Talking Points for 11 July

Ros is in Tanzania tomorrow, from a school to talk about child labour, which is pretty widespread there.

Mike in Portland has kindly offered to look after this post over night. Take it away!

101 Responses to “Talking Points for 11 July”

  1. 1 Venessa
    July 10, 2008 at 19:51

    Hi Mike; it’s another beautiful day in Portland! I hope you are getting to enjoy it during your moderating duties. 🙂

  2. 2 portlandmike
    July 10, 2008 at 19:54

    “The Department of Homeland Security ‘No Match’ rule requires businesses to fire any employee whose social security number cannot be verified by the Social Security Administration.”

    “Homeland Security” makes my skin crawl. It sounds so Orwellian. Like “Patriot Act.” I don’t think these people make our lives safer or better in any way shape or form. Arresting Latinos who claw their way into our economy, and sending them back across the borders is wrong. America has lost it’s way.

  3. 3 Luz Ma
    July 10, 2008 at 20:10


    The questions are: Who will be doing the jobs that illegal immigrants do in the U.S.? How U.S. employers are going to react to this regulation? How the countries where illegal immigrants come from are going to react? ( revenues from Mexicans in the U.S is the second source of foreign income of our country, the first one is oil revenues)

  4. 4 portlandmike
    July 10, 2008 at 20:13

    “Ros is in Tanzania tomorrow, froma school to talk about child labour, which is pretty widespread there.”

    “NightLine” a late night news program in the U.S. had a show night before last called “How to buy a child in ten hours.” You can see it online here. http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/story?id=5326508&page=1

    I thought the show was awful! To my sensibilities all the program showed was how out of touch white America is to the suffering of third world countries. People have no idea that an obvious wealthy person who doesn’t live there, and is wandering around “looking to buy something” is going to be told by every person that he asks, that they can find it for him, what ever it is he wants, and, when that wealthy person pulls out the money 99 times out of 100 he will get ripped off, conned and manipulated.

  5. 5 portlandmike
    July 10, 2008 at 20:18

    Dear Luz Ma,

    I have no idea who will take out the trash from ten thousand restaurants, and make the million beds, and pick the fruit starting at 5 in the morning.

    And, these workers have been here taking our low wages (becuase they have no papers) for over fifty years. And now we want to hassel them. Make them pay, get photographed and finger printed.

    Personally, I believe that these Latino hard workers, who make our world go around, should protest. They shouldnt go to work for two weeks. Let America see what happens.

  6. 6 Venessa
    July 10, 2008 at 20:30

    @ portlandmike

    Couldn’t agree with you more!

    @ Luz Ma

    I worked on a berry farm for a summer when I was a teenager and was one of 3 white people out there. I have to say that most spoiled brats today would turn their noses up to consider such a job. Everyone that’s tough on immigration certainly overlooks that these jobs are filled because they themselves are not as willing to do them. These “illegals” are making a hard and honest living; what is the wrong in that?!?

  7. 7 Luz Ma
    July 10, 2008 at 20:31


    There is a movie called “Un día sin Mexicanos” (“one day without Mexicans”). It portrays what would happen if all the Mexicans in the U.S. disapeared for one day.

    I personally think that -in general- they are good hard working people. The alternative for poor people here is become criminals or join the drug traffick industry. So they are choosing to work hard, even if they are mistreated and discriminated because of the illegal migratory status in the U.S. That shows a lot of character.

  8. 8 nelsoni
    July 10, 2008 at 20:32

    @ Luz Ma and Portland Mike

    It is the trend that migrants every where often work very hard to earn a living and do jobs that members of their host community despise but yet very important.

    I think going on a two or more weeks strike should drive home the importance of these migrants. Some times we don’t know the value of what we got until we lose it.

  9. 9 steve
    July 10, 2008 at 20:47

    @luz ma

    illegals don’t take only jobs that Americans are unwilling to work. They have taken over the construction industry, becaues they get paid less. Construction was good, high paying work. I personally would love to do that if I didn’t need a high hincome from my student loans. I would love to be outdoors all day. I cannot remember the last time I have seen an American on a construction site. The only Americans you even see out there are the architechts and engineers, everyone else, is, excuse me for presuming, illegals. I make that presumption because they are short, and are speaking only spanish, and all the signs on the construction site are all in spanish. this is absolutely EVERYWHERE there is construction. They are building a new hotel , a Marriot Residence Inn, by the courthouse metro in Arlington, VA, and not a single construction worker there is american. I’ve never heard them speak anything but spanish and I walk by when they get there, and when they leave sometimes.. I find it hard to believe they couldn’t find a single american to work that job.

    And why is it the US’s responsibility to be the welfare system for Mexico? What incentive does mexico have to fix their economy if mexicans can come to the US to get education and free healthcare?

  10. 10 steve
    July 10, 2008 at 20:50

    Sorry, but blackmailing people doesn’t make you like them more. Luz ma, how about if a bunch of americans came to mexico and became a tax burden for you? How about we cause your hospitals to close down, drive around without car insurance, etc? Also commit lots of crime. What are the states? Some 15% of the us prison population is illegal immigrants? The US taxpayer has to pay for their jailing when they break laws besides entering the country illegally?

    It’s funny how Europe is allowed to enforce it’s immigration laws, but if the US does so, it’s “racist”. It’s ironic, given how stringently mexico enforces it’s southern border.

  11. 11 portlandmike
    July 10, 2008 at 20:59

    Hi Steve,
    I think there may be more to the story about Latinos taking over construction jobs in Norhtern Virginia.

    I remember when they took over the garbage collection in downtown DC. I had a small business, and I was delivering to restaurants in Washington, and the dumpsters in the allys were horrible messes. Rats were everywere, they were horrible smelling, and the trucks that picked up the garbage were just as disgusting as the the dumpsters. The workers on the trucks were Latinos of course.

    This was in the early 80’s. Then Garcia Brothers bought a truck. A sparkling new truck, and everywhere they went, every account they got, the whole area became clean. They took over the garbage business in just a few years.

    They competed. They did a better job.

  12. 12 steve
    July 10, 2008 at 20:59

    Also, I know in PC parlance, that only whites can be racist, but back in the early 1990s I worked at a drug store, and one day we closed, and a hispanic woman got through the second door, but the first one was closed, so she was technically in the entrance of the store. I went up the the first door to slightly open it to tell her the store was closed, and she didn’t speak any enlish, so I got a coworker who spoke spanish, to tell her, and she tells her that the store is closed, and pointed to the store hours, and then the hispanic lady turned to me, and said “Gringo” and bit her thumb and turned around and left. How nice of her.

  13. 13 Shirley
    July 10, 2008 at 20:59

    Child Labour: Wealthy Muslims living right here in the United States have no compunction against having a 13, 14, 15-year-old “maid” (read “slave”) from an Asian country such as Malaysia or the Philippines clean their house to their nitpicky standards, care for their baby and assure that the baby never cries, and clean up every mess that the baby makes even after the child is old enough to pick up his own messes.

    It makes me physically ill. We are supposedly a humanitarian religion and supposedly have a system such that there is no support for slavery in today’s world; but as in everything, wealth trumps religious values for creatures like these.

    Slavery isn’t gone, not even form the U.S. It just has different names.

  14. 14 Shirley
    July 10, 2008 at 21:02

    And seeing Steve’s post just above mine, let me add that some of the worst racism that I have seen exists among Arabs, most of whom (as we know) are Muslims. Or, in my wording, so-called Muslims. I don’t think that racism is more ugly depending on who exhibits it. It’s just plain ugly. And I think that using slave labour, whether it is forcing a child to wpie your lazy tushes or whether it is reducing Chinese workers to asking to use a batheroom that is guarded and doe snot even have running water is one of the forms of racism.

  15. 15 portlandmike
    July 10, 2008 at 21:07

    But Steve,

    We did not enforce our immigration laws for over fifty years. And now we want what exactly? The country’s economy would not survive a week if all of the “illegals” left tomorrow.

  16. 16 steve
    July 10, 2008 at 21:10

    WRong mike. They would have some kind of temporary worker visa or something like that. They wont make them all leave. However, I still don’t see the problem of us actually enforcing our immigration laws, but people, especially the “world citizen” types are against that. There’s nothing more that I would like to live and work in germany or france, but I cannot, and I respect their laws. Would anyone here defend me for illegally going to germany and illegally working?

  17. 17 Katharina in Ghent
    July 10, 2008 at 21:11

    Good evening (at least for me) everyone!

    I heard the other day that the illegal immigrants in France that work in the restaurants were striking to protest their working/living/everything condition. I thought I saw the report on CNN, but I didn’t find anything on their website. The only link I found through Google was this:


    From the Google it seemed that the illegals have been striking already several times. Europe has to be quite strict in its border controls because we have a lot more borders over which illegal immigrants can enter, and once they’re inside they can move pretty freely from one country to the other. Also, the US have “only” Central and South America to worry about with ONE border, but we have all of Asia and Africa within easy reach, and Europe is much smaller and more overcrowded. Last but not least, it’s hard enough to get EU citizens from different countries to respect one another, go ask the Polish in the UK or Ireland how “welcome” they are.

    All that being said, I do wish that certain governments (like the Austrian) were less ridiculously strict on asylum seekers, cases in which they are living borderline-legally in the country for years, have a job, learn the language, send the kids to school and eventually the authorities decide that the situation in the home country has changed “enough” to the better that they can be sent packing.

  18. 18 Thomas Murray
    July 10, 2008 at 21:12

    International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohamad El Baradei has pointed out that if the Israeli Air Force raids Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment plant, “It would turn the region into a fireball.” Foreign correspondents here tend to agree.

    If that happens, it’s a no-brainer that Tehran will tell Mutada al-Sadr to activate his Mahdi Army, and encourage Hamas and Hezbollah to light the region up with a surge of terrorism that will make our heads swim.

    Besides, Iran’s uranium program has been relatively transparent. If they’ve got a plant in the open in Natanz, I can’t see how they couldn’t have another plant somewhere else, on the sly.

    Iran might even retaliate by abandoning any pretense of a peaceful nuclear program, and build a bomb to spite the world. As a physicist, I can say that a well-resourced nation state like lran would find it too simple-stupid-easy to build a light low-yield atomic bomb.

    Question is: How do we convince the U.S., Israeli, and Iranian governments to stop saber-rattling when they’re already knee-deep in diplomatic gasoline, and stop acting like children?

    I mean, it was the Israeli Air Force who first threw down the gauntlet. It’s the Israelis who need to come to their senses and step back from the precipice … before they goad the Iranians into becoming the monster they think they’ve already become.

    –Worried and Perplexed, in Louisville, Kentucky, US.

  19. 19 Colleen
    July 10, 2008 at 21:17

    The US purposely relaxes immigration laws when there is high demand in the labor market (specifically lower-skilled, lower-paid job markets).

    Immigration is used as a tool in the US labor market, so when the economy is good people are not complaining about it. When the economy is slumping, people look for scapegoats.

    If there were better processes in place that did not allow for this “relaxing” of immigration law inforcement we wouldn’t have to refer to people as “illegals.” I think that term is very de-humanizing.

  20. 20 Katharina in Ghent
    July 10, 2008 at 21:17

    @ Steve,

    Given your education background, you could probablyy find a job in Europe without too many problems. Europe complains big time that the US get the educated migrants (from India etc) and we get the illiterate rest. Most scientist would rather work at a second rate US institute than a first class European, and some European countries are shooting themselves into their knees because they demand that even the most high-profile foreign employee must learn the local language to a pretty fluent level, like it or not. So, how good is your German?

  21. 21 steve
    July 10, 2008 at 21:21

    @ Katharina

    It’s only conversational at best, I’m not remotely close to being fluent 😦

  22. 22 portlandmike
    July 10, 2008 at 21:22

    Steve you say,

    “WRong mike. They would have some kind of temporary worker visa or something like that. They wont make them all leave.”

    So what is our point of doing this? Tax them? Control them better? In my opinion it is just more police, more “Let me see your papers!”

  23. 23 Katharina in Ghent
    July 10, 2008 at 21:23

    @ Steve:

    So’n Pech aber auch… (what a shame) 8)

  24. 24 steve
    July 10, 2008 at 21:23

    @ Colleen

    “If there were better processes in place that did not allow for this “relaxing” of immigration law inforcement we wouldn’t have to refer to people as “illegals.” I think that term is very de-humanizing.”

    I know, we can call them “criminals”. As illegally entering the country is a crime. Working illegally is a crime. Not paying federal income tax is a crime. Not paying state income tax is a crime. Not reporting income is a crime.

    That’s so sad it’s dehumanizing to call someone an “illegal” but that’s the truth. It’s like not calling someone short because it might hurt their feelings, even if they are short. It’s still the truth.

  25. 25 steve
    July 10, 2008 at 21:25

    @ Mike

    are you just syaing that anyone from anywhere should be able to come to the US to work if they want? Say if 200,000,000 decided to come?

  26. 26 portlandmike
    July 10, 2008 at 21:26

    @ Steve,

    Are “they” ALL short? Or is saying that funny in your little world?

  27. 27 Katharina in Ghent
    July 10, 2008 at 21:28

    The only really illegal thing these immigrants are doing is crossing the borders without papers, for the simple reason because they would never get papers. To me, as long as they then stay honest = not stealing, not drug dealing or worse, but working and trying to life a decent life, I have no problems with that. I certainly would not look down on them for being “economical refugees” as we call them, because who of us would want to live in conditions as we saw in Ros’ pictures?

  28. 28 Colleen
    July 10, 2008 at 21:29

    Well then the employers should be called illegals too. After all, they are the ones profiting from inexpensive and unregulated labor.

  29. 29 steve
    July 10, 2008 at 21:30

    @ portlandmike

    I said that as the basis to “prove” they were all illegals working on the construction site. Yes, hispanics for the most case are shorter, much shorter than the average american. The average american male 5’10, is much taller than the average mexican male.

  30. 30 steve
    July 10, 2008 at 21:32

    @ Katharina

    It’s illegal for someone to work in the US unless they have a visa that allows employment, or have a greencard, or are a citizen. It’s also illegal to not report income to the IRS, and it’s illegal to not pay taxes on income earned. So they do more illegal things than just illegally entering the country.

    When I studied in the UK back in 1996, I would get a stamp in my passport that said “leave to enter valid for six months, EMPLOYMENT PROHIBITED” and I obeyed the law. Had I worked, I would have committed a crime.

    What’s wrong with calling a criminal a criminal?

  31. 31 steve
    July 10, 2008 at 21:33

    @ Colleen

    the employers aren’t illegals, but they are criminals.

  32. 32 Luz Ma
    July 10, 2008 at 21:35


    I condemn my government for not giving employment opportunities to all his nationals. I acknowledge that part of the problem lies in the “developing” status of our country. I know that social and economic inequality in Mexico is the cause for what millions of Mexican have cross illegaly and legaly the U.S.-Mexican border.

    However, there are two sides in every problem. U.S. employers are giving these jobs to illegal immigrants (not only Mexicans, by the way). They are the ones profiting from cheaper labor. They are the ones making the bucks. So, don´t tell me your government cannot do anything about this. Are they also punishing the employers of illegal workers? Last time a looked, the answer was “no”.

  33. 33 steve
    July 10, 2008 at 21:40

    @ Luz

    The government wont’ do anything about it, hence why the “democracy” of the uS is a joke. The democrats want the hispanic vote, and the republicans care more about business than what the people want. the US public wants immigration laws to be enforced, but the government doesn’t. Yes, employers, at least by statute, can be heavily fined for employing illegals. Certain jurisdictions have been enforcing federal law, and illegal immigrants have been moving out of those areas. Yes, the employers are a problem, and it’s not like they even pass on any cost savings from paying an illegal less, to the customer.

  34. 34 portlandmike
    July 10, 2008 at 21:41

    @ Steve,
    Yes and are all of the tall people who are giving the work orders, and doing the hiring of the short people “criminals?”

    If those American criminals that are hiring these Spanish speakers were arrested, then these immigrants would not be here. And you might have a high paying construction job speaking English to your well tanned crew.

  35. 35 Luz Ma
    July 10, 2008 at 21:43


    I don´t think working illegaly is a crime in your country. It is forbidden by Immigration law, but not by Criminal law. The INS is the agency that executes that law, not the DA.

  36. 36 steve
    July 10, 2008 at 21:43

    @ portlandmike

    the argument was made that illegals only work jobs americans don’t want. and that’s not true. There are PLENTY of americans that would work construction jobs. I have a friend that wanted to work in construction, but they only would hire people under the table (hence they were hiring illegals), and he wanted to be a responsible tax paying adult.

  37. 37 Katharina in Ghent
    July 10, 2008 at 21:43


    Who are the illegals actually hurting when they work illegally? Fine, so they don’t pay taxes, they may need the ER and they may need to get free education for their children. But most likely, they would prefer to be legal and not have to worry all the time that they might get caught and have to go back where they came from, most likely where there’s absolutely nothing for them. BTW, does a woman still automatically get the green card when she gives birth in the US?

  38. 38 Colleen
    July 10, 2008 at 21:47

    @ steve

    My point is that everything should not be considered in purely utilitarian ways. These are people… aka. human lives. The majority of immigrants are most likely looking for an improved situation (economic/ safety/ etc) compared to where they are coming from. They are not coming to a new country so they can be labled “illegals” and be exploited in the labor market.

    There should be processes in place to protect the interests of all people involved: immigrants, citizens, employers, etc. If laws are not enforced for economic reasons, if employers are not prevented from hiring employees without documentation, then they are just as much to blame as the individual without papers.

    The problem is the process and the poor administration and communication of the process.

  39. 39 portlandmike
    July 10, 2008 at 21:49

    @ Steve,

    “the argument was made that illegals only work jobs americans don’t want. and that’s not true. There are PLENTY of americans that would work construction jobs. I have a friend that wanted to work in construction, but they only would hire people under the table (hence they were hiring illegals), and he wanted to be a responsible tax paying adult.”

    I hope that he turned in the criminal that would only hire “illegals?”

    And even though there may be some “illegal immigrants” that have become skilled and have half decent jobs, the vast majority of these workers are working jobs that most Americans would not consider. And if the cheap labor was sent home, then sure the wages would rise, but many of these businesses would fold. Imagine if motels and hotels had to pay all their workers $9.00 or $10.00 an hour plus medical and benefits? Everything would be different!

  40. 40 steve
    July 10, 2008 at 21:50

    @ Katharina

    Lots of hospitals have been closing down because they cannot get the proper funding to be giving free healthcare to illegals. Also, when they are getting funded, it comes from taxpayer money of legal citizens, going to pay for the medical care of people that aren’t even supposed to be here. It hurts the taxpayer, and poor US citizens that cannot access healthcare because the hospital closed down. US citizen poor get hurt by illegal immigrants.

    Also, the most anti illegal immigrant people out there are legal immigrants. talk to someone who is a legal immigrant to the US about his/her opinion on illegals. They will give you an earful.

    If a child is born in the US, the child becomes a US citizen, and the mother has a right to stay because it’s in the best interest of the child, so in essence, they can gain residency, but I doubt a greencard, for giving birth on US soil.

    I don’t think too many illegals are worried about being sent back. it’s obvious who they are and they aren’t harassed or anything, which is good.

  41. 41 Julie P
    July 10, 2008 at 21:52

    On this disscussion of illegal immigration the US, it is just not employers who are breaking the law by providing jobs to those who are here illegally. Normal, run of the mill Americans are doing it too. Imagine, if you will, somehow those who are here illegally are finding reasonably large sums of money to pay Americans to marry them, so they can stay in the country. It happened to one of my male friends. Twice. Once in front of me and some other time in his life. I had one man BEG me to marry him and another offered me $10K (I believed he really had the money). Neither of us accepted the propositions made to us. But, please, also consider the people who are foolish enough to break the law to keep people here illegally.

  42. 42 portlandmike
    July 10, 2008 at 22:11

    Hi Julie,

    I know someone who did that too. And then there are many thousands of women and men who go looking to foreign countries to get their groove back… and often marry foolishly, like Toni Morrison.

  43. 43 Julie P
    July 10, 2008 at 22:15

    @Portland Mike,

    I had a hard time getting rid of both of the ones who asked me. Evidently, the word “no” does not translate well, even though I know it in several different languages.

    I knew one guy who did marry a woman to keep her in the country. I have no idea what possesses people to do that. Desperation?

  44. 44 portlandmike
    July 10, 2008 at 22:22

    @ Julie P,

    My friend did it for the money, BUT they eventually became friends, and shared big events like brother and sister. She didnt get the divorce for over ten years, when she fell in love and got married for real.

  45. 45 Virginia Davis
    July 10, 2008 at 22:48


    I love Randy Newman…..


  46. 46 nelsoni
    July 10, 2008 at 22:51

    I think we all have an idea of the basics of economics. When there is a demand of cheap labor, there will always be a supply. And since there is no ideal situation, there will always be demand and the supply will always come. Even with the strictest immigration policies, illegal migrants will always sneak in. Since the hunters(INS) have learnt to shoot with out missing, the birds(illegal migrants) have also learnt to fly with out perching. People will always devise new and ingenious means to enter a country illegally. Its like saying a magnet can not attract a piece of iron. It always will. The lure of prosperous countries will always be too much for them to resist.

  47. 47 Dennis
    July 10, 2008 at 23:24

    @ Portland Mike!

    I am sorry for not being in earlier this day—went out for do errands…

    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York

  48. 48 Pangolin Hussein- California
    July 10, 2008 at 23:25

    The illegal immigration problem would be fixed very quickly if employers of illegal immigrants were fined heavily and then shut down if they were caught the second time.

    The real problem with illegal immigration is that they take the jobs tha companies would otherwise have to recruit marginal US citizens to work. That would mean spending more money on recruiting, training and supervising these people but there would also be a reduction in the amount of state welfare paid to people who can’t compete with underpriced labor.

    We’re not going to fix the problem for the same reason that we don’t fix the health care problem. Americans don’t give a rat’s hiney about their fellow citizens unless they happen to get blown up by terrorists.

    It’s easier and cheaper to continue with the reality denial program as long as the stink stays away from the suburbs. Which is exactly why there are illegal aliens in the first place. Their former governments are working on reality denial programs themselves.

  49. July 10, 2008 at 23:58

    The economics of illegal immigrating breaks down like this. There is no job that Americans won’t do. There are jobs that Americans can’t afford to do at the wage being paid for it. “Labor” is a product. It is a commodity good that is the same from area to area. If the cost of apples in one store was $.25 per apple, and the cost in another store was $1.25 per apple, you would get your apples at the first store. If the first store was getting its apples from people who stole them from the farmer that sells the apples to the second store, the first store has an unfair advantage. It causes a rift in the economy where the cost of apples are artificially low, and the store selling the more expensive apples can not compete.

    Illegal labor drives down the cost of labor and artificially holds the price of some goods and services artificially low for some people. This effectively robs the American people of liberty and the pursuit of happiness. For our elected officials not to stop this activity is directly in conflict of the oath they took up.

  50. 50 John D. Augustine - WI USA
    July 11, 2008 at 00:17

    I thought this was a discussion of child labor, particularly in the context of Africa. There was an excellent series on slavery and child labor in the cocoa trade written by Sudarsan Raghavan of Knight Ridder Newspapers. It ran June 24-26, 2001 and there was another article by the same author on August 21, 2001 about a teenage slave involved in the cocoa trade being killed.

    I couldn’t find a link to these articles. The best I could do was the paid service of The Milwaukee Journl Sentinel: JSOnline.com, and the last time I tried to buy articles there, I gave up trying to get the system to work, but you could start at:


    from there I searched for “cocoa” “slavery”

    I still find it remarkable that I can’t buy a can of tuna that isn’t dolphin safe, yet fair trade chocolate and coffee are still considered specialty items. I’ve heard it observed that slavery was once an a staggering investment for the likes of plantation owners. Slaves cost a fortune in nineteenth century dollars.

    Today slave labor is cheaper than ever, and not just wage slavery, real abduction of human beings. And yet millions of ignorant masses will still righteously claim that reparations are not owed by them because they “did” not benefit from slavery.

    Right. Buy me a mocha latte and say that again, please.

  51. 51 Colleen D
    July 11, 2008 at 01:35

    @ pangolin

    exactly!! the concept of social justice and solidarity is totally lost in the US… unless, as you said, it is a direct result of fear (real or manufactured fear, that is)

  52. 52 portlandmike
    July 11, 2008 at 02:19

    @ Dwight from Cleveland,

    But don’t you think that we have embraced illegal labor in America for almost sixty years now? It is like an institution, and it’s effects have permeated every corner of our economy. For example, who is going to make all those beds in our hotels and motels?

  53. 53 Shirley
    July 11, 2008 at 02:44

    Dwight, John pointed out what I wanted to – we do still use slave labour. Our corporations that have factories in the Asian world (for example) pay pennies on the dollar to people, including children, who work half a day or more under derelect conditions. No permission for break. Permission must be obtained to use the bathroom. No running water in said bathrooms. Home is a couple of clabs of aluminum propped atop of some plywood boards that in turn rest on slats thaht just barely keep the family up off of the sewage running underneath; and God save them when there is a heavy rain. They about fall over when they learn that they don’t even earn in one year hat it costs to buy a T-shirt that they make.

    We dump our commodities on the markets of other countries – Mexico, for example, artificially lowering the price of our stuff and making it next to impossible for home-grown farmers to make an honest buck. But we’re such nice folk that we send our factories down there, too, when our unions start demanding too many benefits like health care and wage raises. That way, they can work half a day for pennies on the hour in miserable conditions. If they can’t take it any more, let them come to the land of the free (enterprise) so that they can work for pennies on the hour picking tomatoes all day under the threat that if they run away from the farm, they will be hunted down and chained up inside what could pass for a doghouse.

    Slave labour is alive and well; and it seems to me that U.S. corporations are the major beneficiaries.

  54. 54 Will Rhodes
    July 11, 2008 at 03:13

    A fly-by post.

    Africa will become an economic powerhouse once China stops subsidising its export products and the labour used is paid a living, agreeable wage.

    Once that happens you will find that the unscrupulous then move elsewhere for cheap labour – a controlled cost.

    You will see products at Asda, Wal-Mart etc all stamped made in Chad, Tanzania, Congo or where ever.

    Remember – “Always lowering prices”. 😉

  55. 55 Shirley
    July 11, 2008 at 03:19

    How do we know that he U.S. is not the one exporting slave labour with our outsourced factories, causing unemployment abroad by dumbing our commodities on other countries’ markets, and welcoming undocumented immigrants with home-grown slave labour? Is free trade really the answer? Or is it only adding to the problem? And if our corporate greed caused their unemployment, what happens after we shove all of the paperless immigrants back to Central and South America? They came here for jobs and economic opportunities, after all. Unless someone gives them a reason to stay, they won’t. And if we gave rise to their reason not to stay with our dorporate greed, then shouldn’t we be part of the solution?

  56. 56 Shirley
    July 11, 2008 at 03:23

    oops – I thought my first attempt did not go through and so re-worded it; my bad

  57. 57 Bob in Queensland
    July 11, 2008 at 03:31

    Good morning all!

    I woke up, as usual, to the World Service this morning and it was the proverbial “good news/bad news” scenario.

    The good news is that, if the report I heard is accurate, American scientists have found a way of making photovoltaic solar panels 9-10 times more efficient by using various types of dye to help conduct the solar energy to the edges of the glass or plastic cover. Even more, the glass itself is left more or less transparent, leaving the way open to make windows and skylights into solar cells. By my reckoning, a gain of nine or ten times in efficiency leaves the way open for homes self sufficient in energy, even in less-sunny climates. Add a bit of wind power and we’re on our way to a solution folks! Even if this doesn’t solve transport, removing the burden of domestic and industrial consumption would make a huge difference.

    As an aside, has anyone else here read about the “Pickens plan” for the USA to make a major investment in wind power and transfer the natural gas presently being used for electric generation into running vehicles? Info on T. Boone Pickens (an oilman!) plan here: http://www.pickensplan.com/

    Now, the bad news: It is estimated that, at present growth, the world population will be over 9 billion by 2050. Or, rather, it won’t be because this sort of growth is unsustainable. When are going to get our act together and both provide and encourage birth control in those countries with runaway birth rates. Ironically, it’s so often countries that can’t even support their existing populations that have the highest birth rates. Money–and education–is badly needed.

  58. 58 Shirley
    July 11, 2008 at 04:12

    This made my day: Officials meet Fulbright scholars at Gaza border U.S. officials traveled to the Gaza border Thursday, going to unusual lengths to process the visa applications of three Palestinians who nearly lost their Fulbright scholarships because they couldn’t leave the Gaza Strip. I think that it can only help to allow sudent exchanges.

    more progress: Hamas arrests rocket squad for first time since truce Hamas arrested three Palestinians from Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade who fired rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip on Thursday. Al-Aqsa brigades said it launched the rockets in response to the Israeli army’s killing of one of its men as he tried to cross a border fence into Israel earlier in the day.

    Village sues Canadian builders of Israeli settlement The claim was filed by the village of Bilin Wednesday against Green Park International and Green Mount International. The village claims the companies have been building in Israel’s largest settlement, Modiin Illit, in violation of international law.

  59. 59 Bob in Queensland
    July 11, 2008 at 04:16

    Hi Shirley,

    In line with Mark’s request the other night, instead of just posting links to news stories, how about letting us know what you think about them?

    For example, water shortages (and the attendant problems of crop failures) are going to become more common with global warming. Do you think this could force warring factions together in the middle east as they have to fight the common enemy of drought–or could it provoke all-out war as they squabble over the scarce resource?

    And, on the UK settlement to people they mistreated in Iraq, do you think this is right…or will we get another round of accusations that the UK is being overly PC and giving in to Muslims?

  60. 60 Asad Babyl
    July 11, 2008 at 04:34

    ROFLCOPTER @ portlandmike

    ” thought the show was awful! To my sensibilities all the program showed was how out of touch white America is to the suffering of third world countries. ”

    Right, because “white America” is responsible for ensuring the well-being, happiness and prosperity of other countries. NOT the leaders of those countries, and NOT their people, but “white America”. Liberals just can’t get enough of White Man’s Burden, can they?

    ” Arresting Latinos who claw their way into our economy, and sending them back across the borders is wrong. America has lost it’s way.”

    What is so wrong with arresting those who broke US law? Perhaps we should stop arresting other felons too? Like robbers? They’re nice people, just trying to make a living…”America has truly lost its way”. ha ha ha

    Because even with rising unemployment and massive layoffs, Americans won’t take the jobs that illegals do. If you truly believe that, then you are gravely misinformed about the nature of your countrymen.

  61. 61 Shirley
    July 11, 2008 at 04:43

    Bob, there is already a struggle over water in the Middle East. The reason that Israel invaded the Golan Heights and took it from Syria in the first place is so that it could have better access to water resources. And while the West Bank is recognised as territory belonging to the Palestinian people, Israel taps into its water supply and then has the audacity to charge the Palesitnians money to get it back. But honestly, I am only repeating things that I have posted.

    It’s frustrating. The truce seems to make progress one moment, and then everyone falls back two steps. No-one has posted the numbers on the truce violations for several days now. And Israel keeps dismantling the very kinds of things in Nablus that are requisite for the establishment of a proper state: commerce centres, media, places of worship, community centres, etc. Ties with Hamas my big fat toe. I see it as a direct assault on the viability of any future sovereign state. My heart goes out to the people in Nablus. Yes, progress is being made in terms of apprehending rocket launders, pushing forward with negotiations, and even going above and beyond the call of duty to help students get to their places of study. But behind Good News `Abdullah and his green screen, it feels as if cities are being razed to the ground.

    I’ve also been listening to an interview that Mohammed Omar gave a few days ago. He is the journalist who received a journalism award in Europe and made several stops at various European parliaments before returning to his hime in Gaza. He could barely talk. Shin Bet beat the crap out of him, even pushed their feet into his head and neck. It really chills the blood that occupation powers still treat journalists this way. I’ve heard that it is just as scary in Iraq.

  62. 62 Asad Babyl
    July 11, 2008 at 04:43

    It is those refusing to rout illegal immigration by closing the borders of the United States, who are responsible for the problem.

    Those lobbying for the status quo or loosening of immigration often have business interests, (or are influensed by those who are), which rely on illegal immigrants for wide margins of profit.

    This in effect is creating an underclass without much of any legal or economic power at all, and that is extremely dangerous from a national security perspective, not to mention from a humanitarian point of view as well.

    The US must reform its immigration laws in order to completely stop the inflow of illegals
    1. introduce a guest worker program with right monitoring of its participants to make sure they come back to their own country

    2. impose heavy fines on businesses employing illegals

    3.deport as many illegals as possible over the course of 10 years, including the children of illegal immigrants born in the US. They arrived here illegaly, and therefore are not US citizens.

    These changes must be made gradually but with expedience due to economic and social concerns.

  63. 63 Roberto
    July 11, 2008 at 04:46

    But don’t you think that we have embraced illegal labor in America for almost sixty years now? It is like an institution, and it’s effects have permeated every corner of our economy. For example, who is going to make all those beds in our hotels and motels?

    —— Not applicable to the basic problem.

    My Grandparents ran a small hotel, employed legal citizens and did much of the work themselves. My mom and her 2 sisters worked side by side with the black cooks and house staff early in the AM and after school.

    The scale of the issue has increased at least 20 fold from 1988 when I expressed concern about lack of border enforcement at a panel of concerned voters put together by the local rag.

    I have a lot of experience in the building industry, but if I was a young man starting out, unless I speak Mexican, which most of the local native born Latinos here don’t, we’re both frozen out of most current construction jobs.

    What corporate America and our beloved politicians are telling me:

    It’s not only OK to run the most massive scale of illegal human smuggling in the history of the world in public view, but we are going to drive up the cost of housing for the working class, clog the highway system with unlicensed drivers often driving fancier vehicles than us, clog up our schools with the high birth rates of illegal immigrants, all further driving up our property taxes which of course drives up the cost of your car and property insurance, and provide them with the most expensive kind of health care ever devised for free, the Emergency Room visit which I get to pay for also. Their bonus as it were.

    We use illegal labor to build the prison system that houses the highest percentage of any nation’s incarcerated, most of whom are there on drug charges. They don’t want you smoking that joint in the hotel lobby or snorting that line at the Home Depot, but it’s OK to pack those places with illegally smuggled human beings. You can be part of the human smuggling, just not the drug kind of smuggling because we have the largest pharmaceutical industry in the world trying to put you on their brands that you pay dearly for

    That same illegal labor has built the HUGE mansions that the rich live in now, rich being a relative term. Any family who can afford a 3000+ sq ft home is among the elite 0.0001% or less of the world population. Ken Lay’s widow lives in a fancy 13,000 sq ft condo in Houston that would be the equivalent to half my block of working class homes cobbled together and she lives there courtesy of one of the most massive corporate stock frauds in history which seem to be multiplying like rabbits these days. Built with illegal labor with illegally obtain funds, but all legal in the USA by proxy.

    Yeah, I know much of my food I eat is harvested by illegals, but I have no choice in the matter. Big difference and it certainly didn’t used to be that way.

    I treat everyone with the basic dignity God asks of me including these illegal immigrants, but the system of global commerce envisioned by all these big shot con artists and strong armed into place by flunky politicians is breaking down faster than the armistice between Germany and the WW1 allies thanks to high fuel prices, war, unparalled mass migrations, and global warming.

    I don’t see a single Churchill or Roosevelt ready to step up to lead the people through the dark hours but plenty of little hitlers and tojos running about like global rats chewing up everything.

    The usual suspects with new faces slapped on proffering the same worthless platitudes are telling me everything is hunky dory. It ain’t and like in every disaster, the innocents, the working class and poor suffers the most egregious slings and arrows of misfortune.

    Same ol’ same ol’.

  64. 64 Asad Babyl
    July 11, 2008 at 04:51

    @ Shirley

    “Bob, there is already a struggle over water in the Middle East. The reason that Israel invaded the Golan Heights and took it from Syria in the first place is so that it could have better access to water resources.”

    NO! The reason why Israel took the Golan Heights is because it is a fascist zionist regime, which attacked peaceful Syria without provocation and took its heights. And the world didn’t do anything about it because it doesn’t care about Arab people.

  65. 65 Virginia Davis
    July 11, 2008 at 06:19

    American Medical Association


    apologizes for century + practices of discrimination against black physicians on website.

    Exclusion from membership as local and state associations did not accept black physicians for membership and AMA required that membership to be admitted to national organization. An article in next week’s JAMA based on an historical analysis of documents by an independent research group funded by AMA and begun in 2005.

    At this time approximately 2.5% of AMA members are black; 13% of Americans are black. 3.5% is the approximate figure for black medical students in US.

    One of the effects on public health in US are what epidemiologists term “disparities.” The Oregon Health Division’s Center for Health Statistics compiled a statistical analysis of the disparities between death statistics for blacks and whites. It was printed and ready for distribution when people higher up finally read the report and ordered that it be destroyed. It was subsequently rewritten and approved and distributed in a sanitized “second” edition. I kept out a copy of the first edition and sent it to the Clinton administration and suggested something be done.

    In the first or second year of this century, the Center received a similar study – but across the board health outcomes – from the State of Delaware. Indignity struck me (once again) and that week at the (black community’s) open mic poetry reading I composed a poem and read it which had as its refrain: “I despair of the health disparities in the State of Delaware.”

    According to the Jim Lehr News Hour report on the AMA apology to black Americans tonight, there is now a concerted effort to address and “eliminate” disparities in public health made up of more than 50 organizations.

    http://www.hmanet.org is the address of the medical association of black physicians.

    And, as this all applies, to immigration – from the people crossing the border tonight into the US to the candidates for president to the entire federal bureaucracy (including the really glamorized tv news adverts to join the border patrol), to all the now legal and voting immigrants, why don’t we get our collective act together and go after a comprehensive solution?

    Virginia in Oregon

  66. 66 Bob in Queensland
    July 11, 2008 at 06:21

    @ Asad Babyl

    With respect, you give a rather one-sided view of Israel’s invasion of the Golan Heights.

    The land was actually taken during the “6 Days War” in 1967. While it is true that Israel launched the first assault, it has to be remembered that, prior to this, Egypt had massed 100,000 troops and 1000 tanks on the Israeli border and had introduced a blockade of Israeli ships trying to transit the Strait of Tiran. Egypt had also called for a unified arab assault against Israel.

    As for “peaceful Syria”, on more than one occasion prior to the war, their artillery on the Golan Heights shelled civilian Israeli communities as part of the dispute over the so-called “demilitarised zones”. Yes, Israel also engaged in provocative actions by using armoured tractors to try and farm the land that was under dispute, but it was the Syrian artillery fire that made the Golan Heights a strategic target during the war.

    As far as I’m concerned, neither side is innocent in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

  67. 67 1430a
    July 11, 2008 at 06:45

    hello WHYSers
    hope everyone is in good health and rocking.
    by the way its 7/11 today:(

  68. 68 Mark from kansas
    July 11, 2008 at 07:31

    You have to do what you have to do to put food on the table.

  69. 69 Mark from kansas
    July 11, 2008 at 07:36

    Either side is acting in an aggressive and hostile manner. they speak of peace but both sides show no signs of acting in a peacefull manner. Palestinians, and outside parties, as well as israel kill inocent civilians who just want to earn a living and feed their families. Both sides are disgraceful. Not the people, but their leaders. They chose to fight, they do not chose peace. Shame on them.

  70. 70 steve b - uk
    July 11, 2008 at 08:41

    hello whysers

    interesting debate as ever

  71. July 11, 2008 at 10:32

    Hi Thomas Murray
    Akbar here
    Reyr July 10, 2008 at 9:12 pm comment
    The scenario in Tehran has completely changed. The Iranian nuclear issue is irrelevant right now. Will America be granted a ‘stay of life in Iraq,” that is the question!
    Ayatollah Sistani says no, and 1.3 billion Muslims across the world, including Iran, support him.
    The Wednesday fireworks in Iran was a mere display of support for Sistani, nothing more. The rancour and bitterness between Tehran, Washington is nothing to what is happening now. Five years of tribulation and war in Iraq, $2 trillion – $3 trillion of US money down the drain, for what?
    Change of venue to Afghanistan, perhaps, a new US military commander on the ground, maybe, but that is the stark truth. Admittedly, US allies are dumbfounded. Russia is laughing itself silly. Israel is a mere spectator, this is America’s war. Washington believes in democracy, and democratic Iraq wants America out.
    You know, now and then, men like Henry Kiiinger, Brizinski or Khalilzad emerge in America. They make their mark because they help Washington to see what’s what! The historical precedence for what’s happening. Unfortunately, that hs not been the case in Iraq.
    Najaf and Karbalah are second nature to shiites: Washington tried to barr them from sacred ground and right of worship. This is the lifeline of shiite prelates; Ayatollah Boroujerdi School in Najaf, home of its traditional hierarchy. Try telling a Catholic priest that he is barred from Rome! It is tantamount to excommunication.
    Worse still, emnities and feuds never die down in the Arab world. The Brits, French and Germans always steer clear of such controversy, but not Washington.

  72. 72 Bryan
    July 11, 2008 at 12:52

    Thomas Murray July 10, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    “I mean, it was the Israeli Air Force who first threw down the gauntlet. It’s the Israelis who need to come to their senses and step back from the precipice… before they goad the Iranians into becoming the monster they think they’ve already become.”

    Wrong on all counts. Iran first threw down the gauntlet decades ago with the rise to power of the Ayatollah Khomeini, and has been attacking Israel through its terrorist proxies, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad, ever since. Funnily enough, your comment echoes that of Owen Bennet Jones on “Newshour” on the World Service yesterday. He kept on insisting that the Israeli Air Force’s training exercise was some kind of provocative first move in the conflict. Usually the BBC indulges in its rewriting of history after the fact. Here it is getting in early and doing it before the fact, presumably to make the rewriting less noticeable as the anti-Israel revisionism that it inevitably becomes.

    So here’s the question:

    Is the BBC genuinely in ignorance of the fact that Iran is the bloody guiding hand behind many, if not most, of the terror attacks on Israelis, and has been for decades? If the BBC is aware of this fact, it should obviously be including it in any debate about provocation from one side or the other. And if it is unaware of this fact, then it urgently needs to improve its journalism.

  73. 73 Shirley
    July 11, 2008 at 13:13

    This story has been circulating various magasines and news media. Saudi Arabia has something of a re-education camp for terrorist suspects. It seems to be working.

  74. 74 Bryan
    July 11, 2008 at 13:28

    steve July 10, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    “It’s like not calling someone short because it might hurt their feelings, even if they are short. It’s still the truth.”

    If anyone wants to take political correctness to its ridiculous extreme, just call them “vertically challenged.”

  75. July 11, 2008 at 13:34

    Hi Bryan
    Ayatollah Khomeini has been dead for nineteen years.
    Don’t you thing the challenges and the issues have since changed?
    Do you really think that the controversy is between Israel and Muslims?
    We have moved a long way since then. Look at Turkey, who would have thought it would become the banner bearer of the Islamic cause?
    Europe is not too keen on this Crusade, but America seems intent on playing it to the finish.

  76. 76 Bryan
    July 11, 2008 at 14:13

    Akbar Javadi July 11, 2008 at 1:34 pm,

    Good to hear from you. I know that Khomeini left the planet a long time ago, but I would be interested in your perspective on his successors. In what way are they different?

    Yes, I think the conflict is between Muslims and Israel. But over a million Israeli Arabs, most of them Muslims, live with complete freedom of religion and complete rights in Israel so I think it is obvious that it is not Israel fanning the flames of this conflict.

    There would be peace tomorrow between Israel and the Muslim world if Muslims laid down their arms and stopped trying to destroy Israel. They can’t and they wont.

  77. 77 selena
    July 11, 2008 at 14:22

    @Steve and Bryan

    Can you please tell me why you would need to make reference to the height of a person in the first place?

  78. 78 steve
    July 11, 2008 at 14:30

    @ selena. That was from another topic in another day, I’m not sure why he brought it up here. I forgot even what the reference I was making, it must have been some political correctness related thing.

  79. 79 selena
    July 11, 2008 at 14:41


    Thanks Steve…

  80. 80 steve
    July 11, 2008 at 14:47

    @ selena

    I think he took something I said from another topic, about shortness, and used it in this one becuase I said illegal immigrants in the US tend to be short. My example was that if you see a bunch of guys that are much shorter than the Average American (5’10) and are speaking spanish, they’re probably illegal immigrants (though I could be wrong). I still have yet to see an english speaker work on a construction site for many years other than architects and engineers.

  81. July 11, 2008 at 14:50

    Hi Bryan
    So many things have changed. Khomeini was essentially an adept and recluse. He was shuttled back and forth from Ghom to Tehran as the moment warranted.
    He neither sanctioned the US Embassy hostage episode nor the Iraqi war.
    Here we are thirty years after the Revolution with oil at $147 per barrel, and Russia the biggest gas and oil supplier to Europe.
    There is a lot of big money and big punters about. The stakes are so much higher, but so are the risks. The threat of war is there, the situation could escalate if one or the other party over-stepped the mark.
    The usual struggle for power in persisits, with the added prospect of rich pickings for the winner, – whether Americans, Europeans, Russians or Chinese come out on top.
    We are powerful by the simple fact that the rest of the world has played into our hands. The Americans need help to stay in Iraq, Europe wants a foothold to ensure oil and gas supplies, and so do India and China.
    The Guards Corps has a strong stance with a 50% stake share in its oil drilling and exploration operations. The Army picks up the crumbs. I would feel more comfortable with the military. Prelates get the lion’s share from endowments, tithes, private company incomes, foundations and the national treasury.
    It’s rather like Vienna in the post WW II era. The Mayor is being groomed for next president, but so is Seyed Mohammad Khatami of ‘Dialogue Amongst Civilizations’ fame, and Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, an old hand, thirty years in the business, however unpopular.
    Britain is playing it calm and safe, but the Americans may have jumped the gun. The outcome of the US presidentials is important, without neither candidate knowing very much about Iran or the Mideast.
    Essentially, Iran has the most enlightened attitude to religion in the region because it learnt to capitalize on the stale, stagnant and apathetic attitude of Arabs etc..
    It’s no longer an Israeli, Muslim conflict, but a struggle by Washington to keep the pressure on the Mideast and stay in Iraq.

  82. 82 selena
    July 11, 2008 at 14:54


    “There would be peace tomorrow between Israel and the Muslim world if Muslims laid down their arms and stopped trying to destroy Israel.”

    As Steve is so fond of saying, “If you believe that I have a bridge to sell you.”

    As long as things continue the way they are with everyone hanging on tight to their respective positions, there will never be peace.

    The leaders don’t want peace. There is too much to gain from war!

    II followers started making up their own minds, leaders wouldn’t have a clue how to react. Leaders go their merry way precisely because they can rely on people to take particular positions.

    They are never wrong because people, for the most part, take transparent predictable positions. There is nothing remarkable about it.

  83. 83 steve
    July 11, 2008 at 14:58

    @ Selena

    Bryan is right. Why is Israel at peace with jordan and Egypt? Because those nations gave up their hostility towards Israel on the government level. I’m sure the people still hate Israel, but now those two countries have treaties with Israel. Has Israel attacked Jordan or Egypt?

  84. 84 selena
    July 11, 2008 at 15:02


    We are remodeling our condo in Paris. All the workers are from other countries.

    We haven’t seen a French worker.

  85. July 11, 2008 at 15:08

    Hi Bryan
    Akbar here in Tehran
    I posted a message for you, but it somehow disappeared.

  86. 86 steve
    July 11, 2008 at 15:09

    @ Selena

    Are those remodelers legally in France? Did you hire them or are they contractors of the person who agreed to remodel your condo? Given it’s the EU, and those workers are from the EU, can’t they live and work anywhere they want in the EU?

  87. 87 Bryan
    July 11, 2008 at 15:17

    Akbar Javadi July 11, 2008 at 3:08 pm,

    I didn’t see the message. Can you rescue it or repeat it? Thanks.

  88. July 11, 2008 at 15:22

    Hi Bryan
    Akbar here in Tehran
    I think Mike in Portland is overworked.

  89. 89 selena
    July 11, 2008 at 15:27


    I have no idea of the answer to any of your questions, except we have a reputable and very expensive (compared with Canada) company doing the work.

    I am assuming they are working legitimately.

  90. 90 steve
    July 11, 2008 at 15:30

    When they talk, are they speaking languages from the EU?

  91. 91 Bryan
    July 11, 2008 at 15:39

    steve July 11, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    It was based on the question of calling illegals “illegals.”


    selena July 11, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    “@Steve and Bryan

    Can you please tell me why you would need to make reference to the height of a person in the first place?”

    Coupla reasons. People below a certain height can’t serve in some police forces. Short people make lousy basketball players. (If blacks can get entry into university with lower grades than Jews, then Jews should be able to play basketball with a lower net.)

    selena July 11, 2008 at 2:54 pm


    “There would be peace tomorrow between Israel and the Muslim world if Muslims laid down their arms and stopped trying to destroy Israel.”

    As Steve is so fond of saying, “If you believe that I have a bridge to sell you.””

    Steve answered you for me. Mayhem and murder in the Middle East has 99% of the time been initiated by the Muslim side, from the first entirely unprovoked Arab attacks on Jews in Palestine before the establishment of Israel up until the latest Kassam attack on Israeli civilians bordering Gaza. Look at the history. If they stop the slaughter, there will be peace.

  92. 92 Asad Babyl
    July 11, 2008 at 16:04

    @Bob in Queensland
    July 11, 2008 at 6:21 am
    @ Asad Babyl

    “With respect, you give a rather one-sided view of Israel’s invasion of the Golan Heights…”

    Oh come on! You didn’t detect even a slight hint of sarcasm, even when I wrote that the “world doesn’t care about Arab people”?!

  93. 93 Bryan
    July 11, 2008 at 16:09

    Shirley July 11, 2008 at 4:43 am

    “I’ve also been listening to an interview that Mohammed Omar gave a few days ago. He is the journalist who received a journalism award in Europe and made several stops at various European parliaments before returning to his hime in Gaza. He could barely talk.”

    No, he’s the one who CLAIMED he won an international award. I pointed out here


    that I found it strange that according to Google only two sources on the entire planet have heard of this “award” one of them being the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, who interviewed him for the article. So again, can we believe anything this man says – or any report from PCHR?

    So I guess you’ll believe any bit of propaganda that comes your way, as long as it is anti-Israel. Please don’t expect everyone else to believe it.

  94. July 11, 2008 at 16:25

    Hi Mike in Portland
    Akbar here in Tehran
    Sorry for the intrusion, but did I say something offensive!

  95. 95 Bryan
    July 11, 2008 at 18:22


    I see that your post has appeared in its 2:50 pm slot. Thanks for the info. It’s fascinating to get an insider’s perspective on Iran. What are the prospects of a more moderate government coming into power? If Ahmedinejad is allowed to rant and rave and threaten Israel, doesn’t that mean that the powers that matter in Iran agree with his perspective?

  96. July 12, 2008 at 04:29

    Hi Bryan
    Sorry for the delay and squibble.
    Nothing is certain these days in Iran. We have been unscathed by food shortages and fuel prices, but global inflation will hit Iran at any time.
    Social issues such as schooling and health have taken precedence in day to day administration.
    can Iran bring a moderate government? No, because whoever wants to get to the top must be ruthless and crush the opposition. All said and done, Ahmadinejad may be the best of a bad batch. He talks nonsense, does silly things, he is getting appalling press coverage, but he is young, non-cleric, and harmless.
    Presidential elections in Iran are due in nine months, a lot can happen in the interval.

  97. 97 Bryan
    July 12, 2008 at 09:31

    Akbar, that doesn’t seem too hopeful. Also, if the Mullahs have the power to prevent people they don’t like standing for elections there doesn’t seem to be much prospect of a moderate becoming president of Iran.

    Who really wields the power in Iran? Is supreme leader Khamenei’s power unchallenged?

  98. July 13, 2008 at 04:20

    Hi Bryan
    Things are changing slowly. Look at Bashar Assad. His visit to Paris has changed everything for Damascus. It is no longer a rogue state. Look at the implications if it ties in with Israel! Why not Iran?
    Democracy in the modern sense is all about fighting for your rights, but how to get disillusioned, docile Iranians onto the streets? There is no other way for it, but when?
    The government can’t afford oil and food subsidies; that’s another 10 million families on the dole. Another one million drivers were made redundant when gasoline rations was introduced a year ago.
    The way things are going, no one has the answers in Iran. Cracks are appearing in the rule of law and authority of the state.
    Foreign confidence is at an all-time low. TOTAL is the latest oil major to abandon Iran, following similar steps by SHELL and Repsol. What is the alternative? Is Turkey better off? Will there be peace in Iraq and Afghanistan? All this effects us.
    It will be a long time before asspirants in the US presidential race will play a role over here. Who wields real power in Iran? Give the military a chance.

  99. 99 Bryan
    July 13, 2008 at 09:06

    Akbar, I’m not sure if I read you correctly. What can the military do to change the balance of power in Iran?

    You guys seem to be in quite a predicament there. Let’s hope the Mullahs don’t bring the country down.

  100. July 13, 2008 at 13:19

    Hi Bryan
    This is our best choice. They are the best of the pack and the best prospect for the nation and return to the civil agenda.

  101. 101 Bryan
    July 13, 2008 at 22:41

    Well, good luck, Akbar. I have a feeling we are all going to need it.

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