Factually wrong and lacking in common sense: Black Friday

Ignorance can be excusable, but this fails on common sense grounds. It may be true that plantation owners need more helpers for winter (although considering they tended to live in the south, it is probably false). However, when you have a limited supply and a higher demand, do you give a discount?

This is also factually wrong. See http://money.cnn.com/2014/11/28/news/black-friday-history/index.html, for example.


Factually Wrong: KKK vs. ISIS/Da3esh


Personally, nothing. I haven’t seen any KKK activity, and I’m Jewish. But the reason I haven’t seem them is that collectively as a society the US, a predominately Christian country, did a lot. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ku_Klux_Klan…,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ku_Klux_Klan#Resistance_2, and the judicial bankrupting of the UKA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Klans_of_America).

On the other hand, moderate Muslims are doing things about ISIS/Da3esh. Most of the soldiers fighting them in Iraq and Syria are Muslim. Most of the Egyptians fighting them in Libya (http://uk.reuters.com/…/uk-mideast-crisis-libya-egypt-idUKK…) and the Sinai are Muslim.

Wholly misleading half truth: Repealing an amendment


Technically speaking, this is true. However, it is also a strawman. In practical terms, the constitution can be changed by reinterpreting it, which is within the purview of the Supreme Court.

The constitution states the amendment process:

Article. V.

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

However, this ignores the fact that the Supreme Court can “reinterpret” the constitution.

For example, the federal government is barred from taking powers not explicitly granted by the constitution by the tenth amendment:

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Between 1917 and 1919, this was interpreted to mean that the government may not outlaw foods or drinks, especially if they are manufactured and consumed in the same state. Therefore, to pass prohibition it was necessary to pass the 18th amendment:


Passed by Congress December 18, 1917. Ratified January 16, 1919. Repealed by amendment 21.

Section 1.
After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

Section 2.
The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Section 3.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

Yet today, without any relevant change in the constitution itself, the federal government runs the Drug Enforcement Agency that forbids other drugs.

Very few people are afraid that the government will abolish the second amendment from the written constitution. But if it is interpreted to mean “the state militia may bear arms”, or “only such arms as existed when the Bill or Rights was ratified”, it becomes dead letter.

This fear is based on:

  1. Gun control laws that restricted the right to bear arms, and were approved by the supreme court as not violating the second amendment.
  2. Statements, including from Hillary Clinton herself, supporting further restrictions on the right to bear arms.

Factually Wrong: What about negative commandments?

This meme assumes that Christians are obligated by their religion to do three things:

  1. Go to church
  2. Pray in public
  3. Talk about their lord and savior

And therefore, as long as those are permitted there can be no persecution.

However, this ignores the whole concept of negative commandments, things people are commanded by their religion not to do. For example, Quakers would consider themselves persecuted if conscripted into military service. Under Rome, Christians considered themselves persecuted when they were ordered to sacrifice to the Emperor and pagan deities.

Unexamined Assumption: Poverty and voting

This is a double whammy, a left meme and a right meme that are mirror images of each other and are equally misleading:

The unexamined assumption, from both sides, is that voting fixed poverty. Last time I checked, it was illegal to pay people to vote a particular way (subsection c in this link). There could be an indirect connection between voting and poverty alleviation, but as the twin memes show, it doesn’t work. Deep blue and deep red areas can both be very poor.

Maybe government isn’t the solution to poverty?

Unexamined Assumption: Fear of anything is fear of everything

Taken from https://www.facebook.com/ConservativesAreDestroyingOurFuture/photos/a.1011033115579692.1073741834.620332914649716/964262030256801/?type=1&theater

The unexamined assumption here is that gun owners fear everything. Try this with a less emotional tool for emergency use: “I don’t own a fire extinguisher because I don’t live in fear that everyone and everything is combustible”.

This is ridiculous – the realistic statement would be “I don’t own a fire extinguisher because I don’t live in fear that anything in my house would catch on fire”, or “I have a fire extinguisher because some things in my house might catch on fire”. Which of the two last statements is a more accurate description of reality is left to the reader’s judgement.

Bad Statistics: Median Wealth and Inequality

Several issues:

  1. Median measurements aren’t very sensitive to inequality. Whether Warren Buffet has a billion dollars or ten doesn’t affect the median. He still balances exactly one person lower than the median.
  2. The figure here is wealth, not income. When it comes to income, the US is actually #6. The reason Americans don’t accumulate as much wealth is that our houses are considerably cheaper, probably because many states have looser zoning rules than a lot of the rest of the world. My six bedroom, two stories house in Texas is much cheaper than my mother’s three bedroom apartment in Israel. Does it mean I have less wealth, or does it mean I spend more of my income because I don’t need to spend nearly as much on housing?

h/t Diana Povero