30 January, 2008

9/11 Truth? An inside job?

These are my opinions, based on what I have seen, read, observed and extrapolated.

September 11, 2001 was a conspiracy, and an insidious one. Call it luck, or coincidence, or divine will, but, the conspiracy succeeded (at least, 75% success) in its aims.

Here are some of the common claims of "9/11 Truthers", and my personal thoughts about those claims:
  • Steel melts at a higher temperature than Jet-A fuel burns.

    True. But drywall, paper, plastics, human beings, furniture, paint, and other materials present in those buildings burn at higher temperatures. Furthermore, the Jet-A fuel would have quickly burnt off, but it would have ignited other substances that burn at higher temperatures.

    Furthermore, steel weakens when exposed to heat. Anyone who has even sharpened a knife, or shot slugs into a traffic sign, or even bent a spoon with a Bic lighter knows this.

    Therefore, it was not necessary to actually melt the steel to weaken it, and even if that was not enough to bring down the buildings, there were certainly fires hot enough to melt portions of the load bearing columns (located near the outside of the structure, best exposed to oxygen to fuel the ongoing fires).

  • The buildings came down in manner of a controlled demolition.

    False. Conspiracy theorists claim that the planes alone could not have brought towers 1 and 2 down, much less building 7, the crux of the argument. For buildings 1 and 2 to say that the planes themselves did not bring the buildings down is technically true, see above: ignition of other sources contributed to the softening of the steel super-structure, weakened by the impact of the jets.

    The argument that someone or someone(s) were able to wire up miles of fuses and wires and tons of explosives in all three buildings without being noticed is much less likely than the evidence in front of us. A similar theory was put forward regarding the devastating destruction of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma, but several independent tests verified that the destruction caused by the truck bomb was not only plausible but likely.

  • No planes actually flew into the Trade Center towers 1 and 2.

    False. I watched it on live TV. I have friends in New York who saw it. Millions of eye witnesses, tens of thousands of direct eye witnesses. This claim makes me truly angry.

  • The administration had advance knowledge of the attacks.

    True. "Bin Laden Determined to Attack." The obstructionism of the Bush administration was a cover-up, for sure, in resisting the investigative efforts of the 9/11 Commission. However, this was not to hide some intentional complicity, but rather to cover-up and therefore avoid liability for their willful ignorance, to wit, unintentional complicity in the attacks.

  • It is improbable that 19 young hijackers, funded by Islamic terrorists in Afghanistan, could circumvent the world's best financed defense department, complete with Jet Fighter interceptors, RADAR, and untold military technology.

    False. Believe it or not, not all of the $500 billion dollars we spend per year on defense goes toward a standing at-the-ready fighter jet strike force capable of tracking and intercepting hijacked planes at a moment's notice.

    The Bill Moyers' PBS documentary about this goes into greater detail than I care to at this time, but I would note that the fighter jet interception force was, in 2001, still geared towards fighting the cold war. We were, as they say in the military, "blind on our 6". No one was watching civilian RADAR, and sorting out which planes were in fact hijacked and where they were was, tragically, not accomplished until after half of the jets had already reached their targets.

    Also, as a final note, the laws of physics simply do not allow for jets, scrambled from various stations in the mid-Atlantic, to reach hijacked planes or target zones in the time alloted. It takes over 15 minutes to even get those jets into the air.

    When you consider the apparent fact that the President himself didn't even know there was an attack under way until the second Jet hit the WTC, how can one assume that our defense apparatus would have had any chance at all to intercept and disable those planes.

    I will allow some doubt as to whether Flight 93 was shot down or taken down by terrorist pilots, but having heard the flight deck recordings, I tend to believe the latter.

    That is the only uncertain detail I am willing to entertain.

    Finally. After almost 7 years there is no "smoking gun" indicting our government, nor Mossad, or anyone other than al-Qaeda in this attack. Surely, after all that has happened, given the amount of organization and manpower that would have been required by our government or some other actor to perpetrate this attack, some evidence would have surfaced that could cast real doubt on the reality of a more nefarious conspiracy than the one that was, in my opinion, executed by radical Islamic terrorists. Surely someone would have come forward. Same with Oklahoma City, same with TWA Flight 800.

    I await the flaming and the bullying in comments, and I do not censor comments.
  • 27 January, 2008

    How Labor Activism is Viewed by Corporate America

    In the tradition of Aaron Sorkin, John Grisham, David Simon and Bill Moyers, Writer's Guild member Seth MacFarlane contributes this heartbreaking allegory about the stakes of the current guild negotiations:

    26 January, 2008

    State of the FISA

    On Monday, President Bush will give his (hopefully) final State of the Union address.

    Because of procedural and behind the scenes bullying by the Republicans, the Senate is poised to schedule the SIC-marked up FISA bill Monday, where it will hopefully be filibustered. The SIC bill grants retroactive immunity to United States telecommunications companies who, without any authorization other than Dick Cheney asking them (and I'm sure not nicely) took it upon themselves to spy on American citizens -- without a warrant.

    There are those who will claim, as the President surely will Monday night, that Democratic obstruction to extending FISA updates past February (which the SJC marked up bill does, by the way) will put American's in danger. The argument, according to right-wing operatives, is that if carte blanche amnesty is not fully granted without compromise then suddenly NSA collection will grind to a halt, allowing Terrorists to Slaughter Americans in America with impunity.

    Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Having followed the issue on Greenwald on Salon, I stumbled upon this link: http://fisa.wikispot.org/Telecom_Immunity_Arguments

    The information seems to be well enough annotated. I would recommend reading Greenwald to get the specifics on what this debate is really all about, who is behind telecom amnesty and why.

    But on Monday, when Bush lies that Democrats are endangering our nation and our troops, do not believe him. Call your representative and tell them you are against telecom amnesty, FISA updates and the Patriot Act!

    And tell Senators Obama and Clinton to put their money where their mouth is:

    25 January, 2008

    State of the Union

    End the tax cuts for the rich, and for corporations.

    If they don't want to pay, then they don't get to profit off of our backs.

    End the war now. Bring the troops home tomorrow. End support of Israel, Saudi Arabia, China. End the sale of weapons to everyone, to both sides of every conflict.

    Tax churches. That's right, all of them. They are either religion or they are Business, they can't be both. Throw all of the bums in jail -- from Earnest Angeley to Pat Robertson, David Miscavidge to Tom Cruise to David Eicke. All of them, for fraud. No more free passes.

    No telecom amnesty. Amnesty for anyone who makes less than $200,000 per year who evaded taxes for the last 20 years, no questions asked.

    A Reproductive Rights amendment to the Constitution, barring any state from regulating a woman's uterus.

    A real Equal Rights Amendment, barring the states from discriminating against gays, lesbians and transsexuals, their partner rights, or their rights as parents or adoptive guardians.

    If you drive a car that has an MPG less than 30 on the highway after 2010, you will pay an additional 10% sales tax to fund green energy. If you drive a car that gets less than 100 MPG on the highway by 2015, the tax goes up.

    That should get some fucking jobs back in Detroit, McCain.

    If you cheat on organized labor by moving your factories to China, Malaysia, Mexico or India, then your products will be levied heavily when you try to "import" them. The Justice Department will aggressively pursue a war of attrition on unfair labor practices: you have been warned, Cargill, Con-Agra, Walmart, Safeway, and the rest of the bums.

    Teachers will be paid like doctors. But their tenure can be revoked by committee if they do not live up to measurable standards. No school vouchers. Every child in every neighborhood has the absolute right to the best education possible. This is what "no child left behind" should mean.

    Eviscerate the Defense Budget. Use that money to pay reparations to descendants of slaves. Use it to pay for education and health care. Stop funding wars. Stop funding oppression. Reparations now.

    Maybe then, America will start to be back on track.

    12 January, 2008

    Friday night's alright

    I don't care who you ask, "Blade Runner" is still the best cyberpunk movie ever. Fuck the "Matrix".

    Anyone who thinks differently is a moron.

    09 January, 2008

    The Swiftboating of Mike Huckabee

    And so it begins: http://opposehuckabee.com/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page

    And here: http://www.taxhikemike.org/

    The GOP power base does not know what to do with a man whose personal religious beliefs actually gel with the Gospel of Jesus: help for the poor, the outcast, the sick, love thy neighbor, devotion to community.

    A Republican? With a pro-labor, pro-child, anti-douchebag platform?

    This is what you get for crawling into bed with the Religious right, you sanctimonious, cynical, hypocritical scumbags.

    So go Huckabee! I hope you win the Republican primary. And I hope you bring down the house of cards Cheney built, and maybe save American from the prospect of war with Iran.

    And, if Clinton wins the Democratic Primary, I hope you win.

    Because I have a $70 longshot bet on that, haha.

    01 January, 2008