Saturday, November 17, 2012

Health Care Clusterfuck

Even American doctors think the system is dysfunctional.

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Genuine President of the People

Uruguay President Jose Mujica.  


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

That Election Thingy

A week after the fact and I finally get around to commenting on the election results.  Not that there's any shortage of opinion and commentary.  I am particularly enjoying the Republican circular firing squad that has followed their electoral debacle.  I am relieved that we dodged a return of the Republican wrecking crew.

As elections go it was one of the better ones for me.  I'm happy that Obama won.  Head-to-head with Romney, Obama was (and is) the better choice.  And despite my disappointment at too many of his economic and national security policies, I believe he's done a credible job as president and earned a second term.  Still, I ended up voting for Jill Stein, a vote which had absolutely no impact on the result; Obama carried Washington's 12 electoral votes by almost 400,000 votes.  I thought my vote to help the Green Party vote will help create an alternative two-party monopoly.  And if it doesn't, nothing was lost.

It took until Friday to learn that Washington elected a Democratic governor .  The other statewide offices went handily to Democrats  except Secretary of State (that race wasn't decided until Saturday).  It seems odd that a state that has not elected a Republican governor since 1980 has also voted to keep Republicans in charge of the election machinery since 1965.  We also voted to retain the same sex marriage law enacted by the Legislature and approved an initiative to (kind of, sort of) legalize marijuana.  The initiative is pretty flawed but it's a step in the right direction and a strong statement to the federal govenment that the war on drugs (America's longest war) is a failure.

I also took great satisfaction in seeing my former home state, Virginia, vote Democrat for president and and US Senator.  Seeing Tim Kaine defeat George Allen, one of the more odious Republicans of our time, was also very satisfying.  Prior to his 2006 defeat by Jim Webb, Allen was considered a prospect for president.  I think that this year's defeat may close that door permanently.

My other former home state, Arizona, went Republican but Kirsten Sinema won the District 9 seat in Congress in a tight race.

About my only real disappointment was that the Thurston Public Power initiative went down 2-1.  The initiative would have authorized the county public utility district to provide electric service to portions of the county.  Our local investor-owned utility was purchased by a foreign (Canadian/Australian) holding company in a leveraged buy-out that added substantial debt for customers to pay along with electric service.  The initiative was a grassroots effort that was outgunned by a well-financed fear campaign.

 I can live with the results.  I always live with the results.  This year the living is easier.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Best Election 2012 Moment

Russia questioning US elections:
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov explained. “The human rights situation in the US is far from being ideal, and sometimes from another epoch at all,” he said. For instance, the Russian high-ranking diplomatic official named the electoral system in the US archaic, “The US approves the legislative acts, which toughen the rules of the access to the polling stations, the election system through the electoral college polls result in the votes of the residents of some states to have a larger weight than the votes of the residents in other states.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry had serious questions to the issues of the access of international observers to the monitoring for voting, as well as “the absolute monopoly of the two parties in the US.” Ryabkov was supported by first deputy head of the State Duma Committee for International Affairs Vyacheslav Nikonov, who noted that “the opportunities of small parties are very restricted in the US, as for running in the elections a party should pass registration in each state, meanwhile, this procedure is quite more complicated than the condemned filters at the gubernatorial elections in our country.”
Keep in mind that Russia has its own electoral shortcomings--those condemned filters noted in the statement--but the assessment is accurate.  Any number of Americans, myself included, would say the same. But I do enjoy the irony of hearing it from the Russians.

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Armistice Day

The day Americans celebrate as Veterans Day was originally Armistice Day, a day to commemorate the end of The Great War in 1918.  On November 11 I prefer to think of ending war so the original name has great appeal to me.

On this day then, I remember that the one thing every combatant seeks more than anything else is peace.  I look forward to the day when the world will have no veterans of war, only the memory of their sacrifices during those unenlightened times when we did not know how to make peace.

For now, though, we have plenty of war veterans, living and dead.  It is right and proper that we remember them and their sacrifices.  One veteran who died this year was (and remains) among my great heroes:  George McGovern who flew 35 missions as a bomber pilot in World War II and spent many of the years since then speaking against war.  He spoke the truth when he said, "I'm sick and tired of old men dreaming up wars in which young men do the dying."

Armistice Day, a day to remember that peace is possible if we stop thinking that war is an acceptable option.

Peace out!

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