Tag Archives: Twin Towers

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.

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 skipĀ  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.

Hey, Mr. POTUS, what about the rest of the country?

It has become an established fact that Donald John Trump Sr. loves talking exclusively to those who support him no matter what.

He speaks their language; they adhere to his message.

The latest so-called “dog whistle” was blasted out today when the president fired off a Twitter message in which — and this is really rich — he actually denied that nearly 3,000 Americans died from the wrath brought to Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria.

He blames the death toll on Democrats who are intent on making him look bad. That’s it! The Puerto Rico territorial government’s death toll, revised way upward from a formerly official count of 64 fatalities, is a plot, a conspiracy.

He made this astonishing, idiotic and utterly baseless claim as Hurricane Florence bears down on the Carolina coast, threatening to bring even more havoc to the Eastern Seaboard.

Let’s talk, briefly, about his Puerto Rico remarks.

It’s easy to say that the president doesn’t know what he’s talking about. However, he knows precisely what he’s saying. He is speaking to his “base,” the 35 or so percent of voting-age Americans who are behind him to the very end. The base doesn’t care about the truth. It doesn’t care about reality. It cares only that Trump stands up to the so-called “mainstream media,” those who oppose him.

Trump himself declared during the 2016 campaign that he could “shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any votes.” Americans were aghast in the moment when Trump said it. That boast doesn’t seem quite so ridiculous now.

So he continues to talk to the base. He continues to make assertions without a scintilla of evidence to back them up. Democrats are to blame for the deaths of all those U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico? Millions of illegal immigrants voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016? He watched “thousands of Muslims” cheering the fall of the Twin Towers on 9/11? Barack Hussein Obama was born in Kenya and was ineligible to run for president?

That’s what I call “fake news.”

Recalling profound tragedy’s impact on us all

9/11 is seared into our memory. Most of us likely recall where we were when we heard the news.

I was at work the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 at the Amarillo (Texas) Globe-News. A colleague came to work, stuck his head in my office and asked, “Did you hear the news? Someone flew an airplane into the World Trade Center?”

My first reaction? “What’s the weather like?” My colleague said it was clear and sunny in New York. “What kind of idiot would fly into a skyscraper?” I asked, rhetorically.

I turned on the TV. I watched the coverage of the burning WTC tower. Then the second plane plowed into the neighboring tower.

That … changed everything.

The entire nation knew at that moment we were under attack.

All of this occurred, of course, before the media were declared to be the “enemy of the people.” We all did what we do. We started gathering information, making phone calls to local sources to try to chronicle the events and their impact on our communities. We did that in Amarillo.

I won’t equate our efforts with those who ran into the burning buildings, but our attempt to keep our community informed of the events of the day were critical (a) to those who consume the news and (b) to those who seek to explain it.

I was proud to help provide some commentary, context and wishes of solidarity to the nation that was under siege from forces we hadn’t yet identified fully in the moment.

It was one of those days one never forgets.

Today we honor the heroes

Heroes never seek to achieve their special status. Events are thrust upon them.

Seventeen years ago today, on a bright Tuesday morning, events occurred in this country that created heroes who were reacting instinctively. They sought to protect others’ lives against the harm that had arrived without warning.

Terrorists commandeered jetliners. They flew two of them into the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers, another one into the Pentagon, and a fourth jetliner crashed in Shanksville, Pa., after a titanic in-flight struggle between heroic passengers and the monsters who sought to crash that aircraft into the U.S. Capitol Building.

The date is now known simply as 9/11. You say “9/11” and everyone knows the date, what they were doing when they heard the horrific news.

I want to honor the heroes along with the victims today. The victims, nearly 3,000 of them, were simply going about their day. They were at work, they were in school, they were being cared for in day-care centers.

Terrorists acting in the name of some perversion of a great religion sought to strike at this nation. They awakened the fighting spirit of a proud people.

They produced heroes. They were the firefighters, police officers and medical personnel who ran into the burning buildings. They taught us the lessons of tried-and-true heroism.

Their legacy lives on to this day. It will live forever. Our nation should be grateful for all of eternity that they answered the call to their duty to serve the public.

17 years later, the war goes on and on

It was a Tuesday morning. Jetliners flew into the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan. Another one plowed into the Pentagon. A fourth jetliner crashed in a rural Pennsylvania field as passengers struggled valiantly against those who hijacked it.

The date was Sept. 11, 2001, now known colloquially as 9/11.

About a month later, President Bush — just months on the job — launched the war against the monsters who did the terrible deed.

And the war continues. It is the most unconventional of conflicts. We cannot declare victory and go home. The terrorists will lurk likely forever, for as long as human beings inhabit Earth.

The president stood on the rubble at Ground Zero, bullhorn in hand. He summoned the nation to unite in this struggle. For a time, we did.

The war will go on. It’s already the longest conflict in our nation’s history. Sure, we killed the mastermind behind the 9/11 attack, Osama bin Laden. We’ve killed many terror leaders and thousands of their minions. Others have emerged to take their place. We knew that would happen.

Our nation will recall the 9/11 tragedy on Tuesday. They’ll read the names of the victims who died when the Twin Towers burst into flames and fell. They’ll read the names of those who died in the Pentagon and in that Pennsylvania field. We’ll remember and honor the heroes who ran into the inferno to save others’ lives.

We also will honor and salute the men and women who have answered the call to duty as President Bush took us to war against a ruthless, cunning and elusive enemy.

None of us knows when this fight will end. We don’t even know if it will end … ever! We hear brave talk about how we’re going to destroy the enemy. However, it is just talk. I remain dubious as to whether we’ll ever rid the planet of every single terrorist or organization intend on sowing the seeds of fear.

I am one who supports the on-going war against terror. Yes, the cost of this war is terrible. However, as the president said when he launched the campaign against the Taliban, al-Qaeda and other terrorists in Afghanistan, it is far better to fight them there than to fight them here.

Seventeen years later, the war goes on.

This is just a little lie, but it’s a lie nonetheless

In the growing list of Donald J. Trump lies and prevarications, this one ranks as a minor-leaguer, not really worth a damn.

However, it illustrates quite graphically how the president’s fast-and-loose treatment of facts keeps rising up to bite him — and the rest of us — in the backside.

Former President Barack Obama delivered a speech today in Illinois that went straight after Donald Trump. The Obama speech marked the 44th president’s return to the political arena.

What, then, was the 45th president’s response to it? He told a crowd in North Dakota that he watched a little bit of the speech, but then “fell asleep.”

There you have it. Trump would have us believe that Barack Obama’s speech bored Trump so much that he couldn’t stay awake.

Do you believe Trump actually nodded off? Nope. Neither do I.

Which brings me to my point. Why in the name of bald-faced lying would Trump feel the need to say such a thing? Why couldn’t he just say that the speech did nothing for him? That he found it boring?

You see, this seems to get right to the point of what so many of us find so damn troubling about Donald Trump. He cannot tell the truth on anything, at any level.

I know that this lie won’t matter in the grand scheme of the chaos that rules the White House. It doesn’t involve public policy decisions. It certainly doesn’t measure up to some of the whoppers he has told: millions of illegal immigrants voting for Hillary Clinton; watching “thousands” of Muslims cheering the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11; having “proof” that Barack Obama was born in Kenya and, thus, was ineligible to run for the presidency.

Big lies. Little lies. I know there’s a difference. No matter the size of the lie, that Donald Trump would tell them is reason enough to be frightened by the president of the United States.

What became of America’s Mayor?

Rudolph Giuliani used to be a revered public figure. He stood tall amid the rubble of Ground Zero in lower Manhattan and rallied a stricken city in the wake of the 9/11 terror attack on the World Trade Center.

Time magazine named him Person of the Year in 2001. It was richly deserved. Giuliani became America’s Mayor.

Then something happened to him. He decided to get involved in national politics. He dressed in drag to spoof something or someone. He ran for the Republican Party presidential nomination in 2008.

Rudy Giuliani has gotten a bit strange. If you saw his shtick at the 2016 Republican National Convention, then you understand my point. If you haven’t seen it, take a look:

His latest gig is as Donald J. Trump’s lawyer, representing the president as he does battle against what he calls the “witch hunt” being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Giuliani has managed to step all over Trump’s denial about hush money being paid to a porn star; he argues now that the president cannot be subpoenaed or indicted by the special counsel, even if Mueller produces evidence that Trump broke the law.

Giuliani has become a shill. He has behaved in a seriously unattractive manner as he defends the president against Mueller’s investigation in whether Trump obstructed justice or “colluded” with Russians who interfered in our 2016 presidential election.

Honestly, I much prefer the former Rudy Giuliani, the man who faced down terrorists while standing in the rubble.

The “new Rudy” is acting like a clown.

‘So much fake news’

Every time Donald John “Liar in Chief” Trump Sr. throws out the “fake news” allegation, I am reminded only of one thing: The president lacks any sense of self-awareness.

You know the type. These are people who accuse others of doing what they do. It’s a form of projection. Perhaps it’s a pathological condition.

Whatever it is, Trump’s got it. Or he lacks it.

The president fired off a tweet after the “60 Minutes” interview with the porn queen who says the two of them had a fling in 2006. He called it “fake news.”

Sure thing, Mr. President. I happen to believe her. She’s more credible than the president of the United States. Yes. A porn actress is more believable than the head of state. What in the world has become of this world?

And … why is that? Because the president is the king of fake news.

He perpetuated the lie that Barack Obama was not qualified to serve as president because he allegedly was born in another country. He lied about President Obama wiretapping his offices in Trump Tower after the 2016 election. He lied about witnessing “thousands of Muslims” cheering the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11.

He lies without any sense of shame or guilt.

Through all of this, the president has the stones to slap the “fake news” label on any news story he deems to be negative.

Fake news are those items that are demonstrably false. They are made-up tales. They are lies put forward by those who cannot tell the truth. These tall tales are meant to defame others, to do damage to others’ credibility.

The president will never look inward while he accuses others of fomenting “fake news.” It is left to the rest of us to do it for him.

The Liar in Chief is a disgrace to his office.

Dear Mr. President: Ditch the ‘fake news’ mantra

There you have it, Mr. President. That’s my New Year’s resolution for you to ponder … that is, if you read this blog.

I’ll try to shoot you a copy of it and hope you’ll take a moment to read it.

This “fake news” yammering you keep tossing out there is, um, tiresome, boring and oh so very lacking in self-awareness.

You, sir, are the master composer of fake news.

You have revived the lie about President Obama being born abroad and being unqualified to serve in the office he vacated nearly a year ago after serving two successful terms; you lied about Hillary Clinton getting votes from millions of illegal immigrants; you lied about witnessing “thousands of Muslims” cheering the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11; you lied about losing “many friends” in the towers on that terrible day.

Don’t you get it, Mr. President? Every time you accuse the media of putting out fake news, you expose yourself to the very same accusation — which is tangibly and demonstrably more accurate than the bogus allegations you make about the media.

Why not start semi-fresh in 2018? You can do that by declaring your intention to stop repeating that phony mantra about fake news. It disserves the nation you were elected to lead and you vowed to “unify” after you took your oath of office.

You have failed to unify us, Mr. President. Pitting the media against America doesn’t make anything or anyone “great again.”

Happy New Year, Mr. President.

Now, get to work.