Talking Points for 10 June

Hello it’s PRIYA SHAH (I’m a WHYS producer). Thanks Dwight, it’s been a quiet night, probably because you all wore yourselves out last weekend.


We were going to talk about Zimbabwe last night, but it wasn’t not possible. According to witnesses, violence continues…

So what is to be done? All sort of solutions have been put forward over the past few years. In Slovenia, Bush is talking to the EU about it (amongst MANY other things).

Economic sanctions? Military intervention? Diplomacy? Arrest Mugabe? Nothing?

How about we have summit of our own? The politicans are all talking, and apparently doing very little. What would you do in their place?  

Here are a few articles onthe subject that have interested me:

Sokwanele blog wrote this back in February. The issue hasn’t changed much in between, despite an election having taken place.

The goal remains the same – to remove ZANU PF from power and replace them with those genuinely elected by the people and responsive to their needs.

But if it cannot be done through the current electoral process, what are the alternatives? “Take them out the way they got in” says an aging liberation war fighter. “No, the only way is non-violent struggle,” answers the peace activist.

Zimbabweans have no stomach for a liberation war, especially given the suffering and disappointing results now evident from the fifteen year struggle of the 60’s and 70’s.

And the earth has since turned – it would be impossible in the regional context of the new millennium. Nor is this British India, where the mass non-violent protests of the saintly Gandhi could stir the conscience of an imperial power.

Brave individuals and groups will certainly continue non-violent street protests, but the mechanism by which these would bring a change of government is yet to be discovered.

The point has been made that once a state has failed, institutions have collapsed, and the nation is ruled by brute force alone, the people will not be able to return the situation to peace and economic development on their own – they will require outside help.

*Christopher Hitchens wonders why Nelson Mandela has not said anything

*Christopher Bickerton suggests that it is only Zimbabweans that can really do anything.

*Have economic sanctions actually caused the economic collapse itself?

*Richard Dowden discusses five possible outcomes to the current situation (one of them is a South Africa -style miracle)



Another pariah state, this time the problem is nuclear.

In Slovenia, Bush and the EU will warn Tehran that more sanctions against Iran’s banks are being readied.

Iran is certainly on the offensive today – accusing the Americans of being the causes of instability in Iraq, and warning Israel there would be a painful response if it attacks Iran.

After the repeated warnings, threats and sanctions against nuclear installations that no one can quite prove are for weapons

Perhaps you can’t blame the Iranians? Or are these kinds of comments inflammatory and do nothing for regional peace and stability?

Count Iblis on our blank page commented that perhaps Iran the new Iraq?

With all the warnings of Weapons of Mass Destruction (nuclear ones) that the US say are there, and Iran say aren’t, and the UN Atomic agency saying they need more time…

Are you experiencing de ja vu? Has the Iraq debacle made you sceptical of such claims? Or is this a real danger we need to deal with? Is Iran being unfairly demonised?

Get in touch and leave a us a phone number if you want to take part in the programme later today (it won’t be published)

53 Responses to “Talking Points for 10 June”

  1. 1 Zak
    June 9, 2008 at 19:38

    Hey Dwight, moderating some this morning there were some really good posts on the other ‘talking points for June 9th’. Perhaps we could integrate these 2 or at least maybe you could find some of the themes.

    OK OK now we’re on the same page let me then borrow from Donovan on that other page who sums up a lot of topics that are impeccably on target:

    catastrophic global changes in climate
    rivers and aquifers drying up
    destruction of life in the oceans
    mass famine in ill-organized countries
    an unstoppable pandemic of new infectious diseases
    destitute nations sliding into deepening poverty
    unstoppable global migrations of people
    weapons of mass destruction becoming inexpensive
    growth of shantycities with extreme violence and poverty
    mass recruitment for terrorism
    nuclear/biological terrorism
    religious war between muslims and christians
    a possible world war with nuclear and biological weapons
    exposure from science to new dangers – for example, genetically modified infectious pathogens

    You could even stick those in the header for awhile.

  2. 2 Zak
    June 9, 2008 at 20:30

    I particularly like the pandemic disease issue in contrast to the health care discussion we were having on the blank page and my suggestion for a topic is:

    How do we best deal with disease with health care? What are the most functional health care systems and how do they implement in society?

  3. 3 Justin in Iowa
    June 9, 2008 at 20:45

    I would love to see a discussion on the effects of population migrations on the world. I wonder sometimes, looking at the US situation…

    People migrate in, work in the US, and send money back to their home countries to support extended families there.

    Does this perpetuate the continuing poor conditions in those home countries? What effect does this siphoning of money away from the US have on the US economy? How big is the untaxed wage market in the US, and how is that effecting our government, especially seeing as hospitals are required to treat anyone and everyone, are they not, whether they are legal or illegal, can or can’t pay?

    Sorry that this is sort of from a US perspective, though I’m sure other countries face similar if less drastic situations?

  4. June 9, 2008 at 21:54

    Hello all,

    Sorry I am late to the game. I worked all night last night. The good news is that I will be doing it again should you find yourself stuck with a good topic or opening debate at any moment over the next 18 hours.

    @ Zak, That is a great list of related topics. I look down it and hear my father who believes we may very well see Armageddon on our lifetime. Man would I have to eat some crow if it did.

    The question I often ask myself is are these things new, or are they just a result of a smaller world, informationally speaking?

  5. 5 Janet T
    June 9, 2008 at 22:07

    I’d say it’s all been going on in one form or another since time began- as self-centered humans we just think it is all us, all now- and we have more media to hype it all!

  6. June 9, 2008 at 22:15

    Ah, information is sticky business. Too little is as equally as dangerous as too much. Too little and people are left to use their fears to jump to conclusion. Too much and people feel overwhelmed, dismiss it all, and use pre-conceived notions (fears) to jump to conclusions.

  7. 7 Pangolin- California
    June 9, 2008 at 22:17

    The various crisis that we are experiencing around the world are growing the ranks of the unemployed. As we all know large numbers of unemployed or underemployed people are the perfect recipe for civil unrest and sometimes war between nations.

    We need jobs proposals that:

    1) Can employ large numbers of people with little training time.
    2) Provide a result with a positive energy profile. When the project is completed some function of society should require a smaller energy input than it required before.
    3) Provide a long term social benefit. Example: planting trees along roadways provides shade and reduces pollution. Prunings from those trees can provide fuel or fertilizer in the future.
    4) Impart a sense of community. In the 30’s the Civilian Conservation Corps, the CCC, built many park facilities and bridges thruought the US that are still in use today. Due to the surplus of labor these projects were built to last and are largely still in use.
    5) Improve the overall quality of life.

    There are thousands of projects on the internet that have been demostrated that just need sponsers. Everything from water purification units, cargo bicycles, water retention projects, house building from natural materials (rammed earth and cob), improved cook stoves, trolly systems and rural electrification. In the cities there are millions of parks that need work as well as buildings that could be retrofitted to be energy efficient. They require labor.

    Why can’t we get some energy behind these ideas? A properly designed project actually creates more value and energy than it uses.

    What are your ideas?

  8. 8 Dennis
    June 10, 2008 at 01:20

    Hi Dwight:

    Low work load tonight!

    I am sorry for not playing on TP for 10 June 2008!

    As you may have not notice that i am in community college…not much time!

    **Saw this story on BBC Website: Iraq**

    [could you do the research i am on my laptop]….

    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  9. June 10, 2008 at 02:33

    Hello all,

    Sorry I have been having Internet problems and electrical problems here. Hope all is well. I will be up all night with an eye on the board and the news. If anybody has any conversation starters just fell free to pipe in. Hopefully we have this Internet problem cleared up.

  10. June 10, 2008 at 02:44

    Denis, you missed us on the story, just cut and past the link.

  11. 11 Roberto
    June 10, 2008 at 03:10

    —— Can someone on Whys explain why I recieved an email from Priya Shah?

    I get a lot of the usual junk mail with funny names like that which I delete. I don’t see this person on the forums, but I could be mistaken.



  12. 12 ZK
    June 10, 2008 at 03:18

    Roberto, Priya is a WHYS producer, if I recall correctly.

  13. 13 Venessa
    June 10, 2008 at 03:19

    Priya is one of the WHYS staff.

  14. 15 Tino
    June 10, 2008 at 04:16


    Muslims saying the truth: Muslims are the ones destroying their own image, has nothing to do with the west.

  15. 16 Tom
    June 10, 2008 at 07:42

    One of the articles from today on Asia Times Online – What it means when the US goes to war – discusses how the war in Iraq has destroyed the souls of young soldiers serving there.


    While the general public were spoonfed the notion of the war as a noble fight against terrorism and to spread democracy to Iraq, the soldiers were exposed, to their full horror, the brutal reality of attritional war.

    The saddest thing in such wars is that the supposed liberators were often reduced to the level of barbarism of their enemies, and themselves de-humanised to the level they treat the people they were menat to liberate. The conflicting sense of morality and human value has drove many servicemen to commit suicide.

    On the media’s treatment of the debacle that is the Iraq War, it has this to say:

    “The press knows all this, and if reporters had bothered to look they could have known it a long time ago. But the press, or at least most of it, has lost the passion, the outrage, and the sense of mission that once drove reporters to defy authority and tell the truth.”

    Very sad read indeed.

  16. 17 krisjanis
    June 10, 2008 at 08:43


    I would like to know more about scientific projects and ideas that could bring us cheap green energy.

    The reason for this is that in best case scenario one scientist like Nicola Tesla could ‘bring salvation’ to our war torn and over-polluted Terra.

    Sincerely, Krisjanis

  17. 18 krisjanis
    June 10, 2008 at 08:50

    The talks about a huge crisis in our lifetime (possibly even in 5- 10 years) are not without solid basis! All middle class will go down screaming and kicking!

    Not even will we have to learn nuances of bee keeping and gathering seaweed for crop fertilization but we will have to do it with stealth bombers zooming over the head..

  18. June 10, 2008 at 08:59

    Roberto, I’m Priya Shah – I’m a producer on WHYS.. I often write blog posts, but under the World Have Your Say login… If you feel like replying ot my email -please do. 🙂

  19. 20 Pangolin- California
    June 10, 2008 at 09:02

    I’m listening to BBC’s Heart and Soul on the theology of Barack Obama’s former church. Of course there are all the inflamatory comments that the US corporate news media has used to attack Rev. Wright and Barack Obama. Strangly enough Mr. Obama still managed to get more delagates and now more support for the presidential nomination than Hillary Clinton or John McCain.

    Here’s the trick that you won’t hear. Many, many US citizens absolutely agree with Jerehmiah Wright when he said “God damn America.” I’m about as lily white as you can get, downright pale and an atheist to boot and I agree with almost every word of that sermon. A nation that leaves it’s citizens in the streets homeless does not hold the teachings of Christ in any great respect.

    A nation with more prisons and prisoners, more guns, more murders, more drug abuse than any nation in the world deserves damnation. A nation that puts great store in housing it’s cars but refuses to house it’s people deserves damnation. A nation that cannot provide basic health care in all it’s wealth when Cuba in it’s poverty can, deserves damnation. A nation that invades other nations based upon flat lies told by it’s leaders deserves damnation.

    Redemption may be had by mercy and grace but damnation has been earned.

    People in America KNOW this which is why great crowds flock to hear Barack Obama and John McCain can’t fill decent sized ballroom. We know we are being lied to everytime we buy some milk or eggs and the government tells us that there is no inflation. We know the truth.

  20. June 10, 2008 at 09:48

    On the subject of cob building: it’s taking off in South Africa, with some developers doing wondeful things with cob. For those interested, google the small town of ‘Greyton’ ( Western Cape) which is a model town built almost entirely using alternative materials, especially cob.

    For an excellent take on the dehumanization of American soldiers is Iraq, see the movie ‘The Valley of Elah.’

    And here’s a call to solidarity by all fans of the Western genre, which has been making a great comeback with movies such as ‘Jesse James’ and the even better (remake) ‘3:10 to Yuma.’

    All this new new striving to resuscitate this great genre has been slapped in the face by the disgusting Polish (yeah, POLISH) mockery of the entire tradition, called ‘Dead Man’s Bounty.’ It’s a macabre parody of the Western and of all that the Western stands for. Don’t be fooled by the fact that it stars Val Kilmer, who did such a good job playing Doc Holiday in “Tombstone.’ In this POLISH ripoff he plays a corpse.

    A protest in the streets of Warsaw is the only proper response, and Val should be sent to Clint for a dressdown. As for the critic who compared this so-called movie to “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly’ ; this man should be strung up by the first available posse.

  21. June 10, 2008 at 09:50

    Hi Tino, Akbar here in Tehran
    Pakistan is a trouble spot and needs quick attention.
    Massive population growth, political anarchy.
    Why not keep Parviz Musharraf, the devil we know?
    Again the Arab connection plays a major part in funding
    Islamic cells. Britain seems to be exasperated by the issue.
    Little brother on the Indian continent, rivalries between Islamabad
    and New Delhi are rife.
    Iran will have difficulty collecting revenues from the Peace Gas
    Pipeline Project, if it ever goes on stream.
    Pakistan sent the Taliban to Afghanistan in the first place, and
    they are back, with Islamabad’s blessing.
    Is it up to Karzai or Britain to intervene? Do the Taliban
    have the blessing Britain as has been reported in the media?

  22. June 10, 2008 at 09:50


    I had this discussion with some friends and family the other day. When I mentioned that Reverend Write had a valid point in his speech I got looked at the same way as when I mention “most sociologist agree that if it weren’t for human nature, communism would be the perfect form of government.”

    I do not agree that a hurricane and a flood are the faults of any government. There is equal blame to go around when it comes to homelessness and crime. The government can be blamed for policies that make it possible for the Jerry Springer class to continue to increase its numbers. However, somebody has to take the responsibility for having children when you don’t know haw you are going to house, cloth, feed, and educate them. Somebody has to make the decision not to have children in that situation. Inflation is cause by people being able to buy things they can’t really afford. Welfare, credit, predatory lending, and government subsidies allow for living beyond our means. That equals inflation. How do you tell Americans though they have to live closer to work, not drive a new car, and learn to live off the land again?

    What I do agree with is that we were not attacked on 9/11 just because goat herding Muslims half way around the world hate our freedom and democracy. Every time we pump petroleum based fuels into our gas guzzling automobiles we finance the people who are their enemies. Every member of that heinous idiot squad that attacked us was from OPEC nations. Violence is never an acceptable way to just make a point. But the point they were trying to make was not as simple as we would like to think. If you ever have the chance to meet the people who live simple lives and can look past their strange religious dedication, they are extraordinary.

  23. 24 Omunyaruguru
    June 10, 2008 at 10:01

    The growth of shanty cities is interesting to me. I have seen quite a few come up in my brief lifetime and invariably they are a good source of criminals. As the world population grows, rural urban migrations with growth of slums is innevitable. Is there something that can be done to improve the situation?

  24. 25 Tino
    June 10, 2008 at 10:16


    “What I do agree with is that we were not attacked on 9/11 just because goat herding Muslims half way around the world hate our freedom and democracy.”

    You are half right. They were not goat herding Muslims. They were well educated middle class Muslims and they do not hate our democracy and freedoms – just the fact that we do not believe in Allah. It is insane to me that ~7 years after 9/11 you still have not bothered to read the charter of the group that attacked us. Of course, since you are likely in the majority in regards to that, I shouldn’t be surprised.

    “But the point they were trying to make was not as simple as we would like to think.”

    Yes it is, and they SAY it is. You do NOT know better than the people that committed the attack, sorry. I will definitely take their reason over your contrived ones. Primary source vs made up reason…

    @ Akbar

    It is Pakistan’s responsibility and if they cannot do it they should be prepared for violations of airspace.

  25. 26 Mohammed Ali
    June 10, 2008 at 10:26

    Bush is taking his last tour of Europe in what is seen in my view as a publicity stuff. I heard on the news he will be discussing Iran and maybe the war in Iraq. But what actually is the significance of this trip?
    Can somebody please tell me.

  26. June 10, 2008 at 10:55

    It’s Priya again, I saw this:

    Violence against Albinos in Tanzania.

    Yet a few months ago, an albino MP was nominated by her President…

    Here in the UK, there is a guy with albinism on Big Brother, i think it’s the first time i have seen one on TV… He is black, but he is also white… he says he has always been neither.

    What is it like ot live with albinism? How do people treat you in a world where, whether we like it or not, colour seems to matter?

  27. June 10, 2008 at 10:57

    @ Tino,

    The reasons are made up. However, the only way to prove it from the sanctity of the safe borders is to go for yourself. Something most of us will never do. The reasons you site are the ones sold you American people like a cheap pair of sneakers. The charter you read was made up after the attack. Al-Qaeda is no one group. You can find other version that don’t even know haw to read the same language. Tell me, this charter, did you read it in English? It is nice of them to translate for you. It is nice to think of them as all one agreeing homogenous group. That is like saying all black people believe what Malcom X would preach. There are radicals even within radical groups. But like I said it is not that simple.

    We have this debate before. The just because you come from a middle class family doesn’t mean you are middle class. Osama himself “came from” a very wealthy family. He had been shunned by his own family. I come from a middle class family. That doesn’t stop me from wanting to take up the cause of less privileged.

    I am out of here people. Seem like I have wasted your American tax dollars once again and many of you have slept safe and sound, again. have a nice day all.

  28. 29 Mohammed Ali
    June 10, 2008 at 11:11

    In Zimbabwe sanction will not work, instead it will only affect the already downthrodden masses. Mugabe will love sanction because he wants the poor Zimbabwians to suffer. In that instance if he distribute food to the already suffering and masses, he will be seen as a saviour a weapon that he will use to prolong his stay in power.
    Military force as solution, I say NO, not the proper way because again in this the poor will suffer more and I’m afraid it could become another Iraq or Somalia.
    Diplomatic pressure, YES. This will have to be not only by the West but also by the African countries. I’m not speaking of the lip-service diplomatic pressure that we are seen around here. I mean complete ISOLATION of every member of the regime by African governments especially those who are neighbouring Zimbabwe. Mugabe and his cohorts should not be allowed to travel out of Zimbabwe for any reason(s) be it for UN,AU, SADC,and etc. submit.
    I think the role the West is plyaing should have been done by the Africans and complemented by the West.
    I’m critic of the West but on this they are trying their best but it is the African gopvernments that are not applying efforts. Until they can do so the people of Zimbabwe will continue to suffer.

  29. 30 Mohammed Ali
    June 10, 2008 at 11:33

    On the issue of Iran who actually do we trust, the Americans along with their Western allies or the Iranians? Is actually hard to trust either of them for good reasons:
    1. On the Iraq issue the Americans and those who were pushing for war presented numerous fake dossiers to prove that Saddam had WMD. UN nuclear inspector were there and asked for time to properly inspect and verify the claim of WMD made the Americans and British, but wanting to go to war the Americans and the British said that the UN was useless and asked them out and started their war against Saddam. After everything, there were no WMD. In that case we can’t trust them.
    2. The Iranians have said that they want to wipe Israel off the map by what means nobody knows. However the only plausible way of wiping a country off the map easily is through nuclear weapons. In this situation it will be hard to beleive the Iranians too.

    Solution: the UN nuclear watch dog, the IAEA, should be fully capicitated and given corporations for all ends to properly investigate the claim that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. I should say that developing nuclear weapons is not interest of any one nation.

  30. June 10, 2008 at 11:44

    Hi Ros, Akbar here in Tehran
    I don’t want to be blasé, but you need oil, we got it.
    You can’t make ends meet in Iraq, we are the key.
    Afghanistan is a burden to you. We are quite comfortable
    dealing with it in our own way.
    Pariah state, maybe, but those are the realities of modern politics.
    We have been in Coventry for thirty years. We are waking up.
    So should Europe and the United States.
    I don’t see a strong case for attacking Iran. Jews, Shiites, Sunnis,
    Kurds, 2 million Afghan refugees seem to be living quite peacefully in Iran.
    You know, the nuclear issue is bloated out of all proportions.
    Serious negotiations yes, but with whom?
    The Bush Administration has been a disappointment for Iran, but also Iraq,
    Lebanon and even Russia.
    It is unclear what Washington wants in Baghdad or Tehran, or whether it will
    get it.
    Doubtful Mcaine or Obama can alter situation, If elected.
    Former French president Mitterand refused to step down, even though he had prostate cancer, because he said his mind was ticking, it may be the opposite for President Bush.
    Great expectations from EU; wait and see!
    No more sanctions please.

  31. June 10, 2008 at 12:29

    Zimbabwe: First step: get the matter seriously into the UN security council, and see who votes against taking forceful steps. My bet is China will oppose it. There’s definitely something PRC going on in Zim.

    Don’t expect help from Mbeki. Whatever else Mugabe may have failed at, he succeeded in getting rid of the pesky whites. Remember that Mbeki’s ‘African Renaissance’ ideal is one which demands either that whites become ‘africanized’ (which they won’t), or that they get out. It’s a long term ideal, but the squeeze is on.

    What would I do? Hope that Obama get’s in and then speaks forcefully into the situation. It’s not a long shot to surmise that Africans will pay attention to him. But, one way or another, nothing will change until a worldwide political storm breaks around Zimbabwe. On the other hand, if Burma gets no attention, why should anyone care about Zim? So the best place to begin would probably be just for activists everywhere to really start caring, and making a big noise, something of apartheid proportions.

    Iran: Please America and the EU, don’t mess with this nation of highly cultivated people. This will be a mistake like no other in recent middle-east history. Stop weighing up middle-east dynamics only against US interests. Stop the axis-of-evil clap-trap.

    There is no more suitable friendship to be had in the region than a friendship with Iran. This is what should be sought, instead of measures to further alienate that country. It may require a slow, painstaking progress, but would be worth the effort.

    The EU should take the lead here, if only for the sake of balance. Let the EU be to Iran what the US is to Israel. Then talks will have to follow.

  32. 33 steve
    June 10, 2008 at 12:46

    Here’s some local news that is getting a little controversial. Recently in Washington, DC there were 7 murders in only a few hours. The police responded by putting up checkpoints. Good or bad idea? Everyone is treated like a suspect entering a certain area of the city where there has been a lot of violence.


  33. 34 kabiru
    June 10, 2008 at 12:54

    i think mugabe should be engaged politically to solve his country problem not by imposing sanction on innocent zimbabwes.also IRAN have every right to own a nuclear weapon since the isreal who have invaded it neighbores on variouse occassion have one of it own without the international community doing anything about it.

  34. June 10, 2008 at 13:06

    Hi donovan roebert
    Akbar here in Tehran
    I am so gald you have said it. Soft politics,velvet gloves.
    Iran is in a transitional stage from feudal, theocratic rule to the civil agenda.
    Changes must be made, – namely rule of Parliament – not a young scruff and upstart blurting out everything that comes into his mind, – as with unwarranted comments on the Jewish diaspora, because we have our own. The nonsense on the holicaust and whether it ever happenend must also be attributed to his ignorance.
    The Iranian Parliament must rein in all the executive power in the country. The Cabinet has no place roaming about the countryside and bungling everything in the provinces, as it has been doing. The Iranian Cabinet must become glued to Parliament, sit at sessions, form a proper ruling party and face the opposition, fair and square.
    “Let the EU be to Iran what the US is to Israel,” well said Donovan.

  35. June 10, 2008 at 14:40

    Worse to Come
    Iranian banks are already under pressure to curtail liquidity and tame infaltion, have been dealt another blow by EU, US financial establishments. It will hurt.
    The situation in Tehran is tense, and extra restraints have been imposed on the press to muzzle criticism. Altogether, a bad week for President Ahmadinejad. Given the brush-off by Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi last Monday, unpopular with Ali Larijani, the newly elected head of Parliament, he is fcing tough opposition on all sides.
    Leader Ali Khamenei has been plugging Islamic unity today, although he also faces a challenge from Ali Akbar Rafsanjani and a host of other clerics in the Expediency Council, which in theory could unseat him.
    This is a veritable melting pot with an assortment of radical elements, hit squads and clandestine cells which may be difficult to dismantle in the short term. On the other side, there are moderate elements such as former president Seyed Mohammad Khatami, but is he up to the challenge?

  36. 37 jamily5
    June 10, 2008 at 14:50

    I don’t think that the west can do much for zimbabwe. Not at first, the AU needs to take a firm stand. I agree with Mohammed and others – economic sanctions will just hurt the people and not Mugabe. Zanu-pf does not care about killing their own citizens: military action is out of the question. Even volunteers from NGOs are being ousted more and more. We have to find someone who can apply the right pressure. As much as we want to think that we are the country to do just this – We are not.

  37. 38 steve
    June 10, 2008 at 14:58

    I’m really curious why we’re not talking about the Tokyo attacks. I’m guessing because it didn’t happen in the US and didn’t involve guns, yet he killed 7 and injured 10 more. What is happening is people pissed off that they’re not getting what they want from society, given the entitlement mentalities so many have, and I am afraid this will become common in the future. I’m not getting what I want, so I’ll go on a rampage, is the thinking that goes with this.


  38. 39 Tino
    June 10, 2008 at 15:16

    Agreed Steve, makes me think the US stories get all the coverage simply as a political move to try to shore up support for banning guns or some other nonsense. I think what annoys me about all of these stories is that everyone instantly pulls a mental illness excuse. If someone kills someone in a fight on the road (road rage) no one assumes this. Just because someone used violence they are not crazy, how is this any different than someone killing their wife or any other murder? Just kill the guy and be done with it. I also hate questions like this:

    This kind of response could be characterised as “it was a problem with him, not something we did wrong”. But is that really good enough as an explanation, or was he failed in some way by Japanese society?

    I do not think society needs to change just because someone kills people. It reminds me of the crusade against video games and music in the US post columbine. None of that makes people kill people. We always look for the “why!” when quite frankly it doesn’t really matter as I do not think it is a solvable problem. Just set an example of these people and make no places banned weapon zones. My school, for example, does not allow one to carry a gun on campus. I assume the same for VT. With the law in place, no one can defend themselves properly as a law like that will not stop someone who wants to kill, they bring a gun anyway. However, if the law was not on the books, then people can defend themselves. At most, maybe one death per incident or so before the criminal gets taken down. Gun control should mean: background checks on criminal record and mental health history. It should not mean removing guns from law-abiding citizens hands so only criminals have them. The solution is to let the public defend itself instead of trying to hamstring them and further shift the advantage to criminals (like Britain did).

  39. 40 Shirley
    June 10, 2008 at 15:28

    Zak said that he wanted to discuss health care systems and how they deal with disease, I think. I did, too, but I have had such a difficult time finding information about this one documentary that I watched some time ago on PBS that I have been keeping my mouth (and fingers) shut. Finally, today I found stuff. Some info that I have compiled about the Frontline (PBS) documentary on health care worldwide:

    T.R. Reid is a foreign correspondent for The Washington Post, a commentator for NPR, and the author of nine books. He is currently working on his 10th book, titled We’re Number 37!, in which he compares America’s health care system to others around the world. It is scheduled to be published in 2009.

    Reid: The World Health Organization hired a Harvard Prof. to create a matrix for rating all the world’s health care systems (191 of them). The U.S. did fairly well on quality, but we had a rotten score on fairness… [T]he malpractice issue adds very little to the overall cost of care in our country. The big costs drivers are sheer inefficiency…and the huge administrative costs that the insurance industry takes out of the system before it pays any medical bills.

    These [other] capitalist countries don’t trust health care entirely to the free market. They all impose limits. There are three big ones. First, insurance companies must accept everyone and can’t make a profit on basic care. Second, everybody’s mandated to buy insurance, and the government pays the premium for the poor. Third, doctors and hospitals have to accept one standard set of fixed prices.



    (and Google: frontline sick around the world)

  40. June 10, 2008 at 16:00

    Just in time for that Shirley: Salmonella outbreak in US tomatoes: Roma, Slicer Red Round, Plum. Interestingly tomatoes still on the vine are unaffected.

    As a chef I’ve come to know one rule about these little saucy fruits: at all times they’re better stewed! To kill Salmonella you would want to stew them to at least 300 F, 150 C degrees for awhile, probably at least 10 min (I’m basing that off what they tell you for Turkey: get it to that temp for at least some of it’s cooking time).

  41. 42 jamily5
    June 10, 2008 at 16:01

    I think that the real question about Zimbabwe is:
    If MT does finally get to be president —
    should Zanu-pf be held accountable for crimes against humanity?
    Will the MDC have to work with Zanu-pf, as many are predicting?
    Some have noted that even Zanu worked with some of the members of the Smith regime.
    I know that the MDC is not offering Amnesty, but, what price do they pay for their office?
    Would it be easier to start the recovery of Zim, if amnesty was given?

  42. 43 steve
    June 10, 2008 at 16:06

    @ Zak

    It’s even better not to eat tomatoes. I cannot contemplate how someone could eat a raw tomato. The smell alone makes me feel like vomiting, and if I accidentally even taste it, I’ll get sick.

  43. June 10, 2008 at 16:12

    Akbar Javadi: Iran obviously has its problems, but who doesn’t.

    The big opportunity that was missed by the west was exactly when Khatami was in power. I couldn’t understand at the time why the US chose exactly that moment to begin demonizing Iran, and I still don’t.

    Unless it’s another Iraq ploy : damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Because the US just can’t abide the thought that another regional power, with Israeli-size capabilities, should exist in the middle east.

    For me the whole matter was epitomized during Ahmadinejad’s visit to Columbia University, where the American (academic!) contingent made him look like a dignified man of learning, while they behaved like morons.

    This does not mean I like Ahmadetc., but the moment was just too bizarre! Khatami is another story. I’m not overly educated about internal Iranian politics, but I’d say he’s the best bet for rationalized transformation. Perhaps the west will have another chance to interact with him, and then throw it away again.

  44. June 10, 2008 at 16:18

    Aw, that’s awful harsh Steve – just try soaking lightly stewed tomatoes in balsamic vinegar before adding them to salad. Or if you’re making a hot sandwich try just slicing tomatoes into the pan with a little olive oil – delicious.

  45. 46 jamily5
    June 10, 2008 at 16:18

    Just fyi:
    although people claim mental illness, the likelyhood that insanity will preclude one from punishment is quite small.

    I don’t have time to debate gun control laws with you.
    and, Steve, I don’t think that it is nearly as simple as “people throwing a fit because they don’t get what they want.” If so, then, I would be interested in knowing why you believe that there is such a surge in this type of behavior.

  46. June 10, 2008 at 16:26

    Sheikh Ali al-Nida killed. Interesting story of a big time Saddam turncoat, killed by the terrorists he fought.

  47. 48 steve
    June 10, 2008 at 16:26


    I think it has to do with the narcissism of the instant gratification society. People think they are entitled to lots of things, and they go nuts when they don’t get it, or realize finally they never will.

    If you think about it, countries like India and China, especially that their middle classes are growing, will have this problem, but only worse, especially from men, given how many more men there are than women..

  48. 49 jamily5
    June 10, 2008 at 16:32

    at Steve,
    Interesting analysis,
    And the solution?????????
    I did see a report on the BBC about 2mos ago that discussed the discentigrating respect and reverence for India’s elderly.
    This would support your theory.

  49. 50 Count Iblis
    June 10, 2008 at 16:32

    About Iran, it is clear that the driving force behind this dispute about the nuclear program is the US. See here:


    In 2006 the Germans suggested that Iran would be able to operate their enrichment program, subject to IAEA inspections. The German Minister of Defense Franz Josef Jung stated that a ban on Iranian enrichment work was unrealistic, that “One cannot forbid Iran from doing what other countries in the world are doing in accordance with international law” and that IAEA oversight of any Iranian enrichment activities would provide the necessary assurances to the international community that Iran could not secretly divert the program of weapons use.[146]

    Later, the Europeans reportedly also considered a compromise proposal where Iran would be allowed to continue spinning its centrifuges but would not feed any processed uranium hexafluoride (UF6) into the machines during the course of negotiations.[147]

    The Iranians had also indicated that they were willing to consider suspending large-scale enrichment for up to 2 years, but was not prepared to freeze enrichment entirely[148]

    The compromise ideas were reportedly shot down by the US, and Robert Joseph, the Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control reportedly told ElBaradei: “We cannot have a single centrifuge spinning in Iran. Iran is a direct threat to the national security of the United States and our allies, and we will not tolerate it. We want you to give us an understanding that you will not say anything publicly that will undermine us.”[149]

    In June 2007, IAEA director Mohammad ElBaradei suggested that Iran should be allowed limited uranium enrichment under strict supervision of the IAEA.[150] His remarks were formally criticised by Nicholas Burns, the US Under-Secretary of State, who said: “We are not going to agree to accept limited enrichment”[151]

    In February 2008, Pierre Vimont, the French Ambassador to the United States, urged that the United States adopt a more flexible approach to Iran by accepting its regional role and recognizing that the nuclear issue has broad popular support among Iranians.[152]

    So, we see here that it is the US attitude has blocked a resolution of the conflict. Many other countries may share some of the concerns about a posible Iranian nuclear weapons program, but the fact that Iran refuses to stop enriching uranium is in itself not the core problem for most countries.

    So, the current problem at hand, that Iran is refusing to stop enriching uranium, is much more a dispute between the US and Iran. In this conflict, many countries have “appeased” the US and put their objections about the US position aside.

  50. 51 steve
    June 10, 2008 at 17:33

    Another comment I have on the general sickness of society.. Josef Fritzl has gotten hundreds of love letters from women, who want to be with him, despite him having imprisoned his daughter for decades and forcibly having sex with her while imprisoned. What does this state about society where this man is desired by more women than say a man that works hard, doesn’t commit crimes, but is not a “bad boy”?? Hhaha, the news sometimes makes me laugh despite the misfortune it tells.

  51. 52 Emile Barre
    June 11, 2008 at 22:54

    What the Burmese military dictatorship is getting away with makes Mugabe look angelic. Obviously he is not but he is better than Smith.

  52. 53 Dennis
    June 11, 2008 at 23:14

    Emile Barre comments [including everyone else]

    Burma junta is getting away with almost everything….

    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

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