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What a Free Market Health Care System Might Look Like

Posted on August 15, 2019 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (0)

by Dr. Larry Fedewa

(August 10, 2019)

This week's column is an updated reprint of a piece I wrote a couple of years ago when the backlash against "Obamacare" first inspired Republicans to talk about "repeal and replace". Since they are still talking and since the Dems are now also talking about health care alternatives - especially federal takeover of all health care - the topic remains open for new ideas. I have approached the topic from the perspective of a clean sheet of paper. Why try to build a system on the bones of a failed system, a system no one likes? Why not instead build a new system on a foundation of goals which everyone accepts and agrees with? This is my answer to that question.

The starting point for a discussion of a national health care system should be setting our goals. I believe that American health care should be:

1. High quality and state-of-the-art

2. Available to all

3. Affordable

4. Abundant

5. Well-funded

What are the principal obstacles to these goals?

a. The shortage of medical personnel.

This shortage has two facets:

1) not enough medical professionals are produced in the first place, and

2) too many drop out before their time.

There are whole areas of inner cities and rural America, for example, which have no physicians at all. Why? Because our medical schools do not graduate enough doctors to serve the population of the United States. Why not? Lack of intelligent students? Lack of students who are motivated to give their lives in service to humanity?

Not at all. The reason is lack of money! Medical education is so lengthy and so costly in this country that very few students can afford to go to medical school. This situation has created a national crisis.

One very good use of taxpayer funds would be to offer medical and nursing school students free tuition, open to all qualified applicants. We do it for the military, why not for doctors and nurses? The cost would be minuscule compared to the Department of Defense or agricultural subsidies.

This policy would have a massive return on public investment. More doctors would increase coverage of the population (perhaps there should be a requirement for a graduate M.D. and R.N. to spend two years in a "no-doctor zone"). More doctors would increase competition for the patient dollar. More could devote themselves to research. New people, new ideas, new openness to change. The quality of care would go up, and the cost would go down - a mantra we have been hearing a lot lately. This program would also assure continuing support for U.S. medical technology which is already the envy of the world.


b. Inadequate funding

So how do we provide for adequate funding? Where does the $3 trillion we now spend go? The money flow starts with the employers who pay the insurance companies out of profits. It then goes mainly to the vast bureaucracies in the insurance companies which distribute the money, the government which oversees the money, and the hospitals and practitioners who must respond to the companies and the government.

Health care expenditures in the USA are approximately as follows: (Source: National Health Expenditures 2017 Highlights - CMS data)

- Medicaid $581.9 billion

- Medicare $705.6 billion

From these sources are paid:

- Practitioners = 20% - $700 billion

- Hospitals = 33% - $1.1 trillion

Only about one-fifth of the $3.5 trillion spent on healthcare gets to the practitioners. So how can this labyrinth be simplified?

1) It is a drag on the efficiency of the economic system by vastly increasing the cost of starting and staying in a business, and

2) it is a drag on the healthcare system by removing from individuals the responsibility of seeing to their own health needs.

c. Insurance Companies and Government

A patient-centered system also reduces the role of federal and state governments (61% of health expenditures). The patient doesn't need the insurance company or the government. If both the government and the insurance companies were completely eliminated from the system, nearly two-thirds of the cost of American health care would be gone. Of course, there will always be some need for both, so assume that half of that cost would be gone. At today's rates, that would be about $2+ trillion. This is a gross number, but it shows the potential.

1) There is still a place for insurance companies in this system, although dramatically reduced. The most obvious place is for catastrophic insurance. A safety net for when something very expensive happens to someone in the family - or the church, or the credit union, or whatever assembly of people the individual chooses to participate with. And this brings us to the role of governments.

2) The first federal government act should be to lift all interstate commerce restrictions on insurance companies, so that they are free and invited to offer policies in any or all the states they wish without the necessity of creating a separate bureaucracy for every state they enter.

3) The second federal reform should be the creation of a program for financial aid to qualified students in the medical professions. My suggestion would be a free education in exchange for a period of service in under-served areas of practice as determined by a federal government body, such as, CDC or NIH or HHS (CMS).

4) A third federal reform which would dramatically reduce national health care costs is tort reform. Everyone makes mistakes, including medical practitioners and hospitals. It is the federal government's role to protect both the treatment sector and the patient. But the current practice of unlimited liability has led to "defensive medicine," that is, exhaustive tests and treatments used far beyond medical purposes. These extras are done to provide a defense against the inevitable lawsuit in case anything goes wrong. This uber caution has become a major cost driver in American medicine. Congress should set reasonable and realistic limits on the monies which can be given to the victims of everything from malfeasance to honest mistakes. No more windfalls for injury lawyers.

d. Universal Coverage

The larger issue is care for the poor and the other under-served members of our nation. The concept of universal care is a noble and worthwhile goal. But socialized medicine is not the only or even the best way to achieve universal care. We have government

programs to feed the hungry; to provide health care for the elderly;

to protect the innocent. We can provide health care access to the poor and the under-served, whether because of poverty or location. We can also do better than the COBRA coverage for those who lose their jobs.

It is very tempting to design a system in which no government plays a major role. However, the most efficient way to care for the poor would seem to be a State-run program which levies a small per capita fee on each pool of insured to be placed in a designated fund, administered by the State, for the benefit of qualified citizens. A model for such a program might be the Medicaid programs in each State. Another model is the Uninsured Driver programs administered by the states.

e. Medicare

We have now discussed the entire healthcare cycle without mentioning Medicare. There is a moral and legal mandate involved in Medicare which does not exist elsewhere. Medicare works reasonably well as a medical insurance system for those who contributed to it all their working lives. The most prudent and honorable way to approach Medicare would seem to be to leave it alone for those to whom commitments were made, even while moving the system slowly toward a patient-centered system for those just starting out, with free choices developed for those in mid-career. The pressure of the free market system we have been describing here will undoubtedly alter and reform Medicare as the new system matures in due course.


So here is what a free market system might look like. It would fulfill all our goals for an American system that is:

1. State-of-the-art;

2. Available to all in need;

3. Affordable;

4. Abundant; and

5. Well-financed.

To get there, we need to:

1. increase the supply of medical practitioners,

2. create a patient-centered system by letting the patient spend his or her own money on healthcare;

3. create state-sponsored safety nets for the poor and underserved.

These proposals, of course, seem radical today, even in America's free market culture. But sometimes the most obvious solution is indeed the best. The fact is that the employer-based system we have today was initiated because the elite of another day needed a quick way to exempt health care costs from federal taxes. No one thought that this simple IRS rule would hamper businesses forever. So, let's change that!


© 2019 Richfield Press LLC. All rights reserved.

This President Has To Go

Posted on August 6, 2019 at 4:30 PM Comments comments (0)

By Gary Norris Gray

President Donald J. Trump


1600 Pennsylvania Ave N.W.


Washington, D.C. 20500


July 31, 2019


Dear Mr. President,


My name is Gary Norris Gray; I’m a writer, historian, New York sports fan, disabled, African American, and Native American with Cerebral Palsy since the age of two.


My father came from a poor farm family in North Carolina; he served his country in World War II in the Far Eastern Theater, as a United States Marine in a segregated unit for the very freedom that you, Sir are trying to take away. He has done everything America has asked him to do. My mother is from southern New Jersey. She had to fight not only Caucasians because she was African American-Native American but she had to fight Black people because she was too light.


Both of my parents attended (HBCU’s) Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Both of them were teachers in the New Jersey public school system. Both of them taught justice, truth, and harmony. Sir, you might need to work on these traits.


My mother attended Hampton Institute, now Hampton University in Virginia and my dad went to North Carolina A & T University. Both parents guided me to the path of college in the 1970’s. My goal was to attend Grambling State University in Louisiana another HBCU. It would not happen because that institution was not wheelchair accessible. This was a path that was very difficult for any child with disabilities at that time.


In 1978 I finally crossed the stage with cap and gown at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale with a degree in history and a double minor in Black American Studies and Political Science.


As a college graduate I’ve always respected individuals in high office even though I might have disagreed with them politically, you, Sir are putting a strain on this long-standing personal policy.


I have written every president since 1964 and have enjoyed receiving letters from the White House, I do not expect one from you Sir. Mr. President most Americans have given you the time and space to establish your programs. It is time to produce some positive images for this great nation.


Your programs Sir are creating a hostile racial environment; example the events in Portland, Oregon, and Berkeley, California


You Sir, are attacking poor people, people of color, and women. This is being done with your surrogates, your cabinet appointees who know little or nothing about politics and do not care how it affects the common American.


You Sir, are putting many disabled individuals in danger by cutting the safety nets that they depend on to live and by cutting the availability to attend American public schools.


You Sir, are putting American seniors in danger passing the American Health Care Act throwing 24 million people off of the Affordable Care Act.


You Sir, are putting our military families in danger by disclosing sensitive military information.



You Sir, are putting African Americans in danger by becoming cohorts with the new political Alt-Right Movement and known Ku Klux Klan members in your cabinet.


You Sir, have disrespected the former President of the United States, The former Secretary of State, and the former Attorney General. You Sir have continued to attack people of color in the Congress



You Sir, have disrespected gold star parents who gave their only son to this great nation and who represented Iraqi-Americans fighting for the United States.


You Sir, have attacked the American Press Corps for doing their job reporting the news. This is the same press corps which helped allow you get to the White House.



You Sir, have attacked the leaders of the Christian World and the Moslem World at the same time.


You Sir, have attacked other leaders of the free world who are allies of the United States.



You Sir, have disregarded the health, safety, and welfare of Native Americans in the great northwest with the re-start of the Dakota Access Pipeline which has leaked twice since your presidency.


You Sir, have attacked the very foundation that made America great, immigrants. Without immigration, you would not be here, Sir.



You Sir, are supporting nations that do not have American values or American interest. The values Americans hold dear. Lastly, you have cooperated with a foreign power, a power that is our political enemy.


You Sir, want Americans to pay taxes but then you will not let the American public see how much you have paid or not paid.



Sir many Americans want to know are you a man for the people or a man for your handlers in the background directing your flawed policies in Washington D.C.?



It is time for you to be President of the United States not the president of rich people, not president of billionaires. It is time for you and your administration to stop causing controversies, confusion, and diversions and act like the leader of the free world.



Sincerely in complete frustration



Gary Norris Gray

Civilian Gun Culture is a Dysfunctional Mess

Posted on August 6, 2019 at 3:40 PM Comments comments (0)

By Michael E. Diamond


The U.S. military has a lot of guns, but not a lot of non-combat fatalities. Why is this? Because of common sense military regulations. That’s why, like many other military veterans, I view America’s civilian gun culture as dysfunctional.


Today, Americans mourn yet another tragic mass shooting, this one in a Texas high school. It has been a mere three months since 17 teens lost their lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. Much has been made of U.S. gun control laws — or lack thereof. But instead of listening to politicians battle across the partisan divide, we should be listening to the men and women who work with guns the most.


Most Americans would be surprised, for example, at how little time military personnel in particular spend with their weapons over the course of a career. Apart from firing on highly structured firing ranges or routine maintenance, access to your weapon on base is rare. Military Police provide security, so soldiers move about the base unarmed. There’s a reason for this: In the military, anything that reduces accidents, homicides or suicides isn’t put up for a vote. It’s a requirement.


The military’s strict rules on weapon and ammunition access can apply to wartime as well, as my own experience demonstrates. In 1991, I was a military intelligence officer in the U.S. Army Reserve. My unit was mobilized and sent to Fort Bragg, N.C. Shortly before boarding a plane to Saudi Arabia I was issued my M16 along with several magazines of live ammunition.


Although I had fired countless live rounds over the years on various military weapons ranges, it’s a different feeling when you’re issued live ammunition before heading to a combat zone. This time it was real.


After a 16-hour trip — most of which I spent sitting on the hood of a truck with my back against the windshield trying to stay warm — we emerged into the intense desert heat. Because of the ear-splitting noise of departing jets we quickly inserted hearing protection, and then surrendered our ammunition.


That’s right. Once we arrived in an operational war zone, one of the first things the U.S. Army did was take our ammunition away.


We were in a location where small-arms engagement with enemy forces was unlikely, so, as far as the Army was concerned, there was no need for a bunch of wound-up soldiers to be walking around with live rounds. Even without any ammunition, before entering a building every soldier had to demonstrate his or her weapon was empty by pointing it down toward a barrel of sand and pulling the trigger, causing it to make the “click” sound of an empty weapon (hopefully).


Eventually, my unit moved north toward Kuwait, where we were re-issued ammunition just before the start of the ground war. Several weeks later, after successfully completing our mission in Kuwait City, we were re-routed to northern Iraq to address the Kurdish refugee crisis. On arrival, we once again surrendered our ammunition.


These military safety requirements are a stark contrast to civilian U.S. gun laws. Where the military requires background checks before a service member is allowed anywhere near a live weapon, the majority of U.S. states allow private gun sales without a background check. Where military personnel are trained to take a weapon away from a soldier who poses an extreme risk to himself or others, most states do not have laws enabling law enforcement or loved ones to do the same.


Compared to the weapons training that military and law enforcement personnel undergo, the training required of civilian gun owners is a joke — if it exists at all.


Before I was sent out to use it, I had to prove an intimate familiarity with my weapon— how it worked, its maximum effective range in meters, how to load and unload it safely, how to disassemble and reassemble it, how to clean it, clear jams, sight it and fire it accurately. So it’s hard for me to fathom how easy it is for almost any civilian to walk out of a gun retailer carrying a new weapon without a clue about so many of these standards.


And where military and law enforcement undergo extensive training on how to make the right shooting decision quickly while under extreme stress, civilians receive no such training, contributing to avoidable deaths arising from poor decisions and petty disputes. In this context, the National Rifle Association’s favorite slogan about good guys with guns defeating bad guys with guns is more naive myth than solution.


It’s crucial that veterans now bring our voice and experience to the national conversation about reasonable gun reform. As a group, we understand guns and appreciate that responsible gun ownership is an important part of American life — but we also understand that a safe environment is achieved through training and regulation.


We fought to protect our country, yet see our fellow citizens being gunned down in schools, churches, restaurants and concert venues at a rate unseen anywhere else in the developed world. More Americans have been killed by guns since 1968 than in all of the wars in U.S. history. It’s ridiculous and tragic.


As a veteran, I am often asked what lessons the civilian world can learn from the military. There are many insights each can gain from the other. When it comes to guns, however, the greater wisdom lies with the military. It maintains a high-functioning gun environment because it remains serious about background checks, training and accountability.


It is time for the civilian world to do the same.


Michael E. Diamond served as a military intelligence officer in the United States Army Reserve for seven years.

1979 Disco Demolition Night

Posted on July 15, 2019 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (1)

Gary Norris Gray BASN Staff Reporter

This was written in 2007 alot has changed in Chicago since 1979. Major League Baseball now has franchises in the states of Florida and Arizona.There have been six new presidents, the Cubs and the White Sox both won the World Series at least once. The Chicago Bulls three peated twice at NBA Champions and Michael Jordan played baseball for the Barons in-between. Many African American musicians never forgot what happened at Comiskey Park July 12, 1979.

OAKLAND, CA —It was the end of an era. The presidency of Jimmy Carter and the dominance of the Democratic Party ended in Washington, D.C.The American and Iranian governments were at odds with each other. Diplomatic communications were strained that summer. It led to the American Embassy Hostage Crisis in Tehran, November 1979.


The New York City Commission finished their report on the massive blackout that affected the city the previous summer. Immense structural failure claimed to be the reason for the blackout.


The last of the American Civil Rights Movements started to be heard throughout America.


The Disabled Civil Rights Movement had it’s genesis in Berkeley, California. This movement (Chrome Power) created a mass migration of Disabled Americans west to this progressive Northern California town.


In 1979, the sports world moved quickly into the 80’s. The Seattle Supersonics defeated the Washington Bullets four games to one. This was one of the lowest rated televised series broadcast in National Basketball Association history at that time.


The League and CBS-Columbian broadcasted playoff games on delayed tape. West coast basketball fans turned their TV's off during the Five O’clock news so that they could not hear the 3rd or 4th quarter score.


That same year, the Montreal Canadians beat my beloved New York Rangers four games to one in the Stanley Cup Finals. Not many watched this series because the league was re-negotiating a contract with three major networks.


Almost a year earlier in October of 1978, the New York Yankees repeated as World Series Champions beating the Los Angeles Dodgers four games to two. It was the highest rated series televised at that time. Number 44, Reggie Jackson cemented his place in the baseball sun with two great World Series years.


Basketball and hockey were struggling while baseball seemed to be doing fairly well on both coasts. However, they had difficulties attracting younger fans in the Midwest except in the St. Louis area. This phenomenon grew in the 90’s and the turn of the century.


Sports executives tried everything to get fans to the stadium or ball park. Bill Veeck, owner of the Chicago White Sox, was a well known maverick. Veeck tried something new to get young people back to Comiskey Park, located on the south side of Chicago.


On July 12, 1979, Veeck, his son Mike, and Steve Dahl, a 24-year-old disc-jockey from Chicago’s radio station WLUP (also known as “the LOOP”) created “Disco Demolition Night.”


Comiskey Park seated about 55,000 people, but on this night 85-90,000 fans showed up to attend this promotion. Many tried to enter by climbing through or up the outside walls of the stadium. These young people did this with the help of their friends inside the park.


The Chicago Police Department finally blocked the streets leading to the stadium. Something that local police should have done hours earlier. This late police action prevented late comers from even getting near the Stadium. Watching WGN-TV the White Sox baseball television network, fans wanted to join in the fun.


The ticket exchange plan was for White Sox fans to bring old disco 45’s or LP records to the park in exchange for the reduced admission price of 98 cents.


The records were destroyed in between games of a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers.There was a subtle racial overtone to this promotion. Something that the demolition promoters deny to this day. Steve Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Motown records were found on the field hours later.


Remember Disco was a basically African American music genre that swept the nation in the middle 70’s. It reached its peak in 1976-1977 and was led by the Bee Gees, a white group from Australia. The group had several hits that year, mainly Disco tunes from the movie soundtrack of the 1977 hit movie “Saturday Night Fever”.


It seemed that white middle class America had enough and wanted disco music to end.


Everyone knows when you make it on the big movie screen; the political, social, or economic movement is just about over. That is exactly what happened, there was a complete backlash.


Radio Stations throughout America changed their music format from disco to hard rock, rock and roll, old school, soft Rhythm and Blues or news talk radio. Quiet Storms came on the radio from Philadelphia to Oakland after 7pm


“Saturday Night Fever”, starring a young John Travolta, hit the theaters in the fall of ’77. This movie was a disco movie about a troubled teenager’s life in New York City.


This movie was the straw that broke the camels back and led white America into a revolt against disco music. Many people wanted to see disco records destroyed. The music industry kidnapped the new art form and made it mechanical


The stage was set as thousands of fans filled Comiskey Park to overflow capacity. The majority of the crowd were very young and white. There were reports of fans under the influence of alcohol and other hard drugs.


When the first game came to a close an unruly crowd began to use their old records as frisbees. This naturally led to fans throwing firecrackers and drinks on the field. With each passing second, Comiskey Park became a time bomb ready to explode.


It created a very dangerous situation for the players on the field. The Tigers did not want to continue the game. The Detroit Tigers won the first game of the doubleheader 4-1. But the question was would they start the second game.


Both teams ran to the clubhouse to get away from the hysteria at Comiskey and to rest for the second game 45 mins. later.


The White Sox and Tigers did not return to the field for the next game.


Veeck and Chicago announcer Harry Caray tried to get this unruly crowd back into their seats with announcements, but it was too late. The genie was out of the bottle and the fans destroyed the field with bonfires, bricks, broken glass, records, and burning turf.


Disc-jockey Dahl dressed in Army fatigues kept yelling, “Disco Sucks!” while circling the field in a rented jeep. He stirred up a crowd which did not need prodding.


When the time for demolition came, the explosion was bigger than the promoters expected and it resulted in ripping a big gaping hole in the outfield grass. Thousands of fans jumped over the seating rails and onto the field to join the mayhem, burning banners, and throwing objects.


The batting cages were even destroyed in the melee. Fans were drinking in the dugouts, and making out in the outfield. It was pure bedlam.


Order was somewhat restored an hour and half later when a battalion of the Chicago Police Department encircling the field and escorting the crowd politely off the field. It was reported that there were 39 arrests and 17 injuries.


The Tigers refused to take the field for game number two, forcing the White Sox to forfeit game two of the double hitter.


The quick patch up job on the outfield grass was uneven and players throughout the American League complained about it for the remainder of the 1979 season.


ESPN, The Evil Empire, The Mouse, The RAT, or what ever people call it these days aired a series two years ago called “Sports and the Influence of Music,” on their Sunday morning news show, “Outside the Lines’.


The incident at Comiskey Park with it’s racial overtones was an ugly episode in sports and baseball history. ESPN however never addressed this issue during the broadcast. The Sports network omitted glaring facts about the incident.


The ESPN broadcast stated that the incident was a lighthearted protest by young people. The network never addressed how dangerous this situation could have been, nor did they report that 95% of the instigators were young and white. This was a legal riot and the Chicago Police Department just stood around and watched.


The incident cast disparagements on African American music and dance. Not a single individual from the adjacent African American community in the City of Chicago was interviewed. The question should be asked, what kind of journalism was this?


Many of the participants in this riot were granted interviews, with red eyes, smiling red faces, and garbled slurred speech. ESPN tried to portray the incident as a walk in the park by misguided youth. Now imagine if these party people were African-American it would have been a different story.


The truth is if young African Americans had been in that unruly crowd 32 years ago it would have been a riot. 90% of the offenders would have landed in Chicago’s city jails and the Cities National Guard would have surrounded the stadium. Tear gas and batons would have been used. Politeness a thing of the past.


It would have made national news.


But instead, this incident was a joke to most major news agencies in 1979.


ESPN and their sister stations continue to insinuate this kind of racial innuendoes and hidden racial commentary by rehashing and glorifying this deplorable part of baseball history.


This kind of yellow journalism continues to notify African Americans that we Black Americans have a long way to go in race relations in the United States — no matter whoever resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.


Happy Anniversary Chicago


Gary Norris Gray - Writer, Author, Historian, Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston, Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove,  and The Batchelor Pad Network, Disabled Community Activist. Email [email protected]


Copyrighted Gary Norris Gray @ Gray Leopard Prod

America First and Internationalism

Posted on July 14, 2019 at 7:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Can these policies co-exist?

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (July 14, 2019)



There has been a strain of missionary zeal in American foreign policy since the colonial days and it raises its head every once in a while even today. Perhaps it is the shadow of our Puritan heritage . On the one hand, the moral dilemma of slavery has poisoned our national conscience since the beginning and still haunts us today even after we suffered an estimated 650,000 casualties in the most costly war in our history in an effort to right this wrong. On the other hand, Americans have felt constrained to "save the world for democracy" through the foreign wars of the 20th century and the challenges of Islamic terrorism in our own time.


The belief that "America is the last, best hope for freedom", as President Reagan put it, has formed one of the foundations of our foreign policy for the past 100 years. That belief carried us into two world wars and all the nearly constant stream of wars ever since, in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. It has defined "America's place in the world order" as the advocate and defender of personal freedom and at least some form of social justice. It has also established the USA as the underwriter of all these efforts in both blood and treasure.


The doctrine of "America first" is seen by the foreign policy establishment both here and abroad not as a modification but rather as a rejection of America's mission in world history. Properly understood, however, America first is not a rejection of this internationalism because it also assumes that every other country will - and does - put its own interests first. In this calculus, the issue becomes "what is America's interest?" The conclusion of the Trump doctrine is that America has a national debt of $22 Trillion and can no longer afford to bear the nearly entire cost of the elaborate military structure which we created during the Cold War. This does not seem unreasonable in view of the fact that the members of our alliances in Europe and Asia are in general wealthy enough to support their own defense.


The rub is that most of these countries are governed by some form of socialism and thus their costs are very high compared to the USA. Many have significant national debts of their own. This in addition to the fact that no one wants to give up a free ride voluntarily. So what leverage does the USA have to counter this resistance? The obvious threat is that freeloaders will no longer be welcome in the alliance. As far as we know, no one has suggested such an action, but the fact is that this is an implicit sanction. The Joe Biden's of the world - along with many others - consider this approach heresy. It goes against the received wisdom of the post-war policies which won the Cold War.


There are strange reactions among our "allies". For example, the purpose of NATO is the defense of Europe against possible invasion by Russia. To support that policy, the USA has stationed 10,000 troops and billions of dollars' worth of equipment in Germany - mostly funded by US taxpayers - since 1946. Germany now imports about 40% of its natural gas and 30% of its coal from Russia. To augment this supply chain, Germany has agreed to let Russia build the Nord Stream Pipeline for natural gas. This will increase the dependence of Germany on Russia for natural gas - extent unknown. The impact of this move is that, in case of war - or the threat of war - Germany might well be held hostage by the shut-off of all Russian energy exports. This in direct defiance of US objections. This act calls into question the very essence of NATO.


Another example is the French entertaining a proposal to "go it alone", and drop out of NATO, thus reviving Charles De Gaulle's longtime refusal to join NATO in the first place. Along with the UK, Germany and France are the largest members of NATO. President Trump has been widely criticized by the establishment for alienating our allies. But, if the Germans and the French are willing to dump NATO, one wonders why we are spending all this money to keep it going?


The bottom line is simply this: every country takes actions based on its perception of its own interests. For the Americans to do the same thing is only common sense. It is time that America faces reality and acts in the interests of the American people - not the so-called mission to save the world for freedom or any other such idealistic, and unrealistic, goal - no matter how worthy it sounds. Time to put America first!

© 2019 Richfield Press, LLC. All rights reserved.


Posted on June 9, 2019 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Gary Norris Gray


OAKLAND, CA.- The (LPGA) Ladies Professional Golf Association came out swinging this week as Hank Haney professional caddy and golf trainer tried to disparage a number of Korean golfers. Korean-American professional golfer Michelle Wie would have none of it and challenged Haney. This man still has not learned the lesson that we are a multi- cultured country with many different ethnicities that make this nation great. Once again we stumble on the racial staircase of life. Mr. Haney has to have his coat-tails pulled to explain himself. Haney was just following in the footsteps of others and got caught.


Hank+Haney+z_y8uzm0twvmHank Haney


It has happened again this week with, Hank Haney, a longtime golf instructor and Tiger Woods' former coach, caught the attention of many after he made racist and sexist comments about women's golf during his radio show Wednesday.


seoul sistersSeoul Sisters


Haney was asked who would win the U.S. Open this weekend. His response was "a Korean I could not name you like uh, six players on the LPGA Tour. Nah, Maybe I could. Well I'd go with Li, if I didn't have to name a first name. I'd get a bunch of 'em right." No Mr. Hank Haney you would have gotten them all wrong because none of them are named Li, try again. Now if he meant Lee then maybe six or seven but that does not excuse your comment of disrespecting the work and dedication that these ladies put into their craft.


koLydia Ko


For the record there are over twenty South Korean Nationals on the LPGA golf tour and many others like Korean-Australian Minjee Lee, Korean-Canadian Jaclyn Lee, Korean-New Zealander Lydia Ko, and Korean-Americans Michelle Wie, Annie Park, Alison Lee, Lauren Kim, and Danielle Kang.


220px-Minjee_Lee_(42139200431)Minjee Lee


As for the Li-Lee comment he still got it wrong because there are seven in the 150 list. Li is a Chinese not a Korean sir name. These are the seven Korean players with the sir name, Lee, Jaclyn Lee, Minjee Lee, Alison Lee, Jeongeun Lee6, Mi Hyang Lee, Mirim Lee, Jeong Eun Lee


Michelle Wie added: "Too many of these girls, Korean or not, have worked countless hours and sacrificed so much to play in the U.S. Open this week. There are so many amazing players in the field. Let's celebrate them... Not mock them."


This will most likely go over Mr. Haney's head because he does not understand the pain and hurt that he has caused by his callous statement.


Mr. Haney should have known better in the political times of "ME TOO" and "TIMES UP." With our esteem leader at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Mr. Haney is permitted to say anything about the great Korean golfers without suffering the consequences. He has every right to think this way but never should have made it public.


The history continues if individuals cannot control and win the game these same individuals trash the game or the people who make the game great. It happened twenty five years ago in golf when Tiger Woods took the game of golf by storm and won more championships in ten years more than any other professional golfer in history. Not good enough, Woods had to be brought back to earth with a scandal.


It happened with the Williams Sisters climbed up the tennis majors victory latter with Serena's 23 victories. This year Ms. Williams is within one major victory away from the queen Margaret Court.


It happened when Black players dominated basketball and baseball winning championships in the 1970s and 1980s after the unwritten quota system on the floor and on the field ended.


PAKSe Ri Pak


It happened in 1998 when female golfing Rookie of the Year, Se Ri Pak from South Korea took the ladies professional tour by storm which created a backlash in 2008 against the Asian golfers. The (LPGA) Ladies Professional Golfing Association put forth a ruling that was surprising and confusing. Lady golfers had to pass an English proficiency test and it became a world tour issue. This was aimed directly at the Asian golfers because few spoke English at that time.


This test was never required by the British Commonwealth countries or American golfers. The ruling was contested by the Korean, Chinese, and Taiwanese national golf organizations and dropped in 2010 with a protest lead by the State of California. The legislators of California informed the LPGA that they could not hold sanction tournaments in the Golden State if this rule stood.


Mr. Trump has allowed this full scale attack on any minority accomplishment in the United States. We as Americans have to continue to point this out and expose these thoughts whenever possible, Michelle Wie has done that.


Michelle Wie and Samantha Marks did not waste time and twitted, Wie stated, "As a Korean-American female golfer, these comments disappoint and anger me on so many levels. Racism and sexism are no laughing matter Hank.... Shame on you. I don't ever do this, but this must be called out."


Other females in the professional golfing fraternity came to Michelle's aid like Marks and exposed the contradiction of Mr. Haney's comments, like they are very good golfers BUT they are Asian. That BUT gets in the way every time. It is like baseball's Hall of Fame Oakland A's-New York Yankees base stealer Ricky Henderson, stating he is a great baseball player BUT he speaks in the third person about himself. Does that diminish his baseball skills? NO, but Haney and many others continue to use that BUT to downgrade the accomplishments of minority athletes.


Haney finally apologized after the firestorm, stating, "This morning I made some comments about women's professional golf and its players that were insensitive and that I regret. In an effort to make a point about the overwhelming success of Korean players on the tour I offended people and I am sorry I have the highest respect for the women who have worked so hard to reach the pinnacle of their sport and I never meant to take away from their abilities and accomplishments."


The tide is slowly turning like in the late 1960s but it will take more incidents like this to open the eyes of America to racial, social, and spiritual harmony.


P.S. Haney was suspended Friday by Sirius XM Satellite PGA Tour Radio for his comments


Want to know more about Korean golfers go to these websites and


Thanks- Bleacher Report article by Adam Wells


Gary Norris Gray - Writer, Author, Historian, Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston, Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove, and The Batchelor Pad Network, Disabled Community Activist. Email [email protected]


©Copyrighted Gary Norris Gray @ Gray Leopard Prod.

Gentrification encroaches on Howard and Texas Southern Campuses

Posted on June 9, 2019 at 2:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Washington, D.C., apparently is the capital of the Gentrification Nation too.


Want to see the effects? Just take a stroll through the environs near Howard University’s main campus these days and you reflexively say, “My, how times have changed.”


Gone are many of the decaying structures and dilapidated blotches of disrepair. And gone are some of the small black businesses and shops that were the lifeblood of a once-vibrant community.


Look up and you will see high-rise thickets of fancy apartment complexes dotting the landscape around Howard, which in recent years has sold some of its properties near campus to raise funds. Look down and you will see the new cafes and coffee shops.


Those are signs of gentrification, not only in Washington but also in cities such as Houston, home of Texas Southern University, another historically black institution.



To understand the change of scenery around Howard, you must study the metamorphosis of Washington as a whole.



Check the city’s gentrification numbers. According to the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, which advocates economic support for economically distressed locales, Washington had the highest intensity of gentrifying neighborhoods in the United States between 2000 and 2013.


Furthermore, Washington’s population was 71.1% black in 1970; in 2015, that number had plummeted to 48.3% during this new age of gentrification and black displacement. Also, the white population in areas surrounding Howard’s main campus was about 4% in 2000; by 2015, it had increased more than sixfold.


Of the eligible tracts for gentrification, Washington leads the nation with a 40% intensity rate; second is San Diego, double digits behind at 29%; third is New York at 24%.


Gentrification can mean new residents. With different cultural likes, dislikes, habits. And behavior.


Such as dog walking.


Howard students know this firsthand. And they don’t like it.


Because their campus has been a dog park for some area residents — white pet owners.


Students say it’s their grass and their walkways, regardless of the gentrification projects that have altered the landscape surrounding the university.


“Seeing dogs on campus isn’t an uncommon thing. I have seen them relieve themselves and the owners don’t pick it up,” Kenneth Fling, a freshman psychology major from Buffalo, New York, told The Undefeated outside on a breezy, blue-sky day at the main campus. “Here, we take the culture of our campus and our community very seriously.”


The first part of Fling’s comment is a key point of contention among many Howard students: non-student pet owners allowing their dogs to defecate and urinate on campus apparently without taking any responsibility.



The Yard on Howard University is located at the center of main campus, surrounded by public spaces where fraternities and sororities emblazon trees with their insignia.




On “The Yard” — that priceless, grassy commons — which students consider hallowed territory, the pulse of their universe.


Call this situation Howard’s get-off-my-lawn moment.


It would be foolhardy to believe that Howard was the nation’s only historically black college or university in a dense urban spot feeling the effects of a culture clash that’s exacerbated by gentrification. Travel about 1,500 miles southwest of Washington to Houston, the nation’s fourth-largest city.


There, Texas Southern University is in the throes of its own challenges that, in some respects, are more problematic than the dog issue at Howard.


Houston’s Third Ward, where Texas Southern is located, is in the midst of a multimillion-dollar renovation plan.


While the hot topic at Howard is about the pets, the concern at Texas Southern is about the pocketbooks.


According to the Houston Defender, a black-owned newspaper in the city, the number of black residents in the Third Ward, as of 2017, had decreased by at least 10% while the white population had doubled, as education and income levels have risen. Other effects of gentrification can include an increase in home and property values, an improvement in safety matters and a rise in credit ratings for residents.


However, on the other side of the ledger … well, let Sherridan Schwartz, a visiting professor in the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern, tell it:


“In recent years,” Schwartz told The Undefeated, “luxury development and gentrification have made the Third Ward mostly unaffordable to the faculty and staff of TSU [except for a few executive-level administrators with higher incomes]. Now those employed by TSU have to find more affordable housing farther away, primarily in Houston’s suburbs like Pearland and Missouri City.”


To compound the gentrified problems, public transportation, especially bus service, can be affected in a negative way. Food and utility prices can skyrocket.


Also, in some neighborhoods around Texas Southern, similar to incidents in Washington, new residents have vehemently complained about publicly played music, lingering crowds, noise and block parties — often staples of many predominantly black communities.


Darnell Latney knows all about those staples.


For 48 years, Latney has been a part of Georgia Avenue, a street that directly borders Howard’s main campus. He’s seen the full scope of changes on this thoroughfare, which stimulate much-heated debate in the neighborhood, Latney said. A barber for 22 years, he works at Joseph’s Barber Shop, mere steps away from the university. And he is adamant about what he calls a disservice to a longtime predominantly black community encompassing Howard.




Darnell Latney stands in front of a building on the 2800 block of Georgia Avenue across from Howard University where he and other barbers cut hair for years. The shop closed last year, according to Latney, at the same time the condos (on the right) were being built.




“It’s all about economics and raising the tax base,” Latney passionately told The Undefeated. “They are just using gentrification to get rid of black people in this area. We are not being displaced but replaced.


“At one time, D.C. wasn’t like this at all, from about the 1990s on back. Now everything is so expensive that the average black person can’t afford it. Georgia Avenue is a long street. It used to be an 80% black neighborhood that catered to 80% black businesses. Not anymore. I’ve seen a lot of black businesses close down in the past six years on Georgia Avenue — all because of gentrification. And this dog stuff is another sign of what’s going on around here.”


The tension regarding Howard’s dog controversy ratcheted up even more when dog owner Sean Grubbs-Robishaw, a white man who lives nearby in the Bloomingdale neighborhood, announced it was time to relocate.


No, not him — the 152-year-old Howard campus should depart, he proclaimed.


In an interview with television station Fox 5 DC, Grubbs-Robishaw, who admitted to traversing Howard’s various open patches of grass with his dog to reach a nearby reservoir that’s a popular spot for pet owners, barked, “So, they’re in part of D.C., so they have to work within D.C. If they don’t want to be within D.C., then they can move the campus. I think we just need to work together, and I don’t think it should be a he or there or here . . . it’s our community, and that’s how it should be.”


Yes, he jolted us when he said “move the campus,” the higher-education domain of such illustrious Howard alumni as poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, singer Roberta Flack, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy and California Sen. Kamala Harris. And note that Grubbs-Robishaw has since been derisively referred to by a hashtag on social media: #GentrifyingGeorge.


“They [dog owners] just don’t realize that this is sacred ground,” Hidaya, a Howard student who didn’t want her last name used, told The Undefeated.


The temperature of these dog days had gotten so hot that several media outlets, from Essence magazine to MTV News to The Guardiannewspaper in England, have carved out space for coverage. And a petition has even been started to effect change regarding the dog debate.


Ironically, while students and dog owners on Howard’s main campus have been in the midst of a seemingly adversarial relationship, on the university’s so-called West Campus, located in a traditionally wealthier community that houses Howard’s law and divinity schools about 3 miles away, students and dog owners have maintained a symbiotic association.


“We do events each year when, during final exams, area dog owners bring their dogs over so we can pet them,” second-year law student James Walker III of Atlanta told The Undefeated.


For stress relief.


Does it work?


“I don’t partake in it myself, but I’m sure it helps, as the data has shown it works,” said Walker, whose parents both graduated from Howard’s School of Law.


Final exams are scheduled this week and next.



Walker said it isn’t unusual to see dogs on the grounds of Howard’s West Campus, a predominantly white area off Connecticut Avenue, and added there’s a communal environment with the neighbors.


There doesn’t appear to be an antagonistic relationship with the surrounding West Campus community, he said.


There could be three reasons, besides the communal engagement:


The much smaller West Campus is a bit more isolated than the more open and sprawling main campus, which, of course, draws more foot traffic.

The dog owners on the west side appear to be very responsible in picking up waste material from their dogs.

The West Campus isn’t in the crosshairs of gentrification projects, unlike the main Howard campus.

The dog conundrum on the main campus became so polarizing that university president Wayne A.I. Frederick publicly announced that pet owners are prohibited from bringing their animals on the grounds.


He said: “We recognize that service animals are a necessary aspect of modern-day life and we will accommodate them as needed. We appreciate pet owners respecting our campus by not bringing pets on to the private areas. Howard is a private institution nestled in the heart of an urban city and we’ve shared a long-standing positive relationship with our evolving community for more than 150 years, which we look forward to continuing in the future.”


However, a few students indicated that they still have seen some non-student pet owners and dogs on the main site after the release of the president’s message, although freshman Fling observed, “I have seen a decline in dogs on campus.”


The animal regulations imposed by city’s Department of Health, in association with the mayor’s office, appear to be on Frederick’s side.


Alison Reeves, interim director and public information officer in the office of communications and community relations for DC Health, told The Undefeated, after consultation with the agency’s general counsel, that “the leash law applies to dogs off of their own fenced property. The pet waste laws apply to anyone off of their own property. Whether anyone is or is not allowed on Howard’s campus is a function of whatever rules Howard would have in place and provide notice of to the public. Any person on private property could be considered to be trespassing if not allowed on the property, but that would be up to Howard to enforce.”


Much of this issue between dog owners and students revolves around respect and reverence in the nation’s capital, which now doubles as the Gentrification Capital.


Howard freshman Ahzaria Garris, a criminology major from Norfolk, Virginia, told The Undefeated:


“It’s the principle behind the situation with the dog owners. They don’t interact with us; they don’t even look our way. They seem to keep tunnel vision, minding their business and just hurrying along. If they interacted with us and actually cared about the school, it would be different.”


Simply put, Howard students don’t want their main campus to go to the dogs.




Posted on June 4, 2019 at 10:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Gary Norris Gray- BASN Staff Reporter


Nationally known golf commentator, swing coach, and Tiger Woods former golf teacher doubled down on what he said last week about the professional ladies golfing tour. Haney apologized last week but now seems hollow and meaningless after his renewed attack and rant Monday morning. He stated, “That his prediction, a Korean named Lee would win the tournament and was actually based on statistics and facts.” Hank Haney should be fired from his Sirius XM radio show because he will not leave this alone. The suspended Haney continues to belittle the (LPGA) Ladies Professional Golf Association and that should not be acceptable. He continues to disrespect the ladies on the tour and the country of South Korea; this also should not be acceptable.


Mr. Haney refuses to take responsibility for his careless and hurtful comments because he keeps digging, keeps pushing the agenda to disparage women’s golf. He is just following in the footsteps of Donald J. Trump and the President does not answer to anyone.


Former LPGA player Jeehae Lee remarked on Twitter, “This is why Haney’s comments hurt: by publicly admitting that he sees a bunch of the same ‘Lee’s on the LPGA, he has normalized the view that these women on the LPGA are nameless, faceless, golfing robots who aren’t worthy of individual humanity.”

Former KLPGA and LPGA golfer Christina Kim states ”


‘Oh, those Koreans are all the same,’ are just too lazy or narrow-minded to make the effort to get to know the individuals. It also bugs me that the Koreans are collectively demonized as ‘robotic’ because they spend so much time trying to improve as players,”


It is very interesting that the golf world did not complain when Tiger Woods ran away with so many championships on the men’s tour 15 years ago. Woods changed the game with his muscle power producing longer tee shots, now most of the men have longer tee shots. This is the same with retired LPGA Champion Se Ri Pak and her long tee shots following Tigers practice methods.


It is a disgrace a golf commentator could not name any of the female Korean golfers by their first name, Hank you are the lead commentator on the GOLF CHANNEL, that is your job.

O.K. let’s go there 1.) Jeongeun Lee6 won the U.S. Open Sunday and is the first Korean woman named LEE to win a tournament in 2019. Lee6 received her name because there are five other Korean golfers named Jeongeun Lee. Lee6 has her own fan club called the Lucky 6. Mr. Haney tired to used this as an excuse.


2.) This year there have been six other South Koreans that have won tournaments this year and none of them have the last name LEE, guess Mr. Haney forgot about that.


3.) There are only three South Koreans named LEE in the top 30 golf list so it would not be hard to call them by their first name. Minjee Lee, Mi Hyang Lee, and Mirim Lee. Hank, you are telling the public that you cannot remember these names.


The LPGA has to make a hard steadfast decision and that is keeping a relationship with the Sirius XM Radio or dropping the station. Mr. Haney does not respect the women’s golf game. He does not respect the South Koreans. The (LPGA) organization needs somebody to speak on radio in a positive and uplifting way for younger females to follow and the rich history of past champions, Hank Haney is not it.


This has to end now.


P.S. Special Thanks Washington Post


Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian, Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston, Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove, Soul Tree Radio In The Raw, and The Batchelor Pad Network, Disabled Community Activist. Email [email protected]


©Copyrighted Gary Norris Gray @ Gray Leopard Prod

The moral case for profit-sharing (part II)

Posted on June 4, 2019 at 10:35 PM Comments comments (0)

"To whom much is given, much is expected."


by Dr. Larry Fedewa (June 1, 2019)


Last week we discussed the antecedents of the current movement toward corporate social responsibility and the Conscious Capitalist movement and also the paradigm on which a moral claim can be made for a re-definition of "workers' rights" with respect to workers' share of the company's profits.


The paradigm is the company's products and services offerings. The moral claim is the right of every person (or legal entity) to be compensated in the same proportion as that person's efforts contributed to the profit or loss from the company's total activities. A simplistic example would be a company profit of $1,000 divided equally by 100 people (or entities) who contributed to the sale of the product. Each share would then be $10.00.


Obviously no product line or service is the result of equal contributions by all the people who have been involved with the offering. Such an assignment of the many varied values which produce the products amounts to a quantification of each party's input to the profit or loss experienced by the entire enterprise. Not only are many qualities difficult to quantify, such as risk and perseverance, but some, such as loyalty and teamwork, would seem to have no metric at all. Some are unique, such as creativity; others, such as availability and skills, are competitive and subject to supply and demand. The decisions made by some are critical to both survival and success, while others are routine and conventional.


Nevertheless, if profit-sharing is to become the basis for a new interpretation of workers' rights, some intelligible and mutually agreeable formulas must be used. Rather than attempt a summary and rationalization of the many different formulas which have been used and conceived by firms during the robust history of profit-sharing, it seems equally necessary to examine the ethical basis which underlies the need to engage in this practice in the first place.

Economists link the creation of wealth since the Industrial Revolution to increases in productivity, the multiplication of output per unit of effort. The most often used unit of effort is the human labor hour. Since the common characteristic of most technological innovations is the reduction of the human labor required to complete a task, productivity is closely connected to technology. In the modern era, technology in turn is more and more closely connected with the sciences.


Whereas earlier productivity was usually associated with individual capabilities, such as footspeed, native intelligence, or instinct - as in logging, fishing, plowing and many other trades - technology-based productivity is based on devices which themselves already incorporate such physical or skill-based characteristics.


This approach thus introduces a far more complex process to the production of any saleable outcome, including services. There is an entire process of innovation which precedes what we think of as human labor, a process which involves risk, originality, perseverance, promulgation and eventually marketing and sales. It is only after all this that new products are placed into a traditional business setting for design, fabrication, marketing, sales, repair and warranty services.


What has happened in our current business practice is that more and more of the rewards for the enormous gains in productivity which have dominated our civilization in the post-WWII era have gone to the inventors and owners of the new technologies, less and less to the average workers. Yet, no one disputes the fact that, without the workers, the actual implementation of these technologies would never have happened. Because there are more of these folks, and because the skills needed to perform in a high-tech world are more available among the masses of workers, their contributions are typically rewarded at roughly the same level as the loggers and farmers of an earlier era.

But why are they not entitled to a greater share of the gains which these increases in productivity have brought to life in the public square? After all, without them, these innovations would still be unknown, condemned to eternal obscurity. By what right do the owners (investors) get to determine that they are entitled to 80% of the firm's assets while the workers - whose role is also critically important to the success or failure of the enterprise - collectively receive 20% or less?


These are human beings, not robots, not slaves, not units to be discarded or exploited. The old "survival of the fittest" logic does not belong, is not expected, and is not tolerated in today's capitalism. Each company, each organization, each business is based on a culture akin more to a family or a tribe than to a 20th century factory. After all, we spend more time at work than at home, at play, or in social activities. More of our lives with our fellow workers than with our families.


Success in the business world of this new century demands the pride of accomplishment, respect for the dignity of work, and a company culture which strives to promote the human goals of joy and even love of one's fellows. These are the coming, growing companies, the ones which will survive and thrive in the dawning of the new day.


In addition, because of the way our economy is organized, American business as a whole is bound to rise or fall on the basis on the working class' ability to participate comfortably in our ever-growing consumer economy. It is thus in everyone's interest to amend our definition of Workers' Rights to include a new condition - the right to calibrate employee compensation to the success or failure of the total enterprise in terms not only of satisfaction or failure, but also of profit or loss. Remember, in the new Capitalism, everyone who receives a wage - whether "leaders" (the new term for "managers") or "team members" is a "worker". The old terms do not fit this new business model.


Another unspoken result of this practice is the fulfillment of the American President's plea to "Buy American". If American workers have the means to continue their traditional support of our consumer economy, the value of tariff wars and harm from trade deficits will gradually fade away as we become again self-sufficient. Let the rest of the world look on in envy, and let Karl Marx turn over in his grave as his "workers' paradise" comes to life in the very system he so thoroughly condemned.


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