How does one explain that the one billion dollars you spent on a presidential election got you soundly drubbed by over 100 electoral votes margin? How do you justify the loss of each congressional candidate that was backed by 300 million in ads?

In the most telling of moments of the 2012 election it was hurricane Sandy showed people racism and prejudice is not functional for a forward moving country. Racism exists, prejudice exists, and it exists culturally and institutionally, especially for whites. This polarization runs across race and across class. After the re-election of President Barack Obama tens of thousands have signed petitions to secede from the union, an absurd proposition, but the sentiment that prejudice carries trump common sense. In the midst of this loud and prevalent ignorance some are waking up. Some realize that we cannot longer look at the countries the USA has attacked over the years or will engage in the future and say that they weren’t peppered with racist notions.

Today blacks that graduate with college degrees are twice as unlikely to get hired as their white counterparts. To say that America is racist is not a rhetorical narrative. White America is not prepared to view the world how it is or how it is becoming. They want everyone to think like them, many of them have a stuck in the past mentality. When they are confronted with a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-racial society they retreat to what comforts them and politicians and the 24 hours networks give them that comfort.

The media plays it loud, clear and repeatedly that they can go back to a time when half the country wasn’t free, to a time when the natives were being exterminated and their land occupied, to a time when the theft of Mexico’s land was underway, to a time when 4 million where enslaved. How can this narrative be the main one that is played over and over again by journalists, networks or any responsible party, because it is their agenda? And the disillusioned, jaded masses find solace in these and every fringe narrative propagated by the media. Then they present specials on why social media sites are often deluged with racist, sexist and homophobic rants as if the media didn’t bring people on to put it out to the masses.

The sport of politics continues on as the ratings driven media engine and fringe bloggers gently pull the racial heart strings of the prejudice and ill informed masses. In a free country demographics change, times change, but you still loudly heard the chants of “take our country back!’  Networks and commentators echoed these very same chants. Networks sieges on and repeat flawed and absurd narratives even when the rhetoric came from non-credible sources. This repetition not only reinforced this racial psychosis, but allowed people to cling on to racist notions, and live happily every after with ignorant sound bites. In the end, some believed, even subconsciously,  that race was more important that correcting the countries dire economic situation. This belief was and is so strong that some are willing to allow the country to collapse, to not hire people, and to undermine the President.

Politicians don’t have the fortitude to tell their constituents that the country no longer looks like it did when your forefather had power. Instead they fleece and exploit and lie to them to stay in office, to stay relevant. Countless commentators are willing to blow dog whistles and toss red meat as long as networks will give opportunities to commentate.

For liberals, conservative and anyone in-between the entertainment complex contains far too many bad acting participants to name, however, there is a market for hate, racism and prejudice. This market has led its followers, its donors and its noble activist to often be mistaken about the nature of the America’s problems. They become jaded, biased and socially irresponsible, quite simply it’s a sickness. This complex pits one vs. the other, lauds and celebrates party identification even though this identification inherently forces people reject factual narratives and new information. Some people feel as though they are nothing without the party, the party is a part of their identity. It is this party identity that urges people to vote against their and the country’s best interest.

The election is over and for Americans, all the ill will is no longer on the front page, the negativity is no longer blaring 24 hour a day. And on we trudge without so much as an apology, without a hint of remorse, and without a resolution to the sickness. For Americans it’s business as usual and on to the next crisis for the news media, on to the next pundit that seeks only to continue the debate and on to the next election of cruelty. Forward.

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For years Oprah Winfrey has with her money and reach done many things to help people whether that help came from the Oprah show’s subject matter, giving her audience members cars or opening up a school in Africa. It can even be said her 2007 endorsement of Barack Obama is what put him over the top in his bid to become president of the United States of America. First let me be clear that while there is zero chance of my book being included in Oprah’s Book club, I have no problem with Oprah at all. Oprah Winfrey is an amazing person who has overcome unbelievable odds to become one of the most powerful and influential people in the world.


The Early Years

In September of 1986 The Oprah Winfrey Show was nationally syndicated. “Winfrey saw television’s power to blend public and private; while it links strangers and conveys information over public airwaves, TV is most often viewed in the privacy of our homes. Like a family member, it sits down to meals with us and talks to us in the lonely afternoons. Grasping this paradox, …She makes people care because she cares. That is Winfrey’s genius, and will be her legacy, as the changes she has wrought in the talk show continue to permeate our culture and shape our lives.” OPRAH WINFREY: The TV Host by Deborah Tannen,Time Magazine.

In the mid-1990s, Winfrey adopted a less tabloid-oriented format, doing shows about heart disease, spirituality, meditation and home decorating. She often interviews celebrities on issues that directly involve them in some way, such as cancer, charity work or substance abuse. In addition, she interviews ordinary people who have done extraordinary things or been involved in important current issues.

Oprah is the most-watched US daytime talk show, aims to empower women. This article examines the show’s representations of gender and how images of `race’, sexuality and class cross-cut them. It considers the show’s status as television psychology. It explores the show’s translation of aspects of black feminism to television, and discusses the social implications of its `super-real’ representations.” Empowering Women? The Oprah Winfrey Show. Feminism & Psychology February 1994, Corrine Squire

Oprah’s early years of triumph and success were built on shows of Abuse. Abuse that was always male and often a black one. If she had a story on cheating, she would follow the same model, males in general and black in particular. Do black men do these things? Sure they do, but on the Oprah show, it seemed as if all black men do these things.

If Oprah had a show for the great husbands, or fathers of America. The show would  be littered with white men, hardly if ever a black male, or even another minority male. Black male bad, White male good, Female superior are the themes that are constant to Oprah’s audience.

Fans of her show will never see her “bash” males, she brings others on the show for that. What you see when you watch her show is great gift ideas, good recipes, self-help advice, the rehabilitation of a celebrities career and who doesn’t get to know something about our favorite celebrities. She does invite males on her show, and they are usually viewed as “non-threatening”, or safe. And somehow her shows always seem to portray average black men as monsters and average white men as heroes. Yes it is Oprah’s show and she can do what she pleases with it. It is unfortunate that she seems to paint males as the very incarnation of violence, and young black males as monsters. For Oprah only women can be angels, and for the most part they are white as well.


We all understand helping women, but even more so we understand helping anyone in need, regardless of whether they too much hair on their face, or too much bass in their voice, this is just as egregious as helping someone due only to skin color. While there is no issues with Oprah the talk show host, there is an issue with Oprah the teacher, doctor or relationship expert by what she says and what she allows to be said on her show. She is to be commended because she is not and exploiter like Maury, Springer or Tyra. No one is perfect and this is something that Oprah, based on her history, should know first hand. In many respects Oprah deserves a lot of credit for tackling many important issues, except her own.



Part 2 Part 3

This is the second part of my exploration into the Retail Pharmacy. I have spoken with doctors, pharmacist, technicians, managers and other professionals and what I discovered about the retail Pharmacy business is pretty shocking.  This report is not about the miss-fills and errors, because much of that is under control and minimal besides Night line has already done those type of reports. Those ABC reports will be nothing like this series of articles. Besides while ABC is doing its special report on “Shopping Carts” this information has to be told, how else are we going to talk about it.  This gathered information is from workers at the big chain pharmacies  Rite Aide, Walgreens and CVS/Pharmacy.

The retail pharmacies have various slogans make it seem like that are here to help the public, but really the only exist to help you maintain your condition. Recently they have told their employees that they will get a 6% raise, but only gave them 4% raise, this is despicable, it is a recession so who is going to complain. Sure the 700% mark-ups and $8 per pill dispensing fees are unreasonable. Merger after merger has made these companies so powerful that no one cares when the corporation cuts an employees clock-in grace period time from 7 to 3 minutes in order to save money, but who is actually paying attention.

Ethics

Most pharmacist are considered experts in their field. However, the opinion of pharmacist are disregarded by the pharmacy companies that employ them. When it comes to medications, the patient and the business suits always seem to know more than the pharmacist. Pharmacist are routinely told to fill prescriptions that they know are fake to bolster sales, that also includes the patients that are frequently over medicating.

Pharmacist are routinely told to switch customers from brand name drugs to generic drugs. They are told this for several reasons; One the pharmacy gets a bigger profit off of the generic drug and two it often provides the customer with little to no savings on their insurance. This practice is a win-win for both the pharmacy and insurance company.

For example: Your doctor writes you a prescription for Vytorin. Vytorin is a brand only drug that does not have a generic. The insurance company won’t cover, charges a much higher co-pay or just does not want to pay the higher amount for the Vytorin, so they instructs the pharmacist to call your doctor to change your Vytorin prescription to Zocor (Zocor’s generic is Simvastatin which they will pay for) . They will do this and tell you that it will save you money, but in actuality the pharmacist and insurance companies know that Simvastatin does not do the same thing as Vytorin.  The doctor only prescribed you Vytorin because some hot female drug rep came into his office and told them to do it. I am not a doctor, but this all could have been avoided because Zocor by itself should be tried first, this is common knowledge.

Conscience Clauses

If a pharmacist has an ethical, moral or religious objection to dispensing Emergency Contraception, or Abortion Pills, they will be coerced into doing so, or moved to the worst and often violent pharmacy locations. Not only are Moral and Ethical obligations taught in Pharmacy school The American Pharmacists Association policy “recognizes the individual pharmacist’s right to exercise conscientious refusal and supports the establishment of systems to ensure patient access to legally prescribed therapy without compromising the pharmacist’s right of conscientious refusal. States have and may pass laws that restrict religious expression, but that is another matter for the Supreme Court to argue in regard to “Conscience Clauses.” By the way those companies charge $50 for the Emergency contraception pill(s), but the same dosage in a different form is and has been available for years at less than $12. By marketing these companies are using your reproductive process against you. Don’t believe me look it up…

Books that are changing everything

Harassment

Pharmacist have been directed to sign up customers for various programs, sometimes this is done without the patient’s knowledge. The calls and messages can be unending. For example you may be placed in an automatic refill program, which automatically refills your prescription each month. This auto refill happens each month whether you need the medication or not, almost forcing the patient to pick up the medication. The understaffed pharmacy personell is instructed to call each patient at least 3-4 times per week to ask if they want or need their medications. On paper this seems like a good program, but most customers and pharmacist feel that it is harassment. Many customers feel that these companies are only reminding them that they have an illness, or a condition for profit. These programs are not designed to help patients, they are designed to keep them dependent on pharmaceuticals.

Merry-go-round

Pharmacies switch customers drugs as often as every two months. This is especially true if the patient is on Thyroid, Birth Control, High Blood Pressure and Diabetes medications. What happens is that the corporation will order whatever is the cheapest generic medication that quarter. That cheaper product is not always the medication that you are accustomed to, so you make end up medication that is a different size, different color, different shape or different tasting than the one you are used to.

Insurance Coverage

Retail pharmacies have been cutting their employee children insurance. They have done this by introducing a few new provisions, one of which states that “you can not arbitrarily cover your child if they do not live with you.” This provision only affect a small percentage of employees and most of them are men. The amount of verifications and hoop jumping employees have to go through to get their children covered is absurd.

Coupons

Yes we all have done it. Transfer your prescription out of one pharmacy and into another one just to get one of those $25 gift cards.  It’s a recession and people need the extra money.  However, these quarterly promotions do more than fill your pockets with gift cards.  Pharmacies run sophisticated computer software that automatically checks drug interactions chain wide. The problem arises when you transfer prescriptions from other chains, or back and forth from chain to chain. Moving your medication from one pharmacy chain to another actually increase your chances of having a drug interaction, because there is no way for the computer to check another chain’s computer database. This is another one of many concerns that have fallen on deaf ears.

Transfers

Lets say that you want to transfer a prescription from one pharmacy chain to another, sounds simple enough, right? Pharmacist have been instructed to either call the other pharmacy back, or to put them on hold, while they call the customer to convince them to not move their prescription. Sometimes this is done by using disparaging remarks about another retail chain, or just making it difficult for them to do so. Who wants to wait on their medication while these companies play a corporate numbers games with each another?

The public should have never let Corporate Pharmacies and big Pharm define the terms of the debate and legislative agenda. Most pharmaceutical workers are intelligent,  nice and completely under appreciated not only by the corporations which employ them, but also by the customers they serve.

MG’s Health Advice: The Pap Smear is not as accurate to detect cervical cancer and HPV. Right now there are 10 million people on daily prescription drugs, with no medical need. Every 16 minutes someone dies from prescription drug use.

“New drug doesn’t mean better drug. ”

Sexism Racism

Walgreens has announced that they will no longer honor CVS/Pharmacy drug plan.