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are from Time to leave 9/11 behind by E. J Dionne in today's Washington Post.  Before I get to them, let me note the final sentence of his 1st paragraph. After telling us that many of the lessons we learned from that tragic day 10 years ago were wrong, he writes "The last decade was a detour that left our nation weaker, more divided and less certain of itself."

I was very much struck by his final three paragraphs, which I will quote without interruption before I offer my thoughts below the fold.

In the flood of anniversary commentary, notice how often the term “the lost decade” has been invoked. We know now, as we should have known all along, that American strength always depends first on our strength at home — on a vibrant, innovative and sensibly regulated economy, on levelheaded fiscal policies, on the ability of our citizens to find useful work, on the justice of our social arrangements.

This is not “isolationism.” It is a common sense that was pushed aside by the talk of “glory” and “honor,” by utopian schemes to transform the world by abruptly reordering the Middle East — and by our fears. While we worried that we would be destroyed by terrorists, we ignored the larger danger of weakening ourselves by forgetting what made us great.

We have no alternative from now on but to look forward and not back. This does not dishonor the fallen heroes, and Lincoln explained why at Gettysburg. “We can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow this ground,” he said. “The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.” The best we could do, Lincoln declared, was to commit ourselves to “a new birth of freedom.” This is still our calling.

our strength at home   -  which is not determined by how much we spend on our military, an amount that now exceeds the totals spent by all of our enemies, current and potential, and which does not necessarily make us safer.  After all, 9/11 was accomplished with minimal training and box  cutters.

And the characteristics of that strength, according to DIonne?

on a vibrant, innovative and sensibly regulated economy - yet our economy still sputters, we defer too much to sectors that are not innovative and hear too many voices who use the sputtering to argue for lessening regulations.  

on levelheaded fiscal policies -  why is our government not out borrowing now, at historically low interest rates, as much as it can?  It can use that money for stimulating the economy, for addressing the decades of unmet infrastructure maintenance (well over $100 billion just to bring school buildings up to code) and to retire older debt carrying much higher interest, thereby decreasing the amount we are paying in interest for failure to properly pay for things in the past, including the wars of choice of the previous administration, unfortunately some of which are continued by the current administration

on the ability of our citizens to find useful work - surely this should be a higher priority than refusing to raise taxes on those who are already wealthy and who have seen massive amounts of wealth shifted in their favor by the tax policy currently in place;  surely this should be a higher priority than reducing a deficit that can be financed at rates close to zero, thereby generating more income that will stimulate the economy, and thereby also increase tax revenues in the future

on the justice of our social arrangements - justice and fairness seem to be disappearing.  Is it just to "balance" the economy on the backs of the poor, to require people to work ever longer for the benefits of the social safety net when too many get worn out physically and emotionally by the work that they do, when businesses which make record profits still seek to break the unions of their workers, to demand ever more work for lesser pay, to increase profits without either paying taxes on or sharing those profits with those whose work make the profits possible?

While we worried that we would be destroyed by terrorists, we ignored the larger danger of weakening ourselves by forgetting what made us great. - our economy boomed in a time when unions were at their peak.  We built a vibrant middle class after World War II with entitlements like the GI Bill, with benefits for workers that were possible only because of the strength of the union movement.  Later we made a commitment, under presidents both Republican (Eisenhower) and Democratic (Johnson) with a commitment to public education that saw the Federal government understand that it had to provide resources to enable those without to be able to participate, and thus we got educational programs like the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Educating All Handicapped Children Act (now called Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), the National Defense Education Act, federal programs to fund education for the blind and disabled.   We saw a commitment to infrastructure under Republican President Eisenhower that we should well consider using as a model - Ike was responsible for the Interstate Highway System, which made mobility more accessible to millions, and which began to enable transportation of goods as well as people in places where there were no rails.

I disagree somewhat when Dionne says We have no alternative from now on but to look forward and not back.   Our unwillingness to look back means we have not held accountable those who have seriously damaged this nation in the decade since 9/11.  We failed to properly finish the job of retaliation against those who attacked us because key military and intelligence resources were shifted to Iraq, so we had to outsource parts of our efforts to Afghan warlords who could be bought by Al Qaeda, and thus Bin Laden escaped Tora Bora to continue to operate until finally tracked down and killed more than 9 years later.  We failed to properly supply those troops sent to Iraq with the materiel that would have protected them better - remember families buying body armor?  We entered a war of choice on false premises, and still those responsible for that war and for the abuses in the so-called War on Terror that damaged this country's reputation and led to ever more recruits to Al Qaeda continue to lie with impunity about what they did and accomplished because we did not look back, because we did not hold them accountable for their violations of US Law, International law, and basic morality.

Yes, we need to look forward.  But there are still lessons we can learn from the past decade, especially of how too much of what did was contrary to what had made this nation great.

Dionne's final two sentences are why he wants to look forward (although I do not think they are undercut by also looking backward):  The best we could do, Lincoln declared, was to commit ourselves to “a new birth of freedom.” This is still our calling.

If our calling is Lincoln's "new birth of freedom" we cannot ignore the needs of justice for past wrongdoing.  If we want that "new birth of freedom" we cannot roll back the social safety net in the name of balancing the budget while a few get ever more wealth and power and we leave ever more behind economically and politically.

And we sure as hell cannot role back the civil liberties and freedoms for individuals because "9/11 changed everything."  If it did, then the damage we suffered ten years ago is largely of our own making, and Al Qaeda succeeded beyond its wildest dreams in destroying America.  There is no "new birth of freedom" when we see politicians demonizing those of a great faith because those who attacked us were nominally of that faith.  There is not even a sustaining of current freedom when  the events of a decade ago are used to justify taking away civil liberties, when the government under a Democratic President argues "state secrets" to prevent disclosure of information that is necessary for some people to obtain justice, when the CIA is allowed to destroy tapes and documents that would be necessary for either civil or criminal justice cases to go forward.  

Perhaps some would say I should not offer such words today.  I would respond that today more than any other is the time to take stock of what we have done wrong as a nation so that we can move forward with dignity and honor.

The previous president, under whose watch the attack occurred and in whose administration the greater self-inflicted damage upon this country was done, was fond of saying "they hate us for our freedoms."   Are not those words hypocritical, or at least ironic, when his administration did more to roll back freedoms for Americans than any President since perhaps Wilson and the Red Raids under Attorney General Palmer after World War I?

a new birth of freedom -  that would be nice.  I'd be happy to start with restoring the freedom and liberty we had on September 10, 2001, even as that was not the freedom and liberty I remember from several decades earlier.

I read Dionne this morning.  His final three paragraphs grabbed my attention.  I chose to share both his words, and my reactions.

I have finished what i set out to do.

This morning I will be at Friends Meeting for Worship.  I will miss the first half as I am serving as Greeter, controlling when people enter so there is sufficient silence, so that anyone moved to give a message is not disturbed by groups of people walking in.  Note that I said "serving."   A part of me wants to be in the Meeting room enveloped by the silence and by the messages.  I give up that so that other can benefit.  That is what service is, a giving of oneself on behalf of others, of community.

Service is a major part of what has made this nation great.  Think of barnraisings in rural America.  Consider those who are social workers.  Consider how few now serve in our military, and how poorly we have done in caring for them, to the point that the President has to offer special tax benefits for the hiring of veterans.  Think of those who with quiet dignity make our hotel beds, clean our hospital rooms, collect our garbage.

Work should have dignity.  It should also have decent pay.  Those who perform it should be ENTITLED to the benefits of their work of a lifetime in the benefits that we provided to make a difference in their later years, not to see those benefits moved ever further away by raising the age for eligibility.

Who and what we are as a nation, what we have become, is most certainly an appropriate topic for this anniversary.

Yes we will remember those who died.  We will honor those who served and whose service was the cause of their death - here I think first of Father Mychal Judge of the FDNY, then of the many others from Fire and Police and from company security departments who were in the Towers when they fell because they were trying to save others. We will honor those on Flight 93 who prevent that hijacked plane from attacking Washington.  All of that is appropriate.

It is also appropriate to think more broadly of who and what we are as a people, and what we should be doing now.  We can only do that by being honest about what we as a nation and as a people have done in the decade since the bright and sunny Tuesday morning ten years ago.

Then I taught school.  Now I teach school.  Now my students, who are 14 and 15 and 16 and 17, have ever fewer memories of that day.  Still, they have lived through the nation we have become.  I believe I owe it to them to offer things like this, to reflect on who and what we are as a nation.  

And yes, like Lincoln, like Dionne's reference to my favorite among our past Presidents, I want us also to commit to that new birth of freedom, for the sake of the children I teach now, and all the children to follow.


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Comment Preferences

  •  This is what it is (130+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quarkstomper, David Kaib, catlady, mapamp, GreyHawk, followyourbliss, Old Woman, mph2005, gulfgal98, Nancy on Lake Michigan, dance you monster, docstymie, mooshter, jgilhousen, smiley7, grannycarol, supenau, jcrit, sngmama, crystal eyes, astral66, Texas Lefty, m00finsan, Proud Mom and Grandma, blue armadillo, Heart of the Rockies, illinifan17, kmbaya, MaryinHammondsport, dewley notid, Prospect Park, MadRuth, jimstaro, zenox, zerelda, wayoutinthestix, emal, bloomer 101, mofembot, frisco, Emerson, plankbob, Susan S, bobnbob, dkmich, tb92, bnasley, GeorgeXVIII, Thinking Fella, Maggie Pax, Amber6541, bozepravde15, hlsmlane, Broke And Unemployed, caul, Barth, SouthernLiberalinMD, Alumbrados, rhubarb, copymark, notdarkyet, bluesteel, bronte17, rasbobbo, Temmoku, deha, gloriana, HCKAD, jpw, blueoasis, theunreasonableHUman, Rogneid, Neon Mama, verdeo, Russgirl, Rhysling, Grandma Susie, pgm 01, johanus, Son of a Cat, bluebuckaroo, basquebob, esquimaux, lol chikinburd, ORDem, foucaultspendulum, catwho, radarlady, kevinpdx, fiddlingnero, sorval, Duckman GR, hannah, John Kelly, frsbdg, Detlef, RebeccaG, SherwoodB, SanJoseLady, anodnhajo, freeport beach PA, ruscle, Shockwave, Alice Venturi, PrahaPartizan, craigkg, Born in NOLA, dizzydean, kjoftherock, greengemini, tomephil, Marie, terabytes, bigrivergal, jguzman17, Pam from Calif, Mentatmark, ramara, Garfnobl, DixieDishrag, peachcreek, jm214, ChuckInReno, seefleur, cookseytalbott, alizard, fritzi56, millwood, ladypockt, BlackSheep1

    I read the Dionne and reacted, so I started writing.

    Do with this what you will.


    "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

    by teacherken on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 04:52:32 AM PDT

  •  Take the profit out of war (22+ / 0-)

    and the politicians owned by the war machine
    will find a way to peace.

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 06:20:22 AM PDT

  •  Your comments always hold (10+ / 0-)

    such meaning to me, tk. And Eugene Robinson's as well.

    I find myself once again glued to the television watching all the memorials. I told my husband yesterday that my "hope" is that with all the media coverage of these memorial events, we Americans will begin to remember that sense of unity we all held on 9/11/2001 and the immediate days following that horrendous tragedy.

    And that we as Americans will remember that "United we stand, divided we fall" can apply today as well as in our past.

  •  Great work as always teacherken (8+ / 0-)

    I'm inclined to say one of your best, in fact.

  •  There's your problem, right there (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MadRuth, ccyd, esquimaux
    Lincoln declared, was to commit ourselves to “a new birth of freedom.” This is still our calling.

    There are about 60 million voters in this country who are going to stand against anything that Lincoln stood for.

    The invasion of Iraq was a war crime, a crime against humanity, and a crime against civilization. Prosecute the crime.

    by Positronicus on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 06:42:28 AM PDT

    •  first, where do you get your numbers from? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis, David Kaib, fritzi56

      I'm not saying that's a wrong number, necessarily, but where did you get it?

      second, if you want that number to decrease, we need a plan--a real one--to take back the media.  

      third, if you want that number to decrease, we also need leadership that won't run away from the people.

      blaming the rank and file accomplishes little.  the number of genuine crackpots in this country is, I think, fairly small.  But "when good is hungry it will seek food even in caves, and when it is thirsty it will drink even of dead waters."

      The people of this country are starving for leadership and the truth.  When they don't get them for a protracted period, especially during times of danger and misfortune, some of them turn to dead waters.

      Afraid that's just part of being human.  It seems like it's happened in lots of other cultures and times.

      Nowhere do I understand that national security is a substitute for the law.---Thomas Drake You cannot tell from appearances how things will go.--Winston Churchill

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 08:30:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It happened and we reacted with chauvinism and (12+ / 0-)

    cowardice from the start. After 9/11 happened it was as if a great sigh of relief, along with anguish was expressed. Now we had an excuse to go out and kill some foreigners and be "united" as Americans. We would now declare a War on Terror. The fact that war is essentially terror escaped most Americans as did the fact that you cannot make war on such abstract notions. America wanted war, you could feel it before 9/11--secretly we wanted some sense of meaning in our lives to move away from the pettiness that the fall of Communism caused. We had nothing to unite for, no crusade to carry out that gave our country some form. 9/11 came as a seeming Godsend to some people particularly in the media.

    Looked at rationally, spending several trillion dollars on wars may not have been a very smart way to handle the events. You don't send a hundred thousand troops to attack a crack house. You don't use high explosives to week your lawn or fire cruise missiles at flies on the wall. Ok, I'm being silly. But remember that we are talking about hundreds of people we were supposed to be fighting not a might host. This was, frankly, a police and counter-intelligence and diplomatic matter not a cause for war. This could have been a time we could have strengthened international cooperation against not just terror but organize crime (which has, instead, flourished during this period). We strip searched the U.S. Constitution and Lady Liberty by holding thousands of people for long periods because they looked like they were Muslim.

    We did not step up to the plate, we escaped, instead into chauvinism and fear and, frankly, cowardice. We've acted in a manner that showed the shallowness and credulity of our culture when we could have actually built something solid.

    The world adjusted to our temper-tantrum but the scars remain. And hundreds of thousands of people have died as a result of our childish behavior.

    •  Iraq was the wrong war, Afghanistan bungled ... (0+ / 0-)

      If we'd put 1/4 of the resources into Afghanistan that we wasted in Iraq, we'd have a successful country there now, and would have won the historic argment about the superiority of the Western model by showing it working at its best.

      We had a moral duty to take out the Afghani government that was squarely behind al Qaeda's attack on us. The problem is, we didn't follow it up back when we had overwhelming support from the majority of the Afghani population.

      •  I don't completely agree with you on Afghanistan (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueoasis, esquimaux

        We gave that government no chance of responding and it's not clear to me the Taliban were involved in 9/11. Yes, we bungled the job in Afghanistan--but why and how? Simple answer: hubris and a refusal to ask experts and people familiar with the country to guide policy. Instead, as with Iraq, we had a hundred plans carried out a hundred different ways. No cohesive strategy until Rumsfeld left, even then it's been a mess.

        •  Taliban Involvement Irrelevant (0+ / 0-)

          It matters not one whit whether the Taliban were involved in the Al Qaeda attacks on the US.  The Taliban, as the ruling government in Afghanistan, were asked to assist with the US effort to capture the Al Qaeda parties involved in the attacks.  The Taliban blew off the US request.  That makes them complicit in the attacks.  That's why they were removed.

          With regard to trying to resolve the problems in Afghanistan, one thing we might try to do is to put the potential costs of helping Afghanistan into perspective.  The population of Afghanistan is  something like 28 million people.  The average per capita GDP is about $1000.  That means the average national GDP for Afghanistan is about $28 billion.  We could have doubled the average per capita GDP in Afghanistan by simply giving each Afghani about what we were spending in Iraq per month at the height of the war there.  For $84 billion per year for the last ten years, we'd have tripled the average per capita GDP and have turned Afghanistan into a paradise.  Instead, we chintzed on the effort and find ourselves in an ugly blind alley with overturned garbage cans and broken glass around with the mobs to our back at the only exit.  That was the opportunity which was presented to us and we picked the wrong door.

          "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

          by PrahaPartizan on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 11:54:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Best diary of the morning. (10+ / 0-)

    Thank you teacherken for your wisdom and insight.

    The following grabbed my attention:

    While we worried that we would be destroyed by terrorists, we ignored the larger danger of weakening ourselves by forgetting what made us great.

    I think Bin Laden was counting on it.

    "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

    by zenox on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 06:57:33 AM PDT

  •  Move forward (0+ / 0-)

    but you can never forget events such as 9/ least not within 10 years - it will take a generation.

    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

    by ctexrep on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 07:00:03 AM PDT

  •  Wonderful diary and a great OpEd piece. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541, verdeo, foucaultspendulum

    Thank you to both EJ Dionne and to you, tk. These two works put into words just about precisely the way I have been feeling this weekend, but with so much more eloquence and clarity than I could have. And for that I thank you both.

    "A liberal is a man or a woman or a child who looks forward to a better day, a more tranquil night, and a bright, infinite future." – Leonard Bernstein

    by frisco on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 07:08:02 AM PDT

  •  We have always been a nation where certain people (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Russgirl, esquimaux, sorval, ggwoman55, jm214

    are above the law.

    The thing that is different now is that almost everyone is aware of it and that has a very destabilizing effect on the whole country.

    I don't believe any President would do anything different because all Presidents are part of the group that is above the law

  •  yet another hijacking of 9/11 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Do you really have to use 9/11 to put forth a political agenda?

    Why not just let it be?  Why not just let 9/11 be what it is to each person on this day?

    Is today really the day to be talking about infrastructure and school buildings and interest rates?  About defense budgets and industrial sectors?  And, by use of some twisted logic, tie all that into 9/11 by saying we should look forward, not back?

    Personally, I think the people that died that day deserve better.. just my opinion.

  • more 'Warriors'...they're soldiers. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rogneid, Neon Mama, esquimaux, jm214, dinazina
  •  thank you teacherken (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, foucaultspendulum, jm214

    I'd like someday to meet you.  Your diaries--even the grief-stricken or angry ones--tend to refresh my spirit.

    Nowhere do I understand that national security is a substitute for the law.---Thomas Drake You cannot tell from appearances how things will go.--Winston Churchill

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 08:31:18 AM PDT

    •  I teach in Maryland (0+ / 0-)

      in Greenbelt.  I have guest lectured at St Mary's College of Maryland and at the Shady Grove campus of U of Maryland.

      I even occasionally get to Baltimore.

      It should be possible to get together at some point.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 08:47:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great post today.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, foucaultspendulum

    The best yet!

    Reflection is what makes a teacher...reflection is what makes us all...we need to reflect and to improve our methods and improve our path.

    Thank you so much.

    Character is what you are in the dark. Emilio Lizardo in Buckaroo Bonzai

    by Temmoku on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 08:50:12 AM PDT

  •  I always like ..... (0+ / 0-)

    .......the first 2/3s of your diaries....then, when I get to the last 1/3 I keep thinking of Matthew 6.......

  •  So very well said... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    foucaultspendulum, teacherken

    by both you & E.J.


    What it is, is up to us. ~ Howard Rheingold

    by madame defarge on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 09:46:53 AM PDT

  •  Thank you (0+ / 0-)

    I hope the students in your class will one day understand what a wonderful they once had in you.   Those of us here who read you regularly sure do.

  •  We must look back to learn from history. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Articles of Confederation failed in @ decade.
    Too much states rights, not enough taxes to pay war debt, failure to protect the poor soldiers who beat England.

    Bush tax cuts destroyed jobs in @ decade.
    The dollar royals once again refuse to pay their share of  debt for war to protect their assets.

    Until we punish for thought crimes --- legal punishment must always look back.

    More people die from pregnancy each year than died 9/11.
    Yet we don't demonize christofascists who twist religion into murder for glory and bomb the towns that harbor clinic bombers and doctor murderers.  

    Some say crusade, some say jihad.  
    If goddesses/gods/devils/satans  exist --- then they could do their own murders.  Wars to kill for heavenly reward -- just makes folks into fancy pageant talking killers for hire.

    De fund + de bunk = de EXIT--->>>>>

    by Neon Mama on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 10:11:27 AM PDT

    •  Pretty powerful insight (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Neon Mama

      I especially liked; "If goddesses/gods/devils/satans  exist --- then they could do their own murders.  Wars to kill for heavenly reward -- just makes folks into fancy pageant talking killers for hire."
      In the sixties we said, "Killing for peace is like f*cking for virginity."

  •  Bravo Ken, you speak for many of us, thank you. (0+ / 0-)
  •  tour de force diary (0+ / 0-)

    I wish I could say this as well as you do.  This is the perfect crystalization of what many of us have felt since the 9/11 reactionary period started.  

    Thanks for writing it.

  •  Unfortunately, (0+ / 0-)

    freedom is an acquired state -- not with us from birth.

    Conservatives insist that

    Freedom is obedience to the law.

    Which may seem reasonable, until one considers that the law is what the legislators say it is and, increasingly, is not the expression of principles of justice, but the whims of rulers that, by being written down, are made a bit more permanent.

    What we have all around the nation is deprivation of rights under cover of law -- legal crime.  People are stripped of their rights by a stroke of the pen.  Having them restored by the repeal of DADT is not much progress because the restoration does not address how such a wrong, a step backwards for sure, could have happened at the end of the 20th Century.

    Human rights are still trumped by property rights.   When we argue for people having a good job, we implicitly assent to a system of resource ownership which precludes public access without imposing any kind of obligation on the beneficiaries of those property rights.  Granting some individuals or groups exclusive use of portions of the surface of the earth is fine, as long as there's a recognition that the excluded have a right to share in the sustenance produced by that land.

    What we have witnessed during the last decade was the morphing of the "law and order" craze into the terror phase.  What accounts for it? I suspect the terrorists came along just in time to provide some credibility for strictures that the falling crime statistics were no longer supporting--the strategies that had been based on the firm conviction that enhanced social controls needed to be in place for the resistance that increasing income disparities would be sure to spawn, needed a new rationale.  

    We've had three decades of increasing deprivation and falling living standards and the people haven't taken to the streets, except to march for peace and hail a new generation of politicians.

    Now, you could argue that all those pre-emptive measures, the high rates of incarceration and the propagandistic monopoly and the dispersal of the population into the suburbs had their desired effect and account for a generally pacified population.  You could, except for one thing.  The ultimate goal hasn't been realized and that's evidenced by the collapse of the economy.  What some people perceived as a pacified population, looks more and more like passive resistance.

    And that's why the powers that be are getting desperate.  They still can't believe that "punish first" isn't the guarantor of good behavior. It must be the fault of the unions that the people are sticking together and making do with their elders' safety net.

    Because, you know, although the support is being dispensed in the name of the elders, it's their children and grand-children who are doing the work and getting paid.  You could say that our pension and health care programs make up an alternative economy that's not controlled by the 1%ers.  What's perhaps doubly ironic is that this service-based economy is a lot more stable than the industrial manufacturing sector.

    by hannah on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 10:43:40 AM PDT

  •  Elections Matter--9/11 Proved this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, bigrivergal

    As I think about today, the one thing that ties everything ken wrote above together for me is that the 2000 election mattered.  So many at that time thought it didn't, that there was little difference between the parties, that Gore would just continue the triangulation of Clinton, etc.

    The same stuff is said here on a regular basis.  Did anyone notice how many were asking Kos whether they could continue to advocate for people not voting or were upset that they could not support a third party instead of Obama?

    They don't get it.  

    When SCOTUS decided for Bush (in Sandra Day O'Connor's lowest judicial moment), they cast the die.  Think about where we would be today had Gore won in 2000 and 9/11 had happened on his watch.  No Iraq War.  No Gitmo.  No "war on terror".  

    So, next time anyone says "it doesn't matter if Obama wins" or "I can't vote for him" remind that person of 2000.  And think how a President Perry or Romney would respond if there is another 9/11.  

    Buck up--Never say die. We'll get along! Charlie Chaplain, Modern Times (1936).

    by dizzydean on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 12:46:23 PM PDT

    •  Counterfactuals can be helpful (0+ / 0-)

      but you're just stating conclusions rather than gaming them out.   And unfortunately the things you decry were often done with elite Democratic complicity.  If the Democratic Party had fought back, how much of of this would have been possible?  

      I think the issue is less whether elections matter than whether they are the only thing that matters.  

      Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.

      by David Kaib on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 02:18:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Amen. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fritzi56, Neon Mama

    I always pictured Bush and his cronies as the bad guys walking into town in High Noon, itching to wreak havoc.  And they certainly did.

    It is more than a lost decade.  It is a decade of destruction.  AlQuaida destroyed the towers, but we destroyed everything else in response.

    When shit happens, you get fertilized.

    by ramara on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 01:47:54 PM PDT

  •  "low interest rates....age for eligibility" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    They have a relationship.

    If money earns a lower rate of interest, then it doesn't compound as fast. Future recipients (and/or their employers) have to raise their pension contributions and/or accept a higher retirement age.

    If say the government has $200,000 set aside for your pension, but the money earns 3% instead of 8%, they'll probably be a $10,000/year shortfall. The government might ask you to work for $60,000 instead of $70,000/year.

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