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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Redesigned Flight 93 memorial still an Islamo-fascist shrine

The redesigned flight 93 memorial, announced today, still contains all of the features that made it a terrorist memorial. Architect Paul Murdoch's infamous red crescent is still there, still planted with red maple trees, still inscribed in the exact same circle as before, and with the same two crescent tips still intact. Thus the crescent bisector defined by these crescent tips is also the same as before. It still points almost exactly to Mecca, making the crescent a Mihrab (an Islamic prayer station, where the believer faces into a crescent, towards Mecca, to perform his ritual prostrations). The design still incorporates a separate upper terrorist-memorial wall, centered precisely on the red-maple crescent [placing this upper section of wall, and the copse of trees that surround it, precisely in the location of the star on an Islamic flag]. There are still 44 translucent blocks on the flight path to the crash site, matching the total number of dead, instead of just the forty translucent blocks that are dedicated to the forty murdered Americans. Lastly, the Tower of Voices part of the memorial is still an Islamic prayer-time sundial.

Start with the red crescent. In the original design, the lower crescent tip was defined by the furthest extent of red maple trees on the bottom, while the upper crescent tip was defined by the end of the inner of two concrete walls, between which trees were planted.

Figure 1. Original design. The inner of the two concrete walls at top follows the circle that the crescent partly inscribes. The crescent tip has to be located on this circle, hence the end of the inner wall defines the upper crescent tip. The green bisector points almost exactly to Mecca (in the northeast direction, into the red crescent). Pixel accurate calculations of the bisector and its orientation towards Mecca here.  Posted by Picasa

In the redesign, the lower tip remains exactly as before. So does the upper crescent tip (the end of the inner concrete wall). The change is that there are now additional trees planted beyond the end of the concrete wall that defines the upper crescent tip. These additional trees, planted along and out from the circle line, make it look like there is now a bowl instead of a crescent, but both original crescent tips are still in place.

Figure 2. The redesign. The topo lines (also visible in Figure 1) show that the both of the original crescent tips [the last tree on the circle at the bottom, and the inner concrete wall on top] are still in place exactly as before. Similarly for the copse of trees (in the position of the star on an Islamic flag) and the upper and lower sections of the memorial wall. Posted by Picasa

The filling in of some trees, in places that blend the original crescent into its surroundings, but do not affect its defining characteristics, is apparently the only change in the entire "redesign." All of the original features of the terrorist-memorial remain. The new graphics show that there is still the same separate upper section of memorial wall as before. Like the lower wall, it lies along the flight path to the crash site. Just as the lower wall contains 40 translucent blocks, dedicated to the forty murdered Americans, so too does the upper section of memorial wall contain translucent blocks.

Figure 3. From redesign announcement. Identical to original design. The upper section of memorial wall, seen to the right, is centered precisely on the large red maple crescent and contains additional translucent blocks, in addition to the forty on the lower wall that memorialize the murdered Americans. Posted by Picasa

In all, there are forty four translucent blocks emplaced along the flight path to the crash site, where forty Americans and four murderers died on September 11th. [Three are on the upper section of the memorial wall. One is the large glass block, at the upper crescent tip, that dedicates the entire site. See UPDATE below for details, or click the link immediately below.] Further, the fact that the crescent tips are unchanged means that the upper section of memorial wall is still bisected exactly by the Mecca line that bisects the large red crescent. (My earlier analysis of the upper-memorial wall and the 44 translucent blocks here.)

For anyone who wonders if it could be a coincidence that the original/new red maple crescent orients almost precisely on Mecca, note that the Tower of Voices section of the memorial also is apparently unchanged. The Tower of Voices is surrounded by several crescents of trees. Lines drawn across the tips of these crescents also point almost precisely towards Mecca.

Figure 4. Crescent array surrounds Tower of Voices. Line across crescent tips points almost precisely to Mecca. Calculations here.  Posted by Picasa

This second orientation towards Mecca is necessary to the overall terrorist-memorial plan because the Tower of Voices is itself an Islamic sundial.

Figure 5. Islamic prayer times are determined by shadow length. When the center of the crescent at the top of the tower's shadow reaches the outer pink line, the time for Islamic afternoon prayers (Asr prayers) has arrived. Notice that the prayer line remains contained within the inner arc of trees. Afternoon prayer shadows for June 16th (the shortest day of the year) in red; July 16th (green); August 16th (blue); September 16th (yellow); October 16th (orange), mid-November (aqua); and mid-December (fuchsia). The mid-January Asr-prayer shadow will be the same as for mid-November. Mid-February will be the same as mid-October, etcetera. Prayer times and associated shadow calculations here.  Posted by Picasa

When prayer time is reached, Pious Muslims will need to know the direction to Mecca: the direction they are supposed to face when they pray. The Tower's crescent array gives them this information. All they have to do is walk out to the open end of the crescent array and sight across the ends of the rows of trees (towards the northeast in figure 4).

Why does the shadow line in Figure 5 have a zig at the beginning of November? Look closely at the tower shadow depicted in Murdoch's graphic. You can see that there is a vertical shaft of sunlight making it through about the top fifth of the tower. This is because there is a slot cut in the top of the tower that early enough in the day allows light to pass through and reach the ground. Later in the day sunlight comes through at too steep an angle to reach the ground, being intercepted by the crescent arms of the crescent cross-section tower. As the months progress towards December and sunset gets earlier, afternoon prayer times start coming early enough that light through the slot is still reaching the ground when prayer time arrives. Thus the bottom of the top of the tower's shadow becomes the bottom of the slot, and this new lower tower height then becomes the tower height that is used to calculate prayer-time shadow length. From the tower graphics, it can be determined that this transition occurs near the beginning of November. Full analysis here.

Many of the terrorist-memorial elements of the Murdoch's design have this same half-hidden, half-obvious quality. (Litany here.) The redesign, blending the original red crescent into a larger circle of trees, but still retaining its defining points, fits this half-hidden terrorist-memorial theme exactly. I am surprised Murdoch did not blend the red crescent in from the outset. He might have gotten away with it. But we cannot let him get away with it now. Paul Murdoch's Flight 93 memorial, both originally and in its barely modified incarnation, is not just a bit of P.C. openness to Islamic symbolism. It is an explicit and thorough-going shrine to the terrorists. Murdoch is an Islamo-fascist. He is one of the enemy, trying to plant an Islamo-fascist memorial on the graves of our murdered heroes. No other explanation is possible. Please help stop this evil.

UPDATE: Thanks to so many people for stopping by. I’ll just add a bit of detail, for those who might like to look through the linked back-posts where I did my calculations, but would prefer a summary of the most critical details.

First, where are the four extra translucent blocks? You can see three of them in Figure 3, at the bottom end of the upper section of the memorial wall (the terrorist-memorial section of the memorial wall). Here is another view:

Figure 6. From the original Crescent of Embrace site-plan PDF's. Close up of gap between lower and upper memorial walls. Forty translucent blocks on left. Three on right. Posted by Picasa

The three blocks at the bottom of the terrorist memorial wall are inscribed with the date September 11th, 2001. That’s right: September 11th belongs to them.

The forty-fourth translucent block is the punch line. It sits further up the flight path. It is the large glass block, sitting at the point of the upper red-crescent tip, that dedicates the entire site:

Figure 7. Overlook extending through inner circle of crescent, with large glass block at end, dedicating the site. This graphic is from the original site-plan PDF’s, but the overlook seems to be unchanged in the new design. The announcement of the redesign includes an overlook graphic, but without a close up detail of the glass block.  Posted by Picasa

LGF commenter aunursa corrects my assertion that the forty name-inscribed blocks are dedicated to forty murdered American heroes. Apparently two of the heroes were foreign. God bless ‘em.

I didn’t mean to mislead anyone by originally leaving the full explanation of the extra four translucent blocks out of this post. I was just trying to summarize my findings, while providing links to my full analyses. Far from thinking that the different shaped block at the upper crescent tip weakens the “44 deaths, 44 blocks” interpretation, my full analysis reveals the 44th block, tying the upper section of the memorial wall together with the upper tip of the large red maple crescent, to be perhaps the most diabolical feature of the entire structure: a keystone for The Keystone State. Feel free to redo my calculations . The large red maple crescent defined in the obvious way that I describe above is oriented 1.7 degrees off Mecca, enough to create plausible deniability perhaps. But when the large glass block is used to define the upper crescent tip, the crescent bisector points EXACTLY to Mecca, as close as the pixel resolution of the site-plan PDF’s can determine. (One pixel either way and the line points further away from Mecca.)

The near miss, followed by the precise Islamist resolution, is typical Murdoch, as seen with the Tower-sundial, which seems at first to be an accurate prayer-time sundial only for 8 months of the year (plausible deniability). Then you notice the slot cut in the spine of the Tower, which reduces the Tower-shadow height for the other 4 months, making for a 12 month accurate prayer-time sundial. It’s a good thing the Islamo-fascist who designed this thing is not making bombs, because he would probably be good at it.

On the subject of the Tower-sundial, there are a couple of details about my shadow calculations that people should know about if they are going to take my interpretations to heart. Shadow placement will vary with any change in either the geometry of the tower or the topography of the ground on which the Tower's shadow falls. From the information that is available, there are two points of possible deviation from my interpretation.

One is the slope of ground in the direction that the prayer-time shadows fall. On level ground, the prayer-time shadows are about 50 meters long. According to topo maps, the ground rises in the prayer-shadow direction about ten feet in fifty meters (graphics available about a third of the way down this post). The site-plan’s Tower Section detail shows the tower sitting on a built up mound ten feet tall. This would put it right where it needs to be to act as the shadow-caster (or gnomon) for an Islamic sundial: on level ground. Islamic afternoon prayers are supposed to commence when an object’s shadow is the length of its noon shadow, plus its height. This can only be determined on level ground.

The potential discrepancy here is that the Tower Section detail shows the trees in the prayer-shadow direction starting at the level of the ground at the bottom of the ten foot mound that the Tower sits on, instead of at the height of base of the Tower, as the topo maps indicate. It isn’t much of a discrepancy because the Tower Section detail is clearly in error on this point. Here is the offending graphic:

Figure 8. Shows trees in prayer-shadow direction (northeast) to grow from well below the base of Tower. Topo maps show they start at the same height as the base of the Tower, as a prayer-time sundial would require.  Posted by Picasa

The second possible discrepancy is the depth of the slot cut in the spine of the Tower. The CAD generated shadow in Figure 5 shows the slot being 18% of the full tower height. This is contradicted by the Tower Section detail, which depicts the slot being 8% of the full tower height. The 18% figure leads to the jog in the prayer-shadow line depicted in my Figure 5. It is the exact depth of slot needed to keep the shadow line within the innermost crescent of trees, so that the inner crescent can serve as a consistent prayer-time indicator. Here is Figure 5 again:

Figure 5. You can see the CAD generated slot depth information in the Tower shadow.  Posted by Picasa

Since the Tower Section detail was already misleading about the topography, that gives reason to favor the CAD generated slot information. Also, the CAD information is what one would expect to be the real information. It is the actual 3D design. The Tower Section detail, in contrast, is a prettied-up picture board.

My guess is that Murdoch and his co-conspirators (if he has any) realized that any competent sundialist would find them out if they put the accurate information in the Tower Section detail, so they phonied up the detail. I'm also guessing it was a slip that they let the CAD generated slot value into their presentation. Either that or hubris.

Still, there is a caveat here. It could turn out that the actual planned slot dimension is 8% of the Tower height and that the Tower array is "only" an accurate Islamic prayer-time sundial for 8 months of the year. The only way to determine for sure if the Tower-sundial is designed to be 12-month accurate is to get hold of Murdoch’s computers and take a look. The many terrorist memorializing features of Murdoch’s Flight 93 memorial give plenty of probable cause to believe that he has perpetrated a fraud against the Department of the Interior, which is legal grounds for subpoena of his hard drives. Tancredo, Norton, the ball is in your court.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Religious non-profits make deal with the devil

Report today from the Tax Foundation on the misuse of non-profit status by what ought to be regarded as for profit institutions. Insta-man notes how 501 (c)(3) status infringes on the political speech rights of religious organizations. Another perverse effect of non-profit status is how it keeps churches from using their vast resources of property and physical plant to make a contribution to the economy.

I learned this when I stopped in at a local church to see if I could use their large beautiful brand-spanking-new hardwood floored activity room to teach ballroom dance lessons. They said they could lose their non-profit status if they let the space be used for profit. I asked whether, if I did the necessary paperwork, I could qualify as a non-profit and take the fees as a “non-profit” salary. They said maybe, but that they wouldn’t be willing to put their own non-profit status at risk over such a venture.

A year later they converted their beautiful new activities room to office space. They really wanted to be able to host activities, but when they had an opportunity to do it, the law prohibited them. In my neighborhood there are numerous churches with vast physical resources--Sunday school classrooms, kitchens, dining halls, gyms, stages, pianos, dance floors--sitting 90% idle. Churches are supposed to participate in the community, but if they are barred from the normal instruments of exchange, they cannot. The non-profit laws shove them off to the side.

There would be nothing healthier for our churches than to get rid of this bargain they have struck with the devil where they get tax-free status in exchange for staying out of the political and economic life of the community.

UPDATE: TaxProf Blog highlights the regressive impact of charitable deduction provisions.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Coercing reliable information

People seeking to ban the use of physically coercive interrogation list as a main supporting argument that the benefits are small: that such techniques (whether or not they rise to what should rightly be called "torture") do not yield reliable information. According to one group that represents torture victims:
...they would have said anything their tormentors wanted them to say in order to get the pain to stop.
Why that doesn't include telling the truth, when that is what interrogators want to hear, is not clear, but suppose for argument that the critique is valid. Emerging technology provides an answer to the reliability problem. Brain-scanning lie-detection is rapidly becoming very accurate. By combining coercive techniques with brain-scanning lie-detection, it should be possible to coerce reliable information.

Brain scanning by itself may be able to replace physical coercion in most cases. If the person being questioned is talking, then watching what parts of his brain are at work in what sequence will reveal whether he is being evasive. Even if our knowing when he is lying does not stop him from lying, his lies may carry as much information as the truth, when we know they are lies. Still, brain scanning by itself is inadequate.

Sometimes knowing that person is lying will not provide the necessary information, and sometimes a subject won't talk at all. Where brain scanning really becomes valuable is when we can use it to determine that the subject is being entirely forthcoming, and that is where physical coercion comes in.

Water-boarding sounds perfect. Apparently it is physically harmless, yet impossible to bear:
Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner's face and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt.

According to the sources, CIA officers who subjected themselves to the water boarding technique lasted an average of 14 seconds before caving in. They said al Qaeda's toughest prisoner, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, won the admiration of interrogators when he was able to last between two and two-and-a-half minutes before begging to confess.
I have a question for the evasive subject with his head in the brain-scanning lie-detector: "Do you want to go back on the water-board?" I think we would be getting to the full and honest truth pretty fast.

Every terror war detainee should be subject to brain-scanning lie-detection for important information. If any are evasive, water-board them until they spill, and brain scanning reveals that they have no further strategic information to yield.

Such a regimen would not subject any innocent or compliant person even to the non-torture of water-boarding. Brain scanning would reveal that they are telling the truth.

Of those who refuse to come clean without coercion, it seems that none would need to be subjected to anything worse than water-boarding.

So what is the downside? There is none. To argue against the one-two punch of brain-scanning and water-boarding, one would have to argue against the desirability of being able to coerce reliable information at all. In the area of criminal law, that might be sustainable. In war-fighting, it is absurd. Should we let innocents die (including our innocent soldiers, who have done no wrong), rather than separate the guilty from the innocent by harmlessly looking inside their heads? The technology is here. Get used to it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Rally the Veto! Say NO to the GOP surrender on Iraq!

Instead of backing President Bush’s push-back against the Democrats lies about lying, Senate Republicans sniffed bad poll numbers that the lies about lying had created, tied their white cotton panties to a stick, and surrendered to Democrat demands for withdrawal from Iraq. But hey, the minority Republicans did salvage something from the majority Democrat juggernaut:
Mr. Frist said an important reason for the Republican proposal was to offer an alternative to the Democratic call for a withdrawal timetable. "The real objective was to get out of this timeline of cutting and running that the Democrats have in their amendment," he said.
See? The Republicans might have caved on the demands for withdrawal, but they held firm against cutting and running on a TIMETABLE.

To win the terror war, it is crucial that we NOT withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible. Our troops in Iraq are perfectly positioned to carry the fight to Iran and Syrian, and eventually, to take down Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. To commit to withdrawal is to commit to making Iraq our last action in the terror war. It is a commitment to win the battle but lose the war, just as we did in Vietnam.

Even the rejection of a timetable for withdrawal is apparently up for automatic review every three months. Call it a timetable for a timetable for withdrawal. The Senate is demanding that President Kerry live up to his campaign promise to have allies carry the burden for us in Iraq:
The proposal on the Iraq war, from Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, and Senator John W. Warner, Republican of Virginia, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, would require the administration to provide extensive new quarterly reports to Congress on subjects like progress in bringing in other countries to help stabilize Iraq.
Yup, that’s what happens when a Democrat President wins on the strength of a campaign promise to subject America’s foreign policy to "a global test." The Democrat majority in the Senate is going to hold him to it!

Not surprisingly, the Democrat majority threw in other provisions to hobble the war on terror as well, in line with their philosophy that defeat for America means victory for the Democrats. For instance, there is the automatic do-over in the civilian courts for any terrorist who gets convicted by a military tribunal:
Senator Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who is the author of the initial plan, said Monday that he had negotiated a compromise that would allow detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to challenge their designation as enemy combatants in federal courts and also allow automatic appeals of any convictions handed down by the military where detainees receive prison terms of 10 years or more or a death sentence.
And of course, we couldn't call it a Democrat majority if the Senate didn’t try to guarantee the terrorists freedom from discomfort:
The measure includes White House-opposed language that would prohibit the cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of detainees and standardize interrogation procedures used by U.S. troops. The Bush administration has threatened to veto any bill that includes language about the treatment of detainees, arguing it would limit the president's ability to prevent terrorist attacks.
President BUSH????? You mean the Democrats did NOT win the election?

Conservative pressure recently rallied the President to take back one of his own actions: the nomination of Harriet Miers. Can it now rally the President to hold firm on what he has said he would do, and for the first time in his presidency wield the veto?

True, the Senate's actions are largely symbolic. The Pentagon already delivers a constant flow of reports to Congress on the Iraq war. The demand for quarterly reports is entirely superfluous. But what symbolism! The implication that our will is shaken, and prone to break at any moment.

Senate Republicans need to be evicted en masse and replaced with real Republicans. (Only 13 voted against The Warner Amendment’s timetable for a timetable for withdrawal.) In the meantime, it is up to We the People to raise our voices and demand that our representatives, including the President, represent our will.

"Political Settlement" is a call for undemocratic concessions to the enemy

The closer you look, the worse it gets. The Senate bill is not just a call for withdrawal, but for retreat from democratic resolution of Iraq’s political conflicts.
The plan also seeks to put pressure on the Iraqis to find ways to resolve their internal political turmoil, saying the "administration should tell the leaders of all groups and political parties in Iraq that they need to make the compromises necessary to achieve the broad-based and sustainable political settlement that is essential for defeating the insurgency.
The necessary “political settlement” is the constitutional democratic process that is currently going forward. The only “compromise” to this process that is legitimate is the protection of minority rights, as necessary to turn a democracy into a republic (a system of liberty under law). If that is what the Senate means, it should say so. Generic compromise means compromising on the legitimate democratic process in order to accommodate the enemies of democracy, as Senator Feinstein made explicit when she used virtually identical language in an op-ed three weeks ago:
America needs to change course, reassess its mission in light of this escalating insurgency, place more responsibility on Iraq for a negotiated settlement, and begin a structured drawdown of American forces.
The reasoning behind her call for a "negotiated settlement" was explicit:
This is not an insurgency single-mindedly propelling itself against U.S. forces, rather, at its core it is driven by visceral Sunni fear and objections to Shiite rule over the near and long term.
This is a civil war, Feinstein was saying, between those who want democracy and those who don’t want democracy, and (like in Vietnam), civil wars are internal conflicts that the United States has no legitimate stake in. She wasn’t calling for us to help Iraq move towards a republican form of democracy. She was calling on us to cut and run, and thereby achieve another Democrat victory (another defeat for America).

The Republicans substituted "political settlement" for Feinstein’s "negotiated settlement," but retained her exact substance: no call for republicanism, only for withdrawal. Bastards.

Thou shalt not discomfit mass murderers

Worst is the extension of civil court protections to enemy combatants, and the restrictions on using harsh methods to question even those who are involved in conspiracies to commit mass murder. Are these Senators representing us, or Al Qaeda?

The Senate was poised to overturn the Supreme Court's recent Rasul decision, where the insane Justices decided to extend habeas corpus rights (access to the civilian courts) to enemies captured on the field of battle. (If such rights are implied by the Constitution, how come the Court did not discover them in WWII, or the War of 1812, or any other war?)

Thank the founders, our brilliant Constitution contains a fail-safe against this ludicrous mis-interpretation. Article I, section 9, clause 2 allows the Congress to set aside habeas corpus rights in time of insurrection or invasion. We were invaded on 9/11, and every battle in the war against Islamofascist terrorism is aimed at destroying that invader.

If an idiot Congress wants to second the Supreme Court’s extension of civilian rights to enemy combatants, that is at least a constitutional use of its discretion. If instead it defers to the Court’s judgment, it is betraying the Constitution’s placement of authority over this matter in the hands of the political branches. The Congress IS deferring, hence it IS betraying.

It the Congress wants to provide some civilian court oversight in some cases, it should first explicitly deny that battlefield detainees have ANY habeas corpus rights (rejecting the Court's interpretation of the Constitution in Rasul v. Bush), then it should suspend those habeas corpus rights for battlefield detainees that the Supreme Court has presumed to interpret, then it should assert what limited procedures for civilian oversight that it thinks are appropriate, making absolutely clear that no such oversight is a matter of right.

Andrew McCarthy has a great piece on the consequences of empowering the civilian courts with oversight for the handling of those captured in war. He also has a great piece on the perfidy of the “McCain Amendment,” prohibiting physically coercive interrogation in all circumstances. His question "for each and every member of Congress who claims to support the McCain Amendment":
If we had credible information regarding an ongoing al Qaeda plot to detonate a nuclear weapon in the continental United States, and we had just taken into custody an al Qaeda militant who was in a position to know where and when the attack was to occur but who was refusing to cooperate, are you saying we would need to let thousands of Americans die rather than harm a hair on the terrorist's head in an effort to extract the information that might save them?

If the answer to that question is "no," you have no business voting for the McCain Amendment. If the answer is "yes," you have no business serving in a government whose first obligation is the security of the governed.

Rally the Veto!

Lorie Byrd over at Malkin's place posts a Rally the Veto article article by Tony Blankley. Great stuff:
Now the Watergate babies ["young anti-war Democrats"] have grown old -- and age has not improved them. They plan to finish their careers as they started them -- in defeatism, betrayal and national dishonor. Oh, that America might see the last of these fish-eyed sacks of loathsome bile and infamy: Unwholesome in their birth; repugnant and stench-forming in their decline.

Articulate anger by H Bomb at Ankle Biting Pundits, but he ends on a foul note:
I’m looking for a reason to continue voting Republican. Can anyone think of one?
What the litany of Republican cave-ins to the Democrat minority reveals is that we don't have a real Republican majority yet. The slim Republican margin makes the weak sisters in the party the swing votes, a la O'Connor on the Supreme Court. That calls for a stronger electoral effort next time. We just need a half dozen more solid conservatives so that Lincoln Chaffee and Olympia Snow and Chuck Hagel aren't the deciding votes anymore.

To talk of not voting Republican because of these setbacks is, I have to say it, a kissin' cousin to talk about pulling out of the fight in Iraq. Ankle Biters aren't quitters, are they?

Nice roundup by Hewitt.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Bush rebuts accusations, AP repeats accusations, omits rebuttal

Driven by a firestorm of Democrat accusations that his administration manipulated and misrepresented pre-war intelligence to make the case for war, President Bush used his Veteran's Day address to offer two key points of rebuttal. First:
These critics are fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgments related to Iraq's weapons programs.
Second, the President reminded that "intelligence agencies from around the world agreed with our assessment of Saddam Hussein," and that the accusing Congressmen had access to the same intelligence he did, and came to the same conclusions, voting overwhelmingly to authorize the use of force to remove Saddam Hussein from power. Now they are trying to rewrite that history for partisan advantage, President Bush charged, instead of honoring their commitments.

AP's coverage of the the President's speech repeats the accusations against the President, both in reporter Deb Riechmann's own voice, and in the voices of various critics, five separate times. Not once does the AP story mention either of President Bush's two rebuttal points. It quotes him as calling the accusations "false" and "deeply irresponsible," but it completely avoids the substance of his speech, as if he had not offered any rebuttal at all beyond bare denial.

Ted Kennedy, for instance, is reported to have:
...accused Bush of using Veterans Day as "a campaign-like attempt to rebuild his own credibility by tearing down those who seek the truth about the clear manipulation of intelligence in the run-up to the Iraq War."
Even if the President had not mentioned that such accusations had been debunked by the Senate Intelligence Committee report last year, the reporter should have. Whenever a politician makes accusations that are known to not be supported by the evidence, it is the responsibility of reporters to report the evidence and expose the politician as a demagogue. Not only does Riechmann fail this basic responsibility, she goes further, refusing to report the evidence even when it was the substance of the speech she is reporting on.

Could this malfeasance possibly be taken further still? Indeed, and Riechmann finds the way, reporting that Republican Chuck Hagel
has said he agrees with Democrats who are pressing the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee to move forward with an investigation into whether the administration manipulated intelligence.
She omits any clarificaton that this proposed investigation would be a second stage follow-up of last year's extensive investigation, leaving the uninformed with the clear impression that the Senate Intelligence Committee has not yet investigated the accusations of manipulated intelligence. Not only doesn't she report the evidence against the accusations, even when that evidence is the core of the President's speech, but she takes additional steps to actually misrepresent the evidence and positively imply that it does not exist!

Of course a reporter like this has to throw in other malfeasances too. She repeats Joe Wilson's well known lies, without any indication that he has been authoritatively exposed as a liar (by the omitted Senate Intelligence Committee report, in fact):
Criticism about prewar intelligence has been stoked by the recent indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, in the CIA leak investigation.

The probe aims to identify who leaked the identity of an undercover CIA officer whose husband, a former ambassador, alleged that the administration relied on faulty intelligence to justify the invasion of Iraq.
From there she launches immediately into repeats of the seemingly unrebutted accusations:
Kerry accused the president of playing politics on a holiday set aside to honor veterans.

"This administration misled a nation into war by cherry-picking intelligence and stretching the truth beyond recognition. That's why Scooter Libby has been indicted. That's why a statement in the State of the Union Address was retracted," said Kerry, who voted in 2002 to give Bush the authority to wage war but later voted against additional funds for Iraq and Afghanistan reconstruction.

"It's a dangerous day for our national security when an administration's word is no good," Kerry said.
Kerry represents himself as misled, which Ms. Riechmann should follow with the known fact that he had access to the same information that the President did, especially given that this was the second main point of the President's rebuttal of the accusations Kerry had just repeated, and especially given that President Bush had quoted Kerry specifically to example how others reacted to the same pre-war intelligence that the White House was seeing:
'When I vote to give the President of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat, and a grave threat, to our security.'
But just as Riechmann buries the first half of President Bush's rebuttal, even where it screams out to be reported, so too does she bury this second half of his rebuttal where it screams out to be reported. She reports the President’s observation that his critics voted overwhelmingly to authorize force against Saddam Hussein, but omits his answer to those like Kerry who claim that they were misled into that vote: that they "had access to the same intelligence" he did.

She also cherry picks comments from Republican congressmen, manipulating and misrepresent the intelligence she has in her possession about what they actually said. Riechmann quotes Rick Santorum as admitting that "mistakes were made," and characterizes it as a "counter-attack" against Bush's defense. Altogether, the piece is as thorough a hatchet job as an utterly dishonest piece of left-wing moral trash could possibly come up with.

People wonder why President Bush does not come out and fight more. I think it is because he knows that no matter what he says, the press will make sure that most of the country never hears him. If you didn't see the speech on TV, or find the text on the internet, all you saw was the press extensively repeating the accusations that the president lied, counterbalanced by nothing but a bare denial by the President.

UPDATE: Impacted Wisdom Truth links a second AP report President Bush’s Veteran’s day speech, also by Deb Riechmann, but this one does not omit the President’s two main rebuttal points. Just the opposite. It focus on them. Both are quoted both near the top of the article:
He said those critics have made those allegations although they know that a Senate investigation "found no evidence" of political pressure to change the intelligence community's assessments related to Saddam's weapons program.

He said they also know that the United Nations passed more than a dozen resolutions citing Saddam's development and possession of weapons of mass destruction.

"More than 100 Democrats in the House and the Senate who had access to the same intelligence voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power," Bush said.
The second version of Riechmann’s article also lacks the endless repeats of the accusations that the President was rebutting, the repeat of Joe Wilson's lies, etcetera (making it overall much shorter).

It is hard to see how Riechmann could have written both articles. The likely explanation is that the some AP or My Way editor is responsible for the slanted version of the article. I will contact Riechmann and see if she can shed any light on the process that led to these two radically different versions of her report.

A revealing point to get answers on would be the repeat of Joe Wilson's lies, without reporting that Wilson has long since been exposed as a liar. Is that how Riechmann wrote it? Or did she give an honest report, explaining how Wilson's accusations played into the need for the President to issue rebuttals, along with the information that Wilson's is know no have been lying in his accusations, only to have some My Way editor edit out that Wilson is a liar? A third possibility is that some editor threw in the repeat of Wilson's lies on his own.

The second version of Riechmann's article suggests that she has integrity. Hopefully she is willing to defend it, because the first version of the article suggests that she is utterly without integrity. Which is the real Deb Riechmann article, the one that conveys the actual substance of the news event (the President’s rebuttals of the accusations against him) or the one slanted in every possible way to repeat the accusations against the President while entirely omitting his rebuttals?

If an editor did it, can we pin down who it was? The blogosphere has had some success in exposing biased reporters. Editors are harder to expose because they operate anonymously, but maybe, just maybe, when they produce radically different versions of the same reporter's report, the exposure of such extreme bias might be sufficient to enforce a demand that such bias not be able to operate anonymously.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Criminal/terrorist youth would not exist without socialized education

If parents could choose who to entrust with their children’s education, parents would overwhelmingly favor schools that eradicate all criminal and gang behavior. Any kids caught in that stuff would be expelled. If a kid wears his pants falling down, he’s gone. If a kid doesn’t respect adults, he’s gone.

Only when education is socialized, as under America’s public school monopoly, can gangs exist. Public schools have to accommodate a wide range of “expression” on the part of students that their parent’s, if they had the choice, would remove their children from the influence of. Consider Black English. Under choice, only a few demented black parents would send their children to schools where anything but standard English was tolerated. Talk Black English, you’re expelled, and as the overwhelming majority of blacks started speaking standard English, the adherents to black English would quickly regret their choice. Black English would cease to exist.

Same with Spanish-speaking neighborhoods. Under parental choice, all the Mexican-ancestry kids in America would speak perfect English. They might also speak Spanish, but the culture of Spanish speaking would disappear. Same with dumb-girl culture. Any girl shows her midriff, she’s out. A lot of parents today assume that, because peer pressure makes their little girls want to dress like sluts, that means their little girls prefer a peer environment that pressures them to dress like sluts. Under choice, the truth would quickly be revealed. Parents who send their girls to schools where girls can't dress like sluts would see their girls become happier and the word would get around. The degenerate public-school kid-culture would disappear.

There is a cost in that. Something is sacrificed. Black English is gone. The Spanish speaking barrio is gone. Kid-culture is gone. Government can’t make those choices. Only parents can, and they must be allowed to. Other people’s children are not fodder for socialist social-engineering. It is for parents to choose which is better for their children, standard English or Black English, respect for adults or disrespect for adults, guidance or license. (Not that everyone thinks so.)

Socialized education does not allow parents to make these choices. In the public schools, parents can’t keep their kids from gangs, or crime, or non-standard English, or drugs, or teen-age sexual license, or any other evil that they would choose to protect their children from. In America, the consequence is young lives misdirected into drugs, sex, crime and general idiocy. In Europe, the consequence is Islamo-fascism.

Muslim immigrant parents in Europe wanted to assimilate. If they could have chosen, they would have chosen schooling for their children that accomplished assimilation, but they were not allowed to make that choice. As a result, Europe is burning, and now it is too late. The already radicalized younger generation, given a choice, would send its children to Islamo-fascist madrassas. All that Europe can do now is fight the civil war that socialized education has planted in its midst, if its socialist elites will let it fight.

Thousands of Islamo-fascist youth set France afire and the French Prime Minister, amongst others, blames the violence on France's interior minister for having the temerity to call the arsonists “thugs” and “scum.” Calling criminals criminals is apparently a justification for criminality, in the eyes, not just of the criminals themselves, but also to the “postmodern” (read “intellectually infantile”) left.

The consequences of socialism here at home are exampled by a story in today’s San Jose Mercury News: “Multi-cultural approach to end bullying.” Gangs of high school girls are beating up those other girls that most affront their self-esteem, either through their different life choices or their different gang choices. The public schools are impotent to kick the gang trash out, so a San Jose teacher is embarking on a mission to translate the word “bully” into different languages. $625,000 in federal money is to be spent on a variety of urgings, including teaching parents “in three languages, that bullying is not something to be ignored.” Alas, nothing is done to empower parents to send their children to schools that actually purge the bullies.

A second example from the same paper, same day. A family has moved back to Texas because it is too heartbreaking to remain in the place where their 16 year old daughter was murdered. “April Sanchez was no saint,” the story relates:
April wore the red clothing of the Norteño gang, sported a gang tattoo on her ankle and carried a chip on her shoulder much of the time.

On the days she wasn't itching for a fight, friends said, she was spunky, energetic and vivacious.
That girl was killed by the system of socialized education that stripped her loving parents of the means to control her environment and guide her upbringing. She fell in with gang trash, became gang trash and died gang trash, all as a minor, who should never have even faced those possibilities. She is one of millions, similarly betrayed by adult society.

Enough is intact in America that we can pay this horrendous price for error and still go forward as a society. Not so in Europe. Their socialism is considerably more extensive than ours and their damage is not sustainable. The current intifada is their wake up call. Either European Western culture abandons leftism now, or it dies.

They are very lucky to have gotten this call sooner rather than later, just as America is lucky that Al Qaeda attacked the Trade Center with airplanes instead of waiting until it had WMD. They woke us up in time to stop them. Europe's wake-up-call has also come in time, and Europe's current fecklessness is encouraging the enemy to reveal itself further. Perfect. Remain prostrate, surrender monkeys, until all the Islamo-fascists have stood up, then kill every last one of them. (Maybe then the world will finally allow the Jews to do the same and kill off their attackers.)

Eliminating the Islamo-fascists will give Europe the fresh start it needs, allowing it to get rid of socialized education and the other pillars of moral relativism and avoid a repeat in the future.

UPDATE: Malkin, Malcontent and others are commenting on a typical incident of leftist propagandizing in the government schools. Check out this Vermont vocabulary quiz (circle the correct option):
I wish Bush would be (coherent, eschewed) for once during a speech, but there are theories that his everyday diction charms the below-average mind, hence insuring (sic) him Republican votes.
I like the way the Boston Globe titles its story: "Teacher under investigation for alleged liberalism". What he is being accused of is illiberalism, using government power to indoctrinate captive children. Any government monopoly power in education necessarily imposes unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination, substituting the majority's educational choices for the individual parent's educational choices. The Vermont example just adds the offense of being overtly political.

Because the left tried for so long to attach the "liberal" label their illiberalism, "liberal" is now so widely regarded as a dirty word that even the illiberal-liberals themselves (the Boston Globe) uses "liberal" as a dirty word! Ha ha. I hate it. But I love it.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Maguire on Tenet’s exposure of Wilson’s lies

Herbert Meyer, assistant to CIA director William Casey during the Reagan administration, put out a couple of questions for ex-CIA director George Tenet the other day. One of his questions was why Tenet did not come out at the time of Wilson’s 2003 NYT op-ed and rebut Wilson’s lies. This morning Powerline posted an email from me pointing out that Tenet did issue a statement at the time indicating that the CIA’s envoy to Niger (who Wilson had already let the world know was himself), actually found evidence in support of the President’s State of the Union claim that Saddam had tried to buy uranium in Africa.

Press coverage for Tenet’s exposure of Wilson as a liar was minimal (focusing instead on Tenet’s concession that the claim still wasn’t well supported enough to have appeared in the State of the Union), to the point where almost no one seems to know about it. The only commenter I have seen refer to it is Tom Maguire, at Just one Minute. Tom has covered the Wilson story extensively from the beginning and he sent some further information along to me, in particular regarding the press coverage of Tenet’s statement. Here is Tom’s NYT excerpt (from the Times archives):
Published: July 12, 2003

The director of central intelligence, George J. Tenet, accepted responsibility yesterday for letting President Bush use information that turned out to be unsubstantiated in his State of the Union address, accusing Iraq of trying to acquire uranium from Africa to make nuclear weapons.

Mr. Tenet issued a statement last night after both the president and his national security adviser placed blame on the C.I.A., which they said had reviewed the now discredited accusation and had approved its inclusion in the speech.

[Big Skip]

Ms. Rice said the administration did not learn until March that the documents that were the primary basis for the assertion about Niger had been forged. She also said she did not learn about the mission to Niger last year by a former American ambassador -- who found no evidence to back up the charge -- until a month ago, when she was asked about it during a television interview.

[Another Skip]

When the first rumors of a purchase effort in Niger surfaced, at the beginning of 2002, Vice President Dick Cheney's office asked the C.I.A. to assess the information. Apparently without the knowledge of Mr. Cheney or Mr. Tenet, the agency sent a former ambassador, Joseph C. Wilson IV, to investigate. He reported back that the government of Niger had denied the report, and that other indications were that it was bogus.
Wow. They gave lede coverage to Tenet’s concession, failed to note the revelation that Wilson’s evidence actually supported the claim that Saddam tried to buy uranium ore, and continued to elide the distinction between what Wilson DID debunk (the likelihood that Saddam had actually succeeded in purchasing uranium) and what he kept pretending to have debunked (the President’s claim that Saddam TRIED to buy uranium).

At the other end of the scale, Time Magazine's Matthew Cooper and his cohorts did notice Tenet’s exposure of Wilson, and made a big deal out of it. Tom’s Time Magazine excerpt:
..George Tenet, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, took a shot at Wilson last week as did ex-White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer. Both contended that Wilson's report on an alleged Iraqi effort to purchase uranium from Niger, far from undermining the president's claim in his State of the Union address that Iraq sought uranium in Africa, as Wilson had said, actually strengthened it.

..When Tenet issued his I-take-the-blame statement on the alleged . Iraq-Niger uranium connection last week, he took a none-too-subtle jab at Wilson's report. "There was no mention in the report of forged documents — or any suggestion of the existence of documents at all," Tenet wrote. For his part Wilson says he did not deal with the forgeries explicitly in his report because he never saw them. However, Wilson says he refuted the forgeries' central allegation that Niger had been negotiating a sale of uranium to Iraq.
Which again, is not what President Bush claimed. He claimed that Saddam had TRIED to negotiate a purchase of uranium, not that he had actually gotten anyone to negotiate with him. Put a slippery liar together with people who don’t want to catch him, like the Timesmen, and he wriggles clean away. Faced with those who want to expose him, like Cooper et. al., and he just wriggles around on the gaff hook.

With the high profile Time Magazine coverage, Tom notes that a lot of people would have been aware, and his recollection is that a number of bloggers were writing about Tenet’s exposure of Wilson at the time (Pejman for one, though he didn’t have a link handy). Tom's reporting at the time Wilson was first telling his lies: here and here. I certainly did not mean to imply that no one was on the story, only that very few were, indicating that the press largely succeeded in burying the story.

Typical reporting described Tenet as admitting that that the President’s “sixteen words” were “false.” That meant they were following the NYT pattern, only reporting on Tenet’s concession that the words should not have been included in the State of the Union. Had the stories also reported that Wilson actually found evidence that the claim was true, they couldn’t have described it as false. See, for example the random “sixteen words” “false” story that I linked in my previous post. All Tenet concession. No Wilson exposure.

Newsmax was trying at the time to get the word out. They ran a LexisNexis search for how many stories combined “sixteen words” with “false” in the wake of Tenet’s statement and came up with over a thousand. That is an astounding feat of journalistic malfeasance: a whole professional class, supposedly dedicated to the truth, the vast majority whom have been engaged in a gigantic conspiracy of lying about lying.

The Newsmax link no longer works, but I found the original text on Free Republic. Am I allowed to repost here if I note that the story is Copyright © Newsmax 2003? Here goes:

Media Fraud: Press Still Misreporting Uranium Claim as False
Carl Limbacher and NewsMax.com staff, 7/15/2003. Copyright © Newsmax 2003

A week after British Prime Minister Tony Blair told Parliament that he had independent intelligence to back President Bush's claim that Iraq sought uranium from Niger, the overwhelming majority of American news outlets continue to pretend that the story has been conclusively determined as false - even though U.S. officials have repeatedly contradicted that assessment.

A LexisNexis search conducted on Tuesday turned up over 1,000 print and television reports containing the words "uranium" and "false" or "erroneous" in the nine days since the story was first misreported in the New York Times.

Typical was a front page report in Friday's Wall Street Journal, which got the story wrong twice in a single sentence.

"Powell, traveling with Bush in Africa, said the president shouldn't have to apologize for making an erroneous assertion of an Iraq uranium purchase," the paper insisted.

In fact, Bush never claimed that Iraq had actually purchased uranium from Niger, saying only in his January State of the Union address that Saddam Hussein had "sought" the nuclear fuel from an African country.

And far from calling the uranium story "erroneous," the same day Powell went out of his way to make it clear that he wasn't disputing the British claim.

"I would not dispute [British intelligence] or disagree with them or say they're wrong and we're right, because intelligence is of that nature," Powell told the Washington Post. "Some people have more sources ... on a particular issue. Some people have greater confidence in their analysis."

Still, even after Tuesday, July 8, when Prime Minister Blair made it amply clear that he stood by the British intelligence finding sourced by Bush in his State of the Union address, the American press repeatedly portrayed the claim as conclusively wrong.

On Thursday, July 10, CBS Evening News introduced its fraudulant story on the African uranium flap with the teaser "President Bush's false claim about Iraqi weapons; he made it despite a CIA warning the intelligence was bad."

The same day the Dallas Morning News misreported, "Bush brushed aside new questions about whether his administration had deliberately misled the public with his State of the Union assertion - since acknowledged to be false - that Iraq had tried to buy uranium in Africa to build nuclear weapons."

"This was followed on Friday by the admission by CIA Director George J. Tenet that it was his agency's fault that the erroneous information was included in the president's speech," the Columbus Dispatch fraudulently claimed on July 14.

Newspaper headlines ballyhooed the bogus notion that the uranium story was known to be false, like this front page blast in Sunday's Los Angeles Times: "'I've got confidence in George Tenet,' Bush says amid persistent questioning over the erroneous claim about Iraq's bid for uranium."

The same day, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer outdid even the L.A. Times with its bogus headline "Democrats Turn Up Heat Over Misuse of False Report."

Some press outlets went so far as to publish patently false claims that even Mr. Blair didn't believe his own intelligence service. That's what the New York Daily News did on Friday, July 10, in the midst of an editorial defending the Bush administration.

"Saddam was not trying to buy uranium from Niger. Downing Street and the White House have now admitted as much," the paper misreported.

Not surprisingly, the media's big-lie blitzkrieg was kicked off by the granddaddy of made-up news and fabricated stories, the New York Times.

Writing on the paper's op-ed page a week ago Sunday, former acting U.S. ambassador to Iraq Joseph Wilson said his one-man investigation showed that "it was highly doubtful that any such [uranium] transaction had ever taken place."

But again, President Bush never claimed that the transaction had "taken place," only that Iraq was seeking to make the buy.

Still, Wilson's inability to confirm something Bush hadn't claimed prompted him to write: "I have little choice but to conclude that some of the intelligence related to Iraq's nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat."

The next day the Washington Post got into the act, misreporting that the White House had "effectively conceded that intelligence underlying the president's statement was wrong."

In fact, the quote the Post cited to back its claim was far more ambiguous, with an anonymous White House official stating only, "Knowing all that we know now, the reference to Iraq's attempt to acquire uranium from Africa should not have been included in the State of the Union speech."

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