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Read my lips ..no more wars

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Message Paul Titterton
I've heard that in America, you can get tax exemption if you donate to your church. I struggle with that and would argue you should pay more tax if you go to church. Then we would have funding for the counselling required for the victims of abuse caused by said church.

There are some, however, that are amazing. I went to the FAME church (First American Methodist Episcopalian, I think) in South Central, in LA and was moved sideways. The singing, the friendliness and the sheer spirit.. uplifting and unforgettable. There were a hundred people in the choir, maybe more.

When the minister asked us to put our hands in the air, this heathen jumped up and sang like a zealot. I was hugged by the biggest young man I have ever seen. I checked my pockets afterwards. I had expected to get mugged, as even a dumb Scot knew that South Central is a hellish drug valley of hopelessness.

Where were the screaming cop cars, the gold chains weighing down the sunglass-eyed, menacing dudes? I watch TV. I know the 'score'. These young 'dudes' were softly spoken, suit-wearing giants and the friendliest people I have ever met. Our churches are dull and could wither away. The FAME church won't.

I have never made enough money to put me into the supertax bracket, but even what I pay seems to be a lot at times. With me, however, it's what the tax is spent on, rather than the amount. Tony's membership of the posse of Sheriff George has cost squillions and I think that people should only be prepared to go to war if they will shoulder the cost personally.

And, of course, if they will allow their own children, partner or self to fight on the front line. That will show just how committed they are, to what ever reason they want to kill foreigners. And not just deliberately.

What always throws me is the number of people, including our own, killed by road accidents in wars, but it should not surprise really. You would not be over zealous at respecting the Highway Code if you thought some high powered rifle was taking aim as you sauntered along in your Land Rover, watching carefully for wee children playing in the street. Also there could be left over fragments of bombs to consider.

Cluster bombs.... who dreamed up that little nightmare? Imagine a car, say, an old Skoda. I mean before Volkswagen took over and they stopped falling apart. It would weigh about the same as a bomb. If you dropped an old-style Skoda on a city, it would cause considerable damage, for example, it would go straight through a roof.

It would then prise apart and bits of metal would branch out and meet with foreign trouble makers plotting inside. Imagine further that the clutch waits till an insurgent child picks it up to play with. It will then disintegrate into freedom fragments.

I make the above point because I have no idea what a cluster bomb looks like but I have seen old Skodas. I have also seen 'home grown' terrorist bombs on the front pages of newspapers showing how they hate us. The nasty looking nails surrounding the explosives for extra flesh injuries could only have been thought up by some disgustingly perverted mind. Cluster bombs, by contrast, were designed by committed scientists, whose respect for mankind has driven their work. Sarcasm is the lowest etc.? No, hypocrisy is lower.

Back to taxation. So why did George Senior not say 'Read my lips... taxes pay for hospitals and schools'? More jobs can be created by money spent on Education than on the Military, by a factor by about ten fold I think, so any discussion of distribution of revenue should look at this.

We must emphasise that taxation is the mark of a fair society. However, saying this in America requires tact, as I believe that you can be arrested in some parts of Texas for such statements. (I exaggerate ....you need to say it three times!)
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'Hamish ' is an antiwar writer socialist- scientist and musician living in Scotland.
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