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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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Fair enough

by Oz_Media In reply to Maxwell: 20th Century wit ...

I can accept your THEORIES or ASSUMPTIONS, but that is all you have given.

If, IF, IF, but no fact. All of your statement is based purely on speculation. In the same sense.

If Canada had joined in the Iraq invasion, you may have lost less lives due to proper recon. You would have lost less lives as a ersult of having less troops needed. You would have spent less of the taxpayers money.

If you had been born in France, you might have a better acceptance of the rest of the world, you may be able to make better wine.

If I had been born as Elvis Presley, the name MAY not have been so famous.

What's your point other than the fact that you don't have one.

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Bleaker than you pictured

by mrbill- In reply to Maxwell: 20th Century wit ...

DC_GUY. Your assumption that Germany could have won WWI if we had not entered the war is stretching it. The US contributed to only a small part of the overall victory. Yes there were a few notable actions, the Marne for one. But not enough to drastically change the outcome, the war might have gone on longer but the Germany would have lost. The war reparations would still have crippled Germany resulting in the eventual rise of Hitler. The USSR would still have created a military jugernaught. Stalin craved power. WWII would still have happened, but without the Washington Naval Treaties of the 20s Germany would have had a larger Navy as would Japan. Britain would have been sweep aside, sorry chaps but it?s true. The Holocaust would have been worse, the Soviets had not love for the Jews. Germany would still have lost but it would have been because of the USSR, and then we could have seen how well Communism worked as it swept all of Europe and Afrika under its belt. Then the USSR would head east to deal with the other major power, Japan who would have had a hold on all of the Pacific and Asia. Ask China and Korea how fun it was to be under Imperialist Japanese rule. Imagine that arm reaching to Sydney, the ?rape of Bribane? may have been in the world news alongside Nanking, Seoul, Singapore, Delhi and anywhere the Japanese Army could reach.

But then all this is based on America not existing at all, including her resources and manpower, not very feasible. If anything it would still be under British rule then everything would be worse. GB might not have fallen and everyone would be sending tribute to London. Now that is something I shudder to think about.

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Well said

by Oz_Media In reply to Bleaker than you pictured

I like your realization that the USA never WON WWII but definitely helped reverse the German advances. I have never claimed you weren't needed, wanted or appreciated for your efforts and actually my absolute FAVORITE DVD in my collection is the Band Of Brothers series. These brave men were depicted so well and events accurately told. I have spoken with several members of the 506th infantry who were depicted in BOB, via email, and they are TRULY heros although they would never see themselves as the heros before those who never returned.

As for your analogy of WHAT IF things had been different, although I accept you theories, they are simply that...THEORIES. I have heard completely different and just as believable theories as well as seeing a what if scenario on the History channel that showed Hitlers inability to succeed in conwuering England (as you noted) but the Russian events wer entirely different also.

Nice post but again, purely theoretical or speculative and not to be mistaken as fact.

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by mrbill- In reply to Well said

You are correct, I never said it was fact. As it never happened or never could have happened it is just the rambelings of an idiot. As are many post on here besides mine, and not just this one.

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We are all just

by Oz_Media In reply to Exactly

we are all just rambling idiots, that's how we talked ourselves into IT jobs. If we were actually a capable bunch, we'd have REAL jobs instead of certed roles in a field that's a complete mysetery to even the most knowledgeable staff. I think that our ability to find resources (like TR) is what makes us valuable, not knowledge, common sense or logic.

If those were requirements for IT, I'd still be laying under cars in someone else's shop!

I got good at finding free porn, then I had to get good at removing the viruses, startup programs, hijacks and ads.

Then I had to get free porn throughout my home, I learned networking. I then used my pronographically obtained skills to help some people out, then a company or two, then built websites for them and finally certed in Novell.

ANYONE here, including yourself, knows I'm just a snot nosed puke with an attitude. The thing is, at least I admit it, IT isn't brain surgery, most people never took the time that's all so people like us have laid back BS jobs with good pay.

But then again, so do the high school drop outs who landed union work or city jobs through parents or associates.

It's not what you know, it's who you know. as for IT, it's just a metter of finding out HWO knows the answer.

Like Eric Idle says, "How sweet to be an idiot, as harmless as a clown."


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the differences

by Oz_Media In reply to not only the US

You can SEE fault in your government.
You can see fault in those that run te country.

You can openly admit that your government is far from perfect but has good AND bad.
This isn't arrogance, is open eyed viewing of government actions.

MOST US citizens, see NO fault in thier government.
See NO fault in thier leaders, and if they do, they will STILL support him/her and refuse to ADMIT faults.

This is closed eyed view of the government as being superior to any other. However this is seen as normal and expected behavior, any doubt or displeasure with Government activity or Presidential statements is plainly UNpatriotic and intolerable.

Personally I think Canada's government, despite all it's mistakes is FAR better than the US government. I don't make a daily point of telling the world that they should learn from our examples and that OUR government is the one to be followed though.

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Thanks Oz

by HereInOz In reply to the differences

Thanks for that Oz, I don't feel as sheepish now.

It's a good point. I have always said that what we need is a good bulls**t detector. Maybe that is something that us Commonwealthians have in common - dealing with Britain for so long we get a heightened level of Bulls**t detection and realise that our governments may not be gods, but they surely have feet of clay!!



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We got those!

by Oldefar In reply to Thanks Oz

Not sheep, but at least cows with feet of clay!

Here in Texas we also have a traditional folk dance to teach BS detection called the Texas Two-Step, done to the music "Cotton-eye Joe".

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to We got those!

What about "Line Dancing?"

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Invented by New Yorkers

by Oldefar In reply to Oldefar

It wasn't done in Texas until the big migration of firms from the rust belt to the south.

Line dancing was a good way to get a fight started with the cowboys and goat ropers at the Dunbar in West Texas (although just being a Yankee was usually enough for the fights to break out).

By the way, Forest got it wrong. Life is like a jar of jalepinos, you never know which one is going to burn your arse.

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