Talking Points July 15

Special thanks to Steve in Virginia for the overnight thread handling.

WHYS venue for Tues 15th July

Don’t forget, tonight’s show comes direct from this church in Johannesburg.
We’ll be speaking to South Africans and I expect Zimbabweans about the recent xenophobic attacks that plagued the country and anything else that’s got the globe gabbing. For an update on the state of one foreigner in SA, here’s a report about a Mozambican living in a camp.

Read on for more talking points & as ever, let us know what grabs your attention . . .

Religious freedom v equality of the sexes

It seems the case of Faiza M has hogged the overnight debate. The ruling by France’s highest authorities states that Faiza had “adopted a religious practice incompatible with essential values of the French community, particularly the principle of equality of the sexes”. I find it tricky to get an opinion on this one having not heard from Faiza herself . . . did she willingly attend the interviews in her Burqa? Can you really discriminate based on what people want to wear ? Was she coerced in any way? Food for thought indeed . . . 

When does satire become offensive?

. . . but what, I wonder, do you make of the story that’s grabbing the US headlines today: 

The New Yorker front cover for July 21stThe link will take you to a place called americablog.com which has some strong views in the comments section. Here’s a guy called DAB:

“I’m a New Yorker, and New Yorker subscriber. There’s no way in hell I’m cancelling. This is obviously a parody of all the right-wing talking points, and the fact that it has so many people upset says as much about them as it does about the people who actually believe these ridiculous stereotypes.”

Bob Cesca on the HuffingtonPost disagrees: “By publishing such a drawing, the New Yorker “becomes” the rumor spreader, even though it’s really not.”

Here’s some US talkshow hosts arguing about the cover. So has the New Yorker’s complex double bluff paid off? Are you offended by the image? John McCain and the Obama camp have both criticised it. David Remnick is the New Yorker editor: “The intent of the cover is to satirize the vicious and racist attacks and rumors and misconceptions about the Obamas that have been floating around in the blogosphere.”

Saying sorry — does it matter when you do it as long as you do?

Indonesian President Yudhoyono has expressed “remorse” for wrongs committed during East Timor’s vote for independence in 1999. The Pope plans this weekend to apologise for abuse by Catholic priests within the aborigine community. This follows February’s apology by the Australian government for the same type of offence and an apology in June from the Canadian government for abuse inflicted upon the native Indian tribes of that country some 50 years ago.

Some apologies of course, have covered events going back hundreds of years. The US state of New Jersey recently said sorry for its role in the slave trade.

Where do you draw the line? Is there a statute of limitations on apologies? Are such apologies always welcome or should some things just be left to historians?

Victory for free speech?

Staying on the Pope’s visit . . . A federal court in Australia has overturned a New South Wales law that would have made it illegal to “annoy” pilgrims. The Pope is to attend World Youth Day in Sydney this coming Saturday and some are planning to protest against the Catholic church’s policies. Had the law been upheld they could have been fined around $5,000.

We’ve had these debates a few times: does your religion have a right to be immune from criticism? Or do you agree with the ruling that such powers are “repugnant to fundamental rights and freedoms”?

The last of the Nazis?

The Simon Wiesenthal centre says it is close to apprehending Aribert Heim, who must surely be one of the last surviving wanted Nazis.

I’ve a feeling we have touched upon this in past WHYS debates but is there really anything to be gained by prosecuting a 94-year-old or do you think justice has to be done no matter how much time has elapsed?

129 Responses to “Talking Points July 15”

  1. 1 steve
    July 14, 2008 at 19:15

    Here are some stories: Bush removes executive ban on offshore drilling, but there’s still federal law banning it, so this won’t accomplish anything either way


    France denies citizenship to Muslim woman due to her religious beliefs


  2. 2 Katharina in Ghent
    July 14, 2008 at 19:24

    France is a special case, because it doesn’t allow anyone to show his religious belief in public. You’re now allowed to wear a christian cross around your neck, wear orthodox Jewish clothes or wear a headscarf. So in effect, since this woman insists on wearing the burqa, she’s breaking french law. I’ve read that many Muslim girls actually appreciate it because before this ban was enforced, they would get mocked or criticized by any male around for not covering their hair. France is probably the most secular country in the world and if you want to keep your religious clothing as an immigrant, you should go somewhere else.

  3. 3 Venessa
    July 14, 2008 at 19:26

    It is France’s perogative to deny citizenship based on religious beliefs. If it was the US then that would be another story.

  4. 4 steve
    July 14, 2008 at 19:28

    @ Venessa

    Why would it be another story if it were the US that denied someone citizenship due to religious beliefs?

  5. 5 Venessa
    July 14, 2008 at 19:42

    Freedom of religion is protected in the US.

  6. 6 Madeleine Morris
    July 14, 2008 at 19:44

    Mark here, logged in as Madeleine, but when i read this story over the weekend, what struck me was a dilemma between the French tolerance for all religions and the French enshrinement of equality of the sexes.

  7. 7 steve
    July 14, 2008 at 19:57

    Airports to scan phones, computers and ipods for illegal downloads:


  8. 8 steve
    July 14, 2008 at 19:58

    @ Venessa

    There is no absolute freedom of religion in the US. If your religion said you had to smoke pot, you couldn’t do it. If your religion says you have to drink wine, but you are less than 21, you cannot do it.

  9. 9 Venessa
    July 14, 2008 at 20:03

    Of course Steve. I think we all know that but we aren’t talking about smoking pot or drinking alcohol before the age of 21 are we? I too can come up with a number of things that wouldn’t be protected in the US.

  10. 10 Shirley
    July 14, 2008 at 20:04

    Steve: https://worldhaveyoursay.wordpress.com/2008/07/14/talking-points-july-15/#comment-47887
    Are you sure that no progress can be made in offshore drilling? There aren’t any loopholes?

  11. 11 Shirley
    July 14, 2008 at 20:17

    Katharina: France is a special case, because it doesn’t allow anyone to show his religious belief in public. You’re now allowed to wear a christian cross around your neck, wear orthodox Jewish clothes or wear a headscarf.

    I cannot agree at all with those policies. They discriminate against people who wish to practise their religion. I’ve heard that technically, Judaism doesn’t *require* anything of its adherents, but my understanding is that men are expected to wear the kipah and the tzitzit; and some branches require women to cover up in a certain way. If I am wrong and these things are indeed requirements by some branches of Judaism, then the discriminatory laws that you describe infringe on a person’s religious rights even worse. Similar restrictions against Muslims are unconscionable restrictions on religious rights, especially in light of the fact that Islam requires certain dress codes and other elements that affect external appearances.

  12. 12 Katharina in Ghent
    July 14, 2008 at 20:31

    @ Shirley

    I didn’t say that I agree with it. It all started many years ago (100?), going against the Christian cross that many women wear. A few years ago it was enforced again against Jewish men, where the more religious ones are indeed, as you write, obliged to wear certain items. And you know best what a religious Muslim should wear. France basically forces everybody to wear Western style, or at least downplay your religious conviction. I’m not certain where exactly this position originates, and I’m not sure I approve of it completely. All over Europe there have been repeatedly discussions about female Muslim teachers wearing headscarves, and I remember that about 20 years ago, in my high school, the headmaster told a Jewish student to take off his kipah, he saw it as “provocation”. (Ignoring that probably 20% of all students were Jewish.) But, like I wrote before, some Muslim girls, who are so westernized that they don’t want to wear the headscarf anymore, actually appreciated the enforcement because it supported them in their right to dress as they wanted. (While those, who WANT to wear it, were deprived of their right.)

  13. 13 Katharina in Ghent
    July 14, 2008 at 20:34

    @ Shirley again:

    It’s amazing what you can find on Wikipedia, the secularism came into effect 1905 (wow am I good!)


  14. 14 Shirley
    July 14, 2008 at 20:39

    Kathi, a quick note that I assumed that you did not agree with France’s restrictions on rleigious practise. My apologies for the misunderstanding.

  15. 15 Mohammed Ali
    July 14, 2008 at 20:40

    I thought when we talk about freedom of religion, it includes wearing what your religion requires you? Why then can’t the french society ban people from clothes that makes them practically nude, One of my colleagues told me that it is part of their religious beleif. To anybody a citizenship on the basis of what they wear is discrimination to its zenith.

  16. 16 Mohammed Ali
    July 14, 2008 at 20:49

    The UN says it is withdrawing all non-essential staff from Sudan because of the indictment of the Sudanese president. Does it mean that the ICC when against the advice of the un, is it a good sign for peace in Sudan? Comments are welcomed.

  17. 17 Julie P
    July 14, 2008 at 20:49


    I’m curious. What do you mean by clothes that makes them practically nude? And what is the religion?

  18. 18 Shirley
    July 14, 2008 at 20:50

    Kathi, thank you so much for the link and for all of the information that you have posted. I wonder, continuing some of the conversation from the Blank Page, whether WHYSayers think that the Constitution of ht eUnited Sates would have to be re-written in order to accommodate the same kinds of restrictions against rleigious people who have external manifestations fo their religion. I also wonder if it might be possible for them to establish communities unto themselves in which they can establish their own laws prohibiting open religious displays. If it is possible, then it might be equally as possible under the law for religious people to establish communities in which they can impose their religious rules, too.

  19. 19 Jens
    July 14, 2008 at 21:05


    they denied citizenship on the basis of practizing fundamental islam and lack of integration into french society. on this basis i think they came to the right conclusion. if you move to a country you integrate. if you are not willing to do so go back from where you came. i move plenty of times and integrated myself. there is no reason why muslims cannot do so. frankly i am getting a little tired that muslims can behave in such a radical and intolerant manner, but expect that we westerners (not chrisian, since i am athesist) have to show them tolerance at every corner. the host country has the right to refuse entry and giving citizenship to unsuitable people. that’s it no if and but.

  20. 20 Venessa
    July 14, 2008 at 21:09

    “the host country has the right to refuse entry and giving citizenship to unsuitable people. that’s it no if and but.”

    Exactly! It doesn’t mean I agree with it or not but that is the reality.

  21. 21 steve
    July 14, 2008 at 21:12

    @ Venessa

    But you think it’s fine for France, but not for the US, becuase you say the US has religious freedom, but then I showed you examples of curtailing religious freedom in the US, and then you said “but of course not that.” There I’m sure would be other things the US wouldn’t allow in the name of religious freedom, such as animal sacrifice, devil worship, etc. It’s not just pot and booze.

  22. 22 Venessa
    July 14, 2008 at 21:16

    Steve you are arguing about reasons other than the reason this woman was denied her citizenship.

  23. 23 Jens
    July 14, 2008 at 21:18


    the matter for me is integration into the host countries society. i don’t care if somebody believes in the tooth fairy, god or the great spaghetti monster. the important fact is that person part of socioety and does he/she believ in the smae priciples that govern the specific country. muslims can believe in their non-existing god as much as christians, als long as they recognize the laws and governance of their host country. if they do not like it they can go where there believs and traditions are the norm. just do not come to my country and expect me to addapt to their belive and tradition. i just sick of this BS

  24. 24 Tino
    July 14, 2008 at 21:19

    “Similar restrictions against Muslims are unconscionable restrictions on religious rights, especially in light of the fact that Islam requires certain dress codes and other elements that affect external appearances.”

    They are not unconscionable. Can you wear Christian Vestments in a Muslim country? Proudly display a crucifix? Wear the nun uniform? Wear a bikini?

    Until Islam gives the equality it so loudly demands of us, it should go scratch as far as I am concerned. So tired of letting them play us like fish: “But you say freedom of religion, tolerance, etc” when they do not do those things and treat us like dhimmis.

    Religious rights (IE right to believe in complete nonsense without proof) should be sacrificed when the religion is horribly intolerant and violent, to protect all others.

  25. 25 Mohammed Ali
    July 14, 2008 at 21:19

    @Julie, clothes that shows their underpants, extremely short skirts some without underpants, etc. The religion is Never Die. In this religion there is no regard for brother or sisters. Anybody can have sex with they other.

  26. 26 Mohammed Ali
    July 14, 2008 at 21:24

    @Jens, does the clothes one wears determine whether you are a fundamentalist or not?

  27. 27 Will Rhodes
    July 14, 2008 at 21:24

    In this instance, who cares about the US – this was a French decision and you have to abide by that.

    France has every right to say how they wish to rule their nation and part of that is immigration acceptance.

    France is as secular that I wish the UK was, Canada, too – but they are different sovereign nations and have their rules – so be it, I say.

  28. 28 steve
    July 14, 2008 at 21:28

    @ Will

    But the very argument about France being secular is like saying “love it or leave it” and I KNOW you would criticize any american that says that, but what’s the difference?

  29. 29 Jens
    July 14, 2008 at 21:35


    i think this goes a little deeper than just the cloths she was wearing. the fact that she refused to integrate was probaly sigificantly bigger. and yes to a certain degree cloths will signify the level of believe. be it for fully burka clad women in islam or clothing of orthodox jews.

    i am anathesist and i have a real hard time to understand what people to to others and themselves in the name of whatever non-existent deity they choose to follow. why should she be completetly submissive to all the men of her family? don’t we have equal status laws in the civilized world (this is an example of failing to integrate).

    plus i see nothing wrong with semi-naked or for that matter fully naked males and femals. that is the way we a born, all the other stuff is just indoctrination by parents and society. why should naked be immoral? that crap gets installed by the ones who want to control you…

  30. 31 Jens
    July 14, 2008 at 21:37


    there is no difference to me. “love it or leave it” is the only argument that counts, and with that comes the importance of integration. she did not integrate that is it. these muslim whinners demand from me to “tolerate the intolerable”, and frankly I had it with that lot.

  31. 32 steve
    July 14, 2008 at 21:38

    @ Jens, remember, not everyone looks good naked or semi-naked. Think of sensitive eyes and sensitive stomachs. Imagine your next time in a walmart, seeing those people naked, you’ll probably understand, and would want to retain your eyesight as well as the contents of your stomach. There are some seriously fat people that I don’t want to be seeing naked.

  32. 33 Tino
    July 14, 2008 at 21:39

    “Social services reports said the burqa-wearing Faiza M lived in “total submission to her male relatives”.

    That is what made her fundamentalist. I would also say that anything more restrictive than a hijab is fundamentalist.

  33. 34 steve
    July 14, 2008 at 21:43

    @ Jens, but what is tolerating the intolerable about someone’s clothing or family life? I’d personally wish more people would cover up more. Lots of fat people wearing revealing clothes, which really turns my stomach. There are also people here in the US that are completely dominated by their families, and would we think to deny them citizenship had they been immigrants? I know a guy who is 37 and has NEVER spent a night in his life away from his parents. His mom thinks the CIA/FBI, etc are all spying on her, and she has him paranoid, constantly. That’s pretty intolerable but nobody would deny citizenship for it.

  34. 35 Jens
    July 14, 2008 at 21:45


    i am aware of that, but they probably would not look a lot worse than what they do in their spandex pants anyway. plus it might encourage them to do something for their fitness. i hardly ever go to walmart so the whales would be amongst themselves. i tell ya though, there are some seriously fit people in my local farmers market ;)…….

  35. 36 Jens
    July 14, 2008 at 21:49


    these coocks are already citizens. i am sure the us would deny them citizenship if they would apply. i hold a green card and the fbi went and did a background check on me, as for all the green card holders.

    the cloth and submission to all familiy males are only visible characteristics, described in the piece. i am sure these are not the only reasons.

  36. 37 Mohammed Ali
    July 14, 2008 at 21:58

    @Will, what’s your definition secular? Does banning someone from wearing a certain religious attire or denying citizenship to a person because of his/her religious belief constitute a fully secular society in your mind? After all people should be allowed to year what they wish to as part of their fundamental right. @Jens, our intelleience and common sense dictates that we go about naked cuz it is part of insanity. Since we were all born to die, why don’t in about committing suicide or killing others?

  37. 38 Virginia Davis
    July 14, 2008 at 22:31

    Good afternoon all:

    The woman in question applied for French citizenship. The judge’s decision was to deny that status because she had made no effort to assimilate herself into French society. She was asking for all the rights she might want to claim, but none of the responsibilities or respect of a new culture.

    Virginia in Oregon

  38. 39 Mohammed Ali
    July 14, 2008 at 22:32

    So what’s the islamic fundamentalism in Faiza M submitting to her husband and wearing veil?

  39. 40 Sheikh Kafumba
    July 14, 2008 at 22:37

    It is a sad moment not only for Faiza but to the rest of humanity. It is a shame that in this modern age of ours that a person is denied a citizenship because of religious affiliation.

  40. 41 Mohammed Ali
    July 14, 2008 at 22:39

    @Jens, our intelligence and common sense dictates that we do not go about naked. Besides, going about naked in the streets is part of insanity. Why don’t we in about committing suicide or killing others since death is an inevitable end?

  41. 42 steve
    July 14, 2008 at 22:40

    @ sheikh Kafumba

    I have never been able to find proof from a source Shirley would deem acceptable, but I believe Jews are not allowed to become citizens of Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

  42. 43 Will Rhodes
    July 14, 2008 at 22:44

    It isn’t about my definition of secular, Ali – it is that a sovereign nation, France, made that rule.

    I don’t think that a country should be made to feel ostracised because it has a different view than others. I have said many time that I am a once former believer in multiculturalism – I no longer believe in it, because it has been hijacked by lobby/focus groups rather than it meaning people living together in peace and tolerance.

    If France wishes to choose who it accepts who is a citizen then that is fine by me. I say the same for any nation. That I am consistent on. You do have Islamic nations who say, forcefully, that people cannot wear certain types of clothing – yet I don’t see many come out and say that is wrong – why not?

    If a woman wants to wear a bikini in Saudi – does that preclude her from being a citizen?

  43. 44 Sheikh Kafumba
    July 14, 2008 at 22:45

    The security situation in Darfur is grave. The ICC indictment of the sudanese president could derail the already fragile peace process.

  44. 45 Mohammed Ali
    July 14, 2008 at 22:55

    @Will, i’m one person who beleives that everyone should have the freedom to year whatever they wish to regardless of which country they are in. I think all those islamic countries need to be made to know this through program like WHYS.

  45. 46 Jens
    July 14, 2008 at 22:59


    it’s your problem that you have issues with being naked. being naked has nothing to do with dying. this is you brain that makes these absured connections.

    the same thing in matters of citizenship. there is no obligation on any country having to make applicants become citizens. if france decides she does not want that women then so be it. the fact that she is subserviant, nevermimd to her husband BUT TO ALL read ALL males of the family is wrong and the fact that you see noothing wrong in it clearly shows your lack of understand of womens rights and equalities.

    the matter is simple. do muslim countries let me allow to be who i am? NO so why should i tolerate your religion. it’s violent and archaic. the sharia law is absolutly repulsive.

  46. 47 Jens
    July 14, 2008 at 23:05

    @ muhammed

    “@Jens, our intelligence and common sense dictates that we do not go about naked.”

    WHY? what is so intelligent about being clothed? this is your interpretion, which stems from your believe and indoctrination by your parents and religiouse leaders. look at indigenouse tribes all over the world. they are naked. the only correlation is that they do not believe ins some non-existent deities. these people are free of all the guilt and manipulation brought up the world by religion

  47. 48 Dennis
    July 14, 2008 at 23:15


    Dennis~Syracuse, New York

  48. 49 Sheikh Kafumba
    July 14, 2008 at 23:33

    @ Steve, there is an inveterate animosity between arabs and jews. I don’t see how France fit in that picture or is France a semitic state?

  49. 50 Virginia Davis
    July 14, 2008 at 23:33

    Interesting page for July 15 blog: just author and day and time.

    I will add just read/scanned BBC news story on Gordon Brown’s announcement that 110,000 families are identified as problems re rise in knife violence.

    Dear George Orwell!

    Virginia in Oregon

  50. 51 Virginia Davis
    July 14, 2008 at 23:36

    PS I am NOT crazy – that was the way my PC was processing – now it is “normal” again. Virginia

  51. 52 Shirley
    July 14, 2008 at 23:36

    Jens, Where should the polygamist FLDS sect in Texas, USA go back to?

    Tino, you don’t mind Muslim women wearing a hijab as long as they leave their faces open? I may have misunderstood your position from earlier statements of yours.

    Steve, Saudi Arabia wouldn’t let me in, either. I am just as much an infidel to them as a Jewish person. I might be able to get in for Hajj, but the sooner that they could get me back out, the better according to their thinking. Just because Muslims made the laws doesn’t mean that the laws are Islamic. Then again, I suppose that one could say that just because a democratic person was President doesn’t mean that his laws were democratic.

    “Sheikh” Kafumba: That creature doesn’t need to be the President of Sudan or any other place on this planet. Hopefully, once those genocidal maniacs are removed from power, the world can have a chance to establish peace and justice without the need for military intervention. By the way, you should meet our resident Prince.

  52. 53 Will Rhodes
    July 14, 2008 at 23:38

    i’m one person who beleives that everyone should have the freedom to year whatever they wish to regardless of which country they are in. I think all those islamic countries need to be made to know this through program like WHYS.

    If we had societies like that, Ali – all would be good, but we don’t. What we are seeing in the west is minority religions and groups who are saying they should have more than the indigenous people – that is quite wrong. People should live together and integrate into you adoptive nation.

    I am English, through and through – I have adopted a Canadian way of life, I don’t ask that Canada makes more room for me – I adapt, it is as simple as that. I would ask my wife to do the same, she agrees should we move permanently to the UK.

    If I moved to Liberia – I would ask that country to give me more of a voice because I am a minority – I would live by the Liberian rules.

  53. 54 steve
    July 14, 2008 at 23:39

    @ Sheikh

    You said, “It is a shame that in this modern age of ours that a person is denied a citizenship because of religious affiliation.”

    I don’t see how you can distinguish between France, Israel, and Saudi Arabia and Jordan after making a statement. Israel allows muslims to become citizens, christians as well, but according to what I’ve read, Saudi Arabia and Jordan don’t allow Jews to become citizens.

  54. 55 Will Rhodes
    July 14, 2008 at 23:40

    Virginia – in my humble opinion, Gordon Brown and the current British government are arses!

  55. 56 steve
    July 14, 2008 at 23:40

    @ Jens

    There would be a lot more skin cancer if people didn’t wear clothes.

  56. 57 Anthony
    July 14, 2008 at 23:41

    The checking of downloads for MP3s and that kind of thing is absurd! What if you own a CD or DVD and rip it? Then you might get in trouble for that? That’s B.S. and should not happen!!!

    Imagine how time consuming that would be!!! Like the airports aren’t already packed up enough!!!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  57. 58 Jens
    July 14, 2008 at 23:43


    we have enough nutjobs in this country. do we really need to import more? do we need more fundamentalists and their twisted interpretation of religion? i mean religion on it’s own is already bad enough.

  58. 59 Mohammed Ali
    July 14, 2008 at 23:46

    @Jens, i think you are getting things wrong here. I do not belong to any religion. I think freely because i have the idea of being indoctrinated. Yeh i agree with you that a country can decide as to whether it wants to accept a certain to be citizen or not. I in fact have no moral grounds to argue this because my country, Liberia, is a racist country. Our constitution allow only people of negro descend to become citizen. I have led a campaign against this but to no avail.

  59. 60 Mohammed Ali
    July 14, 2008 at 23:48

    @ I mean i hate the idea of been indoctrinated.

  60. 61 Jens
    July 14, 2008 at 23:48


    there are some realy good sunshields 😉

    look i am not advocating that all must bare all all the times. all i am saying is that religion has declered nakedness as a sin for whatever reason. by doing so it has perverted one of the most natural things. i have no problem with naked people. if somebody does not like naked people then he/she has some serious issues based on indoctrination.

  61. 62 Jens
    July 14, 2008 at 23:50


    Ok so we can stop fighting then, except for the naked-thing I guess 😉

    good arguing with you

  62. 63 Mohammed Ali
    July 14, 2008 at 23:51

    @ I mean i hate the idea of been indoctrinated. All i beleive in is that there is an uncause cause somewhere.

  63. 64 Jens
    July 14, 2008 at 23:57

    indoctrination is fundamentally evil. i shall catch y’all later.

  64. 65 Virginia Davis
    July 15, 2008 at 00:01


    re my recent “disturbance” on the July 15th WHYS page – I realize that many of you who are more computer literate than I am, accept these “glitches” as normal.
    I, with my paranoia, however and the certain knowledge that my PC is monitored by George W, the FBI et al, and don’t really give a damn whether that is true or not and certainly don’t have the inclination to pursue a Freedom of Information inquiry to check it out or the funds to do anything about such a “conspiracy” usually just whine “I am not crazy, this really happened.”

    @ Will Rhodes: you are right about this being an asinine example of the prime minister and his government. My reply is: Bobby Sands is laughing. Surveillance, the industry, grew out of the British need for control of NI’s population. Securocrats.

    @Shirley: I am sure that a passport at this time in my life is not totally realistic.
    There are now (today) one million on the US terror list. How really nice for all of us who live in, and may be citizens of, the land of the free and the home of the brave. In my heart I believe I should be able to travel anywhere…..and be welcome! (Smile)

    Speaking of lists, the coordination between Homeland Security and Social Security for employers to check the legality of people applying is so poor and the actual, real list so error prone, that instead of solving anything, it just makes it worse. And evokes a tangled mess of wrong responses on the part of the “system.”

    Which leads me to my punch line: I wrote George W a note when he/they came up with “Homeland Security” and pleaded with them not to do that to our language: it reminded me of a cut-rate Mid-West insurance company which advertised on TV at 3 am in the morning…..

    Virginia in Oregon

  65. 66 Sheikh Kafumba
    July 15, 2008 at 00:07

    Steve, u said muslims. I would advise u 2 say jewish muslim. If a jew is a muslim, he will be accepted and vice versa. Let us not reduce this argument to sentimentalism in the middle east.

  66. 67 steve
    July 15, 2008 at 00:10

    @ sheikh

    Can you explain how someone can be a jewish muslim?

  67. 68 Luz Ma
    July 15, 2008 at 00:11

    @Citizen denied to a Muslim women for religious beliefs

    Every country has the right to make and enforce their immigration law and definitely other countries should not criticize it.

    I have a personal experience regarding this issue. My husband and I applied to permanent residency in Canada after living there for about 4 years studying our graduate degrees. Since we lived in Montreal, we had first to apply to Immigration Quebec (Quebec is the only province in Canada that has a say in immigration). Well, Quebec didn´t accept us right away because we weren´t fluent enough in the French language. In our defense we said that we didn´t study French full-time because both were enrolled in very demanding graduate programs at an Anglophone University. We promise that we would do it, since I have finished my program and my husband was in his last year. This explanation and offer was not enough for the immigration officer, he denied our application and gave us another appointment for the next year to asses our progress. We run out of money (we were not allowed to work) and we had to return to Mexico.

    We were very disappointed. We wanted to stay in Montreal. Our daughter was born there. But, we had to accept their resolution. It was their right to turn us down. We knew that our lack of fluency in French could be a risk in our interview. I don´t hold any grudge against Immigration Quebec, because, simple enough, they set the rules and it was their right.

  68. 69 Mohammed Ali
    July 15, 2008 at 00:14

    @Sheikh, inveterate hate? Should we be giving credence to hatred in this modern era? We must understand that if an arab can become citizen in Israel, then Israelis should have the right to become citizens in arab countries too.

  69. 70 steve
    July 15, 2008 at 00:14

    @ Luz Ma

    My memory isn’t the best, but didn’t you just say a couple of days ago that the US shouldn’t be enforcing US immigration law when it comes to illegal immigrants, and that they should be able to illegally work in the US, but preferably be allowed to become citizens, even though they broke to the law entering the US and working in the US?

  70. 71 Sheikh Kafumba
    July 15, 2008 at 00:27

    Steve, my qualification of muslim mean really an israeli muslim.

  71. 72 Luz Ma
    July 15, 2008 at 00:36


    I didn´t say that. I say that they should not be treated as criminals. I completely accept the right that the US government has to deport illegal immigrants. However, I do not accept human rights abuses against illegal immigrants by their employers, the government and other citizens.

    Also, I answered some comments saying that illegal immigrants come to the US to take the jobs of the American citizens and legal residents. I think that the US has a job market that wants (and needs) illegal immigrants. I think US government has a double standard for this issue. In one hand they publicly oppose illegal immigration, but in the other, they do not sanction the employers that demand this labor force.

  72. 73 Sheikh Kafumba
    July 15, 2008 at 00:37

    Shirley, we all want to see Bashir out of power but not at the expense of the ordinary masses, the sudanese people.

  73. 74 Tino
    July 15, 2008 at 00:37

    “you don’t mind Muslim women wearing a hijab as long as they leave their faces open? I may have misunderstood your position from earlier statements of yours.”

    I sure do not like it, as it represents a restriction on women with no equal male equivalent. Islam treats its women like chattel, which I find offensive knowing if my sister and mother were brought up there they would have little rights compared to myself. And of course that whole I might decide to kill her if she spoke to a guy deal bothers me as well – and since the women have even been killed for not wearing the hijab, I do mind it. I just do not think it is fundamentalist (except as much as Islam itself is, and it is to a large degree).

  74. 75 steve
    July 15, 2008 at 00:56

    @ Syed

    Actually I’m at attorney and I took a year long class on Constitutional Law and I would be I know the US Constitution better than any other person on WHYS. Off to the gym for a bit people.

  75. 76 Dan
    July 15, 2008 at 01:36

    Hi Steve
    Great evening conversation.
    I bristle at all the hypenated descriptions (ie. Jewish-Muslim, Israeli-Muslim, African-American etc). In any event being a Muslim is a RELIGION not an ethic description.
    In America our motto is “E. Plurbus Unim” From many one. That says to the world “We do not care where you came from or what you are, setting foot on our soil and you are an American….maybe not yet a citizen…but an American. That happens no where ese n the planet.
    These hypenated descriptions only weaken the bonds that bind us as people but re-tribalize us.
    In America we do not have Freedom of Religion in so much as we are protected from the Government forcing a religion down our throats.
    This does not stop religions from cloistering in certain enclaves ie. Mormons in Utah but we also know that other religions are also welcome to live there as well.

  76. 77 Dennis
    July 15, 2008 at 01:51

    Hi Steve!

    Thanks for the being the “evening” [moderator] on World Have Your Say

    Dennis~Syracuse, New York


  77. 78 steve
    July 15, 2008 at 02:06

    @ Dan

    Don’t know why so many Americans embrace being a hyphenated American. The only one I approve of is “Native American” showing that they were here first, but that’s about it.

  78. 79 Dennis
    July 15, 2008 at 02:11

    I second the motion of Will Rhodes made:

    That my humble opinion, Gordon Brown and the current British government are arses!

    Dennis~Syracuse, New York

  79. 80 steve
    July 15, 2008 at 02:13

    Here’s the latest on the DC handgun ban: The legislation allowing them for home usage only. I heard on the radio it requires gun to be dissassembled, kind of defeating the purpose of having it, but they said there was a “self defense” exception which they didn’t explain. So apparently if someone is trying to kill you, you are allowed to assemble it if you have the time to do so. So this will be very likely challenged.


  80. 81 steve
    July 15, 2008 at 02:16

    People, I’m trying to find the exact rules again, but some words some might find objectionable, such as the word referring to one’s rear end. I have no problem with it, but the BBC might.

  81. 82 Virginia Davis
    July 15, 2008 at 02:40


    re US Constitutional History year long course. Good deal. Anyone challenge that expertise?

    My favorite undergraduate course was English Constitutional History – small, enthused class ready to out-debate Professor Jones and the ONE time we came to a draw was a very sophisticated Marxian interpretation of the period of peasant revolts. Once “Mr. Jones” left the classroom we were jumping up and down in delight. During each week we met, some of us, and divied up arguments.


  82. 83 Shirley
    July 15, 2008 at 02:44

    Jens, they are already here. They have been here for more than a century. Theya re American. They speak English. Their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents were white Americans. Yet they impose a lifestyle on their members such that it is normal for girls to get married off at 13 or 14 years of age, sometimes to men twice or more their senior. They practise – encourage, actually – polygamy. They insist that women be subservient to men. They do not allow for displays of emotions. No-one laughs. No-one cries. We saw exceptions recently, and it was because the U.S. goevrnment felt the need to remove children from families. These are all part of the religious teachings of this sect.

    Now, then. Where do we ship them off to, if their lifestyle is anti-thetical to Western values? After that is answered, I am curious to know where all of the white American converts to Islam whose prents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. were born and raised here, spoke English, etc. should be shipped off to, since they enjoy sporting beards, taking Fridays off work to attend congregational worship, refuse to ingest or deal with alcohol or pork, insist upon their own slaughterhouses for other meats, and whose women cover their arms, legs, and heads? Who else is so different from traditional Western culture that they should not be allowed to live in a Western country?

  83. 84 Will Rhodes
    July 15, 2008 at 03:10

    Luz Ma – you wouldn’t believe the amount of Canadians that would quite willingly accept a Kerbec not part of Canada.

    The only thing the west and east of Canada want is not to have to drive through the US to get to the other side.

  84. 85 Will Rhodes
    July 15, 2008 at 03:15

    Steve – do you mean the word Ass?

    If you do, please remember that an Ass is not just a back end of a person – it is a donkey, calling the British government asses means they are slow-minded individuals who really shouldn’t be allowed to eat with knives and forks.

  85. 86 Tino
    July 15, 2008 at 03:18


    While those sects may do things we find offensive and/or horrible, there is a critical difference between them and Islam. Their doctrine does not call for jihad on all others. Did you see any mass riots, bombings, shootings, terrorism of any kind after the govt removed their children?

    Quite an important difference to me…

  86. 87 Bob in Queensland
    July 15, 2008 at 03:22

    Good Morning all!

    Re: French Secular Laws

    I’m not sure why there should be such surprise that a country can have laws enforcing their local standards.

    When I visit Saudi Arabia, I’m subject to laws forbidding me to consume alcohol. A woman visiting Saudi has to keep her head and most of her body covered. That’s the local law and if a person chooses to visit they must obey it.

    France has laws guaranteeing it is a secular society. It doesn’t discriminate against Islam; as has been stated, Christian Crosses, Buddhist robes and Orthodox Jewish garb are also banned. That’s the French law.

    The USA has no such law guaranteeing secularism–they allow “freedom of religion”, subject to the over-riding laws of the land as pointed out by Steve. If they wished to amend their constitution they could pass laws similar to France, though I doubt a law forbidding the wearing of crosses–or perhaps “What Would Jesus Do?” wrist bands–would be very popular there. What would be harder for me to support would be a law that singles out one religion for discrimination. By all means censure specific Muslims if they advocate violence or terrorism but don’t ban a whole religion–unless you control them all.

    Personally, as a non-believer, I think the world would be healthier if people stopped wearing external clues to set them apart and make them different. As I’ve said before, I’m more for the “melting pot” model than “cultural diversity”.

    However–if a person wants to live in the USA,, the UK, France–or Saudi Arabia–they should be going because they want to live in the country as it is, not with a view to changing the society.

  87. 88 steve
    July 15, 2008 at 03:33

    @ Bob

    the thing is that the far left wants to accommodate so much that they would have the majority acommodate the minority. I sometimes take the bus here in DC, and all the signs on certain routes are in spanish. I don’t even know what they are talking about. Nothing extreme. I find it neat actually. But if we ever had women’s only hours at the gym to accommodate muslim women and their insecurities, I would be upset, but gyms are private.

  88. 89 Luz Ma
    July 15, 2008 at 03:45


    I know what you are talking about. Since I studied at McGill and some of my social life revolved around it, I got to know the two sides of the problem. I was an outsider, so it was easier to understand the problem seeing it from the distance.

    I think that the immigration officer that denied our application disliked the fact that we managed to live in Montreal for 5 years without the need to be completely fluent in French. I can speak French in day-to-day situations, but I cannot hold a complex conversation. I believe Montreal is so multicultural that you can either speak English or French or in some neighborhoods neither of the two (like in the Cartier Chinoise or a part of downtown were everyone speaks Arabic).

    I think you will find amusing a program that I heard in the show Ideas in CBC Radio. It is called “Passages to the Future” which features historian Jocelyn Létourneau. If you hadn´t hear it, I recommend it. It is quite good. http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/features/passages/

  89. 90 steve
    July 15, 2008 at 03:47

    @ Luz Ma

    There is some bar in Montreal, McKibbens, that was harassed by the language authorities in QC for having irish signs up in English. Apparently it was a big deal and they had to take them down, though I don’t know it was more about competition trying to get an advantage.

  90. 91 Luz Ma
    July 15, 2008 at 04:04

    Language harrassment… very popular in Quebec. There was another bar, I don´t remember the name, with the same situation. The didn´t want to put an “s” (I think) at the end of the name -to make it French- and they were shuted down. Crazy, if you ask me.

    However, I have to say that the majority of the Quebecois that I met in the six years that I lived there were very open to English and other languages. Specially those who worked in the Health System (doctors, nurses, social workers). I think is more a political issue.

    Someday I will be fluent in French. It is one of my goals in life, along with learning other languages. So, I hope to go back there and live in French in Montreal.

  91. 92 Shirley
    July 15, 2008 at 05:33

    Are most Muslims violent and radicalised? The numbers are saying no. Gallup’s poll indicates that most Muslims aspire for better jobs, democratic governments for their countries, and equal rights for men and women. The vast majority condemn violence based on religious principles. The tiny fraction that support violence against the West do not base their support on religious principles, but rather on political frustrations.

    I was wrong in one aspect: most radicals are middle-class and educated. I’ve compiled some of the figures that jumped out at me below.

    2008 Gallup Poll of the Muslim World
    BP: http://barrypittard.wordpress.com/2008/02/28/world-gallup-poll-muslim-project
    GWSI: http://www.gallup.com/press/104206/WHO-SPEAKS-ISLAM.aspx
    WOGI3: http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0517/p12s03-wogi.html
    WOGI4: http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0517/p12s04-wogi.html
    WOGI5: http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0517/p12s05-wogi.html

    Various studies of Muslim terrorists show that most are from middle- and working-class backgrounds. (WOGI4)

    Muslims and Americans are equally likely to reject attacks on civilians as morally unjustifiable. (GWSI) 93% pf the polled Muslims condemned the 9-11 attacks. (BP) Those who opposed the attacks often gave religious reasons for doing so. When asked to describe their dreams for the future, Muslims don’t mention fighting in a jihad, but rather getting a better job. (GWSI)

    7% saw the 9-11 attacks as “completely justified.” None in this group employed a religious justification. The view was based on fear of US plans for occupation and domination of the Muslim world. (BP) When asked why they [7%] supported the [9-11] attacks, the radicals gave political rather than religious reasons. They have a sense of political frustration and feel humiliated and threatened by the West. (WOGI4) 63 percent of radicals do not believe that the United States will allow people in the region to fashion their own political future without direct US influence. (WOGI4)

    Those who condone acts of terrorism are a minority and are no more likely to be religious than the rest of the population. (GWSI) Some Muslim terrorists are devout and others are not. They are no more religious than the general population and do not attend mosque more frequently. (WOGI4)

    Muslim women want equal rights and religion in their societies. (GWSI) While Muslim women favor gender parity, they do not endorse wholesale adoption of Western values. (WOGI3) Majorities in most countries believe that women should have the same legal rights as men: They should have the right to vote, to hold any job outside the home that they qualify for, and to hold leadership positions at the cabinet and national council levels. (WOGI3) In Saudi Arabia, where women cannot vote, 58 percent of men say women should be able to vote. (WOGI3)

    Most said they supported bringing democratic principles to their own countries. (BP) Even radicals say they support democracy. (WOGI4) They see no contradiction between democratic values and religious principles. (WOGI5) Most want neither theocracy nor secular democracy but a third model in which religious principles and democratic values coexist. (WOGI5) Large majorities cite the equal importance of democracy and Islam to the quality of life and progress of the Muslim world. (WOGI5) Substantial majorities in nearly all nations say that if drafting a new constitution, they would guarantee freedom of speech. (WOGI5) The majority want religious leaders to have no direct role in crafting a constitution, yet favor religious law as a source of legislation. (GWSI)

    Is the Gallup poll more trustworthy in portraying Muslims and our goals than media reports?

  92. 93 Bob in Queensland
    July 15, 2008 at 06:09

    @ Steve

    I’m with you on the idea that a new minority shouldn’t dictate changes to a country they’ve chosen to live in.

    However, I’m not sure about your gym example. Most gyms and swimming pools I know have “women only” sessions but that’s nothing to do with any religion–it’s because many women just like to swim/exercise without men around.

    …and I have no problem with this so long as they don’t object to any form of “men only” activity that may come up.

  93. 94 Omunyaruguru
    July 15, 2008 at 06:42

    @ Tino,

    “They are not unconscionable. Can you wear Christian Vestments in a Muslim country? Proudly display a crucifix? Wear the nun uniform? Wear a bikini?”

    Bikinis are not christian vestments!! Christians would consider them vestments of a depraved generation.

  94. 95 Omunyaruguru
    July 15, 2008 at 07:04

    “I’m with you on the idea that a new minority shouldn’t dictate changes to a country they’ve chosen to live in.”

    @ Bob, Steve and others, Minority influences have been and shall always be registered in history. they ae a factor in social evolution.

    Am sorry I often give examples from my part of the world.

    The people in my country are mostly from three major migrations: The Bantu migration was the largest group. They came from somewhere in central Africa; the Luo came from Bahr el Gazal/Rumbeck area in Sudan and then some Hamitic tribes moved in from the Ethiopian Highlands. The Hamites that moved on to what is now Rwanda, Burundi, western Uganda and Eastern Congo were a minority but they had big influence on the larger bantu tribes to the extent of taking over leadership. The minority ruled the majority in peace until the white man came in and made the docile bantu think otherwise. That is the origin of the Tutsi/Hutu hostilities. The tutsi are hamitic, the Hutu are bantu. To date, that region has not known peace.

    The Luo, though not as large a group as the bantu, influenced most bantu kingdoms in Uganda. It is generaly believed that the major ruling families in the bantu kingdoms have luo origins. Again a minority causing the majority to bow before them.

    History is rife with such examples which are drivers of social evolution. Social strife results when some people decide that they do not want to be influenced. Change is a reliable constant.

  95. 96 Pangolin Hussein- California
    July 15, 2008 at 07:05

    @ Multiculturalism- I grew up in and around San Francisco which is about a multi-cultural city as you will find anywhere. Heck they’ve got cultures there that don’t exist anywhere else in the world. It’s all great fun as long as everybody is one more vegetable in the stew and no group decides to be the habenero chile (a very, very hot chile pepper) and ruin the stew.

    I even had both my daughters attend school in a spanish immersion program as spanish is the second language of California where they get along just fine. I do however prefer that anybody living here from another country defer to US laws and customs where appropriate and make a solid effort to both learn english AND teach their children their native tongue. Multiple languages teach mental flexibility better than any other method IMHO.

    As far as illegal immigrants go, I believe that they should be promptly deported along with a fat cash reward if they snitch on their employers. The employers of illegal immigrants should be fined extremely heavily. There are far too many US citizens without jobs for us to be importing labor. Train the people we have and pay them for that work before we hire outside the country.

    If you can’t afford to pay local citizens to do a job then shut your doors. Cheap imported labor is just a refutation of the contract between a citizen and his nation.

  96. 97 John in Germany
    July 15, 2008 at 08:04

    Converted to depraved in one sentence. i am Christian, and love to look at ladies in Bikinis, and feel that it is quiet ok to do so, just the same most girls like to look at a good six pack.

    It is not right that women are degraded to be the devils of society, just because mother nature made them attractive to men. And i have a feeling that, that’s what makes the world go round. Attraction = Attention=lets get together=love=children, and the world goes round.

    But if the case is not rested, then i prefer to be depraved so that i may carry on looking at all the nice things in this world. There must be some crack on this world that thinks that looking at a tree in winter is depraved.

    JOhn in Germany.

  97. July 15, 2008 at 08:06

    Hi Steve
    Akbar here in Tehran
    I am surprised at the French ruling on the Muslim woman from Morocco.
    France is host to some 5 million Muslims who are well integrated and very much a part of French life.
    Go to any city in France and you will find entire districts with Muslim butchers, Muslim delicatessens and everything else Muslim. The French could teach the rest of Europe and the States a thing or two about integration of Muslims.
    Sarkozy is one of a kind, judging from the recent Mediterranean Union confab in Paris, which will contribute to integration of Maghreb, Arabs, Egypt etc into Europe.
    There are always lapses in the process of integration, whether it be Iranians in Europe, Romanians in Italy, latinos in the States etc.. It is a subject that must be given constant focus, but allow for a margin of human error and judgement, – which can be remedied.

  98. 99 Bob in Queensland
    July 15, 2008 at 09:20

    @ Omunyaruguru

    Integrated as part of social evolution absolutely. That’s healthy and it’s been the way of the world for years. How many “English” words only joined the language after the Norman invasion–and how boring would “English” food be without influences from India, Greece, China, Italy, etc. etc.

    I think what many people object to on the WHYS blog is actually the LACK of integration that some advocate. Any time a group of immigrants (to any country) set themselves apart and attempt to cling exclusively to their “old” way of life (be it simply traditions or things dictated by religion) it’s unhealthy and leads to conflict and resentment.

    By all means bring the best of your culture with you–but be willing to embrace the new lifestyle along with it. After all, if somebody has decided to go through the upheaval of immigration it must be because they see advantages in their newly adopted country. I didn’t move from the UK to Australia to whinge about the lack of real ale and castles; I came because I perceived this to be a good country to live in–and raise a young child in.

  99. 100 Mohammed Ali
    July 15, 2008 at 09:43

    @Last wanted Nazis
    The man is already 94 years old. What are we going to gsin by prosecuting him? He has live the best part of his life. The essence of punishing a person for crimes they committed is to deny them certain rights while they still value those rights. I seriously doubt if this man will have any regret or remorse because of his age.

  100. 101 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 15, 2008 at 10:36

    @Luz Ma~~

    Your desire to learn French reminds me of a story my dad told me. He grew up in Chicago, in modest circumstances. In grade school he was offered either French or Spanish as a “foreign language.” . After some consideration, he concluded, “I may never afford a journey to France, but I know I can get to Mexico,” so Spanish it was.

    Interestingly, though, I almost never heard him speak Spanish, although he often spoke German and French. My mom was French, so French was the language for speaking of things not meant for my young ears. Predictably, this inspired me to learn the language (beginning with a somewhat specialized vocabulary), which may have been their intent all along.

    If I had it to do over again, I’d opt for Latin, just because it’s such a good key to a whole family of languages. If you know Latin, you’re halfway to knowing English, French, Spanish, etc. Oh, well.

  101. 102 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 15, 2008 at 11:06


    I haven’t followed this thread of conversation, but you state far too narrow a view of the purpose of punishment. Locking up criminals serves a lot of different functions simultaneously: protection of the populace, punishment of the criminals, (ideally) rehabilitation of the criminal as preparation for constructive life after release, deterrence of potential future criminals from committing crimes, and a statement by, and to, a society, declaring certain behavior as unacceptable, just to name a few.

    Some 93 year old Nazi is perhaps unlikely to pose a danger to society, and unlikely to see the error of his ways if he has not done so by now, but crimes against humanity have no statute of limitations for good reasons. Killers and potential killers must not be allowed to think that they can escape the consequences of their crimes by simply evading justice for enough years that society will eventually shrug and leave them alone. That’s why we prosecute war criminals.

    Arguably of course after half a century, we’re dealing with a literally different man. If he has spent his life working to somehow mitigate the harm he did–founding a charity to serve torture victims, Jewish refugees, orphans, etc., or worked to teach children (or adults) not to hate, or one of a thousand things to indicate repentence and benefit humanity, that should be considered at sentencing to mitigate his punishment. But I don’t think the mere fact of breathing for 90 years does, should, or can excuse barbarous crimes.

  102. 103 Dan
    July 15, 2008 at 11:19

    @Muhammad Ali
    You hunt any of the Nazi’s down and prosecute them.
    The Third Reich was pure evil unleased upon the world.
    It is the responsibility of every person of the world to participate in capturing these demons until the entire Third Reich has been consumed. None can be allowed to escape as forgiven.
    What is scary is that the practitioners of the Third Reich taught the Muslims of the Middle East and that is a documented truth.

  103. 104 Bob in Queensland
    July 15, 2008 at 11:30

    @ Jonathan and Luz Ma

    Funnily enough, a friend who already speaks English and Spanish fluently recently (yesterday in fact) asked my advice about what language it might be worth learning next. My suggestion was actually French.

    My reason for this was that, in my various travels, I’ve found that French is a second language for an awful lot of people and, very often, when I didn’t have a hope of communicating in the native tongue, we had communication of sorts when we both switched to our imperfect French.

    Just a thought.

  104. 105 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 15, 2008 at 11:37


    If learning multiple languages is good (and you’re right, it is), it’s the native-born US population that is most in need of enlightenment. Most immigrants try to learn English, because it’s so obviously the ticket to a better life. Not all succeed, but the second generation is almost always bilingual. Children have flexible mental circuits not yet hard-wired to just one language.

    You’re quite wrong about “illegal immigrants.” US unemployment is historically low–in fact, orthodox economic theory used to hold that such a low rate (about 5%) is unsustainably low without causing ruinous inflation. It’s barely above “frictional” unemployment–which just means the normal time between one job and another, by choice.

    If there really were many US citizens willing to do the work that immigrants do, then they’d be doing it, and immigrants wouldn’t come. But there aren’t. Talk to a farmer, or a restaurant owner, or a food preparer, or a janitorial service, or a landscaper, or any employer with unpleasant but necessary jobs, and ask how successful he/she has been in finding native-born Americans to fill them. They can’t do it. It’s not an American phenomenon; it’s what happens in a wealthy enough society with enough of a welfare state structure. People think they’re too good to do bad jobs. You can say that’s decadent, or you can say it’s proper for a rich society to provide better jobs for its people–its citizens deserve better jobs. But that’s the fact, whatever you think of it.

    “If you can’t afford to pay local citizens to do a job, then shut your doors” is better even than “Let them eat cake!” What do you imagine that policy would do to the economy, and to unemployment, living standards, balance of trade, etc.? (Hint: nothing good!) What could you be thinking? The only beneficiaries when doors are shut are overseas manufacturers; do you intent to give them the massive subsidy you propose? Why?

    Anyway, immigration law changes over time and usually for reasons that are not admirable or rational. “Illegal” is just a matter of a roll of the dice, a historical accident, irrelevant to the real world. An honest, industrious, ambitious immigrant is a welcome one, who will do work that we need done, and build a decent life that he cannot in his native land. Why exactly should he be deported, and his employer punished? Neither is doing any harm.

  105. 106 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 15, 2008 at 12:08

    Hey there Bob Q!

    That was a thought, and very good advice. Historically French has indeed been a good bet for a second language (plus it just sounds so very cool!). Hence “lingua franca,” right? Also, it’s an easy learn for a Spanish speaker; there’s so little difference, in the universe of world languages.

    Of course it’s got something to do with where one is, and its colonial history, if any. But French is traditionally the language of diplomacy, hence we still speak of detente, rapproachement, coups d’etat, charges d’affaires, etc. I can’t think why I have a hard time imagining that of all people, the French would have had such a dominant fole in dipolimacy. Wouldn’t have been my first guess.

    Pssst–Don’t tell the French this, but nasty old English is catching up fast, maybe already ahead, in the second-language contest. It’s a consequence of technical, scientific, and mostly commercial needs; the world’s largest economy can’t help having its language become popular as the world seeks to do business with it. Love it or hate it, the personal computer was invented here, and the internt, and most of the stuff that makes those things arguably useful; the field is thick with English everywhere in the world. Air travel communicates in English. English has so many words, and so readily accommodates more, that it’s a natural. In fact, when I listen to people talk in any other language, it’s never long before I hear an English word of obviously recent adoption, and then more, peppering the conversation. (I speak of US and English interchangeably, but I’m informed that a few minor countries somewhere also speak English, or something remotely resembling it, as their primary langugage too.)

    The French, typically, have been fighting a long, earnest, utterly silly and hopeless campaign to prevent the incursion of Anglicisms into their lovely language. There’s a whole government committee charged with inventing new French words for new concepts, in the hope of smothering the existing English words in their cribs before they further pollute the sacred French language. The endeavor mostly meets with (of course) a big shrug. The shrug–now THAT is something that will always be uniquely, distinctively, proudly French.

    Happy Bastille Day by the way.

  106. 107 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 15, 2008 at 13:15

    Shirley, you’re floggins a dead horse. Still. Of course most Muslims aren’t terrorists, or supportive of terrorism. But to make that point is to make no point, because to say that most terrorists are Muslims is not to say that most Muslims are terrorists, so to refute the second contention does not refute the first.

    (Incidentally, I didn’t see or hear of any joyous dancing in the streets on 9/12//01 in any other countries than Muslim ones. Did you? Can you find any references, using the mighty power of your searches? I doubt it.)

    It is true that there’s a large moderate majority. Unfortunately, they’re a “silent majority” in that they are largely reliable to assist the terrorists, or at least not to interfere with them or to aid in their capture. They mostly tolerate them; they do not turn them in to civil authorities or to their religious authorities or attempt to dissuade them. They do not object to radical religious “authorities” who preach the vilest sort of hatred and glorify violence. And even after all that, “93% non-terrorist” or whatever the number was is hardly something to be proud of. Especially considering a population of over a billion, that just isn’t entirely reassuring.

    It’s both correct and understandable that Muslims desire freedom instead of the monstrous oppression they suffer under their governments. What is troubling is the pervasive paranoia and delusion that convinces them that their suffering is not the fault of their uniformly horrible governments, but somehow the fault of the West, especially the US. This is usually explained as a consequence of tireless propoganda efforts by their governments,to distrract the populace from the crimes of their own governments and deflect the righteous anger outward, at another target. (To this end, it helps to have control of the press, yet another of the unpleasant circumstances that somehow pertain is Islamic countries, for some inscrutable reason. But I diigress.)

    Usually the US and/or Israel is chosen for the purpose. It’s a very old, very unsophisticated tactic, but obviously sufficient for the purpose. The “Islamic street” is disposed to believe absurd, even impossible conspiracy theories over plausible, reasonable, logical, demonstrable explanations, as you know so well yourself, Shirley. (“Those clever, unscrupulous Americans, rather than simply buying oil from Iraq for $40 a barrel, chose to spend a trillion dollars to invade and occupy the wretched country for seven years, during which the price quadrupled. Their dastardly intent is now revealed by their oil companies finally beginning negotiations to BUY–not seize–he first trickle of oil! American perfidy in pursuit of profit is naked for the world to see!” Never mind that this drivvel makes no sense at all; it has the requisite drama.)

    It’s endlessly amusing to read the vast catalog of complaints that all somehow turn out to be Israel’s fault, or a consequence of conflict with Palestinians (whose co-religionists in Jordan and, well, everywhere are conspicuous by their refusal to take them in over these last 60 years, one notices), as though the (remarkably unlovely) dream of pushing every last Israeli into the sea would usher in a Golden Age of prosperity, freedom, englightenment, and understanding.

    I’m also hugely amused at the combination of delusion, illogic, ignorance, and self-importance by which Muslims in distant, dusty, insignificant places convince themselves that America is busily interfering in their lives. Presumably that sad fantasy is preferable to the sad truth, to wit: For the most part, America doesn’t care a fig about them one way or the other, and most Americans don’t know they even exist.

    By the way, did you, as you feared, spend the whole day rolling with laughter at my remarks from the weekend’s blank page, or did you provide your promised replies, and I just overlooked them?

  107. 108 Tino
    July 15, 2008 at 13:15


    Heres some Pew Polls for you:


    -Vast majority from Jordan, Pakistan, and Indonesia have a lot/some confidence in Osama.
    -Substantial amounts in most countries polled say violence against civilians is justified. Majority in Jordan and Lebanon.


    -Many see conflict between being Muslim and living in modern society
    -PLENTY support suicide bombings, including 35% of french Muslims.


    -Blame cartoon riots over ‘western disrespect’. Remember, PEOPLE DIED, and it was our fault…

    Sounds like one has every right to be critical….

  108. 109 Zainab
    July 15, 2008 at 14:38

    How are you all?
    People are free to do whatever the like, each according to his belief, as long as what they are doing , is not hurting somebody else . But since some country (like France) has banned some people from practicing their beliefs, I think this opened the door in front of all, to ban whatever they think does not fit the rules of their country.
    I believe “clothing” is not only part of someone’s religion , but it is also something related to one’s personality, so why would some “Free countries” interfere one’s right of wearing clothes. Is this the freedom they are talking about most of the time!!!

    Yours truly,
    Zainab from Iraq

  109. July 15, 2008 at 14:41

    That caricature is very disrespectful of Mr. Obama. It’s not only xenophobic but equally racist in nature!

  110. 111 Shirley
    July 15, 2008 at 14:42

    The Middle East is talking. Iran wants to talk with the US. Tony Blair is in Gaza. Obama plans to visit the West Bank. And in France, negotiations are continuing on efforts to establish a Mediterranean Union, which wants to rid the Middle East of WMDs, as well as make a peace deal between Palestine and Israel with Sarkozy. Abbas has said, “We are committed to the road map peace plan and all other related legitimate resolutions.” Part of the MedU negotiations included keeping the description of Israel vague in order to not offend other member states. There seems to be much forward movement in terms of general relations in the Middle East and in terms of cracking a peace deal. It’s a curious thing, though: why is a new peace deal necessary? Why is it not possible to resurrect one of the older ones?

  111. 112 Shirley
    July 15, 2008 at 14:42

    Roses have thorns, though. At the same time that dignitaries are penning agreements in France, illegal activites are still taking place on the ground back home. Israel is talking about more settlements and settlement expansions. Settlers keep trying to take over a military base that was handed over to Palestine and that the Palestinians have been converting into playgrounds, gardens, and a hospital. Nablus is still being raided and lid to waste. And medical patients continue to die, 208 now since the seige on Gaza began, because Israel refuses to allow them to transfer to hospitals in the West Bank for treatment. One of them was a toddler. Israeli troops have not stopped shooting at Palestinians near the border in Gaza. Another civilian was shot and injured yesterday. Hamas, who is counting more than ten Israeli violations of the 19 June truce, is calling on Egypt to force Israel to adhere to it. Oddly, the article cites Israeli authorities as referencing two Palestinian violations of the truce. I thought that there were four. A good question here is whether Israel has control over its military. If there have been no orders to shoot Palesitnian civilians from higher chains of command, is that grounds enough to demand a restructuring of the Israeli military or its methods? If those orders are coming from higher authorities, what is the likelihood that they will be prosecuted?

  112. 113 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 15, 2008 at 14:46

    [Note to self: Stop writing thoughtful posts–or ANY posts really–at the end of the page, because nobody will read them. Duh. Even the crickets have moved on.]

  113. 114 Shirley
    July 15, 2008 at 15:26

    Hi, Jonathan
    I rolled with laughter. I’m still chuckling.

    Something that I have learned is that Muslims are not the only ones that sit on their thumbs when something goes down around them. Many people in my community would be content observe someone steal from a store or witness an accident take place without lifting a finger to do anything about it. When I make for a phone to ring the police, my family tries to stop me because that would just be interfering with things and asking for trouble. They never call when the electricity goes out. Eucational incentives die out for lack of funding while entertainment projects are built and re-built, and for all that my community claims to be pro-education, not a word is said about the closure of the school. Is the apathy regarding crime and other distasteful events unique to Muslims? Or are we all more concerned about our daily lives and enjoyment than about what happens in our neighbour’s basement, the shop down the street, the intersection in front of us, etc.? And if this is a common trait, is it something that should be changed, or should we continue live and let be? How could social apathy be changed? How do I convince my neighbours to call the police if they hear screams from someone’s house or to step in and interfere if they see someone being physically aggressive with the partner on the street?

    In my opinion, the same apathy that has one shrugging and inserting earplugs when he hears screaming from next door is the same kind of apathy that would cause him to turn and walk away if he were to hear someone planning a robbery; and I opine that the same sense of communal apathy stops whistle blowing on terrorist plots. Or maybe there are whistle blowers, and they are not interviewed on major networks when a plot is foiled?

    What struck me about the findings is that the majority of Muslims have personal convictions against violence, for democracy, etc. Based on the gleanings of headlines from various news sources, one would think that most Muslims believe in imposing a theocracy in every place to which they migrate or subjecting women and non-Muslims to a secondary status. The poll simply did not reflect such opinions. Of corse there are problems in the Muslim community. I am just wondering if those problems are so very different from those experienced by other communities.

  114. 115 Roberto
    July 15, 2008 at 15:36

    US unemployment is historically low–in fact, orthodox economic theory used to hold that such a low rate (about 5%) is unsustainably low without causing ruinous inflation. It’s barely above “frictional” unemployment–which just means the normal time between one job and another, by choice.

    —– I’ve got a new job, a really nice one. Great deal on the Brooklyn Bridge and the London Bridge. If I can sell it, I won’t have to join that “5%” that you glow about. Make me an offer.

    Just turned my radio off as our fearless President of the United States of Mexico is calling a press conference so he can show the press his famous thumb he’s used to stop the leaking of the mortage banking industry by taking over Indy Mac and using my, our tax money to give unlimited credit to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac so their imminent collapse doesn’t send the world reeling into a massive global depression.

    Sure wish he’d been at that dike in New Orleans, but he was busy playing with Barney I guess.

    We’ve heard about Global Warming where various detractors site a few stats taken out of context to deny Global Warming is being accelerated by mass human activity. Well, I’m here to say now we Global Market Warming as all these unprecented massive economic decisions foisted on the world by the world’s bigshots are slowly starting the melt down into catastrophe.

    Any offers on those two monumental bridges? 2 fer 1 piece of history…….

  115. 116 Bob in Queensland
    July 15, 2008 at 15:37

    Awwww….I read them Jonathan….and I was even busy trying to compose a post using the clunky words invented by the French to avoid English. But then dinner was ready and I had to leave “mon ordinateur” for a a while!

  116. 117 steve
    July 15, 2008 at 16:00

    The link that Shirley provided over the definition of Israel made me think, when are the arabs ever going to accept reality, that Israel exists, it’s the world’s only Jewish majority nation, and there’s NOTHING they can do about it. No whining, no wars, no blaming every problem they have on Israel will make Israel go away. When will the arab nations (and Iran) grow up and just accept reality rather than acting like a 4 year old with a foot stomping temper tantrum? You’d think after being humiliated on the battlefield numerous times would be enough, but maybe it was enough for Egypt and Jordan. But now people are worried about offending member states by allowing Israel into some Mediterranean Union? Oh boy. Time to act like adults, not screaming brats.

  117. 118 Luz Ma
    July 15, 2008 at 16:17

    Jonathan & Bob

    LOL!!! really… French people are unique. Also Quebecois have a unique character, distinctive to the French, but still very similar. I somewhat understand their anxiety towards the English language taking over the world, however it is inevitable. I remember an anecdote that until this day makes me laugh. Here it is…

    The most adamant Quebecois that I met, regarding language, were the working class types (plumbers, painters, construction workers, etc.). They rarely spoke in English, even if they knew the language. One time we had to call a repairman because our fridge was making terrible sounds (like a whale, literally). My husband is “mechanical” savvy, so he told me that probably the fan was the problem. The repairman was Quebecois and he only spoke French. I told him (in French obviously) that my husband thought that the problem was the “ventilateur” (fan in French). He responded to me looking annoyed “Que?” I said again emphatically “le ventilateur” Same response. Then I pointed out the fan in the fridge and he said “Ah! Le fan!”

    French it is a good choice for a second language. I’ll enroll in French classes as soon as I have time to become fluent in the launguate. Probably, after French, I’ll study Portuguese. For me, it is easier to learn Romance languages.

  118. 119 Tino
    July 15, 2008 at 16:27


    Check out the pew polls. I made a post that seems to have been deleted or in the spam, but suffice to say they found PLENTY of support for suicide bombing and violence against civilians (sometimes even a majority). Many said Islam was incompatible with modern life.

  119. 120 Shirley
    July 15, 2008 at 16:28

    The silent Muslim support of terrorism: http://www.muhajabah.com/otherscondemn.php

  120. 121 Shirley
    July 15, 2008 at 16:34

    1) We Muslims are so quiet about terrorism. 2) All Muslims must denounce terrorism done by other Muslims.

  121. 122 steve
    July 15, 2008 at 16:44

    @ Shirley

    Don’t have time to click on every link, but how many of those condemnations are “yes, but” type of condemnation. I’ve posed this question before, but say if I hated Iran’s policies, and decided to hijack an Iranian airliner and crash it into a Teheran office building. Do you think anyone would say “Yes, I condemn Steve’s actions, but you have to look at the root cause of why he did it”. Nobody would care why I did it, they would just condemn my horrific act, and rightfully label me a horrible person. But why with islamic extremism is there always the “yes, but”. Why do we have to understand why they do it, while nobody would care why I did it? It’s time for the lefties to stop excusing terrorism by trying to think anything justifies terrorism or excuses terrorism. There is NO good reason for doing it, and if there is a hell, every terrorist deserves to be there, getting sodomized by pigs.

  122. 123 Tino
    July 15, 2008 at 17:00


    Tariq ramadan is on one of your lists:

    “Others however have charged Ramadan with saying different things to different audiences; one thing to radical Islamists or young Muslims, and another to the western media or academia.

    Caroline Fourest analysed Tariq Ramadan’s 15 books, 1,500 pages of interviews, and approximately 100 recordings,[26][27] and concludes “Ramadan is a war leader,” and the “political heir of his grandfather,” Hassan al-Banna, stating that his discourse is, “often just a repetition of the discourse that Banna had at the beginning of the 20th century in Egypt,” and that he, “presents [al-Banna] as a model to be followed.”[3] She argues that “Tariq Ramadan is slippery. He says one thing to his faithful Islamist followers and something else entirely to his Western audience. His choice of words, the formulations he uses – even his tone of voice – vary, chameleon-like, according to his audience.”,[28]”

    So is CAIR, which has been an unindicted co-conspirator on a few cases.

    one: http://www.nysun.com/national/islamic-groups-named-in-hamas-funding-case/55778/

    Please, these people use double speak and are often caught saying one thing to the West and an entirely different thing to their people. Again ACTIONS>WORDS. I do not care what people say I care what they do. Muslims are committing terrorism in alarming numbers (whether majority or not is irrelevant) and no Muslims seem to be turning them over or stopping them. If Italians were plotting to bomb a building you damn well better believe I would turn them in….

  123. 124 steve
    July 15, 2008 at 17:02

    @ Tino

    Great point, just like with dating, in politics, actions speak a lot louder than words.

  124. 125 Pangolin- California
    July 15, 2008 at 18:31

    @ “Americans are too lazy to do X job”- This is a prevalent myth foisted by people who refuse to pay fair wages for the work they want others to do for them. If you are running a restaurant and cannot find a US citizen to wash dishes wash them yourself or shut your doors. Offer enough pay and somebody will wash the dishes.

    I worked as a maintenance supervisor for a large property management company for several years. It was my job to secure repairs on over a thousand housing units and businesses. A frequent problem was sewage overflows due to clogged pipes or aged septic systems. Every guy who drove the sewage pump truck and every guy who would snake out pipes was a US citizen because they had to be certified to do their jobs. Therefore they were very well paid.

    There were many times that me and some other white US citizen stood in pouring rain on a weekend, up to our ankles in human waste with wellingtons on having a chat while we waited for the snake or the pump to clear the problem. That wasn’t even the dirtiest job. The really nasty job was held by the guys who cleaned up after the dead people who hadn’t been found for several days and started to rot. Also citizens, also very well paid.

    If you aren’t willing to pay a fair wage for the work you want done, a wage that legal workers will accept, do it yourself. Everybody wants the next guy to accept slave wages while he himself stays rich.

  125. 126 Pangolin- California
    July 15, 2008 at 19:01

    @ Refuting terrorism by Muslim peoples- Once the West has Islamic peoples running around renouncing terrorism (in english only mind you) then they have conceded the right to negotiate a peace.

    ‘Terrorism’ is a tactic. It doesn’t matter much to people in a market square if a 1000 lb bomb is delivered by taxi or dropped by an F-16 from above. The results are the same once the thing goes off. To proclaim one method of killing innocents as evil and another method as heroism is pure propaganda. The delivery method of the explosives doesn’t matter that much to the dead.

    When we funded the Afghans against the Russians they were “Freedom Fighters” and when those same people fight against us they are “terrorists.” When the Sandanistas were holed up in the hills of Nicaragua fighting Somoza they were labeled terrorists by the US government. Later the US government funded the Contras (Freedom Fighters) that used those exact same tactics against the Sandanistas once they were an elected socialist government.

    The ‘terrorist’ label is a tag used by governments to prevent their citizens from looking carefully at the claims of their enemies and to hold off a negotiated peace. It ‘s a sucker move to get internal populations to accept police states. It’s pure propaganda.

    Somebody negotiated with somebody else to end the Irish troubles.

  126. 127 Pangolin- California
    July 15, 2008 at 19:33

    @ The ‘permanence’ of Israel- please ask the leaders of the Ottoman empire, the Austrio-Hungarian empire, the Soviet Union, the Zulu nation, the Spanish empire, the French Republic, Imperial China, Imperial Japan, Imperial Rome, the Inca, the Maya about the permanence of nations. They can have a conference in Constantinople.

    Only a fool thinks that a nation has any permanence other than as a footnote on a printed page. The Israeli’s know that for all their thud and blunder.

    Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves!
    Britons never, never, never shall be slaves!

    Yeah, that worked. Wave to your CCTV Britons and hand over your knives, the government has your guns already.

  127. 128 Luz Ma from Mexico
    July 15, 2008 at 19:33

    @Pangolin about employers who refuse to pay fair wages

    Well said!

    Finally the only ones that are benefiting from illegal work in the US are:
    – The employers who cut down expenses to make more profit.
    – The US government who do not want to lose support from these employers.
    – The Mexican government who uses illegal immigration to the U.S. as a valve of relief for domestic economic problems and inequality due to ineficient and corrupt administration of our taxes.

  128. 129 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 16, 2008 at 03:06


    As usual, you focus on the central point of the matter like a laser beam. You’re right, being killed by a bomb in a taxi is pretty much like getting killed by a bomb dropped from an F-16. I mean, dead is dead, right?

    By the same token, one can die in a traffic accident, or get hit by lightning, or a stray bullet, or a heart attack, etc.

    But these things are not morally equivalent. If they were, there would be no moral difference between accidental death, natural death, or murder, because it doesn’t matter to the dead person how he died. And you’re right: by that logic, “terrorism” is a meaningless concept.

    Meanwhile in the real world, of course, these moral distinctions are obvious and crucial to any system of principle, philosophy, or value, whether religious or secular.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: