Life Goes On In Spite of What's Going On
I was here in the middle of Manhattan on the morning of September 11, 2001. I was still steamed at that time over G.W. Bush stealing the 2000 election from Al "the Bore" Gore. And steamed higher further after listening to Paul Wolfowitz, Karl Rove, Unka Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and John Ashcroft talking about a Neo-Conservative manifesto calling for a driving down of the dollar; therefore causing a driving down of the economy; therefore taking us down to a Third World economic state (CHEAP LABOR). And then I got further steamed when I read that these Neo-Con Trotskyites were saying what this country needed was another Pearl-Harbor-like attack.
On the morning of 9-11-01, I got up at 7, took my routine shower, did my routine shaving and grooming, took a short coffee break, put my clothes on, shut down my apartment, and went off to work the same as I had done for 5 days a week over the past 20 years--4,800 mornings.
I left my building at 8:30 that morning, passing through my building's stoop sitters to then walk merrily along the 10 extra-long New York City blocks down to my office on East 42nd in the old Daily News Building--a Ray Hood-designed landmark tower. By 9, I was at my desk on my computer probably searching through eBay for things to buy before around 9:30 when the work would start pouring in from the Traffic Department and off I'd go on my daily editing grind. I was tomfooling away when my office mate (now a fellow blogger who we here at the The Daily Growler have many times given huzzahs to) came in and did what he always did, immediately check his email and check the latest news on his computer. Suddenly he said, "A plane just hit the World Trade Center!" I stopped what I was doing. "Yeah, it's on the news." I quickly went into an NYC Webcam site and started tooling around the downtown Manhattan Webcams, but I couldn't find any of them working but one and it was directly aimed at the WTC twin towers and, yes, the far tower was on fire it looked like! A few minutes later my office mate said, "Son of a bitch, another plane just hit the other tower down there." Then we watched the news on the big screen in one of the conference rooms--all teevee channels were suppositionalizing on the incident by then. And then we saw the buildings start to fall--and then we heard screams in our office--and soon everyone was spilling into the hallways and high-pitched voice questions were being sung out across the tops of our curious heads. One woman was near collapse. Her fiancee worked at the WTC. Nobody knew what was going on. Not even the teevee geeks knew what was going on. Another woman started screaming. She, too, had a boyfriend who worked there. The big shots were calming us down over the intercom. Soon it got so bad and everyone so curious as to what the hell was happening to us that the big shots announced everyone should leave the building--go on home.
I packed up and took off fast. Once in the street panic was evident in the fact cop cars were screeching and screaming up every street. I walked up 42nd to Lexington and then headed downtown down Lex.
Soon Lexington was a racetrack full of cop cars, ambulances, and fire engines racing toward the World Trade Center area. The street lights were by then simply blinking yellow. The sidewalks were packed with stunned-looking, quandry-faced, and very quiet folks. By the time I got to my apartment all the streets going downtown from 34th Street were blocked off to main traffic and were screaming full of emergency vehicles. You could look down like Fifth Avenue and you could see where once stood the World Trade Center twin towers and now there was only smoke billowing tornado-like up from Ground Zero.
At home, I got up in my loft bed from whose window I could see right straight down the island to the WTC. I watched the pillar of smoke rising up into the absolutely beautiful fall clear sky-blue clean sky. I turned on the television. The only channel working was CBS. That's right, I thought, all the television towers were moved from the Empire State Building down to the World Trade Center several years back. That had been the huge radio-television tower that had come flat straight down like an arrow to end sticking up out of the debris. CBS had evidently kept an auxiliary transmitter on the Empire State Building, though by late afternoon some of the other channels were back on the air using alternative transmission means.
By a little before noon they had videos of the planes flying into the twin towers. Then there was one video looking down West Broadway directly at the towers as one began to collapse--straight down it came like it was being flushed down a toilet--haystacking at the end--piling down upon itself. As the building collapsed, this video caught the ghostly billowing up of a massive boiling-rolling gray cloud of dust that suddenly came rolling out from under the collapsing building and billowing up the street toward the person taking the video. People came running like hell up ahead of that rolling gulping ball of mixed dusts, people running with terror across their faces, running for their lives. Then the cloud of dust catches up with them and envelopes them. One woman emerges from the cloud of dust covered from head to toe with a glazing of gray dust. One interesting thing I observed from this video: fireman were going into that inferno, but cops were running like hell from it--one cop I saw had a belly so big, plus he was carrying all that cop equipment he had bound to his waist--his pistol, his walkie-talkie, his billy club, his two-way radio, his handcuffs, his whatever else, he was literally stumble-bumbling his big fat ass as fast as he could in total fear, running for his life scared to death rather than thinking about being a hero.
I watched teevee on into the night. I watched as Rudi Guliani, that creep, made his way with an entourage of his cronies over from City Hall (which by the way had a direct view of the whole happening) to Ground Zero to do some photo-ops and convince us he was mighty with valor as he and his cronies made their appearance there. As the mayor was pompously taking credit for being a hero during this time, a building he was fixing to enter started collapsing--one of the other buildings that wasn't hit by the planes but fell straight down into a haystack anyway--as did a couple of other WTC buildings--like Buildings 5 and 7, I believe. What a joke that scene was when Rudi and his brave entourage first stopped in their tracks when they heard a booming noise in front of them, then like the true cowards they really are, they ran like scared rabbits, debris beginning to fall down around them. One amazing sight I saw while Rudi was running scared was all the typing paper and photocopy paper that was snowing down all over the place.
All this time on television no one had any clue as to who had done this dire deed nor did they know how whoever had done it had pulled it off. Soon rumors were floating around about another airliner that had crashed in a farmer's field in eastern Pennsylvania...and then it was reported that the US Air Force may have shot down another airliner somewhere down south--though no more mention was made of that airliner after awhile--and then the report came in of the airliner crashing into the Pentagon. There was also rumored to be another airliner that was intended to crash into the White House. Later we were told that was the airliner that "accidentally" crashed nose-first into the Pennsylvania field.
Questions were floating around all over the airwaves. Then out of nowhere rumors began to circulate about a terrorist plot on the World Trade Center--led by the same dude, they were assuming, the blind Egyptian cleric who had supposedly masterminded the first bombing of the World Trade Center in which an Egyptian young man successfully drove a van packed with tons of explosive materials into the underground garage of the WTC and there it blew up killing 7 or 8 but they claimed doing little damage to the World Trade Center support structures.
Then came the first tie-in of this event to Osama bin Laden. That perked me up, yes, because Clinton had already designated Osama bin Laden as our enemy and had fired missiles at his terrorist training camp in Afghanistan from Pakistan only to actually hit a school or a hospital or something, not bothering Osama bin Laden one damn bit--because he then shows up in the Sudan and he's then blamed for bombing our embassy in Nigeria--and Commander in Chief Billy Jeff Clinton then sent our Marines to Somalia! I recalled at the time Bill Clinton was chasing Osama bin Laden around the globe many years ago seeing a television report that interviewed a CIA operative who told all about how he had recruited and worked with one Osama bin Laden who the CIA had hired to work in cahoots with the Mujaheddin and the Taliban to drive the Russians (they had invaded and tried unsuccessfully to occupy Afghanistan when they were still Soviets) out of there.
I don't remember any mention of Al Queda during 9/11 until after the next morning when in all the newspapers they had photos and names of these 21 guys who were supposedly the masterminds behind this attack on New York City and Washington, District of Corruption. Most of these guys were Saudi-Arabian. One I think was a Jordanian and the other one may have been a Pakistani or something, I don't remember. Rumor then had it that these Saudi dudes were fanatical followers of the Wahhabi sect of Islam (the Saudi-Arabian kingdom was founded on this Sunni sect) of which also Osama bin Laden was a staunch follower. One of the rigid laws of this sect is that no military attack against another Islamic state can be organized and planned and advanced from Saudi-Arabia, the most sacred nation in Islam because of Mecca. This was Osama Bin Laden's expressed beef with the USA because of Pappy Bush's use of Saudi-Arabia as a military base from which he attacked the Butcher of Baghdad, Saddam Hussein, in his glorious and mission unaccomplished Persian Gulf War (whatever happened to Stormin' Norman Schwarzkopf? You'd think he'd at least be an adviser in our messed up attempt at invading and occupying Iraq), the war Pappy trumpeted as the only war we had won since WWII. I mean, come on, folks, Osama's half-brother Bandar was so friendly with the Bush Family Pappy and Mammy Bush referred to him as Prince Bandar Bush (of whom since 9/11 we haven't heard much about at all, though I'm sure he's still around with his hand in the money-flowing-freely U.S.A. coffers). This Wahhabi sect of Islam believes the USA is responsible for secularizing the world through its institutions like the World Trade Center--also home of a huge CIA data-collecting databank, a Federal gold reserve, and Rudi Giuliani's 40-million-dollar security bunker.
I watched a little bit this morning of the reading of the names of those who had died in the 9/11 tragedy. It was raining. There were only a handful of people gathered around the podiums from which pairs of people were reading those names. It was touching. One of the pairs of readers was someone who had lost a relative, a son, a daughter, a husband, a wife, a girlfriend or boyfriend in the event and the other readers were hospital volunteers who had helped with the rescues and triage units set up by various doctors and nurses. It was sad. It was raining and it was windy and it was cold, totally the opposite of 9-11-o1, a gloriously beautiful fall day for New York City--a perfect day except for those two planes flying into those towers in the 9 o'clock hour that fateful morning.
On the night of 9-11, 2001, as I slept--and I always sleep with my bedside window cracked a bit for air circulation--I was awakened around 3 in the morning by a smell. A sickening smell. A smell that also left a bad dry dusty sour-sweet taste in my mouth. A dead taste. A foul taste.
My boss at that time lived just blocks away from the WTC. Days later when she overheard me talking about that sick odor and sick taste, she said that she, too, had had trouble sleeping that night due to the same smell, except in her case she said it was still lingering around her house in a fine film of dust that seemed to be seeping down on all the neighborhoods surrounding the now smoldering WTC site. She said that smell and taste was hanging around for days after the incident.
Almost 3,000 people died in the WTC tragedy. Since then, way over 5,000 USA men and women have been killed in our seeking revenge for those almost 3,000. I thought, "Shouldn't they be reading those names, too, along with the 3,000?" Actually, due to our government lying about death counts among our side and the enemy's, I've read where when you include contractors and coalition deaths in the overall total, the figure would be way over 6,000. Lives snuffed out in this atrocious War on Terror, a war of lies, a war of an outrageous waste of lives and money, a war that has accomplished nothing in terms of revenge for the almost-3,000 who died on 9/11 and has instead now raised our chances of being attacked once again to the heights of surety.
G.W. Bush isn't going to be present at today's memorial. He's home sipping bourbon, maybe snorting a little cocaine, and perhaps working on his memoirs--empty pages, of course. He won't be donning his fireman's hat and talking about how he's going to find the people responsible for it and by God he'll bring them to justice.
If Osama bin Laden was the masterplanner of this great military attack on the invincible USA, he did accomplish his mission. Those two planes hitting and demolishing those 7 buildings that once made up the World Trade Center sent us into two unwinable invasions and occupations of countries that really had nothing to do with 9/11, occupations that are now costing us millions upon millions of dollars every god-damn hour they go on--and now are costing the citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan death and hardship and turmoil and driving millions of them into exile. Osama bin Laden's mission was accomplished in that he did bring down the world's greatest Capitalist economy. His mission was accomplished when as a result of G.W. Bush taking us into two unwinable wars all filed under his War on Terror our military forces (meant to defend our borders) are now in shambles--worn out, weary, being used and reused and reused over and over--more and more soldiers dying now every day in Iraq and Afghanistan--the Afghanistan War moving over into Pakistan where our drone bomber attacks are leaving hundreds of innocent citizens dead, maimed, wounded, families ripped asunder, US forces recently entering a hospital and tying up doctors and nurses and then making sick patients get up out of their beds as they were checked to see if they were actually Taliban terrorists hiding as sick people in a hospital. These wars have wrecked our National Guard system, the Guard being the reserve forces needed in case we do come under serious enemy attack. These wars have sent us back thousands of maimed and mentally bombarded soldiers needing physical and mental treatment--left to fend for themselves by the government--who has never respected soldiers who make it through wars maimed or mentally thrown out of balance--these to our government are losers and not their responsibility.
Bin Laden's mission was accomplished when all of our so-called democratic freedoms were thrown out the backdoor with the coming of Billy Jeff Clinton's imposition of the Patriot Act on our asses and then G.W.'s taking away more and more of our democratic freedoms with his own brutal version of the Patriot Act. All of us can now be tagged terrorists under the many arms of the Patriot Act, the spying on citizens with impunity, the actually picking of people up off the streets and declaring them enemies of the nation and sending them down to prison in Guantanamo with no rights, no right to a trial, no trials anyway, held in tiny cells without hope of freedom for as long as this government declares there to be a War on Terror, which was hopefully to become WWIII, which is so important to the New World Order, the Global Marketplace, and the future of the Power Elite's successful taking over of the World.
There are still many unanswered questions about 9/11--especially about how those two huge towers, those steel-girded towers, those welded steel alloyed beams that should have held firm when hit by an airplane, even planes as big as the ones that brought the towers down, towers that should not have fallen into haystacks of debris as if brought down by professional imploders. The WTC towers are the first hi-rise buildings ever to collapse like that due to fire also.
There are still tons more of unanswered questions about that crash in that field in Pennsylvania. No plane wreckage was ever found in that hole in that field.
There are still tons more of unanswered questions about just what hit the Pentagon that day. The hole in the side of that massive structure--one of the largest buildings in the world--wasn't big enough for a Boeing 747 plane to have made it. Nor was any plane debris, like engines, found at that site. I remember a Marine who was just outside the Pentagon when the plane supposedly crashed into it. This Marine said he did not see the plane but he saw a flat streak then an explosion, but he saw no plane. There is controversy surrounding the fact that if it was a plane that hit the Pentagon, the pilot of that plane was one of the greatest pilots who ever flew because of the low-flying level he had to achieve to hit the Pentagon just where it was indicated he hit it.
I have lived through tons of controversies since I was born back at the crack of dawn of WWII. I remember questions about Pearl Harbor. I remember a trooper who said he had called Honolulu hours before the attack saying he saw enemy planes coming toward Hawaii.
There was controversy around Truman dropping the A-Bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, rumors that the Japanese government had offered to talk peace before the bombs were dropped.
I remember the controversy surrounding Truman's little "police action" in Korea.
I remember the controversy surrounding JFK getting his head blown open that November day in Dallas (I was there). I remember how Arlen Specter (a former DA) came up with the single-shooter theory thereby putting the blame for that masterminded assassination plot solely on Lee Harvey Oswald (a former Marine and CIA operative) as the "only" shooter and the only conspirator.
I remember Lyndon Johnson and his phony "Bay of Tonkin" reason for going to war with North Vietnam.
And who could forget Tricky Dick Nixon who ordered a criminal act, the breaking and entering of a private office in a private office building, in the extremely criminal case that came to be called Watergate.
And people wonder why as an empiricist I am so cynical when it comes to politics and the US government or any government or any corporation, all of whom NOW are in the war business, too--like General Electric, like Westinghouse, like Raytheon, like Halliburton, like KRB, like Boeing, like the Carlyle Group, like the Bradley military vehicle company, or like Du Pont, to name only a few.
It was recently revealed that the United States made 37 billion dollars on the weapons market last year, making We the People the world's largest manufacturer and seller of weapons of mass destruction. Yes, and, too, we are the largest possessors of Weapons of Mass Destruction in the world, way more than North Korea, India, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and Israel combined and then some.
We love war. We depend on WAR to solve our problems, especially our economic problems.
Obama's Speech on Healthcare
Austin Highchew, our managing editor, has hit the nail on the head with his theory that when Obama gets frustrated he makes a speech. He uses his speeches as shields to protect himself from the many barbs being slung at him by the crackpot loser-maddened White racist Repugnicans--and also by the sleazebag backwards thinkers of his own Dumbocratic party. The speech, one of his more brilliantly delivered speeches, really didn't say a damn thing except to remind us that he's not going to totally revamp the system after all, that there's probably not going to be a public option in his bill after all, and that he's not even going to consider single-payer insurance even though that's what the American people thought he was offering us when he ran for president on his "Yes, We Can" encouragement. And, his so-called public 0ption is not a public option at all. His public option insurance plan is a mandate that all of us either obtain health insurance from a private provider or we're going to be fined $3,800. Obama said it was just like we had to have automobile insurance! Mandatory insurance. Not a public option but a public order that we have to get our insurance from our jobs (of course we're losing 200,000 jobs a month in this country) or else we've got to dig down into our empty pockets and come up with enough money to buy private health insurance. Massachusetts currently has this kind of public-option insurance and so far it has been a miserable failure. There are today more uninsured people in Massachusetts than before they put the public option thing based on mandatory insurance into being.
We have a public-option plan that already works. It's called Medicare. It is such a successful public-0ption solution that Taiwan has adopted it as their national healthcare model and it is working to great success there now.
We are currently in a state of Chaos. And, yes, the entry gate to this world was formed when the World Trade Center was brought to its Capitalist-greedy knees. It's not MONEY that we're fighting these wars over, it's power! All the participants in this hoax are billionaires or multimillionaires, including Osama bin Laden. These rich jerks, these power-hungry sleazebags (they're all Bernie Madoffs), love this Chaos. They feel safe on their fenced-in, guarded estates or in their holy penthouses high up above the streets where the riff-raff have to dwell. They are busy killing us, stealing our lands, our houses, our hovels, our broomstraw teepees, our natural resources, and stealing all our wealth--every city you see all over the world has some kind of hi-rise building going on--huge cranes tower over all our cities as these developers are going about changing the landscape of the world--deforesting our rain forests to clear land so cattle can be grown so the up-and-coming New Capitalists in Communist China can have their steaks! They are even in some countries buying up water supplies, like Coca-Cola trying to buy the rights to the waters of the Ganges River in India--I kid you not. These are the same bastards who are going to stick their private equity monies into the green movement by buying up land and putting windmills on it--like T. Boone Pickens is currently up to in his trying to takeover our world of alternative energy. Like Ted Turner being the largest owner of land in Montana! Montana being the home of Max Baucus, Obama's healthcare policy czar who is embedded in the assholes of the HMOs and insurance and pharmaceutical companies to the point where he defiantly has said he won't even put the single-payer option, the only true National Healthcare option that will work, on the table. This bastard should be handcuffed and hauled off to the hoosegow rather than having such control over our lives--his decision as to whether we have rights to affordable care or we either pay or we die. Remember, death is a big moneymaker in this country. Why would a healthcare insurance provider want you to be cured of cancer--unless perchance you haven't maxed out your cancer policy yet then of course they'll keep you on chemo or cobalt just long enough where finally your policy is maxed out and they can put your dying ass out on that platform behind the cancer hospital to wait for Charon and his boat to come along and carry your body off down the River Styx.
Obama, I'm sorry to say, wouldn't be our president today if he hadn't of had corporate backing--and he got a hell of a lot of bucks from these very companies he's now bailing out and forcing us to buy mandatory health insurance from--a great shot in the arm of millions of new customers coming on line. Why, guess what? On the stock market yesterday, healthcare insurance companies gained 4% in value. Warren Buffett made a fortune yesterday (remember, the The Daily Growler stock tip telling you to follow Buffett into investing in medical supply stocks and healthcare insurance stocks). US Healthcare was one of the biggest gainers on yesterday's still under 9500 Dow Jones.
Yes, Obama's speech was well presented--even a drip of a pundit like that weasel David Brooks loved the speech--but what did the speech say?
I leave you to ponder that.
for The Daily Growler