Wealth Creation IS NOT a Zero-Sum Game ~ Mantras

See Also: “Why Capitalism Works

Capitalism, the exchange of markets did this:

  • Since Deng Xiaoping began instituting market reforms in the late 1970s, China has been among the most rapidly growing economies in the world, regularly exceeding 10 percent GDP growth annually. This growth has led to a substantial increase in real living standards and a marked decline in poverty. Between 1981 and 2008, the proportion of China’s population living on less than $1.25/day is estimated to have fallen from 85% to 13.1%, meaning that roughly 600 million people were taken out of poverty.

Wealth and Wealth Creation IS NOT a zero sum game!

The Zero-Sum Game Myth

There are three kinds of games: win-lose, lose-lose, and win-win. Win-lose games, like basketball, are sometimes called “zero-sum games.” When the Celtics and the Bulls compete, if the Celtics are up, then the Bulls are down, and vice versa. The scales balance. It’s a zero-sum.

Besides lose-lose games, which most of us avoid, there are positive-sum or win-win games. In these games, some players may end up better off than others, but everyone ends up at least the same if not better off than they were at the beginning.

Millions of people think that free trade is a dog-eat-dog competition, where winners always create losers. This is the zero-sum game myth, which leads many to think that the government should somehow redistribute wealth. While some competition is a part of any economy, of course, an exchange that is free on both sides, in which no one is forced or tricked into participating, is a win-win game. When I pay my barber $18 for a haircut, I value the haircut more than the $18. My barber values the $18 more than the time and effort it took her to cut my hair. We’re both better off. Win-win….

Forbes:

…This leads nicely into the third point: wealth is not a zero sum game. This is economist jargon meaning everyone can win. Look again at the chart Gary Burtless put together. You will note that all segments of American society saw their incomes rise except the top one percent. If we had the data to do the chart again through 2014, we would see that everybody had higher incomes than fifteen years ago.

And this win-win idea is not just in terms of income. In a capitalist society, people get rich by making somebody else better off. J. K. Rowling became one of the richest women in the world by writing the Harry Potter series of books. All the people who bought the books believed that the books were worth more than the sale price otherwise they would not have bought it. Thus, J.K. Rowling wins and all her readers win. Both sides of a voluntary transaction are made better off. As long as government coercion is not involved, when you see someone getting rich, you know a lot of people are being made happy….

A Constitutionally Savvy Deputy Visits an Open Carry Protest

Via The Blaze

This is a good officer… compare this to a bad officer, one used to promote racism… but is anything but:

The author of this wants you to believe what you are witnessing is racism, but as we see, there is a stark difference, via Bearing Arms:

The white open carrier shown first is merely talked to by the responding officer who does not seem overly concerned as the officer stops to check on them and see what is going on.

The black open carrier, carrying a slung AR-15 by his side and with his hands occupied by what appears to be a smart phone, is immediately ordered to the ground at gunpoint, and the deputy holds him in his sights until backup arrives and seaches, but does not cuff the open carrier. It’s worth noting, perhaps, that the responding officers do not feel compelled to point their weapon at the the open carrier at any time.

“Willy Upchuck” is the pseudonym of person who posted the video, and taglines his channel “Cops vs. People,” giving us an idea of his views on law enforcement.

  • “Willy” clearly wants to assert that we’re witnessing racism… but the video doesn’t support that assertion at all.

While the rifles were both AR-15s slung in a similar manner (both down at the hip, where it could be brought into action), “Willy” wants us to overlooking the indisputable fact that we’re dealing with different responding officers, in different locations, with different law enforcement agencies, which may have different protocols and familiarity in handling “man with a gun” calls, at different times, in different circumstances.

The white open carrier, “MarkedGaurdian,” has been trolling his local law enforcement agencies in Oregon for years. His video clip is pulled from an August 2012 stop by an Albany, Oregon officer, who was likely well aware of what long gun open carry advocates had been doing in the area, and who may have even recognized “MarkedGaurdian” on sight.

The black open carrier—whom I totally agree was treated poorly by the responding officer—was in a different (unknown) time and place, dealing with a completely different police force, who may not deal with long gun open carry much, if at all. It could be that this responding agency would treat white open carriers just as poorly. In this second incident we could be dealing with one very bad deputy, who violated his own department’s protocols (and frankly, as he pointed a firearm at a man who wasn’t clearly wasn’t being a threat, he probably did). We don’t know if the deputy was disciplined or even terminated.

“Willy Upchuck” doesn’t apparently want us to know enough about either incident to determine for ourselves what we’re really witnessing, and that says a bit more about him than I think he wants us to know.

Are we witnessing a good cop dealing with the white open carrier, and what appears to be a poorly-trained and over-excited deputy dealing the black open carrier? I think so.

But we simply don’t have like situations here, with different times, places, agencies, etc.

We don’t have and clear evidence of racism, as much as he’d like to assert that this is what we’re seeing.

Update: the second open carrier has been identified as Gabriel Nobles. Here’s his entire video in two parts, Part I and Part II.

The Fallen of World War II ~ An Animated Visualization

Via The Blaze:

The Fallen of World War II from Neil Halloran on Vimeo.

An animated data-driven documentary about war and peace, The Fallen of World War II looks at the human cost of the second World War and sizes up the numbers to other wars in history, including trends in recent conflicts.

Rich Get Poorer | Poor Get Richer (+More Mantras Destroyed)

I changed the very beginning of this Yahoo News article to include both the headlines of the NYTs:

…The New York Times headline of Oct. 26 even more dubious and deceptive, “Top Earners Doubled Share of Nation’s Income, Study Finds”. The subhead announces “The top 1 percent of earners more than doubled their share of the nation’s income over the last three decades,” but readers must make their way to the sixth paragraph to find that the referenced “report” is actually a historical analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, covering a 28-year span between 1979 and 2007, and pointedly concluding before the economic meltdown of 2008.

Figures from the IRS, however, demonstrate that since the recession began the rich hardly got richer:  the number of Americans earning $1 million or more fell a staggering 40 percent between 2007 and 2009 (declining to 236,883), while their combined incomes fell by nearly 50 percent—a vastly greater loss than the 2 percent drop in total incomes of those making $50,000 or less. Could anyone make a plausible case for how a massive reduction in the number of top earners (with nearly 200,000 fewer million-dollar incomes) could conceivably benefit the economy, or count as good news for anyone?

Nevertheless, the Times chose to stress the inflammatory finding that in the 29 years preceding the Great Recession the top 1 percent of earners (those pesky millionaires and billionaires) boosted their average, inflation-adjusted, after-tax income by 275 percent. 

Surely worried readers might conclude that such “obscene” enrichment by the greediest would inevitably impoverish the neediest, leaving only miserable crumbs for the beleaguered middle class. But the CBO numbers actually showed that big gains for top earners did nothing to prevent simultaneous (if more modest) improvements by every other income group. For instance, the middle class (the 60 percent of the population in the 21st through 80th percentiles), raised their average inflation-adjusted, after-tax household income by a healthy 40 percent. Even the bottom 20 percent of the population moved ahead during the Reagan, Clinton and George W. Bush booms, lifting their earnings 18 percent….

…read it all…

Here is another visual help:

This next section shows that when Presidents are in office that support unions, the income disparity gap-widens.

Investors Business Daily makes some key points that are hard to ignore:

Income Inequality Rose Most Under President Clinton

…But it turns out that the rich actually got poorer under President Bush, and the income gap has been climbing under Obama.

What’s more, the biggest increase in income inequality over the past three decades took place when Democrat Bill Clinton was in the White House.

The wealthiest 5% of U.S. households saw incomes fall 7% after inflation in Bush’s eight years in office, according to an IBD analysis of Census Bureau data. A widely used household income inequality measure, the Gini index, was essentially flat over that span. Another inequality gauge, the Theil index, showed a decline.

In contrast, the Gini index rose — slightly — in Obama’s first two years. Another Census measure of inequality shows it’s climbed 5.7% since he took office.

Meanwhile, during Clinton’s eight years, the wealthiest 5% of American households saw their incomes jump 45% vs. 26% under Reagan. The Gini index shot up 6.7% under Clinton, more than any other president since 1980…

[….]

As University of Michigan economist Mark Perry notes, while the income gap has grown since 1979, almost the entire increase occurred before the mid-1990s: “There is absolutely no statistical support for the commonly held view that income inequality has been rising recently.”

A similar analysis found that income inequality has fallen among individuals since the early 1990s, but risen among households due to factors such as more marriages of people with similar education levels and earnings potential.

Others argue that income mobility matters more than equality.

One study found that more than half of the families who started in the lowest income bracket in 1996 had moved to a higher one by 2005. At the other end of the spectrum, more than 57% of families fell out of the top 1%.

…read more…

Another smaller post points out nearly the same:

Busting The 1% Vs. 99% Myth

…The left says current levels of income inequality echo the late 1920s and the Gilded Age. They’ve zeroed in on the richest 1%, citing Census Bureau data showing these top earners “grabbing” more income than the bottom 90%.

But the census stats are misleading.

For one, they are a snapshot of income distribution at a single point in time. Yet income is not static. It changes over time. Low-paying jobs from early adulthood give way to better-paying jobs later in life.

And income groups in America are not fixed. There’s no caste system here, really no such thing even as a middle “class.” The poor aren’t stuck in poverty. And the rich don’t enjoy lifetime membership in an exclusive club.

A 2007 Treasury Department study bears this out. Nearly 58% of U.S. households in the lowest-income quintile in 1996 moved to a higher level by 2005. The reverse also held true. Of those households that were in the top 1% in income in 1996, more than 57% dropped to a lower-income group by 2005.

Every day in America, the poor join the ranks of the rich, and the rich fall out of comfort.

So even if income equality is increasing, it does not mean income mobility is decreasing. There is still a great deal of movement in and out of the richest and poorest groups in America.

…read more…

The Republicans are the Party of the rich, and run by old, rich white guys who like to say “no” all the time.

Thinking through leftist mantras:

✪ Average age of Democrat’s in the House (average age): 74

“I could run 20 years from now and still be about the same age as the former Secretary of State (Hillary Clinton) is right now” ~ Rep. Governor Scott Brown

✪ Average age of House Republicans? 53

Seven of the top ten richest people in Congress are Democrats. The top five donors to unrestricted super PACs reads like a billionaire boys club and are Democratic donors/supporters. Heres more:

(Politifact)

Nor are we the party of “NO”


ERGO: the Democratic Party are run by old, rich, white, obstructionist, men. Not the Republican Party.


(You can enlarge the article by clicking it.) This is a local, small town magazine, and John Van Huizum writes a regular piece that I will critique here-and-there. Here is my first installment:

I wish to write a response to a recent Concepts article by John Van Huizum, entitled “What Does ‘Free’ Mean?” There are a couple issues worth responding to or in-the-least offering a differing viewpoint on. The first of Mr. Huizum’s positions that needs de”concept”ualizing is the idea of “greed.” Mr. Huizum spoke of history, something Dr. Sowell reminds us of in the telling of Richard Sears ferocious greed in wanting to overtake Montgomery Ward.[1] This type of greed leads to lower prices. Alternatively the Fords, Rockefellers, and the Carnegies found ways to offer goods at lower prices. This type of greed leads to Carnegie — for instance — becoming a “prodigious philanthrop[ist] – building more than 3,000 public libraries in 47 states…, founding Carnegie-Mellon University and the Carnegie Institute of Technology (C.I.T.), establishing Carnegie Hall in New York, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and much more.”[2]

In a wonderful response to Donahue’s 1979 challenge to Milton Freidman on the issue of greed and if greed has ever caused Dr. Friedman to doubt capitalism. Milton Friedman responded that “the world runs on individuals pursuing their own interests, the great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus. Einstein didn’t construct his theory from an order of a bureaucrat. Henry Ford didn’t revolutionize the automobile industry that way. In the only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of the grinding poverty you’re talking about, the only cases in recorded history are where they have had capitalism and free trade.”[3] So I wish to proffer another history that maybe, just possibly Forbes is taking into account and Mr. Huizum is not.

Another point worth politely rejecting is the definition given to Forbes by Mr. Huizum on freedom: “free from ANY government regulation.”[4] This is a fallacy of straw-man.[5] Mr. Huizum does not show a full knowledge of Forbes understanding on this matter. Nor does the facile dealing with this complex issue and the putting forth of a false definition as if-it-were Forbes do this topic justice.

One last point, the most important. Unlike big business when it makes mistakes, big government cannot go out of business. Unlike corrupt government, corrupt business cannot print money and thereby devalue a nation’s currency. Businesses cannot coerce you by force (tax liens, garnishing of wages, or armed IRS officials, etc) into an action. So the “greed” of the corporation pales in comparison to the greed of government.[6] Which is why our Founders stated that, “The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government” (Patrick Henry); “Government is not reason; it is not eloquence. It is force. And force, like fire, is a dangerous servant and a fearful master” (George Washington).

Footnotes:

[1] Thomas Sowell, Basic Economics (New York, NY: Basic Books, 2004), 361.
[2] Michael Medved, The 10 biggest Lies About America (New York, NY: Crown Forum, 2008), 132; see also, “What Did He Get for That Money?
[3] youtu.be/RWsx1X8PV_A
[4] John Van Huizum, Agua Dulce/Acton Country Journal, Vol. XXII, Issue 21 (May 26, 2012), 19.
[5] a) Person A has position X; b) Person B presents position Y (which is a distorted version of X); c) Person B attacks position Y; d) Therefore X is false/incorrect/flawed.
[6] Dennis Prager, Still the Best Hope (New York, NY: Broadside Books, 2012), 35-36.

Herbert Hoover and the Changing Demographic of Black Voters

See C-SPANS one-hour interview of Bruce Bartlett about the book I quote from below:

By 1914, Tillman was not on the ballot and he used his influence to defeat Blease in the Democratic primary, the only election that mattered in South Carolina after the disenfranchisement of blacks in 1895. Indeed, so intent was Tillman on defeating his former protégé that he threatened to have the literacy tests designed for blacks used against Blease’s poor white followers as well.

Among the more ridiculous tactics Blease used in the 1914 campaign to save his position was an attack on doctors, whom he charged with abusing young women by examining their private parts during physical examina­tions. He threatened to kill any doctor who examined his daughter against her will and to pardon anyone who did the same. Fearful that other people were not as outraged as he was about doctors simply doing their jobs, Blease implied that doctors were allowing “Negro janitors” to observe their examinations.

Of course, Blease did not avoid attacking blacks directly in his efforts to gin up the votes of ignorant white textile workers. “The Negro race has absolutely no standard of morality,” he declared. “They are, in that respect, a class by themselves as marital infidelity seems to be their more favorite pastime.” Blease said that giving education to a black man would only “ruin a good field hand and make a bad convict.” He warned that “the black ape and baboon” was a constant threat to rape white women when­ever the opportunity presented itself.

Partly because of Tillman’s efforts, Blease was defeated in the 1914 Democratic primary and again in 1916. In 1918, Blease retaliated by run­ning against Tillman for the Senate himself. However, Blease misread the mood of the people regarding World War I and ran a strongly pacifist cam­paign, attacking Woodrow Wilson and opposing American intervention in the war. After voters reacted very negatively to this approach, he tried to switch course, but it was too late and he was defeated.

Six years later, Blease ran again for the Senate; this time winning elec­tion. As a U.S. Senator, Blease was best known for continuing the Tillman tradition of making racially inflammatory speeches on the Senate floor. For example, in a 1928 speech, Democrat Blease blasted Republican Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover:

Republicans are now talking about nominating that man for President of the United States . . . a man who is in favor of making young white girls use the same water-closets as Negro men, making young white girls sit by them day by day. If there was nothing else, Mr. President, a Negro would be offensive because of his natural human smell. You can take a Negro and take a tub of the hottest water you can get him into, and use all the soap you can use, then take him out and cover him with cologne, and in five minutes he will smell just as offensive as he did before you washed him, because it is human nature, and he could not get rid of the odor. Then this man [Hoover], who wants to be President of the United States of America, this Englishman, wants to make white girls associate on equal terms with Negroes. . . . Mr. President, it is a shame, it is a disgrace.

The only disgrace, of course, was that the Democratic voters of South Carolina—the only ones whose votes counted—sent such an obnoxious racist to Washington to represent them. But by 1930, they came to their senses and replaced Blease with James F. Byrnes, a much more genteel racist. Twice more, in 1934 and 1938, Blease attempted to make a come­back as governor, but was rejected by voters both times. He died in 1942.

[….]

There is no mention of blacks in the Democratic Party’s 1932 platform. Much of the black community was, in fact, less than enthusiastic about the Roosevelt-Garner ticket. Said the New York Amsterdam News, a prominent black newspaper, “We fear that equal rights in the National Democratic Party means exactly what they meant in 1913 when the Woodrow Wilson administration came into power—equal rights for the white man but hell and damnation for the colored man.”

From the black perspective, the best thing Roosevelt had going for him in 1932 simply was that he wasn’t Herbert Hoover. Hoover was cer­tainly no racist—he abolished segregation in the Commerce Department while secretary” But he had the tinniest of tin ears when it came to practical politics, especially when it came to blacks. Hoover needlessly alienated them by purging blacks from Republican organizations in the South in order to appeal to whites; nominating a justice to the Supreme Court, John J. Parker, who was widely viewed, rightly or wrongly, as a racist; and allowing the War Department to segregate black Gold Star Mothers during a government-financed trip to European graveyards. Many blacks also believed that Hoover had condoned discriminatory treatment while he was in charge of federal relief after the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927.

[….]

It is impossible to calculate precisely to what extent New Deal policies raised black unemployment above what otherwise would have been the case. But it is revealing that well after the beginning of the Depression but before the New Deal began, unemployment for black workers was actually lower than for whites. In April 1930, the unemployment rate was 6.3 per­cent for black males and 6.9 percent for white males. Seven years later, in late 1937, after implementation of most New Deal programs, the unem­ployment rate for black males was well above that for white males: 19.1 percent for the former versus 13.9 percent for the latter.

POLITICAL REALIGNMENT

Despite all of this, black support for Roosevelt grew sharply between 1932 and 1936. Contrary to popular belief, Hoover actually carried a majority of the black vote in 1932. It was not until 1936 that blacks really deserted the Republican Party in large numbers. A key reason appears to have been the federal government’s welfare efforts through the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, which literally put food on the table for a large per­centage of black families. According to one estimate, 30 percent of the entire black population was receiving relief in January 1935. As a con­temporary analyst explained, blacks were profoundly grateful for this aid, little as it was, and rewarded the political party that delivered the goods:

Many Negroes in Chicago came in for a large share of relief funds and, consequently, were greatly impressed with the humanitarian aims of the New Deal. This sentiment was played upon and encouraged by both the national and local Democratic organizations. It was soon evident that their security was tied up with direct relief.

This same analyst quoted a Republican precinct captain in Chicago, who explained his party’s loss of the black vote this way: “That Abe Lincoln was a Republican is not near so important as their daily bread.’ It didn’t matter that the disbursement of aid was in the hands of local officials who often discriminated severely against blacks. They were grateful that they were getting something, even if it was less than whites received. “Let Jesus lead me and welfare feed me,” Depression-era blacks would say.

Ironically, on August 14, 1935, Roosevelt signed into law the biggest expansion of social welfare in American history—the Social Security Act—and left most blacks out of it. Although initially proposed as universal legisla­tion that would benefit all workers, the bill Roosevelt ultimately signed excluded most blacks by exempting domestic and agricultural workers from coverage. For this reason, many historians today view the original law as inherently racist. As Robert Lieberman of Columbia University recently wrote:

The Old-Age Insurance provisions of the Social Security Act were founded on racial exclusion. In order to make a national program of old-age bene­fits palatable to powerful Southern congressional barons, the Roosevelt administration acceded to a Southern amendment excluding agricultural and domestic employee from OAI coverage. This provision alone elimi­nated more than half of the African Americans in the labor force and over three-fifths of black Southern workers.

While Roosevelt himself was not responsible for the provision that lim­ited Social Security coverage for blacks, it is also a fact that he didn’t fight very hard to prevent his proposal from being watered down this way Nor can Roosevelt be excused for ignorance. The NAACP even testified against the Social Security Act before the Senate Finance Committee. Said the NAACP representative, Charles H. Houston, the more the organization studied the legislation, “the more holes appeared, until from a Negro’s point of view it looks like a sieve with the holes just big enough for the majority of Negroes to fall through.”

Bruce Bartlett, Wrong on Race: The Democratic Party’s Buried Past (New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan, 2008), 54-55, 112, 118-119.

Dr. Lanier Examines Christianity’s Worldview vs. a Naturalistic One

Lanier Theological Library (2014) – Does the Christian faith hold up under scrutiny? What does science tell us about the plausibility of a god? Can we trust the alleged eyewitness testimony of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus? These questions are worth investigating in order to find an answer solidified in fact and evidence. Mark Lanier uses his experienced legal eye to examine the plausibility of the Christian faith. Bringing science, current knowledge, and common sense together in a courtroom approach, Mark intends to elucidate a rich understanding of God and a strong foundation for Christian faith. Buy Lanier’s book Christianity on Trial: A Lawyer Examines the Christian Faith.

Cornell University Professor Talks Bias, Faith, and Science

WIKI Bio

Sanford graduated in 1976 from the University of Minnesota with a BSc in horticulture. He went to the University of Wisconsin–Madison where he received an MSc in 1978 and a PhD in 1980 in plant breeding/plant genetics. Between 1980 and 1986 Sanford was an assistant professor of Horticultural Sciences at Cornell University, and from 1986 to 1998 he was an associate professor of Horticultural Science. Although retiring in 1998, Sanford continues at Cornell as a courtesy associate professor. He held an honorary Adjunct Associate Professor of Botany at Duke University. Sanford has published over 70 scientific publications in peer reviewed journals.

Creation WIKI bio

Dr. John C. Sanford (1950-) is the Associate Professor of Horticultural Sciences (semi-retired) at Cornell University, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. Dr. Sanford is a researcher in genetics and is currently presently looking at the theoretical limits of mutation andselection.

He graduated in 1976 with a BS in Horticulture from the University of Minnesota. Two years later Dr. Sanford graduated with a MS in Plant Breeding/Plant Genetics from the University of Wisconsin. He then went on to earn his Ph.D. in Plant Breeding/Plant Genetics from the University of Wisconsin in 1980.

Dr. Sanford is a former atheist. Since the mid-1980s, Sanford has looked into theistic evolution (1985–late 1990s), Old Earth creationism (late 1990s), and Young Earth creationism (2000–present). According to him, he did not fully reject Darwinian evolution until the year 2000. Dr. Sanford and his wife Helen have three children.

On behalf of intelligent design, Dr. Sanford was involved in the 2005 Kansas evolution hearings. He denied the principle of common descent and testified …”that we were created by a special creation, by God.”

As an inventor, Dr. Sanford holds more than 25 patents including the biolistic process known as the “gene gun.” He started two biotech enterprises derived from his research, Biolistics, Inc., and Sanford Scientific, Inc. In addition to his genetic contributions, Dr. Sanford and his colleagues developed the quantitative forward genetic modeling program called Mendel’s Accountant. Sanford et al. published two peer reviewed papers dealing with genetic entropy in computing journals concerned with modeling methodology. Based on quantitative modeling evidence developed using Mendel’s Accountant and from his research into mutations, Sanford holds that the genome is deteriorating and therefore could not have evolved in the way specified by the modern evolutionary theory suggests.

His research into the genetic limit of the genome, and it’s devolution has lead to the publishing of “Genetic Entropy & the Mystery of the Genome”.

After mostly retiring from Cornell, Dr. Sanford has started a small nonprofit, the Feed My Sheep Foundation, which focuses on supporting science and technology research initiatives in the area of life sciences.

Islamic State Destroys Embarrassing Pagan Roots of Muhammad

A quick history of the Satanic Verses:

Dr. Thies has a great short article on the Islamic State destroying historical evidences of the Pagan roots of Muhammad’s faith:

…Sura 53:19-20 According to Islam, the Koran contains a revelation from Satan. An entreaty concerning three lesser deities, al-Lat, al-‘Uzza and Manat, worshipped by the people of Mecca. As a result of Muhammed invoking these gods, the people of Mecca no longer opposed him. Then, in a later revelation, Muhammed revoked this revelation, and recommenced prosecution of the people of Mecca.

The entire incident has been one of great controversy in Islam, although the logical implications of Satanic Verses being admitted to being included in the Koran has become taboo. Well, one of the remaining physical evidences of the gods of Mecca has been destroyed by ISIS: the statute of al-Lat, in the form of a lion, in the Syrian city of Palmyra, and dating back to the 1st Century AD. But, not to worry. ISIS isn’t destroying all the archeological treasures of this ancient city. Instead of destroying the 2,000 year old Roman theater, they are using it for public executions…

Jihad Watch notes that this incident led to the Islamic tradition of later verses in the Qur’an abrogating earlier ones, and why Islam practices “religious” violence.

…Incidentally, that passage in the Qur’an’s 53rd sura is the only trace left of the celebrated “Satanic Verses.” Long before the novel of the same name by Salman Rushdie, this term referred to an incident recorded in Islamic tradition, in which Muhammad tried to achieve reconciliation with the Quraysh by a “revelation” in which he declared, “So have you considered al-Lat and al-Uzza? And Manat, the third, the other one? They are the exalted cranes (gharaniq), worthy of veneration.” The Quraysh, hearing this, prostrated to Allah with the Muslims, who accepted the three goddesses as Allah’s daughters. But Muhammad soon realized that he had thus compromised the absolute monotheism that he had preached up to that point, and so he reneged, and claimed that Satan, not Allah, had inspired those verses, which were then duly replaced by the “revelation” recorded in Qur’an 53:19-22. The concept of abrogation, which ultimately led to the idea that the Qur’an’s violent passages take precedence over its peaceful ones, justified this change in still another “revelation”: “We do not abrogate a verse or cause it to be forgotten except that We bring forth  better than it or similar to it. Do you not know that Allah is over all things competent?” (Qur’an 2:106)…

Differences Are Important ~ Updated ~ Patriot Act

(Breitbart)

(This was new in 2013)

Quick update, as this story evolves into this project called PRISM, we are finding out that credit card purchases as well as even simple actions of typing were monitored. All this didn’t help to prevent the Boston Bomber, a useless tool apparently. We do not need more surveillance, but tener cojones (“have the balls to”) fight a war on ideas that is not politically correct, as E.T. Williams points out so well!

…“almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative. If this belief is put to the test, one can count on the students’ reaction: they will be uncomprehending” (Bloom, 1987, p. 25). The following story should elucidate:

The story is told of a man who stopped outside a clockmaker’s shop every morning on his way to work and synchronized his watch with a large clock standing in the shop window. One day, the owner of the shop got to talking to him and asked him what kind of work he did. Rather sheepishly, the man told him he was the timekeeper at a nearby factory, and that one of his responsibilities was to ring the closing bell at five o’clock every evening. As his watch kept very poor times, he synchronized it very morning with the clock in the shop window. The shop-owner, even more embarrassed, replied, “I hate to tell you this, but the clock doesn’t work very well either, and I adjust it every time I hear the factory’s closing bell!” ~ Ravi Zacharias, “Address to the United Nations’ Prayer Breakfast.” (from a paper on Multiculturalism for school)

Gay Patriot linked to a story by Michele Malkin which was a good read. First the Malkin excerpt, then some commentary by GP:

History lesson: The crucial differences between Bush and Obama’s NSA phone surveillance programs

…The differences between then and now are glaring.  

Fast & Furious Differences

Very similar to the massive differences between Bush and Holder’s versions of “Fast & Furious” (link in Batman)

The new Obama order covers not only phone calls overseas with the specific goal of counterterrorism surveillance, but all domestic calls by Verizon customers over at least a three-month period.

Trevor Timm, a digital rights analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, called the order “shockingly broad.”

“Not only are they intercepting call data into and out of the country, but they are intercepting all call data in the United States, which goes far beyond what the FISA Amendments Act allows,” Timm said.

“This is an abuse of the Patriot Act on a massive scale,” said Gregory Nojeim, senior counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology. “Since the law requires that the telephone records sought be relevant to an investigation, it appears that the FBI and the NSA may have launched the broadest investigation in history because everyone’s telephone calls seem to be relevant to it.”

…The “top secret” order issued in April by a judge on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court at the request of the FBI instructs the telecommunications giant Verizon to provide the NSA with daily reports of “all call detail records or ‘telephony metadata’ created by Verizon for communications (i) between the United States and abroad; or (ii) wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls.”

[….]

Is it crucially important to consider 1) the creeping, creepy surveillance-state context in which this current administration operates and 2) the naked contempt this current administration has shown for the privacy rights of its political enemies?

Hell yes, absolutely.

The Author of The Patriot Act Says NSA Has Violated It With Massive Phone and Internet Data Grabs

And now Gay Patriot’s quotes and commentary:

Obama’s NSA phone surveillance called “shockingly broad”

….She [Malkin] starts by reminding about the NSA phone surveillance of the Bush administration:

The Bush NSA’s special collections program grew in early 2002 after the CIA started capturing top Qaeda operatives overseas, including Abu Zubaydah. The CIA seized the terrorists’ computers, cellphones and personal phone directories. NSA surveillance was intended to exploit those numbers and addresses as quickly as possible. As a result of Bush NSA work,the terrorist plot involving convicted al Qaeda operative Iyman Faris was uncovered — possibly saving untold lives…

Normally, the government obtains court orders to monitor such information from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. But the window of opportunity to exploit the names, numbers, and addresses of those associated with the top terrorist leaders was obviously small…

So the Bush administration had the NSA track Americans’ overseas phone calls, insofar as captured terrorist phone numbers might show up. But the Obama administration? Not so much…err, so little:

The new Obama order covers not only phone calls overseas with the specific goal of counterterrorism surveillance, but all domestic calls by Verizon customers over at least a three-month period.

[Malkin now links/quotes an article at Politico:] Trevor Timm, a digital rights analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, called the order “shockingly broad.” …The “top secret” order issued in April by a judge on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court at the request of the FBI instructs the telecommunications giant Verizon to provide the NSA with daily reports of “all call detail records or ‘telephony metadata’ created by Verizon for communications (i) between the United States and abroad; or (ii) wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls.”

I’m willing to preserve our counter-terrorism efforts. And I don’t know much about the legal ins/outs of all this. But, all domestic calls by Verizon customers? Sheesh! This surely goes beyond the Bush NSA surveillance that the public debated in 2005.

So, it’s worth discussing the rightness (or wrongness) of the broadened surveillance. The more so if the War on Terror is over, as some international observers thought Obama to be implying in his speech last week.

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