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2004 - Year of the Commonwealth

By Oldefar ·
It?s a new year, and time to turn our focus away from American issues and towards a greater understanding of the Commonwealth.

The recent revelations regarding the reckless introduction of nuclear weapons into the Falkland Islands area during the British war with Argentina really got me wondering. What could possibly justify such risk to an otherwise risk adverse and civilized nation? This made me think that perhaps I have missed key cultural elements of Commonwealth countries, an unhappy thought given that they make up around a third of all people.

In many of the posts on world issues during 2003, Americans found themselves at odds with those from the Commonwealth. At times, the discussions resemble the Old West feuds between cowboys and sheep herders! With little regard to logic or facts, these feuds had all the maturity of nursery school battles.

I began with some of the past discussions. Clearly, the Commonwealth faction perception is that all American actions are driven by oil or money, and that the American public follows along like a nation of sheep. If true, would there be a similar source behind the actions of other nations? Could there be a prime driver for the actions of the Commonwealth nations? A thread that binds those 54, excuse me, 53 nations of the former British Empire? Some single issue that would cause the tweed suits in London, the descendents of kilted clansmen, the Indian, the Pakistani, the shepherds in North Africa, the ranchers of New Zealand, and the stockmen of Australia to flock together? And if so, how would that effect a war in the Falklands, a place noted mostly for its 2,200 residents and their sheep? What link could there possibly be between that and a fascist Argentine government heading a country best known at that time for harboring former Nazis and being a major sheep producer?

I have to tell you, this was leaving me feeling a bit mutton headed. This poor old US public school educated brain of mine was just gathering wool, but somehow I was hopeful I could lift the blanket of confusion off if I just kept at it.

I started doing a bit of research. Along the way I became side tracked with the long term unrest over Kashmir. I started thinking of my high school days, when a slow dance with a cheer leader in a tight cashmere sweater was the height of? well never mind. At my age, such thoughts could cause a coronary. Besides, India and Pakistan are making progress in resolving their differences including the issue of Kashmir. Then I moved over to the Middle East. Those Afghan and Persian rugs are really something. Carefully woven designs in woolen yarn, creating not only wonderful patterns but stories. Still, the common thread eluded me.

And how did Canada fit into all of this? Sure, I have lived along our common border for half my life. Sure, I have spent many summers enjoying the fishing north of Toronto and in Quebec, and autumns on the Canadian side of the great lake they call Gitche Gumee. Yes, I have enjoyed lunches at the Polish Hall in Windsor, and Friday nights at the Canadian ballet. But what did I know of Canada? Of its western provinces like Saskatchewan where sheep production is growing while cattle production declines. My answers weren?t to be found in the hockey on CBC that I watched, nor with Captain Jolly or Bozo?s Big Top or the Windsor studios where they were produced. Perhaps more recent events would help me find that thread, like NAFTA. NAFTA which opens trade from Canada to Mexico, another major sheep producer.

Sometimes answers are to be found in the everyday. The language, the literature, the humor. On to some of those well loved BBC comedy shows. Take MPFC. There were the lumberjack songs, all in their woolen shirts, but I saw no clues. The skits about the businessman having an affair with a sheep. Hmm. Between Clinton and Bush, it seems everything is driven by sex or money here in the US. Still, to lead the world into a nuclear holocaust like lambs to slaughter, there must be some major underlying factor. Besides, Thatcher was in power at the time, and I don?t recall any skits involving rams.

Taking a break, I read some articles about green house gasses. Seems methane is becoming a real issue in global warming. A natural gas, it is a byproduct of livestock, and sheep in particular.

While I pondered this, word of a new outbreak of mad cow disease, this time in the US, grabbed my attention. What a bizarre world! Cows eating sheep parts and developing in effect Alzheimer?s, and the ability to pass it on to people who eat the cows. I see the USDA has traced those cattle back to our Canadian friends. Was Reagan a victim of conspiracy?

Reviewing what I learned: the richest members of the Commonwealth all are involved in sheep production; Commonwealth nations among the top 10 world sheep producers include Pakistan, India, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa; how there is a strong movement within the Commonwealth to expand ovine production in their developing member nations; how world hot spots involved with sheep production include Syria, Iran, Algeria, Egypt, Sri Lanka, and Iraq; how the UK (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales) have significant sheep production; how Canada is expanding its own sheep production while cattle and other livestock production declines; and how Argentina, another of the top 10 world leaders in sheep production, was considered worth risking a nuclear holocaust over the Falkland Islands.

Feeling a bit sheepish I began to wonder if it is possible we have had the wool pulled over our eyes all this time? Could there be a previously unrecognized conspiracy on a level greater than the alleged Illuminati working ever so slowly to take over the world? Will methane, in the form of ovine flatulence, be the source of energy and so the source of power in the current century? Is mutton, rather than money, the fuel of globalization?

As an American I can only say ?Naa-a-aa-aa, can?t be? and keep seeking understanding.

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Yes, I know. . .

by maxwell edison In reply to Max Ken was having a dig ...

...that Ken was having a fun dig at the British Commonwealth. But the message to which I replied was the off-topic, and take yet another poke at America message posted by someone else.

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by Oldefar In reply to Max Ken was having a dig ...

To think that I had considered a vacation on the Coral Trekker where guests are invited to "join the crew in the rigging (they'll show you the ropes)". The promise of an adventure like none other I have ever had takes on a whole new meaning!


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UAS a commonwealth nation?

by Oz_Media In reply to Not my thoughts alone ... ...

Just break down the word, COMMON WEALTH. that would never happen in a capitalist country.

If the USA became a commonwealth country, the Commonwealth would reject it like a bad organ that just doesn't fit with the rest.

Where would we be without America? Who cares, at least we wouldn't have to hear about the USA all day and night. At least we wouldn't be banished for not liking thier obscure system of government and then banished again for not joining in thier little invasions. At least music would be real. At least people would be humble. At least....

I could write an entire novel on why I wouldn't want to be American, with a second novel about how anally blind to reality American society is.

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word "commonwealth"

by john_wills In reply to UAS a commonwealth nation ...

"commonwealth", or "commonweal", is the English claque of the Latin "res publica", from which we derive also the word "republic". "commonwealth" and "republic" do not mean exactly the same, but they are related words. "Commonwealth of Pennsylvania" means approximately "Republic of Pennsylvania".

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TECH'S !!!

by Oz_Media In reply to word "commonwealth"

Everything has to be picked apart.

I was only using a play on the word to suggest that the name goes AGAINST American theories.

I was not implying the origin of the word at all.

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Re: Commonwealth

by maxwell edison In reply to Not my thoughts alone ... ...

It was suggested in the past that the USA become (well, remain) part of the British Commonwealth. The notion was soundly rejected. Why bring it up again? What's different now?

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Independance or Isolation

by Oz_Media In reply to Not my thoughts alone ... ...

It seems that the line between independance and isolation is getting thinner and thinner.

Independance, an American could explain MUCH better than me because your country is built upon independance and you lives are surrounded by reminders of your independance.

What you feel is independance may often be seen as isolation by others?

You (US society) are very vocal about being unique and better than the rest of the world. The US has a better form of government, better social rules, better companies, better resources, better ideas, better military, better foods, better cars, better music, more money etc.

Now that vocal 'we are the best' attitude is often seen as a way of separating yourselves from others, therefore your indpendance becomes isolation.

You have a right to feel that your government, country and lifestyle is better than mine, but not a right to suggest that your way should be followed. I know Canada is better than the USA because I have spent time in both countries and prefer Canada. I am VERY split between canada and England. Socially England is light years ahead of Canada and the USA, but the scenery in Canada cannot be topped. I also LOVE France, it is absolutelu gorgeous and a very pleasant and welcoming place for a Canadian to visit. Germany has a history and freindliness about it that I haven't seen in other countries.

Therefore, how can I say the Canada is the best? I can't. Canada, England, Germany, France etc. all have thier beauties and values. I live in Canada therefore, I feel this is the best place to be RIGHT NOW as I am happy here. I wouldn't be stuck up enough to say it was BETTER than the USA, or that England should learn from Canada's example. I respect each country for what it offers. For this reason, I am neither arrogant nor unpatriotic. I support my country of origin, I support the country I live in and I support other countries that welcome me.
The fact that I admit Canada has political problems makes me unpatriotic? No.
Should the fact that Canada doesn't have a massive military make me feel my country is inadequate? No.

I don't have to lie to the rest of the world about how much better my country is in order to justify my living here, THAT is excepted by all others who realize no country is perfect or a paradigm of how a country should be, everyone has fault even politicians.

What reason do you have for saying that America is better than any other country, other than the fact that you live there and are proud of it?

What reason do you have to deem others inadequate and say that they should adopt your American ways?

NONE. And THAT's why people resent Americans.

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British Commonwealth

by Oldefar In reply to Independance or Isolation

Hope everyone enjoyed a chuckle, but as this post takes on its own life (as they all do) I wonder if it is possible to discuss the Commonwealth or any other organization without reference to the US.

Does anyone out there have a perspective on their country or affiliation that does not have to link to the US to be told?

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Your chuckle

by maxwell edison In reply to British Commonwealth

The sheep reference to the British Commonwealth nations was indeed humorous. But it's not likely that some of our foreign friends will be able to see past their spite for the U.S. long enough to do much of anything else. It's incredible how often the subject gets diverted to blast America for this or for that. And then when you ask them reasonable questions about the reasons and logic for that spite, they go unanswered. (Because accurate answers would nullify that spite, I suppose. And they couldn't have that.)

America is the blame all scapegoat for everything. We've certainly learned that, haven't we? It's almost like a disease.

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Lighten up a bit Max

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Your chuckle

You're begining to sound bitter and it doesn't look appealing.

If you want to quite rightly get upset by the way the USA is treated by some countries then have a go at Iran who are only too willing to accept humanitrian aid for their recent earthquake from the USA bit at the very same time say this aid will in no way affect if/how they chose to deal with the USA.

It all seems a bit wrong to me but I do understand just why the USA is involved in attempts to save lives in that part of the world I just find it introlable they way that you're country is treated when they supply this aid without any hitches seems to me that you are constantly getting kicked in the guts for doing the right thing. But you must be held in a higher opinion than Israil as Iran wuill just refuse and assistance from that country.

Just goes to show how concerned they are about their civilian population dosen't it?

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