Lookit all those pens...  

For me, the meaning of this morning's new health care law goes beyond the policy accomplishments -- thousands of people surviving instead of dying, millions more being insured and able to get health care when they need it, uncounted small businesses that will do better, state budgets that will now be more able to cover basic human and community needs.

It goes beyond the fact that now the presidency will more likely stay out of the hands of the Teaparty/haters in 2012, those obstinately blind to the survival issues of our day - climate change, unregulated market greed, political hatred and defeatism.  

And it goes beyond the flaws in this new law, which, yeah, possibly is so flawed, so fatally compromised, as some are saying - though I don't agree -- that it's worse than nothing. I guess that's possible.

This accomplishment feels to my weary & sad but ever-hopeful political heart like a message that love can win out, that BIG good things still happen, that we can accomplish what's desperately needed even in a massive, massively-funded, nation-wide shit-storm of hate & lies.  

Yeah, I'm inspired.

(7 comments) Comments >>

A Purist's Voice in the Wilderness

Originally posted at The Left Shue

I would have voted No. Even though I would have been on the record as "having sided with the Republicans over President Obama", I would have voted No. Even having sat there for 12 hours and listened to people who I respect as real Progressives and icons of the wars for social justice in the United States, I would have voted No. Even as I sat listening to the Republicans spew their ignorance, lies, and vile (feeling the urge to oppose anything they said grow more and more deeply in my gut), I would have voted No.

More below the fold...

(17 comments, 1024 words in story) Full Story

Regulatory Capture via Health Care Reform

Follow up to eridani's excellent delusion of regulation.

Luke Mitchell's Understanding Obamacare (Harper's, Dec '09) observes that the Senate bill will cement the regulatory capture of our health care system by the insurance companies.

The Senate bill formally kills competition, puts insurers in charge of policing themselves, and guarantees their profits by a) mandating that everyone has insurance and b) has no cost controls whatsoever.

The private insurance industry, as currently constituted, would collapse if the government allowed real competition. The companies offer no real value and so instead must create a regulatory system that virtually mandates their existence and will soon actually do so.

The Democratic plan looks to be a huge windfall for the insurance companies. ... "The bottom line is that health reform would lead to increased revenues and profits."

Should we pass the Senate bill anyway? Does it represent a stepping stone towards real reform? I have no idea.

Either way, we should have a clear-eyed understanding of what we're buying with the Senate bill (as-is).

(10 comments) Comments >>

Olympia Embraces Internet Voting

Sam Reed is back again with the Internet voting. Thus far, Olympia is unanimous with their support. Message sent to my representatives in the 46th LD. Please write to your own representatives and party chairs.
Date: February 3, 2010
To: Sen. Ken Jacobsen, Rep. Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney, Rep. Scott White
Subject: HB 2483 / SB 6238 - Concerning Overseas and Service Voters

Sen Jacobsen, Rep Kenney, Rep White-

I'm writing to oppose the bill Concerning Overseas and Service Voters (HB 2483 / SB 6238).

Casting votes via email or fax is a very bad idea. There is no way to verify the voter's identity. There is no way to protect the secret ballot. The Dept of Defense's SERVE report is conclusive on these points.

Counties can already issue ballots via email or fax. All ballots received before an election is certified get counted. Military and overseas voters are not being routinely disenfranchised in Washington State through any shortcoming of our current system.

Sam Reed's latest effort to undermine the integrity of our elections is a solution looking for a problem. No one is asking for voting via email. In fact, the Dept of Defense opposes this scheme. This "thin end of the wedge" is merely part of nationwide vendor financed effort to bring about Internet voting.

I apologize that this note is so tardy. Election integrity advocates soundly defeated Reed's Internet voting proposal last year. I thought, "Surely, with so much going on this year, and a short session, and everyone knowing that Internet voting is a horrible idea, Olympia won't  touch this."

I'm sorry I was wrong. I'll try to not make the same mistake again.

Cheers, Jason Osgood

A Security Analysis of the Secure Electronic Registration and Voting Experiment (SERVE)


(4 comments) Comments >>

Seeking Mythical Core Values

This is a rewrite of something posted a year or so ago. I believe it is now even more appropriate.

The notion of "America's Core Values" is nothing more than that, a mythical array of benign images and buzz words that has been used for generations to suggest that this country as a global partner has never possessed anything but the most drinkable bathwater for the rest of humanity.

Our government has forever publicly portrayed itself as bearing only the fondest and most gentle desires for world peace, as sending only entirely noble and honorable soldiers as a last resort and whose citizens and business would NEVER think of exploiting any beyond-our-boundaries circumstance for profit.

(1 comment, 1113 words in story) Full Story

On speaking up and speaking out: The Value of original thoughts.

Facebook is an interesting and entertaining website. I spend more time playing the socially interactive games than posting comments or sharing info with frieds.

It's therapeutic for me cause I admit to advocacy-fatigue.

Particularly fatiguing is reading the thinking, values and partialities coming out of my LDS relatives in conservative Utah where most who live there are caught in an artificial reality framework that masquerades as civic wisdom.

Mt. Vernon may not be predominantly Glen Beck country but the land of the Great Salt Lake is where his nonsense sells most.

There is no honest interchange of ideas. What follows is my thought on what's wrong in Fantasy Land when you get your talking points from Fox, Limbaugh and chain letters from BYU professors.

(5 comments, 819 words in story) Full Story

Noble Victimhood

I continue to wonder how the modern Republican (conservative) mind works.

Hatred, anti-intellectualism, self-delusion, willful ignorance, authoritarianism, projection (playing the victim while terrorizing others), etc. -- the common element is mental illness, mental disease.

If we just understood these pathologies, or singular root cause pathology, we could somehow treat it.

"Nathan Bedford Forrest Has Beautiful Eyes" by Ta-Hehisi Coates notes the South's continued remything of their defeat into "noble victimhood". I think all cultures and societies do this active remything, to make one's actions and past more palatable. Otherwise, facing the truth, and oneself, your psyche would be crushed. Now that the Republican's Southern Strategy has played out, is that pathos all that is left?

I have some experience with denial. In the back of my mind, I always knew I'd someday have to address my issues (baggage). But not today. I'm busy. And I knew that facing myself would crush me.

It took a few life threatening experiences and the utter failure of my marriage for me to "hit bottom". When I no longer had any choice but to address my baggage.

When I hear Republicans spew, the dysfunction is all too familiar. I wonder what, if anything, will cause conservatives (collectively) to hit their bottom, causing them to face themselves. Then they'll have the choice, the opportunity, to begin the long, hard work towards recapturing their humanity, to become whole persons. Should that happen, I wonder what I can do to help the process.

(1 comment) Comments >>

Healthcare Rally @ Westlake 6:00pm Tonight

Update [2009-9-4 13:18:11 by zappini]: The rally went very well. Lots of people.

Also, I've been contacted by Suzie Sheary, chair of the KC Dems. They have been very busy fighting for healthcare reform. So my criticism below isn't entirely fair. I've made a contribution to help fund their efforts.


There's a rally healthcare reform tonight at Westlake Park @ 6:00pm.

Join Congressman Jim McDermott, along with Organizing for America, Health Care for America NOW, SEIU, UFCW 21, the Washington State Labor Council, WashPIRG, and Planned Parenthood Votes for an evening rally at Westlake Park. We will release the full list of speakers and acts once confirmed. Please join us as we send the strongest signal yet to Congress that Washingtonians support strong Health Insurance Reform.

Here's some announcement links.

Democratic Underground

Washington State Labor Council

Chad Lupkes on 46 LD Dems list

This is an excellent party building and fund raising opportunity. And yet, I did not hear about this event through the state party. In fact, I don't recall hearing boo about healthcare reform from the party.

I'd probably be disappointed if I had any expectations left.

(8 comments) Comments >>

Sequim just put the Mad As Hell Doctors on the map

I Just got this in today's email from Mad as Hell Doctors. They are out of Oregon and are scheduled to caravan to D.C. later on. I joined their Facebook group. A.R.

Well Sequim, WA is on the map in the Olympic Peninsula of western Washington state.

And Sequim just put the Mad As Hell Doctors on the map too.

Yesterday we had our only dress rehearsal and our first live performance of our Mad As Hell Doctors Town Halls in the small community of Sequim (pronounced "Squim"), WA. When 600+ people showed up we were feeling overwhelmed.

(5 comments, 406 words in story) Full Story

On gun-toting straight-shooting constitutionalists

Last week I watched Chris Matthews challenge the gun-toter in New England.

Got me to thinking. It seems that the slogan driving these folks with the big iron(s) on their hips is ...


"If you block me from using my First Amendment Right I will exercise my Second Amendment Right and use my weapon on you!"

... or something like that.

As to who the traitorous un-American "YOU" bent on destroying our liberties is ...  and the reasoning behind the extreme step of using a weapon against another citizen, well that's up for interpretation.

(2 comments, 1018 words in story) Full Story

On Brian Baird and Republican Demands for an Apology

The local Republican Party published an article in the Pacific County Press in which they demand an apology from Brian Baird for his remarks about disrupted town meetings with " lynch-mob and brown shirt tactics."

Most who have read my writings over the years understand that I am for the most part an opinionated old guy with a tendency to make no apologies. Contrary to the opinion of certain American traitors who've worked hard to convince America that "liberal" is a dirty word - unpatriotic, dangerous, despicable, or socialistic, I remain willing to advocate for liberal as well as conservative positions in which I believe.

After the last two election cycles, I backed away from lots of writing. At 63, I want to retire as soon as possible from my full-time job at the local welfare office in South Bend. 

(8 comments, 1270 words in story) Full Story

Zombie Tunnel Proposal

When did replacing the Viaduct with a tunnel become "the conventional wisdom"? Didn't we already vote NO on the tunnel? How'd the worst available option became the de facto solution?

We voted no on the baseball stadium as well. Maybe ignoring popular opinion and common sense is how we get things done in this town.

(11 comments, 317 words in story) Full Story

On the Campaign Trail with Dorsol Plants

Young, gifted and endowed with a funny name and a "calling" to public service. Maybe an antidote to a persistent case of cynicism that seems to be spreading on this esteemed forum?

Late last year, I described Dorsol Plants' announcement of his upcoming candidacy to his Highland Park neighbors (right) as chair of their community action group.

Since then, the Iraq war veteran and community organizer with a brazen ambition for a 24-year-old from West Virginia has acquired some things a candidate for Seattle City Council should have: a suit and tie, a selection of publicity photos, a campaign website, a manager, an air of modest confidence, and a collection of endorsements.

He cleans up well!

Introductions often begin with confusion: What's a Dorsol? She's running for City Council? - oh, it's a guy? Did you say Dorsol? Plants as in plants? And sometimes: Is there an election coming up?

More below:

(6 comments, 991 words in story) Full Story

Universal Health Care Good For Business

Businesses, large to small, are being crushed by ever rising healthcare costs. An efficient, effective nationwide health insurance would liberate our businesses, create new jobs, and help our economy grow. This commonsense reform would do more than tax cuts, bailouts, or energy policy to work us out of this recession.

Opposed to America's economic recovery are insurance companies, pharmaceuticals, and select doctors. They profit from the current system. And because they invested wisely with their lobbying dollars, they are the tail that wags the dog.

This isn't about tax payers vs business. This is about a few dozen very profitable businesses against the rest of the country.

(1 comment) Comments >>

It's about broken trust. Would you seek treatment from a "Dick Cheney" doctor?

Although Dr. Dossey is pointing a finger at his own colleagues, I also see this as how an inadequate and naive leadership that makes the assumptions and justifications offered by the likes of Cheney, Rice & Associates shoves the "do-no-harm" backbone of our own national wellness system into the same dark and filthy pit they themselves have deliberately entered.

Larry Dossey, M.D.
Where Were the Doctors? Torture and the Betrayal of Medicine


(558 words in story) Full Story

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