"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Commentary: An Effective Remedy for the Ferguson Crisis

September 8th, 2014 by Mark Truman ·

By Percy Green II

Besides, killer cop Darren Wilson of Ferguson being charged for the murder of unarmed Michael Brown on Saturday, August 9, 2014, the following are community healing recommendations:

  1. that the City of Ferguson announce that it will immediately start to hire police officers from within its city boundaries.
  1. that all new and former police officers from other municipalities  must move into the City of Ferguson within six months.
  1. that all law enforcement officers including current police officers and police officials  take a human rights psychological mental test to determine judgment fitness prior to receiving police certification and that such test be mandatory and conducted annually while on active duty. (Police departments are the only state agencies that are granted the authority to take a life and protected by what is called Qualified Immunity. Therefore, this authority should be taken seriously and given only to people who can demonstrate consistent good judgments. )

Had the first remedy been in place and enforced when Ferguson was a predominantly white community (1980), then the existing problem of only 3 blacks on the police force with a population of 68% African Americans would not exist.

If remedy two was a current policy and enforced, then Darren Wilson, the killer cop now on Ferguson’s police force would not likely have been hired.

Additionally, if the third remedy were in place, Wilson and other officers who have a conscious or unconscious hate for African-American males, would be disqualified as police officers until they effectively resolve their racial hostility.

It has been a long standing practice that white male law enforcement officials have been killing Africa-American males during and after slavery without consequences. The practice still prevails. This is an outright abuse of authority to say the least. If by chance a white law enforcement officer is ever charged with murder for killing an unarmed black male, an all-white jury will set him free. But such a situation is unlikely to happen due to Missouri’s Qualified Immunity statute which gives police officers a license to kill anyway. It would certainly be interesting to see how a predominantly white community would respond if a black law enforcement officer would kill an unarmed young white male in the manner that Michael Brown was gunned down. Black police officers don’t seem to have an appetite or a history of killing young white males.

However, all law enforcement agencies kill black males without impunity and they use the following standard fabricated justifications: the subject reached in his pocket or belt area and the officer feared for his life and shot and killed the subject; the subject tried to take the officer’s gun and was shot and killed; the subject came after the officer with a knife and was shot and killed; the subject tried to ran the officer down with his auto and was shot and killed; the officer heard gun fire and returned fire and killed the subject; and, the subject was ordered to drop the shape object but instead he advanced and was shot and killed. As many trumped-up charges and killings that are done by white police officers, no wonder African-Americans do not trust and are afraid of them.

Moreover, it is common knowledge in black communities that white police officers will outright lie and make false charges on them. They are also known to carry a throw-away gun that is placed at the scene after a police shoot and kill an alleged black felon.

There needs to be a public verification system via an effective Civilian Review Board in place that can verify all police accusations and reports.  Police have too many avenues to lie and cover-up their misdeeds, which lead them to think they are above the law because of their license to kill. Law enforcement officers are service providers like other workers. They should identify with the working-class and be more supportive of organized labor and civil and human rights groups. Instead, police officers work against their own interest by being hired bullies in the community with guns to protect the interest of the white power structure.

Racism in the City of Ferguson is no different than that which exists in the City of St. Louis. There are glaring similarities especially among their decision makers and how decisions are made. 

Ferguson has a 67% majority African-American population in a smaller community, whereas the City of St. Louis has 49.2% majority African-American population, whites are at 43.9 % according to the 2010 U. S. Census Bureau. It’s a known fact that one racist institution will come to the rescue of another racist institution.  This is evident by an unfair employment white controlled St. Louis police department who perpetrates daily hostilities on black St. Louisans.  Now it is assisting a predominantly white Ferguson police department in its unfair treatment of black residence. Just as Ferguson’s mayor James W. Knowles III have been maintaining his racial discriminatory grip on Ferguson, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay have been doing the same. Although a hint of diversity, the St. Louis police department is not where it ought to be, like at least 49.2%, in all job categories.

In addition, not too long ago, Mayor Slay forced out the first black highly qualified fire chief in the City of St. Louis. (An overt racist act.) Former Fire Chief Sherman George, black, insisted on promoting from an updated list of qualified firefighters that included a fair number of African-Americans.  With the ouster of George, Slay then ordered a white stand-in fire-chief to promote forty (40) white fire fighters to captain from an old outdated list of 43 candidates. (An overt racist act.) Slay then by-passed another highly qualified black deputy fire chief to appoint a white battalion chief as Fire Chief.  (An overt racist act.) Deputy Fire Chief Charles Coyle, black, filed a racial discrimination charge against Mayor Slay and won, but he did not get the Fire Chief position. Like Mayor Knowles of the City of Ferguson, Mayor Slay clings to his racism by refusing to allow St. Louis black firefighters to reflect the population (49.2) in job promotions and new hires.

Tags: St. Louis

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Video: MSNBC’s Rachel ‘Madcow’ Urges McCaskill to Run for President

September 8th, 2014 by Mark Truman ·

Hat tip: Washington Free Beacon


McCaskill: “I Am Not a Reliable Vote For His (Obama’s) Administration”; Voted 98% With Obama in 2010

The Truth Hurts; McCaskill Apologizes to Clintons

Quote of the Day: “I Really Don’t Want to be in an Elevator Alone With Her”

Tags: Senator McCaskill · Videos

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New CMS Report Predicts More Gov’t Health Spending Growth Due To Obamacare

September 8th, 2014 by Mark Truman ·

When President Obama was pitching his health care law to Congress and the American people, he claimed in a speech that his plan “will slow the growth of health care costs for our families, our businesses, and our government.” Predictably, the reality has been just the opposite, with costs rising for families, businesses and the government.

A new report from the Office of the Chief Actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) finds “The combined effects of the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansions, faster economic growth, and population aging are expected to fuel health spending growth this year and thereafter (5.6 percent in 2014 and 6.0 percent per year for 2015–23).” Reacting to the same report, the Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein pointed out yesterday, “When Obama was selling his healthcare legislation, he argued in a June 2009 speech to the American Medical Association that his brand of reform was needed because ‘the status quo was unsustainable.’ He warned, ‘If we fail to act, one out of every five dollars we earn will be spent on healthcare within a decade.’ . . . As the economy improves, Obamacare continues to expand, and the Medicare age population explodes, health spending is expected to rise by an average of 6 percent a year over the 2015 to 2023 time period. . . . Because of this, health spending as a share of gross domestic product is expected to increase from 17.2 percent in 2012 to 19.3 percent in 2023 – representing nearly one in five dollars of the economy.” The report further states, “By 2023 federal, state, and local government financing is projected to account for 48 percent of national health expenditures, up from 44 percent in 2012, and to reach a total of $2.5 trillion.” And a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate from last month predicted that “[f]ederal spending for the major health care programs will jump by $67 billion (or about 9 percent) in 2014 . . . .”

Meanwhile, all summer there have been reports of insurance companies announcing premium increases for next year, some as much as 30%. As The New York Times noted yesterday in a story about the problems likely to face Obamacare enrollment this fall, “One challenge facing consumers will be wide swings in prices. Some insurers are seeking double-digit price increases . . . . Adding to the complexity is the shorter time frame for choosing a new policy: three months instead of six.” Obviously, then costs for families are increasing.

Last month, CNBC reported, “Many businesses said Obamacare is jacking up their employee health coverage costs, and they expect it to do so even more next year, two new surveys of businesses by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York have found. As a result, consumers in the areas covered by the bank could be paying more next year—and some workers at the firms might need to look for a new job, the surveys found. The median respondent to the N.Y. Fed surveys expects health coverage costs to jump by 10 percent next year, after seeing a similar percentage increase last year. Not all firms surveyed said the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is to blame for those cost increases to date. But a majority did, and the percentage of businesses that predicted the ACA will hike such costs next year is even higher than those that said it did this year. More than a quarter of the manufacturing and service firms surveyed said they either have or will boost prices for goods and services ‘because of the effects that the ACA is having on your business,’ according to the bank’s surveys. About 20 percent of respondents to both surveys said they were reducing their number of workers and/or raising the share of part-time workers as a result of the ACA. ‘A similar proportion said they were paying less compensation per worker because of the ACA, and a similar proportion said they were outsourcing more work,’ according to the bank’s report.” So costs are increasing for businesses, too, and those cost increases are negatively affecting employees and consumers, too.



Rasmussen Reports: 56% Still Don’t Like Health Care Law

McCaskill on Obamacare: “I Think It’s Probably More Than A Glitch”

FLASHBACK! McCaskill: Obamacare “Will Bring Down The Deficit And Bring Down Health Care Costs”

Tags: Healthcare · Senator McCaskill

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Video: Justice, Protests and Finding Solutions In Ferguson; Chappelle-Nadal & Arps Discuss Ferguson Aftermath

September 8th, 2014 by Mark Truman ·

On “Missouri Viewpoints”, two guests from opposite sides of the political aisle agree on the need to heal the emotional pain centered around the shooting, the behavior of the police in the aftermath and what one State Senator says is a long, boiling history of a community feeling injustice and poverty. Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, a Democrat, represents Missouri’s 14th District, which covers St. Louis County.

“Really, what the issue has become is an experience of young, African-American men…they have been intimidated, they have been harassed, they have been treated differently for so long. And then you have the killing of Mike Brown and the body laid there [in the street where he was shot] four hours or more. This community is so angry because they see themselves as a Mike Brown.”

Chris Arps hopes the violent protests are a thing of the past at this point. He’s the co-founder of Move On Up, a network of black conservatives. “Let’s have cooler heads prevail. Let’s have the investigation play out and see what happens. Then if people aren’t satisfied with the conclusion, then you should take further action.” Read more…


STLToday: Ferguson quiet, Patricia Bynes prepares for the challenge ahead

Riverfronttimes.com: “Blame Charlie A. Dooley”: St. Louis County Executive Apologizes to Ferguson

Tags: St. Louis · STL County Executive Charlie Dooley · Videos

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Sinquefield Lobbyist Travis Brown Meets With Al Sharpton

August 14th, 2014 by Mark Truman ·

Politics makes strange bedfellows? While in town to meet with the family of slain Ferguson, Mo teenager Michael Brown, civil rights agitator and TV host Al Sharpton met with uber lobbyist and Rex Sinquefield benefactor Travis Brown.


Tip Line: School Choice Lobbyist Lends Plane to Democrat Lt. Governor Candidate

Tags: Picture/Quote of the Day · St. Louis

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“If You Like Your Obamacare Plan, It’ll Cost You”, “Doctors Weigh Whether To Accept Obamacare Plans”‏

August 7th, 2014 by Mark Truman ·

As usual, not a week goes by without another news story highlighting the failures and broken promises of Obamacare.

Yesterday, the AP reported, “The majority of insurance companies are raising the price of health plans in Florida through the Affordable Care Act exchange. State insurance officials said Monday that 14 companies filed plans, including three new insurers. Of the 11 returning plans, eight filed average rate increases ranging from 11 to 23 percent, and three filed rate decreases ranging from 5 to 12 percent. Florida Blue, the largest insurer, is raising its premiums by an average of 17.6 percent. Humana proposed an average 14.1 percent increase for its HMOs, and Molina proposed an 11.6 percent average rate decrease.”

The Tampa Tribune elaborated, “Floridians who signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act will see premium increases averaging about 13.2 percent for 2015, according to data provided to the state Office of Insurance Regulation. . . . Steven Hendricks, a spokesman for the Florida Blue in Tampa, said the rate hike reflects the demographics of the insurance pool. He said when healthier consumers kept their existing plans in the Affordable Care Act’s first year, the sickest and most expensive consumers turned to marketplace plans. . . . The state insurance regulators provided examples of how it said the rate hike requests might affect two different consumers. A family of four earning $51,000 a year in Hillsborough County with a monthly federal subsidy and a “silver” plan paid an average premium of $470 this year; that would rise to $533, the insurance regulators said. An individual earning $27,000 in Hillsborough paid $220 this year, with the premium rising to $238 next year.”

And National Journal writes today, “If you like your Obamacare plan, you can keep it—but you might end up paying a whole lot more. People who decide to stick with the coverage they’ve already gotten through Obamacare, rather than switching plans, are at risk for some of the biggest premium spikes anywhere in the system. And some people won’t even know their costs went up until they get a bill from the IRS. . . . Many consumers will need to switch plans in order to keep their costs steady, but health care experts question how many people will do that. Switching plans can entail changing your doctor and adjusting to new out-of-pocket costs, never mind the fresh trek through HealthCare.gov. The White House has already set up an auto-renewal process, making it easier to stick with the status quo. And with so many behind-the-scenes factors at play, most people might not even know that they need to go back through HealthCare.gov just to keep the deal they already have. ‘A lot of people aren’t going to understand this,’ said Susan Pantely, an actuary at the Milliman consulting firm.”

National Journal goes through the factors that could make things ever more expensive for consumers: “First, there are the standard premium increases insurers seek from year to year. The lowest-cost plans in each state’s marketplace were generally the ones that attracted the most customers in 2014. But in many cases, they’re also the plans seeking above-average rate hikes. ‘The prices of the lowest-cost [plans] tend to be going up more,’ said Caroline Pearson, vice president at the consulting firm Avalere Health. ‘Most people, if re-enrolled, will be enrolled in a plan that has a premium increase.’ But that’s only part of the reason inertia is so expensive for Obamacare enrollees. The vast majority of enrollees don’t pay the full cost of their premiums—85 percent are getting financial help from the government. And many of those consumers will find that their subsidies don’t go as far next year, even for the same plans. The size of each person’s subsidy is tied to a ‘benchmark’ plan. Poorer consumers only have to spend a certain percentage of their income for that plan; the government pays the rest of the premium. If you choose a more expensive policy, you have to pay the difference on your own. This year, about 3.4 million people picked the benchmark plan or went one option cheaper. But as those plans raise their rates and new options come to the market, they’ll often lose their benchmark status to cheaper competitors—and their customers will find themselves on the hook for a bigger share of their premiums. ‘I would expect that probably the majority of 2014 enrollees are going to be impacted pretty substantially,’ said Milliman analyst Paul Houchens. . . . HealthCare.gov isn’t able to automatically recalculate the subsidies existing consumers are eligible for. So, while the dollar value of your financial assistance drops, you can only find out that’s happening by going back into the system and asking for a redetermination as part of the shopping process.Consumers who auto-renew their policies will get the same dollar value of subsidies they got last year—even though changes in the marketplace all but guarantee that will no longer be the right subsidy amount for millions of people. ‘That’s the totally crazy part,’ Pearson said. ‘They’re basically going to send them what they know to be the wrong subsidy.’ The IRS will eventually figure out how much financial assistance you should have received, and will reconcile the difference on your taxes.”

Meanwhile, via a good look at even more Obamacare problems by Townhall.com’s Guy Benson, NPR reported Sunday on another factor leading to narrower networks on Obamacare plans: doctors are being paid less and can’t afford to take patients on such plans. “On a recent afternoon at his office in Hartford, Conn., Dr. Doug Gerard examines a patient complaining of joint pain. . . . For a typical quick visit like this, Gerard could get reimbursed $100 or more from a private insurer. For the same visit, Medicare pays less — about $80. And now, with the new private plans under the Affordable Care Act, Gerard says he would get something in between, but closer to the lower Medicare rates. That’s not something he’s willing to put up with. ‘I cannot accept a plan [in which] potentially commercial-type reimbursement rates were now going to be reimbursed at Medicare rates. You have to maintain a certain mix in private practice between the low reimbursers and the high reimbursers to be able to keep the lights on,’ he says. Three insurers offered plans on Connecticut’s ACA marketplace in 2014 and Gerard is only accepting one. He won’t say which, but he will say it pays the highest rate. ‘I don’t think most physicians know what they’re being reimbursed,’ he says. ‘Only when they start seeing some of those rates come through will they realize how low the rates are they agreed to.’ Gerard’s decision to reject two plans is something officials in Connecticut are concerned about. If reimbursement rates to doctors stays low in Obamacare plans, more doctors could reject those plans. And that could mean that people will get access to insurance, but they may not get access to a lot of doctors.”

Another Connecticut doctor, Bob Russo, a radiologist and president-elect of the Connecticut State Medical Society, told NPR, “that the low rates and administrative burdens that come along with the ACA could make it a financial loser. ‘You get what you pay for,’ he says. ‘If you can’t convince [doctors] that they’re not losing money doing their job, it’s a problem. And they haven’t been able to convince people of that.’ He . . . worries about creating a tiered health care system. Think about Medicaid, he says. Before a recent rise in rates, it paid doctors even less than Medicare, so many stopped accepting Medicaid patients. ‘There’s no question that Medicaid, under its old rates, wasn’t working,’ he says. ‘So, have we just invented a new Medicaid that kind of slid the scale up a little more to make access a little more?’”

Just in the space of three days are stories putting the lie to Democrats’ promises about Obamacare. Insurance premiums are going up in Florida, as they are all over the country, despite assurances from the president and others that Obamacare would lower premiums. Then, National Journal notes another issue with health care costs, aside from the lowest-cost plans through Obamacare “seeking above-average rate hikes.” Because of the way the law was written and implemented (by Democrats in Congress and the Obama administration), a person getting subsidies is likely to be getting the wrong amount if they automatically re-enroll, which would leave that person on the hook for the higher premiums, if they receive too little. And if they receive too much, the IRS will tax it back in taxes. Finally, NPR talks to doctors in Connecticut who aren’t being paid enough when they see Obamacare patients, forcing them to reject some of those plans, which is hardly, “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”


Obamacare Still Hurting Americans: “She Has Insurance Under Affordable Care Act, But Can’t Find A Doctor”

More Obamacare Consequences: In Nevada, “Local Cancer Center Drops Obamacare Patients”

Obamacare’s Other Provisions Still Hurting Americans: Premiums Going Up, Networks Narrowing, Physician Shortages Expected, Information Lacking For Patients‏

One Obamacare Program Already Seeing Cost Overruns; Labor Unions Sounding Alarm On Obamacare‏

Tags: Healthcare

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