Saturday, February 27, 2016

Sanders’ Single Payer Utopia

Like many of us, I am confused by the ‘single payer’ health plan that Bernie Sanders proposes. Health care is confusing to begin with unless you live somewhere where there is no health care at all. In fact, out of the 200 countries or so in the world, only 40 provide some form of health insurance to their citizens.

The countries that do offer health care all have a different system in place. Some have a single payer system, funded through taxes, just like the police force or public libraries. These systems tend to have low costs, because the government controls what doctors can do and what they can charge. Great Britain, Spain, most of Scandinavia and New Zealand, Hong Kong and Cuba have a single payer system. This system is what Sanders proposes.

Other countries have an employer/employee funded system, familiar to Americans. It uses an insurance system that covers everybody, is tightly regulated by government to control cost and provides bargaining power. Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Japan, Switzerland and Latin America has this type of system. Read more...

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A Century's Worth of Living _ part 2

Soon, I will go to Holland for another visit to Ata, my soon to be 103 year old mother. If I am lucky, she will still be able to see my face, probably only the outlines, but her memories will fill in the blanks. She has had enough practice, taking pictures of her children in her long career as a photographer. Her most beautiful photographs are those of her three children. We were her surrogate models, since there was never any money for professionals.

Since I left Holland and the circle of photographers to which my mother belonged, I have always looked forward to my visits and the inevitable submersion into the world of photography. Bookshelves full of the most amazing photography books, boxes and boxes full of slides, negatives, contacts and prints. It felt like I was given the key to a candy store with no limits to how much I could gulp down. This is what I remember as the child of a photographer: a world of art that has shaped who I am. Ata was driven by a need to create and she used us, her children as the clay. Read more...

Friday, February 12, 2016

A Century's Worth of Living

(The following is part of a longer essay, in honor of my mother and her incredible life story, still in the making as of this writing)

My mother's name is Ata. She was named after Attila the Hun, the fierce 5th century warrior, nicknamed 'the Scourge of God', whose descendants founded Hungary. She was born in Budapest in 1913, at a time when the Austro-Hungarian Empire and its capital Vienna were the center of culture and art. Budapest, the Empire's second capital, rivaled Vienna in intellectual and artistic life and my mother was born smack in the middle of it all. Her own parents, both intellectuals, made sure she received a top notch education, which included learning Greek and Latin, Mathematics, Physics and Biology.

Ata looks nothing like Attila the Hun and were it not for her beautiful wrinkled face, framed by a thick mane of silver white hair, her tiny, fragile frame could be that of a small child. She has a hunchback, inherited from my grandfather, which makes it difficult for her to maintain her balance without her cane. She will celebrate her 103rd birthday soon, although she says she would rather be 102 forever. Read more...

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Three Reasons why we Must Vote for Hillary Clinton

On Feb. 9, Bernie Sanders gave Hillary Clinton a serious drubbing in New Hampshire - defeating her by OVER 20%. 

Sanders was particularly popular with young(er) voters. At my age, “young” means just about everybody. But for now, I’ll just define “young” as people who are, say, about as old as my children and younger, which means around forty or less...

So let me tell you young folks why you are making a grave mistake if you plan to make Bernie Sanders the Democratic presidential nominee:

ONE: Sanders will NEVER be elected president of the United States. Never. One thing which young people don’t see is the unbridgeable chasm that separates reality from idealism. Only through experience does one learn to appreciate the difference. When I was young, I campaigned for Gene McCarthy, George McGovern and other Quixotic figures. It felt real good. And none of them were ever elected.