Rebecca Solnit writes for TomDispatch.com: "Eight years ago, 2,600 people lost their lives in Manhattan, and then several million people lost their story. The al-Qaeda attack on the Twin Towers did not defeat New Yorkers. It destroyed the buildings, contaminated the region, killed thousands, and disrupted the global economy, but it most assuredly did not conquer the citizenry. They were only defeated when their resilience was stolen from them by clichés, by the invisibility of what they accomplished that extraordinary morning, and by the very word 'terrorism,' which suggests that they, or we, were all terrified. The distortion, even obliteration, of what actually happened was a necessary precursor to launching the obscene response that culminated in a war on Iraq, a war we lost (even if some of us don't know that yet), and the loss of civil liberties and democratic principles that went with it."
Are We Safer than We Were Eight Years Ago?
Patrick Smith writes for Salon.com: "I'm old enough to remember Moammar Gadhafi being interviewed by Mike Wallace on "60 Minutes." It was the late 1970s. I was 13, maybe 14. Then and now, the thing about Gadhafi is that you want to like and respect him. If nothing else, his posing and preening add flash and charisma to the world stage. And how can you not appreciate a world leader so true to his Bedouin roots that he conducts state business in a tent?"
Barack Can't Speak to School Children? Why?
Dr. Ron Walters writes for The Black Commentator: "President Barack Obama wanted to do what he and his staff probably thought was an innocuous and very positive gesture – send a message to school kids at their institutions that it was a good thing for them to study hard and stay in school because their future and the future of the nation depended on it. The uproar that this has caused has also shocked and embarrassed many people who not understand why the President of the United States cannot even deliver such a positive message to children without the hard politicization of the event."
The Perfect Storm of Idiocy
Joe Conason writes for Truthdig: "The wild furor over President Barack Obama’s speech to the nation’s schoolchildren raises many questions, but there is only one that really matters. How did America surrender its political discourse—not to mention the news cycle—to the most unreasonable and unstable elements of the far right?"
Do We Get the Leaders We Deserve?
Denis Loo writes for Daily Censored: "The notion that the people get the leaders (and system) they deserve is a common, oft-repeated one. It’s really a restatement of what some scholars call the democracy-at-work thesis: the people collectively and democratically decide who will lead them. Hence, the leaders at any given point in time are the ones that the people chose"
Health Reform and Illegal Immigration: The Truth
Froma Harrop comments for Truthout: "In their tireless efforts to kill health care reform, right-wingers have fanned fears that it would attract illegal aliens. This sideshow is rather twisted because, actually, the reforms would do the opposite. They would help curb illegal immigration. Start with Canada to see how this works. Canadians have universal coverage, a big immigration program and almost no undocumented workers. These things are not unrelated. Government-guaranteed medical care is a big reason why Canada doesn't tolerate illegal immigration. No country can long afford a large subclass of poor workers that pays little in taxes and collects full benefits."
Health Care vs. Warfare: The Future Costs of the Afghanistan War
Joe Conason writes for Salon.com: "In the lyrical conclusion of President Obama's speech on healthcare, he talked about the emotions and experiences that drove his late friend Sen. Edward Kennedy to work so tirelessly and passionately for universal coverage. He tried to describe what Kennedy must have felt as two of his children suffered through bouts of cancer. Ordeals such as those, said the president, had helped Kennedy to understand the "sheer terror and helplessness" of parents whose children are stricken by serious disease, and lack the means to save them."
Mort Rosenblum reports for GlobalPost: "In Beijing, a 50-cent walk-in EKG determined my killer chest pain was no more than a strained muscle complicated by bad dumplings. In Paris, six weeks of hospital tests and enough meds to choke a moose found an ugly lung shadow was only Balkan pneumonia. The bills came to $1,500, doctors included. And if I’d been on Chinese or French national health plans, I would have been spared even those charges. Nearly every society on earth — socialist, fascist or anything in between — regards not dying needlessly for lack of medical care as the most basic of human rights."
Inside the Mind of Joe Wilson
Richard Benjamin writes for Salon.com: "When he called the president a liar, Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., apparently "forgot" he wasn't at one of those rowdy town halls.
Besides the show of disrespect, and the fact that he was wrong, the legislator's comments expose a virulent racism and paranoia against undocumented workers. As we enter Hispanic Heritage Month, America would do well to examine the legislator's political paranoia instead of rehashing his churlish, attention-seeking outburst. The legislator's behavior is uncommon, but his attitude is not."
The Tea Party Teapot Tempest Rages On
Simon Molay writes for Media Matters for America: "It's fitting that a week that began with conservatives warning about the president indoctrinating schoolchildren would end with those same conservatives acting like schoolchildren in the face of perceived indoctrination. Leading up to President Obama's September 8 back-to-school address to our nation's students, the conservative media loudly voiced their opposition to the speech, insisting that the president was recruiting children to his political goals and conscripting them into his civilian army. Of course, when none of that happened and Obama delivered the speech he intended to deliver, conservatives still managed to declare victory, claiming -- with an admitted lack of evidence and an implied lack of sense -- that the White House had secretly changed the speech in response to their heroic exposé of Obama's attempt to corrupt the minds of the youth."
The Wing-Nut Code: What Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin Are Really Saying to Their Followers
Adele Stan writes for AlterNet: "When Glenn Beck offers an odd-looking icon for his 9-12 Project, or Sarah Palin says something about her native state that sounds a bit to off-kilter to the ears of those in the lower 48, it's tempting to think, well, they're just nuts. Perhaps they are, but that's beside the point. The point is that when Beck throws up a graphic of a segmented snake as his project's mascot, or Palin speaks of her native land as the "sovereign" state of Alaska, they're blowing a kind of dog-whistle for the armed and paranoid who make up the right-wing, neo-militia 'Patriot' movement and the broader "Tea Party" coalition."
For Wage-Earning Women a 21st Century Answer
Glenda Holste reports for The Women's Media Center: "The 127th Labor Day in the United States arrives on Monday with women still having the most to gain from belonging to a union. The struggle for fair pay, work-life balance, healthy and safe work conditions, and against discrimination has brought forth women leaders throughout the nation’s history."
National Equality March: Are You Happy?
David Mixner comments on his blog: "Are you really happy with the progress we have made over the last eight months with this Administration and Congress? Are you really happy with the progress we have made on the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)? Do you think that the leaders of our political parties have embraced marriage equality and our God given rights, benefits and protections that come with it? Are you content, relaxed and happy with where we are at this moment in history in the struggle for freedom?"