Saturday, August 15, 2009


Our tumble down the rabbit-hole with Alice continued unabated. Other news has been practically drowned out by tales of hate speech and unfair accusations hurled around at town hall meetings on the health care debate, in states throughout the USA. While my treatment of the issue (linking it to Lewis Carroll's masterpieces) may seem flippant, facetious, I'm hiding sincere concern at the way things are shaping up in the USA.

Is there any astrological sign of a return to common sense on the horizon? Will Saturn's move into Libra, sign of diplomacy and balance, in late October turn things in a better direction? Or will Saturn's influence on the sign's characteristics modify or blight them? It's not clear.
Alice laughed, "There's no use trying," she said, "one can't believe impossible things."
"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
Right-wing extremists have continued to disrupt town hall meetings. Neither side can focus on what is important when tempers flare - that's their motive for disruption. They are running scared of change. They want Obama to fail in all his attempts, however mild, to make the USA a fairer country for all its citizens. Talk about wrong-headed! When the health care issue has been dealt with,one way or another, this mob will display the same tactics to disrupt discussion on environmental issues, education, transport. Everything. Reports of at least one individual attending a meeting last week armed with a loaded gun sent shock waves of memory among many citizens old enough to remember their country's fairly recent history.
More here

The horror of that moment," the King went on, "I shall never, never forget."
"You will though," the Queen said, "if you don't make a memorandum of it."
Something which did raise a smile came via Stephen Hawking who suffers from Lou Gehrig's disease. He chose to set the record straight after an editorial in a financial paper dragged him into the US health care debate. Blasting the U.K.'s National Health Service, Investor's Business Daily said the brilliant Hawking "wouldn't have a chance" if he was British. Hawking who is due to receive a Presidential Medal of Freedom as one of 16 "agents of change" - is British. And he says he owes his life to national health care.
"I wouldn't be here today if it were not for the NHS."

Britain's NHS (National Health Service) has been in place since 1948. I lived most of my life in England, have seen how my parents and other elderly relatives were treated, how I was treated myself when I needed a major operation - fast. I cannot speak highly enough of the NHS. It's not faultless - nothing is, and if the USA ever gets its act together sufficiently to construct anything similar (very doubtful) it will not be faultless either.

I would ask anyone who reads this post, who has doubts about the way a national health service works, to treat the right-wing's ignorance on the matter with the contempt it deserves. I'm not surprised that some people across the Atlantic are very, very annoyed at the crass ignorance of some right-wing activists in the US denigrating a system and way of life which they value.

"Now, I give you fair warning," shouted the Queen, stamping on the ground as she spoke; "either you or your head must be off, and that in about half no time! Take your choice!"
(Quotes in bold type italics come from either Alice in Wonderland or Alice Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll)

So as not to end on a sour note, a mention of something much more pleasant from the week that was.

Last night CBS aired an hour-long programme featuring Neil Diamond, one of my all-time favourite singer/songwriters. There were excerpts from a recent concert at Madison Square Garden in New York, his hometown, and some brief chat and film of him interacting with fans and New Yorkers. I thoroughly enjoyed the show. Neil looks good and sounds as good as ever. If it hadn't been for Neil's presence and tweets on Twitter, I'd almost certainly have missed this TV show - so Twitter ain't all bad! He was gracious enough to thank his fans for their supportive tweets too - so nice to see this! I suspect that he's a really, really nice guy. I've written about him on this blog in at least three past posts, so for any passing readers who are fellow-fans here are links to these:

(Illustration at top of post is from here.)


Shawn Carson said...

i guess we shouldn't be too surprised at how nutty politics has gotten lately, considering the extreme planetary forces that are at work, but i, like you am a little uneasy with the latest round of hatred that seems to be springing up all over recently. sometimes it's scary how thin the veneer is for some people between civility and hostility
neil diamond is a singular talent, the likes of which we are not likely to see for a long time to come.

Twilight said...

Shawn ~~~ Yes. I suppose it was always going to be a rocky ride towards change of any kind, but things have been going far too far away from reasonable dissent. and this is really just the start of it. Sigh.

Neil - oh yes! Sometimes I think he's never had the acclaim he truly deserves. I know he has a very faithful fanbase, yet he was never all that popular with "the in-crowd". Too nice, I guess. Not cool enough for 'em. ;-)

anthonynorth said...

An example of the supposedly terrible NHS. When I was eight I fell on an electric fire, stuck to it, and burnt away half of four of my fingers. The obvious answer was to amputate (it WAS the 1960s). But what the NHS did was take me to a major plastic surgery unit and over nine operations over the following two years, rebuilt my fingers to the point that, apart from scarring, they are as good as new. And all free at the point of use.
Stories like that won't count, though. The simple fact is, the only reason Britain has the NHS is because of radical change born of frustration following World War Two. I hope the US can rise to the occasion like we did, but I'm not sure they will do it. I hope I'm wrong.

Twilight said...

AnthonyNorth~~~ Oh! Many thanks for sharing that example - I hope a fre people this side of the Atlantic read it.

I'm becoming more doubtful by the day that anything but a very mild tweaking will take place in the health system here - at least, this time around.

I want Obama to be more aggressive and to push stuff through, and yet it could be VERY dangerous for him and for other members of the public. He's remaining cool and measured. We'll be glad of that trait in him whenever there's a crisis.

Sad that it has to be like this. such is life in the USA.

Twilight said...

should be "few people"