Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dear Kuwaitis and Other Tribals, Do you Think this might explain local Politics?

Dear Kuwaitis and Other Tribals,

As a lifelong educator, I used to teach several classes of technical English. While doing so, I enjoyed reviewing DISCOVERY and other scientific websites for stories like the one which follows.

As I read through the results on recent scientific research on how the brain responds to family members (as compared to others, even non-family loved ones).

Do you KUWAITIS and other tribals think this research might partially explain local Kuwaiti and Middle Eastern politics? That is, the way the brain responds to family tribes might effect our behaviors in crazy or distorted ways as outlined in this research?

The article from DISCOVERY is as follows at this link:


How Visiting Your Family Warps Your Brain

Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News

Dec. 29, 2008 -- Visiting -- or even just viewing photos of family members -- prompts brain activity that affects how you feel about them, your friends, and even yourself, a new study suggests.

The study is the first to compare brain activity associated with seeing relatives with that linked to seeing friends and strangers. It suggests our feelings about biological relatives are at least somewhat primal.

The findings may help explain everything from why our family can get on our nerves to why people who look like us can spark immediate feelings of trust, "but not lust," said Steven Platek, who co-authored the study with Shelly Kemp.

"We like to be around people that look more like us, but we do not find them as sexually attractive," added Platek, editor-in-chief of the journal Frontiers in Evolutionary Neuroscience. "I think it is linked to our subconscious ability to detect facial resemblances so we avoid lusting after those that may be related to us."

For the study, the researchers performed MRI brain scans on test subjects viewing images of biological relatives, friends, strangers, themselves and various morphed images.

The scientists found that relatives and self-lookalikes are processed through a self-referential part of the brain. Friends and strangers who look nothing like the viewer, on the other hand, light up entirely different areas of the brain, those linked to making important and risky decisions with respect to the self.

The findings are published in the latest issue of the journal Neuropsychologia.

Platek and Kemp also found that the brain ranks everyone socially, with relatives at the head of the line.

"I think facial resemblance is ranked right up there in importance with attractiveness," Platek said.

Since relatives are processed through areas of the brain linked to self-reference, the study could also help to explain why relatives cause us to take things personally. While we may tolerate a friend's loud laughter or snoring, for example, we may have less patience with a relative because we judge them similarly to how we judge ourselves.

"This research is a wonderful example of the fruitfulness of conducting cognitive neuroscience informed by evolutionary theory," said Todd Shackelford, a professor of psychology at Florida Atlantic University.

"I am hopeful that other researchers in the cognitive neurosciences will follow Dr. Platek's lead and take full advantage of the predictive power of a Darwinian perspective on the design of the structure of the mind," he told Discovery News.

It's likely, he explained, that a face we perceive as "friendly" is one that looks more like us. But how we later feel about that person could be tied to how we feel about ourselves, perhaps explaining the prevalence of arguments during family reunions and holiday gatherings.



I saw this news item in Democracy Now on Monday.

19 States Make Cuts to Medicaid Benefits

In domestic news, the Washington Post reports at least nineteen states have made cuts to Medicaid benefits, the government health insurance program for the poor. States from Florida to California have lowered payments to hospitals and nursing homes, eliminated coverage for some treatments and forced some recipients out of the insurance program completely. Many of the states are halting payments for healthcare services not required by the federal government, such as physical therapy, eyeglasses, hearing aids and hospice care. Federal health officials set minimum rules about who can enroll and what care must be covered, but states are free to add to the basics. In California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has asked the state legislature to approve even more Medicaid cuts, including an end to dental care for adults.


Don't let anyone get up and worry about health care payments before they get treatment they need in 2009.

Tell Obama to accelerate PROGRESS, please.

Your friend Kevin--uninsured American

p.s See this article, if you don't believe things are getting worse as Bush leaves country in shambles


The full story from the Washington Post is as follows:

States Cut Medicaid Coverage Further
Dec. 26, 2008(Washington Post) States from Rhode Island to California are being forced to curtail Medicaid, the government health insurance program for the poor, as they struggle to cope with the deteriorating economy.

With revenue falling at the same time that more people are losing their jobs and private health coverage, states already have pared their programs and many are looking at deeper cuts for the coming year. Already, 19 states -- including Maryland and Virginia -- and the District of Columbia have lowered payments to hospitals and nursing homes, eliminated coverage for some treatments, and forced some recipients out of the insurance program completely.

Many are halting payments for health-care services not required by the federal government, such as physical therapy, eyeglasses, hearing aids and hospice care. A few states are requiring poor patients to chip in more toward their care.

"It's not a pretty list at all," said Michael Hales, Medicaid director in Utah.

Medicaid, a central piece of the Great Society safety net created in the 1960s, is the nation's largest source of government health insurance. It covered 50 million Americans last year. The program is a shared responsibility of the federal government and the states, with federal money paying an average of 57 percent of the bills and states providing the rest.

Federal health officials set minimum rules about who can enroll and what care must be covered, but states are free to add to the basics. Those optional patients and services are what many states are rethinking now.

With the program the largest or second-largest expense in every state's budget, governors and state legislators have been pleading with Congress and the incoming Obama administration for help. The Democrats, who hold majorities in the House and the Senate, are sounding sympathetic for now. They are considering close to $100 billion to increase the share of Medicaid's costs that the federal government would pay during the next two years.

President-elect Barack Obama also is open to extra help for Medicaid as part of a broad strategy to spur the economy. "We are considering a number of proposals . . . including helping states meet Medicaid needs; reducing health-care costs; rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges and schools; and ensuring that more families can stay in their homes," said Nick Shapiro, an Obama transition spokesman.

According to a Washington source who is in close contact with lawmakers, some in Congress also are beginning to entertain the idea of allowing unemployed people who have lost health benefits to sign up for Medicaid, with federal money paying the entire bill.

In the meantime, uncertainty over how much help may come, and when it might arrive, is prompting many states to make the biggest reductions to their Medicaid programs in years -- and in some cases, ever.

Diane Rowland, executive director of the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, said the pressure on Medicaid programs is particularly acute because the economy has deteriorated so soon after a milder recession early in the decade. States already "have taken the cuts that were making the program more efficient. . . . Now they are making . . . cuts into the core," she said.

Nineteen states and the District have cut Medicaid for the current fiscal year, according to a survey this month by Families USA, a liberal consumer health lobby. All but one, plus six other states, are drafting deeper reductions for the coming fiscal year that they hope to avoid. Florida's Medicaid officials have just handed the governor and legislature a blueprint for a 10 percent reduction; it would eliminate coverage for 7,800 18- and 19-year-olds and 6,800 pregnant women.

Among the states with the gravest financial problems -- and pressures on Medicaid -- is California. In July, Medi-Cal, as the program there is known, slashed by 10 percent the rates it pays hospitals, nursing homes, speech pathologists and other providers of health care. It tried to lower payments to doctors and dentists, too, but they have sued to block the decreases.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has asked the state legislature to approve other cuts, including an end to dental care for adults, about 1 million of whom use it now, and a sharp reduction in care for recent immigrants.

At two hospitals run by NorthBay Healthcare, midway between San Francisco and Sacramento, about one patient in five is on Medi-Cal. The rate cuts translate into a $4 million loss this year. In September, the health system closed a rehabilitation program for children that provided physical therapy, speech therapy and other help to about 300 young patients at a time - with 100 more usually on the waiting list.

"It was heart-wrenching to have to go out and announce," said Steve Huddleston, NorthBay's vice president of public affairs.

The strain has spread through the Washington area. The District's Medicaid rolls have risen by 5,000 in the past year to nearly 150,000. To cope, the District made $20 million worth of changes to the program and a separate fund for people who are uninsured, including postponing an increase in payments to primary-care doctors.

In Maryland, Medicaid enrollment has jumped by 8 percent in the past year, and the state has pared $82 million from the program for this year, reducing planned increases in payments to nursing homes, managed-care organizations, private nurses and home health aides. With a larger state deficit forecast for next year, Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) is expected to propose deeper cuts in his budget next month, probably including a lengthy delay of the state's biggest Medicaid expansion in years: a planned extension of coverage to 100,000 parents and other adults.

In October, Virginia eliminated a small fund for indigent patients. For the coming year, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) has just proposed $245 million in cuts from the nearly $3.3 billion that the commonwealth devotes to Medicaid, including reduced payments to hospitals and new limits on home health care.

Rhode Island's approach has been the most far-reaching to date. This week, it announced an agreement with U.S. health officials that would, if the state legislature consents, change the entire financial basis of the program. The state would forfeit its Medicaid entitlement and accept a total of $12 billion in federal money over the next five years. In exchange, Rhode Island would win uncommon freedom from federal rules, allowing it to enroll all its Medicaid patients in managed care, cover less treatment and expand care for elderly patients at home, instead of in more-expensive nursing homes.

In South Carolina, Medicaid officials last week announced the third round of cuts since August. They are "real unpleasant stuff," said Jeff Stensland, spokesman for the state's Department of Health and Human Services. The program will stop paying for most dental care for adults, eliminate nutritional supplements, cut home-delivered meals from 14 a week to seven, curtail mental health counseling, stop building wheelchair ramps and pay for fewer breast and cervical cancer screenings.

Edna McClain, founder of Hospice Care of Tri-County in Columbia, S.C., helped coax state health officials to expand Medicaid to cover nursing care and other support for dying patients in the mid-1990s.

She was stunned this month when an e-mail arrived from South Carolina's Department of Health and Human Services informing her that as of Jan. 1, Medicaid no longer would pay for new hospice patients. And after March 31, it would stop covering most people on Medicaid already in hospice care.

With a $500,000 hole in her budget, she worries about how to care for low-income hospice patients, including a 47-year-old man whose weakened body is dangerously retaining fluid as he awaits a liver transplant.

The day after she received notice from the state, McClain composed a letter and fired it off to 107 state legislators. "They can at least hear from me," she said. But she knows, she said, her protest is too late to make a difference.

Staff writers Chris L. Jenkins, Lisa Rein and Nikita Stewart contributed to this report.

By Amy Goldstein
© 2008 The Washington Post Company


Monday, December 29, 2008



By Kevin Anthony Stoda

Jane Yolen wrote a fictional work on the Holocaust some years ago. The book dealt with the numbers and statistics used by the Nazi’s (and their helpers from all over Europe) who came to see both their dehumanized Jewish and non-Jewish Untermenschen compatriots from across the continent as statistics to be calculated or canceled out.

That popular Jane Yolen fiction book was entitled The Devil’s Arithmetic and was made into a TV movie for Showtime.

Many modern youth who have read Yolen’s work have felt drawn into the haunting numbers game of Nazi’s--including tattooed numbers on people and trainloads of numbered, living, dead, and dying victims.


One real victim of the Holocaust was the author known by most readers as Primo Levi, a Holocaust survivor, poet and chemist—who had gone to Auschwitz and actually survived to tell his tale. (Levi was also known in some works by the pen name: Damiano Malabaila.)

Levi committed suicide many decades after the Holocaust, but he did not die a forgotten number.

Levi was a chemist and administrator for years after WWII with the SIVA-company in Italy, his homeland.

It has been reported that when Primo Levi traveled to Germany for professional reasons in the 1950s and 1960s to deal with his German counterparts, Levi always wore short sleeves so that the apparently unrepentant Germans of WWII age would see the numbers tattooed on his forearm by the Nazis decades before.

One of Levi’s later publication, The Periodic Tables, is called by some the best written science book of all time—although it included some fictional chapters as well. In this work, 22 elements are linked together to tell the story of chemistry and the story of Levi’s own life.


As the fourth day of bombings of Gaza this holiday season begins, Israeli military officials are busy with numbers and statistics.


For examples, the number of sorties are counted by F-16s.

Tonnage of bombs are notated.

Bodies of so-called Hamas supporters are counted by Israelis and presented to the Israeli media.

Meanwhile, bodies of women and children are being counted as Gaza residents morn the loss of non-combatants.

The score-sheets on the first three days (as tallied on Reuters & Yahoo) of attack on Gaza by the mighty Israeli military state is reported as follows:

“The three-day death toll rose to at least 315 by Monday morning, with some 1,400 wounded. The U.N. said at least 51 of the dead were civilians, and medics said eight children under the age of 17 were killed in two separate strikes overnight. Israel launched its campaign, the deadliest against Palestinians in decades, on Saturday in retaliation for rocket fire aimed at civilians in southern Israeli towns. Since then, the number of Israeli troops on the Gaza border has doubled and the Cabinet approved the call-up of 6,500 reserve soldiers.”

Numbers shared from the Gaza (or Palestinian) side include:


For example: “In northern Gaza, a father lifted the body of his 4-year-old during a funeral Monday for five children from the same family killed in an Israeli missile strike.”
Moreover, it is noted by some media sources: “On Monday, the United Nations Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA, confirmed that at least 51 innocent civilians have been killed by Israeli air strikes since the airstrikes began on Saturday, purportedly to root out armed groups that have been firing barrages of rockets toward southern Israeli targets. Since Saturday, two Israelis have been killed and about 20 others are injured from projectile attacks.

Finally, more statistics include this important data—not noted much in Israeli and USA press--:“Gaza is the most densely populated place on the planet, with nearly 1.5 million Palestinians contained to a 20 square meter strip on the Mediterranean coast. Palestinians living in Gaza have been without food, electricity or water in their homes for several weeks.”

Numbers, Numbers, Numbers everywhere!

Some reports are that the new barrier walls in Israel already approach (or soon will reach) over 681 kilometers.


Concentration camp fences in Europe were never that big!!—Even those encircling West Berlin during the Communist-Fascist era of Erich Honnecker were less lengthy and shorter!

The Berlin Wall, which I climbed over on December 31, 1989, was only 155km.
One other website notes: “The average height of the Berlin Wall was 11.8 feet (3.6 metres), compared with the maximum* current height of Israel's Wall -- 25 feet (8 metres). [*it is not clear whether the shorter fence sections, about 6 meters in height, are first or final stages in Israel's construction of the barrier.]”


The elements that make up war are not only numbers of things but numbers of people in anger, who no longer have the heart to keep or make peace.

These are the elements that should be looked into—and Forthwith!!!!

Instead, we still have both Israeli and Palestinians concerned with tit-for-tat numbers.

Who shot how many missiles at whom?
Who shot first?
What transpired second?
How many civilians were killed? Or how many peoples’ lives were devastated?
How many Hamas targets were hit?

It seems that both the Palestinians (and their supporters) and the Israelis (and their friends—mostly in the White House--) are only concerned with numbers in determining who is at fault and who is damaging the other.

For example, just today, I heard in a BBC radio interview with the Israeli Ambassador in Washington. In the interviewer the Ambassador was rightfully called to task for worrying about the numbers of missiles fired by Hamas in the last year—even while the numbers of Palestinians killed in three days outnumbers the number of Israelis killed by Hamas territory based missiles over the past 4 years.

The Israel Ambassador did not have to respond logically because dealing with real numbers have never been that important to him. Hyperbolic usage of numbers is enough.
(Admittedly, too many Arabs and Palestinians—as well as the Bush Administration—prefer hyperbolic usage of numbers and stats over facts on the ground, too.)
All this gamesmanship and keeping-score is getting no one any closer to peace or justice.


I’m sure Primo Levi, if he were alive today, would write a poem about the similarity of the chemical elements making up the hostile social and political environment of Israel and Palestine. He would likely be able to compare it to the one in Europe under NAZI hegemony.

Levi could certainly, as a chemist, notate the similarity between Walls and barbed wire and the chemical compounds used to build prisons and walls in Dachau and in the construction of the separation barrier of Israel-Palestine paid with by US taxpayer largess.

However, such number crunching and elemental analysis gets no one any closer to the real issues of hate and memory in Israel-Palestine.

Neither numerical number crunching nor study of numbers and sizes of fences and measurements of destruction (or ruins and numbers of lives destroyed) encapsulate the issues that need to be discussed in 2008, 2009, and beyond, i.e. to make the Middle East (or planet Earth) a healthier place in ours and our children’s lives.

In short, STOP COUNTING and stop bombing people and elements they live in into smithereens!!!!


Five Palestinian sisters killed in Israeli raid on Jabalia Gaza – Ma'an – No sooner had a Gazan mother run away with her baby boy and two other baby

The following article reporting on the continuing carnage in Gaza to date is from Thaer Issa in Bethlehem. I met him in a Christian fellowship that includes Jews, Palestinian Arabs, Russians, and Americans.

Five Palestinian sisters killed in Israeli raid on Jabalia

Gaza – Ma'an – No sooner had a Gazan mother run away with her baby boy and two other baby girls seeking shelter did an Israeli airstrike kill her five daughters before she could return and transfer them, as well.

The girls were identified by Palestinian medical sources as Ayah, Eiman, Ikram, Tahrir and Samar Ba'lousha. They were killed after an Israeli airstrike hit their family home near the Imad Aqil Mosque in Jabalia, which was subsequently destroyed.

Dozens of houses in Jabalia have been destroyed and several victims remain under debris since shortly before midnight on Saturday; Palestinian rescue workers are still trying to get them out.

Israeli air raids also killed three children from the Al-Absi family in the Tal Al-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City, as well as a brother and his sister from the Kishku family in the Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City.

On Saturday, an Israeli missile claimed the lives of seven students from a vocational training center affiliated with the United Nations on Al-Muhafadha street in Gaza City while they were waiting for a school bus to take them home.

Three other Palestinians from the Ar-Rayyis family were killed in front of their own shop on the same street. A father and his son were later killed in the same area.

Seeking shelter for Gazan children became impossible as the strip lacks fortified places to protect Palestinians from air raids, unlike nearby Israeli towns.

On Monday, the United Nations Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA, confirmed that at least 51 innocent civilians have been killed by Israeli air strikes since the airstrikes began on Saturday, purportedly to root out armed groups that have been firing barrages of rockets toward southern Israeli targets.

Since Saturday, two Israelis have been killed and about 20 others are injured from projectile attacks.

Gaza is the most densely populated place on the planet, with nearly 1.5 million Palestinians contained to a 20 square meter strip on the Mediterranean coast. Palestinians living in Gaza have been without food, electricity or water in their homes for several weeks.

Thaer Issa

ISI - International solidarity initiative
Bethlehem .Palestine
Mobile:- 00972 598548920
Telfax:- 00972 2 2765576


Saturday, December 27, 2008



By Kevin Stoda, in Kuwait

The headline in the Kuwait Times on the front page today (December 27, 2008) focused on the recent Pakistani military build up on the Indian border.


With nearly a million people from South Asia living in Kuwait today (out of a population of about 3 million), it is certainly appropriate that the Kuwaiti press should focus on the newest growing hostilities in the most populated regions on the planet.

However, why has the British press reacted in the same way to potential war in its former colony?

The page one KUWAIT TIMES (KT) story was simply entitled, “Tension Mounts as Pakistan Deploys Troops to Indian Border”. According to KT writers, “The developments sent ties plummeting to their lowest point since late 2001, when Kashmiri militants staged a brazen attack on the Indian parliament-an attack New Delhi blamed on the Pakistan-based extremist group Lashkar-e-Taiba. India has blamed the same group for the Mumbai attacks and has repeatedly said Islamabad is not doing enough to rein in militant groups, a claim that Pakistan rejects.”

Interestingly, I have been listening all day in vain to BBC radio for a report on these rising tensions.

Instead, I received reports from all corners of the globe but have only heard a few South Asian reports—and these are only concerning the one-year anniversary of the horrible assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

This BBC silence on the events on the Pakistan border indicates a bias in the European press this weekend.

Europe is apparently more concerned about Russia and Hamas or Israel than in a buildup in tensions on the border of two nuclear powers:

“The nuclear-armed South Asian neighbors-which have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over Kashmir-have said they do not want war this time, but warn they would act if provoked. In Islamabad, senior defense and security officials said troops were being moved from the northwest tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, hotbeds of Taleban and Al-Qaeda activity, to the eastern border near India.”

Only the German news agency, Reuters, seems to be on the ball this Christmas holiday weekend—offering a report on Yahoo about the rising tensions between Pakistan and India. This Yahoo/Reuters report included the fact that “Pakistan canceled army leave and redeployed some troops Friday in a sign of rising tension with India.”


Meanwhile, unlike in the case of Israel’s early morning bombing deaths of nearly 150 in Gaza today, the U.S. government did speak out against Pakistan’s moves.

Pakistan claims that its response come only after India raised its troop levels and approached the Pakistani border in recent weeks. “[A Pakistani] defense ministry official said authorities had noticed the movement of Indian troops toward the border near the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore, and that they believed India had also cancelled military leave.”


Taking a cue from the people at FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy and Reporting) in the USA


, I decided this very day (Saturday December 27, 2008) to look at another story neglected by both most of the mainstream news media sources in North America and in Europe.

DEMOCRACY NOW radio had reported on Wednesday that the U.S. press was failing to discuss or really look into the largest sludge spill in U.S. history. It had occurred on Monday in Tennessee.


I decided to look up online whether many other reports on this toxic ash catastrophe story were to be found on American websites.

I found many such stories—but most were the same few stories which had been linked to environmental blogs.


There were articles in The New York Times, etc.

I found, for example, one story on CNN.


However, this particular story, entitled “Tennessee Sludge Spill Grows to 1 Billion Gallons”, only came out four days after the so-called spill had begun.

In the CNN report, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the creator of this sludge over many decades, has strangely claimed that the toxicity of the sludge wasn’t killing fish as rumors claimed.
On the other hand, CNN did report, “Appalachian environmentalists compare the mess to another spill eight years ago in eastern Kentucky, where the bottom of a coal sludge impoundment owned by Massey Energy broke into an abandoned underground mine, oozing more than 300 million gallons of coal waste into tributaries. The water supply for more than 25,000 residents was contaminated, and aquatic life in the area perished. It took months to clean up the spill.”
Finally, CNN concluded with a quote from one environmentalist, Dave Cooper who noted, "If the estimates are correct, this spill is 1½ times bigger [then the Massey Energy disaster].”


Interestingly, despite the fact that this last week’s environmental disaster in the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee dwarfs many times over the now-famous Exxon-Valdez disaster of two decades ago, the BBC has failed to cover the story at all.
This absence of news on the disaster by BBC is fascinating because the critiques of those environmentalists on DEMOCRACY NOW--and elsewhere on the web--, included advocates from GREENPEACE and critiques of coal-as-source-of-future-energy production.
These concerned citizens and environmentalists all share the view that the disaster in Tennessee (under the coal-burning noses of the TVA) this last week represents the folly of depending on coal ever to become a clean energy source.
Why would BBC and Europe not be more interested in this story?
Why wouldn’t China, India, Poland or any other major coal users today not be interested in the TVA disaster?
Awareness of this disaster in Tennessee is needed all over Europe.
It is the only way to get all the governments to change to environmentally renewable energy development. Moreover, Americans need to keep in mind the dangers of fantasy-and-failing coal technologies. We all need to invest in solar, wind and other sustainable energy routes for decades and millennia to come.
Meanwhile the BBC should provide more news in the Middle East on the tensions in South Asia.
BBC is unfairly acting as a censor as long as it maintains huge holes in its news coverage.
BBC really needs to make some new years resolutions to do better.
If the BBC is perverting the news, what is happening to news in your corner of the globe?


ISRAEL, SO THIS IS CHRISTMAS??????????????????????

ISRAEL, SO THIS IS CHRISTMAS??????????????????????

By Kevin Stoda, Middle East

I am more than ever depressed and horrified at how the Israeli government is celebrating this Christmas 2008 and New Years Season 2009.

Just today American-made F-16s have started the third day of Christmas by bombing at a scale not known in over a year.

According to Reuters, “Witnesses said the attacks were carried out by warplanes and combat helicopters.” Other reports show that in Gaza there are 140 are dead already as a result of the air attacks partially financed by USA tax dollars.


Both Israel and the U.S.A. call unnecessary deaths “collateral damage” this Christmas rather than calling them crimes against humanity.


In addition, all-in-all the Israeli military is not any better than the U.S.A. in terms of so-called “surgical strikes”, so one can expect that well-over half those killed in Gaza today will be non-combatants, including women and children.



Naturally, this tit-for-tat attack by Israel on Gaza has already been followed by tit-for-tat firing of smaller missiles by Hamas supporters onto Israel.

Meanwhile, the Israeli military claims that it will continue its operation as long as necessary.

Rumors at play in this deadly new “Christmas present” to the Peace Process by Israeli leadership and air force indicate that the February 10 Parliamentary elections are one reason for this tough and violent renewed show of power.


On the one hand, it was clear that Israel would eventually respond to the Hamas’ ending of the 6-month rocket-firing truce just before Christmas.

On the other hand, the obvious crime (often-not-mentioned) is that Gaza has been in a mammoth blockade and low-level war with Israel over the past 4 years—threatening (and actualizing) starvation and death for young and old in Gaza alike.

Attacks from the air by F-16s and helicopters today mean that few Israeli soldiers will get hurt—but it also means that bloodied bodies of Israeli non-combatants being attacked will likely be seen on Israeli TV in coming weeks, i.e. as part of the ongoing parliamentary elections planned in Israel in six weeks.

In short, the level of bombings at Christmas 2008 in Gaza and Israel are no less cynical politically than the “U.S. Christmas bombings” during the Vietnam War—i.e. in December 1972 when Nixon wanted to let Americans know he was tough on communism even while planning to sign the Paris Peace Accord to get America out of the Vietnam Quagmire a few weeks later.


Israeli spokesmen on BBC this afternoon are claiming that all the civilian deaths are the fault of Hamas.

Likewise, the U.S. embassy spokesman refuses to condemn these Christmas attacks.


What a way to spoil Christmas and New Years (including the Muslim New Years on December 29) for us all in the Middle East, Israel!

Just a few days ago, I was driving along a highway on the Persian Gulf in Kuwait listening to America’s VOA play the John Lennon & Yoko Ono classic: “HAPPY CHRISTMAS (WAR IS OVER)”.


As I was driving, I recalled the very first time—back in December 2004—when I had heard Voice of America (VOA) play those peace and Christmas lyrics by John Lennon, i.e. a man who had opposed the U.S. War in Vietnam and had hated what Richard M. Nixon stood for.

At that time in Christmas 2004 the DJ on VOA radio had noted that this song was played specifically at the request of one U.S. trooper stationed in Iraq.

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear
And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor one

For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let's stop all the fight
A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear
-John Lennon

Why are American soldiers the ones who have the gall to speak up on U.S. government financed radio programs to call for peace at Christmas time?

Moreover, why can’t the U.S. turn over a new leaf this Christmas and criticize Israeli war crimes, i.e. as much as the U.S. government recognize the crimes of others, including Hamas??

Let’s pray and demand a better American Middle East policy in New years 2009!!!


Saturday, December 20, 2008



By Kevin Stoda

I noted that Code-Pink and others had a shoe-throwing event this past week (December 17) in front of the White House.


Here in Kuwait, the Al-Watan Daily paper (partner of the International Herald Tribune) noted this week that roughly half those Kuwaitis interviewed approved of the throwing of a shoe at George W. Bush a few days earlier, i.e. when Bush visited neighboring Iraq.

Sawsan Kazak of the FRIDAY TIMES noted her dismay that the shoe-throwing had become


a top story of the week in her article, “It’s Just a Shoe, It Could Have Been Worse”.

Kazak wrote, “I am here to tell you that Mr. Al-Zaidi's attack was symbolic, but it is not the insult or act of terror that people are making it out to be. Since the beginning of time, politicians have been hit with some really odd things, like pies, tomatoes and even eggs. And let's face it, a shoe thrown from a distance is not that insulting.
It could have been much worse had Al-Zaidi gone the extra step and taken off his socks. I believe that socks in the face is much more insulting. Think about it, it doesn't take any effort to kick off your shoes. But a lot more planning needs to take place if you want to throw your socks. Socks are also more insulting to receive in the face as they are usually smellier and sweatier than shoes.
Being a reporter, Muntazer Al-Zaidi must have had a pen and note pad at his disposal. What would have happened had he decided to use these items instead of his shoes? A shoe would leave a bump, put a pen can poke someone's eye out and the note pads would have given Bush a very nasty and painful paper cut. Clearly, the shoes represent the safer choice.”

CONNECTING THE DOTS—Bush is the Worlds’ Dodger

As a whole, Kuwaitis were probably the most supportive persons outside of the Bush-Cheney White House for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The economic boom that followed the U.S.-allied invasion of Iraq in 2003 ended over two decades of under-investment and development in Kuwait.

Therefore, in many ways, I was surprised that so many Kuwaitis—nearly half-- supported the symbolism of throwing a shoe at the 8-year-long President of the United States.

Sawsan Kazak ends her tongue-in-cheek review of all the fuss in Kuwait--leading to arguments over insults and the symbolism of shoes--by wryly stating:

“On a side note, I want to acknowledge the fast, cat-like reflexes George demonstrated during the surprise blitz. It was obviously something he picked up during his army years. If I ever form my own professional dodge ball team, I would definitely pick George W. Bush to be on my side.”

That Kazak makes an allusion to Bush—i.e. as a war-dodger from the 1970s Vietnam-era USA--may come as a surprise to Americans who are not aware of how some other peoples around the world both absorb U.S. culture and evaluate it more critically than Americans—themselves—often do.

This comment about W-Bush-being-not-only-a-shoe-dodger demonstrates a particularly important nuance by Kazak as well as demonstrates the sensitivity that some in Kuwaiti share with Americans, who also feel it is time to change the government or status quo. [For example, Kuwaitis have voted to change the government two times in less than two years already—and the trend is to vote down the current regime. This very week the Emir of Kuwait had accepted the resignation of his cabinet.]


I honestly believe that the symbolism of Bush-as-a-dodger-of-justice may become the ultimate symbolism of 2008-2009 if no federal personnel are tasked to investigate and arrest him, Cheney and other political-above-the-law types in the U.S.A.


Kuwait is a country, like many of its Arab neighbors, suffering under a horrible system of “wasta”.

Wasta is simultaneously defined in some countries as (a) using one’s strong political connections to get things you want, or (b) indirectly bribing someone with future chits, or (c) a means of protecting one’s family and friends in an unfair- or biased system of tribal and personal allegiances and incompetency.

Overall, I believe that the Kuwaitis (and other nationals here) as a whole have been astounded the manner the U.S. business contractors and friends of Bush-Cheney over the past 8 years in Iraq have broken most codes that America have worked hard to set up since the 1970s as international business and trade standards to provide a freer and more honest form of capitalism in the Middle East.

As early as the mid-1980s, the U.S.A.’s one-decade long campaign against corruptions was beginning to be notable for its successes in both Africa and the Middle East.


The pattern was one where, although it still might be true that European and Japanese firms might bend the rules and allow all kinds of corruption, the USA’s Government Accounting Office (GOA) and other international and federal agencies would take both U.S. and foreign firms to court if U.S. standards were breached—just as has recently occurred with the Siemens settlement in the U.S. court system.


[Siemens is paying 1.3 billion dollars in this most recent U.S. prosecution of corruption and company sanctioned bribes that create unfair trade and business practices around the globe.]


Now, after the news that U.S.’s 2003 no-bid contracts in Iraq and subsequent corrupt or fairly-unfair and poorly-run government oversight & business practices have helped ruin both Iraq and the U.S. budget, how many years will it be before the U.S. is taken seriously when it goes after corruption and unfair trade and business practices in Russia and China? http://economyincrisis.org/articles/show/1820


In short, the secret has been out for years. U.S. money-men flushed with the U.S. takeover of one the world’s major oil producers, has been seen more and more as a corruptible golden cow.



I still see far too many Americans in power (currently in government)—or in the wings with the incoming Democratic administration--who don’t get it.

How will America ever grow up and get over the sins of the past two or more administration’s lackadaisical approaches to its own laws on the books—regarding cronyism and monopolies in government (and business) all-helping drive the disrespect we have earned as a nation?

The only way to MOVE-ON anew, AMERICA, INC, is if the outgoing Bush-Cheney administration will see its officials taken out in handcuffs of the White House-- and/or at least have subpoenas handed out to them--no later than by January 20, 2009?

In summary, if there are no cases filed in federal court against the malfeasance and lawless of the past decade-long run at tax-payers expense in Washington DC and in neighboring Iraq (and even in Kuwait), Kuwaitis and other Arabs—and wasta-style businessmen and government officials world-wide--will remember only that George W. Bush, the dodger of responsibility, once again was able to dodge any justice in America.

This will affect America’s image on the global stage—in business, in foreign policy and in global justice and trade relations .

These regional and global leaders will give Obama the benefit of the doubt in the first months--but only for a little bit.

This means: if the same old ways of doing business and running of government stays essentially the same, most people on the planet will assume that we can expect little or no change in Washington after mid-2009.

In contrast, if subpoenas are distributed by January 2009 by various fair and just federal employees in America (and these subpoenas are supported by government officials), the word “Change” will have real meaning and intent behind it for many years to come.

In short, why should Kuwaitis, Iraqis and other Middle East tycoons in Egypt or Saudi reform their wealthy countries if the U.S.A. doesn’t?


I have simple proposal for Americans all over the world to carry out a simple protest in the next weeks.

Either send your shoes to your congressmen or send your congressmen a letter with pictures of shoes enclosed--along with a good new years list of wishes of what needs to be done.

Note that as the shoes drop, we will force greater anticipation worldwide that Americans expect a different America in 2009—and thereafter.

We want to be examples of good business and personal relations—even across our borders. We want to start anew in 2009 in terms of how political-economy helps the masses of workers, i.e. who are busy paying off debts of the past decades.

We expect no more Hoovervilles.

We want peace and a real American housecleaning of criminal behaviors.

If this doesn’t help, go ahead—throw shoes at the White House, the capital buildings in Washington and in your home state.

Or, leave shoes at Bush and Cheney’s new homes—wherever they be—even outside of prisons and other places of governance in America.

If this humble protest doesn’t work—throw your smelliest socks!

Let us see how long Bush and Cheney & Co. can dodge the facts—our shoes and our dirty socks: They are criminals and they will be remembered as representing the worst face of America.




Monday, December 15, 2008



By Kevin Stoda

As many followers of European news note: This weekend in Athens there was further rioting and anarchistic activism.

According to the KUWAIT TIMES, “The ferocity of rioting by frustrated young Greeks shocked many across Europe but provides a warning to the continent's leaders as they discuss ways to confront the global economic crisis. Seven days of protests, which caused hundreds of millions of euros of damage across 10 Greek cities, were triggered by the police shooting of a teenager on Dec 6 but fed on resentment at high youth unemployment, low salaries and inadequate welfare.”

Soon “sympathy protests from Moscow to Madrid” had been “quickly organized over the Internet or by SMS message, as many young people feel leaders are ignoring their frustrations.

Some of these European-wide protests were “organized over the Internet or by SMS message, as many young people feel leaders are ignoring their frustrations.”


Do the events in Greece pose a harbinger of dissatisfied masses of youth worldwide over the next decade as more and more young people feel permanently caught in an economic traffic jam as the same old-powerful economic and political leaders maintain the status quo—even in time of recession and depression?


Nikos Lountos, a student activist and Greek Socialist worker party member, both warns and explains the reasons behind the protests and violence, “I think it’s a mixture of things. We [in Greece] have a government that’s—a government of the ruling party called New Democracy, a very right-wing government. It has tried to make many attacks on working people and students, especially students. The students were some form of guinea pigs for the government. When it was elected after 2004, they tried—the government tried to privatize universities, which are public in Greece, and put more obstacles for school students to get into university.”

Lountos, who was interviewed last week on DEMOCRACY NOW, explained to American listeners, “The financial burden on the poor families if they want their children to be educated is really big in Greece. And the worst is that even if you have a university degree, even if you are a doctor or lawyer, in most cases, young people get a salary below the level of poverty in Greece. So the majority of young people in Greece stay with their families ’til their late twenties, many ’til their thirties, in order to cope with this uncertainty. And so, this mixture, along with the economic crisis and their unstable, weak government, was what was behind all this explosion.”

The same situation certainly exists in the U.S.A. in this decade. Could a major youth revolt be in the offing in the U.S. and other lands more permanently in 2009, 2010 and onwards?

That’s right! After the collapse of a decade-long economic boom in most corners of the globe, youth everywhere are feeling a great pinch and they perceive this to be a very long-term pinch.

The first riots in Greece on December 6 had been sparked when police shot to death an unarmed 16 year-old boy named Alexandros Grigoropoulos.

These riots had appeared to die down at the end of last week, but rioting took off again on Saturday after the “one-week anniversary” of the shooting took place and Greek anarchists along with others attacked the very police station where the culprits who had shot young Grigoropoulos were stationed.

Actually, to be fair to a large number of Greek youth, December 13th’s one-week vigil of the Grigoropoulos shooting had started peaceable with a candle light vigil being the main focus.

However, as has occurred often in the past week, more violent groups joined and usurped the more peaceful protests.

What is most surprising and notable is that most of the earliest protests in Greece were carried out by school-aged teenagers (mostly between the ages of 13 and 16).

The overall disillusionment of Greek youth reminded me of the “No Future” movements in the 1970s and 1980s in NATO European lands, whereby alienated youth were tuning out all over the continent. This was especially trued in the mid-1980s as the political hope of the 1960s had died out and a new Cold War rhetoric had re-enveloped the continent, especially after the year when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan and the sudden increased spending on armaments across Europe dovetailed with the bad economic effects resulting from the higher fuel prices and high rates of unemployment in Western Europe in those same years.


After 1982-1983, when millions of Europeans had protested the newest NATO armaments expansion in Holland and Germany, most European youth turned inwards and cynical beings as a “greed is only good” became the political-economic-and social mantra for the next decade.

By the time I arrived to live in Germany in 1986, unemployment and underemployment for youth had been from 10 to 15 percent for many years and sometimes reached over 20 percent. In northern UK and Ireland unemployment for young people sometimes reached double that level unemployment and underemployment in that decade.


As noted above, last week there were sympathy protests from youth from Istanbul and Romania to Paris and Madrid.

Meanwhile, back in Greece, one BBC journalist wrote, “What needs to emerge from this tragedy is a new incorruptible force [in Greece] that is brave enough to challenge Greece's vested interests, implement essential reforms, ignore the political cost, and to inspire selflessness and civic responsibility.”

So far, it looks like youth are losing out and pure anarchists are torching the movement even as unions participate on and off.

Meanwhile, Greece economic-political-social landscape resemblance to economies in Asia and in Africa. This is because a preference for young people to defer to their elders, tradition, and status quo has been stronger in lands of western Asia and Africa than elsewhere. This has partially been reinforced by anti-colonialist forces in the development of these modern states.

Overall, in many countries throughout this planet--especially in Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa--there are certainly oligarchies of all varieties who have been in place for decades (if not centuries).

Till now, there has rarely ever been any young groups with enough influence to topple them.

The only exceptions in the late 1980s were those states involved in forcing the collapse of the Iron Curtain and the fall of Apartheid in South Africa. These had started with the ousting of President Ferdinand Marcos in Philippines. However, within a few short years youthful hopefulness has often turned to cynicism in recent decades.


The traditional deference of youth to their elders in Asia has certainly been one typical emphasis that world travelers and businessmen or investors have come to expect and anticipate when visiting or doing business there.

Respect of one’s elders and waiting one’s turn to move up the hierarchy of whatever oligarchy or despots are especially to be expected in Confucian capitalist and communist countries. However, this Confucian tendency can naturally be experienced in South Africa or South America, as well.

Naturally, the youth-powered movements of Chairman Mao in China are exceptions to this rule.

On the other hand, in the case of Mao’s Cultural Revolution and its mass youth movements propelled against the elder peoples in that country was manipulated by higher-ups in the Communist Party.


Similar horrible excesses in manipulating youth movements in Southeast Asia in the 1970s led to the horrors of the Killing Fields under Pohl Pot.

In short youth movements in many corners of this planet have sadly often been something to fear—especially by the oligarchies. Therefore, these sort of movements have either been put down brutally as occurred in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China in 1989 or have been bought off—as has happened in wealthier lands like in Britain, Germany, the USA, Scandinavia, and even in Gulf Oil Sheikhdoms in recent decades. (Of course, unless the governments in these lands don’t make it easier for youth to spend years acquiring higher education—rather than try to enter the job market—pressure from soon-to-form full-blown youth movements are not impossible imagine in Western Europe or North America, either.)

When I think of bought-off youthful generations, I often recall my days in Japan and my two decades teaching and working with Japanese and South Korean students at the university level.

I, personally, was amazed by how much impotence both Japanese youth in general and Japanese college students specifically were manifesting in the 1990s (and later) as their country floundered for nearly 15 years of recession and deflation.

The youth of that era in Japan have even come to be called by all observers as “The Lost Generation”. These age-cohorts were part of the mass of unemployed and under-employed youth in Japan between 1989 and 2003. (In short, Japan was a nation which only finally got out of its economic depression 5 years ago—only to face another one this autumn in 2008. Will youth be able to accept any more of the status quo in life-business and economics?)

I was living in small-town Japan from 1992 to 1994. In small towns some young people have often ended up locking themselves up in their rooms for years.


For this reason, the source of most domestic violence in Japan has been viewed as a role reversal, whereby much domestic violence in the U.S. is simply “adults versus children” or between two spouses, a lot of Japanese domestic violence comes from youth against their parents.

These youth are called hikikomori in Japanese. Michael Zielenziger, a scholar at the East Asian Studies Center in Berkley, is an expert on hikikomori. Zielenziger explains that most hikikomori, are “young men who lock themselves away in their bedrooms,” and they are “fearful of society's expectations.”

Japan's aging working class now also face young women who “shun motherhood”, and do their best not to continue to rebuild the burdensome family relationships that their parents have put up with for generations.


Unlike in Japan, where neither psychological training holds much sway nor where other modes of handling changes in the modern-economic tendency to alienate and under-employ its most youthful populations, Greece should have known better. Greece has experienced youthful discontent every generation for nearly two centuries.

Nonetheless, Greek government leadership this decade has appeared not to appreciate the alienation of its youth at all—despite having much more experience of youthful rebellion and anarchism than has existed in Japan over the past 6 decades.

So, in a fairly brash action, the Greek government in 2004 began to go out of its way to further alienate younger citizens. The government did this, for example, by reducing the number of university seats available to graduating Greek students and by running up the cost of education while trying to privatize numerous parts of the higher education system in the country.

Unlike their Japanese cohorts who are still under similar pressure to the Japanese in 2008, Greek children and university students have not responded like their pampered and frustrated East Asian youth. Instead of turning inwards, the young Greeks’ attention has turned first to symbolic activism.

This may primarily because the wage levels these young people in Greece face--even after decades of biding their time in the school system and in the unemployed world of the Greek economy—is from 600- to 800 Euro-per-month category. These are wages that most Western Europeans would never be able to accept. Moreover, like in Japan, these Greek youth must live into their thirties at their parents’ expense in their parents homes or flats.

Concerning this December 2008 student activism in Greece, Nikos Lountos states, “What was the most striking. . . was that in literally every neighborhood in every city and town, school students walked out of their school on Monday morning.”
Lountos adds, “So, you could see kids from eleven to seventeen years old marching in the streets wherever you could be in Greece, tens of thousands of school students, maybe hundreds of thousands, if you add all the cities. So, all around Athens and around Greece, there were colorful demonstration of schoolboys and schoolgirls. Some of them marched to the local police stations and clashed with the police, throwing stones and bottles. And the anger was so really thick that policemen and police officers had to be locked inside their offices, surrounded by thirteen- and fourteen-year-old boys and girls.”
Lountos emphasizes how these young students’ actions were received at a more universal level, “Th[is] picture of these young people in Greece standing up to have their political say during the world economic crises of 2008 was so striking that it produced a domino effect: The trade unions of teachers decided [to have] an all-out strike for Tuesday [last week. Next] [t]he union of university lecturers decided [to hold] a three-day strike. And so, [finally] there was the already arranged . . . . strike . . . for Wednesday against the government’s economic policies, so the process was generalizing and still generalizes.”
I ponder whether these events in Europe in 2008 are a one-time affair or whether the expected length of the oncoming world depression or recession will lead to more youth becoming more radicalized world-wide.

My interest into the concerns of youth in the Asia, the Middle East, in Europe, and Latin and North America has been strong for decades, especially as I have taught and educated young people now in nearly ten different countries and on a variety of continents since 1985.
Most recently, I have been teaching in Kuwait, where I accidentally got a whiff of the generational wars that potentially may brew here, even though much of Kuwaiti society respects more traditional pecking orders in societies, tribes, and on the globe stage. However, as the world-wide global expansion collapse will dovetail with the rise in teenage population in Kuwait over the next decade, will there be youth becoming more vocal.
For example, it was mostly youth—including well-organized Kuwaiti youth often-too young to vote--who organized a political coup of sorts in 2006 by spearheading a movement to redistrict the parliamentary system in the State of Kuwait.
Just days prior to the shootings and the protests in Greece in early December 2008, I observed some 11th grade students in Kuwait holding a debate on the topic of age discrimination.
The topic of age-discrimination is old-hat in many Western countries.
In fact, age discrimination has definitely been debated, discussed and banned by law since the 1960s in the United States.
However, what was fascinating for me a few weeks ago was that I was observing how Kuwaiti youth in high schools defined age discrimination differently than their western counterparts.
For the Kuwaiti students debating the “banning of age discrimination”, age-discrimination was not against elderly people in their society’s.
Instead, age-discrimination as defined by youth in Kuwait was “discrimination in the work place and higher practice of people of their age-cohort”—that is, young people in Kuwait are being discriminated against by employers, oligarchies, and status quo. Tradition and status quo mean that they have to always defer to their elders in the marketplace of work and advancement.
Skills are hardly ever under consideration in their hiring and advancement. Age is a determining factor. The older one is the more job prospect one has.
Well-educated young people feel locked out of the job market and societal niches which their forefathers have patiently waited for year-after-year.
However, young people are being told that there will be less and less government jobs for them and their children. So, like those in Greece, Kuwaitis are promised a job many years into the future—if they sit peaceably in school or university.
Now, with the economy in question in the long-term, many youth are more disgruntled at their long-term prospects in Kuwait.

Would you believe that at the turn of the 20th Century, there were less than 20,000 residents in all of Kuwait. Now, the population is around 3 million.
Therefore, the social and political-economic problems include that in Kuwait—like in most of Africa, South Asia, and South America—the youthful population has continued to boom dramatically over the past 4 decades.
This means the average age of a Kuwaiti under 24 years of age. Twenty-five percent of the population is under 15.
Whereas young Kuwaiti’s parents had been guaranteed jobs for life when they graduated from high school, the present population of Kuwaiti youth find the bar has been set back decades. That is, most will have to get college degrees and higher level training. This can cause a lot of stress on youth and their families. Suddenly the average marriage age is pushed back.
The uncertainties of the world economy and problems with education in Kuwait itself (in general) bcause part of this stress. The other facet that causes stress is that despite earning a good degree and having a lot to offer, the Kuwaiti society has little to offer that matches the career yearning of younger Kuwaitis.
This is because even if a student manages to earn really good educational training or work qualifications honestly from great universities abroad, Kuwaiti youth usually will have to wait behind many more peoples in order to finally get a shot at their career than their parents or grand parents ever did.
In such a situation, despite apparent adherence to traditional appreciation of the aged and aging in Kuwait, a distaste for the system is likely to expand—even here, in a country where a cradle-to-grave welfare system is financed by oil-dollars.
In summary, qualifications are almost always totally thrown out the window in Kuwait when hiring is going on.
Either one gets a job through family connections or one waits in line for years until the elders retire before any young person can hope to make his or her mark on how his own country or workplace is done.
NOTE: This is the status quo in Greece and in my homeland, the USA.
However, until now, there has existed a social contract in Kuwait, whereby the young peoples agree to follow the traditions, tribal rules and practice of age-over-qualification. In turn, they receive their end of social contract—a good salary and jobs have been promised.
In this way, until this very decade almost any revolt of youth in Kuwait and in the neighboring Gulf Sheikhdoms has been unthinkable.
But, what happens when the working population jumps by two or three-fold during a decade of economic downturn?
In the past, disgruntled modern Arab youth have turned to their faith and rewriting of western or modernist societies by throwing themselves into anti-colonial or extremist paradigms, such as offered by the Taleban and al-Qaeda.
Already alienation in Kuwait leads to a lot of drug addiction and alcoholism among Kuwaiti youth.
Meanwhile, in other countries, like Greece and Turkey, no social contract as in Kuwait and Japan can be afforded by the current political-economic oligarchies.
In short, many traditional oligarchies all over the globe might be facing years of street battles if they don’t realign their economies and allow others to share in the wealth and decision-making processes—sooner than later.



Flynn, Daniel, “Angry Young Greeks Give Wake Up Call to Europe”, http://www.kuwaittimes.net/read_news.php?newsid=NzU1OTAxODQ1

“Uprising in Greece: Protests, Riots, Strikes Enter 6th Day Following Fatal Police Shooting of Teen,” http://www.democracynow.org/2008/12/11/greek_uprising_protests_riots_strikes_enter


Thursday, December 11, 2008



By Kevin A. Stoda

A few days ago, I floated a poll on Op-Ed News considering whether Americans and other progressives around the globe still thought President George W. Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney needed to be impeached.


The poll went on-line just as the FBI was arresting and charging the current governor of Illinois with trying to sell the priorities of his office to the highest bidders.


By the way, the Illinois Governor, Rod Blagovich, had actually tried to get numerous staff at the Chicago Tribune fired for investigating his prior shenanigans.

While other leaders on the Illinois political scene are considering at this very junction in their state’s history what to do with their sad-sack governor,


i.e. who purportedly tried most recently to sell Barrack Obama’s Senate Seat to the highest bidder, some progressives look on in dismay as the Democratic Party-controlled U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

These progressives look in astonishment at the speed to impeach the Illinois governor while they U.S. Congress has faile to oversee the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice-President Richard Cheney on the principal—despite the fact that generations to come in the USA will never understand why nothing was done in the U.S. capitol to stop the worst form of lying in governance and overall neglect and malfeasance witnessed in 220 years of this present constitution’s history.


The poll on Op-Ed news is demonstrating (1) a continued strong interest for impeachment before Bush leaves office in January and (2) discontent at a process whereby a governor can be forced out of office for selling a Senate seat but a President and Vice-President cannot be kicked out of office for selling the country up-a-creak-with-half-a-paddle for well over half a decade.


After one day of being on-line, this particular Poll shows:

--86% of those polled are fully in favor of immediate impeachment of the president and vice-president of the United States of America currently
--10%percent of those polled state that “It might be helpful for various reasons for us and for future generations”
--only 4% percent felt that impeachment now is out-of-the-question.

Talk it up America! I think America deserves much better than what it has been receiving from Washington for many years.

Do you agree that you and your children—and grand children—deserve better from the outgoing Congress?

If so, get on the horn today and don’t let up on this do-nothing-congress.

Who knows? If we don’t get the outgoing administration under wraps soon, we may be forced to repeat this 8 year debacle again.

This is not the only poll still measuring the pulse of those seeking impeachment in the USA.


Many of the dozens of Impeach Bush websites are concerned with presidential problems and other shenanigans before January 20 comes along.



A short-summary of impeachable offenses by Vice President Cheney and President George W. Bush can be found here:



Obama has done little to prop up his base. Pelosi, too, has alienated many of her own Democrats to date—because she has opposed millions of Democratic Party members demanding impeachment of the president and vice-president.


This led many to vote for the green party candidate and others this past election.



In short, Obama might have received at least a million more votes had Pelosi and other Democratic leaders voted in a timely fashion for impeachment over the previous 22 months.


Pelosi and Bush have too much in common.

They both have alienated a great many of Americans over this decade. I suggest that one of the cheapest and most important symbolic acts Congress needs to do before Christmas 2008 is to give in to the American demand for impeachment before the change to a new—and hopefully-better President and government takes over in our nation’s capital.


Monday, December 08, 2008



By Kevin Stoda in Kuwait

Rep. Bob Filner, the head of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, has noted that over the past five years the VA chiefs in Washington had “created a ‘culture of dishonesty’ over the way it [the VA] has treated some of the more than 350,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans under its care.”

According to Jason Leopold, the recent “choice of retired Gen. Eric Shinseki, a Vietnam War veteran who sustained combat-related injuries, to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs sends a clear message to the hundreds of thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans that, unlike President George W. Bush, Obama takes the sacrifices they have made seriously.”


The appointment of former-Gen. Shinseki comes less than a week after national guardsmen from Indiana sued KBR over chemical exposure.


Rep. Bob Fuller is head of the House Veterans Affairs [VA] Committee and has warned America that the, “VA is now at a ‘critical juncture’ and ‘is on the verge of completely losing the trust and confidence of the people that it is supposed to represent - the very same people it has been entrusted to care for . . . .These [benefits claims] are matters of life and death for some of these veterans.”

Currently 100s of thousands of claims remain unprocessed or neglected in VA offices.

This is appointment of Eric Shinseki as new VA head comes only a few weeks after the Department of Veterans Affairs admitted (i.e. five full years after the British military did so) for the first time--in a lengthy 450-page document--that scientific research overwhelmingly recognizes that Gulf War Syndrome is a reality, which needs to be taken seriously by the VA as thousands of Americans continue to make claims.


The full VA report can be found here:


The USA media has usually badly covered the Gulf War Illness Story because (1) many journalists and news agencies are lazy and don’t check up on the facts and because (2) the Pentagon spent nearly 300 million dollars of tax-payer money on propaganda to try and show that Gulf War syndrome was not real.

It was just another boondoggle of American patience and taxpayers money. Eventually, the truth about the reality of the Syndrome of Gulf War veterans cannot be ignored for another generation.

Meanwhile, take time and listen to this report and interview with Paul Sullivan, executive director of Veterans for Common Sense [VCS], with Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR):


In this interview, Paul Sullivan, executive director of VCS and veteran of the 1991 Gulf War, notes that over 700,000 veterans need help but have been under-assisted by the VA in recent decades. (Sullivan also notes that 2 to 3 million Iraqis need help, too. I have to ask, “What about those of us in Kuwait?”)

Sullivan also noted that the VA report on the legitimate claims of veterans with Gulf War Syndrome failed to accurately reveal that a lot of evidence exists to demonstrate that usage of uranium-tipped weaponry has played a role in the Gulf War illnesses—suffered

Sullivan is trying his best to drum up media awareness on Gulf War topics, including recent research demonstrating that several hundred-thousand Iraqi-, Afghani-, and American war veterans are suffering from brain damage due to U.S. led bombings in the last two decades.


These brain injuries from U.S. bombings simulate Alzheimer’s in some American vets.

Jane Akre for VCS writes “Problems [in the recent American war veterans] observed include seizures, aggression and dementia [and] are noted in a report issued Thursday by the nonprofit, Institute of Medicine. Also noted are depression symptoms, Parkinson's-disease-like tremors and unemployment. The report is being called a wake-up call.”


Akre elucidates, “A recent report by the Rand Corp estimated that among 300,000 troops returning from overseas, one in five had suffered a traumatic brain injury. Between 2002 and 2004, the numbers of veterans claiming unemployment for ex-service members increased by about 75 percent. The cost is more than one-half billion dollars in treatment and lost productivity . . . .”

Meanwhile, one-of-the-very-few active generals in February 2003 who basically called Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz’s war and occupation plans inept and inaccurate, was ex-General Eric Shinseki. Shinseki will try to clean up the mistakes and crimes of the Rumsfeld-Bush-Cheney-Wolfowitz clan.


Shinseki was retired a few months later, i.e. in summer of 2003.

Let’s hope he can do many things better than incompetents (and the criminals) in the White House and under the W. Bush administration before him have done.


Akre, Jane, “December 5, VCS in the News: Scientific Review finds Long-Term Brain Injuries for Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan Bombing,” http://www.veteransforcommonsense.org/articleid/11811

Leopold, Jason, “December 7, VCS in the News: Shinseki Promises to Overhaul Veterans Administration”, http://www.veteransforcommonsense.org/articleid/11835

Paul Sullivan on Gulf War Syndrome . . ., http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=3658

Stoda, Kevin, “Gulf War Syndrome Recognize—Now Aid Those in Kuwait and Iraq”, http://www.opednews.com/articles/GULF-WAR-SYNDROM-RECOGNIZE-by-ALONE-081121-361.html


Saturday, December 06, 2008

A.W. TOZER OF 1950s calls for CHURCHES to get out of “RUT & ROT”, i.e. QUIT SEEING LIBERALS as ENEMY and SEEK REVIVAL and REFORM from Within

A.W. TOZER OF 1950s calls for CHURCHES to get out of “RUT & ROT”, i.e. QUIT SEEING LIBERALS as ENEMY and SEEK REVIVAL and REFORM from Within

By Kevin Stoda

Last week I had written on the topic of spirituality in the wake of the Mumbai Siege.

This week I turn to the spiritual crisis in supposedly Christian America (, but the words I share are words that can be spoken to people of all faiths and creeds).


I recently opened James L. Snyder’s 1993 compilation of RUT, ROT, or REVIVAL by A. W. Tozer and was struck by the call in our misguided sound-bite age against misleading television evangelism and FOX-NEWS-pro-war evangelism dividing Americans of all faiths these days.

A.W. Tozer, author of LET MY PEOPLE GO and ROOTS OF THE RIGHTEOUS, began by stating:

“What is the worst enemy our church faces today? This is where a lot of unreality and hypocrisy enters. Many are ready to say, ‘The Liberals are our worst enemy.’ But the fact is that the average evangelical church does not have too much trouble with liberalism.”[p. 2]

In short, there have been very, very few cases of someone standing up in front of people in churches and shouting out that the first five books (Pentateuch) of the Bible are complete myths.

There have been very few known instances of churches being invaded or surrounded by peoples shouting that “Christ will not come back one day.”

Tozer reports, “We just cannot hide behind liberalism and say that it is our worst enemy. We believe that evangelical Christians are trying to hold onto the truth given us, the faith of our fathers, so the liberals are not our worst enemy.”[p.3]

Concerning the state, Tozer adds, “Neither do we have a problem with the government. People can do about whatever they please and the government pays no attention. . . . There is no secret breathing down our backs watching our every move.”[Ibid.]

That is, unless we consider the spies in liberal meetings and tapping of liberal persons telephones and e-mails!

For Tozer, “The treacherous enemy facing the church of Jesus Christ today [and in almost any age] is the dictatorship of the routine, when the routine becomes ‘lord’ in the life of the church. Programs are organized and prevailing conditions are accepted as normal.”[p.3]

Interestingly, Tozer lived a fairly alternative lifestyle and lived sparsely to give as much effort as he could to his faith and related activities of raising families and church. According to many web sources sharing of the Tozer family, this is a common refrain: “Living a simple and non-materialistic lifestyle, he and his wife, Ada Cecelia Pfautz, never owned a car, preferring bus and train travel. Even after becoming a well-known Christian author, Tozer signed away much of his royalties to those who were in need.”

Evangelical Christians [of either conservative or progressive political bent] have a lot to learn from A. W. Tozer’s lifestyle and words—especially in 2008-2009 as we struggle through a second Great Depression in a century and in an age when public transport and fast national train networks need to be rebuilt and developed.

Christians and non-Christians need to represent a cooperative--yet revolutionary—peoples who are ready to change for the better ourselves and our world—wherever we are planted.

The status-quo of divided church kingdoms on Sunday morning and separate prayer meetings must be ended. In the final scheme of things, Tozer writes, churches [and societal groupings of all stripes] are just (1) a reflection of the individual membership and (2) all change in church ways--even mis-directions--starts with the individual.


“Politicians [of whatever political orientation] sometimes talk about the state as though it were an entity onto itself. Social workers talk about society, but society is people. The church is made up of real people, and when they come together we have the church. Whatever the people are who make up the church, that is the kind of church it is—no worse and no better, nor wiser, no holier, no more ardent, no more and no more worshipful. To improve or change the church we must begin with individuals [p. 7],” explains Tozer.

Naturally, working at the individual level is something that community organizers and leaders of all types need to focus on—whether in politics, in the church, in human resources, or in community development.

NOTE: At a time of economic turmoil and under-employment it is more crucial than ever that the individual become empowered in order to empower society or church, synagogue, mosque, or temple.

In Tozer’s words to the church, he warns believers, “When people in the church only point to others for improvement and not to themselves, it is sure evidence that the church has come to dry rot. It is proof of three sins: the sin of self-righteousness, the sin of judgment, and the sin of complacency.”[pp.7-8]

Such examples of (1) crippling self-righteousness, (2) destructively bad judgments and (3) blind complacency were witnessed by America in the run-up to both 9-11 and again in the misguided takeover of Iraq less than two years later.

At both those times, some churchmen spoke out, but the fingers of accusation need to often point homeward—not always outward.

Tozer then gives the counter-example of how the 12 disciples in the upper room responded to Jesus announcement that “one of you will betray me”.

Those 12 disciples immediately pointed to themselves and asked of themselves, “Is it I, Lord?”

These disciples exemplified humility.

In turn, humility is where all of us need to start when analyzing the source of weaknesses in (1) country, (2) society, (3) culture, (4) church, and (5) families.

Such individual humility must be in place before change is possible and any spiritual--as well as subsequent church or societal--revival begins.

Mediocre-striving individuals build mediocre churches and organizations, just as mediocre-oriented leaders build mediocre administrations in governance.


Self-righteous anger is one of the unpleasant characters of Christianity that my own father passed on to me.

He taught me that self-righteous anger was OK. In my childhood, he raved against the wealth of the Catholic Church. (Yet, when he was homebound in his later years, he continued to watch the Catholic services on TV.)

My Dad also raved against the lack of progressive taxes in his later years, and the lack of affordable health care in his later years. (Yet, he called me a radical when I tried to go further in pushing the system to be changed for the better for all.)

In the meantime, I have been educated by another Christian leader who recently taught, “There is no self-righteous anger. It is just anger.”

In short, we need to call a spade a spade. Our individuals failing the church by not reforming themselves?

Are individuals failing to reform America because they don’t reform themselves?

Are leaders and businessmen around the globe making the same old mistakes because they don’t reform themselves instead of worshipping the status quo?

Tozer writes, “Self-righteousness is terrible among God’s people. If we feel that we are what we ought to be, then we will remain what we are. We will not look for any change or improvement in our lives. This will quite naturally lead us to judge everyone by what we are. This is the judgment of which we must be careful. To judge others by ourselves is to create havoc . . . .” [p.8]

Look at the havoc many years of fighting have done to Afghanistan, Iraq and even in the American political-economic landscape.

Most of the havoc came from people—especially government and church leaders, but also all individuals in each of these lands—being firstly self-righteously angry--and then secondarily allowing themselves all kinds of excesses--while thirdly making numerous excuses for their own human frailties.

Anger is anger. Anyone in anger management will explain this to you.

In addition, Tozer warns, “Self-righteousness also leads to complacency. Complacency is a great sin and covers just about everything . . . . Some have the attitude, ‘Lord, I’m satisfied with my spiritual condition. I hope one of these days You will come, I will be taken up to meet You in the air and I will rule over five cities.’ These people cannot rule over their own houses and families, but they expect tor rule over five cities. They pray spottily and sparsely, rarely attending prayer meeting, but they read their Bibles and expect to go zooming off into the blue yonder and join the Lord in the triumph of the victorious saints.”

Deception and complacency have certainly left America in a huge financial mess—and with currently too few community resources to aid those who are ailing and in need now that cutting social services in government at both the state and national levels have taken many local governments to the brink of bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, Thirty-plus years of promoting privatization of government and social assistance to the poor and needy have led people to the church quite often, but the political-economic-and social deceptions have hallowed out the social infrastructure and the American economy as a whole since the 1970s.

This reliance on faith based services, private water companies, and private home schooling have also contributed to the hallowing out of other national- and state-infrastructures in recent decades.

I ask, “What has gotten us the churches and America, into this pickle whereby everyone is pointing fingers and doing nothing to change the individuals who make up the better part of our planet?”

Tozer asks, “I wonder if we are not fooling ourselves. I wonder if a lot of it is simply self-deception.”

In his introduction to the topic of “The Christian’s Greatest Enemy”, Tozer looks at how God dealt with complacency for the Israelites of Moses day.

In Deuteronomy 2 the people under Moses were told that they have become to complacent and need to move on to the Holy Land.

In short, it was time to change.

How did the people of Moses proceed? They were told not to attack anyone and to treat everyone fairly along their journey.

They did just that.

Are American Christians—and even American non-Christians—ready to move on from their complacency of decades?

Tozer ends his message in the first chapter of RUT, ROT, or REVIVAL, by using trees as metaphor. [I find Tozer’s usage of trees as a metaphor in times of global warming and great rain forest destruction to be fairly appropriate.]

Tozer notes, “The tree that stands alive has lush, green leaves. Take a knife, scar the bark deeply and the tree will bleed. It is alive. The old dead tree just stands there, a watchtower for old sentinel crows. Take your knife and did in as far as you want to, and nothing will happen because the tree is dead.”

Dear globalists, Christians, Americans, Iraqis, Indians, Afghanis, Muslims, agnostics, and whomever or however you identify yourselves,

What kind of tree are you?—dead or alive?

Can we take real self-criticism and change?

Can we all identify the real enemies in complacency, bad judgment, and self-righteousness?

Or, like a dead oak tree, will we continue to point in all directions and not notice the dead wood within?


Tozer, Aiden Wilson, http://bibleforums.org/forum/showthread.php?t=91062

Tozer, Aiden Wilson, RUT, ROT, or REVIVAL, Camp Hill, PA (USA): Christian Publications, 1993.


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

FORD’S METAPHOR Vs. JAPAN and the GM Reality with the Electric Car—and a simple explanation for BAD BANKS AND BUSINESSES in the US—and Elsewhere By K

FORD’S METAPHOR Vs. JAPAN and the GM Reality with the Electric Car—and a simple explanation for BAD BANKS AND BUSINESSES in the US—and Elsewhere

By Kevin Stoda, Witness to “Driven to Mediocrity”, the American Tale

For some time, I have been observing tales like the following (see below) floating around the internet. Please, stay with me to the punch-lines of other witnesses to corporate failure in American below.

The story in the business lesson below is ostensibly about the Ford Corporation, but, as far as I am concerned, it could just as well be about General Motors--or Citicorp or Bush & Co. (2001-2009).

In the Ford story, known as “Business Lesson from the Japanese”, Ford management is used as a metaphor for the worst aspects of the anti-labor, and anti-developmental approach (of the worst corners) of the American leadership and corporate mismanagement business model of the 20th and 19th centuries.

Here is the famous business metaphor with Ford.
“A Japanese company (Toyota) and an American company (Ford Motors) decided to have a canoe race on the Missouri River. Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race.
On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile.
The Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to investigate the reason for the crushing defeat. A management team made up of senior management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action. Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, while the American team had 7 people steering and 2 people rowing.
Feeling a deeper study was in order; American management hired a consulting company and paid them a large amount of money for a second opinion. They advised, of course, that too many people were steering the boat, while not enough people were rowing. Not sure of how to utilize that information, but wanting to prevent another loss to the Japanese, the rowing team’s management structure was totally reorganized to 4 steering supervisors, 2 area steering superintendents and 1 assistant superintendent steering manager.
They also implemented a new performance system that would give the 2 people rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder. It was called the ‘Rowing Team Quality First Program,’ with meetings, dinners and free pens for the rowers. There was discussion of getting new paddles, canoes and other equipment, extra vacation days for practices and bonuses. The pension program was trimmed to ‘equal the competition’ and some of the resultant savings were channeled into morale boosting programs and teamwork posters.
The next year the Japanese won by two miles. Humiliated, the American management laid-off one rower, halted development of a new canoe, sold all the paddles, and canceled all capital investments for new equipment. The money saved was distributed to the Senior Executives as bonuses. The next year, try as he might, the lone designated rower was unable to even finish the race (having no paddles,) so he was laid off for unacceptable performance, all canoe equipment was sold and the next year’s racing team was out-sourced to India.
Sadly, the End.”


Although the story about Ford vs. Japan (and Toyota and Japan Co.) above provides a good metaphor, General Motors (plus Ford Chrysler and Exxon) actually did set out to destroy America’s share of the electronic car market.
Therefore, the story of Ford and Japan can be retold in America with numerous faces—representing Enron, Worldcom, Citicorp, and many financial service groups.
This General Motors story has been best described in the 2006 award-winning documentary film, WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR? by Chris Paine.
The Japanese owned—Sony movies’ blurb on Rotten Tomatoes states of both this film and of the EV1 car that GM either let die off or intentionally killed off America’s first mass-produced electronic car in the 1990s.
Sony states:
“It [the EV1 electric car] was among the fastest, most efficient production cars ever built. It ran on electricity, produced no emissions and catapulted American technology to the forefront of the automotive industry. The lucky few who drove it never wanted to give it up.”
The film set out to discover and demonstrate “why . . .General Motors crush[ed] its fleet of EV1 electric vehicles in the Arizona desert? WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR? chronicles the life and mysterious death of the GM EV1, examining its cultural and economic ripple effects and how they reverberated through the halls of government and big business.”
The documentary’s tale began in “1990. California is in a pollution crisis. Smog threatens public health. Desperate for a solution, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) targets the source of its problem: auto exhaust. Inspired by a recent announcement from General Motors about an electric vehicle prototype, the Zero Emissions Mandate (ZEV) is born. It required 2% of new vehicles sold in California to be emission-free by 1998, 10% by 2003. It is the most radical smog-fighting mandate since the catalytic converter.”
Could the Big Three in Detroit meet these targets?
Apparently General motors had already developed the important technology during the late 1980s.
The documentary, WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR?, demonstrated: “With a jump on the competition thanks to its speed-record-breaking electric concept car, GM [General Motors] launches its EV1 electric vehicle in 1996. It was a revolutionary modern car, requiring no gas, no oil changes, no mufflers, and rare brake maintenance (a billion-dollar industry unto itself). A typical maintenance checkup for the EV1 consisted of replenishing the windshield washer fluid and a tire rotation. But the fanfare surrounding the EV1's launch disappeared and the cars followed. Was it lack of consumer demand as carmakers claimed, or were other persuasive forces at work?”
Finally, Sony declares: “Fast forward to 6 years later... The [entire EV1] fleet is gone. EV charging stations dot the California landscape like tombstones, collecting dust and spider webs. How could this happen? Did anyone bother to examine the evidence? Yes, in fact, someone did. And it was murder. The electric car threatened the status quo.
According to numerous viewers of this landmark documentary (as well as the producers and directors of the film), “The truth behind its [the EV1 fleet’s] demise resembles the climactic outcome of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express: multiple suspects, each taking their turn with the knife. WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR? interviews and investigates automakers, legislators, engineers, consumers and car enthusiasts from Los Angeles to Detroit, to work through motives and alibis, and to piece the complex puzzle together. WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR? is not just about the EV1.”
Just as with the Ford vs. Japan, Inc. Metaphor (share above), the documentary film, WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR?, is “about how this allegory for failure—reflected in today's oil prices and air quality—can also be a shining symbol of society's potential to better itself and the world around it. While there's plenty of outrage for lost time, there's also time for renewal as technology is reborn in WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR?”
As the WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR?-website for the film, explains:
“Electric cars are quieter, cleaner and cheaper to run than gas-powered cars. As to why they haven't been fully adopted yet - watch Who Killed the Electric Car? for the story.”

Furthermore, the website for WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR? notes
“1. Electricity is cheaper than gas, and can come from renewable resources such as solar and wind power.
2. Electric cars pollute less than gas-powered cars (especially when renewable energy sources are used to generate the electricity).
3. Electric cars are much more reliable and require less maintenance than gas-powered cars. You don't even need to get your quarterly oil change!
4. By using domestically-generated electricity rather than relying on foreign oil, we can achieve energy independence and will no longer need to engage in costly wars in the Middle East to secure an energy supply.
5. Electric cars can utilize the existing electric grid rather than require the development of a new, expensive energy infrastructure (as would be the case with hydrogen).”


In the 1990s, Tom Hanks and other users often raved about their EV1 car on TV talk shows—but they was forced to give the car back to GM when his lease was done. (GM refused to sell the cars, i.e. only allowing leases for the entire model line.)
In short, long before the Prius hybrid came along from Japan automakers, the EV1 had taken over the state of California.
Even if Exxon hadn’t bought up the patent on the EV1’s battery, the EV1 was already facing a death sentence by the late 1990s because the courts in the U.S. were not willing to defend Americans from MADE IN DETROIT underdevelopment strategy for alternative energy.
NOTE: Remember—both the courts and the U.S. government failed to uphold the newest laws in California, requiring many more emission-less cars on its roads by 2003, i.e. when the new War in Iraq would send oil prices octupling in less than a decade!
I hadn’t thought about the death of the EV1 car for years prior to hearing about this documentary film, WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR?, being discussed with awe by famous speakers—including Naomi Klein, Robert Kuttner, Michael Hudson and Amy Goodman--on Democracy Now (DN) last week.
Robert Kuttner, editor of THE AMERICAN PROSPECT magazine , stated on DN, “That film is one of the most profound documentary’s of our time. GM was actually ahead of Toyota, and now working our way back towards a plug an electric car via modified hybrid, but they had the technology 12,14 years ago, you can’t make this stuff up. The patent for the battery that made possible the EV1 was bought by Exxon-Mobil just so it would never be utilized again. I think that is why in restructuring the auto industry, you have to get rid of the executives.”
Then Kuttner took an appropriate potshot against recent Obama government appointments and at the lack of change we see in Washington (developing with the recent questionable appointments) to Big-Corporate-America-as-Usual.
Kuttner laments as follows:
“Its not just enough [to]throw money at them [big money pandering Big Three Car makers]. It gives you a sense of how profound the challenge is [to change the status quo in America]—just analogizing Bob Rubin for a second, in a country where market capitalism has as much power as it does in the U.S., whether the villain of the piece is GM or Robert Rubin and Citigroup, it is bigger than any one person, its a system you have to fight.”
Summarizing Kuttner noted, “It’s the mark of their [status-quo-corporate American] power—residual power of the system. Even when the system as come to a crisis of its own making, and your president as attractive and intelligent as Barack Obama, the institutional practice to reappoint the same standards are overwhelming. It is only when Obama looks over the cliff of the failure of his own administration because he has not thought boldly enough, that he may change his plans and move in a more radical direction.”
On the other hand, at least some popular mainstream writers, like Thomas Friedman, popular author of The New York Times, are continuing to speak up loudly for a more radical approach to government, especially in Friedman’s ceaseless promotion of Green Energy as the core development of this next decade.

In a recent book review, Thomas Friedman noted, how progressives and conservatives together need to spin Green Energy big-time in all Americans favors starting now, “I actually started out to write a book called Green is the New Red, White and Blue, and I came to realize that there was a bigger story going on: What happens when we enter a world where so many people can live like Americans? It’s a great thing that so many people can now enjoy the kind of lifestyle that we enjoy, but with that comes much greater consumption and energy usage.”
Moreover, Friedman continued, ““What do we have to do to have abundant, clean, reliable and cheap electrons?” To me, the answer to the problem is you need a market signal. I’m not a believer in a Manhattan Project. I’m a believer in the market. But markets have to be shaped, and the way they’re shaped is with price signals. You get the price signals right and it will stimulate the market to do massive innovation on the scale we need.”
In other words, America cannot sit around again in 2009 and allow American energy to continue to predominantly depend on cheap oil from abroad.
Friedman and other conservative Americans believe that if the U.S. doesn’t do it, China, Europe, and Japan will take over.
Friedman claims that “another revolution is [emerging]. It’s called the E.T. revolution—energy technology—and nobody’s claimed this one yet. We made the I.T. revolution; let’s make sure we make the E.T. revolution. If we don’t, we will not be a superpower.”

THE END OF A SUPERPOWER?—Unless we have Real Leaders
That is right!
The U.S. will absolutely not be a superpower if it doesn’t get caught up in the green energy movement.
The W. Bush 8-year hiatus in energy development in this current decade has been both a losing short-term and losing long-term strategy.
Friedman’s current motto is, “Change your leaders, not your light bulbs.”
He adds, “I’ll put it this way: Leaders write rules. Rules shape markets. Markets give you scale. If we have the wrong leaders—leaders who are in no way sensitive to the green necessities—we’re just not going to go anywhere.”
The new U.S. government needs “[t]o think big. Swing for the fences. We need a carbon tax, cap and trade, some kind of price signal, a national renewable energy portfolio standard.”
If General Motor did it once—i.e. jumped ahead of the Japanese in the 1980s and 1990s on low-emission technology—, DETROIT or others in America can do it again.
However, the bad management and bad management practices must be cleared out in Detroit and elsewhere, i.e. all places where 19th and 20th century leadership styles no-longer function.

“BUSINESS LESSON FROM THE JAPANESE”, http://www.mynewcompany.com/blog/business-lesson-from-the-japanese/
Friedman, Thomas, http://www.thomaslfriedman.com/media
PLUG IN AMERICA—questions, http://pluginamerica.org/learn-about-plug-ins/frequently-asked-questions.html
WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR? http://www.whokilledtheelectriccar.com/