29
Jul
08

Talking Points for 30 July

Thanks Nelson for looking after us last night.

On to some ideas for today’s programme…

World Trade is dead, or at least it has fallen into a deep sleep.

The negotiations over the Doha round have dragged on for years, and last night, they failed because no one could agree on lowering subsidies paid to farmers.

The EU and US do it, but they say developing countries shouldn’t do it. In return for LOWERING subsidies, they say developing countries should make it easier for goods to be imported into their countries. But India, China, and other less developed countries were understandably unhappy with this.

Described as a serious setback for the troubled world economy, the consensus in the West appears to be that successful negotiations would have helped alleviate poverty

But isn’t protectionism the answer? Hasn’t a country like Malawi proved that protecting local farmers keeps a country fed and more able to withstand international shocks?
Are African or Indian farmers really ready to trade with the world like European farmers are?

***

Healthcare can be expensive, and usually supply cannot meet demand.. so if you don’t look after yourself, should this affect the type and amount of healthcare you receive?

In LA, junk food restaurants are being banned from Low income areas, but is it a good idea? Who should take responsibility for your health?
***

Should your politicians be secular? Or do you prefer ones who are guided by their faith?

***

Should you know the state of your leader’s health?
John McCain is 70 and is very open about the state of health in an attempt to prove he can cope with being President.
And do you think history would have been different if, for example, JFK had been feeling 100% during the Cuban Missile Crisis?

***

The British government has said that, despite money time and effort, the battle against drugs is effectively being lost. Drugs like Cocaine, Heroin, Marijuana are widespread and getting cheaper. In Britain at least. It’s a lucrative trade, but it comes at a very high and bloody price for the countries (like Colombia or Guinea Bissau) involved in producing and transporting them to recreational users in Britain…
In your country, what effects do drugs like this have?

***

Big changes to the Murder law in the UK are being hotly debated. Victims of abuse who kill their abusers may get leniency, while those who kill in anger will not. More or less. You’re talking about it below too. Thou shalt not kill?

***

And in China, journalists are finding out that they do not have completely free access to the internet, despite promises made to the Olympic Committee when Beijing won the games 7 years ago. Will this and yesterdays report on China’s Human Rights violations affect your enjoyment of the games?
And was it naive to expect a month of Olympic games to change the way a country is run? Should sport stop pretending it can change the world? Has it ever?


104 Responses to “Talking Points for 30 July”


  1. 1 nelsoni
    July 29, 2008 at 19:36

    Hello every one, I am Nelson and really excited about my debut. 🙂 I’d like to get proceedings under way with this quote: ” We ask you all to keep two things in mind. (1) WHYS is devoted to talking about the news and related issues. (2) Think about how your discussions might lead to a programme, which issue would you like to hear on air, and which guest would you like to take part? “ Over to you.

  2. 2 Dennis
    July 29, 2008 at 19:44

    Hi Nelson,

    Thanks for being our moderator on TP
    on 30 July 2008….

    *I will be able to give some ideas later…..

    Dennis
    Syracuse, New York
    USA

  3. 3 Katharina in Ghent
    July 29, 2008 at 20:02

    Hi Nelson,

    Congratulation to your moderation-assignment!

    One bit of news that caught my attention is the theft of 3000 blank British passports and visa stickers:

    http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2008/07/29/britain-passports.html

    I heard a while ago that the US have outsourced their passport production so some Asian country (I can’t quite recall which one it was), and many Americans were worried about that, so I wonder what can be done to ensure that international crime cannot lay their hands too easily on these “fake-but-real” passports. Depending on the country, a passport is much more than just a travel document, it can be your major ID of choice. I doubt that the authorities would be able to detect that a certain single passport belongs to the pack of stolen ones.

  4. 4 nelsoni
    July 29, 2008 at 20:12

    @ Dennis and Kathrina: Thanks. I think the stolen passports can be tracked down if they happen to be used any where. If I am not mistaken, all passports have serial numbers. Out sourcing of American Passports may turn out to be a case of penny wise pound foolish.

  5. 5 Melanie Chassen
    July 29, 2008 at 20:15

    Often when I’m at work I will listen to the BBCs podcasts of the Forum. There was an interesting discussion that made me think and brought up a few questions that I’m sure some people have opinions about:

    What, exactly does “ethics” mean? Is something that is ethical necessarily “good”? Likewise, is something that is unethical necessarily “bad”? How do groups of people come together to decide what is considered ethical? The program also discussed the potential problems with differing religious values. Many people try to continue to live under their religious beliefs while simultaneously abiding by the laws of the country they’re currently in. The example the Forum gave was about Muslims but I will not pretend to be well educated on the subject.

    Another idea: with the Olympics fast approaching, it seems that genetic modification will be the next form of doping. (See http://ppx.popsci.com/security/view.php?symbol=GENEDOPE) How can this be controlled? CAN it be controlled?

    Those are the ideas I have for now, I’ll be back later to see what people think!

    Cheers,
    Melanie

  6. 6 Will Rhodes
    July 29, 2008 at 20:31

    Katharina – http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7530180.stm

    The Foreign Office has admitted a serious breach of security over the loss of the documents.

    The raid took place as the driver stopped off to buy a newspaper at a newsagent’s in Long Lane, Chadderton, Oldham, Greater Manchester.

    The passport service said the stolen documents could not be used by thieves because of their hi-tech embedded chip security features.

    But fraud experts say they can still be used as a form of identification and even for travel in countries where the chip technology is not used.

    “That is because they can be used by putting in biographical information of your own, not necessarily getting the chip information right, and then you can use them to open up bank accounts or actually get employment,” Tom Craig, an ex-Scotland Yard fraud officer told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

    Governments are stupid methinks!

  7. 7 Julie P
    July 29, 2008 at 20:42

    @passports

    Concerning passports in the US. It has been found that initial paperwork was piling up with private contractors. The government was unaware of this happening. There have calls for an overhaul of the US passport system. A year ago or so, they made complete backsides of themselves with they way they handled the increased demand for passports.

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/TRAVEL/07/25/passport.mess.ap/index.html?iref=newssearch

  8. 8 Shirley
    July 29, 2008 at 20:46

    another oil/corrupt politician connection:
    Sen. Ted Stevens, the nation’s longest-serving Republican senator and a major figure in Alaska politics since before statehood, was indicted Tuesday on seven counts of failing to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars in services from an oil services company that helped renovate his home.

    Is the oil industry too friendly with politicians? Are politicans too friendly with the oil industry? How do you think this may or may not have impacted domestic and/or foreign policies?

  9. 9 Luz Ma from Mexico
    July 29, 2008 at 20:48

    Today UNAIDS released its 2008 report on global AIDS epidemic. If you are interested -as me- to read it, here is the link

    http://www.unaids.org/en/KnowledgeCentre/HIVData/GlobalReport/2006/default.asp

    What made me sad was to know that my country -Mexico- is still No. 2 in Latin America regarding infection rate. Also, the report pointed out the increasing number of monogamous women that got infected by their male partners because the later had unprotected sexual relationships with men or for reckless use of contaminated needles.

  10. 10 Robert
    July 29, 2008 at 20:49

    I’ve always thought of ethics as being the foundations for a societies legal system. First you determine the general principles on which laws will be based, and call these ethics, after which more detailed laws expand on.

    For instance, it was decided long ago that it was unethical to cause the death of other people. That’s the basics. The law then expands and added on to that the detail needed for a functioning legal system. Continuing with the example, it would be decided that there would be an offense of murder, manslaughter, death by negligence etc. All based on the fundamental ethic. Over time the ethics changes as the society change. To start with the ethic about causing peoples deaths would have only cover members of your own tribe and non criminals. Now most European countries expand it to cover all nationalities and criminals alike by the ethics of death.

    Who changes them? That’s decided by a trail and error during public debate, elections, revolutions, newspapers, blogs. Over time the limits are tested and new ethics evolve.

  11. 11 Robert
    July 29, 2008 at 21:00

    Corrupt politicians

    Why single out just the oil industry? I’m not defending whichever company was involved in this but it is a wider issue here to debate, are politicians to friendly with all big industries? Is big industry too friendly with politicians.

    There have been well published issues from involving industries as diverse as tobacco and motoring (F1’s exemption from original British smoking advert ban) , to aerospace (the US air force refueling contracts) etc. All have powerful lobbies and have access to politicians across the board.

  12. 12 nelsoni
    July 29, 2008 at 21:09

    Beijing Olympics, a fore taste of things to come: Officials Investigate Reports Of Censorship at Olympic Press Center

  13. 13 selena
    July 29, 2008 at 21:25

    Have a good time, Nelsoni!

  14. 14 nelsoni
    July 29, 2008 at 21:58

    @ Shirley. There has always being strong links between politicians and business men not just limited the oil industry alone. Senator Ted Stevens just fell foul of the Eleventh Commandment “Thou shalt not be caught”. Definitely there could be others like him.

  15. 15 Pangolin- California
    July 29, 2008 at 22:10

    Corrupt politicians- Since access to media is controlled by private companies and the electorate seems unable to vote past sound-bite commercials it can be assumed that all politicians above the level of dogcatcher in the US are corrupt. The only question is the degree to which they are corrupt and who has purchased them.

    A campaign finance reform as simple as blinding the source of donations to political campaigns to the politicians and making the revelation of such information tantamount to a bribe offer would be completely off the table. The politicians need to know who’s paying them in order to return the favors.

    Is it any wonder the US economy is headed for the morgue?

  16. 16 Jessica in NYC
    July 29, 2008 at 22:24

    RE the lost passports…. hahahaha, the clip makes it secure. What a joke.

    Hi Nelson, welcome.

  17. 17 Melanie Chassen
    July 29, 2008 at 22:26

    @ Robert

    Great points about ethics, I agree with you. But for the purpose of perpetuating a debate, here’s a thought (for everyone else to think about too):

    I am from Canada, a country that prides itself on its multiculturalism, and a country that claims that people are free to practice whichever beliefs or customs they may hold. If people hold beliefs and values that differ from the Canadian legal system, what how do they get around the issue of living in Canada, but still being faithful to the culture in which they were brought up? Unfortunately, I have no personal accounts of my own, as I myself am about tenth generation Canadian on my father’s side, and probably at least 4th or 5th generation Canadian on my mother’s side. But I am sure there are other people who could share their own accounts as to whether or not this was a challenge they had to overcome.

    Since one’s culture is so strongly attached to an individual’s identity, how does one “keep” stay true to these values while still abiding by the rules of the country in which they now live and work?

  18. 18 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 29, 2008 at 22:38

    @Shirley–

    The Ted Stevens scandal couldn’t have happened to a better guy. He’s famous for squandering billions for boondoggles, most famously the “Bridge to Nowhere” of a few years ago, connecting two almost-uninhabited islands in his state of Alaska. Unfortunately that sort of thing isn’t illegal. Fortunately he was also greedy and arrogant enough to commit actual crimes. I say give him the chair, after appropriate trial of course. Argh.

    I see my neighbors to the south in Los Anageles have had an earthquake, which reminds me that by your figures, they earn 25% too little to live there. Do you intend to clarify that anomaly, by the way, or must I just continue to wonder? From the pictures on TV, the quake did no damage, but I have to wonder about the damage incurred by breathing that awful brown soup instead of air every day.

  19. 19 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 29, 2008 at 22:46

    @Melanie~~

    I have to assume that people deeply and unalterably opposed to the cultural values of a place (city, country, region, whatever) do not choose to move there to live. That seems the most effective way to avert the whole conflict issue. I know that a lot of people who move to the US, and presumably to Canada, are all too happy to be free of the constraints of their home countries and simply be free to live as they wish, and we’re happy to have them. I am anyway.

    It seems to me to be the height of bad manners to move someplace and then try to wrench its values and laws around to match those of the place you left. I see no particular reason to indulge those who do that.

  20. 20 Melanie Chassen
    July 29, 2008 at 22:58

    @ Jonathan,

    You’re absolutely right – perhaps I chose the wrong wording. I wasn’t meaning to refer to people who are opposed to the cultural values of a new place, merely thinking aloud to how challenging it must be to maintain your ‘roots’ in a new country. I would imagine it would be quite a transition, and might even affect the way a person identifies themselves. For example, if I moved to Japan, that would be a huge culture shock, and I would probably strive to maintain part of my “Canadianism”. If I were to become a citizen of Japan, would I ever really consider myself to be Japanese? I imagine these are struggles most people moving to new countries must have, and it would be interesting to hear their stories. 🙂

  21. 21 Robert
    July 29, 2008 at 23:11

    @Melanie
    How does a society deal with new entrants is something that crops up time and time again on these boards. No doubt there will be a few people with strong opinions on it. I wish any of us could give the definitive answer as this would mean we’ve found the solution to about half the world’s problems.

    It is a difficult one to answer in general. Being a Brit living in Africa it’s something I come across regularly. There are many differences between the two cultures. Each time a new one is uncovered we have to negotiate (sometimes very openly in a meeting, sometimes in more subtle ways) what we believe the acceptable culture and standard for our office will be. We as expats respect that we are guests in the country, but again our host respect that we bring with us a wealth of experience and knowledge which could help them. Over time the culture evolves that accommodates both. It involves a lot of trial and error, sometimes we get it right and sometimes we get it wrong. Both sides have to give a bit but both sides end up gaining.

  22. 22 steve
    July 29, 2008 at 23:14

    Check out these proposed changes to the murder laws:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7528652.stm

    how shameful. instead of leaving abusive relationships, the law gives them a legal out to kill the abuser and serve only a little time.

  23. 23 Melanie Chassen
    July 29, 2008 at 23:24

    @ Steve
    Re: changes to murder laws

    I completely agree with you. I can’t believe that there could ever be a justification of killing someone out of fear. Isn’t the purpose of a policing system to offer support and feelings of safety for those who fear for it? One would think so. I know a few people who have suffered abusive relationships but I don’t think any of those circumstances (although serious) warrants taking the life of another person. Interesting topic.

  24. 24 nelsoni
    July 29, 2008 at 23:32

    Developing Story: The US senate adopts resolution to apologise for slavery. More details as they come in

  25. 25 nelsoni
    July 29, 2008 at 23:39

    Re: Change in murder Law. Some of these people responsible for drafting these laws operate with reverse reasoning. This is nothing more than slap on the wrist for domestic murder making it more attractive with little consequences. People with abusive partners can safely opt of the relationship or seek help from law enforcement.

  26. 26 Robert
    July 29, 2008 at 23:45

    Re Murder law
    This law makes no sense. I don’t see why the current laws need changing into this weird format.

    I can understand killing in anger and accept dispensation in sentencing because of it, but killing in fear is an alien concept to me. If the death occurs during a fight then surely it is killing in anger which the minister says the current law already caters for. If it doesn’t occur in a fight then surely that is a premeditated offense of some sort?

  27. 27 Bryan
    July 29, 2008 at 23:47

    Apparently Barack Obama put a note in the Western Wall asking to be used as an instrument of God.

    http://blogs.tnr.com/tnr/blogs/the_plank/archive/2008/07/28/is-anything-sacred.aspx

    There seems to be a curious lack of condemnation of this from the usual suspects.

    Now if it has been George Bush saying that you can imagine the outrage.

  28. 28 Melanie Chassen
    July 29, 2008 at 23:47

    @ Robert,

    My feelings exactly.

  29. 29 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 30, 2008 at 00:17

    @Melanie~~

    I didn’t intend to slap you down with my response about culture in a new country. I’m an enthusiastic supporter of immigrants and immigration in general, and very sympathetic to them and fascinated by their stories, feelings, and accounts.

    A sore spot on this board lately has been theproblem of Muslims who demand the implementation of Sharia law in European countries to which they migrate, and who bring with them their cultural and religious intolerance for differing points of view. They feel free to kill people who disagree with them, and to threaten to kill. Britain and the Netherlands have had particular problems along these lines. That’s the image that flashed in my mind upon my first quick read of your post.

    I have no stories of my onw so I will leave off now, with the closing thought that Japan is an amusing example–I’m not even sure one can become a Japanese citizen if not Japanese. They’re famously intolerant of foreign residents, which has led to a monstrous labor shortage and stagnation there.

  30. 30 Pangolin- California
    July 30, 2008 at 00:21

    Re: Murder Law: These are basically ‘shoot your husband for free’ laws. If the woman is wealthy enough to afford a good defense lawyer and can keep her mouth shut she can fiction up whatever horrific tale she wants to get a pass from the jury. With these laws and a snuff of chile pepper to get a good ‘crying on the stand’ scene it’s now open season on annoying husbands.

    Guilty until proven female is the true standard of jurisprudence in US courts. Which, of course, makes the Chinese perfectly correct about human rights standards. Why single out them?

  31. 31 Melanie Chassen
    July 30, 2008 at 00:23

    @ Jonathan,

    I suppose it’s rather obvious now that I’ve never been to Japan (haha) I was just pulling an example out of the sky. You raise an excellent point and I took no offence to your response. How do you think the problem with Sharia law should be dealt with? As I said before, I have extremely limited knowledge on the subject and would be eager to have someone explain the issue to me – as well as a potential solution.

  32. 32 Pangolin- California
    July 30, 2008 at 00:31

    @ Fictional Japanese Labor shortage- Considering the standards of cleanliness of Japanese cities and the high quality of their health care system and housing it appears that there isn’t’ an actual ‘labor shortage.’ There may be a shortage of ‘cheap labor of degraded immigrants with no access to legal protections’ as is common in the US but it appears that all necessary work gets done.

    Of course, since the wealthy are the primary beneficiaries of cheap labor they will advocate for immigration over integrating unused domestic labor into the workforce. Why pay more when a labor surplus save you money in both taxes and services?

  33. 33 Julie P
    July 30, 2008 at 00:41

    Iraq Olympic update. Iraq will be allowed to compete in this year’s Summer Games after all. So far only two athletes are qualified to compete, but more is to come.

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/07/29/iraq.olympics/index.html

  34. 34 Shirley
    July 30, 2008 at 00:58

    Oily Politicians:
    Robert, you asked why we should single out the oil industry. In this case, it was not so much the fact that it was the oil industry in question, though I follow such stories, as the fact that it was in the same bubble with a politician when the bubble rose to the top of the soup and burst, revealing the two playing cards inside. Right place, right time. I figured that it might make for interesting conversation.

    HIV/AIDS
    Luz María, I have heard that men also take HIV/AIDS home to their monogamous wives through their encounter with prostitutes. I am saddened when I hear of innocent women and children getting caught up in the deadly web of the disease.

    Jonathan,
    Haven’t heard dollars referred to as boondoggles. Sounds cool. Your post yesterday had a tone that felt less than conducive to conversation to me, so I scrolled past it and the rest of your posts on the page. I looked up more than what I posted – mostly re: unions – and posted little of what I found to save space. I printed the full result of my efforts and showed it to my family; but I don’t know enough SMS lingo to have watered down my online post any further and added more data.

  35. July 30, 2008 at 01:23

    UNAIDS Report is alarming. I really wish people could act responsibly to avoid endangering others health all in the name of sexual desire.

  36. 36 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 30, 2008 at 02:01

    @Shirley–

    Hmmm. Since I didn’t ask for more information about unions, didin’t ask about printing results or your family, didn’t ask for or want (or know) “SMS lingo,” didn’t ask for either more data or a “watered down” post, and DID invite conversation, I have to assume you’ve confused me with someone else.

    I’m the one who asked why you included colledge costs without financial aid, how you imagined that people could be living in Los Angeles or anywhere on 25% less money than the “minimum posssible income,” and what the incomes of automobile industry employees had to do with any of it.

    Will my “tone” be more inviting if I say “pretty please?” Or is it my insistence on strict segregation of fact from fantasy that repels you, as in the matter of all that cheap, abundant oil that we’re so obviously NOT stealing from Iraq, since we don’t have it?

  37. 37 dretceterini
    July 30, 2008 at 02:03

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – A Portland man has filed a lawsuit against three city officials, claiming they are encouraging undocumented immigrants to live in Oregon.

    Tom Wenning wants a judge to order an immediate shutdown of the new city-funded day-labor center.

    The suit names Mayor Tom Potter and Commissioners Randy Leonard and Dan Saltzman as defendants, and asks for $5,783 in damages.

    Wenning, 60, claims he was twice assaulted by men waiting for work at the center while taking photographs of the license plates of potential employers.

    Wenning said he sends the photos to state and federal authorities, asking them to investigate whether the employers are paying employment taxes.

  38. 38 Shirley
    July 30, 2008 at 02:05

    Accordong to one blogger at http://georgewashington2.blogspot.com/2008/07/speculators-buying-up-means-of.html , speculators are buying up industries related to food production; and that will drive up the price of food. Personally, I do not like the thought os food being treated as other than food – in this case, money in the sense that it would be an investment and not something for the dinner table.

  39. 39 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 30, 2008 at 02:34

    @Pangolin–

    This is simply a matter of fact, not subject to fevered fantasies and dark delusions or rants about “the wealthy.” It’s not an ideological stance or an opinion. It is a fact.

    There is a labor shortage in Japan. No serious commentator disputes it, inside Japan or outside it. You are free to like it, hate it, or draw what you wish from it, but if you want to dispute it, you’ll need some source.

    Neither clean streets nor health care is remotely relevant to the fact. As for housing, you can’t possibly be serious. HOUSING? In JAPAN? Yeesh. And, irrelevant.

    A moment of unclouded thought would demonstrate that “the rich” can easily afford to buy goods and services at inflated prices due to expensive labor. It’s the poor and the middle class who struggle with prices.

  40. 40 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 30, 2008 at 02:36

    @Shirley–

    Food is grown, sold, and bought, so it’s a business. Doesn’t mean it’s something “other than food.”

  41. 41 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 30, 2008 at 02:50

    @Melanie~~

    Sorry, I don’t have all the answers and don’t pretend to. One discouraging fact is that recent terror bombers in the UK have been born on UK soil, and are more radical than their immigrant parents.

    Immigrants in Europe have been segregated into slums and generally not integrated or welcomed into civic life as in US/Canada, so they are more prone to be resentful, but that doesn’t account for the disturbing second-generation-terrorist phenomenon.

    I prefer to talk to immigrants and listen to their stories, and be reminded of how very fortunate we are in our part of the world, irrespective of the miscellanesous crank or sourpuss who thinks this is the innermost circle of hell. One suspects those folks don’t get out much.

  42. 42 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 30, 2008 at 02:56

    As I’ve explained before, also to resounding silence, “speculators” don’t have pricing power. They don’t drive prices up, and they can’t keep prices from falling. If they did, prices would never fall.

    Real estate “speculators” couldn’t keep real estate prices high. Oil “speculators” couldn’t keep pricess from their collapse in the 1990s, and didn’t make them rise in the last few years. Food “speculators” don’t drive food prices. In each case, they follow price changes, they don’t cause them.

  43. 43 Luz Ma from Mexico
    July 30, 2008 at 03:05

    @Melanie

    I “suffered” from cultural shock (I moved to Canada at 21 and lived there for 6 years) and then from contra-cultural shock (when I returned to Mexico). I still miss Canada, because I got acostumed to the way of life there. I wish that me and my family could return there some day.

    About ethics, I think some ethic values are inmutable and are more or less the same in all cultures (the value of life, protection of children, etc.), while others evolve in time and across cultures.

  44. 45 nelsoni
    July 30, 2008 at 03:47

    Hi Every one, Its a few minutes before 4 am in Nigeria. Which means I have to get some sleep now. Please I would deeply appreciate if any of the other moderators can step in for a while. I will be back in few hours. Thanks.

  45. 46 Jack Hughes
    July 30, 2008 at 03:51

    UK politicians are addicted to immigration.

    At no time have they planned or even thought about whether or not or how to assimilate the huge numbers of immigrants.

    At first they claimed the immigrants were temporary workers and would stay a few years then go back.

    Next they hoped they would stay and become “more english than the english”.

    When this didn’t happen they invented multiculturalism and claimed it was a good thing.

    Now they are frightened of the muslims. This started soon after the 7/7 bombings when some second-generation immigrants killed over 50 in a series of terrorist bombings.

    Their initial response was to try and “deal” with some moderate muslims. The idea was to try and “educate” young muslims into some kind of watered-down version of their religion. Sadly the “moderate” leaders turned out to be nasty people with radical links. For example “Sir” Iqbal Sacranie said something like “burning is too good for Salman Rushdie”.

    The politocos are stuck at the moment without a clue what to do next. This includes the lord chancellor welcomh “some parts” of sharia law. Ditto the wet Archbish of Canterbury and catweazle look-alike, Rowan Williams.

    Read Ed Hussains book “The Islamist” for more on this theme.

  46. 47 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 30, 2008 at 04:05

    @Jack–

    What percent of UK population is immigrants?

    Do you dislike them because they’re immigrants, or because they’re Muslims, or what?

    Why do you blame them on politicians–what do you suppose politicians have to gain by admitting immigrants?

    What would happen to your economy without them?

  47. 48 Bob in Queensland
    July 30, 2008 at 04:27

    Good morning all!

    Re: Proposed change to the British murder laws, haven’t some of you who have criticised this idea also participated in gun law debates where you defended your right to carry a gun and shoot anybody trying to break into your house or rob you in the streets?

    Why would it be okay for my wife to shoot a stranger who was attacking her or our child but murder if she shot me for the same crime?

    Don’t get me wrong–I’m not defending the proposed change. I think it would be impossible to phrase it in such a way as to not be a “license to kill”. However, I do believe it’s time for some consistent thinking here. Any act of defence must be proportional to the crime and that should include both burglary and marrital violence.

  48. 49 Bob in Queensland
    July 30, 2008 at 04:31

    Re: Stolen passports

    When I was in Mogadishu you could by blank Somali passports in the market. Ordinary ones were $5 each but if you wanted Somali diplomatic status it cost you $10. I think I’d make a good Somali ambassador to SE Queensland!

    Seriously, it’s increasingly hard to use a stolen passport to cross borders because the number is read electronically and checked against a database. However, it’s still a valuable document because, other than crossing borders, they’re still acceptable ID for opening bank accounts, claiming government benefit, registering for many private services and so on. As far as I know, none of these check the passport beyond looking at you and the picture.

  49. 50 Bob in Queensland
    July 30, 2008 at 04:35

    Two other reports on the news this morning:

    First off, the IOC have relented and decided to allow Iraq to participate–except it’s now too late for most of the athletes because the deadline has passed in several of the sports. If the BBC is accurate, only two can still go. This almost seems more unfair than the previous blanket ban.

    Second, the Beeb reports that officials are looking into the possible “internet blocking” in the Beijing press centre because this would be in direct violation of the agreement China signed when allowed to stage the Olympics. That said, the BBC reporters say they haven’t had any problems with their connections.

    As a techie, sounds to me like they’re just opening the firewall for certain users and have got all the big media representatives but missed some others. This could still be a story.

  50. 51 1430a
    July 30, 2008 at 04:44

    Congratulatins Nelsoni on the responsibility given to you.
    By the way can you please tell me how to jet a job atWHYS?i would love to get any jobs possible!i am a good Photographer and my English is not bad either.hehe:)

    Anyways i would certainly love it if you guys can talk about the advantages and disadvantages of reality television shows.
    That would be of great help because i have a debate on this topic in my school.
    Thankyou
    Abhinav
    🙂

  51. 52 nelsoni
    July 30, 2008 at 06:33

    Good Morning All. A Big thank you to the moderator(s) who held forth while I caught a few hours of sleep. @1430a : Well being a Night editor is not not a WHYS job. Any one who moderates volunteers to do so and is not paid. It’s just our own little way to contributing to the show by ensuring the WHYS blog runs 24-7 when the WHYS staff are away because we happen to be awake during this period. If you want to be a Night editor, click on the link at the top of this page. Cheers.

  52. 53 Jack Hughes
    July 30, 2008 at 06:35

    @Jonathan

    Something like 10% of the population has an immigration background.

    In recent polls usually 70% 80% even 90% of the population say they want limits on further immigration. Even recent immmigrants themselves want limits.

    A House-of-Lords study found very little net economic benefit from immigration:

    “It says competition from immigrants has had a negative impact on the low paid and training for young UK workers, and has contributed to high house prices.

    source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/7322825.stm

    Do not make the mistake of thinking immigration works the same in every country.

  53. 54 Bob in Queensland
    July 30, 2008 at 07:35

    I think the problem with immigration into the UK isn’t so much to do with absolute numbers (which aren’t that bad) but rather a couple of other factors.

    First, the UK is a small, rather crowded island. The population density (as seen in THIS STORY is 240 people per square kilometer as opposed to 31 in the USA and only 3 in Canada and Australia. Obviously these numbers are misleading because so much of Canada and Australia are Arctic tundra or desert ouback respectively but, even so, more people put strains on resources, housing, public services and infrastructure.

    Second, the location of immigrants isn’t spread evenly around the country. Because of the “multicultural” rather than “melting pot” approach, immigrant communities tend to group together, usually in specific urban areas, giving the impression in those areas that the percentage of immigrants is much higher than it is nationally. Quite literally, there are schools in parts of London or cities like Luton where English is a second language. This cannot be healthy and obviously leads to the anti-immigrant feelings that Jack Hughes cites.

  54. 55 nelsoni
    July 30, 2008 at 07:49

    I would like to ask, did China make any commitments before it was granted the rights to host the Olympic games? Has she kept to her commitments to improve human rights and press freedom? In the last 24 hours, two different reports has raised serious questions. First Amnesty International has said that China’s Human rights record has deteriorated instead of improved, ( a BBC documentary has also investigated this). Officials of the International Olympic Commission are investigating claims of media Censure at the Media center of the olympics. Are we really surprised that this is happening?

  55. 56 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 30, 2008 at 08:05

    Thanks Jack and Bob, I knew absolute numbers weren’t meaningful; that’s why I asked about percentage. I’m well aware that the US is uniquely a nation of immigrants, as I’ve discussed with Bob at (to him I’m sure) tedious length. It’s the source of our wealth and strength, but I acknowledge that not every (or any) other country should, or does, want to be like the US in this or any other way.

    I still thinkthat immigration pretty much works the same everywhere I know of, specifically that it is economically a net plus, but that the people of a given country–even my own–invariably resent, fear and loathe it and think it’s a net loss.

    After a lot of talk with friends in England, though, I also realize that there’s a cultural aspect which is more important to you folks than the economic effects, and it’s clear that there’s a lot of resentment.on that basis. I do have a bad habit of missing the cultural trees amidst the macroeconomic forest.

    I’m still wondering why the government permits immigration if the people oppose it.

  56. 57 Bob in Queensland
    July 30, 2008 at 08:22

    The link that Jack posted earlier on ( THIS ONE probably gives an accurate view of the economic impact of immigrants on the UK. Basically it says that, overall, there is a small positive impact but that, in certain areas of the economy, the effect is quite strongly negative.

    It makes sense to me that the economics might be slightly different in the UK than, for example, the USA. A couple of things that come to mind are:

    -Social Services/Healthcare: immigrants are entitled to free health care, social security, unemployment etc. from when they arrive, whether or not they have contributed.

    -Housing: Planning laws make it far more difficult to get permission to convert rural land to housing and new builds are not keeping up with population growth, causing silly percentage increases in price.

  57. 58 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 30, 2008 at 08:29

    Bob, the US isn’t without desert either, as I’m sure you know. Like, almost the entirety of several of our largest states.

  58. 59 Bob in Queensland
    July 30, 2008 at 08:29

    @ Jonathan

    I’m still wondering why the government permits immigration if the people oppose it.

    I suspect a mixture of things

    -Political correctness. The cry of “racism” comes out pretty fast if you mention immigration controls

    -Legalities: A big chunk of immigration lately has been from eastern Europe with the expansion of the EU and the UK would be in violation of oodles of treaties if they tried to stop it.

    -History: Much of the rest of the immigration is from former colonies and, although there’s rarely an automatic right, quite a lot of immigration is family-based–a son joining parents, a sister joining a brother, that sort of thing.

    -Economics: The government figures show the positive contribution just as you predict; the man in the street sees the negative impacts directly but can’t see the positives.

  59. 60 Bob in Queensland
    July 30, 2008 at 08:40

    @ Nelsoni

    Re: Chinese commitments to human rights

    Yes, in their application to the IOC the Chinese government did make a number of commitments to improve its human rights record and allow free, unfettered reporting at least during the games.

    Googling this topic brings lots of hits but many are sources that aren’t exactly unbiased. The closest I could find quickly was THIS ONE which isn’t perfect but gives you the idea.

  60. 61 nelsoni
    July 30, 2008 at 09:02

    @ Bob in Queensland
    July 30, 2008 at 8:40 am

    Thanks for the link. It proved to be helpful.

    It has being confirmed that China WILL censor the Internet used by foreign media during the Olympics,

    Is this not one of the numerous violations of their commitments?

  61. 62 Roberto
    July 30, 2008 at 09:18

    I can understand killing in anger and accept dispensation in sentencing because of it, but killing in fear is an alien concept to me.
    ———————————————————————————-

    ——- Maybe you live in a protected, well managed community and have limited experiences of fear and anger.

    The underclass is packed like rats in urban centers, underemployed or overworked for a pittance in poorly policed areas. Fear and anger often cannot be separated and are triggered either by a percieved or real threat or direct battery. Any of the middle or upperclasses can also be exposed this, but less so.

    I’ve often wondered why it is perfectly legal by proxy for someone to threaten to kill me, yet I would be breaking the law in response to that open ended threat by killing that person on the spot.

    I don’t walk around threatening other people or starting up violence, but those that do seem to get a lot of free passes until enough infractions add up and they are imprisoned for short stints that do nothing to improve their condition and protect the public from further violence.

    Given the sorry history of the violence inherent in homo sapiens, I’d have thought any truly civilized society would have this sorted out, but I’m not foolish enough to think many are truly civilized in their countries and communities. More like temporarily held in check with a veneer of socialization.

  62. 63 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 30, 2008 at 09:27

    @Bob,

    Thanks for your last note, an especially helpful one. Off to follow those links from before now…

  63. 64 Jack Hughes
    July 30, 2008 at 10:05

    @Bob @Jonathan,

    Bob’s list is good. Another reason is that immigrants feature in many marginal constituencies and the ruling Labour party sees partisan advantage in importing voters.

    @Jonathan – the US appears to assimilate immigrants much, much better than the UK and other european countries. Do you agree and why is this ?

  64. 65 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 30, 2008 at 10:09

    @Roberto,

    You don’t know why a threat is legal and a murder is not?

    Really?

    Which change would make us truly civilized–prohibit threats, or legalize murder?

    (Actually I’m pretty sure it’s not legal to threaten to kill someone, in most places.)

  65. 66 Roberto
    July 30, 2008 at 10:41

    (Actually I’m pretty sure it’s not legal to threaten to kill someone, in most places.)
    ————————————————————————————–

    ——- Funny stuff.

    Never stopped Saddam or Prez of Iran. Or all the right wingers beating the drum to nuke Mecca and Medina after 9/11.

    GDub completely dispensed with threat.

    Sho, nuff, illegal in ivory towers and gated communities, just like littering and loud music.

  66. 67 Bob in Queensland
    July 30, 2008 at 10:43

    Re: Farm Subsidies.

    It’s interesting that you’ve mentioned farm subsidies in the same Talking Points as the war on drugs. Subsidies are a drug and an addiction for farming communities–and “getting clean” is just as desirable and just as difficult.

    The only developed country that I know of to have gone “cold turkey” is New Zealand and the results there are almost entirely positive. For a report on the New Zealand experience, look HERE.

    It’s time for the United States and the EU–and anywhere else that distorts the market through farm subsidy–to stop defending the indefensible.

  67. 68 Bryan
    July 30, 2008 at 10:46

    Robert July 29, 2008 at 11:45 pm,

    Interesting point:

    “If the death occurs during a fight then surely it is killing in anger which the minister says the current law already caters for. If it doesn’t occur in a fight then surely that is a premeditated offense of some sort?”

    This is a complex debate.

    Bob in Queensland July 30, 2008 at 4:27 am,

    I’ve never had any sympathy for the intruder who is shot by the homeowner simply because the latter is the intended victim and it is impossible to establish whether the intruder’s aim is just burglary or whether he intends to progress to rape and murder. Naturally my sympathy for the victim extends to the wife who has suffered constant long-term abuse at the hands of her husband. But how does one assess the very real element of premeditation if she kills him? And can the principle of self-defence be stretched to include this situation?

  68. 69 Bryan
    July 30, 2008 at 11:02

    Shirley July 30, 2008 at 12:58 am,

    Jonathan (sunny San Francisco) July 30, 2008 at 2:01 am,

    Shirley probably objected to you mocking her for allegedly poor research. You might think it spices your comments up to sprinkle them with scorn and abuse but others are not impressed. I can fully understand why she scrolled past your posts. I started to do the same a while back.

    This is a pity since you are capable of making good points. Why reduce the effectiveness of a good comment with a needless personal attack that only alienates the object of the attack?

  69. 70 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 30, 2008 at 11:08

    @Jack–

    Maybe because, as history goes on these things, the US pretty much is all immigrants. Or children of immigrants, etc. Having been founded so recently, and populated more recently still, we don’t worry so much about bloodlines. Essentially, we’re united by a philosophy, a document, and a body of law based on it. No tribes, vendettas, or ancient hatreds/loyalties.

    Or maybe because we are something close to homo economicus; we don’t have classes, just income levels. Of course we do have the unfortunate matter of slavery on our conscience, for which we’ve never forgiven the slaves’ descendants. I’d like to think we’re making some progress there though.

    For all that, it’s not entirely rosy. There’s an anti-immigrant thread through most of our history, which I find ironic and disturbing.

  70. 71 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 30, 2008 at 11:20

    @Bob–

    Hey, I think this is a major change in your sentiments about farm subsidies, isn’t it? Seems like just a few weeks ago I was making a case for “ripping them out by the roots” (subsidies, not crops), and you were less than entirely persuaded?

  71. 72 Bob in Queensland
    July 30, 2008 at 11:45

    Er…don’t think that was me. I’ve been anti-subsidy for some time now.

    (Of course I’m at an age when senility is setting in big time so who knows what I may have said.)

  72. 73 nelsoni
    July 30, 2008 at 11:55

    Allowing China host the olympics was a big mistake. A leopard can not change it’s spot over night. Expecting China to improve Human rights records and press freedom was really a tall order.

  73. 74 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 30, 2008 at 12:05

    Ooops, sorry Bob. I’m not far behind you in the race to, um, I forget where….

  74. 75 Robert
    July 30, 2008 at 12:32

    @Jonathan, Bob

    I remember the conversion regarding farm subsides. I think the debate was about the complexity of the CAP and that removing it too quickly MAY have un-thought of consequences. We all agreed that subsidies are bad but there was the issue that simply removing the CAP in one go could cause instability and COULD do more harm than good in short term. Long term stability would return and can be modelled and predicted but the problem is that there are so many interdependent parts of the policy that nobody really knows what the immediate effects (first 1 to 18 months) would be.

    Chanting ‘remove the subsidies’ is too simplistic an argument to bring to the table for detailed talks. These talks must look at how they are removed, in what order and over what timescale.

    I will finish by saying that they must be removed and I do believe in free trade but the monster that is CAP is not easily killed.

    (I think I was for the above, Jonathan was against the above logic and Bob couldn’t make up his mind as to which way the markets would immediately swing before they settle out)

  75. 76 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 30, 2008 at 12:33

    Re Talking points–

    Chalk me up for the “news” about the war on drugs. It’s completely futile, immensely destructive and ruinously expensive. I admire the Commission for having the courage to say so.

    As William Donaldson said, the law “…ensures that the production and supply of dangerous drugs should henceforth be in the hands of criminal organizations. Some people have argued that this is not an ideal arrangement.”

  76. 77 Tom
    July 30, 2008 at 13:09

    @ China on rights and censorship,

    The recent crackdown in Tibet has shown that China, when faced with a national security threat, is very willing to put PR niceties aside and revert back to its crude nationalistic self. So while it has shown openness in areas that are less threatening politically, eg: access to international news sites, one would find that googling from within China for topics such as “tank man”, “free tibet” or “taiwanese independence” yield zero results.

    On another note, I would like to offer my sincere apologies to anyone, including VictorK, who found my recent postings overly hostile. It wasn’t intended to be unfriendly but rather my passion might have got the better of me. I’ll endeavour to contribute to this forum in as civic a way as possible.

  77. July 30, 2008 at 13:09

    junk food restaurants are being banned from Low income areas,

    Good, it will take the lazy excuse out of “But I can’t afford anything except fast food”

  78. 79 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 30, 2008 at 13:12

    @World trade talks, Malawi’s “protectionism”

    It’s sad to see the Doha trade talks fail again, especially over something as absurd as wealthy countries insisting on subsidizing their agriculture contrary to all reason. Protectionism is always disastrous, as it exacts an enormous hidden cost upon consumers for the short-term benefit of a few industries with political pull. Free trade benefits any country that permits it, so negotiations shouldn’t even be necessary.

    If Malawi has protected its farmers from trade, that’s not in the linked article. It concerns a program to subsidize the price of fertilizers for farmers, a different matter than the trade barriers normally referred to as “protectionist” measures. It also concludes that the apparent success of the program is largely a consequence of increased rainfall, and discusses the many drawbacks of subsidizing fertilizer costs.

  79. 80 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 30, 2008 at 13:14

    @Brett–

    The “excuse” will then be, simply, “I can’t afford food.” Let ’em eat good intentions.

  80. 81 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 30, 2008 at 13:25

    @nelsoni–

    I agree with you about China’s failures and authoritarian/totalitarian nature, but I have to wonder, if the Olympics were restricted only to ideal democracies, the list of venues would be very short, would it not? Maybe hosting the Olympics isn’t, and shouldn’t be perceived as being, an endorsement of any country’s governance.

  81. 82 Bob in Queensland
    July 30, 2008 at 13:27

    The big trouble is, nobody knows how to cook anymore.

    (We’re presently on our fourth meal from one small leg of lamb on Sunday–roast the first day, curry the second, Scotch Broth the third and another “throw in what we have” soup waiting for tomorrow. Tonight was Singapore noodles with a dollar’s worth of noodles and about a dollar’s worth of vegetables from the fridge. Fed 3 with leftovers still to go.)

  82. July 30, 2008 at 13:28

    Fine with me, people will learn to spend that few bucks theyre tossing on the dollar menu on an apple and some greens. Fresh produce is the same cost if not less than most junk food. Not taking into account the MUCH higher costs associated with problems of overeating fast food like obeisity, bowel cancers, heart disease, etc, etc, etc. At least here in rVa it is. The claim that you can’t afford to eat proper is out of lazyness.

    Though I do have sympathy for those who cannot get to the grocers to get the food they need (as fast food joints are on nearly every corner, grocery stores are often miles between). Once you ban fast food joints, small grocers may fill the gaps.
    I am a firm believer in helping those get the food they need. If they can’t get to the store, improve public transport so they can. Even so, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.

    *takes a bite out of a banana purchased yesterday for a fraction of the cost of a big mac*

  83. 84 Angela in Washington D.C.
    July 30, 2008 at 13:45

    @Brett

    The problem with fast food in low income areas is that most of these areas do not have decent grocery stores. Many of the stores in low income area have old produce and the meat is old. Have you ever been in some of those stores? There is a smell as soon as you walk in the store. Additionally, the food is just as expensive or more expensive than in other areas and the food is not as fresh.

  84. 85 steve
    July 30, 2008 at 13:52

    The “ban” is only for NEW fast food places. 2/3rd of current restaurants are fast food. It just means more money for the current franchises there. What they should do is encourage grocery stores to move into the area so people can make their own food, which is usually healthier, and you can at least know what’s in it.

  85. July 30, 2008 at 14:00

    @ Angela:
    The problem with fast food in low income areas is that most of these areas do not have decent grocery stores. Many of the stores in low income area have old produce and the meat is old. Have you ever been in some of those stores?

    Hence my call for increased public transport for the opportunity to travel to other stores (if ones in the area will not suffice); And the note that the more restaurants which close, perhaps the more small grocers will open.

    In the Richmond area, there are a few small expensive grocers in lower income areas with horrible produce. But a Kroger, Ukrops, Food Lion, or other store is always within 5 miles or less, no matter where you are in the city. True, its not a corner grocer, but it’s cheap and normally contains decent produce (at least Kroger and Ukrops).

    Besides, busses run to all of these stores. Now its just time management skills which are needed as it is a little more time consuming to pick your produce and cook it, then walk into a restaurant (if you could call it that), stand in line, grab your paper bag full of greasy goodies, and your obnoxiously large soda cup which you get to go fill with your favorite high fructose beverage.

  86. 87 Angela in Washington D.C.
    July 30, 2008 at 14:24

    @Brett

    I agree with the need to curb some consumption habits but most people do not want to come home after work and cook. People have to want to get healthy. One of my cousins who always been bigger started to change her diet and exercise. She lost weight and is a lot healthier. I am glad my parents were very very skinny people because I could not completely change my eating habits. It is hard work. I believe people should just try to eat healthier, but they have to want to change.

  87. 88 Tom
    July 30, 2008 at 14:28

    @ Challenges of immigrants,

    My story began when I was 10 years old when I came to Australia from Hong Kong. Attending school puts me into direct interaction with the local Aussie kids, many of whom where children of migrants from other countries – a classic melting pot. Coming from an ultra disciplined education background, the local kids’ love for physicality in sports, willingness to dirty themselves in games, swear words in playgrounds, the absence of homework, came as a shock to me, but they were soon accepted as good fun. Other than that, initially I often questioned why things are done so much slowly here than in Hong Kong, why shops don’t open at night or on Sundays, why Christmas Days are so quiet (i.e. not commercialised), why Aussie men like to grow long hair, etc. The difference in the attitude toward life between the locals and immigrants like us was a major barrier to overcome – if one calls it as such.

  88. 89 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 30, 2008 at 14:31

    @Brett–

    Let ’em eat social engineering, ten-mile round trips on buses for groceries, and “time management,” then.

  89. 90 Bob in Queensland
    July 30, 2008 at 14:46

    @ Angela

    Isn’t the lack of decent food stores in low income areas a classic example of the “chicken and egg” conundrum? If there was a demand for more and better quality fresh food, surely it would be met. The unfortunate truth is that a great many people these days (and I’m talking about the UK and Australia here as well) lack the skills and interest to cook for themselves.

    Somebody made the point that nobody wants to cook after a day at work, but many of the things I make for myself–from cheap, fresh ingredients–are actually faster to make than it would be to reheat some “convenience food”. It’s also far cheaper and tastes a lot better (if that’s not sounding too big-headed). Things that take longer to cook I’ll probably make at the weekend then keep leftovers in the fridge for another quick meal or two during the week.

    Alas, as with so many WHYS topics, it comes down to education and attitude.

  90. 91 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 30, 2008 at 14:48

    Some abusive moderator is making my posts disappear, so I shall bid you all goodbye.

  91. July 30, 2008 at 14:48

    Let ‘em eat social engineering, ten-mile round trips on buses for groceries, and “time management,” then.

    Yes, because fast food is the only possible way to obtain food. With that gone, whole societies and neighborhoods will starve to death. They will have to eat busses and time management then.

  92. July 30, 2008 at 14:49

    Ethics are an almost natural development of any society/ community. That is not to say that certain members do not need them taught to them. Ethics seems to be especially elusive to lawyers and accountants. So during their studies they have to take classes to enforce them. However, every religion seems to develop very similar codes of conduct. They all say not to kill, steal, cheat, or lie. There is a simple reason. These attributes are conducive to peaceful harmonious community. When people do any of the previously mention activities, it can spark a wave of retribution that then requires “justice” to subside.

  93. July 30, 2008 at 14:50

    I agree with the need to curb some consumption habits but most people do not want to come home after work and cook.

    So they don’t have to, go do a restaurant where they at least are pseudo-healthy food. Taking away McDonalds and Burger King will not cause people to whither away and starve. Lose weight? Sure, but starve? Not quite. Besides, Americans could stand to lose a few pounds, overall.

    There will be some grumbling, but it will come from a healthier society.

  94. July 30, 2008 at 14:58

    Demand, Rich Pickings, Root of Drug Trade
    TEHRAN – Iran has 2.5 million drug addicts. The majority are on opium. Either they smoke it, eat it or inject it in the form of heroin. The latter are also responsible for the spread of AIDS through communal use of a syringe.
    There are the affluent opium smokers who traditionally smoke after lunch over a pot of tea and some sweets. There are casual users who can afford it and party over it. Then there are the poorer folks who can’t afford it but will spend housekeeping money to procure it. Finally, there are the junkies and criminal classes who mingle the habit with their murky business and stoop to any means to earn a living.
    Opium is essentially a sleep inducing agent, which in hot climates helps to pass the time and relax. Eventually, it will get into the bloodstream, and hard addicts may become immune to snake venom.
    The scourge of opium is that it passes into the blood and becomes hereditary. It weakens the race. All sorts of tragedies haunt such families, particularly if they are poor. Prostitution, adultery, theft, sloth and all sorts of misdemeanours haunt such environments. Serious crime also starts here.
    What to do? Afghanistan produces 8,000 Tons of opium annually. Half of it is consumed in Iran. The wholesale value in Tehran is approximately US $ 2000/ Kgm. The majority of Afghan opium passes through Iran’s Baluchistan province on its way to Tehran, onto Turkey and Europe. The massive and complicated route will eventually bring the stuff to Europe and United States.
    Sooner or later, drug havens will be set up on the lines of Macao under Portuguese rule. It is probably the best way and can satisfy demand and supply. Unfortunately, the concept of segregating addicts hasn’t caught on in Britain, but it is an idea which we in Iran and Europe should pursue, unless we ourselves are marginalized by drug cartels and hardened addicts.

  95. 96 Angela in Washington D.C.
    July 30, 2008 at 15:13

    @Bob

    I completely agree with you about cooking. When I do cook it is cheaper and better than any restaurant food. However, I must admit I am usually lazy and most days I will come home (not eat and just go to sleep), especially after being at work for 10 hours and then traffic for another hour.

    @Brett

    I agree but I also realize that many people like the taste of greasy unhealthy food over healthy food. Most Americans can stand to lose weight but it should also include exercise, but most people are really lazy.

  96. 97 steve
    July 30, 2008 at 15:31

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,394241,00.html

    wow.. amazing. out clubbing the day after you report your child missing.

  97. 98 Angela in Washington D.C.
    July 30, 2008 at 15:46

    @steve

    Someone like that should never have a child.

  98. 99 steve
    July 30, 2008 at 15:54

    @ Angela

    Hence why I think people should be licensed to be able to procreate.

  99. 100 Angela in Washington D.C.
    July 30, 2008 at 16:00

    @Steve

    Did you read the case where the babysitter burned the two boys.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,393902,00.html

    And I think it would be funny for the gov’t to try to give licenses for procreation!

  100. 101 Shirley
    July 30, 2008 at 17:22

    Angela, what you described is part of what I view as the racist/segregationist policy of red-lining and ghettoising. I also learned that people who complain about the trashy conditions in which they live or the trash that is sold as food in their stores, they are labelled “trouble makers.”

  101. 102 Angela in Washington D.C.
    July 30, 2008 at 17:59

    @Shirley

    Most people who complain about the conditions are seen as trouble makers. When I was in college this grocery store downtown was disgusting and they eventually tore down and rebuilt the store. I was astonished at the prices of the food and the quality. It was just disgusting.

  102. 103 Tom Wenning
    August 2, 2008 at 04:00

    I, as mentioned, have been protesting the Portland, Oregon, United States, city funded day labor site since it opened 6 weeks ago. I have been assaulted there, including yesterday, 3 times while legally photographing the site’s clients. Illegal aliens (cheap labor) benefit the corporate culture in America. Oregon’s unemployment rate is 4%, yet the city funds a day labor center for the primary purpose of hiring illegal aliens, who are not included in our unemployment statistics. At a 4% unemployment rate Oregon’s wages should be going up (supply and demand) but wages are stagnant and worse because of the cheap labor of 12 million illegal aliens in this country. If you want to bring your prosperous country to its knees, invite in 12 million uneducated people to compete for jobs with your citizens. This is not a racial issue. I had hot coffee thrown on my head yesterday by an “employer” from the day labor site. Turns out he wasn’t aware, being a 5 year legal alien, that our constitution allows me to lawfully protest by taking pictures in public. He also wasn’t aware that the “employees” he hired were illegal aliens who are not legally allowed to work in this country. Because the day labor site is funded by the city, he thought it was a legitimate enterprise. He, being a legal alien, despises illegal aliens (google “Lars Larson” and listen to his interview with this “employer”, Axel).
    Why do proponents of illegal aliens fail to address the issue of 2nd class citizenship? These illegals are, because they don’t have the rights of citizens, in effect 2nd class citizens with no prospect of improving their lot in this country. Dooming a class of people to a life as 2nd class citizens is immoral and allowing 12 million people to illegally enter, work and remain in our country is immorality against our own citizens, all because corporations’ and some individuals’ basic motivation is greed .

  103. August 2, 2008 at 05:00

    @Tom Wenning,

    I am not a deep student of the immigration problem, but I know that there have been undocument Latinos in our country picking fruit, and washing the dishes in small restaurants, and working on garbage trucks, since the late ’50s. There seems to have been a tacit agreement to use this labor, and it has been going on for generations. Many of us feel that this recent push to rid the country of these hard working people is just more hysteria created by the administrations war on terror.


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