Though it’s the season for 9/11, this isn’t going to be about 9/11. Best is to agree with those who argue that it’s time to get over 9/11 and move on with our lives, if only to bury the hatchet that some would have us use to fight an endless by design war. As much as anything else, 9/11 is cynically used by war-obsessed leaders just for an undying excuse to fight, plunder, and make people think they’re great heroes – instead of recognize them as gross criminals urgently in need of prosecution.
Maybe it would be different if we were truly interested in making right where wrong has been done. But too few are willing to look for the truth of what happened on 9/11, let alone objectively explore what its lessons might be. How can 9/11 be meaningfully memorialized when the story that we’re supposed to gag down about it is nothing but a tragicomic conspiracy theory, a cover-up, and a grotesque fairy tale with an ending that’s only happy for the military-industrial complex, cowards who can’t feel secure without crushing anything they don’t understand, and the same execrable sadists who have always gotten their thrills from torturing, maiming, and killing – the more helpless their victims the better?
Here’s a truth about 9/11: not one, not two, but three modern skyscrapers in one of the most building-code anal cities in the world absolutely do not collapse into their own footprints at free-fall velocity without being very carefully, very deliberately, demolished by experts who set the event up in advance. Trying to claim that jet fuel fires did it is not just lame, it’s insulting to anyone who understands physics, architecture, or the way things work in a non-fiction world. Perhaps most glaring is that one of the buildings that fell that day, WTC 7, wasn’t even hit by an airplane. If people want fear, then maybe they should consider how it is that what was definitely no more than an office fire could have demolished WTC 7. There are lots of tall buildings in America that could have “incidental” office fires.
We may not know (or care, obviously) what really happened on 9/11, but much of what’s happened since is as painfully clear as chewing on broken glass razor blades. Along with endless war in other people’s countries, we’ve been given a full-blown economic class war right here in America. Once upon a time America had a president that, despite a liberal helping of epically tragic faults, dreamed of a “Great Society.” He wanted to fight a War on Poverty instead of a war on the poor. In a land that’s supposed to be all about opportunity, Barbara Ehrenriech has documented that being poor has all but been officially criminalized. In fact, one American Thinker has gone so far as to sincerely claim that, “Registering the poor to vote is un-American,” that it’s like “handing out burglary tools to criminals.”
The fear is apparently that given the chance, and here we have to make the possibly risky assumption that every voter’s vote really does mean something, poor people will commit the intolerable crime of trying to force the wealthy to stop making them poor. Ok, it may be crazy for the poor to think they deserve an equal share in the wealth that wouldn’t be created without their labor. It may even be filthy communism to assert that no one who works deserves, at minimum, less in return than it takes to remain a valuable worker. But it may also be that the middle class had better watch out for what becomes of the poor, because among the other things that have fallen since the WTC towers came down are many of the protections from poverty the middle class has long taken for granted.
America seems to have all but given up on making useful stuff. America still manufactures an awful lot, but it’s proportionately less than half of what it was 60 years ago, and since 9/11 American manufacturing jobs have fled to China faster than Americans can stampede to Wal-Mart to buy the stuff that China makes.
Instead of making things, Americans spend their time in service industries serving themselves and expecting the rest of the world to support it. America’s self-serving obsession would be all fine and very nice if so much of it didn’t require products and resources from other countries to make those services happen. What does America have to trade with those countries?
It’s a really big ticket item, but maybe we should ignore “military services” when thinking of an answer for that question. Sure, American military action has delivered plenty of foreign resources to foreign enterprises, like Iraq’s oilfields, for instance. But unless Americans want to start calling other ideologically equivalent enterprises like the Mafia legitimate business enterprises, Americans might want to be careful about objectivity when considering America’s military products – whether they’re the official ones in real GI Joe and GI Jane camos, or the unofficial ones provided by America’s burgeoning Soldier of Fortune “security agencies.”
American financial products have been ever more American most iconic, most premier products since the late days of Ronald “Gipper” Reagan, the real, live Hollywood actor hired to play the carefully scripted role of president, has been. Unless you have ambitions of being a pick-pocket, con artist, or hedge fund manager, don’t try to understand financial products. It would be about like splitting a vial of concentrated liquid LSD with a Merry Prankster and arguing about whose flying, sparkly, Day-Glo orange fish can juggle the most bananas.
Whether it’s because they’re little better than marketized hallucinations or because America’s simply incompetent at managing them, America’s financial services industry has recently shown the world in Epic Fail terms just exactly how can-do it isn’t. For awhile after 9/11 America’s “Masters of the Universe” could claim a fig leaf or two of legitimate excuse. There were smoldering physical ruins of financial services buildings to point at, so no one would wonder too hard what happened to the dot-com bubble. Of course, since we know all the secrets of 9/11 we can say for certain that the dot-com collapse had nothing to do with 9/11. Still, 9/11 did provide a great opportunity to kick a few ashes over the dot-com graveyard, so why wouldn’t a few desperate billionaires have taken advantage of the opportunity?
It would be too easy to say that 9/11 provided just the distraction and excuse needed, planned or not, for the housing bubble to take off. Americans needed irrational, undeserved, phoney prosperity and what better way to provide it than to make every home into a virtual ATM and then, as the cliché goes, make sure every American, down to most wretched unemployed meth-dealer in the country, “owned” a home with a Kafkaesque mortgage to cash-in on. As the housing bubble numbers put all previous hallucinations to shame, the American-led financial industry suckered in foreign investment from beguiled and bedazzled markets around the world, even to the point of selling the whole country of not quite dead yet Greece short. What a fabulous bonanza for the great investment banks and the billionaires who ran them! And such a glorious crash! The stories told about it by world’s wealthiest who actually did better and better through the whole thing will be titillating young upstarts in the dens of their country clubs and on the decks of their yachts for many years to come.
Even better, intrepid American capitalists haven’t even gotten rid of America’s morning-after headache yet and they’re already at it again, reaching for the hair of the dog that bit us. Where they’re stingy with the party, they’re magnanimous with the pain. There are credible reports that a tureen of consumer debt bubbly is being deliberately inflated with a college education loan bubble chaser for that extra kick. Between the two the opportunity will never match the global housing bubble, not by a couple orders of magnitude, but it’ll give the players something to keep their private jets in the air for weekend shopping jaunts on other continents until a better idea comes along.
What it all ads up to is not only a rejection of science, like the all-American GOP and their rabidly patriotic Tea Party core have made required dogma, it’s a wholesale rejection of reason and knowledge. Never mind what the facts say about 9/11, it’s what the masters of the befuddled Republican fanatics say to believe that counts. Don’t worry about economics, even the Wall Street Journal advises to reject “fancy theories” and go with gut feelings instead.
Nah, this isn’t about 9/11. 9/11 has been a comic book calibre story for so long that people are about as likely to learn something from it, whatever the truth is, as they are to recognize what it means to be fattened up by petty consumerism before they’re served for dinner to the lean, mean rest of the world from whose tables they’ve been snatching their meals.
What this is about is a last call to wake up before something like the “Culturnomics” prediction of global, revolutionary “unrest” becomes a reality just because too few took the study seriously, or bothered to pay attention to something that had an uncomfortable sound to it instead of just telling them what they wanted to hear. Unfortunately, if 9/11 was an alarm, here 10 years later America is just hitting the snooze button again so it can go back to its glorious superpower dreamland.
Links directory (Really, visit them. Great stuff! The article text that they link from is in parentheses at the end of each line. And yes, the music is commentary. One tune this week was so important it has two links: the first has a great manga story, the second is more PSA style, since by then it should make more sense. The lyrics for all the tunes have their own links because they are important!)
- truthout (Tom Engelhardt, Tom Dispatch) – Let’s cancel 9/11: Bury the War State’s blank check at sea (time to get over 9/11)
- Information Clearing House / Democracy Now! (Noam Chomsky) – Looking back on 9/11 a decade later (its lessons might be)
- Frog Style Biscuit – 9/11: “Lucky” Larry Silverstein and World Trade Tower 7 (demolished WTC 7)
- Reader Supported News / Tom Dispatch / Guardian UK (Barbara Ehrenreich) – How America criminalized poverty (officially criminalized)
- American Thinker – home page (American Thinker)
- American Thinker (Matthew Vadum) – Registering the poor to vote is un-American (Registering the poor to vote is un-American)
- Guardian UK – The decline and fall of the American middle class (middle class had better watch out)
- New York Times (Louis Uchitelle) – Is manufacturing falling off the radar? (given up on making useful stuff)
- New York Times / Bureau of Economic Analysis / World Bank – manufacturing output vs. financial products (graph) (proportionately less than half)
- Time (Vivienne Walt) – US companies shut out as Iraq auctions its oilfields (like Iraq’s oilfields)
- Soldier of Fortune magazine (Soldier of Fortune)
- University of Virginia – Ken Kesey & the Merry Pranksters (Merry Prankster)
- AlterNet – Yet another Wall Street billionaire asks working Americans to sacrifice (magnanimous with the pain)
- CounterPunch (Mike Whitney) – Economic roadkill / Why the Fed’s consumer credit report is rotten to the core (credible reports)
- Guardian UK (Paul Krugman) – The Republicans are now the anti-science party (rejection of science)
- FirstMonday (Kalev Leetaru) – Culturnomics 2.0: Forecasting large-scale human behavior using global news media tone in time and space (Culturnomics)
- Business Insider (Robert Johnson) – ‘Culturnomics’ predicted the Arab revolutions – and now it predicts global unrest (prediction)
- Garth Brooks – We Shall Be Free (manga) (YouTube – YaoiheartPanda) (bury the hatchet) Lyrics
- Corbett Report - 9/11: A Conspiracy Theory (tragicomic conspiracy theory) Transcript (ROTFLMAO!)
- Chumbawumba – Drip, Drip, Drip (YouTube – Slavestorms) (war on the poor) Lyrics
- Iglu & Hartly – DayGlo (YouTube – igluandhartly) (Day-Glo) Lyrics
- DJ Tiesto feat. Chris Burns – In The Dark (YouTube – kontor) (every American) Lyrics
- Serj Tankian – Empty Walls (YouTube – serjtankian) (a comic book caliber story) Lyrics
- Garth Brooks – We Shall Be Free (PSA style) (YouTube – MrGallagherPlease) (wake up) Lyrics
- Britney Spears – I Wanna Go (YouTube – BritneySpearsVEVO) (glorious superpower dreamland) Lyrics