Archive for October 2016

This Election’s Propaganda   Leave a comment

sheep-choose-path-clinton-trump-to-slaughterTake a pause and think about this. Clowns on the right, criminals on the left ….

The curtain has been pulled back and the reality has been revealed. We have an illusion of free choice. We get to choose between a  loud mouthed reality star sometimes successful business man with some questionable personality traits OR a lying, corrupt warmonger whose private thoughts on the American people as sheep have become public. Hey, those are questionable personality traits too — most especially in a President. Do you want a dictator in the White House? No? Then don’t vote for either of them.

So, what can we do about it?

Stop playing the game the elite has laid out for us. Some of us are still voting, but we should realize that voting is placebic. The only way we can make a difference in the outcome of this election is if enough of us vote 3rd party, but even then — there’s no guarantee that anything will improve.

Some of my friends have stopped voting. Here in Alaska, there is a move to register all of us to vote when we apply for our Alaska Permanent Fund dividend. But ill-informed sheepified people voting isn’t going to fix anything either.

We can fix things, folks, but not through the political process because that has become totally useless. Read d’Toqueville and he’ll explain why. But we have other options. This is why I keep posting from educational sites like FEE and Mises. Educate yourselves on what is really going on and we the people gain the potential to … eventually … fix things. But you have to know what is REALLY wrong before you can fix anything. Part of our problem is that we waste so much energy fighting the wrong battles because we have NO idea what our principles are or should be. So, here’s some cool links to follow and learn from.

Foundation for Economic Education (FEE)

Mises Institute

Ron Paul Institute

There are many others, but this is a good start.

 

Bundys Acquitted in Oregon ‘Standoff’   Leave a comment

Yes, it’s amazing!!! I certainly didn’t expect this verdict. I figured they’d be treated as so many others have been — to a kangaroo court in another state before a hand-selected jury of government sycophants.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/10/28/off-the-charts-unbelievable-will-acquittal-of-oregon-refuge-occupiers-embolden-extremists-militias/

There is still a long way to go on such issues as is clearly evident in the comments section where people are freely discussing how best to oppress people of the west who are have the temeridity to stand up for their rights.

Check it out! Maybe weigh in.

Rise of Mercantilism   Leave a comment

Following the fall of Rome, Europe became divided into local and regional political and economic entities, each functional largely in isolation from each other.

Image result for image of feudal kingdomsMost lords under the European feudal system were the descendants of migratory marauders who decided to settle down and oppress a part of the country side full-time, from the comfort of their fort (called a dun in Celdrya).

In my fantasy series, the Celdryan lords are the descendants of the first settlers, who came through a veil from Europe. The only “king” to make the crossing was a tribal king in the Celtic tradition. He claimed all the land he could see, parceled out among his loyal men and then set about the process of surviving in a new world. Over the last 1000 years, the kingdom has grown as the younger sons of lords, accompanied by free farmers and tradesmen, have pushed into new territory, displacing the native Kin and Mountain Folk.  The royal family died out a century ago, but the feudal system has remained and people still dream of the True King. The whole series is focused on the search for the One’s True King.

In Europe, kings and princes determined to concentrate power in their own hands. They wanted to be absolute rulers. Some were able to do this in a limited geographical region, while others spread their shadow over vast territories. This concentration reduced the power and authority of the nobility at the local and regional levels, but it didn’t hold. In the 15th and 16th centuries, forces began to reverse this concentration of power.

Mercantilism developed in the emerging nation-states under the kings of France, Spain and Great Britain. They were meant to be a set of economics tools to assist in centralizing political power and control

Different countries followed different paths to mercantilism. The monarchies of Spain and France became nearly absolute within the limitations of the times. In Great Britain, the nobility had a long history of resistance against losing their traditional rights and privileges, so royal power was less concentrated and absolute, but mercantilism still have a vast influence on British society both in England and its colonies.

 

Posted October 28, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in History

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Try Being Friends   Leave a comment

About three decades ago, my husband and I met his now-best friend, a Native fella – half-Eskimo – who introduced us to Alaska’s gun culture.

Image result for image of talking to opponentsTo be fair, I had been on the fringes of that culture my whole life. Growing up in Alaska, guns had always been. They were like frying pans or cars … a useful tool that just were. I wasn’t afraid of them because I was taught how to shoot, first rifles and then handguns, when I was young. In those days, I still hiked into the Alaska wilderness without a gun … this was before I knew someone who was mauled by a bear after he shot bear spray into the bear’s nose and discovered that doesn’t disable bears … it mostly just pisses them off.

Ray, however, was raised in the gun culture. He owned several guns then. He owns more now. He’s never felt like shooting up a shopping center, although as a teacher in the public schools, he wishes he could carry concealed because he dislikes being helpless in the face of someone else’s murderous rampage.

But that’s really a side discussion. My reason for bringing up our friendship with Ray is that, prior to him introducing us to his collection (what some folks might call an arsenal), I always figured that anyone who owned more than a single 22 for bird hunting, a single 300 for large game and a single handgun for home protection was something of a gun nut who sort of creeped me out. I’d done some practice shooting, of course, but the idea of reloading my own bullets so I could afford to kill dozens of (paper) targets in a single afternoon had never occurred to me.

Image result for image of talking to opponents

In fact, when Brad first moved to Alaska he was absolutely freaked out while working in an Alaskan village to realize that EVERYBODY there owned guns … carried them with them … left them loaded while leaning in the corner. Later, when we started dating, he realized that gun ownership and treating it like a tool was normal in Alaska. And, then we met Ray and we both changed our definition of normal.

Brad grew up in a culture where no “nice or normal” people owned guns or enjoyed doing anything with them. He never knew anyone who was “nice and normal” who had any (or at least admitted to having any) guns.  Many decent people who have no interest in guns simply can’t imagine what it must be like to be someone who is passionate about something whose primary purpose is (from the perspective of the observer) to kill people. While we endless debate gun ownership and concealed carry using words, logic and fact — each taking our respective sides in the issue, the arguments constructed using these three tools of intelligence are not what brings people to their pro- or anti-gun position. For most people, that position is derived of from emotional or intuitive beliefs. Brad grew up in a city where guns were used to kill people. I grew up in a wilderness where guns were used to defend against carnivorous animals. We employed the tools of logic retroactively in defense of our personal position and so does everyone else. Most of our political views are arrived at by emotional or intuitive discovery.

And as reasoning is not the source, whence either disputant derives his tenets; it is in vain to expect that any logic, which speaks not to the affections, will ever engage him to embrace sounder principles. David Hume

 

What most anti-gun people are really feeling (rather than thinking) is that there has to be something strange about you if you like guns. They see the gun as an instrument fit only for killing people … or maybe animals (which they often feel emotional about as well). If you like this instrument of death, you are sufficiently different from an anti-gun person that you are viewed as dangerous, mentally ill or culturally inferior. You’ve become the “other”. You are now allowed to be denigrated, segregated and subjugated by having your individual rights taken from you “for your own good” and “the good of society”.

Image result for image of integration on gun issuesWe’ve been here before with other subcultures within our society. Think blacks between Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement. Yes, we are discussing cultural segregation here. Anti-gun culture believes it has the high moral ground because “those gun nuts” are different from them, so therefore must be avoided and controlled, but this belief is based on ignorance. Meet an anti-gun person and you will almost always learn that they don’t know anyone on any real level who is not an anti-gunner. Like all such cultural segregation, the barriers can be broken down by getting to know those on the other side of the gap.

 

This, by the way, works both ways. People who favor more gun regulation are not actually motivated by taking away our liberty. They don’t see it as a liberty issue like they do smoking pot, having sex with whomever they want or the question of what to do with their Sunday mornings. Conversely, people who favor robust 2nd amendment protections do not have a higher threshold for the acceptance of violence or aggression. In fact, they probably carry because they have a LOWER tolerance for aggression and they want to protect themselves and others (maybe you) from the violence of others.

If you made some friends on the other side of the issue, you would know that those who think differently than you are not evil. They may be sincerely deceived because they’ve never actually talked to anyone on your side of the issue. And you might learn something too. Brad, especially, became much more accepting of guns from having become Ray’s friend and Ray eventually came to accept trigger guards and gun safes as a good way to keep his kids from accidentally shooting a family member.
Image result for image of integration on gun issuesCultural identity differences are often erroneously attributed to political identity affiliations, but studies show it’s really the other way around. What is important to us in our culture drives the political choices we make. Not understanding this empowers political partisans who have a vested interest in maintaining power by keeping us divided. The last thing they want is for us to become committed to protecting all of our individual rights, including the ones we ourselves do not exercise.

Gun owners are just one kind of subculture. It’s a highly porous subculture made up of people of all walks of life who largely agree on this one issue. There are many others, which are topics for another blog post. The thing about judging a subculture from the outside is that we frequently can’t imagine how people can think the way they do. At the best, we feel condescending toward them. You may even feel justified in being disgusted by or terrified of members of the gun owning subculture.

Yeah, “disgust” is a very strong word that we usually don’t want to admit to feeling, but if the idea of my owning a gun hits you on a visceral level, then your reaction is probably not rational, though you may apply reason later to justify your emotional position. And, I’m going to right here acknowledge that I feel “disgust” when I think about people who want to disarm ordinary citizens and let criminals and government thugs have complete control of the culture. And that’s even knowing people like my sister-in-law who opposes guns.
Image result for image of cain killed abel with a rockAnnie is a good, decent person who was raised back East and knows nobody (save her brother and sister-in-law) who owns guns. She could not imagine why anyone would need one. When we took her hiking in the Alaska wilderness, she threw a fit when I donned my sidearm, certain that it was going to leap out of the holster and shoot one of our party. I “compromised” by going behind the truck and switching the configuration of a back holster under my shirt so we were a full day into the trip before she realized I was still armed and nobody had died. She realized it when a moose stormed out of the trees and I pulled the gun when the moose didn’t swerve to avoid us. I didn’t shoot the moose, but the shot I fired over its head convinced it not to continue in our direction. We don’t know for certain what it was running from, but we found fresh bear scat and tracks in the direction it had come from … which helped Annie to understand why we brought a gun.

Prior to that experience, Annie would have said that my arguments for allowing people to be armed were wrong. “Guns are dangerous. They harm people. Nobody needs a gun.” But stop and think about this. I’ve never shot anyone. I’ve never had an accidental discharge of one of my guns (because there’s no such thing as an accidental discharge if you’re handling your guns properly). I’ve never had a kid get possession of a gun of mine and be able to do anything harmful with it (my guns have trigger guards that I barely have finger strength enough to disengage, let alone a kid, so if putting them out of reach doesn’t work, they can’t be fired by a child anyway). Ray has never had any of these things happen either. And neither have the vast majority of the millions of gun-owners who exist out there.

LelaSo, knowing that, just consider this. Ray is your friend and you must tell him to his face that “You should not be allowed to own a gun to protect your family. I would rather the mentally ill guy who lives next door to you be able to stab your entire family to death than you be able to protect your loved ones with that gun.”  How would you feel delivering that message? Could you imagine yourself telling me and my family that we should stay out of the wood or accept that being mauled by a bear is one of the risks? Could you imagine yourself attending my son’s funeral and telling me that we should have simply stayed out of the woods if we didn’t want him to die that way?

No, really! Let yourself imagine what that conservation would be like. I’ve got tears on my cheeks and snot running out of my nose and we’re standing over the closed casket of my son because you were so opposed to my son owning a gun that you’d rather he be mauled by a bear than able to protect himself.

Image result for image of integration on gun issuesBecause, if you’re going to take the disarmament stance on guns, that is actually the argument you’re making and you should have the moral courage to say it to the faces of the people you’re advocating to disarm and leave helpless in a dangerous world. To me, that makes the world more dangerous than it was when I had a gun to protect myself and my family. If you’re advocating for the government to do the disarmament for you so you can avoid the discomfort of that conversation, then you’re a moral coward who doesn’t want to own up to the implications of your own positions. And if you knew anyone in the gun culture, you might be able to put a face to the people you are segregating, denigrating and subjugating. It then becomes a whole lot easier to both imagine that conversation and imagine attending the funeral of their kid or wife who maybe would not have been stabbed to death or eaten by a bear had they been armed. In other words, you would grow some compassion and empathy for the “other” PEOPLE you are judging.

 

 

I know Ray to be a sane, kind man who would never shoot up a shopping mall. I know that because I know Ray. Because I know him, I think the rest of us are better off when people like him have a few of the guns. I’d rather have the guns in my hands or Ray’s than only in the hands of criminals or our political masters. That’s because I see people in the gun culture as people, not as opponents. If we can challenge ourselves by focusing on nurturing our human connection with our political opponents by relating to them as people, we’d see increased success in getting our opponents to see the world our way.

Collapsing the subculture barriers in our society through actual human relationships dissolves our political differences rather than simply negotiates them. By interacting with those who hold different viewpoints from us, we discover that our differences of political principle are really rationalizations of our bigotry toward those whose experiences, activities and pleasures we simply cannot imagine sharing.

ColoradoCare Isn’t What it Seems   Leave a comment

Pierre-Guy Veer

Found on Fee

Image result for image of health care waiting listEvery few election cycles a proposition to have universal healthcare pops out. This year, Colorado voters will have to vote on Amendment 69, which would replace the present Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) provisions with a single public option; a kind of Medicare for all for the state.

At first, the proposition looks enticing. The present healthcare system is riddled with inefficiencies and high costs. Indeed, the U.S. spends 17.4 percent of its total GDP on healthcare; Canada is only at 10.2 percent despite universal healthcare. According tosupporters of the proposition, Coloradans would save $4.5 billion just during the first year thanks to lower bureaucratic costs, higher purchasing power thanks to bulk negotiations and less fraud. These claims are defended by the Canadian Union of Public Employees, even adding that fewer people die in a public healthcare system.

More Spending on Health, Less on Everything Else

However, by looking closely at the data one can doubt that Amendment 69 will save money in the long run. Healthcare expenditures are approaching 50 percent of the Quebec federal budget.Present trends inMedicaid – the universal healthcare program for low-income people – show that the program is taking a larger share of the states’ budgets. It therefore crowds out spending from other domains like transportation or even corrections.

Image result for image of health care waiting listSuch a crowding out is happening with universal healthcare. In the Canadian province of Quebec, nominal spending on the public healthcare system (through the Ministère de la Santé et des Service Sociaux) has increased 13.2 percent during the past 5 budgets, 46.6 percent during the past 10 years and 263 percent since the 1997-1998 budget.Excluding debt service, health care expenditures have gone from 37 percent of the budget 20 years ago to 49.6 percent of the budget. In other words, the Quebec government is becoming a huge ministry of health.

And since these healthcare expenditures are financed through general taxation – there is no dedicated tax unlike Medicare in the U.S. – the “free” care people received costs them about $12,000 a year for a family of three in Canada according to the Fraser Institute. The institute estimates that the real cost has increased nearly 48.5 percent for all households in 2015 in the past 10 years.

In Colorado, Amendment 69 proposes a $25-billion tax hike to pay for this program, which will be financed by a 10-percent payroll tax. Such a perspective discouraged Vermont to enact a similar measure just two years ago. Then-governor Peter Shumlin thought that “the potential economic disruption and risks would be too great to small businesses, working families, and the state’s economy.”

“Patients” Deserve their Names

The disruption of universal healthcare is just not economic; it’s also social.

In Quebec, despite spending all that money on health care – $33 billion for a province about as populous as New York City – waiting lists are growing. If one’s health is in immediate danger one will see a doctor as soon as one is available, but otherwise more populous regions will tend to have overcrowded emergency rooms – the only ones with physicians available on weekends. At the time of this writing, (October 21, 2016), Hôpital de l’Enfant-Jésus ER in Quebec City had an occupancy rate on the gurneys of 108 percent, with 4 patients waiting for at least 48 hours to get their own room. In Montreal, Hôpital général Juif is 200 percent full with 12 patients waiting for at least 48 hours.In order to cut on costs governments limit the number of patients doctors can see during a week.

Even for “medically necessary” procedures waiting lists test the patience of the people. The aforementioned Fraser Institute study found that, in 2014, the average waiting time for such procedures was 18.1 weeks compared to 9.3 weeks 20 years before. Those who can’t wait and can afford it will therefore travel abroad to seek the care they need. Or they will move and invite people to do the same, as Julie Lesage famously did to get the care her daughter might have never received – a doctor told her she would have a better shot in Houston, where she moved.

Why so much waiting despite a sharp increase in spending? It’s simple: in order to cut on costs, governments limit the number of patients doctors can see during a week. And they have to make a choice: either they work for the public system or they work in a private practice. They cannot do both; therefore many doctors (especially younger ones) are going into private practices. While this “migration” represents only about 2 percent of family doctors, 45,000 patients were still left without a “free” doctor.

This migration away from government-paid health care is also happening in the U.S. Since Medicaid only pays 60 percent of what private insurers will pay, more and morenew patients will likely have a hard time finding a doctor if Medicaid is their only means to pay. And with an aging doctor population (52 years old in 2014, compared to 50 in 2010) that will eventually retire, finding a doctor will become increasingly harder.

It would likely be even harder in Colorado. Since ColoradoCare would be financed through taxes there would have to be some limitations on healthcare spending so income tax brackets don’t look like Quebec’s – the highest marginal bracket is at 25.75 percent, and that’s not including the federal one at 29 percent. Therefore doctors’ reimbursement would be lower, likely creating dissatisfaction and a shortage.If competition works in markets for things like TVs and computers – both are cheaper andmore efficient – why can’t it work for healthcare? 

So if Coloradans want their fellow citizens to have access to better and cheaper healthcare, there is one simple solution: laissez-faire. By abolishing the monopoly of employment supported by the American Medical Association, by abolishing the thousands of pages of regulations on how and when to provide care, in short by letting market forces act as they should cost will very likely decrease.

If it works in (relatively) free markets like TVs and computers – both are cheaper and more efficient – why can’t it work for healthcare?Such a market is already expanding with concierge doctors – they deal directly with patients rather than through a third party like an insurance company. Costs are affordable for middle-class households – $4-5 per day – and, according to a peer-review study, their approach decreases hospitalizations.

Source: ColoradoCare Isn’t What it Seems

Market Fairs as Economic Experiements   Leave a comment

As a writer with a libertarian bent, I balked at writing pure peasants stuck under the thumb of their overlord, but it would be incorrect to suggest that there were no opportunities or avenues for experimentation in trade in Medieval Europe. The Medieval Fair provided the most successful avenue to experimentation in trade. A trade fair usually required the permission of the king or sponsorship by a local lord or a church dignitary. In Daermad Cycle, Lord Ryen oversees the Cenconyn Horse Faire, for example.

Image result for image of a medieval market fairThese fairs were frequently held at the crossroads of famous and much-travelled trading routes, often where towns were founded that later became famous cities. They coincided with religious festivals or other holidays that would attract large gatherings of people. They might last for a few days, or up to six weeks. The more successful and prominent fairs became national or international institutions throughout Europe, attracting merchants and tradesmen from across the continent. Besides business, the fairs also served as occasions for social diversion and merry-making, with sideshows, wild animals, dancing bears, magicians, musicians, and “freaks.”

The duke or bishop hosting the fair would try to promote its success by arranging for merchants, dealers, and tradesmen to be exempt from the usual taxes, tolls, and trading regulations and restrictions while these individuals were at the fair. Of course, they paid the noble or religious sponsor for this largess through a special fee.

The relatively free trade environment that surrounded the events resulted in them coming to be called “free fairs.” This system of trading fairs came to have two important functions:

First, it acted as a medium through which the different parts of Europe could have regular, though infrequent, contact with each other, and be made familiar with the types and qualities of goods and their methods of manufacture.

Second, it introduced rules of commerce, and concepts like contract and property rights in a setting which showed the gains from exchange provided enhanced opportunities for mutual benefit and profit when regulations, tolls, and taxes did not rigidly hamper the free flow of men and goods. People began to learn the lessons offered from a practice of more-free trade.

Even with emerging appreciation and recognition of property rights and legal contract relationships for commerce and exchange in the towns, the economic system was one of strict regulation of prices, production, and employment through the craft and professional guilds.

The manorial and guild systems meant that the economic focus, political loyalties, and social relationships tended to be limited to extremely narrow geographical confines. Little attention and few political or economic ties connected the various parts of Europe except for the periodic free fairs.

Again, adapting rather than slavishly recreating the system from Europe, my Celdryans have much more freedom of movement and commerce in a system that lacks a king and whose rigs cannot lay claim to a man’s labor if he moves outside of his realm, but a guild system does strangle trade in many places except for the market faires which nobody seems to be able to properly control.

Posted October 27, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in History

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Free Day for “Life As We Knew It”   Leave a comment

Front Cover LAWKI no windowLife as We Knew It is free for today only. The first in series has a phenomenal new companion also. Get the first book in series for free and pick up Objects in View to continue the story.

Posted October 27, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in book promotion

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Interview with Kyle Perkins   10 comments

Today’s interview is with Kyle Perkins. Welcome to the blog. I found you on Twitter, liked your posts and invited you to interview with me. Tell us something about yourself.

Kyle PerkinsI am Kyle Perkins, author of Reddened Wasteland, Teabreeze, and a few others. I am from Florida, I am a fan of sarcasm, dogs, and anything computer related.

 

At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I never wanted to be a writer growing up. I actually despised writing and saw it as a punishment. Later in life though, I was bored in between waiting for new games to come out that I wanted to play, so I joined a couple text-based role playing groups based around some of my favorite games. It was there that I learned to love writing, and where other people started loving my work.

 

I always loved text-based games. Of course, I’m old enough to remember when most games were text-based. I was pleased to see when they started coming back. Tell us about your writing process.

My process is a never-ending stream of coffee, electronic music, and staring into the abyss that is Microsoft Word.

 

What is your favorite genre … to read … to write?

Dystopian, but I write anything under the speculative fiction banner.

 

What are you passionate about?

This community! I love the indie community, the readers and authors. I take this all very seriously and it is in no way “just a hobby” to me.

 

What is something you cannot live without?

Reddened Wasteland by [Perkins, Kyle]Wifi.

 

Who could? When you are not writing, what do you do?

Usually, fix other people’s computers. There are very few moments when I’m not writing.

 

Have you written any books that made a transformative effect on you? If so, in what way?

 

Reddened Wasteland. It transformed me into an author. =)

 

Where do you get the inspiration for your novels?

I have ADHD really bad and constantly find myself daydreaming when I should be doing something else. It’s always been something that has hindered me, until now. Now these daydreams go right into a folder and become books.

 

Lemons into lemonade. I like it. What sort of research do you do for your novels?

Bait, Brutes, and Bullets: Tales from New Biloxi by [Perkins, Kyle, Vale, Lila]Most of my books contain some elements of scifi, so my research happened long before writing books. I am constantly reading about new scientific discoveries and theories. From space travel to number theory. Plus, the copious amount of video games, movies, tv shows, etc that I have been through, I have an unlimited well of source material.

 

If someone who hasn’t read any of your novels asked you to describe your writing, what would you say?

I’d say it’s meant to be read by people that are 18+, and that every book is a new adventure filled with laughs, even though they are meant to be serious.

 

Do you have a special place where you write?

I have a special writing cave, full of wifi and snacks.

 

Do you find yourself returning to any recurring themes within your writing and, if so, are you any closer to finding an answer?

Well, all of my books occur within the same multiverse. They all have Easter eggs in them if you pay close enough attention.

 

Are you a plot driven or character driven writer? Why?

Bait, Brutes, and Bullets: Tales from New Biloxi by [Perkins, Kyle, Vale, Lila]Both. I develop strong characters, but having an awesome plot to stick these guys in is essential.

 

Do you write from an outline or are you a discovery writer?  Why?

I usually have a general plot(daydream) that outlines the story, then I just start writing and wing it until the end.

 

What point of view do you prefer to write, and why?

I can write from either, and have books from 3rd and 1st.

 

Do you head-hop?

No.

 

 

I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have worry about freezing to death. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you? If you’re bringing books, what are they?

Does Alaska have mosquitos? Lol. I’d probably just bring my laptop so that I can write, free from distractions. If anything, you did me a favor.

 

Talk about your books individually.

 

Teabreeze: Part one. (Teabreeze Serial Book 1) by [Perkins, Kyle, Vale,Lila]Reddened Wasteland– It’s a book set on Mars in the near future. It’s about a dystopian government oppressing its people under a dome, and the resistance taking it to them.

 

Monte– Trying to keep this PG, but it’s about an incubus, I’ll say no more. Lol.

 

Ecta: The Divide– A steampunkish city floating above a fantasy medieval world. The two trying to find a common ground.

 

Bait, Brutes, and Bullets– It’s about Biloxi, set in a near future where the apocalypse has already come. The oceans have risen, and domes constructed around cities. Biloxi is now a haven to crime, and Harvey is a casino boss trying to find something from the swamp folk to give him an edge over the competition.

 

Teabreeze– The story is about a cult in the backwoods of Florida, and a man trying to save his girlfriend from their spell.

 

Was it your intention to write a story with a message or a moral?

Stories of triumph, love, and redemption.

 

What do you want readers to think or feel after reading one of your books?

I hope they just think “wow.”

 

 

You are a self-published independent author. What influenced your decision to self-publish?

Well, big publishers weren’t beating down my door. So, I just put out books and wait for them to notice. Someday I want to be a household name.

 

 

Well, there are now some indie authors who are household names, so it’s possible. There are people believe that traditional publishing is on the ropes, that self-publishing is the future. Do you agree? Why?

I don’t agree. I think they both offer their own unique experience, and neither is going anywhere.

 

 

What do you find to be the greatest advantage of self-publishng?

Meeting fans and connecting to them on a personal level.

 

Conversely, what do you think self-published authors might be missing out on?

Movie deals. lol

 

That might be a little harder, yeah. With the number of self-published books increasing by such a huge rate, it is really difficult for authors to make their books stand out. How do you go about this?

I try to stand out by not being more of the same. I make my stories unique, something you can’t find anywhere else. While I have found that a lot of books are just the same general stories with different covers, mine are all products of my own imagination and experiences to guarantee you can’t find stories like it.

 

Those are the best kind. Who designed your book cover/s?

Lila Vale.

 

Do you believe that self-published authors can produce books as high-quality as the traditional published? If so, how do you think we should go about that?

Of course. All writers have a gift, and a talent for storytelling. Our books can be just as good if we take our time making a unique experience and not just pumping out filth for the sake of sales.

 

 

Do you belong to a writer’s cooperative? Describe your experience with that.

 No.

 

You can find Kyle’s books on Amazon and I found Kyle on Twitter. He also has a website.

Stay Tuned for Writing Wednesday   Leave a comment

I’ve been busy the last few weeks and remiss on Writing Wednesday. But I have an interview today, so stay tuned.

Stories from Obamacare’s Path of Destruction | Melissa Quinn   Leave a comment

For the past 15 years, Warren Jones has had the same health insurance plan with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City.

Image result for image of aca failureBut over the years, Jones, of Kansas City, Missouri, has watched the coverage offered in his policy “erode” over time.

First, the company got rid of the dental and vision coverage he had.

Then, Jones’ deductible increased – to $2,500 – for his plan alone.

But perhaps the most significant change for Jones, a veterinarian, has been the rising cost of his monthly premiums.

Jones’s premium will increase by 45.8 percent between 2016 and 2017.In 2014, the year Obamacare took effect, Jones paid $318 in monthly premiums. In 2015, the price went up to $394 per month, then to $491 for 2016.

For 2017, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas estimates that Jones will pay $716 each month for his premiums – a 45.8 percent increase – according to a letter the insurer sent him.

“You can’t keep doing this because people’s wages don’t increase by that amount,” Jones told The Daily Signal. “Nobody’s wages are increasing, so it’s taking a bigger chunk of the budget.”

“That’s the scariest part,” he continued. “It takes a bigger chunk of the budget, and there’s no relief in sight.”

Image result for image of aca failureLike millions of other Americans nationwide, Jones, 55, doesn’t buy his insurance on Obamacare’s state and federal exchanges.

And even if he did, he wouldn’t qualify for the subsidies that lessened the cost of health insurance for 7.3 million Americans who received the tax credits last year, according to regulatory filings.

Instead, the veterinarian falls into an overlooked subset of consumers who pay full price for their health insurance in a time of skyrocketing premiums and deductibles.

They don’t qualify for the tax credits offered under the health care law, and they don’t receive their coverage from employers, since many are self-employed.

“I have seen so many people, self-employed people, many started their own little business and make whatever they do, they have a small business, and they buy their individual policy or buy for their family, and what are their options?” said Beverly Gossage, a broker who has worked in the Kansas City area for 14 years.

“Do they no longer be self-employed? Maneuver taxes to make less than the income threshold to get subsidies?” Gossage continued. “They don’t want to do that, but they’re being pushed to do that. I get this question every day – ‘What am I supposed to do?’”

Gossage ran as a Republican for Kansas insurance commissioner in 2014.

Hooked

Image result for image of aca failureOver the past few months, insurers have been submitting rates to state regulators for the 2017 benefit year.

In most states, companies are requesting double-digit rate hikes for those selecting plans sold in the individual market both on and off the Obamacare exchanges.

Experts say insurers are playing catch-up after setting rates too low in the early years of the health care law and enrolling a sicker – and costlier – population than anticipated.

“A lot of insurers didn’t understand that the market was going to be skewed in terms of income and health status as severely as it was,” Ed Haislmaier, a senior research fellow in health policy studies at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal. “Generally, the pool was much worse than anybody expected because of things the administration did that made it worse.”

Insurers are playing catch-up after setting rates too low in the early years of the health care law.In response to questions about the growing cost of health insurance for consumers who buy plans sold in the individual market, the Obama administration has said that many Americans are shielded from premium hikes since they buy coverage on the exchanges and receive a subsidy from the government.

Many of the exchange enrollees who qualify for a subsidy may end up paying as little as $75 per month in premiums, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said earlier this month.

But that’s not the case for people like Jones and the 10 million others paying full price for their coverage.

“The traditional individual market, which consisted largely of middle-class people who are self-employed, those people are hooked onto this,” Haislmaier said. “It’s kind of a situation where you have an anchor that’s too big, and it’s pulling the boat under.”

Jones is considering selecting a new health insurance plan altogether, but because Missouri hasn’t yet approved rates for 2017, he’s unsure if he’ll even be able to find a cheaper alternative.

“The big thing is the unknown still,” Jones said. “But we know we’re getting inundated with increases in premiums.”

The Missouri man said he is familiar with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, and switching to another carrier may leave him with even less coverage.

“You get a comfort level, and at least you know what you’re getting,” Jones said. “If I had to change insurance, you miss the changes that occur. You don’t know what you’re signing up for.”

‘50-50’

While Missouri residents like Jones are confronting a spike in rates, consumers across the state’s western border also are facing fewer insurers to choose from.

Among the insurers that will continue to sell coverage in Kansas, the number of plans they’re offering both on and off the Obamacare exchange is decreasing.

Many insurers, large and small, have decided to leave the exchanges after losing millions of dollars last year; they either withdrew from states altogether or decreased the number of policies offered.

According to an August study from the Kaiser Family Foundation, six in 10 counties may have a maximum of two insurers on the exchanges next year. Additionally, five states will have one insurer selling coverage on an exchange.

In Kansas, 17 carriers sold policies in the state before Obamacare’s implementation, Gossage said.

Before Obamacare, 17 carriers sold policies in Kansas. Now there are two.This year, the majority of consumers in Kansas will have only two insurers to choose from on the exchange, according to the Kansas Department of Insurance.

Those buying plans sold in the individual market off the exchange have five insurers, according to the state.

It’s a similar landscape in Missouri, where four insurance companies are selling coverage on the exchange, according to regulatory filings.

Off the exchange, consumers can choose from at least seven different companies.

Gossage said that over the last few years, she has seen insurers significantly lessen the number of policies they’re offering.

“What we did is we went from a very vibrant, competitive marketplace with extremely low rates and lots of different plans to pick from to over-overregulation with the type of plan you have and to mandates placed on insurance companies which led to high premiums and fewer carriers in the marketplace,” Gossage said.

While much of the focus has been on the declining number of choices for consumers selecting coverage on Obamacare’s exchanges, those with plans sold in the individual market off the exchanges are hurting, too.

Rochelle Bird, who is self-employed and lives in Overland Park, Kansas, has had a policy through Coventry, a subsidiary of Aetna, for two years.

In that time, her monthly premiums have risen from $335 to $487, and her deductible went from $1,200 to $6,200.

Late last month, Bird received a letter from Coventry notifying her that her policy will cease to exist at the end of the year.

“We may still offer coverage in your area, but most of the options available today will not be available for 2017,” the letter stated.

Bird said she wasn’t surprised to learn her policy was being canceled. Rather, she expected it.

“I know that this act has created chaos,” she said of Obamacare, formally the Affordable Care Act. “When I get a thing [in the mail] saying that my rate has changed, I know it’s 50-50 when I open it. It’s either a letter saying this is what you’re going to pay starting Jan. 1, or we’re no longer offering that plan anymore. It wasn’t a total shock to me.”

Bird said she has started researching other policies with different insurance companies, but because officials in Kansas only recently finalized rates, she hasn’t yet made a final decision on her coverage for next year.

She has, however, set expectations for the terms of her next plan.

“I am now faced with the fact that unless something changes, there will be one health care provider presumably with two different health plans that I will have a choice of [while] living in the state of Kansas,” Bird said. “That’s absurd. How is that helpful?”

“I’m expecting (a) I’ll pay more, (b) I’ll have less, and (c) I may or may not have the same doctors,” she said. “Those are always the moving parts.”

Backward

Bird herself didn’t purchase her plan on the Obamacare exchange, and she wouldn’t qualify for a subsidy if she did.

While going without insurance and paying the fine – $695 per adult or 2.5 percent of household income for 2016 – isn’t an option for her, it is for other Kansas and Missouri residents.

Jessica Huayaban of Olathe, Kansas, and her husband, Joel, each purchased plans in the individual market off the exchange in 2014.

Jessica, 36, bought a plan through Humana, and her husband, 35, through Coventry.

Some residents are choosing to forgo insurance and pay the fine rather than spend money buying insurance.The couple, who own a painting and remodeling company, previously were uninsured and saving money each month to pay for a costly knee surgery Joel needed.

Jessica and Joel had insurance before, but when the recession hit in 2009, coverage was too expensive so they decided to go without.

“It was way cheaper to cash pay,” she said of the years they needed medical services but didn’t have insurance.

In 2014, when Obamacare was implemented, the couple purchased their own coverage, but only because the law required it.

“I wasn’t getting [insurance] for even the coverage part,” Jessica told The Daily Signal. “I was getting it for the compliance.”

Over the past two years, the monthly premiums Jessica pays for her Humana plan have gone up minimally, but her plan has a high deductible.

Then, last month, the 36-year-old mother received a letter from her insurer notifying her they’re canceling her policy.

“This is just something that continues to happen, and I don’t have a choice in it,” Jessica said.

She said she isn’t sure whether she and her husband will purchase plans on Obamacare’s exchange when the open enrollment period opens in November.

And although she may qualify for a subsidy, the young mother fears she’ll be stuck with an expensive tax bill when she files with the IRS for 2017, since her income – she is self-employed – fluctuates drastically from month to month.

“All of it is so backward,” she said of the health insurance system.

Source: Stories from Obamacare’s Path of Destruction | Melissa Quinn

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