Skip to Content

Whoa! It's Really Crazy Here in America!

Thoughts on returning from a short, eventful trip to the UK

The focus of Corbyn’s and the Labour Party’s campaigning at this point is not simply attacking May and the Conservatives, but rather involves laying out a new vision for a future Labour government — one that will re-fund the hugely popular but financially starved National Health Service, end college tuition and perhaps reduce the debt burden of already graduated students, restore funding for local police, resist and undo civil liberties-threatening legislation, improve funding for local education, renationalize the rail system, and end Britain’s slavish acquiescence in backing US militarist foreign policy.

Contrast that with the obsessively negative anti-Trump, anti-Republican focus of the so-called “resistance” movement and of Sanders’ so-called “political revolution” in the US.

There are plenty of Corbyn critics in the UK, including among disgruntled neoliberal Labourites who feel their party has been stolen away from them, but no one in the UK can have any doubt about what the revitalized Labour Party and its standard-bearer, “Prime-Minister-in-Waiting” Jeremy Corbyn, stand for.

Can anyone in the US honestly say that about the Democratic Party, or even, for that matter, about its still most popular would-be presidential contender, Bernie Sanders? I know I can’t. The latest Democratic Party statement about its goals, called “A Better Deal for Workers,” sounds as bland as milquetoast and could have been written by Hillary Clinton. I mean seriously, it’s just a call for higher pay for workers, lower costs by negotiating, finally, for lower drug prices, a revived anti-trust effort and tax credits to business for retraining laid-off workers. Not even a mention of restoring the decimated right of workers to form unions and to negotiate contracts without endless delays and unpunished labor law violations by management.

Meanwhile Sanders hasn’t even come out against the Democrats’ continual obsession with the baseless claim that Russians hacked the DNC and helped elect Trump. And I can’t tell you what his position is on NATO expansion up to Russia’s borders, or Trump’s brinksmanship in the South China Sea, because Sanders has said nothing. Nor has Sanders said a word about ending US militarism abroad or cutting military spending significantly —only about “cutting waste” — something any Republican could say too.

Finally a word about health care differences.

While in the UK, I began to feel short of breath on exertion — a scary and unfamiliar condition that worsened markedly over the week. Eventually I went to a doctor who arranged for me to go to an ambulatory ward at the local National Health Service facility, John Radcliffe Hospital. There, with no financial biopsy required before admission, I was seen by a string of excellent, caring and patient doctors, including pulmonary and cardiac specialists, given a battery of blood tests, an Xray, CT-Scan and echocardiogram, and diagnosed with congestive heart failure.

I was also successfully treated for a low blood oxygen level that I was told prevented me from safely flying home, and five days later was able to do so, in order to be treated in the US by doctors covered by my Blue Cross insurance plan.



story | by Dr. Radut