I Must Have Blinked and Missed Something

The trivia question for this weekMark Knopfler wrote a song he described as a compilation of the voicemail messages from the people trapped inside the World Trade Center towers and recorded it with Emmylou Harris. Do you know what song that is?

I must have blinked. One minute I was standing in a retail store in Boston, Massachusetts, watching the city emptying as people all moving like salmon in one direction headed for the nearest way out of town. And like salmon to their spawning ground, they might have also been heading to their own death.

I watched this stream of humanity passing the window and listened to a news report that the World Trade Center in New York City had been hit by not one but two commercial airliners, and no, it was not an accident but a direct attack on the United States by a group of religious fanatics called by what seemed like a strange name then but one we came to know all too well, al-Qaeda (also spelled al-Qaida). It seemed paradoxical that I watched what the underbelly, the fanatics that pervert the religion to suit their own evil goals, had done, not what the people true to the Muslim faith had done, and I watched this from inside a store called The Christmas Dove. And I thought about all the death that had come about by fanatics throughout history in the name of Christianity.

Al-Qaeda began as a logistical network to support Muslims in Afghanistan fighting against what was then the Soviet Union during the Afghan War. When the Soviet Union withdrew, this band of warmongering fanatics continued to oppose what its leaders considered corrupt Islamic regimes and foreign presence in Islamic lands like the U.S.

President Bush led the United States into a war costly in dollars and most importantly in human death as 4,488 American lives were lost, more than 32,000 Americans wounded, and untold pain brought to those who came back traumatized by their experience.

Most Americans now believe the Iraq War was not worth fighting. “Our war in Iraq, I think, was the most fundamentally bad, dangerous decision since Vietnam,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said during his confirmation hearing, as a report from the FXB Center for Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health states.  “By attacking Iraq rather than focusing on al-Qaida, we fell into our enemies’ trap. The al-Qaida manual, “The Management of Savagery,” prescribed forcing America “to abandon its war against Islam by proxy by provoking it into a feckless (worthless) military confrontation with a Muslim country with the goal of overextending America militarily, bleeding us financially, and exposing the hollowness of American values.”

Many defense intellectuals who supported the war at the time now call the invasion a distraction from the war on terrorism. But the occupation of Iraq was much more than a distraction: it was an “engine of terrorist growth.”

Now we have another lunatic strutting and prancing around the political stage, this one saying he will deport Muslims. Is it not possible that this once again is playing right into the hands of the slime balls that rule al-Qaeda? Can you not hear them saying, “Look, people of Muslim faith, at what they are doing to us. Look at the misery they are causing our people.” And they would be right. Your normal Muslim selling bread at the local store did not blow up the World Trade Center. A group of madmen who no longer had the Russians to fight and wanted to continue their reign of terrorism and conquest blew up the World Trade Center towers, and Donald Trump is courting Russian President Putin as well and playing right into the hands of al-Qaeda.

Did I blink and miss something, or did Americans go to sleep?

In the podcast, well, the only thing I’m sure of is the answer to the trivia question and some rock and roll news and history. I hope you’ll join me on the shores of Rambling Harbor.

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1980

As I said in last week’s blog, I’m going to be looking at different years in my life, not necessarily in any particular order and indeed not because they were remarkable due to the fact that I lived in them but simply because I happen to have been alive during those years.

In 1980, I was just getting back into broadcasting after having been in and out of radio and in and out of prison. On November 4th, the actor Ronald Reagan was elected president, and the cost of a gallon of gas was $1.19. In 1980, the “Miracle on Ice” happened, and it had nothing to do with keeping your ice from melting in your Scotch glass. It happened during the Olympics. The US hockey team, which was the underdog, won the gold medal against the favored Soviets. The “Miracle on Ice” is still considered to be one of the greatest moments in sports and one of the best ice hockey games ever played. Speaking of Scotch, there was a song on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart that year that did have to do with alcohol. Do you know what song that was? The answer is in the podcast.

Also in music, at the end of 1980, Billboard’s ratings listed the number one song of the year as Blondie’s “Call Me,” number two was “Another Brick in the Wall – Part Two” by Pink Floyd, and checking in at number three was “Magic” by Olivia Newton-John. On December 8, 1980, I was working the 10 p.m.–2 a.m. air shift when at around 11:25 p.m. the newswire machine went berserk and a bulletin came over from the Associated Press that John Lennon had been shot. I will have more on that in the podcast.

Now let’s try this one: the press has been banned from speeches by someone attempting to take over the country. This person is saying they will start to round up anyone they deem to be unacceptable and send them away.  Because reporters have been banned and free speech and reporting are being taken away, I’m fearful that groups may carry out book burnings of works considered to be contrary to government policies. If this sounds like I lived in Germany in 1933, if you think I lived under Hitler, you’re wrong. This is America in 2016 as a lunatic named Donald Trump has already banned The Washington Post reporters from attending his speeches, which effectively breaks the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guarantees, among other things, freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Trump threatens to build a wall separating us from countries he doesn’t like and round up people he finds undesirable and send them away. This is not Hitler’s Germany of 1933. This is now. In America. In 2016.

There’s more on music, a little politics, and the answer to that trivia question at the end of paragraph two on the shores of Rambling Harbor. I hope you’ll join me there.

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