Tag Archives: 9/11

Can’t this guy run for high office?

The more I hear from Jon Stewart the more I like, respect and admire him.

He’s a comedian, a writer, a producer. He’s also become an advocate for 9/11 first responders who have been caught in a legislative sausage grinder. Congress has until just recently failed to renew a 9/11 first responders emergency fund. A House committee recently voted unanimously to provide an extension for the fund, but only after Stewart tossed aside his prepared remarks and reamed the members for their inaction, their cowardice and their insensitivity toward those who rushed into the fire on that terrible day.

Those police officers, firefighters, medical personnel and civilians are paying the price. They are dying of 9/11-related ailments. Stewart has taken up their cause.

This past Sunday, Stewart appeared on “Fox News Sunday,” and was asked by host Chris Wallace to respond to those who say the federal government should cede that assistance to the states, that the cost was greater than the feds could afford.

Wallace teed the question up perfectly for Stewart, who then proceeded to hit it out of sight.

He responded, “What about Pearl Harbor?” He said such a notion is as ridiculous as suggesting that the military attack against the United States in December 1941 should be a “Hawaii problem.” He said that the terrorists committed an act of war against this nation on 9/11 and, therefore, that makes it an urgent national priority.

I cannot stop believing that Wallace knew that his friend Jon Stewart would have a ready answer to that question and I also believe that Wallace appreciated — and likely agreed — with what his guest said in response.

I am left to wonder: Why isn’t this guy, Jon Stewart, running for high public office?

Jon Stewart stands up for our heroes

Forgive me for using a word that I have contended over the years has been misused, but I’m going to use it anyway.

Jon Stewart is my newest hero. He stood up today for the first responders, the men and women who rushed into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon on 9/11. He sat before a House Judiciary subcommittee and excoriated the House members for failing to act to protect those heroic first responders.

He spoke for millions of Americans who want the government to deliver on the promise it made 18 years ago, that it would ensure that the first responders — the firefighters, police officers, medical personnel, military members — would always have the medical protection they would require if the needs arose.

The comedian, producer and writer spoke of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund that has yet to be extended. Why? Because the Senate cannot muster up the guts to do what it should do, which is provide the money set aside for the fund; the House has approved this legislation, but it goes to the Senate essentially to die.

Steward acknowledged that he sounded “angry and undiplomatic” but still spoke forcefully to House members. Were they moved in any form by what Stewart said? I have no clue. They should have been moved.

He berated House members for their “callous indifference” and their “rank hypocrisy” as it relates to the 9/11 victims fund. He noted that first responders have died from illnesses related directly to their exposure during those first horrific hours after the terrorist attacks.

Jon Stewart put on a rare display of visceral anger coming from a celebrity who happens also to be a taxpayer, a citizen and a man whose voice needs to be heard.

Will those who serve in our federal government answer the call to stand behind those who risked their lives on their behalf?

Yes, those responders are the real heroes in this discussion. I want to salute Jon Stewart, too, for the courage he exhibited in giving Congress the a**-chewing it deserves.

Our heroic warriors do not ‘die in vain’

A social media acquaintance of mine tells me that Memorial Day is a holiday he wishes “we didn’t need.”

Amen to that.

I want to offer a point of view, though, that might puzzle some readers of this blog. If it does, I will try my best to explain.

My belief is that service personnel who die in conflicts that are deemed to be “politically unpopular” do not “die in vain.” I hear that kind of criticism leveled at our politicians and, to be candid, it makes my hair stand up; I bristle badly at the accusation.

Yes, this nation has been involved in armed conflict that has sparked ferocious political debate here at home.

In my lifetime, I suppose you could go back to the Korean War, which began just five years after the Japanese surrendered to end World War II, arguably the nation’s last truly righteous war.

The fighting ended in Korea in 1953 but to this very moment, South and North Korea remain in a state of war; they only signed a cease-fire to stop the bloodshed.

Vietnam ratcheted the political debate to new levels, beginning around 1966. The Vietnam War did not end well for this country. We pulled our troops off the battlefield in early 1973, only to watch as North Vietnamese troops stormed into Saigon two years later, capturing the South Vietnamese capital city, renaming it after Ho Chi Minh and sending thousands of enemy sympathizers off to what they called “re-education camps.”

The Persian Gulf War was brief and proved to be successful. Then came 9/11 and we went to war again in Afghanistan and less than two years later in Iraq.

We have lost tens of thousands of young Americans in all those politically volatile conflicts since Korea. Yes, there have been accusations that those warriors “died in vain.”

They did not! They died while answering their nation’s call to duty. They might have been politically unpopular conflicts — but the orders that came down to our young citizens were lawful.

I will continue to resist mightily the notion that our heroic military personnel died in vain. I know better than that. I only wish the critics of public policy decisions that produce misery and heartache would cease defaming the heroism of those who died in defense of the principle that grants citizens the right to complain about our government.

I join my social media acquaintance in wishing away the need to commemorate Memorial Day. But we cannot … as long as young men and women answer their nation’s call to arms.

American Taliban is out … oh, how I wish he wasn’t

John Walker Lindh became known as the American Taliban. He decided in 2000 to convert to a form of Islam, then joined the terrorists in Afghanistan.

Then came the 9/11 terror attack and the start of our war against terrorism. Lindh got captured early in that fight, was charged with crimes relating to his involvement with the Taliban and al-Qaeda, convicted and sentenced to 20 years in a federal prison.

He walked out of that lockup in Terre Haute, Ind., today. He will live in northern Virginia.

Has this lunatic disavowed his radical views? Apparently not!

That is what makes his release so troublesome, at least to me.

He got out of prison a bit early because he behaved himself while behind bars. Lindh was known to read the Quran daily. He prayed per Islamic tradition. Lindh was 22 years of age when he was captured.

He reportedly also has made pro-Islamic State statements while in prison. Still, the feds decided to turn this guy loose three years before the end of his term?

He was accused initially of a host of crimes related to the uprising in Afghanistan in which he participated, but worked out some sort of a deal in exchange for the 20-year prison term he received.

The feds have put some constraints on Lindh, trying to ensure they keep an eye on him. I’m going to presume he will be unable to leave the country and rejoin his Taliban pals. He also will be disallowed from having any non-English-language telecommunications equipment and his Internet use will be monitored carefully.

There’s just something about this story that gives me the heebie-jeebies.

I hope the federal authorities keep all eyes wide open on this guy and watch his every move.

Lying has become ‘tolerable’ among politicians?

Jimmy Carter once promised that he would never lie to Americans if they elected him president of the United States.

To the best of my knowledge and memory, the 39th president kept that promise. Perhaps he didn’t tell us everything in real time about sensitive negotiations with Egyptian President and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin as they crafted a comprehensive peace treaty. He might have held back on what he told Iranian leaders who held our citizens hostage for 444 days in 1979-80.

I don’t believe he lied.

We fast-forward now to the present day. The current president has demonstrated that he cannot tell the truth.

Donald Trump lies at every level. He lies when he doesn’t need to lie. He lies when it is easier to tell the truth. He lies about matters large and small.

I cannot single out the major lies he has told. They usually involve a political foe. He will say something that puts someone in a negative light. If it’s a lie, well, so be it.

The petty lies are equally remarkable. He lied about his late father being born in Germany; Fred Trump was born in New York City. He lied about losing friends on 9/11; he lost zero friends, he attended zero funerals of those who died on that terrible day.

Trump is lying at an astonishing pace. The Washington Post is keeping a running tabulation the falsehoods; it has passed the 10,000 mark so far and the pace is quickening.

I mention all of this because Donald Trump keeps insisting that he has been “totally exonerated” regarding the Russia matter. No, he hasn’t.

Thus, Trump lies even when the public record demonstrates precisely the opposite to be true. Robert Mueller’s report on his investigation into alleged collusion is clear: The special counsel could not clear Trump of obstruction of justice; nor could he prosecute him. Still, Trump lies when he says he has been “totally exonerated.”

How in the world can we accept a single thing this individual says as truth? My view: We cannot. 

‘Happy anniversary,’ you monster … you

A hilarious Facebook meme came to my attention this evening.

It shows a mug shot of Osama bin Laden and notes that on May 2, 2011, he was snuffed out by a team of Navy SEALs, Delta Force and CIA commandos. It wished him a “happy anniversary . . . fu**er.” 

Wow. Eight years ago tonight, President Obama stood before the nation to tell us and the rest of the world that the “United States conducted a mission that killed Osama bin Laden.”

I remember that evening quite well.

My wife and I were watching TV when we got a news alert that the White House had announced that the president would make “an announcement” later in the evening. It didn’t specify the topic — quite obviously.

Hmm. What could it be? Why would Barack Obama come on in the evening to make some sort of an announcement.

Then it occurred to me. I blurted out to my wife, “I think they got bin Laden!”

Sure enough. There it was. The announcement came. Cheers broke out in front of the White House, and in Times Square and in town squares all across the nation. “U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

Yes, it was a moment that brought joy to households across the land. The man responsible for the worst singular act of violence on U.S. soil had been killed. He was as dead as dead gets. We cheered.

Sadly, though, bin Laden’s death did not signal the end of international terrorism. The fight has gone on past. It was being fought full throttle when Obama took over from George W. Bush. It was still being fought when Donald Trump took over from Barack Obama.

I don’t know when we can declare victory, or even if we’ll ever able to make such a declaration.

Our dedicated anti-terror network, though, did score a huge single victory when it sniffed out bin Laden, laid the groundwork for this most perilous mission and then waited as the skilled U.S. warriors carried out the order to kill this terrorist monster.

It’s worth noting here today. I only hope for many more such victories as the fight goes on.

This isn’t how you MAGA, Mr. POTUS

Well, Mr. President, you’ve crossed a fascinating threshold so early during your time in the only public office you’ve ever sought.

The Washington Post tally of lies/misstatements/fibs/prevarications has just crossed the 10,000 mark. Are congratulations in order, Mr. President? If so, then I offer them to you.

Your lying — and I’ll stick with that description for the purposes of this blog — has transcended anything many of us can remember.

I’m old enough to recall how presidents have hidden the truth from us. They do so because of because of perceived national security issues that could put the nation in peril if they were to reveal the “whole truth.”

The Vietnam War, the Cold War, specific crises (such as 9/11) all have produced incidences of presidents keeping certain information from the public.

Not you, Mr. President. You lie at every opportunity. You lie when you don’t need to lie. You’re penchant for making things up simply is mind-blogging/blowing in the extreme.

I have to wonder how you live with yourself. Oh, never mind. I know the answer to that. Your entire life prior to becoming a politician was predicated on self-enrichment. So, I gather that to further your own self you feel as though you had to lie to make yourself look better than you are . . . which I have determined isn’t all that difficult a chore.

Why, you even lied about the size of one of those buildings that has your name on it, inflating it by 10 stories.

You make these outrageous claims of being the “most” this or that, or the “best” at whatever you endeavor to do. One cannot categorize those as lies, per se.

However, you are really and truly good at lying.

Well done, Mr. President.

I just want to note that lying your way through life is not going to “make America great again.” Really. That, sir, is the truth.

Waiting for the right candidate to challenge Trump

I do not yet have a favorite candidate I want to challenge Donald John Trump in the next presidential election. I am waiting for that candidate to present himself or herself.

I do know this: The president’s unfitness for the office he occupies is becoming more obvious damn near each day he sits behind that big desk in the Oval Office.

This latest gambit of considering whether to set illegal immigrants loose on the streets of “sanctuary cities” to punish congressional Democrats who oppose him on his desire to build The Wall along our southern border is just the latest example.

Donald Trump lies when he doesn’t need to lie. I watch clip after clip of his lying throughout the 2016 presidential campaign and I simply am aghast. I am appalled that he eked out an Electoral College win to become president. I am astonished that his lying didn’t disqualify him at one of countless points along the campaign trail. He lied about seeing and hearing “thousands of Muslims” cheering the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11; he lied about “helping” clear the rubble from Ground Zero after that tragic event; he lied about how he built his company from scratch.

This is the most untrustworthy man ever to hold the office of president.

His personal insults demean the office. He mocks individuals with physical disabilities. He insults individuals’ physical appearance.

Donald Trump foments hate against Muslims, against Latinos, against those seek to enter this country from “sh**hole countries.”

He denigrates others’ contributions to our national life. He infamously disparaged the heroic service during the Vietnam War of the late Sen. John McCain.

This won’t surprise anyone who reads this blog regularly, but my mind was made up about one aspect of the 2020 election the moment it became clear to all of us that Donald Trump would win the 2016 election. There could be no way in this entire galaxy I could support this individual’s re-election.

My task now is to await to see who arises from the thundering horde/herd of candidates seeking to get the nation’s attention.

My statement that my preference would be for someone to arise from the middle — or perhaps the back — of the crowd to establish himself or herself as a frontrunner. I just do not yet know who will step forward.

I want my 2020 presidential vote to be for someone who presents a positive vision for the future of this country. I want it to be in favor of someone who can correct the hideous course on which the Liar in Chief has taken us.

I truly would hate casting my vote only as a statement against the presidency of Donald Trump. I do not want to hold my schnoz while casting my ballot.

However, I am able to do so . . . if that’s what it takes.

‘No president has worked harder’

This isn’t a huge leap, so I feel comfortable in presuming that Donald Trump is angry over the revelations about all that “executive time” he takes in the White House.

That has to explain the Twitter messages he fired off declaring how “no president has worked harder than me” at making America great again and all the myriad tasks associated with being president of the United States.

He bellowed something about the “mess” he inherited in January 2017. How he has restored the military, repaired the Veterans Administration, dealt with “endless wars,” stopped the North Korean nuclear threat . . . and on and on.

No president has worked harder than this guy?

Hmm. Let’s see about that.

I wonder if his work ethic exceeds that of, say, Abraham Lincoln, who served while the country was killing itself during the Civil War; or when Franklin Roosevelt was trying to win World War II after the Japanese attacked us at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; or when John F. Kennedy had to face down the Soviet Union’s missile threat in Cuba; or when George W. Bush had to respond to the 9/11 terror attacks.

Donald Trump would have us believe he has worked “harder” than those previous presidents? And what about the results of all those issues Trump has tackled? North Korea is still developing nukes; we’re still at war in Afghanistan and Iraq; the VA work remains undone; the military was just as strong when Trump took office as it is now.

It is typical Trumpian hyperbole, exaggeration and — dare I say it — outright lying.

Twitter use? Sure, why not? ‘Fake News’ epithet? Unacceptable

I have learned to accept that Donald Trump is going to use Twitter to express himself whenever he wants. I don’t like it, but that’s his way of communicating, so I’ll let that aspect ride.

What I cannot let stand is his continual use of the term “fake news” to describe media with which he disagrees.

He said this regarding the Davos economic summit, which he decided to skip  because of the partial government shutdown:

Last time I went to Davos, the Fake News said I should not go there. This year, because of the Shutdown, I decided not to go, and the Fake News said I should be there. The fact is that the people understand the media better than the media understands them!

C’mon, Mr. President! Knock off the “fake news” epithet.

He throws that term out whenever he describes media outlets that report news he finds objectionable, which is another way of saying he dislikes media that report the news accurately.

Moreover, the president of the United States is the uncrowned king of fake news. He foments lies continually. He has continued to speak untruths about current events, about his political foes, about the media. He promotes “fakes news” whenever he opens his trap and says things such as:

Barack Obama was ineligible to run for president because he wasn’t a U.S. citizen; he witnessed thousands of Muslims cheering the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11; millions of illegal immigrants voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016; the “caravan” of refugees fleeing Central America contained many “Middle Eastern” terrorists intent on killing Americans.

That’s just a sample of what I am talking about. The president is the master of “fake news.” For him to accuse the media of promoting “fake news” is just, well, another example of Donald Trump’s penchant for prevarication.