I can’t possibly understand the importance and significance of Martin Luther King Jr, but I do understand that the struggle and injustice he represented was real, and is just as relevant today as it was when MLK was alive.
Why can’t I understand? I’m white, I grew up in the UK where racial and ethnic issues were entirely different; Even today I live in a town in America that is almost a mono-culture. I do though see and can empathise with the result of the injustices carried out on black people, and the financial and social consequences of that, even today.
The point of this post, especially using a lightweight, frivolous entertainment program isn’t to undermine Dr King or what he was trying highlight and achieve, but to encourage anyone who like me, doesn’t understand the significance to take a few minutes today and at least watch the first 5-minutes.
The whole episode, like much of the series, is much more significant than superficial.
If you read through this and have any sense of history, you can’t wonder why we are even bothering with the whole quid-pro-quo debacle. At this point, if the President knew anything of this, he has to go.
Why Giuliani Singled Out 2 Ukrainian Oligarchs to Help Dig Up Dirt
And there are those who swear they’ve seen King Donald (who? who?)
King Donald (Yeah!)
Beneath that cesspool-Rudigate. Applause
Four more years,
Four more years,
Four more years,
Four more years of THAT
right now China is making massive investments in South America, Africa, and large parts of Asia, they are making loans for infrastructure and various ports, and if the loans don’t get repaid, the Chinese end up owning that shipping port or that railroad station.
Long term, twenty, forty years, that will put American businesses, and the jobs of our children and grandchildren at risk
This is a big part of the story, except, China has doing this that I’ve known about since 1995. Add to this their investments in futures contracts and rare minerals and you have the perfect storm. I posted a response to twitter on this back in September(below). The NY Times had a good write-up on the Chinese Belt and Road initiative. It shows the scale and scope of the Chinese project around the world, all industries. Meanwhile, the US President refuses to work with the Democrats on infrastructure.
Futures contracts developing roads and equipment for 12-15 years while the US was busy fighting two unwinnable wars and wasting its money on them. The president, respectfully, is a clueless shill just trying to breakup big businesses he doesn’t understand.
While we might be able to build an iPhone for around $3,000 given US prices, we might even be able to manufacture the components, like cameras, GPS, accelerometers. We won’t be able to do any of that without the raw materials that goes into the components in phones, tablets, motherboards, computer, alexa smartspeakers, and pretty much everything else that drives(2) modern lives, including cars, scooters, trains and planes.
The shoe is off the foot, it’s just a question of when it drops. This was, frankly, bloody obvious. Because the Chinese Government doesn’t have to participate in the media circus western democracy has become, they don’t have to make promises they either don’t want to, or won’t keep, they’ve been able to focus on the long game(1).
I don’t know who will be next US President, but he or she has a big job on their hands, and it’s not a short term one.
More generally, any strategy with a long-term goal of gaining the upper-hand. Often used to describe politicians trying to outwit opponents.
I have listened to the first two episodes of the new “White Lies” podcast, and have no qualms about claiming it is the next big podcast for me.
The podcast covers the death of James Reeb, a white Unitarian minister living in Boston. Reeb heard of the call by Martin Luther King Jr. for clergy across the country to come to Selma, after the day, hundreds of African Americans had gathered in Selma to march to the state capital and demand the right to vote and been brutally pushed back from the Edmund Pettus Bridge by Alabama state troopers .
That day, Reeb bought a plane ticket, read his daughters a bedtime story and his wife drove him to the airport. They would never see him alive again. The story of Reeb is what this podcast is about. More accurately it is about who killed him and the lies that sprung up to protect the people that did it.
One of the participants in the discussion is, Dr John Waits, who with his colleagues and staff at Centreville Clinic Staff, are doing their best to help their community afford their healthcare.
Dr Waits struggles valiantly in the discussion to avoid using the terms profit and subsidy. This is a mistake in my opinion, while you can talk about healthcare efficiencies, people need to hear that large hospital groups are for profit, yes even the not-for-profit ones. People need to understand that rural hospitals are not affordable without subsidy. Equally, urban communities need to understand that without rural communities, we have an entirely different set of problems.
Subsidy isn’t a bad word, nor is tax that ultimately is used to pay for it. You can either levy tax at a state level or at the federal level, preferably on big hospital groups and medical providers revenue(not profit). You can then use that tax money to subsidise rural healthcare. Or you can use general federal taxation, and use the additional money to fund a medicaid hospitals in rural community cities.
Struggling along with no real honesty, and without confronting the elephant in the room, will just mean more rural hospitals closing, leading the to further decline of rural communities and the increased pressure on cities.
Sadly, this New York Times Editorial op-ed is factually wrong in a material way that I had to write a letter. I also ripped into Dan Gorenstein on twitter(1) for linking to the article and “guessing” he didn’t think Americans would tolerate #MedicareForAll.
Here is the text I sent to the Times, who knows if they will publish it. My track record of getting corrections to editorial op-eds published is close to zero. It’s like they don’t want to be wrong.
The editorial board seems both confused, and factually inaccurate when it comes to how insurance works in government funded, single payer healthcare systems. It is common place in such systems to have an option of top-up insurance. I was lucky to have had such insurance when I needed serious surgery in the UK, in 1992. It was employer provided insurance.
One of the constraints in the many government single payer systems is the supply of buildings and doctors to treat a patient “on demand”. Urgent cases are as always seen as soon as they can be. Non-urgent cases, not so much. But then, medically, they are non-urgent. Top-up insurance allows patients to schedule both dates and locations, specialists for non-urgent treatment. The single payer system, pays an agreed amount for the treatment or surgery, much like Americas current insurance based system.
The difference is, that in America today there is massive over supply of both facilities and staff, specialists etc. That over supply is costing every one, both the insured and the uninsured, money for nothing. Yes, it’s great if you can walk into your local Dr’s today and get a referral to a specialist this afternoon for that annoying toe bunion that has bothered you for the past 6-months. Should our healthcare system be based on the costs of carrying that burden? Absolutely not.
While single payer systems are not perfect, nor is the current US Insurance based model. Almost everyone of the people that are involved in charging, finance, billing, negotiating, handling disputes, etc. is overhead. That overhead has to get paid for. So called “death panels” are more common in the US based insurance system than they are in single payer systems. In a single payer system there is no out of network, drug prices are controlled, and there is much more transparency. For everything else there is top-up insurance.
The editorial board overlooking this important fact, does a major dis-service to it’s readers and to Americans who continue to pay too much for healthcare.
The American story with Syria is intertwined with almost everything the west has done in the Middle East since the end of the 2nd World War. American was the prime enabler of the Assad family rise to to power, and as everything post war seemed to be, all about fighting the rise of Communism and installing “democracy”.
Syria gained its independence in 1946 and in 1948 engaged in the Arab-Israeli war. Later in 1949, the Americans were party, or if you believe many, responsible via the emergent CIA, for the coup d’état that replaced the Syrian democracy with Husni al-Za’im, who was executed later the same year.
The Syrian story since the 2nd World War is complicated, wars, Hamas, Iran, Hezbollah. Assad senior played key roles in much of the 1980’s terrorism, before the US and especially the UK decided that their actual target in the Middle East was Gaddafi, and that they needed Assad’s Syria as an ally their upcoming war.
So, you can be surprised by President Trump’s actions, you can blame it on his trying to appease Russian leader Putin, or you can just believe that this is yet another of President Trump’s rollbacks of President Obama’s actions. Whatever you do though, don’t think American involvement in Syria is just about the defeat of ISIS.
The state of American immigration is misunderstood, misapplied and subject to a lot of hysteria.
To me it continues to amaze that a country where you can drive for hours east and south in Colorado, west in Texas, and pass nothing. Absolutely nothing. I’m sure there are other US States where you can do this, I’ve just not driven through them.
America, with a number of Western countries, not least mine, the UK, have created massive disturbances and in some cases, wars persist as a direct result of our actions. Yet we have largely uninhabited geographic areas as big as some of these countries.
TAL covers a number of the key areas of Immigration, how it works, who is doing what, and what has been changing. It’s worth an hour of your life, if you don’t have that, Act 2 is especially worth it.
As a quick follow-on from yesterdays post, thanks for the emails and messages on linked-in. I was listening to the USCIS MP3 for the 100 Interview questions last night and found this answer, among others pretty imprecise. This is a single question extract from the actual USCIS MP3.
The question this raises is, which States have more representatives but a smaller population, and why? Obviouly this also hightlights the importance of the U.S. Census which measures the population.
Also, google searching for the questions is a great way to find the confusing litany of websites out there to help immigrants learn and practice for exams, most being for profit. ESLbasics being a good example. Here is the same question.
The delivery isn’t quite as monotone, and the answers are EXACTLY the same, the speaker, Andrea Giordano, even looks down to ensure she is reading it correctly.
Andrea sells a complete pack to prepare for the test for $59.99. She also has most of the questions on youtube for free.
It’s become a constant, “why aren’t they citizens?”
Questions over immigration eventually always end up with a debate, almost always unproductive, sometimes angry about why people who live in the US have not become US Citizens.
It’s my view, that people who pose these questions, do so mostly because they’ve never had to apply themselves. They have no idea how expensive the process is, how long it takes, and for many how difficult it is.
I get a weekly email, it contains a 1-byte GIF, which is used for tracking. When the mail reader loads the .gif file via http, I presume the USCIS keep a record rather than depend on email “read/open receipts”. Other than this the email always says:
In my “case” (pun intended), it’s not an application for citizenship, it’s a road block to that application. Turns out sometime late last year while sorting out all my medical billing related issues, I physically lost my green card.
The application for a replacement, cost circa $725. Not a new one, not one that is extended, not a renewal of an expired one, just a replacement/duplicate card. When I applied in the Denver office, and had my bio-metrics done again, I was told to expect a 9 to 11 month delay before I received the card.
I’m waiting for the replacement, so I can legally surrender it during my citizenship process. I wasn’t able to apply until at least May 12th, 2017 as per this very helpful and positive info-graphic. Since I married Kate in October, strictly that would normally mean a 3-year wait, but my 5-year wait was already up.
What does it take to become a US Citizen?
As is often the way, the US Government provides a very helpful and mostly simple set of web pages. The forms can be confusing and intimidating, purely due to the cost of failed application.
The process is initiated through the completion and submission of form N-400. The filing fee is currently $725 including the bio-metrics fee. After that you have to wait for an appointment, depending on state, this can take up-to a year. You also have to respond as fast as possible to any requests for information about your application.
Next up you’ll get you interview. At the Interview apparently the process includes
you will answer questions about your application
take the civics and English tests as required. In a quick vox-pop survey, most of the natural born citizens I’ve asked fail some of the less obvious ones.
You also have to prove a level of proficiency with spoken and written English.
Out of the 100 questions the group studies each week, only six are asked at the naturalization interview, at the most 10, as each person is allowed to miss four.
After which, USCIS issues a written notice of decision. Your application is
Granted—eligible for naturalization.
Continued—you need to provide additional evidence/documentation; or retake the test(s).
Denied—Ineligible for naturalization.
Assuming you are eligible, all you have left is the Oath of Allegiance ceremony.
Why am I waiting?
If you read the webpage details, you can in principle apply, and use the receipt given when I applied for my replacement green card, form I-90. However, when I asked at the office I was told you must have your green card. I asked again today (see left, yes the USCIS uses Salesforce for chat) and was told the same thing.
If I was still working, I could refer the whole thing through to an immigration attorney, but as a stay-at-home Dad, right now I’d like to avoid paying an immigration attorney. Equally, I don’t want to complete and submit my form N-400 and have it rejected, at $725 that’s another expense I don’t want to risk.
I’ve completed the application, minus the final section which lists time outside the country in the last 5-years, only because I have to set aside time to be factually accurate. Until I have my green card that can wait.
So, aside from the expense, it takes a year for most people, which assumes they’ve already been in the country for a minimum of 5-years as a legal green card holder. For most people, that means you’ve been in the country on a visa program before that, add another 2-5 years. Unless of course you’ve can apply for fast-path to green card.
I was an O-1 visa recipient, that didn’t qualify me to be fast-pathed.
Next time you meet someone who isn’t a US Citizen, instead of assuming they are lazy, or don’t want to, have some empathy, it’s an intimidating and fraught process.