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Friday, February 27, 2009

Mexican Pres. on American Pres: "Latin American leaders were inspired by him as part of the New Leftist revolution."

He meant it as praise:
Calderon also expressed optimism that President Barack Obama will improve relations in the region.

"President Barack Obama has a tremendous opportunity to recover the leadership of the US," he said. "Latin American leaders were inspired by him as part of the New Leftist revolution."
Interesting that the Muslim world (particularly the Islamofascist world) recognizes Obama as a Muslim, while the communist world recognizes Obama as a fellow leftist, yet Americans seem to think they were electing a "liberal."

Media cover-up is a big part of the explanation. If ANY of Obama’s numerous Islamofascist connections had been properly reported he never would have been elected. But media cover-up cannot be the whole story, not when the illiberal world (the liberty-hating world) has no trouble recognizing Obama's illiberalism.

Maybe Confucius had it right: "When words lose their meaning, people lose their liberty." Especially when words for liberty loses their meaning.

Still, media cover-up is what is tilting the balance. We’ll see how much play this gets: the president of Mexico calling Obama “part of the New Leftist revolution.” It appeared in the print edition of the San Jose Mercury News, but was cut from their online version of the story, which ends with the preceding line:
"President Barack Obama has a tremendous opportunity to recover the leadership of the United States," he said.
The most newsworthy line in the article, excised. I truly hate that newspaper. If it wasn’t for the hard Soduku on Friday, I’d never buy it.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Mother of Flight 93 hero calls for “a full and transparent review” of the crescent-shaped memorial

Blogburst logo, petition

For two years, Tom Burnett Sr. has been speaking out against the crescent-shaped memorial to Flight 93. This week Beverly Burnett (mother of Flight 93 hero Tom Burnett Jr.) stepped into the public eye to support her husband, and to make her own appeal for a full investigation:
Today, I am adding my voice for a full and transparent review of the National Park Service and Flight 93 design selection process that produced Crescent of Embrace. Does it have Islamic symbols or doesn’t it? Let's settle this once and for all.

Why do you think Tom Sr. opposed this design? It is pretty simple; Tom Sr. saw the Islamic symbols and knew those symbols did not belong at the crash site of Flight 93.

Tom Burnett Sr. traveled to Pennsylvania last August to attend the Task Force Meeting to voice his opposition to the memorial design. A Family Board member as well as a commissioner accused Tom Sr. being “just like the Islamic terrorists” that killed our son.

Why didn’t someone speak up and defend Tom Sr.’s right to voice his opinion?
Thanks to The Somerset Daily American for publishing Mrs. Burnett’s complete statement, which she also entered into the record of the most recent Memorial Project meeting. Read the whole thing.

Two other mentions of the memorial controversy in the local PA press this week

In a letter to the editor, a local woman echoed Mrs. Burnett’s sentiment in favor of preserving the site as it is, instead of demolishing the highly regarded Temporary Memorial and radically transforming the landscape, as the Memorial Project intends.

At present the Temporary Memorial looks down over the “field of honor.” Because this temporary memorial is located roughly in the center of the planned half-mile wide crescent, it will be eliminated. Visitors who stand at the location of the Temporary Memorial will no longer look out over the original landscape, but will instead see the crash-site framed between the pincer tips of the giant Islamic-shaped crescent.

They call the crescent a broken circle now, but the unbroken part of the circle, what symbolically remains standing in the wake of 9/11 (originally called the Crescent of Embrace) remains completely unchanged.

Nice words from a local columnist, but no fact-checking

In the area’s second local paper, The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat, columnist Ralph Couey offers a very nice tribute to the heroes of Flight 93 in which he mentions Mr. Burnett’s opposition to the planned memorial. Unfortunately, Mr. Couey goes on to describes Mr. Burnett’s opposition as “hopeless intransigence,” and expresses his optimism that it can be gotten past.

Given that newspapers are supposed to get to the truth, one would hope that those who gain the privilege of this public platform would bother to check the facts. If Mr. Burnett is correct in his warnings about Islamic symbolism, then finding a way to get past these objections is like finding a way to sneak a hijacker past gate security. It is a bad thing, not a good thing.

The petition that Mr. Burnett sponsored along with our blogburst group lists four damning facts about the approved design that can all be verified in a matter of minutes. Can Mr. Couey check just one: that a person standing between the tips of the giant crescent and facing into the center of the crescent will be facing within 2° of Mecca?

The Muslim prayer direction in this animation (qibla) is from the Mecca-direction calculator at Islam.com. (If you have trouble getting their calculator to work--your Java has to be configured correctly--there is another Mecca direction calculator at QiblaLocator.com.)

This Mecca-orientation makes the giant crescent a mihrab, the Mecca-direction indicator around which every mosque is built. Does Mr. Couey really want to see the world’s largest mosque planted on the Flight 93 crash site? It is fine to speak highly of the heroes of Flight 93, but it would be a lot more meaningful if he would honor the Burnett’s urgent appeal for fact-checking by stepping over to a globe and checking this one simple factual claim.

Mr. Couey is not the only one who wants the crescent controversy to go away without caring to know the truth. Sorry, but that is insufficient. Planting a giant Mecca-oriented crescent on the crash-site will dishonor the heroes of Flight 93, and it fails to follow their example. They didn’t just have good intentions. They got the job done, and we have to get the job done too. We can’t be asleep at the wheel while an al Qaeda sympathizing architect hijacks our memorial.

What? Is it just too outlandish to think that the enemy might try to hijack one of our memorials? The same way that it is just too outlandish to think that the enemy might dare to hijack our commercial airliners? Do these people even know what they are memorializing?

But they CAN wake up. All they have to do is actually check the facts. Then they will know. So please Mr. Couey, take the time to check a few facts, then write a second column, reporting your findings. Somebody out there in Somerset needs to start telling the truth. It might as well be you.

UPDATE: Columnist Ralph Couey emails a clarification

Mr. Couey insists that his reference to “hopeless intransigence” was not directed at Mr. Burnett’s opposition to the crescent design but “dealt solely with the parties involved in the land purchase.”

I’ll take his word for that. The way he sandwiched his mention of Mr. Burnett’s protest in between his comments about the land deal certainly made it look like he was drawing a parallel, which is how I interpreted him, but there have been plenty of times when my own writings have been open to readings that I did not intend. These things happen. Here is the relevant part of Mr. Couey’s column:
I have to admit that for awhile, I was worried. There was the uproar concerning the design, and the dispute over the land purchase seemed to be hopelessly mired in mutual intransigence.

In addition, I was concerned over the tendency of some Americans toward selective amnesia.

Would this thing drag on until public apathy buried the whole idea of a memorial?

As it turned out, my fears were largely groundless. The design issues have been settled, although there are voices, including Tom Burnett Sr. (father of Flight 93 passenger Tom Burnett Jr.), being raised in opposition.

And with the latest news about the land, it appears that even hopeless intransigence eventually can be bridged.
Given what still remains to be bridged (Mr. Burnett’s protest), and the forward looking sentence structure “eventually can be bridged,” I don’t think it was unreasonable for me to see a parallel being drawn between the end of the landowners opposition and a hoped for end to Mr. Burnett’s opposition. Indeed, this implied hope is hard to escape. Still, there is no reason to doubt that the resulting association of “hopeless intransigence” with Mr. Burnett was accidental, whereas I simply asserted that it had been made. I should have been clearer, and so should Mr. Couey.

In any case, how Mr. Couey’s refers to Tom Burnett's opposition is a minor point. What the blogburst post focuses on is Mr. Couey’s apparent desire to see an end to that opposition, without any concern for whether our claims about the design are accurate or not. THAT is where Mr. Couey is untenable. If our claims are accurate (and it is easy to verify that they ARE accurate), then the crescent design is actually a memorial to the terrorists and it NEEDS to be opposed.

Thus our blogburst post goes to some length (in a pretty nice way I think), to urge Mr. Couey to please check a few facts before taking a stand. He says in his email that he prefers to defer to the families that are backing the crescent design. That is a nice sentiment, but it makes no sense. Why would he defer to ANYONE about very important matters of fact that he can check for himself in a few minutes?

The only reason for Couey to eschew the facts is if he doesn’t WANT to know the truth, which is how the Memorial Project got into this mess in the first place. The reason to point out the non-functionality of this truth-avoiding behavior is not make Mr. Couey look bad. It is to let him know about the opportunity he has to make himself look very good.

Couey can be a hero. He is in a great position to help stop a hijacking, if he will just look up from his presumptions for long enough to check a few facts. Who can turn down opportunity like that?

To join our blogbursts, just send your blog's url.

When the Tiger's away, the mice will play

Very funny, and true, and quite the in-your-face challenge to the other Tour players. Good for these guys for being able to laugh at themselves, and good for Villegas for staying out. He's not a Tiger buddy like AK. It is right that he should admit no aspersions, even in fun.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Video proof: Grant was in the process of swinging his own arm up onto his own back when he was shot

To justify their arrest warrant for BART Officer Johannes Mehserle, Oakland police claimed that Oscar Grant's hands were "restrained" behind his back when Mehserle shot him. Alameda District Attorney was only slightly more circumspect, asserting in his indictment that:
After careful analysis of the video, it is clear that both of Grant's hands were behind his back, a position hands are commonly placed in by police officers in order to handcuff individuals, when the shot was fired into his body.
On the contrary, however, frame by frame analysis of the shooting video proves that Grant's hands were NOT in a restraint position. How did they end up there immediately after the shooting? Grant himself was in the act of swinging his own left arm up behind his own back when Mehserle fired.

Start with the following frame grab (37;05 on KTVU's highlighted video), one half second before Mehserle shot Grant:

Location of Grant's Pirone's and Mehserle's hands at 37;05
Officer Pirone, in the foreground, has just gotten his right knee onto Mr. Grant's neck or shoulder. Pirone's left hand (circled in green) is holding Grant's head down, while his right hand has just gotten hold of Grant's right hand atop Grant's back. Officer Mehserle is standing semi-erect at Mr. Grant's feet. Mehserle's right hand, extended down towards Grant's back, holds his pistol.

From this starting point, the following animation gives a frame by frame look at the next 12/15ths of a second (1/15th of a second per frame, slowed to 1/2 second per frame). The first thing you see is Officer Pirone letting go of Mr. Grant's right hand. Watch the path of Pirone's hand as he pulls it away. Just after Pirone's hand disappears behind his body, Grant's arm appears from roughly the same spot. Grant moves his own arm out and up, then around onto his own back. The red circle highlights the muzzle blast in the frame where the muzzle blast first appears:

Fatal second, animation

Notice the timing. Grant's arm is in mid-swing, still in the air above his back, at the moment when Mehserle's fires. Grant, mortally wounded, then finishes pulling his arm up behind his own back. Here is a frame grab of the fatal instant (at 37;17), when Mehserle's muzzle blast first appears:

Moment of shooting, animated 37;17
Grant is about half way through swinging his left arm (circled in blue) around behind his back.

Why the sudden compliance from Grant, after 30 seconds of constant struggle to keep his arms away from the officers? In his statement to investigators, Officer Pirone says Mehserle told him he was going to tase Grant, and issued a warning to get clear. Grant would have heard this too. When he felt Pirone back off, it seems he swung his left arm onto his back in a last ditch effort to avoid getting tased. That left arm had never been under either officer's control.

Mehserle did briefly get control of Grant's right arm, just a few seconds before the shooting. He immediately used this control of Grant's right hand as an opportunity to start reaching for his gun/Taser, which he had first tried to access about 20 seconds earlier (at 14;13). While fumbling for his gun (an indication of taser confusion), Mehserle lets go of Grant's left hand, which Pirone then snatches up (the position at the beginning of the above animation).

A low-tech lynching

The Oakland Police investigators probably saw that Grant’s arms were tucked behind his back instants after the shooting and just assumed, without looking carefully, that they must have been there before the shooting too. This poor video analysis is excusable. I had to look frame by frame, specifically focused on the placement of everyone’s hands, before I saw the barely visible outline of Grant’s arm first shoot out towards his back at 37;15 (just one frame, or 1/15th of a second, before Mehserle’s gun went off). What is not excusable is the charges brought by Alameda District Attorney Tom Orloff.

Mehserle's motion for bail includes statements of the other officers at the scene, handed over to Mehserle during discovery. Officer Pirone's statement reports clear warning from Mehserle before the shooting that he was going to tase Mr. Grant:

Mehserle's bail motion, Pirone's statement
Screenshot of Pirone's statement, cited on p. 9 of Mehserle's bail motion.

Together with Mehserle's evident surprise when his gun went off, this makes Taser-confusion by far the most likely explanation for the shooting. That the shooting was an accident is not just a reasonable possibility. It is almost a certainty, making it grossly irresponsible for Alameda District Attorney Tom Orloff to file ANY charges against Mehserle, never mind murder charges.

There is no way that an honest jury could fail to find boatloads of reasonable doubt that the shooting was on purpose (Orloff's position). On the other hand, there is a very high risk of empanelling Alameda County jurors who believe, as most of Oakland does, that racial justice means any white accused of committing a crime against any black must be found guilty.

Orloff is fully aware of this local mind-set. Oakland streets are full of rioters demanding this outcome, and the so-called reasonable voices are not calling for the rioters to wait for the facts, but are calling for them to trust the system to punish Mehserle. Orloff knows that the facts cannot support conviction, and is just throwing Mehserle to the dogs. This is a purely political prosecution, a race-based lynching, perpetrated by the STATE. It is EVIL.

Given video falsification of his primary grounds for charging Mehserle with murder (that Grant's hands were in a restraint position when Mehserle shot him), District Attorney Orloff ought to withdraw charges. Here is a second chance for Orloff to do the right thing. Will he? It seems unlikely, when he was not interested in doing the right thing before.

The bail judge's concern about "inconsistencies"

Judge Morris Jacobson explained Mehserle's extraordinarily high bail ($3 million) by saying there were inconsistencies in Mehserle's statements. The obvious inconsistency is between his statement to Pirone about not being able to get control of Grant's hands, vs. the video evidence that Mehserle DID get control of Grant's hands. Close examination shows that they only got control of one hand--Jacobson is probably assuming, along with everyone else, that they got control of both--but either way, this is a significant inconsistency, and it comes from ALL the witnesses. Mehserle and Pirone and another witness at the scene all assert that no one ever got control of either of Grant's hands.

The confusion of Mehserle and Pirone on this point is easy enough to understand. They fought to for control of Grant's hands for about 30 seconds without success, then as soon as Mehserle got Grant's right hand, he transferred it to his left and started fumbling to unholster his gun. That fumbling lasted a full four seconds, and would have drawn Mehserle's urgent attention. His main recollection of those seconds must be of trying to get his damned gun/Taser to come free. It is not surprising at all that he does not remember catching and letting go of Grant's hand, or seeing Pirone take it up again. The video, however, shows this sequence clearly. Here are the two seconds before the above animation. Mehserle drops Grant's right hand, then Pirone grabs for it just a second before stepping away:

The penultimate 2 seconds, from 35;05 to 37;03
From 35;05 to 37;05 in KTVU highlighted video. At the beginning of this sequence, Mehserle has had Grant's right hand for about 3 seconds and has been fumbling for his gun for about 2.5 seconds. At 35;13 (the 4th frame) you can see Mehserle let go of Grant's right hand, which drops down Grant's back a bit, but does not fall to the ground. A second later (15 frames) Mehserle finally gets his gun unholstered, just as Pirone is getting hold of Grant's right hand. Mehserle starts to stand, and the fatal instant is a half second away.

None of this is at all damaging to Mehserle's defense. He first tried to access his Taser near the beginning of the struggle (at 14;13), after first failing to dig Grant's arms out from under his body. This is presumably when Pirone heard Mehserle say:
I'm going to tase him, I'm going to tase him. I can't get his arms. He won't give me his arms. His hands are going for his waistband.
Mehserle fought for Grant's arms for 20 more seconds, all the while looking for an opportunity to tase Grant, who he thought was going for a gun. Of course when he finally got one of Grant's hands and had an opportunity to go for his Taser, that is what he did.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with Mehserle trying to Taser Grant at this point. Even after Mehserle got Grant's right hand, Grant kept fighting with Pirone. Just before the above animation (at 34 seconds) Grant briefly managed to buck Pirone off of him, so that Pirone had to switch which knee he had on top of Grant, and when Mehserle was first getting control of Grant's right hand (at 32), Grant can be seen to kick Mehserle with his heel. This guy was FIGHTING, until the last second when he thought he was about to get tased, then he suddenly pulled his own arm up onto his back, but not before Mehserle had already pulled the trigger on what tragically turned out to be his gun.

Mehserle's lawyers need to know that their man DID have brief control of Oscar Grant's right hand

On the basis of the evidence, Mehserle's innocence is 99% certain, while the "beyond reasonable doubt" standard of guilt is sometimes described as translating into something like a 90% certainty of guilt. There is no way Mehserle should be convicted of ANYTHING for what was almost certainly an accidental shooting, prompted not by any recklessness on Mehserle's part, but by Grant's reckless resistance to arrest.

Still, as the Judge's suspiciousness shows, perceptions of guilt and innocence change dramatically if a defendant has inconsistencies or errors in his account of what happened. If Mehserle claims he never got hold of Grant's hands, and the prosecution shows video proof that Mehserle DID get hold of Grant's right hand, an innocent man could well be convicted of murder. If they haven't already, it is URGENT that Mehserle's lawyers understand and incorporate this information. They are up against some very bad people who are more than willing to railroad an innocent man. Mehserle and Pirone have GOT to get this right.

One more indication of Taser confusion: Mehserle's recoiling gun collides with his left hand, which is not yet in a support position when Mehserle fires

Take a look at Mehserle’s left hand in the first animation:

Fatal second, animation

At the start of this animation, Mehserle has already transferred control of Mr. Grant’s right arm over to Officer Pirone, leaving Mehserle's left hand free. You can see Mehserle starting to move his left hand towards his right hand, which is holding his pistol, but notice that he fires the pistol before his left hand gets into a supporting position.

When the gun goes off, it recoils. That is why the slightly reddish image of the muzzle blast (at 37;17) appears in almost the exact position where Mehserle’s right hand had been. The gun rocks up and back, so that to the camera, the muzzle now appears in the position of the hand. You can verify this by the angle of Mehserle's elbow, which bends up in frames 37;17-21. (You can also verify the timing of the discharge by listening to the original video with the audio turned on. The bang comes when Grant’s arm is in the middle of swinging up onto his back, indicating that the reddish glow is indeed the muzzle blast.)

When Mehserle fires, the recoil causes his gun to collide with his approaching left hand, which Mehserle immediately jerks upward toward his left shoulder (visible in the slowed down animation). As someone who occasionally finds time to practice shooting, I cannot imagine anyone bringing their support hand in towards their pistol but firing before the support hand is in a support position. The fact of recoil means you either fire from a two hand hold or from a one hand hold, never while in the act of reaching for a two hand hold.

If Mehserle realized he was shooting his gun, he would have shot with two hands or with one, not with his left hand about to come in. That would be the same for a justified shooting, or a murder. If there was intent to shoot a gun, that left hand would not have been in a position to be struck by the gun's recoil.

With a Taser, in contrast, there is no recoil. If Mehserle thought he was firing his Taser he would not have been worried about the position of his left hand, and might well have fired while bringing his left hand in. On this point as on all the others, Taser-confusion makes sense of the facts, while the prosecution's theory of an intentional shooting does not.

UPDATE: In a comment on the cross-post at Flopping Aces, The Bronze offers a better surmise about what the bail judge saw as "conflicting statements" from Mehserle. Maybe the judge had in mind Mehrserle's statement to Pirone immediately after firing: “I thought he was going for a gun.” That statement sounds like a justification for shooting Grant, not for Tasing him, so it seems to be in conflict with Mehserle's Taser-confusion defense.

Bronze also offers a plausible explanation for the "I thought he had a gun" statement: that realizing he had shot Grant instead of Tased him, Mehserle might have tried to rationalize the shooting. As Bronze put it:

"I think that Mehserle fully intended to tase Grant, but drew his pistol instead. Then, in a moment of sheer panic (realizing that he shot someone) told Pirone ' thought he was going for a gun' in order to justify shooting him." This could well be what happened, but I can also think of another possible explanation too.

Just before Mehserle Tases him, Grant goes into last-ditch compliance mode, presumably in a bid to avoid getting Tased. If Mehserle did think he had drawn his Taser, he might have had a thought at that moment that maybe he should forbear. He and officer Pirone still didn't have both of Grant's hands, but Grant was suddenly not struggling anymore, so maybe they could just cuff him without further ado.

Then suddenly Grant's left arm comes flying up towards Mehserle as Grant swings it around onto his own back. This sudden arm movement is also visible in the other cell phone video, from a little further right, and in that one Grant can be seen to swing the entire left side of his body up off the ground as he swings his left arm up onto his back. To Mehserle, who had been worried that Grant was going for a gun, this arm and body movement could have looked like Grant might be swinging a gun up towards him.

That would stop any thoughts Mehserle might have had about holding off on the Taser, shocking Mehserle into giving Grant an immediate Taser blast. This would explain why Mehserle told Pirone immediately after that he thought Grant "was going for a gun." We expect him to say that he thought he was using his Taser. But if he just thought he saw Grant swinging a possible gun up towards him, the adrenaline surge from such a sight would still be ful in his mind. That then becomes the natural thing to relate to his fellow officer, explaining why he pulled the trigger on his Taser.

The Taser turning out to be his gun is another shock, but maybe not as big as the shock of thinking he saw a gun coming at him. Perhaps a fuller account will come out at trial. What does not seem to fit the facts is any scenario in which Mehserle knew he was pulling his gun, since he told Pirone to get clear as if he was going to fire his Taser.

It certainly would be unfortunate if in a moment of panic Mehserle did what Bronze suggests and, even though he did not mean to fire his gun, offered a rationalization that makes it sound like he did. We all have some instinctive tendency to adopt rationalizations that make our actions look a little wiser than they really were. It's just spin. It shouldn't cost anyone their liberty.

I should also mention my first answer to Bronze’s suggstion that Mehserle might in a panic have tried to rationalize the shooting:
Why didn’t he say “I thought I was firing my Taser” instead of “I thought he had a gun”? The obvious explanation is that Mehserle had already told Pirone that he thought he was firing his Taser. He said he was going to fire his Taser, then just before firing he said: “Tony, Tony, get away, back up, back up.”

It is natural that in the aftermath he would want to go on and explain his motivation: why he had had felt such fear and urgency, as Pirone describes hearing in Mehserle’s remarks during the struggle.
It was right at the beginning of the struggle, before he went face down on the floor, that Grant first looks like he is going for his waistband. Thus Mehserle would have been struggling with Grant for almost 30 seconds, thinking that Grant could be going for a gun. Of course that was on his mind afterwards, and there is nothing wrong with saying it.

Thinking that Grant was going for a gun does not mean that Mehserle intended to shoot him. Mehserle had already stated his planned response to thinking that Grant was going for his waistband: that he was going to Tase him.

One might counter that Mehserle SHOULD have drawn his gun if he thought Grant was going for a gun, but that is premature. Mehserle did not know what Grant was doing, making Tasing the appropriate course, and the evidence says that this is what he intended to do.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

My prediction: the now birthing Obamination will come to a head with the global warming hoax

I've never paid much attention to Facebook groups, but The Other McCain started one that is a no-brainer: The 111th Congress Shall Live in Infamy

My comment:
The financial crisis was an actual emergency. Stimulus spending is not. Few economists think that government spending will do more good than harm, never mind is urgent, and NO economist thinks that it is helpful, never mind urgent, to stuff down a crap sandwich of pork barrel spending timed for three years down the road (in time for the next election).

Obama is Hugo Chavez, and today's Democrats are Hugo Chavez enablers. The "death to America" state of Iran is now guaranteed to get nukes. Hope all you want, but the Change that Obama and Pelosi have in mind is the destruction of our "energy addicted" capitalism, liberty, and power.

My prediction: it is all going to come to a head over the global warming fraud, with Obama et. al. fighting desperately to unplug America in spite of growing evidence that our currently quiescent sun is cooling the earth, proving that late 20th century warming was caused by the "grand maximum" levels of solar activity from 1940-2000, not by CO2.
Chris Smith replies:
@Alec. Even if you want to buy off that the "financial crisis" was an "emergency", you still need to judge the tree by the fruit. When the banks accidentally can't say what they did with the cash, you know you got rooked.
My response:
Yeah, I don't mean to say that financial rescue has been handled properly. They won't even tell us what they have done! Think what that means. If they were shoring up insitutions in a sustainable way, they would want the world to know about it, to boost confidence in these institutions. The fact that they are being secretive suggests that they are shoring up asset prices in an artificial way which, if it were known, would prompt speculators to short these assets, forcing them to collapse.

Economists regard this kind of activity as a fool's game, a sure loser in the long run that risks catastrophic losses at any point. My concern all along has been that in an effort to maintain the status quo we have been guaranteeing risky assets, sticking taxpayers with the liability, instead of sending bankrupt banks into reorganization, where equity holders will lose everything (as it should be). In any case, there was a need to take effective action, whether or not Bernanke and Paulson did it.
That's the max comment length Facebook allows. I guess the idea is to keep the Wall conversational. But what if you have no interlocutor? Then don't bother. Don't these "Wall" threads just get buried anyway? The comments don't even have permalinks.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Memorial Project officials insist that it was the passengers and crew, not the terrorists, who broke the peace on 9/11

Blogburst logo, petition

The official explanation for the Crescent of Embrace design is that the path of Flight 93 breaks the circle, turning it into the giant crescent. They call it the Circle of Embrace now, but the Memorial Project’s own website acknowledges that the circle is still broken:
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...
The fact that the Circle of Embrace is really a broken circle means two things. First, it means that the giant crescent is still there. Architect Paul Murdoch always described the Crescent of Embrace as a broken circle. Our circle of peace was broken on 9/11, with the unbroken part of the circle, what was symbolically left standing in the wake of 9/11, being the giant Islamic shaped crescent.

Adding an extra arc of trees that explicitly represents a broken off part of the circle leaves the unbroken part unchanged. What is symbolically left standing on the Flight 93 crash site is still a giant Islamic-shaped crescent, still pointing to Mecca.

This prompts the question of WHO is being depicted as breaking the circle of peace on 9/11. Of course it can only be the terrorists. Who else can be charged with breaking the peace? The murdered passengers and crew?

Once you realize that it can only be the terrorists who are being depicted as turning the circle into a crescent, it is obvious that this is actually a memorial to the terrorists (if that wasn't obvious enough already from the Crescent name and the crescent and star flag configuration).

The Memorial Project finally answers our question: insists that it was the passengers and crew who broke the circle

Last spring a couple hundred emailers (thanks!) demanded to know “Who broke the circle?” The Memorial Project issued a boiler-plate response that never got around to answering the question. At the Memorial Project meeting last summer, however, Alec Rawls was able to pigeon-hole Memorial Project Manager Jeff Reinbold and Deputy Superintendent Keith Newlin.
“You can’t just say it was ‘the flight path’ that broke the circle” Rawls admonished. “This is a story of human action. So who did it? In your depiction, who is breaking the circle?”

“The passengers and crew,” said Reinbold.

“But the circle is a symbol of peace,” Rawls continued. “Who broke the peace? It was the TERRORISTS who broke the peace on 9/11.”

Reinbold countered that that the circle is also a Druid symbol, and a Christian symbol.

“But it is still a symbol of peace,” said Rawls, especially as the Memorial Project is using it, with the circle being broken on 9/11, “so who breaks it?”

“It was the passengers and crew,” Newlin repeated, elaborating that: “They are the one’s who brought the plane down.”

“You don’t think it was the terrorists who broke the peace?” Rawls asked.

“They TRIED to break the peace,” said Newlin, “but they failed.”

“Really?” asked Rawls: “They failed to break the peace? What about the 40 murdered heroes?” But Reinbold and Newlin were done talking.
Trying to give credit to the passengers and crew for the outcome of Flight 93 is a perfectly creditable motive on the part of Reinbold and Newlin. They aren’t actually trying to blame the passengers and crew for 9/11. What is shameful is their absolute determination not to admit what they perfectly well understand: that it was the terrorists who broke the peace on 9/11.

If they admit this, then they have to acknowledge that Murdoch’s design can only be a memorial to the terrorists, who are depicted as breaking our peaceful circle and turning it into a giant Islamic-shaped crescent. The depth of Reinbold’s and Newlin’s determination not to admit that it was the terrorists who broke the peace is a measure of how clearly they understand the terrorist-memorializing implications.

They KNOW that this is a memorial to the terrorists, and are twisting themselves into knots to try to cover it up.

Not just a memorial to the terrorists, but victory for the terrorists

If the crescent/broken-circle design is built, it will turn Flight 93 into a victory for the 9/11 terrorists. They will actually have succeeded (with the help of architect Paul Murdoch) in planting a giant Mecca-direction indicator (the central feature of a mosque) on the Flight 93 crash site.

This is how Islam claims territory: by building mosques. Saudi Arabia spent over seventy-five billion dollars in the last forty years funding mosques and madrassas to spread its murder-cult brand of Islam around the globe. That's where our present conflict with the Islamic world comes from: Saudi Arabia spreading the violent orthodoxy of Wahabbi Islam around the world.

Now we are poised to build the world’s largest mosque for them, a terrorist memorial mosque, dedicated to the Saudi terrorists who mass-murdered our own countrymen on 9/11, and the Memorial Project KNOWS it. They have to be exposed and stopped.

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ADDENDUM (on my post only, not sent out to blogburst participants)

In his discussion with me at the August 2008 meeting, Reinbold objected to how an earlier conversation between the two of us had been paraphrased in my book. Reinbold denied saying that the size difference between the large glass panel and the small translucent marble panels is the reason he is unwilling to count them together. Rather, his point was that if we were going to count the large glass panel [bringing the number of inscribed translucent panels on the Flight path to 44, equaling the number of passengers, crew, AND terrorists] then we needed to count the windows in the Visitor Center too (which are also glass panels).

Objection noted, but Reinbold's recollection does not seem materially different from how my book recounts our conversation (Download 3, p. 146, described by Rawls as “reasonably accurate paraphrase”):
“There is no forty-fourth block!” Hanley cried.
Of course we had to fight over that too.
“It’s not the same as the others,” Reinbold observed. “If we are going to count the giant glass block at the end of the Entry Portal Walkway along with the small glass blocks in the Memorial Wall, then we have to count the windows in the Visitor Center too.”
Maybe he is objecting to my having him describe the glass panels as "blocks," but this is the shorthand we were all using. The panels all LOOK like blocks. The small panels are set into the Memorial Wall along with the blocks that make up the rest of the wall, where they are backlit to look like glass blocks. The glass panel at the end of the walkway is set at a 45° angle, which is indistinguishable from a glass block cut on a 45. All are actually panels, but in referring to the graphics, it makes more sense to call them blocks, since that is what they look like.

Reinbold could well have said "panel" instead of "block" when referring to the huge glass panel at the end of the Entry Portal Walkway and I missed it. Very possible. But it is not an important point.

Many times I have been very precise in stating my claim: that there are to be 44 inscribed translucent memorial blocks or panels emplaced along the flight path. It doesn't matter if they are panels or blocks. What matters is that they are on the flight path, which according to the architect and the Park Service creates the thematic meaning of the design, breaking the circle and turning it into the giant crescent. The 40 blocks inscribed with the names of the passengers and crew establishes a theme of the glass blocks on the flight path representing individual lives. Obviously it matters if there are 44.

The Visitor Center is not on the flight path. Reinbold can count the windows in the Visitor Center if he wants, so long as he doesn't try to pretend that this in any way counters my claim that the flight path will have 44 glass blocks or panels built along it. Yet this is what the Memorial Project has done, over and over. Whenever they are asked by the press about the 44 blocks on the flight path, they deny it.

"That has been disproved so many times," said the Memorial Project's PR flack Bill Haworth in 2007.

In 2008, Gordon Felt, President of Families of Flight 93 and brother of murdered passenger Edward Felt, said:
That’s an absolute, unequivocal fabrication that is being portrayed as fact. It’s misleading and helps drive the conspiracy theory.
But Felt's next remark proves that he knows full well that there will be 44 inscribed translucent memorial blocks, or panels emplaced along the flight path:
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 was nit-picking over our occasional description of the panels as "glass blocks," when they are actually designated as “translucent marble” and might yet be changed to something else. So where is the “fabrication” Felt accused me of? My claims are about the design, not about whatever alterations may be made, and the formal report that I submitted to the Memorial Project, which Gordon Felt has seen, is specific about the small blocks or panels being marked as “translucent marble.”

Felt is the one who is spouting “unequivocal fabrications,” all to cover up important evidence of hostile intent. As with Reinbold and Newlin, the extent to which Mr. Felt is willing to tie himself into such knots to avoid admitting what he fully understands is a measure of how well he understands the damning implications of what he is covering up.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Obama is a child (that's the HOPEful interpretation)

Imagine you are 10 years old and have just been inaugurated as president. At the absolute max, if you are really irresponsible, you might be able to increase government spending by as much as a trillion dollars over four years. What is the first thing you do? You run down to the hawker at the corner and give him a trillion dollars for a crap sandwich. Your name is Barack Hussein Obama.

Obama is still pushing hard to get the Democrat's 30 year old wish list of government excess passed:
What we can't do is let modest differences get in the way of the overall package moving forward swiftly.
Modest differences, like whether you want to turn the United States into Zimbabwe or not.

If Obama gets his way ("Pass the Spendulus, Or I Shall Blot the Sun From the Sky"), he will have shot his entire wad his first month in office and will be unable to accomplish ANYTHING for the rest of his presidency. I presume there are lots of things he will WANT to do (none of which I would approve), but there will be zero capacity. It will be all over but the destruction, which will pile higher and higher.

The divorce from reality is Pelosi like:
Every month we do not have an economic recovery package, 500 million Americans lose their job.
It's like numbers are meaningless to these people. They think in terms of "hope" and "change" (self-esteem and anti-conservative bigotry) without the least idea of how the world actually works.

Or Obama might be crazy like a fox

With Pelosi, we know from years of experience that her dementia is just pure partisan stupidity. She really does think that morality consists of hating your conservative countrymen and defining yourself in opposition to everything conservatives hold dear. We conservatives want to crush our Islamo-fascist enemies. She spends 5 years doing everything in her power to lose the Iraq war on the premise that whatever is bad for George W. Bush is good for her (40 legislative attempts to lose the war in 2007 alone).

Pelosi is fully malignant, but she is shallowly malignant. The woman really is that stupid. She just plain does not understand ANYTHING, and actually believes that her anti-conservative bigotry is sufficient guide for America.

Obama COULD be another Pelosi. Without meaning to harm America, he might really think that morality consists in doing whatever those hated conservative countrymen oppose. On the other hand, the malignancy could go much deeper.

Remember that Obama's two long-time mentors are the America-hating race-bigot Jeremiah Wright and the America-hating race-bigot William Ayers. Obama followed the same path, making his first career in the racial-animosity business. His entire pre-electoral-politics resume consists of 1) "comunity activism" for the racist ACORN vote-fraud organization and 2) helping Bill Ayers distribute Annenberg money for racist indoctrination in Chicago schools.

We need to give the guy a chance to prove otherwise, but the maximum-likelihood expectation coming in is that, like his America-hating, white-hating cronies, Obama wants to see America taken down a few notches. If his policy choices actually have that effect, we need to consider the possibility that it is intentional.

Obama's mentors: not just America-hating, but Islamo-fascist

We also have to consider Obama's extensive Islamo-fascist ties, never reported by our mainstream media. One of his closest political allies has been his fellow Luo tribesman Raila Odinga (Odinga calls them "cousins"). Like Obama, Odinga claims to be a Christian, but was outed at the end of 2007 as a secret Islamo-fascist, having signed a secret agreement with Muslim leaders in which he first declares Islam to be the only true religion, then promises to impose Sharia law on Kenya. This is not in dispute. It came out when the Muslim leaders decided they didn't want it to be secret anymore. You can read about these events on Odinga's own website.

Obama's Kenyan grandmother was also caught lying about being a Christian, shortly after telling the New York Times she was a devout Muslim. In doing so, she was being a proper Muslim. Islam specifically allows and even calls for believers to pretend that they are Christian, if by that means they can advance Islamic conquest. It's in the Koran (verse 16.106), and Obama studied the Koran systematically as a youth.

He has also told documented lies about his Muslim upbringing (denying for example that he was ever a Muslim, or that he ever prayed in a mosque, while childhood friends recall him as "previously quite devout in Islam," and praying in the mosque together). The fact that he lies is evidence that Obama is actually a Muslim, which sanctions exactly this kind of lying. There is nothing exotic about it.

Wright and Ayers are also Muslims who lie about their Muslim faith, or are not straight-forward about it

Jeremiah Wright is a "former Muslim" who earned a masters degree in Islam before moving to the "Christian" church that gave its highest award to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. (Farrakhan has called for jihad against America).

This is what Wright would have learned when he got his degree in Islam: that Muslims who live in infidel countries, if they are really ambitious, are supposed to pretend that they are infidels in order to better manipulate the infidels into submission to Islam. Wright's behavior accords with this instruction. He steered his supposedly Christian flock into an embrace with the Nation of Islam, and he taught them the Islamic version of the law of love: the explicitly un-Christian principle that they should love members of their own group while hating outsiders, adding only the traditional Nation of Islam twist that white people are supposed to be a particular object of hatred.

That makes two of Obama's closest confidants who are secret Islamic supremacists. A third is William "Abu Zayd" Ayers, who named his child after Black Panther converts to Islam, then took for himself the Arab honorific Abu, or "father of," which in this case was specifically an Arab-Muslim honorific, because he had specifically named his children after converts to Islam. In other words, just as Ayers gave his children Muslim names, so too did he give himself a Muslim name (a la Muhammad Ali and Kareem Abdul Jabbar). But Ayers is not just any Muslim. He is a Muslim of the Islamo-fascist Nation of Islam sect, which he chose to honor with his own blood.

Unlike Wright, Ayers is only a semi-secret Islamo-fascist, coyly revealing his religion through the names of his children, through the Muslim name he claims for himself, and through the crescent and star logos that he places on his home page:

Ayers' home page, with Islamic iconography highlighted
Ayers' home page, with flashing pointers to the Islamic iconography added. The crescent and star shape flashing here is Wikipedia's "typical" Islamic crescent and star, colored red, and rotated to fit Ayers' logo. Some Islamic stars have a point facing the center of the crescent. Some move the star further into the crescent.

Like Flight 93 Memorial architect Paul Murdoch, Ayers breaks the circle on what was originally a Maoist-communist star, turning it into an Islamic shaped crescent, complete with Islamic star. Thus does Ayers combine his two ideologies, communism and Islam, into a single symbol shape.

The Mansourian candidate

A fourth Obama confidant is the man who orchestrated Obama's admission to Harvard Law school. Khalid Al-Mansour is a radical racist Islamo-fascist who urged black people to commit random mutilation of white people:
Whatever you do to [white people], they deserve it, God wants you to do it and that’s when you cut out the nose, cut out the ears, take flesh out of their body, don’t worry because God wants you to do it.
Obama surrounded himself with this circle of Islamo-fascists (and with Nation of Islam staffers). Now when it all goes wrong--and after the crap-sandwich beginning it can only go wrong--we are going to have to figure out very quickly whether Obama is a shallowly malignant moron like Nancy Pelosi, or a deeply malignant Islamo-fascist like Wright, Ayers, Mansour and Odinga.

This is why it is a mistake to elect someone with extensive Islamo-fascist ties in the first place. Duh.

A note on verse 16.106 of the Koran

The verse reads (Shakir translation):
He who disbelieves in Allah after his having believed, not he who is compelled while his heart is at rest on account of faith, but he who opens (his) breast to disbelief-- on these is the wrath of Allah, and they shall have a grievous chastisement.
This permission for Muslim's to lie about their faith is conditional on "compulsion," which might seem to make it strictly defensive. Would it were so, but Muslims are compelled by the Koran to put themselves in positions where they would be at risk if their motives were known. In particular, they are called upon by the Koran to pursue Islamic conquest (jihad) by every effective means, be it sincere proselytization (dawa), or trickery (taqiyya), or violence. (See, for instance, verses 9.81-106, which constitute an extended threat of hellfire for those who shirk from fighting.)

Muslims who pursue this sixth pillar of Islam in infidel countries are automatically at risk and hence "compelled" to lie about all manner of things, up to and including their religion.

As for the exact context of verse 16.106, I think I read at one point that this verse was in response to a question from an Islamic spy who was going to the enemy camp to foment dissention and wanted Muhammad's permission to present himself as non Muslim. Unfortunately, I cannot find the citation. Am I remembering correctly?

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