Tuesday, March 7, 2017

On Monday, I read the transcripts from the Sunday morning talk shows.  One comment that struck a tone with me that I read was from Laura Ingraham.  Now honestly, albeit an intelligent person, I rarely agree with her observations but this time I did. She gave an apt description of Obamacare as a “libertine mess of a piece of legislation.” I wanted to name this essay exactly this, however fearing copyright challenges, I came up with my own title of a similar nature

Regardless if you call it the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, the fact is that for the vast majority of Americans, in particular the ones that lost coverage and now have higher premiums and deductibles, the foul side effects and unplanned imports have not been received well. Admittedly, no new government program is going to be completely perfect and however laudable a desire as it is to provide health insurance to millions that do not have any coverage, the reality is that health benefit mandates and willy-nilly rating rules significantly increase health insurance costs, and as a result are passed on to consumers.

I don’t mind saying it, but I predicted all of this years ago. It began with, from the very start, when President Obama kept on saying that American families would experience an annual reduction of $2,500 in their health costs if his law was passed. This would be mathematically impossible unless some extreme assumptions could be made and they were. The biggest being one of structure given that the ACA doesn’t even address the cost of health coverage. It is easy to make sweeping statements when the direct object of a statement (cost of health insurance coverage) isn’t even spoken about in the legislation. Another and more problematic aspect of the law is that Obamacare can only work the manner stated if cats participate in the“individual mandate.” If you don’t then fear the tax and be fined either greater of 2.5 percent of your household’s taxable income or $695 per uninsured adult and $347.50 per uninsured child in your family. This flat fee rate will increase each year with inflation. The assumption here was that if employer and employee insurance costs were greatly reduced, then that would have a direct, outcome on citizens in the form of the aforementioned $2500 per year for the average family. Maybe this is why then President Obama stated that his law would “not burden people who make $250,000 a year or less,” or why he said that the ACA would not add “a dime” to the federal deficit

Economics side, another problem for many, myself included is that Obamacare abrogates individual and personal freedom not only by limiting choices but by allowing the government to make you to participate by buying insurance for not obeying the law. Almost every main decision in the health care sector of the American economy under the ACA is in the hands openly or ultimately, by federal officials – unelected federal officials.

But if you participate, you give up most of the liberty us as individuals connect with choice and medical freedom. Just take the Obamacare's Independent Advisory Board (IPAB) for example. This allows for the ACA to create a 15-member panel of experts that determining the type of care that Medicare pays for on behalf of the individual and consequently rations Medicare through price controls for that individual – whatever they decide you are stuck with. Why, because under Title I, federal officials define the content of health insurance coverage, including but not limited to obligatory medical actions, treatment and preventive health care services.  Then there is the large long-term care program called the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act. As early as five years ago we knew many of the components of the legislation were not practical or affordable. The Obama Administration’s from the start knew that the CLASS act was not financially feasible, but wanted it and so kept the program anyway.

In summary, the ACA has increased costs for individuals,families, and businesses and unlike proponents of the bill claimed, instead the American people have come to hate the bill more and more. Not only is it worsening America's debt problem, federal spending on healthcare is also increasing which some believe will result in trillion-dollar deficits in seven years' time. The Congressional Budget Office has indicated that U.S. Federal debt could be as high as $30 trillion by 2030, as a consequence of Obamacare. Don’t even include the absence of insurance options under Obamacare or the failing co-ops. Large insurance providers like Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Healthcare and Aetna are all leaving the exchanges and several states have only one insurer providing insurance through Obamacare. Less competition in the exchanges only means higher premiums and deductibles cost and less consumer choice (this is the law of supply and demand).

But such should have been expected, I mean congress had not even read the bill or given the chance to read the bill before being forced to vote on it. But folk still stick up for Obama care.  But to me, a woman over 70 should not be forced to purchase prostate cancer or maternity coverage if she doesn’t have a prostate gland and can’t have a baby.  But folk like this cat seem to don’t get this. How would you feel if you paid the same price for auto insurance as a person with 3 DUI’s? The ACA is truly a hodgepodge, mishmash jumble of confusion - a  Farrago for lack of a better word.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

For some reason that I have failed to comprehend, people are actually up in arms over the manner in which President Trump is addressing and defining mainstream media outlets – namely CNN, the Washington Post, New York Times and MSNBC among others. I have heard it pronounced as an attack on democracy or that his actions characterize an effrontery to a free press. It is the latter notion that sets me aback for the press in America isn’t reflective of free, rather it is corporatist for lack of an even more accurate description.

When we assert the concept of press freedoms or freedom of the press, it implies that there is no interference from any ever-powerful or omnipresent political or established state, or other organizational entity.  We do not have this with the mainstream media in America anymore. What is called and referred to as a “free press” is in reality just a vehicle by which the public is fed the agenda of government and corporations under the cloak of unrevealed activities of elites in newsrooms primarily located in New York and Washington, DC. Modestly put, the mainstream media isn’t a free press but rather a speaking board by which state and corporate bodies are able to repeat without investigation, the narratives designed to encourage spreading specific political information to program thought and behavior.

Moreover, the people that own and run these East and West coast news outlets are billionaires, like Rupert Murdoch,  Michael Bloomberg and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who own all or significant proportions of media platforms the likes of the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. This is factual at the local level as well for Warren Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway owns more than 60 daily newspapers across the nation. Taking this a step farther, it is estimated that 90% of what we watch, listen to and read is owned by 6 companies. Yes it is true, News Corp, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner, CBS and Comcast own 90% of the TV stations, radio stations, movies, magazines and newspapers that every American rely on for news, entertainment and information many require to be so-called ‘woke.’

Such a consolidation of news media companies cannot be considered the stalwart of a free press, instead it is an ‘owned press’ in which freedom means motives of operation imbued in the content they select to provide or hide thanks mostly to Congress and the FCC, and which was accelerated in 1996 when then President Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act, which led to rapid consolidation of the radio industry. Just think about it, in 1983, 50 companies owned 90% of American media.

Now I know the contrarian who watches six or more hours of TV a day, well above the time we spend reading and asking questions will disagree.  But history and the official record suggest otherwise. In 1975, the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities found that the CIA submitted stories to the American press. In fact, in the 1950s, the CIA put in place Operation Mockingbird which was a program designed to, and effectively used US journalists at establishments like the New York Times and CBS to feed them official state propaganda stories to send out to their American consumers.

Journalists were even paid by the CIA to promote such stories or on the low end, just given the information and put it out as real news, when in fact it was made-up and fabricated propaganda - ‘fake news’. The truth of the matter is that the US government via the CIA, has for years influenced US news media to advocate specific political storylines. Although Operation Mockingbird was supposedly ended in the 1970s, the objective and free thinking individuals could imagine that the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012 still serves the mission and purpose of the federal government by allowing for the American public to be a target audience for U.S. government-funded narrative inculcation campaigns. And don’t sleep, it was way harder to carry out such activities after 1953 when Allen W. Dulles became director of the CIA because there were more individual players in terms of wire services and newspapers then.  

I’m not sure but I think it was Malcolm X who called this shit ‘tricknology’. These folk are effectively and actively trying to influence the narratives that mindless self-absorbed narcissist ignorantly consume in an effort to create your reality for YOU. And I know it is effective because YOU believe it.  Wouldn’t surprise me none if such cats watch the Oscars and see a movie about the White Helmets win yet yo dumb azz can’t comprehend you been sold a storyline to completely hide the fact that the White Helmets are a component of Al-Qaeda. It is called TV programming and not TV reasoning – they just  “programming” into your mind every single day for hours upon hours what they want you to think and accept without research and query to believe what they want you to believe and sway on how you see the world. 

It is you, your bich azz that allow these immovable establishments to fix the agenda for what they want you to care about – Russians, Jeff Sessions and Russians, General Flynn and Russians, Russians interfered in out elections. But as I said, yet you don’t even realize the information released in Podesta and DNC hacks (if the Russians released it or not) was accurate and factual but never ask if I should consider if I should have this information to make a electoral decision, or tow the MSM line that I should not use this to inform myself, although factual just because of what I watch on TV say you shouldn’t? But keep on with the Bay of Pigs, Gulf of Tonkin, Mandela a terrorist, FBI didn’t spy on MLK, there was not Tuskegee Experiment, we have to do Iran-Contra and the ubiquitous Iraq has weapons of mass destruction (when you knew Iraq never attacked us).

Six corporations’ folk, 90%, send everything through your television, everything you watch. You can trust them folk, I won’t.  So wake up folk, can’t be woke and sleep walking, they are not the free press, they got a pimp.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The sudden resignation of National Security Adviser and retired General Michael Flynn and the unprecedented leaks pouring out to damage and even destroy the Trump presidency is a throwback to what I recall other nations (namely autocratic or communist regimes) did when the political status quo felt threatened. Likewise, they often emerged as a consequence of actions taken by top members in state sponsored intelligence operations.

There are several possibilities for this including oscitant retribution proffered by folk like former CIA director John Brennan and former acting CIA Director Michael Morell, or even a backlash by career officials (Democratic politicians and, more importantly, theintelligence community) in an effort for whatever reason, to keep Trump from instituting his foreign policy agenda.

Sadly many in the elite east coast press and large numbers of Democrats support these actions while failing to accept and admit that for unelected officials to go around the constitution and imped policy efforts of a democratically elected official, whether you support that official or not, is seditious and boarders on actions of former governments run by police apparatus like the Stasi of East Germany.

The Stasi was a shorthand term used to describe the East German State Security "Staatssicherheit." It was a combination of the United States FBI, CIA and NSA for lack of a better description, meaning they had policing, investigating and uninhibited surveillance powers. The Stasi was responsible for hundreds of thousands of perceived political opponents being tried without due process, imprisoned and even murdered in an effort to suffocate political dissention against all the tenants of conventional democratic standards.

Most people they imprisoned and executed where charged with specific acts such as engaging in "propaganda hostile to the state," interfering in “activities of the state or society" orthe "treasonable relaying of information." In addition to domestic surveillance, the Stasi was also responsible for foreign surveillance. Through the use of wiretapping (it is illegal to wiretap the U.S. President) and anonymous unsourced claims unaided by any evidence (sounds familiar), for more than four decades, the Stasi operated unfettered and without remorse until the collapse of Communist East Germany and the opening of the borders with West Germany in 1989. These type of energies seem to have been put into action inside the Beltway as it regards the Trump administration.

It is obvious that there is a real fear or hatred for Trump as he goes about his campaign promise to “drain the swamp” and dismantle the bureaucratic system of politics including the FBI, CIA and NSA and their historic abuse of unfettered power that they feels places them over the elected government. Also clear, is that even before Hillary Clinton ran, highbrow member of the Washington political establishment, including assets of the U.S. intelligence apparatus, were supporting her hook, line and sinker. From former acting CIA Director Michael Morell and Gen. Michael Hayden who served in the capacity of both director of the NSA and CIA under George W. Bush. Both men, without evidence or proof asserted that Trump was a “useful fool” and Russian agent being influenced by Putin.

Upon which, immediately rumors started to be thrown into the political ether. In particular when then candidate Trump continuously rejected the establishment narrative of the media and intelligence community that under the direct orders of Putin, Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chair John Podesta emails in order to interfere with the election on the side and behalf of the Republican nominee. This was followed by a pile-on by the Democratic Party which since then have willingly encompassed this effort to disrupt the elected President who they gave no chance of winning.

Since then we have had the Trump “dossier” which was produced by a former member of the British intelligence agency MI6 and hired first by a never-Trump super Pac and then the Democratic Party to find some dirt on Trump. This report fell apart, although the media tried to establish a narrative that it was true, when it was proven that unlike the dossier stated as fact, Trump lawyer Michael Cohen had never secretly traveled to Prague in August to meet with Russian officials or had ever been to Czceh Republic..

Why would the intelligence establishment take this path? Well even a blind person can see that their preferences for Clinton was in line with all of their desired policy objectives: Trump wants to work with Putin to destroy ISIS and Clinton wanted to go deeper into Syria in an effort to get Assad out of office as she did Gadhafi in Libya. For this reason if my logic is tenable, targeting Trumps security executives would be paramount.  More than likely, Flynn was planning to try and reform and change the mindset of the national security state in America. Such would have surly been an economic loss the military industrial complex could not afford to take a chance on.  It has been said that all wars are banker’s wars and we are well aware that banks dole out large sums of money to the US military and intelligence apparatus.

The short of the story is that the East Germany Stasi, even if not in body, in action is alive in the administrative halls of Washington, DC.  Like the Stasi, elements in the U.S. intelligence community are essentially committing treason against the Office of the President of the United States by leaking classified material to the press. This is also without a doubt happening with the urging and assistance of former Obama administration appointees because anonymous leaks without any evidence at all is speculation, guessing and/or gossip. Unfortunately, the democrats and mainstream media flunkies are more than giddy to run with any claim, substantiated or not to bring down Trump and his administration. This is the most probably scenario given from the Obama years, we know the immense powers the U.S. intelligence community has through the leaks (not anonymous) of Edward Snowden alone and that he gave them even more powers days before leaving office. As one writer noted: “Selectively disclosing details of private conversations monitored by the FBI or NSA gives the permanent state the power to destroy reputations from the cloak of anonymity. This is what policestates do."

Any assertion regarding Russia’s interference in U.S. elections as been presented based on guess and without evidence. The charges with Flynn began with the remnants of the Obama Department of Justice when then acting attorney general Sally Yates told the White House counsel that Flynn was not telling the truth with respect to talking about sanctions with the Russian ambassador. How did she know this and who authorized wiretapping Flynn’s communication? Still, we do not know if this was true since the phone transcripts have not been released. All I can state is that these attacks against the President and his administration were planned and contrived in what I perceive as a hidden effort to thwart the will of the American people by elements representative of the Democratic Party, the U.S. intelligence establishment and mainstream media.

Friday, February 17, 2017

When Donald Trump began his run for the Presidency, I thought to myself that he reminded me of Andrew Jackson a little.  Not completely like these pundits currently have been suggesting, but just a little.  I said this even before most made the comparison.  Maybe it was my bias of Jackson in my view being the greatest President (for destroying the Second National Bank) ever and for being from Tennessee.  But I also said that he had attributes of another southern politician that I admired - Huey Long, who was elected as Governor of Louisiana in 1928.

In simple terms from a surface perspective, Trump is nowhere close to the seventh President of the United States.  However, like Jackson, he was an outsider buttressed by the common persons vote to take on the political establishment. To prove his recognition of this I suspect this is why immediately upon taking residency in the Whitehouse Trump hung up a portrait of ‘Old Hickory’ in the Oval Office.

Like Trump, Jackson was a populist, but was the son of a poor farming family with the key word being poor.  Trump has never experienced being poor. Nonetheless, from what I have read, in disposition and temperament - seeing he was described as rash, impatient, rude, volatile, hot-headed and defensive, he could be a Trump twin. Comparably, he was considered a mean-spirited bully and equally as being unfits to serve as president. I would even go on a limb and assert that if it were acceptable, like in Jackson’s day, Trump would challenge any and all of his naysayers to duels.  This was something Jackson did on occasion,even killing a man as a result of one. Jackson never mentioned “America first”, but his actions and campaign rhetoric said everything synonymous with the concept.

One could also postulate that the manner in which Trump disemboweled his opponents during the Republican primary was an act reflective of Jacksonian effort.  I mean one cannot help but read how Jackson depicted John Quincy Adams (as an elitist European in American attire) could have fit the way in which Trump described, Rubio, Bush, and the other GOP hopefuls. Then there were the parades and barb-Q’s that Jackson used in the same manner as Trump did with his massive rallies. Other than that, it ends there.  Not only was Jackson (in my view) America’s greatest general, he also closed out the War of 1812 with a dramatic victory at the Battle of New Orleans where he was out numbered 2 to 1 by most estimates. Jackson had also served as the attorney general for the state of Tennessee, as a judge, a congressman and a senator. Trump hasn’t had any experience in government or politics ever in his life.

The other part that makes the Trump political hybrid in my opinion is Huey Long. Long really had more in common with Jackson than Trump, both being southerners and from poor farming families. He also had a career in politics after first having had a successful career in law. Long had a nickname too – the “Kingfish.”

Like Trump and Jackson, Long was either loved or hated and viewed as being either a populist breath of fresh air on the one side or an autocratic tyrant on the other. All three were able to come into power by taking advantage of sentiments against the widespread public dissatisfaction with years of corrupt government activities and anti-elite sentiment. Like Jackson and Trump, when it came to disposition, Long was their equal. Historians note that it was common for Long to bully and curse at other lawmakers until he broke their will and got his way. This started from when he was first elected Governor of Louisiana in 1928 and continued until his death via assassination in 1935.  Once in office, he put his supports in positions of leadership valuing proficiency over political cronyism.

His policies were Trump-like equally, as well as Jacksonian. Long focused his attention on the common farmers and workers of all races and on improving infrastructure in the form of bridges, roads, hospitals, and schools as well as social services. He also revised the tax codes. All three had better than popular support.  Likewise they had the ability to speak directly to and influence regular citizens (their supporters) in a way that allowed them to overlook their personality failing’s and all entered into office at a time of social and economic upheaval.

For Long it was the start of the great depression, for Jackson it was the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and Trump the economic conundrum proffered by an advancing age of technology and reduced utility for humans in manufacturing. All spoke to people whom felt as if they were being left behind. All were bedbugs to the established political elite albeit Long was still prone to the dirty and corrupt politics of Louisiana at the time. But most of all, each was extremely patriotic.

All came to power with support from ordinary people of ordinary means. Equally, Jackson, Long and Trump vowed to clean up corruption in Washington. Similarly, all three made direct links with the voters by speaking plane and directly to them without the filter of mainstream news outlets or the political elite, vowing to serve as the defender of the people against large special interest collectives. As well, they all expanded the scope of their executive power; Trump with his rapid pace of executive orders, Long with his unorthodox political arm-twisting and Jackson (like Trump) by implementing policies through a private bevy of advisers referred to as the "Kitchen Cabinet." Huey Long passed an inordinate number of laws that enabled him to enact his programs within the first year of becoming the governor of Louisiana. One thing for sure is that all of these men believed the federal government should be simple and reachable by the people.

Although it has been said Trump is a racist, he is likely the less racist of the three. Jackson is well documented in history for his belligerent Indian removal policy and Long for accusing a local judge in Louisiana of having "coffee (Black, colored, mulatto or negro)" blood. A racist slur which according to accounts caused the judge's son-in-law to shoot Long down in the state capitol eventually leading to his death at a time when he was considering running for president as a populist, third-party candidate. Some historians have asserted that he would have been likely to have defeated Franklin D. Roosevelt from winning reelection in 1936.

I do not see Trump as being exactly in the mold of Jackson, or of Long, but I must admit they all have/had powerful personalities. Maybe Trump will have an outcome like Jackson.  If you recall, Jackson was quick to kick folk out of his cabinet who did not do what he said. In two terms for example, Jackson went through four secretaries of state and five secretaries of the treasury alone.  Still, they all had detractors that considered them to be tyrants, with Long even being described as the ‘dictator’ of Louisiana. The state house of representatives even voted to impeach him but it failed.  They are trying to impeach Trump now. The only commonality in my mind is that all three voiced populist resentments to the wealthy and evinced an I don’t give a fuck if I hurt your feelings attitude, I am here to do a job.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Years ago there was a little girl, she operated a lemonade and candy stand, her name was Heaven Sutton. She isn’t with us anymore because she was gunned down in her front yard.  Now years later the names of children killed by senseless gangland (or any form) violence in places like Chicago are too numerous to name.  Acen King, Ja'Quail Mansaw, Cylie and Caden McCullum, Payton Benson
Antonio Smith Jr., Tiana Ricks and Londyn Samuels are just a few, but you don’t know their names or even know who they are.  They were never romanticized with hashtags like #remeberhername or #sayhisname or #bringbackourgirls because although they were black there death's were not sensational enough for the retro chic political narrative of the day.

If they were killed by police or an idiotic white lunatic, they would be known and remembered and we would cite their names with the likes of Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown.  But they have no value in the eyes and minds of social justice warriors because mentioning or remembering their names does not help to enable their goals of getting rich off of racial and identity politics and obtain fake fame by receiving television air time for pretending to be “woke.”

The artificial pretense of the so-called woke culture is metastasizing like a cancer, especially with the election of Donald Trump.  It is as if black folk can only attend to complaining about him and police shootings and nothing more.  Not the pathetic state of our inner cities. Or our failing government public schools or increasing rates of poverty (all of which by they have been happening in places that have been run by democrats since the 1940s in most cases and problems Trump had nothing to do with). The fake outrage at the election of Donald Trump that I have written about before will never manifest into true honest civic outrage for real problems that confront us daily like the deaths of the little children or the economic constraints I mentioned previously. 

These same folk, especially the black ones will protest against Trump and his ban on seven specific nations but were silent when Obama was bombing families of the same innocent women and children in the same nations with his drone wars which he dramatically increased when compared to George W. Bush after giving his 2009 Nobel Peace prize acceptance speech: wars that the former president conducted with impunity in places like Somalia, Libya, South Sudan, Afghanistan and Syria that created his current migrant-refugee crisis to begin with. They are loud when they are not allowed within the U.S. proper but were quiet when they were being slaughtered religiously on the orders of America’s first black president. It is as if they say it is cool to kill them, I can get with that but it is a problem when we try to improve criterion for entry to the U.S.

For the life of me I cannot figure this out – being open to individual and personal acquiesce to murder but opposed to none murderous acts to an option of personal choice.  Likewise, there was no outrage when Obama stopped Iraqis from immigrating to the U.S. for 120 days.  Clearly politics and not protest in the name of basic dignity is hey problem or issue.

At Berkeley we saw this in action. Incantations of divide and conquer. Destroying property and setting vehicles on fire has nothing to do with protest based on what is called for to stand on the side of righteousness regarding human dignity or else they would affirm the nonviolent approaches of Gandhi, King and Mandela.  This is all show and mechanically contrived vexation.  They do not really care, they just want attention; and they do not seek change, rather they only want to define what is acceptable or should be tolerated as meaning you have to agree with me or else you are wrong and my speech is more important than your speech. What I am paying attention too is more important than anything else. But where were they before this?

For example, cities and states all around the nation have been finding funds available to deal with litigious actions that may be pending for illegal aliens under asserted or proposed Trump planes to deal with the issue.  You got black folk even out on the front lines of this fictitious battle.  Mind you that for decades we have been trying to get the same cities and states to hire more public defenders for the many of our fellow men and women locked behind bars but the response was always “we do not have the money for such.” Yet there were none of these adamant protestors standing next to us when we made this request but we stand with them. And all of a sudden places like LA can magically come up with $10 million for this but no funds for additional public defenders to defend people born in America.

It is as if we are living in an alternate reality where all injustices are equal when evidence dictates they are not.  There were only one specific people designated as slaves in America who did not have a choice to come him but rather was forced to by a combination of the Bible and the barrel of a gun. Still opaquely innocent and manipulated we go along with the flow when it makes no logical senses and supersedes our own collective interest.  We hail the arrival of Muslim immigrants without out the consideration of the fact that if they are terrorist, they will kill us too, and want to kill us too.  Liberal or conservative they do not care, they will set you on fire and chop your head off with the quickness for things we call liberties (sexual orientation, wearing revealing clothing if you are a woman, drinking alcohol, being a Christian or having an abortion).

That they do like beating women and condemning homosexuals to death don’t outrage us, nor what they believe.  It is this myopia that believes we are justified not to speak up on behalf of the children I mentioned earlier because they do not meet our narrative.  But don’t let it be an award show, or you will have protest and outrage out the azz.  There would be #oscarssowhite or the recent #grammyssowhite because Beyoncé didn’t win album of the year.  This is an issue although WORLDWIDE the woman she lost too sold waaaaaaaay more albums than she did. Now let that sink in, cats are so mad that a millionaire didn’t win an award while sitting in a room filled with other millionaires outfitted in $5,000 or more worth of sartorial splendor, that they are willing to express emotional disdain.  But let a two-year get shot in the head the result of a gangland hit, and they won’t say jack. But it makes sense, after all these rich Hollywood cats are oppressed too, with their body guards with automatic weapons, drivers and walled-in mansions.

Have we lost our way? Are we so caught up in self-absorbed mindless celebrity twaddle that we can be eaisly paraded about like a puppet by presentations of what Juvenal called “bread and circuses?” Do we even know what we are upset by, angered by or protesting against?  I don’t think so and I don’t think for those who are black, really have have any interest in improving our conditions collectively as a people, if they were, they would know of Lavontay White, Takiya Holmes or Kanari Gentry Bowers. Unfortunately they don’t, they just know Beyoncé didn’t win a Grammy for Album of the year and that it takes precedence above all else.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

One word I use frequently, well really two are hilarity and comical. So forgive me for I am about to employ their use again but this time it will be in reference to Dodd-Frank.  Not the law itself but rather the outrage I have heard from people regarding President Trump’s desire to review and possibly gut the bill. Trump has just outline his plan to revisit the legislation introduced by President Obama approaching some seven years ago. In light of this, I asked several people how they viewed his decision. And the comedy followed.

The first few people said straight up that this was a bad idea and that Trump was just messing up again.  They were vehement in their positions so I probed more asking two questions: (1) can you explain the Dodd-Frank legislation to me, and (2) have you ever read the legislation? I was not surprised for as I had anticipated none of the four had ever read it nor could they explain the law.  Why is it that people get outraged at things they really have no understanding or knowledge of?

In my own view, Dodd-Frank is a worthless waste of trees.  It basically amounts to 2300 plus pages of nothing. When President Obama signed Dodd-Frank into law he told all Americans that it would serve as a stimulus to the U.S.economy. Instead of taking his word for it, I spent a week reading and trying to understand as much as I could proffer about the law. I read a lot of rules included in the law, hundreds, so many that I could only conclude some redundancy and some inherent contradictions. 

What was clear was that it would not do one thing: end the practices of the “too big to fail” banks that brought about the 2008 financial crisis. It did however, with all of the new regulations, grow the size and cost of government albeit it claimed to streamline the regulatory processes for Wall Street.
That was then and after the end of the Obama administration, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has documented some of my initial concerns. Not only has it added thousands of new government jobs it also cost in excess of a billion dollars for the law to be implemented annually. Moreover, the largest U.S. financial institutions are still “too big to fail” and in most cases have grown into even larger than they were prior to Dodd-Frank becoming the law of the land.
In short, small business lending from banks has dropped dramatically and there are fewer smaller banks across the country, thus creating less competition among these institutions in the favor of bigger banks compared to smaller community banks.  Moreover, since most small business and start-up happen at the local level, with fewer small community banks, there has been the consequence of fewer new business startups.

It may end up that Dodd-Frank could have made the U.S. financial system even more unstable than it was in 2008. Then there is the fact that the legislation did not address any of the issues prevalent with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which can be considered the main catalyst for what occurred in 2008. One reason for this could be that the Obama administration focused on pushing that what led to the financial crisisin 2008 was a lack of oversight and regulation of the financial system. Although I am no economist, I would disagree with this assertion because there has always been oversight it was rather that regulators mainly came from the banks they were supposed to regulate and often either looked the other way when wrong doing occurred, given a slap on the wrist or in a worse case, gave big banks special treatment.

All in all, it can be said wit substantial evidence that Dodd-Frank did not do what it said it would do.  And not to say that I know what President Trump will do, I can say it does need to be looked at again, in particular in terms on how it inhibits new business formation and puts the federal government in bed with these massive financial institutions. I also don’t like how it plays favoritism with big banks allowing them to borrow money at lower rates than smaller banks. Similarly the manner in which it allowed big banks to add a banking fee to anything has contributed greatly to the tightening of purse straps demonstrated by a large body of the U.S. populous. Before Dodd-Frank more than three out of four banks provided free checking, now this is a thing of the past and may be why more and more people either do not want or can no longer afford to have a bank account.  But like I started with, if you ask me, Dodd-Frank is worth less than the paper it was printed on.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

For decades now I have been saying that there was no difference between Republicans and Democrats and with the election of Donald Trump, no time since now has this even more clear. Sure folk will say that Trump is a Republican, but I dare anyone to show any ideological bent he has toward either party.  If he is a Republican, then Bernie Sanders is a Democrat.  But a more articulate example of this can be observed when one tries to make a distinction between the actions and policies of traditional partisans like Cory Booker and Tom Price.

For cats attentive to history, we must recall we have Thomas Jefferson and James Madison to thank for our modern day derivative of what are now considered Republicans and Democrats. Both these men founded the Democratic-Republican Party. It was founded by these men to serve as a challenge to the Federalist Party which was run by Alexander Hamilton in 1791.  Hamilton at the time was Secretary of the Treasury and a significant player in the administration in America’s first President George Washington.

Madison and Jefferson questioned Hamilton’s interest in truly wanting America to be a republic since he sided with the concept of federalism and disapproved of the manner in which the Constitution was written to limit the government and not the people. In contrast, Jefferson and Madison claimed the Constitution gave the federal government too much power such that it might place the citizenry at risk of being oppressed if there was no Bill of Rights to guarantee individual liberty. As an outcome of this, the first two U.S. political parties were formed – the Federalist Party (Hamilton) and the Democratic-Republican Party (Jefferson).

These two parties did not last too long and by the twentieth century, there was just one party divided in half – the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. Both of which have decided their main objective is not to serve on behalf of the unalienable individual rights of the citizen but rather the mechanical apparatus of the national government . Moreover, instead of the business of the people, their goals, motivated by political avarice motioned toward personal enrichment by becoming a professional class – something the founding fathers feared when they desired citizen merchants to serve and eventually return to the community.

Seeing this truism in modern day partisan politics, there is no better example than the relationship between Tom Price and Cory Booker with big pharma. The record is clear on both these politicians and their relationship with large U.S. pharmaceutical giants. Price was the benefactor of large campaign contributions from a CEO whose company manufactured a drug with the shelf name of BiDil - A treatment for African Americans suffering from heart failure, although one study raised problems about its safety and effectiveness. Add to this, the recent.  Kaiser Health report that Price invested in an Australian biotech company named Zimmer Biomet which resulted for him a profit gain of more than 400 percent and may be even more profitable for the company with the enacting of the 21st Century Cures legislation Price supported. Likewise Sen. Cory Booker and 12 other democrat senators supported the same legislation which serves to lower drug safety standards. Booker also votedagainst the Sanders/Klobuchar amendment which would have allowed for the importation of pharmaceuticals from Canada and aided sugificantly in reducing the unreasonable and exploitive price gauging currently practiced by U.S. Pharmaceutical giants. Booker did this while remaining one of the biggest recipients of pharma, receiving contributions in excess of with $260,000.  Is there a difference between these two politicians although one is a republican and the other a democrat?

Well to answer this we have to beat the bushes a little more. Tom Price, the Georgia Republican nominated by Donald Trump to become head of the Department of Health and Human Services, received additional contributions from the CEO of Atlanta based Arbor Pharmaceuticals LLC who bought the rights to BiDil.  In return he sought to have the aforementioned study questioning the drug safety and effectiveness removed from the federal government website.   It was effective.  Emails show that an assistant to Price contacted the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality multiple times regarding having the study taken off their website according to documents obtained by ProPublica. It should be noted that Arbor is headquartered in Price’s district.

Similar to Price, Booker too seems to be in the pocket of big Pharma. He demonstrated his true colors (green and white) when he visibly stood in opposition to a Senate amendment allowing for the importation of pharmaceuticals into the U.S. that would have lowered the absurd cost for drugs that is a major economic burden on millions in the U.S. Considered to be a potential 2020 presidential contender, Booker’s office issued a statement saying that he was in favor of the importation of prescription drugs but that “any plan to allow the importation of prescription medications should also include consumer protections that ensure foreign drugs meet American safety standards. I opposed an amendment put forward last night that didn’t meet this test.” This alone is questionable and goes against attempting to aid the tens of millions of U.S. Citizens struggling to deal with the exorbitant cost of prescription drugs because it is the same argument made by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and the Obama Administration prior. Not to mention that Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden amendment to the Sanders/Klobuchar legislation included a clause for verified safety certification.

So is there a difference between Republicans and Democrats on ideology?  Would say no and that the Democratic-Republican Party established by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison are mirror images of each other and represent a professional class that have the singular objective to enrich themselves at the expense of the American people. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Long time ago during World War I, some cats in Russia started to show their disdain for the ruling aristocracy. Led by Vladimir Lenin, these leftist revolutionaries called themselves the Bolsheviks.  By all accounts of the historical record, there was merit to their actions insofar as Russia had been under imperial rule for almost 200 years. The Bolsheviks represented the Russian Social-Democratic Workers’ Party who supported political change by any and all means including militarism. They promised their followers that they would redistribute the land and wealth to address the massive income inequality of their time and by doing such, improve the conditions of all in the working class. Through massive protest, strikes and vandalizing property of the state and ruling class, ultimately Nicholas II was forced to abdicate, ending centuries of czarist rule.  Eventually, in 1917 Lenin rose to become basically the dictator of the first Marxist state in the world.

Today in the United States, the facade of a similar nature is on the rise.  Strangely as well, the foundation for this outrage is neither grounded in reason or logic but rather pure emotions – emotions of hate and dislike for the newly elected President of the United stated of America Donald Trump.  I say this for like the Bolsheviks or most movements grounded on singular ideology, the U.S. modern progressive left are so caught up on their beliefs and what they believe that they never consider the beliefs, views and perspectives of others without their views as being valid.  It is for them binary – all or none, my way or no way at all there for I am legitimate and justified to take any action I desire. Just as with the divides between the Bolsheviks prior to 1917,  they spend more time yelling and protesting than actually trying to communicate or get their beliefs out to the folk they claim to protest on behalf of.

And protest are effective, but how is one to know what they are protesting or desire to change if it is not conversed to the masses?  How can such be effective if through social, mass and mainstream media outlets the visual relayed is burning buildings, smashing car windows and vandalizing property?  How can it be communicated to the mass of citizenry who do not agree with you if you shut down first amendment rights such as free speech? Doesn’t diversity in addition to race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation also include political views?

Liberal by definition means being open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values. Thus a liberal university for example is by definition supposed to be an institution of higher learning that concerned mainly with broadening a person's general knowledge and experience as it pertains to the world around them, not just what they believe or feel comfortable around.  One could not tell that this was the case operationally at the University of California Berkeley yesterday. UC Berkeley is supposedly one of the most “liberal” and “progressive” universities in America but I have learned that if one ascribes from a dissimilar opinion that the majority (mob) maintains (rule), you are not welcomed, disliked, threatened with violence and even worse not allowed to speak. Once upon a time, universities were places where all folk and anyone could sit down, talk and listen to each other without retribution.  Not today.  Now exchanging different perspectives may hurt someone’s feelings to the extent they need a puppy to pet or a safe space; places where there is only one side to all topics, either you are right or wrong – no exceptions. And anyone that dares to abrogate this unspoken code will be attacked and highly likely subjugated to violent retribution because the words spoken by anyone with a differing perspective than these cats are terrifying, in particular if these individuals think for themselves and form their own opinions. For if one has control of language and vocabulary and is well-read (the latter being not hard to be now days), you may actually persuade them to think differently which makes throwing rocks and setting fires a more acceptable expression for them when they disagree and are frightened.

The funny thing is that the Democrats do not even recognize that it is these such behaviors that have given America Trump and a republican controlled House and Senate. These actions in particular their intolerance is what has lost them state legislatures and governorship's nationwide. They believe that since they control music, Hollywood and other celebrity spheres of reality that they are the dominant mainstream ideology – this is maniacal and false. They compare Trump to Hitler but do not know Hitler was never elected to office by the German people.  Instead that he was appointed to be Chancellor of Germany by Paul von Hindenburg and did not assume the position of President until 1934 upon the death of Hindenburg, making himself Fuhrer of Germany when he combined the office of Chancellor and President.

Even more comical is that the people who are afraid of Trump are on the surface even more vile, bigoted and hateful that the man they claim to oppose for the very same reasons.  So much so that it is not uncommon for members on the anti-Trump left to call for open murder as one woman recently did, who claims to be a pre-school teacher, saying it was time to start killing people, starting at the White House.

The Bolshevik and like-minded cultural Marxist have arisen in the United States and I fear they are here to stay. I just hope they do not take us to the same outcome of authoritarianism they yielded in Russia.  It was alleged that Winston Churchill once stated: “The fascists of the future will be called anti-fascists,” I guess he may have been spot on with that.

Monday, January 30, 2017

The veil of hypocrisy is best seen when one looks in the mirror.  It is opaque and empty until we accidentally see it while we are putting on our makeup, or a tie to adorn our image. Our hypocrisy is so consistent, especially here in America that it should be used like a scientific constant similar to Planck’s or Avogadro’s number.

It seems as that President Trump’s recent announcement of a temporary ban on immigration from several specific countries got a lot of folk upset, 99 percent of them who presented no real outrage to the policy or even the ban, but rather the man who implemented it.  They are out in mass protesting at airports on behalf of these individuals as if their life depended on it.  Now I too disagree with Trump’s implementation but not the policy. But unlike most, I am rational and have been consistent, in my views from president to president, but I will never evince the fake and cosmetically contrived outrage band wagon revolutionaries show whenever they get their feelings hurt or do not get their way.

It is comedy at its best and more life-like than anything Hermippus or Eupolis could have ever written.  And I say this honestly, because although I have been pained by the refugee crisis for more than six years now, I was more upset at the Obama administration for its continuous bombing and destruction of these humans homes and murdering their families, for creating this outcome from Libya to the South Sudan and equally the lack of concern partisan progressive neoliberals, allowed him to carry out his inhuman slaughter without protest.

You see, when Obama was droning weddings in Afghanistan, or providing Saudi Air force with targeting direction to drop US supplied cluster bombs and White Phosphorus on schools, hospitals and Yemeni markets using US F-15s, few of the many at the airports across American cities currently said a single world.  Since it was Obama, it was “all good.” Even still, there was nothing said when in 2011, then President Barack Obama and the Clinton state department stopped processing Iraq refugee requests for six months imposing a similar ban as Trump’s. I say similar because if you take the time to read the EO (as I have) it is nothing like these idiot pundit talking heads describes it as being.  Instead, they play the herd-like public, so distraught with emotional indignity and desecration so eager to accept what they see from TV without question.  A more accurate representation of the EO is that it specifically focuses in on Syrians (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen are not even declared, stated, cited or listed in the EO specifically). If they were, we can thank the past administration for this policy shift for these visa restrictions for these seven nations exactly, which was put in place by the Obama administration in 2015 for cats who had been in said nations after 2011 (ironically it was in March 2011 when a multi-state NATO-led coalition began a military intervention in Libya and at the same time the Obama administration instigated the civil war in Syria).

In all accuracy, if one read it, the only mention of the other nations are as follows: “For the next 90 days, nearly all travelers, except U.S. citizens,traveling on passports from Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen will be temporarily suspended from entry to the United States.“  It also goes on to state: “I hereby proclaim that the entry of nationals of Syria as refugees is detrimental to the interests of the United States and thus suspend any such entry until such time as I have determined that sufficient changes have been made to the USRAP to ensure that admission of Syrian refugees is consistent with the national interest.”

If you read the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington post (and I can only imagine mainstream TV/cable  news), all I am seeing is messaging pushing the narrative that seven mostly Muslim nations are targeted from entering the US over the ninety day period.  But this isn’t true.  Don’t believe me, again read the EO yourself.

So when Democrats like Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth “full-blooded Indian” Warren, or media pundits whom proclaim to be objective journalist yet clearly do not know how to read or either comprehend processes that allow for the extraction of semantic meaning from words, express their OFFENDEDNESS at President Trump's action, I have to question their sincerity, as I do with all these protestors.

I question if they care so much, then where have they been and why have they been silent.  As I noted earlier, they didn’t mind when Obama did it for a period of 120 days, nor complained when upon leaving office ending a privilege bestowed among Cuban migrants and immigrants of being allowed to enter the U.S. without a visa—and to remain with benefits. They were uncommunicative and closed-mouth even prior to this for when Obama  approved policy designed to destabilize governments (neoliberal interventionism’s), allow for the bombing countries (undeclared wars of aggression),  and arming  jihadist extremists , no one complained then even when we saw the massive outflow of people from Niger, Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria among others. If you never complained about the Obama administration accelerated/enhanced drone policy, you are really in no moral or ethical position to complain about Trump's refugee policy. Look in that mirror and ask yourself, what's worse: Trump not allowing refugees to enter the US or Obama droning and bombing  these peoples’ into oblivion and creating an environment for fundamentalist cats that cut off heads, enslave women and girls, and burn people alive in an effort to control their communities? But no now we have a responsibility to refugees.

It is nothing wrong with caring and having compassion for others, but when it is phony and falls along partisan lines it borders on fascism.  Such hypocrisy has no moral footing to stand unless you are willing to take these migrants in your home or have refugee camps built across from where you live, but I doubt you have that much care and sincere interest to go that far. I mean we have homeless people right here in America who many of the anti-Trump EO protestors drive past, don’t help and even lock their doors and roll up their windows when they approach their car. Take San Francisco for example.  Liberal democrats all over the city protesting for affordable houses but when plans were made to put that housing in their liberal democratic neighborhood they fought and still are fighting against it. I guess it is okay to protest for affordable housing for the poor and homeless as long as it isn’t put next door to me

Clearly these protesters like to say it is an all-out Muslim ban when fact dictates these nations only account for 12 percent of all Muslims in the world – nations that have had similar bans against Israel but proffered no protest.  But this is cool, but some aspects are not.  For example, Starbucks announced it plans to hire 10,000 refuges but when it comes to former inmates or young black youth in America, they are content with them remaining unemployed. But like I said before, where was this activism when Obama & Hillary were creating refugees by dropping bombs on the homes they once owned in the places in which they hail from? And don’t forget about the celebrity Hollywood cats that politicize the #Muslimban yet never mentioning that in the majority of their movies they portray Muslims as terrorist (which can be interpreted as progressives protesting under the claim that they are tolerant, but they are not).  Tolerance for them only means accepting views comparable to theirs for reason and compassion is thrown out the window when you disagree with them. One can only speak your mind if you tow the same ideological line.

Something must change, it is as if you don’t agree with someone, instead of listening and using reason and pragmatism, folks would rather just yell, call names and argue.  This isn’t productive. I will not point fingers but there is enough hypocrisy to go around feed the world indefinitely.  Strange there's so much outrage over Trump's refugee ban compared to Obama's disastrous regime-change policies in Libya, Syria and Yemen. I know what trump did was idiotic, stupid and in American but for you fake outrage and not put in work in your back yard is equally stupid. This is what I meant by such being comical for the hilarity of the herd mentality cannot be ignored.  And this is sad because as one writer pointed out describing all of the anti-Trump protest: “…marchers aren’t waiting for the policy fog to lift. Their anger is directed at people, not policies. [These] protests [are] intended,above all, to express the protesters’ moral superiority to the president and those who voted for him…. Why complain now, when no decision has been made? It delegitimizes the future protests and exposes the bias of the opposition. . . .An opposition focused on personality.”

I just ask, is this you? Are you as loud when Israel already has a wall?

Torrance T. Stephens. Powered by Blogger.

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