Phileas #15 – Our Chinese overlords

July 26, 2009 by  
Filed under - The Phileas Club, .Episodes, Featured

Sam & MaoEpisode 15 is a slightly different show; the original idea was to have a long part of the first, “internationnal” segment as a discussion about China and how we see it in our future, and then move on the the local stories… But as the flow of the show went seamlessly the other way around, we decided to keep it going like the natural, fun conversation we like to have every month. As we said during the show, the Phileas Club is a planet wide coffee table where friends of different backgrounds come together and chat for a while.

So for the month of July, Turki, Scott and Patrick talk about health care, Walter Cronkite, Iranian planes, swine flu pandemic, Barrack Obama, French workers blowing up factories, as well as the issue of sex toys on Saudi TV and the future of our Chinese overlords.

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25 Responses to “Phileas #15 – Our Chinese overlords”
  1. C. J. says:

    Hey, it just wouldn’t be a PC episode without me pissing in the cornflakes, would it?

    I tweeted Scott an interesting question about health care: Where does the U.S. Constitution authorize a nationalized health care program? And Scott came back with the right answer: it doesn’t. He brought up the fact that social security and medicare are also not authorized by the Constitution, yet they exist today. True. When the FDR administration passed the social security legislation in the 1930’s, there was a challenge to its constitutionality. The case which decided that it was constitutional was Steward Machine Co. v. Davis (case citation is 301 U.S. 548 and you can get a decent summary of the case off Wikipedia). It was a 5-4 decision, which means that one vote the other way and social security would have been declared unconstitutional and we would not have it today. The basis for it being legal under the constitution is that the Court held that it was a tax, a tax which was authorized by Art. I, Sec. 8 of the U.S. Constitution. The current health care legislation which go much further than being a “tax”–it would mandate health care coverage and essentially turn the U.S. government into the nation’s largest HMO (Health Maintenance Organization). Therefore, like many libertarians and limited government people have pointed out, before you ever get to the question of whether it is a good thing for national health care, you have to ask whether it would be constitutional. I believe the answer is no because it falls outside of Congress’s enumerated powers (as defined in Art. I, Sec. 8 of the U.S. Constitution) and the program would not be a “tax” as held to be legal under the Steward case.

    Will it matter? Most likely, no. It looks as if some version of the current proposal will be passed by Congress (though now the Blue Dog Democrats Congressional caucus–the right leaning wing of the Democratic party–are raising hell about the proposal because they know don’t like the proposal and know that they are likely to lose their Congressional seats in the election next year to their right leaning Congressional districts). President Obama will, no doubt, sign the legislation into law. There will be a legal challenge to the legislation, however by the time that challenge makes its way to the U.S. Supreme Court (which take a few years at a minimum), President Obama will have appointed at least one and probably two Supreme Court justices who we can assume would uphold the legislation.

    I think there is a greater constitutional basis that health care is not the province of the federal government, but rather the state governments. See, specifically the 9th and 10th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. These amendments basically say that whatever powers were not granted to the federal government specifically by the U.S. Constitution are retained by the States or to the people.

    So, Patrick, if you’re reading this, there may actually be a different way to oppose the national health care proposal on a level other than financial, though I think the financial cost of the system is a great argument against as well. What will end up happening is that the U.S. government will have to raise more money to pay for these programs. The two main ways to raise money are to increase taxes and/or borrow more money (most likely from the Chinese). Neither of these are good ideas right now for a variety of reasons.

    Also, I’d like to make the point that you really can’t compare the U.S. health care situation and policy proposal to other socialized systems like the U.K. or France or wherever. Our tort system (and insurance system) are completely different from those countries and are a total game changer. And, remember, as recently as the 1960’s, the U.S. really had no health care problems. It was only the explosion of the insurance lobby and tort lawyers that caused many of the problems we see today.

    The answer, in my opinion, is greater choice and less regulation. Where I live, there are about 4 or 5 health care companies available to me. They all are subject to the same regulations which mandate certain kinds of coverage–for instance, even though I am not diabetic, I would be forced to take that coverage in my premium. Women in their 60’s are forced to take pregnancy coverage. There’s many more examples that can be made. We have over regulated our health care system to the point that the government has handcuffed the system. If you apply a free market theory, more choice and less regulation means more competition and lower costs. There’s no reason why a free market theory can’t work for health care–and it did in the U.S. until the 1960’s until the explosion of government regulation and lawsuits against doctors and hospitals.

    I’m a lawyer (though I do not practice personal injury) and I can tell you that some type of tort law reform is needed. However, I can’t really tell you what that reform should look like. The easiest solution is to cap damage awards at $X amount, but then you run the risk of screwing over people that are seriously damaged and possibly violating someone’s constitutional right to trial by jury.

    As to China: Good points made on the program about cultural dominance. I agree with Patrick that Chinese culture will have a hard time taking hold outside of Asia, but that’s not what worries me. Since the 1990’s, China has invested heavily in its naval power. Naval power is the basis for projecting power outside of your region. Think of all the great world powers since 1500 (England, France, Spain, the Soviet Union, even Germany and, to a lesser extent, Japan (at least pre-WWII) and now the United States)–the one thing they all have in common was they had powerful navies. Also, China would need a powerful navy to challenge U.S. dominance in its region (especially if they make a move on Taiwan). And remember that China’s demand for oil and gasoline is HUGE. They are heavily involved in the current situation in Sudan and have been propping up the government there. This is also why China’s relationship with Russia is particularly interesting (and troubling)

    Anyway, kind of a long post, but just some thoughts that were inspired by the latest Phileas podcast.

    • Patrick says:

      Interesting how you turn and twist to argue about the legality and constitutionality of it, but never to stop to think about the moral thing to do. Maybe it’s because you’re a lawyer.
      Ok that was a cheap one. :)

      But the point is, sometimes you have to simply think about the situation you do have in front of you, not the theory of what was written two hundred years ago. It seems pretty clear to me that you can’t let someone become bankrupt just because they had the bad luck to get cancer and they were dumb enough to not pay for insurance. There are SOME things that you need to impose on people for their own good: put your seatbelt on, don’t shoot fireworks indoors, get insurance.

      I realize that you can twist that argument into (insert Texan accent) “well if the government starts telling people what to do, then pretty soon you’re in China”. Yeah… As crazy as it sounds, it does make sense on paper (and that’s kind of what you’re arguing about) but it’s still far fetched, argumentative, counter productive and ultimately silly.

      As to the “the problem is that we have to much tax and regulation” argument, I think if I hear it one more time my head is going to explode… You guys are like some detergent infomercial:
      “No matter what the problem is, “LessTax&Regulation” will take care of it! Wine stains, dirt stains, blood stains… And that’s not all, it’ll clean your bathroom and the kitchen, it will clear the dust from under your bed and teach your dog how to poop in a bag! Get “LessTax&Regulation” TODAY and everything will turn into rainbows and pixie dust!

      My point is, a single doctrine is not the answer to everything. You need to regard each situation differently and apply the appropriate reasoning to come to a conclusion. I don’t stick to one argument; I am sometimes severely anti taxation, but it’s not a principle I apply blindly.
      And I’m sure you’re going to argue that you do see every problem clearly and think about each of them individually, but the point is this:
      If every question in the book gets the same answer, then it’s pretty clear that you have a problem.

      My 2 cents.

  2. C. J. says:

    You have to keep in mind that the Constitution exists to provide a framework for the American government and must be followed. If something isn’t constitutional, then the right thing to do is to change the Constitution. And the Constitution has procedures built in for amending it. The U.S. has had 27 amendments to the Constitution since 1787. Every law that Congress passes has to be related to Constitutional authority otherwise it is illegal. We are supposedly a nation where the rule of law exists, yet it has become convoluted for a variety of reasons.

    I think I came up with a pretty good explanation of why I don’t like the idea of the federal government (and notice how I said federal and not state governments–I think it would perfectly legitimate and in the province of the States to institute a state run health care program) running our health care system. It goes like this:

    Let’s say I open a Kool-Aid stand in my city. My mission in selling Kool-Aid is to sell Kool-Aid at the lowest price and bring my Kool-Aid, which I will call Obama-Aid, to the poor and less fortunate in society. There are other Kool-Aid vendors in the city, and they different prices, qualities, flavors, etc. The difference is that Obama-Aid is going to be subsidized by the Federal government. So, while everybody else is selling their Kool-Aid at around .25 cents a cup, I can sell Obama-Aid for .05 cents a cup and the government is going to make up the loss. Maybe Obama-Aid tastes pretty good. Maybe it’s even the best Kool-Aid around. But, what’s going to happen? All the other Kool-Aid vendors are not going to be able to compete with my government subsidized Obama-Aid. They go out of business. Pretty soon, all that’s left is Obama-Aid. Now I don’t have to care about how good Obama-Aid is. I can put more water in to dilute it. I don’t have to care about the lines that form for people to buy Obama-Aid. Essentially, there’s no incentive for me to make good Obama-Aid and bring a good product and service to the market.

    That’s why I’d like to keep the federal government out of health care. I could go on and on about the growth of the federal government over the last 75 years and how it’s been a disaster for the U.S. on a variety of levels, but I could literally write a book about it. Suffice to say, I don’t like the idea of a powerful federal government. Bad things happen in this country when the federal government gets involved in things it should–The War on Drugs, social security (which I will most likely never see a single cent from by the time I reach eligibility age though I’ve been paying into it for almost 20 years now), nationalization of our railroads (Amtrack is a disaster!)…all of these things and many more have been bad, bad, bad. Just huge money pits. As I’ve said many, many times, the average American should be more fearful of being imprisoned or having their life ruined by the federal government than by being killed in a terrorist attack.

    You are right–the situation is bad. Because I’m a veteran, I can get health care through the Veteran’s Administration, but it can be a real pain in the ass. I’ve had private health insurance and it can also be a pain in the ass. I had a health plan that I got booted from and was made to go to more expensive, less comprehensive plan. The insurance lobby in this country is huge and it created this mess. They are the ones that have fought for increased regulation and look where it’s gotten us. Like I’ve said, until the 1960’s, you could go to your doctor in the U.S. and it wasn’t a big deal. The doctor made a living directly from his patients and there was little, if any, involvement of an insurance company or the government. Personal injury lawyers and insurance companies took that away.

    Actually, Patrick, I’m curious as to what happens in France when a doctor commits malpractice. Can you sue the doctor or does the health care system just take care of you? My understanding is that France’s health care system is much better than the UK’s because it relies more on private health care providers. Also, the statistics I’ve seen is the between 1949 (after creating the National Health Service) and 1979, health care costs in the UK tripled. And apparently they’ve doubled in the last ten years and productivity has decreased. Also, I’ve heard that the UK government is actually giving cash to its citizens to go to private doctors–they’re actually paying people to opt-out of their government run health care. Sounds lovely…

    I know that if we cut taxes, I will have more money in my pocket. That’s a fact. I may use that money to buy a better health care plan. I may use that money to take a trip to Paris and give some of my hard earned dollars to my French brethren. Or, I may just put that money in the bank. But I will have more money and more economic power.

    In economic times like these, it seems pretty stupid to me to launch something that is only going to cost us a ton of money now and cost us more and more money in the future.

    • Patrick says:

      We’re going in circles again; you say you want the government to leave your money alone because if not “bad things will happen”.
      All I can tell you is that we’ve been on your Omaba-aid exclusively for the past 50 years and I’m pretty darn sure that our health care system is a hell of lot more effective than the mess you have in the US.
      Wrap that around the constitution, your rights, your independence or anything else you like, it’s still not going to make what you have at the moment the right way to do it.
      Again, it will cost more, but that’s about the only valid argument I’m hearing. And even there, Icesnake’s claim can bring discussion to the table.

      As to the malpractice issues in France… What malpractice issues? We have malpractice suits, sure, but in reasonable cases. We understand that a doctor is not a magician, and sometimes judgment calls are made in shit hits the fan. In a more general view, we don’t have the insane letigation issues that you seem to have (or at least had in the 90s).

  3. Nathan says:


  4. One wonders why anyone with any moral sense would oppose providing health care to those who can’t afford to provide their own.

    As for those who claim it’s going to cost us money, firstly you’re mistaken; comprehensive health care has been demonstrated to *save* money because treatable illnesses are either prevented, or caught in time to treat at a much lower cost than when they are in an advanced stage; and secondly, at what point do we decide that a person’s life is not worth improving? When it costs $100 per taxpayer per year to save a couple of thousand dollars per Middle Class taxpayer, and when I see that the majority opposing national health care are rich White Republicans, I know what the agenda is. Racism isn’t pretty, folks.

    • Patrick says:

      I have to agree with most of what you’re saying, especially the part about the worth of a human life, but I stop at the racism comment. I don’t think it has anything to do with that; it has to do with the money. Most rich people being white is just “coincidence” (I know it’s not, but that’s not relevant to the point). Point is, I think rich black people are just as likely to be anti tax as rich white people…

  5. Patrick says:

    Brian sent me a comment that I thought would be interesting to publish. I mostly agree with him on this issue: the cops’ job is hard enough as it is, and it certainly seems that Mr. Gates overreacted… Anyway, here it is:

    As far as the incident itself. Having been in that cops place before, I think Mr. Gates overreacted for the most part. I mean Mr. Gates doesn’t appear to look like he’s up to no good. The cop was probably covering his bases and wanted to make sure that he did indeed live there. It’s a conceivable scenario to the cops there that Mr. Gates showed up after the burglars and the police wanted to make sure no one was hiding in the house and would attack Mr. Gates after they left. Those are the thing you have to think about when you are a cop. But of course Mr. Gates blew up and just thought that it was all racially motivated. I mean, I’ve had black people, Hispanic people, and wealthy white women say I was racist for just doing my job. Plus start MF’ing the cops after they leave. Cops are human but have arrest authority so you gotta expect a reaction if you blow up on them.

  6. C. J. says:

    I think you may be under the misconception that people go without health care in the United States. If you have a medical problem, you can go to the doctor. There are resources. There are plenty of state funded programs for low income people. People are not turned away from the emergency room. I’m not necessarily against the government being involved in health care, but I am against the idea of Washington mandating what I can and cannot do with my health care from 2,000 miles away from where I live. I do believe there is a constitutional issue here. I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States twice in my life: once when I enlisted in the Marine Corps and again when I became a member of the bar. I take it seriously and believe the government should not exceed its constitutional authority. I believe it is constitutional for a state government to run health care or administer health care programs. I don’t think I would be opposed to some sort of block grants to the states from the federal government to run a health care program, but the problem is that the federal politicians tend to place conditions on receiving that money. So, please, don’t turn me into some sort of heartless person that would let people die. And that’s not what’s happening here in the U.S.

    Since someone brought up the issue of Gates: I think both Mr. Gates and the officer acted stupidly in the situation. And I think I need to qualify my statements that I am mostly a criminal defense attorney. I make my living picking apart what the police do and look for mistakes or overreaction. In this case, Mr. Gates acted stupidly. The police arrive to investigate a valid and reasonable report of someone breaking into his home (and, by the way, the tape of the 911 call was released today and the caller never mentioned the race of the suspect (Mr. Gates)). I think it’s reasonable that the police ask for ID. What are they supposed to do–say, “Oh, well we’ll just take your word for it and leave”. Mr. Gates could have nipped the situation in the bud by providing some sort of proof that it was his property. Answering that request with, “This is what happens to black men in the U.S.” is a bit of an odd thing to say. Now, he was arrested for disorderly conduct…inside his own home. I looked at the Massachusetts statute and it has a fairly common wording which requires a breach of the peace. Breach of the peace is a legal phrase which basically means causing a ruckus in public which incites others to violence or alarm. Here, Mr. Gates is in his own home. It’s private property, therefore there’s no public alarm for his conduct. Even if it’s in public, you have to walk a fine line between a breach of the peace and someone’s right to free speech. In this case, once the police knew that this man owned the property and there was no crime, they should have left, regardless of what he was saying to them. There’s no crime in the United States for disrespecting a police officer–it’s part of the job. I see this kind of situation a lot in my practice and I call it “contempt of cop”. Cops will charge somebody with Resisting or Obstructing an Officer for some type of behavior that pissed the cop off. They take the guy to jail. The guy has to pay to bond out, usually a couple hundred bucks, or he sits in jail for a few days until a Judge releases him. Then usually the cops won’t show up for trial–but by then, the guy might’ve hired a lawyer or agonized about the whole thing. So, I can kind of see what President Obama was saying.

    But, the bottom line is, when you’re President of the United States, you shouldn’t comment on things of this nature. Many Presidents put their foot in their mouth. In the long run, it’s not such a big deal and the charges have been dropped against Mr. Gates.

  7. Peruchito says:

    about the Gates vs Cops story. i agree with your post above that things should be taken into context. i am sure the cops where just ‘covering’ their bases. BUT lets take into context Gates side of the story. he proved his identity. he even proved ownership of the house. usually giving ID is enough, and its up to the cops to confirm ownership. they didn’t have to check out his house “in case other buglars might have gotten there before Gates” because he already admitted that he busted down the door. they have no right to enter his house without a warrant at that point. and i am pretty sure mr.Gates did not invite them in. plus, Gates is old school. he grew up in a time when cops would take you off and you’d come back with bruises. his instinctual reaction to be overly defensive is not unwarranted.

    i am in my 30s, and i never talk to the police without taking down their names, badge numbers, and even car number. if they have a problem with it (they shouldn’t it is my RIGHT to), then they can walk away. i never let police enter my home (unless they have a warrant).

    i have been in, and seen, and heard first hand from friends and family, too many stories of cops abusing their powers. it takes them 5-10 mins to get to a rich neighbourhood to answer a call about a few suspicious teenagers, and for some reason it took 45 mins to get to our poor neighbourhood to stop a knife fight. and the police station was across the street!. i have had many friends beaten by police. arrested with no charges. and provoked, dragged out of their house with no warrant to enter, and with no charges of anything ‘criminal’.

    the people i know that became cops were all bullies in highschool, that never followed the law themselves. that and the fact that i see a cop that is of a minority group about once a year, doesn’t help my mistrust of cops.

    so, i can totally understand mr.Gates situation. could he have handled it better? sure. but the cops should have been a lot more professional. they were dealing with an elderly black male in an upscale neighbourhood that already proved his identity and even proved he owned the house. they should have apologized for his time, wished him a nice day. and no matter what he said, they should have just walked away. he had every right to be angry, and unless mr.gates was physically attacking the cops, they should have been professional about ‘serving and protecting’ and driven off to fight real crime somewhere else.

    • Patrick says:

      Maybe I’m just a bit of a pushover but this is why I enjoy the comments on topics like this: everyone comes to it with a pretty clear idea of what they think and what’s actually right. Especially if you’re in a different culture and a different country. And with every comment I get to hear another part of the story and to understand exactly why the situation is never as simple as it seems at first. Fairly basic concept, but not easy to actually root in reality in most cases. So I was saying I might be a pushover and this is why: each time I hear someone else’s side of the story, I think that there is a lot of truth in it, and I come a little bit over to their side.
      As always, the “real” truth (if there even is such a thing) probably lies somewhere in the middle, or a little bit in each camp… And there is no definitive answer, just different perspectives.

      Let’s hope they get together over that beer in the white house and show the really important thing: beer makes everything better. :)

  8. Peruchito says:

    PS great show. i wish you would have it more often

  9. Peruchito says:

    about japan. you were all right on the mark. another issue i found was that the generation that worked hard, and made big sacrifices, was the older generation that remembers japan when it was still in ruins. in the 80s, the workforce was so dedicated to the job that family life was tossed to the side. so the new generation in the late 80s and 90s, were a generation of spoiled brats that were raised of tv with little attention from their parents. this is a huge issue in japan right now. FYI, i am part of that lazy generation, but i had the luck of not living in japan most of my life. when i visit, or from the japanese peers i have met here, this was always one of the my biggest criticism of them.

    also, i agree with scott that after china, africa could be a major power, but the only thing that might hinder that is the constant war and warlords. i think they more obvious choice for the moment is latin america. we have lots of resources, and our governments are becoming more progress and worst yet (for americans at least) we are starting to work together (all the countries). old rivalries between latin american nations are toning down. mostly thanks to bush (they united under a common enemy, the US). america’s divide and conquer routine of putting puppet governments in latin america will become harder to do.

    PS, i have nothing against american people. i have many family there and i believe that the people’s intention is good just misguided. the US government on the other hand, i hate big time.

  10. Lovetron says:

    My opinion on the Gates/Cop thing…….
    This is a case where suburban patrolman cops throw their weight around. This crap is way to common. Once the patrolman determined that there was no problem he should have gotten in his car and left. The behavior that Gates displayed was pretty stupid. However, it is up to the police to control the situation, and to most importantly prevent it from escalating. He could have said, “thank you for your time sir,” or even, “whatever buddy” and just left. Instead, he went down the wrong road. He decided that he was going to get into a dumb situation with an unreasonable man. That puts him in the “idiot suburban cop club.” This guy had better go make sure that there are no kids skateboarding in the parking lot by the movie theater.

  11. Bhess says:

    I agree with CJ that the disorderly arrest probably wasnt necessary. I hate to Monday morning quarterback it though. It’s so pervasive when you stop someone that they say it’s all about the cops being racist. It’s never about the stolen license plate on the car or the billowing pot smoke floating out the car windows.

    As far as the police going into the house. Did Gates own the house or was he renting? Was that address on his license? The report was also about two men. Would be unreasonable to look for the second man? I think there was probable cause for that. So no warrant needed.

    All in all it was a situation that didn’t need national exposure.

    As far as the screed that all cops are just ex-bullies. Cops are not perfect people. But most are good honest people. Also dealing with scumbags day to day which squares do not have to do tends to whittle down your capacity for taking shit. Also if you or friends are constantly getting pulled over or arrested at home. They or you are doing something wrong. If you are a square the chances of you getting pulled over or arrested are minimal. People who get in trouble with the law put themselves in that position. Though I never have a problem with people saying no to a search. Make the cops be sharp and articulate the facts.

    As far as healthcare. Patrick you really have no idea how far americans will take this new entitlement if it goes through. It’s a big issue that has a lot of facets that need to be discussed and decided on. Also the timing of it is really bad. We need jobs more than healthcare right now. We have healthcare for the old and the poor with Medicaid and Medicare right now. For the rest of the working people they need to be enabled to get insurance or their employers need to have an easier time getting it for them.

  12. Bhess says:

    I thought of a good analogy regarding Americans and healthcare. We would just not want healthcare. We would want the “Super Sized” healthcare. That’s why nationalizing it is scary.

  13. Peruchito says:


    we weren’t doing anything wrong. i was a straight A student with an 90% average. most of my friends were 80%+. we played handball, basketball. no one carried weapons etc. after a few years of getting harassed by cops, getting looked down upon by the ‘community’ for the way we dressed, and getting into ‘trouble’ for no trouble, some of us decided that there was no point in being ‘good’ if you are treated like a criminal anyways. by our early 20s, most of us had a bleak outlook on life. a few managed to make something of ourselves by joining the military or sticking it out in factories and low paying jobs until we can get lucky and get hired in a high paying job.

    racism still exists. i have seen managers throw resumes in the trash as they laugh about how they couldn’t possibly hire someone that they can’t pronounce their name. my friend’s university educated uncle with over 15years experience in the factory didn’t get a manager position that was instead give to some white guy that didn’t finish highschool.

    now i totally understand that being police is a high stress job, but as far as i am concerned, despite that there will always be criminals, their own actions caused this mistrust, the social separation and the bleak futures. their own actions turned kids to crime when they are treated like criminals in the first place.

    the history of police actions caused mrGates to react they way he did. he lost trust in police down to his DNA. people can’t just say, “oh well it was the past”. the price of such actions has to be paid far into the future.

    people that were abused or raped as a kid spend a life time seeking help and healing themselves. sometimes they can never truly heal. can you even begin to imagine an entire community, an entire race that was abused, not just as a child, but for decades? sometimes centuries? this will not heal fast, and you can’t expect people to forgive and forget. one day that day will come, but until then, the ruling class must understand to be extra sensitive, because WE are sensitive to such situations.

    i understand that cop was not there during slavery, and even during the police beatings of the 60s and 70s, but he should understand that those events shaped mrGates existence is such a way that he could not possibly imagine. if a cop can’t empathize, or sympathize, then he must at least be POLITE.

    PS. his friend was also there during the talks with the cops. at least that is what i read. so searching for a second person was a no go.

    • lovetron says:

      This guy has spent the overwhelming majority of his life in intellectual circles attending Yale and The University of Cambridge and than working at Duke, Yale, and Harvard. I doubt the history of police action against blacks in this country can justify his behavior toward the police. I don’t think he can even relate to the struggle that Black Americans face in America today. He’s an antagonistic college professor who thrives on pitting blacks against whites and creating controversy with his published work. He’s not a hero, and the cop in this situation is just as wrong as Gates’ is. Don’t take sides here, both sides are wrong.

  14. Peruchito says:

    hey patrick.

    this is a great read,

    and although not about black being oppressed, it has to do with my ancestors which were similarly opressed. this happaned in 1700s. now you compare the abuse of a human through his youth and young adulthood, and how much healing he would need. imagine a entire people abused for over 300 years. healing usually takes 10 times longer than the actual painful event.

    the conclusion to the article is my point, growing up we (the minority groups and decendents of slaves) feel a shame of who we are. we usually only have 2 choices. conform or find out who we are. which is not easy, being native american, our language was destroyed and people displaced.

    after reading that, perhaps the way mrGates reacted might have not been so entirely drastic. it was stupid yes. getting your emotions take you over is usually stupid. but its understandable.

  15. Mike H-D says:

    hey Patrick… in your comment about language when you’re talking about Chinese culture, and when you say “100 years ago, every country had their own language” (or something along those lines) you sell your country short. Among the European aristocracy, French was in fact the dominant language for all nations.. as far as I know, the source for the phrase “lingua franca”

  16. bhess says:


    Hey Dude, I believe you when you say you believe you weren’t doing anything wrong. It goes to point of view. I bet we can both see the same situation and draw different conclusions. I hate to say it but the way you dress has a lot to do with how people treat and view you. That goes for everyone. That whole, why be good if we are treated bad is a cop out. Also you’re admitting to not being good the whole time, so your interaction with the police is somewhat justified. Also can you swear to your friends behavior 24hrs a day, is it possible that they did something when you weren’t around? Plus you can get some of the squares to believe you but come on, you and your friends were angels never doing anything wrong? Please, you just hate because cops know what the deal is. I don’t care what color they are, groups of teenagers hanging out not doing anything is a recipe for trouble. How many times did you and your friends not do something stupid because the cops were around or you thought you’d get caught? Quit making excuses.

    Of course racism still exists. I don’t think it is as bad as it used to be but it’s still there. You also have to realize that it’s just not the province of white people. Every culture has some form of it. It’s part of the human condition, like it or not. It’s like the black police sergeant that was on scene when Gates was arrested has been called an “Uncle Tom” and has received threats. That’s racism also. The only racism that was on scene at the time was in Gates mind. With all that education and honorary degrees he reacted to the situation by falling back on the intellectually lazy ” The only reason they are harassing me is because I’m black.” If he had given it more than a few seconds of thought he could have come up with other plausible explanations.

    Addressing the going for a job thing. I don’t subscribe to the “I can’t pronounce their name so I won’t bother with them school.” I have a business and have hired people with difficult names. I do have to say though if you come in for interview dressed like your “back on the block” I will never hire you. Also the promotion thing happens to everyone. I had people get promoted over me with less education and experience. It sucks but it happens to everyone.

    P.S. I haven’t read anything about his driver being there, where did you read that?

    • Patrick says:

      I think Peruchito is going to extremes in his arguments (and I tend to disagree with the general rules he gets to: “why be good if you’re threaded the same?” I’m sorry, but that doesn’t fly with me). But then again, you’re going to extremes too: defending the police is great, and I certainly think they have a very very difficult job. Especially when the poor neighbourhoods, which are prone to generating trouble, are mostly ethnic minorities. But you’re basically saying that police abuse doesn’t exist, and that their interventions are always justified, and I have a very hard time believing that. Sure there are reasons and explanations, and as I said I wouldn’t side with the claim that everything is harassment, but saying it never happens seems unrealistic. As well as the idea that it doesn’t happen more to “certain” people.

      Also, I have a slight problem with the part where you talk about someone going to an interview dressed like he’s “back on the block”; why would you assume they wouldn’t dress properly? This seems to come out of nowhere; did it happen to you when you were hiring?

    • Peruchito says:

      i can swear that my friends were not criminals and caused no more trouble than most kids would. kids will be kids after all. but after years of being treated as a second rate citizen, you start believing it. kids get molded by their surroundings.

      also about the guy that didn’t get hired because of his name. i wasn’t saying that ALL employers are like that. i am just saying that this problem still exists. and my problem is that you are saying that it doesn’t.

      sorry, i think i just didn’t write that well. i didn’t mean to imply that the choice was a conscience one. “why be good if you are treated like a criminal anyways” is a state that naturally evolves.

      as per dressing for the interview. this wasn’t even at that stage. the employer simply looked at the resume for a second. read the name, and laughed. straight to the garbage.

      anyways… PATRICK! great friggin show!

      if you ever need the opinion of a mixed raced person let me know. i am peruvian (incan, african, spaniard decent) and japanese mix. my gf is native canadian (potawatomi and mohawk) too. both living in toronto canada, we have a very different view on a lot of things…. though so far, i tend to side with the french. hehe

  17. Jamie Walker says:

    Talking about a Chinese-dominated world order; ever read the Chung Kuo sequence of novels from David Wingrove? They came out in the early 90s and were a fairly interesting take on the future world where China has become the dominant civilisation. Very difficult to get hold of now – been out of print for ages – but looks like there’s plans to reprint.

    Excellent podcast by the way, have added it to me regular listens list ;)

    ( For more info, see: )


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  1. […] The Phileas Club – 15. Our Chinese overlords – An extra good episode in a 15 long straight series of good episodes. They still need an eastern member. Perhaps a @chosumbimbo or some such. […]

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