Monday, February 1, 2010

America is Force Feeding Its Citizens the Blue Pill

This is an article that speaks to my mind and heart. Near the end of the article, it asks people to critically analyze the information we receive because today information from conventional sources is not trustworthy. As an African-American, aren't we confronted everyday with negative images, statistics, and stories about us that never reflect our day-to-day lives?

Why is that? I will tell you why. Because there is a large group of people who want to maintain power over African-American lives by manipulating our minds and undermining our cultural self-esteem. We should always question the negative images that we are assaulted with because they are not true.

We must guard against an external force undermining our belief in ourselves as a group to make decisions that are best for us.

Has Forbes Gone Psychotic or Taken the Blue Pill?
Posted by:

Dr. Mercola January 30 2010 43,422 views

Forbes has declared Monsanto “Company of the Year,” calling criticism of the notorious company “vicious” attacks against a company that “has been working to make humanity better fed.”

What’s more, Forbes claims that the attacks come because Monsanto has close to a monopoly in some seed markets, which Forbes argues is because they are making “seeds that are too good.”
You read that right. Apparently, Monsanto’s decades-long attempt to control the seed market -- which has led it lawsuits against small farmers and genetically modified plants that never regerminate, forcing farmers to buy seeds year after year -- is apparently just a result of their being “too good.”

I encourage you all to BOYCOTT Forbes and cancel any subscription you may have.

For anyone who knows anything about the business of Monsanto, the news that this ominous company has been named “Company of the Year” by renowned Forbes magazine is simply shocking.

This follows on the heels of other oxymoronic honors, such as

President Obama accepting the Nobel Peace Prize while firmly entrenched in a seemingly never-ending war spread across two countries, and

Time magazine naming Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke “Man of the Year,” supposedly for “saving” the US from “an even worse” financial collapse than what Bernanke himself helped create.

Even more ironic are the media efforts to convince you that the unsustainable situation created by printing of billions of dollars to bail out failing banks and companies can be sustained indefinitely.

So, who is responsible for these strange decisions? And perhaps more importantly, why?

Through the lens of these examples, a rather bizarre picture is taking shape. I can’t say exactly what the message is, but I believe I can say this:
Beware, because deception is taking place through coordinated media manipulation.

If you know anything about how conventional media is being used on a mass scale, you realize that typically someone is trying to sell you on something – an idea, an ideology, a certain mindset, in order to eventually produce a certain behavior.

The question is, what are they trying to convince you of now?

Are We Living in Some Alternative Reality?

When reading the news these days, I often feel like I’m getting information from some alternate Universe where up is down, and left is right. Because they surely aren’t reporting reality on this planet. It’s gotten so blatantly bizarre lately, it’s as though they don’t even bother to come up with a decent cover story to shroud their attempts at manipulating your mind.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that there are still many who have not figured this game out yet, who will swallow just about anything that magazines like Time and Forbes put in print – like the story that Monsanto is a world class do-gooder.

Unfortunately, there are still those who are unaware of the many improprieties and outright crimes committed by Monsanto, such as:

Suing small farmers for patent infringement after Monsanto’s GM seeds spread wildly into surrounding farmers’ fields, contaminating their conventional crops

Secretly discharging PCB-laden toxic waste into an Alabama creek, and dumping millions of pounds of PCBs into open-pit landfills for decades after PCBs were banned in the US for being a possible carcinogen.

Being found guilty of bribery to bypass Indonesian law requiring an environmental assessment review for its genetically engineered cotton.

Last year, the supreme court of France found Monsanto guilty of falsely advertising its herbicide Roundup as "biodegradable" and “environmentally friendly.” Scientific evaluation discovered that glyphosate, the active ingredient in RoundUp, is acutely toxic to fish and birds and can kill beneficial insects and soil organisms that maintain ecological balance. Additionally, the surfactant ingredient in Roundup is more acutely toxic than glyphosate itself, and the combination of the two is even more toxic.

In 2007, the South African Advertising Standards Authority also found Monsanto guilty of lying when advertising that “no negative reactions to Genetically Modified food have been reported.”
According to one EPA scientist, Monsanto doctored studies and covered-up dioxin contamination of a wide range of its products. She concluded that the company’s behaviour constituted “a long pattern of fraud.”

In 1999, the New York Times exposed that Monsanto’s PR firm, Burson Marsteller, had paid fake "pro-GMO" food demonstrators to counteract a group of anti-biotech protesters outside a Washington, DC FDA meeting.

This is but a short list of examples, but it should give you a clue as to why I question the rationale behind giving them this honor.
Monsanto – Company of the Year?

Anyone who has studied the devastating effects of the unrestrained release of genetically modified crops into the environment will see the insanity in declaring Monsanto “Company of the Year.”

What the world needs is a return to saner, more sustainable farming practices, not mass cultivation of crops infused with “suicide genes” that prevent regermination the year after, or food crops that have been contaminated with GM seeds used for pharmaceutical production.

I truly believe that letting Monsanto lead us down the garden path is nothing short of suicidal.
It’s time for people to realize that while the declared motive behind GM food is an altruistic one -- to alleviate hunger, poverty and malnutrition worldwide – in reality, the ruthless propagation of GM crops are intended to create previously unimaginable profits above anything else.
Despite their assurances, we’re already beginning to see the real price of all that tinkering with Mother Nature: unnatural crop combinations that can harm your health and potentially cause generational DNA changes, for example.

Not only that, but contrary to promises, GM crops are FAILING MISERABLY all across the world. The reality simply isn’t living up to the hype of increased yields of healthy crops.

After 30 years of GMO experimentation, we have the data to show:

No increase in yields; on the contrary GM soya has decreased yields by up to 20 percent compared with non-GM soya.

Up to 100 percent failures of Bt cotton have been recorded in India.

And recent studies by scientists from the USDA and the University of Georgia found that growing GM cotton in the U.S. can result in a drop in income by up to 40 percent.

No reduction in pesticides use;

On the contrary, USDA data shows that GM crops has increased pesticide use by 50 million pounds from 1996 to 2003 in the U.S., and the use of glyphosate went up more than 15-fold between 1994 and 2005, along with increases in other herbicides to cope with rising glyphosate resistant superweeds.

Roundup herbicide is lethal to frogs and toxic to human placental and embryonic cells. Roundup is used in more than 80 percent of all GM crops planted in the world.

GM crops harm wildlife, as revealed by UK and U.S. studies.

Bt resistant pests and Roundup tolerant superweeds render the two major GM crop traits useless. The evolution of Bt resistant bollworms worldwide have now been confirmed and documented.

Vast areas of forests, pampas and cerrados lost to GM soya in Latin America.

Epidemic of suicides in the cotton belt of India. 100,000 farmers between 1993-2003, and an estimated 16,000 farmers a year since, have committed suicide since Bt cotton was introduced.

Transgene contamination is completely unavoidable, as science has recently revealed that the genome (whether plant, animal or human) is NOT constant and static, which is the scientific base for genetic engineering of plants and animals. Instead, geneticists have discovered that the genome is remarkably dynamic and changeable, and constantly ‘conversing’ and adapting to the environment. This interaction determines which genes are turned on, when, where, by what and how much, and for how long. They’ve also found that the genetic material itself has the ability to be changed according to experience, passing it on to subsequent generations.

GM food and feed linked to deaths and sicknesses both in the fields in India and in lab tests around the world. For example, in April 2006, more than 70 Indian shepherds reported that 25 percent of their herds died within 5-7 days of continuous grazing on Bt cotton plants.

Forbes on a Roll – But Where?

But Forbes doesn’t just throw your intelligence for a loop by hailing the success of a destroyer like Monsanto. Oh, no. There’s more.

Tellingly, in the same issue, Forbes also lashes out against chelation therapy, and derides anyone who thinks there may be a connection between vaccines and autism.

So what is this all about, really?

I have to seriously wonder why we are being urged to imagine we live in a world where no bad deed goes unrewarded; a place where what’s bad for you is somehow beneficial, and where lack of integrity, reason and logic is applauded.

What is this type of media coverage saying to you? What is this saying to your children?
This is not what America used to stand for, if I remember correctly. And it’s not what America should stand for now, or in the future.

Quite frankly, it’s all wrong. It’s all upside-down and backwards.

The only good thing about these blatantly bizarre media displays is the fact that they are just that – blatantly bizarre. And hopefully that will shake more people from their slumber and cause them to ask some basic questions about what’s really going on in this world.

Important Questions Only You Have the Answer to.
Who taught you what you know?

Who do you listen to?

What messages are you receiving from conventional media?

How do you determine what’s real and what’s not?

When was the last time you turned OFF the television and really pondered some issue at length, on your own, looking at it from all sides, including the sides you’ve been told to ignore?

Heck, when was the last time you asked WHY you are being told to ignore it in the first place!

Other questions may be even more important than the preceding ones, as they involve really tuning into yourself:

Where do you fall within the scheme of nature?

Do natural laws apply to you?

Where does science fit in? How far can science take you?

Are you willing to gamble the future of your children on the assurances of mega-companies like Monsanto, who have tremendous responsibility to their shareholders to turn a profit in a crumbling market?

To what degree do you think man-made chemicals can improve your health? What IS health, really?

What does your body really need in order for all those trillions of cells to thrive in harmony?

Folks, I encourage you to open your mind; think deeply and clearly, and avoid jumping to preconceived conclusions based on what you think you “know,” without first challenging yourself to discern who fed you that “knowledge” in the first place.

Personally, I’m fed up with the brainwashing that conventional media dishes out, and if you too have had enough, I suggest you boycott Forbes and cancel any subscription you may have to their magazine.

Unless you simply don’t want to live in a right-side-up world, that is.
Congressman Ron Paul said the following in one of his speeches before Congress earlier this year, and it sums up my sentiments exactly:

"Is this a dream or a nightmare? Is it my imagination or have we lost our minds? It is surreal. It is just not believable. A grand absurdity. A great deception. A delusion of momentous proportions based on preposterous notions and ideas whose time should never have come.
Insanity passed off as logic. Evil described as virtue. Ignorance pawned off as wisdom. Slavery sold as liberty. The philosophy that destroys us is not even defined. We have broken from reality, a psychotic nation. Ignorance with a pretense of knowledge replacing wisdom." - Ron Paul

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haitian Tragedy - Opportunity for Black Independence Once Again

The world witnessed the devastation that occurred in Haiti after the island was hit by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake centered in Haitian’s capital city, Port-au-Prince on January 12, 2010.

This event, as tragic as it is, is an opportunity for the people of African descent to pool resources and reach out to Haitians. Whether African-Americans know it or not, we have access to billions of dollars when our monetary resources are combined. In doing a brief two-second Google search, numerous organizations and businesses appeared which had the capacity to help rebuild country (Black Contractors Association), provide medical aid to its victims (Black Nurses Association), and help black businesses win contracts to do the work (National Black Chamber of Commerce).

Starting with these three organizations, African-Americans have the opportunity to mobilize our power towards the re-development of our sister-nation, Haiti.

Yet, many of us do not know Haiti’s powerful history and why this tragedy is particularly meaningful.

In 1801, Haitian black slaves fought for and won their independence from French colonialists. Haiti became the second oldest independent republic in the Western Hemisphere next to the United States. The United States had just declared their independence from England 25 years earlier in 1776. All other countries and islands were still colonies under European rule. The people changed the country’s name from Saint-Domingue to the indigenous name, Haiti - Land of Mountains.

Only a decade after black Haitians secured their own independence, the Haitian government generously helped Venezuela. Haiti’s assistance led to the independence of Venezuela from Spain in 1815 by providing the emerging republic with significant military and monetary support. It continued to be a major exporter of sugar, rum, and coffee. It operated under its own self-created constitution that prohibited slavery and barred foreign ownership of land.

Haiti experienced growing pains as it worked to emerge as an independent Black republic amongst a world ran by slavery-minded white nations.

By 1867, the republic of Haiti achieved economic and political stability.

However, it was the United States that ended Haitian sovereignty when it invaded the country in 1915. The United States military occupied Haiti from 1915 to 1934 under the Woodrow Wilson presidency. The U.S. invasion was instigated by U.S. banks, particularly the National City Bank of New York (now known as Citibank, N.A.). During this nearly 20-year occupation, the U.S. stripped Haiti of its sovereignty and independence. The United States destroyed Haiti’s constitution and rewrote a new one, reinstituting foreign ownership of land and forced labor.

The U.S. speaks about public service projects undertaken in Haiti, but their purposes were always to make Haitian access easier for foreign investors.

Although U.S. withdrew its troops in 1934, it never withdrew its presence. The Haitian presidents who served during U.S. occupation were all U.S.-friendly elite mulattoes, who historically were supportive of white colonialism and profited from forced Black labor. Foreign peacekeeping troops from several countries called MINUSTAH still occupy Haiti to this day and has had a devastating effect on the economical and political stability of the country.

We cannot trust the U.S. to do right by Haiti because they never have. We cannot trust any white-run country to do right by Black people. And we cannot trust mulattoes (Obama) to do right by black African people. All we have are ourselves and we are a powerful group when we unite together.

Although for nearly 100 years, the U.S. and other foreign countries have tried to subdue Haiti, the Haitian people have never forgotten the sovereignty they once had. In 1990 and in 2004, Haiti democratically elected Jean-Bertrand Aristide. After each election, it is suspected that the U.S. instigated a rebel uprising which always led to Aristide’s exile. After each exile, Aristide was replaced by rulers who backed U.S. policy in Haiti.

However, now Haiti can do no one any good. The earthquake has devastated Haiti completely. Yet, we as African-Americans have the money, resources, and power to help this nation rebuild. Haiti was once a fierce and strong country run by the descendant of African slaves. It has taken the military forces of the strong nations in the world to subdue Haiti, only a third of a small island. All other countries tried and failed. Now an act of God has crumbled Haiti into the ground.

But the spirit of God continues to live inside the Haitian people and the power of God beats within our African souls. We cannot let our one symbol of victory and independence die from apathy during Haitian’s greatest hour of need.

African-Americans cannot let their ignorance of history steer us away from another great opportunity. We must show our power by taking care of our own.

Jennifer M Thompson

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A History Lesson for Black People on Affirmative Action

This is a lesson in history I bet Barack Obama never had as he continues to persist with equal treatment in an unequal situation. The following article concisely sums up exactly how white people got where they are and why Black people have not yet made it to the promised land.

RACE - The Power of an Illusion


A Long History of Affirmative Action - For Whites

Many middle-class white people, especially those of us from the suburbs, like to think that we got to where we are today by virtue of our merit - hard work, intelligence, pluck, and maybe a little luck. And while we may be sympathetic to the plight of others, we close down when we hear the words "affirmative action" or "racial preferences." We worked hard, we made it on our own, the thinking goes, why don't 'they'? After all, the Civil Rights Act was enacted almost 40 years ago.

What we don't readily acknowledge is that racial preferences have a long, institutional history in this country - a white history. Here are a few ways in which government programs and practices have channeled wealth and opportunities to white people at the expense of others.
Early Racial Preferences

We all know the old history, but it's still worth reminding ourselves of its scale and scope. Affirmative action in the American "workplace" first began in the late 17th century when European indentured servants - the original source of unfree labor on the new tobacco plantations of Virginia and Maryland - were replaced by African slaves. In exchange for their support and their policing of the growing slave population, lower-class Europeans won new rights, entitlements, and opportunities from the planter elite.

White Americans were also given a head start with the help of the U.S. Army. The 1830 Indian Removal Act, for example, forcibly relocated Cherokee, Creeks and other eastern Indians to west of the Mississippi River to make room for white settlers. The 1862 Homestead Act followed suit, giving away millions of acres of what had been Indian Territory west of the Mississippi. Ultimately, 270 million acres, or 10% of the total land area of the United States, was converted to private hands, overwhelmingly white, under Homestead Act provisions.

The 1790 Naturalization Act permitted only "free white persons" to become naturalized citizens, thus opening the doors to European immigrants but not others. Only citizens could vote, serve on juries, hold office, and in some cases, even hold property. In this century, Alien Land Laws passed in California and other states, reserved farm land for white growers by preventing Asian immigrants, ineligible to become citizens, from owning or leasing land. Immigration restrictions further limited opportunities for nonwhite groups. Racial barriers to naturalized U.S. citizenship weren't removed until the McCarran-Walter Act in 1952, and white racial preferences in immigration remained until 1965.

In the South, the federal government never followed through on General Sherman's Civil War plan to divide up plantations and give each freed slave "40 acres and a mule" as reparations. Only once was monetary compensation made for slavery, in Washington, D.C. There, government officials paid up to $300 per slave upon emancipation - not to the slaves, but to local slaveholders as compensation for loss of property.

When slavery ended, its legacy lived on not only in the impoverished condition of Black people but in the wealth and prosperity that accrued to white slaveowners and their descendents. Economists who try to place a dollar value on how much white Americans have profited from 200 years of unpaid slave labor, including interest, begin their estimates at $1 trillion.
Jim Crow laws, instituted in the late 19th and early 20th century and not overturned in many states until the 1960s, reserved the best jobs, neighborhoods, schools and hospitals for white people.

The Advantages Grow, Generation to Generation

Less known are more recent government racial preferences, first enacted during the New Deal, that directed wealth to white families and continue to shape life opportunities and chances.
The landmark Social Security Act of 1935 provided a safety net for millions of workers, guaranteeing them an income after retirement. But the act specifically excluded two occupations: agricultural workers and domestic servants, who were predominately African American, Mexican, and Asian. As low-income workers, they also had the least opportunity to save for their retirement. They couldn't pass wealth on to their children. Just the opposite. Their children had to support them.

Like Social Security, the 1935 Wagner Act helped establish an important new right for white people. By granting unions the power of collective bargaining, it helped millions of white workers gain entry into the middle class over the next 30 years. But the Wagner Act permitted unions to exclude non-whites and deny them access to better paid jobs and union protections and benefits such as health care, job security, and pensions. Many craft unions remained nearly all-white well into the 1970s. In 1972, for example, every single one of the 3,000 members of Los Angeles Steam Fitters Local #250 was still white.

But it was another racialized New Deal program, the Federal Housing Administration, that helped generate much of the wealth that so many white families enjoy today. These revolutionary programs made it possible for millions of average white Americans - but not others - to own a home for the first time. The government set up a national neighborhood appraisal system, explicitly tying mortgage eligibility to race. Integrated communities were ipso facto deemed a financial risk and made ineligible for home loans, a policy known today as "redlining." Between 1934 and 1962, the federal government backed $120 billion of home loans. More than 98% went to whites. Of the 350,000 new homes built with federal support in northern California between 1946 and 1960, fewer than 100 went to African Americans.

These government programs made possible the new segregated white suburbs that sprang up around the country after World War II. Government subsidies for municipal services helped develop and enhance these suburbs further, in turn fueling commercial investments. Freeways tied the new suburbs to central business districts, but they often cut through and destroyed the vitality of non-white neighborhoods in the central city.

Today, Black and Latino mortgage applicants are still 60% more likely than whites to be turned down for a loan, even after controlling for employment, financial, and neighborhood factors. According to the Census, whites are more likely to be segregated than any other group. As recently as 1993, 86% of suburban whites still lived in neighborhoods with a black population of less than 1%.

Reaping the Rewards of Racial Preference

One result of the generations of preferential treatment for whites is that a typical white family today has on average eight times the assets, or net worth, of a typical African American family, according to economist Edward Wolff. Even when families of the same income are compared, white families have more than twice the wealth of Black families. Much of that wealth difference can be attributed to the value of one's home, and how much one inherited from parents. But a family's net worth is not simply the finish line, it's also the starting point for the next generation.

Those with wealth pass their assets on to their children - by financing a college education, lending a hand during hard times, or assisting with the down payment for a home. Some economists estimate that up to 80 percent of lifetime wealth accumulation depends on these intergenerational transfers. White advantage is passed down, from parent to child to grand-child. As a result, the racial wealth gap - and the head start enjoyed by whites - appears to have grown since the civil rights days.

In 1865, just after Emancipation, it is not surprising that African Americans owned 0.5 percent of the total worth of the United States. But by 1990, a full 135 years after the abolition of slavery, Black Americans still possessed only a meager 1 percent of national wealth.
Rather than recognize how "racial preferences" have tilted the playing field and given us a head start in life, many whites continue to believe that race does not affect our lives. Instead, we chastise others for not achieving what we have; we even invert the situation and accuse non-whites of using "the race card" to advance themselves.

Or we suggest that differential outcomes may simply result from differences in "natural" ability or motivation. However, sociologist Dalton Conley's research shows that when we compare the performance of families across racial lines who make not just the same income, but also hold similar net worth, a very interesting thing happens: many of the racial disparities in education, graduation rates, welfare usage and other outcomes disappear. The "performance gap" between whites and nonwhites is a product not of nature, but unequal circumstances.

Colorblind policies that treat everyone the same, no exceptions for minorities, are often counter-posed against affirmative action. But colorblindness today merely bolsters the unfair advantages that color-coded practices have enabled white Americans to long accumulate.
It's a little late in the game to say that race shouldn't matter.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Olympics 2016 - Let's all exhale!

I saw the writing on the wall when I read that Chicago’s plea for the Olympics 2016 bid was a little flat. Although Chicago had front-runner status, the political landscape did not favor Chicago or the U.S. for that matter.

The best thing about knowing is, well, knowing. We can finally exhale. Chicagoans have been living on the edge of anticipation for a couple of years and now we can finally relax. I know a lot of people are disappointed, but there are some who never wanted the Olympics, particularly the disenfranchised Chicagoans on the south side whose existence would have been disrupted or dismantled completely as Daley bulldozed his way into Washington Park.

As a Chicagoan who grew up in Woodlawn and in walking distance from Washington Park, I just couldn’t imagine something as grand as the Summer Olympics being housed in the congested Washington Park area. Washington Park is one of the largest parks in Chicago, but it is flanked on all sides by apartment buildings and the University of Chicago. Where would everyone park? The University of Chicago sporting and parking facilities would have helped, but it can only offer so much.

Well, whatever. We lost (ouch!)… in the first round (ouch! ouch!). What a hit to the Chicago-Obama ego. Even the magnetic, charismatic, and hugely popular Obama couldn’t pull it off for us. If Obama and Oprah couldn’t reel it in for us, it just wasn’t meant to be.


I walked over to the Daley Plaza and took a few pictures of the city hoopla. Large flat-screen viewing monitors and a media broadcasting stage with lights and cameras and dozens of reporters were set up as Chicago covered the Olympics 2016 decision today. At about 10:45am, disappointed city dwellers were already walking away from the Plaza with orange Olympics 2016 t-shirts on and signs and banners swinging from their hands.

Just as one of them was informing me that Chicago lost the 2016 bid in the first round my cell phone was buzzing from various text messages stating the same thing. Since I still didn’t know which country did win the Olympics bid, I continued to walk over to Daley Plaza.

Hundreds of people were crowded inside Daley Plaza, meandering about with a lost “what do we do now?” expression. Reporters with media tags on and steno notebooks in hand were randomly interviewing onlookers on how they felt now that Chicago was out of the running.

I liked all of the energy. But, unfortunately, it was short-lived. And after seeing how Rio de Janeiro with over 50,000 people gathered on the beach celebrated in typical Brazilian style, I think they deserve to finally get the Olympics. 2016 is going to be a fun year.
See you in Brazil!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Obama will have his Health Care!

Obama gave an excellent speech on the health care reform initiative. It contained specific details about how the health care reform bill would impact American people, health care insurers, and businesses - both small and large. It was explained in a direct, matter-of-fact way.

For the most part, the president's health care reform initiative is relatively moderate. Obama said that for those whose health insurance comes through Medicaid, Medicare, or their employer - NOTHING WILL CHANGE. That means that all of the private health care insurers (Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, etc) who are collecting our money through our HMO or PPO plans will continue to rake in the dough because most Americans are healthy and do not demand much from their insurers. Yet we will now have the opportunity to get preventative procedures such as mammograms, colonoscopies, etc. for free (hopefully meaning no co-pay). The president said Americans shouldn't have to pay for preventative procedures because it ultimately costs less to fix a health problem earlier rather than later.

For those without health insurance, he introduced the public option, the best part of the deal, but not something conservatives and Republicans should be so uptight about. The president explained that the public option is like creating public universities. Public universities have provided a less expensive alternative to education but does not take away from private universities in any way. Instead, it means that individuals and families with fewer means can still access health care just as students without much money can attend public college.

The president also acknowledged that what the public option really does is keep health care companies in check! If we live in a competitive market-based society and people have the choice of using the cheaper, tax-payer subsidized public healthcare plan versus the expensive, bloated private health care plan - most likely the people will choose the government. So, indirectly President Obama is commanding private health care insurers to lower their prices if they want to remain competitive. Their private coverage needs to be as good as the government's subsidized coverage. It is a very blatant form of health care industry regulation that is sorely needed in this country.

Most people in America are insured through their company and most companies have long established relationships with private health care insurers. Therefore the profit margins of private insurers won't take too big of a hit. However, it does mean that when the public option takes affect, private health insurers will have a harder time exploiting Americans now that we will have a viable health care alternative that actually works for us.

Some other extras that the President mentioned.
  • - No caps on health care coverage to treat illnesses and health problems.
  • - No coverage drops due to pre-existing health conditions
  • - No watered down coverage for the same reason.
  • - This plan does not cover illegal aliens.
  • - Paying for health care will not bankrupt you.
  • - Everyone will be required to hold some minimal form of health insurance similar to how drivers are required to have auto liability insurance. (How the president will enforce this, I don't know. Obama didn't either.)
  • - Some of these provisions won't be enacted for four years.

Obama called out the Republicans by stating that his health care reform will cost less than either the Iraq War or the tax breaks given to the wealthy. In fact, he said those two Republican bills were the reasons why he walked into the White House with a one trillion dollar deficit on his desk. His statements were direct punches to all Republican arguments that health care reform will cost too much and run our economy into the ground. However, Republicans believe that anything that might help the people such as minimum wage, maternity leave, health care reform, or environmental protections will kill the economy. Yet it never occurs to Republicans that how health care companies currently treat Americans are killing us.

Most likely, Obama's health care reform bill will pass exactly as he presented it tonight after a few kinks have been ironed out.

This is Barack Obama and we all know that President Obama's timing is impeccable. He will win this battle and go down in history with the Roosevelts and Kennedy's who have kept this country progressive and out of the capitalistic dark ages.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Obama and the Grading System on CNN

I just finished watching Obama's press conference and I guess this is his first quarter marking period because CNN is GRADING the president. Since when did the president get graded??? All of this undermines the authority of the president and of course this is done when the president is African-American (BLACK!)

CNN gave Obama a B grade, which is a good grade, but so the f$@! what! Can you tell I am a little upset by this??? They want to grade the president when the previous president was a sitting idiot savant. Now that we have a man of considerable intelligence and steadiness as our president who carefully, painstakingly tries to do what is right, CNN has decided to assess how he is doing in office.

Where was this grading system when Bush lied about the Iraq War? Where was this grading system when Bush blankly stared at the camera after hearing the Twin Towers had crashed into the ground? Where was this grading system when Bush left all the Black people in New Orleans to fend for themselves as he stalled in sending the city supplies that FEMA had available? Where was this grading system as Americans watched gas prices rise from $1.59/gal to $4.59/gallon? C'mon!

Obama has been dealt a hand by the devil. Only the devil would make sure that America was teetering towards economic depression, unpopular by the world, and in the midst of several wars before white America decided it was OK to have a Black president. Kind of like the Oscars. Have you ever noticed that the Oscars only give the best actor/actress award to a black person when they are playing a despot??? (Think Monster's Ball, King of Scotland, Training Day)

But that is besides the point...

This is the point. The white media wants to create a situation where Obama is truly subject to the will of the white people. They set his agenda before he came into office. And disappointingly, Obama has played to their tune. There is nothing Obama hasn't done that wasn't forecast by media pundits a month ago. I am hoping that as Obama grows more comfortable with his power, he will make decisions more independently and with more authority and less consensus. Now some would argue that his stimulus plan was out-of-the-box (Obama, you are doing too much too soon!) but his stimulus package was just a quick way of putting the agenda he ran for president on into one big package. (Which is actually very smart of him. "Get it when the getting's good!")

Of course, my problem with him, like with all Black people of color is that no where is there anything in his agenda for Black people - the 97% of us that helped him win. Are we going to get shafted by one of our own because he still fills the need to please?

I mean, as much as Bush was called an idiot, he taught me a lot of things about power. For one, his presidency was filled with a lot of unpopular ideas - chicken pox vaccine, Iraq war, investing social security in the stock market, tax cuts for the rich, Patriot Act, Guatanamo Bay and torture, etc. Need I say more. And that was just in his first term! Yet, despite our high gas prices, a war we didn't want, his friendship with a corrupt Enron CEO, his inability to capture Osama bin Laden, skyrocketing healthcare and a healthcare bill that increased costs to senior citizens, and on and on.. do you know what Americans did in response? Americans voted the worst president back into office for a second term! That is power!

And Obama can't seem to muster up the courage to put out a little bill that would for once HELP Black people instead of punish us for being the unfortunate descendants of slaves? Maybe some legislation that would make it easier for us to get into college instead of jail? Maybe legislation targeting blighted Black communities as he doles out billions of dollars to corrupt governors and mayors? Maybe sneak a few billion dollars over to Black people inside the stimulus bill just to say "I got your back" as he gives us the pound?

Bush taught me about power. He showed me that when you are president you can do whatever the f$#! you want to do. He put the middle finger in our face with each chance he got to fit his own agenda and didn't care what anyone said. Bush, basically, said screw Americans with every opportunity. Remember, his administration got us into this mess. Visit for whether this is actually a mess or a planned disaster. All in the first term. Remember the economic recession of 2001-2002.

And Bush helped those who helped him. He made sure his father's organization, the Carlyle Group, and Cheney's company, Halliburton, got paid during his administration. Everyone who was a friend to Bush while he was governor became a part of his administration. Why don't we see a sea of Black faces in the Obama administration?

Obama became the president of the most powerful country in the world which makes him the most powerful man in the world. Bush knew his power and ran with it. Why can't Obama?

Instead, he acts as if he is beholden to a group of people who didn't even vote him into the White House. Only 40% of white Americans voted for Obama compared with 97% of black Americans and 65% of Latin Americans.

So since he wants to play fair and hold himself accountable to the whole world, then I am giving him a C- for not showing some guts. I hold on to the fact that he still has four years to help black people ----- but I'm not holding my breath.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Update: Black contractors and Intuition

This entry is actually a follow-up to a previous post I wrote about how proud I was to use all Black people in my real estate renovation process. I used a Black real estate agent, black lawyer, black general contractor, and the person who put up my wrought iron fence was black too.

Well, I have been disappointed with those choices. The real estate agent and the black lawyer were all women and actually, I have been very, very happy with them. The real estate agent is now a good friend of mine and I would use the lawyer again if I ever needed to.

However, the black contractors I used for my fence and the renovation of my building were men and I was sorely disappointed in my choice. Both of them were unorganized in a way that has cost me time and money.

Now, I won't say that throughout this entire real estate process, I have always had everything perfect, but I can say that I have been close. I finally got a tenant and I have made sure to be responsive and available to them, friendly, yet professional. I set my rent price, matched it to market and whoever could afford it, got the apartment. I went with my intuition and picked tenants that I felt comfortable with. I like them very much and doubt I will have problems with them.

On the other hand, the contractors have been unorganized and it has cost them money which means they have come begging me for more money. With the first contractor who put up my wrought iron gate, he did the job but near the end of it, wanted to charge me higher because he figured he was cutting me a deal in the first place. Now, that actually was not true since I got a much lower price from Mexican contractors. But I wanted to work with Black people and here I am paying almost $500 - $1000 more on a wrought iron fence. Dumb move. I couldn't even fully recommend him to my real estate agent friend because of the move he pulled asking me to pay more money for the fence. That is just unprofessionally and it completely irritated the mess out of me.

Second person is my beloved (sarcastically said) general contractor who I have titled the B!@#$ ( you know what I mean) because everytime I tell him something he did needs correcting and is incomplete, he whines about how he doesn't have any money, is short on the job, is broke, and how this is costing him too much. Does he really think I care?

Here is where I was smart - at least with the general contractor. It has cost $60,000 to renovate my building. That is a lot of money. Thank goodness for good credit. I used the 203k FHA Rehab loan which combines the mortgage with the construction costs into one fixed rate loan. More importantly, the general contractor gets reimbursed for his work and that is after his work has been approved by not only myself, but also a HUD inspector who assessed what needed to be done and put a dollar value to it. This protects the homeowner from being ripped off by a contractor because the contractor has to agree to the HUD inspector's renovation cost.

Back to my contractor.

My beloved contractor never read the HUD inspectors renovation assessment report..... Instead he fixed on what he figured needed fixin' (thanks for the extras!) but left my place kind of undone. Like the electrical outlets don't work and there is still a major plumbing leak in one of my units. My beloved contractor only cares about getting his final reimbursement check. Little does he know that I am an intelligent person and would never dare pay a final check to anyone unless I am fully satisfied with the job. And I am not fully satisfied with anything he has done.

He was a poor choice and I think this article really should be about using your intuition. Because I have used my intuition in all areas except two - the building I chose and in choosing the general contractor. I have had major problems with both. I didn't follow my intuition when I chose my general contractor. I used logic and that was a problem. There was another contractor that I did like, but did not choose and I really regret that. I doubt this project would have taken as long as it has with as much frustration had I have gone with the other non-black general contractor.

Oh well. I do have one tenant at least. Since I have a three-unit, I have two more tenants to go before I can move on with my life. C'est la vie *Sigh*