War, what is it good for?

as we head towards the American 2016 Presidential Primaries, and given the continuing falling apart of the manufactured countries in the middle east, there will again be the inevitable warmongering hawks who’ll claim that we should bomb this, bomb that, or that we should have never pulled the troops out.

Yesterdays staggering revelations by Tim Weiner on Fresh Air, about American President Nixon, and Nixons utter contempt for the American public, and the total waste of lives among those who fought, and suffered Nixons war, contrasted magnificently with a docu-drama about London in the 2nd World War that I caught on TV Sunday afternoon while surfing channels.

Before you think I’m about to get all holly and sanctimonious about the British, I’m not. The documentary, available in 2-parts on YouTube(see below). It’s not significant because it’s about the British, or London, or anything related to my ancestry. It’s significant because as you listen and watch

“My feeling was one of anger, this is my city, whats happening out there, how dare they? It was ones’ own history burning, and who has any right to do this? How would you feel if you’d watched it? Your own home city burning. Put yourself in the shoes of the people that were watching that night” – Jessica Jacob

“The more we were hit, the more we had this spirit. I think they thought they could actually bomb us into submission, but it did the opposite. The more that was done to us, the more we responded by OK, we can take it, get on it with it, we are not going to submit.” – George Wheeler

“If someone came to your house and said I’m going to destroy it, and you’ve got a wife and children, you are going to fight like fury to save it, and thats what happened here. I’m not going to forget it, I don’t want to forget it.” – Richard Holsgrove

It is not about Britain, not even about America, watching the documentary about the London firestorm it is easy to imagine bombers bombing Iraq; the British bombers over Dresden; anonymous, invisible drones over Afghanistan; Japanese fighters flying into Pearl Harbor; the words of Jacob, Wheeler and Holsgrove would ring true from any human.

War, what is it good for?

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US Government over performing

Yesterday I received a letter congratulating me on becoming a permanent resident and telling me I’d receive my “green card” within the next 3-weeks. Much to my surprise, it showed up in the mail today, along with a small envelope that said “We recommend use of this envelope to protect your new card and to prevent wireless communication with it.”

So the first thing I did was to scan it with my NFC enabled Google Android phone, didn’t work. Anyway cheers to the USCIS Texas processing center for getting my card out so quickly. I’ve already printed USCIS Form N-400 and will be tracking all my trips outside the USA for the next 5-years. The plan is then to send it the form… I’m not worth Eduardo is, yet, but as one person leaves, another arrives.

What kind of country do you want?

It’s fascinating to watch, and participate in the change in America. Sometimes it starts to look like a distinctly 2nd rate country. I’ve met reasonable people who are out of work through no fault of their own, who can’t afford to see a Dr or a Dentist unless its a life threatening emergency. Period. Then I hear from Oli in the UK that he’s finally gone to the dentist and had his teeth fixed, two fillings, and a root canal, total price to him, 49 UKP or about $60.

In this weeks This American Life they ask the question, what kind of country? They cover a number of angles as always, again the most interesting is saved until the end. The question is should you pay more tax and does cutting services actually save money? It’s more a question of trust I think, and people seem intrinsically not to trust the government. Which is weird given they deliver so much.

If asked would I pay an extra $200 to keep the existing services going, or pay $300 to cut loads of services and just pay the annual bill for street lighting, I’d go with the $200, not because it was cheaper, but because I believe honestly in the commons. You’ll be surprised what a lot of people were willing to pay. This American Life, Episode 459 (mp3).