Paul Simon – “Sounds of Silence” at Ground Zero

This one strikes me as symbolic of the mixed feelings about what has become of 911, and the way it has been used to justify war and atrocity by the Bush Administration – and even today is used in political advertisement.

This 1965 song was written after the JFK assassination. It is widely interpreted as a peon of the willingness of people to buy into false leaders, and false causes – and the failure to listen and communicate because it is easier to follow a leader than think.

I think the “false prophets” in this version are the Giuliani and Bushes who used the event so cynically for political purposes,  in the case of Bush to lead us into another war, or the case of Carl Rove as another “wedge issue” to divide America.

This is the Ground Zero version -

This is the original Simon and Garfunkel version before an electronic background was added for the Album -

My favorite Paul Simon song?

Continue reading

Plastic Patriotism And the Theft of 9-11

Krugman nails this one. There quite simply isn’t enough lipstick in the world to put on the pig conservatives and Republicans made of 9-11 to cover up the ugly.

Guliani tried to use the grief and anger over 9-11 to mount a Presidential campaign, covering up the fact that the reason so many First Responders died had to do with his own self serving decisions resulting in communications systems which failed.

Faux News and conservative brought us “United We Stand” – not as an apolitical joining of American bringing us all together with common purpose – but as a political vehicle.

George Bush dancing in a sock stuffed monkey suit across the deck of a US Carrier with the banner “Mission Accomplished”.

George Bush and Dick Cheney lying us into an illicit invasion of Iraq, with Condo’s “Mushroom cloud in the back yard” analogy, upping the ante on the 9-11 tragedy despite there never being any evidence to support Saddam having WMDs. Saddam paid for his treason against the Iraqi people… You seen anyone here yet pay for murdering 5,000 Americans and bankrupting the country in an illegitimate war whose only real beneficiaries were contracting corporations such as Dick Cheney’s who stole  at least a third of the trillion dollars America poured on the ground in Iraq.

The use of 9-11 imagery in blatant political ads.

10 years later, and despite Katrina, First Responder communications systems which are still dysfunctional and can’t talk to each other because of blatant corruption in the halls of Congress, and K street pay for play set up by Tom Delay.

Shuck and Jive, Duck and Cover… And the spending of trillions on a massive “1984” style security infrastructure that crushes Constitutional guarantees and would make the Gestapo in Nazi Germany or the KGB in Communist Russia cry with envy.

The Years of Shame

Is it just me, or are the 9/11 commemorations oddly subdued?

Actually, I don’t think it’s me, and it’s not really that odd.

What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. The atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons.

A lot of other people behaved badly. How many of our professional pundits — people who should have understood very well what was happening — took the easy way out, turning a blind eye to the corruption and lending their support to the hijacking of the atrocity?

The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And in its heart, the nation knows it.

 

 

Arline Security Incident in Flight to NYC

This one is strange. I am a frequent flyer, and I can’t imagine anyone wanting to spend a moment longer than necessary in one of those tiny on-board bathrooms on a commercial airliner. They aren’t designed to be comfortable intentionally – to encourage passengers to spend as little time as possible – instead of taking a magazine to read half the flight preventing other passengers from having access.

So if 3 passengers lock themselves in, and refuse to come out – there’s a problem. a BIG problem. And with airplane food being confined to a bag of chips and a stale cookie anymore…

It wasn’t something they ate.

Definitely no room for a Jacuzzi...

Military jets safely escort flight to NYC

Two fighter jets escorted a New York-bound American Airlines flight from Los Angeles after three passengers locked themselves in the bathroom Sunday, the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, officials said.

A law enforcement official said it wasn’t thought to be terrorism, and American Airlines spokesman Tim Smith said, “In our eyes, it’s a big nothing.”

The North American Aerospace Defense Command scrambled two F-16 jets to shadow Flight 34 until it landed safely at New York’s Kennedy Airport at 4:10 p.m. Sunday, the Transportation Security Administration said in a statement.

The nature of the incident was unclear, but the passengers locked themselves in the bathroom and were still inside when the plane landed, the law enforcement official said. The official was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Law enforcement met the flight and will interview passengers, the TSA statement said. The FBI responded to the airport.

The jets intercepted the flight about 100 miles west of New York and shadowed it until it landed, said John Cornelio, spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command. He described the measure as precautionary.

Smith said a “security concern” was brought to the airline’s attention but the plane’s captain never declared any sort of security threat and never requested law enforcement help.

He said the crew used “normal procedures” to assess the circumstances and the plane landed as planned.

New York has been in a heightened state of security after federal officials received a credible but uncorroborated tip of a car bomb plot on the anniversary in either New York or Washington.

Did Faux News Also Tap Phones in America? New Allegations…

The real question about the Rupert Murdoch media empire is whether the News of the World phone hacking scandal was a “one off” crime by a few bad folks…

Or whether it was the sort of illicit activity supported and promoted throughout the media empire by the senior management.

This report is about claims by a former Faux News Executive who claims that Faux News secretly financed, organized, and operated the same sort of back room secret operation committing illicit and illegal invasions of personal privacy through phone tapping, hacking, and other nefarious methods.

Of course about now, you have to figure most of the staff of this operation are on fast flights to Siberia for extended “vacations”…

But there still should be enough tracks here for sophisticated cyber-sleuths to check the veracity of the accusations.

Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News ran ‘black ops’ department, former executive claims

Dan Cooper, who helped launch Fox News as managing editor in 1996, said that a “brain room” carried out “counter intelligence” on the channel’s enemies from its New York headquarters.

He was threatened after it found out he spoke to a reporter, he claimed.

Another former senior executive said the channel ran a spying network on staff, reading their emails and making them “feel they were being watched”.

The channel, which has come under pressure amid allegations that outlets owned by Mr Murdoch might have attempted to hack the voicemail messages of September 11 victims, firmly denies all the allegations.

Mr Cooper, who left Fox News soon after its launch, provided a quote for a 1997 article about Roger Ailes, Fox News’s president, by the journalist David Brock in New York magazine.

The quote was not going to be attributed to him, but he alleges that before the article was published, Mr Cooper’s agent received a telephone call from Mr Ailes threatening to withdraw Fox’s business from all his clients.

“There are only two possible ways Ailes found out,” Mr Cooper said. “Either Brock told him or they got hold of Brock’s phone records and saw I spoke to him.”

He first alleged that the records were obtained by researchers in the “brain room” in 2005 in an article on his website about the launch of the channel.

“Most people thought it was simply the research department of Fox News,” he wrote. “I knew it also housed a counter intelligence and black ops office. So accessing phone records was easy pie.”

Mr Cooper said yesterday that he helped to design the high-security unit. “It was staffed by 15 researchers and had a guard at the door. No one working there would engage in conversation.”…

Another former Fox News senior executive, who did not wish to be named, said staff were forced to operate under conditions reminiscent of “Russia at the height of the Soviet era”.

“There is a paranoid atmosphere and they feel they are being watched,” said the former executive. “I have no doubt they are spying on emails to ensure no one is leaking to outside media.

“There is a unit of spies that reports up to the boss about who was talking to whom. A lot of people are scared that they’re going to get sidelined or even that they’re going to get killed.”…

 

Islamic Services At The Pentagon

American soldiers come in all colors, they can be from anywhere and are a cross section of the peoples from all of the varied places Americans come from…

American Muslim Soldiers at Prayers

At Pentagon 9/11 site, Muslims pray without objection

Inside the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial Chapel, a female Air Force sergeant unlaced her combat boots, set them under the pews and slipped her black veil around her hair and over her camouflaged uniform.

The men pushed back the altar for Christian services to make room for their large green prayer rugs; then they moved the podium from one side of the room to the other so that the congregation would be facing Mecca.

“Allah akhbar,” called out Ali Mohammed, a contractor who works at the Pentagon, raising his hands to his face as he chanted the call to prayer. While politicians and others across the country in an election year debate the propriety of building a Muslim center, including a mosque, two blocks from the former World Trade Center site in New York, there’s no sign of such debate at the Pentagon.

Instead, about 400 worshipers, including Muslims, attend prayer services every week in the chapel, a non-denominational facility built over the rubble left behind when American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into the Pentagon.

Opponents of the New York mosque say it would be disrespectful of those killed on Sept. 11, 2001, to allow Muslims to pray near the World Trade Center site.

That’s never been an issue at the Pentagon, where 125 people who worked there died that day. Muslims have been praying at the Pentagon’s chapel since 2002, gathering every day at 2 p.m. around the time of the second of five prayers Muslims are supposed to offer daily. Continue reading

There is no Ground Zero Mosque…

Olbermann hammers it home!

Keith Ellison Explains It, The Way Obama Shoulda’

Screaming high level debate now about the right of a Muslim group to build a Mosque near Ground Zero in NYC. President Obama stepped in it Friday, with support for the Mosque being built – which has had every Republican and bigot (but I repeat myself) in the United States bouncing off the walls. In usual form, President Obama has failed to stand up, and clearly and unequivocally justify his support for allowing the Mosque to be built on American Principle.

Representative Keith Ellison (D), in a debate with Peter King of NY (R) lays out exactly why those who oppose the Mosque are contrary to our tradition and core American values  of Religious Freedom, the words and beliefs of the Founding Fathers, and out Constitution.

Can we finally get some backbone here, President Obama?

Sympathy for the Devil, the Victimization of Bigots at the “Ground Zero” Mosque

How do you tell when the right wing is losing an argument…

They get page time for a really vicious screed in the Wall Street Journal declaring their victim status.

The short version of this is that an Moslem group wishes to build a Mosque on property they own near the site of the WTC. There are a couple of reasons they want to do that -

  1. There was a Mosque there already – prior to 911. Indeed, the reason they own the land in the first place is that there was a Mosque already there – which had to be demolished because the roof was caved in by part of one of the airplanes which hit the towers.
  2. Second, the new building isn’t actually only a Mosque. It’s an Interfaith Center where all are welcome, and Movie Theater which will participate in the Tribeca Film Festival.
  3. By most lists, at least 60 innocent Muslims were killed in the 911 attacks. Muslims, just like Jews and Christians, have a piece of this tragedy as well.

This one really doesn’t add up to more than your typical right wing “ism”. Hatred of everyone, and everything which isn’t white, male, and preferably Protestant quasi-Christian. “Quasi-christian”? Yeah – as much hate as has been directed at black folks, Jewish Folks, and now Hispanic and Muslim folks, sanctified in the very same churches…

It’s got nothing to do with anything in the Bible… Or Torah for that matter.

On with the “Victimization of Bigots!”

Liberal Piety and the Memory of 9/11

Americans may have lacked for much in the course of their history, but never instruction in social values. The question today is whether Americans of any era have ever confronted the bombardment of hectoring and sermonizing now directed at those whose views are deemed insufficiently enlightened—an offense regularly followed by accusations that the offenders have violated the most sacred principles of our democracy.

It doesn’t take a lot to become the target of such a charge. There is no mistaking the beliefs on display in these accusations, most recently in regard to the mosque about to be erected 600 feet from Ground Zero. Which is that without the civilizing dictates of their superiors in government, ordinary Americans are lost to reason and decency. They are the kind of people who—as a recent presidential candidate put it—cling to their guns and their religion.

There is no better exemplar of that faith than New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, though in this he is hardly alone. Compared with the Obama White House, Mr. Bloomberg is a piker in the preachments and zealotry department. Still, no voice brings home more unforgettably the attitudes that speak for today’s enlightened and progressive class.

Immediately after the suspect in the attempted car bombing near Times Square was revealed to be Faisal Shahzad, of Pakistani origin, Mayor Bloomberg addressed the public. In admonishing tones—a Bloomberg trademark invariably suggestive of a school principal who knows exactly what to expect of the incorrigibles it is his unhappy fate to oversee—the mayor delivered a warning. There would be no toleration of “any bias or backlash against Pakistani or Muslim New Yorkers.”

That there has been a conspicuous lack of any such behavior on the part of New Yorkers or Americans elsewhere from the 9/11 attacks to the present seems not to have impressed Mr. Bloomberg. Nor has it caused any moderation in the unvarying note of indignation the mayor brings to these warnings. It’s reasonable to raise a proper caution. It’s quite something else to do it as though addressing a suspect rabble.

It’s hard to know the sort of rabble the mayor had in mind when he told a television interviewer, prior to Shahzad’s identification, that it “could be anything,” someone mentally disturbed, or “somebody with a political agenda who doesn’t like the health-care bill.” Nowhere in the range of colorful possibilities the mayor raised was there any mention of the most likely explanation—another terrorist attempt by a soldier of radical Islam, the one that occurred to virtually every American who had heard the reports.

The citizens were, of course, right. Those leaders bent on dissuading them from their grasp of the probable cause of this near disaster were left with their red herrings hanging—but remembered. Mr. Bloomberg’s “someone who doesn’t like the health-care bill” would be inscribed in the golden book of howlers these events have yielded, along with Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano’s brisk assurance there was no evidence this was anything but “a one-off.”

The notion that it is for the greater good that the people be led to suspect virtually any cause but the one they had the most reason to fear reflects a contempt for the citizenry that’s of longstanding, but never so blatant as today. It is in the interest of higher values, Americans understand—higher, that is, than theirs—that they are now expected to accept official efforts to becloud reality.

Such values were the rationale for the official will to ignore the highly suspicious behavior of Maj. Nidal Hasan, who went on to murder 13 Americans at Fort Hood. A silence maintained despite all his commanders and colleagues knew about his raging hostility to the U.S. military and his strident advocacy on behalf of political Islam.

Those who knew—and they were many—chose silence out of fear of seeming insensitive to a Muslim. As one who had said nothing in the interest of this higher good later explained, Maj. Hasan was, after all, one of the few top-ranking Muslim officers the army had.

In the plan for an Islamic center and mosque some 15 stories high to be built near Ground Zero, the full force of politically correct piety is on display along with the usual unyielding assault on all dissenters. The project has aroused intense opposition from New Yorkers and Americans across the country. It has also elicited remarkable streams of oratory from New York’s political leaders, including Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

“What are we all about if not religious freedom?” a fiery Mr. Cuomo asked early in this drama. Mr. Cuomo, running for governor, has since had less to say…

Rep Anthony Weiner Hammers Republicans For Killing Health Care for 9/11 First Responders

Rep Anthony Weiner goes off on Rethugs who have just voted down a bill to provide medical care to the First Responders of 9-11.

Tea Party Express… Self-Demolition in Texas

First the Tea Baggers paid $100.000 to listen to some inane drivel by the Sno’ Ho’, who basically self-destructed by using her Hillbilly Palm Pilot…

Debra Medina, the Tea Party candidate for the Republican nomination to run for Governor of Texas (the Texas Gun Ho’?) blew her candidacy up this morning on the uber friendly Glenn Beck Show.

Tea Party Candidate - Texas Gun Ho', Debra Medina

Debra Medina self-destructs on Glenn Beck radio show

This candidacy will self-destruct in five seconds…

Texas Republican gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina imploded on the Glenn Beck radio program this morning when she said she didn’t have an opinion on whether the US government was behind the 9/11 attacks.

Medina, who has literally come out of nowhere to quickly become a legitimate candidate in the Republican primary, first laughed when Beck said he had received emails from listeners saying she was a “9/11 truther.”

“That’s the first time I’ve heard of that accusation,” she said, not exactly denying the charge.

Government conspiracy?

So Beck asked her straight up: “Do you believe the government was in any way involved in the bringing down of the World Trade Centers on 9/11?”

Easy answer, right? Nope.

“I think some very good questions have been raised in that regard,” Medina replied. “There are some very good arguments, and I think the American people have not seen all of the evidence there, so I have not taken a position on that.”

That answer caused a stir in the studio. Beck quickly followed up by asking her if she would disavow any of her staff if they were “9/11 truthers.”

“Well, you know, that’s a federal issue. We’re very focused on issues in Texas, on Texas state government,” she said. “I’m certainly not into mind control or thought policing people. “We’ve got a very diverse team in this state and that’s because Texans are standing shoulder to shoulder to support and defend the Constitution. I frankly don’t have time, you know, to go through and do psychological testing on people and know every thought or detail that they have.”

Buh-bye

After that, Beck politely thanked Medina for appearing on his program and dismissed her future political hopes.

“I think I can write her off the list,” he said. “Let me take another look at [candidate] Kay Bailey Hutchison, if I have to.”

“Rick, I think you and I could French kiss right now,” he said of Texas’s current governor, Rick Perry who is running for re-election.

“Wow,” Beck continued. “Wow. The fastest way back to four percent,” he said of Medina’s one-time standing in the polls. A recent survey showed her only four points behind Hutchison with 24 percent of the vote.

What I meant to say was… Continue reading

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