Talking points 25 June

Goodmorning it’s Karnie…

Thanks to Chloe and Raffles in Singapore who took care of the blog for us overnight..

Thoughts for today…

Iraq..this story went up on the morning blog yesterday.  We linked to an article about Iraq in the Washington Post by Charles Krauthammer, who argued that the situation in Iraq is actually improving despite the Democrats call for a quick withdrawal of troops. 

Here’s another person who agrees that the Democrats may perhaps have it all wrong and that the surge is in fact doing what it aimed to do.  It’s by David Brooks in the International Herald Tribune. 

Other journalists in the same newspaper focus on the harsh realities of the Iraq war..BUT are there more and more people who are beginning to think that Iraq has turned a corner vs those who don’t? According to reports Iraqis themselves don’t support the idea of an early withdrawal. We’re reading many articles supporting the surge in Iraq, giving us evidence that it IS working..what do you think? Are they right and is an early withdrawal of troops (suggested by the Democrats) really a good idea?

Southern African leaders are holding an emergency summit in Swaziland today, to discuss Zimbabwe. South Africa’s leader, Thabo Mbeki has been criticised for dragging his feet when it comes to Zimbabwe. Whilst other Southern African leaders have expressed their frustration against Robert Mugabe, the president of South Africa remains reluctant to openly criticise his neighbour.

World Have Your Say has received many texts from our African audience calling on the International community to boycott the 2010 Football World Cup – being hosted by South Africa.

That thought is being re-iterated by author, Peter Godwin in the New York Times. Is this a good idea? We saw the Olympics torch relay being hit by global protests..is this one of the ways the world could react to South Africa’s quiet diplomacy over Zimbabwe? Does South Africa deserve to host the 2010 WC in the first place?

Rumours about Senator Obama being a muslim on the internet are rife..all you have to do is type in: “Is Obama a muslim?” And you will find many articles on this subject..The Senator’s father was a muslim but he was brought up as a Christian. Reacting to the rumours, he strongly denies that he IS muslim..so what if he is? But this is the United States post 911. He says the rumours are part of a smear campaign and is a scaremongering tactic.

According to a Pew report 10% of voters believe that he still is a muslim despite him saying that he isn’t. The muslim community in America feel that the Senator is snubbing them. And they are right to feel this way..whilst he has visited churches and synagogues, he is yet to set foot in a mosque. Are American muslims right to feel aggrieved by a man who’s father was muslim? Is Obama deliberately distancing himself from the muslim community and is it the right thing to do?

Here’s an interesting article on the creation of Down’s syndrome dolls. It aims to give Down’s children a toy that reflects themselves as they are. As we already know, dolls are created in the mainstream version of physical perfection.

Creator of the DS dolls, Helga Parks was inspired to by her niece who had Downs. But not many people are pleased with this idea. Rosa Monckton (British Socialiate and close friend to Princess Diana) has a daughter with DS an finds the doll offensive and patronizing..and she’s not the only one..what do you think?

81 Responses to “Talking points 25 June”

  1. 1 Dennis :)
    June 24, 2008 at 19:30

    Hi Chloe, thanks for moderating….

    Hi Andrew…We already know why your are still called RAFFLES….

    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  2. 2 Simeon Banda
    June 24, 2008 at 19:51

    Mugabe should postpone the elections. Violence and intimidation of opposition have rendered the free and fair elections impossible.
    SADC and African Union should help to put oder in Zimbabwe. Enough is enough. we feel bad to hear people killed because of political affiliation. Why are people tortured for expressing their right of expression.
    The ambient in Zimbabwe is not there to hold a free and fair elections.
    Mugabe the people you kill are your own people, you should have pity in the death of the innocents. Power is a game of turns. Once your turn is over, accept defeat and give the baton to another one. shame on Mugabe who want to die in power even when people refuse you by the vote cast. Stop violence and intimidation and listen to the international pressure. No man is an island, you can not survive alone. Listen to small voices all over the world.

  3. 3 Anthony
    June 24, 2008 at 20:24

    I’m wondering if people really think McCain can win? Has anyone watched his speeches? He reminds me Grandpa Simpson telling his pointless boring stories. And his crowds are boring. The claps and cheers are so mechanical! You see the Obama rally’s, and it’s like a U2 concert! And can anyone name one big “attention getter” supporter for McCain? I can’t. Obama has so many famous people that back him up. And let’s not forget that we’ve had 8 years of Bush and that mentality. Not even republicans I know want that!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  4. 4 Will Rhodes
    June 24, 2008 at 20:29


    Now I have to say I am biased – I love history and I feel an obligation should be on a freely elected government to keep history alive.

    The Cutty Sark is a part of British history – but has had to be saved by a gift, a large gift at that.

    The Cutty Sark will be fully restored thanks to a £3.3m donation from an Israeli shipping tycoon.

    The ship, based in Greenwich, south-east London, was part-way through a £35m conservation project when a fire started onboard in May last year.

    Shipping magnate Sammy Ofer has donated £3.3m to enable the restoration to be completed by 2010.

    Should we do a show on how governments should save our heritage for future generations or should it just be up to personal donations to help?

  5. 5 Venessa
    June 24, 2008 at 21:32

    Anthony ~

    I think people are really salivating for something new. I know I am. To me McCain is just another crusty old man we can vote into office that will do the same things over. While he does have a lot of experience he’s also had plenty more years and opportunity to become corrupt compared to Obama. Of course there are deeper issues than this that cause me concern but this is just a thought that I have regarding the energy seen in Obama’s camp.

    We have a large conservative populous. I think it could possibly be a close run. Does anybody else think that?

  6. 6 Anthony
    June 24, 2008 at 22:11

    @ Venessa

    Lol @ “just another crusty old man”, yet it is true! I’m wondering who’s going to get second place, McCain or Nader the megalomaniac (lol at Nader). Hosnestly, if McCain wins, there are some Zimbabwe elections going on in the U.S.A.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  7. 7 Amy
    June 24, 2008 at 22:15

    This is so sad. What a horrible choice for parents to make.


    I wonder what role the government of Indonesia takes in subsidizing these places and is this something that is becoming more common world wide?

  8. 8 Shirley
    June 24, 2008 at 22:33

    Could Dwight drop me a line? Thank you.

  9. 9 Julie P
    June 24, 2008 at 22:57


    I would love a show on that. I think it would be quite the interesting debate. Often times I think something like that gets pushed to the back pages. Our national parks come from FDR administration, but a lot of our other national treasures come from private donations. Good suggestion.

  10. 10 Catalina
    June 24, 2008 at 22:59

    @ Anthony

    While i definitely agree with what you say you forget that the majority of the voters in America are older. The same people that voted to elect Bush, will most likely vote for McCain. Also, i personally could care less of what celebrity is backing what candidate or what their rallies are like. As long as they have good views and policies, and know what their doing, backing by famous people means absolutely nothing. I agree wit Venessa that the US has a vast majority of conservatives. Don’t forget that McCain’s opposition is a black man. How well do you think that’s going to go over in the conservative states?

    To make it clear though: McCain sucks. He’s a money sucking, old creep. I researched him for a project, and he bring as much prosperity to the US as George Bush. I think it’s definitely time for a younger voice in government; one that has fresh ideas on how to run our government. It’s time for a Democrat. 😀

  11. 11 Anthony
    June 24, 2008 at 23:06

    @ Catalina

    I agree with you that I don’t care about endorsments and rally’s. Unfortunatly, we live in a country where people vote for Obama because he’s “cute”, or “cool” or because “he’s black and I’d like to see the first black man in the white house”. Some people raised on T.V. look to people like Oprah and Brad Pitt for their political views, just because they like those celebs. Its sad but true, but this time I believe it’s working out to our advantage.

    Lol, hehe, and yes, you are quite correct about McCain, and my views are shared with yours 🙂

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  12. 12 Shirley
    June 25, 2008 at 00:00

    I know many conservatives in my rather rural location who are strong supporters of the William F Buckley form of Republicanism. They are so disappointed in McCain. When I ask why, they refer to his personal views on abortion. I ask for more reasons, and they stall. How many others kow of single-issue voters who plan to vote for McCain – reluctantly – because Barack Obama supports abortion? What other single issues are there for Republicans? Democrats?

    It is unseasonably cool for this time of year where I am at. I remember a drought when I was young during the 1980’s, but other than that, I remember generally having enough rain to keep our crops happy. The past few years, though, have been scary. Meteorologists are beginning to talk about hurricanes.

    Mod Issues:
    I think that one of the posts that I tried to send to Armed Robbery got caught in the spam filter? It was linked to death. Sorry.

  13. 13 Julie P
    June 25, 2008 at 00:33

    To build on my previous posting here is a recent development coming out of the state of Florida:


    Restoring the Everglades, a truly noble effort.

  14. 14 Amy
    June 25, 2008 at 00:40


    While it is wonderful that the state of Florida is attempting to restore the Everglades, I have to sit back and wonder who allowed it to get into the trouble it is now (remember, President Bush’s brother used to be the governor there…….)

    It would make for a great topic on air, I think.

  15. 15 Julie P
    June 25, 2008 at 00:45


    I agree. The Everglades have been under severe stress for some. It is a subject that I would like to know more about. In the back of mind I wondered if the Everglades would ever be put on the endangered list. I really want to more about it.

  16. 16 Dennis :)
    June 25, 2008 at 02:20

    I think that one of my notes was never went thru.

    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  17. 17 Dennis :)
    June 25, 2008 at 02:44

    Did Andrew in Singapore—on. doing his shift on World Have Your Say TALKING POINTS 25 June 2008.

    *The United States (federal) government will not recognised the Zimbabwe elections, run-off…

    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  18. 18 Will Rhodes
    June 25, 2008 at 03:03

    @ Dennis

    I don’t know where Raffles is, but I am moderating with whomever else is on for the moment or until he turns up, so we can all keep posting. 🙂

  19. 19 Dennis :)
    June 25, 2008 at 03:28

    @ Will…

    I have not heard you for the past little while….It such a nice thought of seeing your picture.

    I have a question for anyone? What happend when Mark Sandell, was acting like the head-master…

    **another one bites the dust**

    i was out of the office. and i would like to know any information.

    For our dear friend Lubna in Baghdad, Tuesday, was her EXAMS for medical school…i hope that she got a GREAT GRADE.

    Lubna, my first semester of Interpersonal Communications will end on 3 July and the following Monday–i will have my next course for the Month of July and 2 weeks of August.

    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

    🙂 🙂

  20. 20 Amy
    June 25, 2008 at 03:37

    Hi all. I am around for a few more hours as well to help out as needed. Hope all is well with all of you!

  21. 21 Amy
    June 25, 2008 at 03:38


    I hope your exam went well. I am sure you aced it.


  22. 22 Andrew
    June 25, 2008 at 04:04

    Hi Will,

    Had a personal emergency here this morning had little choice but to sort it out. Here now.

  23. 23 Bob in Queensland
    June 25, 2008 at 04:12

    Greetings all from “crusty” Bob in Queensland!

    Regarding McCain, although I suspect Obama will win the election, I think the final results will be much closer than many people think. Why? Well, as with most countries, there is a sizeable percentage of voters who will go for the Republican candidate whoever he or she is (and however crusty they might be!).

    Beyond that though, several people have mentioned the “desire for change” and that certainly applies to many/most of the people I know. However, almost by definition, the people who post here in the WHYS blog are NOT McCain’s target audience. The people posting in here clearly have a deep interest in news and current affairs and, because this is a BBC site, an internationalist view of things. Those are traits not common in a typical McCain supporter.

    As for the Cutty Sark, while I’m very happy that it will be restored, I’m also saddened, both that the restoration was ever in question and that it took a donation (from outside the UK) to make this happen. Part of the reason I’m in Australia now was a deepening disillusionment with the “can’t do” attitude of all levels of government there–and the way they mismanage things even when they do decide to spend some money.. Can anyone think of any government capital schemes that haven’t cost twice as much and taken twice as long as they were supposed to?

    (Business note to other mods–I’ll be around to help out for several hours now.)

  24. 24 Will Rhodes
    June 25, 2008 at 04:14

    Hi Andrew

    OK – the ropes are all yours. Have a good one! 🙂 I will keep dropping by and my e-mail is open so if you need to go just drop me a mail.

  25. 25 Andrew
    June 25, 2008 at 04:17

    Hi Bob,

    Perhaps I am being a somewhat cynical, but how much of a change could any candidate in any election in any part of the world actually offer? Ultimately politicians are just that, politicians one in the same.

    The catch phrase, “new,” “fresh,” or “change” are bandied about with little impact after elections have been won. It does remain to be seen, but if Obama wins in Amercia what could he accomplish that would be much altered from the standard model of national leader?

  26. 26 Andrew
    June 25, 2008 at 04:18

    Cheers Will

  27. 27 Bob in Queensland
    June 25, 2008 at 04:54

    Hi Andrew!

    I hope the personal emergency was nothing too serious. My morning featured nothing worse than nailing a plank to the bottom of the garden gate to try and stop my wife’s furry rat dog from getting out onto the road.

    Anyway, I pretty much share your cynicism about polticians. However, the POTUS is one of the few jobs where the man sometimes does make a difference. For example, I think Obama is slightly less likely to unilaterally invade Iran than McCain might be. That alone is enough to make me care a bit!

    Edited to Add: You know, I think that, generalised, this could be a good WHYS topic: how much difference do politicians REALLY make and how much is really determined by things outside their control?

  28. 28 Andrew
    June 25, 2008 at 05:28

    Just a bad reaction to a flu shot from yesterday. Going to the continent soon and wanted to be prepared, sometimes it’s not worth the pain.

    Just taking here as an example, there is a honeymoon period with the new crew, but to be honest I see no difference between them and the former government. Sadly it is like that. I was thinking this just the other night and you have certain types attracted to certain professions and with politics there is a definite type.

    You have this inertia that comes with government and there are compromises to running a country, but as for the people themselves I see them as self-interested and any sense of admitted public service is to be taken with a pinch of salt. In a perfect world, politicians would live up to their promises and be honest and open and accountable. But inevitably they are one in the same, much to the detriment of us all it seems.

  29. 29 Amy
    June 25, 2008 at 05:35

    Goodnight everyone. See you all on the other side!

  30. 30 Bob in Queensland
    June 25, 2008 at 05:43

    Although it probably comes under the heading of “honeymoon period” actually I DO see a difference between Rudd’s government and Howard’s. Compared to what I was used to in the UK, Rudd has very quickly made some significant changes:

    -He kept his promise to bring home troops from Iraq. The process is on-going but it certainly started quickly.

    -The controversial workplace legislation was repealed as promised.

    -The “apology” the the aboriginal people happened as promised.

    The first two items in particular might not make a difference to you but, to the people involved, the change HAS made a difference.

    However, as I said, it’s easy to start with a splash. In the longer term I agree that the differences between the parties isn’t significant to most people.

  31. 31 Andrew
    June 25, 2008 at 05:45

    There’s always the tightening of the wheelnuts as you would expect by any NKOTB. But yes, in the long run we will see.

  32. 32 Mohammed Ali
    June 25, 2008 at 06:09

    Ok, Zimbabwe now is the got spot and so we’ve forgotten about Burma and Tibet. How are those cyclone victims coming on? Are they getting food and medical supplies from the outside world or the ruthless generals are just allowing them to die from hunger and diseases. What’s about the change in strategy of the Taleban which is causing casualties on the coalition forces.

  33. June 25, 2008 at 06:35

    Hi Amy, Akbar here in Tehran
    Reyr 10:15 pm comment, this is nothing new. It happens all the time. I saw one father dropping off his little daughter at an orphanage in Tehran over winter and picking her up in the summer. It lowers overheads.
    There is basically nothing wrong with the practice if it is put to good use.
    I spent a lifetime at boarding schools. When I look back, those were my happiest days.
    The notion of parenthood is over-rated. Most children over here hate their parents anyway. a child is happiest when he identifies with the environment. Many children in the Islamic world are brought up in matriarchal environments. It is to be dreaded. On the one hand, there is the harem mentality that somewhere along the line there is an over-awing figure who must be feared and obeyed. On the other hand, it castrates the male offspring before puberty, ensuring unswerving obedience to the matriarch, whatever the outcome.

  34. 34 Pangolin- California
    June 25, 2008 at 07:05

    Since my area of California is currently choking on a cloud of smoke from several hundred wildland fires I’m going to ask everyone to take yet another look at Climate Change. I’ve noticed that the idea of a carbon tax is gaining headway on cap-and-trade systems of greenhouse gas remediation. In particular the idea of a cash-back system has made it onto the BBC here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7471197.stm

    What is your opinion on a scheme that taxes your products on a daily basis and returns the money on a yearly or perhaps quarterly basis. These schemes would inevitably give more money to most individuals than they spend on taxes it could be more politically palatable to voters than other schemes.

    The question is; do you think it could work?

  35. 35 Katharina in Ghent
    June 25, 2008 at 07:21

    Hi Amy,

    I read the article about abandoning your child, you’re right, it’s a really, really sad story. The parents must be really desperate. The only good thing about this story is that the parents want their son to go to school and not waste away doing child labour… I think I recall reading a similar story some years ago, and there the parents would come and pick up their child when their situation improved. I hope this will also be the case here.

  36. 36 steve b - uk
    June 25, 2008 at 07:27

    Good morning from a bright and sunny UK

    I think Will’s idea is very good.

    Should we save our heritage? Should government money only be used? What are the implications if we allow – if we can get – private donations?

    This could be linked to so-called ‘private philanthropy’ – I am thinking of Donald Trump’s plans to spend millions on a golf resort in Scotland. The Council voted against it but some people see it as the only economic lifeline for the region.

    Also, should we spend a few million reparing, say, a castle when that money could feed thousands in the Third World? What are the guidelines here?

  37. 37 Andrew
    June 25, 2008 at 07:28

    Climate change debates without serious comment on population tends to leave me a bit flat. Unfortunately if you do mention the P word, comments are either dismissed or the person suggesting it ridiculed. Yet I can’t see that any serious attempt to tackle climate change without population control is ever complete. I think that we believe we can just go on increasing exponentially and we will somehow find solutions through technology to problems of environmental degradation, pollution, diminishing resources, etc. We do not want to touch the concept of our consumer society and the associated problems that has inherent with it, rather we ignore the damage we do to the planet and point the finger at the third world or feel consoled if we recycle a bottle or change a light globe. Eventually we will have to face this elephant in the room, but by that time it will be too late.

  38. 38 Pangolin- California
    June 25, 2008 at 07:34

    @ Orphanages- Akbar, children are not luggage to be put in storage over the winter in order to ease the burdens on the parents. My mother was orphaned out in the 1930’s due to the poverty of her parents and I can tell you she has been wounded to this day by that.

    It is also the case that she had very odd habits of parenting that were no benefit to her children as they were growing up. My siblings and I frequently state that we were “raised by wolves” due to the unfortunate circumstances of our parents. If you want a healthy society families must be supported as whole units.

    @John McCain- He has a significant chance of winning due to the fact that US television media is beholden to corporate interests. The most common ads on TV are for large SUV’s and trucks. Already the US media is promoting rumors that Barack Obama is a Muslim or ‘not a real Christian’ while no criticism of McCain’s frequent verbal confusion doesn’t rate a comment.

    Count on the media in the US to have Obama painted as a closet Muslim waiting for his chance to force mass conversions to Islam after his inauguration along with mandatory gay marriage. (no, it doesn’t make sense, welcome to America) For the rest of the world, please be reminded that in the 2000 election the US media ignored the fact that Bush couldn’t complete a sentence and declared Al Gore was a chronic liar. Look how that turned out.

  39. 39 Bryan
    June 25, 2008 at 07:44

    Anthony June 24, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    Yes, unfortunately people do vote for shallow reasons like image. Obama will probably swing it simply because he is much younger, more dynamic and a better speaker than McCain. His race makes little difference since America is the least racist country on the planet. No matter that he changes like a chameleon depending on what audience he is addressing. No matter that he supports the Palestinians on Monday and the Israelis on Tuesday. No matter that his wife was never proud of America and really seems to think that blacks are still getting a bad deal in the America of 2008, when she and Barack are living proof that they aren’t. No matter that he was a faithful member for 20 years of a church run by a racist preacher with ideas that would be denounced as akin to that of the KKK if he were white. Perhaps he always fell asleep just before the sermon? None of these things matter. The guy’s got style.

    Bob in Queensland June 25, 2008 at 4:12 am

    “The people posting in here clearly have a deep interest in news and current affairs and, because this is a BBC site, an internationalist view of things.”

    I would rephrase that and point out that it’s typical PC, left wing view of things. Like attracts like. Can anyone point me to any right of center political journalists working for the “impartial public broadcaster” known as the BBC? There were some once upon a time. They left.

  40. 40 Rick
    June 25, 2008 at 07:58

    Part of the elephant in the room is that we in the west consume 40 times as much as someone in the third world. In terms of the world’s resources my two children use as much stuff as 80 kids in a poor country. Who should practice population control? That is why consumption is a much bigger issue than population. Not that I don’t think population is a problem, its just that we shouldn’t get on our high horse about it. We need to change our lifestyle first be cause we have the education and resources to change but we are just too greedy.

  41. 41 Bryan
    June 25, 2008 at 08:02

    Pangolin- California June 25, 2008 at 7:34 am

    We should be eternally grateful that Al Gore didn’t become the president of the US of A. He would have directed a couple of missiles at an empty building in Afghanistan after 9/11 and waited for the next Al Qaeda attack while telling everyone that we really need to understand the root causes of Islamic terror.

  42. 42 Andrew
    June 25, 2008 at 08:02

    Population control cuts right across the board I should have said. Not just in poorer countries. If the richer all consuming nations cut back numbers then there would be a corresponding reduction in consumption as well.

  43. 43 Bob in Queensland
    June 25, 2008 at 08:16

    …though I believe you’ll find that in a good many of the richer countries, the birthrate is now below the “replenishment” rate and any population increase is due to immigration.

    This is a two edged sword–obviously good from a consumption point of view but also creating a “demographic time bomb” as average ages go up and the ability for governments to pay retirement benefits goes down.

  44. June 25, 2008 at 08:23

    Whoever advised Mr. Morgan Tsavgirai to drop out of the election did him a very great disservice, and accepting that advice shows that he is a stooge, and, therefore, unfit to be the president of any country in this age of globalisation.

    Prince Awele Odor
    Lagos, Nigeria

  45. June 25, 2008 at 08:23

    Hi Pangolin- California
    Akbar here in Tehran
    Thku so much for response. Sorry you took offense. No offense meant.
    Children are being let by the day or hour to beggars.
    You may have read the story of the two year old who was drugged in order to keep it quiet anf give the mother a moment’s peace. It is all too true.
    Gene therapy supposedly can give you green eyes or greater height, but how do you eliminate the trauma of poverty, servitude, superstition and fear? Addiction is handed down from one generation to the next. It’s part of our legacy. we must live with it and try to root it out, but how? Forgive me if I don’t take a compassionate stance on this issue!
    Sorry about your mother, that’s why say we are scarred, through no fault of our own.

  46. 46 steve b - uk
    June 25, 2008 at 08:53

    Hi Chloe

    The UK government is to ban the Zimbabwe cricket team. The Olympic relay has been hit by protests. So, how about tomorrow we talk about sports and politics. Do they mix?

  47. 47 Pangolin- California
    June 25, 2008 at 09:01

    @ Bryan- So how are those Bush administration policies working out for everybody? Economic crisis, petroleum crisis, agricultural crisis, food prices up and jobs lost, declining health care coverage, climate change disaster of the week, more jobs lost and the US military bogged down in two wars they cannot win since we declared war on ‘terror.’ Exactly how do you win a war declared on an emotion? When do you know that it’s time to stop fighting?

    Let’s mention George Bush’s unfortunate difficulties with the english language in detail. Just yesterday he said this in front of the president of the Philippines:

    “And I reminded the President that I am reminded of the great talent of the — of our Philippine-Americans when I eat dinner at the White House.”

    Thank dog he wasn’t in the Navy or we’d have heard about his shore leave antics at Subic Bay and ‘bar girls.’

    “Wait a minute. What did you just say? You’re predicting $4-a-gallon gas? … That’s interesting. I hadn’t heard that.” –George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Feb. 28, 2008

    Probably listening to his earpiece tell him what to say next. The man is an embarrassment to the U.S.

    @ Population- The world has decided to use the default method of population control now being demonstrated in Burma; watch people starve from a healthy distance.

  48. June 25, 2008 at 09:36

    Our world today is ruled by dictators who act with impunity while the whole world watches by, offering only criticisms and no action. People like Mugabe love this.

  49. 49 Pangolin- California
    June 25, 2008 at 09:36

    @Akbar- No offense taken. I was simply pointing out that the consequences of social decisions can have repercussions generations later. The trauma of poverty, servitude, ignorance, superstition and fear is relieved by food security, housing security, educational access and compassion.

    Addiction is most likely written into our genetics and the genes are present in all classes of people. My personal experience is that my father’s family are all alcoholics as was my mother’s father. I myself, have a physiological aversion to alcohol and cannot tolerate more than a single drink. It’s simply luck on the part of the individual if they are resistant or not.

    Compassion is simply the understanding that you are a millimeter away from becoming a drooling, useless, stroke victim. That and many other medical conditions strike without warning or deference to wealth, race, religion, diet, exercise or contributions to your local charities. You could be the person you denigrate as morally inferior.

    If the system fails the weak why should it serve the strong when they also fall?

  50. 50 Roberto
    June 25, 2008 at 09:56

    The people posting in here clearly have a deep interest in news and current affairs and, because this is a BBC site, an internationalist view of things. Those are traits not common in a typical McCain supporter.

    ——- Bob, with all due respect, the typical American which includes the typical American voter of all stripes know very little about international affairs and barely know much about the rest of their county.

    In short, the average American is more likely to be quite provincial and limited and this can be seen in the reasons likely voters give as to who they will be voting for in the primaries. Out of perhaps 100 million eligible voters, what, maybe a couple of thousand might review this site? It would be a stretch to claim the majority of those for Obama at any rate.

    Republicans tend to be seen as more competent on foreign policy issues and democrats better on the domestic front, but these are not carved in stone anywhere.

    Personality will be a strong factor, and modern Americans have shown a distinct preference for bubbly cheerleader presidential types who are much easier for the political machines to get out the vote for rather than the serious/thinker type of personality.

    Obama has a distinct edge there over the more rebellious McCain. Americans do love a fighter though, so McCain has that in his favor. Factor in the age difference and race difference, that will make this campaign unlike any in history.

    Mistakes will be made as a new paradigm is being cast.

  51. 51 Roberto
    June 25, 2008 at 10:15

    We should be eternally grateful that Al Gore didn’t become the president of the US of A. He would have directed a couple of missiles at an empty building in Afghanistan after 9/11 and waited for the next Al Qaeda attack while telling everyone that we really need to understand the root causes of Islamic terror.

    ———– Dragging out a favored whipping boy is all you can come of with, eh?

    We know exactly what GDub has mangled. I never thought I would see the day when republicans could ever so blatantly take the lead in incompetence from the the democrats, but there he is in all his blithering glory.

    I imagine his own family cringes deep inside when he opens his mouth in public.

    My gosh, even Yogi Berra could be understood by all when he mangled the English language to comic effect.

  52. 52 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    June 25, 2008 at 10:40

    Pangoin ~ How do you figure a new carbon tax would “inevitably” give more moeny back to people than it took in? I read the linked piece and I’m still not getting it.

    Andrew~ Good news for you about population growth: It’s not a problem. As populations get wealthier, they get less fertile. Just about all of the Western world is now below replacement rate. The billions of people at the bottom of the world wealth scale are finally starting to climb up it, so their birthrate will decrease. It happens everywhere, reliably and inevitably. The curve is flattening. You hadn’t heard that the population bomb was a dud? Lucky thing too, because limiting people’s most vital, intimate decisions like that is totalitarian stuff, with no place in free societies.

  53. 53 Mohammed Ali
    June 25, 2008 at 10:46

    @Do Politicians Make The Difference When They Assume Power?
    My vote goes for discussing this topic on air and I think it is going to be very interesting. During their search for power, politicians make lot of promises as a mean of getting the needed votes to assume power. When they get to power in most cases we see no significant deviation from the past.

    Liberia in the past is a clasical example. In 1980 the regime of William R. Tolbert was brutally overthrown by 17 enlisted soldiers led by Mst.Sgt. Samuel K. Doe and backed by opposition politicians on the claim that the Tolbert regime was corrupt. The Doe regime became more corrupt and brutal with summary executions taking place all over.

    In 1989 Charles Taylor launched his brutal civil war against because it was corrupt and ethnically bias. Doe was murdered in 1990 and Taylor subsequently won elections in 1997 on promises that he is bringing change. Well Charles comitted more murders, his regime is noted for being one of the most corrupt regimes in the history of Liberia.

    At times too some of the politicians can live up to some of their promises and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia is a shinning example of those politicians. She promised Liberians that 6 months after her innauguration they were going to see some measure of electricity restore in the capital, Monrovia and exactly as she said it happens. She promised increament in civil servants salaries and it has increased by 300%. Roads are being reconditioned, corruption has been minimized though it stll is a problem. And many more.

    This topic will generate more debate.

  54. 54 Rick
    June 25, 2008 at 10:52

    The vast majority of the entire worlds media outlets are privately owned. As such they are automaticly leaning to the right even if they carry the occasiolnal
    left leaning coloumist. To have an outlet that is not is refreshing. “Like attracts like” is true and it is nice for us liberals to have somewhere to go. Like for you might be Fox or a few hundred other commercial outlets.

  55. 55 Bryan
    June 25, 2008 at 11:15

    Not true at all Rick. The left has as iron grip on education and the media worldwide. Just look at the UK as an example. Doesn’t the fact that the publicly-funded broadcaster, with its extraordinary reach and power and influence, is solidly anchored in the left tell you anything? And what about left wing rags like the Guardian and the “Independent” – or, down your way, the Sydney Morning Herald – which leans so far to the left it’s practically falling over?

  56. 56 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    June 25, 2008 at 11:18

    Rick ~ How do you figure that a privately owned media outlet is “as such, automatically leaning to the right” politically? That’s not the case in theory or in practice, anywhere I know of.

  57. 57 Andrew
    June 25, 2008 at 11:21

    The left has an iron grip on the media worldwide? I would like to see some evidence of that and I certainly doubt that it is true of the US which speaks on behalf of the world apparently.

  58. 58 Mohammed Ali
    June 25, 2008 at 11:38

    @I don’t support a quick withdrawal of troops from Iraq as the vacuum it will create will be filled by civil war between the Shias and the Sunnis and also the extremist. But definitely there has to be a timetable for the gradual withdrawal of troops. The surge in troops has help to reduce the killings but the fact remains that it is still going on.

    @SADC Summit, I sincerely don’t beleive that anything substantial will come out of this meeting once Thabo M’beki, president of Africa superpower and Zimbabwe powerful neighbor South Africa, is not willing to pressurize Bob Mugabe. The World Cup, yes South Africa should host it. But the leadership should be made to understand through peaceful protests and harsh criticisms that it’s stance on Zimbabwe is making the world to think that it supports the suffering, torturing and killing of innocent people. We all know that South Africa has the power to curtail what is going on in Zimbabwe. M’beki and others fought for freedom with the help of the outside world. To sit and allow others to suffer while he has the power to stop it is quite disheartening and unbelieveable.

  59. 59 Mohammed Ali
    June 25, 2008 at 11:48

    @Jonathan, your response to Brian on the Al Gore presidency and his response to terror attack is satisfying to the extent that I can only say thanks. Frankly an Al Gore presidency would have led the to peace, stability, econmic viability than the mess and chaos Bush has put us in. Bush however did one good thing and that is by asking Charles Taylor out of Liberia.

  60. June 25, 2008 at 11:56

    Good morning Karnie my love… Please tell lovely Priya that I’m having some very nasty problems regarding signing in to my email address, and that’s why I’ll post what she asked from to write about here : Hi… As I’m thinking of our beloved colleague, the 6th year medical student who was supposed to graduate this year from the medical school, Ali Hassan Askar, who had been murdered earlier during this month by a random fire shooting near his house, only one question keeps rising up in my head : How far can our tragic personal experiences as individual Iraqi families affect our making a rational judgement about whether the security situation in general on the ground in Iraq is actually getting better or not ?! All I can say regarding this thread is that the security situation on the ground these days in Iraq in general and in Baghdad in particular is actually much much much better than what it used to be before… The streets are much more safer than before for us ordinary Iraqis to go out and move around… I mean we’re still feeling terrified when we or one of our loved ones leave the house and go out for whatever reason, but less than before… Sectarian killings, bombed cars, roadside bombs, morter shells, kidnapping for either sectarian or financial reasons, ect., ect., these things do still happen till now in Iraq, but to a much lesser extent than before… As for my own personal experience and impressions (and I’m only representing myself here), I really don’t know what to think of or what to expect… I’m still feeling terribly scared and unsafe till now, though less than before, and all I know for sure is that all of this seems so fragil to me… It can just simply break down all together at any minute… One of the most amusing blessings of living in Baghdad is that everyday you keep asking yourself those two questions : “No what ?!” and “What’s next ?!” or sometimes “Who’s next ?!”… Our ordinary daily Baghdadi life is just so fluctuating and highly unpredictable, and at the same time very ‘individual’ if I may say… I mean our own personal experiences and impressions as individual ordinary Iraqis do vary greatly… I wonder what Ali’s parents think of all this ??! With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  61. 61 Rick
    June 25, 2008 at 12:01

    The editors of commercial media outlets owe their allegiance to their owners and advertisers. Sales or hits are more important than ‘truth’. Stories are emphasized, deleted or put on the back page depending on the editor’s preference. I have seen the same story in two papers have a completly different slant by changing just a few words. If you don’t see a slant, mayby its because its your slant. Bryan sees left slant everywhere because he is so far right. I see slant everywhere because I’m so sceptical of them all. (long story) The most effective slant is the most subtle. I think apolitical journalism is a rare thing.

  62. 62 Shirley
    June 25, 2008 at 12:54

    I wonder if the extreme matriarchy at home in Muslim countries is due to an extreme patriarchy outside the home? Perhaps it is a sort of compensation because of the sense of lack of control of one’s life outside the home.

    Pangolin: If you want a healthy society families must be supported as whole units. This is why I am such a strong advocate of the living wage and universal health care. If both parents need to be away from the home 40 to 80 hours each week to pay the bills and feed and clothe the family or afford health care, then there is no family life.

    Btw, didn’t you know that Bush inherited all of his problems, especially economic problems, from Clinton and his big-spending ways?

  63. 63 Bob in Queensland
    June 25, 2008 at 13:35


    The LEFT has a grip on the UK media? I’d add the Mirror to your list of papers with left wing views (though I’d have to say the Independent is pretty centrist). However, countering them, how about The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, The Times and The Sun which are all right of centre to varying degrees.

    At the risk of repeating myself, I don’t accept as fact your statement that the BBC is “solidly anchored in the left”. The lack of a firmly conservative agenda doesn’t automatically make a broadcaster or newspaper left wing. There’s plenty of room in the centre!

  64. 64 Shirley
    June 25, 2008 at 14:20

    Mohammed Ali: I don’t support a quick withdrawal of troops from Iraq as the vacuum it will create will be filled by civil war between the Shias and the Sunnis and also the extremist. But definitely there has to be a timetable for the gradual withdrawal of troops. The surge in troops has help to reduce the killings but the fact remains that it is still going on.

    Mohammed, do you really think that the U.S. is the only one capable of keeping the peace between the sparring factions in Iraq? Are we doing that good of a job at it, in the first place?

  65. 65 steve b - uk
    June 25, 2008 at 14:24

    Hi Chloe, Ros, Priya and all WHYS friends

    Well, I have been having some more thoughts on what to talk about. I have just been listening to ‘Outlook’ and was mightily impressed with the chap with a disability who has ( is going? to) put a magical, lit up – with solar panel technology – ship-in-a-bottle in Trafalgar Square to celebrate the diversity of the UK. He says this goes back to Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar in 1805.

    My thought is this – can we celebrate the achievements of those with a disability, or other people who have been delivered a hard hand in the card game of life? I find it impressive.

    I guess this may be hard to arrange ’cause we need to identify them. Perhaps WHYS can put out an appeal to such wonderful people to come forward?

    All the best

  66. 66 steve
    June 25, 2008 at 14:32

    Just heard on the radio there was a mass shooting at a factory in Kentucky.


  67. 67 Tino
    June 25, 2008 at 15:08


    Absolutely sickening. Not entirely surprising…


    He apparently ‘accidentally’ beat the hell out of the priest while shouting the expletive in the article. If this was a christian beating an imam I doubt they would see it the same way at all.

  68. 68 Dennis :)
    June 25, 2008 at 18:30

    Hi Karnie,

    You forgot, Will in Canada, who was moderating the TP’s overnight.

    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

    **please understand: i have dual emails address, when i do BBC WHYS blogs…because i am using different browsers during the day, and where i am using the internet.***

  69. 69 Venessa
    June 25, 2008 at 18:52

    Bob ~

    I doubt you are the kind of crusty old man I was referring to but I am certainly getting a chuckle over the reaction. I simply couldn’t resist putting that opinion out there. 🙂

  70. 70 Bryan
    June 25, 2008 at 23:20

    Roberto June 25, 2008 at 10:15 am,

    Jonathan (sunny San Francisco) June 25, 2008 at 11:14 am,

    Gee, you guys really get ants in your pants over George W. Someone just has to speculate on Gore’s probable non-reaction to 9/11 for you to decide not only that Gore would have been fine in defense of America but that you know exactly what my personal level of intelligence is and my politics.

    What is it about George W. that makes otherwise bright people lose the ability to think logically and debate coherently?

    Andrew June 25, 2008 at 11:21 am,

    Have a look at CNN for starters. It’s a textbook left wing broadcaster.

    Bob in Queensland June 25, 2008 at 1:35 pm,

    Again, I’d like somebody to find me one right wing political broadcaster at the BBC. Actually, if anyone does find one, might be interesting to get his/her take on working for the BBC. Must be damn lonely.

    There have been many examples in recent years of ex-BBC employees confessing their left wing bias. Anthony Jay is one. Also Robin Aitken. Google “Jane Garvey empty champagne bottles” for a look at the BBC’s enthusiastic support for the Labour party as they celebrated its victory in 1997. The BBC is not fulfilling its mandate to be impartial. Of that, there is not the slightest shadow of a doubt.

  71. 71 Bryan
    June 25, 2008 at 23:22

    Correction – I think Robin Aitken confessed to being out of place in the left wing BBC environment rather than he himself being left wing.

  72. 72 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    June 25, 2008 at 23:27


    Rather than answer my question, you misrepresent it and accuse me of “slant,” so I guess that’s that. If some right-wing owners can slant to the right, then some left-wing owners can slant to the left, but you presume that (a) there are no left-wing owners who slant to the left, (b) there are no right-wing owners who are honest and don’t slant, (c) there are no centrist owners who don’t slant, (d) there are no right-wing owners who don’t slant left to accommodate their readership, and (e) government owned media are impartial and don’t slant.

    Those are all demonstrably ridiculous. I was curious about whether you meant “private” as opposed to government-run or stockholder-owned, publicly-held private, but you aren’t a promising prospect for serious discussion, so have a nice day.

  73. 73 Roberto
    June 26, 2008 at 01:53

    Gee, you guys really get ants in your pants over George W. Someone just has to speculate on Gore’s probable non-reaction to 9/11 for you to decide not only that Gore would have been fine in defense of America but that you know exactly what my personal level of intelligence is and my politics.

    ———- My dear chap, I can only speak for myself, but I’ve never impugned your intelligence.

    Your politics are more obvious than those that you complain of however.

    I never even implied that Gore would have been better in defense of America or what his reaction to 9/11 would be, but since you insist upon running the gauntlet, please allow me the first whack to help you down the line.

    Al Gore, in his role overseeing the senate as the VP/presidential nominee going into 2000, headed up a prestigious senate committee that recommended new airline security regulations to prevent the hijacking of planes by modern terrorists.

    The FAA, the taxpayer subsidized airline industry, and the republican majority congress, the unholy trinity, killed the bill.


    The reasoning was that it would add unneccessary expenses to the McDonald’s business marketing model they favored where anyone could breeze in and order up their package their way and be on their way in a jiff.

    And of course we don’t have to be tea leaf readers to know the republicans didn’t want to pass a bill that Gore could claim a significant role in going into elections. All this stuff well publicized in the day to those who pay attention.

    Now, GDub elected in a very difficult, controversial, constitutional wrenching decision that Gore casts the final deciding vote for in his role as tiebreaker of the Senate.

    Starting to get a picture yet Bryan? No matter, I’ll spell it out.

    GDub inherits a significant downturn in the stockmarket. He’s fumbling around, trying to find footing, taking heavy flack from every liberal corner still embittered over the election. A terrible place for even the greatest of leaders.

    What does GDub do about terrorism, global problems in general, reports about terrorist attacks being planned coming into his office?

    Why nothing of course. “What, me worry?”

    He’s now the head of the republican party that shot down the airline security bill. He’s busy with other matters, like per Wiki, “In his second week in office George W. Bush created the task force, officially known as the National Energy Policy Development Group (NEPDG) with Dick Cheney as chairman. This group was supposed to “develop a national energy policy designed to help the private sector, and, as necessary and appropriate.”

    In other words, his administration is busy hobnobbing with Enron who’s international fall into disgrace is but a pauper’s compared to GDub’s own as it turns out.

    Yeah, thank you for your plague upon civilization and “The American Way.” You’ve given credence to the vast network of nutcase conspiracy theories whose rise will make the JFK conspiracy cottage industry look quite quaint.

    If it’s bombs and abject destruction that stir your passion, well, President Slick managed to bomb Serbia back into the medieval ages with few American casualties.

    Never could figure out why the republicans opposed that action in lockstep unity since it wore out all our planes and depleted our ammunition stocks. It was a WIN/WIN/WIN/WIN for defense industry.

    Oh, that’s right, 2000 elections. Of course.

    Are republicans and democrats even American’s anymore, Bryan?

    Independents want to know.

  74. 74 Tino
    June 26, 2008 at 02:27

    “Are republicans and democrats even American’s anymore, Bryan?

    Independents want to know.”

    Wow do I like that one! I am so beyond fed up with having party politics.

  75. 75 Roberto
    June 26, 2008 at 02:58

    I agree wit Venessa that the US has a vast majority of conservatives. Don’t forget that McCain’s opposition is a black man. How well do you think that’s going to go over in the conservative states?

    I find this view very flawed with all due repect.

    Obama did extremely well in conservative midwest which is predominately white, rural, and conservative.

    In the past 16 years the US has voted 2 consecutive terms each for the democratic and then the republican presidential candidate and has elected both republican and democratic majorities in congress. No vast conservative majority there.

    Yet there has been very little progress on long term domestic issues that have crippled the country in spite of record revenues coming into the treasury.

    As far as McCain being an old man, this is not an old man by traditional definition. This guy is a fighter, a rebel, and had to remake himself into a politician to get this far. His genetic stock has a history of longetivity.

    To discount the long history of elder statesmen in the history of America on the basis of age is a regression, not progress.

    I, and many other independents will cast our votes base on merit, not discrimination based on age or race.

    I regret that too many will cast their votes based simply on age or race.

    It is their constitutional right and an unfortunate reality of the way the world works.

  76. 76 Venessa
    June 26, 2008 at 04:18

    @ Roberto

    I can see that you interpret my comment different than how I meant it. And that’s why my following comment in the post was, “Of course there are deeper issues than this that cause me concern but this is just a thought that I have regarding the energy seen in Obama’s camp.” I in no way was talking about McCain’s actual age, however now that you say something I would be more interested in who McCain’s VP will be because he is not a young sprig anymore. I would even speculate that there is some merit in debating about his choice of running mate given his age in this election.

    Allow me to elaborate a bit on what I was meaning to convey but was too perturbed to articulate. The crusty old man comment was because I think Bush is a crusty old man and I would venture to say that most politicians are crusty old men when their politics are questionable. Meaning it was a blanket statement made partly as a joke and also because of my frustration of the same politics being flung in every election. How many more times to do we have to have 9/11 played out in a political campaign and some other fear based issues? When will we start talking about the real issues, health care, global warming, the deficit, how to get out of the war we don’t want and never had a right to start? When can we have someone in office that actually does what the people want; majority actually does rule and people have a real voice? I could go on and on with these questions. Right now we are seeing the excitement of people who once suffered from (what I believe is) apathy and for a “change” feel like they aren’t looking at “just another crusty old man” that is playing the same politics, old politics. Whether this person can bring true change or not is your opinion and remains to be seen; but I do have to say the enthusiasm says a lot about what’s going on with the people in this country.

  77. 77 Venessa
    June 26, 2008 at 04:46

    “Are republicans and democrats even American’s anymore, Bryan?

    Independents want to know.”

    Amen to that! When are we going to get some real choices?

  78. 78 Bryan
    June 26, 2008 at 08:44

    Roberto June 26, 2008 at 1:53 am,

    Well, thanks for that comment. And yes, it was the sunny Jonathan in San Francisco who insulted my intelligence, not yourself, so apologies for lumping you together with him. It’s clear that you have studied American politics and the history of how the terrorist threat was managed in great depth. It’s probably also clear that I haven’t. And I’m not American. But don’t be too sure about my politics. I had serious reservations about Iraq from the very beginning, especially the idea that it would be a breeze. America is notorious for bad and uninformed foreign policy decisions and that certainly is not limited to Republicans.

    I also was unaware of Gore’s concern for security. But as a Democrat, how would he have handled 9/11? Would it have been essentially different from Clinton’s non-response to the embassy bombings?

    I watched the excellent series by Peter Taylor, “The Age of Terror” on the BBC, of all places. This is pertinent to our discussion:

    “US Ambassador to Kenya at the time of the 1998 Nairobi bombing, tells of her repeated requests to Washington to improve embassy security.”


    The Ambassador said she spoke to Madelaine Albright after the bombing. She claimed she was unaware of the poor security at the site, even though she’d been personally informed about it by the ambassador.

    I guess we can’t blame that one on George W. Bush.

  79. 79 Mark from kansas
    June 26, 2008 at 09:07

    For a country that has a seperation of church and state we make religeon a very big deal. The subject of religeon has no place in an election unless you are going to pass laws on religeous issues. Besides reforming the tax codes, relegieon should have no place in American law. I would vote for someone who practiced VOODOO if they would do something about the massive corruption in our political and finacial systems.

    Every toy has a market, if you dont like DS doll then dont buy it. If you have a DS child be ready to explain why they will not look like barbie or ken.

    There is no point in talking about Zimbabwai, no ones is going to do anything about it. The rest of the world will watch as everyone suffers and dies in another war in africa. Does this make anone else angry, and disapointed in their country and in the international community?

  80. 80 Roberto
    June 26, 2008 at 13:26

    Ialso was unaware of Gore’s concern for security. But as a Democrat, how would he have handled 9/11? Would it have been essentially different from Clinton’s non-response to the embassy bombings?

    —— I don’t rate what ifs.

    What if you had been born in 1908? Would that alter your views?

    What if Al Gore had switched to the Republican party? What ifs are endless.

    I’m only concerned with actual history, current events, and future actions. That’s more than a full challenge for anyone.

    Oh, and Venessa, you have some curious views on age.

    By style and actions, GDub is probably the youngest president this country has ever had in spite of his “crusty old man” age.

    That youthful zest bleeds over into his political style and speeches where he’s long been considered a strawweight and very juvenile. Half his waking hours are probably no different than a typical active 13 yr old boy. He’s running lickedty split cross country, flying over the handlebars of his mountain bike, chopping up stuff with his axe and chainsaw, or riding around in his daddy’s boat and moans everytime he has to jump into a suit and tie or told he has to eat his broccoli or peas.

  81. 81 Venessa
    June 26, 2008 at 15:39

    Roberto ~

    That’s exactly my point. I know that Bush is young but the comment is an image I have in my head regarding questionable politics. When I think of questionable politics I liken it to some gross nasty old man. Bush’s level of maturity is indeed how you describe it. That doesn’t mean the next young guy will have the same issues we saw with Bush.

    As far as my view on age, it will not determine whom I vote for nor will race or sex if it were HRC that was the presidential nom for the Democratic Party. I only point out that some people may question his age. It doesn’t make it right or wrong but it is a valid argument for some people.

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