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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Pro-bailout: since we failed to stop government from creating this mess, we had better not stop government from cleaning it up

Letting failing businesses fail is almost always the best medicine. Certainly this is the case when market forces are working properly and the market is just separating the productive economic experiments from the unproductive ones.

Letting failures fail is usually the best course even when market forces are not working properly, but have been mucked up by improper government interference. If people let themselves get lured into unproductive circumstances by government-distorted incentives, it can be unfair for them to lose their shirts, when the blame is not all their own, but it is still usually the best thing for the economy, partly because it forces people to see through brain-dead government incentive schemes, but more importantly because the benefits of the bailout (rewarding bad decisions) are not worth the tax burden (which equivalently punishes good decisions).

But these are not normal circumstances. Government so skewed incentives for so long that massive bailout is now necessary to stop massive and propagating financial collapse. What we needed to do was to defeat Dodd and Obama and Kerry and Barney Frank and all the other corrupt Fannie and Freddie enablers at the ballot box and on the legislative votes. Since we lost those battles, and allowed government to create this mess, we had damned well better let government clean it up, notwithstanding the horrendous cost. The alternative--propagating economic collapse--is far worse.

That's the thing about bankruptcy: it propagates. When people can't pay their bills, the people they owe can't pay their bills. Let this occur on a large enough scale and all kinds of otherwise sound enterprises will become part of the tsunami. As lender of last resort, government has the power to keep that from happening, and we MUST keep that from happening.

Just learn the lesson. Stop the Dodds and the Obamas BEFORE they can create such disasters. The American people don't HAVE to elect these a$$holes.

A note on the "bailout" term

Technically, the plan is to buy up the frozen assets. Does the fact that they are "frozen" mean that their market price is kaput, and that the government is paying most of the proposed 700 billion price tag for assets of insignificant value? (i.e. That we are giving it away?)

Normally one would think so, but an element of this crisis is new financial instruments that supposedly separated the safe part of risky assets from the risky part and were thought to be as safe as t-bills, making them appear highly liquid, until the real-estate meltdown started and triggers in the instruments started going off that weren't supposed to go off in any expected circumstance, causing the liquidity to disappear and freezing up the market.

No, I don't understand the details of the instruments involved, and can only give the gist of it from talking to people who do. Maybe they would actually have worked as designed, if they hadn't fundamentally altered the playing field, effectively creating huge expansions of leverage that enabled a boom and bust cycle that they couldn't survive.

The point is that the underlying problem isn't just the value of the assets. It is the legal and contractual structure that has caused them to freeze up. ("Fake banks" is what one friend calls these paper arrangements.) This is a big part of what the buyout is wiping clean, and it means that We the People are not necessarily getting THAT bad a deal on the assets.

Yes the asset prices got inflated, and we should insure that we aren't paying inflated prices for them. (We should be getting deeply discounted prices for them, and I presume we will.) In particular, the people who participated in these deals should lose every penny of profit and equity. We just want them still be able to work: to act as financial intermediaries and pay their corporate bills so that the propagation of bankruptcy can be stemmed. Anything we can do to sharpen that line is good.

What a mess

We had Fannie and Freddie pushing sub-prime loans, "fake banks" packaging them into supposedly safe assets, and everybody looking past the suspicious details because they all assumed that Fannie and Freddie, as quasi-government entities, were never going to be allowed to go into default.

The regulatory failure on the Fannie and Freddie side was allowing government to get involved with the home loan business in the first place, and then distorting the market by giving implicit guarantees to worse and worse loans. The regulatory failure on the financial industry side was not keeping an eye on leverage.

Regulators were trying to analyze the details of these arcane instruments. Instead of just looking at these deals from the inside, they should have looked at the effect: the creation of leverage, which needed to be limited according to historical standards for limiting leverage.

We know from forever that too much leverage tends to power price bubbles that at some point will trigger a deflationary cycle, where prices do not just "pop," but get forcefully driven down as leveraged asset holders have to sell off assets to cover their margins, which forces prices down still further, forcing more selling, etcetera.

Regardless of HOW the leverage is being generated, the one thing we know for certain is that too much leverage creates financial instability. Regulators got caught up in trying to understand the details of these new financial instruments and failed to attend to this most basic of all market fundamentals.

Part of the problem is our patchwork of regulators, assigned to monitor different parts of the financial industry. That can allow innovations, like paper banks, to slip through the cracks. We should have a single financial regulatory agency with oversight responsibility for ALL financial sectors so that this cannot happen again.

Big Lizards has an interesting account of the "frozen assets" problem, and dire warnings about Democrat plans to use the bailout bill to create even greater government participation in (instead of regulation of) financial markets: more socialization; more screwed up mortgages; a much more expensive bill; and even court involvement that could keep the value of the frozen assets up in the air.

Like I said, we don't HAVE to keep electing these a$$holes. THEY are the real problem, and until we get them out of power, we will continue to suffer one mega-disaster after another.

UPDATE: Okay, this is what I was worried about. Some Republicans are apparently trying to assert an anti-bailout principle, causing progress on the bailout bill to break down. The time to assert principles of government non-interference in the market was BEFORE government interference caused this gigantic meltdown. These legislators failed to achieve this principled role of government over decades of Fannie and Freddie corruption. Now when that record of failure has created a situation where government intervention is NEEDED, they are finally going to put their feet down? Insane. Hence the title of this post.

The only description of the alternative plan that is given in the AP story sounds like a joke. Can this be accurate?
Meanwhile a group of House GOP lawmakers circulated an alternative that would put much less focus on a government takeover of failing institutions' sour assets. This proposal would have the government provide insurance to companies that agree to hold frozen assets, rather than have the U.S. purchase the assets.
Thus the frozen assets would remain frozen, and the implicit guarantee of the government to bail out the whole mess when it does explode becomes an explicit guarantee. As things stand now, the government can buy up the frozen assets at fire-sale prices, but under an explicit insurance arrangement, We the People would have to make the investment banks whole. And since these banks are in no position to PAY the actual value of such insurance (hundreds of billions of dollars) the plan can only be to give it to them for some token price.

Anyone who thinks this is a principled position is just an idiot.

Paul Murdoch channels Allahpundit

Blogburst logo, petition

Two years ago Allahpundit (who works for Michelle Malkin) made a very strange judgment. He accepted that the original Crescent of Embrace design for the Flight 93 memorial pointed roughly to Mecca (to be exact, it points within 2 degrees of Mecca), but said that worrying about the orientation of the crescent reeked of "truther-iness."

"A good rule of thumb," said Allah:
if you need a protractor to properly express your outrage, you’ve probably gone too far.
Orientation on Mecca may sound esoteric, but it is certainly not esoteric to Muslims, who are supposed to face Mecca five times a day for prayer, and often carry special compasses for that purpose.

In particular, a crescent that Muslims face into to face Mecca is called a mihrab, and is the central feature around which every mosque is built. (Some mihrabs are pointed arch shaped, but the archetypical mihrab is crescent shaped.) This isn't merely suspicious, like learning to fly airliners without learning how to land. It is the discovered enemy objective: to stab a terrorist memorial mosque into the heartland of America.

How can anyone be surprised? As our blogburst logo shows, the original crescent design was a bare naked crescent and star flag. For Allah to dismiss ADDITIONAL Islamic symbol shapes as coincidence is like seeing the second airplane fly into the Trade Center and saying: "Well now it HAS to be an accident."

Allahpundit seems to have forgotten the defining quality of the 9-11 truth morons. It isn't that their claims seem esoteric or even outlandish. It is that their claims are FALSE, and in most cases are revealed by the simplest fact-checking to be blatantly dishonest as well. The truthers are self-conscious purveyors of malicious disinformation, a la Michael Moore.

In contrast, everything we are saying about the flight 93 memorial is TRUE, and is easily verified to be true just by examining the official design drawings.

● The plans specify 44 translucent memorial blocks to be emplaced along the flight path, matching the number of passengers, crew AND terrorists. Just open up the design drawings and count. (The flight path symbolically breaks our harmonious circle according to architect Paul Murdoch, turning it into a giant crescent. Go figure.)

● The 93 foot Tower of Voices will be topped with yet another Islamic shaped crescent. Just look:

40 tortured souls, 60%
The symbolic lives of the 40 heroes literally dangle down below the symbolic Islamic heavens, projected against the sky above. Not a lot of different possible meanings here.

● The 9/11 date is to be inscribed on a separate section of Memorial Wall that is centered on the bisector of the giant crescent, which is the exact position of the star on an Islamic flag. The date goes to the terrorists.

● Etcetera ad nauseum, and architect Paul Murdoch proves that all of it is intentional by repeating every Islamic and terrorist memorializing feature in the Tower of Voices part of the memorial. (2 minute animation showing the repeated Mecca orientations here.)

How many airplanes have to hit the Flight 93 memorial before a few of our heavy hitters can admit that MAYBE it is not just an accident? Can we at least agree that the Park Service should be exposed for lying through their teeth about these facts?

If we could get word out to the public just about the Mecca orientation of the crescent, Murdoch's plot would probably be kaput, especially given the numerous denials the Memorial Project has issued in the last year and a half. But getting even the most basic facts out is terribly difficult when it isn't just the mainstream media that won't report the facts, but even people like Michelle Malkin are remaining silent, after taking a leading role in raising the initial alarm.

The loss of her powerful voice is hard enough, but there is also the seeming implication. Even the most internet savvy conservatives--the people we most need to reach to have any hope of stopping this--presume that if Michelle is not still objecting to the Flight 93 memorial, it must be okay now.

It is NOT okay. It is a thorough-going memorial to the terrorists. As Tom Burnett Sr. (father of Flight 93 hero Tom Burnett Jr.) keeps urging, we have to "do something," as his son got up and did something. We have to stop this re-hijacked Flight 93 before it reaches its destination.

If Michelle is going to hand such an important portfolio to Allah, doesn't he have an obligation to check a few facts before smearing fellow conservatives as truther-like? Allah and Michelle are good friends and much beloved for their excellent judgment and hard work. There is no anger here. Just an appeal for both to take another look. Paul Murdoch has even provided a fitting pretext, if any is needed.

In an interview two weeks ago, Murdoch re-labeled the tips of his crescent structure the same way that Allah proposed two years ago, yielding a more extended crescent that no longer points to Mecca. Murdoch is channeling you Allah, but where you were merely ignorant, he is being deceptive.

Where are the breaks in the circle?

In 2006, Allah posted a graphic from Alec Rawls that used orientation lines to show how the defining points of the Mecca-oriented crescent are unchanged in the Circle of Embrace redesign:

Allah's post of my Crescent-Bowl comparison
Original Crescent of Embrace design, left, points to Mecca. The flight path can be seen coming down from the upper left corner of the image, breaking the circle at the upper crescent tip.

Every particle of that original Crescent of Embrace design remains completely intact in the Circle of Embrace redesign. The original crescent tips are still there, yielding the same Mecca oriented crescent. Allah, however, suggested that the orientation of the crescent HAD been changed:

Alec's Crescent-Bowl comparison, with Allah's blue orientation lines.
In blue: Allahpundit's proposed orientation lines for the Circle of Embrace redesign.

If you don't know that the theme of the whole design is the flight path breaking the circle at the original upper crescent tip, and you don't notice that there is still a gap in the circle at the original upper crescent tip, you can get Allah's altered orientation for the Circle redesign, no longer pointing to Mecca.

Murdoch, of course, knows the theme of his own design (being the first one to articulate it publicly). Still, pretending that the breaks in the circle have been changed is a useful dodge, and Murdoch employed it the other week.

Asked if the circle in the Circle of Embrace redesign depicts a broken circle, as critics claim, Murdoch said that the circle breaks when it reaches the sacred ground:
The edge of the sacred ground “breaks” the circular perimeter of the bowl to give it the prominence it deserves as the focal point of the entire park and the final resting place of the 40 heroes.
The Sacred Ground is the yellow-colored area in the graphics above. By acknowledging only the break at the sacred ground, Murdoch is suggesting that the tips of the crescent come up to yellow area on both sides, just as Allah drew.

The Park service website, however, goes on to identify another break as well, the original break at the upper tip of the original crescent design, where the flight path crosses the circle:
The trees surrounding this "circle of embrace" are missing in two places; first, where the flight path of the plane went overhead (which is the location of the planned memorial overlook and visitor center), and second, where the plane crashed at the Sacred Ground (depicted by a ceremonial gate and pathway into the Sacred Ground). In summary, the memorial is shaped in a circular fashion, and the circle is symbolically "broken" or missing trees in two places, depicting the flight path of the plane, and the crash site...
In his interview, Murdoch does not just fail to mention the symbolic breaking of the circle at the original upper crescent tip, but offers an alternative description of the Entry Portal structure:
The entrance moves through the circular edge along the flight path, so as visitors enter they will be aligned with United Flight 93 through their own experience.
Sorry Murdoch, and Allah, but this passage through the original upper crescent tip does not just show the path of Flight 93. It explicitly symbolizes the flight path smashing our harmonious circle and turning it into the giant (Islamic shaped) crescent.

The flight path breaks the circle, 80%
Entry Portal walkway follows the flight path through the Entry Portal walls, symbolizing the breaking of the circle, according to the Park Service itself.

Allah's blue orientation lines are WRONG. The crescent is the unbroken part of the circle, which was not altered in the so-called redesign. All they did was add an extra arc of trees that explicitly represents a broken off part of the circle. Can Allah please post a correction?

It points to Washington

What made Allah throw up his hands was our further claim that the asymmetric crescent of memorial groves at the back of the full Crescent of Embrace points to the White House. But this too is TRUE, and if you look at Murdoch's plan, there is very clear reason for it.

Murdoch constantly provides proof that his possible Islamic and terrorist memorializing structure are intentional, often by repetition. The purpose of the White House orientation is to prove that his drawing of only 38 Memorial Groves, instead of the advertised 40, is not a mistake.

The giant crescent represents the symbolic Islamic heavens. Since the crescent of Memorial Groves is part of the full crescent, Murdoch cannot actually memorialize the 40 infidels there and still have a proper mosque. Thus Murdoch has to PROVE that the 38 groves are intended to memorialize someone else.

Notice that the 38 groves can be seen as a set of 19 nested crescents, ranging in length from 38 groves down to two. That is one for each 9/11 hijacker. How can this intent be proved? First, Murdoch proves intent by repetition. The Tower of Voices is also surrounded by a set of 19 nested crescents:

Paul Murdoch's detail view of the Tower of Voices. Click for larger image.

The nested crescents of memorial groves establish the precedent that arcs of trees as short as two are to be counted as crescents. Using this rule, there are 19 nested crescents in the Tower array.

That is not enough proof for Murdoch, who provides redundant proof of intent for ALL of his Islamic and terrorist memorializing features. To provide additional proof that the 38 groves are to be seen as 19 nested crescents, Murdoch takes advantage of the fact that crescents have orientation, via either the bisector of the crescent, or by a line across the crescent tips. He positions his crescent of groves so that a line across the tips of any of the 19 nested crescents points to the White House:

19 nested crescents, all pointing to the target that the Flight 93 terrorists were trying to destroy.

The White House sits at about the "i" in Washington in this Yahoo map. The other possible target of Flight 93, the Capitol Building, is also nearby, but Higher resolution analysis suggests that the crescent tip line points closer to the White House.

Repeated symbolic damnation

Does anyone want to think that all this is coincidence too: the two missing groves, the White House orientation, the second set of 19 nested crescents in the Tower array? "Wow. A dozen airplanes flying into the Trade Towers. That's really got to be an accident now. That many airplanes just couldn’t be on purpose!"

No, what they can't be is an accident. Paul Murdoch is dead serious about proving that he has designed a proper terrorist memorial mosque. THAT is why the Memorial Groves point to the White House. And it isn’t just the Memorial Groves. EVERY depiction of the 40 heroes has an opposite hidden meaning, proved by repetition.

Those 40 wind chimes, one for each of the heroes, all literally dangling down below the symbolic Islamic heavens projected in the sky above? That’s symbolic damnation.

So too with the 40 blocks inscribed with the 40 names. All four of the “extra” translucent blocks on the flight path are located within the symbolic Islamic heavens. The three with the 9/11 date inscribed are placed as the star on the Islamic crescent and star flag, while the 44th sits at the upper crescent tip (where the flight path breaks the circle).

In contrast, the 40 blocks inscribed with the names of the heroes are all further down the flight path, down below the Islamic star and hence symbolically cast out of the symbolic Islamic heavens, which again implies damnation.

All of this has a very clear purpose. If the memorial actually honored the 40 infidels it could not be a proper mosque. According to the Koran (9.18), mosques are not to be defiled by infidel presence. Depictions of victory over the infidel are of course allowed.

Allahpundit is not the only one who thinks that TOO MANY suspicious features somehow imply coincidence. The Memorial Project says the exact same thing. They know that the Mecca orientation claim is accurate. They know that ALL of our factual claims are accurate and admit it in private conversation, but have decided that the very outlandishness of all somehow implies that it has to be coincidence.

Flight 93 is supposed to be the symbol of our woken vigilance. We are supposed to be alert now to the nature of the Islamic terrorists who are waging war against us: that they hide amongst us, pretending to be trustworthy friends. Have the truthers actually succeeded in stripping the nation of that lesson, making us loathe to witness evidence of conspiracy?

9/11 was one of the most elaborate conspiracies in history (by al Qaeda, not by the Bush administration). We can't just unlearn that lesson, and be blind to evidence of conspiracy in hopes of staying as far as possible from those who present phony evidence of conspiracy.

To make sense, one must follow the evidence wherever it leads. That is what the truthers DON'T do. The problem isn’t that they are pushing conspiracy theories, it is that they aren't honest. Ignoring the facts in an anti-conspiracy direction does not make one opposite to the truthers, but makes one similar, as Allah darn well ought to know.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"They had some forewarning and they chose to take action." The defenders of the crescent also have forewarning, and are trying to cover it up.

Blogburst logo, petition

Gordon Felt, president of the Flight 93 family group that supports the crescent shaped memorial, offered a nice summary statement of the heroism of Flight 93:
They had some forewarning and they chose to take action.
"It's that citizen soldier, heroism message," he said "that we want to get out and memorialize their actions."

Mr. Felt also has forewarning of an enemy plot, but he and the other defenders of the crescent design are choosing not to act. They are displaying a perfect anti-spirit of Flight 93.

According to Flight 93 Advisory Commission member Tim Baird, they all know that all of our basic claims about the crescent design are accurate: the Mecca orientation of the giant crescent; the 44 translucent blocks that are to be placed along the flight path, etcetera. Yet they and their allies in the press are doing everything in their power to keep the public from knowing what they know.

Example 1: PA paper reports Mecca orientation controversy, omits its own verification of the Mecca orientation of the crescent.

In last week's anniversary coverage of the 9/11 attacks, the Johnstown Tribune Democrat noted the controversy over the orientation of the crescent. We say it points to Mecca. The Park Service denies it:
The project also has been dogged by complaints spearheaded by California author Alec Rawls that the memorial points to Mecca and is a veiled tribute to the Islamic terrorists – a claim family members and developers maintain has been investigated and refuted.
What reporter Kirk Swauger fails to mention is that he himself fact-checked the Mecca-orientation claim last year, and published his findings:
Rawls maintains that the midpoint between the tips of the crescent points almost precisely toward “qibla,” the direction to Mecca, which Muslims are supposed to face for prayer.

His claims seem to be backed up by coordinates for the direction of qibla from Somerset that can be found on Islam.com. When superimposed over the crescent in the memorial design, the midpoint points over the Arctic Circle, through Europe toward Mecca.
This is the only instance in three years now where any news organization has ever published any fact-checking of our easy to fact check claims about the memorial design. Alec has several times emailed Kirk's published confirmation of the Mecca-orientation to every newsdesk in Pennsylvania and to every reporter covering the memorial story. They ALL know about it. Yet even Kirk continues to present the Mecca orientation claim as a "he said, she said" conflict, without letting his readers know that he has verified the Mecca-orientation for himself (and this isn't the first time he has made this omission).

If Mr. Swauger really wanted everyone to forget his confirmation of the Mecca-orientation, he could just avoid any mention of the orientation of the crescent at all. Alec's best guess is that Kirk is being held back by Tribune Democrat editor Chip Minemyer, who has tried to sweep the memorial controversy under the rug from day one, but the reporters are also neck deep. Several have suggested that to investigate and report on the accuracy of our claims would be taking sides. Of course that phony "scruple" would disappear in a second if the facts showed our criticisms to be bogus.

Example 2: Gordon Felt himself misled the public about the 44 blocks.

The Crescent of Embrace design, now called the (broken) Circle of Embrace, calls for a total of 44 inscribed translucent memorial blocks to be placed along the flight path. (There were forty passengers and crew on Flight 93 and four terrorists.)

In trying to get this information out to the public, we need to be brief, so "44 inscribed translucent memorial blocks" sometimes gets shortened to "44 glass blocks," or "44 blocks." Asked last spring about the 44 blocks, Gordon Felt declared it a lie:
Opponents also claim there is a plan to have 44 glass blocks — for the 40 victims and four hijackers — in the design.

“That’s an absolute, unequivocal fabrication that is being portrayed as fact,” said Edward Felt’s brother, Gordon Felt, president of Families of Flight 93. “It’s misleading and helps drive the conspiracy theory.”
But he follows this denial with a footnote, indicating that he knows full well that there will be 44 memorial blocks:
Felt said the names of the passengers and crew will be placed on the memorial, but no final decision has been made on how they would be displayed or on what material.
In other words, he is nit-picking over our occasional description of the blocks as "glass blocks," when they might not all be technically made of glass.

As Alec's original report to the Memorial Project made clear, 43 of the blocks are described in the design drawings as "polished, translucent white marble":

Memorial Walls, 43 "glass" blocks, 45%
Click pic for larger image.

The lower section of wall, on the left, contains forty of the "translucent white marble" blocks or panels (backlit at night), inscribed with the names of the forty heroes. The upper section of wall, on the right, contains three more blocks, inscribed with the 9/11 date.

That upper section of wall, by the way, is centered on the bisector of the giant crescent, placing it in the exact position of the star on an Islamic crescent and star flag. Thus the date goes to the Islamic star. The date goes to the terrorists.

Here is the 44th block on the flight path. It marks the upper crescent tip, where according to the Park Service's own website, the flight path symbolically breaks our (Christian) circle, turning it into the giant (Mecca oriented) crescent. A clearer depiction of al Qaeda victory is hard to imagine, and it all comes together right here:

Large glass block at upper crescent tip
At the end of the Entry Portal Walkway (after the walkway symbolically "breaks" the towering Entry Portal Walls) sits a large "glass memorial plaque" that dedicates the entire site.

This 44th translucent block on the flight path marks the spot where the terrorists symbolically broke our harmonious circle and turned it into a giant Islamic shaped crescent. To be inscribed: "A field of honor forever."

Gordon Felt knows ALL of this, and is trying to keep the public from knowing. It's as if someone on Flight 93, hearing from the ground that airplanes had crashed into the Trade Towers, insisted to the other passengers that NO airplanes had crashed into the Trade Towers.

Apparently grief has made these people crazy. They have forewarning, and are struggling with all their might to keep others from being forewarned as well.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Non-homogeneity of sunspot numbers a problem, but the more important record of solar activity is in the geologic record

Anthony Watts notes that NOAA has just given a sunspot number to a sunspeck that never in the past would have been given a sunspot number. It is only detectable with a modern magnetogram or a chromosphere image, making today's sunspot numbers higher than earlier numbers for the same level of solar activity.

The most likely explanation for this unprofessional shift in counting standards is political. Global warming alarmist James Hansen has done the same thing at NASA, where as keeper of the GISS temperature records, he has systematically adjusted older temperature data downward to create a heightened appearance of warming. It hurts the alarmist cause to see our current global cooling paired in the popular press with the fact that the sun has gone blank, giving the alarmists a reason to count sunspecks as sunspots. This explanation is especially likely given that NASA's top solar scientist, David Hathaway, is another global warming alarmist (who bizarrely does not provide an opinion on the solar climate relation to the IPCC, but gets his position FROM the IPCC).

That said, the actual scientific importance of consistent sunspot counting should be pretty small. The effect of sunspot activity on global climate seems to come primarily through the large effect that sunspot activity has on the solar-magnetic flux. (It also effects a small increase in solar luminescence.) Not only is the solar flux directly measurable, but in contrast to the sunspot record, which only goes back to Galileo, the solar flux leaves an isotope signature in the geologic record going back many millennia.

When the solar wind is up, it sweeps away some of the galactic cosmic radiation (GCR) that would otherwise hit the earth. It is this GCR that leaves an isotope signature in the geologic record, creating a proxy for the level of solar activity. Fluctuations in the strength of the earth's magnetic field also has to be factored in. (A stronger magnetic field deflects more GCR.) So do fluctuations in the amount of GCR reaching the earth (either from one time events, like relatively close supernovae, or from transit through higher or lower GCR portions of our orbit around the Milky Way). Even without these adjustments factored in, the raw isotope signature is a pretty good proxy for solar activity, which is on average much more volatile than these other determinants of the GCR signal.

It is this GCR record that is most important for understanding the effect of solar-magnetic activity on global climate. Temperature also leaves an isotope signature in the geologic record, allowing direct comparison between temperature and GCR, decade by decade, over the millennia. The results are definitive. GCR "explains" statistically about 90% of the temperature variation on every time scale. (The evidence is amassed in Fred Singer's book Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 Years.)

Since global temperature changes cannot be causing sunspots, it is clear that the sunspots are causing global temperature changes, and with solar activity at "grand maximum" levels from 1940-2000, solar activity easily explains the tiny bit of global warming experienced in the late 20th century.

The sunspot record is still important for solar science. It provides a day by day picture of the 11 year solar cycle going back several hundred years. But people who study the solar cycle can easily take into account a change from not counting sunspecks to counting sunspecks. Anthony Watt's associate Leif Svalgaard says that changing sunspot counting standards is a problem throughout the sunspot record, which exhibits an upward bias as technologies for detecting sunspot activity have become more powerful.

Svalgaard has a review of this history on his own website. The upshot, he says, is that 20th century solar activity maybe was not the highest on record, a conclusion which he says raises some hackles with what he calls "the all time high" crowd.

Does "all time high crowd" really resist correcting the sunspot record?

Having cited the "all time high" reports several times myself, I must say that I can't see any reason why correcting the sunspot record to make it consistent over time would raise anyone's hackles, even if a person WAS improperly "results oriented."

First, the evidence that 20th century warming was caused by relatively high levels of solar activity in no way depends on those levels having been the highest on record.

Second, the "all time high" appellations that I have seen do not come from looking at the sunspot record at all, but come from the GCR record. It was Sami Solanki who coined the "grand maximum" term to describe late 20th century solar activity, after studying GCR isotopes going back 11,000 years. Obviously the GCR record is not affected by any tinkering with the sunspot record.

Svalgaard does not provide any evidence for his claim that correcting the sunspot record:
is controversial and is being met with stiff resistance from the ‘all-time high’ crowd.
He might be right, but I have never myself encountered this kind of resistance to reason and evidence from the skeptic side of the global warming debate. Maybe Leif can provide us with a link.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Print newspapers published the Kornblut slur WITHOUT the psuedo-correction

ABC interviewer Charlie Gibson tried several times last night to pin gaffes on Sarah Palin when it was HE who had his information wrong. The Washington Post did the same this morning, asserting in the lede to their page one coverage of Palin's interview that she was wrong to say that we are fighting al Qaeda in Iraq. Unfortunately for Post reporter Anne Kornblut, everyone else in the country (or at least everyone who is not a Democrat) knows that our primary enemies in Iraq are al Qaeda and Iran.

The Post has edited the online version of Kornblut's story to include the information that her smear is wrong, while still leaving the smear in place. Print newspapers, however, ran the original not even half-corrected smear. Here is the top of today's page one from The San Jose Mercury News:

Merc-WAPO Palin smear, 9-12-08, 70%

I'm especially taken with the gist of that continued paragraph:
The dishonest attack dogs who have been slandering Palin all week are letting this slander opportunity escape out of some misguided respect for the 9/11 anniversary, but not to worry, I Anne Kornblut am glad to pick up the slack!
Notice also how the Mercury's headline writers pitched in with a nice juxtaposition between Palin's "I'm ready," and Kornblut's "oh no you're not."

Every editor at the Merc. knew that Kornblut's lede was a flatly dishonest smear. The left is not ACTUALLY unaware that we have been fighting al Qaeda in Iraq. After all, one of their longest standing talking points (itself dishonest, but their own position nevertheless) is that there were no terrorists in Iraq until we drew them there. Yet the editors still signed off on running a denial that we are fighting al Qaeda in Iraq at top of their page one story, and this after a full week of dishonest smears against Palin have caused Obama to tumble in the polls. Apparently they are so unhinged they just can't help themselves, even when they know these smears are suicidal for their Democrat side.

How in the tank are the Bay Area newspapers for Obama? Here are three front page banner headlines I saved from convention coverage:

Merc DNC banner, 8-28-08, 40%
Mercury News, 8-28-2008.

No it WASN'T unanimous, you dirtbags. The delegate count was was so close and contentious that the Democrats had to PRETEND to be unanimous by forgoing the roll call in favor of vote by acclimation. Even the acclimation vote was a fraud, with Pelosi inventing a new word, “noetwothirds,” as in:
All those opposed please say no-2/3rds of the delegates having voted in the affirmative, the motion is adopted.
In MSNBC's coverage of Pelosi's performance, Olbermann can be heard chuckling at Nancy's rush job, as if to say: "well played." The sentiments of the Mercury's editors exactly, who dutifully played the charade straight for Bay Area readers. As usual, anyone who wanted to know what actually happened had to get their information elsewhere. The Merc is all propaganda all the time.

So is the San Francisco Chronicle. Here is their banner headline about the next night of the convention:
Chron DNC banner 8-29-08, 45%

"I have a dream, that one day William Ayers and Jeremiah Wright and Raila Odinga will be judged NOT by the content of their characters--not by their terrorism, their racism, and their Islamofascism--but by their ingenuity in concocting claims of victimization and due."

If only they can come up with enough smears to bring down THESE guys:

Merc RNC banner 9-3-08, 40%

Talk about projection!

9/11 recollection

Pat Dollard asks the "where were you?" question. Here is the answer I left at his blog:

I was visiting my folks in Boston, and had already packed my bags for my flight back to the west coast a couple hours later. The airlines were shut down and I stayed another 4 or 5 days. If I had taken an earlier flight, I might have been on one of those planes that hit the Trade Center. Any chance I would have realized it was a suicide mission, and that we had to fight?

That week my sister told me about a small child of one her friends, only 3 or 4 years old, who had done a crayon drawing of an airliner about to hit a tall building. In the windows of the plane were smiling faces. When the child showed the drawing to his parents, they were confused. Did their child not know what had happened, or was he perhaps building some mental wall against the scenes of mass murder, and depicting this inner conflict for them to see?

“Why are the people smiling?” the parents asked delicately. But the child was not at all confused, explaining: "Because they don’t know….”

“Oh God,” the parents collapsed protectively around their child. The little one understood everything. But how many adults still do not understand the lesson of 9/11, and of Flight 93?

We are supposed to KNOW now that we are at war, and must be vigilant against our Islamofascist enemy, but half the nation is still pretending that Islam is a religion of peace, and that it is okay to elect as president a man who lies about his Muslim upbringing.

UPDATE: Sick Kos Kids display perfect inversion of the wisdom of a child:

Kos Kids 9-11 tribute

In the child's drawing, the faces looking out the windows of the airplane are smiling because the passengers can't see that they are about to hit the building. In the Kos Kid's drawing, the airplanes are joyful because they CAN see they are going to hit the buildings.

Via Ace.

UPDATE II: Another kid's drawing, showing infinitely more depth than the scoffing Kos Kidz:

Via Max, in the comments.

Yes, I understand the supposed nuanced meaning of the Koz Kidz Krap: that they are depicting all this remembrance of 9/11 as some kind of unfair dwelling on this ONE attack by our Islamofascist enemies. Come, on, can't we just forget it already, and stop all this evil war mongering?

Only an adult can be that shallow, that dishonest, that intentionally oblivious to existential evil. It's like Alec Baldwin in Team America, enunciating with "great acting" (i.e. very slowly):
Team America is as bad as the terrorists they fight.
Those of us who care about reality, instead of empty partisanship, will NEVER forget, and if we as a people can manage to follow basic moral sense (no easy feat for a democracy), we will not stop systematically pinching off the adherents of violently aggressive Islam until there is not a single representative of that existential evil left alive on this earth.

NEVER forget:
Second Tower being hit
Via Bill Quick.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Frontpage Magazine covers the memorial debacle

Blogburst logo, petition

FrontPage managing editor Jamie Glazov interviews Alec Rawls in this week's FrontPage Interview.

Rawls takes the opportunity to lay out the basic facts for a new set of readers:
1. That the giant crescent (originally called the Crescent of Embrace) points to Mecca.

2. That this giant Mecca oriented crescent is STILL THERE in the Circle of Embrace redesign (explicitly described as a broken circle, just as the Crescent of Embrace was).
Punch line:
It’s like gate security catching a terrorist with a bomb and telling him to go back outside and see if he can hide it better the second time. All [architect Paul Murdoch] did was add some completely irrelevant disguise.
Please give FrontPage a visit, and if you haven't bookmarked them already, the site is well worth your time.

Frontpage founder David Horowitz has been exposing the far left's takeover of the Democrat mainstream since the 1980's, and since 2001 has extended his Discover the Networks approach to our Islamofascist enemies. If you are drawn to the sound of the guns, FrontPage is on the frontlines of both the culture-war and terror-war battles for accurate information.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

ISNA crescent atop Flight 93 minaret

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The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is a Saudi funded Wahabbist group. Its logo is in the shape of a mosque with a crescent topped minaret and a crescent topped dome. Here is the ISNA logo juxtaposed to a similarly shaped mosque from Uppsala Sweden:

ISNA and Uppsala 40%

Both configurations have upturned crescents. The difference is that the arms of the ISNA crescents are lifted symmetrically, while the Uppsala crescents have one arm above the other.

On actual minarets, the Uppsala configuration is the norm, seen also in this photo of the Abdul Gaffoor mosque in Singapore:

There seems to be only one example of an actual minaret that is to be built in the ISNA configuration. That is the Tower of Voices minaret from the planned Flight 93 memorial:

Two views of the Tower of Voices minaret, showing an Islamic-shaped crescent at the top, with its arms reaching symmetrically up into the sky. (Source images here and here, originally from the Memorial Project's design competition website.)

The up-tower view shows the symbolic Islamic heavens projected against the sky while the symbolic lives of the 40 heroes literally dangle down below. Murdoch had to do this in order for his Crescent of Embrace design (centered around a giant Mecca-oriented crescent) to be a proper mosque. The 40 infidels could not actually be honored in the design. They had to be depicted as symbolically damned.

Murdoch actually repeats this theme in the central crescent, where the 4 extra translucent blocks (one for each hijacker) are all placed in the symbolic Islamic heavens (the crescent and star parts of the structure), while the 40 translucent blocks inscribed with the names of the 40 heroes are all placed outside of the symbolic Islamic heavens.

Do Wahabbists recognize the crescent as a symbol of Islam?

One of the two Muslim scholars who the Park Service tapped for expert opinion on whether claims of Islamic symbolism in the Flight 93 memorial should be taken seriously was a Paul Murdoch classmate named Nasser Rabbat. (Both recieved Masters degrees in architecture from UCLA in 1984.)

One of the excuses Rabbat offered the Park Service for not being concerned about all the Islamic-shaped crescents was to question whether the crescent really should be seen as a Muslim symbol at all:
The Crescent is a debatable Islamic universal symbol. Many groups do not use it. I know in fact of no militant group that uses it. [AHEM.] Islamic modern states have opted to use it, sometimes with the star, which is a modern symbol with no Islamic connotation.
He is right here that the most fanatical Islamic fundamentalists, the Salafists (who model themselves on the first three generations of violent Islamic conquest), are not keen on the crescent, since it was adopted as a Muslim symbol by the Ottomans, long after the time of Muhammad.

The official Saudi state religion of Wahabbism is Salafist. That is why the Saudi Arabian flag is one of the only Islamic flags not to feature the Ottoman crescent and star:

Saudi and Turkish 60%
Saudi flag, left, features the Muslim profession of faith, and a sword. Turkish flag, right, features the Ottoman crescent and star.

But the ISNA is a primary vehicle for the Saudi funded building of Wahabbist mosques in North America. How can this be? Is the crescent actually a universal enough Islamic symbol that even the Salafist Saudi Wahabbists acknowledge it?

Indeed, and for a very simple reason. The crescent is not just the shape of the Ottoman flag. It is also a reference to the Islamic lunar calendar, and it is the shape of the archetypical Islamic mihrab: the Mecca-direction indicator around which every mosque is built. Here are the two most famous mihrabs in the world, the mihrab at the Prophet's mosque in Medina, and the mihrab of the Great Mosque in Cordoba, seen here in sequence with Barack Hussein Obama's campaign logo:

Obama logo animation with mihrabs
Face into the crescent to face Mecca. For the contrast between Murdoch's intentional use of Islamic symbol shapes and Obama's unintentional use of Islamic symbol shapes, see our earlier blogburst on Obama's crescent-topped logo.

So yes, the crescent actually is a universal Islamic symbol. The only people who even question it are the most extreme Salafists, which evidently includes Nasser Rabbat. How did this Paul Murdoch classmate ever get tapped by the Park Service in the first place, so that he could even be in a position to give them his blatantly dishonest excuses for not being concerned about the giant Mecca oriented crescent? Just one of the many things that Congress needs to investigate. (Petition here.)

ISNA big in Murdoch's hometown of LA

Murdoch could be some kind of nihilistic leftist, but the most likely explanation for his attempt to stab a terrorist memorial mosque into the heartland of America is that he at some point converted to an aggressively hateful, violent and supremacist sect of Islam like Saudi Wahabbism and is acting today as a freelance jihadist.

Such a person would almost certainly be familiar with the ISNA. 80% of American mosques preach the Saudi poison, but often the Saudi funding is hidden. Not so in Los Angeles, where the city's largest mosque, the King Fahd Mosque in Culver City, is openly funded by the Saudi Government.

We won't learn Murdoch's actual associations without a Congressional investigation, but the fact that he used a minaret configuration that is elsewhere seen only in the ISNA logo is mildly suggestive of a Wahabbist connection. For now, the only reason to bring up the Murdoch/ISNA likeness is to clarify that even Salafists accept the crescent as a component of mosque design.

ISNA President Ingrid Matteson spoke at the interfaith convocation of the 2008 Democratic Presidential Convention

They picked a Wahabbist as their representative of Islam? Why not invite bin Laden himself, who is a perfectly orthodox Wahabbist?

The ISNA was founded by the Saudi funded Muslim Students Association (MAS), which has close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, the progenitor of all modern Sunni terrorist groups, including al Qaeda.

What else should we expect? After all, the mainstream left DID spend the last five years trying desperately to hand Iraq over to al Qaeda and Iran.

Democratic Party logo with ISNA minaret

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