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September 23, 2011

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Page2 POST-GAZETTE, SEPTEMBER 23, 2011 DOMITIAN THE FLY-STABBER R Publica A weekly column highlighting some by David Trumbull of the more interesting aspects of our ancestry.., our lineage.., our roots. Socialized Medicine Makes the Economy Sick Mitt Romney's landmark Massachusetts Health Care Reform Law cost the Commonwealth of Massachusetts at Titus Flavius Domitianus, popularly known as Domi- tian, was born on October 24, 51 A.D. in Rome. He lived in great poverty during his boyhood and early youth. During the war with Vitellius in 69 A.D., al- though he was eighteen years of age, Domitian took refuge in the Capital. When the enemy forced an entrance and the place was fired, he went into hiding for the entire night. At day- break he escaped, using the disguise of a priest, and con- tinued to remain in hiding until the forces of Vitellius were overcome. After the death of his father (Vespa- sian), he never had any res- ervations about making claims of partnership in the imperial will and that it had been tampered with. From the time of Vespasian's death, Domitian never ceased to plot against his brother, secretly and openly. After the death of Titus, his memory was often ridiculed by Domitian. During the early months of his reign, Domitian spent hours in seclusion every day doing nothing more than catching flies and then stab- bing them with a pin. Consequently, when anyone asked if the emperor had visitors, the witty reply was "No, not even a fly." His administration of the gov- ernment was inconsistent and showed an equal num- ber of virtues and vices. Finally his virtues were turned into vices, and it was explained that he became rapacious through need and cruel through fear. He con- stantly gave very costly entertainment in the am- phitheater as well as in the circus. These shows were in the form of chariot races and mock wars between infantry and cavalry. At one time he flooded the lower section of the amphitheater and gave a mock naval battle. Other entertainment took the form of wild beast hunts, gladiatorial shows by torch- light fights between two men, or at times between two women. He also short- ened the number of laps in the chariot races from seven to five in order to run one hundred races in one day. He felt that a good racing day started at sunrise and con- tinued until sunset. He also established a quinquennial contest in honor of Jupiter, with competitions in music, riding and gymnastics. Domitian restored many splendid buildings, which had been destroyed by fire, and made innovations in the common customs. He elimi- nated the distribution of food to the people and re- vived an older custom of giving them formal dinners instead. Actors were forbid- den to appear on any stage but were permitted to prac- tice their art in private houses. He prohibited the castration of males and regu- lated the price of the few re- maining eunuchs that were still in the hands of the slave dealers. Justice was scrupu- lously and conscientiously administered and special sessions in the courts were held when appropriate. He rescinded decision of judges that were influenced by per- sonal motives or gain and degraded jurors and their associates who accepted bribes. It is said that at no other time in history were the officials more honest and just. He put an end to a practice in the theaters where the general public was permitted to occupy seats that were reserved for the knights. He also stopped the publication of vulgar or abusive lam- pooning in which famous people of the times were attacked, and he imposed humiliating penalties on their authors. A former magistrate who became a senator was discharged because he liked to sing and dance. Notorious women were denied the use of litters or carryingchairs, neither were they permitted the right to receive inherit- ances and legacies. One Roman knight was denied -the right to act as a juror because he had taken his wife back into the household after she had been divorced and charged with adultery. Any form of incest com- mitted against the Vestal virgins was punished by nor- mal forms of execution, but later the offenders were put to death in the ancient fashion, which was to be beaten to death with rods. Vestal virgins that were found guilty of violating their vow of chastity were permit- ted to choose the manner of their death, but later the penalty was changed and they were buried alive. In the early part of his reign he shrank from any form of bloodshed, but this did not continue for long. He even- tually turned to cruelty as well as to avarice. NEXT WEEK: Domitian The Killer-Diller f DIAMONDS ROLEX ESTATE JEWELRY Bought & Sold Jewelers Exch. Bldg. Jim (617) 263-7766 j least 18,000 jobs since its passage, according to a study released by the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University. The study also found that RomneyCare has acted as a damper on investment and disposable income in the Bay State. "The health care law does not exist in a vacuum," said Beacon Hill Institute Executive Director David G. Tuerck. The shared sacrifice needed to provide universal health care includes a net loss of jobs, which is attributable to the higher costs that the measure imposed. The study is the second in a series examining the eco- nomic consequences of RomneyCare. A study released in July documented that the law is responsible for driving up private health insurance costs in Massachusetts by $4.3 billion. Grounded in the principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility and free markets, the Beacon Hill Institute, while itself non-partisan, may be thought of as representa- tive of voters in a Republican primary election who are mo- tivated, for the most part, by lower taxes and less government interference in the economic activities of individuals and businesses. These voters, according to conventional wis- dom, are those most likely to support Mr. Romney, so ff he is losing them, then he has trouble. Along with these fiscal conservatives, two other important constituencies in the modern Republican Party are social conservatives and libertarian leaning Republicans. "Get the gummint outta my life" libertarians, needless to say, will never support Romney's universal mandate to buy health insurance. "Governor Romney's signature policy achieve- ment is a bust;" wrote Doug Bandow of the libertarian Cato Institute in an article published last week. He continued: "His health care failure raises doubts that he is the Repub- licans' best choice for president." As for the social conservatives, I reported in this space last month that Massachusetts Citizens for Life has mounted an effort to repeal RomneyCare and has launched a website -- Other Republican presidential candidates attack Romney over his Massachusetts health care law and nationally the majority of Americans oppose President Obama's government takeover of health care. Even now, with jobs and the economy generally being the big issues, this Beacon Hill Institute study linking socialized medicine to job losses suggests that opposition to government-run health care will be an issue in the 2012 election. That is bad news for President Obama and the Democrats. 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