2013 Election

I ought to have written this earlier this week but I have been busy and more than a little tired. 2013 was an off year election so there wasn’t much to really talk about except for a couple of interesting elections. First there was the New Jersey gubernatorial election. Chris Christie won re-election easily with 60.4% of the vote against his opponent Barbara Buono who had only 38.1%. This was expected. Christie seems to have been an effective governor and has remained popular in New Jersey.The Democrats did not spend much money  in New Jersey, believing her candidacy to be a lost cause.

In Virginia, Democrat Terry McAuliffe barely won the gubernatorial election with 47.7% of the vote verses Republican Ken Cuccinelli with 45.3%. This contest has been seen as a sign that the Tea Party has peaked and that only moderate Republicans have a chance to win in 2014 and 2016. I am not so sure. McAuliffe won, but by only a narrow margin. Obviously a large number of Virginians did not think that Cuccinelli was too conservative or extreme. Mark Levin believes that Cuccinelli could have won the race if he had gotten more support from the Republican Party at the national level. He could be right. It is increasingly obvious that the Republican establishment would prefer a Democrat to win rather than a Tea Party Republican. Conservatives who actually mean what they say about a small, limited government might disturb the cozy relationship they have with the Democrats.

I would also note that the Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis got 6.5% of the vote. If just half of the people who voted Libertarian voted for Cuccinelli, then he would have won. No doubt those Libertarians are congratulating themselves on not compromising by voting for the Republican, but the big government Democrat will be the next governor of Virginia. This is why a vote for the Libertarian Party is not just a wasted vote but is actually a vote for the Democrats. American politics is simply not set up for a third party and any vote for a third party turns out to be a vote for your ideological opponent.

I do not believe that the key to a Republican victory in the next elections is running “moderate” candidates. The problem here is that “moderate” candidates are usually the wishy-washy candidates who either don’t believe in anything, except getting elected, or are too cowardly to stand up for what they believe. Christie is not, in fact, all that moderate, except on social issues. Many conservatives suspect him because he has said nice things about Obama, but on fiscal matters, he seems to be quite conservative. More importantly, he does not shy away from confrontations. A Republican candidate for any office who is honest about his beliefs and willing to stand up for them, regardless of the inevitable hostility from the media, can and will win. Its these candidates who feel they need to apologize for being conservative that lose.

Finally, in New York City, Democrat Bill de Blasio won a landslide 73.3% vote to become the next mayor. This is unfortunate. de Blasio seems to be very liberal, even verging on Marxist judging from his support for the Nicaraguan Sandinistas back in the 1980s. His election may result in the undoing of all the work his two immediate predecessors have done in turning New York into a livable city. At the very least the class warfare rhetoric will encourage business to locate elsewhere and it seems likely that he will hobble the NYPD. Well, the New Yorkers wanted him. They will get what they deserve.

 

The Word is Slavery

One of the problems with Medicare and Medicaid is that the amount these programs pay physicians is often not enough to cover their costs in treating the patient. For this reason, an increasing number of doctors are refusing to see patients with medicare or medicaid. This is a problem that is likely to grow. Fortunately Kathleen Murphy, a Democratic candidate for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates has the solution, pass a law to force doctors to accept medicare and medicaid patients. Here is an account by the Mason Conservative.

You would think that when your party is burying a hole that is getting harder and harder to get out of, you wouldn’t want to that hole get deeper faster.  But here is Kathleen Murphy, Democrat running for the House of Delegates against Barbara Comstock, telling a forum in Great Falls that she believes it should law to force doctors to accept Medicare and Medicaid patients.  Forced by government decree, mind you.  A birdie sent me this:

FYI last night at the Great Falls Grange debate, Democrat delegate candidate Kathleen Murphy said that since many doctors are not accepting medicaid and medicare patients, she advocates making it a legal requirement for those people to be accepted.  
She did not recognize that the payments are inadequate to cover the doctors’ costs.  She also did not recognize there is a shortage of over 45,000 physicians now and that it is forecast to be 90,000 in a few years.  
Democrats appear to want to make physicians slaves of the state, but Democrats don’t admit they would just drive more doctors out of practice into retirement and other occupations.  The Obamacare law and regulations are causing millions of people to lose their health insurance, drop many doctors and hospitals. The HHS internal forecast is 93 million Americans would lose their health insurance due to the Obamacare law and rules about adequacy of insurance.
There is a word for forcing people to work without payment or their consent. That word is slavery.

 

Four Thousand Year Old Brain

Archeologists and paleontologists and other such people who dig in the dirt to learn about the past consider themselves lucky if they manage to find a complete skeleton of a long extinct animal or a reasonably well preserved foundation of a long destroyed house. Imagine how lucky one of them would feel when finding a perfectly preserved four thousand year old human brain. I found this story in the National Post to be worth reading.

It may look like a burnt log, but it’s actually one of the oldest-known human brains, preserved for 4,000 years after being “scorched and boiled in its own juices.”

“The level of preservation in combination with the age is remarkable,” Frank Rühli at the University of Zurich, Switzerland told New Scientist, adding that most archaeologists simply don’t even look for brain matter. “”If you publish cases like this, people will be more and more aware that they could find original brain tissue too.”

The brain was found in Seyitömer Höyük, a bronze-age settlement in Turkey, yet analysis of the brain showed that the man had actually died in the mountains.

“In 2010, an archeological excavation of a Bronze Age layer in a tumulus [burial mound] near the Western Anatolia city Kütahya revealed fire affected regions with burnt human skeletons and charred wooden objects,” the team behind the find wrote in their paper on the brain. “Inside of the cracked skulls, undecomposed brains were discernible.”

Scientists are speculating that an earthquake shook the ancient human settlement, followed by a fire that cooked the corpse and the brain inside.

The heat would have boiled the brain, wicking out all of the oxygen and moisture and aiding in its preservation.

The chemical makeup of the soil — rich in potassium, magnesium and aluminium — was the final part of the equation, as it reacted with the fatty brain tissue to form “corpse wax” which preserved the tissue.

“Neural tissues are quite distinct, thus having ancient samples would help to better understand adaptations but also [the] evolution of neuropathologies,” Rühli told The Huffington Post. “I think this is very important medically and has huge diagnostic potential.”

“If we want to learn more about the history of neurological disorders, we need to have tissue like this,” Rühli elaborated to New Scientist.

I hope they can find more such specimens. It would be very interesting to compare brain structures from various periods. What I would really like them to find, though, would be a more or less intact sample of a Neanderthal brain. I am fascinated by Neanderthals because while they are almost identical in appearance to Homo Sapiens, though apparently more muscular, there are tantalizing clues from the artifacts they left behind and studies of their genome that suggest their brains were somewhat different and they thought differently than modern humans. Short of doing a sort of Jurassic Park revival, which would probably be unethical even if it were possible, an even partially intact brain might allow us to how much like us they were.

 

They Know What’s Best for You

Ben Shapiro of Breitbart.com notes another case of elite disdain for the intelligence of the common people,this time from a supposed conservative, Josh Barro of Business Insider.

On Tuesday, President Obama’s favorite “conservative” columnist, Josh Barro of Business Insider, tweeted out that Obama’s lie that Americans could keep their insurance if they liked it was just fine, since Americans don’t know what’s best for them anyway:

To some extent he is correct about public policy. The reason why we are a representative democracy and not a direct democracy is because policies and laws are best made by those who make it their business to devote the time and attention needed to properly understand these matters. But the central idea of our system of government is that the government is based on the consent of the governed and that those who make the policies are answerable to the people they serve. This idea that a technocratic elite ought to be making policies on behalf of people too stupid to know what’s good for them is incompatible with American political traditions.

This is actually the whole problem with Mr. Barro’s ideas. What if I want to buy unpasteurized milk? If I understand the risks involved, why should I fear being arrested for participating in a commercial transaction between two adults? What if I don’t want to wear a seat belt? I know it is less safe to drive without a seat belt, but what if I like living life dangerously? it’s my life, isn’t it? Why can’t these people just leave us alone. We are grownups. We can take care of ourselves. And, if we can’t, that’s our own business.

Here is my favorite comment from the article in Breitbart.com , in terms of someone thinking he is smarter than he really is.

The average American has a less then 100 I.Q. They believe in an afterlife, because of a book that tells them half-god men walk on water. Do you really think they have the maturity to decide what is best for them?

Well, yes, about half the American population does have an IQ less than 100. This is because an IQ of 100 is by definition the mean. Whatever score has 50% above and 50% below is rated as an IQ of 100.  In fact, a survey of  popular culture and political discourse makes it hard to believe, but average IQs in much of the world have been steadily rising since IQ tests were first developed. This may be due to better nutrition and medical care, and possibly more mental stimulation by television and the Internet. So, about every fifteen to twenty years, IQ tests and scored are renormed so that 100 remains the mean. In any case, if you want to live in a free country, you ought to begin with the assumption that most people really do have the maturity to decide what’s best for them.

The Truth Team Tackles the Obamacare Fail

In the latest message that I have received from the Truth Team, they straighten out the lies and misconceptions that so many people have about the recent introduction of Obamacare, especially the silly idea that people are hurting because their insurance plans have been cancelled.

David —

This one’s important:

We’re hearing a lot of hot air out of Washington these days about some insurance plans that are changing — for the better — because of Obamacare. It can be pretty confusing to follow, and some people on the other side aren’t making it any easier by being intentionally misleading.

Let’s be clear: What they’re talking about is the fact that if insurance companies decide to downgrade or cancel an insurance plan that doesn’t include the minimum consumer protections legally required, they must offer you an alternative plan that does include those protections — like the guarantee that you won’t run up against lifetime caps on coverage, you won’t have to pay for preventive care, and you can’t be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition.

We think President Obama said it best on Wednesday — share what he said with your friends and family and help clear the confusion:

When you boil it all down, the “controversy” here is really about the fact that — thanks to Obamacare — Americans are going to get better, more affordable coverage.

The people who want you to think that it’s some scandal are going to have a tough time explaining it, once everyone knows the facts.

Share the truth about this on Facebook:

http://my.barackobama.com/Share-the-Truth-FB

Or tweet it out now:

http://my.barackobama.com/Share-the-Truth-TW

Thanks,

Erin

Erin Hannigan
Health Care Campaign Manager
Organizing for Action

When you boil it all down, the very real controversy is that the President specifically said that if you like your plan, you can keep it. That has turned out not to be true. Either President Obama did not know what was in the most important legislation of his administration, or he was lying.

I have noticed that in their defense of these insurance cancellations, the Progressives have been letting the mask slip a little bit to reveal them for the power hungry authoritarians they really are. If your insurance got cancelled it was because they have decided it was not good enough for you. If you want a choice between a cheaper plan that doesn’t cover so much and a more expensive plan that covers everything, well too bad. Your betters will decide what kind of coverage you need.

And again, as I have kept saying, nobody will get more affordable coverage if the insurance companies are obliged to accept anybody with any pre-existing condition and are compelled to offer mandated levels of coverage, whether or not their customers want or need them. If health care reform makes it more expensive for insurance companies to operate, they will have to pass on the costs to their customers, or go out of business. If health care reform increases demand for health services without a corresponding increase in the supply available, health will get more expensive. Barack Obama may believe that he can control the tides. He and the Democrats cannot simply ignore the laws of supply and demand indefinitely.

Update: This is what I was talking about.

Appearing on Piers Morgan’s CNN program on Tuesday night, HBO’s Bill Maher explained that while President Obama did indeed lie to the American people about keeping their insurance, he had to do so in order to help the dumb Americans. “I think the country in general is on a decline,” Maher explained. That’s because, Maher said, Americans are getting “stupider.” And that means that they must be lied to: “It sure is hard if you’re a politician—not that I’m really that sympathetic to them—to try to get information into people’s heads. I don’t think Obama should’ve lied to people…”

Maher then explained that it was insurance companies’ faults that Americans were losing their insurance programs. Then he continued, “But, yeah, he probably should’ve not been so blatant about saying you…iron clad guarantee. On the other hand, since he got no Republican votes and no Republican help. And since three years after it’s a law, they’re still fighting it, can you imagine what it would be like if he said, ‘Yeah, some people, your rates are going to go up.’ I mean the thing passed by this much. If they had said that, they might’ve lost the whole thing.”

I can’t imagine what watching a show with both Bill Maher and Piers Morgan must be like.

The Election of 1800

The election of 1800 was one of the nastiest and most contentious in American history. We have had other close elections and many campaigns that descended into the worst sort of character assassinations, but 1800 stands out. For one thing, the election of 1800 was the only election in American history that ended in a duel. But, I am getting ahead of myself.

As I have mentioned before, the rules for electing the president were slightly different in the first four elections. Each Elector in the Electoral College had two votes which he cast for two different men. The candidate with the largest number of votes would be President and the next largest Vice-President. This worked well enough in the first two elections when everyone knew that George Washington would be President and John Adams Vice-President. It worked less well in 1796 when John Adams, the Federalist, was elected President with Thomas Jefferson, the Democratic-Republican. Although the two men were of opposing parties, they had long been friends and Adams had every expectation that Jefferson would be as loyal a Vice-President as Adams himself had been to Washington. He was badly disappointed with Jefferson. Jefferson spent the next four years undermining Adams at every opportunity and preparing to run against Adams in 1800.

In 1800, the Federalists selected John Adams to run for re-election, even though he was not especially popular in the party. Adams was really too independent to belong to any party and he and the Federalist party leader Alexander Hamilton hated each other, especially since Adams discovered that the members of his cabinet, holdovers from Washington’s administration, were more loyal to Hamilton than to him. For vice-president the Federalists selected Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, the brother of Adams’s running mate in 1796. Pinckney had been the U.S. minister to France and had famously said, “Not a sixpence” when French officials had tried to bribe him in the XYZ Affair.

For their part, the Democratic Republicans selected Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr again.

The election of 1800 turned out to be one of the nastiest in American history. Adams was accused of wanting to set up a monarchy. He was for aristocracy and against giving any role to the common man in politics. He was said to be arranging for his sons to marry King George III’s daughters and hoped to have the United States rejoin the British Empire. Jefferson was an atheist, a deist,and a radical.  He was planning to bring the Jacobin Terror to America. Under a Jefferson administration all common decency would be forgotten and Bible would be burned. Newspapers and speakers of both parties gleefully spread the most scurrilous stories about the opposing party’s candidate.

As in the election of 1796, both parties tried to make arrangements so that their Vice-Presidential candidate would receive one fewer vote than their Presidential candidate, and as in 1796, something went wrong. The Federalists won all of New England along with New Jersey and Delaware. The Democratic Republicans won the South except for North Carolina, which along with Pennsylvania and Maryland split its vote. The total electoral vote for the Federalists was 65 votes for Adams and 64 votes for Pinckney. The total electoral vote for the Democratic Republicans was 73 votes for Jefferson and 73 votes for Burr, a tie. This presented a problem.

The Election of 1800
The Election of 1800

According to the constitution, if no candidate gets a majority of the electoral vote, the House of Representatives would select the President from among the top five candidates, with each state getting one vote, which was determined by a majority of that state’s representatives. If there were a tie vote, the Congressional delegation would have to turn in a blank ballot. In 1801 there were sixteen states in the Union so a candidate had to have at least nine states supporting him in order to win the election.

On the first ballot, Jefferson got eight votes, Burr six, and the remaining two states were tied. For six days, vote after vote was taken with no change in the results. Many Federalists began to consider supporting Burr as the lesser of two evils. They tried to negotiate with Burr, offering their support in exchange for his maintaining Federalist policies. Burr listened, but didn’t commit himself. Then, the unexpected occurred. Alexander Hamilton intervened, on the side of his arch enemy, Jefferson.  Jefferson, he acknowledged was a “contemptible hypocrite” and “tinctured with fanaticism”, yet he did have some “pretensions to character”. Burr, by contrast, was without principles or honor, the “Catiline of America”. Catiline was a Roman Senator who had been accused of conspiring to overthrow the Republic in the 60’s BC. To educated Americans of the time, that was about the worst name Hamilton could have called Burr. Hamilton’s support of Jefferson was something like if Rush Limbaugh had supported Gore during the Florida recounts in 2000.

Alexander Hamilton

As a result of Hamilton’s lobbying, the deadlock was broken on February 17. Several Congressmen who had been supporting Burr abstained and as a result, Jefferson got ten votes to Burr’s four. Jefferson was elected President just two week before Inauguration Day. Shortly after, the twelfth amendment to the Constitution, which changed the procedure of the Electoral College so that each elector has one vote and votes for the President and Vice-President as a team, was adopted to prevent anything like the election of 1800 from occurring again.

About the duel, that occurred in 1804. Jefferson never trusted Burr after the election, for obvious reasons, and saw to it that Burr had no role in the government. As the election of 1804 neared, Jefferson decided to replace Burr as his running mate with George Clinton. Burr decided to run for governor of New York, but once again his fellow New Yorker, Hamilton, opposed him and he lost the election. Burr seized on Hamilton’s description of him as “despicable” and challenged Hamilton to a duel. At the duel, Hamilton fired into the air, but Burr shot him in the abdomen, killing Hamilton and his own political career. Burr had to flee to avoid prosecution for murder and was eventually implicated in a conspiracy to seize power in the Spanish southwest and create his own empire. He was tried for treason but acquitted and spent most of the rest of his life in Europe.

Politics has always been a dirty and excitable business but it has gotten a lot tamer in recent years. Imagine if the contentious election of 2000 had been handled like 1800. We might have ended up with Bush and Gore fighting a duel. Oh well.

The good old days