Archive for March, 2017

By R.C. Seely

THE CBO ESTIMATES THAT TRUMP’S health care bill will leave 24 million without health insurance coverage-this is the regurgitated line by pundits of the American left. And actually it was 52 million all together, the 24 million is an estimate for 2026, by why quibble over it. According to the AARP, the plan “could have raised premiums on Americans between 50 and 64 years old by as much as $8,400 a year.” CNN reports, “opponents say it could reverse the gains in coverage … since the Affordable Care Act.” The most staunchest critics of Trump’s plan, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), were not the Obamacare supporters but the Freedom Caucus and Tea Party activists. “Conservatives complain that the bill does fully repeal Obamacare and that many provisions are far too similar to the health reform law,” according to CNN reports. But the “proponents of the bill say it would save the individual health market from collapse” this bill would not do that actually. It doesn’t open up healthcare free market options and can only be accurately described by the common nomer “Obamacare-lite.” Speculation has surfaced that Trump isn’t pleased with it either and it was pushed by speaker Ryan. For now the bill has been pulled and meaningful healthcare reform has been shelved.

    The AARP referred to the AHCA as an “age tax” and it is, just not to seniors as the organization claims. A tax is a government imposed penalty without necessarily receiving a benefit, that’s not the seniors who are being taxed but the youth. The AARP Public Policy Institute claims that “the AHCA would allow insurance companies to charge older Americans five times the amount they would charge others for the same coverage.” And? With age, we use more healthcare services, so seniors should be incurring the higher costs since they are using more. Plus, they have had longer to plan and save up for their future financial needs, why should the youth-who have comparatively far more limited income-be taking care of this bill? Most don’t need healthcare until in our forties or fifties and before that there was an inexpensive policy option in place, Catastrophic Coverage, but the Affordable Care Act killed it. Insurance companies aren’t greedy, they simply understand economics and make sensible decisions based on that. The AARP also alludes to collusion between the Trump adminstration and special interest groups, maybe but wasn’t there a special interest group supporting the ACA? Oh right, that was the AARP but that’s different.

    Now onto the other critics. In an email sent out from the Heritage Action for Action PAC:

“The American Health Care Act … was pulled from the house floor because it did not have the votes to pass. This means the house needs to revise the legislature so it reduces premiums, repeals ObamaCare and truly makes life better for the Americans under ObamaCare.

 

 

 

 

 

This is a victory for conservatives.

 

 

The AHCA would have kept Obamacare’s regulatory architecture in place, ensuring premiums remained high. The bill’s defeat was essential-but now the hard work begins.

Conservatives, lead by Rep. Mark Meadows and Rep. Jim Jordon … recognized that the AHCA didn’t repeal the fundamental structure of Obamacare. And rather than giving in to political pressure from leadership and the White House, they stood strong.

So what’s next? It is now clear that the House cannot pass a bill that does not repeal Obamacare’s core regulatory architecture. Congressional leaders and the administration need to go back to the negotiating table.

We now have an opportunity to get [the] Obamacare repeal right, but that only happened because of the conservatives stood their ground and the grassroots America rose up in opposition.”


    So, what’s the solution? Get the federal interlopers out of here! AARP gripes about special interest groups, they should lead the way. There are already free market alternatives, Direct Primary Care for example. Basically, you’re charged a membership and the costs are lower because it’s based on the routine medical care and insurance is used only for major health issues. It treats the individual as an individual rather than part of the masses. Besides lower costs it makes healthcare more modeled towards your specific biological needs. Oh, but you need your “risk pools” there are also Marketshare options in the shared economy. You could give Health Co-op or Liberty Healthshare a consideration. Another option is a Health Saving Account, which are what they sound like, a savings account for medical needs.

    Dr. Ron Paul has talked about his experience as a medical practitioner in the time before federal healthcare as a time of medical excellence and people weren’t worried about being denied services. How could that be? Because doctors had autonomy, they could offer less expensive treatments and at times help the patient pay. With the safety patrol of government medicine and abused litigation, many doctors are afraid to experiment. And they should be. Medical costs are up so high in part because alternatives are outlawed as “unsafe” and many are denied access. Dr. Rand Paul has also presented his alternative to the ACA-all four pages of it-and has made it available for public scrutiny. Unlike Paul Ryan who seems to have developed the same “we have to pass it to know what’s in it” mindset of Nancy Pelosi, the Pauls understand that healthcare is a collection of services and products not a right, therefore for the market to resolve.

    The failure to pass the AHCA has encouraged the supporters of the single-payer system, saying that we should conform to the rest of the world and adopt this model. No, it didn’t get the votes because it didn’t satisfy either side. Neither wants to compromise and Heritage and the Free Caucus are right. What would a grocery store be like if it were run this way? The government said it will pay for a portion of your groceries; but in order to qualify, you can’t buy certain products and you have to go where they tell you. You like Pepsi, well too bad we have a deal with Coke so you have to buy Coke. Oh, and the ones with real sugar, cherry or vanilla are void, and so is the cheaper alternative. You can get diet and organic, though. And you have to buy from the stores we approve, even if it’s not where you want to shop or their competition offers it for less. With free market medicine we get cheaper, better medical technology and services, at the locations of our choosing; with public we get less options, stifling of alternatives through big pharmaceutical alliances, the end of private practitioners and excessive lawsuits in the name of public safety. The plain truth is we ask for more from our local grocery store than medical institutions. The consumer has decided we want choices on the store shelves why not in the operating room? We ask for so much in flavors and gluten-free and less sodium alternatives of corn chips, but are afraid of Health Savings Accounts. Options and innovations make every other part of our lives better, why do so many believe the free market would falter in healthcare? I can’t answer that, in my view healthcare is where we need choices the most. 

    An article in NaturalNews.com discussed this in February 2016:

“Researchers from the Stanford University of Medicine and the National Bureau of Economic Research have uncovered the path towards more affordable healthcare. The path doesn’t consist of … consolidated government insurance plans … healthcare prosperity is less systematic, less consolidated, less controlling and less fear-based. It’s a more open system, with more options that put the patient back in control.

The researchers found out that the answer for more affordable healthcare is simple: Get rid of the government controls and consolidation of physician services and instead create more competition in the marketplace. This doesn’t mean more specialists, more testing and more diagnoses. This excess has occurred because of the loss of competition between individual physicians. 

What used to be several private practices, consisting of one or two independent physicians, has evolved into more complex organizations with more specialized doctors and systems. The competition that used to exist between individual physician practices has … diminished, consolidating care into larger organizations of healthcare providers who can raise the cost because there’s no one in the area to compete with the price. They continue to raise the prices through the years because they know the patients have fewer options and will eventually be herded through their doors anyway.

The larger practices allow doctors to work in groups and exchange information about a patient’s medical history more readily. A bigger staff operating as one can take on a larger volume of patients, but this way begins to treat patients as units on a conveyor belt, as the time per patient dwindles to maximize efficiency within the larger healthcare organization model.

When the costs of all types of doctor visits were averaged, the least competitive markets were found to be the most expensive, averaging 3.5 to 5.4 percent higher in cost. With privately insured individuals spending nearly $250 billion on physician services yearly in the US, this small percentage multiples into tens of billions of dollars.”


    According to a Forbes article, “the time to schedule an appointment has jumped 30% in 15 U.S. metrpolitan areas from 18.5 days in 2014 amid a national doctor shortage fueled by aging baby boomers, population growth and millions of Americans with health insurance.” So the way to fix this is more people insured? Sounds like treating cancer with… more cancer. The argument has become which public healthcare system is better than the other, neither one really. Obamacare, Trumpcare both were set up for social control and not for protecting consumer choice.

     The current healthcare system is sure to fail and the single-payer system isn’t a better option just because everyone else has it. This is a unique country so it shouldn’t be adopting the policies of others, we should do what we do best-innovate. Instead of trying to implement the stale European models let’s figure out something new and different that will satisfy the individual for once. Treat the person like a person and not a number the way they do at the DMV. Stalling the healthcare bill until it has been refined is the best decision the Trump adminstration could have made, the only question is whether or not they have learned from it or repeat it’s mistakes. Will Trump have a healthcare massacre or a close call? In this case blazing the untested trail will lead to promise instead of party cannibalism.

R.C. Seely is the founder of americanuslibertae.com, ALTV and an author. His latest book is Victims of White Male: How Victim Culture Victimizes Society, is available on Amazon.

By R.C. Seely 

SINCE 2012 I’VE BEEN WRITING AND WARNING others about the corrosion of American society by it’s superfluous and insipid popular culture but I also have to give credit where it’s due. Among the Kim Kardashians a revolution has surfaced, most infamous are the TV shows South Park and the Simpsons and movies such as The Matrix, but another source has shown up. For years a common source of morality and virtue has been the comic book, which has had an extreme boast comparatively recently, in the form of cinematic adaptations from the two leading companies, DC and Marvel. As with the original stories from the written works, the dictonomies from the organizations is just as obvious, which is why I have always been a greater fan of Marvel. DC has never been strong on character development or creating a complex storyline with questions challenging the characters preconceived notions of principle, with Marvel such complexity does exist. In other words: DC offers us “ethics made easy” tales, whereas Marvel gives us a menu of “tough choices” fables, making the story more entertaining but serving a greater purpose. Bon Apetit!

    Marvel has a history of more than simply being a guide on being a good citizen, it also acts as a source for information about topics that are generally not discussed-the  X-Men and Deadpool stories go into the topic of Eugenics. It creates a dialogue in this country about whether genetic manipulation should be allowed. What many don’t seem to realize is that there is far too much truth to what these stories present. Abortion on demand has more to do with getting rid of undesirable, imperfect children and a system of control of those in poverty stricken areas than protecting the “woman’s right to choose.” The discussion about sterlization and genocide has also been part of XMen conflicts. And we have already started going down the road of Genetically Modified humans, a main theme in the most recent addition to the XMen saga Logan as well as Deadpool. There are companies that you can go to where you can “design” your future children, by having their genetic code altered so they can be perfect. If your family history includes any really horrible medical disorders it might not be a bad idea.

   It’s not only in the XMen that human experimentation is brought up, it’s in the Hulk and Captain America too.Their stories cover issues of National Security and Nationalism as well. How far should we go to make sure we are safe? What’s crossing the line for security? There were many of times the Captain gave up his shield because he disagreed with the government’s actions. Was he in the right? Not according to Salon magazine, a magazine regularly critical of the libertarian party, it called Captain America out for his actions in Civil War-the third movie in the series. Amanda Marcotte had this to say about Captain America:

“Most corporate blockbuster movies would cave into temptation to make the character some kind of generic apolitical ‘patriot’ abandoning the comic tradition that has painted him as a New Deal Democrat standing up consistently for liberal values. Instead, in both the first movie and in ‘Captain America: Winter Solider,’ we get Steve the liberal: Anti-racist, anti-sexist, valuing transparency in government and his belief that we the people should hold power instead of some unaccountable tyrants who believe might makes right.”

   

    Sounds good so far but wait.


“Which is why I was sorely disappointed that the latest installment … ‘Captain America: Civil War,’ decided that, for no reason whatsoever, Steve is now a guy who believes it’s cool to belong to a secretive paramilitary that rejects oversight and accountability to the public.

[I]t would have been so much better if they’d just cut all the stuff about the Sokovian Accords, which was unnecessary, muddled and made Steve Rogers look like the bad guy for no reason whatsoever.”


    The major difference between Marcotte’s view and mine is that she thinks that the best way to assure transparency and accountablilty of acting law enforcement-federal and local-is by making sure it’s operations are in the hands of government entities. How the Winter Solider was deemed valuable for it’s social commentary when Civil War is considered propaganda by Marcotte is the really muddled reasoning, the real change of personality in Civil War was Iron Man and for the Captain it was simply a continuation of a principled life. Considering all this, it seems Marcotte doesn’t possess any genuine comprehension of libertarianism. Salon magazine has done a few pieces critical of both Marvel and the limited government movement, so this is not much of a surprise. Every chance to bash libertarianism they will jump at.

   Whether you love comic books or hate them, it’s undeniable the impact they have on our culture, and it’s not a bad one as once previously viewed. The year of 1948 was an especially difficult one, thanks to zealots like Detroit Police Commission Harry S. Toy who stated that the comics were, “loaded with communist teachings, sex, and racial discrimination” or Dr. Fredric Wertham whose study The Seduction of the Innocent, almost created a prohibition on comic books. It got so bad that comic book burings were reported across the nation. Shortly after the hysteria, The Association of Comic Magazine Publishers was formed to protect the industry from it’s critics, by instituting guidelines of decency. Modern pyschology has a completely different view of the media and recognize it’s potential boon for society. They don’t cause violence in youth, in fact it could decrease it by making it clear there are consequences to those decisions. In SpiderMan he lost a loved one-his Uncle Ben-because he refused to assist in stopping a robbery when he had the opportunity. He didn’t do the right thing and suffered a major loss. Out of all the Marvel superhero stories none goes into the moral conundrums of youths as Peter Parker, not only does he have the weight of being the webslinging superhero, but those of the teenager. That is the brilliance of Marvel, they made it clear that the problems you face as youth happen to us all and you’re not as alone as you think. This is also why SpiderMan is so popular.

    While SpiderMan is about restraint, the Punisher and DareDevil are about justice at all costs. That in itself brings about moral questions. Was it a selfish act of revenge or does it really make the world safer? What about the vigilante? In the end that is the very question of the superhero. Does the idea of the superhero make the American society better or not? Does it make us more moral? Does it make us more violent or more self-sufficent? Are we more apt to help an old lady across the street or another innocent person being assaulted? Are more willing to be the hero or the victim? Do our comic book heroes make us want to be the best we can be? Maybe we will find out in the next issue.

R.C. Seely is the founder of the Americanus Libertae movement, he runs the blog americanuslibertae.com, Americanus Libertae Television on YouTube and has written books about Pop Culture. He most recent is Victims of White Male: How Victim Culture Victimizes Society.

By R.C. Seely

I KNOW IT’S NOT CONSIDERED GOOD FORM to criticize another person of Celtic origins-I’m Scottish and Welsh-but I can’t stand Bill O’Reilly. Out of anyone on Fox News, he’s the worst, the most opinionated, pontificating bully trying to show he’s “in touch with the common man.” That persona has gotten him fame and accolades but less an earned respect and more of a taken one. Oh no, I hope I didn’t ruffle his feathers, at over six feet and a fiery Irish temper,  he could be imposing… I guess. O’Reilly has a reputation of intimidating guests of his show to get the truth, they aren’t the only ones to deal with his tirades. The members of his staff that have witnessed and tolerated his expletive laced temper tantrums probably were scared to death of him. One such incident was even recorded and posted on YouTube. Good job with consistency, shouting for the censorship of others yet being a practitioner of vulgarity. The way he treats others is only one valid reason for concern. Frankly, I find his understanding of freedom far scarier than the man

He’s “looking out for you” after all, in the same manner that one noteworthy man will “make America great again” or another gave us “hope and change.” All meaningless platitudes meant to silence their critics who dare demand choices. Who is O’Reilly really looking out for? Not the Constitutionally bound or the anarchists, not progressives or moderates. No he’s looking out for moralists just like him, those who only condone liberty by their narrow terms. If he had his way, the temperance movement wouldn’t have ended and the bootleggers, rumrunners and Baptists would still controlling their theocracy. Bible in one hand and sword in the other is fine for running your own personal life but in a nation that calls itself the “land of the free” we shouldn’t settle for temperance.

What about following the Constitution? Does O’Reilly really care about? Not if it contradicts his moral soapbox speeches, of course like most moralists nothing will change their minds, including evidence that doesn’t support his perspective. Present him with evidence that ending the War on Drugs would end the violence along the border or tariffs and other nationalistic policies make us less free and prosperous he wouldn’t budge. So what if the research into violence on television or the gore in video games causing violent behavior is proven tainted by bias or flat-out disproven as wrong, O’Reilly will continue his boring old line. Let’s make it harder for children to get R-rated material and drugs through federal intervention-even with a prescription. O’Reilly is so opposed to marijuana that he supports the onerous medical marijuana ban. Even if you are opposed to recreational use don’t keep treatment out of the hands of the patient, especially children. Not only is medical marijuana effective as a pain reliever but it lessens-if not eliminates-the more severe symptoms of childhood epilepsy and all without the dangerous side effects of pharmaceutical options. And since medical marijuana doesn’t trash the liver or kidneys, it’s a better option especially for children and seniors, when these organs are the most vulnerable.

Putting aside all that, any intervention by anyone violates the patients rights, if patients want to indulge in a treatment to alleviate their pain they shouldn’t need to stress about possible incarceration. Which also includes their right to end it. That’s right, O’Reilly is against voluntary end of life measures, just die there slowly in agony to preserve O’Reilly’s objections to assisted suicide. Yes, euthanasia of any kind is considered a taboo and distasteful subject but so is a patient living in pain against their wishes.

While he preens about how he protects the innocent from destructive choices in the US, he advocates for the endless War on Terror. The “Culture Warrior” may claim to be an independent, but seems in line with the Republican party in general and defends the nation building foreign policy of both parties.

Bill O’Reilly and his viewers don’t really want freedom anymore than the supporters of the duopoly do, because they have a fundamental misunderstanding of the concept. Freedom doesn’t mean having to turn to another party to make your personal decisions that are none of their business. If you want to get married, then do it, you shouldn’t have to ask for permission from your state. That’s essentially what a marriage license is. You shouldn’t be worried about being arrested and charged for what you put in your body or anything you do with it, as long as you do no harm to others. If there’s a valid justifcation-including a strong interest for the US-to go to war, then do so with restraint and in a smart and effective manner. Wars are not only costly in money but human lives and in our civil rights, and the call to act is used far too often. Between the O’Reilly temper and his temperance inclinations, he has demonstrated himself a danger to those who desire unrefrained liberty and those critical of him or those he supports. Maybe before we proceed further with the culture war, this Leonidas desires, we should evaluate the outcome or the consequences could be too high.

For more on Bill O’Reilly-and other topics of the Victim Culture, read the author’s book Victims of White Male: How Victim Culture Victimizes Society.