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Thursday, August 11, 2011

How unemployment insurance insures unemployment

White House spokesman Jay Carney claims that paying people not to work is one of the best ways to create jobs:
It is one of the most direct ways to infuse money directly into the economy.
How about not taking it out in the first place? Carney apparently thinks the money appears by magic, but it is actually extracted in the most perverse way possible. Here is the beginning of Michigan's Unemployment Insurance information sheet for employers:
When a worker becomes separated from his or her job and files for unemployment benefits, the worker’s past employer or employers will probably be charged for any benefits that may be paid.
With slight differences, that statement applies to every state. Some are a little more rigorous, like Georgia:
In Georgia, employers pay the entire cost of unemployment insurance benefits [paid to former employees].
It's not a cost sharing system. It is not society that picks up the tab for this social insurance. In general, employers are on the hook for all payments made to their own former employees. Just like when you get in a car accident, it is your own insurance rates that go up. Psuedo-insurance you might call it. But in the case of unemployment insurance this is taken to the extreme. The unemployment benefits come straight out of former employers' bank accounts.

As a consequence, when the duration of unemployment insurance is doubled, as Obama pushed through in his inaugural "stimulus" package, the unemployment insurance liability faced by employers was doubled, and the only way they could avoid that liability was not to hire, so that's what happened: no hiring since February 2009.

If you were going to be on the hook for half an employee's salary for a full year for anyone you had to let go, would you hire? It is an insanely high penalty. $20,000 of liability for any $40,000/yr employee you take on. Absolute murder for the economy.

Add that the actual hit, when it lands, is going to land on precisely those companies that are already struggling to stay afloat. That's why they are laying off workers. So not only are firms not hiring, but when they try to save themselves by cutting back their workforces, they get pushed into bankruptcy by still having to pay half the laid off worker's salaries for up to a year.

Add also the perverse incentives for employees: that quite a few people will prefer not to work when they can get paid for staying home. It's a triple whammy.

The White House is blissfully ignorant of the destructiveness of the funding source for this job killer, ignorant enough that Spokesman Jay Carney could actually spew contempt at the reporter who questioned how paying people to stay home creates jobs:
I would expect a reporter from the Wall Street Journal would know this as part of the entrance exam.
Carney just passed his exit exam: time for this Baghdad Bob to leave.

Friday, August 05, 2011

"Briareus" claims Flt93 crescent does NOT point to Mecca

Duped by the Memorial Project's 2007 "White Paper" apparently.

Briareus calls himself an "occasional contributor" to the Diary of Daedalus blog, which has done important work in documenting Charles Johnson's efforts to flush his former (anti-jihadist) self down the memory hole. If it was just himself that Johnson was flushing down the toilet, few would care, but he is also flushing the work of thousands of commentators. A lot of genuinely important fact-checking, investigation and documentation was conducted in the LGF community's epic comment threads.

Of particular relevance for present purposes, it was five "lizardoids" who first suggested, then discovered, then verified the Mecca-orientation of the giant Islamic-shaped crescent in the Crescent of Embrace memorial to Flight 93. How ironic that someone who has been helping to preserve these people's contributions is now trying to deny them.

Briareus' recent comments at Atlas Shrugs actually constitute a pretty serious ad hominem attack against me, but they only include one substantive claim:
"Rawls' strongest argument is that the "crescent" points toward Mecca. IT DOESN'T."
No need for quotes on "crescent"--they named it Crescent of Embrace--and it is trivially easy to verify that this giant crescent does in fact point within a couple of degrees of Mecca.

Just use any online Islamic prayer-direction calculator to print out the direction to Mecca ("qibla" in Arabic) from Somerset PA. Place this print-out over the Crescent site-plan on your computer screen, and you'll see that the Mecca-line almost exactly bisects the giant crescent:

Rough Mecca orientation graphic, 50%

A person standing between the most protruding tips of the crescent structure and facing into the center of the crescent (red arrow), will be facing almost exactly in the “qibla” direction. To be precise, the crescent points 1.8° north of Mecca, ± 0.1° (calculations here).

The Memorial Project's 2007 White Paper

So where did Briareus get the idea that the crescent does NOT point to Mecca? He isn't explicit, but he does mention an "independent study" he read, and links to the copy of the Memorial Project "White Paper" that I have posted on my Crescent of Betrayal website. This joint effort by the Park Service and the Memorial Project is anything but independent. It was developed internally by the very people I had been criticizing as a ploy to put my criticisms to rest. Still, it is very worth reading. The details it contains are utterly damning, to the Park Service and to the memorial.

On the Mecca-orientation of the crescent, they cite one Dr. Daniel Griffith, a professor of "geospatial information" at the University of Texas, who confirms that the giant crescent does indeed point almost exactly at Mecca. He just tries to deny that this implies any Islamic meaning or intent: "just because calculations are correct does not make the resulting numbers meaningful."

Obviously the meaning of a crescent that points almost-exactly at Mecca is not a question that falls within Dr. Griffith's field of expertise. Briareus can approve Griffith's ignorant declaration that the Mecca-orientation doesn't mean anything if he wants to, but on the point at hand--does the crescent point to Mecca--Griffith and the White Paper confirm this orientation, they do not refute it, as Briareus seems to think.

Hey, let's leave it up to a couple of pious Muslims

The two other consultants on the White Paper are a pair of pious Muslims, both of whom are indeed knowledgeable about the meaning of a Mecca-oriented crescent, and both of whom are transparently dishonest with the Park Service. One, a professor of Islamic and mosque architecture at MIT named Nasser Rabbat, claims that the Crescent of Embrace cannot be seen as a mihrab (the Mecca-direction indicator around which every mosque is built) because it does not point exactly at Mecca. To constitute a legitimate mihrab, the crescent could not be off at all in its orientation, or so Rabbat claims:
"Mihrab orientation is either correct or not. It cannot be off by some degrees."
That is a bald lie. For most of Islamic 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.

The Flight 93 crescent faces within 2 (now 3) degrees of Mecca, which 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. Further, all practicing Muslims know 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 recently in Saudi Arabia when the denizens of Mecca itself realized that even their local mosques only face the Kaaba very roughly. This 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 Rabbat, who teaches mosque design at MIT. Indeed, he would know the full basis for the primacy of intent: that intent is given pre-eminence 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). What matters is not whether they tell the truth, but whether their intent is to advance Islamic conquest ("for war is deception").

Consulting with the Muslim Brotherhood

Rabbat knowingly lied about one of the most familiar of all Islamic doctrines. That's a fact. He HAD to know that he was giving the Park Service misinformation. The most likely explanation for why he lied is that he was following this other basic Islamic instruction: to deceive in the service of Islamic conquest. The evidence is that Rabbat is an Islamofascist.

What did the Park Service expect, going to an orthodox Muslim for advice? Don't they know that Osama bin Laden was a perfectly orthodox Wahabbist? The Park Service might as well have asked the Muslim Brotherhood what they thought of Murdoch's al Qaeda victory mosque. (Just fine and dandy, of course.)

There are plenty of moral Muslims, but they are not orthodox. If they are orthodox then they are Islamic supremacists and supporters of conquest by terror, because that is what the orthodoxy demands. Muhammed: "I have been made victorious with terror" (Sahih Bukhari 4.52.220).

I have shown the Park Service the proof of how their devout Islamic consultant lied to them about mihrab orientation having to be exact but they pretend they can't hear. So Rabbat is a jihadi and the involved Park Service personnel are a bunch of cowards. What is Briareus' excuse?

A lot of people have just been duped. Maybe he is one of them. Whatever the case, he really ought to rethink.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

We all know who broke the circle of peace on 9/11

It was 19 Islamic terrorists. That makes the broken-circle memorial to Flight 93 a memorial to the terrorists, who are depicted not only as smashing our circle of peace, but as leaving a giant Islamic crescent-and-star flag in its place:


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 just the original Crescent of Embrace: a giant Islamic-shaped crescent, pointing to Mecca.

The damned thing is actually an al Qaeda victory mosque, with the Mecca-oriented crescent as its mihrab: the Mecca-direction indicator around which every mosque is built.

That is the short version of an advertisement that started running in western Pennsylvania newspapers last week. Alec Rawls sends along this update on the effort to stop the crescent mosque.

10th anniversary ad campaign now underway

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review recently solicited Tom Burnett Senior's response to some new design images for the Flight 93 memorial. When he said that the so-called redesign leaves all of the terrorist memorializing features intact, editors instructed reporter Kari Andren to leave his remarks out. They preferred un-interrupted praise from the same few family members who always speak up for the broken-circle design.

The people of Pennsylvania deserve to see what their information gate-keepers don't want them to know, so Mr. Burnett and his backers decided to begin their 10th anniversary ad campaign a few weeks early. The first full-page color ad just ran in the Somerset Daily American and will appear in two other local papers next week.

For a PDF of the ad copy, click on the thumbnail below, or scroll down for the same content formatted for browsing. If anyone wants to help fund additional advertising, a very generous soul has offered to match all donations up to a total of $5000.

Broken circle ad 1, large thumbnail

More explicit than a giant Islamic crescent-and-star flag?

As the ad-headline notes, the Circle of Embrace "redesign" only accentuates the circle-breaking crescent-creating theme of the original Crescent of Embrace. Mr. Burnett's full remarks explain:
The only visible change is the addition of an extra arc of trees that explicitly represents a broken off part of the circle. The unbroken part of the circle, what symbolically remains standing in the wake of 9/11, is just the original Crescent of Embrace: a giant Islamic shaped crescent, still pointing to Mecca.

People also need to know that a Mecca-direction indicator is the central feature around which every mosque is built. It is called a "mihrab," and the classic mihrab is crescent shaped.

So the terrorists broke our circle of peace on 9/11, and all that remains standing is the central feature of a mosque. The inclusion of a broken-off part of the circle only accentuates this terrorist-memorializing symbolism. It bastardizes what my son Tom and the other heroes of Flight 93 accomplished. The crescent/broken-circle design is a desecration of sacred ground.

Tom Burnett Sr. Northfield MN

Park Service calls the circle "broken"

A proper newspaper would ask the Park Service if the extra arc of trees really does represent a broken-off part of the circle. Still, people can easily verify this crucial fact for themselves. It is right on the Park Service's own website. Their "questions about the design" page asks "Is this circle 'broken' at all?" Their answer is yes:
... the circle is symbolically "broken" or missing trees in two places, depicting the flight path of the plane, and the crash site.
The locations of these two breaks in the "circle of embrace" are spelled out:
...first, where the flight path of the plane went overhead (which is the location of the planned memorial overlook and visitor center), and second, where the plane crashed at the Sacred Ground (depicted by a ceremonial gate and pathway into the Sacred Ground).
These are the two ends of the extra arc of trees, which starts near the original upper crescent tip and continues down to the crash site. So Mr. Burnett is right. Both ends of the new arc of trees are explicitly broken off. The unbroken part of the circle—what symbolically remains standing in the wake of 9/11—is just the original Islamic-shaped Crescent of Embrace that the Park Service promised to change.

To illustrate, the ad includes a side-bar of graphics, showing just what is changed and what is not changed in the memorial. This is slightly complicated by the fact that the Park Service pretended that they were going to make one very big cosmetic change that they are not actually making, but a few pictures easily tell the tale.

The Park Service pretended the outside of the crescent would be filled in with a forest of trees

A publicity shot of the original Crescent of Embrace design shows what appears to be a bare-naked Islamic crescent-and-star flag planted atop the crash site:
Crescent of Embrace publicity shot

When this blatant Islamic symbolism caused an uproar, architect Paul Murdoch re-worked his mock-up to show a forest of additional trees surrounding the outside of the original Crescent:
Circle/Bowl of Embrace publicity shot
Only the inner arc of the crescent remains visible, making the new Circle of Embrace name seem reasonable. But none of these surrounding trees made it into the actual Circle of Embrace design drawings. (The "Stage 1" drawings, encompassing the area seen in these images, were released in 2009.)

The Park Service may eventually let the bare field grow in with trees, but this is not a change in the design. The only actual change is the extra arc of trees, seen below in orange. It explicitly represents a broken off part of the circle:
What Circle of Embrace will actually look like
What the Circle of Embrace actually looks like. The original giant crescent still sits naked on an open field and the flight path still "breaks the circle" at the upper crescent tip.

Remove the explicitly broken off part of the circle (in orange), and what symbolically remains standing in the wake of 9/11 is the same giant Mecca-oriented crescent the Park Service promised to change. It constitutes a classic "mihrab," the Mecca-direction indicator around which every mosque is built, and will form the centerpiece for the world’s largest mosque.

Who broke the circle of peace on 9/11?

When the "Crescent of Embrace" was unveiled as the winning design, architect Paul Murdoch explained the crescent name and the crescent shape by saying that the circle was broken on 9/11, leaving only a part of the circle still standing: the giant crescent. The fact that this circle-breaking crescent-creating theme remains completely intact in the broken-circle design demands the question of WHO is being depicted as breaking the circle of peace on 9/11.

The final section of the ad points out that there can only be one answer. We all know who broke the peace on 9/11. Thus the memorial can only be depicting the actions of the terrorists, who are seen not only as smashing our circle of peace, but as replacing it with their own crescent and star flag.

With the media censoring all criticism, people who don't like all this blatant Islamic symbolism need a way to signal each other directly, so the ad finishes with a handy dandy flyer that readers can post on windows, walls, bulletin boards etcetera:

Who broke the circle, click for PDF

If you want to put a few up yourself, click the image above for a printable PDF, complete with urls for our petition to stop the memorial and for more information. And here is an ad-copy version that anyone can run in their own local paper (the free weeklies can be pretty reasonable).

As Flight 93 showed, just because the hijacker has control of the cockpit doesn't mean he can't still be stopped.

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