10
May
08

Blank Page No.6

Welcome to Blank page number 6 – your moderators for the weekend are Selena and VictorK, thanks and good luck. Any subjects you think would make a good programme feel free to suggest….enjoy


228 Responses to “Blank Page No.6”


  1. 1 steve
    May 9, 2008 at 19:45

    Did anyone hear that newstory about some British chef saying that restaurants should be fined for serving out of season vegetables since they had to be flown in and use green house gasses as a result??

  2. 2 victork13
    May 9, 2008 at 19:54

    Thanks Chloe!

    In only a few weeks the Blank Page has established itself as a place for candid, intelligent and informed debate, conducted in the spirit of conversation amongst friends. I’m very much honoured to have been given the opportunity alongside Selena to moderate Blank Page No. 6 . We will both be doing our best to keep up the high standards set by our predecessors and look forward to challenging discussions on all topics great and small, not to mention subjects off the beaten track (such as Jade’s spaceship and Lubna’s Franken-bloke on the last Blank Page).

    Please do come forward with subjects that you’d like to have discussed. For the sake of clarity it would help if, when responding to someone’s post, people were to indicate who they are addressing with ‘@ Name’, and if it’s not too much trouble to briefly indicate the point that you are commenting on.

    So, down to business with a few subjects that may interest other people besides me:

    To what extent should we judge writers by their personal lives and political opinions? Paul Theroux in a review of a biography of V S Naipaul denounced the Nobel Prize winning author as a woman-beating racist monster – and not without reason.
    http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/article3688422.ece

    As America’s fastest growing [non]faith group some atheists think they need to get organised and to stand for things (like ethics and evolution) as well as against them. I’ve always wondered whether atheism wasn’t really just a more militant kind of Buddhism. Should atheists form a ‘church’ of their own and come clean about being a religion too? Is atheism the new bigotry, with its rationalist intolerance and persecuting zeal against the beliefs of others?
    http://www.printthis.clickability.com/pt/cpt?action=cpt&title=If+God+Is+Dead%2C+Who+Gets+His+House%3F&expire=&urlID=27990784&fb=Y&url=http%3A%2F%2Fnymag.com%2Fnews%2Ffeatures%2F46214%2F&partnerID=73272

    Christopher Hitchens is a writer I find it easier to enjoy than agree with. He’s gone from being a self-described Marxist to a sort of neo-conservative. But he’s never admitted being wrong about anything. http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=10157
    Would any member of the WHYS community like to shame Hitchens by admitting to having been wrong on a major issue? I know that I was wrong about Iraq and Afghanistan, having originally supported both interventions.

    The Nazis had a phrase for it: “Entartete Kunst” – or ‘degenerate art, which was how they described most modernist works. But one needn’t be a national socialist to ask if there’s a case for intelligent censorship. Consider two controversies: at Yale, an artist induced serial miscarriages in order to exhibit herself aborting the foetuses in a video installation, while in Holland an Iranian artist has caused controversy with photographic works that Muslims will rightly find gratuitously insulting. Is it time to curb artistic licence? http://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/Art—ethics-at-Yale-3828
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,354075,00.html

    Bertrand Russell once argued that boredom was an important factor in human history. The same could be said of fantasy. Many positions are taken and passions aroused about things that have no basis in reality. The charge of institutional racism against the American justice system is one instance of this:
    http://www.city-journal.org/2008/18_2_criminal_justice_system.html
    More generally, why is the USA described as a racist society by so many people across the world – and in the US too – when an examination of facts indicates this isn’t the case?

    If we want effective action on AIDS shouldn’t we put weasel words to one side, remember how to denounce, thunder out against irresponsible behaviour and do whatever we can to change and end it? One of the curious things in AIDS campaigns is their largely non-judgemental tone. Behaviour that spreads the disease is rarely criticised and attention is often focused on dealing with the aftermath of infection (orphans, infected mothers nursing their babies, etc). Is softness killing where a harder line might save lives? http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/article3866928.ece

    Is demography – the balance of births and deaths in communities, nations and the world – destiny? Ought governments to actively shape the composition of their societies? Are the implications of that sinister and dangerous? Consider: by 2050, the UN project the world’s population will be 9 billion; by 2050 Egypt and its east African neighbours will probably be at war over the water of the Nile, which will be expected to support 125m Egyptians (74m in 2005), 170m Ethiopians (77m in 2005), 83m Kenyans (up from 34m), and 126m Ugandans (from 28m). By 2050 there will be 10m Palestinains in the West Bank and Gaza (4m in 2005) and 10m Israelis (7m in 2005). It’s possible that a majority of Israelis will themselves be Palestinian. By then there will be over 100m Iranians longing for the end of the Jewish state, while population growth in the Arab world will easily outstrip that of Israel.

    Click to access 2004Highlights_finalrevised.pdf

    Pat Buchanan – using comparable figures from an American group – predicts the extinction of Western Man and the Western world.
    http://www.townhall.com/columnists/PatrickJBuchanan/2008/05/02/the_way_our_world_ends
    Is he wrong? Is this panic-mongering? Is it racist to interpret data in this way? Or is this a legitimate concern for existing governments and something they should act on as a matter of national interest?

    Barring a last minute video from the caves of Tora Bora in which Osama enthusiastically endorses Obama, it looks as if Barack will be the Democratic Party nominee for President. Salon have some questions about what qualities the person he picks as vice president should have (‘Shouldn’t be called Hilary’?) http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2008/05/08/veepstakes_obama/
    What qualities would you like to see in a Vice President, either Obama’s or McCain’s, or both?

    Critics of the Bush administration have not had a lot to say about this story. A Guantanamo detainee is released to Kuwait and later blows himself up in a suicide mission in Iraq, leaving seven dead and many more injured.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080508/FOREIGN/599994288/1001

    Forget the malignity of racism; Hip Hop is a celebration of thuggish and barbaric values that is poisoning the outlook and prospects of youth, especially black youth. Do you agree, and if you do shouldn’t we be cracking down on Hip Hop at least as hard a we do on racism?
    http://timesdaily.com/article/20080505/NEWS/805050306

    The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and has been for some years with around 5 million dead.
    http://hrw.org/english/docs/2008/04/25/congo18723.htm
    The DRC’s population is comprised of more than 200 ethnic groups. The 4 largest ethnic groups – Kongo, Luba, Mongo and Azande – amount to just 50% of the country’s population of around 63m. Is it right to regard the DRC as one of many ‘diversity disasters’ in the world (of which Iraq is another)? Where a country lacks a single large ethnic group to unify it and anchor it in a stable identity can it do anything other than disintegrate under the force of internal and external pressures? In the case of tragedies like the DRC should we throw diversity out of the window and adopt radical measures like re-drawing the borders of failed states in order to produce smaller ethno-states whose people will be better placed to develop the sense of trust, allegiance and patriotism that may give them a chance in the world? Should ethnic realities trump the ideal of diversity?

  3. 3 selenayvonne
    May 9, 2008 at 19:55

    Hi to everyone,

    I am not sure how this works but VictorK will keep me on track, no doubt. He has a smorgasbord of topics for you to consider.

    Looking forward to a great weekend… selena

  4. 4 Brett
    May 9, 2008 at 20:02

    VictorK out in full effect!!!!
    I’m going to have to browse through that when I get home from work and get back to you with some posts 🙂 I’ll be on this evening for a chat.

  5. 5 selenayvonne
    May 9, 2008 at 20:17

    Interesting question… should atheists form a church?

    I am not sure if I think atheists should form a church. But there doesn’t seem to be any doubt in my mind that atheism is a belief.

    Many atheists feel as strongly that they are right in their views as fundamentalist religious believers. They leave no room for doubt.

    Someone once said, praise those who are searching for truth; doubt those who believe they have found it.

  6. 6 Scott Millar
    May 9, 2008 at 20:28

    + Sometimes more sophisticated and respected media prides itself on this idea of “the spirit of conversation amongst friends.” What is wrong with passionate and heated discussion? Or even angry or impolite discussion? Aren’t the soundness of arguments and ideas the important thing—regardless of tone? Isn’t this request for respectful and polite dialogue incredibly superficial and archaic? For practical purposes people shouldn’t talk over each other and certain manners might help the conversations flow. But how is expressing your view, however angry, forceful or sarcastic it may sound, a bad thing?

    + Christopher Hitchens was mentioned above (VictorK) and he is often considered rude, but it doesn’t detract from what he has to say or invalidate it. I think these “calls to manners” are trite. A kind of “look at us we are so high-brow!”

    – Portland, Oregon

  7. 7 Will Rhodes
    May 9, 2008 at 20:30

    Hope it is going to be an enjoyable weekend for Victor and Selena.

    As many of you know I have my own blog and have been posting about the current Democratic race.

    I have a couple of posts up which are drawing a real debate “Should she fight on” and “Simply Presidential

    What I have seen in the responses in those debates is real venom from Hillary supporters:

    I used to be a Florida Democrat. Not any more.

    Barack Obama and Howard Dean have used their power to deny rather than defend the rights of Americans to participate in our election process. He can try to silence us and throw away our vote, but Barack Obama’s oppression of the American people won’t be tolerated. The one thing we can count on as Americans is the right to vote. Obama can’t take that away from us – America will not tolerate his oppression!

    Hell Yeah Hillary Clinton should FIGHT ON ! I want either her or McCain to get it. At least they have AMERICAN VALUES, not like that TRAITOR OBAMA !!

    Those are a mere two. Some would not be tolerated on this blog, so if you want to read the post you will have to go to my blog.

  8. 8 Dennis Young, Jr.
    May 9, 2008 at 20:39

    VictorK and Selena!!!!

    We will find interesting topics for the
    weekend…..

    Dennis~Madrid, United States of America

  9. 9 victork13
    May 9, 2008 at 20:45

    @Will: thanks for that.

    @Scott: WHYS has certain standards and expectations. Angry sarcasm would fall beneath them. A certain modicum of good manners really shouldn’t get in the way of making a solid point. You wrote, “Aren’t the soundness of arguments and ideas the important thing—regardless of tone?” – and why, therefore, is a good argument delivered offensively to be preferred to a good argument delivered courteously? I see nothing to commend in a wish to cause offence, it that’s what it comes down to.

    I enjoy polemical writing as much as anybody, but I don’t think this is the place for would-be Menckens and Hazlitts.

    I can’t aee the connection between good manners and highbrow pretentiousness.

  10. May 9, 2008 at 20:49

    Hello to both of you Precious Selena and Precious VictorK and a very good luck with your very special mission Inshallah ! :-). Actually I was thinking lately about one issue and I thought I’d share it with all of you guys : What’s the difference between having a ‘country’ and having a ‘homeland’ ?! When can you have both ?! When can you have only one (and in this instance which one)?! And when can you have neither ?! When I was in high school one of my best girlfriends ‘Ruaa’ was originally from the Gaza strip in the Holy Lands… I do remember clearly a phrase that she used always to say : ‘Iraq is my country, but Palestine was, is, and will always be my home-land !’. She’s always got that supermarvellous emotional connection to the Holy Lands, although she loves Baghdad dearly, but she always talks about Gaza with such strange love and passion although she’s never seen it with her own eyes…. Thought provoking ?! With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  11. 11 selenayvonne
    May 9, 2008 at 20:57

    I think that we rarely realize when we are being sarcastic and hurtful. We just say what comes to our minds and, if no one points out the error of our ways, we are none the wiser.

    Therefore, I am always grateful when someone points out my indiscretions. 🙂

  12. 12 selenayvonne
    May 9, 2008 at 21:20

    V S Naipaul… Nobel Prize, or not, I must admit I had never heard of him until I read this review.

    I ask a serious question: what could this man have to say that would interest anyone, if what they say is true?

  13. 13 Scott Millar
    May 9, 2008 at 21:24

    @ victork13

    + That’s the point! What is the “expectation?” Where does it come from? Why is it there?

    + I didn’t say a good argument delivered offensively is to be preferred to a good argument delivered courteously. Why should we be polite towards people expressing ideas we can’t stand? Its fake and superficial. Its “dumb” tolerance.
    Its generally considered acceptible to express anger or rudeness towards people and ideas we decided collectively we can’t stand—such as white supremacists, pedophiles, killers, et al. It should also be fine to do so individually; if it isn’t then the former should also be unacceptable. And if we supposedly should never be rude, angry or sarcastic towards anyone, that seems unrealistic. I think this idea is an unhealthy backwards way of thinking—an emotional censorship.

    + I should add that I wasn’t picking on you with this question—I have just been thinking about it in general. It seems like “you” and “your introduction” are highly intelligent creatures.

  14. 14 Scott Millar
    May 9, 2008 at 21:33

    + There are different meanings of the word “belief.” There is a huge difference in the use of belief in terms of faith, versus belief or rather disbelief in the truth, actuality, or validity of something. Atheism is not a “belief” in my view, it is a “disbelief.” The thing most atheists have in common is probably a feeling of oppression and other then that there is nothing collective to celebrate or worship. There is a call to worship in most religions, often a call to gather at someplace of worship—how does disbelief in god require you to do any of those things?

  15. 15 victork13
    May 9, 2008 at 21:39

    @ Selena re VS Naipaul – he’s an accomplished novelist and essayist ( I’ve always preferred the essays myself). His chosen subject is the nature of developing and underdeveloped societies in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and South America. He writes insightfully, and unsentimentally, about them. I think it’s the lack of sentiment that his critics often resent. The allegation of racism, to be honest, won’t come as a great shock to those who know his work. There is often a hint of contempt about the people and cultures he writes about. His apparent misogyny was news to me. He really did use the women in his life mercilessly. The account of how he beat his mistress across two days until his hand was sore (!) was an eye-opener. Fortunately he never chose to write about women or women’s issues, in which case his credibility in that respect would now be seriously damaged.

    I think the biography will damage his personal reputation (how could it not?) but I can’t see it really shaking his standing as a writer. Plenty of writers have held repulsive attitudes and opinions, or behaved badly. But I can’t think of many whose reputation as writers has really suffered. I suppose you can write the truth even if you don’t live it.

    I wouldn’t try to answer your question without giving it a lot more thought. But what does any writer say that would interest anyone? As an essayist, the truth is certainly at the heart of what Naipaul writes, about people and places. That must be worth something? And he’s also a very fine craftsman, which is no small merit in an artist.

  16. 16 Peter Gizzi UK
    May 9, 2008 at 21:58

    Good evening Seleayvonne and VictorK13,
    I’m looking forward to another interesting weekend and thank you both for doing this.

    Like you Selena i had never heard of V S Naipaul until The BBC did a documentatry on him recently. Like a potted biography really. Have not read any of his books. I’m mostly a whodunnit person.

    I was touching to find other atjeists today. In The UK when I tell people my beliefs they can sometimes be uncomfortable. Might be a generation thing. When I was younger you HAD to believe in something. I really cannot see the point of a church but I suppose like other beliefs even atheists come in different varieties. I tolerate religion but get upset when the try to force me to believe. Mormons and Jehovahs Witnesses seem to be the worst.

    Steve.
    Yes i heard the chef you are speaking of. He has his own TV show but I don’t watch it. I really feel he was going over the top. I do buy my vegetables in a greengrocers as they are cheaper and do not have loads of packaging. Also they tend to be local and seasonal.

    Will Rhodes,
    I am not following the elections. I did find out today Australia still has a compulsary voting system. Is that perhaps a better way of getting people to do something?. I do use a postal vote now though have been told they can be rigged! Ah well the chance I take.

    Talk to you all later. Thanks again.

  17. 17 Brett
    May 9, 2008 at 22:09

    Is atheism the new bigotry, with its rationalist intolerance and persecuting zeal against the beliefs of others?
    I almost fell out of my chair laughing with this one!

    Atheists… the new bigots? You can be a bigot no matter what your religious beliefs are.

    Now unfortunately, there are plenty of obnoxious atheists that want to argue religion to the end with any religious follower. But for every one of them theres an equally zealous religious follower wanting to disprove and denounce atheism.

    And if persecuting zeal against the beliefs of others… If that is persecuting against the beliefs that gays are less of a person or morally corrupt, ideas that foster racism and persecution of others based on their beliefs, lifestyle (of course if accepted by moral, ethical, and legal norms), or religious values, and other issues which some people use religion as a crutch for… Then yes, I will stand against ideals which are harmful to society and individuals within that society.

    Go out and believe whatever you want, I won’t hate on you for it. But don’t push your religious perception of morals and ethics on me (morals and ethics are dictated by society), and by god, don’t you dare discriminate on any of my fellow brother or sister for their gender, sexuality, race, or religion.

    I have known plenty of religious followers of nearly every religion who are excellent people and lead wonderful lives. I have also known plenty who are horrible people and filled with hatred. Just as I have known the same for atheists.

    I guess I have a limited tolerance for intolerance. Regardless of whether it is sprouted by religion, in the absence of religion, ignorance, or hatred.

    Can’t we all just get along? 🙂

    Regards,
    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  18. 18 Janet T
    May 9, 2008 at 22:26

    @Will-
    Do you think the Florida and Michigan delegates should be seated? (Is that the right term??)- They were told up front by their national party headquarters that if they persisted and held their primaries early their votes would not count.
    And those states went ahead and did it anyway- Shouldn’t there be consequences?

    Obama wasn’t even on the ballot in one of the states.

    This early primary thing is just crazy- our primary is late ( May 20th) so I understand wanting your vote to count and actually having a say- there has got to be a better way- I think we should have a one day primary election in April, like the general election in November.

  19. 19 Janet T
    May 9, 2008 at 22:36

    http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/06/wolff200806

    This is a great article by Michael Wolff, in this months Vanity Fair Magazine called “it’s the adultry stupid”- it’s a different take on our current group of running prez-wanna-bees. I hope the link works- I guess if it doesn’t you can cut and paste.

  20. 20 Shirley
    May 9, 2008 at 22:42

    VictorK,
    You stated that by 2050, “there will be over 100m Iranians longing for the end of the Jewish state.” You will want to edit or re-state yourself, because it is a blanket statement (PC way of saying “prejudiced generalisation”). If you want to keep the reference to Iranians who want Israel to come to an end, you may want to look up figures indicating what percentage of Isranians maintain that opinion, state it, and then apply it to estimated 2050 figures.

    So many topics! Will keep reading.

  21. 21 Scott Millar
    May 9, 2008 at 22:49

    @ Brett and all

    + Most beliefs are not apples and apples—and if you are tolerant of all the apples then everything is okay. Beliefs are generally apples and frankfurters. Many beliefs themselves are inherently intolerant. So being tolerant of intolerance is simply nonsensical. This is another example of dumb objectivity which is rampant in modern culture.

    + I wish I had some solution, because tolerance seems preferable and “polite,” but how can it work when so many players are fundamentally intolerant. Then again if you believe in something, how can you fully believe and worship while remaining tolerant, when this might go against the very belief? Its a big muddle. Its asking for the impossible!

  22. 22 Count Iblis
    May 9, 2008 at 22:50

    Atheists should promote science education for children in primary and secondary school. We don’t tell children many facts about science that can be explained to them. Ask the average 6 year old about the creation of the Earth and he/she will probably tell you about one of the religious creation stories.

    So, what we are doing is indoctrinating our children with religion. If we stop doing that and tell them the real facts about life, the universe and everything else, they’ll all grow up to become atheists.

  23. May 9, 2008 at 22:51

    Hello Precious Brett… I 100% agree with you… Here’s another thought for all of you guys to think of : Phobia, or being in the state of an extreme and abnormally excessive fear of a certain thing, person, or being put in a certain situation… Does anyone of you guys suffer from phobia of any kind ?! What is (are) the thing (s) that scare you the most guys ?! And how do you guys manage to get on with your extreme and excessive fears ‘phobias’ ?! By simply just trying to avoid the precipitating factor ?! Or by trying to face them courageously and get over them ?! Do your psychological fears sometimes express themselves as ‘organic symptoms’ like palpitation for e.g. ?! When it comes to fears and phobias, I do have a very special personal experience, but I’m really sooooooo eager to hear your own personal experiences guys 1st. With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  24. 24 victork13
    May 9, 2008 at 23:06

    @JanetT: I thought the Vanity Fair article was a bit self-indulgent.

    “Continuing to use the politicians who’ve had their indiscretions publicly exposed as a more or less random sampling, we might reasonably assume that a majority of men over 50 who are politicians have sexual lives that involve someone other than their wives of long standing (extrapolating further from this sampling, a lot are also gay).” ‘Reasonably’?I think he’s making it up as he goes along and I seriously doubt that high profile politicians who have been exposed by the press can be called a ‘random sample’.

    The author has an interesting thesis, but it doesn’t seem to be based on much real hard evidence.

    I don’t think he said anything at all about some of the really nasty things that were said about Mrs Clinton sex-wise when she was in the White House. His view that people don’t see her as a sexual being is priggish and sexist, since he has no difficulty in seeing almost all middle class men as sexual, even if it is in a dysfunctional way.

    I do wonder, though, how anybody with serious political ambitions can jeopardise their prospects by extra-marital indiscretions. It suggests frivolity and a serious disconnect from the world of risk and consequences, rather than weakness. (I’ve always thought Prince Charles showed excellent judgement in his choice of a mistress, and Camilla has been rewarded for her years of loyal discretion. Some of these politicians could do a lot worse than to follow his example).

  25. 25 Janet T
    May 9, 2008 at 23:16

    @VictorK 13

    ok- I have to admit the the strangest thing I found about the article is that it said that at 45 years of age- Obama isn’t condsidered middle age- really??- what is middle age then?? Is everyone living to be 120??

  26. 26 selenayvonne
    May 9, 2008 at 23:22

    To Lubna re phobias

    Fear is not a common emotion for me. I am not quite sure why, except it may be because I don’t have strong first reactions. It always takes me a second or two to react to anything said or done or even anything visual. By the time I react, the moment has passed.

    There have been many times when I have been in supposedly dangerous situations where I should have been scared and wasn’t.

    One time when I was little more than a teenager, I found myself in a car with a boyfriend who pledged to kill us both if I didn’t agree to continue a relationship with him.

    For some reason, that didn’t frighten me and, probably, in response to my lack of fear the situation ended well enough.

    I am not sure if this is what you mean but it would be interesting to hear other stories. I have many about treading where angels fear to tread. So far so good but with fingers crossed!!

  27. 27 victork13
    May 9, 2008 at 23:24

    @ Shirley: I understand your point, but I’m not sure that I’m much off the mark. There aren’t very many Muslim states or people that are committed to Israel’s right to exist within its present borders as a Jewish state with a Jewish majority.

    I could be wrong about Iran, but isn’t the President that the people of that country elected as their representative committed to a final solution for the Jewish problem? I don’t know it for a fact but I doubt that peace-loving Iranians have been marching in the streets of Tehran against his express wish to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, and probably take Iran down too in the process.

    In any case, I think you should take my comment in context: the consequences of demographic change. Whatever problem Israel has now with hostility from Iran, it will – everything else remaining unchanged but the population of the country – have even more of a problem come 2050 when there will be some 30 million more Iranians. The same applies to its Arab neighbours, whose combined population will dwarf Israel’s then even more than it does now.

    p.s. – I think you mentioned you were a Shia Muslim and you are obviously well-versed in Islamic history and culture. You are therefore presumably aware of the racial antagonism between Arabs and Persians, a hostility that dates back to the Arab conquest of the Sassanian Empire. Didn’t Saddam remark that Allah should not have created three things: Jews, flies and Persians; and in what are reputed to be his diaries he declared that Iran was a greater menace to Iraq than Israel could ever be? Now that’s “prejudiced generalisation” for you!

  28. 28 victork13
    May 9, 2008 at 23:29

    @ JanetT: good point about Obama; I missed it completely. It does reflect how some sections of the media regard him as a more than human figure, the embodiment of hope and the apostle of change, for whom time and age are not as for other men.

    I wouldn’t rule out a sex scandal between now and November, though.

  29. 29 Shirley
    May 9, 2008 at 23:32

    Hi, Janet:
    Seating of Delegates. I see no reason to not seat the delegates form Michigan and Florida. The point of the elections is to give voice to the very source of our government: the people (of, by, & for). I think that when a rule gets in the way of the voice of the people, it should go by the wayside.

    International law as defined by the United Nations in its charter and various resolutions holds the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a nation to be sacrosanct. However, when a junta refuses to allow aid to reach the people in a country after disaster strikes, I think that sovereignty and territorial integrity are moot points.

    Likewise, when rules forge classes among voters, declaring some to be the elite early voters and others to be late-coming peons; and when states decide to hold elections when it suits them and not the party elites, it is not a matter of a state breaking a legitimate rule, but of te foolishness and uselessness of the rule being put on display.

    The delegates should be seated.

    I think that an improvement of the situation would be to establish one national primary election day and to abolish the concept of a delegate. One man should have one vote. Candidates should not gain their nominations through some kind of contorted fraction determined by lines that were drawn by those very same people whom the lines serve, but through the most transparent reflection of the voice of the people. I would also like to see the electoral college abolished in favour of the one man, one vote system. As far as I am concerned, the only use for congressional district should be to elect congresspersons. It would also be nice if each campaign rules were changed so that each candidate for office had an equal opportunity at the office.

  30. 30 Will Rhodes
    May 9, 2008 at 23:49

    @ Janet T

    Do you think the Florida and Michigan delegates should be seated? (Is that the right term??)- They were told up front by their national party headquarters that if they persisted and held their primaries early their votes would not count.
    And those states went ahead and did it anyway- Shouldn’t there be consequences?

    Obama wasn’t even on the ballot in one of the states.

    This early primary thing is just crazy- our primary is late ( May 20th) so I understand wanting your vote to count and actually having a say- there has got to be a better way- I think we should have a one day primary election in April, like the general election in November.

    What I do think will happen is that come May 31st the super-delegates will have a deep and meaningful conversation with the Clinton camp – explaining that she can’t win and leave it to the Montana and Oregon states vote allowing him across the finish line when she will concede the nomination. The those delegates will be seated at the convention – a win win situation.

  31. May 10, 2008 at 00:01

    Hi VictorK. Why did you change your blog name to Vicor13? Has it something to do with Friday?

    Sex is still a taboo in many countries, considering themselves as conservative. Should sexual education be a part of human rights, which should be obligatory in all schools?

    There was an article on BBC website about Maria Soledad Vela, a woman from the governing party in Ecuador who has proposed that a woman’s right to enjoy sexual happiness should be enshrined in the country’s law.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7382010.stm

    Shouldn’t sexual education be a prelude to sexual freedom, without disregarding the social ethics that hold society together?
    How can women in oppressed and conservative societies get the right to sexual happiness?

  32. 32 Shirley
    May 10, 2008 at 00:04

    VictorK
    The fact remains that you, one of the moderators of this discussion, inserted your views of a class of people into an otherwise unrelated discussion. (You pointed to an article by Pat Buchanan covering the changing demographics of the world which predicted the extinction of whites. His article ended with the quesiton of how white people will be treated as a global minority. He asked whether it was panic-mongering or racist, or whetehr it is a legitimate concern for global governments.)

    I strongly feel that such an action is racist, and I really would appreciate it if you would either edit/re-issue your statement or include among the points of discussion your concerns for the survival of Israel. Steve was able to moderate without allowing his views to prejudice the natyure of the conversation. Having seen him moderate on topics other than the Middle East, I feel rather confident that he could also moderate topics related to the Middle East without forcing the discussion into any certain direction using his position as a mdoerator. I would like to think that you have the same capabilities.

  33. 33 Scott Millar
    May 10, 2008 at 00:10

    @ Will Rhodes

    + That’s not a win-win situation! Its a situation where the votes of two states in a democracy aren’t really counted. Its a situation where two states didn’t have legitimate primaries. Seating the delegates means nothing, its symbolic pat on the back. This nomination regardless of the candidate is now an illegitimate sham. Its a complete disgrace that a country that goes to war to spread democracy has allowed this to happen. I can’t believe more people are not enraged! The reason there is no revolt is that Obama is more popular then Clinton, so those voices don’t care that the nomination is tarnished, the USA and world included.

  34. 34 selenayvonne
    May 10, 2008 at 00:11

    Abdeliah asks “Shouldn’t sexual education be a prelude to sexual freedom, without disregarding the social ethics that hold society together?”

    Could you elaborate on your question? What has sexual freedom got to do with social ethics?

    Thank you…

  35. 35 Will Rhodes
    May 10, 2008 at 00:34

    @ Scott

    I mean as a win, win for the party – what would be best id for Florida to pay for a new election and Michigan the have a new vote with Obama on the ballot paper and a re-run.

    But those primaries are not going to take place because no one will pay for them. Clinton doesn’t have the money – Obama does but isn’t going to pay for it on his own.

    She is skint!

  36. May 10, 2008 at 00:35

    To selenayvonne,
    Sexual freedom should be kept within the limits of ethics. There many sexual crimes carried out in the name of sexual freedom. There is for example incest as well as adults who seek to have sex with minors.

    The internet is now a means for many predators to lure children.
    So while society should establish sexual freedom, it should guard itself against deviations. There is a paedophilia party launched in the Netherlands two years ago trying to legalize paedophilia http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2006/may/06053005.html
    Physically, we can have sex with anyone, regardless of age, gender, or family relations. But there are ethic codes that are still respected by the majority for people. Sexual freedom doesn’t entail breaking all possible boundaries just to champion the freedom to indulge in all forms of sex. That’s, at least ,what I believe.

  37. 37 victork13
    May 10, 2008 at 00:36

    Hi Abdelilah.

    Re the change of name: it was just a matter of logging into ‘Word Press’ in order to be a moderator. ‘VictorK’ was already taken. I thought that there were unlikely to be as many as 12 people with the name, hence ’13’!

    Where a society is genuinely conservative about sexual matters (i.e. conservative in practice) you’ll find that rates of STDs are very low, rates of reproduction are healthy, marriage is a respected and stable institution and the family is strong. I’d say that those are all points in favour of sexual conservatism?

    I don’t think that the state should take precedence over the family when it comes to sex education: I’d always leave the final word on this with families, individually and collectively. I think parents are better placed to make such decisions on behalf of their children than politicians or bureaucrats. Families may sometimes make the wrong decision, but that’s a price I’d happily accept in order to keep the power of the state within limits and the autonomy of the family as an institution intact.

    Why should a woman have a right to enjoy sexual happiness and not a man as well (the two are usually related)? But more fundamentally, why should either enjoy such a right? A right is only viable if it can be enforced in the courts. ‘Sexual happiness’ is not the sort of thing that can be attained by legal action. I think there are dangers in treating mere aspirations and wishes as ‘rights’, firstly that they are nothing of the kind, and secondly that a lot of people are going to be disappointed if they are led to believe that they have a ‘right’ when they perhaps only have a reasonable expectation of some desired object if they are prepared to make an effort towards attaining it. Sexual happiness is something that couples – including same sex couples – need to work out between themselves.

    I think that the sexual mores that have evolved in every society are something that government should, on the whole, respect, and perhaps defend, but not attempt to create, re-engineer or direct. This is something that belongs mainly to the practice of civil society and that government should only exceptionally intrude on.

  38. May 10, 2008 at 00:50

    @ Ppopulation growth.
    Population growth isn’t a problem if it is coming from a demographic that can handle the growth. I have a problem with social programs that encourage growth of population that can’t handle it. Welfare to me is the epitome of the cliché, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” In the end it encourages family growth at the most disadvantaged and uneducated sector of out population.

    @“Atheist Church?” Is that like electing a leader of an anarchist movement? Would it be held on a golf course on Sunday morning?

    @Release of a detainee becomes a suicide bomber is only evident. Let us face it. If you weren’t a terrorist who hated America when you entered Guantanamo, when you came out to find your family and friends dead or devastated, you might consider them responsible afterwards.

    @Hip Hop is bad music, but I am a believer that no music should be censored. I believe the situation encourages the music, that encourages the situation. Kids in the repressed neighborhoods see that as a level of success and aspire to mimic it.

    @A vice president should be a quiet shadow of the current president. Dick Cheney strengthened the VP position well beyond the borders of the constitution. He should have been imprisoned for treason. This VP might be the most important choice, if 70% of my black friends are to be believed. They all think Obama won’t make it past his 2nd year. I strongly disagree. But this is America, and it’s ability to hate has so far not found it’s full depth. It is possible we will have the VP that becomes the president.

    @ DRC- I heard a special about the DRC on NPR the other night. This is probably one of the most profound violators of Human rights. It has been going on that they consider it a way of life. They steal children from the age of 9 and turn them into soldiers and sex slaves. This isn’t just killing, this is subjecting them to a life full of pain and torture. This makes China, Burma, and Pre-invasion Iraq look like amusement parks.

  39. May 10, 2008 at 00:57

    You are right VictorK.

    Sexual freedom must be an individual choice and right. Families have to guide their children in the right path. Discussing sex within the family shouldn’t be a taboo. It’s better for children to know about sex within their family circles than to be given wrong notions by ill-intentioned persons.

    Now in the West, particularly, there is a mounting fight to protect children from the predators on the internet. It’s the parent responsibility to show their children the dangers of chatting with adults. Facebook is the latest to agree child safety plan http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7391170.stm

    Sexual freedom and the dangers that ensue from it is now the responsibility of all as the sources of these dangers are on various level that can’t be controlled without collective responsibility.

  40. May 10, 2008 at 00:58

    @ seating the delegate.
    There is no legitimate way to resolve the issue. Many people didn’t go to vote in Michigan and Florida because they knew their vote wasn’t going to count. Many more voted in the republican primary because they knew their democratic vote wouldn’t count. Obama’s name wasn’t even on the Michigan ballot. We have seen that as Obama campaigns in a state, he closes the gap that was originally assumed Hillary’s to begin with. remember Hillary was originally the “presumptive nominee.”

    The only recourse for the residents of these two states should be to sue their legislators for a violation of their civil rights.

  41. 41 selenayvonne
    May 10, 2008 at 01:09

    Abdelilah, what doe we do with families that are unable to make healthy choices for their children?

    There are a large number of families who are so overwhelmed by the burden of children and the lack of finances that they are unable to choose for themselves, let alone their children.

    What do we do about them? Unfortunately, they are usually the ones who end up on the streets to continue the cycle.

    In my view, the answer lies in the rights of children. If the ownership of children is taken away from families giving children enshrined individual rights, then there might be a way of dealing with all the issues. As long as children are seen as chattels, they will continue to be abused by families and the wider society.

  42. May 10, 2008 at 01:47

    Selenayvonne,
    The right of children is to get protection as they are too young to decide on matters for which they aren’t yet equipped, including sex. Child prostitution is one of the problems plaguing many societies. The reasons for this is the situation of their families who have no means to provide for them. There are even parents who turn a blind eye to their children’s sexual practices as long as they generate money for them.

    The worst forms of child sexual exploitation are child pornography as well as child sex tourism, for which many countries are notorious like Thailand. Morocco is on the verge of being plagued by this phenomena as it is becoming an increasingly tourist destination for the pedophiles. Many were arrested and tried.

    If there aren’t international as well as domestic laws to be enforced, there can be countless of reports and conferences dealing with the sexual exploitation of children without coming to an effective way to eradicate it. This has to do above all with the improvement of the economic situation of the parents who won’t tolerate to see their children sold on the sex market. It is also the duty tf the whole society to protect vulnerable and parentless children.

  43. May 10, 2008 at 03:11

    Our uptightness about sex cause many of our dysfunctions. When Janet Jackson had her “wardrobe Malfunction” the reaction of the Viewing public could not have been worse. Children who saw it and realized it fell into to categories. Those two young to know it was abnormal. Most kids that young will still remember being breastfed like it was yesterday. Then there are those who realized it was not socially acceptable on public TV. Instead of getting in an uproar and making a big deal about it, Parents should have used the event to discuss the topic and open doors for future talks about sex. But noooo, here we had to make a capital case out of it.

  44. 44 Brett
    May 10, 2008 at 04:21

    Forget the malignity of racism; Hip Hop is a celebration of thuggish and barbaric values that is poisoning the outlook and prospects of youth, especially black youth. Do you agree, and if you do shouldn’t we be cracking down on Hip Hop at least as hard a we do on racism?

    Correct and incorrect at the same time. Tomorrow when I have more time I will get together a laundry list that could easily contain hundreds of tracks that are hip-hop and address key social, cultural, moral issues and struggles within the hip-hop community (mostly inner city, lower income) if anyone wishes me to do so. They don’t promote the lifestyle, but rather promote many values which are key to surviving in it.

    One that I can go with right of the top of my head is the mass amount of rappers which encourage safe sex in their songs. Can any other music boast this encouragement to its listeners (I can see this bringing up a discussion about the moral and ethical values of different genre audiences now…. great lol)? If you need a list of the artists and songs, I’d be more than happy to provide it to you.

    If I had to classify any of that type of music as having a negative effect on society, it would be the pop-rap stuff. And if you need examples of this I will happily provide lol.

    Hip-hop rappers and artists which promote unity, and beneficial values to their listeners are artists such as Mos Def, Big L, etc. Of course no one will agree with all of their lyrics… But then just pop in a Lamb of God CD, or almost any other pop culture CD and I’m sure you can find plenty of lyrics not to your liking there. Its relative, people will always find something to whine about. Please don’t group all artists together into a category labeled “Bad for society” because a the ones that get played on MTV and BET rap about money, sex, womanizing, and thugging. It’s not all like that (as with many other genres of music), and to approach it as such is to approach it with ignorance.

    I personally like hip-hop among many other styles of music and can see its good and bad sides. I just figured I would argue for its benefit, I think many may be against it.

    Get NY OIL on the blog, I’m sure he can provide some input. He spoke of his love of hip-hop on one of the WHYS episodes IIRC.

    PS. Hip-Hop is cracked down on, its called a Parental Advisory, and censorship (radio, TV, etc.) Are parents to blame then for allowing their youth to listen to such music? A very broad discussion with plenty of factors and scapegoats.

    Regards,
    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  45. 45 Brett
    May 10, 2008 at 04:24

    PPS. The main problem I do have with Hip-Hop and other forms of Rap is the irresponsible mass consumerism it promotes amongst our youth. More than any other form of music, I would argue.

  46. 46 Dennis Cote
    May 10, 2008 at 06:34

    Yes, Steve, it was Gordon Ramsey. I’ve always thought of him as having an overdose of ego.
    If anything, he’s the one full of greenhouse gas.
    He certainly hasn’t the personality to work with others.
    All the swearing he does is very unprofessional.
    I’d never have someone like that in my employ, no matter how good an idea he had, much less pay attention to his ramblings.

  47. May 10, 2008 at 07:10

    So sorry Selena my love, but it looks like Phobia will never get the chance to be discussed this week, may be on another time Inshallah… As for Precious VictorK, did you bring that article about ‘demographic changes’ because you strongly believe in it or because you only want to spark a debate ?! I’ll assume the former and correct me if I am wrong… So you’re feeling sooooooo worried about the growing number of a PARTICULAR GROUP human beings thinking of, intending to do, or already committing wrongful acts… Good for you… But wait, what are the criteria you depended upon in order to determine what’s and what’s not a wrongful act ?! According to the international law and the UN resolutions may be ?! OK, I’ll gladly take that as a judge… But hey, oh my God ! I’m feeling really sooooooo worried about the growing numbers of Jewish settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, BECAUSE according to the UN resolutions and the international law the West Bank and East Jerusalem are OCCUPIED territories, and OCCUPATION is an ILLEGAL and UNLAWFUL act by the standards of the International law and the UN resolutions right ?! At least I see those Jewish settlers as human beings who deserve to live a dignified and honourable life ON THE 1948 LANDS, but would be really soooooo interested in hearing your suggestions Precious VictorK of how to tackle the serious problem of the growing numbers of the ‘unwanted’ humans from your perspective (as I assume). And BTW, we excuted Saddam, didn’t we ?! With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  48. 48 victork13
    May 10, 2008 at 07:32

    @Shirley: I’ll gladly respond to your last post but would ask if you could clarify a few things first.

    Are you accusing me or Pat Buchanan of racism? Whichever of us you had in mind I think the word is further devalued when it is thrown about without anything to obviously warrant its use. Please say a bit more about this and why you ‘strongly feel that such an action is racist.’

    You wrote “The fact remains that you, one of the moderators of this discussion, inserted your views of a class of people into an otherwise unrelated discussion” and then referred to the link to the Pat Buchanan article. Presumably the class of people in question are the citizens of Iran. The discussion point that the Iranian and Buchanan references fell under was ‘Is demography destiny?’. They were both intended as examples of how demography could indeed have important social and political consequences. As far as Iran is concerned I honestly am puzzled by your reaction. In a global poll of world opinion Iran was one of the two most poorly rated countries (the other was Israel). The perception that both countries may be involved in conflict is a very common one and the Iranian President (the elected representative of the Iranian people) is largely responsible for that perception. That Israel’s position will be undermined by internal and external demographic factors is common sense rather than opinion.

    I must correct one point. You wrote, “His article [Buchanan’s] ended with the quesiton of how white people will be treated as a global minority. He asked whether it was panic-mongering or racist, or whether it is a legitimate concern for global governments.)” I asked whether demographic change of the kind Buchanan wrote about was panic-mongering, racist or a proper matter for governments to deal with as a matter of national interest. The point was to begin a debate.

    You also wrote, ‘I really would appreciate it if you would either edit/re-issue your statement or include among the points of discussion your concerns for the survival of Israel.’ That the government and people of Iran are largely hostile to Israel seems as evident to me as the statement that the government and people of Israel are largely hostile to Iran. I will leave it to others to write about their ‘concerns’ for the survival of Israel. My intention was to point to the implications for Israel of at least three demographic developments (as many Palestinians in the Palestinian Authority as Israelis in Israel, the possibility that most “Israelis” would actually be of Palestinian stock, and the rates at which population growth in hostile countries like Iran would outstrip growth in Israel. The larger point that these examples were illustrating was that demography really could be destiny for some countries; only you can explain why you chose to interpret all of this to mean ‘Oh God! What are we to do! The Jewish state is in danger! To your tents, O Israel!’ That may be a concern, but it wasn’t one that I expressed.

    I hope I’m not moderating topics on the Middle East by forcing them in a certain direction. In fact, I hadn’t even been aware that I was moderating about the Middle East (as opposed to the social and political consequences of demography). It wasn’t by chance, btw, that none of the subjects I originally suggested for discussion was principally about Islam, Israel or the Middle East. Anyone who is determined to find bias will undoubtedly succeed in that. In your case I can only repeat that the intention wasn’t there on my part and until you produce a more cogent argument I can’t say I’m convinced that there was even unintentional bias.

    What do others think?

    [I suppose this is my welcome to Ros and Mark’s world!]

  49. 49 victork13
    May 10, 2008 at 07:58

    @ Lubna: re demographic change – I introduced the subject because I wanted to spark a debate (this seems to be a surprise to people, even though it’s WHYS!).

    There were two links: one to a UN report full of projected population data; the other to an article by Pat Buchanan arguing that demographic change would destroy the West.

    There was nothing at all to indicate what I thought about the issue. The references to Israel and Iran were purely illustrative. Another Illustration was the likely conflict involving Egypt, Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya – and I should have included the Sudan – over water resources. I think that some people are reading what I wrote in the light of their own expectations and sensitivities.

    If you think that demography will be destiny for the Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem by all means argue that. But the point of any debate should not be illegal occupation in itself or UN resolutions, but what you think demography will mean for Palestinians, Israelis and Middle Easterners. Israel is projected, on present trends, to have a Palestinian majority within its borders in a few generations. What do you think about that? Do you think it will really happen or that the Israeli government will take action to prevent it? Do you think Israel entitled to take such action? If not, why?

    Let’s try to stay on topic or else somebody should initiate a separate discussion about Israel-Palestine.

  50. 50 Katharina in Ghent
    May 10, 2008 at 08:17

    @ Lubna and Phobias:

    Good morning, Habibti Lubna (I really like that!), I had two situations that felt very frightening:

    1) Ten years ago I was with a friend in the US, and we only had one credit card (mine) to pay for all the expenses. It worked fine for a while, but then we got the royal “stupid tourist” treatment and we had to pay first about 800$ for flights from New York to Florida and then 900$ for the rental car (one driver under 25, the other under 23, insurance etc… like I said, the royal treatment). Five days before our flight back to Vienna we have exceeded the credit limit and couldn’t get any money from the bank machine anymore, and we had 15$ in our pockets… That felt extremely frightening! It took a few hours until I got into contact with the Viennese Visa branch so that they could open the card again, I don’t know what we would have done otherwise! The vacation was practically ruined for us, we spent 2 days in Orlando but we haven’t been to Disneyland. Now here’s my phobia: I lived for 4 years in Toronto, but I haven’t crossed the border to the US once…

    2) Two years ago we went to France by car to see the nice castles in the Loire-valley, and on our way back we first got lost and then, when we finally found the highway (about 3 hours later), my car started acting up, the stupid program was malfunctioning. As a result I could drive only VERY slowly (about 60-70km/h on the highway!), and every 30km or so the car started shaking and I lost the pressure on the gas, it took a minute or two until the enginge reacted again. It took us over 6 hours to drive 300km, and when we finally made it home I was so high on adrenalin that I couldn’t even just close my eyes, even though I was extremely exhausted. (My husband has no driving license, so I was driving 13 hours straight!) I still have this car, but I haven’t driven further than about 50km in it since and my heart starts racing just at the thought of driving more than from home to work…

    I guess my approach to phobias is avoiding, I don’t see a good reason to experience crap twice, but I also would never jump from a plane with a parachute, so I’m not a risk seeker.

    Love, Kathi

  51. 51 adam in portland
    May 10, 2008 at 08:36

    @ Lubna
    I’ll take up your cause for a moment at least and perhaps you will find some humor in some past phobias.

    When I came returned from serving in the first coalition war against Iraq in 1991 I had some phobias I didn’t even know about. First was air raid sirens, I was visiting at my father’s house and the local tornado warning siren went off at noon just like it always does. Well I started running around trying to find my gas mask (I carried it with me always back then) and trying to figure out if I should hide under the bed or not, really freaking out, I thought for sure the SCUDS were coming in again. After that I definately realised I had a fear of air raid sirens. Took several years to get to where I didn’t get twitchy and start looking around whenever I heard one.

    Another one was loud booms or explosions, that got easier over time to deal with becuase living on military installations causes constant exposure that helps moderate it. Almost wrecked my motorcycle the first time a canon went off on my Army base after I got back from the war. I was riding right by a ceremony and they fired a ceremonial canon and I just about jumped right off the bike into a ditch looking for cover. Thank goodness I don’t have that phobia any more.

    Recently I was out practising some wilderness survival skills with some friends when an unexpected phobia hit me. I was inside of a fantastic underground shelter that is really just a hole in the ground one digs with a stick, very simple but nice and cozy. i had snuggled in for the night and pulled the cover over my head when I was gripped by an uncontrollable fear of being in there. I have slept happily in these shelters before and they are one of my favorites but this time I GOT FREAKED OUT. Had to have a friend come over and talk to me for awhile before I got calmed down enough to go to sleep with the cover off the shelter. it was cold in there without the cover but I wasn’t wierded out anymore. I stilll have no idea what happened to cause that reaction. In a few weeks i’m going back to that area to try out a new shelter I put in last year, same type and it should be interesting to see how I do, wil the mysterious clausterphobia grip me again?

    Lubna I hope you can find some humor in there somewhere, I do. I think it is funny that it was your countrymen that caused the first two phobias I listed. I don’t hold a grudge and now look for the upside to those experiences. Thanks to the time I spent in your part of the world I now have a much greater appreciation for the kindness, manners and generousity of most Arabic peoples. Wierd huh?
    Hopefully those don’t hit too close to home for you or anyone else for that matter. Feel free to indulge us with your phobias, I’m sure they worth expressing. Well it is late here and must get to bed before I fall asleep at the keyboard. Take care Lubna, I hear there is a small shamal or at least a heavy dust storm going through Baghdad at the moment.
    Sincerely, Adam

  52. 52 Marilyn Hawkins
    May 10, 2008 at 08:36

    Could the BBC possibly be any more smug and sexist than in the “My Way” piece on Hillary Clinton? I think you need another dose of Margaret Thatcher.

  53. 53 victork13
    May 10, 2008 at 08:44

    @ Marilyn: is it possible to post a link to the “My Way” piece you have in mind?

  54. May 10, 2008 at 10:05

    It’s best to be both controversial and polite, but sometimes a dash of spice ferrets out the honest views lurking beneath the politically correct statements. So, a bit of spice used as a debating tool is useful.

    I think Israel and the middle-east generally have been quite well covered in the ‘happy birthday, Israel’ thread (where I picked up quite a bit of flak), so why resume the Iranian question here?

    I’d like to suggest a debate on a subject that has tormented me for years: the international abuse of Serbia, and the illegal declaration of Kosovar independence, endorsed so rapidly by George W. Bush.

    Any chance of getting some Serbs in on this idea? I’d really like to know, not so much about the recent past, but what the future holds for Serbia and how the Kosovar injustice is being handled by the average Serbian.

    And about Serbia as part of the EU.

  55. May 10, 2008 at 10:26

    Oh, and, why the blanket ban on Menckens and Hazzlits? I’d call that immoderate moderation. It’s not a grand issue, but I’d be inclined to want as many Menckens as possible in any debate, just to keep the funny bones tittilated. As for Hazzlit…yep…boring…

  56. 56 victork13
    May 10, 2008 at 10:32

    @Donovan: re Serbia, isn’t this a question of two incompatible rights? The right of the Serbs to the integrity of their sovereign territory, and the right of the Albanians to live free from the fear of violence, plunder, rape and murder – which is to say the right not to be governed by Serbs ever again.

    The declaration of Kosovo’s independence was an acknowledgement of only one of these rights and a complete flouting of the other. Given the historic and cultural importance of Kosovo to Serbia, as well as the fact that it is indisputably Serb land, and given that the physical safety of the Albanians cannot be entrusted to the Serbs, the challenge is working out a compromise that protects Albanians while allowing something to Serbia’s territorial claims.

    I think that a partititon of Kosovo might be the answer. Those parts of the territory that are central to Serb history and nationhood should be retained by Serbia, as well as those districts in which the Serb minority lives. The Serbs should get more territory than their numbers in the territory would alone justify, since they are morally entitled to the whole thing and are the ones who would be making a sacrifice in only getting a part of it. Perhaps 40-50% of Kosovo should be retained by Serbia. The remainder should either become an independent state or be merged with Albania. There should be a peaceable transfer of population, which would largely mean that Albanians in Serbian Kosovo should be given financial help to leave and re-settle in Albanian Kosovo. That is the sacrifice that the Albanians must make: they may be more than 90% of the population of Kosovo, but they won’t get anything like 90% of the territory. The world needs to accept that multiculturalism and diversity are sometimes a failure and not something that, as the UN currently insists, should be forced on Kosovo regardless of the bloody outcomes that it leads to.

    An injustice of this kind to both sides is probably the closest we can come to any kind of justice.

  57. 57 selenayvonne
    May 10, 2008 at 11:15

    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/05/09/cas-chemotherapy.html

    What do you think of this story from Canada? Last night we were talking about the rights of parents to make decisions for their children.

    Should a 11 year old be permitted to say when s/he has had enough suffering?

    Should parents bow to the wishes of a child when making that decision?

    Does it work out that the life a child is worth less in war torn countries?

  58. May 10, 2008 at 11:49

    I think you’ve got it right, Victor.

    The current disposition of Kosovo is imbalanced, and the question on my lips is: how the heck did the EU and the US come to endorse that injustice? thus setting up a situation that will result in perpetual enmity and, equally troubling, establish a precedent for dealing summarily with the territorial integrity of other nations?

    My question to the Serbs is: what do they intend to do about it? Do they feel they are in any position to do anything about it? And where’s the UN, our flopped-out upholder of international law?

    I really think the Serbs need a break now. This was a case where a nation was made to suffer for the crimes of their despotic leaders, and reparation is due, especially from our friends the mad bombers.

    I also cannot accept that the Albanian Kosovars were the entirely innocent party in the whole sad mess. The KLA, in my book, were terrorists. Only, it suited the purposes of the EU and the US to dress them up as legitimate liberation fighters.

    The bad taste remains.

  59. May 10, 2008 at 11:57

    I did a little exercise, and came to the conclusion that condi rice
    should be president. Who would I rather have as president,
    Condi or Hillary?…Condi. Condi or Obama?… Condi. Condi or
    McCain?…Condi. Hmmmm. We…I anyway…want Condi.

  60. May 10, 2008 at 12:09

    A very big HELLO and a very big THANK YOU to both of you Kathi my love (habibti) and Precious Adam for sharing your marvellous experiences and thoughts regarding the topic of phobia…. I have to admit that in my heart at the moment are sooooooo many fears, some of which are really extreme and excessive…. I fear late night phone calls and text messages alot, especially if they were coming from a relative or good friend, because in most cases (not always) that means someone I love had died…. I fear travelling by car over bridges alot…. I fear passing infront of check points (Iraqi or American) alot… I fear alot when someone I love leaves the house and doesn’t come back in time, I try to get him/her on his/her cell phone but either he/she doesn’t pick it up or it turns out that the mobile phone is either switched off or out of the coverage area, then I keep eating myself until he/she gets back home again… I also fear passing infront military convoys (whether Iraqi or American) alot… But my biggest fear is to never see someone I love face to face again…. I do really wish if I were to find a way that would enable me to deal with my fears and get over them but I can’t, I really can’t. With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  61. 62 victork13
    May 10, 2008 at 12:12

    @Donovan: I’d probably only ban would-be Menckens and Hazlitts who wrote like their models at their polemical worst (or should that be ‘best’?). Let the originals make my point for me:

    Here’s Mencken on Calvin Coolidge’s Presidential bid in 1924; ‘”…the hon. gentleman…is at bottom simply a cheap and trashy fellow, deficient in sense and almost devoid of any notion of honor – in brief a dreadful little cad. I doubt that any man of dignity, even among his most ardent supporters, has any respect for him as a man. His friends are all ninth-raters like himself…he was regarded not as a leader but as a docile camp-follower…etc’

    And here’s Hazlitt on William Gifford, editor of the Tory, pro-government journal the Quarterly Review: ‘You are the Government Critic, a character nicely differing from that of a government spy – the invisible link, that connects literature with the police. It is your business to keep a strict eye over all writers who differ in opinion with his Majesty’s Ministers, and to measure their talents and attainments by the standard of their servility and meanness…’ , while describing the Review as ”…a receptacle for the scum and sediment of all the prejudice, bigotry, ill-will, ignorance, and rancour afloat in the kingdom.’

    I don’t think displays of invective and open contempt like these could ever have a place on WHYS, entertaining though they are.

  62. 63 selenayvonne
    May 10, 2008 at 12:20

    Gordon W. Brown… you ARE joking, of course??? 😉

  63. 64 Carly Palmer
    May 10, 2008 at 12:23

    Here’s a fresh perspective on the Democratic race I haven’t heard before… and I’m wondering why.

    Basically I fed the Democratic results into the US Electoral College calculator in terms of winner-takes-all based on the EC weighting. I figured this would give a clearer picture compared to the torturous Democratic system. And indeed it did — hopefully this could help convince the super delegates to go with the candidate most likely to win the big swing states the Democrats need.

    HILARY – 295
    Obama – 217
    Other (not held yet) – 26

  64. 65 Carly Palmer
    May 10, 2008 at 12:28

    And I just want to add one more thing about the US primary process… what an unadulterated waste of time and money — for what is ultimately a less than democratic result (and I’m talking about both parties).

    The only way to make the process reasonable in terms of costs and fair in terms of popular representation is to have all states voting on one day a la the national elections in November. This way all states get to consider and vote for all candidates rather than having the result being preordained well before much of the population votes. It would also stop the ridiculous situation of having the thousands of Democratic voters in Michigan & Florida disenfranchised.

    Cutting it all down to a one day vote would also radically shorten the increasingly protracted primary campaign season… is there really a need for all the expenditure and exhaustion? I fail to see the benefit/who is served by the current process.

    Cheers.

  65. 66 thelegendali
    May 10, 2008 at 12:28

    Wow, while Israel is celebrating its 60th anniversary, the PM is a subject of controversy as he is been investigated for corruption. Do they really ( mean the Israelis have to celebrate independence or they have to soberly reflect a state that was created by the displacement of the original owners of the land, the Palestinians. I think they should be reflecting on that and the fact that on independence day the PM is undergoing corruption probe.

  66. 67 victork13
    May 10, 2008 at 12:30

    @Selena: re the 11 year old seized to undergo compulsory chemotherapy.

    I can’t envisage any circumstances when a child ought to have the final word on something like this. Take the child’s opinion into account by all means, but no child is competent to make a decision of that kind for himself.

    Whether it was right to override the wishes of the family is harder to call. I think the option to do so has to be there, since I can’t accept that a family’s wishes must always be deferred to, however frivolous or absurd. I would never allow Jehovah’s Witnesses to deny a child a blood transfusion, for example. I think the presumption should be that the family’s informed opinion should weigh considerably with the medical professionals in such cases, but it can’t ever be decisive.

    I don’t understand why, if the child was certain to die in 6 months without treatment, the father wouldn’t have jumped at the chance of chemotherapy even if the probability of success was only 20% (which still sounds better than a 100% probability of death). Sounds as though there could be something more to this story.

  67. May 10, 2008 at 12:52

    But ,dash it all, Victor, does every minor point have to be so hard-fought? Now you’ve got me reaching for my Mencken:

    ‘The queen of the haut monde, in almost every American city, is a woman who regards Lord Reading as an aristocrat and her superior, and whose grandfather slept in his underclothes. The leading American musical director, if he went to Leipzig, would be put to polishing trombones and copying drum parts. The leading American philosopher (now dead, with no successor known to the average pedagogue) spent a lifetime erecting an epistemological defense for the national aesthetic maxim: “I don’t know nothing about music, but I know what I like”…

    Who would be daft enough to take it seriously enough not to enjoy it?

    I think I threw out my Hazzlit some years ago, on discovering Mencken.

  68. 69 selenayvonne
    May 10, 2008 at 12:54

    VictorK., my friend’s child died of leukemia at age 7. For the last months of her life, she was in constant pain and torture from treatments. The last words she ever said, as they invaded her one more time, were, “Nanny, don’t let them hurt me again.”

    Both her parents and her grandparents have said repeatedly that there was far too much intervention and they didn’t have the courage to protest.

    My sister-in-law was diagnosed with leukemia12 years ago. She opted for no treatment and today is told she is leukemia free. At the time she was ridiculed by the medical profession, and those closest to her, for her decision.

    I don’t think there is any way of knowing the survival rates for no treatment, as practically everyone want the chance, no matter how slim.

    Here, I pose another question. Who determines the value of human life?

  69. 70 victork13
    May 10, 2008 at 13:05

    @ thelegendali: isn’t the investigation of the Israeli Prime Minister, paradoxically, a reflection of what’s good about Israeli society?

    Here is a country in which the the most powerful citizen is accountable, and is as subject to the rule of law as the most humble citizen. There are very few countries in the world in which something like this could happen, i.e. where you have the rule of law, accountable government, an independent judiciary, and powerful people under the threat of punishment if they are found to have misbehaved. Compare that to, say, the conduct of the government of Burma. No Burmese citizen has any redress against the Generals; and though the country is poor the military and their families are, some how, extremely wealthy (Burmese television has been reporting some of the generous cash donations by these families). Or think of Pakistan, where the military are big players in the economy and have an extensive portfolio of business interests, i.e. a country in which corruption is routine, institutionalised and accepted as a fact of life. Or contrast what’s happening in Israel with the record of Nigeria, a country that has had over $300 billion in oil revenues in the past 30 years, but no one can say with any certainty what happened to most of that cash (i.e. polticians and generals pocketed it). Or compare Israel to Saudi Arabia: the latter country’s wealth is essentially the property of the royal family and the members of the Saudi elite, who are generous enough to share some of it with the Saudi people, while using the bulk of it to swell bank balances in Switzerland and to enjoy the finest wines, high class prostitutes and gambling tables of the West Iis there any hypocrisy like Wahhabi hypocrisy?).

    In respect of accountability and law at least, Israel is surely a model for many countries across the world. Wouldn’t you agree?

  70. 71 selenayvonne
    May 10, 2008 at 13:14

    VictorK, do you mean transparency, or am I missing the meaning of accountability?

    In my view, we see many things in a democracy but rarely are the leaders held accountable.

    What am I missing?

    Also, I might add that the filthy rich reside everywhere. 😉

  71. May 10, 2008 at 13:18

    Hello again Precious VictorK and so sorry for the rather late reply… You say that you brought the topic of ‘demographic changes’ innocently and only because you wanted to spark a debate… OK, I’ll take that from you seriously, although if you do strongly believe in the correctness of the article you mentioned, then that’s absolutely fine with me ! :-). And BTW, my reference to the threat of the growing numbers of the Jewish settlers in the OCCUPIED West Bank and the OCCUPIED East Jerusalem was also ‘PURELY ILLUSTRATIVE’ ! :-), and therefore quite relevant to your topic of discussion… As for the ‘expectations and sensitivities’ stuff, I NEVER judge anyone arbitrarily under any circumstances… And whenever I make any impression about the ‘other’, then I try immediately to put my impressions to ‘him’ and ask ‘him’ to either confirm or deny my impressions about ‘him’, and I always take what ‘he’ tells me very seriously and depend upon it in making my judgement… With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  72. 73 victork13
    May 10, 2008 at 13:20

    @ Selena: re treatments. Yes, it’s not an easy decision and the only comfort is that these hard cases are relatively rare (at least I assume they are).

    We really need hard data about interventions, their extent, and their outcomes. I mentioned that the informed decisions of families should have considerable weight – it’s making decisions on the basis of that kind of data that would hopefully enable families to exercise more influence with medical experts. Your account of your sister-in-law had a happy ending, but we obviously need to judge cases like hers in the round. What does the data indicate about people who refuse treatment across various categories of cancer, adjusted by relevant factors such as age, gender, severity of the disease etc?

    I do want to see families and individuals having a significant voice in these decisions. I think a mentally competent adult should have the right to refuse treatment. But I can’t concede that as an absolute right to parents when it comes to children. The example of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is the kind of thing I can’t overlook (though it isn’t representative of parents and families).

    Not an easy subject.

  73. May 10, 2008 at 13:26

    So Israel comes out looking good when compared with Burma, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia? Well that should definitely encourage people to view the Israeli record more positively.
    Let’s be frank: we all had high esteem and high hopes for Israel, and wished them well. But Israel has disappointed many well-wishers by becoming an arrogant American protectorate with scant regard for world opinion. Pressure needs to be applied to get the Israelis back on track; that is, to respect democratic principles, not only within their own borders, but in their dealings with the Palestinians.

  74. 75 victork13
    May 10, 2008 at 13:39

    @Selena: it’s accountability I mean, as the opposite of immunity or impunity.

    Saddam and his family – to take the most obvious example – could have behaved with complete transparency if they wanted to. In fact, they more or less did. But it didn’t matter how transparent their behaviour may have been since they weren’t accountable for anything they did. You recall the stories of his sons feeding people to lions/tigers and choosing pretty girls to rape? Saddam controlled Iraq’s resources and made sure he, his family and his cronies lived palatial lifestyles.

    That kind of thing is a rarity in a society in which everyone is subject to the rule of law and the courts are independent. If any Iraqi had been mad enough to have attempted to initiate a legal action against Saddam or his sons his derangement would very quickly have been cured, permanently. And that’s the case with a lot of societies across the world. It’s the difference between the kind of societies in which a Conrad Black can go from from Lord Black of Coldharbour to prisoner Black of cell number #, and the kind of societies in which cronyism, connections and large bribes would have left a man like him free to laugh at paper laws that would never touch him.

  75. 76 thelegendali
    May 10, 2008 at 13:49

    @Victork
    You might have gotten some of the points right. But this is the man who symbolises the society, the PM, he is supposed to be leading the “God people” in the celebration of the founding of a nation which caused millions others to be displaced in refugee camps for the same number of years it has existed. if this is an accountable society, then their leaders should also be accounting for the displacement of the millinos of Palestinians in some court some where in the world.

  76. 77 selenayvonne
    May 10, 2008 at 13:51

    Perhaps we could ask Lubna her opinion of Saddam Hussein. Was the impression of Saddam and his family the same inside the country as it was outside?

    We must not lose sight of the fact that eye-witness accounts are notoriously deficient and propaganda is an easy tool.

    Don’t feel obliged to respond, Lubna. It would understandably be an emotional topic for you.

  77. 78 victork13
    May 10, 2008 at 14:09

    @ Donovan: but why shouldn’t Israel be judged against such countries? Most of the world is like Burma, Saudi, Pakistan and Nigeria. It’s only fair to say that, even allowing for its faults, Israel as a country and society is better than most of the world in respect of things like democracy, the rule of law, accountability and so on. If we were simply to judge Israel by the standards that prevail in the Middle East the result would be exactly the same.

    What tends to happen is that two standards are introduced. Israel is judged by a gold standard reserved for the countries of the West. The Palestinians and the other states of the Middle East are judged by an inferior standard that is somehow considered acceptable for people of colour (since in this connection the Israelis are regarded as being Europeans – despite what is known about the origins of most of the country’s citizens, i.e. they are from that part of the world themselves).

    Isn’t that why somebody can post as if the fact that the Israeli PM is being investigated for corruption is a point scored against Israel; but the fact that practically no leader of any of Israel’s neighbours has ever been investigated for corruption while in office is simply ignored and not understood for what it actually means? The Palestinian Authority is hopelessly corrupt, but it is judged by standards considered appropriate to ‘that class of person’. I should imagine that US aid to Israel is a much smaller proportion of Israel’s GDP than EU-US-UN assistance to the Palestinian authority is of the Palestinian GDP. but the double standard makes an issue of Israel’s aid but not the Palestinians’.

    I think we need to abandon what looks like a racialist set of double standards and start judging all countries by a set of common normative standards. On that basis it will be found that as much criticism as Israel deserves, there are others who deserve much, much more.

    p.s. – another instance of this Gold standard/No standard dichotomy is playing out over Burma. Even though Western agencies are falling over themselves to help, soon the criticisms will develop along the usual lines: the West isn’t doing enough, the West could have done more, the West should have done more earlier, the West should have done more to co-operate with the Burmese authorities, the West should have let the Burmese distribute the aid , etc. Soon the whole thing will be the fault of the West. There has been very little criticism of China, the country best placed to assist, and the Burmese can have no problem with admitting Chinese troops and civilians into their country. China has stated that the tragedy in Burma, like that in Darfur, is a purely internal matter that doesn’t have anything to do with them. Imagine if the US were to make the same claim about the West Bank and Gaza. But China’s position in relation to two despotic and despicable regimes that are propped up by Chinese aid, arms sales and trade is judged by a very different standard to that applied to the US, just as China’s occupation of Tibet is never judged in the same way as Israel’s former occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

  78. 79 steve
    May 10, 2008 at 14:23

    @selenayvonne

    I think politicians live in glass houses, so their private lives should be open for us to view. THeir personal lives show their decision making ability. I lost a lot of respect for Sarkozy when he got with Carla Bruni. It shows poor decision making ability, hence he would probably make poor decisions in office too.

  79. 80 thelegendali
    May 10, 2008 at 14:26

    Do the leaders of Burma really care for human lives? i mean havng referendum in the midst of thousands of the citizens dying from cyclone and the aftermath of it. Those guys must be more than Adolf Hitler.

  80. 81 victork13
    May 10, 2008 at 14:30

    @ the legendali: I think that accountability is always a matter of accountability of government to the (national) law and accountability to the people of the country in question (via the law).

    It would be unique for a government to allow itself to be held accountable to non-citizens or to other states. I’m pretty sure that that has never happend before.

    You’ve probably noticed how diiscussions about Israel-Palestine tend not to make a lot of progress. It would be a good rule when discussing Israel and Palestine to observe four points:
    *apply the same rule to Israel as you do to the Palestinians (if 600,000 Palestinian refugees is a tragedy, then so are 600,000 Jewish refugees from the Arab world);
    *apply the same rule to Palestine as you do to Israel (if Israel can have a proper army, then so can the Palestinians);
    *apply the same rule to the rest of the world as you do to Israel and Palestine (if the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza deserved the world’s attention, then how much more so the occupation of Tibet; if the death of 3,000 Palestinains is a tragedy, then set down as equally tragic the unnatural deaths that annually exceed this number in many countries across the world); and
    *apply the same rule to Israel and Palestine as you do to the rest of the world (if no other people are expected to return land that formerly belonged to another people, and which has since been settled and turned into a home for the latest occupiers, then wny should we expect the Israelis to surrender any part of what is now their home?).

  81. May 10, 2008 at 14:30

    What you’re saying about double standards for judging countries’ perfomance is quite true. But I’d argue for maintaining the gold standard for western democracies and countries aligned with western democracies.

    The whole point of democratization is that it’s supposed to lift you above the sordid practices of despotic and other whacky regimes. Or else why bother with democracy at all?

    Two standards there must be ( as Yoda would say), if anyone to excell aspires.

    In short, you can’t apply the same standards to the Athens of Pericles as you apply to the hordes of Genghis Khan. You should definitely expect more from Periclean Athens, and be disappointed when it is lost to Sparta.

    I remember how we celebrated the Israeli victory in the six day war in our own streets, we saw Golda Meir as a great world leader and an icon, and Moshe Dayan as a hero. We applauded the brilliant raid on Entebbe Airport, etc etc.

    What is there to applaud today?

  82. 83 selenayvonne
    May 10, 2008 at 14:42

    Steve, Do you know of any politicians who are not womanizers, or the male equivalent?

    Is it better that their actions are now transparent, rather than covered up, as they were in the past?

  83. 84 selenayvonne
    May 10, 2008 at 14:48

    Is it realistic for the world to take a hand in Burma? The regime is doing what it pleases and, unless we want another Iraq on our hands, we have to accept it.

    To hold an election today is too far outside the pale to register on my compassion scale.

    Again, I ask Lubna a question. Would it have been better for the Iraqis to have been left to solve their own problems?

  84. 85 thelegendali
    May 10, 2008 at 14:48

    @VictorK,
    my dear if we should judge all countries by a common standard, then why is Israel not been investigated for acquiring nuclear weapons instead is N. Korea, Iran and Saddam Hussien being ousted and killed for alledgely possessing WMD and that turned out to be a lie. Why aren’t they been judged for the atrocities committed against Palestinian children, why aren’t they been treated as a pariah state for disobeying international laws? If every country is to be judged by the same standard, the UN, the EU, the Americans should be advocating for sanction against the Israeli government for possessing chemical and nuclear weapons or maybe even raining bombs on them.
    Victor, the truth is that countries are judge if they are pro-western or anti-western. If a country is pro-western everything it does is right and vice versa.

  85. 86 Bob in Queensland
    May 10, 2008 at 14:59

    @dominic

    I hear what you say about double standards, but I start to worry about whether western democracies are truly a “gold standard” anymore.

    When you hear about the USA loosening their policy on torture (waterboarding, anyone?) or even the way politicians manipulated intelligence and effectively lied to citizens to justify the invasion of Iraq, I start to wonder if there really are as many differences between the democracies and the terrorists as there used to be. Or should be.

  86. 87 thelegendali
    May 10, 2008 at 15:01

    i was just reading on cnn about an admiral affairs in the White House. But does it really matter where sex happened or should it happen in public offices at all?

    http://edition.cnn.com/2008/US/05/09/admiral.affair/index.html?iref=mpstoryview

  87. 88 victork13
    May 10, 2008 at 15:02

    @thelegendali re common standards for judging countries.

    Most of your points are quite valid. The standards for me would have been that nuclear weapons are permitted to responsible countries; they are forbidden to irresponsible countries. North Korea should probably not have come under pressure over its nuclear weapons; Iran is simply unfit to be allowed such weapons. Israel is sufficiently responsible to be a nuclear power (note how none of its neighbours claim to be in fear of an Israeli nuclear strike). Saddam, I’ve come to realise, should not have been ousted from Iraq: a country like that clearly needs a ruler like him. You’ll have to produce some verifiable facts about atrocities against Palestinian children. If they happened, then they ought to be condemned, and if they didn’t….

    I doubt if ‘pro-Western’ is enough to explain Israel’s standing. Most Western countries dislike Israel and favour the Palestinian cause. The European Union is one of the Palestinian Authority’s main donors.

    Two things would contribute to reducing tensions in the Middle East – the US should stop its interference – including providing aid to Israel – and the Arab and Muslim world should end their interference, including providing aid to the Palestinians. We could then leave the two parties concerned to sort things out between themselves.

  88. May 10, 2008 at 15:18

    Hey Selena my love… Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator and an evil criminal who used to treat his people like slaves and who used to consider my Iraq as a ‘private’ property of his and his family…. You know what Selena my love ?! Saddam Hussein used to be the most loyal servant of the Western and especially the US interests in the Middle East… The successive US governments and Western governments in general before the 2nd of Augest 1990 have always protected him, supported him, and provided him with funds and weapons, conventional and unconventional, weapons which he used to brutally murder his own people… Saddam Hussein was always strengthened and nourished by the Western and especially the American support… Please guys, keep those facts in your mind when you refer to Saddam. With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  89. 90 selenayvonne
    May 10, 2008 at 15:19

    Bob, you have articulated my concerns about democracies. We believe we are superior because we have been told we have a voice. But maybe our voice is just another illusion?

    The majority in the West believed that Saddam had WMDs. We continue to believe what we are being told about Iran and North Korea and China and so on and so forth.

    When “so called” free people accept what we are told with little scrutiny, what hope is there for change?

    Everyone jumped on the WMD bandwagon and Cheney and his cohorts got their wish to invade Iraq.

    Will they get their wish with Iran? The same message is flowing out and about and the very people who know now that they had been hoodwinked over Iraq are not seeing that it is quite possible that they are being hoodwinked again.

    Don’t believe anything of what you are told and only half of what you see, is my motto!

  90. 91 steve
    May 10, 2008 at 15:19

    @ Ali

    Becuse Israel isn’t a signer of the non proliferation treaty and nobody outside of countries that want to destroy Israel are worried Israel will use nuclear weapons. You want israel to be disarmed so israel can be destroyed. And blah blah israel targets innocent palestinian children. whatever. Palestinians target innocent israelis, and that’s the truth. When Israelis strap on bombs and walk into restaurants, you’ll have a point. until then, you do not have a point.

  91. May 10, 2008 at 15:30

    Again, Victor, spot on. Let Israel and the Palestinians work it out without provision by the puppet-masters.

    Bob in Queensland: Too true. Nine years ago I was so pro-American I think I had the stars and stripes tattooed on my neurons. After Serbia they began to fade. After 9/11 they reappeared. When Alfred E. Newman finally got the presidency Mad Magazine had fought for for 30 years, they faded again. After Colin Powell’s ridiculous lies to the UN Security Council, I realized that America was on a disastrous track. After Iraq, I see America as a global threat in the same category as China.

    But we can’t lower the gold standard while there are still countries trying to uphold it. The big problem is, if you lower that standard, it becomes so much easier to treat weaker peoples as objects. By lowering their own standards, I would argue that Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and America’s treatment of the world at large, have reflected that drop in self criticism.

    To take a sudden tangent and revert to the Theroux/Naipaul suggestion way above, I wish some literary discussion would form part of WHY’s agenda. I have read Naipaul on Africa with great pleasure, probably because I live in Africa and can see what he’s on about. Sorry to hear that he turns out to be a woman basher etc.

    I’d much rather discuss Theroux who is, I think, grossly underrated ( although, I believe, there have been moves in American academia to have him treated as a major American writer. I’ve seldom enjoyed books as much as I have his, both fiction, travel and essays.

    I rate him with Joseph Conrad and Graham Greene. No-one better qualified to write the bio of Naipaul, who was both his literary mentor and his friend. Good of Theroux to treat the matter with typical unblanching honesty. I’ll definitely be checking this one out.

  92. 93 steve
    May 10, 2008 at 15:35

    @ Selenayvonne

    The staff here doesn’t like me to comment on politics because I keep on repeating myself. However I think the people we elect into office have serious mental issues, relating to how theyt hink about themselves and what they are entitled to. As long as we keep on electing these people, we deserve what we get. The women are no better than the men. A person’s personal life is incredibly relevant to holding public office. It enables you to identify their hypocrisy or their poor decision making abilities.

  93. 94 victork13
    May 10, 2008 at 15:36

    @Selena: you asked – “Is it realistic for the world to take a hand in Burma? The regime is doing what it pleases and, unless we want another Iraq on our hands, we have to accept it.”

    Only three things justify intervention in another country’s affairs: it is suffering from military occupation; it is engaging in genocide or mass murder; or there is a compelling national interest to warrant intervention.

    None of these apply to Burma so there should be no intervention.

    ‘The world’ usually translates as ‘the West’. Western states should have learned from Iraq and Afghanistan that high-minded interventions do not always go to plan. They should also have learned that you should never intervene in a country whose people are not prepared to help themselves, since if the intervention encounters difficulties they will be true to form and do nothing to help you.

    The West should confine itself to assisting Burma with aid. If the people of Burma and the surrounding region are not prepared to do anything for the country then it is not for foreigners living in distant lands to take it upon themselves to rescue Burma.

    One of the lessons of Burma is that even though China seems destined to become a superpower, perhaps the superpower, it is utterly unfit for the position.

  94. 95 steve
    May 10, 2008 at 15:38

    I’m curious, for any Iranians out there, how loudly did Iranians cheer when Israel destroyed Osirak in the early 1980s? Iran tried and failed about a year earlier.

  95. 96 selenayvonne
    May 10, 2008 at 15:47

    Dear, dear Steve, in my considered opinion, any country will use nuclear weapons under the right circumstances.

    You are quite right! Suicide bombers do target Israeli civilians. That is horrible and every effort should be made to stop it.

    However, an eye for an eye is just that… an eye for an eye. Nothing ever stops with violence, no matter how valid the reasons for such violence.

    Can I ask you to step outside your beliefs for a nanosecond and tell me what difference it makes to the person killed, or the families, whether they were specifically targeted, or not?

    I suppose what I am asking is for us to try to put ourselves in the other’s place, even if only for a split second in the vast sea of time. By acknowledging that the other person has the same right to life as we do peace may open like a flower.

    First comes the acknowledgment of the other’s pain and then comes the peace.

    We have the power, so it is up to us to take the high ground. There is no other way.

  96. 97 steve
    May 10, 2008 at 15:59

    @ selena

    that’s wrong, it would make defending yourself impossible. The reason why Israel kills civilians is because the terrorists fight from amongst civilians. They HOPE civilians get killed so the world gets outraged at ISrael. If you say that you can never attack an area where there are civilians, then you will forever lose wars. Your enemy will attack from civilian areas, and you won’t be able to respond, you will lose. You have to be realistic about things. The terrorists need to fight like men, and not involve civilians in it.

  97. 98 victork13
    May 10, 2008 at 16:05

    @Lubna re Saddam and Iraq.

    Don’t many Sunnis have a more positive view of Saddam? Didn’t Iraqi women under his rule enjoy freedoms that were not available to women in many parts of the Arab world. Wasn’t Iraq – pre-sanctions – a relatively prosperous country? Is there no appreciation for the fact that Saddam brought order to what we now know is a very unruly people? Can you point to verifiable figures to show that Iraqis were dying under Saddam at a greater rate than they are now dying under their government of freedom and democracy?

    You wrote, ‘Saddam Hussein used to be the most loyal servant of the Western and especially the US interests in the Middle East… The successive US governments and Western governments in general before the 2nd of Augest 1990 have always protected him, supported him, and provided him with funds and weapons…which he used to brutally murder his own people… Saddam Hussein was always strengthened and nourished by the Western and especially the American support.”

    Really?

    What need had Saddam of Western funds given Iraq’s oil wealth? Is your objection to the fact that Western countries, like the rest of the world, treated Saddam like the ruler of a sovereign state? Why shouldn’t they have traded with him and sold him arms? Iraq wasn’t their responsibility. Didn’t he have the backing of the Arab world (as well as the USA) in his unjust war with the Shiites of Iran? But I don’t see any criticism of that unpleasant exercise in racial solidarity ahead of concern for justice and peace. I suppose one point that most Iraqis supported Saddam on was his encouragement of suidice bombings in Israel (by making payments to the families of the deceased). There is a terrible irony in the fact that a practice that the Iraqi regime – and all other Muslim governments – connived at or openly supported, and whose acceptability as a tactic they jointly helped to establish, has now come back to haunt many of them.

    I really don’t understand how, when an Iraqi, together with Iraqi cronies, turns Iraq into a dictatorship, the blame isn’t to be laid at the door of the Iraqis who perpetrated the deed or the Iraqis who, like lambs, suffered the oppression for decades. No, the blame is with the West and with Western governments! Is anybody in the Middle East, the Arab world, the Muslim world or the Third World responsible for anything that ever happens in their countries? If not, could they please all climb into a box, wrap themselves up with tinsel and present themselves to the West as our legitimate property (“Since the effort of independence has proved too much for us”).

    That’s why I hold that the West should stop trying to help countries like Iraq: there is no gratitude for the thousands of dead soldiers or for the trillions of dollars wasted in the effort; just more hostility and rage towards the West. Western governments need to immediately withdraw from Iraq. We’re going to get the hostility whatever we do, so best to do nothing, have our soldiers alive and enjoying leave with their families, and spending our tax revenues where they will be appreciated – at home.

  98. 99 selenayvonne
    May 10, 2008 at 16:28

    🙂 Steve,

    It is only wrong if one thinks wars are necessary. Wouldn’t you like to see the phrase “fight like men” eliminated from the lexicon?

    I think we should look at defending one’s self as an outdated concept. Others die so that I can live? Isn’t it about time we examined that idea more closely?

    What kind of a word is enemy? And then there is lose. What kind of a word is lose?

    Sure they hope to sway the world against Israel, just like Israel would like to sway the world against them.

    When you make your points, what do your hope for in response? Do you hope that people will see Israel in a better light?

    Don’t you want Israel to be a safe place for all people?

    Leaders can talk peace until the cows come home but there will be no peace until all people are valued.

    Now, of course, if we accept that war is war and that it doesn’t matter who dies, on both sides, then let’s acknowledge that we don’t want peace. Let’s stop the charade.

  99. 100 steve
    May 10, 2008 at 16:33

    @ Selena

    That’s a little more idealistic than realistic. Facts are, there have always been wars, and there always will be wars. Humans are animals, no matter how much we deny it, we are simply animals. You need ALL sides to not war for there to be no war. You cannot expect the other side to not respond.

    Given there will be wars, at least it should be between the combatants. Hamas needs to attack (if it has to attack) from non civilian areas. That’s the only way they will stop Israel from responding in the civilian areas that Hamas attacks from.

    It’s a wee bit unfair for Israel to bare the burden of world peace, especially fighting an enemy that has no respect for human life at all. There has never been peace, there never will be peace. Don’t expect Israel to do the impossible.

  100. 101 Bob in Queensland
    May 10, 2008 at 16:48

    @Steve

    The trouble is the terrorists would argue that they hide amongst civilians because Israeli oppression and aggression makes this the only way they can defend themselves.

    Please don’t take this as me accepting this argument–I don’t.

    However, the problem with Arab-Israeli relations is that EVERY attack by either side is justified as a retaliation for some other previous action. I sincerely believe that no form of military might or terrorist bomb is ever going to resolve anything there. However, as long as outside forces continue to support one side or the other (American support of Israel, Iranian and Syrian support of terrorism) the changes of a change in the status quo are minimal.

    Change in Iran or Syria is unlikely, but maybe the “gold standard” would be for the US to make Israel far more accountable for it’s actions. Of course Israel has a right to defend itself but such defence must be proportional to the threat (which the most recent invasion of south Lebanon certainly wasn’t) and provocative acts like new settlements should certainly be censured.

  101. 102 Will Rhodes
    May 10, 2008 at 16:51

    @ Victor – I am beginning to lean your way.

    I have said on many discussions boards, blogs etc that ‘The West’ for all for the imperfections are getting a raw deal.

    Britain has helped so many nations and is now being targeted with a vile terrorism not known even when the IRA was in full swing. I have never agreed with the war in Iraq – and never will, but we do have to look in countries like Lebanon – there they are moving ever so swiftly toward civil war, yet we have to ask why? It certainly isn’t to do with the west.

    Many times historical fact is punctuated with the obvious misunderstanding of liner time – we alive now in the west were not around 100 years ago so I am sick to the back teeth of being told I have to apologise for something that happened well before I was born. I have nothing to apologise for!

    My father, uncles all fought in the second world war, my father in both European and Pacific conflicts. He should be admired and thanked for the losses he saw in the name of freedom – freedom that is now being eroded by both governments and those who wish to murder us for being born to a nation like the UK.

    My siblings and my children are now being targeted – please don’t expect me to sit back and allow this to happen so ‘people’ can claim that they have been oppressed by me and my children/siblings. I, nor my children or siblings, have oppressed anyone.

  102. 103 steve
    May 10, 2008 at 17:11

    Interesting, for those who argue about criticism of Israel and then the counterargument of antisemitism, here’s a good example of comments on the BBC. Look for comments by “am malik, Karachi “. This person clearly hates jews, and the BBC was publishing his comments, full of hateful vitriol.

    Here’s an example from someone else”

    Israel was never anyting but destructive. This is how it survived

    We are learning from Jews how to succeed; there is only one way… Wars and land grab

    Nizam B. Yagoub ”

    http://newsforums.bbc.co.uk/nol/thread.jspa?sortBy=1&forumID=4749&start=0&tstart=0&edition=2&ttl=20080510164925#paginator

    Calls from Israel to be destroyed, Jews to be shiped to europe, Jews owning the media, Jews getting things from stealing and wars…. It’s like that part of the BBC is becoming a hate site.

  103. May 10, 2008 at 17:18

    If we don’t begin somehow to integrate so-called idealism with so-called realism, we are going to wipe ourselves out. That is the real challenge of history today: that history can suddenly be made to end by our actions.

    We are not mere animals. It is hard but not impossible to overcome the urge to aggression which is expressed in violence. Peace is possible. It requires a change of mindset, in the way we relate to others, even our enemies.

    By simply surrendering to the mindset that we are what we are and can never change, we will never change, and we will bring about the end of history.

    I think people like Selena should be valued as examples of what we all should be rather than laughed out of court as idealists.

    I say again, violence is not inevitable. Historical patterns of violence have been set up by the perpetuation of an habitual mindset, and that mindset can be changed, as any mindset can. And we are now at the point in history where it’s no longer a question only of deciding whether or not we want to change. It’s now imperative that we change.

    How long can you perpetuate a cycle of violence until you realize that one of the parties has to end it by refraining from retaliation? Isn’t it worth trying it out, just once?

  104. 105 steve
    May 10, 2008 at 17:19

    @ bob

    why does “proportionality” only apply to Israel? Does what Russia does in Checnya not apply? Does ww2 not count? The US lost 250,000 soldiers in WW2, germany lost millions. Japan lost a million or so.

    Why is it only that Israel has a different standard? You fight to win, not to make sure that you kill as many of them as they kill of you. Israel “lost” in Lebanon because of them fighting with both hands tied behind their back. It’s hilarious, yet sad, that Hezbollah comes out and claims victory in the midst of their country destroyed because of their actions in attacking Israel and killing soldiers and kidnapping more.

    If Mexico did that to the US, Mexico would be a parking lot right now. You know it, I know it. Let’s stop holding Israel to a different standard.

  105. 106 selenayvonne
    May 10, 2008 at 17:20

    Will, the trouble with trying to atone for the sins of the fathers is we remain locked in the past. Every single minority group in Canada is being compensated for something or other that was done to them at one time or another in the past.

    And we never learn! We feel remorse when some action is over but that never prevents the same thing from happening again and again and again.

    We are oppressed and we oppress. It is a fact of life! Where I see a problem is when we put all the blame on one group.

    There is no one group responsible for the evils of the world. We are all in this together. Recognizing that is the only way forward.

    I absolutely agree with you that we should not have to apologize for an accident of birth. We really need to abandon the history.

  106. 107 steve
    May 10, 2008 at 17:27

    @ donovan

    Violence is absolutely inevitable, and given the world’s population is increasing, it will only get worse. More people, a limited supply of resources means conflict is in store for the future. People have always envied what others have, and when they get jealous, they want it, and conflict happens.

    Things will only get worse as the population increases.

  107. 108 Peter Gizzi UK
    May 10, 2008 at 17:30

    Hello Again Everybody,
    Have just read through all your comments, very interesting.

    Lubna peace be with you,

    Phobias. In 1944 a doodlebug (flying bomb) flew over our house in Aylesbury which is about 40 miles from London. it had gone off course. It’s engine stopped and it came down in a field about half a mile away. Many years later The BBC did a programme about WW2. When I heard a doodlebug I burst into tears. I was about 11 years old. I assume I had a hidden memory of which I was not aware?

    Spiders. I was never too keen on them. When I was 20 I had a bed sitter. One of my neighbours a young welsh girl sceamed. I found her standing frozen in the bathroom pointing at the bath. There lurked a large house spider. I carefully lifted it out in a handkerchief and set it free in the garden. My house has a cellar which is festooned with cobwebs. It looks like a set for a horror movie. The webs are made by Daddy Long Legs Spiders. I love them. Never need to buy fly spray. They even catch house spiders.

    abelilah boukila.

    Sex Education. Mine took place over the fields in the 1950s. I started when I was 12. My parents never discussed sex nor did school. The boys I went with all got married. I knew what I wanted. I do feel children should be given sex education and advise. I also feel the parents should in someway be more involved.

    Donovan Roebert.

    Serbia. Have to say I do not know too much about this region but did visit the former Yugoslavia 47 years ago. My Italian Surname caused problems as we entered via Trieste. Not much love lost there it seems? It was at the time very beautiful but I was told to “hide” my telescope used for plane spotting as the authorities might “put me away”. As for Serbia joining The European Union I say NO! Guess what we have no say anyway. Yugoslavia collapsed because it was forced on the local people. The Soviet Union collapsed for similar reasons. I think The European Union will collapse too as there is so much bad feeling towards it and we have so little say. The only reason The European Union embrases any country is to get their hands on any money.

    Bob in Queensland.

    I have mentioned on here that The Australians have compusory voting, an idea I like. How do you feel about and would it do the rest of The World good?

    Finally we are having the most wonderful weather in The UK. Winter to Summer in a week. Hope it lasts. Hope this sunshine reaches you all.

  108. May 10, 2008 at 17:35

    Hello again Precious VictorK…. Thanks sooooo much for your reply… I always say that you must be able to see and strongly condemn the defect no matter where the defect is, even within your own self… And I also always say that everybody has let Iraq down, and on the top of the list are Iraqis themselves…. Saddam Hussein had managed to stay in power and intimidate Iraqis for 35 years because we Iraqis continued to obey and worship him, because we Iraqis didn’t dare to say NO to him and stand in his face… BUT, what I said in my earlier post are all UNDENIABLE HISTORIC FACTS… May I remind you of what happened in 1988- the year of the horrific Anfal massacre- when the Saddami regime used Western and American made chemical weapons to murder brutally 5000 innocent Kurdish civilians in one day ?! What was the reaction of the Western governments (the symbol of democracy, human rights, and the value of the human life) at that time to that horrific massacre ?! TOTAL SHAMELESS SILENCE !! And what about what happened in the aftermath of the 1st Gulf war in 1991, when 14 Iraqi provinces from 18 uprose strongly and courageously against Saddam and his brutal regime, the revolution was about to succeed, Saddam and his regime were about to be overthrown, and the Western Coalition forces were there, were sooooo close and able to help and support the revolutionists in their struggle against dictatorship and oppression.. BUT, Ah, they just stood there and watched without doing anything at all… And of course I don’t need to remind all of you guys of what Saddam and his regime did to the revolutionists after that…. With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  109. 110 selenayvonne
    May 10, 2008 at 17:37

    Steve, when people read things that are clearly false, most are able to see and decide for themselves how to incorporate the remarks into the process of understanding.

    Give people a chance and they are quite intelligent about what constitutes lies and propaganda.

    If they are prevented from saying how they feel, however, they are forever locked into a pattern of frustration.

    Comments on websites convey a picture of a person and from that picture we usually get an idea of what, and what not, to believe.

    The Internet is an open book. It is best not to try to close it. Closing books is not a good thing for anyone.

  110. 111 Will Rhodes
    May 10, 2008 at 17:41

    @ Selena

    There is no one group responsible for the evils of the world. We are all in this together. Recognizing that is the only way forward.

    As I keep repeating and repeating and repeating and repeating and repeating and repeating!

    This is why I am so anti-political correctness – it is their agenda to have each of us recognised that we are all different so then we can be legitimised et al! Never-ending circle of despair!

    We are a part of a smaller society that is a part of a greater society. How is that hard to understand?

  111. 112 steve
    May 10, 2008 at 17:45

    @ Peter

    You are describing the V-1. That had a pulsejet engine, a primitive form of a jet, creating thrust in pulses. The engine would cut off and that was time for it to hit whatever it’s target was. Fortunately they weren’t incredibly fast, so RAF planes had been known to knock them off course using their wings to bump them in a dive.

    Though it might be traumatic for you to watch, there’s a movie called Operation Crossbow that is about the V-1 and V-2 starring George Peppard and Sophia Loren.

  112. 113 Peter Gizzi UK
    May 10, 2008 at 18:14

    Hi Steve,
    I’ve been an aircraft enthusiast since i was 6 years old. Know lots about all types of aircraft engines including pulse jets. They still make them today. See youtube. Yes saw the film you mention though old age and memory means I’ve lost the details. Thanks anyway.

  113. 114 Estelle
    May 10, 2008 at 18:19

    @Selena

    My family is JW and they have all said they would refuse blood transfusions for their children.

    They are my nieces and nephews and I am not happy about that. I can see, however, that parents should have some rights over their children.

    I guess it depends on if there is a good chance for success whether you force the issue of treatment.

  114. May 10, 2008 at 18:19

    Overpopulation is a problem that needs to be addressed together with many other problems. It can be solved by applying reason, as it has been solved in Europe.

    Violence is never a solution to anything.

  115. 116 steve
    May 10, 2008 at 18:20

    @ Peter

    If ever in the US, you should see the Udvar Hazy center of the National Air and Space Museum by Dulles Airport. I’ve loved airplanes my entire life. Had I been born with perfect eyesight, I would have been a pilot. Any favorites? I would kill to get my hands on an F-8 Crusader.

  116. 117 Estelle
    May 10, 2008 at 18:29

    Lubna,

    I used to have an irrational fear of spiders. But I mostly talked myself out of it.

    I still jump if I come across one accidentally. Then I tell myself how foolish it is and the fear disappears.

  117. 118 viola anderson
    May 10, 2008 at 18:42

    Wow. So many topics. O.K. In the issue regarding whether the world would be justified in deciding to forcibly intervene in Burma-Myannmar’s distribution of world aid to the hurricane survivors here is what I came up with:

    I am wondering if the Burma junta’s insistence on its right to totally control what happens to its people is akin to the issue of some men’s insistence, not as common anymore at least in the Western world, that how he treats his family members is his and only his business when someone outside takes him to task for it.

    It seems clear to me that if the nation-state can tell the head of a family not to mistreat members of his family, then the world through the United Nations can tell Burma to stop mistreating its citizens. There must, however, be the will and there must be enforcement.

  118. 119 Estelle
    May 10, 2008 at 18:43

    Is violence inevitable?

    The people in Plato’s cave didn’t know any other world. But there was one just outside waiting to be discovered.

  119. 120 selenayvonne
    May 10, 2008 at 18:51

    Viola, you have an interesting point of view. And you are right, there is no use deciding anything unless there is a way to enforce the decision.

  120. 121 Peter Gizzi UK
    May 10, 2008 at 19:35

    Hi Again Steve,
    Loved The Crusader. Still Chance Vought in those days part of Boeing now I think? Had variable incidence wings, very futuristic for the time. Pratt & Whittney J57 engine I think> Am getting rusty.

    My all time favourite has to be The Lockheed SR 71. Saw it at The Farnborough Air Display in 1976 when it had just crossed the atlantic ocean in about 2 and a half hours. It was a total surlrise! I was amazed that at low power it was so quiet. When the reheat (afterburner) lit WOW. After it landed and had shed the enormous brake chute it parked. Like magic about 30 people appeared! When it shut down it’s engines the all flying fins folded sideways through loss of hydraulic power.

    My second favourite has to be Concord. Those wonderful Bristol Siddely Olympus Engines. Rolls Royce bought the company in 1967 so they then got a new label.

    In my early teens we got loads of B 47s, F 100s and McDonnel Voodoos flying over. The F 100s and Voodoos often brke the sound barrier! Gave me an enormous kick, but caused lots of moans from the locals.

    Doubt that I’ll ever visit The USA as my paasport is “the old type”. Refuse to change it as it is one of the last with the British Coat of Arms on it. They are now European that makes me sick!

    Anyway good to talk to you.

  121. 122 judy
    May 10, 2008 at 19:47

    Re; US election …question
    Hillary appeared near here Thursday night. It was widely advertised as free and no tickets or reservations needed to attend. Is this ordinary? It seemed a publicity gimic.

  122. 123 Katharina in Ghent
    May 10, 2008 at 19:53

    My dearest Lubna,

    Sorry that I get back to you only now but we’re moving in two weeks AND going on vacation on Tuesday, so we have to pack everything this weekend. You can’t imagine the amount of fun that I’m NOT having… 😉

    Your fears are not phobias, they are real. I’m not a psychologist, but I believe a phobia is unfounded fear. I’ve a car phobia, even though everything has been repaired and I now have roadside assistance. But the war in Iraq is real and the possibility that you amy lose a loved person is also real. I can’t even begin to imagine what your life must be like, and I only wish that peace will come sooner rather than later, but this wish is probably in vain.

    I heard on the news that a truce has been agreed on now in Sadr-City, maybe you can breathe now a little easier?

    Yours forever,
    Kathi

  123. 124 steve
    May 10, 2008 at 19:55

    @ Peter

    Yup, it had a J57. Look at this, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XF8U-3_Crusader_III

    An experimental version of it from 1958 that flew at mach 2.6, and thought to have been capable of mach 2.9, way back in the 1950s!

    Despite having grown up in the Washington, DC area, there isn’t much military flight activity here except for flyovers at Arlington Cemetary. I’m sure there will be a flyover on Sunday. When I was a kid, my parents would take me to Virginia Beach, and there would be Navy Jets like F-14s flying all the time around there. Wow, B-47s, that was a really long time ago.. Very nice looking airplane though.

    So are you saying your passport has expired and you wont renew it? Don’t they let you keep the old one when you renew? We just get ours voided and they return it with the new one.

  124. 125 selenayvonne
    May 10, 2008 at 20:46

    @Judy

    I don’t know about the US but here in Canada there are no reservations or tickets necessary for a political event. The more people attend the better. They love to have overflow.

  125. 126 Peter Gizzi UK
    May 10, 2008 at 20:46

    Hi Again Steve,
    My passport is valid until 2016 when I will be 74. I purposely renewed it early to get “the old style” British Passport. I am amazed that the government gave in to having the new one. If I live that long I doubt that I will want to travel by then. Remember The Crusader 3 but will check the link, thanks.

  126. 127 judy
    May 10, 2008 at 21:09

    @selenayvonne:
    Thanks.
    When Obama was here I couldn’t have gotten in. Tickets were gone immediately.
    Also, I haven’t paid enough attention but I thought some of the appearances for all candidates were fundraisers.
    FYI … I have already voted by mail, but our primary is May 20th. judy

  127. 128 selenayvonne
    May 10, 2008 at 21:09

    Steve,

    I am curious. How do you define having a regard for human life? Maybe others could have a go at this, too.

    Thanks…

  128. 129 viola anderson
    May 10, 2008 at 21:18

    Hi, again.

    Lubna (and all the rest of you terrific posters), I admit that I don’t know every single event that has taken place in the Middle East or all the motivations for all the countries that have fought or are now fighting in that area. Do you? Even so, I think we are right to try to present differing viewpoints from different parts of the world.

    I think it is inevitable that you will accept more of the prevailing “wisdom” in your area about events and causes and motivations of the participants and that you will seek to convince others of the correctness of these views.

    Likewise, it is inevitable that I, being of the “West” will accept more of the prevailing “wisdom” of this part of the world.

    So I ask, is there any way in your opinion that we on this blog can come to some kind of agreement with respect to historical events, even though our perspectives are so different?

    Maybe we could name some sources that we trust to be accurate and see if we can agree on some of them?

  129. 130 selenayvonne
    May 10, 2008 at 21:23

    @Judy

    Here in Canada they have specific fund-raisers. Then you have to purchase a ticket.

    Otherwise, if there is a rally, they usually book a small room and organize more people to turn up. Rallies are held when the candidate is flitting around from place to place to get as much exposure as possible.

    If the room is filled to overflowing, the optics are better for the media. It gives the impression that there is huge interest, even when there isn’t. And you must phone around and make sure that there will be people. Nothing is spontaneous.

    What the Obama campaign did was encourage people who were never involved in politics to become involved. That is a tactic that can produce new results and it always surprises the Old Guard. What they don’t sometimes realize is that if you make a phone call to new people they are flattered and will get involved. It is a given!

    Organization is all about making something look like it isn’t. I used to be a political organizer and could swing with the best 😉

  130. 131 victork13
    May 10, 2008 at 21:31

    @ Lubna: you wrote, “And I also always say that everybody has let Iraq down, and on the top of the list are Iraqis themselves.” I’d like to take a step back from that. My general view is that every country is responsible for itself, and to itself. Sympathy and aid are, I’m sure, always helpful, but in their absence there can be no expectation on the part of country A that it has a right to help from country B. Any country that depends on another country to uphold its basic economic, social and poltical infrastructure is not a sovereign state but a colony. Every sovereign state – which is what Iraq was under Saddam – is entitled to trade with any other state in lawful goods. What use it chooses to put those goods to is its right and responsibility and nobody else’s. It would never occur to me to blame another country for any problem facing Britain because Britain has it entirely within her power to deal with any problem she faces. I have the same regard for every other sovereign state.

    Re the Anfal massacre – I don’t believe that any Western government has a mandate to promote democracy, human rights or a respect for human life outside its own borders. I think it right that they encourage these things where they can, but they have no right to impose them on others as a gift. That some Western governments are perpetually lecturing the world about human rights and democracy has earned them a deserved reputation as hypocrites when they are shown to have no action to back up their words. The remedy for this is not government activism but for Western governments to shut up and attend to the things that fall within the ambit of their responsibilities. Responsibility for Anfal begins and ends with Saddam.

    It is, or should be, for every people to work out their destiny according to their traditions, values and aspirations, without external interference, whether benign or malign.

  131. 132 viola anderson
    May 10, 2008 at 21:31

    Thanks, Selenayvonne. Even though I said that I should also say that nations and, certainly, individuals are justifiably reluctant to permit a world power that much power.

    Do you think that a world government with such powers is the next logical level of organization that will take place? And if it does, will it be a good thing?

  132. 133 victork13
    May 10, 2008 at 21:50

    @ Viola: you wrote, “Maybe we could name some sources that we trust to be accurate and see if we can agree on some of them” (re the Middle East).

    I was thinking about an exercise along just these lines, ‘Five Essential Facts’. It would involve people contributing five pieces of information that they consider key, with links or references to reputable sources for each fact, about issues like Israel-Palestine, Tibet and so on. Once we had enough verified facts to act as a point of departure we might then be able to have a proper discussion rather than the denunciation and counter-denunciation that too often substitutes for discussion of some issues (not to mention flagrant lies and ignorant assertion). We could vary the approach and ask five key questions around known issues, e.g.
    1. How many Palestinians left Israel as refugess?
    2. How many Jews left the Arab world as refugees?
    3. How many Palestinians have died as a result of the former Israeli occupation and the Intifada?
    4. How many terrorist attacks has Israel suffered since its founding?
    5. how many Israelis have died as a result of Palestinian terror?

    The answers to these questions would, once established, at least introduce a sense of proportion and enable people to move the debate away from what was no longer disputed ground. We could repeat the exercise as the debate progressed until we were at a point where the facts had been more or less established and the debate could then occur not at the level of fact but on the basis of competing values and broader principles: the right of the UN to have partitioned the Palestine territory, whether the Palestinians are a genuine nation and entitled to statehood, and so on.

  133. 134 viola anderson
    May 10, 2008 at 21:57

    About the AIDS/HIV epidemic and whether political correctness prevents effective action to control it, I would say that it has been believed by those dealing with it that it is important to prevent its being turned into a moral issue. If the world in general comes to believe that the best way to control the disease is to condemn the people who have it because they are sexually immoral or drug addicted, the result would be to drive it underground.

    I guess it would be accurate to say that people who specify that the money they donate go to help only those they perceive to be innocent victims are saying that those who could have just said no don’t deserve help with their disease. So that is a moralizing approach to the disease and not helpful.

    As for money going to cure rather than prevent, what else is new? There’s a pile of money to be made selling drugs to desperate people.

  134. 135 viola anderson
    May 10, 2008 at 22:02

    Victor: Excellent suggestion. I am game. I don’t have any links to offer, as I am barely computer literate though trying to learn. I wonder if the good folks of WHYS would accept U.N. data as authoritative.

  135. May 10, 2008 at 22:08

    Wow, so many deep topics. A quick few.

    @Violence- Violence is only inevitable as long as there is one person believes that violence is inevitable.

    Like I said before, I am an agnostic who gets the meaning of the lesson Jesus was trying to preach. Everything he brought in his “new way” was about one thing. It was about ending the circle of violence. Forgiveness, Tolerance, casting off material desires, and aspiring to peace were all messages designed to stop the “eye for an eye” mentality. The message of “The Passion” was that no matter what somebody did to him, his faith that there was a better world waiting for him in the afterlife allowed him to forgive his persecutors. On paper this is probably the most well designed but fragile system ever.

    Simple math here. Stick two men in a room with no gun, and the chances that somebody will eventually get shot is 0%. Put one gun in a room with two men and the chances that somebody will get shot goes up to 50%. Put a gun, two men and a woman in a room, and complete destruction is a guaranteed 100%. The best situation is that nobody has a gun.

    @ nuclear weapons. You can not tell your “developing” children not to drink, smoke, or do drugs with a beer in one hand, a cigarette in the other hand, and a line of coke on the table. You can’t tell the rest of the world they don’t need Nuclear weapons while your country is sitting one the largest arsenal and being the only one to have ever used them. A government teacher conducted an experiment when I was a Senior. He had everybody fold a paper airplane at the beginning of class. He then instructed us not to throw them. He had never conducted that experiment in 15 yrs of teaching where at least one plane didn’t get thrown by the end of class.

  136. 137 victork13
    May 10, 2008 at 22:11

    @Brett: I’m listening to some Bach Motets and to the Easter Oratorio. Naturally this reminded me of hip-hop and that I’d meant to respond to your earlier post.

    You obviously know a great deal more about hip-hop than I do. Are you aware of any studies that offer an overview on the content of hip-hop lyrics? I’m surprised that there are hip-hop tracks addressing key social, cultural and moral issues and rappers encouraging safe sex. The impression given – as in the article I linked to – is that it’s all mindless depravity. But how representative are the socially conscious, responsible hip-hop and rap artists? That’s where empirical studies will hopefully give some hard data on which to make a meaningful overall judgement.

  137. May 10, 2008 at 22:11

    @ Saddam and the west. It is true that the people guiding our foreign “helped” Saddam come to power. The drive was not so innocent as to make life better for the people of the region. It was greed that forged the partnership. These representatives for the US saw a vast region with lots of oil. Their problem was that there was no solid governing structure to deal with. “Which Indian tribe were we going to pay for the land” so to speak. So the US and “the west” set up a government. These ”representatives” found a puppet national who would sell us the oil. Of course The US diplomats needed that loyal “Leader” to stay in power. So we sold him weapons and other resources. The US wanted Oil, Saddam wanted to destroy his families millennium old enemies. Unfortunately, he stopped cooperating to the extent that the US wanted him to. Without the US and our oil lust there would be no Saddam. There would just be an age old civil war over ideologies.

    Trying to pass it off as the powers that be running the US foreign policy at that time were just looking out for the well being of Iraqis is “popikosh.” They had about as much concern for the Iraqis people as Saddam did. Of course all that mattered to the average red blooded American is that the gas stations kept pumping gas like it was their right.

  138. 139 viola anderson
    May 10, 2008 at 22:20

    The story about the writer who mistreated both his wife and his mistress is interesting.

    I think what anyone writes should be read and understood for itself alone without reference to the writer. Same for any art form such as plays or movies.

    This issue came clear to me many years ago when my mother became all incensed because the woman who played the virtuous mother in a television show (I think it was Little House on the Prairie) did something in her private life that wasn’t virtuous. My mom thought that people presenting a virtuous face to the public even in acting roles were obliged to be virtuous in private or be barred from playing that role.

    It may seem ludicrous now but I remember the uproar in the media at the time.

    It seems much the same issue to try to discount what someone has written solely on the basis of what he does in his private life.

    I’ve got to wonder why the man didn’t go to jail for beating someone so hard that he injured his hands. Isn’t it pretty much illegal all over the world to beat someone like that for any reason other than self-defense?

  139. 140 Peter Gizzi UK
    May 10, 2008 at 22:31

    Hi again everybody,
    Am enjoying reading your comments, have nothing to add at present. Did just notice google are offering to donate to “The Burma” fund. Not sure how it works? Match you dollar for dollar.? I’m still thinking about it. Might be worth a look.

    Signing off early tonight. Up at 5 a.m. for leafleting. Goodnight.

  140. 141 selenayvonne
    May 10, 2008 at 22:41

    Good night Peter! What is leafleting?

  141. 142 selenayvonne
    May 10, 2008 at 22:46

    @ Viola and Victor

    All things being equal your suggestions are good ones. The trouble for me is who to trust.

    Everyone has an agenda. Remember there is “credible” evidence for all sides. Remember Saddam’s WMDs??

    For me the solution is more basic than the history. We have got to start looking at human rights for everyone and how that applies to the world’s trouble spots, in my opinion.

  142. 143 Will Rhodes
    May 11, 2008 at 00:12

    selenayvonne May 10, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    Good night Peter! What is leafleting?

    Posting flyers 🙂

  143. 144 Amy
    May 11, 2008 at 00:51

    @ Lubna and phobias

    I have an irrational fear of spiders and bridges. This doesn’t bode well for me as our house backs to a forest and the Portland, Oregon metro area is full of bridges! I refuse however to pass on my fears to my daughters so I calmly deal with the dreaded eight legged creatures that love my house and grip the steering wheel tightly while driving over the bridges. I am always afraid that the weight of my car will be the straw that broke the bridges back and I will plunge into the depths of the Willamette River. Tragically, the events in Minneapolis last year only reinforced my fear. However, when we moved to Portland nine years ago, I never thought I would be able to drive across the many bridges here but I forced myself to face my fears. Mine are irrational. Precious Lubna, your fears are genuine. Stay safe as this blog (and the world) would miss you tremendously if you were no longer with us.

    Amy in Beaverton, Oregon

  144. 145 Amy
    May 11, 2008 at 00:58

    @ Judy

    While the events may be “free” they do gather your information to hit you up for a campaign contribution. I do also seem to notice that while the rallies for the democratic candidates seem to be free and open to anyone, the McCain campaign appears to be following the Bush/Cheney lead and screening attendees.

    Tickets for events go quickly and require you to camp out to ensure tickets. My eight year old was bitterly disappointed that I wouldn’t get up at 5 AM on a Saturday to take her to see Hillary Clinton when the senator was near our house a few weeks ago. She is following this election closely and realizes that the outcome will affect her future.

    Amy in Beaverton, Oregon

  145. 146 selenayvonne
    May 11, 2008 at 02:12

    @Viola

    How much of a writer’s personality is reflected in her/his writing? It seems to me that we can know each other quite well from what we write here. Is it the same with formal writing?

    What does a man who has such a disturbed personality write convey to his readers?

    And your are right to wonder how he escaped the law.

    I looked up his history and found that he came from a family of writers. Would he have gone so far without that pedigree?

    For instance, would George Bush have gotten to be President without his family history?

  146. 147 Estelle
    May 11, 2008 at 02:20

    @Lubna

    It is interesting to ask if there is any difference between country and homeland.

    To me homeland is more personal, more heartfelt. But that may be the only difference.

  147. 148 Amy
    May 11, 2008 at 02:34

    @Country vs Homeland

    As I have only lived in the US, I can’t relate on a country level. However, I have lived in a few different states. I currently live in Oregon, so I guess I would relate that to my country. I grew up in Illinois (Chicago area to be precise) and I have always considered that my “home state.” My favorite professional sports teams are from there and I compare so many things to my upbringing in Illinois. So many things here in Oregon remind me of “home” and that is why I love it here and invite any and all of you to come for a visit.

    Amy in Beaverton, Oregon

  148. May 11, 2008 at 06:28

    Hey all — latest from Burma:

    PR Gimmick

    Yangon – Myanmar’s military regime turned the relief effort for last week’s devastating cyclone into a propaganda exercise by distributing international aid with names of top generals pasted on the boxes.

    State-run television ran images of top generals, including junta leader Senior Gen Than Shwe, handing out boxes of aid to survivors at elaborate ceremonies.

    One box bore the name of Lt-Gen Myint Swe, a rising star in the government hierarchy, in bold letters overshadowing a smaller label that read: ‘Aid from the Kingdom of Thailand.’

    AP

    How much longer do we tolerate this?

  149. 150 Bob in Queensland
    May 11, 2008 at 06:44

    Sorry for the delay in a couple of replies but time zone differences catch up with you!

    Anyway:

    @steve

    [quote]why does “proportionality” only apply to Israel? Does what Russia does in Checnya not apply?[/quote]

    Of course it does. I only concentrated on the middle east because that was the topic on the table when I posted. However, as for Israel’s proportionality, how many people have actually died in the last 30 years of occasional short range rockets being lobbed inaccurately over the border, compared to the death and destruction incurred in a few weeks of military action during Israel’s most recent Lebanese misadventure.

    You actually make my point for me. Despite bombing Lebanon virtually back into the dark ages and killing thousands of “innocents”, Hezbollah popped up as soon as it was over and claimed victory. I repeat what I said earlier: military action is not going to solve anything in that area. If anything, it’s just strengthens the resolve of the other side. Will terrorist bombs bring Israel to its knees? Nope, it just makes them retaliate. Will an Israeli attack on Lebanon destroy Hezbollah? Nope, it just increases the popular support for their attacks on Israel.

    @Peter Gizzi UK

    [quote]I have mentioned on here that The Australians have compusory voting, an idea I like. How do you feel about and would it do the rest of The World good?

    Finally we are having the most wonderful weather in The UK. Winter to Summer in a week. Hope it lasts. Hope this sunshine reaches you all.[/quote]

    I’ve only been in Australia for about 8 months (after emigrating from the UK) but, in that time, have been here for 2 elections–on federal and one for local government.

    The compulsory voting isn’t quite as ideal as I expected. There are still too many people who don’t keep involved in politics and only vote because they have to. This manifests itself by the names at the top of the ballot paper having a slight be definite advantage as the “don’t cares” just go for the names near the top! (It’s all proportional representation here so instead of an X you put a series of numbers in order of choice—the cheat is just to go one through X in order of the candidates.

    That said, despite this disadvantage, I still see this as a superior system and think other countries could benefit from it.

    Oh, and as for the weather, it’s early winter here and yesterday we had exactly the same high temp as a friend in Glasgow I was chatting with! The only thing is, after 8 months here, a high of 24 feels cool…and the evening downright cold! I’m bundling up here like I used to do in midwinter in Bedfordshire!

  150. 151 Dennis Young, Jr.
    May 11, 2008 at 08:06

    @ ZK

    I am going to try my best to answer your
    question: How much longer do we tolerate this?

    No much longer…..

    Dennis from Madrid, USA

  151. 152 Dennis Young, Jr.
    May 11, 2008 at 08:10

    @ selenayvonne:

    to answer your question : What is leafleting?

    here is the definition to the question!
    Any form of advertising which involves people handing out leaflets, vouchers, free newspapers and samples on the street or other public space.

    Dennis
    Madrid, U.S.A.

  152. May 11, 2008 at 08:38

    Still waiting and hoping that the Serbian injustice will one day make it on to the agenda.

    And, where are Jacques Rogge and the IOC hiding out these days? Did they even comment on the shipload of Chinese arms destined for mad Bob in Zimbabwe?

    And, thanks to the EU leaders who put such tremendous pressure on China to have another token meeting (the 7th) with the representatives of the Dalai Lama, which, for the 7th time, achieved zero. If they had any real concern for Tibet, they’d have insisted on opening Tibet up to impartial observers.

    And, hooray for the Democrats who, just when history demanded a highly credible candidate, fielded one who would like to obliterate Iran and one who got his spiritual training from a gospel loon. So, congratulations to McCain.

  153. 154 Bob in Queensland
    May 11, 2008 at 08:51

    @Dennis Young

    Nice thought. However, which “we” is actually going to have the political will to take action? Yeah, we could with hold aid but does that hurt the generals? Nope, not one bit. Will anyone take military action, especially in the face of support for the regime from the likes of China? Doubt it. Unfortunately.

  154. 155 victork13
    May 11, 2008 at 10:38

    @Bob & ZK: as with other international issues, the ‘we’ that is expected to act is the crux of the matter.

    ‘We’ usually means ‘the West’. But apart from helping in the aid effort, it’s hard to see how any kind of Western intervention could be justified in the absence of any real or plausible Western national interest (as there was in Iraq – until exposed as a lie – and Afghanistan). In any case, the public in countries like the UK and US have now learned to be wary about sending their troops to fight where there is no clear and unambiguous reason for doing so. When it comes to changing the regime or putting pressure on it, Burma is not a Western problem. ‘We’ doesn’t include ‘us’.

    The countries that it could be argued might have a role in Burma are easy to identify: her trade partners, i.e. those who indirectly support the regime. The official figures for 2006 give the following as Burma’s main partners for exports and imports (with the % of Burma’s total exports to or imports from each country given in brackets):

    Exports: Thailand (48%), India (13%), China (5%), Japan (5%).

    Imports: China (35%), Thailand (22%), Singapore (16%), Malaysia (5%).

    The figures are taken from the CIA World Factbook online.

    There are half a dozen south east Asian nations who amongst them have the economic muscle to coerce Burma in whatever direction they please. The question is whether they have any obligation to do so. In the absence of genocide or mass murder by the Burmese state I don’t think those countries are under any obligation to act on Burma. It would be nice if they felt some moral compulsion to exert pressure on the Burmese authorities, but that kind of behaviour is far more characteristic of Western states. The Chinese especially have demonstrated that suffering and death amongst non-Chinese, which China’s influence could mitigate, means absolutely nothing to them. And it’s China, as I understand, that arms the Burmese generals.

    ‘We’ of the West have no standing when it comes to acting on Burma and the ‘we’ of south east Asia – beyond providing some aid – lack both a right to intervene and a significant tradition of humanitarian intervention that could lead us to expect anything from them. I don’t think anything is going to happen to end the reign of the generals.

  155. May 11, 2008 at 11:54

    Parliment elections in Kuwait, new 5 district system.
    Lot of people protesting unfairness
    No change is estimated

  156. 157 victork13
    May 11, 2008 at 12:14

    This story seems too good to be true: Darfur rebels set to capture Khartoum!

    The destruction of the Sudanese regime would be an excellent thing, but it seems such an unlikely development. We’ll see.

    There’s a message here for the people of countries like Burma: don’t look to the outside world for your salvation – take up arms and confront the enemy.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/darfur-rebels-poised-to-take-khartoum-825914.html

  157. 158 victork13
    May 11, 2008 at 12:30

    Did Hillary and ‘America’s First Black President’ play the race card only to have it backfire? Andrew Sullivan thinks so

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/andrew_sullivan/article3907239.ece

  158. 159 victork13
    May 11, 2008 at 12:57

    The worst country in the world to be a woman?

    http://lifeandhealth.guardian.co.uk/women/story/0,,2278332,00.html

  159. 160 Peter Gizzi UK
    May 11, 2008 at 13:36

    Hi Everybody, I’m back again!

    Selenayvonne. Will Rhodes and Dennis Young Jr have answered your question. I will bore you with a bit more. I am a member of The U.K. Idependence Party who want The U.K. to leave The European Union. We see it as a complete waste of Britsh taxpayers money. We pay out 14.2 Billion Pounds per Annum, but only get back about 4.2 Billion. Where the other 10 Billion goes seems a bit of a mystery. They have not completed their accounts for over 13 years!, A private company doing the same would have been closed down. There’s much more but that’s my bit for today.

    Bob in Queensland.

    Were I younger I too would emigrate. I cannot print my feelings towards what was my country. Glad to hear overall you feel the compusory vote is good. May I print your comments to read at a local meeting tomorrow? It is something UKIP supports. Nice to hear the views of a “newey”.

    Atheism.

    Following on the discussion above there was an interesting programme on the wireless this morning about humanists. I have been to 2 humanist funerals and thought they were far better that “the others”. They spoke about the deceased as real human beings flaws and all. It seems they do weddings too! They also come in a variety of “types”. In the event my body is not used for medical science might go for one of their services.

    A teeny question. There is a service pack 3 download for Windows XP users. I downloaded it (took 1 hour and a half) but am not sure what it is supposed to do. The computer takes much longer to start? Is it just a security thing?

    On a brighter note really hot here again. To think 2 weeks ago I still needed the heater on. Sunshine to you all. Am going to do a spot of plane spotting on youtube. Back later.

  160. May 11, 2008 at 13:44

    Well I haven’t consulted the Sullivan article (yet), but I’d say that playing the race card nowadays is bound to backfire on principle.

    The world is much more steeped in the dynamics of multiculturalism than ever before and it’s a problem that’s still going to do some serious haunting of the entrenched, taboo-ridden, tyrannical left-wing mindset.

    “Racism” is another of those goads that need to be thrown out of the vocabulary of all socio-political debate. It’s just plain played-out.

    Perhaps someone still remembers the huge sigh of relief that blew through the Netherlands and Europe in general when the intellectually flamboyant maverick, Pim Fortuyn, stood up and began to tell the truth about multiculturalism in his country. He was so admired that he would no doubt have become the first non-conformist Dutch premier in recorded history. But he was gunned down in Hilversum on his way to a tv interview.

    Gunned down by an environmentalist lunatic, it was claimed; and, indeed, the environmental lunatic was produced for public inspection.

    But seldom in the history of a leftist ideological federation such as the EU has a lunatic acted so fortuitously to rid it of a major threat to its basic tenets.

    If Pim Fortuyn had lived, the honest, non-taboo-ridden multicultural debate that would have been enabled by his example might have shifted Europe along to a much more acceptable relationship between indigene and non-indigene population groups.

    For my part, every time someone plays the race card, I know that some form of skullduggery or leftist bunkum is afoot.

    See the little Victor/Shirley episode above and judge for youself.

  161. May 11, 2008 at 14:35

    CNN cited a study released that said conservatives were “Happier then ‘left leaning’ individuals.” That started a storm of blog exchanges on CNN. Those representing the liberal side just kept calling conservatives disillusioned, shallow thinking, religious nuts. The most often posted comment was “ignorance is bliss.” The people representing the conservative side characterized liberal thinkers as poor, freeloading, lazy, criminals that are just looking for a free government hand-out.

    The article can be found here. http://caffertyfile.blogs.cnn.com/2008/05/09/why-are-conservatives-happier-than-liberals/

    So I am interested in other people’s description of what they think “conservative” and “liberal” thinking ideas are?

  162. May 11, 2008 at 15:10

    Peter,

    I am always leery of windows service packs. In the past they have ruined operatins system and forced re-installation. I haven’t heard anything good or bad about SP3. However they almost always slow the startup process. Vista is awful.

    I highly recommend switching to UBUNTU Linux. It is free, it is supported, and it works great! It come with a full office package, a great web browser, and nobody writes viruses for it. Most spyware programs will not run in the UBUNTU environment.

    It is great for those who just use their computer to surf the net and write documents. It is bad is you record music. (Reason and Cubase don’t play well with it.) Use AutoCAD, ( there is nothing close for Linux.), or use a lot of different software. Gamers love it for WOW and Halo.

  163. 164 victork13
    May 11, 2008 at 15:13

    @Peter: I have to agree with you that the European Union, on its political side, is a disaster in the making. I can see merit in a European trade zone involving sovereign nation-states, but the determination to force us into becoming citizens of ‘a country called Europe’ has shown the EU in its true light: a progressive-minded despotism.

    @Donovan: yes, it was curious how Fortuyn’s opinions scandalised the political establishment in Holland and other countries, but nobody ever really argued that he was wrong factually or attempted any serious refutation of the positions he took. But things were even worse in the case of the Vlaams Blok in Belgium, where an entire political party was effectively assassinated for violsting laws on ‘incitement to hate and discrimination’. Some aspects of the Blok were certainly distasteful, but in a free country that is hardly a reason for having laws that can be used to destroy a party because of its political opinions. Nobody in the EU hierarchy, as far as I’m aware, protested this act of judicial suppression, even though the same hypocrites are forever lecturing Turkey about democracy, freedom and human rights.

    Racism is real enough and ought to be combatted; people who use the word ‘racist’ in order to bully and intimidate are just as real and should be combatted too.

    I’m still waiting for the other ‘driver’ in the earlier ‘slap and run’ incident you referred to to come back and set out her argument more fully.

  164. 165 Bob in Queensland
    May 11, 2008 at 15:26

    @Peter Gizzi UK

    Feel free to quote me if you like…but I hope you manage to clean up the two or three typos I see I made in that post!

    As for getting into Australia, I’m probably older than you but managed it by virtue of an Aussie wife and a decent personal/company pension scheme which means I don’t cost them anything!

    Regarding the American Democrats, race cards aside, one thing which has struck me is how little has been made of Clinton’s “baggage”. Indeed, she’s allowed to get away with claiming greater experience (even though, officially, it was as First Lady not a real elected post). In my memory, most of this “experience” was a dismal failure in her efforts on health care and clouds over the Clinton name regarding things like “Whitewater”.

    I don’t know if this is just a clean campaign or a desire by Democrats not to remind people of the past….

  165. May 11, 2008 at 15:32

    A very big HELLO to all of you my Precious friends, and to Precious VictorK I say : When I said that everyone has let Iraq down, and on the top of the list are Iraqis themselves, I mean POST INVASION IRAQ… May I remind you that I also always say that the US and the British occupation forces are PARTLY responsible for messing up my Iraq ?! There’re so many players when it comes to deciding my Iraq’s destiny, because in case you forgot Precious VictorK, may I remind you that my Iraq is under the US and British occupation ?! And also our ‘good neighbours’ just refuse to stop interfering in our affairs, in case you forgot that too… And THANK YOU Precious Dwight for saying all what I wanted to say…. I adore so many aspects of the Western civilisation, and I do have sooooo many Precious British and American friends, but I just can’t help it… When I see something wrong wherever it is, I just shout outloud and say ‘This is wrong!’. After all that’s how dad raised me ! And a very big THANK YOU to all of you my Precious friends (Amy my love, Kathi my love, Estelle my love, and Precious Peter) for sharing your supermarvellous thoughts and experiences regarding the topic of Phobia… I fear all kinds of rodents alot, I also fear rats and exams alot ! :-). Does anyone of you guys fear exams too ?! :-). With my love. Yours forever, Lubna. PS, Selena my love and Precious VictorK, a wonderful job ! 🙂

  166. May 11, 2008 at 15:42

    To clarify more fully:

    Racism, down here in Africa, has become a tool for dishonest manipulation like no other. The slur is usually applied to people who are not racist, because real racists are too unevolved to care.

    To me the term is like a red flag to a bull. I treat it with the same seriousness as I would being called a paedophile, for instance. I feel that anyone who calls anyone else a racist should be prepared to go to court and prove their allegation, and should be made liable for libel compensation if they cannot prove it.

    Re: Pim Fortuyn; what all the idiots missed was that Pim was creating a whole new model for the resolution of multicultural conflicts, a model based on honest, non-violent confrontation. He was in the process of transcending the old, worn out, Left-Right alternation in politics, and I, for one, was really looking forward to what he would come up with.

    Re: the EU hegemony; who can seriously argue that Joerg Haider was undemocratically removed from the position into which the electorate of Austria had voted him?

  167. 168 victork13
    May 11, 2008 at 15:53

    Aaaahhh, Lubna! You make it so hard to argue with you! I feel I should ask your forgiveness for disagreeing with you. So let me take a different approach and ask questions rather than express an opinion.

    Firstly, in exactly what ways do you think the British and American occupation has damaged Iraq. Remember that other countries have been occupied in the past, like Germany and Japan, and things have gone peacefully and according to plan. Why has Iraq been so different, do you think?

    Do you believe that Iraq would be better off if the Coalition forces were to withdraw?

    Can you give some examples of the interference by neighbours that you have in mind (who and what have they done)?

    What is it about Iraq that makes it so susceptible to outside interference? You won’t relish a comparison with Israel, but it is surrounded by countries that are overtly hostile to it, but not one of them is able to interfere in Israel’s domestic affairs, even though about 20% of Israel’s population are Palestinians (who, you’d have thought, would be natural channels of intereference).

    And lastly, what do you think of the suggestion that Iraq should be divided into three separate states (Shia, Sunni and Kurdish), and why?

  168. 169 Will Rhodes
    May 11, 2008 at 16:01

    @Victor

    This story seems too good to be true: Darfur rebels set to capture Khartoum!

    It seems it is, it seems it is – let hope that it carries on and there is a result. But Egypt are sending military are from what I am reading.

  169. 170 Dennis
    May 11, 2008 at 16:25

    @ Bob,

    Re: Burma

    I know it does not hurt the Generals, it hurts
    the people of Burma….

    I should have made that point more
    correctly…..

    Sorry!

    Dennis from Madrid, United States of America

  170. 171 Peter Gizzi UK
    May 11, 2008 at 16:43

    Hi Everybody I’m back again!

    Dwight in Cleveland.

    Thanks for the advise and tips. While it is working I might just leave well enough alone. I do not actually surf the net that much, I try and play games but my reations due to old age are not always fast enough. thanks anyway.

    VictorK13.

    It is so pleasant to hear people agreeing with me. when we had our referendum in 1975 we were told it was for Trading! The European Economic Community. I’m one of the few old enough to have voted and I voted NO. They obviously knew more than they admitted, lying by ommission. Sadly the plastic pratts that now make up much of The British poppulation will blindly be led into The EUs version of 1984.

    Bob in Queensland.

    Is it possible someone on here is older that me? I’m 66 right mate! Thanks for allowing me to use your text. Our meeting will be addressed by Nigel Farage our leader. He is a really good orator and politician. I’m also amazed he remembers me by name even though it might be a year since last we met.

    Lubna Peace be with you.

    I used to feed the birds in my garden and got such pleasure watching them while on the computer. One night I heard a noise outside and found it was RATS! I had been unwittingly feeding them too! I bought traps and killed 7. I do not feed the birds at the moment, and miss them so much. I have just bought a spigot which might enable me to raise the feeder higher? Time will tell. The rat traps will stay.

    Thanks for all the posts. Thanks again Selenayvonne and Victork13. Forgot to say my sister is Yvonne too.

  171. 172 Brett
    May 11, 2008 at 16:51

    VictorK

    @Brett: I’m listening to some Bach Motets and to the Easter Oratorio. Naturally this reminded me of hip-hop and that I’d meant to respond to your earlier post.

    You obviously know a great deal more about hip-hop than I do. Are you aware of any studies that offer an overview on the content of hip-hop lyrics? I’m surprised that there are hip-hop tracks addressing key social, cultural and moral issues and rappers encouraging safe sex. The impression given – as in the article I linked to – is that it’s all mindless depravity. But how representative are the socially conscious, responsible hip-hop and rap artists? That’s where empirical studies will hopefully give some hard data on which to make a meaningful overall judgement.

    Cynthia Tucker does a wonderful job in that article of making broad generalizations and stereotypes with no hard facts except for those about Akon (who isn’t even a Hip-Hop artist in my book) and absolutely no evidence to back up her claim. Now whether or not this was due to a limit on how long the article could be, or her disinterest in getting into the subject matter and actually finding out that *gasp* there ARE aspects and artists in hip-hop who are respectable with respectable messages; I don’t know, only she can say.

    Of course you can come up with nearly any ‘study’ and skew or present the results to make it as you see fit. If I wanted I could conduct a study and portray hip-hop and rap as a largely beneficial outlet and art form to the youth and especially the black community by ignoring many facts. Likewise, if I was out looking for a scapegoat to blame societies failures on, also by ignoring facts which were out to disprove my case, I could hunt down rap and Hip-Hop and portray it in a study as serving no positive purpose in society.

    My argument is not that rap and hip-hop are potentially damaging to the youth, as they often are. My argument and issue is that hip-hop and all of its artists are grouped together in a broad generalization of gang bangers and thugs, with a seeming intent to turn the readers of that article against Hip-Hop without portraying an accurate description of the music, its history, and culture.

    Again, nearly all types of popular culture music are damaging to society, whether its rock and morphine / heroin addictions and lyrics, or rap and the stereotypical weed / crack lyrics. Or a much broader problem, the sexualization of pop-music and our youth.

    Some Hip-Hop tracks (among many, if you need more, let me know) promoting safe sex:
    Eminem – Maxine
    Big L – Holdin’ It Down
    Big L – Games
    Lyfe Jennings – SEX
    TLC had quite a few songs
    So did Salt N Peppa (one for instance is “Let’s Talk About Sex”)
    Kool Moe Dee – Go See The Doctor
    Magnetic Force – Condom Sense
    Papa Lindley – Double Bag It

    Misc Info:
    An article on Ludacris and Barack Obama – http://www.suntimes.com/news/154969,CST-NWS-ludacris30.article
    http://www.thebody.com/content/art/art22659.html

    As HIV/Aids statistically speaking is affecting the black community more than any other ethnicity in the US, it is arguable that Hip-Hop and Rap communities are doing as much if not more than any other type of music to spread awareness. For instance, type into google nearly any Rap or Hip-Hop artist and type in Safe Sex after their name. I did not come across an instance when searching this morning where I could not find an article on some artist who has been involved in a campaign, show, or other effort to spread awareness of HIV/AIDS and safe sex.
    So before we go condemning Hip-Hop for all of its faults, keep in mind, nearly all other types of music have similar degenerate messages. And also keep in mind, there are positive sides to such genres and music.
    Now the goal needs to be; Instead of condemning Hip-Hop, why not try to transform it and use it into a tool to reach it’s audience with a more positive message? It’s already arguably the most influential genre of music out there. Let’s push for using it for good, and not push it away.

    Regards,
    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  172. 173 Dennis
    May 11, 2008 at 17:14

    This is a story that World Have Your Say may cover on Monday’s
    programme:

    Morgan Tsvangirai to run in second round in Zimbabwe’s disputed
    elections against Robert Mugabe

    Here is a link to the original story:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7393629.stm

    Dennis~~Madrid, U.S.A

  173. 174 selenayvonne
    May 11, 2008 at 17:21

    It seems to me that there is much more out there to fear than Hip-Hop. I am not a prude, by any means, but there is far too much emphasis on sex, period. Sex, more than oil, is the underpinning of society. If we suddenly stopped everything that has sexual overtones, the society would collapse.

    Children breathe and live sex from the moment they are born. How can we not be obsessed with sex? it even make a candy bar taste better, or soap flakes wash cleaner.

    I have only just begun listening to, what to me is, strange music and I am impressed with the level of awareness and understanding of the human condition contained within some of the lyrics.

  174. 175 Shirley
    May 11, 2008 at 17:27

    VictorK,
    No, I was not accusing Pat Buchanan of racism. I stated that to issue a blanket statement on the behavioral patterns of millions of people based on one’s personal opinion without the support of hard scientific facts to back up said statement is a form of racism. I have no intention to accept that kind of racism at the level of moderation on such a forum as WHYS.

    The reason that I referred to Buchanan’s article is because you had linked to it. I did not see in his article a single reference to any opinion that, in the year 2050, the population of Iran would wholly move towards the elimination of the state of Israel. It was, rather, your opinion; and my objection was based on the fact that you had stated it as if it were fact when it was actually only an opinion and served as a blanket statement about an entire race/ethnicity/nationality of people.

    I have no problem with debate here. I do have a problem with anyone who uses a position of power to issue a blanket statement about an entire class of people as if it were fact when it is a mere statement of opinion that is not backed by scientific or statistic data, and then expects the rest of us to debate on such a basis.

    I am disappointed that you have refused to re-state yourself.

  175. 176 Estelle
    May 11, 2008 at 17:29

    @Lubna

    Thanks Lubna. I am very sorry about what is happening in your counntry. What do you think we should be doing to make things better?

  176. 177 Sandra
    May 11, 2008 at 17:51

    My friend told me about this group and it seems to be interesting.

    I have been reading all the Blank Page comments and there are some thought provoking discussions.

    The one that seems to cone up a lot is the situation in the Middle East.

    I would like to ask Lubna what political party and president she thinks would be better for her country, after November.

  177. 178 Dennis
    May 11, 2008 at 17:59

    @ Lubna

    I hope you are safe and sound……

    Dennis from Madrid, U.S.A.

  178. May 11, 2008 at 18:01

    Shirley: to issue a blanket statement on the behavioral patterns of millions of people, based on one’s opinion, is generalisation, not racism.

    The great usefulness of generalisation is that one can say things like,”All trees need water to live”, or, “Deadly toxins will kill you”, without having to study every tree and ingest every deadly toxin.

    When we generalise about millions of people, it is always because the traits we are generalising about are clearly discernible in the total culture. We therefore say things like ‘The most exciting herb in English cooking is parsley’, or ‘The Pygmies do not, generally, have much regard for the music of Schoenberg’, or, ‘The Iranians do not have a high regard for American politics.’

    And, we even say very silly things like, ‘All people who generalise about the behavioral patterns of millions of people, based on opinion, are racist.’

    I guess it’s just a human talent.

  179. 180 selenayvonne
    May 11, 2008 at 18:03

    My goodness Peter, you sound just like my father. LOL

    He fed the birds and was always trying to prevent them from being harmed by the cat. He would move the feeder regularly disorienting the birds, always with a view to protecting them, of course.

    I wondered why he didn’t just let the birds fend for themselves. To my mind, birds are quite capable of looking after themselves.

    And I could never in a million years set a trap for anything, not even a rat, dear, dear Peter.

  180. 181 selenayvonne
    May 11, 2008 at 18:10

    @Shirley

    I am curious how you draw a conclusion that Victor is using a position of power to issue blanket statements.

    Firstly, what position of power does he hold that gives him an advantage?

    Secondly, I thought the blank page was about opinions, not essays.

    Could you talk a little more about this, please?

    Thanks,

    Selena :–)

  181. 182 Dennis
    May 11, 2008 at 18:26

    Regarding Sudan:

    Sudan cuts Chad ties over attack…..

    Because of it continuing support for the
    Problems in Darfur….

    Here is the link for story:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7394422.stm

    Dennis>Madrid, U.S.A.

  182. 183 Dennis
    May 11, 2008 at 18:29

    @ Amy in Beaverton, Oregon:

    I would not get up @ 5 A.M. in the morning
    to go to a political event….

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

  183. 184 Peter Gizzi UK
    May 11, 2008 at 18:30

    Hi again everybody.

    Selenayvonne.

    Sorry about the rats but I have neighbours to consider, plus I do not like them. My garden is wild but in my loft I have house sparrows that are getting quite rare. Most people now seal the eaves so the have nowhere to nest.. I do have foxes, hedgehogs, occasionally squirrels, and of course rats and mice. I suppose an eagle might be handy?

    Found this link concerning The European Union. It shows how they intend to carve up my country. Didn’t know how to get the link in properly. Perhaps it can be copied and pasted.

    Brief word to LUBNA peace be with you. I was born in Aylesbury Buckinghamshire. I regard that as my home town and home county. I did regard England as my home country but we can no longer be English. I feel I have no home country anymore.

    Going down the pub now for a few pints of Irish Stout. Not allowed to name it on The BBC. Will raise my glass to you all. Might talk later. Bye for now.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=403522&in_page_id=1770

  184. 185 Brett
    May 11, 2008 at 18:33

    PS. For an instance of a Hip-Hop song addressing many social issues at once. Feel free to check out Mos Def and Talib Kweli – What’s Beef?

    Theres plenty more, but that was just one that my ITunes played once I was done typing the above mini-essay haha. Sorry for its length 😉

    Regards,
    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  185. 186 victork13
    May 11, 2008 at 18:33

    @Shirley: your most recent post reminded me of a line in ‘Don Juan’ (the poem), ‘…could you explain your explanation?’

    There’s no point in disputing what the rest of the world knows, or at any rate believes, to be true. If you need ‘hard scientific facts’ before you will accept that Iran and its people are hostile to Israel then you will have to continue to believe either that the country holds a neutral position re Israel, or else regards the Jewish state as a friend and ally. Either view is certainly…original. I couldn’t produce ‘hard scientific facts’ that the Palestinains (there’s another generalisation for you) also long for the end of the Jewish state, but I have no hesitation in stating that they do.

    I note that you regard my statement as a ‘form of racism.’ I think that we will just have to agree that your perception of reality differs from mine. Your manner of interpreting a text is also something I don’t share. The starting point was the question, ‘is demography destiny?’ One of several points used to illustrate it was that by 2050 there would be over 100 million Iranians ‘longing for the end of the Jewish state.’ It should have been obvious that that was my statement. I’m sorry that you wasted your time searching for it in the Buchanan piece (and it was that piece that I thought would be the controversial point!). 100m Iranians then, as opposed to the 70m longing for te end of Israel now (I think we can disregard as a significant the Zionist sympathising fifth columnists in the Islamic fundamentalist state – or at least those who share my take on reality will). But of course I could be wrong in thinking that the government and people of Iran are opposed to Israel as a Jewish state within its curent borders. I’m just going by what the President of Iran – who I suppose is in some way representative of the people who elected him – has had to say. It’s possible that you know better than Ahmadinejad (sp.) about what Iranians really really want. Bur that’s how debates get started – I make a point; you come back with contrary evidence, perhaps consisting of ‘hard scientific data’, you strengthen your scientific data with cries of ‘racism’, etc. Where’s the harm?

    You wrote, “I do have a problem with anyone who uses a position of power to issue a blanket statement about an entire class of people as if it were fact when it is a mere statement of opinion that is not backed by scientific or statistic data, and then expects the rest of us to debate on such a basis.” I can only apologise for having, like the Burmese generals or the Chinese in Tibet, exploited my power as unconscionably as you say I have. It does corrupt, you know. But seriously, I think that I could just as easily have introduced the topic that has upset you if I had been blogging in my civilian identity instead of from my current position of power as Chairman-Fuehrer-Duce-Chief-Moderator. The topic offered for debate was not Iran per se, or even Israel, but ‘Is demography destiny’. There was no particular need to mention Iran, except as an illustration. Of course you could have responded to say that you disagreed with that particular illustration, which would have been fine, since it wasn’t in any way central to the main issue.

    As to ‘re-stating’ myself – well, just to show you that I have not been completely intoxicated by the power briefly entrusted to me (though I have been thinking of mounting a coup against WHYS) how does this strike you. ‘Is demography destiny? Practically every Muslim state and people regards Israel with hostility. Iran is the declared enemy of Israel and has vowed to exterminate the Jewish state in a second Holocaust by nuclear fire. By the year 2050 there will be almost half as many more Iranians, when the population will be 100 million. What does the increase in the Iranian population, the greater numbers who will regard Israel as an enemy, and the increased military personnel available to the regime, mean for the region?’

  186. 187 selenayvonne
    May 11, 2008 at 18:39

    @Peter

    The link worked fine. I can see what you mean. It is called regionalization here. Regionalization has been a trendy concept for the past decade or so.

    Where I live we have always found ourselves victims of this kind if blanket change, without reference to the wishes of the people who live here.

    After a while it gets to be funny. It is especially funny, for us, now that the government is taking a good hard look a the model and are finding that it really does not work well.

    Enjoy the drink!

  187. 188 selenayvonne
    May 11, 2008 at 18:57

    It is a bit late for this weekend but here is a new topic.

    http://www.world-science.net/exclusives/080510_power

    Please give your impressions on this one. 🙂

  188. 189 Dennis
    May 11, 2008 at 19:02

    @ SelenaYvonne:

    it is still enough time for this weekend to discuss
    a new topic!

    Went to link and it is true…….

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

  189. 190 victork13
    May 11, 2008 at 19:21

    @Selena: I’ve just had a look at the dip in brainpower article. It sounds like voodoo science to me.

    How did they define power and powerlessness? Do social/work situations dichotomise so simply? Isn’t it a matter of gradations of power rather than polarities? And in a well-structured organisation even those with less power will have procedures that they can avail themselves of against those with more power, otherwise the powerful would be routinely abusing their position exploiting the organisation, and sexually using the powerless. And because someone may have little power in one setting doesn’t mean that he isn’t powerful in another setting (e.g. as a member of a family, as a litigant or potential litigant, as a member of a club or voluntary association). Some of those other settings could also provide opportunities for advanced cognitive functions.

    If there were any merit to this theory then we’d have seen all societies developing into caste societies with the high IQ and powerful at the top, and the low IQ and powerless at the bottom. Instead we have developed away from caste, or status, to opportunity, contract and bi-directional mobility. And we know as a matter of fact that power and IQ are not correlated. Bill Gates Jr. may have a very modest or low IQ, but when he comes into his billions he will have more power than any number of geniuses put together. Lots of advanced civilisations, full of people operating at high cognitive levels, have been overturned by cognitively-challenged barbarians whose physical power was clearly more than a match for mere IQ.

    Sometimes what looks like ‘hard scientific fact’ is just mumbo jumbo.

  190. 191 selenayvonne
    May 11, 2008 at 19:35

    @ Dennis

    I would be interested in your response to Victor’s post.

  191. May 11, 2008 at 20:01

    Before retiring, I shall take a deep breath, close my eyes, and leap into the abyss of rejection by quoting the following passage from Mencken-the-banned (might as well go out with a bang):

    (a final word on ‘racism’) : “The multiplication of such taboos is obviously not characteristic of a culture that is moving from a lower to a higher plane. It is a sign, rather, of a culture that is slipping downhill- one that is reverting to the most primitive standards and ways of thought. The taboo, indeed, is the trade-mark of the savage, and wherever it exists it is a relentless and effective enemy of civilized enlightenment. The savage is the most meticulously moral of men: there is scarcely an act in his daily life that is not conditioned by unyielding prohibitions and obligations, most of them logically unintelligible. The mob man, a savage set amid civilization, cherishes a code of the same draconian kind. Right and wrong are immoveable things and any challenge of them, by word or act, is a crime against society. The mob man cannot grasp ideas in their native nakedness. They must be dramatized and personalized for him (or her), and provided with either white wings or forked tails. All discussion of them must take the form of the pursuing and scotching of demons. He (or she) cannot think of a heresy without thinking of a heretic to be caught, condemned and burned…’

    Quite right too, I think, speaking generally…

  192. 193 Joel Salomon
    May 11, 2008 at 20:04

     “Curb[ing] artistic license?” That’s just government censorship, of which we should be very wary. At the same time, there’s no reason for anyone to fund obscenities like Ms.Shvarts’s (hoax or otherwise). As for Sooreh Hera’s work, anyone could guess it would be offensive but the museum is taking it down because of threats & political pressure. Homosexual representation of religious figures seems to be the sort of cheap shock trick second-rate hacks try. I don’t believe it has any artistic merit, but it doesn’t have less merit because of threats.

    Scott Millar:
     Politeness does not necessarily entail any respect for the other’s views. I have been pretty blunt about disagreeing with another commenter here, to the extent of de-legitimatizing anything I hear from him on a certain topic, without being rude about it.

    Donovan Roebert:
     There is one (almost) sure-fire solution to overpopulation: prosperity. No need to mandate anything, rich people in Western culture (and many others) simple have fewer children.
     Also, you’re wrong about violence. I like to say that “the solution set to almost any problem includes violence”. It’s usually not a very good way of solving the issue at hand, but almost always is a way. (Consider, for example the problems of Fascism, expansionist Communism, Islamist jihadism, &c.)

    Victor K:
     Way back when, the policy of the United States was that we were “friends of liberty everywhere but guardians only of our own”. WWI put paid to that idea.

     Don’t know what to make of the “power affects intelligence” argument. Is there a link to the paper somewhere, or to an article with more detail?

  193. May 11, 2008 at 20:11

    And, lest I forget, the summary banning of Menckens and Hazzlits is an abuse of power much more intolerable than flagrant generalizing.

    Yet, despite these acts of blatant tyranny, it’s been very enjoyable. Thank you.

  194. 195 Dennis
    May 11, 2008 at 20:38

    @ Selena

    Question:
    Victor ‘s post time if you could tell
    which one.

    Thanks
    Dennis

  195. 196 Dennis
    May 11, 2008 at 20:43

    REVISED

    @ selenayvonne,

    to ask you a further question which one of
    victor’s post …

    thanks,
    Dennis

  196. May 11, 2008 at 21:14

    Called out of retirement by Joel Salomon:

    Yes, creating prosperity is a proven path to reducing population. It involves the application of reason.

    No, violence is never a solution. It may be a partial solution, but it always leaves behind a residue of violence yet to come. The point is that resort to violence is an historical habit which can be broken. Then there will be no fascism to subdue by violent means, because fascism is itself a form of violence. Abandoning violence implies a total change of mindset, a thoroughgoing search for alternatives to violence, and the simple and logical insight that violence does not solve problems in a final way.

    For example, in my view China has moved from communism to a form of fascism, evidenced in its genocidal treatment of the Tibetan people and its strong-man nationalism. How would you suggest we proceed to combat this case of facism by violent means?

  197. 198 selenayvonne
    May 11, 2008 at 21:14

    @ Dennis

    You said you agree with this article…

    http://www.world-science.net/exclusives/080510_power

    Victor had a response to the article which seem to disagree.

    I was wondering how you view his response.

    🙂 Thanks

  198. 199 selenayvonne
    May 11, 2008 at 21:24

    @ Donovan

    I agree with your assessment that violence is never a solution.

    In my view, the Tibetan situation is an example of how violence becomes seen as a necessary solution.

    In order to make a move away from violence there seems to be a need to move away from all existing models.

    The current model, whereby we reward governments in exile, seems to exacerbate the problem, as I see it.

  199. 200 victork13
    May 11, 2008 at 21:27

    200 posts! Nice landmark.

  200. 201 Dennis
    May 11, 2008 at 21:47

    @ Selena,

    I need to make a correction !

    I have to agree with Victor’s remarks …..sorry at that time i
    was busy with someone…….

    Sorry,
    Dennis~~Madrid, United States of America

  201. 202 Dennis
    May 11, 2008 at 21:48

    Congraluations!!

    200 posts so far……

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

  202. 203 Dennis
    May 11, 2008 at 21:50

    @ Selena,

    thanks for pointing it out…..

    Sorry for the time, it took me for returning
    the message…….

    Dennis
    Madrid, U.S.A.

  203. May 11, 2008 at 22:16

    Selena, I take it that by ‘govts in exile’ you mean the Tibetan govt in exile in this case.

    Well, the Tibetan govt in exile is not being rewarded. It is being recognized as the legitimate Tibetan govt ( or the survival thereof ) which fled Tibet in the wake of invasion and occupation by a foreign power.

    If China invaded Canada and sent the Canadian govt into exile, that govt would expect to be recognized as legitimate by all reasonable people.

    The Tibetan govt in exile does not function to promote violence. Quite the opposite in fact. The violence we are seeing in Tibet is a response to Chinese oppression, not to the existence of the Tibetan govt in exile. If the Tibetan govt in exile were dissolved, the violence inside Tibet would probably increase.

    But, whichever way you look at it, violence perpetrated by Tibetans inside Tibet will not solve their problem. That is why the Dalai Lama continues to call for the cessation of violence.

    Nobody is saying that non-violence is an easy road, and temptations to violence are strong. But we have to change that mindset at this point in our cultural evolution, or else we’re doomed. Whether we agree with non-violence or not, we are forced to move beyond violence if we hope to survive.

    There’s a lot more to say, and no time to say it now. I’d like to refer you to the book “Samdhong Rinpoche: Uncompromising Truth for a Compromised World” (you can check it out on Amazon) for a profound examination of the question of violence.
    regards.

  204. 205 selenayvonne
    May 11, 2008 at 23:23

    @ Donovan

    Violence is unpredictable,” said the Dalai Lama, who has won support from the Bush administration, including Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, for his campaign to restore Tibetan political autonomy. “In the case of Afghanistan, perhaps there’s something positive. In Iraq, it’s too early to tell.”

    http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=65,1671,0,0,1,0

    From a “Buddhist point of view,” lesbian and gay sex “is generally considered sexual misconduct,” the Dalai Lama told reporters at a press conference a day earlier… by Dennis Conkin Bay Area Reporter, June 19th, 1997

    The Dali Lama, when asked by Hannah Gartner of Canada’s CBC TV what he would do if an enemy attacked said that he would cut them off at the knees. (I heard him say this.)

    I am sure the Dali Lama is a fine fellow and there is nothing wrong with any of his remarks in the context of the way society is organized. But do any of the remarks square with the spirit and tenets of Buddhism? Of course, my perception of Buddhism may be way of base. 🙂

  205. 206 Dennis
    May 11, 2008 at 23:48

    For SelenaYvonne & Victor:

    Thanks for the WEEKEND…

    I will be continuing my contributions
    until the last moment…..

    Dennis 🙂
    Madrid, U.S.A.

  206. 207 Amy
    May 12, 2008 at 00:06

    Victor and Selena,

    Great job this weekend!!

    Amy

  207. 208 selenayvonne
    May 12, 2008 at 00:29

    @ Dennis and Amy

    Thanks for the contributions. It has been a remarkable experience for me. Working with Victor has been the best! Thanks to the WHYS Team!

  208. 209 Peter Gizzi UK
    May 12, 2008 at 00:57

    It is rather late in The UK. Had a lovely evening down the pub. Raised my glass to you all. Enjoyed the recent entries.

    Selenayvonne and Victork13 thanks again for an interesting weekend. Will only hear part of the programme Monday as I have to leave by 18.30 BST.

    Talk to you all again soon, All the best, Peter Gizzi UK

  209. 210 Estelle
    May 12, 2008 at 01:37

    Thanks to WHYS and Victor and Selenayvonne for moderating. The weekend was enjoyable.

  210. 211 Joel Salomon
    May 12, 2008 at 02:14

    Donovan:
     Do you seriously believe that anything short of violence is likely to roll back Chinese imperialism in Tibet? If the Tibetans (or rather, the Dali Lama et al.) reject the use of violence, they’re never getting their independent country. At least not until some other application of violence causes the Beijing government to fall.
     Total rejection of violence is very noble but “it needs but one foe to breed a war, not two; and those who have no swords can still die upon them”.

  211. 212 selenayvonne
    May 12, 2008 at 02:34

    @Joel

    Of course, those who have no swords can die upon them. But when they have swords they die. So, some die, no matter what!

    The question is: when will we get away from the idea that it is ok for some to die so that others, or more correctly the state, may live?

    Perhaps the real question is: Is the state more important than the individual?

    If so, then why do we say we care so much about individual rights? If we must wage war, let’s be honest about why we are doing it.

  212. 213 adam in portland
    May 12, 2008 at 04:26

    @ Lubna
    This is going out late, perhaps too late to be of any relevance but what the heck. I agree with one of our esteemed comenters here, you have fears, very valid fears and not phobias. In fact I would say really you mostly have good survival instincts. I have a support network through our veteran’s administration that has helped me get beyond many of the problems I brought back from the first invasion of your country, you on the other hand do not and I feel more than a little sad about that. So for lack of time I’ll give one quick suggestion for helping yourself with some of your fears. Try yoga. I have no idea how you can get instruction in yoga where you are but I very seriously believe it to be a usefull tool if you could get access to a teacher or instruction. It has helped me since I learned some of it last year. Good luck to you over the coming weeks, I’m assuming you may have some exams looming? Oh and I don’t fear exams, I hate them. 🙂

  213. 214 Dennis
    May 12, 2008 at 06:40

    Thanks for the nice comments SelenaYvonne……

    I am sorry for not returning this message earlier, i had
    to be temporary without internet service…..

    200 PLUS MESSAGES! 🙂

    Thanks for the enjoyable weekend friends…..

    Dennis from Madrid, U.S.A.

  214. 215 victork13
    May 12, 2008 at 06:44

    Thank you Amy, Estelle, Dennis and Peter for your kind comments and thanks to all of you who have contibuted over the past few days.

    Selena has been a wonderful co-moderator and has kept me on the straight and narrow with her advice and suggestions.

    This has been enjoyable and instructive. I come away with admiration for the patience and tact that Mark, Ros and their colleagues must show on a daily basis with the regular WHYS blogs. You guys do a great job.

  215. 216 Dennis
    May 12, 2008 at 06:44

    Lubna

    for our dear friend:

    i have a couple of fears also..

    Dennis from Madrid, United States of America

  216. 217 Dennis
    May 12, 2008 at 06:45

    Thanks Victor for the nice words……

    Dennis ~~Madrid, United States of America

  217. May 12, 2008 at 08:42

    Selena, in any cases where the Dalai Lama has sanctioned violence, the Dalai Lama has been wrong to do so.

    Joel: I don’t think you have seriously thought through your war on China. It would probably before that last war of which Einstein said, ‘After it, the next war will be fought with sticks and stones.’

    Selena and Victor: thank you for a great debate.

  218. 219 Joel Salomon
    May 12, 2008 at 13:36

    Selena:
     War is not only ever waged for the benefit of the state. Protection of individual rights can be, and has been, the cause of wars as well.

    Donovan:
     Never said that a war sufficient to make China lose its grip on Tibet would be a purely good idea, or that it wouldn’t have severe fallout (double meaning intended), merely that I can see no other circumstances that will give Tibet its independence.

  219. 220 selenayvonne
    May 12, 2008 at 14:23

    @ Joel

    If war is waged for the protection of individuals, which individuals are being protected? Why are they being protected?

  220. 221 selenayvonne
    May 12, 2008 at 14:30

    @ Donovan

    Yes, I agree the Dali Lama has been wrong not to see violence as untenable in all cases.

    That is why I have serious reservations about the Dali Lama and his cause.

  221. May 12, 2008 at 15:28

    Selena, it’s ok to have serious reservations about the Dalai Lama, but how can you have serious reservations about the cause of the Tibetan people? It’s a big mistake to see the Dalai Lama as more than human. He is very human, but I think he stands very strongly for non-violence; more strongly than most.

    You don’t support or not support a cause on the basis of how perfect its spokespeople are, but because of the inherent justice and reasonableness of the cause itself.

    Having serious reservations about supporting the Tibetans is your prerogative, but I think it’s a wrong choice made on a wrong basis.

    Joel: I know how it feels to stare out at the never-ending Tibetan suffering for years and years on end. During that time I have more than once wanted to see the bomb dropped on Beijing. Non-violence is, I suppose, a choice one makes for all sorts of reasons, like the choice for violence. It’s not an easy choice, and often leaves me looking foolish, even to myself. But I don’t see violence as worthy of our humanness, and I don’t see it as a way forward to a better world. I see it as part of the whole self-destructive mode of modern thinking, and I believe it will be one of the factors that, if we don’t change now, will eventually wipe us out completely.

    But, having said all that, I know how it feels to want to see the world’s bullies lined up for the firing squad. I guess that’s how the Dalai Lama feels sometimes too.

  222. 223 selena
    May 12, 2008 at 15:53

    @Donovan

    My choice not to support the Tibetan people is not because of the Dali Lama. The Dali Lama and his responses are merely an illustration of how complicated a particular stance becomes in a pure political climate.

    I don’t support any causes that are based on an interpretation of history and a culture of separation.

    In my opinion, in order to begin a process of a change from violence, there must be an awareness of our humanness.

    As long as we see people first in terms of Tibetan and Chinese and Canadians and Americans and even as heterosexual or homosexual, the game is not worth the candle.

    If we don’t first see people as human beings above all other descriptions, there will continue to be good words but no practical application.

  223. May 12, 2008 at 16:58

    Selena: I don’t get your point. I mean, if one strong group of people is causing tremendous suffering to another, weaker, group of people, would you not choose to rescue the weaker suffering group just because both groups are human, or what?

    If a stronger person breaks into your house, steals your goods and holds you hostage for 60 years, would it make sense if I refused to support or try to rescue you because of my interpretation of the history of what has happened to you?

    Wow, you’ve really got me good and confused.

  224. 225 selena
    May 12, 2008 at 18:10

    @ Donovan

    🙂 Confusion is my middle name… nah, that’s not true… Yvonne is my middle name!!!

    What can I say to unconfuse you?

    If a stronger person broke into my house, I would ask him what he wanted and give it to him. I would not expect anyone to rescue me.

    But that is a touchy subject and easy for me to say.

    So, I guess what I am saying is no matter how many times we rescue people, there are more people to rescue. Rescuing people never ever solved any problems. In fact, it usually causes more problems.

    What it boils down to, to me, is the question: should you give your life, or put your life in danger, to save mine?

    My answer to that question is a resounding “No!” My life is no more valuable than yours.

    Having said that, in the “eye for an eye” culture on which all societies are based, I understand that my stance will not be a popular one.

    Hope it is more clear than mud now 😉

  225. May 13, 2008 at 05:58

    Selena, No, actually I’m more confused than ever. Be that as it may, if I and my family were being held hostage, I’d definitely hope for support and rescue.

  226. 227 viola anderson
    May 13, 2008 at 17:38

    I’m amazed to hear some people saying that the Dalai Lama has ever condoned the use of violence in any situation. I’ve seen and heard him in interviews and read some of his writings and have not seen anything that suggests he believes in violence as a solution for anything. On the contrary, he goes to great lengths not to do so.

    Here in BC, in Vancouver, he has founded an institute to work for peace in the world, saying that peace as a way of life has to be learned, the same as any other way of life. I believe he has been made an honorary citizen of Canada.

    In a strange way, I think the world has benefited from his flight from Tibet when China invaded and conquered it. Tibet’s loss was the world’s gain.

  227. May 15, 2008 at 12:43

    I was wandering if we could discuss the Human Rights Stituation in Cuba, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, and the USA.


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