Sunday, September 11, 2005
Thoughts About September 11, 2001
Then Some More Thoughts
I work near "Ground Zero", in New York City at least three days a week. The building I work in was the Red Cross' emergency headquarters on 9/11, the old New York Mercantile Building. If you go near "The Pit", you can still feel the staleness and grit in the air, but still a million or so people come though there each work day on the PATH train from New Jersey to get to work, something the families of the 9/11 victims wished their loved ones could still do.
I am a lucky New Yorker (I know I live in New Jersey, but I have always made my living in New York) in that no one I called a personal friend was lost to me on that day. My daughter's friend, Lindsey however, was not so lucky. Her brother was lost in one of the towers. His name was Bobby Hughes. He was 23 years old.
You can't pass "Ground Zero" without thinking about all those who were lost that day. If you were ever in one of those buildings, you'd know what I mean. It was a place full of life and energy. There were shops and offices and tourists and diners all in this vertical city on the lower west side of America's most diverse city, New York City. The buildings actually seemed to be alive. When I am near there, I can still feel that energy.
There are many things we could do to honor the missing from 9/11. That is what they are, after all, missing. We miss them every day. We miss what the people and those building meant every day. But the best way to remember them is to remember them every day, even if you knew no one there. Remember they were people just trying to get by, like you every day. Remember that they were cut down by horrible people with a skewered look at life.
These past two weeks, the Bush administration seemed to have forgotten that their main job is to protect Americans from natural disasters as well as terrorists. The terrorists won't give US advanced warning the next time.
Preparedness is not just an idea, it is a way of life and a way to keep alive. On September 11, 2001, the Bush administration said that they weren't at fault because they were new to DC. What is their excuse for being unprepared for Hurricane Katrina?
Protecting the people of the United States is job one. It's time that the Bush administration starts to set their priorities straight.
Failures, Lies and 9/11
It's good that this has appeared on the anniversary of 9/11. Now is the time to resuscitate Bush's do-nothing shilly-shallying with "My Pet Goat" and running-away cowardice--not only his total flubbing on the day of 9/11, but his failure (and, of course, Neocon fundamentalist crony Ashcroft's failure) to heed a great many "clear & present danger" warnings from the Terrorism Task Force because these were made by Clinton appointees. There were lots of things I didn't like about Clinton--NAFTA being his worst sin--but he was a dedicated policy wonk. Of all the presidents in U.S. history he was the best at choosing staffers for competence in their field, not because they played golf and let him win.
After 9/11, the captive right-wing TV and newspaper press went along with every Republican lie. They scammed & conned Americans into believing that Bush had brains between the ears, and that there were lackeys on his staff or in his cabinet competent to do anything beyond warmongering, spinning lies and making excuses.
Let's see how long our American press, who were shocked by Katrina into developing some backbone, can stand up to Karl Rove's absolute rule that they MUST go along with G.O.P. spin or be banished--just like the hand-picked "citizens" at a Bush rally, where everyone must be screened for agreement or not be permitted to attend--Karl Rover, the puppet-master, allowing only "yes-men" to get anywhere near Bush.
Pardon me if I'm a bit cynical. I believe that the mediocrities who now pass as journalists will cave in pretty quickly. Like cringing dogs, they slaver and fawn to get into the White House Press Corps--and they know the moment they print or say anything negative, they're out the door.
Lest We Forget About Karl "The Traitor" Rove
Maybe we should start calling Karl "The Traitor" Rove the Karl "Double-Standard" Rove instead. Rove owns a home, and is a registered voter, hence a resident, of Kerr County, Texas. He and his second wife, Darby actually own two properties in the Texas county, but don't actually live there. In an effort to pay no state income taxes, they only say they live in Texas. Those are income producing properties they rent out to others. Neighbors, according to the Washington Post, have never seen the couple in Kerr County.
Rove actually lives in Washington DC where he collects a Homestead rebate. Washington, however, has a policy that prohibits non-residents from filing for that rebate.
Maybe they just don't know who they are messing with. Don't mess with Texas, as the saying goes.
This is just another example of the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party exhibiting the hypocrisy and double-standards that made them the party of the wealthiest one percent of Americans.
In keeping with their double-standards, Elizabeth Reyes, an attorney for the Texas State Department was fired for discussing with a Washington Post reporter, the most powerful, unelected official in the recent history of the United States.
Reyes "was not authorized to speak on behalf of the agency'"
-Scott Haywood, spokesman for the Texas Secretary of State, Roger Williams
But that is not a firing offense. It is not an offense at all.
"The policy allows us to talk to members of the media. The policy says if it's a controversial issue or a special issue, it needs to be forwarded on to someone else. Just talking to the media doesn't violate it, as I read it. ... Karl Rove didn't come up. It wasn't something you could classify as controversial."
The reporter for the Post simply asked about a Bush advisor who moved from Texas to Washington. Aren't ALL of the Bush advisors from Texas? That is where some of those double-standards come in.
Wasn't it the mouthpieces of the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party and the other Bush cronies that said, "Rove never mentioned Valerie Plame by name"? Wasn't that one of the many excuses that the people at Fox News and other members of the Right-Wing-Main-Stream -Media, including Fox-Light (MSNBC) have been using to "justify" and "excuse" Rove from punishment?
Maybe Rove just couldn't stand Mrs. Wilson because her first name is Valerie (Rove's first wife's name).
It seems to me that if Ms. Reyes has been let go from her Texas State Department position, then Karl "The Traitor" Rove ought to be thrown in jail.
Let Rove share a cell with Scooter
Libby and Bob Novak. They are all traitors.
-Noah Greenberg (With Jenny Hanniver)
"They are throwing money out, they are shoveling it out the door. I'm sure every lobbyist's phone in Washington is ringing off the hook from his clients. Sixty-two billion dollars is a lot of money - and it's only a down payment."
-James Albertine, a Washington lobbyist and past president of the American League of Lobbyists
Let the feeding frenzy begin. There's going to be lots of money to go around and political contributors are lining up on one side of the velvet ropes like high-rollers at a Las Vegas buffet. "ME FIRST!"
Go on, guess who is offering his services, expertise and knowledge of the powers that be to the highest wanna-be contractors looking to meet their nut for the year.
Joe Allbaugh, the former FEMA director, chief of staff of then Governor George W. Bush and "personal friend the president" is offering his "influence" to the highest bidders. Let's not forget to mention that Allbaugh is former boss and college roommate of Michael Brown, the current FEMA director who was a deputy under Allbaugh.
Now let's see how good you really are. Who do you think is one of Allbaugh's biggest clients? If you guessed Kellogg Brown & Root, a wholly owned subsidiary of Vice President Dick "Go <F---> Yourself" Cheney's Halliburton, give yourself a gold star.
Although he is a paid consultant to Halliburton, Mr. Allbaugh said he has not used his substantial influence to help them.
"A lot of people want to connect the dots, but the dots don't exist. I don't do federal contracts, end of story."
Another company that seeks to use Allbaugh's extensive "experience" is the Shaw Group. The first thing they did was to invite Allbaugh to Louisiana to help them assemble a "disaster team." Would that be the first ever disaster team he ever assembled? Maybe.
Although Allbaugh said he hasn't taken any money for his efforts, the former FEMA director did call UltraStrip Systems Inc., a company that markets water filtration products, to make a suggestion.
"Given the situation in the hospitals and nursing homes, I called them up. I said, 'You've got to get your unit down there, I'm sure they can put it to use.' "
What an altruistic guy Allbaugh is.
"You are likely to see the equivalent of war profiteering - disaster profiteering."
-Danielle Brian, Project on Government Oversight Director, a nonprofit government spending watchdog group
Likely? You are too kind Mr. Brian. If what Halliburton has done and "earned" for Cheney and its other shareholders in Iraq is any barometer, you're going to see a new disaster-fleecing scheme go into effect any day now, unless it already has.
According to the New York Times, the Katrina disaster is already spending money at a $500 million a day clip.
"Political contributions are not a factor. It is the fact that we could get the job done."
-Howard Menaker, a spokesman for Bechtel, another company that is going to profit from Katrina
But It couldn't hurt, could it Mr. Allbaugh.
CBS Remembers Those Who Died on September 11, 2001, but Now its Kickoff Time
Hey! CBS' channel 2 in New York... The reading of the names of those lost in the terrorist attacks of 9/11 weren't finished when you decided to turn you network over to the NFL for all of us to see Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey sing God Bless America at RFK Stadium before the Redskins and Bears kicked off in DC. The readers, all relatives of someone who died four years ago today were already up to the W's when you cut away. It would have been okay for US to wait and see Jennifer and Nick. I heard God Bless America before, and I must say, Kate Smith sang it a heck of a lot better.
Next time, just let's hear the names.
John Bolton and the UN
When you get a job that you really wanted you just can't wait to get started. This is the case of John Bolton, the interim appointment of "G"lobal "W"arming Bush as ambassador to the UN. Bolton is so excited that he forgot that the UN was designed for nations to come together in a spirit of compromise. He also forgot that he is one ambassador to the UN and hasn't been named its king. Looking at the guy who appointed him, you could understand his confusion.
The United Nations is attempting reform, partly due to necessity, partly due to the oil-for-food scandal with Iraq. Reform is a good idea. Here are some proposals from the summit for reform:
1- Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day
Reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger
2- Achieve universal primary education
Ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling
3- Promote gender equality and empower women
Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015
4- Reduce child mortality
Reduce by two thirds the mortality rate among children under five
5- Improve maternal health
-----Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio
6- Combat HIV/ AIDS, malaria and other diseases
Halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS
Halt and begin to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases
7- Ensure environmental sustainability
Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programs; reverse loss of environmental resources
Reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water
Achieve significant improvement in lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers, by 2020
8- Develop a Global Partnership for Development
Develop further an open trading and financial system that is rule-based, predictable and non-discriminatory, includes a commitment to good governance, development and poverty reduction— nationally and internationally
Address the least developed countries' special needs. This includes tariff- and quota-free access for their exports; enhanced debt relief for heavily indebted poor countries; cancellation of official bilateral debt; and more generous official development assistance for countries committed to poverty reduction
Address the special needs of landlocked and small island developing States
Deal comprehensively with developing countries' debt problems through national and international measures to make debt sustainable in the long term
In cooperation with the developing countries, develop decent and productive work for youth
In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries
In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies— especially information and communications technologies
Why these all seem like noble and altruistic ideas. Who could possibly be against these things? John Bolton, that's who. So far Bolton has made but one concession: He no longer opposes the name "millennium development goals".
Reducing poverty; educating people; keeping people alive, making sure the world's environment stays stable, the air clean and the water drinkable all sound like negotiable ideas to Bolton. A normal person would look at them as "mandatory." But in the world of "G"lobal "W"arming Bush, everything is up to the highest bidder, even the health of the planet and its people.
By the way, we, right here in the good old USA, still live on this planet, as well.
-Noah Greenberg (with Kelly Taylor)
MSNBC Poll on Katrina
"Do you think there was a racial component to the response to Hurricane Katrina? "
54% - Yes: The slow response to the disaster is consistent with how the poor are always treated in America
43% - No: Agencies, like everyone else, were overwhelmed by the size of the storm, and did the best they could under difficult circumstances
3% - Don't know. "We were just here for the cake. THEY PROMISED THERE WOULD BE CAKE!"
-Poll forwarded by Jenny Hanniver, CAKE by Noah Greenberg
Quote of the Day
"To be poor in America was to be invisible, but not after this week, not after those images of the bedraggled masses at the Superdome, convention center and airport. No one can claim that the post-Reagan orthodoxy of low taxes and small government, which does wonders for the extremely rich, also inevitably does wonders for the extremely poor. What was that about a rising tide lifting all boats? What if you don't have a boat?"
-Eugene Robinson, The Washington Post
How many ways can you say "trickle down didn't work; doesn't work; and never will work"?
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