Blank Page no 29

Sheikh in Liberia is hosting his first Blank Page (if you’d like to do the same just email me) and Bob in Australia is on hand too. Let us know what stories you’re talking about for next week’s WHYS, over to you….

217 Responses to “Blank Page no 29”

  1. 1 Amy
    October 17, 2008 at 19:16


    Welcome to the moderator’s table. Have a great weekend!

  2. October 17, 2008 at 19:26

    Thanks Amy and to all the regular folks, this is your platform for the exchange of ideas. There maybe unresolved issues on your mind; Terrorism, the American Elections, Financial Crisis or may a whole new story that interests you, lets hear and get started. I am looking forward to a great weekend of plethora of comments on various topics and to my Co-Mod, this the Blank Page.

  3. 3 Robert
    October 17, 2008 at 19:47


    Whilst I was calculating the losses I’ve had due to the credit crunch something I heard on the radio made me stop and think.


    The credit crunch is hurting a smaller number of people in the west than the food crisis is hurting in Africa and Asia.

    The credit crisis means those affected will have a reduction in quality of life, but there is always state assistance to maintain the basics of life (shelter, food and healthcare) for us. But the food crisis is depriving others of even those.

    Although the credit crunch is a massive issue, does our selfishness mean we have forgotten that there are even bigger ones out there.

  4. October 17, 2008 at 20:13

    @ Robert.
    I strongly think here in Africa, the most important issue that lingers on the minds of ordinary Africans is, how they can meet their basic needs? What happens in the larger sphere of global issue means a little to them. All the blabber about Financial Crisis is only read in the local daily for amusement purposes.

  5. 6 Julie P
    October 17, 2008 at 20:25

    Crime of the century, or one of many of that classification. Teachers getting laid off over a math mistake.


  6. 7 steve
    October 17, 2008 at 20:26

    More from the society that doesn’t value life:


    Sickening, they now will do assisted suicide on people who don’t have terminally ill conditions. So now should every handicapped person kill themselves? I cannot imagine why people enable this crap. That guy should have gotten mental help, not a death sentence.

  7. October 17, 2008 at 20:33

    What on earth could Emma have done to result in such a brutal, callous attack?
    Liza Rothery, victim’s sister

    Nelson, thanks for the link!!! Forrester was so cruel and barbaric to kill his wife just because she changed her status to “Single” on her social network, Face Book. I hope he regrets his action while serving his term and possibly asks his deceased wife for forgiveness.

  8. October 17, 2008 at 20:37

    Folks, one of our regulars, Mohamed Ali got ill on arrival in China. He has been hospitalized and was diagnosed on kidney and liver complications. However, in his mail to me, he said he is gradually improving.

  9. October 17, 2008 at 20:43

    Al Salaam Aleikum my dearest brother Sheikh in Liberia… Guys, please check this out : news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7675171.stm. With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  10. 11 Jessica in NYC
    October 17, 2008 at 20:56

    From The Economist: Islam and Christianity, Not merely academic In religion as well as diplomacy, jaw-jaw is better than war-war

    I thought some of you might find this interesting considering today’s on air show. I was disappointed in the Islamic scholars and speakers on the show. I was hoping to be more engaged instead on the defense. Did anyone else feel like the “problems” just kept being restated and no actual ideas were presented?

  11. October 17, 2008 at 20:58

    Lubna, greetings in the ancient word of peace-Salam

  12. 13 Jens
    October 17, 2008 at 21:03

    “Forrester, who pleaded guilty to murder, was ordered to serve a minimum term of 14 years.”

    I am glad to see the punishment fits the crime……

    according to forrester, she deserved to die for changing her status from married to single, after they split-up. well according to my sense of justice forrester deserves to die for having killed somebody….

  13. 14 Jennifer
    October 17, 2008 at 21:03

    @ Nelson

    Re: Man kills wife over Facebook page

    I see that it would be humiliating for him but apparently the relationship was not very good. The fact that he was often out of work and was kacked up on drugs and alcohol attests to that. After 15 years I guess she was fed up all of it. No matter what the wife posted on her page, her husband shouldn’t have killed her. I am sure when the guilt sets in (assuming he does feel guilty at some point) it will be very hard for him. I think he got an appropriate sentence but it will never bring her back.

  14. 15 Jessica in NYC
    October 17, 2008 at 21:06

    @ Lubna, Hi

    I did glance at the a BBC article Iraqis debate US troop withdrawal. I am glad to see Senior Iraqi politicians taking leadership so that the US can leave.

  15. October 17, 2008 at 21:08

    Treatment of Women by Muslims
    55 Akbar Javadi October 17, 2008 at 5:02 pm
    I do object to compulsory Islamic dress for women; …bigotry and bias…choosing a woman at work; …downward scale of pay…; …bullying…at work; …travel restrictions…; I object to their silence and fear when walking on the pavement; …subservience…and their paltry income in editorial sweat shops; …deprivations…and their absence in Parliament or Cabinet; I object to the silence of Muslim women in fighting for their rights.

    Akbar, I found your post to be scintillating. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I agreed with you in everything except for your first point. It is possible, though, that we might even agree on that without realising it. Can you explain what you mean by compulsion? Regarding the rest of your points, I am wondering if you can provide some examples of what you have encountered specific to what you mentioned – and even beyond, if you want.

    @ mods, I really am hoping for some details from Akbar. If it gets too long for the board, could someone help him pass on his experiences directly to me? There are just some situations where it is impossible to refer to one’s writings off in another place. Sorry for length; I tried.

  16. October 17, 2008 at 21:09

    Islam doesn’t need a defender. No amount of logic push can disabuse many about their warped perception of Islam. Whether you have a Universal Broadcast with all the clerics condemning Terrorism, people will still hold their views that “Muslims” are terrorists be it said outrightly or subtly. This debate is unending so lets move on.

  17. October 17, 2008 at 21:10

    66 Shaun in Halifax October 17, 2008 at 5:28 pm
    Around the time those comics appeared in the newspapers, I asked some Muslim friends of mine just WHY it is sacrilegious to draw Muhammad. Their best response was “because it says so in the Qur’an.”

    Is not.

    There is no proscription againt depicting Prophet Muhammad in the Qur’an. Sunni Islam has several source-texts that lend to rulings against the depiction of humans in general. Other Sunni rulings that are more lenient towards drawing humans and animate beings are based on certain other sources. Shia Islam does not prohibit two-dimensional drawings and pictures, in general. The stance on the deptiction of sacred or revered pictures generally depends on the intention behind the depiction. Most depictions in Islamic art are done with a respectful spirit, so they are fine, according to those rulings that permit drawings and pictures.

  18. 19 L Jackman, Gdansk
    October 17, 2008 at 21:13

    I must admit, call me cynical, but how much of this talk of no legal basis for the US (and allies)’s presence in Iraq, clearly always an important issue, has been due to the election? Given the popular American opinion of keeping troops in Iraq combined with the expenditure out there, surely this could just be a good Republican piece to sweep the carpet from under B.O.

  19. October 17, 2008 at 21:14

    whether now or 2011, Iraqis need to rise up to the challenges, pick up the broken pieces and rebuild their nation. Nothing comes easily. To the few waning voices in Iraq, continue to speak out for the destiny of Iraq lies in the hands of Iraqis themselves.

  20. October 17, 2008 at 21:30

    Hey Jess my darling… Well, what you’re saying is quite interesting… Still however, I wanna ask you, were you able to read the comments on the today’s on-air blog page ?! I am only asking because I’ve found a significant proportion of them very disappointing as well… You know Jess, I proudly practice Islam, and on the today’s on-air blog page I’ve asked from other WHYSers to ask me any question about me and my life as an ordinary Middle Eastern Muslim citizen who’s living in Baghdad, Iraq, aged 22 years old and is a 5th year medical student, and apparantly non of our veteran anti-Islamic WHYSers was willing to start a logic and civilised dialogue with me, so what does that tell you Jess ?! With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  21. 22 L Jackman, Gdansk
    October 17, 2008 at 21:33

    By the way, I would be interested to hear from Lubna as to how she heard the BBC WS report on the US Army pull-out timetable, most especially with regard to the part about concerns with the Iraqi Army not being fully under the control of the civilian government. How big a concern is for Iraqis? Is the national Iraqi Army actually national?

  22. 23 Venessa
    October 17, 2008 at 21:38

    Sheikh ~ The debate is never over as long as people want to discuss it!

    Jessica ~ I agree, there was more finger pointing and blame than actually discussing a solution on today’s program. I felt on the defense too and hope the conference actually yields results.

  23. 24 steve
    October 17, 2008 at 21:48

    @ Venessa

    The guests were all of one viewpoint, that everything was someone else’s fault. There was absolutely no balance. Is the conference going to be like that? If it is, then we know what they will say, that the US and Israel are to blame for it, as well us lack of democracy in arab countries. That still doesn’t explain why Thai Muslims behead bhuddist schoolgirls in southern thailand.

  24. 25 Pangolin-California
    October 17, 2008 at 22:00

    Sickening, they now will do assisted suicide on people who don’t have terminally ill conditions. So now should every handicapped person kill themselves? I cannot imagine why people enable this crap. That guy should have gotten mental help, not a death sentence.

    I love how the same people who spout off about personal responsibility get all whiny when the results of their politics bear fruit. Due to the restrictions that are on health care that outlaw vast areas of medical research because they upset somebody’s drug policy, pharmaceutical profits or religion folks have pain and distress that is not relieved.

    So they check out.

    I don’t see why any conservative would have a problem with this as its’ just one more person off the dole. Hell, they should be promoting suicide booths to go with their no-social-justice politics.

  25. 26 Pangolin-California
    October 17, 2008 at 22:09

    Robert~ The health of African soils and their resulting ability to feed africans is possibly the most understated crisis in the world today. Traditional methods of food production that worked for eons are no longer viable with the vastly increased populations. At the same time increases in manufactured fertilizer costs make conversion to green revolution techniques all but impossible.

    I am aware of a few small programs run by Rodale Institute, Oxfam and the like to develop organic cropping systems for africa but I doubt that the knowledge of the methods is widespread. Does anybody know what kind of access a small african farmer would have to agricultural ideas other than tractor, irrigate, apply chemicals?

  26. October 17, 2008 at 22:11

    @ Jennifer, she would probably still be alive if she had not changed her status/if she was not on face book/ better still if there was no face book.

  27. 28 Dennis@OCC
    October 17, 2008 at 22:16

    Hi Sheikh in Liberia and Bob in Queensland…Welcome to the moderating table…!

    Re: Mohamed Ali
    I am sending him–my prayers and we, all hope that he will feel better!!!!

    Re: WHATEVER NOW or 2001!
    Since, what is the difference—I am going with Lubna’s previous comments about this story!

    Re: The Presidential Debate [3rd]
    I am still interested in it, Because–for the purpose of full disclosure–i am taking a course on political science! [American National Politics] and we are still discussing the outcome….


  28. 29 Dennis@OCC
    October 17, 2008 at 22:28

    Re: Man kills wife over Facebook page

    That is sad that he would killed his wife over
    a FACEBOOK page!


  29. 30 Robert Evans
    October 17, 2008 at 22:29

    Hello friends a 23 year old person from the United Kingdom has travelled to Swizerland to commit assisted suiside because it is illegal in the United Kingdom.

  30. 31 steve
    October 17, 2008 at 22:32

    @ Pangolin

    Yup, the libbie mantra “better off dead” is alive and well with you.

    If it’s inconvenient, kill it! TEE HEE!

  31. 32 Robert
    October 17, 2008 at 22:39


    I’m not sure about the rest of Africa, but one of the major problems Angola has for agriculture is nothing to do with the farmers, but with the general infrastructure of the country. The lack of electricity and high flow rate water pumps it could drive outside of the major towns limits the output from farms. Even if the farmers could grow sufficient food, the road network makes it difficult to get it into the major population center (the capital). From personal experience of shopping here, you can right off about a third of all the fruit you buy in the super markets as moldy or rotten before you even get home. The result here is that we have to import much of our food from South Africa, but unfortunately this option is only available to a few as the cost is jaw dropping ($10 for a lettuce!). The solution for food here is less about the farmers and their practices, and more about general utilities and services available.

  32. 33 Dennis@OCC
    October 17, 2008 at 22:39

    To Robert Evans [and everyone else]
    It is sad, that this 23year old person had to leave the U.K. to go to Switzerland to commit assisted suicide…It had to be a HARD decision to make..! He should be respected to make that tough decision….


  33. 34 Robert
    October 17, 2008 at 22:44


    she would probably still be alive if she had not changed her status/if she was not on face book/ better still if there was no face book

    This is such a naive comment. The guy obviously had issues with the break up. He would be likely to have done something similar when discussions over dividing the assets or custody of the kids came up. The article suggests that he was an accident waiting to happen. The fact it was a facebook comment that made him lose it should not be used as a warning against using such sites. The lesson we need to learn or discuss is how do we spot people like this and prevent them harming former partners.

  34. 35 Dennis@OCC
    October 17, 2008 at 22:49

    I have a question for anyone??

    Re: The Financial Crisis….
    What is the sign, that we are going to be in a recession
    or not?


  35. 36 Luz Ma from Mexico
    October 17, 2008 at 22:52

    Even if she hasn’t posted her “single” status in facebook, he would have found another silly excuse to kill her.

  36. 37 Jennifer
    October 17, 2008 at 22:56

    @ Nelson

    From the sounds of the relationship they has problems throughout their marriage. I think situations like this call into question the intelligence of posting personal information on those types of websites. I don’t use/like Facebook. When you consider that they had been together for 15 years, it should have came as no surprise to him that she would move on. A few days is a little fast but………..

  37. 38 Dennis@OCC
    October 17, 2008 at 22:57

    I have to revised my comments about the woman who was murdered by her husband!

    It doesn’t matter if she did this or not do it…He wanted to murdered
    her, probably for NO GOOD reason….


  38. 39 Jack Hughes
    October 17, 2008 at 23:00


    // That still doesn’t explain why Thai Muslims behead bhuddist schoolgirls in southern thailand.

    Get yourself a Mental Inverter™ – around $99 retail at an electronics store.

    Switch it to its highest setting – its labelled “Chomsky” in the US version.

    After a few minutes you will start to see the answer:

    “…Bush…Iraq…crusade… Israel … Palestine …. poverty … racism … all our fault…Balfour…Danish Mo’toons…”

    Don’t leave it on at the high setting for too long.

  39. 40 Luz Ma from Mexico
    October 17, 2008 at 23:01


    The lesson we need to learn or discuss is how do we spot people like this and prevent them harming former partners.

    Very good question. For sure there are warning signs like extreme jelously, manipulation, authoritarism, etc.

    I have friends in abusive relatioships, all of them have issues of low self-steem. Many of them repeat the patterns of their parents’ relatioships. They are afraid of leaving their partners, but not because of fear of getting harmed, but instead of being alone. It is a endless sick circle that it is difficult to break unless you have professional help or a very good emotional safety net of friends/family that support you.

  40. 41 Pangolin-California
    October 17, 2008 at 23:07

    Robert~ 100 years ago in the US very simple electric trolley lines were run through the countryside to collect milk, eggs and produce from ex-urban farms and deliver them to cities. These systems were actually the seed for what we now call suburbs.

    The track is far cheaper than roads to lay down and cheaper to maintain. The cars themselves can either run off overhead wires or they can have small gas or diesel engines. If you wait for the money for asphalt roads in Africa you may wait forever.

  41. 43 Pangolin-California
    October 17, 2008 at 23:20

    Steve~ @ Pangolin Yup, the libbie mantra “better off dead” is alive and well with you. If it’s inconvenient, kill it! TEE HEE!

    I find your response more than a little ‘tone deaf.’ My point was that lacking sufficient relief from pain, emotional support, or hope that such will be available in the near future it is not unreasonable for distressed people with medical problems to turn to suicide. It should be pretty much expected.

    Conservatives scream bloody murder when you ask them to provide the most minimal food, shelter and medical care for the poor out of tax funds. Those that can’t see where the despair of the first situation and the despair of the second situation coincide might look up the definition of empathy and ponder what it could possibly mean.

  42. 44 Dennis@OCC
    October 17, 2008 at 23:26


    In my comments @ October 17, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    i need to made a clerical error regarding the comments about IRAQ….
    i should have wrote 2011….

    Sorry, for any mistakes…


  43. 45 Jens
    October 17, 2008 at 23:28


    well a lot of people have not yet realized that everybody is better off, when the poor are better off. That is why we have social injustice, slums and project housing. by packing it away into a place where we the better off don’t see it, it has been eliminated.

  44. 46 Dennis@OCC
    October 17, 2008 at 23:31

    Re: Glenn Beck

    He will be leaving CNN HEADLINE NEWS to go to work at FOX NEWS…
    this is a match made in heaven….

    Re: The British Guy who went to Switzerland to commit suicide…

    There are rumours and speculation, that his parents could get charge…According to lawyers in The United States of America!

    Let, his parents HAVE SOME TIME to grieve…


  45. 47 Jens
    October 17, 2008 at 23:36


    the problem with the swiss percentages, is the fact that a french speaking newspaper “le temps” took the poll. it is the welch (french speaking swiss), who truely have issues with america. If let’s say the Neue Zuerich Zeitung would have asked the same question, the result would have been slightly different, probably around 75% for Obama.

  46. October 17, 2008 at 23:40

    Lets keep the comments flowing. My apology to all of you. I am having electricity outage. I will regular check your comments for approval.

  47. 49 Dennis@OCC
    October 17, 2008 at 23:46

    Sheikh Kafumba Dukuly:

    We all understand, your problems regarding the electricity outage!!!!



  48. October 17, 2008 at 23:50

    4 Nelson Isibor October 17, 2008 at 8:08 pm
    The other side of Social Networking: Man Kills Wife over FACE BOOK row.

    to re-iterate: honour killing is antithetical to Islam

  49. 51 Robert Evans
    October 17, 2008 at 23:54

    @ Dennis

    He was paralised from the chest down and I think that he should have been allowed to commit suicide in the United Kingdom because this was his country of residence.

  50. October 18, 2008 at 00:00

    You know I heard somebody, one of my friends no less, say that they looked at a house as an investment. An investment? In light of the current situation, i can’t believe people are still buying this lie.

    Here is an example. A market value of $95,000 was agreed and a $100,000 loan @ a rate of 6.1% on a house that was made in 1978 gets accepted. They used the “American Dream Act” and didn’t have to put money down. The forward perspective. The 25 year old will be 55 when he pays off that loan. At that point He will have paid $218,000 for the house. Congratulations you now only owe property tax, insurance, and maintenance fees on your 60 year old house. Your house is now worth $210,000. Sounds like you lost out on your investment.

    The past perspective. The hose had gained value since it was built. But so have cost. In 1978, the average salary was $14,000 a year. A car cost about $4,500. Gas was $.50 p/g. That house cost $50,000 brand new. $45,000 was financed with the required down payment. They paid $98,000 for the privilege to live there.

    Had he stayed in his apartment, saved up the cash, and paid for the house with the money that saved not having to pay “Joe the plumber”, new roofs, new siding, and lawn care, and since they didn’t have a place to park the boat, he probably wouldn’t have gotten that either. He would have owned the house, and been up $118,000. Now that is an investment.

  51. 53 Pangolin-California
    October 18, 2008 at 00:01

    Jens~ well a lot of people have not yet realized that everybody is better off, when the poor are better off. That is why we have social injustice, slums and project housing. by packing it away into a place where we the better off don’t see it, it has been eliminated.

    Weird isn’t it? One-hundred years ago americans understood perfectly well that untreated typhus carriers, TB patients and lepers endangered everybody and that you had to provide them a place where they could accept leaving their present circumstances for treatment. A nice place.

    Now we have AIDS and MRSA running rampant and TB returning and we still can’t learn our lessons about infection vectors. If you are rich and share any point of contact with the poor you can get what they’ve got. Bacteria don’t give a heck about your bank account. Health is public health.

  52. October 18, 2008 at 00:06

    @ Robert

    “There are rumours and speculation, that his parents could get charge…According to lawyers in The United States of America!”

    Lawyers in the United States of America are involved! The facts of the story don’t really matter if U.S. lawyers are involved.


  53. 55 steve
    October 18, 2008 at 00:30

    @ Pangolin

    He was paralyzed, not like as you described. So should people in wheel chairs be euthanized now?

  54. 56 Kelsie in Houston
    October 18, 2008 at 00:39

    Has anyone read the editorial in the Wall Street Journal today?

    An interesting, and rather gloomy, conservative perspective on what the United States might look like in the wake of a large-scale Obama/Democratic victory in Novemeber…

  55. 57 Julie P
    October 18, 2008 at 00:45


    There are some who just cannot get over the 60’s. It’s just more fear tactics.

  56. 58 Kelsie in Houston
    October 18, 2008 at 00:55

    The almost resigned-to-defeat tone of the editorial was surprising to me. Looks like Mr McCain’s performance in the debate wasn’t sufficiently confidence-inspiring for the WSJ’s editors…

  57. 59 Julie P
    October 18, 2008 at 00:58


    The fat lady is warming up and it scares some.

  58. 60 Dennis@OCC
    October 18, 2008 at 00:59

    I have to agreed with portlandmike October 18, 2008 at 12:06 am
    and his comments

    It really does not matter, if that lawyers in the United States
    talk about the fact—His Parents could be charged with
    criminal charges….


  59. October 18, 2008 at 01:05

    I have followed the American elections with so much interest. I am so confident that America will prevail on November 4. The two candidates are two powerful statesmen vying for one seat. I wish there was a way to get them both in office so that their great visions will not go unattended.

  60. 62 Dennis@OCC
    October 18, 2008 at 01:13

    At the Presidential Elections on 4 November 2008!

    I have been following it! Also, plus–good news–i receive my
    absentee ballot….

    We will have a long day on ELECTION DAY!

  61. 63 Count Iblis
    October 18, 2008 at 01:16

    Steve, everyone should be free to end their lives if they do not want to live anymore, not just the terminally ill. It should be legal for a doctor to assist in suicide, even if the person is healthy.

    From one perspective we are all terminally ill: Everyone is going to die anyway. So, the quality of life as experienced by a person is all that matters.

    I mean 400 years from now everyone who is alive today will be dead, burried, decomposed, and forgotten anyway. There is no value whatsoever to be merely alive if you can’t enjoy your life.

  62. 64 Pangolin-California
    October 18, 2008 at 01:24

    Steve~He was paralyzed, not like as you described. So should people in wheel chairs be euthanized now?

    I don’t care if he had a stubbed toe. The guy perceived that his quality of life was poor enough that he was opting for self-termination. That would be a severe depression (medical condition) by most standards.

    Conservatives see poor quality of life, including lack of food, housing, medical and dental care as the product of “poor life choices” or some such drivel. Therefore they exhibit a profound distaste for social welfare programs supported by taxpayers.

    So when a conservative gets in a snit about suicide I can’t but wonder at the hypocrisy of it all. Throwing people into the street and condemning suicide is working at cross purposes.

  63. 65 Pangolin-California
    October 18, 2008 at 01:37

    The WSJ is on a whine-athon after cheerleading the collapse of capitalism all the way up till the last few weeks. They should be whining; they have no credibility anymore. The only voices that accurately predicted the current crash never had a voice in the WSJ but were strictly active in the blogosphere.

    Those idiots are probably claiming that this is a great opportunity to buy stocks. A position that they’ve held every day this year. Morons with nice suits and fat paychecks.

  64. 66 Dan
    October 18, 2008 at 01:56

    @Nelson Isibor October 17, 2008 at 8:08 pm
    The other side of Social Networking: Man Kills Wife over FACE BOOK row.
    “to re-iterate: honour killing is antithetical to Islam”…except for every Arab Muslim country where it is practiced.”
    You have to learn to read through the answers as there is misdirection and outright misinformation.
    We witnessed this first hand today with the on-air program. It was most revealing that when confronted with the lie or misdirection the immediate answer was “I don’t want to discuss that right now”
    There are quotations from the Koran thrown at you and then you are asked for your interpretation which of course deflects the criticism.
    Islam seems to be unable to tolerate any criticism at all and until they do it is doomed to be seen as a cult of death and destruction.

  65. 67 Kelsie in Houston
    October 18, 2008 at 02:19

    Throwing this out–maybe someone’ll pick up on it…
    I would be really interested in WHYS offering a program on the role the media plays–not only in the U.S. elections–but also the world at large. The media are arguably the most important force shaping thought and opinion on a huge range of issues in the world today, especially through their collective power to determine what is, and perhaps more importantly, what is not, news.

    In the John Adams opera Nixon in China, the title character asserts that, “News has a kind of mystery,” as the media is engaged in the constant process of “transforming us as we’re transfixed.” How does the media shape our individual views of the world, and what in that scheme needs improvement?

  66. October 18, 2008 at 02:23

    lol, Kelsie,

    I would also like to see a program on what role the US plays in the elections in the world at large. Also what role the play in Coups and protion of ruthless ditators such as Saddam Hussein and the affect it has on the world at large.

  67. 69 Pangolin-California
    October 18, 2008 at 02:47

    Kelsie~ The impact and role of the media isn’t something that can be accurately discussed in sound bite fragments. But since you started….

    The way of getting around media restrictions is to create your own media.

  68. 70 Julie P
    October 18, 2008 at 02:59


    Your comment reminds of a Don Henley song “Dirty Laundry”. He blasted the media in that song.

  69. 71 Bob in Queensland
    October 18, 2008 at 03:14

    @ Steve & Pangolin

    Re: Assisted Suicide

    I have to admit to being uneasy about the case of the young, paralysed man having an assisted suicide. On the one hand, I find it a great shame that he was so desperate–and had a self image so dependent on physical fitness–that it came to this. I do wonder if counselling could have helped, though I suspect he had a lot of it.

    On the other hand though, a person with even a minor level of physical fitness ALWAYS has the choice of taking their own life, be it through an overdose or throwing oneself off a bridge. Why should a person paralysed from the neck down be denied this right simply because they can’t move unaided?

    I freely admit to not having the answers. However, what surprises me Steve is your stance on this. You’re usually the one singing the mantra of human rights, yet you would take away this man’s right to decide his own fate because you disagree with him. You fully support capital punishment for convicted criminals (who clearly do not wish to die) but are unwilling to consider assisted suicide for somebodyt who has taken the view tha his life is no longer worth living.

    Oh, and your comments about forced euthanasia and “he’d be better off dead” are simply straw men. There is a huge jump from a personal decision to ask for help with a dignified death to third parties deciding your fate for you.

  70. 72 Kelsie in Houston
    October 18, 2008 at 03:32

    You’re right–but I think it’s worth a try; WHYS is fond of conducting discussions that are, in general, beyond the pale of soundbites.

    If it might help us tackle it, I can think of a few questions worth asking in regards to the topic:
    • Is the media’s role strictly to report the news? Is the insertion of comment or analysis a cause for alarm on the part of the consumer?
    • Are the media fostering a sort of Western indifference to the plight of the Third World through their strong focus on issues in the “developed” world (case in point: the credit crisis, or the coverage of Ike/Houston vs Ike & Gustav/Haiti)?
    • Are commercial or public media outlets preferable to the other? Should there be a difference in mission or ethic between the two?
    • Does the relentless drive to be “first,” and then “best,” result in the leading media outlets chasing one another around the same stories, while leaving other worthwhile material out?
    • We are subjective individuals living in a subjective world. Are the media allowed to be subjective as well, or are we justified in calling them out for failing to be as objective and impartial as possible?

    A huge topic, yes–but maybe this will help distill it down.

  71. October 18, 2008 at 03:42

    Well, the LA Times and Chicago Tribune have endorsed Obama so if that means many more moderate Republicans/Conservatives vote for him, I’m all for it!

  72. 74 Pangolin-California
    October 18, 2008 at 03:45

    Why capitalism is DEAD!! redux:

    * Simon Bowers * The Guardian, * Saturday October 18 2008
    Financial workers at Wall Street’s top banks are to receive pay deals worth more than $70bn (£40bn), a substantial proportion of which is expected to be paid in discretionary bonuses, for their work so far this year – despite plunging the global financial system into its worst crisis since the 1929 stock market crash, the Guardian has learned.

    Staff at six banks including Goldman Sachs and Citigroup are in line to pick up the payouts despite being the beneficiaries of a $700bn bail-out from the US government that has already prompted criticism. The government’s cash has been poured in on the condition that excessive executive pay would be curbed.

    Are we clear? After the worst financial disaster EVER, the biggest failure of prudent financial discipline in the history of the world; what did the guilty parties do? They handed themselves a fat paycheck for their failure.

    Torches and Pitchforks people, torches and pitchforks.

  73. 75 Bob in Queensland
    October 18, 2008 at 04:04

    @ Kelsie

    Re: Media

    A huge topic indeed, but HERE’S A LINK that may help to distil the topic a bit. Basically, TV is still the leading source of news for most Americans (and I’ve seen a similar statistic for the UK) with the Internet coming up fast on the outside. However, something not mentioned in the SMH article is that much of the Internet news is another service from broadcasters anyway.

    The reliance on television (and internet feeds from TV providers) is, in some ways, unfortunate because the medium is full of technical, financial and time constraints which often control both the content and duration of coverage. TV editorial meetings are as much concerned with “what can we get” and “what can we afford” as they are with “what is worthwhile”.

    More later!

  74. 76 Jonathan
    October 18, 2008 at 04:28


    There you go again, about houses that seem not to appreciate and calculations that leave out little details like, oh, the guy’s rent. How much rent will he be paying? Usually not much less than a mortgage payment–at FIRST. After a few years of rent, it will cost more than a mortgage payment, which stays the same, and it keeps on rising over the next 30 years. At the end of which you either own your house free and clear, or you own nothing. Even if the house didn’t appreciate at all, which is impossible, you’re way ahead by buying; you own an asset and you don’t have to pay for housing.

    How the heck is the guy supposed to “save” enough money to buy a house outright when he’s paying for rent, and why would he want to? How does a house only double in value over thirty years? That’s close to impossible, from everything I’ve ever seen. And yes, of course, a house is both a house and an investment. An even better one now, when they’re cheap, than when they’re expensive.

    Try again, this time remembering to include the cost of rent for a comparable house, and increasing it every year by whatever rents there increase by. Remember to pay rent from after-tax dollars and mortgage from nice fat pretax dollars.

  75. 77 Kelsie in Houston
    October 18, 2008 at 04:32

    Thanks–the trend towards national network news is not especially surprising, but I am surprised to see online news consumption still low. This conjures up another question: What role does the format used in presenting the news play in shaping how it is received, and how far does the need to fit content into specific formats go in shaping what gets reported in the first place?

  76. 78 Jonathan
    October 18, 2008 at 04:53


    I forgot: Property tax, insurance, and maintenance are of course included in rent, since the owner pays them and makes a profit, so you still must pay for them. Renting doesn’t make them go away in real life, although you make the entire cost ofrent go away in your calculation by simply omitting it.

  77. October 18, 2008 at 04:54

    Kels –

    It’s called broadcast as much crap as you can.

    How many people actually like the News? Really – ask them – you will be surprised at the amount of people who don’t. It isn’t entertaining enough.

    I am a geek, nerd, whatever you want to call me because the News is on all day – even the comedy I like is all news based. But that’s just me.

  78. 80 Jonathan
    October 18, 2008 at 05:07

    @Will — fellow news nerd

    “You’re reading the newspaper? Didn’t you read that yesterday?”

    I wasn’t sure if she was joking, but she was definitely not serious, in the larger sense. Predictably, we went our separate ways….

  79. 81 Jonathan
    October 18, 2008 at 05:23


    I liked the “media” issue better before you chopped it up into bumper stickers/sound bites.

    Right there, an example of the medium changing the message. The demand of a format for a simple-minded “aye or nay” short, hot question doesn’t allow for depth or subtlety. Which is one reason I prefer the blog to the show often. (Not that I consider myself especially deep or subtle.)

    I’m horrified to know that most people get most news from TV. It explains a lot: Shallow understanding of anything, or none, seeing things in caricatured and cartoonish fashion (world economy is run by a bunch of guys who look like the Rich Men in Thomas Nast cartoons). And watchers of local TV news are much more fearful than their more enlightened neighbors. They think crime is vastly higher than it really is, because that’s what they see on the tube, where “if it bleeds, it leads.” So they’re suckers for pols who promise to keep them safe, with long sentences, or invading countries… not a good way to be.

  80. 82 Zainab from Iraq
    October 18, 2008 at 07:18

    Hello all, hello Sheikh wish you a great moderating weekend..

    Well today we have a curfew in our city, cuz there is a march protesting against the agreement between Iraq and america. Well about this agreement .. I’m all in all against it. As an Iraqi citizen I don’t agree on signing this agreement.. Look to be honest with you at the beginning (before 6 years) I wished that we could make such an agreement that makes us an ally to the US.. but now i don’t .. you know why?? Because we’ll get nothing from it. The American forces have been in Iraq since 2003.. what did they do?? did we get anything (USEFUL) from them, did they protect us from anything.. NO, they did nothing from that.. we instead went back 100 years. Moreover being an open area for any who wants to try a war. the Americans are here in our country, just to protect themselves, they are here just to draw the danger away from them and bring it here to us. Well we don’t want any agreement we just want everyone back to his country.
    yours truly,

  81. 83 Bob in Queensland
    October 18, 2008 at 08:03

    Re: Media

    In an effort to annoy Jonathan even more, some random soundbite-style facts that may be relevant:

    The vast majority of international news shown by broadcasters all over the world comes from two large TV news agencies, APTN and Reuters TV. (There used to be 3 but one called “APTV” bought another called “WTN”–hence my early retirement.)

    There is huge competition between the “home desk” and the “foreign desk” for the limited minutes and seconds on a typical newscasts…and statistically foreign news tends to lose. On average, a US network newscast used to have under 2 minutes per day (though obviously this average is made up of “practically none” and more extensive coverage when something big happens.

    Yes, desk editors at US newsrooms really DO ask “were any Americans killed” when they hear about an overseas plane crash, bomb, earthquake or whatever.

    Agencies aside, a foreign bureau is a huge overhead for a broadcaster (and few besides the BBC have a large number of bureaux). Once they establish a bureau they use lots of stories from that location (at the expense of other places) to make the bureau cost effective.

    In another effort to make a foreign bureau seem cost effective, reporters often do pieces on stories hundreds of miles away. The desk at home base reads them the latest agency copy, then the reporter does a stand-up based on that. Listen for nebulous signoffs like “Joe Bloggs, XYZ News, Africa” rather than a specific location.

    Getting too long. More later.

  82. 84 Bob in Queensland
    October 18, 2008 at 11:03

    A random thought on terrorism (that I’ll post here rather than in last night’s on-air topic as it’s a bit more general):

    When the word terrorism is used, everyone thinks instantly of Islamic terrorism but Muslims aren’t the only terrorists in the world. Tamil Tigers explode bombs in Sri Lanka. ETA, the Basque separatists are “on-again-off-again” but have certainly done a lot of damage and may do so again. Shining Path is still in operation in Peru…and a Google looking for terrorist groups finds lots of others.

    The big difference between all these and Islamic terrorists is that all of the above have clearly defined goals. Set up Basque and Tamil independent countries and ETA and the TT would probably stop bombing, just as the IRA did when an accomodation was reached in Northern Ireland.

    Islamic terrorism, on the other hand, seems mainly to be based on a generalised hatred of all things western or Christian. Yes, there are some groups with specific goals but, for the most part, it seems like terror for terror’s sake.

    How can that be countered or negotiated with?

    Anyway, just some random thoughts.

  83. 85 Dan
    October 18, 2008 at 11:42

    RE: march against agreement in Iraq.
    Let’s be honest. The march was organized and run almost exclusively by the followers of the b;ack-eyed radical rabid anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr who wants to turn Iraq into a brutal dictatorship under his control.
    Those are the people that were protesting.

  84. 86 Dan
    October 18, 2008 at 12:37

    @Bob in Queensland October 18, 2008 at 11:03 am

    Some random responses to random thoughts.
    You cannot negotiate with Children. They need a steady hand and stern discipline. I submit that is what Muslims need as they no longer can control themselves.
    But also we need education. When an act of Muslim barbarism and terrorism occur suddenly (and even on WHYS) the reaction is to quote cute sayings from Muhammad or the Koran. My immediate reaction is “Why the hell are you saying that to me rather than the Muslim Terrorists”.
    Then they entice one to read the Koran, develop their own understanding and get into a useless discussion that is not only meaningless to the act of terror but used as a recruitment tool.
    At worst these people are complicit in the act of terrorism or at least they have been filled with nonsense that any challenge to Islam has to be dealt with harshly and they must deflect the attack. These are clever people. However, like cats being clever and being intelligent are two entirely different things.
    Despite that he needed to finish Afghanistan first I hate but understand why Bush went into Iraq. It was the worldwide belief that very soon if not now Saddam had WMD’s and would use them but Bush never understood the Pandora’s box he was opening and we (the world) is left to deal with.
    Personally my feeling is that Islam as the Arabs practice it must be made to cease whether by force or occupation by the entire world. Muslims in other countries who want to establish Sharia Law or live by other dictates of Islam in conflict with the laws of that country should be deported back to their native country so that they may practice what they believe along with others who feel similar.
    Under occupation it will take 2 generations to burn the infection out of the Arab countries and Islam can be practiced as it is around the world by rational Muslims in peace.
    Is that too harsh? As you point out, you cannot negotiate with these people so it is too bad as that is what Arab Muslims have brought down upon themselves.
    Thanks for letting me vent but watch now how words and meanings will be twisted but it will all be in vain.

  85. 87 Zainab from Iraq
    October 18, 2008 at 13:09

    @ Dan
    Yes you’re right the march was organized and run almost exclusively by the followers of the Moqtada al-Sadr.. so what don’t they have the right to protest.. isn’t it deomcracy , and everyone has the right to say his opinion?!!

    Again i’m saying i don’t see any reason to make any agreement with the US , we just don’t need more occupation.. we want to live in peace (Note: I’m not follower of Moqtada al-Sadr) but i don’t want this deal..

  86. 88 selena in Canada
    October 18, 2008 at 13:17

    So when a conservative gets in a snit about suicide I can’t but wonder at the hypocrisy of it all. Throwing people into the street and condemning suicide is working at cross purposes.

    Well said Pangolin!

    The hypocrisy of it all is mind boggling.

    How do they get the idea that they have the right to control others? And some of the people who believe they have the right to control others even say they don’t believe in God. That is even more amazing. At least the religious people can fall back on God for their reasons for wanting to control.

  87. 89 Robert
    October 18, 2008 at 13:20


    There is another fundamental difference between most terrorists and the current Islamic fundamentalist that may explain the lack of focus.

    In the past once a terrorist organization was established it did its own recruiting. It was a slow process of building numbers. Cells would have been created by sending a core member out to recruit the team they needed for the mission. A hierarchy existed to coordinated action between cells. Everybody worked for the same organization.

    Today’s terrorists are different. Bin Laden did not establish an army like the IRA or TT, but instead created, for lack of a better word, a brand. Small groups from around the world, all of whom have a local agenda were allowed to join the brand, like a business franchise. Most operations are local for local reasons without guidance from the centre. When trying to look at the overall action this makes it difficult to see a pattern, as you say.

    The advantage to the local groups is technical support and name recognition (the group is a scary one if its Al Queeda of .XXX rather than something like The Movement for Islamic law in XXX) Al Queeda get a large organization without the slow process of building it. It gets higher priority because it appears to operate globally rather than lots of local actions that it in reality it is. The structure means central command doesn’t have to bother with recruitment, that is done by the local groups and the command takes the best that survive.

    The new terrorists are difficult to defeat because we still think of them as an army. They are more like a commercial company. Perhaps modifying tactics from the corporate (hostile take overs, aggressive advertising, mis information) world may provide better results than straight fighting.

  88. 90 Kelsie in Houston
    October 18, 2008 at 13:26

    I apologise for lacking a sufficient amount of “depth and subtlety.” I’ll slink back to my own blog and leave you folks to have your high-minded soiree.

  89. 91 Dan
    October 18, 2008 at 13:50

    Of course you have all rights to protest. I merely pointed out who was the force behind the protest that drew so many of his own followers making the protest seem like it was the entire Iraqi people. It was not.
    I have not yet read the agreement so I cannot make any comment yea or nay but if you have then yes, I support your right to voice your opinion in protest or support.

  90. 92 Bob in Queensland
    October 18, 2008 at 13:56

    @ Kelsie

    (In the hope that you haven’t entirely slunk back to your blog)

    A sidebar to your interesting topic: The Chinese today announced that they have extended the “additional freedom” that was granted to foreign journalists for the olympics.

    Now, a positive spin on this could be that there is a new openness in Chinese politics.

    However, the other thought I had is that all this means is that no foreign press have bothered to write anything embarrassing to the Chinese government so why bother with the bad press the re-imposition of restrictions would mean?

  91. 93 Dan
    October 18, 2008 at 13:59

    You mentioned that Americans gave you nothing.
    That is not true.
    Fighting for freedom is a messy business and people get killed but we opened the door and gave you your chance for freedom. If you choose to return to a sadistic strongman rule like Saddam and his sons so be it.
    We came in to rid Iraq of what everyone believed to be Saddam’s WMD’s even the ones that he used on the Kurds….maybe you could care less about them…we could not.
    You cannot say America did not give you anything….it gave you a chance for a future if you want it.
    By the way…..were you ever allowed to march in the streets protesting Saddam Hussein without being arrested, tortured and put into a human shredding machine feet first?

  92. 94 Bob in Queensland
    October 18, 2008 at 14:18

    @ Dan

    Is it not a contradiction in terms to “impose freedom” on a society that hasn’t asked for help? Support for a popular uprising, perhaps. But is it really a “gift” to invade a sovereign country (even one under an evil dictator) and then leave a chaotic power vacuum for several years before imposing a martial peace?

    It is a genuine question as to whether Bush and Blair were taken in by faulty intelligence on WMDs…or asked the intelligence agencies to “sex up” the reports to justify an invasion. In the UK, at least, there is strong evidence for the second option. Certainly it is disingenuous to imply that the invasion happened because of the genocide against the Kurds. The worst of that had happened years before and been ignored by the west.

    I have no love for Saddam but I can see where Zainab is coming from.

  93. 95 Katharina in Ghent
    October 18, 2008 at 14:25

    Hi everyone,

    It’s great to have time for the Blank Page again, the last couple of weekends have been way too busy… 😦

    I’ve seen that there are quite a number of interesting topics on the board already, so I would like to add a little bit here and there.

    Re. rent vs. own a house:

    This depends on so many different things, that it’s hard to say which is better. If you plan to settle somewhere for the next 20 or 30 years, then buying will most likely pay off, but if you plan to move every couple of years, then there’s no point. Depending on the country, the additional costs for closing the deal (real estate agent, taxes, registration fees etc.) can be very high, here in Belgium it’s almost 20% of the house price. On top of that, when you buy the house you most likely want to change a couple of things which means costly renovations, there are very few of us who know how to do this themselves. Last but not least, if you have a mortgage where you pay only interest for the first couple of years, then you still don’t even own the entrance door to your house. And then there’s the possibility that house prices go down… but that, of course, will never happen! 😉

  94. 96 Katharina in Ghent
    October 18, 2008 at 14:42

    Re. Iraq

    What adds insult to injury in Iraq (meaning the unrightful invasion) is the fact that the US had no plan whatsoever about what happened on the day the war itself would be over. Only that way could this horrible power vacuum happen, and then they even sacked all the administrative workers “because they were Baath-party members”… well, they had to join the party to get the job in the first place. Without a plan and without the people who actually knew what was going on where in the country, the whole occupation was doomed for failure right from day one. And then the common Iraqis are supposed to be grateful for this?

  95. October 18, 2008 at 14:49

    @ Bob.
    Thanks for keeping the great caravan steady. It is great to have a full house this weekend. My wink to Dan, the established islamic critic.

  96. 98 Robert
    October 18, 2008 at 14:51

    Dwight, Katrina

    I think Katrina sums it up well. You can’t make bold statements that renting vs buying is better.

    Remember that the rent is to cover the mortgage the landlord has on the place and fabric maintenance and a small profit on top of that. The mortgage interest rate for the landlord is higher than that you can get for a personal home. Renting is more likely to be expensive than owning for an identical house.

    However renting ends up being cheaper if your circumstances allow you to live in a smaller place before buying a large permanent place, or if you have to move around a lot (avoiding having to pay arrangement fees). But unless you save the money you save towards a deposit then you don’t get much of an advantage.

  97. 99 Pangolin-California
    October 18, 2008 at 14:57

    Zainab~ I’m not sure what you’re complaining about. The american forces, at no expense to you, turned many old and useless buildings into handy and portable gravel with many uses. Also, since the Americans have come to Iraq many more Iraqis have had the opportunity to travel and live in foreign countries like Syria, Jordan, and Egypt. In these countries opportunities for young Iraqis in the local entertainment industry have proliferated wildly allowing a single teenage girl to support her family.

    We’re also cleaning up all of that nasty oil that is spilled all over your country and hauling it away for you.

    Reality check. Anybody who thinks that the American forces are in Iraq for any reason other than control of the oil is an idiot or a liar. That fighting for Iraqi freedom BS is pure fiction. Look up “Project for a New American Century” if you haven’t done so already. Americans planned on invading Iraq before George Bush was ever in office and just needed a handy excuse.

  98. 100 Bob in Queensland
    October 18, 2008 at 14:57

    Good Morning Sheikh!

    It’s approaching midnight here so I’ll hand over the reins to you and sit back to watch the debate!

    (And maybe chip in a line or two before bed!)

  99. October 18, 2008 at 15:02

    @ Robert, Dwight and Katrina.
    It all narrows down to the purchasing of the person in search of a house/home. Once the resources is available,i prefer buying a house than renting or leasing it. For the bought house, i know i will own it permanently as oppose to renting one which i could be evicted from anytime at the whims of the landlord.

  100. 102 Zainab from Iraq
    October 18, 2008 at 15:03

    are you serious? Gave us chance!! please come on . well where is this chance .. i have nothing!! I think this talk can’t be said any more.. so enough of it please and let’s be clear to each other..

    there were no WMD in Iraq when the multinational forces have invaded Iraq in 2003, and of course i DO care a lot about Kurd. But why didn’t America rid Iraq of Saddam at times when he used the WMD against Kurd? And what does America do in Iraq now well thank you we got the chance.. what does America want to give us more? Ha?

    No i wasn’t able to go on march during Saddam’s time.. but what if I could.. Now people are able to say whatever they like.. but are there EARS to hear?!!!

  101. October 18, 2008 at 15:04

    @ Jonathan

    This will be hard in a short post but here is an attempt. So I will post it in a few parts and hope the acting MOD will bear with me.

    Lets deal with the last part first. Property tax is not necessarily included in the rent. Now your land leach might try to play it off that way. But the reality is that once you are renting a house, “congratulations” you are living the American dream, and you own a small business. That means property tax, insurance, maintenance (including some you tell the government that you had done to your rental but really had done on your own house.) are all cost of doing business and deductible as such.

    Let us stick to real numbers though. Here is a situation that I know exists in this area. Here in the area I live, one could have a nice 2 bedroom apartment overlooking the lake for $550 a month. This includes a swimming pool, workout room, sauna, and oh yeah, gas and electric. (If you want you can share internet access with your neighbor.) Now over the course of the time, rent has jumped up to $750. So, in theory, you could live there with entertainment of phone and cable for about $850 a month. About $70 cheaper if you wanted to suffer a 1 bedroom instead.

  102. October 18, 2008 at 15:05

    My compatriot, Bob.
    Thanks eversomuch for the stewardship. i am around for a while and will be doing my best to take care of business.

  103. 105 Bob in Queensland
    October 18, 2008 at 15:08

    @ Jonathan, Katharina, Robert, etc.

    Renting vs. Buying

    Although there are specific cases where renting can be the better option, I think it’s fair to say that USUALLY you’re better off buying.

    As several have said, the cost of renting is normally about the same as an owner would spend for mortgage and upkeep–so at the end of 25 or 30 years you’ve spent as much in rent as you would have to own the house–without any return.

    Clearly, as Katharina points out, there are times when it’s not worth buying but these are the exceptions, not the rule. It’s also worth pointing out that the 20% cost of buying in Belgium sounds high to me. In the UK, there is no tax on the purchase as long as the house value is below a certain figure (last I heard about £200,000). The cost of arranging a mortgage varies for zero to a few hundred pounds typically and a solicitor is probably between £400 and £500. There are no estate agent fees for buyers.

    Here in Australia, it’s similar to the UK except the duty on the purchase is 1% whatever the house value. Either way, the cost of buying is under 2%. If you’re selling one house and buying another, estate agent fees take this up to 3 or 4%.

  104. 106 Pangolin-California
    October 18, 2008 at 15:10

    Rent vs. Purchase~ Part of the collapse of the financial markets has been that banks were lending to speculators who were purchasing houses for rental properties on the same terms that they were lending to homeowners. This led to rental prices in some areas of the US that were far lower than the cash outputs required to pay financing, taxes, insurance and maintenance costs.

    There were literally people with no incomes at all who were allowed to purchase nine or ten properties with no equity. As a result rents are far lower in much of the US than purchase price of the same housing would be. Until that equation gets balanced out this financial disaster will continue.

  105. 107 Dan
    October 18, 2008 at 15:11

    @Bob in Queensland October 18, 2008 at 2:18 pm
    The world will debate ad nauseum the validity of invading Iraq.
    Absent a valid reason we had no right to invade. However we did have a UN mandate to do so and given the intelligence …even from Russia…we invaded.
    Were we succored? You bet!!!
    Bush had no plan “B”. He thought we’d be treated as liberators but what Bush & Paul Bremer did was to dismantle the entire Iraqi infrastructure. How the hell does a country operate without an infrastructure?
    Next was the LIE that the Iraqi’s would develop a Jeffersonian Democracy. What planet was Bush on? Certainly not Earth.
    Not understanding the tribal nature of Arabs things went into chaos from there.
    Whatever the failings of Bush,the truth is that we opened a window that would have allowed Iraqi’s to be free from the brutality of a dictator and the oppression of a religion that cannot control its urges to destroy the plant to honor their God.
    Bush did not understand that Freedom cannot be given. It must be fought for.
    But Zainab cannot say America gave Iraq nothing. We gave them a chance for a future, a chance to fight for their freedom. That was the lesson from 3,500 years ago in Egypt when the gift of Freedom was brought to the world.

  106. October 18, 2008 at 15:12

    Jonathan.. Cont.

    Now let us compare that to the 2 bedroom bungalow just down the street. Cheaper, because the school district stinks. The house in the nicer neighborhood is going for an agreed price of the out the door $100,000 as described in original post. Thanks to the “ownership society” policies, the buyer didn’t have to put any money down. At that point you payment is $606 per month. After 10 years of being there you still owe $84,087. So what have you just done for 10 years? Right, rented it from the bank. Wait there is more!! This didn’t include the property tax, insurance, and maintenance fees associated with the payment. (stuff you can’t write off.) With those, your payment is about $900 a month. Could go as low as $850 or as high as $975 depending on the current tax structure and some kind of weird recompilation the bank does every year. But for the sake of argument let us say it averages at about $900. Over the course of that same 10 years the apartment with the view and the other stuff you are going to want to pay for is about $700. Alone that is $200 saving a year. AKA $2,400 a year plus interest. Over that 10 years, you have saved 24,000. But wait there is more. As I said before the apartment I quoted had heating and electrical included. The house has about $3000 a year utilities bill. Then there is the furniture that was put on a credit car when the move was made. The old carpet had to go. The walls needed painting. Over the course the aluminum siding needed replaced with the more fashionable vinyl. All tolled it is an extra $3000 a year for 10 years is $30,000. Maintenance was another $10,000. (and the man of the house is a lazy no good…that doesn’t do anything around the house.) 10 years later you have a savings of about $64,000.

  107. 109 Robert
    October 18, 2008 at 15:12


    The whims of the landlord are not my biggest worry. The whims of my work are. I’ve had 6 different address in 5 different locations in the last 4 years. This has pushed me into having to rent. Having to organize house buying so many times in a short period would have caused a lot of trouble for me. But the decision to rent or buy depends on not just the purchasing power, but also the market conditions and personal circumstances.

  108. October 18, 2008 at 15:13

    Jonathan (cont.)

    As for mortgages that don’t go up, ask anybody who is in an ARM. There were millions of these “investors”. If you landlord raises your rent, move somewhere else. If a property owner has his property paid off and is just paying taxes and maintenance, he has lots of room to work with when it comes to increases. If the landlord is paying on the house, what are you going to do when he looses it to the bank and you have to move anyway. Other intangibles include, what if you loose your job or get another opportunity that is 30 miles further from your “investment”? you can’t just up and move after the lease is up. The lease is never up. We haven’t even discussed taking out another loan to send the kids to college. Here is a really dinger. Say your country taps you to have the opportunity to go live in a tropical paradise, serving your country. The bad news is that you won’t make much money. The good news is that while you are there your living expenses will be covered, and you will be living on a “creek” where dolphins jump every morning, an in ground pool if the pristine coral ocean doesn’t appeal to you. You can’t take the opportunity because you have an “investment” that you could not possibly make the payments on while you are out of the country. There are all kinds of opportunity cost associated with having a fixed residency.

  109. October 18, 2008 at 15:18

    Jonathan (cont.)

    At the 21 year mark you reach the half way mark of paying off the house. The numbers I cited were real numbers associated with a real houses. Now I know you live out there in the land of ludicrous real estate prices. The market is now adjusting for the blissful activities. Out here in mid America, doubling every 30 years is realistic. And we want to know why we are in this situation? Too many people believe in these investments. If there weren’t so many buyers, housing prices wouldn’t have skyrocketed. Rent would not have been able to raise wither.

    This is a mixture of real stories if you are wondering. A path that could have been followed by a single person. There is a reason why banks are not renting these houses out. There is not enough money in renting to satisfy a banks profit requirements.

  110. October 18, 2008 at 15:19

    Re: Renting vs Buying.
    @ Jonathan.
    Rental cost varies from one locality to another. For example urban homes are very costly as compared to rural homes especially here in Liberia. I am in a 2- bedroom apartment with my brother and we paid $ 125USD per month and if you the conversion to our legal tender, you get $7,750.00LD.In such a case, i will rather want to save some resources to buy myself a house as oppose to renting.

  111. 113 Dan
    October 18, 2008 at 15:20

    Are there no garbage collectors in Iraq and waste disposal plants?
    The WMD nonsense keeps being recycled almost like “Soylent Green”
    The entire world’s intellegence agencies (Russian & Chinese too) believed Saddam had WMD’s. The USA had a mandate from the UN to invade.
    You cry about how the US invaded Iraq when we had a UN mandate but then you want us to invade (to save the Kurds) when we did not have a mandate. That is not rational or consistent.
    You admit that you had no right to march & protest during Saddam’s reign. Now you do. The fact that no one hears is IRRELEVANT…do you not gett that? You have the right to talk…to protest…to get involved…to change things…to affect the future. What is it about that that disturbs you so much?
    I am afraid that your arguments do not stand up.

  112. October 18, 2008 at 15:29

    October 18, 2008 at 3:20 pm
    The USA had a mandate from the UN to invade.
    I am not sure i got you right. Which UN resolution mandated the US to invade Iraq? USA premature decision to go to war short-circuited the Inspection Team Mandate. I guess Bush was aware that there was nothing there so waiting for the Inspection Team would have disallowed him from attacking Iraq by letting the world now that there was no WMD in IRAQ. So he went to war prematurely with his puppet allies.

  113. 115 Dan
    October 18, 2008 at 15:37

    @Sheikh Kafumba Dukuly October 18, 2008 at 3:29 pm
    Yes we can debate timing forever but given what was known AT THE TIME not with our 20/20 hindsight and that the inspectors were being played like pawns on a chess board, Bush felt, given all the intelligence, that he had no choice but to move in especially before the brutal summers of Iraq with its oppressive temperatures.
    Bush, acting for the UN, did have a responsibility to give America’s soldiers some fighting advantages.
    I am not defending Bush but look at the opposite outcome had we not gone in and Saddam had WMD’s.
    He certainly would have used them. What would you say then? Would you dance around like naked wood nymphs and pass out sweet cakes like that hideous woman in Gaza did on 9/11 celebrating mass deaths?
    Given the intelligence at the time and other factors, bush’s move was the right one FOR THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES.

  114. 116 Count Iblis
    October 18, 2008 at 15:39

    Dan, the US had no UN mandate to invade Iraq at all.

    What the US and Britain did was similar to a prosecutor arguing a case against a defendant in a court, and then saying that they won’t wait until the jury and judge will rule and jail the defendant anyway, because the prosecutor thinks he is right but that the jury will not vote guilty.

    The US and Britain did not try to get a second resolution, because they thought they would not get that resolution. They then argued why they were right. Kofi Annan clearly said that the US violated international law when they attacked Iraq.

    Now, you can say that sticking to international law would not have been helpful to the US for legitimate reasons, just like a prosecutor who knows for sure that someone is a dangerous murderer would be worried about a not guilty verdict by a jury.

    But if the US thinks it does not have to stick to international law, then why does the US even bother to pressure Russia to get out of South-Ossetia? Russia can point to previous UN resolutions giving them the right to be there too. The war cannot be justified purely by that, but if you consider the fact that Georgia attacked South-Ossetia, you have a far stronger case justifying the Russian attack than the case for the Iraq war.

  115. 117 Robert
    October 18, 2008 at 15:46


    Correct me if I’m wrong, but Bush and Blair were not acting for the UN. A vote was attempted but never passed. We have a mandate now from the UN to help rebuild the country, but at the time there was no mandate to invade it. Remember freedom fries because the French would veto the invasion. With theirs, Russia and China’s vetos no vote was passed, hence no UN mandate for invading.

    It was a unilateral invasion by the UK and US, not an operation conducted on the US behalf.

  116. 118 Count Iblis
    October 18, 2008 at 15:51

    Sheikh Kafumba Dukuly is 100% correct. WHat happened was that Blix was checking the claims of US and British intelligence and he found nothing. The inspectors went in with very sensitive equipment that can detect tiny trace amounts of chemicals.

    If you store chemical weapons at some location for some time and then remove them and hide them somewhere else, you can still detect tiny trace amounts in sample you take at the original site for many years.

    The fact that Blix found nothing at the sites where, according to US intelligence, chemical weapons were stored, implied that the intelligence was flawed. But instead of accepting that fact, the US and Britain pretended that Saddam was somehow not cooporating, hiding chemical weapons. But that doesn’t explain Blix not detecting anything.

    Then, as Dan points out, the soldiers statined in Kuwait could not remain there for long, so the attack was ordered.

    Now, what was the US argument that Russia committed aggression against Georgia again? That they wanted to remove Saakhasvili from power, that Russians had strengthened their forces a few months in advance?

    So, this is all about the big bully claiming the exclusive right to be the world’s bully, accusing others for violating their exclusive right, even if it wasn’t even violated. 🙂

  117. 119 Robert
    October 18, 2008 at 15:53


    Not an operation conduction on the UN’s behalf.

    Freudian slip.

  118. 120 Dan
    October 18, 2008 at 15:56

    To ALL

    I am amazed at the hatred so great that now Freedom Fries (an idiotic response) is thrown in.. Geez…is that the best you can do?

    Colin Powell at the UN stated clearly that Iraq was in material breech of the UN resolutions.
    Hans Blix whose recommendation was to send another harshly worded letter was looked upon as a fool and the US moved forward.

    Again I ask the other side of the coin. Had Saddam had the weapons and used them what would have been the cry of condemnation of the US & Great Britain then or after Saddam leveling a city in Europe would having Hans Blix write another strongly worded letter be enough for you?

  119. October 18, 2008 at 16:01

    @ Dan.
    Your sarcasm humors me!!!! Lol!!! The principle of contradiction here is Bush acted on his own accord and wanted to muddy the UN in it. Intelligence???? With all the sophistication your country has, you were ill-fed by people you paid millions. What a shame!!!!

  120. 122 Dan
    October 18, 2008 at 16:08

    You present a specious argument.

    The shame is the Muslim world that allowed a Saddam Hussein to exist to begin with and today celebrates suicide bombers, terrorists and death & destruction.
    That is the shame you should be condemning. But you aren’t. Why? Is it that you fear retribution from the glorious bands of roaming suicide bombers?
    Do not talk about shame it is the pot calling the kettle black.

  121. 123 Dan
    October 18, 2008 at 16:24

    TO: Zainab, Sheikh, Bob et al
    I wish that we could “argue” this further in a cafe over a drink then go to dinner but I have enjoyed the exchanges, challenges etc but must get back to working on my house.

  122. 124 Sasankh
    October 18, 2008 at 16:28

    Hey folks I want to ask a question.
    Is rise of communism in Nepal OK??

  123. 125 Amy
    October 18, 2008 at 17:03


    Have fun working on your house. Maybe if we are ever able to get the WHYS conference/congress together, we can “argue” or debate over a drink at a cafe and break bread together. Coming together to share ideas and debate things, as long as everyone respects each other’s opinion, is the only way that things move forward. Who knows, maybe in 500 years, WHYS and their contributors will be looked at the driving force that brought peace to the planet and saved the world from global warming. One can hope 🙂

  124. October 18, 2008 at 17:09

    @ Dan.
    The shame is the Muslim world that allowed a Saddam Hussein to exist to begin with and today celebrates suicide bombers, terrorists and death & destruction.
    Muslims? Was Saddam President of Islam or Iraq? So i really dont get your point. What are u insinuating? That it was Muslims of the world that kept Saddam in power. You hate Islam so much that everything that you sniff out has criticism of Muslims. You seem to discuss every topic with hate message on Islam. May Allah put you on the right path.

  125. 127 Pangolin-California
    October 18, 2008 at 17:09

    Is rise of communism in Nepal OK??

    That depends. Does Nepal have any oil? If not, the US doesn’t care. It’s the Nepali’s problem and decision to make. I’m not sure how Nepal is going to feed all those people but they better get working to find a system tough enough to deal with the crazy weather climate change is projected to send to everybody.

  126. 128 Robert
    October 18, 2008 at 17:30


    I’m not saying that the war in Iraq was not justified. I suspect there were plenty of good reasons to but the whole affair from 2000-2003 was handled badly and the planning for rebuilding was even worse. But that is a separate issue. What I said in my response was that we didn’t have the mandate which you claimed we did.

    Having Colin Powell stand up and say that the Iraqis haven’t played fair doesn’t give us a mandate. It’s just somebody engaging in debate. Until the resolution is past there is no mandate. He obviously wasn’t good enough to convince the other nations and so there was no resolution passed.

    We distorted evidence (the 45 minutes claim) and legal definitions to get find a way around the problem of the resolution.

    If you want to describe the actions as “ineffectual UN is bypassed in the hour of need” then go ahead, I’m sure many will agree, I would definitely agree the UN didn’t do enough. I even see the argument that we could have invaded on our own out of preemptive self defense. But please don’t say we had a mandate from the UN when we didn’t.

  127. October 18, 2008 at 17:38

    Sasankh October 18, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Hey folks I want to ask a question.
    Is rise of communism in Nepal OK??
    Friedel Engels and Karl Marx meant well for the people, accentuating that the people should own everything together and there should be no social classes. Modern day communism is a deviation from its initial intent. many persons work to enrich a few persons and it is a camouflage of dictatorship. If the Nepalese people in this modern era of capitalism choose to revert to communism, that is their call.

  128. 130 Bob in Queensland
    October 18, 2008 at 17:45

    Re: Nepal

    In the long term, communism doesn’t work. That’s been proven over and over.

    However, in the short term, for a country just emerging from a corrupt monarchy with a subsistence economy, harsh climate and geological conditions, communism may actually be a way to kick-start an improvement for the majority of citizens.

  129. October 18, 2008 at 18:11

    Hi Pink
    Thku so much.
    Women in Iran need help. They want to realign with their counterparts elsewhere, including the Muslim world. There is immense opposition to change for women since “they are fine where they are, servile, obedient and subservient to their menfolk,” is the general attitude. It needs an enormous amount of work.
    The movement for freedom of women and suffragettes have a long way to go. The creative aspect of women is suffocating, and the only way is to fight for freedom of expression, freedom to write, to publish, to act, perform, earn recognition and a living. The key to women’s rights is financial independence, and it may be as well to start there.
    Saw “My Own Pink World.” Very impressive.

  130. 134 Pangolin-California
    October 18, 2008 at 20:28

    If I understand this they are canceling universal health care for children in Hawaii because people were signing up for it. Therefore socialism doesn’t work.

    This from the same guy who was so irate about assisted suicide. Here’s a clue; people want health care not health insurance. Health insurance is a parasitic cost that people will avoid like the leeches that health insurance companies are.

    The capitalist model is to have health insurance companies that avoid providing health care and further work to drive up the cost of care in order to provide people with an incentive to seek health insurance. A perfect health insurance company provides the absolute minimum of health care possible to retain customers and maximize profits. The more they skim the better for the health insurance company.

    Meanwhile Bob, in socialist Australia, can walk into any hospital in the land with no worries about the bill before treatment. There are no, zero, none, children in socialist Australia that lack health care because of cost issues.

  131. October 18, 2008 at 20:45

    Pangolin, sir – again I applaud you!

    people want health care not health insurance. Health insurance is a parasitic cost that people will avoid like the leeches that health insurance companies are.

    You, as an American, can walk into a British hospital and YOU will be covered under the British Healthcare system – those damn socialist countries providing healthcare for the people, tut!

  132. October 18, 2008 at 21:52

    77 Kelsie in Houston October 18, 2008 at 4:32 am
    …online news consumption still low. This conjures up another question: What role does the format…play in shaping how it is received…?

    Kelsie, I have been skimming through your posts (the heaviest WHYS reading that I have been doing the past few days, so a good thing) on the media, and this caught my attention. What do you mean by format? I can tell you that whether I am on a high-speed connection or a low-speed one, I prefer a layout that is highly textual and has a uniform structure for presenting the information, in terms of font/colour, organisation, and layout. I would much rather have the option of loading in the picture, even from a placeholder, and linking to audio/video than having a big audio/video-ready box and pictures popping up all over.

    I am on a source kick these days. It is a genealogist thing. That is probably why I prefer having wires fed into a news service than relying on someone to choose which wire stories to display and picking and choosing from among the stories by their correspondents. I do enjoy having stories categorised by topic and geographic location. It makes it easier to find the stories that interest me the most.

  133. October 18, 2008 at 21:59

    84 Bob in Queensland October 18, 2008 at 11:03 am
    Islamic terrorism….seems like terror for terror’s sake. How can that be countered or negotiated with?

    Negotiations with any group that does not have specific or tangible goals would orbably not be very productive. It might be better to open up avenues of dialogue and exchange. I would also propose an increase of no strings attached funding of various traditional Islamic educational institutes. Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller has a Zawiya in the Middle East. Sh. Hamza Yusuf has the Zaytuna Institute in California. Sh. Faraz Rabbani is involved with Seekers Guidance (online) and The Razi Institute (real life). There are several fine shuyukh at the Sunni Path (online and, I think, real life). There are many more such institutes of traditional Islamic education. The more that they are able to disseminate traditional Islamic teachings, the less inclined people will be to believe what the radicalised preachers are claiming.
    nts 130

  134. October 18, 2008 at 22:11

    Akbar, assalamu `alaykum
    What are your experiences or observations? What have you seen or heard about women and how athey are treated at jobs? What did you mean when you referred to silence and fear on the pavement? What details can you tell us about the situation of Iranian women?

  135. 139 Dennis@OCC
    October 18, 2008 at 22:45


    It will NEVER last that long! According to Bob in Queensland previous remarks..
    He is making a VALID point.


  136. 140 Count Iblis
    October 18, 2008 at 23:49

    In a century from now, most work will be automized and then we will need to have a communist system to regulate production.

    If everything is produced using robots and machines then everything is free of charge. It is like living in a jungle and getting some fruit from trees. You don’t have to pay for it; trees produces it free of charge.

  137. 141 Pangolin-California
    October 19, 2008 at 00:21

    Count Iblis~ Automation requires very high, very dense energy inputs to build the machines. Humans are much more cost effective for complex tasks. Until we develop a nanotechnology that is capable of reproduction that mimics biology mechanical systems will supplement biological systems.

    Remember, the majority of the human race is just entering the electrical age. We aren’t willing or able to provide such simple technologies as bicycles, water filters, piped water and community telephones to a significant fraction of the current worlds population. Something as simple as a solar powered laptop that could link to others in a distributed node fashion and provide, library, telephone, radio, internet and educational services is still beyond the horizon.

    Counting the chickens before the eggs are laid is entertaining but futile.

  138. 142 Robert Evans
    October 19, 2008 at 00:28

    @ Count Iblis

    That sounds good shame I would be nearly 121 years old.

  139. 143 Pangolin-California
    October 19, 2008 at 00:39

    Will~ re: Health Insurance. If I understand Obama’s proposed health insurance proposal this phrase: # a new public plan based on benefits available to members of Congress that will allow individuals and small businesses to buy affordable health coverage. would basically create a Medicare-type pool that individuals could buy into.

    Such a pool would destroy the health insurance companies because without the drag of a profit-seeking executive class it would be cheaper. People will choose the cheapest plan that still provides coverage. The simplest way to do this would be to allow people to buy into Medicare or require them to show proof of equivalent coverage paid through payroll.

    Why pay the for the drag of a for-profit system when a non-profit is available?

  140. 144 Dan
    October 19, 2008 at 01:25

    @Amy October 18, 2008 at 5:03 pm
    It was a fun & tough day working on the house. While I can do electrical work in my sleep, plumbing is another matter. Everything leaked. Fortunately a friend of mine fixed it.
    I think it impossible to hate someone whom you sit down to dinner with. Zainab & I can have diametrically opposing views but still talk and I think laugh over dinner. Who knows perhaps one day there will be a WHYS Congress and perhaps the media will be there so that they can see that people from different backgrounds and beliefs can “argue” but still share each others views amiably.
    Maybe we can “heal this world” Lord knows it needs something.

  141. 145 Pangolin-California
    October 19, 2008 at 01:53

    I think it impossible to hate someone whom you sit down to dinner with.

    Let me tell you about my family…….

  142. 146 Jonathan
    October 19, 2008 at 02:24


    Yikes! I’m so very sorry, but I didn’t say what you think I did. You misunderstood me entirely. I didn’t say you lacked depth and subtlety. I said that your original comment HAD depth and subtlety, and that in my view, you had edited out your own depth and subtlety when you proceeded to carve it up into World Have Your Say sound-bite-sized pieces. Just a casual comment, entirely my own opinion, and no kind of insult at all.

  143. 147 Jonathan
    October 19, 2008 at 02:42


    You sarcastically said house prices don’t go down, but in fact that’s accurate. Over a 30-year term, the length of a mortgage, house prices don’t decrease in anyplace I have ever heard of. Even with the recent crash in the US, prices have returned to the level of a few years ago.

    Transaction costs of 20% are beyond my wildest nightmares. What a huge regressive drag on infrastructure, and a hurdle for everyone not already wealthy. As Pangolin would say, time for torches.

    The “break-even point” beyond which owning is better than renting, and before which renting is supposedly better, varies according to a lot of factors. The New York Times site maybe six months ago had a
    fabulous interactive model that calculated it according to various inputs you could enter, including interest rates on mortgage and on investments or savings, income, tax rates, etc.

    The amortization doesn’t matter; if you own, you own. No different in the first year than the 29th year.

  144. 148 Jonathan
    October 19, 2008 at 02:44


    LOL! Agreed 1000%.

  145. 149 Jonathan
    October 19, 2008 at 02:54


    However, in the short term, for a country just emerging from a corrupt monarchy with a subsistence economy, harsh climate and geological conditions, communism may actually be a way to kick-start an improvement for the majority of citizens.

    Like, oh, um, Russia? 🙂

    Seriously, when did communism ever “kick-start” anything, excepting perhaps a vigorous police apparatus? When did a communist government ever willingly risk relegating itself to the “short term” by having free and fair elections? Exactly once: in Nicaragua 15 years or so ago. They lost of course.

    I expect you were joking, but why would geological conditions or climate matter?

  146. 150 Jonathan
    October 19, 2008 at 03:05

    @Count, Sheikh, et alia

    Without defending the Iraq adventure, which I detest in every respect, let’s not forget that Hans Blix didn’t detect the Iraqi nuclear program when there was one, back before the first gulf war during the reign of Bush I. It was his job to find it, and it was huge and mature and close to being ready to actually make bombs. It only became known when revealed by a defector. Blix is a detestable, arrogant critter who really doesn’t have a proud record. Only by having a very short memory can anyone manage to utter his name without giggling.

  147. 151 Bob in Queensland
    October 19, 2008 at 04:33

    @ Steve

    Re: Health Care

    First of, let’s define some terms here. Socialism is an economic system where the means of production and distribution are owned and controlled by the state. A government health scheme has little or nothing to do with this. Of course you use the word socialism because, in the USA at least, it’s a good red-flag to scare the population.

    To say that a botched pilot scheme with only 2000 kids in it “proves” why it doesn’t work in the USA is just plain silly. Two thousand participants isn’t even a valid sample for a poll, much less an experiment in universal health care.

    Health care in America is a dismal failure. You pay far more per person than any other western country yet private insurance doesn’t cover the poor, the elderly or anyone with a long-term ailment, leaving a trail of bankruptcies, stress and a hotch-potch of expensive government schemes that pick up some of the pieces but stop short of giving proper health care. Far better I’d say to have a single, coherent system but hey, if you’re happy with things as they are, go for it. Personally, I’d be ashamed of the mess you live in but your call.

  148. 152 rick
    October 19, 2008 at 04:47

    @ Jonathan 2:54
    oh um like China maybe?
    What a dismal mess it was before Mao and look at it now. Its a fine success and an emerging world power.

  149. 153 Bob in Queensland
    October 19, 2008 at 05:30

    @ Jonathan

    Like, oh, um, Russia?

    Sure, I’ll bite and say “yes”. The first few years of the Bolshevik experiment DID improve lives for the Russian poor. Don ‘t forget we’re talking people who were desperate enough to storm the armed guards of the winter palace carrying torches and pitchforks. Life was bad.

    Clearly it all went wrong after a while as we got into the era of purges, pogroms and “some animals being more equal than others”. I fear human nature will always doom communism as a long term economic system. However, it may have its place in situations like Nepal because pure capitalism will leave the poor majority behind for a period of time before “trickle down economics” can work.

    Ricks example of China may become a model….start with communism then superimpose capitalism on top (hopefully without the mess in the middle though!).

    Just a pre-caffeine-on-a Sunday-morning thought.

  150. 154 Tom D Ford
    October 19, 2008 at 05:34

    Communism for the rich is good but communism for the poor is very very bad!



    Be verbose!

    Who, when, what, where, and why?

    Irony and/or humorous commentary is welcome.

    And as an aside, anyone care about the working poor? The people who actually make society function?

    Is there anyone here who has actually worked in the jobs that the working poor work in?

    Made burgers?

    Worked at Wal-Mart?

    In farm fields at harvest?



    As a rich person creating jobs? (Just kidding, actually the rich invest in processes to reduce labor costs, they call it creating “efficiencies”, or “reducing labor costs”).

    Therefore, Communism/Socialism is good when it is used to benefit the already wealthy but it is bad when used to do what Jesus taught, “even as you treat the least of these”.

    (begin evil laugh)

    Bwha ha ha ha ha argh yow!

    (/end evil laugh)

  151. 155 Dennis@OCC
    October 19, 2008 at 05:47

    @ Bob in Queensland:
    i think it is a caffeine high….

    i personally think that the system needs a overhaul….


  152. 156 rick
    October 19, 2008 at 06:20

    You asked… I’ve been a fruit picker, cleaner, garbo, grave digger, concrete laborer, union organizer, welder, a small business owner and presently a crane operator. No I am not a communist but I like my capitilism with a dose of collective barganing and a good safety net for those who slip through the cracks.
    The workers who produce profit need to have an incentive to produce more and to share in the spoils of there toil.
    Communism lacks incentive and Capitalism lacks a safety net.

  153. October 19, 2008 at 07:21

    Hi Pink
    Women’s rights requires careful work and workshops. Starting with a couple of hundred people, the program must cover the entire city and nation.
    Women in Iran are sophisticated and programs must be designed and tailor-made to their needs. Obviously working women, career women and housewives face particular challenges. The entire issue of puberty, child rearing, adolescence, single women and wedlock need careful study.
    What’s the good of decreeing: “You shall marry so and so, this is your dowry and this is what you get in case of separation!” Sharia Law may provide a basic, elementary guidelines, but it doesn’t encompass the realities of the modern world.
    It is vital to hold simultaneous workshops for boys and men in order to bring the message home and make it happen. BBC had a two episode documentary on Iranian girls and Iran. That is a start, but the media cannot be expected to take on such a load. Ros Atkins was at a gathering near Wembley Stadium recently which also focused on Islamic issues. We should proceed on those lines; this is only scratching the surface.
    We talk of assimilation, integration and inter-faith dialogue, but the root of the problem is understanding and catering for our own needs and people.

  154. 158 Dan
    October 19, 2008 at 10:47

    Did anyone notice that along with the talk about “catering to our own needs” and returning Muslims to their 7th Century roots by further subjugating women that China has figured out the Islamic puzzle and cracked down on Muslims. Limiting the time and scope of sermons, detailing where a Muslim can pray, demanding a rapid disbursement after Friday prayers so Muslims do not go into their familiar riot mode and only offering State sponsored Hajj tours offered by China.
    Iran was an erudite and sophisticated ancient culture until Black-Eyed Arab Muslims arrived and devolved the country. Iran is now like an Arab slum.
    Maybe this time China will open the eyes of the world to what Arab Muslims have made of their cult and of themselves and the destruction they inflict upon societies. Judging by media reports Arab Muslims are kept in poverty and ignorance under the yoke of Islam.
    Along with that Pakistan, a Muslim country, was REFUSED charity from the Guardian of the Faith Saudi Arabia who REFUSED to reduce the price of oil so that Pakistan’s moribund economy could recover from the oil price shock of this year. I guess that Islam no longer has Five Pillars of faith and now there are only four.
    It seems obvious to the casual observer that Middle Eastern Arab Muslims need to stop looking inward for relevance to the 7th Century but to work with the great monotheistic faiths of the world who honor God and reform Islam by making it relevant to the modern world. Absent that the world will coalesce its resolve and Muslims will increasingly hated, hunted down and killed before they kill more innocents.

  155. October 19, 2008 at 11:25

    Hi Dan
    I quite sympathize, but Iranian prelates pack a lot of clout into their act. They have the banking establishment in their throes – loan sharking and sleaze. Academics are at their service with lengthy dissertations of the virtues of subjugation. The bazaar is in close alliance with prelates – “pocket the benefits, share the income, and shut up.” The pulpit is a pretty powerful tool when you can terrify the masses and appease your opponents at will.
    All told, the scenario in Iran is one of a kind. Finally terror and subversion has got the ascendance today, whence the ceasefire and negotiations with the Taliban. Our prelates put Machiavelli to shame. Their rackets encompass the whole Earth, stretching from Washington to London, on to Calcutta and China.

  156. 160 Dan
    October 19, 2008 at 12:01

    @Akbar Javadi October 19, 2008 at 11:25 am
    The Iranian civilization and culture once ruled the world but gave great contributions to the world as well.
    In this media driven world where education seems to not be valued the Battle of Thermopylae and the bizarre portrayal of King Leonidas in “300” gave a skewed impression of Iran.
    I am not certain that the Iranian culture can withstand the onslaught of Islam and where it is driving it.
    What do you think? How can a rich and ancient and valued culture be preserved?

  157. 161 Katharina in Ghent
    October 19, 2008 at 12:19

    Hi everyone!

    Well, it turned out that my original information about additional costs when buying a house in Belgium were not correct, solicitor’s fees, including registration fees are 10 – 12.5%. (I looked it up: http://www.immoweb.be/en/pages/Page.cfm?Page=Buying_renting_budget.htm&mycurrent_section=global )
    Anyway, even this website says that you still have to take other costs into account, so in the end I was probably not sooo far off.

    The thing is of course that here people buy a house exactly once, and that’s where they’ll live for the rest of their lives, so it’s worth it. But my argument still holds: if you have to move every couple of years, you spend more on interests and additional costs than if you just rented. (Especially if you signed an ARM where the interest rate jumps from 8% to 16% to 22%, like the guy in the show told us a week ago.)

  158. October 19, 2008 at 12:24

    Give Iraq What It Wants, Stay Fifty Years
    TEHRAN – Shia prelates want it, Ahmad Chalebi says it, the Iraqi government wants it. Everyone in Iraq wants something like the government in Iran. Give it to them and stay fifty years.
    Chalebi wants militias, a Guards Corps to safeguard the achievements of the Iraqi Revolution, nothing wrong in that! Iraqi prelates want something in line with what we have in Tehran which they can handle, why not! Moqtada Sadr wants something he can identify with, so what!
    The Guards Corps in Iran was designed to break the chain of command and avoid any military coup. Sharia Laws don’t work in Iran and people are fed up with it. It’s in Arabic and doesn’t cater for free enterprise, but Iraqis want it. Why all the fuss!
    Iran isn’t a success story. People are crying out for change. The good king was the embodiment of generosity and enlightenment. The nation is sick and tired of sleaze and embezzlement. Iran registered a budget deficit of US $54 billion for the current year alone. State-owned media, state-owned banks, state-owned insurance constant vigil by the security forces and secret police. We don’t want it.
    We asked for it and got, but give Iraq a breather.

  159. 163 Katharina in Ghent
    October 19, 2008 at 12:24

    Re. Media – analysis and commentators

    The problem that I see is that if the media strictly only reports the news without any analysis or commentators who put the news into perspective, very few of us (probably only us WHYSers 😉 ) are sophisticated and informed enough to connect the dots and see ie. why the Russian/Georgian conflict will affect the rest of the world, or why cutting down the rain forests in Brazil is effecting the earth’s climate etc. The problem is of course that a commentator will let his bias show and look at the news from a very certain perspective, while a different one might see them differently altogether.

  160. 164 Dan
    October 19, 2008 at 12:55

    As reported in the NY Times today:
    KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) — Taliban militants stopped a bus traveling on Afghanistan’s main highway through a wild and dangerous part of the country’s south, captured some 50 people on board and slaughtered around 30 of them, officials said Sunday.

    This is not an isolated occurrence but a common daily representation of the “beauty” of Islam that Arab Muslims hail each day and want to elevate for the entire world to emulate.
    I wonder which cute verse in the Koran or from Muhammad told them to do this obscenity? Maybe they are just 7th Century “scholars” reduced to their lowest primal instincts and believe that is what the world should follow. “Let’s kill everybody to honor God”. Allah Akbar

  161. 165 Julie P
    October 19, 2008 at 14:54

    Colin Powell is endorsing Obama.

  162. 166 Bob in Queensland
    October 19, 2008 at 15:04


    Colin Powell ENDORSES Obama.

    Interestingly, two of the reasons he cites are McCain’s lack of judgement in picking Palin for his VP and the “dirty” quality of the Republican campaign…both of these are things oft-commented on on this blog.

  163. 167 Count Iblis
    October 19, 2008 at 15:06

    Colin Powell endorses Obama

    Powell said he questioned Sen. John McCain’s judgment in picking Gov. Sarah Palin
    as his running mate because he doesn’t think she is ready to be president. He also said he was
    disappointed with some of McCain’s campaign tactics, such as bringing up Obama’s ties to
    former 1960s radical Bill Ayers.

  164. 168 Bob in Queensland
    October 19, 2008 at 15:09

    ….and the BBC NEWS version of the Powell endorsement story.

    To me as an outsider it seems fairly decisive when a distinguished ex-general endorses Obama–surely it must at least partially counter the claims that the Dem. candidate doesn’t have the experience to be commander in chief.

    Any thoughts from those in America as to how this is being received?

  165. 169 Julie P
    October 19, 2008 at 15:11


    He said that and also said he is tired of the negative campaigning from the McCain campaign along with that it is time for a generational change. And he said this about Obama: “Obama displayed a steadiness. Showed intellectual vigor. He has a definitive way of doing business that will do us well,” Powell said.

  166. 170 Julie P
    October 19, 2008 at 15:20


    Since Powell is a retired general, ex-Secretary of State, with a high approval rating among Americans who is a Republican this is a solid endorsement and speaks very highly of Obama. It will play well with Americans considering the source.

  167. 171 selena in Canada
    October 19, 2008 at 15:27


    Colin Powell?

    Colin Powell’s opinion doesn’t resonate well with me ( I know! I am not American!) because he was the reason many Americans and the rest of the world accepted the invasion of Iraq. They liked his calm steady style and put their trust in his opinion. He let the world down.

    If Colin Powell’s view of Obama is no more trustworthy than his view on WMD we are in for a rocky ride.

    🙂 People have short memories.

    I guess that is why nothing ever changes.

    Having said that, unless people are lying about voting for a Black man, Obama (who doesn’t seem so charismatic anymore) will win anyway. McCain’s luck may have run out.

  168. October 19, 2008 at 15:28

    Thanks Mr. Powell. While your education and experience is something you can never loose, earning back the respect is something you may never get back. By his own admission, he said that he tried to talk George Bush out of going to war against Iraq. Unspoken is the two options then. Either he didn’t believe the intelligence he had been citing at the UN, or he believed these materials in the hands of the régime were not a threat to US and its allies safety. Anyway you slice it, If he had resigned instead of falling in line, it might have stopped the unjust invasion. Powell was the single most respected man by all including the moderate and far left. Many people would have questioned the strategy had he stood up to the war hawks. Had he done that, he could have been the first African American president. We might not be in the diplomatic and economic weakened position we are in today.

    Even now, comming in this late in the game. Spinless. Thanks, but no thanks Mr. Powell.

  169. 173 Dan
    October 19, 2008 at 15:33

    Colin Powell did NOT say that Obama had experience to be Commander-in-Chief but that he surrounded himself with people capable of advising him.
    Early on in the campaign Obama said that if America was attacked he would confer with leaders of all nations to decide what to do. If that happened Americans would never stand for that and he would be taken out of office. He learned.
    Now all that stands in his way is complacency.

  170. 174 Bob in Queensland
    October 19, 2008 at 15:41

    @ Dan

    “I trust this man as the Commander in Chief and so you should too”

    That sounds like a pretty firm endorsement of Obama’s ability to be commander in chief to me.

    Early on in the campaign Obama said that if America was attacked he would confer with leaders of all nations to decide what to do.

    Source please. I certainly don’t recall this statement at all and wonder if you are quoting something he said out of context here.

  171. 175 Dan
    October 19, 2008 at 16:04

    @Bob in Queensland October 19, 2008 at 3:41 pm
    He said it in debate almost 20 months ago. Many distinctly remember it and you need to pull transcripts to read for yourself.
    If I am not mistaken that was the same debate wherein he said he would immediately sit with Chavez & Ahmenidijad with no preconditions.
    In any event he is on a roll and most likely will win. As for me trusting him to be Commander-in-Chief I’ll reserve judgment until he is tested by America’s enemies which I expect to happen within his first 60 days.
    At his inauguration he needs to thank “W” for destroying the Republican Party, putting the world into a recession and being the 2nd worst President in American history.
    Jimmy Carter will forever have the “honor” of being the worst.

  172. 176 selena in Canada
    October 19, 2008 at 16:05

    Colin Powell did NOT say that Obama had experience to be Commander-in-Chief but that he surrounded himself with people capable of advising him.

    That’s funny! Colin Powell advised George Bush and what good did that do?

  173. 177 selena in Canada
    October 19, 2008 at 16:08

    WHYS should explore the Colin Powell endorsement next week.

  174. 178 Bob in Queensland
    October 19, 2008 at 16:29

    Any mods out there who could take over the reins for a bit? It’s about 1:30 AM here and I can’t seem to raise Sheikh.

    Thanks in advance!

  175. 179 DENNIS@OCC
    October 19, 2008 at 17:41

    Hi, everyone:

    it is sad that they, are still around causing trouble–like they are doing….

    i think that should be forward to the whys team!

    it will pretty never will happend to a point! because the united
    states people will never accept it!

    i had a feeling about this endorsement
    several months ago!



  176. 181 DENNIS@OCC
    October 19, 2008 at 19:05

    October 17, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    Crime of the century, or one of many of that classification. Teachers getting laid off over a math mistake.

    **It is sad, that these dear valuable techers are being “fired” or laid-oof because of some person’s, making a math mistake.

    I think that, the person who did it–should be fired!


  177. October 19, 2008 at 19:21


  178. October 19, 2008 at 19:31


    October 19, 2008 at 12:55 pm
    This is not an isolated occurrence but a common daily representation of the “beauty” of Islam that Arab Muslims hail each day and want to elevate for the entire world to emulate.
    I wonder which cute verse in the Koran or from Muhammad told them to do this obscenity? Maybe they are just 7th Century “scholars” reduced to their lowest primal instincts and believe that is what the world should follow. “Let’s kill everybody to honor God”. Allah Akbar
    Dan Arabs don’t own Islam.Your hate for Islam is sordid and quite delusional. Your judgment about middle eastern issues is abyss. However,i admonish your to establish a new mind construct. Islam should not be your scapecoat for every violent act committed by Arabs or people in the middle east.

  179. October 19, 2008 at 20:22

    “Obama displayed a steadiness. Showed intellectual vigor. He has a definitive way of doing business that will do us well,” Powell said.
    Julie P, the gravitas the leader exudes is important. He must be serious and his methodology must be swift. Obama has a huge charisma that is parachuting him.

  180. 185 Jennifer
    October 19, 2008 at 20:28

    Re: Obama’s health care plan

    I think everyone agrees that something should be done about our health care crisis. However, I do not believe that Obama’s plan is anything that can actually be accomplished. There is no cheap health care! People want and need health care however, it is never “free” by any means. Any break that Obama gives to “regular” people will be made up in some way. The answer is not to mandate coverage for people under age 25. What about single moms who have multiple kids? How much of a fine would they pay per child? What are employers going to discriminate against employees who have children?

    *He wants to expand the government’s role in healthcare greatly. That is not a good thing in my opinion. Why should the government have a say in my private health care?

    *He wants to invest 10 billion dollars in healthcare information technology over five years. He say that this will improve quality and save money but will it really do that? We are not in the position to do experiments right now and that’s a whole bunch of money.

    *He will force insurance companies to use more premiums for patient care. How will a for-profit corporation respond to such heavy-handed coercion from the federal government? They will make up for what they are out in some way.

    I am also curious about these medical corps that Obama talks about! Someone can volunteer in the medical setting and receive tax credits? So, if I am to understand that correctly, I can go in for a major surgery to be performed by a “volunteer”? Or do they just do certain things, like the role of a nurse? Which would oust my mom who went to college for 4 years and has 2 degrees out of her job?

    Health care should be VERY important but Obama’s plan really doesn’t seem realistic at all.

    Re: Colin Powell Endorsement

    I wonder how that will play out. Wasn’t he another icky conservative friend of Bush’s? Also, considering his reference to choosing Palin….Would Obama like to explain to 18 million HC supporters why he didn’t choose her? Could open up a can of worms. As for the robo calls…who cares. If you don’t like who’s calling just hang up or do what I do……pretend like the connection is getting bad then oops….we lost connection! 😉 It works EVERY time!

  181. October 19, 2008 at 20:48

    WHYS Bloggers proposed gathering.
    The enthusiasm of organizing a get together to meet folks of the blog and exchange friendly notes is waning. I wonder if we still feel strongly gathering in a common venue and possibly debating or discussing the growth and vibrancy of the blog.

    What role can a family play in curtailing corruption since leaders eventually evolved from families with different values, cultures and norms?
    Is the family responsible for the corruption in society vis-a vis our governments/

  182. October 19, 2008 at 20:54

    Bridge collapse claims lives in India
    At least four people have been killed and at least 17 others injured in a bridge collapse in the Indian capital of New Delhi. Who should take the blame? The government or construction firm?

    Legal case against God thrown out
    A judge has thrown out a case against God – as the Almighty doesn’t have an official address and legal papers can’t be served.
    Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers filed the lawsuit last year seeking a permanent injunction against God who he said made terrorist threats against him and his Omaha constituents.
    Senator Ernie says God inspired feared and caused widespread destruction of life. What is your take on this?

  183. 188 Robert
    October 19, 2008 at 20:56


    I found a much simpler means to avoid robo calls in the US. Don’t speak for 5-10 seconds. The Robo calls hang up. Friends ask were you are.

    As for the health care. I would say that both McCain and Obama are tinkering at the edges. The US health care system as you said needs changes and from my experience of it some fundamental ones (this includes personal experience of a telephone operative with my health insurance company overruling a prescription made by my doctor, which is something I’m not encountered in the other systems I’ve worked in before). What changes would be politically acceptable I don’t know, and is up for y’all over there to figure out how to fix it. Perhaps you want to go the ‘socialist’ route of the UK and Europe? Or maybe get rid of the separate hospital and insurance company structure and have the hospitals run directly by the insurance companies. Having them run by the same organization removes a layer of paperwork and might make it more efficient? What are you thoughts?

  184. 189 Dan
    October 19, 2008 at 21:30

    @Sheikh Kafumba Dukuly October 19, 2008 at 7:31 pm
    It is NOT Islam that I despise but how Arabs have perverted it.
    Go to Malaysia. As a very large Muslim country they practice the religion quite peacefully and with respect for others.
    Other Islamic countries outside of the Middle East practice Islam in peace and security as do Muslims in America.
    In America people pay as much attention to Muslims as they do to Jews, Christians, Buddhists etc. WoW!! What a lesson for Arab Muslims to learn.
    What do you think can they rise to the occasion or is the desire to destroy the planet too great?

  185. 190 Pangolin-California
    October 19, 2008 at 21:36

    The nice thing about being a conservative is that you are immune to facts.

    Federal, state and local governments already purchase the majority of health insurance or provide it directly. Of the portion of health care not paid for directly or indirectly by some government agency all of it is regulated by government agencies. The FDA controls what drugs you can take and varied other agencies control the certification of your physicians. Other agencies regulate the universities said physicians attend and pay a significant portion of their educational costs.

  186. 191 Pangolin-California
    October 19, 2008 at 21:40

    As to “no cheap health care…..”

    Japan, with the longest lived citizens spends about half the per-capita expenditure on health care that the US does. Half as much money to live longer sounds cheap to me. Canada spends just over half the US per capita expenditure. The US, notably, refuses to provide health care to all of it’s citizens.

    As somebody who suffers the refusal of the US to provide health care I must confess to fantasies where health insurance executives are pulled out of their Wall Street offices, horse-whipped and tossed in the East river. People DIE due to lack of health care in the US of easily treatable conditions.

    As long as the US refuses care to the sick any claims of “Christianity” by political factions can be dismissed as bogus. It’s a flat commandment by their messiah that they do care for the sick.

  187. 192 Dan
    October 19, 2008 at 21:44

    @Jennifer October 19, 2008 at 8:28 pm
    Neither healthcare plan is a “winner” but I am more partial to Obama’s.
    There are too many uninsurable people in America as they have had an existing precondition. That applies to me. So, looking at my own self interest I side with Obama’s plan.
    Whether we like it or not, and I do not like it, more Government intervention is on the way as the Republicans lost their way with no leadership from the President. If Government intervention disturbs you blame President Bush for destroying the Republican Party. If what is projected to happen actually happens then we will see Democrat rule for at least a generation and with no checks and balances Capitalism as we have known it is gone..

  188. 193 Pangolin-California
    October 19, 2008 at 21:47

    I think the real objection to universal health care in the US is the horror that racist conservatives have at having to share health care facilities with “those people.”

    It can’t be cost, quality of care or access as those are all proven to be superior in nations with socialized medical systems. The concept that a majority of americans are willing to spend double the cost of health care because they are stupid to do the math just doesn’t wash with me.

    I think people who are against universal health care are just racists. Imagine their horror at sitting in a dentists office knowing that they share facilities with “them.” You know, the people who are the same color as “that one.”

    One of these days the US has to get out of the junior high mentality.

  189. October 19, 2008 at 22:47

    So the Grand Old (boy) party was being lobbied by Freddie and Fannie to stop a bill that would have placed further regulations on them. Go Figure.


    I have an idea. How would readers feel about the legislators having the amount of credit available through the financial companies? If the economy needs stimulation, the legislators could approve a release of a few billions in credit lines available to the financial companies. The companies would have to “bid” for a portion of the allotment by stating the terms in which they would be offering the credit to the public. It would use the free market to force these companies to choose their risk exposure more wisely.

  190. 195 Jennifer
    October 19, 2008 at 23:14

    @ Robert

    Thanks for the tip about robo calls. I will try it sometime. 🙂

    I think your suggestion about hospitals/insurance companies is very interesting. That might be beneficial. It would be a hard hit for people who work in those areas. I think with regards to health care; it’s always better to look at preventing illness because it’s most cost effective. We do have some health care benefits available already. SCHIP provides health insurance to children under the age of 19. The requirements vary from state to state but they do cover doctor visits, immunizations, emergancy room visits, and hospital stays.

    I don’t want the government-which can not control job promotion/creation and rising oil prices-to run and mandate how to provide me with health-care.

    Real objections to universal health care are crashing the health insurance market. It will greatly decrease the quality of health care. Whereas it might take 3 weeks to schedule surgery today here; it might take 6 months in the future. This is why it makes much more sense to provide people with money where they can shop for their own insurance according to their special needs. Whether they are like me, healthy with no preexisting conditions or people who do have conditions. Insurance companies will have to be more competitive and lower their prices which is an incentive. There is no “free health care”; without consequences. Somewhere, somehow, you will pay for your health care or health insurance, whatever you prefer to call it.

    Obviously, when we are discussing health care we aren’t talking about race or someone’s political affiliation. Nothing but nonsense!

  191. 196 Dan
    October 19, 2008 at 23:28

    @Sheikh Kafumba Dukuly
    I have a guest here who I have shown WHYS to and she has a question for you.
    “You accuse Dan of hating Islam but try looking at your own house first. The hate that is preached from each Mosque daily against Jews will only lead to what the Nazi’s tried to do but ultimately failed. Wasn’t it Nazi’s that conspired with Arabs and Muslims in WWII? Clean your own toilet first before criticizing Dan”.
    Whew…she is more radical than I am but she speaks the truth I think.

  192. 197 Jonathan
    October 20, 2008 at 00:42

    Wow, Ros and Mark are here in San Francisco talking about the show. Interesting stuff. Twenty minutes more, I think you can get the stream at http://www.kalw.org .

  193. October 20, 2008 at 00:46

    So it is pretty much becoming evident that if you champion a platform of ethics and ethics reform, then you are probably engaged in some immoral and low life activities that you are trying to hide form the public.


    I want to go on record saying that if elected, I will pursue a platform of ethicless and immoral discourse. I will hold pudding wrestling matches, televised during prime time on the White House front lawn. I will be found knee deep in the chocolate and peanut butter pit, so there will be no denying it. I will have Larry Flynt writing and directing my biography. Lol, there will be no question where my moral values lay. On the other hand, I will not be taking vacations to “Camp David” for half of my presidency.

    Oh yah, and one more insane promise. When I send soldiers to war, there will be a valid threat to American lives on American soil. When I sign a bill into law, it will benefit the people who need it. And if people under my watch are responsible for the collapse of the economy and the desperation of millions of citizens, the next shower they take won’t be at a Spa, but a federal penitentiary. Tell me that isn’t wacky.

  194. October 20, 2008 at 00:58


    Obama’s plan should work well within the US – anyone who endorses McCain’s plan is a moron of Palin Order!

    Yet, I still disagree with what Obama proposes, but his proposal is a start. Once Americans see that inexpensive healthcare is easy and affordable they will walk away from Nixon invoked HMOs. Healthcare is a massive organisation that needs regulation and hopefully Obama will provide that regulation.

    In the UK, Canada, you pay directly from your wage and that’s it, then the healthcare is provided – yet I STILL feel that Canada’s healthcare is overly bureaucratised. Healthcare cards, check that check this blah – simply put the national insurance/social security number on the central database and – click, “The Dr will see you in a few minutes”.

    How hard is that – and you are covered from cradle to grave and we all pay into the central pool – it means everyone is covered, full stop.

    I believe that dentistry and optical should be covered too – but that is up for debate.

  195. 200 Jonathan
    October 20, 2008 at 00:59

    Well, for whatever reason, my 12:42 comment has been held up by moderators for 15 minutes, and by now it’s moot. The program is over. Nice work.

  196. October 20, 2008 at 01:01


    Ethics and Palin come to mind each time – I cannot wait for her to get back to Al-ask-ha and be investigated for her un-ethical conduct.

  197. 202 Bob in Queensland
    October 20, 2008 at 03:06

    Good Morning!

    Re: Health Care

    A couple of facts. First, private health care will NEVER cover people with pre-existing, long term conditions. An insurance company is like a casino. The are gambling that they can charge you more in premiums than you will take out in benefits. Since you have a pre-existing condition, the premium will have to be more than the anticipated cost of treatment…so you might as well just pay for the treatment if you can.

    Second, a health care plan needn’t fail on grounds of cost. The USA already pays more per person for health care than countries with medicare systems–the money is just split up between private insurance, government safety net schemes and people who pay cash. If all this money went into a single pot, you actually spend less overall.

    And a couple of points: anyone who favours a healthcare reform should stop calling it “social medicine”. Call it “universal health insurance” or anything else you like, but get away from the dreaded “S” word that scares so many Americans.

    Finally, @ Jennifer….it may take you three weeks to get an elective operation but try it when you have a pre-existing condition and no insurance.

  198. 203 Bob in Queensland
    October 20, 2008 at 03:44

    @ Jonathan

    Sorry your post about Mark and Ros on San Francisco radio was delayed. However, do remember that all the moderators here are unpaid volunteers and, while we unofficially try to provide 24/7 cover, sometimes real life and time zones intervene. It’s only about 30 weeks ago that there was NO posting outside of BBC office hours!

  199. 204 Amy
    October 20, 2008 at 03:51


    Well said about the moderating….Has it only been 30 weeks? Boy, it seems like so much longer.

  200. 205 Jonathan
    October 20, 2008 at 04:21

    @Bob, Amy, et alia

    I know y’all moderate for free, and I think the world of you, no pun intended. It was just a tad frustrating to see other folks’ comments slide on through when mine, which was for a change perfectly inoffensive, languished for no reason I could determine. Sorry if I stepped oooon anyone’s toes.

  201. 206 Jennifer
    October 20, 2008 at 05:22

    Re: Morons who endorse McCain’s healthcare plan

    It is safe to say that both plans have flaws; however Obama’s plan WILL NOT work! I have never heard anyone mention the fine you’d have to pay if you didn’t have insurance. I am very curious to know what it is.

    Employers will have to find ways to offset the added costs of providing health care. This they can do by raising prices, lowering wages or reducing future wage increases, reducing other benefits such as pensions, or hiring fewer workers. That means people in lower paying jobs will be hurt the MOST! How many people is that?

    I would much rather have control over a plan to get the one that is best for me. I am 23, I don’t need coverage for a 50 year old. Yeah, really moronic to see how ridiculous that is!

    I guess it’s easy to say that Obama’s health care plan seems great for those who won’t have to deal with it! 🙂

  202. 207 Dennis@OCC
    October 20, 2008 at 05:34

    well said, Bob in Queensland..

    @ 30 WEEKS
    it does not seem that long, what is the gift for the celebration.

    Thanks for the great weekend, Bob and Sheikh…sorry for not
    being around!


  203. 208 Dennis@OCC
    October 20, 2008 at 05:38


    Whoever is endorsing John McCain health care plan, needs to be placed in, a secure psychatric centre…Of my choosing!


  204. 209 Bob in Queensland
    October 20, 2008 at 05:39

    @ Jennifer

    Ah, the confidence of youth!

    Alas, those 27 years until you’re 50, have an arthritic knee and no private health insurance because your knee is a “pre-existing condition” will pass far more quickly than you realise.

    Been there, got the T-shirt and the titanium knee. Thank goodness I wasn’t in the USA when I had the lack of foresight to age a bit.

  205. 210 Jennifer
    October 20, 2008 at 05:40

    Re: Sarah Palin on SNL

    Because all of the SP lovers forgot to post this I thought I would! 😀


    She earned SNL their highest ratings in 14 years! 😉

  206. 211 Bob in Queensland
    October 20, 2008 at 08:38

    Well, the anticipation of her appearance earned SNL the high ratings…what I’ve seen on Youtube is a bit of a damp squib!

    As comedians go, I prefer the standup of McCain and Obama. Now THEY were funny!

  207. October 20, 2008 at 09:22

    Hi Dan
    Reyr October 19, 2008 at 12:01 pm posting
    The issue of history and men is obviously fascinating but men change according to circumstance. According to the German school of philosophy, a brave and virtuous man of the empire became a cunning, scheming tradesmen under occupation.
    The context of men and civilization is very misleading since it is governed by environment. The Greeks of today have few of the traits of B.C.5th. The Iranian today has an awareness of the heroic age but the economic constraints of the modern world govern his life.
    Integration or evolution, you might call it, have produced excellent specimen of Jews in Iran. Also language is immensely important in moulding and shaping men’s minds. The vocabulary of the Iranian adept reads like the Torah, though he doesn’t know it and attributes it to Arabic and Muslim literature. Don’t be surprised if a Jewish God turns to the Persian.
    The classical context of current developments in Iran is amazing. Look at the youngsters! You would think you are in London or Frisco when walking round town. Not so bad! That’s what we have become,
    For pure history you will have to consult Herodotus and various other authorities on the subject. Islam is very powerful in Iran but it is a marriage of convenience. We give lip service to Mecca and the Holy Shrines in Iraq, but we set the stage and call the shots over here.

  208. 213 Jack Hughes
    October 20, 2008 at 10:22


    Have you ever lived in the USA ?

    I ask because there are some 200 countries in the world that do not have a healthcare system modelled on the UK National Health Service – and the USA is only one of those 200.

    I was in Aus for several months and had a minor op. It cost me a small amount – this was called “the gap”. I first saw the GP (free) on Tuesday and had the op on Thursday.

    I had a similar op here in NZ – it cost me $170 and the consultant did it right then and there.

    My brother in the UK has been on a waiting list for 2 years for a similar op. He saw a consultant after about 6 months – she put him on a different waiting list.

    The Aus and NZ systems seem to be better for the patient than the UK system.

  209. 214 Bob in Queensland
    October 20, 2008 at 10:39

    @ Jack Hughes

    The closest I’ve come to living in the US is a job I had that involved being in New York for one week out of every four–for about 4 years. It wasn’t the same as living in the USA but I came to know at least Manhattan fairly well. My one experience of the American health “system” was once when I was involved in a small accident. Despite having an bleeding wound, I was required to sort out the finances before they would treat me in the emergency room (I had company insurance so I was fine). However, I never want to go through that again and don’t think Americans should have to either.

    As for other countries, I’ve lived in Canada, the UK, Cyprus and now Australia. There are differences from country to country (and, in Canada and Australia, minor differences depending on the province or state you’re in). However, all have SOME form of health care that covers all or most of treatment costs..

    A big problem with the British system is that, although funded centrally, the care is filtered through local health authorities. When I had my knee replacement, I waited only six weeks from the first appointment with a specialist to actually having the operation…and much of this was taken up with tests and evaluations as to the best way to proceed. However, in a neighbouring county, that wait would have been more than six months.

    This “post code lottery” is a major failing…but detail aside I think the “free at the point of care” basic principle is the right way to go.

  210. October 20, 2008 at 11:07

    @ ALL
    What difference does a healthcare insurance plan make if it does not provide the medical care you desire in the long run.
    Many a time insurance companies duped their clients with crazy and subtle clauses in the agreement only to defraud the clients during time of needs.

  211. 216 Jennifer
    October 20, 2008 at 12:21

    Re: Sarah Palin on SNL

    I guess it was harder to get into the spirit of caribou barbie when she’s there to laugh along? Love her or hate her, people are interested in her. I LOVED it and found it funny! 🙂


    I don’t know! Pay out all of that money and when you need it, it doesn’t pay off. On top of that, we loose our butts trying to put it together and do not know if it will stick?

  212. October 20, 2008 at 14:01


    The highest rated “American Idol” episodes are the first ones where they go from town to town and highlight the untalented morons who shose to expose themselves to the world stage. The second most successful Idol to date? Willam Hung. For some reason we are “interested” in peopel who claim they have tallent to do something that they aren’t even remotly in the ball park with. I was glad to see SNL didn’t pull any punches. She even chose not to participate in one of the skits because she thougt it was too much.

    After watching McCain at the charity event, and Palin on SNL I am convinced when they ave nothing to do in a few months, they might be successful on the road as a comedy team.

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