Friday, March 27, 2009

Dear Readers, listen to Paul Krugman and help him tell Obama to stop bailing out bad banks etc.

Dear Readers,
I have at times been quite fascinated and supported by Nobel laureate economist , Paul Krugman, warns that Obama is making another bad gamble in his newest package. He feels that this could break Obama’s integrity. His gamble does not have good odds.
This means that if the newest plan will likely fail badly and then Obama won’t be trusted with big money again—in areas of strategic importance that are, indeed needed.
Krugman suggest obama back off on trying to buy up funds that most people are not interested in investing in. it sounds especially like the losing Savings and Loan scandals of the 1980s.
The whole interview on Democracy now can be found at:

Please listen or read the text (reprinted below)
Kevin Stoda

“The Zombie Ideas Have Won”–Paul Krugman on $1 Trillion Geithner Plan to Buy Toxic Bank Assets

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is preparing to unveil a plan today to purchase as much as $1 trillion in troubled mortgages and other assets from banks. The government is reaching out to hedge funds, private equity firms and sovereign wealth funds to help buy the toxic assets. The Obama administration has described the plan as a public-private partnership, but most of the actual money will be put up by the government. We speak with Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist, Paul Krugman.
AMY GOODMAN: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner today is unveiling the Obama administration’s plan to finance the purchase of up to $1 trillion in so-called toxic assets from banks and other ailing financial institutions. The plan relies on private investors, namely hedge funds and private equity firms, to team up with the government to relieve banks of assets tied to loans and mortgage-linked securities. There have been virtually no buyers of these assets thus far because of their uncertain risk. As part of the program, the government plans to offer subsidies in the form of low-interest loans to coax private funds to form partnerships with the government to buy troubled assets from banks. This is intended to unclog the balance sheets of banks and allow them to resume normal lending.
Also, the Obama administration this week is expected to announce new proposals for financial regulation, executive pay, accounting standards and other issues, ahead of the G20 summit in London on April 2nd. The new economic proposals come as Congress is to begin debating the administration’s $3.6 trillion budget proposal for next year.
Meanwhile, public outrage over the AIG bonus scandal has further undermined support for Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary. AIG is paying out over $165 million in bonuses after receiving a $170 billion taxpayer bailout. Geithner has been criticized in Congress and elsewhere for not doing more to block the AIG bonuses and his overall response to the financial crisis.
In an interview broadcast last night on 60 Minutes, President Obama expressed strong support for Geithner. He was interviewed by 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft.
STEVE KROFT: Your Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner, has been under a lot of pressure this week, and there have been people in Congress calling for his head. Have there been discussions in the White House about replacing him?
STEVE KROFT: Has he volunteered to or come to you and said, “Do you think I should step down?”
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: No, and he shouldn’t. And if he were to come to me, I’d say, “Sorry, buddy, you still got the job.” But look, he’s got a lot of stuff on his plate, and he is doing a terrific job. And I take responsibility for not, I think, having given him as much help as he needs.

AMY GOODMAN: Geithner is scheduled to testify before the House Financial Services Committee on Thursday about overhauling financial regulation.
Paul Krugman is a Nobel Prize-winning economist, professor of economics and international affairs at Princeton University, and a columnist at the New York Times. His latest book is The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008. His column in today’s Times is headlined “Financial Policy Despair.” He joins us on the phone from his home in New Jersey.
Welcome to Democracy Now!, Paul.
PAUL KRUGMAN: Good morning, Amy.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, you say, “Zombie ideas have won.” Why are you calling that Timothy Geithner’s plan today?
PAUL KRUGMAN: A zombie idea is an idea that you keep on killing, because it’s a bad idea, but it just keeps on coming back. And what this is is we’ve had this idea since Henry Paulson came out with his plan six months ago, the Bush administration, that the real problem is that the market is undervaluing all of these toxic assets, and what we need to do is have taxpayers go in and buy them at a fair price, and that will solve all of our financial problems. And that’s what happened. The Geithner plan is a complicated, disguised variant on the same idea. It’s the zombie that you keep killing, and it just keeps coming back.
AMY GOODMAN: Called “cash for trash”?
PAUL KRUGMAN: Yeah, that’s—that was the phrase that was out there six months ago, which I picked up. And yeah, it’s basically saying that, you know, there’s nothing really fundamentally wrong with our banking system; there’s just this crisis of confidence, and so nobody wants to buy, you know, asset-backed securities, nobody wants to buy stuff that’s ultimately backed by home mortgages, and if only we could get people to see that these things are really pretty decent assets, then the banks will be in fine shape. And that’s the trouble. You know, there’s an argument that says maybe they were somewhat underpriced, but to make this the centerpiece of your financial rescue plan is just—well, as I wrote in the column, it leaves me with a feeling of despair.
AMY GOODMAN: Members of the Obama administration hit the Sunday talk show circuit yesterday to drum up support for the administration’s plan to purchase up to a trillion dollars in troubled mortgages and other so-called toxic assets. Austan Goolsbee, a key White House economic adviser, was on Face the Nation. Harry Smith of CBS News quoted from your writing about the administration’s plan. This is an excerpt.
HARRY SMITH: There’s been a lot of negative press about this thing that hasn’t even been unveiled yet, and Paul Krugman, in his blog today, said, “For the private investors, this is an open invitation to play heads I win, tails the taxpayers lose.”
AUSTAN GOOLSBEE: I don’t think that’s an accurate description. I mean, if the government doesn’t make money, the private sector doesn’t make money either. I mean, these guys are coming in in a partnership, and one of the reasons you want to have the partnership is precisely so that, A, the government doesn’t massively overpay for these troubled assets that are on the balance sheets, and B, so that everybody’s got skin in the game and you don’t get into situations where you’re paying guys for failure.

AMY GOODMAN: Paul Krugman, your response?
PAUL KRUGMAN: The important thing is not the shared equity. I’m sorry, it’s hard to avoid lapsing into jargon here. But 85 percent, at least according to the counts over the weekend, 85 percent of the money is going to be a loan from the government, which is a non-recourse loan, which means that it’s backed only by the assets that these guys are buying, which means that if the thing loses more than 15 percent of its value, which is highly, you know, possible, given how uncertain these things are worth, then the investors, the private investors, just walk away. So there’s—exactly, it’s a heads I win, tails you lose. If the stuff—you buy something at $100 and it goes up to $150, you make $50. You buy it at $100 and it goes down to $50, then you only lose $15, because the other $35 gets even by the taxpayer. So it’s a—it’s the same thing.
It’s basically what happened with savings and loans in the 1980s. They were deregulated and basically put in the position where the deposits were guaranteed, but the owners of the banks could do whatever they wanted, and so they took these huge risks, and most of the risks turned out bad. But if the risks turned out bad, it was the taxpayers’ problem, not the bank owners’ problem. Same thing here. They’re deliberately setting it up, so that there’s this huge incentive to—you know, basically where the upside belongs to the private investors, but most of the downside belongs to you and me.
AMY GOODMAN: So you socialize the debt, you privatize the profit. Why—
PAUL KRUGMAN: Yes, it’s—you know, it’s, yeah, lemon socialism. The minuses are the taxpayers; the pluses are the private investors.
AMY GOODMAN: Why doesn’t the government just buy all up all of the toxic assets then, like the FDIC does?
PAUL KRUGMAN: Well, it’s actually—the FDIC doesn’t—the FDIC guarantees a bank’s debts, basically, so the deposits are secure, and then if it says the bank is bankrupt, then it goes in and it seizes the bank and then sells the toxic stuff for whatever it can get. That’s what I advocate; that’s what we ought to be doing. They are—I think they’re just daunted by the scale of this thing. The FDIC normally does, you know, two or three banks a week, even in bad times, and they’re small banks. Here we’re talking about quite possibly Citigroup, which is $2 trillion in assets. It’s a very big thing. And I think the reason they keep on coming back, the reason the zombie ideas won’t stay dead, is the lure of an easy solution, that you can just wave a magic wand and the problem goes away, and they’re still looking for magic.
AMY GOODMAN: We have to break just for sixty seconds, then we come back to Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize-winning economist, professor of economics, Princeton, columnist at the New York Times. Stay with us.
AMY GOODMAN: Our guest, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, Paul Krugman, professor at Princeton, New York Times columnist. Do you think Timothy Geithner, the Treasury Secretary, Paul, should step down?
PAUL KRUGMAN: You know, I don’t have a strong view on that. It’s certainly becoming a problem, and he’s really got to clean up his act if he wants to stay there. But it’s just—it’s been really—you know, basically, look, this is not Geithner. Ultimately, the buck stops in the Oval Office. The question is, why is President Obama going with the soft side, the hope over analysis, on this stuff? So I’m not—I don’t have a big commitment on Geithner, one way or the other.
AMY GOODMAN: Can I ask you something about the AIG bonuses that have caused such an uproar? I mean, why wasn’t there strict regulations about how the stimulus money could be used, how the TARP could be used? Why wasn’t there regulation here?
PAUL KRUGMAN: Well, if I was going to take the side of the government people, I’d say it’s hard to write those regulations in a way that doesn’t have unintended consequences. You know, there was a time when they tried to put limits on CEO pay, and it ended up leading to the explosion of stock options, which was not a good thing.
But I think it basically comes down to the mindset, that the view still, apparently, dominant in—even in this administration is that there’s nothing really fundamentally wrong with the system. There were some mistakes, and there was some bad luck, but we don’t want to shake up the system too much. We don’t want to really rebuild it. We don’t want to tear up the relationships with those people who we thought were so smart and now look so dumb, really are smart, and we want to keep them on the job. It’s a problem. I think there’s too much conventionality. To some extent, the Obama administration is still partying like it’s 2006.
AMY GOODMAN: Paul Krugman, what would a new system look like? What would you advocate?
PAUL KRUGMAN: I think, in the end, we’re going to have to go back to something that is kind of like the system that emerged from the New Deal, which was tightly regulated banks and financial institutions, limits on risk taking, fairly high taxes for high earners, which—it turns out that, you know, low tax rates create incentives, but the incentives are actually to play dangerous games with other people’s money. A lot of things need to be updated for the twenty-first century and information technology and so on, but basically, our grandfathers got this thing right. Our grandfathers understood that finance is useful but dangerous and needs to be very tightly hedged about with regulations.
AMY GOODMAN: You write, “The Obama administration has apparently made the judgment that there would be a public outcry if it announced a straightforward plan along these lines,” which is, you know, government buying up the troubled assets, “so it has produced what Yves Smith calls ‘a lot of bells and whistles to finesse the fact that the government will wind up paying well above market [value] for”—and you can’t say the rest.
PAUL KRUGMAN: Yeah, I still can’t say the rest, which was not Times style. But yeah, ultimately, when you get the—when you get through the complexities and the salesmanship, this is just a complicated way of having the government pay, having you and me pay, for buying these assets at more than any private investor is willing to pay for them.
AMY GOODMAN: You talk about why you’re so vehement about this right now, why you see this is the critical moment.
PAUL KRUGMAN: I think—this is a political judgment. We can argue this back and forth. But I think that Obama doesn’t get many shots at this, maybe just one. There’s already a huge public outcry, which doesn’t distinguish between the things we need to do and the things that were just mistakes. And for Obama to go and do this plan and put a lot of taxpayer money on the line and for it not to work, which I’m almost certain is what would happen, I don’t think he can come back to Congress for a plan that might actually work. I think that there’s a real—the stimulus is something of the same thing. You have to do this right, right away, because the political mood is getting ugly, for good reason, and there’s not a lot of patience with failed approaches, especially failed approaches that seem like your administration is just too close to Wall Street.
AMY GOODMAN: Paul Krugman, can you talk about the role of foreign sovereign wealth funds and explain what they are?
PAUL KRUGMAN: Oh, yeah. It’s just when a foreign government has a bunch of money which it is investing in the United States or in other countries, and as opposed to—this is when you do something beyond just plain parking lots of money in bank deposits or US government debt, which is where most of the foreign money is. You know, I think that’s a much exaggerated issue. It’s—yeah, these are governments playing with large sums of money. At least so far, all the evidence is that they’ve been really pretty dumb investors. The Chinese appear to have given us a substantial subsidy by buying a lot of stocks at the top of the market and losing them. So I’m not that—I don’t think it’s a central issue.
AMY GOODMAN: And this issue of counterparties, a word we’re just learning right now, that AIG gets all of these billions of dollars, and they use some of it to pass through to banks once—well, to entities like Goldman Sachs, to UBS, which had to pay a massive fine to the US government, so we’re paying their fine for violating us?
PAUL KRUGMAN: Well, this is—the counterparties—basically, think of the financial system as this web of connections. And the reason that we’re stepping in to rescue these companies in the first place is that we’re afraid that if you break the web at one point, it unravels across a pretty wide range. And that’s not just a theory. When Lehman Brothers was allowed to fail, in fact, a huge gaping hole opened up across the financial system. So this is the reason that we’re rescuing them in the first place.
Now, the only thing you can say is that if we’re going to be doing this, then we do need to look hard at who else we’re rescuing, and we need to say, “Look, you guys have to make some sacrifices as part of this, as well.” What we’re seeing right now is that it’s basically all free money from the taxpayer with no quid pro quo. And that gets to the heart of the dispute over what our policy is right now.
AMY GOODMAN: Finally, Paul Krugman, has this made you reevaluate your support of NAFTA, the whole push for sort of unregulated globalization, why so many people took to the streets in the Battle of Seattle, for example?
PAUL KRUGMAN: Yeah, the answer is no. There’s a huge distinction between letting actual trade in goods, stuff, real physical stuff, proceed, which is terribly important to the poorest countries, above all—when somebody asks, you know, why am I in favor of, more or less, free trade, my answer is, I’m really thinking about countries like Bangladesh, which literally are only able to keep their heads above water by their ability to sell labor-intensive stuff, thanks to their low wages. It’s really critical.
I’ve never been a fan of unregulated movement of capital internationally. This was a big fight back in the late ’90s between some of us who say, you know, “We need to regulate, we need to limit this stuff,” and people who said, “Oh, no. You have to trust the markets.” And what’s—it’s the hot money that’s the issue here; it’s not the auto parts from Mexico. That’s a different discussion. It’s the hot money from all over the world that is the crisis right now.
AMY GOODMAN: And the UN panel that will next week recommend the world ditch the dollar as its reserve currency in favor of a shared basket of currencies?
PAUL KRUGMAN: You know, there have been millions of plans—well, I’m exaggerating, but there have been many plans along those lines. That’s not a decision that can be taken by an international body. The dollar is the reserve currency because people think it’s the safest place to park their money. The euro is a natural competitor, except that the Europeans are as messed up in their policies as we are, if not more so, right now. But the way to deal with that is not to have some body agree that we’re going to do something different, but to simply have the world—have the natural competitors to the dollar make themselves worthy of the competition.
AMY GOODMAN: Paul Krugman, I want to thank you for being with us, Nobel Prize-winning economist, professor of economics at Princeton University, and columnist with the New York Times. His latest book is called The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008. Thanks so much for joining us. He joined us from New Jersey.
PAUL KRUGMAN: Thanks a lot.


Thursday, March 26, 2009



Kevin Anthony Stoda, Wiesbaden, Germany

I had the good fortune to live in Germany in the 1980s during the era when first the Pershing missiles were planted in Central Europe, as the Historikerstreit took place, and as the end of the Wall in Berlin were shaking up modern German self-identities.

In that decade, I first lived on a farm in Rhineland Palatinate and later in the city of Wuppertal (1986-1990), where the economy was not particular good and employment chances for many university students not very good.

My long stay in Wuppertal marked also a career change for me from a teacher of history and the social studies to a teacher of languages, e.g. German, Spanish and English. The market for history and sociology teachers in both the USA and Germany have been rocky in recent decades.

Because I shifted my career to teaching foreign languages, I have since been able to mix my love for history and the social sciences with my growing love for both world and modern literature as I have taught and researched in Japan, the USA, Nicaragua, Mexico, Kuwait, and the UAE (1990-2008). This wide ranging work experience in countries with different levels of social consciousnesses in economic development has made my view of the political economics more realistic and supportive of social economic planet than has been the case of those who have lived solely in the USA where minimum standards have been left to the market.

Now my lifelong research into political economic and social development has taken me full-circle from my (1984-1992) experiences in Central Europe, i.e. especially in Germany. In this era my homeland’s dominant narration of the end of Communism and a new world order had begun to discolor many facts on the ground in the last decades of communism and in describing the rise of the European Union and NATO on the continent since that time.

This skewed narration was partially promoted by some European statesmen in order to help keep America strategically embedded in Europe, i.e. (a) through NATO’s continuation and (b) due to the absence of any other major counter-hegemonic alternative to Western Capitalist narration of the era.


If the reality of German life over the past 20 years were really truly that of the neo-classical theorists, i.e. simply a sign of the righteousness and rightness of neo-classical liberal economic practices and theory, and if the American imprint in Europe was always so clear and crisp as stressed by many in the later Helmut Kohl era (or post-reunification era), especially by authors misusing the phrase “End of History”, one would never expect transatlantic troubles on any level.

However, the theories on which the last 20 years of economic development in central Europe are absolutely not explanatory and has left Germany today bereft of clear thinking and orientation. It is almost like the Neo-classical liberalism has continued to fight a Cold War while wearing all the blinders to reality on the ground.

Tarik Ahmi notes that part of the problem in Germany over the past 20 years in the areas of political economics and the socio-development of the former divided Germany has been the almost total dominance of a single ideology.

According to Tarik Ahmia, “Since the era of former Chancellor Helmut Kohl the German government wants nothing to do with hands-on growth policies. Even in fall 2008, as the German economy was being pummeled with full force by the crisis, the words ‘economic stimulus’ were taboo in the cabinet for months. This was thanks in no small part to the clique of economists that advise the federal government. Their speakers have been preaching to the public for years that growth can be ensured only when the state keeps its hands off the economy, when social benefits are slashed, the job market is deregulated and companies are unburdened.”

In short, unlike in the USA where some forms or alternative views of economics could be taught at most any university and different state government, such as California, Minnesota, and Northeastern states have practiced alternative procedures in the markets of health, environment and economic planning, Germany’s various national and state governments over the past 20 years (whether Socialist- or Christian Democratic) closed out all communication with non-neo-classical liberal theorists.

In short, if you were not among the faithful of the neo-classical theory, you were not working in government in Germany.


In January 2009, the first election of the year occurred in the German state of Hessen, where the financial powerhouse Frankfurt is located. By the end of this election cycle there will be several other state elections as well as national elections for the Bundestag.

In this past election in January 2009, the SPD (Social Democratic Party) was pummeled after having the year before agreed to build a government with the smaller THE LEFT (Links) Party. Let me explain, Hessen is in what was once West Germany. Currently, the majority of THE LEFT party are still in Eastern Germany.

In Hessen this past election, 25 % of the prior voters of the SPD, who were born and in many cases raised in the Cold War era, walked away from their party.

That means that these Hessen citizens do not want their local SPD to work with anyone who represents to any degree the ideas of the former East German Parties, who admittedly had run (or had mishandled) East Germany’s economic development for nigh 40 years, i.e. until 1990—when the Neo-Classical Liberals took over both sides of Germany.

In some ways, this would be similar to Americans who vote against the Democrats because the Democratic Party was once considered the party of (or are in memories of grand children associated with) the South during the U.S. Civil War (1860-1865).

I say this because in fact, the natural ally of the SPD is THE LEFT Party.

The fact is that Western members of THE LEFT party are often formerly dissatisfied Social Democrats, who left the party because it had embraced the values of Neo-classical theory in the 1990s and again earlier in this same decade.

In an economic crisis like this, the SPD needs to get back to its socialist economic roots and help clean up the mess of 20-plus years of Neo-classical liberalism in Central Europe.

The resistance to reclaiming the stronger and more helpful theories that brought the Social Democrats to power in the 1960s (and in some states earlier) is essential for Germany today.

If the Social Democrats don’t seek to build a greater coalition of like-minded voters and if voters don’t move beyond their Cold-War era thinking about Socialism and Communism in economic development theory, Germany’s economy will not get out of its doldrums.

A shake up is needed in Germany in 2009—not continued status quo.

Alternative economic planning is needed and only by working with the Green party and THE LEFT will the SPD succeed in autumn 2009 elections.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009



Dear Readers,

Gen, was one of our (Victoria and Kevin Stoda) bridesmaids in our wedding.

For many months, she has been trying to get released from her work in Kuwait by her Dominoes Pizza employers. Her boss had allowed her to go finally a month ago, but the owners of the company over-road this stance.

Now, Gen, is returning to the Philippines but Dominoes Pizza in Kuwait is refusing to pay her plane ticket home.

One of the main reasons Gen has to leave that employer is that they have placed her over the past two or so years in a shared apartment with other women who work different shifts at different businesses. These women keep Gen awake when she needs rest after a 12 hour shift answering telephone orders for Dominoes.

Gen has been known to pass out from dizziness due to fatigue related to these two years of lack of sleep.

Put pressures on Dominoes Pizza to let Gen fly to the Philippines and to let her out of her contract.

Here is the Dominoes Pizza On-line contact info.


Kevin Anthony Stoda


Sunday, March 22, 2009



By Kevin Anthony Stoda, USA citizen working in Germany

While many others around the globe were celebrating International Women’s Day 2009, I was married in a church ceremony in Salmiya, Kuwait to Maria Victoria M. Baradero of the Philippines.

In some ways, Maria Victoria’s and my church wedding in Kuwait was similar to several international women’s day events.

For example, we newlyweds had invited guests from not only Kuwait, the USA, and the Philippines, but also from other lands, such as South Africa, Egypt, Syria, Palestine, India, Canada, Germany, France, and the UK.

Also, there were a majority of women in my church to plan and help Victoria prepare and celebrate her day.

Most of all, a wedding day is primarily successful for making the woman (or bride) most happy and loved. My friends and I succeeded in this.

Concerning the international aspect of our wedding, my pastor, Pradeep Kutty, who officiated the great day for my bride and I is from Kerala, India.

Moreover, the bridesmaids and maid of honor were multicultural—i.e. from the Philippines, India, and the USA (of Dutch heritage).

Finally, one of the more memorable activities was when Zeinab from Syria, her children, her husband, and in-laws joined in a traditional Syrian wedding dance for my bride and I along with the many guests present—as some Egyptian friends of mine clapped along.


Victoria had experienced grave duress during the last weeks of 2008 as we struggled to complete the civil papers for marriage conducted at Kuwait’s Ministry of Justice in Mirqab. There were many surprises and new demands made by bureaucrats every other day on our marriage paperwork in Kuwait.

For example, in a ten day period, we had to revisit the Philippine Embassy numerous times for paperwork which Victoria had already received in Manila earlier in December—but which Kuwaiti’s found not to be good enough.

NOTE: In addition, the Philippine bureaucracy at the Embassy in Kuwait also had us pay several for unnecessary paperwork as well. It was as though we were forced to purchase from the Philippine Embassy three pieces of worthless paper for every actual document which Kuwait bureaucrats really needed.

Meanwhile, Maria Victoria and I also were required to go to the Evangelical Church Compound in Kuwait City several times to acquire a small piece of paper, which stated that we were, in fact, Christians—and not atheists or from some Eastern—non-monotheistic faith. We only received this paper late in the afternoon on December 30.

In short, Victoria and I were therefore only able to get married after much effort and prayer on December 31, 2008—two and a half days before I flew to Germany to go to a new job.

Most interestingly, on the morning of the 31st of December at the Ministry of Justice, Maria Victoria and I had witnesses on hand from India and Philippines. Alas, in Kuwait, women do not count as full witnesses before the law courts—each woman is considered only half a witness under Kuwaiti law, so only the two Indian male witnesses were asked to sign our Civil Ceremony wedding papers.

On the other hand, this will surprise you readers!!!!!---

Despite the lack of women rights to act aswitnesses in Kuwait, the very Kuwaiti official who oversaw Maria Victoria’s and my civil ceremony in the Ministry of Justice that last day of 2008 was a wonderful black-hijab wearing Kuwaiti female.

In short, just as most of our world is full of stress and contradictions for lovers these , the world and lives of women in Kuwait are particularly similarly full of contradictions, stress and surprising turns of event.

Since a few days later, I flew to Germany to start on a new contract, our Kuwaiti church fellowship and Maria Victoria had to undertake the preparations for my wedding in my absence.

Soon—after carrying long-distance e-mail and phone contacts and negotiations on two continents--Victoria and I were eventually able to settle on March 8, 2009 for our Christian Wedding date.


Anyone who has ever put on a wedding knows, they cannot do it alone.

My Kuwaiti church family provided the first and strongest ring of support for our wedding.

NOTE: Due to distance, neither my family in the USA nor Victoria’s family in the Philippines.

Slowly, the members of the Kuwaiti church fellowship from America, India, and her homeland, the Philippines, were discussing, negotiating, and aiding in the planning and implementation of a very memorable INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY WEDDING for my bride, Maria Victoria.

My wife, born Maria Victoria M. Baradero and native of Palawan in the Philippines, has worked in Kuwait for over six years. My church, which consists of an almost equal number of Filipinos and Indians (plus a handful of Americans and visitors from everywhere) has been functioning in Kuwait since the late 1990s, but it is just now undertaking the paperwork to be recognized in Kuwait by the Evangelical Churches of Kuwait.

So, after trying for over a month, Maria and I gave up on holding a wedding of some 75 to 95 guests in either our small congregation meeting place in Salwah or in the official churches in Kuwait City. This key decision could only be reached early February—or less than a month before the wedding.

In the meantime, Victoria had to get her gown started. Deanne, Bing, and others helped select the new clothing designs for the kids, maids of honor and the usherettes. She also wrote her own vows.

Lolitha helped Victoria make invitations. Victoria chose to put a bible verse from the Song of Songs (8:6-7) in the guest’s invites
Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.
Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot wash it away.
If one were to give
all the wealth of his house for love,
it would be utterly scorned.
Soon, Vince and Pradeep found a wedding hall in a place called The Jungle. They also helped me to select a multinational and multicultural meal for the banquet by long distance.
All-in-all, all kinds of people in and out of the church chipped in to help. Some bought flowers. Others volunteered to help with the photography bill, etc.

My sisters and mother in Amererica wrote letters that were read to us and the guests at the end of the ceremony on March 8, 2009

Finally, my boss at Edgesharp allowed me to fly a few days early for my wedding from Germany, so I could help hand out invites and make last minute decisions with or for my wife—who was certainly burdened by my distance.

I also desire to note that I am thankful for Victoria’s boss, the owner of Al-Kindi Pharmacy in Jabriya, who allowed Victoria to take off 15 days in a row to prepare for the wedding and spend a week with me catching up (after the ceremony and my two months away in Germany at my new job).


My old friend Dr. Fouad Al-Salem , a Kuwaiti and professor of finance, was waiting to greet me an my bride early as I came through the elevator door to the meeting hall of The Jungle Restaurant in Salmiya at just after 7pm on March 8, 2009


The bride as-usual was a bit late, but Fouad waited anxiously for her arrival. After all, the wedding day is particular special for the bride, the woman in any marriage arrangement. Meanwhile, Vince and Pradeep tried to get me to look sharp in tie and coat.

By the way, I had spent the last few hours before the wedding with Vincent, my right-hand man, at his favorite barbershop, where he had set me up to have the most expensive barber visit of my life.

The treatment I received that special day was called the “marriage package” and the treatment was given to me by an Iranian. It involved a facial wax [OUCH!!!], cutting of eyebrows by thread, and other arts of Asian salons—as well as the haircut, my first hair coloring, and a blow dry.

I don’t think I want to pay 50 dollars again for such a package—and the wax is hot and painful to have taken off. However, the day is special, eh?

Meanwhile, earlier that same afternoon, my wife, Maria Victoria was receiving a similar treatment for free from her friend and beauty salonist friend, Aisha.


From the beginning, Victoria and I knew that our wedding would be fairly unique in many ways.

First of all, our church congregation or family is fairly special and unique. For example, less than four years earlier, two worshipping fellowships had found each other in Kuwait. One had been planted by help American leaders. They were joined by a handful of other leaders from India later.

Meanwhile, from another corning or our migrating planet, i.e. the Philippines, numerous members of the International Church of Christ decided to come together in another Kuwaiti township and met every Sunday.

Suddenly, like the characters in Dr. John Grey’s metaphor and best-seller, MEN ARE FROM MARS, WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS, our two fellowships found each other, fell in love and were soon united—as one.

This had occurred in late 2005.

My wife, Maria Victoria, was the first new member baptized into this newly combined church fellowship in 2006. (I had been baptized in Sharjah in the Persian Gulf some six years earlier.)

So, our wedding would certainly include American food and beverages, Indian clothing, and Filipino wedding elements.

In particular, Some of these Filipino traditional elements included the style of dress that Victoria wore—which included a thicker veil than is today the current practice in the West—and more like the veil worn in Middle Eastern Christian weddings.

Moreover, there were also (a) the rope and (b) the dual bride- and groom veil.

A rope?

The Filipino rope is more reminiscent of a lasso--in the shape of a sideways-8 or the infinity symbol used in mathematics.

The doubled-over rope is placed over both the bride and groom as part of the ceremony in order to symbolize eternity, i.e. or not-even-death will do us apart.

The veil hung over us both after the rope was placed on our necks symbolized a purity of relationship—not based on gold or wants but on love and commitment.

The commitment is, of course, is what we focus on when we place rings on each other’s fingers, too. This ring exchange was done prior to the rope and veil ceremony.

Even prior to the ring ceremony, were both our vows and the lighting of candles. Lighting a single candle by the newlywed couple indicates that what was once two has now become one. In other words, the focus was on unity.

My vows to Victoria went as follows:
“I, KEVIN, take you, VICTORIA, to be my wife, my partner in life and my one true love. I will cherish our friendship and love you today, tomorrow, and forever. With deepest joy, I receive you into my life that together we may be one.”
“As is Christ to His body, the church, so I will be to you a loving and faithful husband. I will trust you and honor you. I will laugh with you and cry with you. I will love you faithfully through the best and the worst, through the difficult and the easier times. With great joy, I look forward to spending the rest of my life with you, caring for you, nurturing you.”
“Whatever may come, I will always be there. I have given you my hand to hold so as to say that I will share & give you my life to keep, so help me God!!!”
Meanwhile, Rradeep, our pastor shared a short message on the three Cs in our lives: (1) Christ, (2) Communication, and (3) Commitment.


Back in the hallway after the wedding portion of our event together to celebrate with church and with friends, Victoria and I had our first chance to relax and to have some photos made from both professional photographers and from our many friends, especially from those in the church, link Bing, Gen, Sonia, Hannah, and Deanne.

After more than a few dozen photos with grooms-men, brides maids, usherettes, and children in Indian clothing, Victoria and I next reentered the meeting hall only to be attacked by friends throwing confetti and a newly reorganized hall set-up (now) for a reception.

After we cut the cake, Victoria and I undertook our first dance as newlyweds—and invited others two join us. Soon, representatives of nations on four continents joined us on the floor.

Then Victoria and I made a relaxing tour of all our friends. It was very pleasant way to talk to our guests and well-wishers. (I’ve never held much from making the guests stand in long lines. ) While we were walking, the other guests grabbed a piece of cake.

Our tour of The Jungle meeting hall was only interrupted by first a toast of grape juice in wine glasses.

Victoria also quickly tossed her bouquet.

The bouquet flew well over any of the young women’s arms, so Vik had to do it again.

With the next toss over Victoria’s back, the flowers (picked out by Victoria to match the gowns of the bridesmaids) landed in her best friend’s (and hair stylist) Aisha’s hands.

Soon Victoria and I were sitting down to eat in the front of the entire room. Sitting beside us were our maid of honor (Deanne) and my best man (Khel). As we sat and enjoyed the banquet, Bing came forward and sang us two songs.
She sang beautifully.

Soon more dance music was going.

Eventually, my Arabian friends got up to dance to a Syrian song.

It was a blessed night. Our guests from all walks of life 9and corners of the planet) were present.

There were tailors,

there were university professors,

there were lifeguards from the public swimming pool,

there were engineers and housewives and children of Victoria’s boss.


Thanks for celebrating—Kevin & Vik ©2009


Saturday, March 21, 2009

MARC BECKER'S REPORT---El Salvador: Voting in Rebel Territory

dR. Marc Becker has been publishing and working in Latin America for over 25 years. check out his report from the elections in El Salvador!!!

El Salvador: Voting in Rebel Territory
Written by Marc Becker
Wednesday, 18 March 2009
Upside Down World

Heading out from San Salvador to Chalatenango, the roads are covered
with political propaganda from the ruling right-wing ARENA party. In the
lead up to the March 15 presidential elections in this small Central
American country, all of the utility posts have been painted in the
party’s colors of red, white, and blue. Presidential candidate Rodrigo
Avila beams down from billboards with promises that he will rule with
“sabiduría,” with wisdom. Smaller banners promise a future of freedom
and prosperity.

Once past the town of Chalatenango, however, the ARENA propaganda
quickly disappears, replaced by the distinctive red graffiti of the
leftist FMLN party and posters of their champion, journalist Mauricio
Funes. By the time we arrive at Cambridge’s sister city of San José de
las Flores and Madison’s sister city of Arcatao, not a single ARENA
marker is to be seen anywhere.

We are deep in rebel territory, in the red zone of the 1980s where the
Salvadoran military moved in with a brutal force, massacring local
populations with the goal of subjugating and depopulating the zone. Here
local farmers fought back, joining the Farabundo Martí National
Liberation Front to demand an end to economic exploitation and social
exclusion. When the civilian refugees who had been forced out of the
zone unilaterally decided to return in 1986, cities in North America
joined them in sistering relations. After the 1992 peace accords, the
FMLN became a legal political party but it was beaten repeatedly at the
polls by the conservative and much better funded ARENA party.

Morning always comes early in the country side, but on Sunday, March 15,
it comes even earlier to Arcatao. Poll workers are to show up at 5 a.m.
to begin their work, but by 4 a.m. FMLN militants are already present at
the municipal building on the square in an attempt to head off any
attempts at fraud. Although we are in the middle of the dry season, it
had rained hard the night before. The last couple of days had been hot,
but rather than making the air muggy, it now felt fresh and cooler.

Polls are not supposed to open until 7 a.m., but local activists are so
eager for the outcome of these historic elections that voting begins 15
minutes early. Buses and trucks roar up to the plaza and disgorge their
passengers who quickly queue up to vote. Several voters are missing
limbs that were blown off in the war. Memories of the conflict weight
heavily on many in this area.

In El Salvador, rather than voting in schools or other public buildings,
the election booths are placed outside right on the sidewalk in front of
the municipal building. Every 450 voters warrant one booth. Arcatao’s
eligible voter population just rose above 1800, meaning that there are 5
polling stations, the last one with only 46 voters.

Each polling station has 4 workers (president, secretary, and 2
spokespeople) and 4 observers, with half from each party. The 2
observers are clearly labeled as to their party, but the poll workers
are not allowed to carry party identifications, even though they are
there in representation of their party. Nevertheless, most of the FMLN
poll workers are wearing red. The eager president of the first table
takes it to the furthest extreme; she is decked out in red down to her
shoes and finger nails.

Some of the hardest core party activists, however, have absolutely no
party markers. They are working with the municipal electoral board, and
it is in their own best interests that the vote in Arcatao is counted
accurately, fairly, and with absolutely no hint of fraud or impropriety.
The election results here are a forgone conclusion. The FMLN workers are
friendly and upbeat, while the ARENA activists are cold, distant, even

Table 4 has a long drawn out discussion, almost a fight, regarding
whether voters have to mark their ballots in the privacy of the voting
booths set up for this purpose, or whether they can mark them on the
table in plain site of everyone present. The majority of FMLN voters
seem content to vote openly right on the table; they had nothing to
hide. Most ARENA voters, however, use the booth.

Leading up to the election there were incessant rumors that sweatshop
workers would lose their jobs unless they took a cell phone picture of
their ballot marked for ARENA. But here in Arcatao there are no
sweatshops, and we do not see any voters taking pictures of their ballots.

The other persistent rumor is that Hondurans are crossing the border to
vote for ARENA. From Arcatao, Honduras lies just on the other side of
the mountains to the north. Driving into town signs warned against
Hondurans trying to vote. Rumors circle around that the woman in pink
over there is Honduran, but she hangs around long after casting her
vote, hardly the profile of a partner in a criminal fraudulent process.
The president of Table 2, an ARENA activist proudly decked out in white
and blue, two of the party’s tri-color, is also rumored to be a Honduran.

I ask a local resident whether they easily distinguish between
Salvadoran and Hondurans, but across this porous border it is not so
easy to tell. Apparently most of these alleged Hondurans are dual
citizens, and in our reading of the electoral code nothing can prevent
them from voting in El Salvador. To me, the anti-Honduras sentiment
smacks of nativism.

Electoral observer missions are theoretically neutral, but whoever has
observed of participated in such a mission is well aware of the fallacy
of such assumptions. We keep our distance from local community leaders,
all of whom are inevitably FMLN activists with whom we have been meeting
over the course of the past two days. Our goal is to protect the
integrity and legitimacy of our reporting, but I don’t think the ruse
fools anyone; everyone knows where our sympathies lie.

Part of our job as observers is to document irregularities in the voting
process. Since this is a leftist stronghold, most of those violations
are naturally the fault of local FMLN poll workers. All are so small
that it hardly seems possible that they could in any way affect the
election’s outcome. Other violations are systemic and bear witness to
one of the weakest electoral systems in Latin America. For example, the
FMLN and ARENA decided on a voter-marking ink that is too light to see.
Voters randomly mark any digit on their hands, even though a search of
the election code states that the ink should go on the thumb.

The electoral code also stipulates that no political propaganda is
supposed to be in the polling station, but outside on the plaza in one
of the FMLN’s most loyal strongholds, party propaganda is impossible to
avoid. A FMLN flag waves over the plaza; FMLN graffiti is on the columns
holding up the awning over the sidewalk; FMLN posters adorn the walls of
the municipal buildings. FMLN markers are so prevalent and so ubiquitous
that people seem to forget that they exist.

By 9:30, almost everyone has already voted. The polls do not close until
5 p.m., so the day slowly drags on, and the crowds that were present in
the early morning slowly disperse. Only the poll workers, observers, a
few straggler voters, and party diehards are left on the plaza. The sun
slowly drifts across the sky. Poll workers move the voting stations into
the street where they are under the shade of trees from the late
afternoon sun. Someone drives a truck into the middle of the booths and
blares a radio tuned to a pro-FMLN call-in talk show. No one seems to mind.

Poll workers are ready to pack up the booths long before closing time,
but they hold out until the end. At exactly 5 p.m. the head of the local
electoral board announces that it is time, and the workers grab
everything off the table and disappear into the municipal building to
count the votes. The president of each table holds up the ballots one by
one for everyone to see. Votes for FMLN go into one pile, the occasional
vote for ARENA into a second, and a couple spoiled ballots into a third.
As a check against fraud, the president is also supposed to show the
signature and stamp on the reverse side verifying the ballot’s
legitimacy, but at Table 4 this does not happen. It is late, and no one
seems to mind.

By 7 p.m., most of the ballots in Arcatao are counted. For the
municipality, the FMLN scores 849 to ARENA’s 469. The almost 2-to-1
margin is a landslide, though probably by no means the FMLN’s widest
margin of victory. I hear a story that in January’s legislative
elections in San José de las Flores ARENA only gained 3 votes in one
booth, one vote less than the four officials working that table for the
party of the government.

It is dark outside, and some people gather in the corner cafe to watch
returns on TV. But all of the media outlets in El Salvador favor the
right, so most people remain out on the square where the municipality
has set up an Internet video stream on a computer projector to show more
sympathetic coverage. It isn’t until after 10 p.m. that the electoral
council declares a FMLN victory. The gathered crowd greets this news
with fireworks and shouts of joy. Local political leaders give speeches
embracing their victory. Poll workers who have been awake now for close
to 20 hours go home exhausted but happy.

The 2009 elections are the fourth time that the FMLN contested for
presidential power through the electoral process. Together with wins in
January’s local and legislative elections, the FMLN will be the dominant
party when it takes office in June. Not only does this bring an end to
20 years of conservative ARENA rule, but it is also the first time that
a leftist government has been elected in Salvadoran history.

Ten years ago, before Hugo Chávez took office in Venezuela, Cuba’s was
the only leftist government in the Americas. Now the left is dominant,
even hegemonic, in Latin America, and hopefully the few conservative
dominoes will fall as well.

Marc Becker ( is a Latin American historian from
Arcatao’s sister city of Madison, Wisconsin. He observed the elections
with U.S. El Salvador Sister Cities. More information and photographs
from the elections are on his webpage at


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

BED-INs and Other Protests Needed Now

BED-INs and Other Protests Needed Now

By Kevin Stoda, Germany

The German radio station, Radio BOB, in Frankfurt is approaching the 40th Anniversary of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s famous Bed-Ins in Holland and Canada, i.e. performed during the U.S. and its Allies War in Vietnam IN 1969.

In an attempt to promote more peace and togetherness, Germany’s Radio BOB’s most popular talk-show host-couple will reenact the weeklong bed-ins this March in the Presidential Suite at the Hilton Hotel in Frankfurt.

The original Bed-In was first performed by Yoko and Lennon in Amsterdam’s Hilton in March 1969.

Later, the week-long Bed-In was repeated in Montreal, Canada—i.e. after Lennon had trouble booking in New York City and in the Niagara Falls area. (Part of Lennon and Ono’s trouble with the US authorities was John’ 1968 conviction for possession of a handful drugs in London—this crime, combined with Lennon’s opposition to the U.S. war in Vietnam and his opposition to Nixon escalation policies, made it difficult for Yoko and John to enter the USA in 1969.)

One can see several videos of the Lennon-Ono Peace Bed-In at this link:

Meanwhile in Montreal a local Fine Arts Museum is currently holding an exhibition on the Lennon-Ono Bed-Ins—which were an example of “artistic happenings”. (Happenings left their marks on the art world of the 1960s.)
History recalls that these particular peace activist events are to be recalled this 40th Anniversary: “On March 20, 1969, the couple wed in Gibraltar. The following week, the two master media manipulators used their celebrity for good, hosting a honeymoon "bed-in" for peace in room 902, the presidential suite of the Amsterdam Hilton. The press avidly pursued them, assuming that the famous nudists would make love for their cameras. Instead, the pajama-clad newlyweds spoke out about world peace. It was the honeymoon as performance art, interlaced with a protest against the Vietnam War.”
In May 1969, the second bed-in took place in Canada. The Bed-In for peace has been repeated several places around the world and by different media stars. Green Day’s Billy Joe Armstrong and his wife Adrienne performed a bed-in in 2006.
NOTE: The Bed-In is one of 33 forms of popular protest tactics described on this weblink. That same 1969 year spawned many other forms of creative protests.
Interestingly, this recent global focus on Bed-Ins dovetails this 2009 with the first international visit of George W. Bush to Canada (this week) and the 6th anniversary of the U.S. allies invasion of Iraq.
Meanwhile, lawyers in Canada “are trying to block Bush’s entry into their country. Lawyers Against the War says Bush should be either barred or detained for condoning the use of torture at overseas jails. If Canadian officials won’t deny Bush entry, the lawyers say Bush should be arrested and tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
According to Gail Davidson, “In Calgary, there’s people amassing there to indicate their opposition to the fact that the Canadian government has allowed Mr. Bush into Canada, incredibly to talk about his years in the Oval Office and the important things that he did and so on. And they have—they’re doing a number of things. I understand there’s a shoe collection, for instance, and I understand that by amassing shoes, they’re wanting to send a double message: send a message to the Canadian government that they think it’s time that the law stepped in and also to send a message to everybody that they would like to give Mr. Bush the boot, I guess, from Canada.”
Nonetheless, nothing seems to be being actually undertaken by Canadian officials to the groundswell.
Gail Davidson emphasizes this disappointing Canadian government silence. “Absolutely nothing [is being done]. We [the lawyers in Canada] ’ve received no response whatsoever. However, from the RCMP or the government officials, that doesn’t surprise me. I’m confident we will receive a response, that we’ll receive a response after Mr. Bush has come and gone. And although we haven’t succeeded in educating our political leaders about what Canadian law is and what Canada’s responsibility to international humanitarian law is, we are confident that eventually we will succeed. Now, although we haven’t received a response from the Canadian government or the RCMP, we’ve received responses from all over the world, many, many, many, many responses from the United States, from Canada and from other countries saying yes, basically echoing the words of Martin Scheinin, the UN special rapporteur for human rights and counterterrorism, who said recently, ‘Now that the witch hunt for alleged terrorists is over, it’s time for the law to step in.’”
Nonetheless, Davidson is hopeful that eventually some government on the planet will respond differently to “W. Bush and Co.”
Now, a Calgary newspaper reports of the protests being organized there., “According to Toby Pollet, a former peacekeeper who served in Croatia and Yugoslavia, ‘Bush should be facing war crimes charges under the Canadian Criminal Code’.”
For example, a lot of the protestors in Canada plan to throw shoes rather than do a bed-in.,_canadians_amass_shoes/
Incidentally, the Canadian Prime Minister has already announce that Canada will pull-out of Afghanistan—another War from George W. Bush—by 2012 or earlier.
Meanwhile, the International Red Cross has produced a recent report that links the Bush administration to torture around the globe.,25197,25199260-2703,00.html
Finally, this same March marks the sixth anniversary of the Israeli bull-dozing murder of Rachel Corry.
Rachel Corry, died reporting on and protecting Palestinians under attack unfairly by Israeli authorities is certainly an example of someone who paid the ultimate price for bringing hope, respect and calls of reform to society.
With Corry’s example of great personal sacrifice on hand, we readers and consumers of news need to get out and connect the poverty of the persecuted around the globe with the situation we in wealthy nations from Germany to the United Sates.
After his most recent visit to Israel and Palestine, Rachel’s father, Craig Corry has made it clear; “You know, the people here [in Palestine today] are just folks. And you’ve got to understand people as people. And that’s the sort of first thing. And this one person here says, ‘We’re certainly not animals to be kept in a zoo, and somebody throws food over the wall to us every time.’ But trying to bring the humanity of the issue to people, I think, is an important message.”
Craig continues, “The first thing people here need is hope, probably. Anybody, to survive, you need hope. And the second thing is respect, respect for their humanity. And I have vast respect for these people. And then we have to get to work, of course, on some humanitarian aid and rebuilding aid, but again, that has to come in a political context which gives them a hope for a real future. You look at the children here that we’ve seen throughout this day and the previous days and, of course, on other trips, and they’re beautiful. They’re just beautiful, smiling. Somehow they manage still to smile. How can you be shaking for twenty-five minutes and then—children are resilient in a lot ways and run around smiling later, but they deserve a future, just like our kids have. And we won’t have the kind of future that we want unless these children have that, a chance at that future. You know, they need to be able to get that way.”
Finally, Rachel’s father notes, “So I think that’s part of it: trying to tie what is a real connection that we see between people of Palestine and our own existence in the United States. We’re wedded together, whether we like it or not. And so, we need to figure out how to make that, I guess, a happy marriage. And it can be. The people here will somehow have the capacity to, first of all, make a distinction between Americans coming here and our foreign policy, which for them is atrocious. This—you know, United States largely paid to build some of these factories here, to build—for instance, you look at the electrical plant that was destroyed or partially destroyed a few years ago, and the United States built it, the United States insured it, and the United States bombed it. And with this—it’s largely true for the whole Strip, that through US aid money and some other of things—a lot of this was built with US money. It was certainly bombed with US ammunition. The United States paid and actually transported the fuel for this somewhat during the summer. While we were paying $4 a gallon for gas, we were also shipping gas to Israel for use here. And now we’re talking about rebuilding it again with US dollars. You know, enough is enough. I absolutely think we need to rebuild the Gaza Strip, but it has to be rebuilt with the standards of—political standards that need to go around that, so that it’s not going to be bombed apart again.”
Both Craig and Rachel’s mother, Cindy Corry, think that they and all Americans “need to insist on accountability for what has happened here. I know that there have been calls for investigation into specific incidents. I don’t know exactly the form that that’s going to take. I was really happy to hear before we left the United States that Senator Leahy, I believe, had called for investigation of one incident where two young men were killed when they were traveling with their father. We visited the father, heard his story. It was during—they were out traveling during the time when there was a three-hour kind of ceasefire each day, when people could go out into their neighborhoods and so forth.”
In short, Americans and peacemakers around the globe need to organize more than ever before (even after Obama’s election) to get justice and peace in the second decade of this century, i.e. organize at a level not experienced before in history.
So, start the Bed-Ins!!!
Start the peace marches!!!
File for arrest warrants, like bush who threw out constitutions and good neighbor policies.
Occupy Offices!!!
GET WHAT WE NEED NOW—and don’t settle for less!!!!
Don’t pay taxes!
Don’t promote bank bailouts until the world gets more oriented to obtaining PEACE NOW!!!!


Monday, March 16, 2009

Students and Student Loans in America--and some having to flee abroad

Dear American students and those caught in the American Student Loan Boondoggles,

I have been listening to the true stories of students who have had to flee the USA to live abroad after USA student loans could not be erased--even after declaring bankruptcy after a family health crisis.

I have done a quick search on Google on this topic and there are well over 100,000 hits on this topic.

DEMOCRACY NOW did a great service and interview with Jesse Jackson and student victims of the Student loan scandles of the past three decades. They are all calling for change.

The Interview is called Reduce the Rate: Rev. Jesse Jackson Joins Movement Against Crippling Rates on Student Loans.

"Amid massive government bailouts of the nation’s banks, we speak to the Reverend Jesse Jackson about Reduce the Rate, his new campaign urging the Obama administration to slash the interest rates on crippling student loans. We also speak with Alan Collinge, founder of Student Loan Justice and author of The Student Loan Scam: The Most Oppressive Debt in U.S. History—and How We Can Fight Back."

Young Americans need to join in.

With a billion people being pushed into poverty in this year's global economic recesssion, everyone needs help.