Interesting Comments by Time Magazine Analyst re: Obamacare

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Time Magazine’s senior political analyst, Mark Halperin, had some interesting observations regarding some deep nuances of the Obamacare plan.  In an interview with Newmax TV’s Steve Malzberg, Halperin spoke about the concept of “rationing” being included in the Affordable Care Act.  Haplerin believes that this could cause serious questions for the Obama administration to answer – illustrating incredibly sinister  facts of the bill that the White House has yet to be forthcoming about.

This link will direct you to The Blaze’s website.  A video of the interview is included in that article.  Skip to approximately the 8 minute mark to hear the discussion relating to Rationing.

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(Photo credit: David Shankbone)

See The Blaze’s article here…

Now, before people start questioning the legitimacy of The Blaze and point to statements from the Obama White House that seem to eliminate the chance of rationing, check out this article in Forbes Magazine.  It speaks to what the dangers of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) amount to, and how it can informally ration healthcare to the elderly, terminally ill and handicapped.

Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the White House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the White House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Read the article on Forbes here…

However, upon a cursory review of the ACA verbage, it would appear that there is a pretty straight forward restriction on rationing.  Here is what it says,

PPACA Section 3403 (ii) reads:

‘‘(ii) The proposal shall not include any recommendation to ration health care, raise revenues or Medicare beneficiary premiums under section 1818, 1818A, or 1839, increase Medicare beneficiary cost-sharing (including deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments), or otherwise restrict benefits or modify eligibility criteria.” [Emphasis added]

In the preceding section, however, there is what can be interpreted as a means for informally rationing healthcare through a raise in costs if the care elevates above a pre-determined ceiling:

PPACA Section 3403 (i) reads:

‘‘(i) If the Chief Actuary of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has made a determination under paragraph (7)(A) in the determination year, the proposal shall include recommendations so that the proposal as a whole (after taking into account recommendations under clause (v)) will result in a net reduction in total Medicare program spending in the implementation year that is at least equal to the applicable savings target established under paragraph (7)(B) for such implementation year. In determining whether a proposal meets the requirement of the preceding sentence, reductions in Medicare program spending during the 3-month period immediately preceding the implementation year shall be counted to the extent that such reductions are a result of the implementation of recommendations contained in the proposal for a change in the payment rate for an item or service that was effective during such period pursuant to subsection (e)(2)(A).” [Emphasis Added]

I am not a medical billing expert, but I do seem to see where Halperin is coming from with his statements on rationing.  However, I would love to hear someone weigh in that has a bit more knowledge on this topic.

If you would like to read the entire 906 page Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) bill, you can find it on the Government Printing Office (GPO) website.


J

Defend the Republic!

418 / 1775

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Case made against common core standards

Here is a video I saw on the Blaze news site this morning.  It is a very good statement for revising our current education systems common core standards.  Enjoy.

(If the above embedded video doesn’t work, click this link)   Case made against common core standards

-J

Defend Liberty! Defend the Republic!

418 / 1775

What’s in a Number, Part 6

What’s in a number, Part Six

america

Ah we are finally to the end of this series arc.  No more history lessons (at least no more foundational history lessons) on the nations before us.  Though this has been a long sub series in the greater series arc on symbols and meanings behind 418, I feel that it has been crucial to your knowledge as a reader.  I want my readers – few as they may be right now – to become aware of politics.  More than that, I want you to become students of political theory.  With a foundation and working knowledge of theory, you can apply it anywhere, to any situation.  You will be able to see the national machine on a three dimensional scale.  That is why I began with the dry and often mind numbing (even for me to write!) lessons on the nations that America owes its heritage.

 

Also, I had to explain the three nations prior to America so that the symbolism of what the final meaning of “418” means.  America, this great nation, is the Fourth Realm.  Thus, the final explanation of “418” is the “Fourth Realm” {4 + 18 [Number of the letter R] = Fourth Realm).

 

The Fourth Realm

Bases militares EEUU en el mundo

America is the dominant world power… for now.  Our democratic republic is at a very critical time in its life cycle.  While some argue that we are on the verge of falling, it can be argued (as was previously mentioned in the first 4one8.org article) that we are merely in our adolescence.  However, just as a human adolescent will make poor decisions that can cause serious detriment to their future, so it goes for a nation.

 

As a nation, America has already been through an accelerated life cycle.  Born of a revolution form the largest empire ever to exist on the planet, the USA has already fallen into the pit of complacency that is so extremely dangerous.  There is little individual national pride from The Masses, and The Establishment has become as corrupt as those who came before it.  The common citizen has not been taught self-sufficiency, and as a whole, the nation’s dominance is a façade.  America’s financial debts to foreign powers, inability for the populous to provide for themselves and dependence on foreign resources has placed the country in a precarious situation.  It is at the whim of foreign entities and corporations that the USA can be brought to its knees.

 

Just as the adolescent human makes poor decisions, chooses dangerous friends, and has little fiscal responsibility, so does America exist.  However, this situation is not unrecoverable.  The upcoming series arc will be speaking to the role of the Citizen.  Notice, that the word “Citizen” has been capitalized.  This is intentional, as I intend to relate some of the classic philosophical opinions on the duties and responsibilities of the Citizen.

 

Within America’s borders are more resources, wealth and capability than most other nations combined.  The most valuable of these assets are the American people.  How the people are managed is the key to setting America’s future back on track.  There are several key points which must be addressed if America is to not only survive, but flourish.  These points must be tackled and repaired – or in some cases even redesigned completely:  Education, Fiscal responsibility, Self Sufficiency and National Unity.  [Note: A future series arc will discuss these topics in more detail.]

 

Withstanding the Storm

Rosie-the-Riveter-poster-s

It is by empowering the masses that the nation as a whole will be stronger and more prepared to face the volatile geopolitical scene.  It is also through this mass empowerment that the nation will be able to withstand a large scale disaster, be it of natural or manmade origin.  Just as Rosie the Riveter was able to run the factories and industries in the homeland while the soldiers were fighting the Axis powers in World War Two, so would our citizens be able to maintain industry and economy.

 

America has enemies.  Any great nation or powerful country will have those who seek to destroy it.  In our current times, the major threat is perceived as those following the Islamic faith.  In reality, this is not necessarily the full truth.  As mentioned earlier, the motivation of religion is a powerful thing.  The enemies we have at this time are using religion to frenzy those that will carry out the face to face warfare.  However, just as there is The Establishment and The Masses here in America, it also exists in foreign powers.  There are those in control of American enemies that use whatever motivations necessary to convince The Masses to support their cause.  If we do not act in the near future to control our own destiny, we will find ourselves a shadow of our past influence and prosperity.  That will result in the weakened state enemy factions need to crush us.

 

Future Influence

 

As you have read the last several articles, you have learned of our history.  It is intimately connected to the history of the Greeks, Romans and British.  We are now in the era of the Fourth Realm.  While we are powerful and prosperous at the current time, we cannot expect that to last indefinitely.  We can, however, as individual Citizens, stand up and begin to cause changes in the system that will streamline our great republic.  Our obligation as a nation is not to rule over the globe as dictators.  Instead, we have a twofold purpose.  The first is to restore the strength of our nation.  This is through internal reform and redesign.  America must form solidarity amongst the citizens.  They must become “Citizens.”  Regardless of political party lines and religious or racial backgrounds, the common identifying thread among us all is our nation.  There will always be dissent, and that dissent is part of the liberty that makes this nation great.  It is also part of the check and balance system that we so desperately need.  A sense of national unity can be attained without becoming imperialistic.  Zeal must be tempered with wisdom and societal training.  This does not mean that the American is better than those from other countries.  It does not mean that Americans have more intrinsic value than another country’s resident.  It does, however, mean that we have been blessed to live in a nation with limitless potential.  Our potential can be realized through the uniting of the people under the flag as proud Citizens who are willing to serve and sacrifice for their nation.  As the pledge of allegiance says, “One Nation” we must become so.  The pledge describes the American people as “Indivisible.”  This literally means that we cannot be divided by internal conflict.  We must achieve that status if we are to remain a world power.  Finally, the pledge states that we have “Liberty and justice for all.”  This is – in the end – what we must defend at all costs from any power, faction or government.

 

The second purpose is to expand our influence in geopolitics as a benevolent, yet wise international power.  This influence can be attained through learning from the mistakes of the three realms that have come before us.  Through force, brutish expansionism and raw imperialism, we will perish and be recorded in history as another failed empire.  However, through the betterment of the world as a whole, we can exist as a stable power in a world of chaos.  Economically we have the potential to raise allied nations to greater prosperity.  This stabilizes the world’s economic status, thus securing our own financial success.  We have the natural resources to provide for our allies and limit the influence of hostile governments currently in control of these resources.  America has the knowledge to focus on health issues that could spread from other nations to our borders.  And, in situations where diplomacy fails, we have the military might to both defend our shores and our allies.   If you look at these issues, you see that each issue secures prosperity and success for our allies.  However, it also directly provides for our own long term stabilization.

 

Our future is unclear.  If left unaltered, the nation as it exists today will evolve into something much different from what it is today.  It is on a path to transform into something very sinister – a direct polar opposite from what the theories I have postulated call for.  Our future is in the hands of each citizen.  It is OUR responsibility to make the changes happen.

paul-revere-by-wyeth[1]

418

 You now know the meaning of the symbols of 4one8.org.  Thank you for staying with me through the lengthy discourse I have given over the last few weeks.  I know it has been dry, but hopefully you see now that the information was a foundation.  This foundation is one that we will build on in future articles.  Each article will hopefully cause someone, somewhere to think.  Hopefully someone will decide to start acting.   It is my sincere hope that this will eventually catch the eye of someone that can make a difference.  That person is you.  The decision is now yours.

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-J

Defend Liberty!  Defend the Republic!

418 / 1775

What’s in a Number, Part 5

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What’s in a Number, Part 5

Great-Britain-Flag-great-britain-13511748-1920-1200

Well, despite my entire household suffering from the plague, I am back in front of the keyboard.  The good thing is, however, that despite not being able to think coherently enough to write, I have been able to set some new and exciting things into motion.  I will tell you all about it later, however.  For now, we must wrap up the history lessons.

The Birth of a New Realm

The Christians lost access to the Holy Land when the Islamic people took control of the Christian remnants of the Eastern Byzantium Empire (think of this as the Middle East),.  With the Byzantium Empire defeated, another rising society had become the stronghold of the Christian people.  These people took offense to the loss of access to the Holy Land and began a series of crusades to reclaim the area.  Descended from the Britons and the Gauls (once conquered and socialized by the Roman Empire), the Western Europeans had begun to establish their own unique kingdoms.

The series of crusades served as the bridge between the Second Realm and the Third Realm.  As the crusading armies attempted to regain Christendom from the Muslims in the 11th through 13th centuries, it gave the European kingdoms an opportunity to hone their skills at being world powers.  There were many mistakes made, and many victories won.  Armies were seasoned, able to pass on their fighting knowledge to the next generations.  Even though there was war between the individual kingdoms, the crusades allowed for the majority of kingdoms to focus on a common enemy and goal.  This in turn allowed them to individually become more prosperous scientifically and industrially.  With less common continental turmoil, and fewer internal political struggles, western society began to advance.  This is not to say that it was an easy time for western civilization.  It was difficult and wrought with hardship.  However, one nation took these difficult circumstances and turned them into a foundation for a dominant world power.

England began its exploration and expansion as early as the 1400’s.  This began slowly at first, but picked up speed with time.  By 1578, Queen Elizabeth I became the first ruler of the formal British Empire.  This empire lasted in one form or another until 20th Century, though as with all of the empires we have discussed, there is still a remnant of each even today.

Five Pillars

Though the Britons had been part of the crusades, they were relatively unimpressive in most other regards.  Before the age of colonial expansionism, British ambitions were rather unimpressive.  It was through these extraordinarily dull people, though, that ushered our world into the modern age.  How did this happen?  Five factors stand out:  Capitalism, Expansionism, Popular Revolution, Social Division and Industrialization.

These are all themes that were the result of centuries of trial and error witnessed in the first two realms we have discussed.  The British – or more specifically the Englishman (Ireland, Scotland and Wales were all brought under the control of the English throne) – may have been dull, but he was a good study of history.  In fact, these five pillars of the British Empire were also instrumental in both the separation of the American Colonies, as well as our own foreign and domestic policies.

Industrialized, capitalistic expansion to save the uncivilized…

The English, and later the British Empire, were some of the earliest “venture capitalists”.  In reality this meant little more than being a pirate or privateer.  Most of these early adventurers and profiteers were sanctioned by the Crown, lending legitimacy to the individual, while giving the English government a safe degree of separation from the atrocities necessary to complete the ventures.  If the Englishman is anything, he is a gentleman.

Capitalism began to thrust the British into economic prominence as a world power.  There were significant advancements in science and industrial technology.  This boon in cultural evolution made quickly accelerated the progression of their placement as a world power.  However, a little wealth is a good thing in the eyes of the businessman.  A lot of wealth is even better.  It was in search of more resources and wealth that the British began their most aggressive expansions.

An empire is rarely a benevolent entity.  While it may make the appearance of looking out for the best interests of the individual, this is rarely the true intentions.  An empire is built on the principle of power, wealth and resources.  Typically, this can be seen as evident in the treatment of the lowest classes as well as those that are most ignorant or blind to the happenings of their nation’s politics.  These people are The Masses [see: “The Life Cycle”].  Resources are more than natural elements harvested for profit from the earth.  Resources can be many different things – money, land, military power, information.  By looking at these elements, there is one common component to each:  People.  The individual can be the most valuable resource available to a nation.  The individual is required to harvest natural resources.  The individual drives wealth through economy.  They farm the land, wage the war and make decisions based on the information they are provided.  It is through the individual that The Establishment maintains power.  It is through the use and manipulation of the individual that Empire are built and maintained.

The British Empire was no different.  This empire followed in the footsteps of those that came before it in many ways.  It employed the use of slave labor.  Justification for expansionism was a self-centered moral superiority to those that were to be conquered.  The machine was set into motion in a particular way that demanded greater numbers of subservient people to keep it operational.  While the British Empire arguably allowed for a more pleasant (relatively) life for its lowest classes, it still exploited them for the sake of expansion.

Racial motivation of prejudice has existed since the beginning of human history.  However, the primary motivation of discrimination had been more religiously based.  This is not to say that those of different creed and nationality were not shown lesser treatment throughout history.  On the contrary, there were wars fought over race.  However, the prominent reasoning and justification for persecution was religious in nature.  With the advent of the British Empire, the issue of race as a justification for subjugation became a more publicly accepted concept.  One can look to the British Empire’s treatment of the indigenous peoples of India, America and Africa and see this vividly illustrated.

The British Empire used the Church of England, their Judiciary and the military to enforce their Anglo-centric idea of superiority.  The Englishman was superior to the dark skinned native.  It was bragged that by introducing the “gentleman’s governance” of the British Empire to the “savages” that a fundamental generosity was being shown.

Within the British Empire, there was another set of parameters by which superiority and inferiority was decided.  While no true caste system existed within the British Empire, there was a rigorous class system that was used to maintain control by The Establishment.  The most powerful of the middle class (few as they may have been) and upper class, used this class system to keep The Masses distracted and unorganized.  The factory became a place of unfathomable atrocity, not even sparing children.  Long hours, low wages, high taxes and aggressive debt holders became an endless cycle that could not be escaped by those set upon it.

smallmill

This system of aggressive industrialization was the key to the British Empire’s expansionism.  It was a style of government that allowed The Establishment to justify subjugation of their own citizenry, while at the same time spreading the subjugation to other lands as well.  At its greatest point, the British Empire spanned more land than any nation or empire before it.  It was said that “The sun never sets on the British Empire” because it spanned the entire globe.  (Note: as mentioned previously, this statement was also spoken analogous to the British Empire never ending its powerful rule.)

British_Empire_largest

Roots of Revolution

Despite the successful development of the British Empire and its extremely authoritarian rule, its people had in them a deep history of revolution.  As early as AD 1215, the English imposed the Magna Carta on their monarch, King John.  This limited his power to an extent that he could not arbitrarily infringe on certain rights and liberties of the citizenry.  Individual liberty became a power struggle between the monarchy and the citizenry for the rest of England’s existence.  Monarchs would restrict the rights set forth in the Magna Carta and the citizens would eventually rise to regain their liberty.

magna-carta-at-the-national-archives

When the first colonists came to the Americas, they brought with them their own charters.  These charters claimed rights and privileges of the English Citizen, as well as established some rights unique to the colonies.  From these interpretations of the Magna Carta, and the evolution of the colonial charters, some of the principles that are seen as guaranteed (Habeas Corpus, Trial by Jury) were established on American soil.

As the British Empire grew on American soil, the colonists began to see a restriction in their personal liberty.  Slowly, colonists began to rankle at the increased pressure from the crown.  It was the inborn spirit of revolution that was ignited to defend those American liberties.  The American Revolution was not as much about fighting for independence as it was a defense for fundamental rights.

With the loss of the American Colonies, the British Empire began to see a sharp reduction in its power across the globe.  The British position as the primary power in the world was slowly eroded, and can even be seen in the more recent loss of Hong Kong in 1997.

hongkong

While the British Empire was immensely successful for a long period of time, it was wrought with corruption.  It made multiple mistakes in not learning from the lessons of those empires from which it came.  Greece learned from the mistakes of the unorganized city states before it.  Rome learned from Greece.  Britain, however, learned only a few lessons, choosing instead to grow through blunt force and power rather than through improving on the system.

With the decline of the British Empire to a shadow of its former self, American now stands as the primary world power.  It is this, the Fourth Realm,  that we will conclude this series arc.

The Anthem

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The Anthem…

Before I step back into my history lesson, I just wanted to share an experience I had last night.

Star Spangled Banner

I went to a local high school football game last night.  The stadium was filled with the sounds of excited teenagers, school bands battling from the stands, and the general hubbub of human presence.  I was talking to a friend, when we heard everyone go quiet.  The music stopped.  Children stopped running and people hushed their conversations.

I was not actually near the stands, but rather near one of the infields.  This made it hard to hear the announcer.  However, as the two seconds of mental processing occurred in my brain as to why the crowd had quietened, I heard the first notes of the National Anthem.  My friend, a former US Army Drill Sergeant, and I both snapped to attention and faced our flag.  In a matter of two seconds, we had gone from friends talking and joking to standing in reflection at the flag on the other side of the field.

Every time I listen to the National Anthem, I think back to my own time in USAF Basic Training.  Mid October, 1999.  I was a skinny kid with a freshly shaved head.  I had always wanted to serve int he military, and had specifically chosen the Air Force because I had wanted to be an aviator.  When I showed up to the “Gateway to the Air Force” (Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas) several weeks later I was proud and nervous.

About two weeks into basic training, we learned that we would be the first group of Airmen Trainees to officially go through the USAF’s newly developed field training program.  At the end of the the field training, a ceremony would take place.  During that ceremony we be given the title of “Airman”, an no longer be called “Trainee”.

After we learned about the ceremony, we were asked who had experience with choir or singing.  Having grown up in a small charismatic church, I was well versed in Southern Gospel Quartet music.  I volunteered to be part of the group that would sing the Air Force Hymn and the National Anthem.  I sang low baritone, which the old Senior Master Sergeant in charge of the quartet thought could pass for a bass.  For the rest of basic training, I added “Quartet Practice” to my already packed schedule as a “Dorm Leader” (it would be called a platoon leader in the Army).

The day of the ceremony, our quartet stood on the make shift stage at our training FOB (Forward Operating Base).  We were tired and grumpy, and it was colder than normal for San Antonio.  The Squadron Commander of our training squadron spoke, along with a couple other officers.  I can’t really tell what all they said.  I was 19 and bored.  And if memory serves I had an incredibly pressing need to use a latrine that did not have tree bark.  However, I do remember when the old and grizzled Chief Master Sergeant Training Instructor (TI is the USAF equivalent of a Drill Sergeant or Drill Instructor) stepped up to speak.

The Chief walked to the podium, looked at the microphone, then stepped away from it.  He addressed all 200 of us with only the calloused voice of a senior Training Instructor.

“We are in at peace right now.  But, this will not last.  Some asshole somewhere will eventually decide they want to take a shot at us.  When that time comes we will stand up and shoot back.  Some of you will not be in my Air Force when that happens.  You will choose instead the easy life instead of a life of sacrifice.  I’m ok with that.  Some of you will leave my Air Force when that happens because you will be too afraid to stand up and defend you country.  I’m ok with that too.  If you do not feel the burn in your soul to protect this country, then go be a plumber or an accountant or whatever the hell it is that you want to do.  Get the hell out.

But there are some of you who will be here.  You will pick up the wrench or the rifle.  It doesn’t matter… you are serving.  Some of you will serve your time and then move on to something else.  Some of you will retire from my Air Force.  Some of you will die serving.  But you will have served as Airmen in the United States Air Force.”

As he said that last sentence, the Training Instructors from each of our respective Flights (The USAF equivalent to a Platoon) stepped forward to the ranks of Airmen standing at attention.  In their hand they had a felt bag.  They began to give each Trainee a coin.  An Airman’s Coin.

 AIR-FORCE-AIRMAN-COIN

The Chief continued, “Today you will become Airmen.  Today we give you the opportunity to prove you are more than the undisciplined children you were several weeks ago.  It is a privilege and an honor.  And it is something that can be taken away if you disgrace us, or that can be given back if you decide you aren’t capable of upholding your oath.  But today, you are fellow Airmen.”

I stood on stage with the three other Trainees I’d been practicing with.  The Chief then walked to us and gave each of us one of the Airman’s Coins.  I still have that coin today.  We were the first group in the Air Force to be given those coins.  After we received ours we sang our two songs.  I held my Airman’s Coin, and I looked at the American flag flying over the FOB.  I felt a surge of pride for what I was doing with my life.  I also realized that pride was an extension of my own patriotism and national pride.

I think of that moment almost every time I hear the Anthem play.  The memory takes only a few seconds to process, but I am reminded that we as citizens have a higher purpose than trudging through each day.  We are Americans.  We are the blood flowing through the veins and arteries of the nation.  Our own individual health, mindset and ability shapes the direction of America’s future.  Remember that, every now and then.  You are a Citizen.  An American Citizen.  Your fate is tied to America’s fate in more ways than you may yet realize.

-J

“Defensor Patriae, Defensor re Publica”

418/1775

What’s in a Number, Part 4

What’s In A Number? Part Four

 

Once again, I must offer apologies for letting my posts fall behind. I was very ill this week, and was not able to formulate coherent thought, let alone post regarding political theory! So, I am sitting in front of the computer now and hopefully can make some headway on the articles I had planned to post so far. Let’s see how far we get!

The Second Realm

roman_eagle_446

The nation has fallen into chaos. Warlords and political factions vie for control over slivers of territory. Suddenly a young republic steps in to stabilize the region and bring its own version of government with it. Sound familiar? It should. It is a template for passive expansion that is at the very foundation of our nation. While I could be describing Iraq / Afghanistan / insert-nation-in-trouble-here, I am speaking of the fall of the Greek’s and the Republic of Rome’s response.

Technically speaking, the Roman Republic was not actually “young” when they went to the “aid” of the First Realm in the 2nd century B.C. In our American minds, they were in full swing of adult hood. Rome actually began as early as the 8th century B.C. According to Roman legend, the twin brothers Romulus and Remus settled the city after a typical childhood being raised by a she-wolf (though some stories state that the “she-wolf” was actually a “shepherd’s wife”). Of course, staying true to the pattern of Greco-Roman legends, there was ample interaction from the gods. Specifically, the brother’s mother was said to have been raped by Mars, god of war.

While the half-deity brothers forming Rome makes for great storytelling, it is more likely that the area was settled by both the Latins and Sabines looking for ideal real estate. Regardless of the actual formations of the city state, it became a true republic in the 6th century B.C. Lucius Junius Brutus deposed the last of the Seven Kings of Rome (historically the first is labeled as “Romulus”) and helped to create a political system based on elected officials, representatives of various districts, and a constitution. Rome’s system of government had checks and balances, public representation, and even assemblies that decided specific issues (similar to our Defense Department or State Department).

Without going into a semester of college history classes, it should be noted that some key points can be seen in Rome’s early history as a Republic. They formed a government based on many of the principles the Greeks had employed. The early Romans were infatuated with the Greeks, and often sought to emulate them. The Romans then found ways to improve on the Greek’s ideas and provide more stability and longevity to their nation.

Another extremely important trait to be pointed out is that the Romans gradually expanded the size of their nation. It was not (initially) a quick land grab. It was a slow and methodical plan set into motion after considering key elements. They first began to establish colonies in strategic locations. This gave them influence and presence in areas they wished to allocate in the future. This strategy secured control over the Italian peninsula.

After securing their own peninsula, the Romans focused on Greece, Sicily, Hispania, and areas of Africa. Many wars were fought, though the Romans rarely made their conquests about a blatant land grab. Campaigns were often justified as proactive defensive acts. Others were to help a specific political faction in an area they desired. True, some wars were fought for revenge alone, though rarely was this directly cited.

The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire

roman timeline

With the conquest of the Greeks came the direct infusion of Greek culture into Roman. The emphasis on rural life was abandoned by the wealthy in exchange for a more cosmopolitan lifestyle. Luxury and comfort became the rule of the day, and the lack of an enemy caused internal turmoil amongst politicos. As the lower socio-economic classes began to see a sharp decline in their own incomes, more strife erupted. Gangs of the unemployed were found to be easily influenced by politicians with agendas. These gangs were used to intimidate and influence elections.

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The turbulent internal times of the Roman Republic were causing the political system to break down. It was in its last days that Gaius Julius Caesar became the man of the hour. Caesar was an aristocrat by birth, though his family was not extremely wealthy. He was also a military man and identified strongly with the common man. He brokered an agreement between both of the opposing factions (the Roman Republic had broken down into two distinct political “parties”). The heads of both factions would rule alongside Caesar as Consuls of Rome. In effect, Rome had three leaders.

After Caesar defeated the Gauls, he became wealthy and powerful. Most importantly, he had earned the respect and loyalty of the legions which fought for him. This caused one of his fellow Consuls, Pompey, to become concerned. He planned to strip Caesar of his power, wealth and military status. However, Caesar preemptively invaded Rome, and secured his status as the one single ruler of the Roman people. Despite winning the support of much of the citizenry, the brazen invasion and upheaval of the elitist establishment ended with Caesar’s assassination.

Here we see the transition from a republic to an empire. Note that the massive expansions of the Roman borders were not commonly seen as offensive strikes by the people. First, strategy was used in gaining influence through presence. Second, defensive actions and “preemptive” actions were taken in the defense of the nation. With the initial transition of the government from a republic to an empire, the actual land mass of the empire did not change much. However, with the size and influence that was at the disposal of the new emperor, Caesar Octavian nearly inherited what was the greatest empire in human history (up to that point). However, the rule of the empire was still split between two other individuals (as a check and balance) similar to how Julius Caesar had ruled. This helped retain the image of being a republic, though the term empire was certainly more fitting.

Every empire, government, nation, group of humans will have its fair share of drama and turmoil. Rome was certainly no different. Political intrigue was the order of the day. People “woke up dead” quite often as Caesar maneuvered and positioned himself to be a supreme leader. Caesar Octavian finally accomplished this goal in 27 B.C. after Marc Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide. Standing now as the sole ruler, Octavian changed his name to Caesar Augustus. This became the point where the end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire is historically recognized.

As the life cycle of Rome progressed, the entity evolved. It always maintained some resemblance to the government from which it began, to include nods to the Greek’s system of politics. As the Roman Empire truly began, The Masses were given the sense of security that their republic was still in existence. Many of the vestiges of their former government remained, although Caesar Augustus assumed a role of sole authority amongst those remaining political bodies. The people still felt that they had a voice, and even believed that their voice was being heard by Caesar. Overall, the opinion was that the Empire was a safer and more successful nation than the Republic before it. People were happy, and Caesar used the content complacency of The Masses to gain a foothold towards complete dissolution of the republican values.

Augustus began a line of emperors (Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero) that were the primary force in causing the Roman Empire to secure its place as the dominant world power. This line of emperors also destroyed the last remnants of the republic to gain more power. Nearly every time, the evolution towards dictatorship was sold to the people as a benefit to security, national prominence, and prosperity. Of course, Caligula and Nero were bumps in the road. Certainly even the blind masses did not approve of horses being made senators or burning live humans for a light source in gardens. However, as a whole, this line of rulers accomplished tremendous goals.

Trajans Empire

This pattern of rule lasted until the 3rd Century A.D. Rome had been on a roller coaster of political strife and financial woes. As the largest empire in the known world, they extended themselves without giving due regard to their actual strength. By the 3rd century A.D., the Roman Empire was facing invasions, economic depressions, civil wars, pandemics, and changes in popular religion. This proved too much for the weakened and over extended nation. It began to split and crumble.

The Life Cycle of a nation can be a mischievous and tricky thing. While it may show all signs that indicate one outcome, it will often pave the way for an opposite outcome. With Rome, after the crisis period of the 3rd century, it appeared that destruction was imminent. However, hard times often produce people who are determined to right the wrongs and lead their people from the precipice. Constantine took the reins of the ailing empire and reunited it. It was a slow process to recovery that had been started by Constantine’s predecessor Diocletian. Under Constantine the Roman Empire regained its strength, size and unity. He became the sole ruler of the Empire and gained support of a significant portion of the people by legalizing Christianity.

After the rule of Constantine, the Empire again began to fall into complacency and internal turmoil. As a result, it broke into two separate empires. The Western Empire fell first, after 1,200 years of existence. The Eastern Empire remained a power for another 1,000 years, until the rise of Islam eventually toppled the now Christian Roman Empire.

Crusaders from the West

As the Byzantium Empire toppled, the Islamic aggressors limited Christian access to the Holy Land. The base of Christianity had relocated westward to Europe. By now, the middle ages were in full swing and the Britains and Gauls (once former Roman territories) were now a primarily Christian culture. These nations banded together to mount tremendous crusades against the Muslims occupying the Holy Land. Many of these crusaders were from what would become the Third Realm. The British Empire.

In part 5 of this arc, I will discuss the final ancestor responsible for the DNA of our nation. Stay with me. History can be dry, but I promise to bring all of these lessons to a fine point soon. Even as I write these words I see the patterns of the Life Cycle. I see the history of those that we were born from. Through that history I see several possible futures for America.

-J

Defensor Patriae, Defensor re Publica

418/1775