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“Miley Cyrus represents everything that is wrong with America.”
This is a sentence you have probably heard or even spoken yourself. But the people who believe this believe it for the wrong reasons.
Frequent marijuana use is not what is wrong with America. Nude concerts are not what is wrong with America. Obscene gestures are not what is wrong with America.
What is wrong with America is the defensive attitude that comes out when someone asks it to shut up for five minutes and let marginalized individuals speak for themselves.
In the past, Miley has called herself “empowering to women,” and I think deep down she does want to empower and to see a more accepting world, just as deep down America wants to live up to its reputation as the land of the free.
But the problem with Miley’s mission, and America’s, lies within her belief that she can fix the world’s intolerance on her terms, without actually listening to those she is attempting to empower.
Miley has spent the last three years not giving a single fuck. It started in 2012 when she chopped off her long brunette locks and began rocking a platinum pixie cut, and has since escalated into everything from excessive tongue use to posing nude for Candy magazine.
She has received equal parts hate and love for her lack of concern with public opinion on her looks, attitude and behavior.
Not giving a fuck can be empowering. In a time where government spying and posting every thought online for 1,000 of your friends to analyze is considered the norm, “worrying about yourself” is a foreign concept. So when you choose not to let unfair judgment of your character affect how you live your life, that is, without a doubt, empowering.
But there is such a thing as fair judgment, something Miley has often faced, particularly for her appropriation of POC culture and her use of the LGBTQ+ community as a prop for her brand.
Last summer, when Nicki Minaj called out the MTV Video Music Awards on Twitter for their lack of recognition for her record-breaking Anaconda video, as compared with their celebration of Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood video, Swift fired back at Minaj for “pit[ting] women against each other.”
When Minaj – and the rest of Twitter — explained to Swift that this wasn’t about bringing her down, it was about dismantling a system stacked against people of color, the pop star issued an apology and admitted that she misunderstood. It was not a perfect example of accountability for problematic behavior, but it was progress.
Miley, on the other hand, when asked about the “beef” between the two, accused Nicki Minaj of making “[the issue] about [her]self,” and suggested that next time the artist approach race issues “with love” to get her point across.
This is America’s problem. Too many people claim to empower, when what they are really doing is overpowering.
Rather than listen to a woman who also faces criticism for everything from obscenity to sexuality, Miley, a self-proclaimed feminist, decided to speak over Minaj and tell her how to best handle the issues she is facing. How can one claim to be empowering while refusing to uplift the voices of those they want to empower?
Empowering a group of people means embracing and caring about both the positive and negative parts of their culture. It means for every time you twerk with your friends in the club, you should be listening to a woman of color talk about the way she is fetishized. For every funny Grindr story you listen to from your gay friend, you should be educating yourself on bi-erasure.
And for every joint you smoke, you should be reading the statistics on imprisonment rates for minor drug offenses and how this practice serves as a systemic genocide of young men of color.
This is America’s problem. Too many people claim to empower, when what they are really doing is overpowering. So next time you see Miley on your TV or computer screen and you ask yourself “What the hell is she doing?” know that she is doing exactly what America is doing: bringing marginalized communities onto her platform, only to cut their mics.
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This article was originally published on www.risemiaminews.com on April 10, 2015.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s public political beliefs and personal financial gain seem to have been at odds during his time as a member of the board of directors of Tenet Healthcare.
The potential republican candidate for president stepped down from the company in late December, a move that came as no surprise to political watchers. But with the announcement, new attention is focusing on what Bush actually did at the nation’s third largest for profit hospital chain and whether he supported the corporation’s embrace of the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare.
Just to put into perspective how big of a boon ObamaCare has been for Tenet, it’s CEO Trevor Fetter reported in a November 2014 press release that the company’s net earnings grew over 59% from the same time in 2013. Fetter said that 40% of that growth had come as a direct result of ObamaCare reforms.
Specifically, the additional revenue came from the Medicaid expansion in five states which Tenet operates in and a decrease in uninsured and “charity” hospital admissions.
“We drove an accelerating contribution in the third quarter from healthcare reform, with sequentially higher declines in uncompensated care and increases in Medicaid volume,” Fetter said in the release. “We achieved another quarter of strong performance across every dimension of our business.”
“It would make sense to pay Jeb Bush, because he’s a well connected guy.”
Bush joined Tenet soon after leaving public office in early 2007 and served until the last day of 2014. Bush came on the board shortly after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accused the company of wide spread Medicare fraud between 1999 and 2002.
The government said that Tenet’s strong earnings in those years came about because of the company’s “exploitation of a loophole in the Medicare reimbursement system.”
Tenet refused to admit or deny the allegations made in the SEC complaint and agreed to pay a $10 million civil penalty. However, it did also pay $725 million to settle a Justice Department inquiry on the same matter.
Bush was brought on in part to help clean up Tenet’s corrupt image and instill greater public confidence. That strategy seemed to have worked.
And Bush was not the only politician on the ten-member board. Former Democratic senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska spent over a decade on the board starting in 2001, then temporarily stepped down in order for run for senate in 2012 and quickly rejoined it after losing. Kerrey did not respond to a request for comment.
According to multiple experts on corporate finance and governance, it is not unusual for politicians to be brought into the fold of companies.
“It is to most boards advantage to have people from both sides [of the political spectrum]”, Carlos Parra, a professor and Corporate Sustainability expert at Florida International University (FIU) said. “It would make sense to pay Jeb Bush, because he’s a well connected guy.”
That “well connected guy” happens to be a conservative leader and a son and brother to American presidents. Bush is also according to multiple polls, an early frontrunner in the 2016 republican presidential primary.
He also really doesn’t like ObamaCare, at least not in public.
In an interview on ABC’s “This Week” in October 2013, Bush emphatically said that, “Obamacare, flawed to its core, doesn’t work.”
But while he was publicly opposing President Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement, he and his company were profiting from its successes.
According to an SEC filling, Bush was paid $128,000 in cash and received $170,000 in stock options, for just under $300,000 in total compensation from Tenet in 2013.
2013 was a banner year for Tenet as it turned out. The company finalized a blockbuster deal to buy up Vanguard Health Systems, which increased the number of hospitals under Tenet’s management from 49 to 77.
Fetter told CNBC that the merger was sought after because of Vanguard’s footprint in states that had embraced the Medicaid expansion, or soon would. In other words, Fetter sounded confident that the law would be staying in place.
“Any board member has a higher calling to the shareholders than his political beliefs”
“The more you’re exposed to states with large numbers of uninsured people today, the better it is for a hospital in the future,” Fetter said in the cable interview.
Some find Bush’s perceived cognitive dissonance on the issue to be potentially problematic.
“If it were to come out that he were opposing ObamaCare but while on the board he was privately supporting it, then that would be a huge conflict,” Everett Wilkinson, a South Florida Tea Party leader said in a phone interview. “If I was on the board of Tenet Healthcare, I would not be happy that the president of the company came out and supported the legislation.”
A Bush spokesperson told the Washington Examiner that the former governor strongly opposed ObamaCare in Tenet board meetings.
Tenet declined to release copies of the minutes to the meetings from board gatherings during Bush’s tenure, saying through a spokesman that they were not publicly available.
It’s worth noting that many business insiders see nothing wrong with the situation.
Bruce Foerster is the president of South Beach Capital Markets Advisory Corporation, a company that offers advice to firms and corporate boards. He said that he found Bush to be an upstanding businessman who played by the rules and liked the ideological balance on the Tenet board.
“Any board member has a higher calling to the shareholders than his political beliefs,” Foerster said. “The CEO of Tenet [Fetter] has the courage to have differing opinions in the board room, which is a rare trait for a CEO.”
But Qiang Kang, a professor of finance at FIU took a different view, saying that if Bush was making a profit directly from ObamaCare than he should disclose it. “I would not call it a conflict of interest but I do think it is an interesting issue,” Kang said.
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-The entire student body at Miami Northwestern High School in Liberty City walked out of class Tuesday morning to protest gun violence in their community.
-Students said that they walked out in order to bring the world’s attention to the deaths of young people in Miami’s inner city.
-Kimson Green, a student at the school, was shot dead over the weekend during an outbreak of violence.
-The students say that they want the world to give as much attention to violence in inner cities as it has to what happened in Parkland.
-The walkout was spontaneous, and occurred after the school organized a ceremony to honor Green.
-Student leaders say that they plan on walking out again tomorrow.
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