Bread and Circuses

 

Elections are here.

The America of my time line is a laboratory example of what can happen to democracies, what has eventually happened to all perfect democracies throughout all histories. A perfect democracy, a ‘warm body’ democracy in which every adult may vote and all votes count equally, has no internal feedback for self-correction. It depends solely on the wisdom and self-restraint of citizens… which is opposed by the folly and lack of self-restraint of other citizens. What is supposed to happen in a democracy is that each sovereign citizen will always vote in the public interest for the safety and welfare of all. But what does happen is that he votes his own self-interest as he sees it… which for the majority translates as ‘Bread and Circuses.’

‘Bread and Circuses’ is the cancer of democracy, the fatal disease for which there is no cure. Democracy often works beautifully at first. But once a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state. For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader—the barbarians enter Rome.”
Robert A. Heinlein

Robert A. Heinlein was a science fiction writer along with Isaac Azimov and Arthur C. Clarke were considered the “Big Three” of science fiction writers. He received 7 Hugo Awards presented for the best achievements in science fiction or fantasy works. He was described early on by Asimov as a “flaming liberal” but he went through a conversion displayed in his later novels and short stories. He recognized the reformation that the country was experiencing and he was critical about it. As a science fiction writer you not only try to envision and predict the future but to notice societal trends. You then utilize those trends to estimate the impact on society.

Bread and circuses was not a new concept, throughout civilization those in power have sought to prevent revolt, as well as distract the populace by ensuring they were fed and entertained. HIstory is littered with invasions, wars and conflicts over resources that one group had and another lacked and desired. Diplomacy was useful but one thing about diplomacy was the agreements rarely produced lasting resolutions, in many cases they only set up or were the cause of the nest conflict. The UN is ineffective because of this, we ignore it at our peril.

With the advent of democracy or representative governments as the de facto mode of governance in the world, particularly Western Civilization this is even more important now. The shift of power or the appearance of a shift from the centralized absolute power of the hereditary monarchs which prevailed until the 18th century to the representative democracies or constitutional monarchies of today has meant that those who can provide the bread and circuses for their people will continue to rule.

Today giving people what they want, though not necessarily what they need dominates every election in this country. Offering of bread ( free health care,  welfare, housing, higher minimum wages, college tuition, etc.) or  the circus(legal marijuana, abortion on demand, gay marriage, immigration, school reforms, etc.) decide elections. Little if any consideration is given to the long-term consequences of what is offered or given. Giving people what they want or convincing enough that what is offered is what they really want is used to gain, expand and maintain power by both sides.

Almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so.”
Robert A. Heinlein

There is plenty of evidence of this; You have Union groups that force non-Union members to pay fees. You have gay groups that have managed to get the government to force others to host their weddings, make their wedding cake, take their photos despite the religious objections of those people. Now as has been done in Europe a couple is trying, with local government help, to have a Reverend officiated a gay marriage or face fines or jail.

We see this in the opposition to Voter Id laws; These laws are almost universal around the world, yet in US they are bitterly opposed. One of the main arguments is that minorities will be disenfranchised by these laws. As the witnesses for the DOJ recently testified:

It’s also the case that — well, yes, so it would, empirically more likely affect African Americans. Also, understanding within political science, that people who register to vote the closer and closer one gets to Election Day tend to be less sophisticated voters, tend to be less educated voters, tend to be voters who are less attuned to public affairs. That also tells me from the literature of political science that there are likely to be people who will end up not registering and not voting. People who correspond to those factors tend to be African Americans, and, therefore, that’s another vehicle through which African Americans would be disproportionately affected by this law.

Translation we need same day registration and voting because blacks are too ignorant or civic minded to register to vote beforehand. The words disparate impact, discrimination, privilege are used to hammer others who do not agree to consent with their views. If that fails threats of violence in the form of riots or physical violence are used. This was evident in 2010 during the Trayvon Martin Case, that forced the State to press charges against George Zimmerman, will it work this year in the attempts to charge Darren Wilson in Ferguson?

There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.”
Robert A. Heinlein, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

The effects of battling Global Warming are starting to felt in this nation, despite the fact that the World has not warmed in over 18 years. Policies implemented to combat CO2 production the bogeyman in the AGW theory, has meant that people are paying more for electricity and heating costs. In healthcare, the new Obamacare law is now also making healthcare unaffordable for many, the opposite of the law’s intent, while not denting the number of uninsured.

There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”
Robert A. Heinlein, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

The Federal government has been printing money at a furious pace, this policy of Quantitative easing (QE), has meant that the rich have gotten richer while those in the Middle has stagnated. Trillions borrowed to pay for TARP, Porkulus and the millions now in the welfare system will mean that future generations will be socked with a huge bill to pay.

The middle class is the hardest hit, while the poor receive assistance from the government to ease or shield them from the results of such policies and the rich can afford it, it is the middle class which bears the brunt. Obamacare has truly become a tax-hit on  many families who are now paying thousands more in healthcare while receiving little or in many cases less coverage or benefits.

Food prices which is not used to calculate inflation, have soared. Ground beef prices are almost 40% higher than 4 years ago, bacon is twice as expensive as 4 years ago. In some instances the prices increases have been hidden by smaller packaging. A 5lb bag of sugar is now 4lb for the same or higher price. 16oz cans now contain 12oz, etc. But even this can’t hide that the cost have risen while wages have not.

“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as “bad luck.”

Robert A. Heinlein

This is the reality we face, history has proven this time and time again. We can ignore history and keep saying to ourselves that we will get it right this time, until this time comes and goes and then we realized were did we go wrong? The answers are and have always been in front of us. We keep trying to re-invent the wheel but forgetting how the original used to work. Petty differences are the circuses used to distract us. Petty new rights are the bread used to attracts us, yet neither makes the wheel work any better or go any faster but boy can they be use to maintain their power.

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
Robert A. Heinlein

Amen.

 

 

 

Ebola in NYC

Obama is on this!

It appears that a doctor who had returned from Guinea 10 days ago from the group Doctors without Borders has tested positive for Ebola. It seems that while he was on a self quarantine it was not very rigorous.

Before he started feeling the symptoms today and was rushed to the hospital with a police escort, he was out bowling yesterday with his girlfriend. Exposing her and countless others. He also used über which will probably get negative PR to counter any good PR they were getting from their Flu shot program.

Hopefully, this case will be isolated to the doctor and he will fully recover but we see again the foolishness of believing that the simple screening we have implemented will be sufficient to deter future cases. The next one may not call the hospital when symptoms hit him/her and may instead contaminate many others before diagnosed.

This is the danger of allowing PC considerations dictate public policy. The Administration knows of the dangers and it is following a policy that endangers other citizens in order to appease those that would accuse of racism or overreaction. It is doing this not because it in the public’s interest but because it is in their best political interest. 2 more years!

 

The Michael Brown Case, Update 4.2: The Media, at TTAG

boricuafudd:

Mike delivers a powerful and concise look at the Michael Brown case. HIs criticism of the media is well-earned and could cost lives. Primer from the linked article:

“If a criminal is willing to attack a cop, what would they do to the next citizen they meet?”

This point seems to be forgotten by those who support Brown and were likely the first to have to deal with the menace that Brown seem to be. Even the Washington Post appears to get it.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/new-evidence-supports-officers-account-of-shooting-in-ferguson/2014/10/22/cf38c7b4-5964-11e4-bd61-346aee66ba29_story.html

 

Originally posted on Stately McDaniel Manor:

credit: clashdaily.com

credit: clashdaily.com

As bits of pieces of information trickle out in the Michal Brown case, I’m compiling information for a new addition to the articles in that archive. The next article will be posted in the near future. In the meantime, you might want to visit The Truth About Guns, where my weekly contribution this week is something of a primer on the Brown case, the law, and the way the media makes self-defense more difficult for us all.

The article is titled “Practicing the Art of Self Defense–From the Media.”  By the way, please keep in mind that when one contributes articles to the publishing concerns of others, it is the editors of those concerns that usually write the headlines, titles, decide when to publish articles, etc. At the Manor, I wear all the publishing hats and the decisions–and blame–are entirely mine. At TTAG, and the other sites that…

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By Hook (race card) or by Crook (cheating)

Once again elections are upon us, and we are again faced with the decision of which way the country will head. If you want to know why so many Americans are repulsed by politics or politicians all you have to do is look at what is happening during this election and feel disgusted. This is something that extends to both parties, Democrat and Republican, though in this one is seems like the Democrats who are facing an uphill battle are pulling no punches in their underhandedness.

By CROOK:

This election the Democrats are in a particularly hard battle to retain the Senate. To many contests with many in States that are normally Republican held areas. Many rode the Obama wave election in 2008 into office but now it is the same Obama Administration that has put them in a bind. As the Administration continues to go from blunder to blunder the fortunes of those seeking re-election get worse, and are not helped by Obama who keeps inserting himself into the campaigns of the beleaguered Senators, whether they want him to or not.

For those Senators who are trying to distance themselves from the Obama Administration and their many “blunders”, what Obama said just the other day in Sharpton’s Radio show could not have come at a worse time.

“The bottom line is though, these are all folks who vote with me; they have supported my agenda in Congress; they are on the right side of minimum wage; they are on the right side of fair pay; they are on the right side of rebuilding our infrastructure; they’re on the right side of early childhood education.”

“These are folks who are strong allies and supporters of me, and I tell them, I said, ‘You know what, you do what you need to do to win. I will be responsible for making sure our voters turn out.’ ”

Talk about a cynical statement, not only is Obama saying that these Senators are with him and by extension share responsibility for his policies but also telling them that it is fine if they LIE to the electorate on their positions or opposition to the President to get elected. Once elected they will come back into the fold and continue as before. Of course, lying about positions and policies is something that the President is intimately acquainted with; you can keep your doctor, Syria red-line, not my decision to remove troops from Iraq, not a smidgen of corruption in the IRS, etc.

In Kansas, the Democrats had their candidate bow out of the election when it became clear that their candidate would lose against the Republican incumbent Senator Pat Roberts.   Greg Orman the Independent candidate a longtime Democrat operative running as an independent was sure to split the vote with the Democratic candidate but was a stronger opponent than Chad Taylor, who won his party’s nomination on the primary. Though Kansas law said that a candidate withdrawn after the primary had to be replaced by the party committee, the Democrat Party choose not to run any candidate in order to give Orman a better chance at defeating Roberts.

Is not just national elections that have their share of underhandedness, in Nevada for instance in a race for State Assembly #34 a candidate who was disqualified from running for not meeting the residency requirements but whose name will still on the ballot, could be seated if she wins, anyway.  The candidate Meghan Smith has been for the past 2 elections a politician in search of a seat. In 2010 she ran in a Republican leaning district and lost. In 2012 she ran in a different district in a Democrat leaning one but lost in the primary-her opponent won her seat. This year an open seat in District #34 produced an opportunity, thing was that she did not live on District #34.

On January 30th she instructed her Realtor to find her a residence within the boundaries of the district but with the deadline of February 12th fast approaching time was of the essence. A condo in the edges of the district was found the next day and negotiations were begun. Before she had even bought the property she proceeded to the state DMV office to get her address changed to the property which was not hers, yet.  She also filed paperwork to run for this seat with the Secretary of State.

Ms. Smith finally purchased the property and moved in March 7th, almost a full month past the residency requirement proscribed by Nevada law. She won the Democratic primary by 15 votes and was set to face the Republican challenger. The Republican challenger sued to have her declared ineligible and won in court after the Judge found in the Republican challenger’s favor. This might be a Pyrrhic victories of sorts, because of the time it took to adjudicate the lawsuit, Meghan Smith’s name will remain in the ballot and Nevada law allows the State Assembly to pick a replacement for disqualified candidates. This means that the Assembly which is controlled by Democrats could name Ms. Smith to the seat, though she was disqualified from the election for not meeting residency requirements. Continued next page.

The Old “Grey Lady” just can help Herself

The “Old” Grey Lady- courtesy of The Daily News

The ‘old’ Grey Lady, the New York Times just can’t help itself. There have been at least 3 stories that have been published in their pages that demonstrate that it can’t just report the news and not show bias.

It finally admitted that yes, there were weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq and there may still be some to be found. Despite of years of “Bush lied and people died” and there were no WMD’s in Iraq. it has now decided that there were WMDs and that some may still exist, today.

In a very long article the NYT describes the quantity of WMDs found and relates some instances in which our troops were affected by these weapons. Quoting the article:

From 2004 to 2011, American and American-trained Iraqi troops repeatedly encountered, and on at least six occasions were wounded by, chemical weapons remaining from years earlier in Saddam Hussein’s rule.

In all, American troops secretly reported finding roughly 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs, according to interviews with dozens of participants, Iraqi and American officials…”

So Bush was right there were WMDs in Iraq and there were well hidden that the UN inspectors were not able to locate them. But that is not what the Grey Lady wants to say, instead they disassemble:

The United States had gone to war declaring it must destroy an active weapons of mass destruction program. Instead, American troops gradually found and ultimately suffered from the remnants of long-abandoned programs, built-in close collaboration with the West.

This is just a play on words and does not negate the fact that despite what was repeatedly said, Hussein had a large cache of WMDs at his disposal. The “active” part is real nice touch yet as Gabriel Malor explains that was never the rationale. Not in the sense that the NYT is implying.

Why would the NYT debunk years of Iraq had not WMDs? Well, here is the answer:

I’ts Containment, Stupid

Courtesy of WashPost

Plagues have been a part of human life, but it is who we deal with them that ultimately decide how badly it will affect us. The way the Ebola outbreak has been handled is a perfect example of this. We are treating Ebola as a political problem and not a medical and humanitarian one and that is why this is concerning. Rather than deal with the problem and informing the populace the decisions are being made with political implications foremost in mind, disregarding and in many ways insulting people’s intelligence.

To make matters worse it has also become a “partisan” issue, further dividing and complicating the issue. When you have the National Security Advisor saying; “Only in America can people who don’t believe in evolution or global warming browbeat actual professionals leading the CDC,” it illustrates a lack of concern and seriousness on this important and possibly dangerous issue. Ebola epidemic transcends religion, it has killed both Christians and Muslims, believers and non-believers. But it again demonstrates this Administration disdain for the people it aims to govern.

Our Geniuses at Work- Don’t Worry they got it Covered

This was posted on a site I frequent, it was authored by W. Ben Hunt, PH.D. He is the author of Epsilon Theory and Chief Risk Officer for Salient Partners, an Asset Management Company in Houston, Texas managing 22.1 Billion in capital. You can read the original here. I am copying the whole thing because to try to just except will not do it justice.

Ebola And Calvin the Super Genius by Salient Partners

People think it must be fun to be a super genius, but they don’t realize how hard it is to put up with all the idiots in the world.

? Bill Watterson, “Calvin And Hobbes”

Here is the most fundamental idea behind game theory, the one concept you MUST understand to be an effective game player. Ready?

You are not a super genius, and we are not idiots. The people you are playing with and against are just as smart as you are. Not smarter. But just as smart. If you think that you are seeing more deeply into a repeated-play strategic interaction (a game!) than we are, you are wrong. And ultimately it will cost you dearly. But if there is a mutually acceptable decision point – one that both you and we can agree upon, full in the knowledge that you know that we know that you know what’s going on – that’s an equilibrium. And that’s a decision or outcome or policy that’s built to last.