurai “falling on his sword” instead of Christian symbolism is used in the West now as a symbol of contrition.

That is, one admits that the path of one’s life has taken the Samurai an important junction where he must except his destiny.

The samurai’s act of justice and karma lead him in such mythology to take responsibility for his acts and/or crimes. He commits hari-kari and falls on his sword. In short, how he lives and how he dies are consequential events both publicly and as individuals. In this act of suicide, there was to be observed a unifying act connecting death and life (to be appreciated in this act of Shinto faith and culture of old Japan.)

For people of Christian and Abrahmic faiths, an added emphasis on forgiveness is made while ritual suicide is rejected. The same is true of other Abrahmic faiths, including Islam. [This is why the suicide killings and suicide bombings of so-called Islamic supporters of Al-Qaed-- or other fringe groups--in the Middle East or around the planet are not in line with what their faith actually teaches them.]

In walking a Christian path in life, an act of atonement needs to be made prior to exit from life on this planet, so that new generations have the freedom to move on or regenerate and transform their world.

The word “atonement” is best understood by breaking the word into its three parts: “at-one-ment” : Atonement means to become one with God.

For Christians (Protestants more than Catholics) , announcing publicly that one has sinned and then publicly committing oneself to turning away from one path in life (leading to the same sins) is part of the at-one-ment (ATONEMENT) process.

Unlike the children of Suharto who have at least apologized for the sins of their father, many Americans who have supported and followed George W. Bush into military-, political-, judicial-, and economic debacles since he began his political career in Texas over 15 years ago have refuse apologize for the errors of their ways.

Until they step forward, apologize, and fall on their swords, America will not be able to face the facts created on the ground of these acts of bad leadership and dishonesty.

That is, America will continue to reproduce children of peoples who cannot even admit that the country is in a recession, let alone that their leaders have led them astray.

Until these supporters are isolated and made to atone for the sins or crimes they have supported, i.e. waging a war against the U.S. economy and waging a war on the previous good-face of American image overseas, America will not be able to move on.

In 2008, Americans need to clean both the House and Senate of such peoples and politicians. (This is why I am running a humble on-line campaign against Republican Senator Pat Roberts in Kansas).

These people must turn from their ways or be pointed to the door—or taken to court for lying to their constituency and costing taxpayers their homes and tax moneys for so many years to come.

George W. Bush as “denier in chief” needs to be the first to be asked to resign from office. At the same moment, Dick Cheney must do the same. These two men held none of their underlings or themselves accountable for their crimes for far too long. This fear of taking responsibility for ones crimes and misdeeds must be ended or America will continue its spin into mediocrity and productivity in the 21st Century.

Congressmen and Congress-women who have not sought to impeach or oust such leadership need to be kicked out. We need to have the strength of the peoples of Indonesia and the Philippines who kicked out their corrupt leaders over the past two decades. Moreover, we need to do better than they did in clearing the House and Senate of the cronies who supported such autocrats.

As well, as a Christian-oriented nation, we can ask them and their families of friends to admit their guilt and complicity in crimes and national disasters.

Finally, with Atonement somewhere out-there in the future, we can possibly prepare to forgive these individuals and offer them the chance to reincorporate themselves in our society more effectively in the coming decades.

However, unlike in Indonesia, where the rule-of-law has historically often fallen short, Americans need to expect some justice and reimbursement (or penal time) for those involved in misusing power and American tax monies for far too long.


Friday, January 25, 2008



By Kevin A. Stoda

This week in Abu Dhabi 20 nations met to discuss ways to improve labor protections for the great number of foreign workers in the UAE and other neighboring countries. These countries were Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, the Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam and Yemen.

The agreement is an initial step in a long journey to improve the rights and legal system in the Gulf region, specifically in the area of protecting laborers from Asia, especially those from South Asia.

Here are the main facets of the new agreement. They focus on creating a strong partnership among the twenty states involved:

(1) Enhance knowledge in the areas of the labor market trends, skills profiles, temporary contractual laborers and remittance policies and flows anther interplay with development in the region.
(2) Build capacity for effective matching of labor demand and supply.
(3) Prevent illegal recruitment practices and promoting welfare and protection measures for contractual workers, supportive of their well being and preventing their exploitation at origin and destination.
(4) Developing a framework for a comprehensive approach to managing the entire cycle of temporary contractual mobility that foster the mutual interests of countries and destination of the laborers.

Inside the 6 Gulf Cooperation Council member states attending this Abu Dhabi Dialogue—i.e. Oman, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain—are approximately 12 to 15 million foreign laborers. Many of these are from South Asia or Southeast Asia.

The IOM (International Organization of Immigration) was very involved in overseeing the conference. The Director-General of the IOM, Brunson McKinley, stated that he was pleased with the results: “The biggest challenge was to synthesize the points of views of more than 20 countries, rich and poor, small and big. However, the Abu Dhabi Dialogue has been successful so far.”

McKinley added that already by “2005, some 191 million people across the world were living – and often working – in countries other than those of their birth. This figure has more than doubled since 1965, a pace of increase that is well in excess of the global population growth rate over the same period.”

In Business Intelligence Middle East, Ahmed Mousa wrote: “The potential of temporary contractual labour mobility in fostering development is not a new concept in Asia. For a number of decades now, many Asian countries have looked to opportunities available in the regional labour market to satisfy their employment and human resource needs. However, what is new today is the recognition that we are living in a world that is more mobile than ever before; a world with greater integration of economies, labour forces and societies; and one which is experiencing rapid and deep changes, notably due to technological advances, demographic shifts and environmental degradation.”

Just 4 weeks earlier, the GCC states had opened the first large Arab Common market for their own citizens as laborers and business persons—permitting all citizens to move, work and live freely among the 6 member states. It is hoped that other workers will eventually be given such similar rights through the Abu Dhabi Dialogue Process, but with the recent history of the GCC states having ignored enforcement of their own labor laws time and again, steps are not likely to be implemented or put into practice as soon as one might hope.

One final footnote: One of the participants at the conference, the Philippines government, this very same week prohibited its nationals to work in Jordan after a series of clashes over labor rights and protections there in recent months. Jordan was not a signatory or participant at the Dialogues in the UAE—neither were countries like Iraq, Iran or Israel.


Aziz, Ahmed Abdul, “Abi Dhabi Dialogue a Success, IOM Chief”,§ion=theuae&col=

Aziz, Ahmed Abdul, “Gulf , Asian States in Labour Deal”, Khaleej Times, January 23, 2008, pp. 1, 38.

Ahmed, Mousa, “Abu Dhabi Dialogue finalised on overseas employment and contractual labour’”


Perera, Sunil C. “Abu Dhabi Dialogue Concludes with Agreement”,


Saturday, January 19, 2008



By Kevin Anthony Stoda

One Kuwaiti friend sent me an online story this morning about one of Osama Bin-Laden’s son’s, who is in Egypt these days promoting a peace ride or race across the deserts of North Africa.

It would appear that the despite the looks of the young Bin Laden, who “bears a striking resemblance to his notorious father — except for the dreadlocks that dangle halfway down his back.”

The articles in the local papers in Kuwait on this apparently maverick of a child (i.e. from the delusions, hate and destructiveness of the father) all note that although the young man does not wish to disown his father outright, he and his elder British wife want to be Peace Ambassadors in the troubled Middle East.

The younger Bin Laden states, "It's about changing the ideas of the Western mind. A lot of people think Arabs — especially the bin Ladens, especially the sons of Osama — are all terrorists. This is not the truth”

The western press is skeptical of the acorn actually falling far from the tree, “Of course, many may have a hard time getting their mind around the idea of ‘bin Laden: peacenik.’"

Interesting, President Bush—who just came through Kuwait last weekend—has had ties via his own family for decades:

The western press hasn’t found that strange enough to write about too much over the decades.


While Americans in South Carolina and Nevada are heading to primaries, the infamous George W. Bush has returned to the USA from Egypt, Kuwait, and numerous neighboring lands.

One of the few laudable things from his visit was the fact that in Ramallah he openly lamented on the border crossings and check points there and on his trip to other parts of Palestine from Israel.

Meanwhile, the “villagers of Bil'in located near the Central West Bank city of Ramallah, along with their international and Israeli supporters conducted their weekly demonstration against the illegal Israeli wall on Friday.”

All Bush seemed to want to talk about in Kuwait was Iran but most of the local papers weren’t too interested, especially in the days leading up to his visit here. Most simply pooh-poohed any possibility of the Kuwaiti regime supporting any more cavalier wars in the area.

What did get big play in local newspapers was the extremely stark contrast of George W (Juniors) Bush’s visit to the visits of George (Senior) Herbert Walker Bush to Kuwait over the years.

In those time, Bush was king and God in Kuwait. This visit had hardly anyone in the street and it appears that the majority of Kuwaiti’s were more interested in talking about getting the few remaining Kuwaiti’s out of the Guantanamo Prison.

Meanwhile, no mention was made of the fact during W.’s visit to Kuwait that so many poor Asians are still the basic laborers for building US military bases (and running them) these days.

Likewise, no mention in local press was made till after Bush left of human rights issues in Kuwait. In this weeks Kuwait Times, though there are news conferences in Dubai being noted for condemning persecution of transvestites—who are languishing for over a year in Kuwaiti prisons.

Before leaving the Middle East, Bush stopped in Egypt. Former Egyptian military officers here are still telling me that they have been surprised at how quickly the U.S.A. government has turned 180 degrees in terms of its former opposition to the development of nuclear energy—which everyone knows can be turned anywhere on the planet from peaceful to military usage rather quickly.

For 4 decades, Washington has opposed nuclear power and weaponry in Egypt. Now the W. Bush government is promoting this alternative energy source in a resource poor Egypt.

Obviously, Iran is seen as a greater threat by Washington than Israel is, but why open the door to nuclearized Egypt and Gulf states after forcing Libya to back down.

Apparently, though, everyone in Kuwait and other countries in the region are already concerned about the effects of nuclear waste, energy and more nuclear weapons in the region. This weekend’s Kuwaiti papers have lengthy pieces on the problems involved in handling nuclear waste—and the fact that nuclear waste technologies have improved so little since 3-Mile Island when Carter was President.

By the way, when Middle Easterners in 2008 recall USA presidents of the last century, Jimmy Carter ranks ahead of George W. Bush by a long-shot.


Kuwaiti investors, unlike people in America and Britain, are currently finding a great purchasing environment in the USA. (So, is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.)

Kuwaiti investors believe in tangibles like gold and property. The mess-up U.S. economy should therefore find moneys from the Middle Eastern Oil states flowing back into the USA again in 2008.

Interestingly, the local Kuwaiti retail market is not doing so well. After the original invasion of Iraq by the USA in 2003, Kuwaiti consumers took President Bush at his word and went out shopping—i.e. Happy Days are here again. (They also invested in property big time both in and out of Kuwait.)

Now, however, in winter of this 2008 shopping in Kuwait has been down for a quarter—probably due to the fact that Kuwaiti’s with property in the USA took big hits in 2007.

By the way, foreigners already own half of America’s publicly traded debt and more than 1 and 5 oil producing firms in the USA.
Perhaps the Bin Laden family owns a good sized piece of the American pie, too.


Saturday, January 12, 2008



By Kevin A. Stoda

As currently I am a major on-line Republican candidate for President of the United States this 2008, I was happy to see that a Republican, namely Mike Governor Huckabee (R- AR), has advanced a new tax proposal for congress and the American people during the ensuing days of elections across America.

However, the solution he offers is far too simple: a national sales tax. It would also not lead us to get federal spending under control in many areas

The obvious problem with any such simple tax is that it is unfairly across-the-board or flat. This leaves the poorest of Americans paying light-years more than the wealthy in America for the simplicity of the tax.

In short, any flat tax brings the poorest Americans into the realm of paying the greatest per-capita share of any tax burden--in terms of crushing poor peoples’ dreams to climb out of a cycle of poverty and extinguishes future hopes and ability of the poor to have access to savings and investment opportunities.

For example,, under Margaret Thatcher the UK voters accepted a flat-tax some two decades ago, and since then most of the poorest have had to flee their jobs and housing in various booming urban centers of the UK.

Other Brits in rural areas have had to go to the cities to look for better paying jobs. Now the UK is still more urban than it was before Thatcher took office—possibly the most urban of any nation in Europe—and the U.S.A. is already following suit as more and more rural poor have to flee to urban areas to gain much better per capita earnings to keep up with the rest of America.

Do we wish to continue to depopulate so many portions of the USA in the 21st Century?

In sum, do we want to have a flat sales tax which (1) disproportionately harms the poorest and (1) continues to depopulate rural America?

I think—not.

AN ALTERNATIVE PROPOSAL: Cutting Income Tax into Thirds

I suggest scrapping the complex and unfair income tax scheme we have in the USA and advocate replacing it with a clear cut graduated tax—not a flat tax—on every adult in the United States who is eligible to work and maintains employment.

A graduated tax system would apply equally to companies and individuals:

--1% tax on first $15,000 earned
--2% tax on second $15,000 earned
--3% tax on third $15,000 earned, etc.

--Until a 10% tax cap is reached on earnings over $150,000

In my proposal, the federal government would be required to run 3 different sets of such graduated taxes to replace the current one.

The current U.S. system is a tax practice which relies too heavily on both an open-ended or an undifferentiated contract between national state and taxpayer, i.e. This allows the federal government to employ a taxing procedure only based on income (and is barely progressive) to provide the federal government with an-all-purpose purse (very non-transparent) to distribute moneys to various government departments and government projects in the USA and abroad.

The three-tax system I am proposing to replace the single screwy income tax system now in effect in the USA would be named simply “the three taxes”.

These three taxes would have clear names and objectives. They would be: (1) the education and social infrastructure tax, (2) the management of sciences, technology, and physical infrastructure tax, and (3) the security and defense tax.

The purpose of giving these taxes these 3 names is so the tax payer knows how the tax is to be used and clearly reminds congress how the taxes are to be used.

At a time when Americans are clamoring for a National or better health care structure it is extremely important, to have 1/3 of the budget set aside for social infrastructure and education—don’t you agree?

This clear and common focus among the three taxes should lead to greater transparency in management of all U.S. tax dollars—especially in the run-amok security and defense industries feeding off USA tax payers. Auditors could be used to determine how any one of the three tax departments could legally operate, account for its spending, or--in an emergency--conduct a transfer between the three tax funds.

In replacing the current USA income tax system, each of these 3 smaller taxes would be capped at 10% of income levels—even for those individuals and companies earning $150,000 per year.

Therefore, no tax payer or company would ever be required to pay more than 30% of his wages in any one year to the federal coffers.

This foreknowledge of how the new taxes are to be spent should also stimulate investment and growth in investment across the board—especially when the percentages of taxes at each grade of earnings is reduced by the federal government as the needs and opportunity arises..

Moreover, the federal government could choose to exempt (to some degree) at various tax grades those peoples who are unemployed, underemployed, impaired, taking care of large families, assisting their elderly parents, et. al from a portion of their taxes in each of the three categories of taxes.


The most obvious direct benefit of the proposal is that the new triple-tax system replaces the non-transparent income tax system currently used.

This system might even allow conscientious objectors to opt out of war taxes altogether for the first time in USA history.

For example, if citizens in one part of the country feel that too much money is being spent to promote war making industries and bad foreign policy, these concerned citizens and voters can clearly and firmly target a tax reduction in the security and defense tax.

Likewise, if some peoples in any one part of the country feels that there is a disproportionate number of peoples in another part of the federation who are unfairly freeloading off their nation’s generosity in terms of either social welfare & social infrastructure (or physical infrastructure, like in building too many roadways), they can target those 2 other taxes in a political campaign for an overall reduction in the operating tax domain.


There is much urgency in the USA in 2008 to get its government spending and tax systems in line with good and efficient usage of the common tax coffer.

Estimates of the current U.S. government’s federal deficit—including borrowing which took place decades ago—now is at over 65 trillion dollars.

This juggernaut of a deficit means that every citizen in the USA (as part of the great USA) owes $165,000 in federal debt or that each full-time employed person in the USA owes $375,000.

In short, with all this debt, we Americans are simply still not getting the health, social development, and physical safety owed us.

How might we get what is owed us in terms of better government or commonweal?

A more transparent tax system is one of those immediate reforms which is needed—however, we American do not need an easy-but-bad flat tax which still does not shine the light on how the federal government squanders tax money on ill-thought out policies & programs.

Despite this glaring need for Americans to reign in government squandering of money and provide horrible mis-spending practices the light of the day, there has been little to no innovation in the income tax system for decades.

An innovation like that which I am proposing, i.e. which really addresses the transparency problems inherent in our federal government spending and taxing, would have solved the cost overrun problems to America found regularly in the defense, security, and war-making department expenditures.

The replacement of the current income tax with three separate smaller taxes would allow Americans to get a grip on the three different tmajor areas of their lives which are affected adversely by the current open-ended and uncontrolled U.S. income tax system.

Dear America, ask your congressmen, your presidential candidates and yourself, “Do we want to have a flat sales tax that (1) disproportionately harms the poorest and (1) continues to depopulate rural America?”

Also, ask yourself whether America couldn’t do much better in terms of government spending transparency in the future if we used a system like the one I have advocated to replace the unfairness and lack of transparency of the current income tax system?

I believe we deserve better.


In summary, the three different taxes proposed now by me to replace the current system in effect in the USA would be named: (1) education and social infrastructure tax, (2) management of sciences and physical infrastructure tax, and (3) the security and defense tax.

Such a tripartite division in our taxes in the USA would empower all Americans to cry foul and get retribution in terms of tax reduction.

With more clarity, we concerned Americans and businessmen could campaign to kick-out the tax-and-spenders in the government when any single one of these 3 areas of spending becomes way-out-of-line in terms of our own ability to pay (and out-of-line of the interest of most any American—such as is the case in the current expensive federal government sponsored, manipulated & long-running War on Terror--and its expensive and deadly Iraqi Sideshow).


U.S. LAWYERS Need to SPEAKS Out in KUWAIT ON LABOR’S RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS—And other Shenanigans in the Gulf

U.S. LAWYERS Need to SPEAK Out IN KUWAIT ON LABOR’S RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS—and other Shenanigans in the Gulf by American firms and contractors

By Kevin Anthony Stoda, (reedited article as of 24 January 2008)

In this week leading up to President George W. Bush’s visit to Kuwait (where he will speak before U.S. soldiers, U.S. laborers and subcontractors, and Kuwaiti officials), U.S. lawyers at the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait student silent.

Although Kuwait has fairly great labor laws on the books (as my friend JN in Kuwait tells me), in practice it was quite apparent that many employers are not living up to the legislative and legal intentions of the official codes and laws of Kuwait concerning foreign labor and Kuwaitis.

For example, another resident in Kuwait has noted, a mother is automatically eligible for 7 weeks paid-leave at the birth of a child.

But, with wages for many in the 300 to 400 dollar month range, the extremely wealthy country of Kuwait could do far better. It is such foreign expat labor which the U.S. government, military, and U.S. contractors employee as subcontractors within the perimeters of Kuwait and in neighboring Iraq these days.


Another friend of mine from Southeast Asia, KM, was fined two days pay recently for something, he was not really clearly responsible for. He has basically no way to appeal without spending hours and months in the local ministries trying to get fair hearing, etc.

By the way, he was docked two full-days pay just before Christmas. As an engineer in Kuwait, KM receives a sum of only about 550 dollars each month in pay

That company is owned by a member of the ruling Al-Sabah Family—I doubt that George W. Bush will speak to the Emir of Kuwait and his family about integrity and the Golden-Rule while he is in the country this weekend.


I shared with a group of friends recently how Kuwaiti- and Kuwaiti-based firms get around the rule after employees arrive, “I have a friend from church who came with another group of employees from the Philippines four years ago. In the Philippines the contract had to be written in the Philippine language or in English, so everyone knew what remuneration and benefits they were to receive—including housing.

I continued, “However, after finishing that two years of employment in Kuwait a renewal contract was given to the group of laborers—along with my friend. To their dismay the new contract was all written ONLY in Arabic. Those same Filipinos were repeatedly told the contract was identical to their previous contract. Alas, a few months later they all discovered they had lost their housing benefits—of some 150 dollars per month.”

I would call it fraud.


Two years ago I had received what I perceived to be a contract offer from a British firm here in Kuwait. It included a start date. However, when that start date came-and-went I was not paid from the start date. When I came back from the USA to start that contract I was given a newer, fuller and complete bilingual contract--which had a LATER start date on it.”

Some might call it stupid for me to have cone ahead and signed the new contract given me. (I fought doing so for several days.) But, seriously, if one has been out of work for a few months and has given up other employment only to be flown into a country half way around the world--it is fairly hard for any employee to negotiate or demand fairer treatment after arrival.

Again, I’d call it fraud, i.e. the way employees here find out time and again that their written contracts and written contracts with start-date offers

Although frequently British and American contractors push back start dates here in Kuwait. The Kuwaiti inspired and fully owned firms and franchises pull this charade off more than anyone else.


All-in-all, most foreign laborers in and outside the United States are subject to the whims of laissez faire economics, laissez faire laws, laissez faire law enforcement, and wide-ranging lack of implementation of the golden rule.

This is true especially for illegal aliens in the USA, in Europe and elsewhere.

It is also true for legal U.S. labor working abroad.

Since the Gulf States have seen a great surge in American foreign labor presence—as soldiers, as contractors, as employees of all sorts, as well as businessmen, etc.—George W. Bush should be taking time in 2008 to talk to the Emir and leaders of Kuwait and neighboring land about the need to take Kuwaiti labor treatment and practices into the 21st century—and out of the 19th century, i.e. the period in the USA and in Europe (and elsewhere in the developed world) before labor unions had success.

Based on the million or more Americans (and their families) who have lived and worked in the Gulf states since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, I’d have to say that a zero-tolerance policy for bad implementation of labor justice in the Gulf states should be one of the top four or five policy issues of the United States in this region.

Just look at how food franchises from the USA are flubbing up America’s image in the Gulf!

Example #1: Burger King franchises in Kuwait are still holding onto their employees passports illegally. I know one employee who resigned 4 times in one year and each time was persuaded only to go back to work by the sad slave-like reality that she didn’t have a passport to get on the plane to go back home.

Example #2: Chile’s Restaurant franchises in Kuwait continues to force laborers to work overtime some weeks each month without paying them over-time based according to Kuwait labor law. The company uses a Byzantine calculation of hours per month—not by week. This cheating the labor is particularly sad because these Chile’s franchises in Kuwait is always among the most successful on the whole planet.

Example #3: McDonald’s Restaurant franchises are some of the better handlers of labor in the country of Kuwait. Wages and working hour practices are better there than at other franchises but environmentally, McDonald’s in Kuwait is living in the 1960s.

For example, around the nicest public beach area in the McDonald’s management refuses to allow its many laborers to go outside and pick up the McDonald’s refuse on the beach each day—simply saying it is the city’s job.

In 1980 I worked in a McDonald’s in Oklahoma. Even back then we employees and our management knew it was the duty and obligation of McDonald’s to go around the immediate neighborhood and pick up the refuse regularly—as it was predominantly from McDonald’s customers each morning. The official handbook from McDonald’s requires this of all franchises.

I have talked to laborers at that humongous McDonald’s restaurant on one of the prime piece of real estate (i.e. across from one of the palace’s of the royal family) about the need to clean up the beach. Every one of those employees wanted to do-the-right-thing but it was against the Kuwaiti McDonald’s management’s policy to keep the beach clean all day long.

Come on, McDonald’s! Come on Burger King! Come on Chile’s Restaurants!

You represent American business in the Gulf—one of the quickest growing business markets on the planet. What kind of image are you painting of the American lifestyle and attitudes towards management and laborers?

In the U-2 classic song NEW YEARS’ DAY, Bono sings that “this is the golden age and gold is the reason for the wars we wage.”

In the gulf, the gold is “black gold”, and black gold rules the day and runs roughshod over some.

Menawhile, American firms are providing Kuwaiti moneymakers with the technical- and management- know-how to run these icons of Americana—please get some commitments that local franchises in the Gulf won’t run America’s name (the good name of American peoples and its leadership) into the ground by the lack of real “Black Golden” rules when running businesses here!

“Black Golden” rules in the Gulf officially mean that the rulers of the country are expected to spread the wealth around among citizens and boost overall economic development—not necessarily underwriting more exploitation of foreign labor.


I actually met one of the last actual (legally-recognized) Middle Eastern slaves in Buraimi, Oman—across the border from Al Aine City in the United Arab Emirates—while living in the Emirates in 2000. He was a thin lanky dark-skinned septuagenarian.

This former-slave had had his picture and his tale told in the Khaleej Times the week before.

That is how I recognized him when I later visited him at an old fort in Buraimi, Oman where he hung out every day. By the way, this former officially recognized “child slave” spoke only a rather difficult ancient Arab dialect.

Even though, I couldn’t talk much in comprehensible Arabic to the old man, I did appreciate the unique opportunity to shake the old-man’s hand—i.e. I felt I was touching a piece of history.

As far as I know, Oman was the last Middle Eastern state to ban slavery.

Oman did so in the 1950s.

However, nearly 50 years later this same aged-Gulf citizen was still living in relative poverty across from the booming United Arab Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

In short, things change both slowly and quickly in the Gulf these days.

On January 1, 2008 Oman and six other Gulf states joined the economic union in the region to form the Middle East’s “free market”.

The citizens, who make up a bare majority of the residents in the entire region as a whole—and a minority in 4 of the 6 gulf states—are now allowed to have equal treatment under the economic and residency laws in the states of the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar.

In the economically booming Gulf, with its nearly 15 million foreign laborers plus all the local working citizens amongst its populations, the Free Market of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) has now the highest percentage of underrepresented peoples among all of the laissez faire regional free market economies on the planet.

This means that many peoples live in slave-like conditions as portrayed in the film with George Clooney called Ariana.

In that film, the story of how under-privileged peoples living without citizenship , i.e. in countries like the UAE or Saudi Arabia, can potentially be recruited to do the most ghastly things in the name of religion, revenge, or ideology.

Similarly, Americans who cannot find moneys to pay off housing-loans and other debts in the USA these days in the 21st Century are joining these oppressed folks in the Gulf laboring, i.e. working side-by-side with these down-trodden others on our planet.
In some cases, American military personnel retiring after 20 years of service end up here separated from family in the Middle East in order to simply try and make those house payments back in the good old USA.

Other American guest laborers do bring their wife and family over to the Middle East--after receiving lucrative promises of pay and benefit packages.

I know one such former U.S. military family who struggled for 18 months recently here in Kuwait. Before the former military logistics’ expert with his family arrived in Kuwait, the man had been promised visa help, tuition for his kids in an American school, and numerous other benefits along with more than adequate pay.

Let us call him Master Chief—because that was what he was in the U.S. Air Force for many years.

Master Chief finally quit Kuwait in mid-December 2007 after serving not only his employer but the U.S. military well in Kuwait for 18 strenuous months—during this time he had often been forced to work up to 14-hours a day (without overtime) until he had a heart murmur last spring. After his recovery, he was back working 2 weeks later.

Master Chief had been able to continue to help the U.S. military full-time in Kuwait because his employment was contracted at Kuwait’s military airport. He ran the logistics at this busy military airport—loading and unloading U.S. military planes to- and from overseas each day. (There are 30,000 or more U.S. soldiers on 2 bases here in Kuwait. Much of what is transferred at that airport either serves U.S. military folks in both Iraq and in Kuwait)

With his 20 years of experience in the Air Force, Master Chief had a lot to offer, but soon he learned that many others at his airport—i.e. many with next-to-no background in his field--were being paid as much or much more than he was.

Moreover, both the Kuwaiti and the American management firms contracted to run that military airport seemed to base their remuneration and benefits on whom you knew—i.e. connections—not basing it on how you did your job or how valuable you were to the company.

Unable to support the keeping of his family in Kuwait, Master Chief sent his family home in late July 2007.

Finally, even with the horrendous downturn in the U.S. economy and with no U.S. employment in hand, Master Chief returned to the USA to start all over again in December of that same year.

I wish him the best.

However, in the immediate period, I suggest that all Americans who are concerned with loved ones in Iraq, Kuwait and elsewhere, tell congress that BAD MANAGEMENT IN KUWAIT AND IN THE GULF MUST END—especially where USA tax dollars are concerned.

In short, I suggest you ask the U.S. government to better oversee how American tax dollars are wasted and thrown around throughout Kuwait and the Gulf at the military airport and elsewhere in Kuwait and the Gulf. We also need to demand better treatment of contractors and stop the graft and insider dealings that some military wheeler dealers are carrying out.


Note: Some years ago, I noted that the average large U.S. military tent in Iraq was rented by Halliburton and a Kuwaiti firm to the DOD at a cost of 4000 dollars a month—even though the tent cost only 10,000 on the open market in Kuwait. When I arrived in Kuwait one-year after the Invasion of Iraq in 2004, the DOD was still paying monthly for each of those tents this same exorbitant monthly fee.

The U.S. insiders and shock doctrine legionnaires flew into Kuwait wheeling and dealing in 2002 in anticipation of the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. Typical of the shenanigans that were pulled on the U.S. defense department by locals and insider Americans was the “Operation Enduring Freedom” patch—which all of the invasion forces received in Iraq in 2003-2004.

Here is the story told me by my FQ (a Kuwaiti).

FQ shares, “Well this strange American came to my brother with this no-bid contract from the D.O.D. to make these ‘Enduring Freedom’ patches. He was a busy sort of American who drove in a flashy car and always had his pet monkey with him.”

Pet monkey? In Kuwait?

FQ continued, “My brother agreed to find local Kuwaiti tailors—i.e. read Pakistani laborers—to create and make the patches by the thousands. My brother put the money down up front and the ‘monkey man’-American was to deliver the patches to the U.S. military.

FQ explained, “Each of these U.S. military patches cost—including labor--about 250 fills or less than a dollar. This is the amount to have been paid initially to my brother per patch. But since American servicemen were to pay about 15 dollars per patch, the ‘monkey man’ was to make a large profit. Part of this profit was to have been kicked back to my brother for the quick production and turn-around.”

What happened next?

“Well,” FQ stated, “The American ‘monkey man’ with all of his various no-bid military contracts in Kuwait absconded (with his monkey on his shoulder) without paying any of the Kuwait businessmen and their employees the money owed to them.”

As far as I know several complaints were lodged against such con-men working hand-in-hand with Kuwaiti military and U.S. military insiders in the cowboy days of 2003-2004. Little has been undertaken on the U.S. side to fully investigate all of the shenanigans.

Americans, please, demand that American money and influence be used more appropriately to serve labor and soldiers in the Middle East.

Demand that transparency in Kuwait for both Kuwaiti- and non-Kuwaiti firms become 2008% better in 2008! This includes all of the wheeler and dealer insiders who know someone at various military bases in the Gulf!

Ask George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice to whisper strong threats to clean shop into the ears GCC leadership in 2008!

Meanwhile, back in the U.S. better protections for the usage of U.S. taxes related to defense spending is essential in 2008 and onwards! Stop letting insiders create so much graft and bad will for America around the globe!

Demand money be paid back that has been misspent and find out who has been absconding with profits from War over the past 5 years.

Demand arrests!

Finally, poorly run military airports—due to bad employment policies—must soon be ended wherever U.S. government contracts are being dilled out on planet Earth.


I originally published a different article at this web address some weeks ago.

Within a week, the full-force of the status quo in Kuwait hit me at one of the places where I was working, i.e. in one of the townships of Kuwait.

I learned last week that suddenly a former employer of mine (from 2 years ago) was actively now spreading false rumors about me at my part-time job and elsewhere.

A similar sort of attack had been made upon me at that same employer after I filed on-line complaints with Chile’s Restaurants in the winter of 2005-2006. (Chile’s makes a lot of money on cheap labor and unpaid overtime. I’ve had to boycott the place although they have great food and ambience Americana.)

Despite this unfair and clearly tertiary interference with my current employer(s), I do not feel I should allow such ill-gotten and evil rumors to stop me from calling for fairer treatment of myself and all other laborers in the Gulf in 2008 and onwards.

--KAS (Alone)


Thursday, January 10, 2008



By Kevin A. Stoda

I was listening to BBC reporting on the election in New Hampshire this past week. On one of BBC’s talk radio programs, one American stated that the biggest problem America faces is “Illegal Immigration”.

At a time, when liaise faire- and crony capitalism have tanked the American economy for the umpteenth time in 3 decades, I am astounded at the fixation in the USA on illegal immigration.

On the other hand, I do recognize that in autumn 1981, I had already found myself taking part in one particular debate practice with the debate team at Bethel College (my alma mater).

That particular 1981-1982 school year the National CETA Debate topic was—--you guessed it !!!!:

“RESOLVED, illegal immigration to the United States of America is detrimental to the United States of America.”

In preparing for such a debate, university students have to, of course, normally learn to argue both the pros and cons of both sides of the resolution.

However, I quickly noted in preparing for the practice debate that I could handily argue both sides of this particular CETA Debate resolution from two almost identical perspectives.

This dual approach with a singular argument was initially considered by many of the famous Bethel College forensics & debate teams that 1982 to be a LOSER

Simply put—in 1982 I had determined to argue the Contra- (or Negativ) side of the resolution: “It is indeed fact that illegal immigration is a problem”, but I had continued, “It is the fact that some or most of the concerned immigrations are illegal that caused problems--and lack of transparency--in the American economy.”

Conversely, I had explained from the Contra perspective, “If these immigrants had been legal, most of the negative effects such immigration had on the U.S. economy (and its image) as well as the political or social landscape would have been found to be largely positive.”

Meanwhile, on Pro- (or the Positive) position in debate, I would argue the same case, i.e. “Illegal immigration itself is not the problem, it is the simple fact that someone, namely the U.S. government, has defined or made certain immigrants illegal by law which is the core cause of the negative effects of most all forms of immigration to the United States.

Only the Bethel College debate coach on campus that 1981 had thought that it had been valid for me to use this dual approach on Contra- as well as Pro- debater in that National CETA debate season.


Interestingly, the very following week (after I had practiced with the Bethel College Debate team), that same BC team went out and participated at a major debate meet in Wichita, Kansas.

This Bethel College Debate team that autumn weekend did fairly well—however, one of the BC teams lost out to another arch rival. The rival who used a nearly identical set of arguments which I had used in the practice debate, namely, “It is the very illegality of immigration which causes the most detriment in USA society and in the self-image of Americans or the USA.”


In 2008, i.e. over 26 years later, I am still arguing in response to the old CETA debate resolution above: “It is the very fact that someone has defined a certain person or groups of persons as illegal that the U.S.A finds illegal immigration to be detrimental. Otherwise, virtually almost every form of immigration to the United States—other than illegal immigration—has proven to be beneficial to the United States of America.”

As a history teacher, I have found time-and-again during my research that primarily only through the continued application and establishment of the legal definition of “illegal immigration” in California against the Chinese and Japanese at the end of the 19th century (and since the virtual national prohibition against immigration around 1920) have xenophobia, anti-communism, and other national phobias been regularly been so broadly been promoted in America (and so-active abroad in America’s foreign relations).

Wherever, such phobias against race—i.e. including against foreign born peoples based race, religion or ideology--, underdevelopment has been reigning quite regularly in America.

Over the past 25 years, I have traveled to over 100 countries all over the planet and have worked in nearly a dozen lands. Almost no other developed land—excepting Australia, Russia or Canada—has there been so much underdeveloped per-capita and per-square mile in terms of sheer God-Given natural and human resources as I have witnessed in the United States of America has.


I firmly posit that had America kept its borders much more open, the following portions of the U.S. political economy would not be so underdeveloped:

(1) mass transit
(2) fast train technology
(3) integration of train and road transportation involving cars and small trucks
(4) fuel efficiency
(5) wind, solar, and other alternative energy sources
(6) social welfare
(7) universal health care
(8) communication technologies
(9) electric- and environmentally sound suburban, and rural planning
(10) child and natal care
(11) efficiency in higher education costs
(12) urban development
(13) international trade
(14) international investment
(15) regional investment
(16) housing
(17) public housing
(18) anti-pollution technologies
(19) environmentally sound farming and land-use practices
(20) manufacturing and manufacturing technologies
(21) water management
(22) alternative school models and mediums, e.g. technical training programs
(23) peace and conflict resolution training
(24) management of social security
(25) mutual funds
(26) retirement services of all types, including transport and access
(27) community programs for young people
(28) programs for working- and single mothers
(29) national policies being aligned with international foreign policies
(30) and visa versa
(31) foreign language training
(32) cross-cultural training and education
(33) international marketing
(34) other conservation technologies

Despite the fact that America has controlled immigration for most of the past 100 year or so, no one in America is talking seriously of returning to the days of a more-open door policy.

Only with such an approach, can the USA begin to demand fairly and adequately that the many savvy and hopeful American companies and American guest-workers around the globe (from Kuwait & Iraq to Mexico and China) will be given better access to all local markets on a reciprocal basis.

Currently, populations around the developing world—from Saudi Arabia to Peru--are growing.

It is time to take the bull by the horns and grab the best and brightest workers, educators, and investors from around the world (by and) for building and rebuilding the American Dream (of being a beacon on the hill etc.).

As long as Americans try to continue its Quixote-like century-long struggle to keep the “barbarians at the gate” out—whether they are Arabs, Hispanics, or Tutus--, both American government’s foreign relations and its own peoples growing image as a parochial tribe will continue to dominate in the 21st Century world.


Just look at China! Or Japan! And Europe! And consider the future in the 21st Century!

If we take the Japanese development model, we see a country forced to build robots like crazy simply to fill the empty chairs of an aging and zero-growth population. In short, there is consistently a lack of demand at home for most Japanese products. (Some European states, like Italy are in every bit as bad a situation, but many of these same European countries don’t have the robots.) Are robots and the arbitrary recruiting of certain peoples to the USA, the only possibility for America to improve in the 34 areas list above?

Alternatively, by opening the U.S.A. borders up to population growth, America will likely eventually be able to keep up with China and grow its own internal market—while growing an external one.

There is pent-up demand in the American development now (and there will be in the future) that only an increased population from abroad could create in America without adversely damaging the rest of the entire planet environmentally, socially, and politically

The third model or option to follow would be to create a real federal North and South America whereby labor, politicians, developmentalists, businessmen, and socio-political entrepreneurs could cross borders and return with reciprocity. (This is the model the European union is following currently , but Europe is still not keeping up well in terms of manpower in many regions—due to the aforementioned definitions of “illegal immigration”. Such definitions and statutes promote or foster both directly and indirectly xenophobia and anti-development regionally.)

All-in-all, Americans need to really consider what kind of America they wish to see for the rest of this millennium.

Do we want to have a parochial future which continues to find America be unable to make peace with others around the globe—i.e. without getting stuck in endless wars on terrorism, endless wars in Iraq, or endless wars in the mountains of Pakistan and Afghanistan?

In short, let’s make friends and grow America while promoting a better quality of life for everyone—in and out of the USA—by changing how we approach immigration.

Many peoples around the world already identify and appreciate many facets of Americana in film and media. Most of these peoples would like to be our friends and/or join our family. Just look at how many good quality immigrants and citizens Canada and Ireland have recruited over the past two decades by easing immigration restrictions and promoting both internal and external market growth in a more modern manner

Think about it America!

Currently, due to its population-size, its large internal market and humongous external market, China (with 1.2 billion people) is on American radar as probably the number one threat militarily and economically for the rest of this century.

Could a dynamo American economy (with an emphasis on efficiency of integration and immigration &) with a growing population keep up much better? I believe it would.

In summary, I argue that especially if every region in America was allowed to participate in the planning as to how to handle such a boom in population and if each region was given the national resources to plan and manage such growth properly, American and modern-know how would step up to the plate.


Sometime ago, my mother passed on one of those e-mail jokes which went like this:

“And for those of you who watch what you eat, here’s the final word on nutrition and health.

(1) The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
(2) The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
(3) The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than American.
(4) The Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
(5) The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausage & also suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
CONCLUSION: Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.”

Such a joke leads me to recall that only about 100 years ago my own Grandmother Gertrud in southwest Wisconsin grew up in a German speaking home.

However, the German language was not passed along to her well by her parents in those years. Those were the WWI war years which were immediately leading up to the implementation of the xenophobically-charged U.S.A. laws prohibiting immigration in 1920.

Over the next 20 to 30 years almost every single one of the hundreds or thousands of multilingual schools in the United States of America (from New York to Cincinnati to Texas and California) was closed down.

Such multilingual schools had previously allowed (i.e. prior to the 1930s & 1940s) for better integration of immigrant children and their families into the USA than did the mono-lingual-only-schools found in most of America for the rest of the 20th Century.

This monolingual America of the second half of the 20th Century did not serve America well starting in the 1960s. By that time, other nations, trading blocks, and regions began to produce their own goods for the American market.

In short, initially it was easy to sell things and make trades monolingually when America had cornered the market on the world’s gold and production, and production-know-how.

(The USA had also with the help of other English speaking countries, like Britain, set up the rules of international trade and banking at Dumbarton Oaks.)

However, by the 1970s, America’s monolingual trading policies and developmental practices lost out to other-language speaking nations and regions who not only spoke English but who were able to keep the single-language American firms and guest workers or consultants out of the local markets. (The multilingual-and multicultural weak American traders and firms have been left out of local markets around the globe ever since.)

This particular antagonistic attitude by Americans and American leadership (from 1920 onwards) towards peoples speaking other languages and against multilingual Americans in general must end in this 21st Century world.

If America is to respond to this century’s greatest challenges, leaders need to make this need for a bigger and multilingual competent America clear to the U.S. public, and Americans should become more multiculturally (and multilingually) competent. These are both important starting point for common American self-identity developing more positively over the years to come.

Note: Despite growing up in Kansas—one of the few U.S. states which still does not require that foreign language be taught in schools--, the author of this article has successfully struggled as an adult to become fluent in German and Spanish while reaching the intermediate levels of ability in Japanese and intermediate French—as well as lower level Arabic speaking and reading skills. He encourages Kansans, despite their isolation from international borders, to strive to promote foreign language and better multicultural skills and understanding.


Saturday, January 05, 2008

Dear New Hampshire Voters and Other Americans: Let’s Review Why the Median Income in America has Not Been Good for Decades! Then Vote to Change the

Dear New Hampshire Voters and Other Americans: Let’s Review Why the Median Income in America has Not Been Good for Decades! Then Vote to Change the System!

By Kevin Stoda

Last summer, Larry Beinhart in OP-ED NEWS wrote a brilliant summary of why America had been actually in various phases of a recession for some time. The piece was entitled, “The ‘Mysteries’ of Bushenomics.”

As almost everyone knows, the misguided blueprint of the United States of America for much of the spending habits over the last horrible 7-years comes relatively uncorrupted from the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrative periods between 1981-1992.

Ronald Reagan’s approach was to try and grow the pie of economic materialism and infrastructure while slicing the pie a little less equitably among the Janes and John Does of America.

One of the theoretical underpinnings of this confused economic blueprint is that (1) as long as the Ayne Rand characters envisioned in the American Myth of the supposedly Entrepreneurial Free Market of the USA receive their profits unhindered by others—i.e. by governments--, (2) the economic pie will grow bigger and eventually all Americans of every stripe will be blessed by the growing of the American Economic Juggernaut.

I ask you America, “Well, it hasn’t been working for nearly 30 years—so why keep trying?”

While there are some tiny portions of the Ayne Rand theory and of the horrible blue print which hold sway (or hold water) among the better theories of political economy and social productions on the planet, former CIA Director George Herbert Walker Bush in 1980 properly called the theories underpinning of the Reagan economic as simply “voodoo economics”.

In the 1980s, others experiencing the working class world and world of unemployment in U.S. cities at that time ( an unemployment which reached in some neighborhoods nearly 35 to 40% by 1983) called the theory and practices of the Reagan (1) “reward the rich”--and (2) magically create jobs a theory of “trickle down economics”.


In short, although the opportunist George Bush, Sr. bit his lip and eventually joined Ronald Reagan as Vice-President of the United States in 1981, America went through a period of numerous uncertain economic transitions and ups-and-downs throughout the 1981-1992 period.

The U.S., itself, was in recession again in 1991-1992 (despite deficit spending on the first Iraq War) and had been in and out of recession over the previous two decades several times.

In short, the Reagan-Bush economy of that particular 12-year period and the Bush program of 2001 till now have been unsuccessful in raising wages or raising the living standards of middle (& lower income earners) and households in the United States.

Dear America, don’t you agree it high time to call the Reagan, Bush I and Bush II models a failure?

It is time to pick up the cards and deal out whole new hands starting in 2008.

We can keep some facets of the theory that have to do with strict scrutiny and efficiences, like the Reagan era focus on efficiency in reducing some of the ills of pork barrel spending the creations of more efficient departments managing mostly social infrastructure in the USA.

However, as for the pet-branches (Defense and Security) of Reagan, Bush 1, and Bush 2 economic and government management go, America has to require that these branches go through the same scrutiny. These departments of indulgence in spending for these 3 misguided economic managers of the American economy and governance are now all clearly located under the branch of homeland security,--but they should also include the secret branches now overseen only by a handful of elite senators and congressmen (who have not done their oversight jobs well) over the past 8 years.

It may not be too farfetched to get rid of or hone down the Department of Homeland Security as the current president and vice-president rarely listen to its advice, anyway.

Where are the Republican and Democrats today who can fill real watch-dog roles concerning the ballooning defense and security related spending of the USA as congressmen or as president in 2008? Are such Americas actually running for office? Well, then vote for them—if not, please demand a new set of cards immediately, otherwise you are joining in another illusion and accepting the same shenanigans as last year.


Larry Beinhart began his reasonable critique of “Bushenomics”--and by extension “Reaganomics”--by sharing a favorite humorous irony concerning the illusions people (including compassionate Christians who should know better) have been holding out for Reagan and Bush economics over 3 decades now.

Beinhart’s joke went like this: “Bill Gates walks into a bar. The average income of every person in the room immediately goes up 10,000 percent.”

In short, in looking at real people’s lives in America--i.e. looking at average wealth,

average standard of living,
average access to health care, or
average access to government aid in an emergency--,

looking at average is a political-economic “NO-NO”.

As Beinhart states, we have to look at the median income in society to find out how Americans did or have been doing in the economy.

In terms of cost of living in America over the last 7 years, fuel is up over 100 percent, and education costs are nearly 50% higher. Moreover, health care costs are up by at least 80% at a time when up to 50 million Americans (1/6 of the total population) are without any insurance.

It should be noted that Beinhart’s prescient article was written before the housing market collapsed after June 2007.

As far as measuring any economic success of the Bush administration, only the Dow Jones had done well as a benchmark under Bush 2 economics. However, once the housing market went belly up last summer, even those illusory gains were erased.

This contrasts with a the Dow Jones having increased during the Clinton Administration by 320% in 8 years. (The Clinton Administration applied efficiency to spending and taxing far better than his predecessors, Bush, Sr. or Reagan.)


Beinhart notes that when “a government wants an economy to grow, it throws money at it.”

This “throwing of money at a problem economy”, actually only works to a small degree.

For example, the Ronald Reagan increased government spending drastically in the 1980s—however, only mostly in the areas of security and defense spending—and yet the recessions came again and under his presidency the Dow Jones crashed again—but at a crash level which had not occurred since 1929.

This is because (1) tax breaks were being given mostly to the wealthiest sectors of the economy, so (2) people and banks which then had more money to take home during the Reagan era, looked around to invest in things, like stocks for quick earnings.

In short, these Ayne Rand wannabees weren’t investing initially in greater American infrastructure—like trains, new electrification, or new road networks—as had occurred in the U.S. in both the 19th and after the Depression in the 20th.

Meanwhile, as economists had alreadt noted, (3) spending on defense is likely to have the least direct trickle down effect on the median wage earner and/or small businesses in America.

Therefore, when in 1986--and thereafter-- Congress had to begin to get the Reagan and Bush mis-spending in line, cut-backs came on defense projects, like the Star Wars program.

This was appropriate as those benefiting from arms contracts are the usual suspects of the big business world—arms industrial producers—who have the least positive washback on the economy as a whole.

At the same time, America had to determine what to do to help the median income earners—as costs of living and education continued to grow through every single decade of the Reagan Bush experiments.

The quick fix “salvation” and source of profit for some giants, like Wal-Mart and thousands of America’s newer dollar stores, was the opening up of China and Mexico to trade and investment.

In short, as the Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton,and Bush 2 economies have marched on through 2008, the quick fix to diminishing standards of living in the median household, Americans have found as the only solution these sort of cheap imports

That is, the quasi-free capitalism of Bush- and Reaganomics offered only cheap imports and new lower paid service industry employment to many Americans. (Meanwhile university education costs spiraled out of control. U.S. youth have to go to Cuba and elsewhere to study medicine. Thousands of other medical students’ education costs continue to drive up America’s health care industry-user costs each year.)

Besides recent pork barrel spending from the congresses under the George W. Bush Administration only the pharmaceutical and defense contractors have made out big-time under Busehenomics II.

On the other hand, the government—instead of demanding health care for all and other minimum standards as many a government has seen the right to do—, Bushenomics ans its forefather faiths I trickle-down economics and shock economic theory have continued to pretend that the spending practices of the Reagan era are still good models for America in the 21st Century.


As Beinhart says, America must throw out the Reagan and Bush mythology and move on beyond building a mediocre country and planet in 2008!

It is such a transformation in thinking and government planning which will be essential for a real recovery in America.


Beinhart shares another economic parable that is accurate, but it should not be read as irony because the matter is too serious for the average American who cannot even dream of owning a home in 2008.

Beihnard explains how the credit economy benefits the bigger banks and wealthier lenders of the land without producing a building or any tangible piece of infrastructure themselves. (You may notice I am a fan of many credit unions—but not a fan of many banks although there are some good bankers out there.)

The example is concerned with housing loans but could apply to student, car, business, education, and other loan—including the usage of credit cards:

“You own a house. It’s worth $100,000. Someone buys the house, no money down. They borrow that money. Let’s say it’s a straight 8 percent, 30-year mortgage. Forget closing costs, points, and any other complication—that’s $220,000 debt. It goes on the banks books as an asset.”

Beinhart continues with his parable, “Now you have $100,000. The bank has $220,000 (on paper). The buyer has a house worth $100,000. The bank has a lien on it , but the buyer will be gaining equity, plus he can get a second mortgage and home-improvement and other loans on it.”

Concluding, Beihart notes, “Again, this is a vast oversimplification, but that transaction has ‘created’ something like $420,000 that is now “in play,” as part of the economy.”

So, American mythmakers have been able to claim that the economy has continued to grow over the past ten years—even though tens of millions of Americans have experienced otherwise.

This is the grand illusion of the big spenders, bankers, Reaganomics, and Bushenomics (perhaps to some degree Cintonomics, too,) types.

The fact is, not since the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s has the U.S. spent its money strategically well to help directly most regions and peoples. From the 1960s onwards, middle men (& very many of them) and the wealthiest have been depended on to grow the pie.

There have been no great national rural electrification projects,
no major new mass transit systems (like bullet trains),
no great social security innovation, and
no attempt to provide inexpensive higher education to masses of people as occurred in our grandfather’s time.

Instead, after 1964, for example, the U.S. government created the student loan program and prices in higher education have skyrocketed. (How many of you have had family members who have gotten in trouble due to their inability to pay back loans?)

America needs to return to better core investment strategies of its resources in this 21st century—in a way that good strategies made America so strong after WWII. These well-thought out spending strategies included direct government transfers to the poorest and more underdeveloped parts of our society. This is how Americans gained access to telephone, radio and televisions faster than any other peoples on the planet—investment in infrastructure and human being which empowered America.

When I think about a needed American Recovery, I believe a full-recovery of values that commit each American more to helping each other out will absolutely include not only private sector good-will but those wise usage of resources practices which made America so fruitful a hundred years ago—but in a way that has not been seen in over a half a century. (Just look at how competitive Germany has become in recent years through better allocation and reallocation of resources than any American governments has demonstrated in decades. Look at the whole European Union for a smorgasbord of political-economic practices which Europeans learned the hard way—and sometimes by copying our forefathers.)

America needs to recover a vision of building better social-infrastructure, i.e. infrastructure that helps almost every person in the country (not relying on trickle down) to solidify a flailing unity which once dominated America in the post-Depression era but has since been erased by made-for-TV illusions of wealthy investors running U.S. media and politics.


For several decades, I have been dismayed at the mediocrity that so many Americans and American households have been willing to put up with under an illusion that they are living or pursuing (or have access to) the American Dream.

The American Dream I was raised on was revealed in the visions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (and others at mid-century) who asked Americans not to assume that we have achieved a great society but asked us to strive for the day when we were a great society—a beacon on the hill to others as well as to our offspring.

2008 is the year to march forward on such a path.

For example, labor unions in the USA are finally realizing that the cause of workers in other countries from China to Bangladesh are related to their own struggles on behalf of improving the standard of working and living at home in the USA. However, awareness is only a first step. International cooperation lifting standards of labor and lifestyle for all are important and our government must practice the tact and right people-to-people tools to get things done. (I.e. stop throwing bombs and asking questions later!)

The U.S., if it is to continue to pursue trade treaties and work under the WTO (or any newer trade regime), has got to be a leader in promoting labor and citizen rights in other countries.

We are all in this boat together-just as we live under the same polluted skies and alongside polluted or overflowing sea beds

Nonetheless, it is the American Socio-Economic situation that is in such poor shape in geographical in 2008. therefore, it America is absolutely in need of serious revamping and restructuring of national spending and distribution of resources (& priorities) focusing on core areas of need and of future human potential.

These core areas include the need to create an energy system that is sustainable.

Many of the poorer U.S. states an their citizens could benefit from the U.S. government taking a $100 billion dollars out of Homeland Security Spending (already costing 2.4 trillion dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, etc.) for a great jump start in the way of efficient clean energy production.

Similarly, $100 billion could build the foundation of a great Health Care system for all.

Or, $100 billion could build or initiate the main infrastructure for electrified fast trains across the USA—trains that carry automobiles, trailers, and trucks as well as passengers.

Americans can determine a better future—that is, if they refuse to depend solely on unqualified economic theories and look again to making key social investments--instead of only throwing money around to the facets of an economy that have the worst and most indirect support for developing individual wealth and for improving the quality of living for all.

Here is one final warning from Beinhart, “If we are to invest public funs—through government borrowing or spending or through simply spending tax revenues—we are to be aware that rich people running around with bags of money won’t necessarily do what’s good for the wealth of our nation. They may run us into bankruptcy, the way the smartest guys in the room ran Enron into bankruptcy.”

Don’t forget how closely tied Enron was to the Bushenomics folks and how theysupported George W. Bush and his policies in the period prior to Enron’s collapse in late 2001.

That food-for-thought alone should give you a clue as to who benefits under Reagan-based Bushenomics of any era.

American leaders owe America a better theory to base its future destiny on. Demand it from political candidates, like me, in 2008 (and onward).


Beinhart, Larry, “The ‘Mysteries’ of Bushenomics”,

Stoda, Kevin, “Dear Iowa Voters, Shake up the System . . ., “

Stoda, Kevin, “Dear Republicans and Progressive Evangelicals . . .,”

Stoda, Kevin, “Greenspan Vs. Naomi Klein and Amy Goodman”,

Thursday, January 03, 2008



By Kevin Stoda, Kuwait

In Kuwait, we receive a wide range of FM radio stations. Many of these are provided thanks to the American-, British-, French-, and Kuwaiti governments. The easiest one of the English language radio stations to find on the radio dial when traveling throughout the country is the VOA (Voice of America Radio). Next in line in terms of reception quality is the BBC. These two stations can be received in car or home most anywhere in the country.

This past year VOA has been using a peculiar radio station identification several times a day—used especially during its music programming. The station ID goes like this: “We are your radio station, NOT YOUR ROLE MODEL.”


The same statement—“not your role model”--might be said or claimed to be true by almost any radio station on the planet—whether we are talking about a government-run radio station or an independent radio sender.

Nonetheless, isn’t it a disingenuous or dishonest to claim that? Isn’t it true that when a radio station is playing a certain sort of

(1) musical text,
(2) musical score,
(3) oral text,
(4) carrying out issues discussions,
(5) promoting certain social or political critique, or
(6) providing any other official or unofficial narration on the public radio airwaves,

that radio station’s emission will be translated or interpreted automatically in many shapes or forms, partially as an attempt (directly or indirectly) to reach or to at least assuage peoples’ hearts and minds?

In short, if a radio station has listeners, a message is shared. A message can influence a listener in numerous ways.

That is, one fact of having or offering a radio station program is: A message is shared, and listeners interpret the meaning of these spoken word, music, tone of voice, dialect, and context.

Any study of media—TV, radio, internet, magazines, play station, and other games—demonstrates that roles of the OTHER are interpreted and absorbed over time by the viewer, reader of game player.

This is true regardless of intended message, e.g. “this is just a game” or “we are not your role models”.


This past New Years Eve as I was heading out of my new flat in Fahaheel Kuwait to a New Years Celebration, I was able to receive a broadcast of the Armed Forces Radio out of Baghdad. As an American citizen and as a teacher & ambassador of improving cross-cultural relations, I did not appreciate the “fun” and music I heard that night.

I should note, that at different times of day & in different locations in Kuwait we can sometimes receive at least two different Armed Forces Radio stations. (I now live closer to one of the larger U.S. military bases in Kuwait, so I have better reception than had been the case.)

That particular evening of December 31 I turned to the Armed Forces Radio out of Baghdad and first heard a series of typical advertisements or public service announcements.

Some of these announcements can be rather boring but common sense things like, “Be careful with what you say!!! Don’t unintentionally pass on information and knowledge. Listeners and inadvertent receivers of information are everywhere.”

Such an announcement ends by telling the American armed forces personnel to remember to destroy documents so as not to allow them to get in others hands, etc.

As a radio listener to Armed Forces Radio, the VOA, or to any radio station program locally that does not have a call-in portion for listeners, I am technically a lurker.

As a lurker, I acquire information without being identified or contributing to the media.

As a lurker (and as a human being) who absorbs cultural information all around me each work day, I am constantly processing data. The display that night of inattention to those “lurkers” receiving reception of Armed Forces Radio that New Years Eve is disconcerting to hear—5 years after the occupation of Iraq began.


Here is a short report of what I observed or listened to on the evening of December 31, 2007 and in the early morning hours on January 1, 2008 emanating from U.S. Armed Forces Radio in Kuwait and elsewhere in the Middle East.

First, early in the evening, two female soldiers were running a discussion program. They were giggling and occasional laughing hysterically about some recent news item or some recent discussion. The discussion had to do with exposure of women’s body parts in public displays.

Admittedly, I did not know the context of what was being discussed or joked about—nor what the name of that particular Armed Forces Radio program was.

However, I was immediately aware, though, that as the female radio personalities said things like this and giggled, they were bound to be misunderstood by thousands of other radio lurkers around the Middle East. These laughing talk radio personalities said things like:

“Women should be able to show their stuff.”

“Women are blessed and ought to be able to do that [without hindrances].”

As I strained to believe what I was hearing on my radio dial, I couldn’t tell whether these two female radio personalities were talking about a particular news item, a particular celebrity, the exploitation of women in magazines, or any particular social concept in general.

However, after reading a short article on YAHOO the day before, I assumed I knew basically the topic.

That is, as a listener or lurker, I assumed that the giggling GIs were talking about the YAHOO news item from the weekend about a woman in the USA who had been outraged when asked by stewards and stewardesses on the plane to hike her skimpy skirt back down as she was in a public plane with other passengers. Apparently, as the woman sat in her seat her tiny skirt was no longer at lap level.

I listened for about 5 to 10 minutes but I was unable to gather what the context was. Nonetheless, I had had enough and switched off the station

As I stopped at a supermarket to buy juices for the New Years celebrations, I shook my head and thought, “When will these Armed Forces radio personalities learn that not only will some Americans not enjoy the pointless jabber and culturally insensitive tone, but certainly Kuwaitis, Iraqis, Indians, Pakistanis and others who are sympathetic to American causes around the globe listening to Armed Forces Radio in Kuwait are going to (1) be more than a bit offended and (2) find the insensitive airing of American laundry to be sadly typically representative of the West?”

In short, a very unintended message is spun here in the Middle East.

Recently, one columnist in the last FRIDAY TIMES--my favorite and Kuwait’s most wide-ranging, liberal, and in depth newspaper—one columnist, Ahmad Al-Khaled had written an article denouncing the usage of songs by 50 Cent being played in the City’s Malls when his children are out with him.

Al-Khaled stated, “In fact, if the government censors were to read some of the lyrics contained in the many songs played so freely in local malls [and if I was to have] written [the text] here on the pages of this publication, the editor of this paper and myself would be in a good deal of legal trouble, (i.e. behind bars).”

I, Kevin Stoda, haven’t lived in the U.S. for about fives years, but Al-Khalid has. He went on to write in his editorial, “In many years of living in the US, I never heard songs with filthy lyrics in public places like malls. It just wasn’t done. Even in the USA, where free speech reigns supreme, there are limits.”

While I doubt that music in American malls in 2008 are as clean as Mr. Al-Khaled claims, I do get the gist of what he is stating. He is saying there is a time and place for every type of music and every type of speech. On the other hand, there are times and places where certain words and music are not appropriate.

Are radio station airwaves any different than the internet, whereby the Australian government is considering implementing some sort of internet censorship to reduce children accessing porn?

After midnight that New Years 2008, I traveled back to Fahaheel City, and during my 30-minut drive decided to lurk again a bit to Armed Forces Radio.

There was a rock concert being aired between public service and GI educational announcements. I believe the music was possibly heavy metal—but may have been an older rock band, like REO Speedwagon of the 1970s..

The recording (or monologue) of the singer-guitarist speaking to the audience that New years morn went like this:

“Is there a Bad Mother F--- here?”

“Where is that Cun…?

“What about those tit--- she’s got?

I thought of the Bedouins and other local Arabs who spend their holidays and weekends camping in the desert. These are the young men who might be listening to this American Radio station’s demonstration of how to share its own culture and its own free-for-all attitudes about free speech OUTLOUD (on a radio station self-identified as U.S. Armed Forces Radio).

I shuddered, “What are the young people here in the Middle East learning or interpreting of the American laisse faire attitude towards talk and jabbering on air?”

These are easily influenced young men who one day may turn from doing what teenagers out in rural Kansas do, i.e. sit outside at night drinking and smoking under the expansive open sky in some secluded countryside. Next year, they might be influenced by others in or outside their peer- or family group to recant the errors of there ways and become conservative, righteous indignant towards the West. (These Arabs will base their ideas of the West on the music and experiences they shared with their cohorts during those long desert camping trips in the night.)

After working five years in the Gulf countries of the Middle East, I have observed that some of the currently most liberal young people who might be of the cohort group listening to Armed Forces Radio concerts while showing off their snazzy automobiles are just as likely as anyone else to grow up as less liberal and more critical of west as the years.

Does experiencing the Worst from the West have its greatest effect on youth or on older folks?

I believe it is the former.

These same young peoples watch legal- and pirated- American films and soon pretend they know all about THE WEST after viewing those action thrillers and the over-the-top narrations and cuss-language of film and music culture—a cultural world often left unedited by teachers or in-the-know adults (like myself) who might give these youth a more effective means to read and interpret culture from music and film.


While I don’t agree with a lot that Hillary Clinton has stood for in recent years, some fifteen years ago she wrote a book, saying “It takes a village [to raise a child].” She was right on. We all need to work together to raise better children and better societies. We must see ourselves as role-models and act accordingly. We must advise, train, talk with and educated children and youth.

For example, reading, social science, and writing teachers such as myself can help young people interpret culture, language, and ways of life more even-handedly and effectively than can a radio station playing in the nigh skies over the Gulf States.

Sadly, effective parenting is too often missing in developing countries, such as those in the Gulf states. The average population here is fairly young compared to U.S., East Asian, and European. The parents have depended too much on government restrictions and not on common sense to teach youth about the rights and wrongs of society.

Another FRIDAY TIMES editorialist bemoans the lack of common sense in Kuwait in terms of both parenting and enforcement of existing laws and codes in a Kuwait that has become a bit more laisse faire economically in the past decade. The authors name is Nawara Fattahova and she claims, “We don’t ban kids from entering any type of movie we show. Even if it was written that the movie is for ages 18 and above, we can only advise them that it’s not suitable for them.”

This is because in Kuwaiti cinemas attempts to mimic the West as much as possible—despite censorship of portions of most any film—they only see fit to advise youth under certain ages not to go into a movie. It is much like American states that advise gamblers not to gamble and to get treatment but simply continue to allow the addicted gamblers to do so.

Laisse Faire economics is not the answer to everything Kuwait?

Isn’t that so America? (Look at the economic mess laisse faire bankers have got you in recently!)

We need to be wise educators. By we, I mean ALL HUMAN BEINGS—not just lifelong educators, such as myself.

Teaching of common sense should be manifested in radio stations, too.

Let’s use our government supported and sponsored radios and media more wisely in 2008!

Radio stations and other media DO PROVIDE ROLE MODELS to all peoples—but especially to younger and more impressionable peoples throughout the globe.

This applies not only to Kuwait and Iraq radio—but to U.S. government sponsored propaganda at home.

If the message is wrong or inappropriate, hold the people in charge responsible—even with loss of job and or jail (if necessary and when false information is criminally liable)


Fattahova, Nawara, “No Age Limit for Kids in Kuwait’s Theaters”, FRIDAY TIMES,
December 28, 2007, p.5.

Al-Khaled, Ahmad, “’PEEP SHOW’ in Kuwait’s Malls”, FRIDAY TIMES,
December 28, 2007, p.5.

Stoda, Kevin, “Discussing the N-Word, the B-Word, the F-Word…”