Like your health plan? Go fuck yourself!

Inspector GadgetIf you’re like me and don’t rely on the employer mandated monopoly route of obtaining health insurance, perhaps you’ve had a similar experience.

This morning I received an email from my current insurance provider, BCBS of Tennessee, to inform me that my policy will be discontinued as of July 31, 2015. Since I set up recurring payments through my online bill pay, I must admit to being a bit puzzled by the email. When I called to inquire further into the matter, a representative informed me that my policy isn’t approved by ObamaCare.

Whatever happened to all of that rhetorical bullshit about getting to keep your plan if you’re happy with it?!?

Now just to be clear, I’m not “happy” with my plan. However, I wasn’t looking to change it either. For lack of a better way of putting it, I was content to keep my plan because my options are limited within this cartelized corporate oligopoly called the insurance industry. So are yours. Thanks to ObamaCare, now it’s even worse.

If anybody thinks that this law does anything to improve access to and quality of health care, you have your head buried in the sand… or up the ass of some politician(s). I’m no fan of the health care law for obvious reasons. So in lieu of today’s events I wanted to share my ObamaCare rant from almost three years ago, because I’m just worn the fuck out over here:

My thoughts on health care, and the PPACA (aka ObamaCare) in particular, are that the bill does nothing to bust up the already existing health insurance monopolies – regional and otherwise – that predated the bill. Quite the opposite. In fact, it protects the health insurance companies by guaranteeing them 300+ million customers in perpetuity. In other words, their incentive to lower costs is almost nonexistent. If we got back to an actual market for health care (not insurance, insurance is the driving factor that keeps costs up) then we would actually know what things truly cost. Health care is the only good/service that we don’t even shop around for.

Imagine a market solution where we can completely blow the lid off of supply. So states like Mississippi that have only one or two insurance providers now have to deal with an influx of competition. Instead of waiting on infinitely long lines, imagine walking into Kidneys-R-Us to get your organ and transplant at a fraction of the cost. Plus, markets would eliminate the need for insurance coverage for routine checkups such as annual physical, dental cleaning, eye exam, dermatologist exam, etc. Insurance will only come into play for catastrophic coverage or preexisting conditions – which will all be much easier to afford when costs drop dramatically as a result of getting health care back to Doctor-patient relationships and a pay-as-you-go model. If you actually have to pay directly for your health care, the inflated coasts will come down instantly. The well-intended regulations and laws only serve to create bubbles in health care pricing. As far as tax exemptions and credits go, this just proves the crony nature of ObamaCare and the perverse incentives it offers.

Every reasonable person can agree that all should have access to quality, affordable health care (care, not insurance). But this individual mandate approach, originally a conservative plot conceived by the American Enterprise Institute to battle HillaryCare, currently being embraced by the progressives and high liberals is somewhat ironic. No public option. Massive corporatist giveaway to large incumbent insurance companies that effectively eliminated their competition and incentives to compete and lower costs. Sounds pretty perverse. Let’s at least get back to a free, voluntary exchange and actually let markets work for a change. If we don’t try to control and steer them, they won’t go haywire. But if it’s still a messed up system, reform will be much easier then what is currently going on with health care legislation… polishing a turd!

Farming In Fear Documentary Trailer

Sean Malone‘s latest documentary Farming in Fear features the Radar vs Wolf song “Get Gone” and has an instrumental version running throughout the trailer. The full film premiers July 11th at the Anthem Film Festival.

Tales From The Road: “Slut” Shaming and Catcalling

“I am still as stupid as anyone, but I know my mistakes.” – Propagandhi

play bass and sing vocal harmonies in a rock band, which involves extensive travel and puts me in contact with all sorts of people from every possible walk of life across the country. One observation from my travels that rings true, regardless of which locality I happen to be in, is that sexism and misogyny are very real.

Thanks to my punk rock upbringing, I’ve been acutely aware of the individualist feminist struggle against things like slut” shamingstreet harassment, and rape culture from a young age. Institutionalized and indoctrinated sexism and misogyny run so deep that it requires confrontation through direct, individual action. None of the following anecdotes are horrific or even overt, but I often feel that the subtle incidents require more attention because it’s easier to sweep them under the rug and/or shrug them off as random, isolated incidents.

“Slut” Shaming

“Slut” shaming is normalized to the degree that people are often completely unaware that they’re engaging in it. After one particular show we were hanging by our van when some young women made their way over to us. There had definitely been some alcohol consumption going on that night. After a few minutes of jovial, semi-slurred banter one of the girls referred to her “skanky shirt” in an underhanded manner, which I can only guess stemmed from a prior experience(s) being shamed for dressing a certain way.

That triggered my serious face. I looked her square in the eyes and said, “HEY. Don’t slut shame yourself, it’s enough of an uphill battle as it is!” To which her friend promptly perked up, pointed right at me, and said, “See?! This guy knows what the fuck he’s talking about!” All I could really do at that point was smile, put my fist in the air and triumphantly say, “Solidarity.” But there was a genuine appreciation and mood change from that moment on. Perhaps it helped alleviate the stigma of “girls approaching band boys after shows must be sluts… and sluts are bad!”

Catcalling

One night we were hanging outside of the venue prior to the show. It was a busy section of the city, so it made for some interesting people watching. At one point a car parallel parked up the street and three well dressed girls got out. For some reason the night’s first performer decided it would be a good idea to shout, “HEY BABY! You wanna come in here and watch me perform for ya?!” I was pretty well steamed, not to mention embarrassed. As much as I wanted to confront this guy I knew I needed a different route.

The girls were walking down the sidewalk towards us, and I decided to start walking towards them. As we approached each other I looked up and quickly and quietly said, “I’m really sorry about that jerk back there yelling at you like that. It’s totally uncalled for. I don’t know what you’re up to tonight, but if you’re planning on attending the show then I’m especially sorry and hope you can still enjoy yourselves.”

They smiled, thanked me, and kept walking. Not only were they there to attend the show, they stayed until the bitter end and bought our shirts, cd’s, and posters. They even stuck around for a bit to hang and chat. I’d like to think that’s mostly due to the fact that we don’t suck. I’d also like to think, at least, a small part had to be associated with how I apologized to them for the catcall.

Male on Male Harassment

I’ve fought against sexism and all that stems from it for years, especially slut shaming. But I wanted to wrap this all up with a more personal episode due to its absurdity. The only thing that’s relevant is that a fellow male performer slut shamed me for engaging in certain consensual behaviors with a young woman after our show one night.

The presumption that I was doing something unethical with a woman made me beyond irate. All I could really do without losing my cool was laugh at him, ultimately knowing that others would unintentionally throw it back in his face a few days later, which they did. And making him look and feel like an ignorant ass without having to move a muscle or utter another word was a magnificently cathartic moment.

This post originally appeared at The UnSlut Project.

MarseeMarci on Craig and Radar vs Wolf

During our fall tour we played Las Vegas, where I used to live for about four and a half years during 2006-2010. I hadn’t been back since, so it was great to return and see some friendly faces! It also ended up being one of our best shows of the fall. My friend Marci Aguilar has some kind words for me and Radar vs Wolf (although she did suspiciously leave out that I introduced her to Arrested Development. Ahem!), not to mention some rad photos! Check it out:

Hello November! This one is a quickie featuring my friend Craig in his band, Radar vs Wolf! (You can check out their latest music/news/updates here!) They toured all the way from Nashville, TN to play at The Beauty Bar here in downtown Las Vegas.. Craig taught me everything there is to know about baseball (GO ANGELS!) and will always be my favorite person to share cat photos with.. Baseball, cats and he plays the bass?? Sounds like a perfect combo to me! Now go check ’em out!

Flying Under The Radar: My Life As A Bassist

RvWHere’s a quick little interview I did with the Amarillo Globe back on November 5th while out on the road with Radar vs Wolf. Our show in Amarillo also happened to be one of my favorites on our fall schedule. Enjoy!

As a bass player, Craig Schlesinger is used to flying under the radar.

And that’s what he loves about his instrument.

“You have to be the rhythm with the drums but you also have to provide some kind of melodic movement to glue it all together,” Schlesinger said. “I think the real challenge is to find something simple and tasty that complements the song.”

“Some bass players can get lost in that need to stand out and be heard,” Schlesinger said. “There’s a time and a place for that, but it’s really about what does the song call for and what does the band need.”

It was his recognition of that need that made him part of the band in the first place in 2011, long after James Bratton and Tomas Gorrio first formed it as a duo.

Bratton and Gorrio booked studio time with producer Mike Marsh, who brought in Schlesinger to take part.

“Mike and I have been close friends for almost 20 years, and Tomas and James are really tight, and I think there was this real synergistic chemistry that was going on in the studio that felt like we were really onto something,” Schlesinger said.

He decided to tour with the band, while Marsh plans to join up again in time for the full band’s next album, due out next year.

Kyle Cox: The Plan, The Mess

the plan the mess cover artKyle Cox‘s much anticipated debut full-length album The Plan, The Mess is out now!

The album features producer/drummer Mike Marsh (The Avett Brothers, Dashboard Confessional, Paper, Seville, The Agency), myself on bass, Paul DeFiglia (The Avett Brothers) on upright bass on “Honey Let’s Run Away” and “Let My Love”, Cherrill Green (Eden’s Edge) on mandolin on “I Found Love“, Mike Docuhette (too many credits to list here) on pedal steel on “Never Looking Back” and “Old City Train”, Brian Seligman on banjo on “Honey Let’s Run Away”, and additional vocals by AJ Cheek, Corey Quintard, James Roquemore, and Rachel Smith throughout the entire album. Right, and some guy named Kyle on vocals, guitars, keys, organ, and harmonica.

Everything was recorded at Mike Marsh’s East Nashville recording studio The Paper Mill. Neal Cappellino did the mixing, and Eric Conn did the mastering.

You can purchase The Plan, The Mess on iTunes, on CD, and/or on vinyl. But before you do, watch the music video for the album’s first single “I Ain’t Been Lonely, Until I Met You” below. Plus you can stream three more tracks here before you inevitably decide to buy the album on all three formats. Or Something. Enjoy the #songs!

You Had One Job To Do

Fuck the UNAfter three months, we’re long overdue for a post in this space. Here goes…

Kevin Carson has a great piece up at C4SS on the United Nations:

The UN’s stated mission is to prevent aggression; yet it does absolutely nothing to restrain the one country whose aggression far outweighs all others in the postwar period —  perhaps in all of history. In the past seventy years the United States has invaded more countries, overthrown more governments and backed more dictators and terrorist death squads than any other country on Earth. There isn’t even a close second.

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