Health Care and Free Markets

I was reading an article earlier about health care in the USA as compared to single payer health care in Canada. The gist of the article was that single payer is ineffective in Canada as evidenced by long waitlists for procedures, high taxes and 65,000 people a year coming to the USA for surgeries. In the comments section, several Canadians said that there are rarely wait times for necessary surgeries (Who decides what is necessary? That's a different rant altogether). In their experience, everyone they knew that came to the USA for surgery came for elective surgeries because the surgeons in Canada were slammed with "necessary" surgeries, thus no time for profit generating elective procedures.

Here's my takeaway from that:
1. The Canadian system is flawed for a multitude of reasons, including; single payer essentially conscripts medical practitioners by forcing them to provide a service, it's expensive (via taxes), and providers are too overloaded with mandatory work to perform elective procedures.
This is socialism. Socialism doesn't work.

2. The USA system is flawed for a multitude of reasons. Currently, government meddling has made the structure so incredibly convoluted that it is unaffordable for many many people. Another major issue is the insurance lobby. Let's face it, insurance companies have been able to buy favorable legislation for a very long time. This is corporatism. Corporatism doesn't work.

Analysis
So, in a socialist single payer system, physicians are overburdened with mandatory surgeries and don't have time for elective procedures. In a hybrid system that contains some socialist elements along with rampant corporatism, premium costs and actual procedure/facility costs are completely out of control.

The one system that seems to work the most effectively is elective surgeries in the USA. Why? Because the government doesn't have their hands in it (for the most part) and insurance companies aren't involved at all. You also know all of your costs up front through a menu of set fees. That way you can shop for the pricing and quality that you want. It's the closest to an actual market economy out of the whole bunch.

End corporatism.
End socialism.

A free market serves its customers every time.

Clearing the Air

There are probably 4 or 5 “flavors” of Democrats (or left leaning folks, in general). You have moderates, socialists, “democratic socialists” (not gonna lie, that term gives me a headache), old school Southern Democrats, Wall Street Democrats, and so on. I doubt a moderate Democrat would be too stoked about being called a Marxist or a socialist, right? 

Well, I’m a Republican. I’m not a corporatist Republican nor a religious right Republican nor a Tea Party Republican (whatever that means now) nor a Wall Street Republican. I’m a libertarian leaning Republican. I believe that every individual has the right to pursue their own happiness, whether they are straight, gay, green, blue or purple. I believe that the government needs to leave people alone from a social standpoint, spend as little of our money as possible (and as defined by the Constitution), and stay out of the business of using religion to drive public policy. Believe it or not, most of the younger Republicans I run into feel the same way. Before you say that makes me a Libertarian (with a capital L), it doesn’t. The reality of this country is that we currently have the best chance of advancing an ideology within one of the two major parties. I think my energy is best spent advancing liberty in a similar manner as Rand Paul and the rest of the liberty caucus Republicans. I don’t even align 100% with those guys. I probably don’t align 100% with ANYONE and that’s okay. Note: I was a dues paying Libertarian for almost a year until I realized that’s an entirely different can of worms and it’s not for me. Power to the folks who fight that fight, though. 

The GOP is a hot mess right now. To be fair, the Democrat Party is almost an equal sized dumpster fire, too. That doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed. The old guard needs to go and that’s going to take a long time. We need to survive the Trump Administration and start putting more libertarian minded Republicans in office. This will be a long and slow process, but our government is designed to move slowly in order to avoid the whims of the masses. 

I see all this shit talking and friendships being torn apart because of political affiliation and it’s, quite frankly, stupid. Hell, if I avoided everyone with different views than my own, I’d have an extremely short list of Christmas cards to send out. And if I shunned all the bands that didn’t align with my political beliefs, I’d probably be stuck listening to Nashville country and Michale Graves. I prefer to think that I’m adult enough to hear something I disagree with, process it, and file it away without having a toddler sized tantrum.  

So, with all of that , I’m not going to hide my opinions and I’m not going to be vague about my affiliations any longer, simply because of the mess that the GOP is in right now. I wouldn’t expect you to hide because the Democrat Party is woefully out of touch, arrogant and fractured, either. 
So next time you get all high and mighty about people you “hate” – remember that it’s probably a guy you’ve played in a band with, or watched perform on stage, or turned wrenches with on a hot rod, or stood beside at a punk rock show (and, years ago, crashed into in a pit) or just had a beer with and talked about nothing and laughed a little bit.

So, you can hate and purge your social media accounts all day and that’s perfectly fine with me. I’m gonna have a beer, hang out with my wife, work on my hot rod, and lose what’s left of my hearing at a punk rock show. You might even see me letting my freak flag fly. If you do, feel free to wave yours, too, even if it looks different than mine. 

The REAL Wildcard in the 2016 Election

by: Dave Cox

With all of the craziness coming to a hopeful conclusion this week, I’ve been struggling with understanding exactly how we got here and, more importantly, how to wrap this up and summarize it into something that makes some modicum of sense.

  • Email scandals
  • Bombastic statements
  • Wikileaks
  • Blurred lines between government and charity
  • Pay-for-play
  • Greed
  • Entitlement
  • Unchecked political power
  • Unconstitutional proposals
  • Sex scandals
  • International interference
  • Leaks
  • FBI investigations

This list could go on and on – potentially without end – but that’s old news by now. The left latches onto their torches and the right (specifically, the populist right) latches onto theirs and the grand political wheel of finger pointing, demonizing and burying the opponent spins out of control. A lot of people believe that Donald Trump is the obvious wildcard in this election because he is a loud, brash, unapologetic outsider. Are you ready to have your mind blown? That’s actually not the case at all. In reality, Hillary Clinton is the wildcard. Think about it: Bernie Sanders tapped into a populist, frustrated and angry left. Thousands upon thousands of people attended his rallies. Hell, people practically worshiped the guy. He tapped into the anger and frustration of people on the left who felt let down by the system as well as by their leaders and he brought in countless people who weren’t terribly interested in traditional politics at all. At times it looked like people were attending the greatest rock show ever produced at his rallies.

Sound familiar?

With very different policy points, it all sounds an awful lot like the rise of Donald Trump. Trump struck a chord with an entirely different population of folks than Sanders, but they share the same kind of frustration as the Sanders supporters. They feel that the system has failed them and that they finally have a chance to flip a big ol’ middle finger at Washington. He fills arenas with supporters, some of whom border on manic. They hang on to every word he utters and they take every opportunity to tell the political system that they’ve had enough of their shit. He has brought in countless people who didn’t identify as Republicans or Democrats or even independents. They were just pissed off and they needed someone to carry the mantle for them. Trump was winning to be that guy.

Good or bad, THAT would have actually made sense in some strange way: The angry, frustrated and alienated left versus the angry, frustrated and alienated right in a head to head battle of pure populism. It would have been the ultimate convergence of a political shit storm and it would have produced the love child of a severely ailing political system as our next President, regardless of the winner.

But that didn’t happen.

The angry populists forgot one thing: THIS system is about strategy, planning, weirdly drawn districts, a solid ground game, political favors, lobbying, corporations, and nod-and-wink moments between the political elite. In other words, the wildcard this time is Hillary Clinton and her 40+ years of perfecting the minute details of the election process as it stands today. While Sanders filled coliseums, Clinton targeted key donors, pivotal districts and big-time influential supporters. While Sanders created such a frenzy that people were getting his likeness tattooed on their bodies, Clinton was making sure she left no stone unturned across the primary map, particularly in the early primaries where momentum can make or break a campaign. She had the giant machine that meshed perfectly with the gears that have been in place for decades – or perhaps even longer. She had the sheer political muscle to squash a populist uprising within her own party with relative ease. The GOP had 16 other guys who thought the same thing, but they couldn’t figure out how to rally behind just one of them, thus they quickly, and unceremoniously, failed.

In another odd twist that could only accompany the 2016 election, the Libertarian Party decided to play it safe and nominate their 2012 candidate, Gary Johnson, who garnered just under 1% of the popular vote the last time around and an 11th hour Libertarian and liberal Republican governor as a hopeless means to bring in folks from both sides. In other words the “Party of Principle” tried to lure us into their tent with a freaking vanilla milkshake. Not the good kind of milkshake that makes your heart happy, but the bland kind that you have to get because the other milkshake machine with the really good flavor is broken.

What all of this means is that we have a massive number of people in this country who are fed up, but they underestimated the power of the savvy political elite Clinton wildcard. In Bernie Sanders, he simply had to bear the brunt of being swept away early because of the primary calendar. Despite his experience and a lifetime of being a politician, he was squashed like an annoying little gnat. The messenger was old, but the socialist-populist message was still figuring out its way in American politics. It’s like a baby that’s still in need if diaper changes and is absolutely no match for the well oiled and well connected Clinton machine. With Donald Trump, we have a political puppy who eats the couch when you’re not home and poops under the dining room table. The nationalist-populist message is there, but it’s often ill formed and poorly communicated. On both sides, we have BIG numbers of people who are frustrated and angry and they’re just looking for different ways to ease that pain. The problem here is that anger and frustration alone don’t win elections. Our electoral process was intentionally designed to avoid the wide swinging whims of the day. If either of these messages fully form down the road, they may very well start to shape future elections. Granted, Trump still has a chance in this one, but realistically, that chance is slim because Clinton has known from day one how to wrap up the electoral map and she has the organization and connections to execute it.

So now, on the eve of the election, we have the one surviving populist “backlash candidate” in Donald Trump and one candidate who unexpectedly took on the role of the wildcard in a career politician – Hillary Clinton. I honestly can’t think of a more fitting way to summarize the circus that is the 2016 Presidential election.

Trumps Makes Metal Band Slipknot Pretty Good Again

By: Dave Cox

Late last week, Slipknot vocalist Corey Taylor told Spin Magazine that Donald Trump’s message is not in line with what Slipknot is all about. “Trump’s message is so anti-Slipknot it’s not even funny, because we have always tried to get people to stand together, and everything he does is so divisive.” Taylor went on to say that Trump’s message would tear people apart in an effort to control them.

In a shocking turn of events, Trump mentioned the band at a recent rally in Gainesville, Florida. Trump stated that Slipknot was “…terrible, just terrible. I mean, the drums and guitar are huuuuge – they’re great, they’re fantastic, but I can’t get behind the vocals. The vocals are horrible. Rosie O’Donnell could sing better than that guy! I will promise the American people right now that I am willing to take over as the lead singer for Slipknot and I WILL MAKE THEM PRETTY GOOD AGAIN!” Moments later, the curtains on the stage opened, and the members of Slipknot, sans Corey Taylor, launched into their 1999 hit ‘Wait and Bleed’. Trump sprinted to the unattended mic at the center of the stage and growled out the opening line, “I’ve felt the hate rise up in me, kneel down and clear the stone of leaves. I wander out where you can’t see, Inside my shell, I wait and bleed”

TrumpSlip

(meme borrowed from the interwebs)

It was actually happening. Donald J. Trump was the front man for Slipknot and it fucking ruled! The crowd was whipped into a frenzy as The Donald shrieked, “Well, I’m a victim – Manchurian candidate, I have sinned by just makin’ my mind up and takin’ your breath away.”

Shortly after the rally, Slipknot issued a press release stating that Trump was taking over lead vocal duties permanently and they are currently planning a world tour in early 2017, pending the results of the election and the final design of Trumps human flesh and saw blade mask.