Why I Love My Boss part 9112006

The boss forwarded this to me, from New York City, where he is attending a conference. It is an essay, or a transcript (I'm not sure which) from Keith Olbermann, former sportscaster and only journalist in America today with the cojones to point at The Shrub and say "The emporer is buck nekkid."
"Sept. 11, 2006 | 8:32 p.m. ET

This hole in the ground

Half a lifetime ago, I worked in this now-empty space. And for 40 days after the attacks, I worked here again, trying to make sense of what happened, and was yet to happen, as a reporter.

All the time, I knew that the very air I breathed contained the remains of thousands of people, including four of my friends, two in the planes and -- as I discovered from those "missing posters" seared still into my soul -- two more in the Towers.

And I knew too, that this was the pyre for hundreds of New York policemen and firemen, of whom my family can claim half a dozen or more, as our ancestors.

I belabor this to emphasize that, for me this was, and is, and always shall be, personal.

And anyone who claims that I and others like me are "soft,"or have "forgotten" the lessons of what happened here is at best a grasping, opportunistic, dilettante and at worst, an idiot whether he is a commentator, or a Vice President, or a President.

However, of all the things those of us who were here five years ago could have forecast -- of all the nightmares that unfolded before our eyes, and the others that unfolded only in our minds -- none of us could have predicted this.

Five years later this space is still empty.

Five years later there is no memorial to the dead.

Five years later there is no building rising to show with proud defiance that we would not have our America wrung from us, by cowards and criminals.

Five years later this country's wound is still open.

Five years later this country's mass grave is still unmarked.

Five years later this is still just a background for a photo-op.

It is beyond shameful.

At the dedication of the Gettysburg Memorial -- barely four months after the last soldier staggered from another Pennsylvania field -- Mr. Lincoln said, "we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

Lincoln used those words to immortalize their sacrifice.

Today our leaders could use those same words to rationalize their reprehensible inaction. "We cannot dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground." So we won't.

Instead they bicker and buck pass. They thwart private efforts, and jostle to claim credit for initiatives that go nowhere. They spend the money on irrelevant wars, and elaborate self-congratulations, and buying off columnists to write how good a job they're doing instead of doing any job at all.

Five years later, Mr. Bush, we are still fighting the terrorists on these streets. And look carefully, sir, on these 16 empty acres. The terrorists are clearly, still winning.

And, in a crime against every victim here and every patriotic sentiment you mouthed but did not enact, you have done nothing about it.

And there is something worse still than this vast gaping hole in this city, and in the fabric of our nation. There is its symbolism of the promise unfulfilled, the urgent oath, reduced to lazy execution.

The only positive on 9/11 and the days and weeks that so slowly and painfully followed it was the unanimous humanity, here, and throughout the country. The government, the President in particular, was given every possible measure of support.

Those who did not belong to his party -- tabled that.

Those who doubted the mechanics of his election -- ignored that.

Those who wondered of his qualifications -- forgot that.

History teaches us that nearly unanimous support of a government cannot be taken away from that government by its critics. It can only be squandered by those who use it not to heal a nation's wounds, but to take political advantage.

Terrorists did not come and steal our newly-regained sense of being American first, and political, fiftieth. Nor did the Democrats. Nor did the media. Nor did the people.

The President -- and those around him -- did that.

They promised bi-partisanship, and then showed that to them, "bi-partisanship" meant that their party would rule and the rest would have to follow, or be branded, with ever-escalating hysteria, as morally or intellectually confused, as appeasers, as those who, in the Vice President's words yesterday, "validate the strategy of the terrorists."

They promised protection, and then showed that to them "protection" meant going to war against a despot whose hand they had once shaken, a despot who we now learn from our own Senate Intelligence Committee, hated al-Qaida as much as we did.

The polite phrase for how so many of us were duped into supporting a war, on the false premise that it had 'something to do' with 9/11 is "lying by implication."

The impolite phrase is "impeachable offense."

Not once in now five years has this President ever offered to assume responsibility for the failures that led to this empty space, and to this, the current, curdled, version of our beloved country.

Still, there is a last snapping flame from a final candle of respect and fairness: even his most virulent critics have never suggested he alone bears the full brunt of the blame for 9/11.

Half the time, in fact, this President has been so gently treated, that he has seemed not even to be the man most responsible for anything in his own administration.

Yet what is happening this very night?

A mini-series, created, influenced -- possibly financed by -- the most radical and cold of domestic political Machiavellis, continues to be televised into our homes.

The documented truths of the last fifteen years are replaced by bald-faced lies; the talking points of the current regime parroted; the whole sorry story blurred, by spin, to make the party out of office seem vacillating and impotent, and the party in office, seem like the only option.

How dare you, Mr. President, after taking cynical advantage of the unanimity and love, and transmuting it into fraudulent war and needless death, after monstrously transforming it into fear and suspicion and turning that fear into the campaign slogan of three elections? How dare you -- or those around you -- ever "spin" 9/11?

Just as the terrorists have succeeded -- are still succeeding -- as long as there is no memorial and no construction here at Ground Zero.

So, too, have they succeeded, and are still succeeding as long as this government uses 9/11 as a wedge to pit Americans against Americans.

This is an odd point to cite a television program, especially one from March of 1960. But as Disney's continuing sell-out of the truth (and this country) suggests, even television programs can be powerful things.

And long ago, a series called "The Twilight Zone" broadcast a riveting episode entitled "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street."

In brief: a meteor sparks rumors of an invasion by extra-terrestrials disguised as humans. The electricity goes out. A neighbor pleads for calm. Suddenly his car -- and only his car -- starts. Someone suggests he must be the alien. Then another man's lights go on. As charges and suspicion and panic overtake the street, guns are inevitably produced. An "alien" is shot -- but he turns out to be just another neighbor, returning from going for help. The camera pulls back to a near-by
hill, where two extra-terrestrials are seen manipulating a small device that can jam electricity. The veteran tells his novice that there's no need to actually attack, that you just turn off a few of the human machines and then, "they pick the most dangerous enemy they can find, and it's themselves."

And then, in perhaps his finest piece of writing, Rod Serling sums it up with words of remarkable prescience, given where we find ourselves tonight: "The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices, to be found only in the minds of men.

"For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own -- for the children, and the children yet unborn."

When those who dissent are told time and time again -- as we will be, if not tonight by the President, then tomorrow by his portable public chorus -- that he is preserving our freedom, but that if we use any of it, we are somehow un-American...When we are scolded, that if we merely question, we have "forgotten the lessons of 9/11"... look into this empty space behind me and the bi-partisanship upon which this administration also did not build, and tell me:

Who has left this hole in the ground?

We have not forgotten, Mr. President.

You have.

May this country forgive you."

And then there is this, from The Rude Pundit, who also went to Ground Zero to see the elephant President.


Reporting From Ground Zero on the Fifth Anniversary of the Last Good Day:

Yesterday, on September 10, when he read that George W. Bush was going to lay a wreath down in the middle of the hole in the ground that was the World Trade Center twin towers, the Rude Pundit decided to head on down to Ground Zero to see his President in person. He expected massive crowds and a crazed media circus, because this was, after all, the President returning to the site of his iconic image, of the moment that cemented the nation on its present disastrous course. He had never seen Bush in the flesh and wanted to look on his actual physical form, get a measure of the man so many of us have spent so much time despising.

When he emerged from the subway through the WTC Path Station, the Rude Pundit was greeted by protesters, also expected. He saw drumming Buddhist monks and their monk-y wannabes drumming along flanked by large black balloons, behind a flag-draped coffin and signs demanding that the soldiers be brought home. Stopping a couple of young women in tight black shirts that read, in Arabic and English, "We will not be silent," the Rude Pundit asked, "Did you wear those intentionally? Because of the guy who couldn't get onto the plane?" They said they were aware of the incident, but, no, they wore the shirts because, indeed, they would not be silent.

The most protesters were from different groups calling for the "truth" about 9/11 to be revealed, the ones who, to varying degrees, believe the events of the day were supported and/or engineered by the U.S. government, the Israeli government, or some combination of them. Someone associated with the conspiracy-theorizing viral video sensation Loose Change gave the Rude Pundit a DVD of the film, which he will watch, as he told the guy, "skeptically." One 9/11 truth seeker was in a screaming fight with what can best be described as one of the "Crazed Old Coots For America," the various old guys decked out in American flag clothes and pro-Bush regalia spoiling for a fight. At least they didn't try to go toe to toe with the Grandmas For Peace, also there, also holding signs. One of the Grandmas said, "I just can't stand what Bush has done to us all, so I came down here to let him know."

Others there wanted freedom for Taiwan or pronounced the end of the world is nigh so it was time to get right with Jesus. One guy walked through the crowd screaming that homosexual soldiers rape Iraqi babies. It was hard to tell what side he was on.

Moving away from the station, looking for a place to watch the President do his wreath-laying solemnity, the Rude Pundit walked along the perimeter fence, looking around at all the security, the Secret Service with their tell-tale earpieces, the snipers on balconies and rooftops. Along the fence, people stared at mounted pictures of the day five years and a little over 12 hours ago. Every so often, there would be someone crying behind sunglasses or looking as if they had just finished or held back tears. Some wore pictures of loved ones on chains or shirts; some carried flyers that were reminiscent of the missing posters from back then. This time the flyers told short stories about the life of the dead person. One group wore name tags that said, "Surviving Family Member." It looked like two familes, one white, one Hispanic. They were being guided by an Asian woman who pointed out where each tower had stood. One of the Hispanic men posted a flyer over a "Post No Bills" sign. It was about his sister.

Walking past the lists of names that wrongly label everyone who died one of the "Heroes of 9/11" (sorry, but you don't get to be a hero just because you died at a certain place at a certain time unless you actually did something heroic), past Fire Station 10 and the soon-to-be open 9/11 Visitor's Center, the Rude Pundit was struck by how, compared to what he expected, very few people were actually there. Certainly not more than a couple of thousand. The President of the United States, the leader of the free world, the man who stood on the ruins and made such poignant promises to us, was going to be back at the ruins and, in as much as such numbers have meaning, on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the attacks. Shouldn't it have been packed? Shouldn't we have all stood shoulder to shoulder to watch? As pornographically as Bush exploits the event and makes Americans into victims, shouldn't more people have wanted to mourn with him? The Rude Pundit's seen more people out here on ordinary summer days.

He looked through the barrier fence down into the footprints of the towers. The long ramp that leads to the center of the pit had been theatrically lined with the flags of, one presumes, all the states and nations that lost people in the attacks. He heard bagpipes and saw honor guard, police and fire officials, and others down there. He thought about how small George Bush was going to seem from this vantage point, as close as one could get to the event without actually being inside. He was just going to be a teeny-tiny man in a great big hole, laying a wreath for America in a temporary reflecting pool.

Then NYPD officers, politely, to be sure, told all of us who stood there wanting to watch our President, some of whom wanted to mourn with him at least distantly, that we had to move out. The area was going to be secured. In fact, most of the perimeter would be secured and no one would be allowed close enough to the fence to see the President. No, the only way to truly see him would be to watch him on television. Where he wouldn't seem so teeny-tiny, so reduced in scale to the epic destruction that surrounded him. And, indeed, when you watch video of the event, with the Bushes, Mike Bloomberg, George Pataki, and Rudy Giuliani lined up and walking down the ramp, they forcibly look out of scale to the vast construction site around them. However, from anyone who could see from above, see the actual context of the event, they were very, very small.

The Rude Pundit walked out of the secure area as they put up barricades. Now, with the fence itself off limits, the crowds thinned out even further. Maybe this was the intention, for George Bush to have a private moment of mourning, except, of course, for all the TV cameras there. After thinking about heading to an Irish pub off Fulton Street where he often hopelessly flirts with the raven-haired Jersey girl behind the bar who can yank a tap like nobody's business, he decided to head home. The train station was closed because the President was going to be near it. So the Rude Pundit walked uptown a bit, past the protesters, past the press vans, past the police, and he hailed a cab.

It was only 9/10, after all. And it looked like it might rain.
Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/12 at 12:12 PM in Yellow Dog Politics

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