Here in Sooke, Team Sooke/Juan de Fuca is raising money to support a refugee family. To assist them I donated a website and hosting.
I'm not sure whether the recently revealed reality star alliance will advocate more intervention or less in the middle east but this quote from Philip Gordon in Politico caught my eye:
When implying the United States can fix Middle Eastern problems if only it gets it right it is worth considering this: In Iraq, the U.S. intervened and occupied, and the result was a costly disaster. In Libya, the U.S. intervened and did not occupy, and the result was a costly disaster. In Syria, the U.S. neither intervened nor occupied, and the result is a costly disaster. This record is worth keeping in mind as we contemplate proposed solutions going forward.
But enough politics, let's look at a photo. There isn't a lot of color variety in the garden, it's mostly greens and browns, but this Snowberry is providing a little color relief.
I'm listening to "Wait For It" from Leslie Odom and the cast of Hamilton.
The 2015 military spending report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) compares amounts spent by the top-15 spenders in 2015. I figure the total is about $1.5T. Feel free to draw your own conclusions.
What is my point?
Tuesday was election day in BC. Canadian politics, of course, is such weak tea compared to the goings on down south that you've probably not heard about it. So today I'll explain and recap.
BC has three parties (with colors of green, orange, and blue) vying for control of the province, three parties so similar they'd all fit comfortably within the US Democratic party. The election started with a dissolution of the legislature. This was followed by several weeks of vigorous campaigning during which time the in-power party lavished the voters with gifts bought from a new-found pot of gold, a vote-buying attempt so blatant as to make this jaded American blush. Also during this time one of the opposition parties promised gifts from their expected-to-be-found pot of gold. Then last Tuesday we voted. Finally, the votes were counted and I volunteered to observe - scrutineer they call it - the vote count.
What did I observe, err, scrutineer? Well, I found ballot counting in BC to be a charmingly no-tech process. Each ballot is counted by hand by being placed into one of five piles, five being the number of candidates in the running. I know I mentioned three parties earlier, I should have said three major parties. As I watched the counting I couldn't help feeling appreciation for this process that lays the foundation for our system of governance. I also couldn't help thinking that this particular implementation wouldn't work in a jurisdiction with more than one contest on a ballot, such as California where my last ballot had over thirty contests.
And what are the results? At the moment it looks like no one got a majority, though we won't know for sure for something like ten or eleven days. It turns out not all votes get counted on election night and since the election was so close these uncounted votes could swing the election. And why such a delay? That is because BC allows a voter to cast a vote anywhere in the province but it has to be counted in their home precinct and the snail they use to move the ballots takes, um, a week to transit the province. Because mountains and snow I guess.
Whoever wins, BC won't change much. Both because of the closeness of the results and because the parties just aren't that different. Not that the differences aren't material - a forest here, a hydro dam there, an oil pipeline somewhere else - but because no one party seems to have all the answers. And none of them appear to be evil, like you-know-who.
Anyway, spring is here, the days are longer, the temperatures rising, and the flowers are popping out everywhere. I really like the color and details shown by this flower as it gradually unfurled its petals and opened to greet the sun.
Yay! Australia's Parliament voted overwhelmingly to legalize same-sex marriage on Thursday. This comes on the heels of a referendum where 61 percent of voters expressed support.
Ireland has voted by a landslide to legalise abortion ...The Guardian
I believe the best Memorial Day address yet was given by Lieutenant General Lucien Truscott in 1945 at a military cemetery in Sicily. No full record of his actual remarks remains, only fragments as it was not written down. Truscott stepped up, waited for silence, turned his back on the crowd to face the dead and apologized. Mike Plews in The Online Photographer
My father was a career military guy. Twenty-seven years in the navy, he retired at the level of commander. He loved the military, the shared sense of purpose, the adventure, the travel, the people. And he looked great in a uniform. After he retired he never found a more satisfying career. Now he's buried in Arlington National, a cemetery that is near capacity.
He loved the military life but he didn't always agree with what they were tasked to do, and he wasn't afraid to say so. He was a bit of an iconoclast: he was an atheist in bible-belt Texas and anti-war despite being a military officer. After being stationed in Chaing Kai-shek's China he said if he were Chinese he'd likely have thrown in with Mao. My father was indeed a free thinker.
We talked about war a fair amount when I was a teenager as at that time the US military was fed by the draft and we worried about my fate should my number come up. He was faced with possibly seeing me off to a war he though was wrong or sending me out of the country, to Canada or Europe. He assured me he'd do the latter. As it turned out, the war and the draft ended and it wasn't something we had to face. But it was awfully nice knowing he had my back. Now is one of those times I wish I had a Tardis, so I could go back and see him.
My parents met in Shanghai. It might have been at a bar like this. She was maybe twenty and he, well he was 25 years older. He was also married.
She was in Shanghai because it was her home. Angela, my mom, was born in northern China, near Harbin. Her parents were refugees from the Russian revolution. She was shortly to be a refugee, too.
Future dad, the leftmost fellow in the picture, seated next to plaid-pants future mom, grew up in Texas. He left Texas on becoming eighteen, hopping a train to the city. At the time of the picture he was in Shanghai working as an officer in the US Navy.
Not too long after this picture was taken future mom left Shanghai "on the last boat out" my father liked to say. She was on her way to the Philippines. From there she traveled to Australia. After a couple of years future dad, newly divorced, reappeared. He proposed, they married on ship, and they lived fairly happily ever after.
In a groundbreaking victory for gay rights, India's Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously struck down one of the world's oldest bans on consensual gay sex, putting to rest a legal battle that stretched for years and burying one of the most glaring vestiges of India's colonial past. India Strikes Down Colonial-Era Ban on Gay Sex
"Many things are said on the Internet about who organized their departure. Some say it was Maduro, the president of Venezuela, while others consider it a scheme by the United States," said Martinez. "The reality is that these families are fleeing due to three factors: the first is violence perpetrated by criminal gangs like Los Maras, La MS, and La 18," said Martinez. "These criminal groups threaten Honduran families and recruit their children," he said. "They charge a rent for every business the victims have and call it a war tax," Martinez added, saying these gangs kill family members in retaliation for noncooperation.
"The second factor is extreme poverty: apart from paying taxes to the government, migrants have been forced to pay extortion money to criminal gangs, leaving them without money to live on. The third factor is that Honduras, being a country plagued with violence for years, does not guarantee the human rights of its population. The Honduran people have had enough of all this, which is why there is this migrant caravan phenomenon," said Martinez.
Karla Ortiz interviewing Ignacio Martinez, the director of the ABBA safehouse and hostel, Celaya, Mexico, in Atencion San Miguel
As we sit here in the rain, thinking how uncomfortable we must be these minutes as our suits get wet, and our hair gets wet, it's all the more fitting that we remember on that day in Dieppe the rain wasn't rain, it was bullets. Canadian prime minister Trudeau who dispensed with his umbrella mid speech in Dieppe last year
Someone was conspicuously absent from the procession of world leaders who gathered last week in Paris to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.
Oh wait, they said leaders. Nevermind.
Vicente Fox, president of Mexico from 2000 to 2006, spoke in San Miguel this evening. A member of the National Action Party (PAN), he was the first president to break the hold of the International Revolutionary Party (PRI) since 1929.
Fox talked on a broad range of political, economic, and humanitarian topics, took questions from the audience, and then concluded with a discussion of one of the nonprofits he is working with, CRISMA, a therapeutic service for low-income families in SMA.
Coming into the evening I knew nothing of Fox other than he held office as president of Mexico and that he was in an over-the-top video announcing his candidacy for president of the United States.
Fox shared his thoughts on everything from the European Union (he considers it hugely successful), referendums (BREXIT and the recent cancellation of the new Mexico City airport, both of which he's in strong disagreement), NAFTA, the wall (the US will have to waste its own money if it wants one), the migrant caravan (refugee problems are best solved at the source), drug trafficking and its associated violence (he favours legalizing all drugs), populism (dangerous but hopefully the pendulum swings back soon), and whether running a government is the same as running a business (it isn't).
Fox made no effort to hide his disdain for the current occupant of the White House. Fox came across as rational and pragmatic, and a bit right of center. He gave short shrift to the problem of income inequality, preferring to focus on wealth creation versus redistribution. But he took challenging questions in stride, such as the correlation between Coke consumption --- Fox was once a Coke executive --- and obesity.
Curiously, there was no visible security for the ex-president. As far as I could tell Fox had no secret service and there were no metal detectors for the audience, he was just a guy on stage giving a talk and answering questions from the audience. Um, who said Mexico was a dangerous place?
I'm listening to David Sylvian's Nostalgia.