Studies in Islam: Abrogation

Peter Burrows, Studies in Islam: ABROGATION                           9/25/16

The fact that a verse in the Koran can supersede or annul another, earlier, verse is called abrogation.  It is an extraordinarily important concept to the understanding of Islam. What it means is that the chronology of revelations can determine their validity.  Allah, you see, would change his mind, cancelling His earlier revelations.

Knowledge of verses abrogating and those abrogated is a requirement under sharia law for anyone to knowledgeably discuss the Koran. See Reliance of the Traveler r14.1 and r14.2. Furthermore, Among the necessary qualifications to be an Islamic judge, one must know which verses (nansikh) supersede previous revealed Koranic verses, and which verses (mansukh) are superseded by later verses. See Reliance of the Traveler o22.1.d (9) and (10).

The word “abrogation” appears only in verse 2:106, but it is alluded to in Meccan verse 16:101 which says: “Whenever We replace one verse by another verse – and Allah knows what he should reveal – they are wont to say: ‘You are nothing but a fabricator (who has invented the Qur’an.)’ The fact is that most of them are ignorant of the truth.”

Sura 16 is a late Meccan sura, so it appears Muhammad’s critics were beginning to catch him giving out “revelations” that were contradictory or at least inconsistent with his earlier revelations, and this was perhaps not wearing well with the Meccan polytheists.  When he got to Medina, the Jewish rabbis in the area immediately became formidable critics of  Muhammad and his “revelations.”

Ibn Ishaq’s  biography, The Life of Muhammad, on page 239 has this to say: “About this time, the Jewish rabbis showed hostility to the apostle in envy, hatred and malice, because God had chosen His apostle from the Arabs. —It was the Jewish rabbis who used to annoy the apostle with questions and introduce confusion, so as to confound the truth with falsity.”  Ibn Ishaq then proceeds to  name these rabbis in a list about half-a-page long!

This fits well with verse 2:106 and its footnote from the Mawdudi Pakistani Koran: “For whatever verse We might abrogate or consign to oblivion, We bring a better one or the like of it. Are you not aware that Allah is all powerful?” Mawdudi’s footnote says: “This is in response to a doubt which the Jews tried implant in the minds of Muslims. If both the earlier Scriptures and the Qur’an were revelations from God, why was it – they asked –  that the injunctions found in the earlier scriptures had been replaced by new ones in the Koran?”

Three things to be noted here. First, the rabbis didn’t criticize Muhammad for very long as it quickly became something that would get them killed. Second, while the revelation says “verse,” Mawdudi refers to “Scriptures,” meaning the Torah and Bible, and it is an accepted fact of abrogation that it applies not only to Koranic verses, but that the principle applies to religions generally, i.e. Christianity abrogates Judaism, Islam abrogates Christianity. Finally, 2:106 is one of many verses in which Allah comes to Muhammad’s rescue.  The Koran, while not ostensibly about Muhammad, is in fact very much about him.

The Khan Saudi Arabia Koran is a little more straight forward with 2:106: “Whatever a Verse (revelation) do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring better one or similar to it. Know you not that Allah is Able to do all things?”  This leaves no doubt that “revelations” can be abrogated as Allah changes His mind.

The Khan Koran then has an interesting footnote to a verse that comes shortly after verse 2:106. Verse 2:109 says: “Many of the people of the Scriptures (Jews and Christians) wish that they could turn you away as disbelievers after you have believed, out of envy from their ownselves even after the truth (that Muhammad is Allah’s messenger) has become manifest unto them. But forgive and overlook, till Allah brings His Command. Verily, Allah is Able to do all things.”

Anyone who has studied Islam knows the phrase “forgive and overlook” is shockingly incongruent and out of place.  Sure enough, the Khan footnote says “The provision of this verse has been abrogated by the verse 9:29.” Verse 9:29 orders Muslims to strive against Jews and Christians until they are utterly subdued and willingly paying the jizya, the tax paid by those under Muslim protection.

There is another verse in chapter two, verse 2:256, that famously says: “There is no compulsion in religion.” This verse is also abrogated by a verse in chapter nine, verse 9:5, The Verse of the Sword, which commands Muslims to slay pagans wherever they are found, unless they become Muslims.

What is interesting is that chapter two in the Koran is the 87th chapter chronologically, and is the first of the chapters revealed in Medina.  Chapter nine, with its abrogating verses, is the penultimate chapter of all revelations, number 113 chronologically, and is essentially the last of the revelations, occurring ten years after those in chapter two and shortly before Muhammad’s death..

What I find most damning is that in those ten years Allah goes from “forgive and overlook,” and “there is no compulsion in religion” to an Allah totally unforgiving and to an Allah demanding conversion under penalty of death. What happened in those ten years that could explain God changing his mind so drastically?  The answer is quite simple: It wasn’t God changing his mind, it was Muhammad.

Muhammad came to Medina with only 150 or so followers after preaching in Mecca for 12 years.  Ten years later Muhammad was undisputed ruler of all of Arabia and his armies were on the march both east and west.  Muhammad was absolute ruler of his world, wielding absolute power.  As Lord Acton said, power tends to  corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Abrogation always involves replacing benign revelations with malign ones, never the other way.  Since abrogation occurs more and more as Muhammad gains power, the obvious conclusion is that the human, Muhammad, was the one making the “revelations,” a charge frequently made by those around him. As mentioned, the Koran has numerous examples of God magically coming up with a “revelation” specific to the needs of Muhammad at the moment.

To summarize: Abrogation means that the God of Islam would change His mind about something, thereby nullifying whatever the God of Islam had previously said on the topic, all being said through His Messenger, Muhammad. A skeptic can be forgiven for noting that the Koran came from Allah because Muhammad said so, and that Muhammad was Allah’s Messenger because the Koran says so.

Devout Muslims accept abrogation as an inherent part of their religion without realizing how destructive the doctrine is to their religion’s credibility.  And make no mistake, the doctrine of abrogation IS inherent to Islam, even being recognized in sharia law.  To repeat, the primary book of sharia law for Sunnis, Reliance of the Traveler, has in Book O: Justice, section 22, the requirement that to be an Islamic judge, one must know those verses, nansikh, which supersede previously revealed Koranic verses, and those verses, mansuhk, which are superseded by later  verses.  (See R of T r14.2 for further confirmation of sharia support for abrogation.)

Abrogation reveals the corrupting influence of power on Muhammad, not the changing mind of a whimsical God. To my mind, abrogation abrogates the entire “religion” of Islam.

Don’t vote for Progressives: They don’t represent progress

Don’t Vote For Progressives: They Don’t Represent Progress by Peter Burrows 8-19-16 elburropete@gmail.com

There are three Grant County Commissioner seats up for grabs in the election next November.  All three have candidates on the ballot who proudly call themselves Progressives: Alicia Edwards for district 3, Marilyn Alcorn for district 4, and Harry Browne for district 5.

Of the three, I’ve only briefly met Browne and Alcorn, but I’ve known Alicia Edwards for years and I think she’s wonderful, as is Harry Browne’s mother Fran, whom I met over ten years ago.  Marilyn Alcorn is, like me, a Michigan State grad, so what’s not to like?

However, as much as we may like people who call themselves Progressives, they should never be voted into public office.  Progressives place too much faith in the efficacy of government. To them, government is the solution to all our problems: Just pass a law  Government is good, and more government is better.

We see this at the national level in the Democrat’s platform. In a Washington Post article of July 12, “The most progressive Democratic platform ever,” by Katrina vanden Heuvel, we learn Bernie’s Progressives were able to get the following included in the Democrat’s platform:

1) Free (OMG!) college tuition at in-state schools for families making less than $125,000 (!!!!) per year.
2) Expand, not contract, Social Security benefits.
3) 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave, per year.
4) Card check organizing for non-unionized workers.
5) Taxing U.S. corporations’ overseas earnings at U.S. levels.

They failed to get “Medicare for all,” a ban on fracking, a carbon tax, or rejection of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal.  But, they did get a $15 minimum wage, which with card check and paid family leave, means, vanden Heuvel writes,  “Democrats stand for putting their thumb on the scales in favor of workers and unions.”

None of the above has a great deal of relevance to Grant County, but don’t be surprised if future labor negotiations for Grant County employees find the Progressives on the side of the unions, not the taxpayers.  It’s too bad there are “sides” on that issue, but all across America public unions and their politically elected enablers, of both parties, have negotiated ridiculously generous pay and benefits that simply cannot be paid.

Left leaning politicians will try to solve the problem by raising taxes. It’s what they ALWAYS do.  This will pit public employees against taxpayers, and drive states and municipalities over a fiscal cliff.  Check out Chicago and Illinois.   At the national level, expanding — or even holding flat– Social Security/Medicare benefits will do the same thing to the country.

At a Progressive Voters forum a couple of months ago for the Progressive candidates running in the Grant County primaries, a smart arse asked if any of the panelists had any ideas to CUT county spending.  HA!  Of course not. Progressives don’t CUT spending  — unless it’s military spending.

If the smart arse would have had his brain working, he would have asked if Antony Gutierrez’s vacant county job should be allowed to remain vacant.  Gutierrez was hired as Executive Director of the CAP Entity, and his former job as Grant County Planning & Community Development Director has since been filled. One has to ask: Why does no-growth Grant County need such a job, and a fairly high paying one at that?

(I would have done it for nothing, but nobody asked me. Sigh.)

Also at the forum, the above three candidates all thought passing a living wage law was a good idea but not something a county should pass. State, yes. County, no.  Too much confusion otherwise.  Pass a law, eliminate poverty.  What a great idea. They should do that in Haiti.

Passing laws to set prices, which is what minimum wage laws do, are a prime example of why Progressives should never be elected.  They think that they can legislate away natural laws like the law of supply and demand.  Kind of like passing a law against gravity.

Furthermore, Progressives have been passing price control laws since The Edict of Diocletian in A.D. 284, which had the same disastrous effects of similar laws more recently passed in the Progressive Paradise of Venezuela, where shelves are empty and people are hunting cats and dogs, not to adopt but to EAT.

Progressives never learn.  They can’t, because that would mean admitting the fallibility of their God: Government.

(In all fairness, there are people who call themselves Progressives simply because it is such a flattering term.  After all, who wants to be a regressive?  But don’t let the label fool you, folks.  Progressives are  progressives like Scientologists are scientists.)

The Progressives’ worship of government is not a new idea. In fact, it’s an old idea.  The Divine Rights of Kings, Emperors, Popes and Caliphates existed for centuries.  It only disappeared in Japan in 1945, and has been reborn today in the Islamic Caliphate of ISIS, and while Progressives will tell you that they, of course, don’t think government is God, they act like government is God.

The God of progressives is not a benign God.  Their God punishes “rich” people and corporations, the prime “exploiters” of other people.  Progressives say they’re just pursuing economic justice.  Progressives like to talk about “justice,” and apply the term to all sorts of things.  Being for “justice” makes Progressives feel good about themselves, makes them feel superior.

Did you know there is something called The Global Justice Movement? Their website says they are in favor of monetary justice, social justice, economic justice, environmental justice and peace justice, all of which is in pursuit of inclusive justice. Oh, my.  They left out fresh-fruit justice, just to name one obvious omission.

The problem with this Progressive obsession with “justice” is that it requires someone to judge. Gosh, who do you think the Progressives have in mind for that task?  Government, of course, and who do you think they think is best able to govern?  If you said “Progressives” go to the head of the class.

There are two problems with these nebulous concepts of justice.  The first is that they are quite subjective, meaning that justice would be a helluva lot different with ME as Cosmic Supreme Ruler rather than Bernie Sanders.  Secondly, the enforcement of subjective, always changing standards of “justice” means that government power is not held in check by objective laws.  Such power will always be abused. Witness Hugo Chavez’s billionaire kids.

In fact, humanity did not begin to make real social and economic progress until they began to put specific legal restraints on the power of government, starting with the Magna Carta and culminating in what is truly the most progressive document in history, the United States Constitution.  People who call themselves Progressives want to do away with the Constitutional constraints on government, and they have been working on that since Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.  This is progress?

At heart, Progressives are totalitarians who think that people should work for the government, not the other way around.  In Grant County, as elsewhere, that means every problem can be solved by the government if only the government had the power to force people to ride bicycles, use paper sacks, install solar panels, grow their own food, etc. etc, and of course, if this requires more money, the people, especially the rich ones, will have to pay more in taxes.  Taxes, you see are “good.”  Just ask a Progressive.

How The Political World Works

How the Political World Works 8/6/16 elburropete@gmail.com

Democrats and Progressives may not know how the world outside of politics works, but they sure know how the world inside of politics works: EMOTIONS TRUMP FACTS.  They know this instinctively. I think it’s in their genes.

For example, at a meeting of the local Democrats a few months back, they were discussing issues to use in the coming elections and one of their really big hitters piped up and said, “We’ve got to get emotional!!” She knew what she was talking about.

On issue after issue, state, local and national, emotions win elections.  Pundits blame Romney’s loss in the last presidential election because voters perceived he “didn’t care.”  That was actually an issue in the election. Think about that.

An occasional Republican gets it. Jack Kemp used to say that voters don’t care what you know until they know you care.  That’s sad because how do politicians show they “care?” By spending other peoples’ money, usually  on programs that do more harm than good. Sometimes the “caring” is in the form of laws that force other people, usually businesses, to spend money on such things as minimum wages, day care centers, sick leave, health insurance, maternity leave, wheelchair ramps, and so on.

I call this the compassion con, the “I feel your pain” con, and it really gets my knickers knotted when politicians are praised for their “generosity” when no such thing was involved.  What brought this to mind was an ad I saw on the Internet by some company in the business of refinancing mortgages. The headline said that “Obama generously” gave homeowners a one-time chance to refinance.  A lot of people, including Obama, probably think he was in fact “generous.”

Maybe the number one emotional hot-button of politics that doesn’t involve money is the identity con.  Why vote for Hillary? Because she’s a woman.  Why vote for Barrack Obama? Because he’s black.  The Democrats have mastered identity politics, and they have managed to fool their Republican colleagues into supporting immigration laws that over the years have resulted in a virtual stuffing of the ballot box for Democrats.

They knew what they were doing.  It is doubtful the nation can survive if racial identity becomes more important than national identity.  Anybody who criticizes La Raza, Black Lives Matter, CAIR, whatever, is a racist, troglodyte, xenophobe, a.k.a. a Republican. Maybe the Republicans can figure out how to divide and conquer before the nation is torn apart by identity politics, but I doubt it.

The emotional hot-button that brings it all together is the victim con.   “Oh, you poor (black, Hispanic, woman, single mom, unemployed college grad/factory worker/etc., LGBT, Muslim, welfare recipient, and so on ), your problems ARE NOT YOUR FAULT. Vote for me and I’ll punish your tormentors, be they corporations, banks, Christians, Jews, racists (if they‘re white), employers, cops, imports and whatever/whomever is the devil du jour.”

It’s very discouraging. As Winston Churchill once said, the biggest argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.  On the other hand, the biggest argument against a dictatorship is after your five-minute conversation with that man on-the-street, ask yourself, would you like to be ruled by THAT SOB?

Unfortunately, if that SOB is a skilled demagogue able to hit enough hot buttons,  he, or she, will rule you.  It’s democracy’s fatal flaw.

The FBI and me

The FBI and me by Peter Burrows 7/17/16 elburropete@gmail.com – silvercityburro.com

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the FBI, has shamed our nation with its abject cowardice or corruption –take your pick– in the Hillary Clinton email case.  Now, they have added stupidity to the list. The following is from a Washington Post article dated July 15, 2016, by Adam Goldman:

The FBI has found no evidence so far that Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people and wounded more than 53 at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, chose the popular establishment because of its gay clientele, said U.S. law enforcement officials. “While there can be no denying the significant impact on the gay community, the investigation hasn’t revealed that he targeted pulse (sic) because it was a gay club,” a U.S. law enforcement official said.

Attention FBI Director Comey: Of course he targeted Pulse because it was a gay club.  He’s a devout Muslim.  Add in gun-free zoning laws, and the Pulse was a sitting duck.

The FBI is way, way, past the point where ignorance becomes stupidity.  I wonder how many Americans will have to die at the hands of fanatical Muslims before somebody in law enforcement learns the essentials of Islam. Mateen declared his Muslim bona fides with a 911 call to affirm his allegiance to ISIS, WHILE HE WAS KILLING PEOPLE AT PULSE. Director Comey: Don’t you think that’s a clue?

Let me help you out. Devout Muslims follow the teachings of the Koran, but only some of the teachings, depending on the chronology of the “revelations“ in the Koran.  One of those Koranic teachings, found only once in the early Meccan verses but numerous times in the later Medina verses, is that Muslims must obey Allah AND HIS MESSENGER, Muhammad being the Messenger.

Nowhere in the Koran is this command cancelled by a later revelation from Allah, and thus it is a command for Muslims to obey forever.  Muslims consider the Koran to be the timeless word of God, proving how stupid people can be when it comes to their religion. (I could give examples other than Islam, but not now.)

A kafir like myself reads the Koran and sees the all-too-human Muhammad at work making his life as easy as possible, which in this case is the SOB telling people to do as he says because Allah commands it. How convenient

Obeying Muhammad today, the devout Muslim looks to the Gospels of Islam, called the hadith, and the biographies of Muhammad, called the sira.  The two together are called the sunnah of Islam. Since Allah, in the Koran, also declared Muhammad a good example for Muslims to follow, it means not just Muhammad’s sayings but also his deeds are sanctified. Oh, my. Decapitation, anyone?

Through the centuries, Islamic scholars, using the Koran and the sunnah, have developed a body of Islamic law called sharia.  There are different schools of Islamic jurisprudence, both between Sunni and Shia Muslims, as well as within the Sunni and Shia sects, but there is universal agreement on about 75 percent of what constitutes sharia, the remainder a matter of interpretation and execution.

The most respected book of sharia laws in the Sunni sect is “Reliance of the Traveler and Tools for the Worshiper. ”  This 14th Century  compilation of sharia has pages of mind-numbing instructions on such things as personal hygiene and prayer rituals, as well as what us Westerners would consider traditional law.

The “Reliance” on page 665 quotes the Koran to declare that homosexuals “are people who transgress.”  Then comes the coup de grace:  “The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: Kill the one who sodomizes and the one who lets it be done to him.”   Remember, Muslims must obey the Prophet.

Director Comey and AG Lynch, now do you see any evidence that the Orlando shooter, a Muslim, may have in fact targeted the Pulse because it was a gay club?   What say?  Oh, you’re going to arrest ME for hate speech because I called Muhammad an SOB?   Why am I not surprised?

Income and Wealth inequality: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, Part Three: The Ugly

Income and Wealth Inequality: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly,  Part Three: The Ugly by Peter Burrows 5/14/16 elburropete@gmail.com  silvercityburro.com

It’s ironic that Bernie Sanders, who calls himself a socialist, rails incessantly against income inequality.  Ironic because income inequality in socialist countries is gargantuan, far, far more than in free enterprise countries.

Bernie has been bitching about the wealthiest family in America, the Waltons, who are the children of Sam Walton, founder of Walmart. Hey, Bernie: Sam Walton built the world’s largest retail chain by offering the best prices, by helping all his shoppers live better, especially the poorest, whom you claim to care about.  Not a nickel of the Walton’s money was stolen from anybody.

Contrast that with the wealthiest family in Cuba, the Castros.  Some years ago, Fortune Magazine estimated Fidel’s worth at $900 million, but I personally don’t give their estimate much credence. It was mostly guess-work.  What isn’t guess-work are documents leaked from London-based HSBC’s Swiss branch in February 2015 that revealed 29 Cubans with 70 accounts worth $83.8 million, with the largest account being $48.5 million.(1)

None of the clients were Castros, but it strains credulity to think Fidel and Raoul and all their children don’t also have many millions stashed away.  And  remember, this is from only ONE bank.  In fact, it has been alleged that the Castros have their own bank for their accounts. (2)

Of course, Bernie will say that’s a bad example as Cuba is a socialist dictatorship and Bernie is a democratic socialist, an elected socialist, like Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Ooops! Bad example.

The Castros are poor cousins compared to socialists who have better stuff to steal than sugar, such as the afore mentioned Hugo Chavez, the late socialist leader of oil-endowed Venezuela. (I first wrote “oil-rich” Venezuela, but having oil doesn’t make a nation rich if socialists are in charge.)  Chavez died in 2013, but not before running the nation into the ground in his 14 years in charge.

Things are no better under his successor, fellow-socialist Nickolas Maduro. Today, Venezuela rations toilet paper, food, electricity, and just about everything.  People are hunting stray dogs and cats, not to adopt, but TO EAT.(3)

However, there are a few Venezuelans who don’t have to stand in line for anything or worry about eating their pets. One of them is Hugo Chavez’s daughter, Maria, who reportedly has $4.2 billion in American and Andorran banks. (4) Gosh, I wonder how she got all that money. Probably wrote some books like J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, which were made into movies and made Ms. Rowling a billionaire.  Of course. Maria must have done something like that.

Chavez had two other daughters, and the three of them were estimated to have cost Venezuela $3.6 million a day. (5) That‘s $3.6 million A DAY. Over 14 years, that’s a lot of money.

The source of all this stolen money is the Venezuelan oil company, PDVSA, owned and operated by the Venezuelan government.  (American-based Citgo is a wholly owned subsidiary.) PDVSA had peak profits of $15.9 billion in 2013 when oil prices averaged about $95 per barrel.  How much was skimmed from PDVSA’s profits over the years is something we may never know, but the leaked HSBC documents revealed 1,138 Venezuelan accounts with $14.8 billion in deposits. (6) This in ONE bank.

Alejandro Andrade, Chavez’s former body guard who became Venezuela’s treasury minister from 2007 to 2010, had three HSBC accounts with $698 million in deposits.   Andrade is now living in Florida, and is reputedly a horse aficionado. (7) Probably works in some stable somewhere, shoveling stuff out.  Right.

The HSBC documents also showed some $270 million in the accounts of citizens of Zimbabwe, where at last count, 98% of the economy was run by the government.  Remember, this is just one bank. Estimates of the total amount deposited in Swiss banks by Zimbabweans is $4.5 billion. (8)

Sure is easy to get rich in socialist countries, as long as you’re not one of the socialist masses.  You have to be one of those Hugo Chavez/Bernie Sanders types who come to power wailing and moaning about how the little guy is being screwed by an evil private enterprise system that has bought the government, hates poor people, exploits workers and eats babies.  Out with those guys and in with the  “good” guys, the Hugos, the Bernies, the Maos, the Kim Jong Uns who will then proceed to enrich themselves in the economic justice con game.

Mao, too?  Yes, indeed. While his people starved, Mao had gourmet food flown in from around the country; while families of three generations communed in one room, Mao had over 50 estates, some of which included entire mountains and lakes for his exclusive use.  (9)

Mao’s example is carried on today by China’s satellite, North Korea, where Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un spends a fortune on luxury goods while his people suffer widespread hunger and malnutrition, according to a UN report released in 2014. (10)

Sadly, once in power, all these “economic justice” types quickly become the new fat cats.  Read George Orwell  classic “Animal Farm.”  In fact, if all this blather about “inequality” puts people who want to “fix” inequality in power, it guarantees the sort of inequality we see in places like Venezuela. The power to “correct”  subjective inequalities is too much power, which will be abused. Always.

Gosh, you say, that sort of thing can‘t happen here.  Oh?  Have you ever heard of Franklin Raines?   He was President of Federal National Mortgage Corporation, a.k.a. Fannie Mae, from 1998 to 2004.  Fannie Mae was/is a government sponsored enterprise, a GSE, under the control of The Department of Housing and Urban Development.  It was also a publicly owned company with stock trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Raines resigned in the wake of an accounting scandal that involved overstating the earnings of Fannie Mae for years.  Those overstated earnings, to the tune of $6.3 billion, made Fannie Mae’s stock a Wall Street darling which resulted in BIG profits for Raines’s stock options:   “– of the more than $90 million in executive compensation received by Raines from 1998 through 2003, over $52 million  was directly tied to achieving earnings-per-share targets  through phony accounting.” (11)

Remember: FRANKLIN RAINES WAS ESSENTIALLY A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE.

A few years after Raines left, Fannie Mae spiraled into bankruptcy and helped take the entire nation down with it.  I think the government should have gone after Raines’s huge compensation in a “clawback” like they did with those innocents who profited from Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, but they didn’t.  Makes one wonder if there is a double standard in the Justice Department like there is in the mainstream media. If Raines had been a big-shot Republican, you‘d have heard of him!

Which brings to mind a thought experiment:  Assume that instead of the Clinton Foundation, there was a Bush Foundation that had received hundreds of millions in contributions from around the world, had hired Bush cronies at BIG salaries, had a Bush kid running it and that Jeb Bush was the Republican presidential nominee who had made $21 million giving speeches in a recent 18 month period. Now assume the New York Times had endorsed Bush —WHOA! That’s an assumption too far when it‘s a Republican being ugly. (12)

(1) http://babalublog.com/2015/02/09/swiss-leaks-reveals-84-million-in-illegal-hsbc-bank-accounts-by-70-castroite-cubans/
(2) http://www.therealcuba.com/?page_id=74
(3) http://townhall.com/tipsheet/mattvespa/2016/05/09/venezuelans-are-now-hunting-cats-dogs-and-birds-for-food-because-socialism-cant-provide-n2160036
(4) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3192933/Hugo-Chavez-s-ambassador-daughter-Venezuela-s-richest-woman-according-n
(5) ibid (4)
(6) https://panampost.com/pedro-garcia/2015/02/11/venezuela-outdoes-all-latam-nations-in-hsbc-tax-evasion-scheme/

(7) http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/venezuela/article9601697.html
(8) http://www.voazimbabwe.com/a/zimbabwe-money-foreign-currency-offshore-accounts/2634022.html
(9) http://tucson.com/news/opinion/mao-preached-the-hard-life-but-lived-in-luxury/article_c2be87cd-fa70-517f-996b-c42c09fd2282.html
(10) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/18/north-korea-luxury-goods_n_4808823.html
(11) Gretchen Morgenson And Joshua Rosner, Reckless Endangerment (Times Books, 2011)  p. 254.
(12) New York Times, 1/30/16: Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination – Voters have the chance to choose one of the most broadly and deeply qualified candidates in modern history –

Income Inequality: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Part One: The Good

Income and Wealth Inequality: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly – Part One The Good –  by Peter Burrows 4/27/16 elburropete@gmail.com – silvercityburro.com

Exit polls show Democratic voters in the presidential primaries put “income inequality” near the top of the list of things to be concerned about.  This is typical of politics in America today: The Democrats find some statistical disparity and make a political issue out of it, regardless of the underlying facts, and the Republicans let them get away with it.  The evil party and the stupid party.

Since statistical disparities abound, the Democrats get lots of political mileage out of portraying things as unjust when they are just the opposite.  For example, blacks are incarcerated more than whites, which Democrats claim is proof of racism, not that blacks commit more crimes, which they do. Women earn less than men, which for decades Democrat have claimed proves gender discrimination, in spite of numerous studies showing other perfectly reasonable factors at work. Which brings to mind the festering problem of there being no women playing quarterback in the NFL or center in the NBA.

OK, I made that last one up, but it wouldn‘t surprise me if somebody were to sue the NFL or NBA someday on that statistical discrepancy. Women are being shoe-horned into all sorts of jobs where they are physically at a disadvantage, so why not  NFL quarterbacks, NBA centers or for that matter, hockey goalies, etc. etc. ad absurdum.  It seems that common sense has disappeared these days.

To be worried about income and wealth disparity in America is a silly concern, at least it is as the Democrats frame it.  Bernie Sanders rails against the top one-tenth of one percent of income earners as though those people are guilty of something. Just what are they guilty of, Bernie?  Being successful? Being lucky? Being hard working? Being creative?

How about just being old?  Thomas Sowell in one of his books, I forget which, had an interesting thought experiment in which a perfectly run society has everybody being paid the same, saving the same amount and retiring after 50 years.  In this society, everybody starts work at 18 and retires after 50 years at 68. Population is ridgidly controlled so for each retiree there is a new 18-year-old workforce entrant.

Everybody is paid ten dollars a year and saves one dollar. What this means is that the 68-year-old retiree has saved $50 and the 19-year-old has saved $1.00.  Along comes Bernie who rails at the “system” that has the top two percent with fifty times the wealth of the bottom two percent.

It gets even more unequal if the dollar saved each year is invested at 5%. The retiree’s savings will be not be $50 but over $200 dollars.  WOW! Bernie will be in demagogue heaven! Furthermore, in the year before retirement, the older worker will not only have two hundred times as much wealth as the 19-year-old, his income of one dollar will be supplemented by over $10 of interest income, so his income will be eleven times as much as the 19-year-old.  Go get ‘em, Bernie! (1)

In the real world, of course, workers are not paid the same starting wage their entire careers. They get raises, they get promotions.  The typical person about to retire therefore has much more wealth and income than a person just entering the work force, and huge discrepancies in wealth and income are to be expected. That’s only fair.  But you’d never know it by just looking at the statistics.

To add to this inherent, “natural” inequality, we have what I call Cosmic inequalities. Some people are gifted with intelligence and talent far above average and if–IF– they have the ambition and work ethic to develop those talents their earthly rewards will be way beyond what most will experience. Examples are easy to cite.  Oprah Winfrey’s income was $175 million one year.  She earned it. Robert Downey Jr. made $80 million last year. He earned it.  (I don’t know what movie –movies?– he starred in and I don’t give a damn.) (2)

In the business world, which Bernie sees as inherently evil, the two richest billionaires are both liberals, as are many lesser billionaires, e.g. the Google Boys, the Facebook kid, the Amazon founder, and many others.  They earned it. Nobody is forced to do business with them. People repeatedly reward these entrepreneurs with their business because they offer a valuable, competitive product.  That’s as it should be. In a meritocracy, people should be rewarded for their achievements.  Ignorant, stupid people whose only achievements are in the world of politics should butt out.

In the Bible, Jesus calls attention to the fact that how a society treats its less fortunate is something He takes personally.  “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”  (Matthew 25:40 ESV)  Why shouldn’t the same apply to unfair treatment of best of our brothers?

(1) The embellishments of interest on savings are mine, not Dr. Sowell’s. Any mistakes are ergo mine, not his.
(2) http://www.slashfilm.com/highest-paid-actresses-actors-of-2015/

P.S. The top .1% of income tax filers represents only about 115,000 taxpayers.  They averaged $9.4 million in earnings in 2015 and paid 20% –that’s twenty percent from one tenth of one percent!!–of all the income taxes paid.(2) Hillary Clinton is in the group. Also in the group are the two quarterbacks in the recent Super Bowl. What harm did they do to society that Bernie is so pissed about?  Lots of sports figures and entertainers are in the .1%, most only temporarily. Not so Oprah Winfrey, Bill O’Reilly, Joe Scarborough, and many others getting $10 million or more year after year. The common crime of almost all these big earners is that they excel, and in so doing risk making others feel inferior. Can’t have that can we, Bernie?  http://www.marketwatch.com/story/45-of-americans-pay-no-federal-income-tax-2016-02-24

Hate Speech, Congress and the Prophet, Part 2

Hate Speech, Congress and the Prophet, Part 2 by Peter Burrows 2/20/16 elburropete@gmail.com silvercityburro.com

Donald Trump took a lot of flak from all sides of the political spectrum for saying this country should halt Muslim immigration and even Muslim tourism “until our representatives figure out what‘s going on.” Pundits across the political spectrum thought this display of “racism” xenophobia, whatever, would hurt Trump in the polls. Just the opposite. (1)

Obviously, there is a large and growing divide between the political classes’ protection of Islam and the public’s perception of Islam.  But tourists, too?  It turns out Trump was on to something.  The Department of Homeland Security recently reported that over 500,000 aliens overstayed their temporary visas in 2015, and that 482,000 are thought to still be here.

If it wasn’t for the reality of worldwide Islamic terrorism, this wouldn’t be of much concern. Unfortunately, 3,614 of those overstays were from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Pakistan, Syria and Yemen, and many are still unaccounted for.(2) This doesn’t include any Muslims who may have came in indirectly, i.e. via Latin America.

In Trump’s press release, he cited a poll of Muslims living in the U.S. that indicated 51% thought they should have the choice of American or sharia courts and that almost 25% thought violence against “those who give offense to Islam” was justified. (3)

The poll he cited has been criticized on its technical merits (4), but Trump could have easily cited a Pew poll of international Muslim attitudes, which also shows these are people no nation should welcome, e.g. 39% of the Muslims in Afghanistan support suicide bombings, as do 13% of the Pakistanis, 7% of the Iraqis, and Lord know how many from Yemen, Syria, Libya and Iran, nations not surveyed but which are all represented on the “missing tourist” list. (5)

What is wrong in Washington, D.C. that they  can’t or won’t recognize the threat from orthodox Islam, not “radical“ Islam, which is a redundancy?  People wonder at Trump’s popularity yet he’s the only one who has made the common sense observation that we should halt all Muslim entry until we can “figure out what’s going on.”

Given the virtual certainty that there will be more acts of Islamic terrorism in this country, and that some of those acts will be committed by the refugees the Obama administration is so eager to spread across the land, Trump is going to look pretty good for taking on the PC crowd, the “Islam is peace” crowd, the multiculturalists, and even the pacifists.

Both major political parties have members in good standing in one or more of those groups, but the Democratic Party will bear the brunt of criticism for future domestic Islamic terrorism simply because the Democrats have been so conspicuous in supporting Islam and immigration of Middle East refugees, with the most conspicuous Islamophile being President Obama.

His statement to the United Nations General Assembly that “The future must not belong to those who insult the Prophet of Islam” will go down in history right next to Neville Chamberlain’s “peace for our time.”  Perhaps his most public display of sheer stupidity was the exchange of  five Taliban murderers held at Guantanamo for the pathetic deserter Beau Bergdahl.

Obama was so proud of himself he had a press conference with Bergdahl’s parents.  Eventually, one or more of those released prisoners will achieve international infamy for some heinous act of terrorism. I guarantee it. It’s how they think: publicize the ex-Guantanamo bastard’s act as a big bird to the stupid Great Satan.

What is hard to believe is that Obama thinks closing Guantanamo will enhance his legacy.  Note to Obama: Your legacy is a cooked goose, buddy.   You may be the only ex-President to be tried for treason,  thanks to your release of so many Guantanamo prisoners who warred against us again, plus your shutdown of all surveillance of Mosques in the U.S. in 2011, an act of stupidity that defies reason. (6)

Put George “Islam is Peace” Bush in the docket, too.  He also released Guantanamo prisoners. Include Paul Ryan, the Republican Speaker of the House who approved a budget with expenditures to settle immigrant Syrian refugees.  Very short-sighted, very PC, and very stupid.

No wonder Trump is leading in the race for the 2016 Republican nomination.  He is a highly flawed candidate, but for many his approach to Islamic terrorism is THE overriding issue.

Some pundits have said that if Trump wins the Republican nomination, it will be the end of the Republican Party. Maybe. But what about the Democratic Party? After approving the resettlement of thousands of Middle East Muslim immigrants throughout America, they’re going to own the chaos that follows.

Probably the first group of Americans to feel the effect of the Muslim influx will be American Jews, who can expect an increase in hate crimes.  It may already be starting. (7) Why these long-time supporters of the Democratic party should accept the party‘s love affair with Muslims is beyond me.

That great Jew-hater Muhammad, in the two most revered “Gospels” of Islam, Sahih al-Bukari and Sahih Muslim, is quoted seven times saying something to the effect that on Judgment Day, Muslims will kill Jews and stones and trees will help by saying: “Muslim, there is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.” (8)

Why isn’t anybody quoting that sweet little gem from Muhammad?  Would doing so constitute “hate speech” against Muslims or against Jews?   At the moment, in our upside-down politically correct world, I suspect Muslims would think quoting the above from Muhammad would be hate speech directed at them. Go figure.

(1)http:/www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/immigration/december_2015/voters_like_trump_s_proposed_muslim_ban
(2) http://freebeacon.com/national-security/report-dhs-incapable-of-accurately-reporting-visa-overstays/
(3) http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2015/06/23/nationwide-poll-of-us-muslims-shows-thousands-support-shariah-jihad/
(4) https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/12/07/donald-trumps-call-to-ban-muslims-from-  coming-to-the-u-s-has-a-very-bad-poll-at-its-center/
(5) http://www.pewforum.org/2013/04/30/the-worlds-muslims-religion-politics-society-overview/
(6) http://www.westernjournalism.com/islamic-mosques-excluded-from-surveillance-by-feds/
(7) http://pamelageller.com/2016/02/hijabi-muslimas-casing-florida-synagogues.html/
(8) http://quotingislam.blogspot.com/2011/06/muhammad-says-that-one-day-very-trees.html