Monday, April 21, 2014

Wifing Politicians: I don’t love these politicians (plutocrats)

I am writing to satisfy one issue, and that is why do folk take up for these political plutocrats regardless of political affiliation? It is as if folk cannot see they are all in the same gang of scratch my back crony-capitalist crooks. And for those unaware, crony capitalism refers to the intercourse between the state and corporate power. These cats have two sets of laws, one for us common folk and one for the elite folk. This manifested by two kinds of economic models of capitalism which breaks down to the over-regulated capitalism we have to abide by and the protected and unregulated variety for corporations, cartels and said participants.

Personally, as a libertarian, I unlike conservatives or liberals or progressives believe that part of the price of freedom is allowing others to have their freedom equally. Moreover, I believe whether I agree or like or dislike something, if it is peaceful and voluntary and harms no one, I can tolerate such. Unfortunately, this is not the game played by the ruling political elite regardless of party affiliation.

And even with all of the empirical evidence we observe, we allow these folk to play us like a fiddle, telling us things that do not even make sense yet many of us accept without question because we love our politicians. Love them so much we will let them lead us to poverty and a penal existence. So enthralled with them that we allow them, the federal government to give billions tax free in the form of TARP and even more via Quantitative Easing and all that so they can make loot in the markets at the cost of money that in theory should have gone to pay salaries of average employees. 

The real concern is that in order to do this, we have to be complicit in our own death. To accomplish this, they make up stuff; I mean artificially contrive stuff as well as the proof to support the stuff they made up in an effort to communicate impending doom. Take Global warming for example (ironically newspeaked into climate change) or any environmental cause. This the strategy used by plutocratic political elite and it is grounded in their sense of “moral absolutism” that makes them feel that since they have money, money shouldn’t be an issue to you thus your value as being regular folk, only exist to make them believe “WE” need them to tell us what to do.

We can also look at the civil rights and black power movements as examples. What did these folks do then? Well we were it before global warming and the environment. First, they focus on inequality amongst various societal sub groups like African Americans and encourage us to act against these certain political targets. It was just a few weeks ago the democratic held an all-nightclimathon talking about global warming.  This was 28 democratic senators all because some rich cat said he wanted to put $100 million behind politicians dealing with global warming. And we all know, including the money behind them, the politicians and the masses, that 60 percent in America think the economy is the most important issue to address and climate change next to the bottom, especially us black folk. Why, because climate change makes them wealthier.

In the early 1970s, Aaron Wildavsky, the former Dean of the Graduate School of Public Affairs at California Berkeley described their play book as being designed to “have middle class civil servants, hire upper class whites, to use lower class blacks” to stack the front line to complain against the political institution or policy (or lack of) at hand. And this minus-sum game as Wildavsky describes, often leaves African Americans worse off than we were before.

Take the recent election of Barack Obama. The change and hope mantra had folks wanting to tear the club up. But in 2014, what do we see? We see home sales going up for those with a price tag of $10 million plus, but not regular folk, especially if they are African Americans. Black Americans, Obama's most loyal supporters, are among the hardest hit by this uneven recovery.

The average price for a kilowatt-hour (KWH) of electricity hit a record of 13.5 cents in March based on data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics: meaning it was up about 5.5 percent from 12.8 cents per KWH in March 2013. In March, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also shows that shrimp prices jumped 61 percent from a year earlier. Cost for pork items, especially bacon are also dramatically on the increase.  Ironically the story line is due to a disease. The increases of cost in agricultural and beef products have been conveniently blamed on a drought (disease and drought equally environment). 

All to make you think there are more things (the environment) which are more important than feeding your family, earning a living and maintaining a roof over your head (humans). Think about it PETA will tell you not to eat meat and that slaughtering cows is inhuman but they get their lot from VISA, who owns Omaha Steaks and got big loot in the Kentucky Derby (can’t make this ish up). 

You might be a progressive, but you are not a progressive elite and you, if defined as such are not seeking the same goal as they are.  The recession officially ended in June 2009, but we still are down 6 million jobs from pre-recession levels and now these cats got us believing that Obamacare and the economy are separate issues. But fact is that the new trend is not giving part-time workers company health coverage like Target, who will no longer offer health insurance to part time workers. Meaning, class, African Americans will be the hardest hit by this.

The disparity between rich and poor has blossomed since 2009 and the job participation rate is way worse, not to mention the average person has less money to spend and is taxed much more - all when our nation's debt is our greatest concern because WE paying the debt. And you know how I know we paying the debt? Because, more than 23 million American households rely on food stampsHouseholds operationally defined let us say as being four per household which equals 92 million Americans. And although more whites on welfare than blacks, we rely on it disproportionately more than whites.

This one reason why neither democrats nor republicans will ever simplify the tax code because this is the plutocratic politician’ main source of revenue (taking huge contributions (bribes) in exchange for tax breaks for the super-wealthy. They want inflation because the math proves that inflation (when prices go up) raises GDP subsequently making federal debt cheaper to service every year. But where we live and everywhere else, median household income is down 7% since 2000. And don’t forget if we removed the top 1% households from this equation, the decline for the bottom 99% would be more than closer to 30% (my math). Thus via the tax code and quantitative easing, the purchasing power we have is slowly being siphoned and swindled and given on purpose by our government to super rich folk, who in turn get to borrow money from the Fed at an interest rate of zero.

American politics is completely, owned, run and operated by the most powerful economic elite that politics and corporate America can proffer, which leaves out the democracy this republic was created on for the rest of us.  Yawl, especially black progressives, needs to stop wifing these politicians.  I mean if black folk regardless of political orientation put as much into protect, defending and believing in self and our communities as much as we wife these politicians, we wouldn’t have am problems. But we don’t, and now a majority of us believe and trust the government. When did we start to believe in and trust the government I ask again? Of all folk, African and Native Americans should never trust the government, especially the federal government. But that is just me, and unlike most, I don’t love these politicians.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The government is coming after you…even if you did nothing wrong

It seems each day I am reminded of how poorly informed the average American is.  This is especially true for the average African American, who speaks of politics through the jaundiced lens of faux progressivism and protecting our president and his political party no matter what they do. But for some reason, I think this is because as a community, things have changed.  When I was growing up in Memphis during the city sanitation strikes, African Americans never trusted the government or politicians, even if they were black.  I mean when someone like Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. goes out of his way to threatened to accuse Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bayard Rustin of having a homosexual relationship, just to protect white racist democrats, unless the protest they had planned in 1960 at the Democratic Convention was cancelled, it is easy to see why such was the case and why the majority of us, traditionally never trusted democrats or republicans regardless of race.

Today, African Americans actually believe in and trust the government to do what is best albeit facts suggest otherwise. The stark reality is that things will only continue to get worse and we with our heads in the sand, will accept anything our political puppet masters tell us. Unfortunately, by the time we wake up, it may be too late and like everybody else, we will find out that the government is coming after us…even if we did nothing wrong.

Some may say this is an overstatement, but for the folk that do assert such, I suggest you read the Bill of Rights and the history of the French Revolution, as well as observe the parallels for themselves. The problem is that having a Mulatto President got black folk thinking it is all good.  Just the presence and appearance of our swarthy-skinned President makes people think it is alright, making them accept without question, or even more problematic, not pay attention to the real world around them.

But if we would just look around, we would see that the gap between what the poorest make and what the wealthiest bring home has reached levels not seen since the Great Depression. According to the current administration, we are in year five of the “economic recovery” yet we have no job creation in concert with many companies cutting their payrolls. Add to this the observation that U.S. food prices are up nearly 20 percent so far this year and steadily rising. To believe the words of any politician, in particular this administration about the economy is getting better borders on psychosis.
What did we get by awarding the current administration with 93 percent of the African American vote in 2012 and 95 percent among that group in 2008? Economically we are worse than we were in 2009 and our participation in the labor market has been steadily falling farther since that same year. Simple truth is that since his election, economic improvements have occurred for all other ethnic groups in America with the exception of blacks.

Now the next step is domination by police and military enforcement.  Now "the most transparent administration in history" has just ordered U.S. Army to seize every Apache helicopter in use by the National Guard and prior to this, the U.S.Postal Service, EPA, IRS, NOAA, the Department of Education & 90 agencies, have been and are purchasing and storing BILLIONs of round of hollow point ammo and thousands of military rifles for domestic use only. Not to mention that recently, the administration convinced their plutocratic buddies in the cell phone market to agree to add a phone kill switch beginning in July 2015 which they say is about the rash of cell phone thefts but is really about is about disabling cell phone cameras to keep the free people from posting and sharing government abuse and violence to other via the internet. Maybe even worse is that the FBI just announced that they plan to have 52 million photos in its NGI Face Recognition Database by next year (everybody, not just criminals).

And if you want to see two examples of this, that have nothing to do with race, all we have to do is look at what happened with Miriam Carey and more recently with Nevada rancher Clive Bundy. The Carey story tells us one thing: that if you are a black woman, you cannot get scared with men in swat regalia in mass pull guns out on you when you are with your child.  Doing so gets you murdered legally and the Whitehouse will cover for this murder, call all the news media and tell the world you was shooting at police, trying to attack the Capitol, was crazy and on major medication when in fact she had no gun, and the autopsy report, made public six months after she was shot dead revealed that the 34-year-old woman had no drugs in her system and was struck by five bullets from behind, two of which were in the head.

Clive Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management, whose Director was Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) former senior adviser and son (RoryReid), is being forced by the government to give up his land, or have his cattle killed until he does: land which his family has worked over 140 years. Why, because Reid’s sons represents a large Chinese energy company that wants to build on the land. Some say well both are wrong. I just disagree, if the government can say any land is federal, then they can even claim your land and home by asserting such, like they did this man here.

Fact remains, no matter where we look, we see the military training in public streets and preparing for martial law right in broad daylight,  and we don’t say anything. Likewise we see Nationwide,Police assaulting and murdering innocent people with zero consequences, even when they are handcuffed in the back of cars .Why? Because we are silient, don’t want to rock the boat and say nothing about the administration of our current President even if it is true. They way things are today, policing in USA is roping in as many people as you can, see how many have guns or warrants, and then basically throw back the innocent ones. The problem is that they end up sweeping up a lot of innocent people and charging them with pointless crimes, fueled by a war on drugs that only results in the mass incarceration only the poor and people of color and more prisions. And each year, Obama’s Budget show federal prisons (not Education) is here he sallocates most of our tax dollars. For example, Obama’s FY 2014 Budget requests a total of $8.5 billion for federal prisons a 3.5 percent increase over the FY 2012 appropriated level.

We as a people and a nation need to be honest with ourselves. As it currently stand, we are immaterial and disposable. The United States is no democracy, but actually an oligarchy run by plutocrats, inclusive of our present President. Ours now, due to our own ignorance, is a government dominated by the political influence of the elite and wealthy Americans for their benefit alone over what is best for ordinary citizens. Don’t sleep, what they did to Miriam Carey and are doing to Clive Bundy, has nothing to do with race and they will do it to you and I also.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Books Read Thus Far 2014

  • Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War by Pepe Escobar
  • Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge by Pepe Escobar
  • Obama does Globalistan by Pepe Escobar
  • How the Economy Was Lost: The War of the Worlds by Paul Craig Roberts
  • The New Color Line: How Quotas and Privilege Destroy Democracy by Paul Craig Roberts
  • The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation by David Brion Davis
  •  No Exit from Pakistan: America’s Tortured Relationship with Islamabad by Daniel S. Markey
  • The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth by Mark Mazzetti
  • Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, the United States, and an Epic History of Misunderstanding by Husain Haqqani
  • The China-Pakistan Axis: Asia’s New Geopolitics by Andrew Small
  • Becoming Dickens: The Invention of a Novelist by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst
  • German Colonialism: A Short History by Sebastian Conrad
  • The Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-shek and the Struggle for Modern China by Jay Taylor
  • The Negro In Illinois:The WPA Papers edited by Brian Dolinar
  • The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap by Matt Taibbi
  • Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East  by Scott Anderson
  • The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 by Margaret MacMillan
  • The Great Dissent: How Oliver Wendell Holmes Changed His Mind – and Changed the History of Free Speech in  America by Thomas Healy
  • All the Presidents' Bankers: The Hidden Alliances that Drive American Power by Nomi Prins
  • Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt by Michael Lewis
  • The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap by Matt Taibbi
  • Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism by David Harvey
  • Utopia or Bust: A Guide to the Present Crisis (Jacobin) by Benjamin Kunkel
  • To Catch A Thief by David Dodge
  • Death and Taxes by David Dodge
  • Bullets For The Bridegroom by David Dodge
  • Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty
  • The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor by William Easterly

7.1 Million Sign-ups Don’t Say Nothing

Unlike most folk of my ilk (poverty stricken African Americans), I find it troubling that we have given our Federal government the ability to make us buy a flawed product, or any product regardless if we want to or not. But putting that aside, I want to briefly discuss How I view the metrics of the Affordable Care Act or what is frequently called Obamacare (actual law in picture).

It seems as if many of its supporters are hooping and a hollering that the program has proven to be a success just because it had 7 million plus sign up. I on the other hand, can’t even understand how anyone can use this as an indication of success. Personally, to use this number I would have to know how many who signed up actually had insurance before but lost it due to the law itself. Next, I would have to know how many of those that signed up actually will be receiving Medicare. For example, currently, more than half the states and the District of Columbia are proceeding with a Medicaid expansion which allows them to extend medical coverage to single and childless adults, of which has encouraged jail operators in many of those states to use this criteria to enroll and provide coverage to inmates under ACA.

Last, I won’t be able to see the law in action until all the exemptions and waivers the President unilaterally awarded to businesses and other entities go into effect. Just looking at Maryland for example, we know that only 60,000 people have signed up for Obamacare through the state’s exchange although more than 70,000 in the state lost their health insurance. Is this a marker of success (I know more than 250,000 in total but I am not including Medicare).  But I digress.

Yet still, even without such, that I can see where the Affordable Care Act is going and all I have to do is look at the only other major health delivery operation the government runs is functioning, and that is the Veterans Administration Hospitals.

Everywhere you look the VA is having problems, both with patient enrollment and service delivery. In South Carolina recently, it was noted that problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Columbia covered everything but the kitchen sink including but not limited to problems with surgical procedures, operating rooms not always being stocked with backup surgical instruments and equipment and not monitoring patient care close enough. More importantly, problems associated with infection control and rarely following up to ensure problems are solved adequately. And this is after reports of six deaths due to delayed screenings for colorectal cancer at the Hospital.

At the Buffalo Veterans Administration, New York, more than 700 patients at the Center may have been exposed to HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C because of accidental reuse of insulin pens, between Oct. 19, 2010 and November 2012.  Then there are the, three deaths that occurred at the Memphis VA, of which one of the deaths occurred because the patient was given a drug despite a documented allergy to that medication and another due to receiving a lethal dose of a painkiller. The last because VA staff did not give the patient the proper medication.

A drug abuse rehabilitation program at Miami’s Veterans Affairs hospital failed to monitor patients, provide sufficient staff, control access to the facility or even curb illicit drug use among patients because Staff members were frequently absent or in a back room instead of monitoring patients in the drug abuse rehabilitation unit. As expected numerous deaths have resulted as a consequence, specifically due to cocaine and heroin overdoses. The Miami VA is part of a network which also saw five cancer patients die because of long waits and delayed care. Not to mention that in 2009, the Miami VA revealed that nearly 2,500 veterans might have been exposed to HIV and other illnesses during colonoscopies performed with improperly cleaned equipment. In 2010, the St. Louis VA hospital may have exposed more than 1,800 patients to HIV and hepatitis in 2010 as a result of contaminated dental equipment. At the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center a 47-year-old Air Force veteran had the wrongtesticle removed during surgically which left him without any functioning testes.

I could go on and on but the fact remains that what we see with the government run VA is what we can expect from the government run Affordable Care Act. The delays that new veterans facebefore receiving disability compensation and other benefits often is way way longer than the private sector, with an average wait time of 273 days. Even worse are those veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan filing their first claim, wait nearly two months longer.  And don’t live in New York, Los Angeles or Chicago because that time is doubled.

Across the VA system we observe benefits claims taking longer than ever to process according to a recent report by the Center for Investigative Reporting. Before 2009, the number of veterans waiting more than a year for their benefits was 11,000. Since 2009 that figure grew to 245,000. And all the Federal Government does is asking for and gives more money as if that is the solution.  It is not. The problem with the VA, which is indicative of how the federal government manages health systems. It is one of management, administration, lack of understanding about health care delivery and oversight.  And this is the case for other VA hospitals around the nation in places like Dayton, Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Jackson,Mississippi.

All of the aforementioned is happening even after five years ago the president made a pledge to repair the VA bureaucracy. There should be no way in the world that a dysfunctional systemlike the VA top brass keep getting millions and gain capacity in only by underserving the millions veterans. Yet VA network directors get tens of thousands of bonuses every year on top of six figure salaries.
Rica Lewis-Payton, the network director of the South Central Health Care Network, which includes Jackson, got almost $36,000 in bonuses last year: Washington, D.C., Diana Rubens, the VA executive in charge of the nearly 60 offices that process disability benefits compensation claims, collected almost $60,000 in bonuses. Rima Ann Nelson, the former director of the St. Louis VA (where HIV and hepatitis exposure is believed to have occurred),  had received close to $25,000 in bonuses since 2009; At the  Atlanta VA Medical Center, three of which VA’s inspector general linked to widespread mismanagement, former director James Clark received $65,000 in bonuses over four years.

Again, the issue is management. If we do take the 7.1 or 10 million as a metric of success, we must acknowledge that less than a million of that number did not have insurance, meaning folks who had private insurance were forced to purchase government insurance, allowing the federal government to run and control 16 percent of the U.S. economy. If this isn’t a corporate takeover or monopoly, nothing is.  Second, the ACA to reduce the cost of CARE and or better management. Insurance is based on math and the actuarial sciences. 

Fact is that comparatively speaking, young men use very little health care when compared to young women use more than young men. No way in the world would folk stand for young men saying they should pay the same rates of women, when the fact is that young men driving habits dictate they should pay more than young women.

But like I said, numbers won’t tell the story, but if you look at how the government currently runs health care from filing claims to service delivery, we need only look at the VA and the disproportionately negative health outcomes occurring compared to the private sector. And if Obamacare is managed in the same inept manner, as long as hospitals and insurance companies raking in the loot, money will go to huge profits before health care is provided. And as a result, all the regular folk gonna see is higher co-pay, higher deductibles, higher premiums, folk losing their doctors, not having access to the hospitals in their community and the same old federal mismanagement practices. I mean, is it feasible to expect that people who never read the ACA prior to voting to pass it as law, actually know what it does to manage it even modestly? The real issue is not having coverage but lowering cost and improving service delivery. Unfortunately politicians have people equating health insurance to improved health care or even just health care when it is not. Having health insurance makes you no healthier than having auto insurance makes you a safer driver.