June 26 2008 show notes


  • Thom is in Copenhagen all this week, broadcasting from the Danish Broadcasting Network.

  • Guest: Flemming Rose, Cultural Editor at the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. He published the cartoons that initiated the Jyllands-Posten Mohammed cartoons controversy.

  • Guest: internationally renowned, progressive architect Bjarke Ingels.

  • Guest: Yaron Brook, Ayn Rand Institute.

  • Guest: David Miller, chairperson, Democrats Abroad Denmark.

Topics, guests, upcoming events, quotes, links to articles, audio clips, books & bumper music.


Thursday 26 June '08 show




  • Thom is in Copenhagen all this week. The show will be "live" each day from Denmark in partnership with the Danish Broadcasting Network. Denmark was rated the happiest country in a recent study, whereas Sudan which Thom visited earlier this year is arguably the worst place on Earth.
  • "All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them. Galileo Galilei."
  • Clip:
    "It's a bloodthirsty religion that's practiced over there by a bunch of throwbacks, and we're to kill 'em." Michael Savage.
  • Clip:
    "You know, when I see a woman walking around with a burqa, I see a Nazi. That's what I see -- how do you like that? -- a hateful Nazi who would like to cut your throat and kill your children. Don't give me this crap that they're doing it out of a sacred ritual or rite. It's not required by the Quran that a woman walk around in a seventh-century drape. She's doing it to spit in your face. She's saying, 'You white moron, you, I'm going to kill you if I can'. That's how I see it! What do you want me to do, mince words with you? I'm not going to mince words. We're too far gone in this country." Michael Savage.
  • Guest: Flemming Rose, Cultural Editor at the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. He published the cartoons that initiated the Jyllands-Posten Mohammed cartoons controversy. How does Denmark deal with ethnic and religious minorities and how does the cartoon controversy play into that? He commissioned illustrations for a kid's book. Illustrators wanted to remain anonymous. Self censorship. A British museum censored some art without asking anyone. Jews don't say name of G-d, Islam doesn't portray the face of God or Mohammed, it is considered blasphemous. One of the pictures had an atomic symbol and bomb in Mohammed's turban. It is not Sharia law, and in the past there have been many pictures in books about Mohammed. Shia and Sunni differ. The Shia did not have the ban. If they insist that we obey their rules outside of their holy places, and we do, that is submission. Goods manners vs. self censorship. Not wanting to offend vs. intimidation. He does not think he has blood on his hands. Pakistan has the most severe blasphemy laws.

    Michael Savage clips. He feels closer to the first amendment, free speech. Europe tends to limit it. He disagrees with the German ban on Hitler. David Irving in Austria spent time in prison for being a holocaust denier. There should be no laws against free speech apart from incitement to violence, libel, privacy. He's been acquitted by 4 courts. Blasphemy laws are used to clamp down on dissidents. In the US there was the "Piss Christ", a crucifix in urine. The cartoons were republished after the cartoonist was threatened. Free speech vs. hate speech. We have many rights in a democracy, but not the right not to be offended. Too often people are interpreting words as deeds. Bad taste. Gays and African Americans have been killed in us after hate speech. Violence against Moslems. He was invited to a Moslem conference in Copenhagen 2 years ago. Challenging religious ideas vs. people.

    He's a journalist, the cartoons are commentary. They are also news, he identified the problem of self censorship. He could have just asked illustrators if they were afraid to do cartoons of the prophet, but chose to ask them to go ahead and do some. Fundamental principle of journalism, "don't tell it, show it". A caller asked if it was true that Muslim immigrants do not have to assimilate into Danish society because of an agreement the EU made with the Arab league. Is Sharia law compatible with democracy. No cultures demand assimilation. He does not believe the conspiracy theory that there is a secret deal. Assimilation/integration is about accepting the principles, laws, values embedded in the country, but otherwise you can do what you want.

    A caller said that society is slow to evolve, give it time; it used to be considered blasphemy to print the Koran but that changed, shouldn't have made the argument rather than printing inflammatory cartoons? He is writing a book about it. Should he edit his newspaper according to what clerics are saying in Saudi Arabia or Iran? He doesn't think so. We are doing people living under authoritative regimes a disfavor if we accept these kind of taboos as tools to clamp down on religious, ethnic, sectarian minorities. It's too early to tell whether this incident has been more or less polarizing.
  • Bumper Music: Wake Up America, Bob Wickline.
  • Bumper Music: My Generation, The Who.
  • Guest: internationally renowned, progressive architect Bjarke Ingels. "Ecolomy" - a mixture of ecology and economy. Sustainable living. His amazing designs. We have to think ecology and economy for future. Architecture Without Architects, using local materials and skills. Then came modernism, and engineers, who made a machine for each problem. Now we realize the consequences, we want to design buildings that are habitable without machines. He's doing a project in Dubai. Dubai is replicating us, sky scrapers in the desert are no good, you need heavy tinting on the glass and then you need lighting. He designed an inverted pyramid so the building would create its own shade, and it incorporates a market in the shade. Symbiosis, houses use heat, offices use cooling, so put houses on sunny side, and offices on north side. They just opened the "mountain dwellings" in Copenhagen, apartments and parking; the apartments are on the south facing slope of the mountain-shaped building.

    Contentedness, uniformness in Denmark. The height measurement was the tallest ladder of the fire department. Usually he waits for commissions. People like nurses and police can't afford to live in Copenhagen. At election they said they wanted new apartments, they found the space of the old airport in center, now football fields. It would have been political suicide to get rid of the football fields, they calculated they could put people on the edge without reducing the number of football fields. Foundation against misplaced skyscrapers. They did a web site, nimby mentality.

    Supreme Court ruling on the second amendment. He doesn't know anyone with a gun. There is hardly any gun violence. Racism, jokes? Denmark is one of the most ethnically homogenous countries. Did the right wing party set out to provoke, when it came to immigration? They designed an urban space for multiple cultures. There was a site reserved for a mosque. Denmark is extremely secular. David Sirota pointed out in his column and on the program, as Obama was gaining a foothold, that in those states where there are fewer than 7% minorities, there is generally very little racism.
  • Bumper Music: Gasoline, from Sheryl Crow.
  • Bumper Music: My World, 3 Doors Down.
  • Bumper Music: I Am A Patriot, Jackson Browne.
  • The McCain campaign is going to be good for CEOs, so don;t count on Obama winning. It is a good thing that he opted out of federally funded campaign finance limitations. McCain is proposing that just 8 companies; Wal-Mart, Exxon Mobil, Conoco, Bank of America, AT&T, Berkshire Hathaway, J P Morgan Chase and Microsoft, would each receive over a billion dollars a year in tax cuts, cutting the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25%.
  • In the Senate vote yesterday for cloture on FISA, only 15 senators had the courage to say they did not want to end the debate. They did not include Clinton or Obama. This is a terrible, horrific disappointment. The corporate media is not discussing it.
  • Site: They Rule. Interlocking corporation boards.
  • Daily Kos effort to oppose Democrats who are voting with the Republicans.
  • What's more important? Capitalism or democracy?
  • Guest: Yaron Brook, Ayn Rand Institute. Bjarke Ingels said that in Denmark he has to take into account what the people say, even if it is less profitable. Yaron defines democracy as majority rule. The majority can dictate what kind of building you erect on your land, and what you can say or can't say. But it is not absolute majority rule; there are constraints. He said those constraints deteriorate over time; Thom says they are strengthened. He thinks the Danish are less free than Americans are and suffer. Thom said they are the happiest people, and there is virtually no poverty. He said the lower class have little chance to rise. The ability to become a billionaire is probably greater in the USA. Thom pointed out that the state would pay for a Ph.D. They disagreed on whether Europe or America had more social mobility. Definition of middle class. Unemployed leeches. He said Congress should only pass laws that protect individual rights - to freedom, not food or jobs. Democracy. Community. It's wrong for us to take his money, however many people vote for it.
  • Bumper Music: Logical Song, Supertramp.
  • Bumper Music: Good Time, Alan Jackson.
  • Article: More suicides under Conservative rule, 18 September, 2002.
  • Bumper Music: Citizen of the Planet, Simon & Garfunkel.
  • Guest: David Miller, chairperson, Democrats Abroad Denmark. There are 3 to 4 thousand Americans in Denmark. He's been there 27 years. He gets a lot for his taxes. Everyone who pays in gets something out of it. Thom was horrified that Obama did not filibuster FISA. They are concerned about Iraq. Consensus, capitalist. He's an entrepreneur. The government refunds a lot of maternity costs. He had a translation business, had lots of young women working for him, no problem, nor paternity leave. Health care must ruin American companies. Article about more suicides under conservatives. There are still opportunities to filibuster FISA, cloture was on a motion to proceed which stops holds, there are still amendments to come then up and down. Motions to proceed aren't normally filibustered. A dancer called could not have continued without the help of Danish health care because Americans had no solution.

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