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The Beginning of the End?

By       Message Ibrahim Turner     Permalink
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An Englishman weighs in with comments on:

A Child's Guide to US-Iran Relationsby Russ Wellen 

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And I see that Joseph Lieberman's bill to attack Iran has just been passed... 

Who will stop Bush's cabal from doing just whatever it wants? A few articles on the Internet, and even hundreds of keyboard 'warriors' posting comments? 

Only a Vietnam-type 'taking to the streets' will give them pause and put the fear into them to hesitate. It’s different from the Vietnam time because people do not see the gore and blood and guts on TV - and even the coffins are shipped in during the night with no pictures allowed. 

Sleep on America; your fate is practically sealed. Next stop - Marshal Law.

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And I remembered reading lots of articles and comments, most about the war in Iraq and the threat to Iran, and Cheney and Bush and the neocons and the lies, and the Democrats’ spinelessness and Katrina’s refugees and how anything that the various writers and bloggers say is of any use or even occupying the senator’s offices and marching in Washington are not reported, and Fox Noise and the Columbia University fiasco and I realised that I am becoming very depressed about all of this, and should stop reading all this stuff and get out more.  

I am 71, an Englishman who has no vote in the USA so why should I be so bothered about the arrogance of Americans? 

Well, first of all, it has been a common saying in England (with a bit of humour), that when America sneezes, Britain catches pneumonia. And no doubt the sub-prime meltdown and the global financial crisis is going to affect the UK like a dose of the flu pandemic everyone used to be so afraid of.

Northern Rock’s queues of savers wanting their money should have been a wake-up call to everyone. But no, everything has quieted down again and pundits are speculating on the demise or buy-up of Northern Rock, but that the ‘financial system’ is basically in good shape because of our economy’s strength and full employment. So there is nothing to worry about, right? 

I took a little look at my life and my situation in the light of the maybe coming financial bloodbath. I am not well off but have a mortgage with my son and he has two jobs, (I am retired with a reasonable pension) and we are able to eat and pay the bills. 

I have some health problems and with the UK’s health care system I can and do go to my doctor for my free medicine, have been to the hospital for investigative enquiries into various symptoms and all for free. If you count all the taxes I have paid over the years of working life, then it’s like the health care insurance of the USA without the profits for the insurance companies. 

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I cannot walk far, but I can drive to the doctors and the hospital and go shopping for food and necessities. The doctors have all the required equipment to appraise my health, there is no shortage of syringes or electricity to run the machines, there are clean wards and helpful and charming nurses and doctors from Nigeria, Jordan, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Romania, Mongolia and no doubt other nationalities working in the British health service. 

I have lived in other countries where the electricity is rationed to three separate hours a day (by design because of shortage and price of diesel) including a small desert town in Mauritania. When I was in Turkey there was a black-out in New York and the Turks all laughed at the problems the Americans were having because in Turkey power outages were common and everyone just got on with it. 

No doubt in America life is pretty good on average, if you have a job with health care benefits. Perhaps not if you are unemployed and you get sick or you are black and live in an area where the gangs and drug pushers operate. 

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A well traveled and slightly worse for wear 72 year old Englishman; widower, several children and grandchildren and a penchant for wondering 'what is the hidden agenda' in almost everything I read. A keen interest in American culture (an oxymoron?) (more...)

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