Saturday, March 20, 2010

Will Violence Escalate?

Glenda McGee forwarded a link on to a Buffalo News story that someone threw a brick through Congresswoman Louise Slaughter's Niagara Falls office window. Slaughter is a leading advocate of Obamacare and heads the House committee that will structure the House health reform vote.

I wonder if there will be increasing violence directed at the government in response to the health reform fiasco.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Facts about Don Wise's 17-Year-Old Personal Bankruptcy Work in His Favor

Last week I posted a blog about the Kingston-Rhinebeck Tea Party's meeting and Don Wise's statement that he was planning to run against Assemblyman Kevin Cahill. Almost immediately one of Assemblyman Cahill's supporters began hurling mud at Mr. Wise by bringing up Wise's 17-year-old personal bankruptcy.

I spoke with Mr. Wise directly concerning the bankruptcy allegations and decided that the facts reflect positively on Mr. Wise's character. The text of his e-mail is below. The issue is 17 years old; Mr. Wise was in his early twenties when it occurred. Due to circumstances beyond his control he was unemployed and had to cover major medical bills involving a new born son. Since then, Mr. Wise turned his life around. He founded a company, Apex Construction, that has never suffered financial difficulties of any kind and has at times employed as many as 12 people in the region. I am curious as to whether Mr. Cahill has ever employed anyone except through government largess and extraction of taxes from productive taxpayers.

Since assuming office in the late 1990s Mr. Cahill has quietly watched massive bloating and wasteful spending. Property taxes have exploded during Mr. Cahill's watch, but he has had little to say about it. Teachers' salaries have exploded but school children's achievement has been dismal. The Wicks Law, which adds 15 to 30 percent to construction costs and so increases the state's annual budget by several percent, has been passed every year while Mr. Cahill has played it safe and failed to protest. Mr. Cahill has done nothing to stop massive Medicaid waste, fraud and abuse, which likely adds about 15% of pure waste to the state's annual budget. New York has more than double the per capita Medicaid cost that California does.

In other words, Medicaid fraud and the Wicks Law alone likely add about 20% to the State's budget, yet Mr. Cahill has said nothing. Mr. Cahill has quietly watched and applauded as the state's budget has been handed over to greedy public sector unions who have fought for featherbedding at every turn. Mr. Cahill has done absolutely nothing to stop ever-escalating property taxes needed to fund the mismanagement of the state's schools, Medicaid and construction. Mr. Cahill has been happy to glad hand and reap the benefits of the bloat in state government while as many as two million New Yorkers have fled the Democratic Party's depredation, nay the outright annihilation, of the state's productive sector

If there is any hope for this Ottoman-Empire-like State, a state in which democracy has virtually failed due to an absence of competent public debate, it is a candidate like Don Wise. Despite, or rather beacause of his passive record as an Assemblyman, Mr. Cahill's minions throw mud rather than debate issues. The first thing Mr. Cahill should do instead of slinging mud is explain the bloat and fraud in the state's Medicaid plan and why he and his fellow Democrats have not repealed the Wicks Law since 1912.

The text of Don Wise's e-mail to me concerning his personal bankruptcy follow:

It was a pleasure meeting you and later talking to you, I understand your concerns regarding my past, to clear up any confusion:

About 17 years ago, my wife and I were beginning a family with a child and a new home. At the time Michele was a stay at home Mom and I found myself unemployed with medical expenses for my son who was born with physical abnormalities which required multiple surgeries. This in addition to his propensity to contract illnesses, (such as ear infections), drained whatever nest egg we had.

There were personal issues in addition to my son's illnesses which forced us to pursue the course of action which concerns you. I have, since then refused to be at the hands of others when it concerned the security and welfare of my family and went into business for myself, Apex Construction is a successful enterprise which has at times employed as many as 12 men depending on the economy. I have always striven to be more than just a boss and even in uncertain economic times I have regarded their interests before my own.

If there is any thing else that concerns either yourself or other members of the Tea Party, I will make myself available to you as you see fit.I have never tried to run from my past, In 2007, in my attempt to unseat Nick Woerner, then Town of Ulster Supervisor, I made public every thing either negative or positive in my business and personal life.


Don Wise

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Progressives' Plan for Your Planned Death

It is revealing that in a week when everyone is riled and activated about health care deform, the Washington Post features an article about planned suicide. I don't normally care what the Democratic Party media has to say (it's always the same monotonous and dim witted line: "We need more government." "We need more government." "We need more government."...) but this article is revealing.

This is the vision for your health care that the Washington Post and the Democratic Party have:

>In the end, they sat together in the cavernous downstairs room of her mother's Cleveland Park home -- Zoe FitzGerald Carter, her husband Joe Guth, and her sister Sarah Barron -- and they waited.

>It was agonizing and terrible, but final. This wait would be the last after years of planning, crying, guilt, resentment, replanning, recommitting. This night meant the end of debating what was legal vs. what was moral, and whether either was as important as what was

>After months of discussion, Mary had decided to end her life not with helium or Seconal but by starvation. The family had been told she would die in a matter of days, but after a week her body was still strong, though she appeared smaller each day, wasting into nothingness. She suffered. She begged Zoe and Sarah -- "Katherine" hadn't come down after all -- for their blessing to allow her to take morphine.

>Mary FitzGerald Carter died a few days after the night of morphine, on July 11, 2001. Her passing brought grief and peace, both in Zoe's ongoing relationship with her mother and in her relationship with her sisters.

Read about the implications of Obamacare here.

Society for Human Resource Management Opposes Obamacare

I teach human resource management, worked as a human resource manager (in the employee benefits field) in corporate America for almost nine years, and so belong to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the organization that represents corporate human resource officers. SHRM's members range from smaller to the largest corporations.

Because of other responsibilities I haven't had time to carefully review how the lobbying for health reform has panned out. In 1994 I wrote a brief article about the lobbying for the Clinton bill that was published in the Journal of Economic Issues.

SHRM says it does not favor the proposed bill, although I suspect some of its members may disagree because the tone is modest.

The text of the e-mail I just received from SHRM follows.


Debate on comprehensive health care reform is entering the final stage. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate will likely vote on a comprehensive health reform bill later this week.

The pending legislation contains some provisions that are consistent with SHRM’s official position and some provisions that are contrary to SHRM’s official position. Additionally, the impact of other portions of the bill cannot be fully assessed until more is known about how they will be implemented.

SHRM knows that the health care reform bill affects our various members and their organizations in different ways. This Legislative Alert is intended to help you contact your Representative and two Senators to share your views on this important issue.


The House of Representatives passed H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act, on November 7, 2009. The Senate passed H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, on December 24, 2009. While SHRM opposed the House bill, the Society took a “neutral” position on the Senate’s health care reform legislation. The Senate bill was consistent with SHRM’s established Health Care Public Policy Position Statement in several areas and contained some positive reforms, however other major parts of the bill were contrary to our policy statement. As a result, SHRM could not support the legislation.

The final bill that will be voted on by Congress in the coming days is a modified version of the Senate-passed legislation, with additional changes. While it contains some positive provisions, SHRM believes the bill as constructed fails to adequately meet many of the critical reform objectives that our members told us were most important. As a result, SHRM cannot support the legislation in its current form.

In keeping with the views of the overwhelming majority of our 250,000 members, SHRM continues to advocate for legislation that lowers costs; strengthens the employer-based system; improves the quality of care; and offers access to affordable coverage for all Americans.

SHRM understands that our members have a strong interest in this issue. Therefore, we want to help you share your views or those of your organization with your elected officials. By following the HRVoice instructions below, you have the opportunity to SUPPORT, OPPOSE, or convey your thoughts about the pending health care reform legislation. Each of the three draft letters emphasizes different aspects of the legislation.

SHRM’s Position

SHRM’s position on health care reform was developed through a rigorous, member-driven process. After surveying members, holding numerous focus group meetings, and consulting with state Legislative Directors and SHRM’s Special Expertise Panels, we drafted a Health Care Public Policy Position Statement, which was subsequently reviewed and approved by SHRM’s Board of Directors.

In keeping with that Public Policy Position Statement, SHRM is committed to achieving comprehensive health care reform that provides high quality, affordable health coverage to all Americans in a manner that strengthens the voluntary employer-based system.

HR professionals understand that the current system, which has health care costs rising faster than inflation, is unsustainable. This is why SHRM has advocated for reforms that control costs. Specifically, SHRM believes comprehensive health care reform should:

Strengthen and improve the employer-based health care system;
Encourage greater use of health prevention, promotion, and wellness programs;
Strengthen the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) to ensure a national, uniform framework for health care benefits;
Reduce health care costs by improving quality and transparency; and
Ensure tax policy contributes to lower costs and greater access.

SHRM compares its objectives for health reform with Obamacare. It opposes coverage mandates and employer penalties, and Obamacare does not meet this objective. It favors improvement of transparency and tort reform, and Obamacare does not meet that objective either. It opposes the excise tax on high-benefit plans.

However, there are many aspects of Obamacare that SHRM likes. These include the bill's inclusion of wellness incentives; its maintenance of the pro-employer (anti-employee) ERISA preemption of state law (of crucial importance to big business). It also supports the bill's provisions for "individual mandates and subsidies for low-income individuals = nearly universal coverage".

With respect to the last point, SHRM likes the fact that low-wage employees who work for small firms will, if the bill passes, be forced to pick up costs that SHRM's members now pay.

My guess is that if the bill fails it will be because the Democrats acted in haste and did not build a coalition that included interests like SHRM and other big business organizations that are supportive of the bill's main objectives but do not like this or that feature of the law.

Few economic interests in America, other than the great productive class of the red states has any interest or knowledge of freedom. The current system is the product of progressive "planning" and now that it has failed the solution is to advocate ever greater degrees of control and planning.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

O'Malley v. Karkhanis Settles, Higher Education in Turmoil

Two and a half years ago the now-defunct New York Sun reported that a Kingsborough Community College (KCC) professor, former head of CUNY's faculty senate and a union official, Professor Sue O'Malley, was suing her colleague, Professor Emeritus Sharad Karkhanis. Karkhanis writes a satirical newsletter, Patriot Returns, which is e-mailed to 13,000 people associated with CUNY. Patriot Returns had frequently ridiculed O'Malley's zero-courses-taught schedule (due to released time associated with her extensive bureaucratic duties) and the tendency of CUNY's faculty, including O'Malley, to support terrorists. CUNY's performance in the latter regard has been much in line with other universities, as a review of David Horowitz's The Professors will confirm. Karkhanis frequently called O'Malley "the Queen of Released Time", an appropriate appellation if there ever was one, and his newsletter was good for a once-a-month laugh.

In an article in Frontpagemag in November 2007 Phil Orenstein wrote that:

"...Professor Susan O’Malley, a member of the PSC executive committee, former chair of the University Faculty Senate and professor of English has been a regular target of Dr. Karkhanis’s irreverent discourse. Past issues of TPR have exposed O’Malley’s pleas to find a teaching position for convicted terrorist conspirator, Mohammad Yousry. TPR documented her protests against the firing of imprisoned Weather Underground terrorist Susan Rosenberg and her attempts to find Rosenberg a job at CUNY. Also, past issues attacked O’Malley’s support for anti-religious Professor Timothy Shortell’s bid for chairmanship of the Sociology Department of Brooklyn College. He is noted for his claims that all religious people are 'moral retards' and 'an ugly, violent lot,' and statements, 'Christians claim that theirs is faith based on love, but they'll just as soon kill you.'"

In his newsletter Karkhanis asserted that the "Queen of Released Time" (quoted in Orenstein's article):

"is recruiting naive, innocent members of the KCC faculty into her Queda-Camp, to infiltrate college and departmental Personnel and Budget Committees in her mission - to recruit terrorists in CUNY."

O'Malley apparently believed that hiring an attorney to sue Karkhanis in response to his satirical newsletter would exemplify her interpretation of the concept of "collegiality" upon which she and her fellow union officials supported an attempt to crucify one of my Brooklyn College colleagues, Professor KC Johnson. Apparently, O'Malley thought that readers and her colleagues on the university senate really did believe that O'Malley was running an al Qaeda camp at Kingsborough.

In the Sun article O'Malley was quoted as saying "It's all very, very silly" but the suit has involved dickering over several years.

In the current issue of Patriot Returns, released yesterday, Karkhanis publishes a statement of his lawyer, Mark Jakubik about the settlement of the case:

"First, as noted in the publisher's statement, the settlement did not involve an admission of liability or wrongdoing by Dr. Karkhanis. To the contrary, as is clearly iterated in the statement, we continue to believe that none of the material published in The Patriot Returns that was at issue in the lawsuit was defamatory or otherwise actionable for any reason. Second, there is no financial aspect to the settlement, and Dr. Karkhanis is not required to make any payment whatsoever to Dr. O'Malley or anyone else. Third, Dr. Karkhanis remains free to publish The Patriot Returns without prior restraint. In sum, we believe that, given the terms upon which Dr. Karkhanis agreed to resolve this matter, the settlement represents a significant victory for free speech and academic freedom, and The Patriot Returns will continue to stand as an unabashed defender of those values."

Mr. Jakubik's response to O'Malley's cause of action states that Karkhanis did not defame O'Malley and notes that:

"Yousry and Rosenberg were terminated from their positions at CUNY because the university administration was concerned about their possible involvement with individuals involved in terrorism related activities."

Karkhanis agreed to make the following statement:

"We do not believe Professor Susan O'Malley to be a terrorist, and deeply regret if she, or any of her associates, understood us to have labeled her as such. We are sorry if anything published in “The Patriot Returns” has been interpreted in such a way. We do not believe that anything published in The Patriot Returns has exceeded the bounds of permissible speech, but express our profound sorrow if Dr. O'Malley sustained any damage to her reputation or suffered any emotional pain or suffering as a result of these statements."

Note that Karkhanis does not apologize for calling O'Malley a terrorist. Rather, he apologizes for the misunderstanding of any of her associates who may have thought his satirical newsletter to be serious. Of course, no one with common sense would have thought O'Malley actually is a terrorist.

Inside Higher Education ran an article about the case today and I posted the following comment.

>I appreciate this mostly accurate article but the title is misleading. No one thought that "Sue" O'Malley was really a terrorist or ran an Al Qaeda training camp, so in saying that he is sorry that anyone concluded from Patriot Returns that O'Malley really was a terrorist and did run an al Qaeda training camp Karkhanis is not apologizing. Nor should he. The Professional Staff Congress is dismally run, and, if anything, Karkhanis did not go far enough.

You contradict yourself with respect to Karkhanis's calling Mohammed Yousry a terrorist. In the third paragraph you correctly state that Yousry was convicted of abetting terrorists, but then a couple of lines later claim that Karkhanis dubbed Yousry a terrorist. Someone who associates with and abets terrorists in effect demonstrates support for terrorism. Conviction of association with terrorism, which was demonstrated by abetting it, is what dubbed Yousry a terrorist. If you want to take issue with Yousry's conviction, you might demonstrate your doubts with a few shards of evidence. You won't find much evidence from the extremists who, you state, call the conviction unfair.

In the concluding paragraph you quote Professor O'Malley as saying that she hopes that the case might create some good case law. I showed that statement to a couple of my undergraduate business students who happened to be visiting me and they started laughing because they know from their undergraduate business law class that settled cases do not create case law. I told them not to laugh just because a senior faculty member is less knowledgeable than they are. After years as an officer of the CUNY faculty union O'Malley might be thought to have picked up some sense of the real world. My students are planning to initiate a class discussion on this in my elementary management skills course next year.

De Russy: Democratic Media's Reporting on Health Bureaucratization a Bust

Candace de Russy is a former trustee of SUNY. She spoke at the recent Queens Village Republican Lincoln Day dinner where she received their educator of the year award. When she was SUNY Trustee de Russy stood up for common sense and standards. Unfortunately, her term expired during Governor Spitzer's brief, addlebrained governorship and she was denied reappointment.

De Russy's most recent piece on Big Journalism exposes the Democratic Party media's tendentious coverage of the Obama health care bill, which has turned Mr. Obama's once lustrous image into a laughing matter. Obama's image now is less marketable than that of Chris Collins, the New York gubernatorial hopeful who made (actually in my opinion a rather funny) joke saying that Assembly Sheldon Speaker was the third of the anti-Christs predicted by Nostradamus (the first two being Napoleon and Hitler). People who claim that Collins's joke is distasteful have to account for Seinfeld's "Soup Nazi."

De Russy notes that Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute has compared President Obama's arm twisting tactics on the wretched health bill to Tony Soprano's tactics with the gambler who owned a sporting goods outlet at the local mall. I can hear Mr. Obama saying it to Capo Paul Pelosi: "Just when I thought I was out, They pull me back in!"

De Russy reviews the lynch mob-style tactics and lies in the Democratic Party media. One comment: the MSM moniker is passe, now they are DPM, Democratic Party media. There's nothing mainstream about television news. The Internet game World of Warcraft has 11 million players, almost three times more than any TV news show has viewers (O'Reilly has 3.9 million), and the elves and monsters on WOW are better-connected to reality than the "news" on MSNBC, CNN or Fox.

Quoting Betsy McCaughey, de Russy notes that the health bill would add to the bureaucratization of medicine. De Russy notes that public employee plans were exempted from the bill's special tax on "Cadillac" plans and that Congress has failed to include itself in the public option plan.

The current bill includes provision for a rationing or "death" commission. Rationing would be a cornerstone of any public plan (it already exists in a much less totalitarian form in HMOs and other managed care options).

De Russy notes:

"And what of the president’s claim that his plan will give uninsured Americans access to the same coverage as members of Congress and their staffers? The only major newspaper to examine and publish the truth about the president’s sleight of hand in this matter is, again, the Wall Street Journal. Yes, the current bill would provide (at exorbitant cost to the taxpayer) such access to ordinary citizens, but – and here’s the catch – many of them would end up paying significantly more out of their own pocket than legislators or their staffers."

De Russy argues that the bill reveals the blatant insincerity of Soprano-Obama and quotes James Lewis in arguing that Congress should be forced to participate in any public option.

Hear, hear.

Judge Napolitano and Walter Williams on the Census

Thomas and Judith Santopietro forwarded the link to the above video. The federal government has usurped rights that ought to belong to the states and to the people.

Steve Levy for Governor II

I e-mailed three GOP activists whom I respect inquiries about Steve Levy. Two of them have interviewed Levy. As well, I had suggested to one that he ask about Levy's position on the Wicks Law. Here are their responses.

I. First, while I have not checked all of the candidates thoroughly, I have given some thought to Levy, and I certainly think that he would do a better job than Lazio. I also believe that with adequate financing that he would not drag down the rest of the ticket the way Lazio will.

Regarding the Wicks Law

Second, as a very young man, I was a commercial banker. One of my best customers , was the owner of a steel company who at times was forced, because of economic conditions, to operate in New York City. One of his fixed costs was a 15% markup to handle the graft required to operate in NYC.

A year or two later, I ended up as President of a conglomerate which included a major highway and heavy construction contractor which operated primarily in southeastern New York and the NYC Metro Area. In time I learned that the bids were all fixed, and indeed all of the estimates were done by one of our "competitors". In on the fix were all of the asphalt and concrete producers, as well as corrupt union officials who all ended up with a piece of the "action". It was my understanding that the cost to the taxpayers was normally 15% or more of the total bill!. And of course, as you know, state government contracts require the highest prevailing labor rate to be charged.

While I have no knowledge as to current conditions in the "highway" business, I suspect that the same conditions prevail to this day.

II. As a member of the State GOP Committee and more importantly a VERY concerned resident of this state, I am supporting Steve Levy. He met with us two weeks ago and I was very impressed.

As a resident, and putting all politics aside, I have no faith that Lazio or Cuomo would do anything to turn this state around. I believe Levy is our only hope to get us back on track. Without him I am certain that in 2014 when my youngest daughter graduates from high school I, too, will be leaving for greener and cheaper pastures.

My honest two cents.

Follow Up (after I stated that I was afraid that Levy might appoint Democratic staffers)

I agree that the fact that he’s a Democrat is worrisome, but rumor has it ... (deleted on request)...

I also liked Chris Collins, the Republican County Executive from Erie County, but his dreams of the governorship imploded after some anti-Semitic remarks. Too bad because he was a great candidate and has taken a hard line approach to government and turned things around in Erie County. He would have been a terrific candidate for the GOP, but he apparently suffers from foot in mouth syndrome like too many wannabe politicians!

III. I did have a chance to question him on a mouthful of issues including Medicaid waste and fraud and the mammoth public unions that control the state. He answered the Medicaid question adequately and although pressed for time...I did get to ask him if he would repeal Wick's Law. His answer to this was most comprehensive. He gave a detailed explanation of Wicks Law, similar to your description...He said he would fight to repeal Wicks and has been advocating for the same. He gave an example from his tenure in Suffolk of negotiating a contract with public construction unions I believe, where Wicks was suspended, and they did not have to abide by it.

Although I did not agree with him on 100% of the issues, he was upfront and honest and did not try to squirm and conceal some of his more "liberal" leaning agenda, such as promoting the US to take the lead in a "Green Revolution" (it's in his plan to reform the state economy on his website) to provide a boost to the economy which he believes is the next revolution following industrial and information technology, for which we gave him hell! I respect him more for talking straight and not being disingenuous about his disagreeable issues. All in all, I would support him as a man who excels and has a proven track record on fiscal issues like balanced budgets and standing up to special interests and public sector unions. I believe he has the ability to beat Cuomo and I want to ask others who feel the same to write to State Chairman Cox pronto and their County Chairmen of both the Conservative and Republican Parties, since he needs their lines in order to win.

I haven't heard any others except for Rick Lazio and one other fellow who recently dropped out. But I believe I have a good knack for spotting good people...I have also recently seen some other candidates who have impressed me, such as Michael Faulkner running for Congress in Harlem against Charlie Rangel, and Dan Maloney running in CD#4 (Nassau)against Carolyn McCarthy. There are more than a handful of other impressive figures who I believe have the integrity not to cave in to special interests, (like unions, wall st, etc.) that have impressed me. But I could be wrong on them.

However I believe there are the beginnings of a new type of leader emerging among Tea Party, Repub. and Libertarian circles. People who identify with the Constitution and have taken the plunge and are going into politics to serve their country and the people, since they have seen the ruin that radical Marxism and political cronyism can bring to our great nation through our current crop of leaders, and yes, I'll admit it, past Republican presidents and congresses as well are just as guilty.

Grigsby (d. 1890, RIP) Said It All

Contrairimairi (h/t David) sent me these photos of an Indiana gravestone. N. Grigsby was a great American. I found a history of the 10th Indiana Cavalry of which Grigsby was a veteran on Civil War It was organized in Columbus, Vincennes, Terre Haute, New Albany and Indianapolis, mostly during the first few months of 1864. It saw action at Richland Creek and Pulaski, Tennessee, the siege of Decatur (October 1864), the siege of Murfreesboro (December 1864), and the Battle of Nashville (December 1864). It pursued Confederate General John Bell Hood to the Tennessee River December 17-28. It fought in Mobile, Alabama in April 1864. It besieged Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely and captured Mobile the same month. "Regiment lost during service 1 Officer and 20 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 4 Officers and 157 Enlisted men by disease. Total 182."

Nancy Pelosi: We Have to Pass the Bill So We Can Know What's In It.

First, it's a measure of their suppressive ideology. Second, the Democrats are demonstrable "geniuses." Third, chalk it up to reverse gender discrimination. H/t Porcupine Rim and Gateway Pundit.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ron Paul on Health Care

Sign petition here.

What to Do about the Mytilenes?


Mytilene is located on the Greek island of Lesbos. In the fifth century BC Athens, the first great democracy, had created through threat and force a league of Greek city states, in effect an empire of subject states. This came about because of the leading role that Athens had played in overcoming the Persian invasion led by Xerxes earlier in the fifth century. The Greeks' victory in four sea and land battles, most famously at Marathon, caused a transformation of the Hellenic spirit that contributed to the achievement orientation in the fifth and fourth centuries that made Athens the cornerstone of western civilization.

Athens had allowed Mytilene to retain a greater degree of independence than most of the other city states in its Hellenic league. Despite its independence, Mytilene resented Athenian domination. Conflicts in Corcyra and Potidea convinced Sparta to go to war against Athens about fifty years after the victory over the Persians. Sparta had the Hellenic world's strongest army but Athens had the best navy.

Seeing a way out of their subjection to Athens, Mytilene turned on Athens, and asked Sparta to allow them to join its Peloponnesian League. Sparta agreed, but failed to reach Mytilene in time when Athens invaded. Despite the Mytilenian government's aim to put up a strong fight against Athens, the Mytilene people insisted on surrender.

When the Athenians learned that Mytilene had surrendered, they were enraged that Mytilene had betrayed them because they had granted it more freedom than other city states in their alliance. At first they decided to kill every male in Mytilene and to enslave the women and children. They sent an envoy to order Paches, the commander at Mytilene, to do so. But the next day many Athenians relented. There was a debate as to what the best way to manage an empire might be. Would fear of execution or just treatment be most expedient in managing their empire? Can punishment serve as a deterrent?

Thucydides's History of the Peloponnesian War is viewed as one of the earliest examples of historical writing (Xenophon was earlier and Herodotus later). Besides inventing science, philosophy, the rule of law, theater, democracy and excelling in art, pottery, architecture, music and mathematics, Athens created history as well. This was done by a society that, like all of its contemporaries around the world, practiced slavery and ruled an empire. With respect to slavery, the Sophists, Greek teachers of political skills, included a few who may have been the world's first abolitionists.

The decision to kill all of the Mytilenian men was followed by a public democratic debate, according to Thucydides. Thucydides quotes Cleon, son of Cleaenetus, in favor of putting the men to death:

"Personally I have had occasion often enough already to observe that a democracy is incapable of governing others, and I am all the more convinced of this when I see how you are now changing your minds about the Mytilenians. Because fear and conspiracy play no part in your daily relations with each other, you imagine that the same thing is true of your allies, and you fail to see that when you allow them to persuade you to make a mistaken decision and when you give way to your own feelings of compassion you are being guilty of a kind of weakness which is dangerous to you and which does not make them love you any more. What you do not realize is that your empire is a tyranny exercised over subjects who do not like it and who are always plotting against you; you will not make them obey you by injuring your own interests in order to do them a favor; your leadership depends on superior strength and not on any good will of theirs. And this is the very worst thing--to pass measures and then not to abide by them. We should realize that a city is better off with bad laws, so long as they remain fixed, than with good laws that are constantly being altered, that lack of learning combined with sound common sense is more helpful than the kind of cleverness that gets out of hand, and that as a general rule states are better governed by the man in the street than by intellectuals. These are the sort of people who want to appear wiser than the laws, who want to get their own way in every general discussion, because they feel that they cannot show off their intelligence in matters of greater importance, and who as a result, very often bring ruin on their country...the best punishment and the one most fitted to the crime is when reprisals follow immediately...

"Let me sum the whole thing up. I say that, if you follow my advice, you will be doing the right thing as far as Mytilene is concerned and at the same time will be acting in your own interests; if you decide differently, you will not win over them, but you will be passing judgment on yourselves. For if they were justified in revolting, you must be wrong in holding power. If however, whatever the rights or wrongs of it may be, you propose to hold power all the same, then your interest demands that these too, rightly or wrongly, must be punished. The only alternative is to surrender your empire, so that you can afford to go in for philanthropy..."

In turn, Diodotus, son of Eucrates, opposed putting the Mytilenes to death:

"I do not blame those who have proposed a new debate on the subject of Mytilene, and I do not share the view which we have heard expressed that it is a bad thing to have frequent discussions on matters of importance. Haste and anger are, to my mind, the two greatest obstacles to wise counsel--haste that usually goes with folly, anger that is the mark of primitive and narrow minds. And anyone who maintains that words cannot be a guide to action must be either a fool or one with some personal interest at stake; he is a fool if he imagines that it is possible to deal with the uncertainties of the future by any other medium, and he is personally interested if his aim is to persuade you into some disgraceful action and, knowing that he cannot make a good speech in a bad cause, he tries to frighten his opponents and his hearers by some good-sized pieces of misrepresentation....

"...If we are a sensible people, we shall see that the question is not so much whether they are guilty as whether we are making the right decision for ourselves. I might prove that they are the most guilty people in the world, but it does not follow that I shall propose the death penalty, unless that is in your interests; I might argue that they deserve to be forgiven, but should not recommend forgiveness unless that seemed to me the best thing for the state...

"...Cities and individuals alike, all are by nature disposed to do wrong, and there is no law that will prevent it, as is shown by the fact that men have tried every kind of punishment, constantly adding to the list, in the attempt to find greater security from criminals...Either therefore we must find some fear more potent than the fear of death, or we must admit that here certainly we have not got an adequate deterrent. So long as poverty forces men to be bold, so long as the insolence and pride of wealth nourish their ambitions, and in the other accidents of life they are continually dominated by some incurable master passion or another, so long will their impulses continue to drive them into danger...And this is particularly true in the case of whole peoples, because they are playing for the highest stakes--either for their own freedom or for the power to control others--and each individual, when acting as part of a community, has the irrational opinion that his own powers are greater than in fact they are...

"We must not, therefore, come to the wrong conclusion through having too much confidence in the effectiveness of capital punishment, and we must not make the condition of rebels desperate by depriving them of the possibility of repentance and of a chance of atoning as quickly as they can for what they did. Consider this now: at the moment, if a city has revolted and realizes that the revolt cannot succeed, it will come to terms while it is still capable of paying an indemnity and continuing to pay tribute afterwards. But if Cleon's method is adopted, can you not see that every city will not only make much more careful preparations for revolt, but will also hold out against seige to the very end, since to surrender early or late means just the same thing?...

"Our business, therefore, is not to injure ourselves by acting like a judge who strictly examines a criminal; instead we should be looking for a method by which, employing moderation in our punishments, we can in future secure for ourselves the full use of those cities which bring us important contributions. And we should recognize that the proper basis of our security is in good administration rather than in the fear of legal penalties. As it is, we do just the opposite: when we subdue a free city, which was held down by force and has, as we might have expected, tried to assert its independence by revolting, we think that we ought to punish it with the utmost severity. But the right way to deal with a free people is this--not to inflict tremendous punishment on them after they have revolted, but to take tremendous care of them before this point is reached, to prevent them even contemplating the idea of revolt, and if we do have to use force with them, to hold as few of them as possible responsible for this...As for Cleon's point--that in this act of vengeance both justice and self-interest are combined--this is not a case where such a combination is at all possible.

"I call upon you, therefore, to accept my proposal as the better one. Do not be swayed too much by pity or by ordinary decent feelings. I, no more than Cleon, wish you to be influenced by such emotions. It is simply on the basis of the argument which you have heard that I ask you to be guided by me, to try at your leisure the men whom Paches has considered guilty and sent to Athens, and to allow the rest to live in their own city."

Diodtus's argument passed, although there was still much conflicting feeling. Before this debate the Athenians had sent an envoy ordering Paches, the Athenian commander, to order the mass killing. However, a second envoy was sent 24 hours later. They were ordered to row in haste and were given special food and offered "great rewards" if they arrived before the first envoy. As it was, they arrived only an hour or two after the first envoy, and prevented the executions.

The New Dark Age

There is no one date that can be identified as to when Rome fell and the Dark Ages began. Alaric and the Visigoths sacked Rome in 410 and Geiseric and the Vandals sacked it in 455, but it wasn't until hundreds of years later that the Gauls, ruled by the conquering Franks, realized that they were no longer speaking Latin but rather a new language derived from Latin. Eastern Rome or Constantinople did not fall to Sultan Mehmed and the Ottomans until 1455. Whatever date you choose to assign, there was a period of several hundred years during late antiquity when literacy rates were lower than previously, population had been decimated because of a series of plagues between the sixth and eighth centuries and few records were kept. I would argue that this decline was necessary for the rebirth of European civilization that occurred in the Renaissance, the Enlightenment and in Europe's most backward quarter at the time, Great Britain, from the 1500s to 1800s.

Compared to the period from 1776 to 1971, we have entered into an incipient dark age. The dark age is not necessarily identifiable through declines in literacy, although recent studies announced in the newspapers indicate that students' achievement has been in the decline. Nor do I predict the outbreak of plagues, although there have been such predictions. Rather, excessive monetary creation and the new money's transfer to Wall Street and real estate interests have slowed wage growth and innovation. We are in a dark age compared to where we would have been without the Federal Reserve Bank , the current monetary system and income taxes.

In other words, the Federal Reserve Bank's control of the money supply has displaced technological and market innovation with financial and real estate speculation and government. Until Richard M. Nixon finally abolished the gold standard in 1971 the real hourly wage grew at 2% per year. Since then, the real hourly wage has not grown at all. The difference between the wage profiles with compounded 2% annual growth and 0% annual growth over 40 years is around 100%. American workers today are earning 1/2 of what they would have been earning had the gold standard been in place and savings and investment resources allocated efficiently.

No one can know what the economy would have looked like in the absence of the Fed and the income tax, but there is no question that there would have been considerably more rapid and more extensive rates of innovation, just as there had been in the late 19th and early 20th centuries before the Fed was established. There would be less opportunity to work in low-paying retail jobs and less stock market appreciation. But there would have been opportunities to work in technologies that are unknown to us and unknowable because the individuals who would have otherwise invented the technologies became stock traders or lawyers instead of inventors. Likely there would be cures to diseases that are today unknown, methods of transportation that are unknown and conveniences that are unknown. Compared to where we would have been without the Fed, we are living in a dark age.

The Dark Ages perpetuated the Roman class system, replacing Roman Emperors, Senators and Equestrians with barbarian tribal chieftains like Clovis as kings and various feudal titles like earl, duke and count. In the American case, the Fed creates a three-class system: those with early access to Fed reserves, to include the banking system, the military-industrial complex, Wall Street and government; a middle class that mostly works in the military-industrial complex with some access to Fed reserves; and a lumpen proletariat without much access, about a third of the population. The three-class system replaces the egalitarian democracy of laissez faire capitalism, which was characterized by fast paced competition and more fluid class structures than today.

The new dark age is perpetuated by the creation of gilds or interest groups that resist change. Public employee unions demand the privileges to which they have become accustomed, as do their "betters" on Wall Street. The lowest extreme of the lumpen proletariat is content with section 8 housing, welfare and Medicaid, and the right not to work.

The new system is not yet so stable as the manorial and feudalist system of the earlier Dark Ages. The trifurcation of society will see stagnant living standards that may eventually decline. Medical innovation and then the standards of health care will be reduced, along with declines in the quality of diet, resulting in stagnant or perhaps increasing rates of mortality.

America's state-controlled media will attribute stagnation and decline to capitalism or to foreigners. They will protect the aristocrats of Wall Street, the military-industrial complex and government at all costs.

It remains unclear whether American wages will continue along the current stagnant path of the past 40 years or will begin to decline as the nation's economy becomes less important on the global scene. In order to regain a growth position (in real wages) there will need to be considerable upheaval in the American economy. It seems most likely that the wealth transfers to Wall Street, the military industrial complex and government will not abate unless there is an overt crisis.