Sarasota School District Scandal: Board members, former superintendent, staff, teachers, union implicated in improper use of email system for political purposes

As a result of information uncovered by Citizens for Sarasota Schools, multiple emails demonstrate the politicization of the Sarasota County School Board, the Administration, and the school district down to lower level employees. Numerous Sarasota County School District employees and administrators ignore the law and have used public property for political purposes to fund raise, recruit volunteers, campaign and promote the candidacy of one of their own bureaucrats, Ken Marsh, during school hours.

The Sarasota County Schools Information Technology Guidelines and Procedures, page 28, under the heading “Appropriate Use of E-mail” states the following:

Sarasota County Schools guidelines prohibit certain types of e-mailThese include mail that may be perceived as harassment, political campaigning, or commercial solicitation. Chain mail is also prohibited. Violators will be subject to loss of computer access privileges, as well as additional disciplinary action as determined by the Sarasota County Schools disciplinary procedures. Certain types of e-mail, including but not limited to harassing e-mail, may also subject the sender to civil or criminal penalties. [Emphasis added]

Copies of emails obtained by Citizens for Sarasota Schools show Sarasota County School Board members Shirley Brown and Caroline Zucker violated school board policy on use of the email system. Also implicated is former district superintendent Wilma Hamilton. District Director Gary Letterman was implicated in violating the policy by drafting and editing a fundraising letter for the Ken Marsh campaign. Multiple employees of the school system, some union representatives, have repeatedly violated school board policy.

The following are some examples of the improper use of the Sarasota County School District resources for political purposes:

September 9, 2014

Gary Leatherman, the Director of Communications and Community Relations for the Sarasota County School District uses the Sarasota County School District Email System to confirm a commitment to submit a political donation to the Ken Marsh Campaign, as well as to assist in the drafting and editing of a fundraising letter for the Ken Marsh Campaign. Email sent during school hours. (Page 294-302)

September 9, 2014

Gary Leatherman, the Director of Communications and Community Relations for the Sarasota County School District uses the Sarasota County School District Email System, during business hours, to work directly with the Ken Marsh for School Board Campaign to draft and edit a fundraising letter and suggest attacks on School Board Member Bridget Ziegler. His official title & government position appears in the email.
(Page 105-108)

September 10, 2014

Gary Leatherman, the Director of Communications and Community Relations for the Sarasota County School District uses the Sarasota County School District Email System to communicate directly with School Board Candidate Ken Marsh, Ann Hankinson (who appears to be a Ken Marsh campaign volunteer & school district employee) & Gabriel Hament (who we believe is acting as Ken Marsh’s campaign manager & has hosted a fundraising for Ken Marsh). Sent during school hours. (Page 131-133)

September 10, 2014

Gary Leatherman, the Director of Communications and Community Relations for the Sarasota County School District uses the Sarasota County School District Email System, during business hours, to work directly with the Ken Marsh Campaign to draft and edit a fundraising letter and suggest attacks on School Board Member Bridget Ziegler. In the email, he states “Good Job”. His official title & government position appears in the email. (Page 136)

September 21, 2014

Gary Leatherman, the Director of Communications and Community Relations for the Sarasota County School District uses the Sarasota County School District Email System to directly receive a campaign update from the Ken Marsh Campaign. Continues to show pattern of coordination between Gary Leatherman, in his official capacity, working with the Ken Marsh Campaign. (Page 172-173).

Additional abuses (there are numerous other examples).

August 13, 2014

Lisa Saul uses the Sarasota County School District Email System to forward endorsements and attacks on the Tea Party and various candidates. Sent during school hours. (Document 1 Page 76-78)

September 11, 2014

Shari Dembinski (looks to be Union Rep) uses the Sarasota County School District Email System to forward an attack on Bridget Ziegler and a list of contributors to Bridget Ziegler’s campaign. Recipients are encouraging to share with non-union members. (We suspect this is what caused an organized effort to threaten the boycott of businesses supporting the Bridget Ziegler for School Board campaign. Numerous businesses reported receiving countless calls threatening a boycott of their establishment if they did not stop donating and/or displaying a Bridget Ziegler campaign sign. (Document 1 Page 81-82)

September 12, 2014

Shannon Wynne, a School District Employee, uses the Sarasota County School District Email System to falsely attack Bridget Ziegler and one of her contributors. Sent during school hours. (Document 1 Page 98-99)

September 12, 2014

Joette Riggs, a school district employee, uses the Sarasota County School District Email System to attack Bridget Ziegler and a contributor to the Bridget Ziegler Campaign. Sent during school hours. (Document 1 Page 112-114)

And why not? The politics and illegal misuse of taxpayer funded public resources starts at the top.

August 27, 2014

Wilma Hamilton, former Superintendent of the Sarasota County District, uses the Sarasota County School District Email System to book a hotel room for Ken Marsh & his wife Tanice Knopp. Why is she booking them a room? Was this disclosed on his campaign finance report? (Page 47-49)

August 21, 2014

Sarasota County School Board Member Shirley Brown uses the Sarasota County School District Email System in her official capacity as a School Board Member to endorse three Sarasota County School Board Candidates. (Page 56-57)

August 23, 2014

Sarasota County School Board Member Shirley Brown uses the Sarasota County School District Email System in her official capacity as a School Board Member to notify Marie Baia, a School District Employee, about political endorsements received by Ken Marsh, School Board Member Jane Goodwin and herself. (Page 248-249)

August 21, 2014

Sarasota County School Board Member Caroline Zucker uses the Sarasota County School District Email System, in her official capacity as a School Board Member, to endorse political candidate for office.

October 3, 2014

SB Member Caroline Zucker sharing who she voted for in the SB race Goodwin-Brown-Marsh when asked for recommendations (Page 297 – Document 3)

The Sarasota School System has far too long gone unexamined and been poorly managed. This has created a culture where the School Administration and School Board believe it is unaccountable.

For example, the Board regularly takes workshop meetings off video recording, decamps to another building, settles into a much smaller conference room, and in this “shade” conducts public meetings.

The Sarasota School Board does not post and stream complete workshops and Board Meetings — which is regularly done by other government bodies. And yet, they self-congratulate themselves even when close to 22% of students fail to graduate. This is only 3% better than the rest of Florida.

Perhaps it is time they stop politicking and start educating.

EDITORS NOTE: To read the full list of emails click here, here and here.

PUBLISHERS NOTE: I, Dr. Rich Swier, regret having used the term “illegal” in this and any other article to describe actions by Ms. Pat Gardner and the SC/TA.

Charlie Crist Concedes Election Finance Violations, Forced To Refund Donations

During the first of three gubernatorial debates between Florida Governor Rick Scott and Democrat gubernatorial nominee Charlie Crist, viewers were treated to a sort of political ‘Lucha Libre’ where both heavyweight contenders took their turn landing political jabs and body blows at one another.

One of the jabs Crist threw at Scott was that of the Florida Governor whisking around the state on his private jet.

This is true.

Rick Scott flies around on his own private jet doing state business, and even has the nerve to pay for the fuel from his own pocket, instead of billing taxpayers.

The nerve of him!

Crist’s hypocrisy here is rich.

When Crist was governor of Florida, the former Republican-turned-Independent-turned-Democrat use to fly around in private jets that were billed to the taxpayers, and or the Republican Party of Florida.

Now Charlie ‘Hypo-crist’ and his gubernatorial campaign have been called out and busted by Republicans for committing campaign finance violations.

Republicans filed a complaint against Team Crist for “repeated” finance violations. After the complaint was filed, Crist & Co. refunded thousands of dollars to donors who exceeded the legal limit of $3,000.

Here is a partial list of those “super donors” to Crist’s campaign:

donors

Click on the image for a larger view.

In addition, the GOP contends that Crist and his political committee have spent well over $64,000 on private airfare, that according them,  appeared on their finance reports, but only after the complaint was filed.

Honest mistake by the Crist campaign?

Probably not.

Political hypo-Crist-y?

You betcha!

EDITORS NOTE: The column originally appeared on The Shark Tank. Follow The Shark Tank on Facebook and Twitter.

St. Louis policeman shoots black man armed with stolen gun – riots ensue

Blacks have been taunting the police and the St. Louis community since the shooting of Michael Brown. A black flash mob attacked the St. Louis Symphony and appeared at a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game. Shots have been fired at the police by black rioters. Now we have yet another black man, and possible gang member, named Vonderrit Meyer, Jr. shot by a St. Louis police officer.

Watch a crowd of black protesters invade a St. Louis mall screaming at ‘racist’ white people:

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Vonderrit Myers Jr. (left) flashing gang sign.

Lyle J. Rapacki, Ph.D., Protective Intelligence and Assessment Specialist at Sentiel Intelligence Services, LLC, reports:

Vonderrit Myers, Jr. the suspect who fired upon a St. Louis, Missouri Police Officer upon which the officer returned fire killing Mr. Myers last Wednesday evening. The shooting incident quickly led to demonstrations and property destruction; hatred spewed towards the police as well as Caucasians.

The information below is quite different than what most of the public has been led to believe, which only adds to the sadness associated with this incident.

The media and political reports state that Mr. Myers was an “innocent teenager” who was “unarmed” when he was fired upon by the police officer. Much work to provoke hatred between races went into the initial reporting, but as you will see and read for yourself in the material below, not everything the media and political zealots state are necessarily true.

The media, as noted by Dr. Rapacki, is not telling the truth.

mug shot voderrit myers

Jim Hoft Vonderrit Myers, Jr. mug shot.

POLICE REPORT: Vonderrit Myers, Jr. Was Firing a STOLEN GUN at Police Officer

Posted by Jim Hoft on Thursday, October 9, 2014, 5:45 PM

18 year-old Vonderrit Myers, Jr. was shot dead by a police officer in St. Louis City Wednesday night. Myers, Jr. reportedly shot at the officer three times during a chase. A 9mm Ruger was recovered from the scene. The gun was stolen. 18 Year-Old Vonderrit Myers, Jr. Had Gun Felony Conviction & Ankle Monitor, Myers Jr. had an electronic monitor and was on house arrest.

The St. Louis Police Department released information on the fatal shooting last night on Shaw Boulevard. Vonderrit Myers, Jr. was shot dead by an off duty police officer. Vonderrit Myers, Jr. was firing a stolen gun.

From the police report: “The suspect’s 9mm handgun was recovered at the scene. The gun was reported stolen on 9/26/14.”

At least three police vehicles were damaged in the rioting last night after the fatal shooting.

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Myers shooting police report. For a larger view click on the image.

RELATED ARTICLE: Police Beefed Up Capabilities Because a Crime-Weary Nation Wanted Them To

RELATED PHOTOS:

vonderitte myers with guns before shooting

Vonderitte Myers with guns before shooting. The gun on the left appears to be a Ruger 9mm Model SR9. The type of gun allegedly stolen by Myers and found at the crime scene.

vonderrit-gun

Vonderrit Myers (lower right) with gun.

st louis police car damage

Damage to St. Louis police car.

st louis police car damage 2

Damage to St. Louis Police car #2.

VIDEO: Demonstrators ‘disrupt’ STL symphony singing a ‘Requiem for Mike Brown’

U.S. State Department: Out of Touch with America, Out of Touch with Reality

The U.S. State Department once again demonstrates that it fails to grasp the true nature of the threat from Islamic jihad by endorsing a Canadian publication produced by Islamist organizations—even after the Canadian Mounted Police rejected the very same manual.

State Department Endorses Canadian Islamist Manual that Describes Jihad as ‘Noble’

By Andrew C. McCarthy

At the Washington Free Beacon, Adam Kredo reports that the State Department has issued a tweet endorsing a manual that promotes sharia and admonishes investigators not to use terms like “jihad,” which it describes as “a noble concept” in Islam.

The manual, United Against Terrorism, is said by its sponsors – the Islamic Social Services Association (ISSA) and the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) – to combat the radicalization of young Muslims. Yet, after being consulted during the manual’s writing, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police rejected the final product due to its “adversarial tone.”

That’s putting it mildly. Upon reading the book, Toronto Star columnist Anthony Furey observes that it frowns on “liberal values,” forbidding such things as the intermingling of the sexes in civil society and the marriage of a Muslim woman to a non-Muslim, while promoting the treatment of adultery and premarital sex as crimes for which “punishments are harsh.”

The manual admonishes that “Terrorism is not jihad. Jihad is a noble concept in Islam.” It further discourages Muslims from cooperating with law enforcement officials, even if the police are seeking information about Islamic radicals – the very “extremists” the manual ostensibly sets itself against. It also derides investigative measures designed to gather intelligence against terrorists.

Yet, the U.S. State Department lauded the manual yesterday, tweeting: “Canada: handbook to help parents understand extremists, combat recruitment [with a link to the manual.]”

As Mr. Kredo notes, the State Department’s approbation struck some Twitter users as curious. It should not have. The State Department, throughout the tenures of Secretaries Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, has been second only to the White House itself in championing the Muslim Brotherhood, whose promotion of sharia and project to forbid notice of the Islamic doctrinal roots of Islamic terrorism are amply reflected in the manual.

The airbrushing of jihad is also familiar. It is the same spin I discussed here in 2010 when then-White House counterterrorism czar (and now-CIA director) John Brennan claimed that we must not “describe our enemy as ‘jihadists’” because “jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam” that merely means “to purify oneself or one’s community.”

In point of fact, according to the authoritative sharia manual Reliance of the Traveller, which has been endorsed by scholars at al-Azhar University in Cairo (the seat of Sunni scholarship since the tenth century) and by the International Institute of Islamic Thought (the Muslim Brotherhood’s think-tank), “Jihad means to war against non-Muslims.” As Answering Islam’s Yoel Natan has recounted, jihad is referred to in 164 verses of the Koran, almost exclusively in terms of combat.

Moreover, if – even as jihadists are rampaging – you want to indulge the Brennan/Obama administration fantasy that jihad has evolved, Brennan’s anodyne rendering of the concept is hopelessly flawed. I explained why in the 2010 column:

Jihad is, always and everywhere, the mission to implement, spread, or defend sharia, the Islamic legal code. It is not exclusively violent; an army doesn’t need to be violent if its enemies are willing to give ground. But jihad only “means to purify oneself or one’s community” in a very narrow sense. It is not the syrupy quest to become a better person but the command to become a better Muslim; it is not the smiley-face mission to “purify” one’s community of crime but the command to cleanse one’s community of non-Islamic influences.

The inextricable bond between jihad and sharia is also easily explained. In Muslim doctrine, sharia is deemed the necessary precondition for Islamicizing a society. Islam’s designs are hegemonic: Even in its less threatening iterations, it is taken as a given that believers must call all of humanity to the faith. What separates the true moderates from the faux moderates and the terrorists are the lengths to which one is willing to go in carrying out that injunction. That it is an injunction, however, is not open to debate.

Our political leaders can continue to trivialize jihad as if it were some benign struggle to brush after every meal. They can continue to ignore the core tenets that make sharia antithetical to a free, self-determining society. But they can’t do that and do the only job we need them to do: protect our lives and our liberties.

Again, if the State Department, the administration, and the Beltway political class are going to keep looking at Islamists –i.e., Islamic supremacists who promote sharia – as part of the counterterrorism solution rather than a big part of the anti-American, anti-Western liberalism problem, we are never going to get out of our own way.

President Obama: What are you doing to keep our 3,000 soldiers in Liberia from getting Ebola?

President Obama is sending 3,000 U.S. soldiers to Ebola infested Liberia. Nearly half of these solders, 1,400, are from the 101st Airborne Division stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Other units involved are from Fort Hood, Texas and Fort Carson, Colorado. After their mission they will return to these bases in America’s heartland.

Tim Mac from The Daily Beast reports:

As the U.S. military rushes to combat Ebola in West Africa, soldiers are receiving on-the-fly instructions on how to protect themselves against the deadly virus.

American military operations to fight Ebola in Africa are unfolding quickly—forcing the military to come up with some procedures and protocols on the fly.

Soldiers preparing for deployment to West Africa are given just four hours of Ebola-related training before leaving to combat the epidemic. And the first 500 soldiers to arrive have been holing up in Liberian hotels and government facilities while the military builds longer-term infrastructure on the ground.

Read more.

Phil Stewart from Reuters reports:

At Fort Campbell in Kentucky, spouses of U.S. soldiers headed to Liberia seem to be lingering just a bit longer than usual after pre-deployment briefings, hungry for information about Ebola.

For these families, the virus is raising a different kind of anxiety than the one they have weathered during 13 years of ground war in Afghanistan and Iraq. They want to know how the military can keep soldiers safe from the epidemic, a new addition to the Army’s long list of threats.

“Ebola is a different problem set that the division hasn’t (faced) before,” said Major General Gary Volesky, who will soon head to Liberia along with soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division.

There are already more than 350 U.S. troops on the ground in West Africa, mostly in Liberia, including a handful from the 101st. That number is set to grow exponentially in the coming weeks as the military races to expand Liberia’s infrastructure so it can battle Ebola.

[Emphasis added]

RedState’s Erick Erickson writes:

In Dallas, TX, a health care worker who came into contact with the Ebola patient has contracted Ebola. The health care worker was a trained professional wearing protective clothing. But that trained professional in protective clothing now has Ebola.

There is always a risk. There was always going to be a risk.

But can the President answer this question: what are we doing to make sure our 3,000 soldiers in Liberia are not going to get Ebola?

Military.com reports:

Liberia’s United Nations peacekeeping mission has placed 41 staff members, including 20 military personnel, under “close medical observation” after an international member of its medical team was diagnosed with Ebola this week — the second mission member to test positive for the deadly disease.

[ … ]

The outbreak has now killed more than 4,000 people in total, the WHO said.

More than 400 health care workers have contracted Ebola, and 233 of those have died, according to the WHO. Liberia and Sierra Leone have both recorded 95 health worker deaths. 

[Emphasis added]

Since this announcement there have been mixed messages from the administration and the Pentagon about the role U.S. soldiers will play in Liberia. Given the spread of the Ebola pandemic it is becoming clear that even healthcare professionals adhering to the CDC protocols are not immune from contracting the virus. Larry Copeland in his column U.S. lacks a single standard for Ebola response, writes:

As Thomas Eric Duncan’s family mourns the USA’s first Ebola death in Dallas, one question reverberates over a series of apparent missteps in the case: Who is in charge of the response to Ebola?

The answer seems to be — there really isn’t one person or agency. There is not a single national response.

The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has emerged as the standard-bearer — and sometimes the scapegoat — on Ebola.

Public health is the purview of the states, and as the nation anticipates more Ebola cases, some experts say the way the United States handles public health is not up to the challenge.

President Obama is not only putting our soldiers at risk, he is putting the nation at risk.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Obama is sending our best, most decorated combat troops to fight Ebola in West Africa

U.S. Army Fort Detrick, Maryland Lab To Study Ebola Treatment

Healthcare Worker Who Cared For Deceased Ebola Victim In Dallas Tests Positive For The Disease

Ebola crisis puts Obama’s credibility to the test – Washington Times

RELATED VIDEO: Medical Expert Says ‘We Have to Be Ready For’ U.S. Soldiers Contracting Ebola in West Africa

What is ‘the Basic Issue’ facing the World today?

If you believe the basic issue facing the world today is the Ebola pandemic, the Islamic State, an eminent financial collapse, famine, poverty, government corruption, climate change or war you would be wrong. Some times people can’t see the forest for the trees. If you can’t see the forest for the trees, then you can’t see the whole situation clearly because you’re looking too closely at small details, or because you’re too closely involved.

Ayn Rand wrote a short nineteen page paper asking: What is the basic issue facing the world today?

Rand, in her paper makes the case that, “The basic issue in the world today is between two principles: Individualism and Collectivism.” Rand defines these two principles as follows:

  • Individualism – Each man exists by his own right and for his own sake, not for the sake of the group.
  • Collectivism – Each man exists only by the permission of the group and for the sake of the group.

The Giver CoverI had read Ayn Rand’s paper and recently went to the movie theater to see “The Giver“, a film based on a 1993 young adult novel by Lois Lowry. The Giver is set in a society which is at first presented as a Utopian [Collectivist] society and gradually appears more and more dystopian. The novel follows a boy named Jonas through the twelfth and thirteenth years of his life. The society has eliminated pain and strife by converting to “Sameness,” a plan that has also eradicated emotional depth from their lives.

One of the key quotes from The Giver is: We really have to protect people from wrong choices.

For Collectivists this is the key concept for their social system. Rand defines a social system as “a code of laws which men observe in order to live together.” For an individualist the power of society is “limited by the unalienable, individual rights of man.” For the Collectivist “the power of society is unlimited.”

There are several points in the film where the life of a new born child is taken, by lethal injection, because of a perceived defect that may negatively impact the collective. Ayn Rand wrote:

“Under individualism, it is illegal to kill the man and it is legal for him to protect himself. The law is on the side of the right.

Under collectivism, it is legal for the majority to kill a man and it is illegal for him to defend himself.

The law is on the side of a number.

In the first case, the law represents a moral principle.

In the second case, the law represents the idea that there are no moral principles, and men can do anything they please, provided there’s enough of them.

Rand gives examples of each principle. Individualism is embodied in the United States of America by the Declaration of Independence. The examples of Collectivism are the former Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.

Many are concerned that the United States is becoming a Collectivist society. Rand wrote, “When [Collectivism is] applied in practice, a principle which recognizes no morality and no individual rights, can result in nothing except brutality.” Rand notes:

Either the power of society is limited, or it is not. It can’t be both.

Rand and a growing number of Americans understand that the Constitution “is not a document that limits the rights of man – but a document that limits the power of society over man.” Rand defines a right as “that which can be exercised without anyone’s permission.” Inalienable rights means that, “Man cannot be forced to devote his life to the happiness of another man nor of any number of other men. It means that the collective cannot decide what is to be the purpose of man’s existence nor prescribe his choice of happiness.”

What is the shield that protects man’s inalienable rights? Moral Principles.

Rand wrote, “It is true that society can abandon moral principles and turn itself into a herd running amuck to destruction. Just as it is true that a man can cut his own throat any time he chooses. But a man cannot do this if wishes to survive. And society cannot abandon moral principles if it expects to exist… Without a moral code no proper human society is possible. Without the recognition of individual rights no moral code is possible.”

Rand concludes “there can be no social system which is a mixture of Individualism and Collectivism.”

You see the Ebola pandemic, the Islamic State, a financial collapse, famine, poverty, government corruption, climate change and war are all symptoms of Collectivism. The cure for each is Individualism.

RELATED VIDEO: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. perhaps expressed the ideal of individualism best in a three minute sermon titled “The Street Sweeper”. Many believe this was his greatest sermon.

EDITORS NOTE: To download a printable copy of Any Rand’s paper What is the Basic Issue in the World Today, click here. If you are looking for a holiday gift to give yourself, your children, grandchildren or a family member or friend may we suggest giving either the novel The Giver or a DVD of the film or both.

A Supreme Court, Not Supreme Wisdom

I am not a lawyer, but I have read the Constitution and I cannot find any indication that the Founding Fathers intended the guarantee of “equal protection of the laws” in the 14th Amendment to include same-sex marriage.

The idea would have been regarded as an abomination to the men who created the Constitution. To many who regard the institution of marriage a sacred bond between a man and a woman, the decisions of lower courts that have facilitated same-sex marriage are deeply offensive

When the Supreme Court decided not to decide upon appeals from seven states regarding lower court rulings that their bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional, they essentially endorsed same-sex marriage. It is now legal in 25 states, paving the way for a total of 30 states that recognize it, but only by popular vote in three of them; the rest had it imposed through the courts.

The same can be said of the Supreme Court’s decision in 1973 that permitted abortion as a legal right. Here again, the 14th Amendment was cited. As one source noted, “The Court summarily announced that the ‘Fourteen Amendment’s concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action” includes “a right to personal privacy, or a guarantee of certain areas or zones of privacy and that “this right of privacy…is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.”

As this is being written, there have been more than 57,245,810 fetuses aborted since 1973 and, this year, there have been 840,045. Thus, decisions that the Supreme Court makes can literally result in life or death.

One of the most dramatic decisions of an earlier Supreme Court was the 1857 Dred Scott case that ruled that African Americans, whether slave or free, could not be American citizens and thus had no standing to sue in federal court, nor that the federal government had any power to regulate slavery in the territories acquired after the creation of the nation. The Civil War would follow in 1861 and last until 1865, resulting in more than 600,000 casualties, but finally ending slavery in America. Even some of the Founding Fathers had predicted that conflict.

When the Supreme Court has wandered into the area of social policy and culture, it has made decisions that were contrary to the majority of the population. The decision about slavery was about property—the slave–but many regarded slavery as an institution that must be ended.

The Supreme Court, of course, is not one long list of bad decisions. It has done much good and one man is credited with setting it on its course as a co-equal brand of the federal government. That man was John Marshall. I doubt that his name and deeds are even taught in the schools of America.

Cover - John MarshallAs a brilliant and very entertaining biography by Harlow Giles Unger, “John Marshall: The Chief Justice Who Save the Nation”, reveals, “Marshall’s pronouncements would ensure the integrity and eminence of the Constitution and the federal government and catapult him into the pantheon of American Founding Fathers as the father of the American federal justice system.”

“He would become the longest serving Chief Justice in U.S. history, signing 1,180 decisions and writing 549 of them, or nearly half, himself.” America was fortunate to have a legal scholar, utterly devoted to the Constitution, in its early, formative years. “Case by case he defined, asserted, and when necessary, invented the authority he and the Court needed to render justice, stabilize the federal government, and preserve the Union and the Constitution.”

Chief among Marshall’s achievements was to assert that the Supreme Court had the right and duty to declare federal and state laws to be either constitutional or unconstitutional. With that it became the third equal but separate branch of government.

Marshall had fought in the American Revolution and had had a distinguished career as a lawyer. As Unger says, “Clouds of doom shrouded the nation in 1800. George Washington was dead. For the first time in their twenty-five year struggle to govern themselves, Americans faced a future without the father of their country to lead them. And they lost their way.”

“Absent their commander-in-chief, the men who helped him lead the nation to independence went mad. Chaos engulfed the land as surviving Founding Fathers—Adams, Burr, Hamilton, Jefferson, Monroe, and others—turned on each other as they clawed at Washington’s fallen mantle.” Jefferson as the third President wanted to rule as a virtual tyrant, but Adams’ appointment of Marshall put a brake those ambitions.

The United States is passing thought a period of governance in which the Congress is so locked in partisanship and so divided that it is barely able to function in the national interest. The current President is losing the popularity he enjoyed when first elected and, now into his second term, he is losing the support and confidence of a majority of Americans. Barack Obama has repeatedly expressed his displeasure with a Constitution that places limits on his power as President.

As Unger notes “Nothing in the Constitution gives a President power to issue proclamations or executive orders with the force of law. Only Congress can legislate, yet presidents have issued more than 13,500 proclamations and executive orders since the founding of the Republic, while the Congress has enacted only about 20,000 laws.”

The Constitution remains supreme above the office of President and, in great measure, we can thank the work of Chief Justice John Marshall.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Ferguson, Missouri is racially and economically integrated — So why are blacks rioting?

I grew up in Florissant, Missouri and attended McCluer Senior High School in the Ferguson-Florissant Unified School District. Jonathan Rodden, a fellow graduate from McCluer High School and a professor of political science and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, wrote a column in the Washington Post titled “Is segregation the problem in Ferguson?

What Professor Rodden found is that Ferguson is racially and economically integrated, more so than the surrounding communities.

Professor Rodden found that the racial divide and “lack of diversity” narrative is “wrong in several crucial respects.” “For starters, while St. Louis is indeed among the most segregated metropolitan regions in the United States, Ferguson and some of its North County neighbors are among the most racially integrated municipalities in Missouri and well beyond,” notes Professor Rodden.

So why are blacks rioting?

To illustrate his points Professor Rodden uses several maps. The first map below uses data from the 2010 Census to place Ferguson in the larger context of the racial segregation of St. Louis. While most of the region is completely segregated, note that Ferguson is part of a patch of integrated inner suburbs in North St. Louis County.

imrs

For a larger view click on the map. Map courtesy of the Washington Post.

The second map zooms in on this region, shows Ferguson in fine detail. In the southeastern appendage of Ferguson, there is a dense, overwhelmingly black apartment complex where Michael Brown was killed. However, the rest of the city is, by the standards of American suburbia, striking in its level of racial integration. Ferguson and the proximate sections of Florissant and Hazelwood are composed of modest single-family houses on streets where blacks and whites live side by side.

imrs

For a larger view click on the map. Map courtesy of the Washington Post.

Professor Rodden found, “While most of St. Louis County’s residents live in municipalities that are either homogeneous or internally segregated or both, Ferguson and its North County neighbors stand out for their relative heterogeneity and internal desegregation. Moreover, the income gap between blacks and whites is smaller in these municipalities than elsewhere… Lost in the tale of woe about Ferguson is that while the entry point was often cheap multi-family housing such as Canfield Green, many blacks came from North St. Louis City for single-family houses, better schools and lower crime. While there are pockets of poverty and Section 8 renters that dominate the media reports, there is also a resilient black middle class, though it has been hit hard by the great recession. While a large number of whites departed for homogeneous St. Charles County over the last 40 years, many have stayed.”

Ferguson rioters have no justification for their actions. Rather they should be embracing Ferguson as an example of racial and economic integration and balance.

Perhaps the rioters have a political bone to pick? Perhaps the rioters are rioting for the sake of drawing attention to themselves? If this is the case, and it appears so, then the media needs to call the demonstrations out for what they are – lawless.

RELATED ARTICLE: Ferguson Activist Lauded by Media is Muslim Convert & Child Molester

Who really is the Amnesty Party? The answer will shock you!

In 1986 the first, and what was to be the only, amnesty since our nation was founded in 1778 was passed. Between 1986 and 2000 there were six more amnesties passed by the U.S. Congress.

So which party pushed amnesty?

Here is a list of all amnesties passed and who controlled the U.S. Congress:

  1. In 1986 the amnesty was called Immigration and Reform Control Act (IRCA. A blanket amnesty for some 2.7 million illegal aliens and only 40% ever became Naturalized. Republican Senate and Democrat controlled House. (R/D)
  2. Section 245(i ) Amnesty 1994: A temporary rolling amnesty for 578,000 illegal aliens. Democrat Senate and House. (D/D)
  3. Section 245(1) Extension Amnesty: 1997 An extension of the rolling amnesty created in 1994. Republican Senate and Republican House. (R/R)
  4. Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) Amnesty 1997 An amnesty for close to one million Central Americans. Republican Senate and Republican House. (R/R)
  5. Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act Amnesty (HRIFA) 1998 An amnesty for for 125,000 illegal aliens from Haiti. Republican Senate and Republican House. (R/R)
  6. Late Amnesty 2000: An amnesty for some 400,000 illegal aliens who claimed they should have been under the 1986 amnesty. Republican Senate and Republican House. (R/R)
  7. LIFE Act Amnesty 2000: A reinstatement of the rolling section 245(i) amnesty for an estimated 900,000 illegal aliens. Republican Senate and Republican House. (R/R)

When you add up who was in charge for the seven amnesties it becomes clear: THE AMNESTY PARTY IS THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.

The Republicans completely controlled both houses for 5 of the 7 amnesties, split one and the Democrats controlled both houses only in 1994.

If you have been wondering why the Republicans, the so called Rule-of-Law Party, has not been taking action against Obama’s unconstitutional acts with immigration perhaps these facts will enlighten you.

Is Obama doing their work for them?

WHAT WORKS AND WHAT DOESN’T

You would think with seven amnesties granted from 1986-2000 sponsored overwhelmingly by Republicans granting 5,700,000 amnesties and with 11,000,000 (govt. numbers) illegal aliens currently demanding amnesty a smart bunch would have figured out it doesn’t solve any problems; it just creates bigger ones like the orchestrated kid’s invasion we couldn’t or wouldn’t repel. The amnesty approach satisfies special interest groups and dumps on citizens.

E-VERIFY DOES WORK

The same bunch that rewards illegal actions with legal residency have avoided legislating enforced mandatory E-Verify. Why? Because it works and they aren’t interested in fixing the illegal invasion what with the need for cheap labor and new democrats. They also don’t like to be reminded they promised E-Verify in 1986 along with a border as secure as the Korean border. The E-Verify approach satisfies citizens, especially workers, and requires special interest groups to obey employment laws.

Charlie Crist supporters call the Cops on this Veteran — Seriously? LOL

I hope everyone is well and getting excited about the election in just a few more weeks. Today was an epic day. I got some serious intelligence that Charlie Crist was speaking at the Democratic Women’s Club of Bay County headquarters located at 135 Harrison Avenue in Panama City. This meant local news reporters would be there and my sources told me to get ready for TV interviews.

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C&G Sporting Goods located at 137 Harrison Ave.

So I make it to the Democratic Women’s Club of Bay County Command Post and our team gathered at the gun shop next door. Imagine that, the Democrats open up a headquarters right next to C&G Sporting Goods, a gun shop. Such awesomeness that I almost soiled my pants.

So Charlie Crist is next door spouting his Obamaesque ideology to this crowd of Democrat women and then the TV crews line up outside. Okay time to get on live with the TV boys and girls.

So here I am throwing Charlie Crist under the bus very loudly. The NBC news team and the Democrats all gathered around excited thinking I was going to praise this guy. ERR Big mistake. One guy walked by me and sneered giving me this **** you look, so I asked him if he read his Daily Pravda this morning. He sneered again so I told him to look down I think he dropped his Karl Marx Manifesto. Oh that really angered him. Of course all this was perfectly legal under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Charlie Crist does not support or care about Florida’s veterans, he just wants your vote. He even used Obama’s Veterans Administration scandal to try and raise money for his campaign. So I threw Crist under the bus right in the faces of the gathered Democrats and gave Rick Scott a huge plug. Rick Scott served honorably at sea in a deployable status in the United States Navy.

Needless to say the anti-First Amendment Democrats got all upset and called the cops on me. Oh, the poor babies can’t handle the truth and the First Amendment. It really drives them crazy.

So I wrapped up the NBC interview and up next was ABC News. Oh yes, I was again on point, the microphone attached to my shirt and my lips were bashing Charlie Crist again right in the faces of these Democrats. They where going nuts. Here I am bashing their messiah on NBC news and ABC in their own back yard. I am sure they were saying dang we must stop this guy.

So the cops show up in squad cars out front like Starsky and Hutch and I was thinking they were here to protect Charlie Crist as he got ready to leave. But no, they were there for me. Somebody thought I was a trouble maker and I was going to disrupt Charlie Crist’s shindig, so they filed a false police report on little ole me.

The cops amble over (Here I am thinking at first my 1997 Mercury Cougar was illegally parked). No it was a tax payer funded Democrat initiated hit squad looking for me. The cops asked if I was going to cause trouble and disrupt Charlie Crist’s event. So I put my hand on the cop’s shoulder and said, “Do you believe in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution”? He said. “Yes.” I asked are you going to detain me ? He said, “No.” I said good, so shake my hand and have a nice day. And he did. The event was over.

political-correctness-voltaireThe Democrats tried to intimidate me (they failed) and I had a blast on the TV throwing Charlie Crist under the proverbial bus.

So you see the Democrat Party are a cowardly bunch. They can’t win on facts and via legislation so they intimidate and try to harass and manipulate the system using our brave law enforcement officers as fodder for their cause.

My final word to the Democratic Women’s Club of Bay County is this — Veterans took an oath to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution – get over it.

Have an awesome wonderful splendid day to the real Americans reading this. As for the Democrats in Panama City, I guess next month you will all be looking for new jobs for your team. I hear the weather in Cuba is nice. Perhaps North Korea for you folks who prefer the snow.

If you wish to send your comments to the Democratic Women’s Club of Bay County you may contact the Democratic Executive Committee (DEC) Officers of Bay County:

This message approved by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution of the United States.  Not yet recognized by the Democrat Party.

The Government vs. the American Spirit

Over the past 50 years, the purpose of the American government has radically transformed. Whereas its main goal in domestic matters used to be to protect liberty, it is now an entitlements machine, transferring over $2 trillion per year from some people’s pockets to others.

Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute explains how the explosions in social security, medicare, medicaid, and other welfare programs are changing the American character for the worse–from one that is focused on individual responsibility and giving, to one that is focused on grabbing as much of the pie as possible.

EDITORS NOTE: You may support Prager University by clicking here. Free videos are great, but to continue producing high-quality content, even small contributions are greater.

The Oprah-ization of America

“Feelings, nothing more than feelings. Trying to forget my feelings of love…” Okay folks, I’ll stop singing.

Is it just me or have you noticed that feelings now trump common sense and rational reasoned thinking in America today? Feelings have become more important than national security, our economy, the lives of our troops and even public health when you observe the politically correct way our government is dealing with this Ebola thing. It is insane.

I am not blaming Oprah, but I saw this trend towards everything-being-about-feelings beginning decades ago when the Oprah Winfrey show became the hottest thing on national daytime TV. Has our culture become too feminized?

Before I continue, allow me to admit an embarrassing personal quirk. When I am passionately talking about an issue, I sometimes struggle to hold back tears. Encountering honorable things such as love, courage and goodness also tend to cause me to well up. Every time this happens during a radio or TV interview, I feel humiliated. I ask myself, “Lloyd Marcus what in the world is wrong with you?”

My mom was a very compassionate and emotional person. As her first born, I wonder if I inherited something from her. I rationalize my quirk with the knowledge that Jesus wept for his people. So, I am in good company.

Having said that, I am appalled by the emotion-driven touchy-feely brain-dead metro-sexual idiocy that is running the show in America today. Apparently, somehow I missed the national memo banning testosterone and common sense.

Dad taught my three younger brothers and me to take pride in being men; always try to do the right thing, stand up for what you believe, nobody owes you anything, protect and respect women. Dad instructed, “When you take a girl out on a date it is your responsibility to return her home safely.” That is being a real man.

In our new wimpy America, manhood is no loner celebrated. Respecting women now includes asking a girl’s permission before kissing her. Folks, biology dictates that most women like confidence in their men. Wimpy liberal dudes and hardcore radical feminists do not go nuts and misinterpret my point. I am NOT saying that women like overly aggressive jerks.

All I am saying is that I would not have witnessed the same swooning reaction from my mom to the movie scene in which Burt Lancaster kissed Deborah Kerr on the beach had Lancaster asked permission before kissing her.

America’s obsession with taking a kinder, gentler, careful not to offend or hurt anyone’s feelings approach to everything is out of control.

A few examples…

Guilt feelings over America’s sin of slavery have lead author and Ebola expert David Quammen to suggest that we risk Ebola getting into our country rather than blocking flights from Liberia. So this fool cavalierly advocates putting millions of Americans at risk of contracting Ebola as payback for slavery. This is insanity, folks.

As a child, I remember my grandmother was sent away (quarantined) for over a year because she had tuberculosis. Should my family have raised a stupid emotion driven stink saying there they go again, locking way (enslaving) a black woman? Quarantining my grandmother was the right thing to do; common sense.

Then, there is the disturbing way feelings has been allowed to reign supreme in Ferguson. Cops were instructed, do not come across too aggressive and let the angry looters wreak havoc freely for a night or two. Despite the police super sensitive nuanced response, Ferguson is still a war zone.

Allow me to propose a radical and controversial concept. How about the Ferguson police locking up everyone who breaks the law? I am concerned that feelings, rather than the facts, may factor in the fate of officer Wilson who shot Michael Brown.

A Democrat Missouri state senator said if officer Wilson is not indicted, then the current rioting “will seem like a picnic”. Isn’t such a threat outrageously irresponsible and inflammatory coming from a public official? Oh I forgot, the senator is black and Democrat, so he gets a pass. Never-mind.

Generals are frustrated that we are fighting ISIS with one arm tied behind our back because our Commander-in-Chief feels it would be unfair and mean to unleash the full power of the U.S. Military in defeating our enemies. Such half measures ultimately lead to higher numbers of U.S. troops dying. Its all about feelings folks.

In keeping with the Obama administration’s pattern of using every governmental agency at its disposal to overrule the Constitution, punish its enemies and bully Americans, the FCC is considering a petition to ban the name “Redskins” from being used over the airwaves. Can you believe that folks? Remarkably, Democrats believe being sensitive to the feelings of those who are obsessed with political correctness is worthy of killing the First Amendment.

Everywhere you turn, Constitutional rights, the law and freedom of speech are being overruled by a hypersensitivity to hurting someone’s feelings. Liberals tell us that public expressions of patriotism and wearing a t-shirt displaying an American flag to a California school on Cinco de Mayo is mean because it hurts the feelings of illegals. Don’t you just want to yell, “This is my country! Get over it!”

I know what you are thinking. What about your feelings as a hardworking, law abiding, flag waving, tax paying, play by the rules U.S. citizen? As far as Obama, Hollywood, the MSM and assorted other liberals are concerned, your feelings do not count. Period.

“Feelings, woo-o-o feelings…woo-o-o feelings, again in my arms.”

Democrats and Independents for Scott Coalition Grows

Few media outlets are reporting on the fourteen prominent Florida Democrats and Independents have endorsed Governor Scott for Re-Election. After receiving more votes than any primary gubernatorial candidate in Florida history, the Rick Scott for Florida Campaign announced the “Democrats and Independents for Scott” coalition – led by prominent political and business leaders across the Sunshine State.

There is now a fifteen Democrat who has come out and endorsed Rick Scott for Governor. His name is Michael W. Calsetta (D) – Former President of the Conservative Democratic Alliance.

Calsetta along with the other coalition members praised Rick Scott’s record of job creation, fiscal responsibility, investments in education and public safety, 15 Democrats and independents endorsed Governor Scott for re-election and his vision for Florida.

James Harold Thompson, former Speaker of the Florida House, said: “I am honored to endorse Governor Scott’s re-election efforts. His leadership has helped Florida to rebound from the great recession.”

Joe Chillura, Former Democratic Tampa City Council Member, said: “Florida needs a leader who wakes up every day with one goal – to improve the lives of every Floridian. That’s what we have in Rick Scott. He’s worked tirelessly to bring jobs back to Florida. He’s increased funding for education to record levels and has fought to keep tuition low, including significantly reducing the cost of pre-paid college tuition. And he’s worked to reduce state debt so that the burden doesn’t fall on our children. Because of Rick Scott, the old adage is true: we’re better off than we were four years ago.”

Marc Sarnoff, City of Miami Commissioner, said: “Governor Rick Scott took office at a difficult time for the state of Florida and was forced to make some difficult decisions that weren’t always popular. But true leadership sometimes means making those tough decisions for the long-term benefit of the state, and that’s exactly what Rick Scott did. Now, as a result, Florida is enjoying an economic recovery that is leading the nation, with over 600,000 jobs created, property values increasing, and record investment in education. Leadership isn’t always easy, but it always pays off.”

Steve Whidden, Sheriff of Hendry County, said: “By almost every standard it’s working under Rick Scott. Crime is at a 43 year low. The state has created over 600,000 new jobs in the last 4 years. State education funding is at an all-time high, while Governor Scott has worked to keep tuition low for Florida students. And with Governor Scott’s fiscal leadership, the state has paid off $3.6 billion in state debt. The record speaks for itself, and I’m happy to support Governor Rick Scott.”

Members of “Democrats and Independents for Scott” Coalition:

Susan Benton (D) – Sheriff of Highlands County
Ted Blackburn (I) – Mayor, Village of Islamorada
Joe Capitano (D) – Tampa Business Owner
Joe Chillura (D) – Former Tampa City Council Member
Gib Coerper (D) – Mayor of Alachua
Mike Forster (I) – Councilman, Village of Islamorada
Jeff Hardy (D) – Sheriff of Putnam County
Mark Hunter (NPA) – Sheriff of Columbia County
Marc Sarnoff (D) – City of Miami Commissioner
Gordon Smith (D) – Sheriff of Bradford County
Ben Stewart (NPA) – Sheriff of Madison County
James Harold Thompson (D) – Former Speaker of Florida House
Steve Whidden (D) – Sheriff of Hendry County
Stuart Whiddon (D) – Sheriff of Glades County

And “another” Democrat

Michael W. Calsetta (D) – Former President of the Conservative Democratic Alliance

UnFair the Movie – FairTax Hits Theaters on October 14, 2014!

“He that can have patience can have what he will.” – Benjamin Franklin

On Thursdays, Facebook fans have adopted a growing ritual affectionately known as “Throw Back Thursday.” Users post their favorite remembrances from the past – a childhood picture, a tattered piece of high school memorabilia, news clippings of a place where the locals once gathered.

For Facebook, taking a walk down memory lane has proven to be a popular activity for many users. For the FairTax® campaign, taking time to look at the past provides a possible window into understanding the journey that has gone before us and lies ahead.

The FairTax legislation, first introduced in Congress 15 years ago, represents the greatest transfer of power from the Congress to the people since the Founding Fathers began drafting the Constitution in 1787. Some people say they love the FairTax but don’t think it will ever become law. Others believe that we have to repeal the 16th Amendment, and because repealing an amendment takes a long time, there is no reason to push the FairTax now.

It is important that doubters consider these historical facts:

  • While the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery, may have taken less than a year to be ratified, the decades leading up to its passage divided the nation and engulfed it in a bitter and costly civil war, but its supporters persisted and it was enacted.
  • The 27th Amendment, which prohibited increasing or decreasing the salary of Members of Congress until the next term of office begins for the House of Representatives, was introduced in 1798 and even though it took 202 years, 7 months and 12 days to ratify, its supporters persisted and it was enacted.
  • The 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, began as a serious movement in the mid-19th century. Congress passed the legislation in July 1919, and ratified it in August 1920. As noted by the National Archives, “Few early supporters lived to see final victory in 1920,” but it was enacted.
  • The 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age to 18 years of age, was debated for thirty years, but took three months and eight days to ratify after being passed by Congress.

Fulton Sheen said, “Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is “timing” it waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.”

Those who seek to protect the control, power and abuse they have carved out with the current income tax system believe that if they just keep throwing up roadblocks and ignore the FairTax movement, we will eventually join the doubters and give up and go away.

We have a message for them.

Never underestimate our patience as being a lack of action. Never doubt our unwavering principles in our quest for simple and fair taxation for all. Never question that we understand the concept of timing, and we are confident our time will come.

What our opponents fear the most is that the FairTax is the right and the best thing to do for America. Many of them instinctively know the truth of what Victor Hugo said so long ago,  “All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.”

To further help educate people on the FairTax, in just four days; one of the biggest FairTax events in 15 years will take place in theaters across the nation. The 90-minute movie, “UnFair: Exposing the IRS,” will be showing for one night only on October 14 at 7:00 p.m. across all time zones.

UnFair The Movie: Trailer from Unfair Movie on Vimeo.

This groundbreaking documentary promises to do what no other movie has done before – tell the stories of betrayal, corruption, intimidation and the harsh personal, economic and political realities of America’s income tax system and the IRS. More importantly, it presents the FairTax Plan as the only real solution!

Don’t delay. Buy your ticket today. And call your friends, family and neighbors and invite them to join you at the movies. Go to http://www.unfairmovie.com/tickets/ to locate theaters near you and to buy advance tickets. And if you are interested, click here to check on Theatre Captain opportunities in your hometown.

See you at movies!

Raise the Minimum Wage? A Socratic Dialogue by Lawrence W. Reed

The ancient sage Socrates, a giant in the foundation of Western philosophy, was known for a teaching style by which he aggressively questioned his students. He employed his Socratic method as a way to stimulate logical, analytical thought in place of emotive or superficial pronouncement. Rather than lecture or pontificate, he would essentially interrogate. The result was to force his Greek pupils to see the full implications of their conclusions or to realize that what they had accepted as solid was nothing more than the intellectual equivalent of crumbled feta.

In his January 28 State of the Union speech, President Obama called upon the U.S. Congress to enact a hike in the hourly minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10. (The dime may have been added because a nice round number without a decimal would sound unscientific.) Economists have long argued that raising thecost of labor, especially for small and start-up businesses, reduces the demand for labor (as with anything else). But Congress may do it anyway—with the usual, oversized measure of self-righteous breast-beating about helping workers. Maybe what members of Congress need is not another lecture on the minimum wage from an economist, but rather an old-fashioned Socratic inquisition. If the old man himself were with us, here’s how I imagine one such dialogue might go:

Socrates: So you want to raise the minimum wage. Why?

Congressman: Because as President Obama says, minimum wage workers haven’t had a raise in five years.

Socrates: Can you name one single worker who was making $7.25 five years ago who is still making $7.25 today? And if you can’t, then please tell me what caused their wage to rise if Congress didn’t do it. Come on, can you name just one?

Congressman: I don’t happen to have a name on me, but they must be out there somewhere.

Socrates: Well, we’ve just been through a deep recession because successive administrations from both parties, plus you lawmakers and your friends at the Fed, created a massive bubble and jawboned banks to extend easy credit. The bust forced many businesses to cut back or close. Now we have the weakest recovery in decades as ever-higher taxes, regulations, and Obamacare stifle growth. No wonder people are hurting! Do you take any responsibility for that, or do you just issue decrees that salve your guilty conscience?

Congressman: That’s water over the dam. I’m looking to the future.

Socrates: But how can you see even six months into a murky future when you refuse to look into the much clearer and more recent past? You guys think the world starts when a problem arises, as if you’re incapable of analyzing the problem’s origin. Maybe that’s why you rarely solve a problem; you just set everybody up to repeat it. If you really look to the future, then why didn’t you see this situation coming?

Congressman: Look, in any event, $7.25 just isn’t enough for anybody to live on. Workers must have more to meet their basic needs.

Socrates: An employer doesn’t have anything to pay an employee except what he first gets from paying customers. I wonder, whose “needs” do you consider when you decide to buy or not to buy: the workers’ or your own? Have you ever offered to pay more than the asking price just to help out the guy who made the product? And if customers like you won’t do that, where do you expect the employer to get the money?

Congressman: That’s not a fair question. My intent here is purely to help.

Socrates: Sounds to me like the answer is “no,” but let’s move on. Why do you assume your intentions mean more to a worker than those of his employer? It’s the employer who’s taking the risk to offer him a job, not you. You’re only making speeches about it. Don’t you see a little hypocrisy here—you, who are personally offering no one a job, self-righteously criticizing others who are actually creating jobs and paying wages even if they’re not all at a wage you like?

Congressman: Employers are interested only in profits.

Socrates: Are you saying employees are not? Are they more interested in working for companies that lose money, and if so, then why don’t they all line up for government jobs?

Congressman: Well, we lose money here in government every year and there are plenty of people who are happy to work for us.

Socrates: You have a printing press. You also have a legal monopoly on force. When you borrow in the capital markets, you shove yourself to the head of the line at everybody else’s expense. Are you saying these are good things and that we’d be better off if the private sector could do these things too? Try to keep up with me here.

Congressman: I repeat, employers are interested only in profits. People before profits, I say! I even have a bumper sticker on my car that says that.

Socrates: So are you saying that employers would be better people if, instead of seeking profits, they tried to break even or run at a loss? How does that add value to the economy or encourage risk-takers to start a business in the first place?

Congressman: You’re trying to belittle me but I went to a state university. All of my sociology, political science and gender studies professors told us that raising the minimum wage is good.

Socrates: Were any of those tenured, insulated, and government-funded pontificators actual job-creating, payroll tax-paying entrepreneurs themselves, ever?

Congressman: That’s beside the point.

Socrates(Sigh.) Figures.

Congressman: Look, $10.10 isn’t much. I think you must be mean-spirited and greedy if you don’t want people to be paid at least $10.10.

Socrates: Yeah, like you guys in government check your personal ambitions at the door when you take office. I’d like to know how you arrived at that number. Was it some sophisticated equation, divine revelation or toss of the dice? Why didn’t you choose $20.00, which is not only a nice round number but also a lot more generous?

Congressman: Well, $20.00 would be too high, for sure. Too much of a jump at once.

Socrates: It sounds like you think the cost of labor might indeed affect the demand for it. Good! That’s progress. You’re not as oblivious about market forces as I thought. What I want to know is why you apparently don’t think higher labor costs matter when you raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10. Do you think everyone, regardless of skill level or experience, is automatically worth what Congress decrees? Do you believe in magic, too? How about tooth fairies?

Congressman: Now hold on a minute. I’m for the worker here.

Socrates: Then why on earth would you favor a law that says if a worker can’t find a job that pays at least $10.10 per hour, he’s not allowed to work?

Congressman: I’m not saying he can’t work! I’m saying he can’t be paid less than $10.10!

Socrates: I thought we were making progress, but perhaps not. Can you tell me, if your scheme becomes law, what happens to a worker whose labor is worth only, say, $8.10 because of his low skills, lack of education, scant experience, or a low demand for the work itself? Will employers happily employ him anyway and take a $2.00 loss for every hour he’s on the job?

Congressman: Businesses need workers and $2.00 isn’t much, so common sense and decency would suggest that of course they would.

Socrates: So employers who employ people are too greedy to pay $10.10 unless they’re ordered to, but then when Congress acts, they suddenly become generous enough to hire people at a loss. Who was your logic instructor?

Congressman: Can we hurry this up? I’ve got other plans for other people I have to think about.

Socrates: I give up. You congressmen are incorrigible. You’re the only people on whom my teaching method has no discernible impact.

Congressman: You ask too many questions.

At this point, in utter frustration, Socrates drinks the hemlock. The congressman votes to price many of the nation’s most vulnerable employees out of work and gets reelected.

Whoever warned us to beware of Greeks bearing gifts apparently never met a congressman.

larry reed new thumbABOUT LAWRENCE W. REED

Lawrence W. (“Larry”) Reed became president of FEE in 2008 after serving as chairman of its board of trustees in the 1990s and both writing and speaking for FEE since the late 1970s. Prior to becoming FEE’s president, he served for 20 years as president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, Michigan. He also taught economics full-time from 1977 to 1984 at Northwood University in Michigan and chaired its department of economics from 1982 to 1984.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock.