Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11 Legacies, Goin' to Carolina in My Mind

Dana Milbank
Timothy Geithner
Jarret Brachman
Gerald Posner

"al Qaeda is beginning to realize that it is a lot more effective at being a movement, an ideology, even a worldview. It is starting to see that terrorism is only one of many tools in its arsenal and that changing minds matters more than changing policies... Unfortunately, however, our own mindset has remained mostly unchanged." - Jarret Brachman

More is being written today about 9/11 than yesterday, when everyone was obsessed by South Carolina's pride and joy, Rep Joe Wilson. The last two links above are about the current state of al Qaeda and on two of its current leaders, pretty chilling reading. Tomorrow will be Glenn Beck's shameless attempt to capitalize...

9/11 is still with us...
Because what happened on 9/11 was so tragic and filmed on TV, it has struck a chord in our national psyche, has become a part of our identity and history, explaining much of our actions today. It's been responsible for two current wars and much of our foreign policy. Even though Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11, many people still believe the myth.

Many myths and conspiracy theories still circulate because the questions they raise have never been satisfactorily answered, and "the possibility that the 9/11 Commission Report was on many levels a cover-up for the failure of the US government to prevent the tragedy. Deeper past the threshold is the idea that the report failed to address sources of assistance to the terrorism." If you ask questions you are derided as a Truther, similar to the Birthers, who really are nuts...

I know I was unsatisfied by the 9/11 Commission's report, and I've read all of the books critical of what it didn't address. A couple things that really bothered me, besides Rudy Guliani's grandstanding and trying to build a political career on the backs of dead Americans, is when people made a profit monetarily from the tragedy:

"Six months before the 9/11 attacks, the cluster of buildings that constitute the World Trade Center are purchased by a private investor for a relatively paltry sum of $200 million. (That was the first time in its 33-year history the complex had changed ownership). The new owner has the foresight (again miraculous, no doubt) to insure the buildings against terrorist attacks... The owner of the buildings slips up on national television and admits that he ordered one of the towers (building 7) to be “pulled”. A “Pull”—jargon for controlled demolition—requires months of planning and preparation. Yet, no one to this day has asked this man how he managed to achieve this incredible feat in a matter of hours, and amidst the chaos of 9/11. The 9/11 Commission surely must also have assumed this to be a miracle because they did not even address this in their report. That the insurance company paid out 7 billion dollars without even the slightest investigation—even after the owner’s admission of a ‘pull’—only compounds the magnitude of this miracle.

Billions in profits are made off put options shortly before 9/11 wherein investors made up to $15 billion in a frenzy of trading betting that certain stocks would fall in value over the next few days. These included stocks in the two Airlines that would suffer most from 9/11. In fact, the profits were so staggering and unprecedented that it caused Bloomberg News to exclaim: “This would be the most extraordinary coincidence in the history of mankind if it was a coincidence. This could very well be insider trading at the worst, most horrific, most evil use you’ve ever seen in your entire life. It’s absolutely unprecedented.” That these things have never been investigated and publicized is the worst legacy from 9/11, letting people make billions of dollars in profit, and launching two wars that has cost so many lives and polarized our nation and the world is the greatest sin...

QUESTION AUTHORITY... and put them in jail...
We have so much corruption going on in our country and we let it go on, encourage the biggest frauds until they are blatantly exposed and are forced to do something about them. At least countries like Taiwan have the courage to go after the big dogs, from al Jazeera: 'Chen Shui-bian, Taiwan's former president, and his wife have been jailed for life on corruption charges involving millions of dollars.

Chen, the first former Taiwan leader to be put on trial, was also fined $6m after being
convicted of embezzling state funds, money laundering and accepting bribes, a district court in the capital, Taipei, said in a statement on Friday."

The Lebanese Prime Minister, Saad Hariri stepped down, and then two rockets were fired into Israel by joyous Hezbollah, prompting a response by Israel of firing eight of their own back...

Benjamin Netanyahu disappears from Israel for an afternoon on Thursday, the population hopes he hasn't gone hiking anywhere, and today Russia warns that an attack on Iran could be imminent... To tantalize us further, Vladimeer Putin hints that he may run for the Russian presidency come next election. Oh, there's a surprise! Military strategists have been promoting that such an attack would remove the threat of Iran's nuclear ambitions for quite awhile, and force them to talk in earnest in diplomatic talks instead of blowing us off... They feel that trying to freeze Iranian assets is not enough.

more than a state of mind...

"If Joe Wilson's mother and father were alive, they'd have taken him to the woodshed and flogged him for bad manners and poor form," said former South Carolina Republican Party Chair Katon Dawson. "But let me tell you what was [said] at the diner today. It was: 'Joe's right.'

There's a story in Politico about what could possibly be going on in the state of South Carlina, it's more than just state of mind... It has given us the current crop of Republican liars, cheaters, and crazies in Joe Wilson, Mark Sanford,  and Jim DeMint. Who could forget Strom Thurmond, saying one racist thing in public while secretly supporting his half-Black daughter...

"South Carolina is a state that's always loved having characters for politicians," said Bruce Haynes, a political consultant who served as an aide to Campbell. "There's been no shortage of South Carolina politicians over the past 50 years who have said some interesting and outrageous things. And they tend to be reelected by large margins."

While the state has also elected loose-cannon Democrats like Sen. Fritz Hollings, whose seat DeMint won when Hollings retired in 2004, it's no accident that its high-profile politicians tend to be Republicans these days or that they don’t feel bound by the constraints felt by their colleagues in more politically competitive states.

"It has traditionally been a pretty deep-red state and I think that Republican politicians feel that there's not a limit to what they can do or say when it comes to Democratic elected officials, particularly the president," said former Democratic Gov. Jim Hodges, who was defeated by Sanford in 2002. "In most places, they play the sport of politics every two or four years. In South Carolina, they play it every year. It is more important than football, to some degree."

late night jokes:

"I am not getting on Congressman Wilson's case for disagreeing with the president...Every congressman has a vote, he should use it, but not in the middle of a speech to a joint session of Congress. That's not what you do. It's not the Jerry Springer Show. You can't stand up in the middle of Congress and say 'Oh no you did not!' What the hell is wrong with you? He said his emotions got the better of him. Sometimes I want to have sex with a hooker, but I don't!" --Craig Ferguson

"Barack Obama, of course, is not the first president to have 'you lie' yelled at him. Bill Clinton got that all the time, but only from Hillary. And that was only after he came home and told her he lost his pants in a tornado." –Craig Ferguson

"Back when George Bush was president, Democrats in Congress, to be fair, would occasionally go 'Boooo!' But President Bush never took it personally, he just thought Congress was haunted." --Craig Ferguson

"After Joe Wilson's outburst, everyone was shocked. Because usually when a politician shoots off his mouth and makes a fool of himself, his name is Joe Biden. But even Vice President Biden said he was embarrassed by Wilson's behavior. This is Joe Biden we're talking about. Joe Biden saying it's embarrassing is like an Australian bartender saying you've had too much to drink." --Craig Ferguson

"When Wilson yelled 'you lie' at the president, I don't think he handled it very well. The president should go out and hone his material in some comedy clubs and deal with hecklers. Obama should have said, 'Hey buddy, do I come to your state and knock the wiener out of your governor's mistress?'" --Craig Ferguson

"During President Obama's speech, a congressman heckled him. This guy from South Carolina begins to heckle the guy, and I thought, OK, so now Gov. Mark Sanford is the second most embarrassing politician from South Carolina" --David Letterman

"John McCain, here's a guy who's seen it all, he was shocked. He said he hasn't seen anything like this since Aaron Burr heckled Alexander Hamilton." --David Letterman

"Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, also shocked. At least that's what she said. You can't tell because her face doesn't move." --David Letterman

"Sarah Palin had a big op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, and she said she’s against death panels. And I thought, ‘Really? She’s the one who pulled the plug on the McCain campaign.'" --David Letterman

"President Obama made his big healthcare address to a joint session of Congress last night. It went pretty well, except for one weird part in the middle of it, when a congressman from South Carolina suddenly yelled out, 'You lie!' It's amazing this guy was able to sit through seven years of President Bush telling him everything in Iraq is fine without a peep, but last night, he yells out, 'You lie!'" --Jimmy Kimmel

"Even his fellow Republicans were horrified. He apologized immediately after the speech. He said he was watching 'Gossip Girl' on his iPod, and that Blair such a bitch he just couldn't hold it in." --Jimmy Kimmel

"Republican Congressman Joe Wilson apologized for calling President Obama a liar during his speech on health care. Obama accepted Wilson's apology, and then invited him to appear before a death panel." –Conan O'Brien

"During last night's health care speech, President Obama's told Republicans that the time for games has passed. Obama had to say that because most Republicans were on their BlackBerrys playing Brick Breaker." –Conan O'Brien

"Earlier today, he's still going, President Obama gave another speech about health care. This one to a roomful of nurses. Yeah. Still no word on what Bill Clinton was doing there." --Conan O'Brien

"Yesterday, Florida Senator Mel Martinez, the only Hispanic Republican in the Senate, officially stepped down. Yeah. The Republican senator who replaced Martinez thanked him, and then had him deported." --Conan O'Brien

David Letterman's Top Ten Joe Wilson Excuses

10. "Shouldn't have gone tailgating before the speech"
9. "Ashton Kutcher put me up to it"
8. "Was trying to impress that hellcat Nancy Pelosi"
7. "Thought I was in the audience at Maury"
6. "Uh...Swine Flu?"
5. "I'm an idiot?"
4. "Yeah, I accused a politician of lying. What was I thinking?"
3. "I thought it was a roast"
2. "It's been weeks since a Republican politician embarrassed the state of South Carolina"
1. "Nobody cared when McCain yelled, 'Bingo!'"

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