September 11, 2012 archive

Sep 11

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Sep 11

“They Let It Happen”

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Many of us who doubted the 9/11 Commission Report was really the whole truth. Just the fact that they had President George W. Bush and his Vice President, Dick Cheney, interviewed together, in secrecy and not under oath, diminished the commissions credibility for those of us who were expressing our doubts about the attack. In some places, any question or discussion was too controversial about 9/11, was labeled “conspiracy theory” and further discussion was banned. Even linking to sites or articles as forbidden. But like all skeletons that get locked in the closet, someone gets curious and the door gets opened. Yesterday, on its Op-Ed page, The New York Times took a giant leap toward revealing some of the truth many had called “conspiracy theory.”

We already know about the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB) but what was in earlier PDB’s. Surely this wasn’t the first one. Apparently it was not but it was the last and final warning that the Bush administration dismissed.

On the eve of the eleventh anniversary of September 11, Kurt Eichenwald, author of the new book 500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars and contributing editor of Vanity Fair, wrote this article:

   The direct warnings to Mr. Bush about the possibility of a Qaeda attack began in the spring of 2001. By May 1, the Central Intelligence Agency told the White House of a report that “a group presently in the United States” was planning a terrorist operation. Weeks later, on June 22, the daily brief reported that Qaeda strikes could be “imminent,” although intelligence suggested the time frame was flexible.

   But some in the administration considered the warning to be just bluster. An intelligence official and a member of the Bush administration both told me in interviews that the neoconservative leaders who had recently assumed power at the Pentagon were warning the White House that the C.I.A. had been fooled; according to this theory, Bin Laden was merely pretending to be planning an attack to distract the administration from Saddam Hussein, whom the neoconservatives saw as a greater threat. Intelligence officials, these sources said, protested that the idea of Bin Laden, an Islamic fundamentalist, conspiring with Mr. Hussein, an Iraqi secularist, was ridiculous, but the neoconservatives’ suspicions were nevertheless carrying the day.

   In response, the C.I.A. prepared an analysis that all but pleaded with the White House to accept that the danger from Bin Laden was real. [..]

In the aftermath of 9/11, Bush officials attempted to deflect criticism that they had ignored C.I.A. warnings by saying they had not been told when and where the attack would occur. That is true, as far as it goes, but it misses the point. Throughout that summer, there were events that might have exposed the plans, had the government been on high alert. Indeed, even as the Aug. 6 brief was being prepared, Mohamed al-Kahtani, a Saudi believed to have been assigned a role in the 9/11 attacks, was stopped at an airport in Orlando, Fla., by a suspicious customs agent and sent back overseas on Aug. 4. Two weeks later, another co-conspirator, Zacarias Moussaoui, was arrested on immigration charges in Minnesota after arousing suspicions at a flight school. But the dots were not connected, and Washington did not react.

Could the 9/11 attack have been stopped, had the Bush team reacted with urgency to the warnings contained in all of those daily briefs? We can’t ever know. And that may be the most agonizing reality of all.

We have known since the Clinton administration that the neoconservatives had wanted Sadaam Hussein overthrown. In 1998, the now defunct Project for the New American Century audaciously sent an open letter to President Clinton urging him to attack Iraq. The signers of that letter were the same men and women that were embraced by the Bush regime, some of whom (highlighted) are advising the Romney campaign:

Elliott Abrams    Richard L. Armitage    William J. Bennett  Jeffrey Bergner  John Bolton    Paula Dobriansky   Francis Fukuyama    Robert Kagan    Zalmay Khalilzad   William Kristol    Richard Perle    Peter W. Rodman   Donald Rumsfeld    William Schneider, Jr.  Vin Weber   Paul Wolfowitz    R. James Woolsey    Robert B. Zoellick

And these lying war hawks haven’t gone away. They have once again reemerged emboldened by the prospect of a malleable Republican president to ramp up the possibility of attacking Iran on the false premise that they are trying to build a nuclear weapon. In fact, Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney has surrounded himself with many of the same people to advise his campaign on military and foreign affairs.

It is clearer now that the Bush administration, surrounded by the neoconservative hawks who were urging attacking Iraq, knew and ignored the warnings about Al Qaeda. It is obvious from what we know now about the run up to the war in Iraq, that the neocons got what they wanted then and are now determined to push the world into another war, this time with Iran.

The facts remain, whether or not the Bush regime disregard of the warnings and intelligence from the CIA was intentional or just out of pure willful ignorance, they let the attack happen.  

Sep 11

Devotion

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h/t watertiger @ Dependable Renegade

Sep 11

The 11th Anniversary of the End of the USA

Effectively, the end of the USA occurred on 9/11/01. Two major forces collided that day. The first was a group of oligarchs who wanted to institute authoritarian rule on an unruly and increasingly (form their POV) immoral nation. The second group was the majority of citizens in the American Republic who were basking in the glow of vast technological change that was providing them with an enormous playground full of toys and cheap baubles who had lost practically all interest in the responsibilities of citizenship–who wanted, in short, a blue pill. During the course of the day many reports came in, no one knew what was happening. Buildings collapsed that were designed to withstand plane crashes at near free-fall speed, explosions were heard and recorded before those collapses. Commentators noted that the collapse of WTC 1 and 2 were eerily similar to controlled demolitions. People like me, who knew Washington DC very well, were stunned at the plane crash into the Pentagon knowing that the building was surrounded by anti-aircraft and anti-missile missiles confusion reigned. Then somehow the government let it be known that Al-Qaida was responsible and that was the explanation.

Sep 11

On This Day In History September 11

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

September 11 is the 254th day of the year (255th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 111 days remaining until the end of the year. It is usually the first day of the Coptic calendar and Ethiopian calendar (in the period AD 1900 to AD 2099).

On this day in 1941, ground is broken for the construction of The Pentagon.

The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, located in Arlington County, Virginia. As a symbol of the U.S. military, “the Pentagon” is often used metonymically to refer to the Department of Defense rather than the building itself.

Designed by the American architect George Bergstrom (1876-1955), and built by Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, general contractor John McShain, the building was dedicated on January 15, 1943, after ground was broken for construction on September 11, 1941. General Brehon Somervell provided the major motive power behind the project; Colonel Leslie Groves was responsible for overseeing the project for the Army.

The Pentagon is the world’s largest office building by floor area, with about 6,500,000 sq ft (604,000 m2), of which 3,700,000 sq ft (344,000 m2) are used as offices. Approximately 23,000 military and civilian employees and about 3,000 non-defense support personnel work in the Pentagon. It has five sides, five floors above ground, two basement levels, and five ring corridors per floor with a total of 17.5 mi (28.2 km) of corridors. The Pentagon includes a five-acre (20,000 m2) central plaza, which is shaped like a pentagon and informally known as “ground zero”, a nickname originating during the Cold War and based on the presumption that the Soviet Union would target one or more nuclear missiles at this central location in the outbreak of a nuclear war.

On September 11, 2001, exactly 60 years after the building’s groundbreaking, hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 was crashed into the western side of the Pentagon, killing 189 people, including five hijackers, 59 others aboard the plane, and 125 working in the building.

Sep 11

Enduring Another 911

It’s that sappy time of year again.  Doesn’t Katie Couric look like a plastic Barbie Doll Stepford Wife.  Alex Jones once again talks of Al-CIA-duh boogeymen numbered guys being killed yet again.  Even my 911 truther crowd is quiet.  Perhaps worn out.

Sep 11

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning


Art Glass 10

Sep 11

Eurozone Bailout, Not So Fast

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Last Thursday Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, won almost unanimous support for an unlimited bond purchase that would relieve the pressure on financial troubled countries by spreading the repayment of debt to Euro Zone countries as a whole:

The central bank’s program will not solve the deep structural problems of the euro, Europe’s common currency. But it will buy time for the political leaders of the 17-nation euro zone to follow through on their past promises to discipline each others’ spending more closely and work harder to relax labor regulations and barriers to business creation that are regarded as impediments to growth.

The central bank will buy bonds on open markets, without setting any limits, in contrast to an earlier bond-buying program that proved too hesitant to be effective. The bank said it would act only after countries agreed on certain conditions with the euro zone rescue fund, the European Stability Mechanism. That fund, known as the E.S.M., would buy bonds directly from governments, taking responsibility for imposing the conditions, while the central bank would intervene in secondary markets. [..]

The one dissenting vote came from Germany’s central bank, the Bundesbank, that was cast by Jens Weidmann despite Chancellor Andrea Merkel’s support for the plan.

But no so fast. The plan relies heavily on Spain and Italy to ask for help from the ECB. Both governments expressed reluctance for fear of political back lash at home and the harsh policy changes that they would have to accept. Spanish  Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy took the stance that Spain would not be forced into asking for assiatance from the ECB until the conditions were made “crystal clear”:

After Mario Draghi, European Central Bank governor, made clear that any assistance from the central bank to reduce Spanish borrowing costs would come with “strict and effective” conditionality, the Rajoy government remained steadfast in its view that a request would only be made if, and when, it is ready. High quality global journalism requires investment.

“There is no urgency,” a Spanish official said following a joint press conference between Mr Rajoy and Angela Merkel, where the German Chancellor deftly avoided a series of questions over possible new conditions for Spain. [..]

The Spanish prime minister is aware of the disastrous political consequences a direct request for a bailout would have on a nine-month-old government that was elected on a pledge to avoid the fate of Greece, Portugal and Ireland.

At the FDL News Desk, David Dayen gives his analysis:

Basically, Rajoy is saying “do your worst.” And he has some leverage. The Eurozone might be able to survive without Greece, but Spain is too big to fail. Draghi is adamant that he will not rescue the bond yields of any state that does not comply, but that has not been confirmed by events. So we have a game of chicken. And Rajoy, who campaigned on avoiding the fate of Ireland and Greece and Portugal, has political reasons to remain steadfast. He wants to keep the troika out of Spain; it’s political suicide if they come in and tell him how to manage the Spanish economy.

The knowledge among bondholders that Rajoy could at any time sign up for aid may be enough to keep them at bay relative to Spanish debt, and the debt of other sovereigns. That’s my hope, anyway. Because forcing Spain into more brutal austerity will turn out just the way it has turned out in Britain and any other country with a fragile economy.

From the annual Ambrosetti Forum at Lake Como on Friday, economist Nouriel Roubini gave his assessment:

“The ECB move is helpful but is not a game-changer. The eurozone is still in crisis,” said Nouriel Roubini, head of Roubini Global Economics.

“Unless Europe stops the recession and offers people in the peripheral countries some light at the end of the tunnel – not in five years but within 12 months – the political backlash will be overwhleming, with strikes, riots and weak governments collapsing.”

Professor Roubini said the German Bundesbank and will insist that “severe” conditions are imposed on Spain once the country requests a rescue from the eurozone EFSF/ESM bail-out funds and signs a memorandum ceding budgetary sovereignty.

“Plenty of accidents can still occur. There is austerity fatigue in the periphery and bail-out fatigue in the core. Eveybody is restless,” he said [..]

This current plan only kicks the can down the road. There are structural problems of the Eurozone system that must be addressed to adequately resolve this crisis:

There is a structural contradiction within the euro system, namely that there is a monetary union (common currency) without a fiscal union (e.g., common taxation, pension, and treasury functions). In the Eurozone system, the countries are required to follow a similar fiscal path, but they do not have common treasury to enforce it. That is, countries with the same monetary system have freedom in fiscal policies in taxation and expenditure. So, even though there are some agreements on monetary policy and through European Central Bank, countries may not be able to or would simply choose not to follow it. This feature brought fiscal free riding of peripheral economies, especially represented by Greece, as it is hard to control and regulate national financial institutions. Furthermore, there is also a problem that the euro zone system has a difficult structure for quick response. Eurozone, having 17 nations as its members, require unanimous agreement for a decision making process. This would lead to failure in complete prevention of contagion of other areas, as it would be hard for the Euro zone to respond quickly to the problem.

In addition, as of June 2012 there was no “banking union” meaning that there was no Europe-wide approach to bank deposit insurance, bank oversight, or a joint means of recapitalization or resolution (wind-down) of failing banks. Bank deposit insurance helps avoid bank runs.

So countries like Greece, Ireland, Italy, Spain and Portugal, who find themselves in a financial crunch, must rely on the not so “goodwill” of countries like Germany who are reluctant to share the pain.

Sep 11

PSY – GANGNAM STYLE (강남스타일)

“Gangnam Style” is a Korean language colloquialism that refers to a luxurious lifestyle associated with the Gangnam district,[2] an affluent and trendy area of Seoul.[3] The music video depicts Psy dancing at various locations in Gangnam.[4] The song is about “the perfect girlfriend who knows when to be refined and when to get wild.”[5]

A literal translation of “오빤 강남 스타일 (Oppan Gangnam seutail)” is “(I) Oppa Is Gangnam Style”. [6][7] The Korean word 오빠 (oppa) means “a female’s elder brother” but can be also used as a first-, second- or third-person masculine pronoun to designate a male who is elder or older than a female. Based on more recent cultural norms, the term has typically been used to refer to a boyfriend or male spouse. It is used as a first-person pronoun in this phrase. 오빤 (oppan) is an abbreviation of 오빠는 (oppaneun). 는 is a topic marker, which in this case means the implied subject of the sentence is the singer (오빠). The verb “to be” is omitted, as is often the case in such short Korean sentences. Thus the literal translation of “Oppan Gangnam style” is “Your big brother [is] Gangnam Style”.

The lyrics are by Psy, music by Psy and Yoo Gun-hyung, and it was arranged by Yoo Gun-hyung, who is a well-known producer in South Korea and also collaborated with Psy in the past.

Sep 11

Today on The Stars Hollow Gazette

Our regular featured content-

And these featured articles-

Write more and often.  This is an Open Thread.

The Stars Hollow Gazette