Lesson 1: The Priesthood

I enjoy and am grateful for the Church’s manuals Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood, Part A & Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood, Part B. When taking business management classes at the University, I was especially intrigued and drawn to Expectancy theory.  Applying Expectancy theory to the gospel, I desire to magnify the priesthood, which will bless the lives of my family and those I serve, while ensuring exaltation. I need to know what the priesthood is and how to magnify my callings, hence this personal study.

Lesson 1: The Priesthood 

The Spirit of the Lord was undoubtedly present as they received the priesthood by the laying on of hands from those with authority.

I remember much about of the day I was ordained an Elder in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Reflecting upon that day always warms the heart and brings a smile to my face. To be sure, it was one of the spiritual highlights of my life. 

Sitting on stage in the cultural hall of the church, I was surrounded by over a dozen friends and family. The officiator started by saying “let’s lighten up on the pressure, we don’t want to break his neck!”  I recall that I received council to work out physically, and metaphorically spiritually. The officiator didn’t know me, and I marveled how perfect such an  metaphor meant to me at the time because I was intensely engaged in martial arts and body building. He said I was to be a witness to the world and would have the gift of tongues. The officiator couldn’t have know such language was in my patriarchal blessing and that on two or three occasions in the past I had actually spoken to strangers to comfort them in their native tongue, which languages I did not know. He blessed me to have power in the priesthood to heal people from their sickness and afflictions, and this has come true many times. Other blessings and prophecies were pronounced, yet what I remember most was such a loving outpouring of the Spirit of the Lord, being baptized in the Holy Spirit.

The priesthood is God’s eternal power and authority. God accomplishes His work by the priesthood.

How did God get his priesthood? He was ordained by his Father, an eternal pattern.

President Joseph Fielding Smith said:  “We are the Lord’s agents; we represent him; he has given us authority which empowers us to do all that is necessary to save and exalt ourselves as well as his other children in the world.

“We are ambassadors of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our commission is to represent him. We are directed … to do what he would do if he were personally present” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1971, 47; or Ensign, June 1971, 49).

A humbling reality to know one is an agent of the Lord.

Every priesthood holder should be able to trace back to Jesus Christ his “line of authority.”

When I was ordained, the officiator handed me his line of authority. I’ve since then lost it. Because I ordained my son to the Aaronic Priesthood, it’s a good idea for me to do the research and write up my line of authority.

The source of the power of the priesthood is God, who works through the Holy Ghost. To have the Holy Ghost direct us in using the priesthood, we must keep the commandments and live worthily. Power in the priesthood comes to us only from our Heavenly Father through the Holy Ghost. With the power of the priesthood, we can do the Lord’s work; without that power, we cannot.

That is as clear as can be. I’ve experienced the truth of this principle throughout my life.

“If we live for it, ours can be a power given us from our Heavenly Father that will bring peace to a troubled household. Ours can be a power that will bless and comfort little children, that will bring sleep to tearstained eyes in the wee hours of the morning. Ours can be the power that will bring happiness to a family home evening, the power to calm the unsettled nerves of a tired wife. Ours can be the power that will give direction to a confused and vulnerable teenager. Ours, the power to bless a daughter before she goes on her first date or before her temple marriage, or to bless a son before his departure for a mission or college. Ours, my young brethren, can be the power to stop evil thoughts of a group of boys gathered together in vulgar conversation. Ours can be the power to heal the sick and comfort the lonely. These are some of the important purposes of the priesthood” (H. Burke Peterson, in Conference Report, Apr. 1976, 50–51; or Ensign, May 1976, 33).

A beautiful, endearing paragraph. What can be sweeter and more tender to a mans heart than comforting his children, or blessing his wife?

There are several things we can do to develop power in the priesthood:

  • Desire It
  • Live Righteously
  • Be Humble
  • Study
  • Pray
  • Love Others
  • Use the Priesthood to Bless and Strengthen Our Families

That is to say, one part of obtaining power in the priesthood is a decision to want or desire power; one is invited by the Lord to ask, seek and knock for such power.

1 NEPHI 1:1 – I, Nephi

1 I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days.

“I Will Go”, Bishop H. David Burton, First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric

Young men who hold the priesthood of Aaron, may I offer an “I will” for your serious consideration? It is I will become very well acquainted with the noble prophet Nephi through studying, pondering, and feasting upon the first two books of the Book of Mormon. My young friends, I promise that when you come to really know Nephi, you will be so impressed with his determination, courage, and desire to be obedient to the “things the Lord commands” that you will have a strong desire to incorporate his attributes into your own lives. Then when you are tempted by the adversary, as you may be nearly every day, to deviate from the counsel of the prophets, the wishes of your parents, or what “the Lord commands,” you can immediately have the words of stalwart Nephi automatically come to your mind: “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded” (1 Ne. 3:7). And when someone with whom you associate suggests you participate in something that is not as “the Lord commands,” you can think of the courageous plea Nephi made to his elder brothers: “Let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord” (1 Ne. 3:16).

I am aware of a group of courageous young men who followed the example of Nephi. After winning a baseball state championship for their age group, their team, made up mostly of Aaronic Priesthood holders, was invited to represent their state in a tournament to be held in a distant location. Upon arriving at the tournament site, they learned that some of the games were scheduled to be played on the Sabbath day. Each of these young men had to make a difficult personal decision: would he support the team, including several nonmember team members; or if scheduled on Sunday, would he follow what “the Lord commands” in keeping the Sabbath day holy? Their honoring the Sabbath day could mean the team would forfeit their chances of winning the tournament. One by one they quietly approached the coaches, and following the example of Nephi they independently chose to decline participation on the Sabbath day. As it turned out, when Sunday arrived the team’s record, coupled with adverse weather conditions, interrupted the schedule. I have had occasion to closely follow these young men over the years. They have continued to pattern their lives after the sterling example of Nephi. They have gone on missions, and they continue to strive to do and say what the Lord has commanded. [read more]

Repost: Mitt Romney Will Not Win GOP

First posted on March 8, 2006:

Have you ever seen Mitt Romney in an interview? He is sharp, very well spoken, and confident, dare I say Presidential. But he cannot win the GOP nomination.

Why do I say that? Too many Right-Wing-”Christians” to be exact. These “Christians” who put Bush into office will not tolerate a Mormon to be President. The anti-Mormon campaign…”LDS are not Christians”…has proven a very effective marketing campaign of the so called “Christian” community. Non-LDS Christians will not put their faith, money, and vote behind a member of a “cult”.

They have been fully brainwashed to distrust all-things-LDS. The bias of all-things-LDS runs too deep for them to overcome. This is true because of the nature of their shallow evangelical mindset, theological errors, and especially their anti-intellectual blinded-by-the-faith-of-bigotry perceptions.

Given that sad reality, Romney will not win the GOP nomination.

We will not have a Mormon President until God brings forth the Political Kingdom of God, which can only happen after America fully implodes from within, meaning, the end of the federal and state government. Only then will the America, and the rest of the world, ready for a Mormon to lead them politically.

http://blog.electromneyin2008.com/

2008, Election, GOP, LDS, Mitt, Mitt Romney, Mormon, President, Romney

LDS (Mormon) Stake Growth 1847-2005

Free Agency

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9/11, Steven Jones, and Me – Part 4

As I have been reviewing Professor Jones’ paper for part 4, I have come across two articles that, taken together, have done this already and from what I’ve read so far, they’ve done a much better job than I could ever dream of doing, so rather than rebuilding the wheel, I’ll point you to them for a more complete review.

The first is an article written by Brent Blanchard, senior editor at Implosion World.  The article is located here.  I also found another copy of it here.  I included both in case either link goes away.

According to Mr. Blanchard, he was at ground zero during the cleanup after 9/11 and he goes through some common misconceptions about demolition that demolition theorists are getting wrong.  Some examples of the myths he debunks are:

Assertion 1: “The towers’ collapse looked exactly like explosive demolitions.”

Assertion 2: “But they fell straight down into their own footprint.”

Assertion 3: “But explosive charges (aka plumes, squibs, etc.) can clearly be seen shooting from several floors just prior to collapse”

Assertion 4: “Several credible eyewitnesses are adamant that they heard explosion in or near the towers.”

These are just the first four out of nine total assertions that are debunked and explained from a professional demolitionist point of view.  Mr. Blanchard also says that he spoke to Professor Jones in 2006 about his paper.  It’s a good article.  Go read it.

The second article is by Mike King and it uses the above article as a source as he discusses Professor Jones’ paper.  It is here.  It is a very good read also.  I recommend it.

I think I’m done with this topic and I want to move onto another one: seeking truth.  In my years interacting with conspiracy theorists and others, I have noticed many traits, motivations, and behaviors that are quite interesting to me.  In my next article, I will cover what I have found.  It’s interesting because in observing these traits in others, I have been able to identify some of those traits within myself too and have been able to progress as a person as I have tried to get rid of these traits.  See you soon!

Related Articles:
9/11, Steven Jones, and Me
9/11, Steven Jones, and Me – Part 2
9/11, Steven Jones, and Me – Part 3

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Focus for 2007

New categories for 2007

Election 2008 – The candidates and their positions on the issues

Jihadism - Jihadist ideology and the War on Terror

Qur’anic Studies – Posts from the Qur’an with official Muslim meanings and commentary + compare and contrast with Latter-day Saint doctrines and scripture

Continuing categories for 2007

9/11 Conspiracy Theories – Debunking the 9/11 denial movement

Islamism – An Islamic revivalist movement, often characterized by moral conservatism, literalism, and the attempt to implement Islamic values in all spheres of life. a set of political ideologies that hold that Islam is not only a religion, but also a political system that governs the legal, economic and social imperatives of the state according to its interpretation of Islamic Law. Islamists thus demand the return of the society to Islamic values, and the return of the state to sharia law. A society governed by Islamic principles and law is seen as the true and sole answer to problems caused by the realities of modern life, including social and cultural alienation through urbanisation and migration, and political and economic exploitation. Also known as Militant Islam or Radical Islam.

Mormonism/LDS Church
– Defending the doctrines, practices and leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) + news and comments relating to Mormonism and the LDS Church

Book of Mormon – Book of Mormon studies

News and politics
– Engagement and discussion of politics

Mitt Romney files paperwork for 2008 bid

Romney moves closer as an official candidate in the United States presidential election, 2008, by filing exploratory committee papers. Per wiki, “Exploratory, draft or “testing the waters” committees are formed solely for the purpose of determining the feasibility of an individual’s candidacy for office. The activities of exploratory committees may include polling, travel, and telephone calls to determine whether the individual should become a candidate.”

And breitbart.com says that filling papers to form the exploratory committee “allows him to raise and spend money for a presidential run.”

Related articles:
ldsmag.org A Romney Candidacy: What to Watch for In the Press

Update – more articles:
Romney for President Exploratory Committee, Inc.
The Hotline: Romney Files; Ben Ginsberg Is His Lawyer


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9/11, Steven Jones, and Me – Part 3

Don’t you just love egg nog? Me too.

For part 3, I would like to tell the story of what happened when I went to one of Professor Jones’ presentations at UVSC (Utah Valley State College) that was held on Wednesday, 1 Feb 2006, at 7:00 pm. UVSC is about a 15-minute drive from BYU. At the time of this presentation, I had already had email interaction with Professor Jones, as described in part 2.

I knew that there was going to be a question and answer period at the end of the presentation, so I typed up the best question I could think of: Why demolish WTC 7 when it was going to fall down on its own anyway? And then I provided the testimony of the firemen and the transit data, etc. that I covered in part 2. In preparation, I also printed up our entire email conversation and made notes as to questions I might ask him during his presentation.

I arrived and found that two of my friends were there. One was the guy I mentioned before who introduced me to Professor Jones’ work and the other was videotaping the presentation. You can probably find that presentation video online somewhere – I’m the one whose head explodes about 1 1/2 hours into it. ;-)

I sat down in the middle of the audience and they announced that the question and answer period would be at the end and that Professor Jones would not be taking any questions during the presentation. Oh, and the questions would be written and handed in, reviewed, and then given to Professor Jones. Cool – I already had mine typed up, so I handed it in and sat back to soak in the content of the presentation.

I was annoyed by the number of times “WTC 7 wasn’t even hit by a jet” and “no other steel high-rise has ever collapsed because of fire” were repeated, but I got over that. He brought more political and religious information into his presentation than he does in his paper. I’m ok with people having an opinion on political and religious issues, but when billed as “Professor Jones – physicist”, I expected more material that deals with his area of expertise.

I saw one slide that had the infamous photo of the “column cut at an angle” on it. Professor Jones said that it’s still under investigation but the message I got as he talked about it was that this was one of the core columns that was cut with thermite at an angle so that the building would come down. The people all around me were full of “ooh’s” and “aah’s” and were just giddy about how this was surely the smoking gun that would blow the cover off the official government story. I believe it was at this point that I figured out that I was probably in an audience of mostly “true believers” of government conspiracy theories.

Well, I had seen that diagonally cut column before but hadn’t really looked into it. Since then, I have. It turns out that excavation crews cut steel columns at a diagonal because the melting steel runs down, pre-heating the cut so that even though it’s a longer cut, it cuts faster. I then found this page that has other columns being cut at a diagonal by excavation personnel.

This is what bothers me so much about conspiracy theorist methods. They dig deep enough to find something that looks like it matches their beliefs but then they stop digging. Did they go so far as to ask an excavator if that would be a normal cut? Did they Google around to find the page that the photo in question originally came from?

So, I think it was scheduled to be a two-hour presentation with a lot of time for questions at the end. Professor Jones was going into detail about how the government went around telling people that the air at ground zero was safe to breathe when it really wasn’t – fair enough – put those people in jail. He seemed to be picking out whatever he could to sell the audience on the idea that we couldn’t trust the government and so there was one more reason to believe in a demolition theory. I thought this was going to be about physics.

He took up so much time talking about all of this other non-physics stuff that he only left a few minutes at the end for questions. There was a guy reading through the questions and handing them to Professor Jones. Mine was on an 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper and the rest were on quarter page sheets, so mine stood out. It contained details about the firemen testimony and so it was longer than the other questions, but it was still only about a quarter page of text.

I watched the guy reading through my question and handing Professor Jones other questions over and over again until they were out of time. It was a bit frustrating. So I went up afterward and got my printed question from “the question guy” and went up to Professor Jones and waited for him to get done talking to some people who were also asking questions.

It was finally my turn to talk to him. At this point, Professor Jones didn’t know who I was and that I had been conversing with him via email. This was the first time we had seen each other face to face. I told him about the various firemen testimonies of severe damage to WTC 7 and the transit data and how they had set up a collapse zone hours before it collapsed on its own. I read a lot of testimony to him. He said – no lie – “I don’t think there was that much damage.” What? I said that these were firemen standing at the base and inside of WTC 7 on that day telling us what they saw. I asked him on what basis did he think there wasn’t that much damage. We were being rushed out of the room at that point since others had reserved the room. I think my head exploded again in the car on the way home – I can’t remember for sure.

I didn’t hear from him for several months after that until about two months ago when he contacted me again asking if I had any other unresolved issues with his paper. It was a bit strange. I asked him a few questions about chain of custody and he replied with a partial chain of custody that didn’t include dates or names. I then asked him a few more questions and gave him new links to video and photos of the badly damaged south side of WTC 7. He didn’t respond. I sent it again. No response. I received delivery receipts for both emails and so I’m pretty sure he got them.

So, that was a strange story, eh? It left me puzzled about what was going on in his mind to so flatly reject relevant testimony about the condition of WTC 7. It does go against the demolition theory and he’s heavily invested in that theory being true but I don’t know if that’s what’s causing him to ignore this testimony. Hopefully, he’ll reply again and I’ll find out what’s going on.

In part 4, I will go through the current version of his entire paper and bring up any other unresolved issues I see. I’ll be posting that soon. See you then.

Related articles:
9/11, Steven Jones, and Me
9/11, Steven Jones, and Me – Part 2
9/11, Steven Jones, and Me – Part 4

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Bush: We Need More Troops

Bush says more troop strength needed to deal with Iraq, Afghanistan, ‘long struggle against radicals, extremists’.

Video Headline: Bush Looks Ahead 04:43

FoxNews: President Bush: Increase Needed in Size of Army, Marines


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9/11, Steven Jones, and Me – Part 2

During the month of November 2005, Professor Jones and I went back and forth via email about the contents of his paper. His paper has been updated since then so I have gone through our discussions and I have only kept the parts of them that still pertain to the current version of his paper located here. All page references below refer to the current version of the paper as of the date of this post.

Item 1 – On page 9, there is a photo of what Jones asserts is evidently “now solidified metal” that used to be molten. It turns out that this photo is of cement and other materials, including paper, that are part of several floors of material that were compressed during the collapse. Here are two of the original photos with the caption that explains what it really is.

Item 2 – On page 22 in the above report Professor Jones states:

“…further investigation and analyses are indeed needed, including serious consideration of the controlled-demolition hypothesis which is neglected in all of the government reports (FEMA, NIST and 9-11 Commission reports).”

But on page 6 of the NIST report, it says in bold red letters:

“NIST has seen no evidence that the collapse of WTC 7 was caused by bombs, missiles, or controlled demolition.”

So, they do address that they have not found any evidence that would support a controlled demolition theory. I asked Professor Jones if he thought that NIST was wicked (i.e. not telling the truth about what they found) or incompetent. He ultimately replied:

“I think the FEMA and NIST fellows were tightly constrained in what they could say, not evil. NIST states they were under non-disclosure restrictions, for example.”

So even though NIST explicitly states that they have found no evidence that WTC 7 was demolished, it seems to me that Professor Jones states that they neglected addressing controlled demolition and that the reason for this is that they were tightly regulated.

I would think that being regulated would mean that you don’t say anything about demolition even if you had found something, not that you lie and say the opposite of what your findings are. I think that they weren’t lying and that they really didn’t find any evidence of demolition and by saying so, they did in fact address the issue.

Apart from this, there is firsthand testimony gathered from firemen and rescue personnel during the few weeks after 9/11 during debriefing interviews. Several links to these interviews posted at www.nytimes.com can be found here. Some of this information also comes from www.firehouse.com.

In summary, the firefighters at WTC 7 say that there was a huge 20-story tall hole down the south side of WTC 7 that went inside the building 1/4 to 1/2 of the depth of the building, there was a large bulge between floors 10 and 13 that they put a transit on to measure its movement to predict collapse potential, there were strange creaking noises coming out of WTC 7, the building was leaning to one side, they saw from the structural damage combined with transit and laser doppler vibrometer data (another tool used to measure collapse potential) that the building would soon collapse on its own.

They set up a collapse zone a couple of hours before it collapsed to let it fall. Once it fell, they went back in to work on the debris pile. There are photos and video of the severe damage and smoke billowing out of the entire south side of WTC 7 here and here.

I have never seen these photos or video in a demolition theory presentation. I was only shown the basically undamaged north side and a small part of the southwest corner that’s damaged. I think they do this to create a need to investigate a demolition theory in the first place. Maybe I’m wrong though. Maybe they just didn’t look hard enough for evidence that would go against investigating a demolition theory.

Perhaps NIST had access to all this information and saw that a demolition theory was not necessary and that is why they didn’t address it except to say that they didn’t see any evidence of demolition. I have sent Professor Jones the testimony above about the severe damage to WTC 7, for example, but I have yet to find that information in his paper.

Why would he exclude this important testimony about the state of WTC 7 from his paper? I don’t know either. I also heard Professor Jones during an interview with Alex Jones saying that there was little damage to WTC 7 and that was AFTER I gave him the above testimony and references. Like I said, this testimony makes a demolition theory not necessary and perhaps that is why it is ignored.

Item 3 – On pages 2 and 22 of Professor Jones’ paper, it says:

“I invite you to consider the collapse of the 47-story WTC 7, which was never hit by a jet.” and “No major high-rise building has ever collapsed from fire…”

These statements are misleading in a few ways. First, with regard to WTC 7, yes, it wasn’t hit by a plane, it was hit by a huge chunk of the North World Trade Center Tower that did the damage explained above. Also, that other steel high rise buildings haven’t collapsed like the towers (and WTC 7) did that day is interesting but mostly irrelevant. The example photos of buildings falling on their sides in his presentations and other buildings that withstood fires were built differently and were not hit by airplanes or other buildings in combination with fires.

There is also the Madrid Windsor Tower that is often used to show that a huge raging fire didn’t destroy a building, but only selected photos are used. Look here to see the photos the conspiracy theorists don’t want you to see. Yes, if you look at the side of the building they don’t show you (that’s a recurring theme) the steel collapsed but the cement remained at the Windsor Madrid tower.

But this all ends up being a straw man argument anyway. Consider the research of Asif Usmani – a structural engineer from Edinburgh University who specializes in fire’s effect on structures. He contends that the steel didn’t need to melt or even loose much strength – all it had to do was expand. Another paper exists here. (Dang! I had to pay $25 for an earlier, less complete copy of that document and now it’s free and has more information in it – oh well.)

The floors of the towers expanded with fire across three floors. These floors buckled (as is shown in photos) because they couldn’t push the core in or the outer walls out. Once they buckled, the load was transferred to adjacent floors and also through the hat truss to the core. As each floor buckled, more load was put on the core until a global collapse initiated. The outer walls buckled inward up to 55 inches before the collapse, just as his computer models predicted. His models took about 50 minutes to collapse completely and the temperatures were fairly low.

Item 4 – On page 23 it says:

Horizontal puffs of smoke and debris are observed emerging from WTC-7 on upper floors, in regular sequence, just as the building starts to collapse. (The reader may wish to view the close-up video clip again.) The upper floors have evidently not moved relative to one another yet, from what one can observe from the videos. In addition, the timing between the puffs is less than 0.2 seconds so air-expulsion due to collapsing floors (see Chertoff, 2005) is evidently excluded. Free-fall time for a floor to fall down to the next floor is significantly longer than 0.2 seconds: the equation for free fall, y = ½ gt2, yields a little over 0.6 seconds, as this is near the initiation of the collapse. However, the presence of such “squibs” proceeding up the side of the building is common when pre-positioned explosives are used…”

The puffs come from the damaged area of WTC 7 as seen in the above photos and video of the south side. The penthouse falls into the building and then we see puffs of debris coming out of the windows in regular succession. It wouldn’t surprise me to see puffs of debris coming out of a building that has already started to collapse. Even the regularity of the puffs wouldn’t surprise me. If these were explosives, not only would they be seen before the building starts to fall (I saw the building start to fall one frame before the first puff came out – perhaps I’m looking at a different video), but they seem to be in the wrong place. Why put them at the top edge of the building? Also, why are we calculating floor to floor pancake times when WTC 7 didn’t pancake according to video accounts. The floors were connected to each other and a shock wave through the floors would go as fast as the speed of sound in the materials it was traveling through. With the penthouse dropping before the puffs, why is it such a mystery that air pressure from within the building as it collapsed would want to escape out of the already broken windows? Anyway, this really is moot since the collapse was expected hours before (without demolition), according to the firemen on the scene.

Item 5 – On page 32, it says:

“The 110-story towers of the World Trade Center were designed to withstand as a whole the forces caused by a horizontal impact of a large commercial aircraft. So why did a total collapse occur? (Bazant and Zhou, 2002, p. 2.)”

This is dishonest and misleading. I gave Professor Jones a more accurate quote:

“According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, however, WTC towers 1 and 2 were designed to withstand the impact of a 707 lost in fog, looking to land. The modeled aircraft was a 707 weighing 263,000 lb (119,000 kg) with a flight speed of only 180 mph (290 km/h), as would be used in approach and landing situations ([2], page 17). The 767s that actually hit the towers had a kinetic energy more than seven times greater than the specifically modeled 707 impact.” (wikipedia.org)

To which he replied:

“That was Bazant and Zhou’s statement in full on this matter – and I’m analyzing their paper at this point. The towers did withstand the impact, and so stood for 52 and 102 minutes afterward.”

Fair enough. He gave the full quote from Bazant and Zhou, but I gave him the complete quote. Ok, so now he has the complete quote. Does he remove the less correct, misleading quote from the paper and replace it with the more complete and accurate quote that I gave him? No. The incomplete and misleading quote is still in the paper to this day. He then discusses the misleading quote:

“Correct – the WTC Towers were designed to withstand forces caused by large commercial aircraft – we can agree on that.”

That’s a true, but misleading statement, especially when you know what the whole quote says.

Item 6 – on page 41, it says:

“Ryan’s estimate is that the probability that fires and damage (the “official theory”) could cause the Towers complete collapse is less than one in a trillion, and the probability is much less still when the complete collapse of WTC7 is included”

I asked him the following questions about this estimation:

How can you do a probability calculation on an event with such an incredible amount of unknowns? Did Ryan input the amount of core damage that was done into his statistical calculations? If so, where did he get that data? If not, where did he get his numbers? Could you provide me with the inputs and the formula used to come up with that number? Was an airplane flying into those core columns part of the calculation?

He didn’t get back to me on those questions. I really think it smells funny to put a “one in a trillion” estimate out there with no calculations to back it up.

Apparently, Mr. Ryan didn’t know about the damage to the south side of WTC 7 that gave the firemen the idea that the probability of collapse was close to 1 in 1. He also apparently didn’t know about Dr. Asif Usmani’s work that put the probablilty of collapse of the towers at some number quite a bit less than a trillion to 1.

If you combine those two probablities, you get a more likely overall chance of the three buildings collapsing. Yeah, I don’t know the exact probability, but it seems that Mr. Ryan doesn’t have all the inputs, including the firemen testimony above, or it would seem to be less than a 1 in a trillion chance.

Item 7 – On page 28, it says:

“And these explosives also readily account for the turning of the falling Towers to fine dust as the collapse ensues. Rather than a piling up with shattering of concrete as we might expect from non-explosive-caused progressive collapse (“official theory”), we find that most of the Towers material (concrete, carpet, etc.) is converted to flour-like powder WHILE the buildings are falling.”

As we might expect? Who is expecting this? Exactly what type of concrete were the floors made out of again? What amount of energy would it take to convert that into dust? Is there a more reasonable explanation than explosives all over every floor?

I think so and I think I’ll believe people who knew what kind of concrete was used and actually did calculations to find out what would happen. Look here if you dare.

Item 8 – On page 29 it says:

“But then – and this I’m still puzzling over – this block turned mostly to powder in mid-air!”

I just watched video of this again and the upper floors remain intact all the way until they disappear into the cloud of concrete dust below them. I don’t know which video he was watching.

Even if it did turn into dust because of explosives, how on earth would you do that without having fire or other explosive evidence other than just dust? And don’t say nukes – even Professor Jones doesn’t buy the nuke or the “high energy particle beam” theories.

Item 9 – On page 43, it says:

“Remarkably, the explosive demolition hypothesis accounts for all the available data rather easily. The core columns on lower floors are cut using explosives, near-simultaneously, along with explosives detonated up higher so that gravity acting on now-unsupported floors helps bring down the buildings quickly. The collapses are thus symmetrical, rapid and complete, with accompanying squibs — really very standard stuff for demolition experts….It is quite plausible that explosives were pre-planted in all three buildings, and set off after the two plane crashes – which were actually a diversion tactic.”

I disagree. How would cutting core columns on lower floors cause a collapse of the building directly above the impact but not just below the impact? How would it cause the south tower to tilt and rotate above the impact point but not below? Why would it not fall from the ground floors straight down?

And how on earth does a physics professor make an assertion that the plane crashes “were actually a diversion tactic”? What? Um, where are your physics calculations for such an assertion? I think that statement gives us a glimpse into his underlying beliefs that could be driving him to reject any data that goes counter to that belief. I could be wrong though. You decide.

Item 10 – This quote was in his paper back when I reviewed it with him but it has now been removed:

“And that fact should be of great concern to Americans and to all those threatened by American military and security units in the wake of the 9-11 events.”

Regardless of the reason that he put this in his paper originally, it stinks like anti-war agenda bias and it weakens his objectivity. Could it be just another glimpse into his underlying belief driving what I think is his practice of pathological science – where his underlying belief drives the types of data he looks for? I don’t know either. You decide.

Item 11 – Chain of custody. Professor Jones discusses some ground zero samples on page 13:

“We are studying residues found in solidified slag as well as in dust from the WTC collapses, in order to determine the nature of the reactions which produced this molten material. We have performed electron-microprobe, X-ray Fluorescence and other analyses on samples of the solidified slag and on the WTC dust. The provenience of the WTC dust sample is an apartment at 113 Cedar Street in New York City, NY. A memorial constructed from structural steel from the WTC Towers located at Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York, is the source of previously-molten metal samples. Porous, solidified splatter found with the compacted dirt from this memorial is being analyzed.”

I think if these samples are real, that this is really where Professor Jones’ time should be spent. It’s in his area of expertise and it’s physical evidence.

My only problem is that since his theory amounts to charging our own government with large scale cold blooded murder, his chain of custody (or provenience) needs to be better than this. I believe he has more detail for his chain of custody but I haven’t seen it published yet. I would like to see the names, dates, and locations of each sample from ground zero all the way to his hands. That is what would be required for a murder case.

If the chain of custody isn’t bulletproof, then it could be argued that someone just gathered up some slag from a thermite experiment they did in their back yard and sent it to Professor Jones and that would be the end of his case.

Next up, I would like to describe his reaction when I came to one of his presentations with firemen testimony in my hand. It was very strange. I would also like to go through his current paper and address any new information he has added since my last review of it.

Just to reiterate, I am not here to beat up on Professor Jones or to just do anything I can to prove him wrong. I think he should do the research he’s doing and I think his findings should be published. I do not however think that his solid research dealing with physics and metal samples should be hidden in a sea of already debunked or questionable or misleading material.

This would end up being a bunch of red herrings for the government or others to pick at – like I’m doing right now. I’d like these inaccuracies and misleading items to be reworded or removed so that the focus can be clear and solid and if there was something fishy going on on 9/11, it can be discovered.

Related articles:
9/11, Steven Jones, and Me
9/11, Steven Jones, and Me – Part 3
9/11, Steven Jones, and Me – Part 4

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PBS: Sweetwater Rescue: The Willie and Martin Handcart Story

PBS Program Reminder: Sweetwater Rescue: The Willie and Martin Handcart Story: A documentary about British immigrants in 1856 who make a 1300-mile journey on foot from Iowa City to Salt Lake City, and the story of the people who try to rescue them when they lose their way.

Monday, December 18, 2006, 9:00 PM

KCET

Channel CHANNEL 28

Can’t watch at this time? Find other broadcast times during the next two weeks for Sweetwater Rescue: The Willie and Martin Handcart Story at http://www.pbs.org/whatson/

Related links:

KCET Channel Schedule

http://sweetwaterrescue.com/

Groberg Communications, Inc.

Deseret Book: Sweetwater Rescue: The Willie and Martin Handcart Story


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9/11, Steven Jones, and Me

My name is Robert Cronk and I have been informally investigating the evidence, testimony, and theories surrounding 9/11 for a while now and I have been fascinated by what I have experienced. Hopefully I’ll be able to offer a different point of view than the other multitudes of people out there talking about 9/11.

You’ve seen them. Some of them are selling a DVD or a book. Others seem to be doing it for popularity. Some have actually put their career or reputation on the line. Still others seem to struggle with the pride of “being right” above all else – sometimes I fall into that category too – oops.

In my estimation, most of these people, myself included, believe that they’re on to something that nobody else has found and they believe they are honestly just “seeking the truth.” In many cases, I have found that they have a vested interest in their particular theory being right and in my experience it seems that these vested interests get in the way of really “seeking the truth” above all else. So I’ll throw out my point of view and let you be the judge.

First of all, I’m not an expert in physics, structural engineering, or really any other relevant field involving 9/11. I am a software engineer – a computer geek. You know – I’m one of those guys who sit in a dark cubicle somewhere, eyes glazed over, eating pizza and writing code to make computers do amazing things like send email, balance your checkbook, or let you play solitaire while your boss isn’t looking.

A large part of my career has dealt with accurately comprehending and modeling reality in a computer – that’s what most computer geeks do. For example, if your business deals with money and goods, we would write a program that models the movement of that money and those goods so that you can track it and report on it. This is usually done by combining my own research and evidence with information gathered during interviews with people who are experts in whatever it is we’re trying to model.

I then go through all of the information, resolving conflicts between the evidence and people’s views of reality, and finally come up with (hopefully) an accurate model of reality to program into the computer. Any inaccuracies in the model end up causing problems for the customer and end up making a lot more work for me and so I try to get it right the first time and I try to be rigorous as I build the model – getting all the facts nailed down completely before coding anything up on the computer.

As I have done this over the years, I have learned a lot about figuring out what is true and what is false when I look at a set of information. This is the experience that I use as I investigate 9/11.

What’s that? You want me to be quiet about all of this computer stuff and get to the point? Ok, ok – Back in October of 2005, a friend of mine introduced me to the work of one Professor Steven E. Jones – a professor at BYU. Since that time, I have studied and researched the topics contained in his paper and presentations. I also attended a presentation that he gave at UVSC as well as receiving various versions of the PowerPoint slides used in those presentations.

I have also had continuing email correspondence with Professor Jones regarding the content of his presentations and his paper entitled “Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Collapse?” Throughout this exchange, I have found Professor Jones to be a very kind and civil person as I have interacted with him and I thank him for that.

In this series of articles, I want to describe my interactions with him as well as working through his paper and presentation slides. I would like to tell the story of what I have found.

Why am I doing this? Don’t I have something better to do? I could think of a few things I’d rather be doing, but my goal here is to publish the truth and error that I have found throughout this process.

I believe that this country is becoming more and more divided over these issues and I have found that much of what is dividing us is rooted in misleading quotes, incomplete information, testimony taken out of context, assumptions made in ignorance, all combined with flawed theories that are based on the aforementioned mess.

I want to reveal these things in an objective way to give the casual researcher of 9/11 events another point of view. I will do my best to keep my own feelings and theories out of this discussion. That’s hard to do and I’ll probably fail at times but I’m sure you’ll forgive me.

Currently I do not support any specific theory. I am therefore open to any theory, though I must admit that my research so far has me leaning toward some theories and away from others. Let’s get to it, shall we?

On Tue 18 Oct 2005, I received an email from a friend of mine concerning one Professor Jones from BYU who was investigating the events of 9/11. It had a PowerPoint presentation attached to it. I had been looking into the events of 9/11 for a while at that point and so I was interested in taking a look at it.

The email was a forwarded email from Jones to my friend and then to me. In the part that Professor Jones wrote, he said, “…if any of you spot errors or weak arguments in the enclosed presentation, please let me know.”

I opened up the presentation slides and noticed several things that caught my attention. And when I say “caught my attention”, I mean “errors or weak arguments”. I wanted to discuss these things with Professor Jones directly and so I emailed him the next day.

Before I get to the first email, I would like to explain my approach. It is based on my discussions of several topics with people over the years ranging from whether or not the moon landing happened to what happened on 9/11.

My approach has been influenced by all of my interactions with conspiracy theorists in the past. One thing I try to avoid is what I have called the “conspiracy theory pattern”. It goes like this: First, I find some evidence that refutes one of the theory’s supporting facts, next, the defender of the theory essentially avoids the evidence I presented and then brings up several (usually more than five) other facts that supposedly also support the theory.

This has the effect of keeping the overall theory protected since the issue in question doesn’t get resolved – rather, the theory seems to get even stronger as all of these other supporting (but thus far not proven) “facts” are brought up.

In my experience, it turns out that those other “facts” usually end up being a large pile of debunkable (is that a word?) “maybes”. It’s as though protecting the theory is more important than uncovering the truth – as if they have such a strongly held belief that their theory is true that they refuse to let any of the supporting “facts” be debunked because any debunked “fact” threatens whatever vested interest they may have in the theory being true.

They might also twist a fact into a pretzel shape so that it can fit into their theory. Of course I have found that this happens to most people defending their theories and so this behavior is not necessarily proof of anything, it’s just something to keep in mind as we go through this. My idea is that once all of the facts are proven true or false individually, then and only then can the true ones be gathered together to form a theory.

I didn’t know if Professor Jones would behave this way or not and so I initially tried to avoid the “conspiracy pattern” by asking him not to address multiple items at once. I should have been clearer, as you’ll soon see. I also wanted to address the fact that Professor Jones is a physics professor (i.e. not a structural engineer) and so I was confused as to why he was glossing over, dismissing, and asserting his opinion on so many structural engineering issues that were outside of his area of expertise. He seemed to do this with his various political assertions too – as we’ll see later.

I’ll only cover the first couple of emails and then I’ll switch from this detailed mode to a summary mode where I’ll summarize what we talked about and bring up unresolved issues from his paper and presentation. Professor Jones and I are communicating about these issues via email to this day though there was a period where we had no interaction. This first email will serve as an introduction.

Wed 19 Oct 2005 – My first email to him was as follows:

From: Robert Cronk
Sent: Wednesday, October 19, 2005 10:30 AM
To: Jones, Steven
Subject: 9/11 Presentation

Mr. Jones,

My name is Robert Cronk and I am a software engineer. I am a friend of [name deleted], who I believe you are acquainted with. He regularly forwards things to me and I give him feedback on them. He recently sent me the slightly stripped down PowerPoint presentation that you prepared from your past two presentations on 9/11. I wanted to thank you for working so hard to gather this information up. I am with you as far as finding out the truth of these events. I would like to give you some feedback that I hope will make your presentation more bulletproof and more accurate based on all of the information out there.

I seek the truth and I try to do it without any agenda. It’s difficult at times, but that’s the way I believe it should be done. Currently, I am open to all options regarding 9/11. I am open to it being: 1. initiated and orchestrated by the government to rob us of our freedom (using Arab terrorists as pawns), 2. Greedy businessmen trying to get money from insurance companies, 3. It’s as explained, that terrorists just flew planes into buildings and they fell down because of the damage, 4. Anything else that pops up in the process of finding the truth. I try to look at the facts without bias for one of the above scenarios and once I have gathered it all up, then I might lean towards one that makes the most sense given all of the facts….I hope that you are taking the same unbiased approach or we won’t be able to reach the truth.

Given this background, I would like to start with a single topic and go through your presentation one topic at a time to resolve or solidify or tweak that topic. I don’t like to deal with many topics at once because in my experience, nothing is accomplished when I deal with multiple topics at once. Thanks for considering my input.

Robert Cronk

In your presentation, you assert that the global collapse of WTC Building 7 was not explained by the NIST report that you gave a link to. In that report, it discusses the following scenario:

1. An initial local failure at the lower floors (below Floor 13) of the building due to fire and/or debris induced structural damage of a critical column (the initiating event), which supported a large span floor bay with an area of about 2,000 sq ft
2. Vertical progression of the initial local failure up to the east penthouse, as large floor bays were unable to redistribute the loads, bringing down the interior structure below the east penthouse
3. Horizontal progression of the failure across the lower floors (in the region of Floors 5 and 7, that were much thicker than the rest of the floors), triggered by damage due to the vertical failure
4. Events resulted in a disproportionate collapse of the entire structure

In my view, this combines some heavy architecture with physics. The missing link that you did not mention in your presentation is item #3 in the above list. The key architectural pieces involved are trusses 1 and 2. The architecture of floors 5 through 7 was unique because they had a transfer system between floors 5 and 7 that included the two trusses that are at the core of the collapse. This system of cantilever girders and trusses was supposed to be a kind of converter of loads between the Con-Edison substation (that WTC 7 was built on top of) and WTC 7 itself. The two buildings had different architectures and so there needed to be a conversion point between the two. The debris impacted and damaged components adjacent to truss #2. If trusses 1 and 2 failed, they would pull the whole line of columns over simultaneously since they were all attached in the middle of that transfer area between floors 5 and 7. “Floor 5 – which did not have any exterior windows and contained the only pressurized fuel distribution system on the south, west and north floor areas – is considered a possible fire initiation location”. Because there were no windows on that floor, fire observations from outside the building would not be possible. The orange section of the graphic below shows that a large portion of the south face was destroyed by debris from the towers and that this damage tore into WTC 7 about 1/4th of the thickness of that side of the building. This is part of the damage that weakened components near truss #2.

As I have gone and studied the architecture of this building and the pieces involved, I have found this explanation of the global collapse to be a reasonable explanation. At this point, please don’t move on to squibs or anything else. Let’s first finalize the facts before us and then move on to other topics afterward. What’s your take on this specific possibility?

Thu 20 Oct 2005 – Professor Jones replied the next day the way I feared he might – as explained above:

Robert -

Thanks for your comments. Since I teach class this afternoon, 3 – 5:20 pm, I will not be able to answer your questions in much detail now. But I would like to ask you a few things that come to mind. You wrote: “At this point, please don’t move on to squibs or anything else. Let’s first finalize the facts before us and then move on to other topics afterward.”

Now why should we restrict the discussion in this way? Are you asking me to ignore relevant data in the analysis? And not just squibs would I include – but also:
1. Is there sufficient heat in hydrocarbon fires to cause column failure?
2. Is there any evidence for such heat?
3. How does heat transport to the WHOLE building structure, an enormous heat sink, as well as shifting of loads, affect the building collapse?
4. Does collapse of trusses (How many do you argue?) lead to rapid and SYMMETRICAL collapse of the entire building, onto a small footprint as observed?
5. How does one account for the molten metal found in the basement of WTC 7 (and both Towers), post collapse?
6. How does one account for sulfidation and partial evaporation of metal beams found (and reported!) in WTC 7?

So, no, I’m not willing to consider facts in isolation, ignoring other facts. But perhaps you can explain why I should take such a non-scientific approach. Or explain these other facts in correlation with the arguments you raise about trusses. Then I will consider further your questions.

Steven Jones

I was a bit disappointed by his punting (refusing to address individual facts) and then moving to six other points – the conspiracy theory pattern strikes again. Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough with him. Perhaps I should have explained my approach better.

In my opinion, each piece of evidence should be able to stand on its own without being affected by or needing the support of any other fact. Once each individual fact has been proven true, then and only then can they all be gathered together and then an appropriate theory can be chosen that best matches the validated data.

I believe this to be one of the main logical fallacies of conspiracy theorists in general – just considering the hundreds of “maybes” without validating each one individually. He replied a few more times asking me a few questions about my explanation.

Looking back, I realize that I should have started with the firemen testimony and photographic and video evidence that shows that WTC 7 was so severely damaged on its south side (the side you never see in the demolition theory presentations) that the firemen set up a collapse zone hours before it actually collapsed, but we’ll get to that later.

Next we’ll be talking about diagonally cut columns, firemen testimony of WTC 7 damage, transits (what’s a transit?), laser doppler vibrometer evidence (what the?), photo and video evidence, and the extremely important issue of why a physicist would be talking about structural engineering, political, and religious issues.

We may even touch on how the majority of the scholars for truth’s membership is made up of mainly theologians, philosophers, English/literature teachers, etc. and not many engineers and why that might be important to the average person.

We might also talk about which scholar for truth believes the U.S. military is blowing up anti-matter weapons on Jupiter (he’s the engineer from France who hasn’t written anything on 9/11) and which one thinks a high energy beam was directed from WTC 7 toward the towers to blow them up – hint: his last name rhymes with “metzer” and he’s the co-chair who’s last name is not Jones. I’m being a smart aleck today – sorry.

Stay tuned and put on your thinking cap – be it cloth, leather, or tin foil – put it on and snug it up tight – this is going to be fun!

In my next post, I plan on discussing the details of Professor Jones’ powerpoint presentation and his paper along with bringing other evidence to the table that you don’t normally find on 9/11 sites. In some cases, I have dug deep to get this information. In other cases, it was a five-minute trip through Google to get to it – so why don’t the “9/11 truthers” find this stuff? It may remain a mystery until the end of time. See you in the next post.

Related Articles:
9/11, Steven Jones, and Me – Part 2
9/11, Steven Jones, and Me – Part 3
9/11, Steven Jones, and Me – Part 4

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Introducing Robert Cronk

I’m proud to announce Robert Cronk as a new author on LDS Patriot. Welcome, Robert! 

Robert is a software engineer from Utah who loves programming computers (for the last 28 years), playing volleyball and practicing martial arts (both for the last 8 years), creating techno music (www.mp3.com/cronk), raising his family, and researching random events such as 9/11.

He uses the basic logic skills he has learned throughout his years of programming to search through sets of information and sift out the truth and error in an objective and unbiased way.  He feels strongly that people need to walk in each other’s shoes and find common ground in order for a constructive discussion to occur. 

His motivation in publishing the information he has found is to put an objective, unbiased point of view out there that is not tied to a theory but to the evidence itself regardless of the theory it supports and regardless of the consequences of a particular theory being true or false. 

In his research, he has found very few voices out there that are not heavily vested in a theory being true and he thinks people deserve to hear an objective voice.  When people adhere strongly to a theory, they end up twisting and filtering evidence to match that theory and that path rarely leads to the truth.  He is open to all current theories about 9/11 and is also open to all current theories being false.

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Islamic Imperialism: A History

I’m 2/3 through an excellent and important book on Islam by Efraim Karsh entitled, Islamic Imperialism: A History. I will post excerpts shortly. Wiki Efraim Karsh

A History

Inside front cover

From the first Arab-Islamic Empire of the mid-seventh century to the Ottomans, the last great Muslim empire, the story of the Middle East has been the story of the rise and fall of universal empires and, no less important, of imperialist dreams. So argues Efraim Karsh in this highly provocative book. Rejecting the conventional Western interpretation of Middle Eastern history as an offshoot of global power politics, Karsh contends that the region’s experience is the culmination of long-existing indigenous trends, passions, and patterns of behavior, and that foremost among these is Islam’s millenarian imperial tradition.

The author explores the history of Islam’s imperialism and the persistence of the Ottoman imperialist dream that outlasted World War I to haunt Islamic and Middle Eastern politics to the present day.

September 11 can be seen as simply the latest expression of this dream, and such attacks have little to do with U.S. international behavior or policy in the Middle East, says Karsh. The House of Islam’s war for world mastery is traditional, indeed venerable, and it is a quest that is far from over.

In Islamic Imperialism, Karsh poses a fundamental challenge to the way we understand the history of the Middle East and the role of Islam in that region.

Inside back cover

Efraim Karsh is professor and head of the Mediterranean Studies Programme, King’s College, University of London. He has published extensively and often served as a consultant on Middle Eastern affairs, Soviet foreign policy, and European neutrality. His books include Empires of the Sand: The Struggle for Mastery in the Middle East, 1789-1923 and Saddam Hussein: A Political Biography.


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James Baker’s Terrible Iraq Report

Posted by permission from Dr. Daniel Pipes. Its appearance is independent of this blog, and should not be construed to either agree or disagree with the opinions expressed on this blog, or on any other website.

by Daniel Pipes
New York Sun
December 12, 2006
http://www.danielpipes.org/article/4192

[NY Sun title: “Baker Report Would Turn Failed Ideas Into Policy”]

The Iraq Study Group Report, cobbled together by ten individuals lacking specialized knowledge of Iraq, dredges up past failed U.S. policies in the Middle East and would enshrine them as current policy.

Most profoundly, regarding the American role in Iraq, the report moronically splits the difference of troops staying or leaving, without ever examining the basic premise of the U.S. government taking responsibility for the country’s minutiae, such as its setting up public works projects. Instead, the report unthinkingly accepts that strategic assumption and only tweaks tactics at the margins.

A preposterously lengthy list of 79 recommendations lies at the heart of the report. These include such gems as bringing in the (Saudi-sponsored) Organization of the Islamic Conference or the Arab League (no. 3) to decide Iraq’s future. Another creates an “Iraq International Support Group” that includes Iran, Syria (no. 5), and the United Nations secretary-general (no. 7).

Other brilliant recommendations call for the UN Security Council to handle the Iranian nuclear problem (no. 10) and for the support group to persuade Tehran to “take specific steps to improve the situation in Iraq” (no. 11). Right. The Iranian regime, whose president envisions a “world without America,” will save Washington’s bacon. Such counsel smacks at best of what the Jerusalem Post calls “staggering naïveté” and at worst of ghastly foolishness.

Of course, small minds assert that problems in Iraq are “inextricably linked” to the Arab-Israeli conflict – thereby repeating the precise mistake that lead co-chairman James A. Baker, III, made in 1991. He then led the effort to abandon the Persian Gulf and turn to the Palestinians, leaving Saddam Hussein in power for another dozen years and contributing directly to the present mess. In the new report, Mr. Baker and his colleagues call for a Palestinian state (no. 12) and even demand that a final settlement address the Palestinian “right of return” (no. 17) – code for dismantling the Jewish state. They peremptorily declare that “the Israelis should return the Golan Heights,” in return for a U.S. security guarantee (no. 16).

Besides the astonishing conceit of these Olympian declarations, one wonders how exactly the Iraqi civil war would be ended by pleasing the Palestinian Arabs. Or why the unresolved Arab-Israeli conflict is any more relevant to Iraq than the unresolved Azeri-Armenian conflict, which is closer to Iraq.

James A. Baker, III, instructs the president how to use the “Iraq Study Group Report.”

To make matters worse, Mr. Baker had the nerve to admonish the Bush administration not to treat the report’s 79 recommendations “like a fruit salad,” choosing one idea while rejecting another, but to accept it as a whole. Even in Washington, a town famous for arrogance, this statement made heads turn. That Mr. Baker and his co-chairman, Lee Hamilton, sat for a picture spread with famed photographer Annie Liebovitz for Men’s Vogue, a fashion magazine, only confirms the vacuity of their effort, as does their hiring the giant public relations firm, Edelman.

In all, the Iraq Study Group Report offers a unique combination of bureaucratic caution, false bi-partisanship, trite analysis, and conventional bromides.

Although the press reacted to this drivel, in the words of Daniel Henninger writing in the Wall Street Journal, with “neurotic glee,” Robert Kagan and William Kristol deemed it “dead on arrival,” and Iraq’s president, Jalal Talabani, called it “dead in the water.” One hopes they are right, that President George W. Bush ignores its recommendations, and that this “new lipstick on a very old pig” (Spencer Ackerman) quickly disappears from sight.

That’s not to say that Mr. Bush should “stay the course,” for that course has not worked. A host of creative ideas have been floated by individuals knowledgeable about Iraq, sympathetic to the administration’s goal of building a free, democratic, and prosperous Iraq, and not tempted to see their role as an exercise in preening. The White House should call on these talented individuals to brainstorm, argue, and emerge with some useful ideas about the future American role in Iraq.

Doing so means breaking with a presidential tradition, going back at least to 1919, of what I call a “know-nothing” Middle East diplomacy. Woodrow Wilson appointed two completely unqualified Americans to head a commission of inquiry to the Levant on the grounds, an aide explained, that Wilson “felt these two men were particularly qualified to go to Syria because they knew nothing about it.” This know-nothing approach failed America 87 years ago and it failed again now.


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“Violent jihad” to detonate grenades in Illinois shopping mall foiled

Lone wolf? Muslim or non-Muslim? Just last week I mentioned to two colleagues it seems only a matter of time when someone targets shopping malls.

FOXNews.com – Feds Arrest Man Who Planned to Detonate Grenades in Illinois Shopping Mall

CHICAGO – A man was arrested Friday by federal agents on charges of planning to set off hand grenades in garbage cans at a shopping mall.

Derrick Shareef, 22, of Rockford, was arrested when he met with an undercover agent in a parking lot to trade a set of stereo speakers for four hand grenades and a handgun.

Federal officials said he planned to set off four hand grenades in garbage cans at the CherryVale shopping mall in Rockford, about 90 miles northwest of Chicago.

He was charged with one count of attempting to damage or destroy a building by fire or explosion and one count of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. Officials say he was acting alone. …[Read more]


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The 2006 Weblog Awards: The 2006 Weblog Awards Finalists Announced

The 2006 Weblog Awards Finalists Announced

The Weblog Awards are the world’s largest blog competition, with over 1 million votes cast in the last three years for nearly 1,000 blogs. This year’s edition is the biggest ever with 45 categories to choose from. Nominations ended November 24, and voting is scheduled to begin December 7. …[Read more]


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Bush: Administration Will Take Iraq Study Group Report Seriously, Act Quickly

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6, 2006 – The report issued today by the Iraq Study Group offers an opportunity for government leaders to come together and work toward a solution in Iraq, and the administration will take the report’s recommendations very seriously, President Bush said here today.

“This report gives a very tough assessment of the situation in Iraq,” Bush said after receiving a copy of the report this morning at the White House. “It is a report that brings some really very interesting proposals, and we will take every proposal seriously, and we will act in a timely fashion.”

Members of the administration and Congress won’t agree on every proposal put forth in the report, Bush acknowledged, but added that this is an important opportunity for leaders to work together for the good of the country. He thanked the members of the commission for their work, noting that they have made a vital contribution to the U.S. and the future of Iraq and the Middle East.

“We can achieve long-lasting peace for this country, and it requires tough work,” Bush said. “It also requires a strategy that will be effective, and we’ve got men and women of both political parties around this table who spent a lot of time thinking about the way forward in Iraq and the way forward in the Middle East.”

The 10-member bipartisan Iraq Study Group is co-chaired by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Congressman Lee Hamilton. The group’s report will now move to Congress for consideration.

Iraq Study Group Home Page

Related articles:

BBC: Report ‘urges Iraq policy shift’

Updates: News results for iraq study group


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False Religion to Fascism

David of lds doctrine wrote a great post called False Religion to Fascism. His thesis is that “The Book of Mormon speaks of 3 things that if propagated thoughout a people would result in their eventual destruction…#1 False Religion…#2 Fascism…#3 Secret Combinations…[Read more]


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Flying imams stage discrimination

When considering the facts this video brings to light, it’s clear these Muslim imams are liars.

In short, they setup the entire “discrimination” charade as a tactic to shame American’s for thinking suspiciously about suspicious behavior.

SOUTALKUFFAR

Last week, six Muslim men were removed from a plane in Minneapolis. They claimed to be victims of “discrimination.” Do you know the WHOLE story? If not, please read the police report and eyewitness reports from the incident before you make up your mind.

Watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5Qx4u-Uua8

Relate post:

When and Where to Pray, Muslim Opinions Differ


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NBC poll: Mitt Romney for Pres? Vote NOW

Poll question: Would you vote for a Mormon for president?

Vote now: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15936002/

Let your voice be heard.

Vote now:http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15936002/

Video: Mormon in the White House? Nov. 27: While Barack Obama may have to overcome his race to become president, intriguing potential Republican candidate Mitt Romney may have to overcome his religion. MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson discusses with Michael Graham, host of “The Natural Truth” radio show in Boston. http://video.msn.com/v/us/msnbc.htm?g=2466b4a4-f728-4f4f-8185-ad856ddc666b&f=00&fg=email

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Allah wants me for a Jihadist

Sung to the tune of Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam, here is an old time Jihadist favorite, Allah wants me for a Jihadist!

Allah wants me for a Jihadist
To die for Him each day;
In every way try to kill for Him,
At home, at school, at play.

A Jihadist, a Jihadist,
Allah wants me for a Jihadist;
A Jihadist, a Jihadist,
I’ll be a Jihadist for Him.

Allah wants me to be hateful,
And kill all Jews & Infidels I see;
Showing how murderous and deadly
His little bomber can be.

I will ask Allah to help me
Jihadding as mujahidin,
Ever reflecting His goodness,
And always terrorize for Him.

I’ll be a Jihadist for Allah;
I can if I but die;
Serving Him murder by murder,
Then live with Virgins on high.

Related article:

The Religious Foundations of Suicide Bombings, Islamist Ideology, by David Bukay

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Scholars for 9/11 Truth collapse. Steven Jones gets the boot.

Did Steven Jones get kicked out of Scholars for 9/11 Truth? It appears to be so.

Poor homeless Steven Jones, abandoned by BYU.

Now his homies at Scholars for 9/11 Truth do not want Steven Jones anymore either; apparently he got kicked out of Scholars for 9/11 by Fetzer.

Scholars for 9/11 Truth has imploded.

Which means that their prestige among the 9/11 Denial Movement has been shattered. As one die-hard Truther laments:

Anyway we can say goodbye to the Scholars, or at least to the Scholars as the center piece for the “Truth Movement.” (source)

Click here to read the start of the major fight between Fetzer and Jones which caused the schism. It is so absurd, bizarre, conspiratorial, unprofessional, moronic and demonstrative of the extreme dysfunctional nature of the group and its star individuals that it comes as no surprise Scholars for 9/11 Truth have imploded. Or did the Government cause the schism and ultimate collapse using thermite?

Did I mention Jones work is to be published in a political opinion book and not a science journal? And when questioned about that reality he refused to answer and changed the subject.

Related post:
9/11 conspiratorialist Steven Jones on paid leave from BYU
Pattern of Secret Combinations in the Book of Mormon
Protec answers Steven Jones’ “Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Completely Collapse?”
Cultural Jihadists

Documentary – The Arab and Iranian Reaction to 9-11: Five Years Later
9/11 Conspiracy Cereal: A Few Nuts and a Bunch of Flakes
Wisconsin Instructor’s 9/11 Conspiracy Theories ill-serve Students
Feds challenge 9/11 conspiracies

9/11 Conspiracies

Related sites:
www.911myths.com
www.debunking911.com
www.debunking911myths.com

Related articles:
TIME: Why The 9/11 Conspiracies Won’t Go Away

The 9/11 Conspiracists and the Decline of the Anmerican Left

Manuel Garcia Jr, physicist and engineer, presents his three separate reports, undertaken for CounterPunch.

  1. Part One is his report on the Physics of 9/11.
  2. Part Two (published here for the first time) is his report on the Thermodynamics of 9/11.
  3. Part Three, “Dark Fire“, is his report on the collapse of the World Trade Center’s Building 7.

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The Great Satan

Comment on lds doctrine blog

Broz, thanks for the post. Your right about the epithet “The Great Satan,” made famous by Ayatollah Khomeini in the Iranian Revolution. Satan in not an imperialist. Satan is a tempter.

Islamists are sexually puritanical, to the point that dances at churches are all the evidence needed to convict the West to hell, and sufficient justification for militant jihad. Sayyid Qutb, Islamists icon, wrote in the 1950s’ of church dances, “where people of both sexes meet, mix and touch …who even go so far as to dim the lights to facilitate the fury of the dance … (T)he dance is inflamed by the notes of a gramophone (and) the dance hall becomes a whirl of heels and thighs, arms enfold hips, lips and breasts meet, and the air is full of lust.”

Sayyid Qutb writings are one of the main references for jihadists today.


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Congressional oath of office: Bible v. Koran

Prager wrote an article denouncing Ellison’s use of the Koran to take his oath of office.

I disagree with Prager, and believe Ellison has every right to use which holy book he wants. While I am no fan of multiculturalism and political correctness, I am adamant about the principle of Freedom of Religion.

The 11th article of faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reads: We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

Dennis Prager: America, Not Keith Ellison, decides what book a congressman takes his oath on:

Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to the United States Congress, has announced that he will not take his oath of office on the Bible, but on the bible of Islam, the Koran.

He should not be allowed to do so — not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization. …

Nor has one Mormon official demanded to put his hand on the Book of Mormon. …[Read more]


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Gaza cease-fire

Posted by permission from Dr. Daniel Pipes. Its appearance is independent of this blog, and should not be construed to either agree or disagree with the opinions expressed on this blog, or on any other website

by Daniel Pipes
Jerusalem Post
November 28, 2006
http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/711

Question asked of Jerusalem Post columnists: “While many argue that the cease-fire in Gaza has no chance of holding, some believe it can, arguing that it is in the best interests of all sides involved (Israel, Abbas, Hamas) to reach a more comprehensive deal that would include the release of Gilad Shalit and hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. What’s your position?” For all replies, see “Burning Issues #14: Gaza cease-fire

Until Arabs give up their effort to eliminate Israel, a cease-fire is all that Israelis can hope for. From the Rhodes Armistice to the Egypt-Israel treaty to the Oslo accords to the 2003 hudna, each respite in warfare has been temporary.

Cease-fires benefit Israel in two main ways. They end the killing and they offer the time for Israel to improve its war-making abilities.

But these cease-fires invariably come to an end, warfare resumes, and Israel must again fight and win before a new cessation of hostilities begins. Each cease-fire, in other words, contains the seeds of its own demise, each war contains the premise for the next lull.

All that said, the instant and multiple violations of the most recent cease-fire makes it unlikely to have much staying power.

Related articles:

Haaretz: Palestinians can’t be war criminals

TIME.com: Making the Gaza Cease-Fire Stick — Page 1

Guardian: Rogue rockets fail to shatter Gaza ceasefire deal

BBC: Press doubts over Gaza ceasefire

Haaretz: Qassam lands near Sderot in violation of cease-fire

Haaretz: Rice will tell Abbas ‘Don’t miss opportunity’


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Right war, botched occupation

 

by Michael Rubin
USA Today
November 27, 2006

http://www.meforum.org/article/1061

As U.S. troops entered Iraq, President Bush promised freedom and democracy. But rather than establish a stable democracy, today terrorists and militias tear the country apart. After billions spent and the sacrifice of almost 3,000 U.S. troops, it is right to ask whether democracy in Iraq was not a fool’s dream.

It was not.

President Truman faced similar questions about Korea. Critics accused him of embroiling America in open-ended war, ignoring his generals and losing touch with reality. They said democracy was alien to Korean culture. Time proved them wrong. Any juxtaposition of nuclear North Korea with democratic South Korea shows the value of Truman’s policy.

Bush was right to liberate Iraq. Saddam Hussein had started two wars, used chemical weapons and subsidized suicide bombers. He claimed to have weapons of mass destruction. Sanctions had collapsed; containment failed.

With military action inevitable, the White House was right to pursue democracy. Cynical realism created Saddam. Iraqis who fled their country, meanwhile, had no problem accepting democracy; Iraq’s problem was both its rule of law and its dictator’s unaccountability.

What went wrong? Iraq’s transformation was undercut by naive faith, not in democracy but rather in diplomacy. Instead of securing Iraq’s borders, the Bush administration accepted Syrian and Iranian pledges of non-interference. They believed the canard that Iraq’s neighbors sought a stable, secure Iraq. Both countries exploited U.S. trust.

Then, to win United Nations support, the White House defined itself as an occupying power. Overnight, liberation became occupation, and Iraqi democrats became collaborators. To appease Paris and Berlin, the Bush administration justified insurgent rhetoric.

Iraqis embraced democracy, but the wrong kind. U.N. experts sold the White House an election system based on party slates rather than on districts. Any system in which politicians are more accountable to party leaders than constituents, though, encourages ethnic nationalism and sectarian populism. Add militias to the mix, and the result is explosive.

Iraqis greeted U.S. troops as liberators, but the Bush administration fumbled the occupation. Blaming democracy does not address the cause of strife; rather, it absolves policymakers for poor decisions and implementation. Too much is at stake, not only for Iraq but also for U.S. national security, if policymakers learn the wrong lessons.

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

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