Archive for the 'Political' Category

9/11 – Ten Years Later – My Reflections

September 11th, 2011 by xformed

That day I was retired from the Navy, way in the rear, without any gear of helpfulness to those on the front lines. So, where I was, suffice it to say, I remember, but it wasn’t off significance to the big picture.

That day/event shattered a major belief structure I had held since the summer of 1988: Major, large scale wars have no place in the post Cold War World…think about it: The issues are no longer taking over crop land, but the economic might of the “competing” nations. To go for the scortced earth, have an artillery division take 3 feet of dirt off a sqaure mile does nothing to preserve the economic resources you’re coveting.

After 9 months at War College, reading much more history, to add to the many tomes already ingested, I was thinking we’d be more in the “staring each other down” mode in the future. Prepared to fight, but not doing it in a big way. Bad outcomes on both sides, but then, I didn’t give guerilla forces much of a place in my thinking.

Then came September 11th, and the face of war in the modern era (meaning when I’m living), took a radical turn: A religiously based, ideologially driven, small group of people, not aligned with any one nation, and certainly not organized to meet the definition of the armed force of a soverign nation, without the direct or monetary support from and established nation-state, arrived on the scene, outdoing even the Japanese Naval Forces of 12/7/41, and then stood up to take a bow. Thus Al-Queda became part of the lexicon.

The “Laws of War” were not written to primarly handle this type of conflict. They were designed to “manage” the conflict between nation states, with easily identified military forces, loyal to one flag or another. Guerillas were but a side show. Certainly not without impact, but still a side show, until 9/11/01 arrived.

There went my construct on how conflict would happen in the now definitely post-BiPolar Supwer Power era.

Other things changed. How those combatants, illegal as they were, were to be handled. We got Guantanamo Bay, a place I had frequented as a training base during my time in uniform, converted into a holding facility for those we captured on the battle field. Why? By all I can rekon is we didn’t want to “go there” and handle the illegal combatants (those who were armed and attacking US troops, yet without an identified national uniform or affiliation), and summarily execute them where they were captured. It’s allowed, but, by being compassionate (I’m all in on this one), we then ended up with a situation on our hands as how to ensure justice was done. You know the history of that discussion, which still isn’t completed (despite a pledge to handle this from the current Commander-in-Chief).

We now, as an entire society, began looking over our shoulders, and eyeing suspicious acts of any one around us. Top it off with pre-suspecting every single air passenger as a real possibility of being a hijacker not wanting cash, like D.B. Cooper. On top of the untold billions invested in equipment to clearly show we trusted no one citizen of our nation, the tremendous loss of productivity we have suffered, which I suspect will never be calculated, but it is clearly a cost we have incurred by having to arrive earlier, sit longer, just to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Along the way, we developed an extreme phobia of telling someone else something that might hurt their feelings, such as “If you’re willing to consider killing us for your ideology, we’re willing to try to kill you first to prevent it.”

The phobia then extended to ensure we didn’t inflame those who, by their deeds, had already shown they were upset by us.

And, along the way, it has become acceptable to determine something that happened in the name of Christianity in the 2nd millenia AD, was a workable rationale to give a pass to those who began mass killings in the name of Allah, like the modern world, was still in the Middle East doing something other than run of the mill economic trade and business.

On top of that, while trying to shut out Chritianity as the root cause of the attacker’s anger, therefore justified (in some circles), we have been told to even think someone who subscribes to a faith that clearly has scriptures detailing the destruction of the “infidels,” is Islamophobic and is a crime of hate.

Excuse me, but slaughtering just anyone in their way, Christians, Hindus, Buddists, atheists and Muslims alike is a hate crime to me, but I’m being “intolerant” of saying killing for killings sake is a hateful thing.

Enough of that, so onto a set of rhetorical issues befuddle me:

I’m really missing the point of those who say we “over reacted” or, as on man put it a about a month ago, “we went to war for no reason.” Getting on board with those, like President Clinton, and the early version of President Obama (and I disagree with this, but it helps address the people who think war was not the answer): I’d like to ask them how they have reacted when they are told that a serial murderer is on the loose in their area. I know, as we see this all the time, from both sides of the aisle politically, they demand the law enforcement not rest until the person responsible is found and brought to justice. They want dragnets and sweeps and police to protect them from the threat of being next, and have no problem “judging” the murderer without a trial. So my question would be: What if 2996 people were murdered and that person announced that they had done it and they would do it again, and again, until they had their way with all of you? I think I know the reaction, but the craziness here is they somehow think the 2996 lives lost on 9/11 was no call to action to find those who did it and remove the capability for it to happen anymore, particularly in of the continued statements of future attacks, let alone having seen the actual carnage all over the world, in Europe, India, the Middle East, Malasia, and more places. What kind of a society would we be, saying we are a nation of laws, who turned our backs on that tragedy of 9/11 and said “we can’t respond, we had it coming to us.”?

Anyhow, much has changed. Politicians are fearful of making waves, because we can’t hurt feelings. Small organizations get people to belive they have a big voice, then proceed to peddle disinformation, and we are told they are the experts and do not question tham (side note: We somehow hate corporate lobbyists doing the same thing, but once again, when it’s from an outside force, we must now bow and scape in their general direction, so they don’t do it again…but wait: They tell us they will and then we still cower).

On top of that, it has become fashionable to ask the person on the street their opinion, on complex matters, and honor their answers. We’re not getting any smarter, as seen by standardized tesing, and revisionist history, yet somehow we have to hear from those who lack even a modicum of understanding, as if they are all expert scholars on the subject.

And my last item before stopping rambling: I heard it this morning. On the about to be dedicated “Peace Pole,” the message of “peace on earth” was done in four languages, and particularly in English, as “we need to hera it the most.” I may have missed it, but Arabic native speakers attacked us on 9/11, and have done so for many more years, thankfully overseas, and “we” need to hear it most inplies very strongly we were the cause. And, by the way, the other three languages didn’t include Arabic. At the services, the same leader read a letter from a very close friend who has very recently served in Afghanistan about his year’s tour. The Army Captain was obviously in Civial Affairs, as he was in charge of getting wells put in for the people. In his letter he mentioned, how during his tour, he was amazed at the massive out pouring of help from people all over the US, mostly strnagers to him, to all him to deliver school supplies and so much more to the chldren of Afghanistan. The majority of the letter reiterated how he couldn’t fully comprehend this help sent to a far away US population to people they didn’t even know, just because it was a gift….and “we” who speak English need to hear about “peace on earth” more.

When was the last time the Taliban send school supplies to the mid-West after the tornados, or the mid-Atlantic and North Eastern States in the awake of the hurricane?

So, yes, things have changed. And some people have still not bothered to fully understand we didn’t attack because we “over reacted,” we did it beacuse 2996 people are no longer there to continue conducting “peace on Earth” operations, as they were doing that morning, ten years ago.

Category: 2996 Tribute, Geo-Political, History, INternational Relations, Leadership, Military, Military History, Political, Stream of Consciousness | 1 Comment »

Flt 93 Blogburst: Muslim Consultants LIED to Park Service

September 7th, 2011 by xformed

Photobucket

The Park Service enlisted three outside consultants to assess whether the Crescent of Embrace memorial to Flight 93 really can be seen as a giant mihrab: the Mecca-direction indicator around which every mosque is built. All three consultants, including two Islamic scholars, were blatantly and provably dishonest.

Consultant #1 (details below) confirmed to the Park Service that the giant crescent (now called a broken circle) does indeed point almost exactly at Mecca, then when asked about it by the press, denied that there is any such thing as the direction to Mecca (insisting that “you can face any direction to face Mecca”).

Consultant #2, a professor of Islamic architecture at MIT, lied about one of the most familiar of all Islamic doctrines, claiming that a legitimate mihrab must point exactly at Mecca. (The original Crescent of Embrace pointed less than 2° north of Mecca. The broken-circle “redesign” points less than 3° south of Mecca. Both highly accurate by Islamic standards.)

Consultant #3, a professor of sharia law at Indiana University (!), came up with an almost comically dishonest rationale for dismissing concern about the giant Mecca-oriented crescent: don’t worry, no one has ever seen a mihrab anywhere near this BIG before. Not so funny is the Park Service’s eagerness to embrace such a transparently ludicrous excuse.

The details are documented in a large advertisement that Alec Rawls and Tom Burnett Sr. are running this week in Somerset Pennsylvania as President Obama and the national press arrive in town for the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

The press has so far been unwilling to check even the most basic facts about the memorial, like whether the giant crescent really does point to Mecca (takes about 2 minutes). Maybe charges that the Park Service and its consultants are telling easily verifiable lies will be more up their alley.

That’s the hope, but a strong push might also make the difference. If you want to help, here are email addresses for the new Park Superintendent Keith Newlin and for a few Pennsylvania newspapers. You can write your own letter, or just copy the first four paragraphs above, and tell them that you want these charges checked!

Keith_Newlin@nps.gov, alec@rawls.org, swischnowski@phillynews.com, chepp@phillynews.com, ajohns@tribdem.com, cminemyer@tribdem.com, news@dailyamerican.com, skalson@post-gazette.com, TBirdsong@post-gazette.com, mcollier@sfchronicle.com, newsdesk@kpix.com

Ad copy, with links to documentation

After a brief primer on the giant Islamic crescent-and-star flag that the Park Service is building on the Flight 93 crash site, the ad exposes the three blatantly dishonest consultants that the Park Service invited to please pull the wool over their eyes:

Academic charlatan calculates the direction to Mecca, then tells the press that there is no such thing as the direction to Mecca

Here’s a novel way to deny that the giant crescent points to Mecca. Just deny that there is any such thing as the direction to Mecca. This from the Park Service’s first consultant, as reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Daniel Griffith, a geospatial information sciences professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, said anything can point toward Mecca, because the earth is round.

That is not an errant paraphrase. Griffith said the same thing to Tribune Democrat reporter Kirk Swauger:

He said you can face anywhere to face Mecca.

So when Muslims face Mecca for prayer, they are just deluding themselves? They could actually face any old direction and still be facing Mecca? Is there really no such thing as a direction on planet earth?

Griffith was lying of course, and the Park Service knew it, because the first thing Griffith’s report on the orientation of the Crescent of Embrace does is calculate the direction from Shanksville to Mecca:

I computed an azimuth value from the Flight 93 crater site to Mecca of roughly 55.20°.

“Azimuth” means direction, in degrees clockwise from north. Muslims calculate the direction to Mecca by the “great circle” or “shortest distance” method (“as the crow flies,” curving only in the over-the-horizon direction), and this is the method Griffith used. He also accepted that the Crescent in the original design drawings points a mere .62° away from Mecca (about a degree closer than it actually points, but no matter).

In short, Griffith confirmed the Mecca-orientation of the giant crescent, then denied it to the public, but the Park Service knew the truth, because they had Griffith’s actual report. Thus when the Park Service repeated Griffith’s denials that the giant crescent points to Mecca, they too were knowingly hiding the truth from the public. One example is the previous Park Superintendent Joanne Hanley. Asked directly whether the giant crescent points to Mecca she denied it, telling the Post Gazette that:

The only thing that orients the memorial is the crash site.

The Mecca-orientation of the giant crescent is clear evidence of an enemy plot to re-hijack Flight 93. The American people need to know the facts, while these public figures have worked desperately to keep the facts from them.

Muslim consultant from MIT lied about one of the most familiar of all Islamic doctrines, claiming Mecca-orientation must be exact

After Griffith verified that the crescent/broken-circle does indeed point almost exactly at Mecca, the Park Service asked two Islamic scholars whether there was any Islamic significance to this giant Mecca-oriented crescent. Could it by any chance be seen as a giant mihrab? After all, the archetypical mihrab IS crescent shaped.

The Park Service’s second consultant, a professor of Islamic and mosque architecture at M.I.T. named Nasser Rabbat, assured the Park Service that because the crescent does not point exactly at Mecca it cannot be seen as a mihrab:

Mihrab orientation is either correct or not. It cannot be off by some degrees.

That is a bald lie, and every practicing Muslim knows it. For most of Islam’s 1400 year history far-flung Muslims had no accurate way to determine the direction to Mecca. Thus it developed as a matter of religious principle that what matters is intent to face Mecca, with no requirement for precision in actually facing Mecca. Two or three degrees off is highly precise by Islamic standards. Many of the world’s most famous mihrabs face 20, 30, 40 or more degrees away from Mecca and it matters not one whit.

Every practicing Muslim knows that they only need to face very roughly towards Mecca for prayer because they are constantly availing themselves of this allowance when, five times a day, they seek out walls that they can pray towards that will leave them facing roughly towards Mecca. Not having to face exactly at Mecca for prayer is one of the most familiar of all Islamic doctrines.

Saudi religious authorities confirm: mihrab orientation does NOT have to be
exact

The mihrab-orientation issue came up in 2009 when the denizens of Mecca itself realized that even their local mosques only face very roughly towards the Kaaba. is is an unusual case because the people who built these mosques couldn’t say they didn’t know the actual direction to the Kaaba. They could see it. No problem, according to the Saudi Islamic Affairs Ministry, which assured worshippers that, “it does not affect the prayers.”

Nobody would know this better than Nasser Rabbat, who actually teaches mosque design. Indeed, he would know the full basis for the primacy of intent: that intent is given preeminence throughout Islamic teaching, not just in Mecca-orientation. For instance, Islam’s first instruction to converts is that they are supposed to lie about their religion (Tabari 8.23):

en Nu’aym came to the Prophet. ‘I’ve become a Muslim, but my tribe does not know of my Islam; so command me whatever you will.’ Muhammad said, ‘Make them abandon each other if you can so that they will leave us; for war is deception.’

What matters in Islam is not whether Muslims tell the truth, but whether their intent is to advance Islamic conquest.

Of course we made sure the Park Service saw the proof from the Saudi Islamic A airs Ministry that their Muslim consultant had lied to them about the Mecca-orientation of a mihrab needing to be exact. That was a couple of years ago now. If they had any integrity they would re-open their investigation, but then if they had any integrity they would never have handed their watchdog role over to a pair of Muslim consultants in the first place.

Islamic scholar from Indiana University says don’t worry, no one has ever seen a mihrab anywhere near this BIG before

Kevin Jaques, a professor of Islamic sharia law at Indiana University, does not say whether he is Muslim (remember Tabari 8.23: converts who live amongst the infidels are supposed to hide their religion), but he did write an article right after 9/11 urging that any U.S. response should be based on the principles of sharia law, so he pretty much has to be Muslim. He is definitely an Islamophile.

Professor Jaques’ report to the Park Service acknowledges that the crescent is geometrically similar to the Mecca-direction indicator around which every mosque is built, but dismisses any concern about Islamic symbolism on the grounds that no one has ever seen a mihrab anywhere near this BIG before:

… most mihrabs are small, rarely larger than the figure of a man, although some of the more ornamental ones can be larger, but nothing as large as the crescent found in the site design. It is unlikely that most Muslims would walk into the area of the circle/crescent and see a mihrab because it is well beyond their limit of experience. Again, just because it is similar does not make it the same.

You know, like no one can recognize Abe Lincoln’s likeness on Mount Rushmore. It’s just too darn big for ordinary folks to get their tiny little minds around, and the Flight 93 crescent is much bigger than that. It’s actually big enough to be easily visible from airliners like Flight 93 passing overhead. The scale would be epic beyond belief so … don’t believe it!

[Jaques full comment was left anonymously on this radical fruitcake left-wing blog (scroll to the last comment at the bottom). It can be identified as Jaques’ because a chunk of the text is identical to what the Memorial Project released a few months later, naming Jaques as the source. Notice that the Park Service did not release the revealing part of Jaques’ statement, where he acknowledges that the giant crescent IS similar to a mihrab, but is too big to worry about.]

Too big to worry about is not technically a lie perhaps, but it is a transparently dishonest excuse. That it was good enough for the Park Service shows how badly they wanted to be deceived. It would even be funny if the issue were not so deadly serious. Muslims are not allowed to deceive for just any reason. Orthodox doctrine tells them to deceive when by doing so they can advance the cause of Islamic conquest, and one of the oldest traditions of Islamic conquest is the building of victory mosques on the sites of their attacks.

To be completely certain that the memorial is actually intended to be a mosque one has to work through Murdoch’s endless proofs of intent: his elaborate repetition of the Mecca-orientations, the year-round accurate Islamic prayer-time sundial (tomorrow’s ad), the 38 instead of 40 Memorial Groves (Thursday’s ad), etcetera. But the Park Service’s extensive lying to the public about the most basic facts of the design should by itself be a clarion call to everyone to insist on an independent investigation. The Service’s own internal investigation was nothing but proven lies from beginning to end. That is not acceptable!

Neither is the news media’s consistent refusal to check and report the facts. News-people all know that Muslims face Mecca for prayer, yet the Post-Gazette did not question Griffith’s claim that “anything can point to Mecca, because the earth is round.” They too are complicit in foisting this lie on the public. Every reporter who reads this ad and does not try to fact-check our easy-to-verify claims is part of the problem.

What this means, people, is that you have to stand up on your own. Your opinion leaders have abandoned you to this Islamic assault, but if you do stand up to your supposed betters, if you check the facts for yourselves and demand that the press and the government conduct proper investigations, then Murdoch’s plot can still be undone. The hijacker can still be ousted from the cockpit. Now that would be a fitting memorial to Flight 93.

Alec Rawls and Tom Burnett Sr.

Category: Geo-Political, History, Leadership, Political, Public Service | Comments Off on Flt 93 Blogburst: Muslim Consultants LIED to Park Service

Close Air Support for Special Operations: Buy American or foriegn?

April 8th, 2011 by xformed

Considering the economics of keeping jobs at home, if you will, but there is a larger issue: Keeping the capability to fully control the construction and support for military equipment operated by our Military.

As was the case of the recent replacement air refueling tanker, we are heading for another major acquisition for the Military, this time for small, capable turbo prop aircraft to be used in the type of combat we have seen for longer than the decade of the GWOT/”Foreign Contingency” we have been engaged in since the Korean Conflict.. These aircraft are to used in very forward areas in support of the Special Operations teams (Green Berets and SEALs most specifically), where large, modern aircraft, designed to also be superior air combat fighters are:

1) Too fast
2) Too expensive to operate
3) Need too much support
4) and generally need really long runways.

I received an email with a guest post discussing this matter, where the competitors for the contract are Hawker-Beechcraft (US firm) and Embraer (Brazilian firm) for the USAF Light Air Support Aircraft work.

Pragmatically, Hawker-Beechcraft are already producing the AT-6 Texan II, which is in use as an Air Force trainer. Logistically, the USAF has parts, procedures and trained ground crews, not to mention pilots in this airframe. What’s not to like from a bean counter stand point with that, let alone a serious warfighter, who knows it’s the logistics that count after the first load of ammo is expended?

So, here’s something from Emily to chew on regarding this issue:

The most basic respect our country can give to Americans bravely serving in the Armed Forces is providing them with the proper tools so they can be prepared and equipped to handle any combat situation. In the past, supplying this need has always been met through American ingenuity. We design, build, and sell the equipment that is used the world over. America has always set the trends in the defense industry.

However, recent actions by other countries are in danger of circumventing this competitive defensive advantage that America has held. By subsidizing private companies, foreign competitors have an unfair advantage over American ones. These actions undermine fair competition in the marketplace and put American manufacturing at a disadvantage.

We have seen this trend played out over the last several years as the American icon, Boeing competed with EADS, it’s European competitor to replace the Eisenhower-era refueling tankers for the Air Force. After much public outcry, the Pentagon made the right decision and awarded the contract to Boeing.

Today, we have another, very similar competition. Hawker Beechcraft, headquartered in the heart of Kansas, is competing with a Brazilian company, Embrear, to build planes that will be utilized in combat zones like Afghanistan. Embrear, like EADS, receives substantial support from the Brazilian government, allowing them to offer an artificially low price for their planes. What is especially troubling is that the Brazilian government has publicly opposed the War on Terror and American efforts against Iran and Venezuela, but now seeks to profit from that same U.S. commitment to military strength.

Recently Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KS) sent a letter to the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee requesting an investigation of the global competitiveness of the U.S. business jet industry. Jenkins remarked:

“In a down economy, which has been particularly hard on the aviation industry, it is very concerning that foreign government backed companies have launched new product lines into the business aviation market. It is important that we know whether these foreign companies are receiving illegal governmental subsidies to alter the playing field. The aviation industry is important to both the Kansas and the American economy and we must ensure their competitive edge is not being unfairly diminished.”

We need to ask ourselves – where should our defense spending go? To middle America, to states who are struggling to recover from the recession that has rocked our country? Or to South America, namely a country who calls itself an ally but has shown no support in our efforts to fight terrorism?

Boeing won their fight, let’s make sure Hawker Beechcraft does too.

Our special operations teams need this capability. In Vietnam, the SEALs and units like VAL-4 worked closely on operations in mutual support.

Call to action: Make a decision on what’s right for our Military and let your Congressmen know.

Category: Air Force, History, Marines, Maritime Matters, Military, Military History, Navy, Political, Supporting the Troops | 1 Comment »

Piracy’s Impact on International commerce, Law and Diplomacy Panel

October 20th, 2010 by xformed

Lesson learned: Sit near a power plug, and once logged into the conference Wi-Fi, don’t drop the connection, lest the others load it to capacity, and you have to scribble notes the rest of the day.

LCDR Claude Berube, USNR, USNA Professor in the Political Science Department was the moderator.

Robert Gauivin, executive director, Piracy Policy, USCG HQ began the comments:

It is the US’ responsibility to fight piracy. Also noted, it is the requirment of the US merchant vessels to have a defensive plan in place – a Vessel security Plan. They need to have a security detail, which can or may not be armed, and may or may not be contracted.

Outside the lifelines of the US flagged vessels, then units like Task Force 151 and other nations provide assistance. His work involves inter-agency coordination/cooperation: State, DoD, DOT, USCG, etc.

Ships install a Ship Security Alert System (SSAS), which, when activated brings the US Federal resources to bear in the situation.

His group works with shipping company security officers. and also works issues with where captured pirates would be prosecuted (more in later commentary).

CAPT Mark Tempest, USNR (Ret) and maritime lawyer: It’s all about sovereign rights. Privateers operate in the name of a body of people who are recognized in International Law as being able to grant the authority for these people to raid commerce, specifically in history, to fund this designating body, be they local rulers, or a nation state.

Pirates, on the other hand, are functionally “sea robbers” and there has been a long history of “low grade sea robbery” for a very long time. coupling this with the lunch speaker’s comments, that has applicability to yhe current conditions in the area off Somalia.

mark went on to discuss the model of “Prize courts,” where captured vessels were assessed for value. The side note is the “judge” also got a percentage, so this method became less used as pirates figured they could sell the goods and the vessel and get the money for themselves, with out the middle man fees of the court. More margin (follow the money). “It’s all about the money in Somalia. Money is power in Somalia.”

Prosecuting “pirates:” Just where do you do this? With a variety of laws and human rights concerns in the many nation states involved in the law enforcement look at this situation you have to consider the nationality of:

  • Vessels Flag of registry
  • Master
  • Crew
  • Cargo’s owner(s)
  • Insurer
  • Union (if involved)

That’s a long list of choices, and then how to make them fit each circumstance for the best response in the prosecution.

More later on this panel….gotta head to the gate for the flight.

Category: Economics, History, INternational Relations, Leadership, Maritime Matters, Military History, Political | Comments Off on Piracy’s Impact on International commerce, Law and Diplomacy Panel

Who Wins Wars, Who Loses Them

October 19th, 2010 by xformed

An accidental find, worthy of today’s situation in Iraq and Afghanistan:

Wars and battles are not lost by private soldiers. They win them, but they don’t lose them. They are lost by commanders, staffs and troops leaders, and they are often lost before they start.

– LtCol (BG) Sam Griffith, USMC
CO 1st Raider Battalion

It goes to the responsibility of the leadership, at every level to set the stage for a win or a loss in conflict. The Marine or soldier or sailor cannot change that outcome much at all.

Will will soon see the effect of this in 2011, as the war, that has gone on too long for some, is hastily retired from, with some rationale of we need the money elsewhere.

It will be penny wise and pound foolish, if the enemy that has been beaten back is allowed to thrive in our absence, to enable us to see if we really can absorb another major terrorist attack.

Update: another yellowed 3″x5″ card holds this bit of history to put things in perspective once again:

Come with me into Macedon, most portent, grave and reverend senators and taste the rigors of a soldier’s bed, the blood and anguish of a soldier’s wars. Come with me into Macedon, fat comfortable strategists at home, and you will see how humble men have died to save the freedoms – and the baths – of Rome!

– General Lucius Aemilius Paulis addressing the Roman Senate after being critisized by same for certain aspects of his victorious campaign against Perseus in the Third macedonian War, 2nd Century BC

Rings true today. Just change a few names and places and it’s a good fit.

Category: Geo-Political, INternational Relations, Leadership, Military, Political, Supporting the Troops | Comments Off on Who Wins Wars, Who Loses Them

Stop the Murdoch (Flt 93) Blogburst: Ground broken for Terrorist memorial mosque

November 10th, 2009 by xformed

Blogburst logo, petition

The desecration has begun. A ground-breaking ceremony was held at the Shanksville crash site on Saturday. Bulldozers will start reshaping the land this week. Never mind that the only rule for the Flight 93 memorial’s design competition was that the landscape had to be left as it was. In order to complete the full arc of the Crescent of Embrace (now called a broken circle, but still a giant Islamic-shaped crescent), an earthen causeway will have to be built across the wetlands that lie about 50 vertical feet below the crash site.

A contractor posted recently about his decision to turn down work on the memorial, despite economic hard times. Our friend Jeff just could not stomach the idea of helping to build a tribute to the enemy, a sentiment that is easy to understand and much appreciated. To anyone else who might find themselves in this situation, just be aware that there are other options. Someone is going to do the work, and if the pay is lucrative, it could be better for our cause to have that money go to someone who is on our side.

Blogburst author Alec Rawls has succeeded in driving driving quite a bit of Western Pennsylvania news coverage through the purchase of a half-dozen half-page full-color ads in the local Somerset paper. If anybody wants to fund another, Alec will gladly put the ad together. Call it anti-dhimmi jiu-jitsu. We can use the Park Service’s own money against them.

If we don’t succeed, then you have to live with knowing that you helped to build an abomination. There is no simple answer.

On the subject of worthy causes, long-time blogburst participant Curt at the excellent Flopping Aces blog is helping to orchestrate fundraising for Project Valour-IT, which helps provide voice-controlled computers and other technology to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand wounds and other severe injuries.

Soldiers Angels, which hosts Valour-IT, is also fundraising for the victims of the jihad attack on Fort Hood.

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

Category: Leadership, Political, Public Service | Comments Off on Stop the Murdoch (Flt 93) Blogburst: Ground broken for Terrorist memorial mosque

Stop the Flt 93 (Murdoch) Memorial Blogburst: Construction drawings released: Flight 93 crescent now points less than 3° from Mecca

October 22nd, 2009 by xformed

Blogburst logo, petition

From Error Theory:

The original Crescent of Embrace memorial to Flight 93 faced less than 2° from Mecca. That made it a mihrab, the Mecca-direction indicator around which every mosque is built. (Some mihrabs are pointed-arch shaped, but the classic mihrab is crescent shaped.)

The Park Service dismissed concern about the Mecca-oriented crescent on grounds that the construction drawings had not yet been finalized. “Those trees could move fifty feet, or three hundred feet,” said Project Manager Jeff Reinbold in the Spring of 2006, as if this kind of “tweaking” would make any difference (Crescent of Betrayal Ch.8 p.145-6).

The construction drawings have now been released, and yes, they moved the lower tip of the half-mile wide crescent about 300 feet, enough to change the orientation of the crescent by about 4.5°. Instead of pointing less than 2° north of Mecca, the giant Islamic-shaped crescent now points less than 3° south of Mecca.

Here is the original Crescent of Embrace:


“Qibla” is the direction to Mecca, which you can verify using any online Mecca-direction calculator (just type in Somerset PA). A person standing between the tips of the giant crescent and facing into the center of the crescent (red arrow) would be facing 1.8° north of Mecca, ± 0.1°.

Here is one of the new construction drawings:


Instead of facing a titch north of Mecca, the giant crescent now faces a titch south of Mecca (2.7° south ± 0.1°).

As with the original Crescent design, the upper crescent tip is the end of the 50’ tall Entry Portal Wall and the lower crescent tip is the last of the 50’ tall Maple trees on the bottom. The landscape overlays make the details hard to see in the thumbnail image above, but at full resolution they are fully legible. (Copy of source PDF, without the superimposed orientations lines here. Large file warning. Graphic is on p. 30 of 233.)

The Park Service was SUPPOSED to remove the Islamic symbol shapes

When architect Paul Murdoch’s winning Crescent of Embrace design was announced in September 2005, it appeared to show a bare naked Islamic crescent and star-flag planted atop the crash site:

Burned by the resulting firestorm of protest, the Park Service to agreed to get rid of the Islamic symbol shapes, but they never did. They added an extra arc of trees, and they call it a broken circle now, but the unbroken part of the circle, what symbolically remains standing in the wake of 9/11, is still a giant Islamic shaped crescent.

This is explained on the Park Service’s own website, where the extra arc of trees is explicitly described as a broken off part of the circle:

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.

Those two breaks are the two ends of the extra arc of trees:


The extra arc of trees extends from blue circle to blue circle, marking the two “breaks” in the circle referred to in the Park Service’s official explanation of the broken-circle design. One is where the flight path breaks the circle (left), the other is near the crash site (center).

What is symbolically left standing (the unbroken part of the circle) is just this:


Remove the symbolically broken off parts, and you get the original Crescent of Embrace design.

The only change is that the crescent has now been rotated clockwise a few degrees. In the construction plans it faces slightly south of Mecca instead of slightly north of Mecca. For a parallel, imagine airline security discovering a terror bomber, then playing with the fit his suicide vest before escorting him to his plane.

They said they were going to remove the giant crescent. They claim they HAVE removed it, but they haven’t. Symbolically, the design remains completely unchanged. The terrorists are still depicted as smashing our peaceful circle and turning it into a giant Islamic-shaped crescent, still pointing to Mecca.

The giant crescent is actually a mihrab

Here is the mihrab at the Great Mosque in Cordoba Spain. Face into the crescent to face Mecca, just like the crescent memorial to Flight 93:

Confronted with evidence that the Crescent of Embrace is actually designed to be the world’s largest mosque, the Park Service sought advice from a pair of Muslim scholars. Both acknowledged the almost exact Mecca-orientation of the giant crescent and both offered overtly dishonest excuses for it. One said not to worry about the likeness to an Islamic mihrab because no one has ever seen a mihrab this BIG before:

…most mihrabs are small, rarely larger than the figure of a man, although some of the more ornamental ones can be larger, but nothing as large at the crescent found in the site design. It is unlikely that most Muslims would walk into the area of the circle/crescent and see a mihrab because it is well beyond their limit of experience.

Right. That’s why everybody scratches their head at Mt. Rushmore. No one has ever seen Abraham Lincoln so BIG before. They just can’t figure it out.

To be fooled by this excuse, you have to really really want to be fooled. The other Muslim scholar said not to worry, the crescent cannot be seen as mihrab unless it points exactly at the Kaaba:

Mihrab orientation is either correct or not. It cannot be off by some degrees.

In fact, a mihrab does NOT have to point exactly at Mecca, for the simple reason that, throughout most of Islamic history, Muslims in far-flung parts of the world had no accurate way to determine the direction to Mecca. As a result, it was established as a matter of religious principle that what matters is intent to face Mecca. This was recently affirmed by Saudi religious authorities, after Meccans realized that even most of their local mosques do not face directly towards the Kaaba. “It does not affect the prayers” assured the Islamic Affairs Ministry.

Faced with evidence of an Islamic plot, why would the Park Service send this evidence exclusively to Muslims for appraisal? Have they forgotten who attacked us on 9/11?

The Service has long since been apprised of the patent dishonesties retailed by its two Muslim advisors but they don’t care. They wanted to be lied to, they knew where to go to be lied to, and they got what they wanted.

Michelle Malkin and Ed Morrissey

So where are the patriotic stalwarts like Michelle Malkin whose objections were instrumental in getting the Park Service to agree to remove the Islamic symbol shapes in the first place? If they knew in 2005 that the symbolic outcome of 9/11 should not be a giant Islamic shaped crescent why are they silent about this exact same symbolism today, after THEY were promised that this perversion would be removed?

Ed Morrissey urged his readers “to tell the National Parks Service and the Secretary of the Interior to rethink their plans,” promising for his own part that “as long as that crescent remains in the design, I’m not donating a red cent to the memorial.” Well Ed, the crescent does remain in the design, so please rejoin the fight.

The desertion of Malkin et. al. makes a difficult gap to fill, but we had better fill it, or the Flight 93 crash-site will soon be home to the world’s largest mosque.

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Category: Leadership, Political, Public Service | Comments Off on Stop the Flt 93 (Murdoch) Memorial Blogburst: Construction drawings released: Flight 93 crescent now points less than 3° from Mecca

Cash for clunkers: two crimes, justified by a lie: Guest Author Alex Rawls

August 18th, 2009 by xformed

A guest post from Alec Rawls.

Crime 1: Another multi-billion dollar subsidy for Government Motors.

When Obama stole Chrysler from its stockholders and gave it to his union cronies, we knew he would take every opportunity to waste taxpayer dollars trying to keep this lead balloon afloat. The Cash for Clunkers subsidy is just particularly egregious, since it works by subsidizing the last people in the world who need a subsidy: those who are well off enough to be buying new cars in the midst of a deep recession. Talk about a middle class welfare program!

Crime 2: Eliminating Government Motors’ competition by gratuitously slagging an expected 750,000 perfectly good used cars in the sub-$4500 price range.

The Obamacrats aren’t just subsidizing cars for the well-to-do. They are destroying the cars that the less well-off are in the market for, driving up used car prices as part of their effort to make new cars more attractive:

Some parts may be kept but the engine and drive-train must be destroyed. Specifically the engine will be injected with a liquid glass solution to permanently disable the engine and it will be the responsibility of the dealer to make sure this is done to the engine.

Injected with liquid glass? Sounds like a Quentin Tarentino murder fantasy, and the reality isn’t any prettier. Witness Obama’s procedure for destroying the would-be cars of the non-wealthy:

Here is another one, a spiffy-looking Volvo that holds out for 4-plus minutes. Some clunker, and check out the row of semi-new cars lined up to go next:

Take THAT all you graduate students, newlyweds, store clerks, aspiring actors, single moms, non-deadbeat dads, warehouse workers, journalists, hippies, and other assorted poor relations. You want a car, you can scrape together your savings for a down payment on the privilege of paying hundreds of dollars a month to Government Motors for FIVE YEARS, just like everybody else.

How big is this crime?

A very substantial portion of the population NEVER buys a new car. I, for instance, have never bought a new car, and I never expect to. Why would I, when California has the best used car market in the world? In the last 10 years I have bought two 1984 Toyota Vans, one with 45,000 miles, one with 115,000 miles, each for $1500. Both still run great. One is set up as a work vehicle. One converts from passenger van to camper. No new vehicles would serve as well, or look as sharp.


My two uber-vans, one extra-dirty from its recent 2000 mile trek to Seattle and back. (Shasta, Crater Lake, Boeing Museum of Flight, Blue Angels, Olympic Peninsula, Fort Stevens, Oregon Dunes, North Coast, and back across the Golden Gate. Ain’t that America?)

The vehicles that are being gratuitously destroyed are newer than my two vans (which are just outside the 25 year age limit) and they are up to three times the price. For instance, the immensely popular Toyota Previa vans (1990-96) all qualify.

A good California Previa with a hundred thousand miles left on it sells for two to three thousand dollars. The government’s offer of 35-45 hundred is outbidding the market even on these top quality used vehicles. Cash for Clunkers is a misnomer. Some bottom-of-the-barrel cars will be turned in, but the rules insure that most will not be these “clunkers.”

To qualify, a car must have been registered the name of the new car buyer for the last 12 months and it must have been insured for the last 12 months. These actively-used cars of people who buy new cars are the quality core of the used car market. Most “clunkers” will be perfectly good cars that would be prize possessions for a half million less well-off Americans, wantonly destroyed only because the Obamacrats prefer that they be destroyed. Dollar for dollar, this is the equivalent of trying to solve the glut of housing foreclosures by purchasing the houses with taxpayer money then burning them down.

Any Obama supporter who claims to be motivated by distributional justice, go soak your head. You want to subsidize the better off? Be as stupid as you want. But don’t go destroying en masse what the less well-off need to survive.

All justified by a lie

Obama’s excuse for decimating the last two generations of used vans, SUV’s, pick-up trucks and full size cars is the global warming hoax. The ascendancy of Obama is, in his own narcissistic vision:

…the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.

Energy consumption must be curtailed in the extreme:

…under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.

It is all about CO2 and the phony global warming industry that Vice President Al Gore created with $10b of seed money when he pioneered and administered the executive branch’s global warming portfolio (now called “climate change,” since the earth stopped warming 10 years ago). Gore’s appointees have directed almost all of the full $79b that the U.S. has spent on climate science since 1989, and they don’t care at all whether CO2 is actually warming the planet. Their real motivation is an eco-religious belief that economic activity is gobbling up the natural world, so that for the natural world to survive, economic activity must contract.

To these high priests of green religion, CO2 is the perfect fall guy, no matter how insignificant its actual impact on climate. If the CO2 released by fossil fuel burning can be framed as a threat to the planet, that provides a rationale for drastically curtailing human economic activity, thereby stopping economic activity from gobbling up the natural world, whether or not CO2 itself actually has any harmful effects.

CO2 alarmists reject the scientific method

We can say with nearly complete certainty that the bulk of 20th century warming was NOT caused by CO2. This is because we know what DID cause the warming: the “grand maximum” levels of solar-magnetic activity that obtained for most solar cycles between 1930 and 2003.

Numerous studies have found a high degree of correlation (.6 to .8) between solar-magnetic activity and global temperature. That is, solar-magnetic activity “explains” statistically 60-80% of global temperature change on all time scales. That degree of correlation, observed over thousands and millions of years, HAS to be causal, and the causation can only go one way. It is not the temperature of the earth that is causing sunspots.

What is not well understood is HOW solar-magnetic activity drives global temperature. We just know that it does, just as before Einstein we did not know what mechanism causes massive objects to fall towards each other, we just knew that they do.

We actually have some pretty good theories of how solar-magnetic activity drives global temperature but set that aside. The eco-religionists, who thanks to Al Gore control ALL of the research funds for the “climate change” industry, use uncertainty about HOW solar-magnetic activity drives global temperature as an excuse for completely omitting the solar-magnetic variable from their models. They explicitly put theory over data, exactly the opposite of the scientific method, which says that data is always supposed to trump theory.

This anti-scientific method misattributes to CO2 the warming caused by high 20th century levels of solar-magnetic activity. Put solar-magnetic activity back into the equation, attributing to it what warming has historically been correlated with high levels of solar-magnetic activity, and the levels of warming that could possibly be attributable to CO2 become small. In particular, they become benign.

Warming in general is good. When Greenland was green, civilization prospered, as did plants and other living things. Nothing gobbles up the natural world like ice. It is only by claiming that CO2 could cause some unprecedented “runaway warming” that the alarmists have been able to present CO2 as dangerous. Stop misattributing solar-magnetic warming to CO2 and that possibility is off the table.

The dominant driver of global climate is solar-magnetic activity and any modicum of warming we can get out CO2 is all to the good. If our fossil fuel burning has the side effect of making our warm times a little warmer and our cold times a little less cold, that is a happy bit of luck for a world that ALWAYS seems to be colder than the optimum, with the next glacial period due any Millennia.

Proof that the IPCC completely omits the solar-magnetic variable

Just look at any of the IPCC assessment reports. They all include the following graphic (slightly updated over the years):


From the 4th Assessment Report (figure 2.4 on page 39 of the Synthesis Report).

The only “natural” climate influence accounted by the IPCC is “solar irradiance,” which means visible light and other electro-magnetic radiation. It does in any way include the solar-magnetic flux, which is completely omitted from all IPCC models, even though every climate scientists knows full well that, according to the raw data, magnetic effects are the primary driver of global temperature.

EVERY educated person who accepts CO2 alarmism on the authority of the global warming anti-scientists is failing the most basic due diligence.

Technically, the alarmists’ anti-scientific inversion of theory and evidence takes the form of what is called “omitted variable fraud,” where the omission of any important explanatory variable causes its explanatory effect to be misattributed to whatever correlated variables are included (in this case CO2 which, like solar activity, also went up in the 20th century). This is the most basic, the most common, the most familiar form of statistical fraud. Everyone who has ever studied not just any physical science but any social science at any moderately high level is fully competent recognize for themselves the statistical fraud that is being committed by the CO2 alarmists.

The educated Democrat-voting elites who are pushing to unplug industrial capitalism on the authority of alarmist anti-scientists have an obligation of due diligence to check for themselves whether the facts of the matter are beyond their own competence, and they are ALL failing this basic obligation. They are just assuming that they have to accept on authority that the survival of the planet requires the radical curtailment of CO2, when even a quick look at the facts reveals that the statistically most important variable is omitted from the alarmist models.

Why this willingness uncritically enlist as foot-soldiers for the destruction of modernity? Because like the CO2 anti-scientists themselves, these Democrat elites also don’t care whether CO2 is actually a threat. They too are eco-religionists who are glad for any excuse to curtail the economic growth that according to their presumptions is gobbling up the natural world.

Wrong about economics too

Of course the eco-religionists are also wrong about economic growth being bad for the environment. Economic growth creates and is created by technological advance, and it is technological advance that is allowing mankind and the natural world to both thrive at once. Economic activity is not the enemy of the natural world. It is the salvation of the natural world.

Having dedicated their intellectual resources to maintaining their religious presumptions instead of following reason and evidence, our Democrat elites have become pure political animals in the lowest sense, driven entirely by their lust for power. Every excuse, be it phony concern for distributive justice or phony concern for the environment, is wielded with complete dishonesty, utterly heedless of how distributive justice or the environment are actually affected, until all that is left is their ultimate presumption: that the one thing most necessary is that THEY have power.

This pathology finds its epitome in President Obama. Cash for Clunkers is just one paltry multi-billion dollar program, but the same coming-and-going perversity is manifest in Obama’s larger jihad against CO2—his push for cap and trade legislation. If we would uncork energy, the economy would rebound tomorrow, but Obama is determined to close the energy spigot down, not open it up.

Anybody who thinks this recession is ending is out of their minds. Obama is draining the oil and pouring in the silica slurry. If you want to hear where the economy is headed, listen to the “squirk” from the end of the Obama-car-death video, when the engine jerks at the end of the hangman’s rope.

This is the sound of a valuable helper being sacrificed by government to the false idols of green religion. It isn’t just barbarous. It is a clear violation of the establishment clause. Execute the worst human criminals, yes, but Mission Solano has it right: “No Death Penalty for Cars!”

Category: Economics, Political | Comments Off on Cash for clunkers: two crimes, justified by a lie: Guest Author Alex Rawls

Sighted: 6/24/2009

June 25th, 2009 by xformed

To the left of the “Vote Obama/Biden 2008” bumper sticker:

“Blindly Following Bad Leadership is Not Patriotism”

How soon before his mid-2008 bumper sticker becomes some of that crow to eat?

(As he pulled into a MacDonald’s to get some dangerous, fast food that will either be taxed or outlawed in the name of “spreading the health” by the WON)

Sweet Insanity film
Pride and Glory film The Transporter hd Girl’s Best Friend release

download Sphere

The Abyss rip Cutthroat Island rip

download Dressed to Kill The Da Vinci Code release Must Love Dogs ipod

Category: Political | Comments Off on Sighted: 6/24/2009

Stop The Murdoch (Flt 93) Memorial Blogburst: Obama’s filing against 9/11 families: so bad it's good

June 6th, 2009 by xformed

Bizarre amicus brief totally demolishes the Second Circuit’s dismissal of the families’ suit, then replaces it with the most mendacious stupidity imaginable. Now the Supreme Court will HAVE to hear the case, just to avoid the implication that it accepted this garbage.

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9/11 families were stunned this week to learn that President Obama is asking the Supreme Court NOT to review their effort to recover damages from the government of Saudia Arabia and from several Saudi princes for funding al Qaeda’s 9/11 attack on America. That the defendants did funnel vast sums of money to al Qaeda was accepted as a given by the appellate court, as was the fact that al Qaeda was known to be dedicated to and engaged in violent attacks against America. So what was the Obama administration’s reason for siding with the Saudis?

Solicitor General Elena Kagan’s amicus brief to the Supreme Court had to admit that the Second Circuit Court of Appeals erred in its grounds for denying the suit against the Saudi princes. No, the fact that the princes did not actually direct the al Qaeda attack on the United States does not relieve them of liability for attacks that they funded. The precedent on this is clear. As long as the defendant knew “that the brunt of the injury” from his tortious act would be felt in America, then:

… he must ‘reasonably anticipate being haled into court there’ to answer for his actions. [Calder v. Jones, 465 U.S. 783, 790. Cited on Kagan’s p. 18.]

Nevertheless, said Kagan, she could think of a way around the appellate court’s utter failure to get the heart of the case right. The families’ suit falls under the 1976 FSIA law that establishes exceptions to the principle of sovereign immunity. This law does not allow jury trials. Thus while the appellate court was clearly wrong to say that the suit should not be heard, Kagan suggests that there are snippets in the ruling that can be read as the appellate court acting in its role of trier of fact, and thus ruling against the families for providing insufficient evidence.

In other words, instead of seeing the Second Circuit as rejecting the basis of the suit, we should see them as accepting the suit, and ruling against it on the substance. To make her argument that the appellate court actually did try the facts, she quotes the Second Circuit’s statement that:

Conclusory allegations that [Prince Turki] donated money to charities, without specific factual allegations that he knew they were funneling money to terrorists, do not suffice.

But of course the families DID marshal reasons why Turki could be expected to know that his donations were going to al Qaeda, as indicated by the appellate court’s further statements that there was no personal jurisdiction even if the defendants did “know that their money would be diverted to al Qaeda,” or were “aware of Osama bin Laden’s public announcements of jihad against the United States.” (Cited in the families’ reply brief, p.8, and in Kagan’s brief, p. 19, respectively.)

For Kagan to pretend that the Second Circuit acted as a sufficient trier of fact, when it explicitly asserted that the facts don’t matter, is just an attempt to mislead the Court. The evidence that the Saudi Princes knew they were funding al Qaeda has yet to be considered by U.S. courts, even though Kagan herself admits that if they did know, they should be held liable.

The families respond

Of course the families are angry that Obama is blocking their access to the courts, despite their legitimate claims under U.S. law:

The Administration’s filing mocks our system of justice and strikes a blow against the public’s right to know the facts about who financed and supported the murder of 3,000 innocent people. It undermines our fight against terrorism and suggests a green light to terrorist sympathizers the world over that they can send money to al Qaeda without having to worry that they will be held accountable in the U.S. Courts for the atrocities that result. …

The Administration’s filing is all the more troubling in that it expressly acknowledges that the courts below applied incorrect legal standards in dismissing the Saudi defendants, but nonetheless argues that the case — one that seeks to account for the terrorist attacks against America and the murder of our family members — does not warrant the Supreme Court’s time.

This at the same time as Obama insists that al Qaeda operatives held at Guantanamo Bay must be granted access to U.S. courts. Concocted rights for terrorists, yes. Following the law for the victims of terrorism, no.

On Saudi state liability, Kagan again misleads to the point of outright dishonesty

Here too, Kagan is forced to start out by noting that the grounds on which the Second Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the families’ claims is not valid. The circuit court held that damages for terrorist acts have to be brought under the FSIA law’s special exception for terrorist acts, which requires that the state defendant be designated by the State Department as a terror supporting state. Since Saudi Arabia has not been so designated, suit cannot be brought under this provision, end of case.

Wrong, as Kagan herself explains:

Congress’s concern was not to impose new limits on the domestic tort exception, but instead to expand jurisdiction to cover a narrow class of claims based on conduct abroad. See, e.g.

, H.R. Rep. No. 702, 103d Cong., 2d Sess. 3, 5 (1994) (explaining that the bill would “expand” jurisdiction to include claims by an American who is grievously mistreated abroad by a foreign government”).

This was necessary because the domestic tort exception only applies to injuries that occur on U.S. territory. Specifically, the domestic exception allows suit when:

1605(a)(5) – money damages are sought against a foreign state for personal injury or death, or damage to or loss of property, occurring in the United States and caused by the tortious act or omission of that foreign state.

In the wake of the Iranian hostage taking in Tehran, Congress wanted designated terror-supporting states to be liable for harms that they inflict on Americans even on their own territory, but this in no way was supposed to limit suit over harms that occur within the United States, such as the 9/11 murders.

Confronted with this obviously wrong ruling by the Second Circuit, Kagan again tries to cobble together an alternative grounds for granting Saudi immunity. To fullfill this improbable command from above, she decides to flat-out lie about precedent, big bald astounding lies.

Torturing “tortious”

Notice that the language of the domestic tort exception is perfectly clear that what has to occur inside the United States is the personal injury or death, not the decision that leads to the personal injury or death. Suppose that the home office of a state owned shipping company decides to scrimp on safety equipment for its cargo vessels, leading to loss of American lives when cargo is offloaded in an American port. This is exactly the kind of thing that FSIA was intended to cover, but Kagan pretends otherwise, arguing that not only the tort (the harm), but also the “tortious act or omission” that creates the harm, have to take place inside the United States.

In many cases there is no separation between the harm and the act that creates it. They both occupy the same time and place. Neither does the language of torts typically distinguish between the tort and the tortious act. Instead, the tortious act is seen as being realized when the tort (the harm) actually occurs. Kagan’s ploy is to try to make a distinction between the tort and the “tortious act” that leads to it, and she is able to come up with some out-of-context references to make it sound as if precedent demands that both the harm and the decision-making that leads to the harm have to occur here in America.

She claims, for instance, that:

In Amerada Hess, the Court considered and rejected the argument that domestic effects of a foreign state’s conduct abroad satisfy the exception. 488 U.S. at 441.

Applied to the current case, she is clearly suggesting that the “domestic effect” corresponds to the 9/11 attacks, and that the “conduct abroad” corresponds to the statutorily required “tortuous act or omission” that in both cases took place outside of U.S. territory. A look at the actual Supreme Court ruling, however, shows this to be a gross misrepresentation of Ameranda Hess.

Looking up Argentine Republic v. Amerada Hess Shipping Corp. and turning to p. 441 we find what the case was actually about:

In this case, the injury to respondents’ ship occurred on the high seas some 5,000 miles off the nearest shores of the United States. Despite these telling facts, respondents nonetheless claim that the tortious attack on the Hercules occurred “in the United States.”

In other words, it was the harm itself that in this case did not occur within U.S. territory. Contrary to Kagan’s representation, the Court was NOT making a distinction between the harm and decision that led to it and claiming that both had to occur within the United States.

This kind of blatant misrepresentation of precedent is lawlessness! Is this how the Obama administration treats precedent? As fodder for utterly dishonest word games? YES.

To preserve its own reputation, SCOTUS will have to hear the families’ case

The Supreme Court asked the Obama administration to submit this brief. It cannot be ignored. If SCOTUS accepts guidance from this contemptuous document, then it is implicated in the Obama administration’s contempt for the law.

If the sheer perversity of Kagan’s filing does force the Court to hear the families’ case, that would be a great outcome, but the downside risk is equally amplified. If the Court DOES accept Kagan’s guidance, it is a black black day for America.

Meretricious cites and arguments dominate every paragraph of Kagan’s brief, except in two place: where she shoots down the Second Circuit’s patently errant grounds for dismissal. It almost seems like she started with a brief in support of the families’ suit before getting the order from Obama to side with the Saudis. Apparently she decided that it was fruitless to try to support the Second Circuit’s reasoning, so she let the demolition of the Second Circuit’s ruling stand, then supplied her own just as bad case for Saudi immunity.

However it came about, Kagan’s destruction of the Second Circuit ruling is so competent, and her substitute arguments for immunity so in

competent, that the whole almost seems designed to force a Supreme Court hearing. Could she have intentionally sabotaged her own brief? Doubtful, given that the Obama DOJ just overruled its own career lawyers in order to drop an already won case against three New Black Panthers who were caught on tape using weapons to intimidate voters. Apparently the Obama administration just really is this stupid and malicious.

In any case, it seems unlikely that Kagan’s shenanigans will get past the justices. Antonin Scalia is unlikely to forget the FISA case opinion he wrote in 1992, addressing the very question of harms resulting in the United States from decisions made by foreign entities in their home countries. His conclusion? In a breach of contract case where the only tie to the United States was the option of receiving payment in dollars in New York City, the Court denied immunity. Only the harm itself had to take place on U.S. territory, not the decisions that led to the harm, and the opinion was unanimous

.

Obama’s imperial presidency: he does not want to be bound by the 1976 Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act, and says so

The family group states directly that:

The filing was political in nature and stands as a betrayal of everyone who lost a loved one or was injured on September 11, 2001.

Indeed, the entire first section of Kagan’s brief is replete with claims that exceptions to sovereign immunity should be determined politically.

That is the way it used to be, before Congress passed the FSIA act specifically in order to take these determinations out of the political realm. The United States only started granting any exceptions to the legal tradition of sovereign immunity in the 1950’s, after some nation-states started getting heavily involved in commerce. If state enterprises could not be held liable in U.S. courts, they would have a competitive advantage over private industry. Not smart policy during the cold-war contest between capitalism and communism.

Exceptions were at first made on a case by case basis by the executive, but such arbitrariness does not suit the needs of commerce, so Congress made an explicit decision to take this power away from the executive. Even so, Kagan’s brief hints over and over (p. 4-10) that executive prerogative should still hold sway, but without ever making an explicit case that FSIA intrudes on the inherent powers of the presidency, and without ever stating what the president would want to do with those powers in the present case if the court were to recognize them as pre-eminent.

The reason Kagan doesn’t make these things explicit is because they are damning. Obama knows that the Saudi’s are liable under U.S. law, but for his own political reasons he does not want them to be held liable, but neither does want the nation to understand that he considers currying favor with the people who attacked us on 9/11 to be more important than justice for his own murdered countrymen.

The president does indeed have some inherent power here, just as President Bush had inherent power to wiretap conversations with al Qaeda operatives both at home and abroad, regardless of what Congress put in the FISA wiretapping law. Bush did abide by FISA, but he didn’t have to.*

Obama is going further. He does not want to abide by FSIA, but is unwilling to make the case that the particular exemption from FSIA that he is asking for is a legitimate exercise of his inherent powers, or even assert what he would do with that power. He just wants the courts to do his dirty work for him, asking them to grant immunity to the Saudis based on bogus claims about FSIA law and precedent.

Conservative justices might be tempted to recognize the president’s inherent powers in the area of foreign policy, but they should not let him exercise this power on false pretenses. If he wants to claim that he has the inherent power to grant immunity to the Saudis and that this is how he wants to exercise that power, he can do it publicly, but he should not be allowed to overrule Congress on the pretense that he is doing the will of Congress.

To allow this subterfuge would destroy fundamental FSIA precedents while failing to attain the virtue of the pre-FSIA regime, where the president had to stand or fall by his explicitly political decision-making. If Obama wants to invoke the inherent power of the presidency here, he at the very least has to be willing to admit it.

* FISA court precedent on inherent powers

The powers of Congress to regulate in an area where the president has his own inherent authority was addressed by the FISA court in September 2002:

The Truong Donald’s Cousin Gus rip court, as did all the other courts to have decided the issue, held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information. It was incumbent upon the court, therefore, to determine the boundaries of that constitutional authority in the case before it. We take for granted that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the President’s constitutional power.

The contrast to the present case is instructive. Bush’s Solicitor General Ted Olson did not hide the fact that President Bush wanted the court to recognize his inherent authority to conduct signals intelligence. With that power duly recognized, Bush still went the last mile to conform to the law as enacted by Congress. That is what it means to “uphold our fundamental principles and values,” while Obama, who keeps accusing President Bush of failing to uphold our values, engages in legal subterfuge, showing as much contempt for the law as for our 9/11 families.

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