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 Post subject: Re: RNC Debates
PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2011 6:46 am 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
Nero Fiddled While Rome Burned

This is arguably the most classic case of political dis-information becoming accepted as historical fact. The Roman historian Tacitus, who was alive (albeit an 8 year old child) at the time this fire rampaged in Rome for six days in AD 64, records a far different story:
Tacitus wrote:
Nero, who at the time was staying in Antium, did not return to the capital until the fire was nearing the house by which he had connected the Palatine with the Gardens of Maecenas. It proved impossible, however, to stop it from engulfing both the Palatine and the house and all their surroundings. Still, as a relief to the homeless and fugitive populace, he opened the Campus Martius, the buildings of Agrippa, even his own Gardens, and threw up a number of extemporized shelters to accommodate the helpless multitude. The necessities of life were brought up from Ostia and the neighbouring municipalities, and the price of grain was lowered to three sesterces.

These attempts at easing the suffering did not stop Nero's detractors however:
Tacitus wrote:
Yet his measures, popular as their character might be, failed of their effect; for the report had spread that, at the very moment when Rome was aflame, he had mounted his private stage, and typifying the ills of the present by the calamities of the past, had sung the destruction of Troy.

The latter historian Suetonius adopted and furthered this rumor by adding that Nero was playing the lyre while singing. During Medieval times the lyre was replaced with an instrument created in the 10th century, the fiddle, and the rest is "history".

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 Post subject: Re: RNC Debates
PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2011 11:27 pm 
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Glenn wrote:
Bill Glasheen wrote:
Nero Fiddled While Rome Burned

This is arguably the most classic case of political dis-information becoming accepted as historical fact.

...which misses the whole point of the metaphor. From an online Thesaurus...
The Free Dictionary wrote:
Verb fiddle - avoid (one's assigned duties); "The derelict soldier shirked his duties"
shirk, shrink from, goldbrick
avoid - refrain from doing something; "She refrains from calling her therapist too often"; "He should avoid publishing his wife's memories"
scrimshank - British military language: avoid work
malinger, skulk - avoid responsibilities and duties, e.g., by pretending to be ill
slack - avoid responsibilities and work, be idle


When you read the bible, Greek mythology, or Aesop's Fables, do you take the stories to be literal?

Image

The fox who longed for grapes, beholds with pain
The tempting clusters were too high to gain;
Grieved in his heart he forced a careless smile,
And cried ,‘They’re sharp and hardly worth my while.’


Image

- Bill


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 Post subject: Re: RNC Debates
PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 5:52 am 
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I'd love to point out from the relatively neutral perspective of registered republican-leaning-libertarian-voting-for-Obama-next-year, that you've chased off the opposing views. If this conversation had happened a couple years ago you'd have several liberal view points chiming in on this thread. I'm not going to explain why for the first time in my entire life I will vote democrat, just wanting to point that out. :D

That is why you chased me off too and I vote republican every year.


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 Post subject: Re: RNC Debates
PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 9:12 am 
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TSDguy wrote:
I'd love to point out from the relatively neutral perspective of registered republican-leaning-libertarian-voting-for-Obama-next-year, that you've chased off the opposing views. If this conversation had happened a couple years ago you'd have several liberal view points chiming in on this thread. I'm not going to explain why for the first time in my entire life I will vote democrat, just wanting to point that out. :D

That is why you chased me off too and I vote republican every year.


I'd like to point out that there's nothing neutral in deciding in October of 2011 who you're going to vote for in November of 2012. :oops:

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 Post subject: Re: RNC Debates
PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 5:38 pm 
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It's a vote against what my party has become. I may go libertarian again, as I did last election. I'd rather shove a screwdriver up my dick than vote for Palin, after all. :D


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 Post subject: Re: RNC Debates
PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 6:48 pm 
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TSDguy wrote:

the relatively neutral perspective of registered republican-leaning-libertarian-voting-for-Obama-next-year


Wow, talk about multiply oxymoronic... :lol:

TSDguy wrote:

you've chased off the opposing views.


There are several things worth considering here:

  • Welcome! 8)
    ....
  • The topic of this thread - not started by me - is RNC Debates. Expect "Republican" points of view to be discussed here. I would expect Democrat points of view discussed on threads with the title DNC Debates.
    .......
  • The economy is hurting us all. Ask me how I feel about working in a city which is an 8.5 hour drive from my home where my boys are growing up. Desperate times require desperate measures. I don't have to like it, and it's perfectly appropriate for me to put blame where blame is due. (Some time ask me about a few of the national businesses based near my home which went belly-up in this recession. Also ask me about some of the mergers and acquisitions, etc.) I have a great job and I love my job, but... Don't get me started.
    ......
  • Unless you're living in a cave (a la Geico commercial), you know that many many people - including and especially the liberally-minded - are upset at the status quo and expressing that frustration. The "Occupy Wall Street" protests have spilled to most cities in this country. Just this week I walked out of my office building and noted the police on horseback escorting the motley crew of concerned citizens voicing opinions (on signs) ranging from Marxist to anti-Obama.
    ......
  • I never thought a community organizer and member of Congress through part of one term would make a good executive, never mind the chief executive of the country. Governors? Yes. This guy? Nope! And then lets add on the fact that he forced a $1 trillion health care spending spree (not asked for by the electorate) in the middle of a recession. Ideology over concern for citizen? I don't think so. I will not hold back criticism for Obama. After all, he earned it. Folks who feel he's done a great job by lowering the unemployment rate, getting us out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and closing Guantanamo Bay (ALL as promised before elected) are free to speak up. But wait... he did NONE OF THE ABOVE! As was posted elsewhere, even liberal columnists are calling for his head.

Justin never fails me. He'll speak up when he feels there's something worth saying. And while I challenge him, I also encourage all viewpoints.

Jason Rees wrote:
I'd like to point out that there's nothing neutral in deciding in October of 2011 who you're going to vote for in November of 2012. :oops:


Indeed. Nobody here is advocating any candidate (yet). I for one don't know whom I'll vote for. The only certainty is that I WILL vote - because I always do. And I am not a member of either established party, nor are my views represented by either. Best ideas (from my perspective) wins. And if there's a lack of good ideas, then I'll register a protest vote.

- Bill


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 Post subject: Re: RNC Debates
PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 8:19 pm 
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TSDguy wrote:
I'd rather shove a screwdriver up my dick than vote for Palin, after all. :D

She's not running; your screwdriver is safe. :P

In case you haven't been paying attention...

- Bill


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 Post subject: Re: RNC Debates
PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:17 am 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
When you read the bible, Greek mythology, or Aesop's Fables, do you take the stories to be literal?

Hardly, I was only making the trivia point that a common saying is based on (and reinforces) an incorrect view of history. Nero had his flaws, but fiddling, literally or metaphorically, during the fire does not seem to be one of them.

Bill Glasheen wrote:
And I am not a member of either established party, nor are my views represented by either. Best ideas (from my perspective) wins. And if there's a lack of good ideas, then I'll register a protest vote.

I have never been a member of a party and do not even agree with the concept of parties in politics, so I have always voted that way. Definitely not sure about this election so far. From my perspective the Republicans got us into this mess and the Democrats cannot seem to get us out, and they both only seem interested in pursuing their respective partisan goals regardless of how much it gridlocks the government and harms the country. So far there just does not seem to be a lot of options for a non-partisan moderate like me.

Bill Glasheen wrote:
The only certainty is that I WILL vote - because I always do.

Image
:D

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 Post subject: Re: RNC Debates
PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:38 am 
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TSDguy wrote:
I'd love to point out <snip> that you've chased off the opposing views. If this conversation had happened a couple years ago you'd have several liberal view points chiming in on this thread.

Bill is just passionate about some things and knows how to express his passions, nothing wrong with that. While I do not agree with all his views, I appreciate the thought that he puts into them and the way he can articulate them. I'd play devils advocate and verbally spar with him again if I had the time, but teaching six classes and taking three as a student myself means I do not have that kind of free time! I imagine that others are similarly busy with current extengiencies, likely the main reason for the overall decrease in discussions on the forum lately.

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 Post subject: Re: RNC Debates
PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:01 am 
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The debates are going to start up again soon, and they'll come at a pretty good clip. There'll be plenty to talk about then. If we get a real primary challenge on the Democrat side, it'll be interesting.

Meanwhile, I'm following the #OccupyAnchorage events here with mild interest.

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 Post subject: Re: RNC Debates
PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 7:31 am 
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Glenn I respect you as the voice of reason, I honestly get confused when Bill voices admiration for religious zealots and claims these people represent libertarians.

On a slightly unrelated note, way to go Joe Lauzon (former Uechei fighter)!! Please please PLEASE work on your cardio and you are a title contender.


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 Post subject: Re: RNC Debates
PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 1:40 pm 
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TSDguy wrote:
I honestly get confused when Bill voices admiration for religious zealots and claims these people represent libertarians.

That's what I'd call a "Drive by Post." You made a provocative accusation (not true, by the way), without supporting your claim with any facts.

To start with, I suggest you study libertarianism a bit more. Here's a piece from Religion and Libertarianism by Walter Block.

Quote:
The main reason religion sticks in the craw of secular leaders is that this institution defines moral authority independently of their power. Every other organization in society (with the possible exception of the family) sees the state as the source of ultimate ethical sanction. Despite the fact that some religious leaders have indeed bowed the knee to government officials, there is a natural and basic enmity between the two sources of authority. The pope and other religious leaders may not have any regiments of soldiers, but they do have something lacking on the part of presidents and prime ministers, greatly to the regret of the latter.

Such is my own position. I reject religion, all religion, since, as an atheist, I am unconvinced of the existence of God. Indeed, I go further. I am no agnostic: I am convinced of His non-existence. However, as a political animal, I warmly embrace this institution. It is a bulwark against totalitarianism. He who wishes to oppose statist depredations cannot do so without the support of religion. Opposition to religion, even if based on intellectual grounds and not intended as a political statement, nevertheless amounts to de facto support of government.


And finally... I'd like to share with you part of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, authored by Thomas Jefferson. Read this very, very carefully. It isn't by the way a libertarian document. But it is a brilliantly conceived piece of work which allows all parties to play together nicely. It's so clever that Jefferson wanted it as one of his top three accomplishments, to be listed on his tombstone. (Being president wasn't one of the three, by the way.)

Virginia Statute wrote:
Be it enacted by the General Assembly, that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

- Bill


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 Post subject: Re: RNC Debates
PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 9:25 pm 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
Justin never fails me. He'll speak up when he feels there's something worth saying. And while I challenge him, I also encourage all viewpoints.


Aww, shucks. :oops:

I've been reading this thread, and while I don't agree with much of the views expressed (shocker), I don't feel particularly driven out.

Do I think Obama's done a great job on the economy? Meh, it's mixed, from my perspective. First of all, it's never been my opinion that the president is really responsible for the economy. I don't blame Bush for the bad economy Obama inherited, even though theoretically it developed while he was in office. Sure, there's blame here and there in varying amounts, for various elected officials and nobody in power is completely free of responsibility, but we have an at least somewhat free market and it's going to swing up and down, and part of what a free market means is that the government doesn't really have a lot of control. It can definitely do things that help and things that hurt, and it should try to take action where appropriate, but to a large extent the economy is just going to do what the economy is going to do.

Besides the fact that I don't think that the president has as much power over the economy, I think there are some other decent points to make.

He orchestrated a big bailout. Was this good or bad? Some people say if we'd let the big banks fail we'd have a shorter shock and be recovered by now. Others say we'd have been pluged into a truly unbearable depression. I've read argumentation on both sides, and the voodoo science of economics has failed to come up with any persuassive evidence either way. My best guess is that the bailouts were an unjust, offensive and awful, yet pragmatically superior to the alternative.

He did a big stimulus. Some say it was a failure, I'm not sure if it's a failure or success. It clearly hasn't been a smashing success, but I also don't think it's been a dismal failure like some would try to suggest.

He's been blocked hard by a republican minority that is as (and "as" may be too charitable) interested in seeing him fail as it is doing the country any good. Should he have had the political savy to push his agenda? Eh, maybe. I would like to have seen him do better on that front. Still, in our political system, all it takes is having one more vote than 1/3 in one of the houses to cause a stalemate. So maybe he has been a failure at negotiating legislation, but in the caustic partisan environment we're currently enjoying (enduring?) it seems naive to blame him entirely for failure to fix problems.

So when it comes to the economy, it's all to easy to look at a bad situation and say "look how everything you've done hasn't worked" but we don't have a window into the alternative universe where he hadn't done those things. It might've been worse, but it's a bit like saying seatbelts don't work because you know someone that got their legs torn off by one in a car accident. Sure, that *****, but maybe it would've been worse without it?

Basically we had three possible scenarios (actually many more, but let's pretend)

The government could have:

A. Done nothing
B. Gone with Obama's ideas
C. Gone with Someone Else's ideas.

Is B better or worse than A? I dunno, honestly. I think B (even the partial B that we got) has been better than A would have been. Undoubtedly there's a Someone for whom C would've been better than B, but how do we know which Someone(s) that is?

As for the rest of his presidency, I've been mostly pleased. The things that I think are really a president's primary domain (like cabinet appointment's) and such I am quite pleased with. DADT is gone, though a bit belatedly. He's done okay in the wars, made a good decision on OBL. There's things I don't like, but overall I've been satisfied, but then I think there are a lot of things more important than the economy, at least as far as presidential elections are concerned. Yes I realize this is a minority viewpoint and doesn't reflect the reality of how people vote.

And that's in large part why I haven't bothered to weigh in before. But I'd hate to disappoint you.

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 Post subject: Re: RNC Debates
PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:45 am 
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TSDguy wrote:
Joe Lauzon (former Uechei fighter)


We'll claim him, but somehow I got the impression that Joe Lauzon never studied Uechi with Joe Pomfret, rather BJJ.

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 Post subject: Re: RNC Debates
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:48 am 
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Justin

That was a thoughtful response, and very well articulated. Methinks becoming a father has made you wise(r). ;)

Valkenar wrote:
So when it comes to the economy, it's all to easy to look at a bad situation and say "look how everything you've done hasn't worked" but we don't have a window into the alternative universe where he hadn't done those things. It might've been worse, but it's a bit like saying seatbelts don't work because you know someone that got their legs torn off by one in a car accident. Sure, that *****, but maybe it would've been worse without it?


This is the approach I use in my professional world on a daily basis. And for most of the new initiatives I'm involved with, I demand the structure of a randomized, controlled trial to help business leaders know what did and did not work. Without it, nobody can know for sure and anyone can hide behind the argument.

That said... Most of us and certainly politicians are asked to make decisions and take credit/blame without this gold standard proof after the fact. How is that done in my world? By the accumulation of careful research which shows process that consistently is associated with good long-term outcomes. In the real world we expect educated men and women to have done their homework in the past and in the present, and to dip into that well of information and knowledge before acting.

So... nobody gets a free pass here. As I view it, armchair critique is fair game. After all, we all get a vote a year from now. Hopefully that process is a thoughtful one.

It's also worth mentioning that there are many political ways to skin a cat. Some of us prefer more economic security while others prefer more economic freedom. Some of us prefer more social security while others prefer more social freedom.

Oddly enough a philosophical approach can sometimes create strange bedfellows per the argument above about how "typical" (danger, danger!!!) libertarians and religion are natural allies. In this regard I have great empathy for the Occupy Wall Street protesters. While many with the Marxist-style messages have granola for brains, the thought of rescuing institutions (both Wall Street and in The Motor City) which failed miserably because "They're too big to fail" is both noxious and wrong to me. I don't hate them because they are "the institution" per the shouts of the mob. I want to let them fail because it's the natural way of a free market. Recessions cull irrelevant businesses, and make our economy stronger and more competitive. Bad recessions can cause unthinkable pain to many, but then sometimes "letting it happen" is the greater long-term good.

So while I have to chuckle just a bit, I do empathize with the Occupy Wall Street crowds and think we should celebrate our collective right to speak out and demand some heads for "stupid" interventions. And I do believe it's appropriate to ask why individuals should be allowed to suffer while large and sometimes irrelevant corporations running recklessly and unethically should be rescued with federal money we don't have.

And in this regard... I know history will give me plenty of opportunity to say "I told you so!" Yes, I'm watching you, GM.*

- Bill

* Don't get me started on the real reason why Obama rescued GM. :evil:


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