REGARDING A GOOD HEALTHCARE SYSTEM

PART 1

What constitutes a good healthcare system?

  1. One that is affordable such that every citizen with a meaningful job can purchase it.
  2. One in which doctors and the legion of healthcare providers are paid well for the life-saving services they render.
  3. One in which the health insurance companies can make profits while insuring our health. By the way they are primarily profit-making enterprises and they have to stay in business.
  4. One in which there can be multiple plans such that people with varying levels of income can go for whatever plan their income can afford.
  5. One in which people with pre-existing conditions will not be denied coverage because they have pre-existing conditions but one also in which those with pre-existing and possibly expensive-to-treat conditions do not expect to be covered under the same kind of plan that healthy people have.

There are Medicare and Medicaid issues that lie in-between. There are issues of whether taxpayers’ money should fund abortion or contraception. There are issues of whether taxpayers’ money should fund organizations such as Planned Parenthood, which provide abortion, among other services, to women. There are chatter about cutting funding for WIC, the healthy-food supplement program for pregnant women. There are issues with how ridiculously expensive prescription drugs are in this country in comparison to Canada and other industrialized nations. There is a disagreement whether there should be an individual mandate to force individuals who can afford health insurance to buy it or face penalty. There are issues of having all employers, including small businesses who may not afford it, provide health insurance coverage for their employees. And then there are some other issues.

So how does a leader, whose intention is to pass a comprehensive healthcare law that will be fair to the health insurance industry, the healthcare practitioners, and the end users, go about addressing these issues?

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CONGRESS AND THE HEALTHCARE LAW

Yesterday in the US Senate, the maverick that we have long missed, returned. Yesterday in the US Senate, Senator John McCain made a passionate plea to his colleagues, Republicans and Democrats, to return to the bipartisan way of doing business in the senate so that they can make real progress and avoid the constant gridlock that has characterized legislative business in Congress. Sometimes we lose our way and it will take personal pain to rediscover ourselves. So did it happen with Sen. McCain. Watch his speech on the floor of the Senate yesterday on the need for bipartisanship if you haven’t seen it yet.

For 8 years, the Republican Party campaigned on repealing Obamacare. They demonized the man behind the healthcare law. And they demonized the law itself. And you would expect them to have come up before now with alternative to the healthcare law because if you are smart to know that something is wrong with a thing, you should be smart enough to figure out the solution to the problem.

The Republican Party now controls both chambers of Congress and the White House. In both chambers, they have the majority to pass laws without needing a single vote from members of the Democratic Party. Yet, six months down the line, they haven’t come to terms among themselves on what to replace the law with. Having failed repeatedly to conceive a law they can agree on within their conference, Mitch McConnell and his horde are now set on the path of repealing Obamacare without replacing it with anything.

How can you plan to pull off a roof to a house without having a replacement in place?

That tells you that the problem is not necessarily with the generally acknowledged imperfect Obamacare. An imperfect law that can easily be fixed by bipartisan efforts. The Republican Party simply do not want a legacy for President Obama.

I am an American and I do not place any stock in petty party politics.

Obamacare is not a perfect law just like the Social Security Act and so many other federal programs that were part of the New Deal were not perfect laws. But we had statesmen who were willing to work with the government to review the laws and make them to work better for America. Statesmen who rose above party politics. If the intention of the Republican Party has been for America to have a healthcare law that is affordable and fair to everyone participating in the healthcare market – the insurance companies, the health practitioners, and the end users – they would have spent half the energy and time they spent on their futile efforts to repeal the law on working with Democrats to review the law and make it better. That is how responsible and people-oriented governance come through.

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HOW DID WE GET HERE?

While our country is in chaos, with the Democrats grappling in the dark and Republicans clueless about governance, do we know what Russia – who successfully manipulated our political discourse into a state of paralysis – is doing in the world?

How did we get to where we are as a nation?

We are no longer the world leader that nations look up to. Somehow Vladimir Putin, a former KGB has become a role model to the GOP. Citizens go on television and say our president can act like a king if he wishes to. Nepotism has become an accepted norm in our polity. Democrats have four times in a space of 6 months failed to provide answers to a confused nation that is earnestly seeking an alternative to idiocy. Our Commander-in-Chief believes Russia over his own intelligence community, both military and civilian intelligence.

How did we get here?

Have we pondered for a minute how North Korea quickly got to a place where they now have an ICBM? Was it Russia that smuggled the technology to them under the watchful eyes of no one after they orchestrated a vacuum in global leadership? We don’t have a leader and we don’t have an answer.

How did we get here?

We have a president that traded America for loyalty to a KGB spy. We have half of the nation abandoning their sacred allegiance to America in their defense of a sinking ship. We have an attorney general that have repeatedly lied to Congress under oath. We now have a private prison industrial complex. Idiocy as opposed to intelligence, have become elevated in the nation, by the White House, and half of the nation have fallen in line. Our infrastructure is in ruins. There are not that many secure and career jobs for the middle class. The average Joe is working 3 jobs to provide the basic minimum for his family. Investment in education and R&D have been relegated to the background. The triple-D winning we were promised during the campaign was just another lie. I mean, what will happen to our country when 18 months into his administration a burner phone is discovered implicating our president in an attempted murder of a journalist?

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My Homecoming

memorial
So I visited the CIA the other day and almost got shot.

I was in DC and decided to go for a tour of the CIA to shoot videos and take pictures for my boys. So I grabbed my car and asked Google to take me to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

Adventurous me.

Meanwhile Google map in all its ingenuity decided to rather take me to the Farm in McLean. Until that day I never knew the farm existed. I thought it was just a training facility for CIA recruits that only existed in the movies. Until my map dropped me off in front of a hyper-barricaded gate in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by the woods and hills.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. The gate and the driveway beyond it didn’t look alive like a place people pass through on a daily basis to go to work. It looked dead and seldom used to me. First of all it was a massive row of bard-wired gates hinged against thick concrete pillars, and of course overlaid by a concrete beam that is over 30 feet in diameter. The gates are all chained and rust. And both in front and behind the gates are columns of concrete barricades and dead-looking vehicles. The whole setting created a feeling of forlornness in me. I was at a very wrong place. And I was in awe.

Could this really be the entrance to the CIA headquarters? Is this the entrance through which the president’s motorcade enters the headquarters whenever the president comes calling? Who among the White House staff will have the patience for the barricades to be removed for the presidential motorcade to pull through?
I was sitting in my car in front of this behemoth of a fortress wondering if I am at the wrong place or what. Hundreds of questions filled my head. I needed answers. So I decided to let my thoughts out. And I honked at the gate hoping that someone will pop out and provide quick answers to my nagging questions.

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11 vs 37

explainer
America’s Explainer-in-Chief

Democrats are apologists. Period. And contemporary Democrats don’t have balls. Period.

Please do not stop reading. Stay with me. I’ll convince you.

The last time I checked, every Democrat that has been embroiled in one scandal or the other, for the past 8 years, has acquiesced to pressures to resign their position. And resign they did. Republicans? Naaaaaaaaaaaa.

When the lid blew on former Governor Mark Sanford’s love trip to Argentina, typically there were calls for him to resign as governor of South Carolina. Did he? For where? Typical unapologetic republican, he not only sat out his term as governor, he is now a congressman in the US House of Representative. Remember the “You Lie!” asshole? The guy that shouted down on President Obama during his first SOTU speech in 2009? There were calls for him to resign too. Did he? Of course, not. The Texas Agriculture commissioner in one of his tweets during the general election campaign called Secretary Clinton the C word. And he’s still using the platform our tax money provides to peddle fake news, sexism, and bigotry. When the C word made national news, he wasn’t forced out. He’s still in office. Should I continue? Talk about LePage, the character that occupies the Governor’s Mansion in Maine. With all the filth that come out of the guy’s mouth, you would expect him to bow to political pressures and resign. No. He’s a republican. They are unapologetically what they are and no one can make them pay a political price for what they do and say. But you cant say that about Democrats. Apologists.

Donald Trump was the only presidential candidate in modern history that did not release his tax returns during the general election. And Democrats allowed that to fly. If he were to be a Democrat, Republicans would not allow that to happen. They would peddle the most horrifying conspiracy theory about the reason he didn’t want America to see his tax returns until he is forced to release them. They would say he is a major financier of ISIS, they would say he is the patron of KKK, they would say he is involved with funding lone wolf terrorists in the homeland, they would say he is involved in child sex trafficking, they would say he is a satanist and a major financier of the church of satan. They would peddle every conceivable lie and cook up every imaginable conspiracy theory and dump those shit on a daily basis on Fox News, until he is forced to release his tax returns. But Democrats doesn’t play dirty politics. They play selense. And look at the result! Poor ignorant Democrats.

When President Obama was elected in 2008, he was the first person of African descent to be elected to the Office of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States of America. But he will not be the last. He’s just a forerunner to better presidents of African origin.

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A PLEA TO WEALTHY AFRICAN AMERICANS

Please invest your money, not only in entertainment, but in businesses such as grocery stores, gas stations, convenience stores, and more restaurants that can yield you everyday income and in the same vein provide employment to regular people. The high unemployment rate in the African American communities nationwide can be drastically reduced if you start doing so.

For example, at the peak of the emotional reaction to the police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, there were calls to boycott white-owned businesses. So a friend asked me, “If I should heed this call, where can I find a black-owned grocery store to do my grocery? If I should pull my money out of Bank of America, is there a known black-owned bank that I can bank with? Which gas station is owned by a black businessman? And her questions were endless, touching on places where the common man frequents daily to shop for their basic everyday needs. A for us by us kind of business. But I did not have an answer to any of her questions.

Last week Tuesday, I was listening to the Breakfast Club, the morning show on radio, and not the restaurant. And Charlamagne Tha God held a segment asking these same questions. And the premise of these questions have nothing to do with the “boycott white business” calls, but have everything to do with a call on wealthy African Americans to come to terms with the fact that they can actually help their communities attain economic empowerment and help also reduce the high rates of unemployment in the African American communities all over America. By investing in certain businesses in these communities that guarantees returns on their investment as well as create jobs for the locals. Especially folks who the American justice system have made unemployable because of criminal records that mostly arose from trumped up charges.

I live in Houston and we have Walmart, H.E.B, Randall’s and Kroger. Those are the major grocery stores. And we also have Food Town and Fiesta. When you walk into any Food Town or Fiesta in Houston, you will readily notice that their workforce are mostly minorities. A blend of all minorities. But they are not black-owned. We do not have a black-owned gas station. We do not have a black-owned bank.  You can rarely notice a black-owned convenience store. And typically black-owned restaurants are few. We have the Breakfast Klub, though. The restaurant. In a city where we have a multi-millionaire African American businessman in the person of James Prince. His Rap-a-Lot Records is not doing well either in terms of employment. I’ve visited the business complex at 2141 W. Governors Circle couple of times and it looks like an abandoned factory to me. With no sign of life.

People, we can do better for our folks.

When you invest in these kind of businesses where people shop for their everyday basic needs, you are not just doing the community(ies) where you sited your business(es) the favor of creating jobs for the locals, you are also doing yourself the favor of investing in a business that yield daily returns because people will always walk in for gas, for a pack of cigarette, for grocery, for tooth paste, or just for a gum in order to have an opportunity to chat with your female cashier.

Jews are by default business people and they live together and patronize their own people’s businesses. For every major city in the world, there is always a Chinatown where, you know, it’s self-explanatory. Hispanics have their abborreteria, and yes, Africans, especially Nigerians, we have our grocery stores and restaurant businesses scattered all over the country. An African American with a felony, which makes it difficult or nearly impossible for him or her to get a decent job, is like a new immigrant that arrives at the country without any work authorization. Upon arrival, the guy typically seeks employment at a grocery store or a restaurant owned by his countrymen because his people understands and can relate to his peculiar needs. They will hire him and they will pay him under the table. His services will be exploited nonetheless, but he will be making a decent living until he sorts himself out. It goes for African immigrants. It goes for Asian immigrants. And same goes for Hispanics. And if wealthy African Americans should carry out their solemn duties to their communities, so shall they be able to provide jobs for these felons who deserve the second chance and many a times are willing and ready to work and make a decent living rather than waste and fall prey to idlemindedness.

Michael Jordan owns the Charlotte Hornets, an NBA franchise. Oprah Winfrey owns the Oprah Winfrey Network(OWN), a television station, and Tyler Perry owns the Tyler Perry Studios. There is no want of a black entrepreneur in the entertainment industry. Of course huge money is in entertainment. And it is important that we get our fair share of the slice of that big pie. But if our communities are to be fixed, if idlemindedness which can lead to a whole lot of evil can be obliterated in our communities, we will have to invest in our communities to help the needy, the vulnerable, and the despondent. We need to invest in community development centers that can, not only groom NBA and music talents, but that will most importantly target the vulnerable in our inner cities, build their capacities for hairdressing, tailoring, barbering, fixing cars, managing businesses and the likes; and makes funds available for them, once their capacity has been built, to start up their own businesses and be responsible to their families and communities. We need to build foundations that will encourage learning and award scholarships to our posterity to seek law degrees, degrees in political science, international development, and financial studies, so that upon graduation they can join the pool of public servants and shape the policies that govern us, both domestic and foreign, and help make them fair.

I know people often fall into the entrapment of blaming the disadvantaged for their misfortunes and pounding their chest on how they themselves are self-made. Let me tell you, NOBODY is self-made. I have seen talents wasted. I have seen smart people not make it in life. At one point in your life, someone held the door open for you and got your feet inside the room. That is how you were able to make it in life. And you owe it to humanity to give back to your communities so that other people’s talents can see the light of the day. Without an opportunity, talents are just a practice in oblivion.

“I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.”

As LeBron James enjoined us in his 2016 ESPYs speech, let us, above all things, ‘go back to our communities, invest our time, our resources, help rebuild them, help strengthen them, help change them. We all have to do better. Thank you.’

Let the debate continue….

THE STATE OF THE UNION

DallasThere were times when men were men. There were times when Americans were courageous. In 2008 when then Senator Clinton under pressure to drop out of the Democratic Party primary for then Senator Obama, she made allusion to the 1968 assassination of RFK after the California primary as the reason why she would not suspend her campaign. Implying that same fate that befell RFK in 68 could possibly befell Obama in 08. Hence her desire to stay on in the race even though the delegate math at that point belies her chances of becoming the nominee. At a time when the country was so divided across economic and racial lines and needed a unifier, her comment was so counterproductive to the needs of the time. And Keith Olbermann, a man of courage, dressed her down. Watch the clip below for yourself.

Since the election of President Obama, the indiscriminate killing of African Americans has become a national norm. And the media, monopolized by white folks who cannot relate to the challenges of being black in America, always react the same way. Treat every other murder of an African American by cops as a statistic and move on with their lives. And elder statesmen? There are no more elder-statesmen in America who can speak to the moral rectitude of the country.

Being black in America, General Colin Powell chooses his words and can’t speak as candidly as he would to white America even though he commands their respect to a certain degree. He knows his place. Senator John McCain in his “hallowed wisdom” said that President Obama is directly responsible for Orlando. That’s how sensible the once-celebrated maverick has become. Rudy Giuliani? Well, Rudy Giuliani is more of a whiz kid of civility and fairness who in defiance to reason have turned into a demented old guy and doesn’t inhabit the realm of reality anymore. And Keith Olbermann? His candor is too much for the powers that be. Hence it has become too difficult for him to keep a job at any mainstream media house.

So, what are we left with?

As Edmund Burke postulated, Dallas happened. Dallas happened because the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. Obviously there are no good men left in positions of power to do something to alter the god complex and brutish attitude of the police, especially in their encounters with African Americans. So nothing got done from one murder to the other until Alton Sterling and then Philando Castile. And consequently evil triumphed in Dallas.

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