Monday, September 11, 2006

Obligatory 9/11 anniversary post

I remember that day, although I missed it all but the shouting (didn't realize it was happening, being alone in the house & not watching the news, until after the towers fell), but I don't want to remember it. I have not yet gone to see Ground Zero. I worked across the street the summer after high school, I was in & out of the WTC complex every day, taking walks, eating lunch, watching the trains come & go. I was in the complex on 9/9/01, taking the train to see my mother-in-law, two days before the end. I can't go see it, look down into it, it's too hard, even to think about it brings tears to my eyes.

But what bothers me as well, is not the pain of the wound to my city, not the pain of the deaths of thousands, not the pain of the individual stories, but the pain of the wound to my country and its ideals which I hold dear.

This is a country founded on certain ideals, of rugged individualism, of civil liberty, of speaking truth to power, of government of the people, by the people and for the people.

It has become a country of fear, paranoia, greedy self-interested government officials, us-vs-them, rich-vs-poor, management-vs-unorganized-labor, suppression of civil rights, theft of elections, and well on the way to Nehemiah Scudder's government.

The result of 9/11, then, is that the terrorists have won. And it's not actually that the terrorists beat us down. We did it to ourselves. We elected a bunch of greedy, elitist, racist SOBs who have systematically done this to us. We have not risen up and thrown the bastards out of office; instead we re-elected them in 2004.

Our government, that is supposed to be for us, has instead used 9/11 as an excuse, a propaganda point, to push us into a needless war based on lies, to suppress our freedom to travel and to assemble, to exert such pressure on the Press that no longer is it the independent critic of government that it needs to be, but is instead a ministry of propaganda. I wish to God there were a liberal media, but with all the fear-mongering about the awful liberal media, there is no more liberal mainstream media, only pro-government and really-pro-government media, unless faced with personal disaster like Katrina.

The country is starting to awaken from its long sleep. Polls predict major anti-incumbency feeling. But the forces of power continue to press down. Now, in the middle of political-primary season, the American Broadcasting Company brings out its propaganda piece, "The Path to 9/11", where the blame for 9/11 is cast almost entirely on the Democrats, where the Clinton administration is accused falsely of doing exactly what the Bush administration actually did (ignoring calls to capture UBL in Saudia Arabia vs. ignoring calls to capture UBL in Tora Bora), to once again promote, falsely, the Government's fear-strategy, their theory that a vote for Democrats is a vote for the enemies of the country. To call one's Honorable Opposition traitors - this undermines the ideals of this country, and once again is an example of the pot calliing the tin can, black.

I'll say it right out: [extreme rhetoric deleted]

UPDATED 9/18/06: Actually, since using such extreme rhetoric hurts real people, rather than affecting those who use such rhetoric in public against me & mine, I cannot bear to keep it on my blog where it has already hurt a friend of many years standing.

Instead, I simply decry in the strongest terms the extreme rhetoric used by certain elements in the leadership of this country, and by their friends in the mainstream media. Such rhetoric has been used in other countries, where it can lead to extreme actions to fit the words. That does not belong on the American stage.

I apologize for trying to use such rhetoric myself. It does not belong in the mouths or pens of decent people anywhere.

[end of update]

* * *

My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of Liberty, of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrims' pride:
From every mountainside, let Freedom ring!

Our fathers' God, to thee, author of liberty, to thee we sing;
long may our land be bright with freedom's holy light;
protect us by thy might, great God, our King.

* * *

O, thus be it ever where freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto, “In god is our trust”;
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

* * *

May the good Lord save our land and our people from those who would destroy her in the name of greed, using the name of patriotism.


Gary McGath said...

The news media are loyal to those who feed them stories. When Democrats are in power, they're "liberal" media. When Republicans are in power, they're "conservative" media. They aren't so much pro-government as sycophants of the government.

Painting the issue as one of getting rid of Republicans just creates one more artificial us vs. them dichotomy. I'd soonest see the Republicans pushed out of the majority in at least one house of Congress, because too many of them are following the Bush line, and there needs to be more opposition to him. But the candidates need to be judged on their actual and intended actions, not on their party affiliation. In general the Democrats are no better, just out of power. Voting against incumbents may be the best rule in most cases.

Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

כן יהי רצון

otherdeb said...

Well said, Jonathan

Doctor Science said...

No, Gary. The news media are loyal to those who pay the bills. With the consolidation and buying-up and generally rampant hard-core capitalism in the media industry over the last few decades, media owners have become more and more single-mindedly corporatist. And the corporatists are on the side of the Republicans -- or visa versa, because the leash is definitely in the hands of the rich and the collar on the party.

Milhouse said...
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Gary McGath said...

Doctor Science: What has happened isn't capitalism in any proper sense, though it's what is sometimes called by the confusing term of "state capitalism." The government, by having so much control over our lives, has become a primary supplier of information, which is a commodity that the news media depend on. And by providing many other carrots and sticks, the government has trained businesses that they will profit by seeking favors, and will lose from independence. It's not the existence of corporations as such, but the culture of dependence upon government in corporations, which has resulted in the loss of integrity that you describe.

thanbo said...
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Doctor Science said...

What has happened isn't capitalism in any proper sense, though it's what is sometimes called by the confusing term of "state capitalism."

I see the inverse: crony capitalism. It's not the *state* that has burgeoning control over so much of our lives, it's the capitalists. And yeah, they sure aren't free market capitalists, on that we can totally agree.But I think they have to be called "capitalists", because they certainly do believe in the pre-eminence of those with capital.

by providing many other carrots and sticks, the government has trained businesses that they will profit by seeking favors, and will lose from independence

Again, I see the complete opposite. Or rather, I agree with you that there's a leash between government and business, but it's business that's holding the business end, as it were. Politicians have been trained to give favors to businesses much more than the other way around. This applies to both parties, but the leash is much tighter on the Republicans.

Let me put it this way: what was the last significant Republican policy initiative that *didn't* have the backing of the oil, finance, pharma, or military/industrial industries?

thanbo said...

Revised version of comment:

Gary: The newsmedia were critical of Clinton for his sex scandals and gays in the military and other such things, they were critical of Nixon over Watergate, and over his heavy-handed economic policies, they were critical of Reagan over Iran-Contra and over Granada, they were critical of Bush I for various things, and most importantly, before 9/11, they were critical of Bush II, portraying him as a mealy-mouthed guy with dumb ideas. He never had a honeymoon with the press, he was criticized right off the bat.

After 9/11, he was canonized as the War President. Even his Social Security plans of two years ago weren't that heavily opposed until polls made it clear that most of the country understood what Social Security really is - a retirement program based on current workers' wages, one that is *not* dependent on individuals' knowledge of the stock market.

Having all branches of government be one party is dangerous, I'll agree with: executive, both houses of Congress, and Supreme Court.

Milhouse: re "[the troops] overwhelmingly support the war":

As for the troops, their access to news is controlled by the Administration. Where are they going to get the New York Times? In Baghdad? Let alone the lefty blogs. Also, a volunteer army is going to be more supportive of the administration for which they volunteered, no?

For instance, this Zogby poll shows that a majority of troops want to see the war end this year. Meanwhile, 85% of them think that the Iraq war is retaliation for 9/11. Which only indicates that they have swallowed the Administration's lies hook line and sinker. And why not? What other news sources do they have?

The Christian Science Monitor brings military sources agreeing with the results of the poll:

And in poll after poll, supporting the troops is perceived as a different position than supporting the war or the President. Most of the country, as do I, support the troops, but oppose the war. The troops say "get out by end of 2006", Bush says to stay indefinitely. It's not that hard to support one and not the other.