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September 11 – Eight Years

Posted on 10 September 2009 by Ed Z

Eight years.

I close my eyes and the subway lumbers through time.

I am looking out the window and I see that man falling. His tie above him
in vertical surrender. Then, I watched helpless and frozen. Now, I remember -
still helpless, still frozen. I want so desperately to save him. I want to
lift him.

I am falling with him. His face is my face. His hands are my hands. His
tears are now my tears. We ask each other "why?" His answer is my
answer – no answer.

He is always with me.

I don’t know his name but someday, in the
hereafter, I hope to.

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Economic Terrorism

Posted on 24 September 2008 by Ed Z

On September 19, 2008, the SEC banned short sales in almost 800 financial
stocks. The list is growing daily and is now pushing one thousand names.

For those of you unfamiliar, shorting a stock is when an investor sells a
stock that they do not own with the intention of buying it in the future at a
lower price. The basics of this strategy is you are expecting the price of the
stock to go down, therefore selling it now at a higher price allows you to keep
the difference when you buy it at the lower price. That is your profit. However,
if the stock rises, a purchase at a higher price will leave you on the hook for
the loss.

You also have to borrow the stock before selling it. Since someone on the
other end of your transaction is buying, you need to have stock to deliver to
them. Shorted stock with no borrow is called naked shorting.

A free market demands the ability to make money on both sides. So when the
government banned shorting of particular stocks I was concerned that maybe it
was an overreaction. I mean what’s next, replacing all sell pads with buy pads?

But maybe it wasn’t an overreaction. Maybe something else is going on behind
the scenes we don’t know about yet. Over the last few weeks, I’ve heard the term
Economic Terrorism used with more frequency, specifically in relation to what
eventually came to a head early afternoon Thursday, September 18. Then
today I read this
:

Over the weekend, I
discovered there might have been more to that decision than
initially met the eye. There was chatter on the beltway that we
may have been the victim of economic terrorism, a coordinated
short raid that originated in London and Dubai.

While the legitimacy of that
remains to be seen, my source is well respected. Further, as the
goals of terrorism are economic destruction and social upheaval,
it makes intuitive sense. The stock market is the world’s largest
thermometer and breaking the capital market construct-as some
would say they did last week-would effectively achieve both goals.

Is it possible that terrorist could take advantage of our weakness?
Systematically shorting financial stocks with intentions of creating panic,
adding energy to a down market, and making money of their own. Possible.

Everyone remembers the stories of massive shorting of airline stocks prior to
9/11. The stories became popular enough to become a major plot element in the
most recent Bond movie, Casino Royale.

The 9/11 commission has since concluded pre-9/11 trading activity to be a
matter of coincidence, and
if you read Alexander Rose’s NRO piece from 2004
, you can see that a broader
market picture revealed a trend that made shorting airline stocks, among other
securities, a sound strategy at the time.

I suppose I am guilty of looking for the outside villain, sinister forces
planning our demise. It is much easier than blaming ourselves, but I’m not
blaming our financial mess on terrorists, just considering that they’re always
looking to take advantage of our weaknesses and profit from our loss. It is
win-win for them; we suffer and they make money. I’m curious to find out what
more comes of his story.

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The Safety Valve

Posted on 13 February 2008 by Ed Z

Here is scenario: Obama wins the nomination based on slogans, slick YouTube
videos, and the fact that right now, he isn’t Hillary Clinton.

He says nothing, he stands for nothing and truly, he has accomplished nothing
that makes him qualified to run the country. Hot
Air recently highlighted an Obama focus group that could barely form sentences
when asked to name one of his accomplishments
.

Hope and Change. That’s it.

So, what happens when more Democrats start
to think like Dawn
?

Obama is untested to say the
least. He’s 40, has won exactly one statewide election -where his
opponent was a transplant from another state – and he didn’t even
give a crap about that job enough to so much as finish a half of
it before he decides no running the United States is what he’d be
better at.

The safety valve.

An associate of mine brought to my attention the enduring myth that
Democratic delegates are "bound on the first ballot". They
are not
. So, come convention time, if Obama’s hollow act is played out and
his numbers versus McCain are suffering, you might see Hillary come in to save
the day. Would there be any better script for her? There is no doubt in my mind
that she and her cronies will be working behind the scenes to put this into
play.

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A Proper Memorial

A Proper Memorial

Posted on 26 October 2006 by Ed Z

An additional 18 pieces of human remains were discovered yesterday at
Ground Zero, pushing the grisly tally during a four-day search to 114, city
officials said. – New
York Daily News

On October 19, human remains were found at Ground Zero. Of the 2,749 people
killed on September 11, 1,150 have not been identified.

This past September marked the five year anniversary of the terrorist attack
also bringing criticism of the slow progress in building a proper memorial.
Commercials urge us to realize the time is right coupling that sentiment with
inviting your personal memories of that day. But in view of the recent
discoveries at the World Trade Center site, I wonder if the time is right.

I’ve long been in favor of a simple memorial to honor the lives lost. This is
hallowed ground, which still contains, as proved by recent findings, the remains
of the dead.

My vision is a memorial much like the World War II Normandy American Cemetery
and Memorial. I’d like to see headstones for everyone murdered that day,
treating the site as it truly is; a burial ground. It also captures the
magnitude of the event by visually displaying 2,749 symbols of a fallen loved
one.

Many say that we need to rebuild the towers to show the terrorists we can’t
be defeated. However, the path to victory or defeat will not be traveled on the
height of a building, it is in the hearts of our children who must always
remember what happened on September 11, 2001.

I’d like to know what you think is an appropriate memorial.

Comments (9)

Hijacking Human Rights

Posted on 13 October 2006 by Ed Z

Dennis Prager, of
Townhall.com, was talkimg about a Washington Post editorial Thursday, in which
it describes the complete and utter failue of the U.N.’s new Human Rights
Council.

The council, which completed its second
formal session last week in Geneva, has turned out to be far worse than its
predecessor — not just a "shadow" but a travesty that the United
Nations can ill afford.

For all its faults, the previous U.N.
commission occasionally discussed and condemned the regimes most responsible for
human rights crimes, such as those in Belarus and Burma. China used to feel
compelled to burnish its record before the annual meeting. The new council, in
contrast, has so far taken action on only one country, which has dominated the
debate at both of its regular meetings and been the sole subject of two
extraordinary sessions: Israel.

Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/11/AR2006101101592.html

Darfur, Uzbekistan, Belarus, and Burma are all inconsequential for to the
Human Rights Council, led by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Israel
is the only evil in the world.

According to Wikipeda,
the primary goals of the OIC are "to promote solidarity among all member
states; to consolidate cooperation among member states in economic, social,
cultural, scientific, and other fields of activity; to endeavor to eliminate
racial segregation and discrimination and to oppose colonialism in all its
forms; to support the Palestinian people in their struggle to regain their
national rights and to return to their homeland; and, to support all Muslim
people in their struggle to safeguard their dignity, independence and national
rights."

In other words, promoting self interest. On the top of that list seems to be
doing anything to malign and destroy Israel, all other plights be damned. It
really tells you something about the leaders of these countries, that when given
a chance to do something good and noble, they choose a base, malicious,
self-serving agenda.

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Cut and Run and Then…?

Posted on 11 October 2006 by Ed Z

September 29, 2006, Media
Matters For America Headline
:
"ABC, CBS, CNN aired Bush’s "cut
and run" attack on Democrats, ignored Democratic response"

Media Matters went on to report that the gist of the
"response", by Harry Reid, was: "If George Bush is so confident
that his national security policies are working, he should release the entire
National Intelligence Estimate on terrorism and let the American people decide
for themselves. The fact that he won’t speaks volumes about how the failure of
his policies has made the American people less safe. George Bush has no
credibility left on national security. No matter how many stump speeches he
gives on the campaign trail, the American people can see the damage his tough
talk has done to America’s safety. It’s time to be tough and smart so we can
change course and give Americans the real security they deserve."

Most sane Americans wish there were no "War on Terror" and want
nothing more than a sensible plan to end it and let Peace and the Happy Bosom
Family reign. They will support a "cut and run" solution if a plan is
presented that clearly outlines its benefits and risks.

For example, a short-term benefit of a quick exit from Iraq would likely be
to save many American soldiers lives, (perhaps at the cost of a bloodbath for
Iraqis). But, what of the longer term? How will defeating America cause the
jihadists to become peace-loving live-and-let-live world citizens? Have there
been any such signals from any Islamist? Would they no longer hate Jews,
Christians or any non-Muslims? Will they limit their aggression to their own
countries?

Since everybody loves a winner, could America’s defeat inspire even more
recruits to Al Qaeda? With our forces gone, they’d certainly be in less danger.

A "tough and smart" answer to these questions would have been a
stirring response to the President’s message. It "fairly boggles the
mind" that Mr. Reid wasn’t prepared to disclose his new course.

-Zorroaster

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Conspiracy Becomes Mainstream

Posted on 18 September 2006 by Ed Z

A few years ago, someone sent me a link to a 9/11 conspiracy website. I can’t
remember which one, but it concerned itself mostly with the Pentagon. In line
with most of today’s conspiracy theorists, it claimed a missile hit the
Pentagon, not a hijacked commercial jet.  I dismissed it.

Now, all this time later, these theories are picking up major steam. 
What concerns me though, is not the theorists themselves (they’re going to be
around forever), but the increasing belief in these theories. It is now becoming
mainstream to believe 9/11 was an "inside job" cooked up mainly as an
excuse to go to war in the Middle East.

A recent Scripps survey reveals the following:

More than a third of the
American public suspects that federal officials assisted in the
9/11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them…

Thirty-six percent of
respondents overall said it is "very likely" or
"somewhat likely" that federal officials either
participated in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the
Pentagon or took no action to stop them "because they wanted
the United States to go to war in the Middle East."

Source: http://newspolls.org/story.php?story_id=55

The enthusiasm that Americans have in embracing these theories finally struck
me when I ran into an old friend shortly after the foiled airline terror plot
this summer. She mentioned having to take a flight in the near future and though
she had some worries, she felt the plot was fiction.

Here she was, feeling quite comfortable admitting to buying into some sort of
conspiracy theory in spite of the dangers. It was then I realized conspiracy had
gone mainstream.

So I’ve been trying to figure out why. Why are people so willing to believe
these theories? And I’ve concluded it is the unwillingness to admit to an enemy
whose devotion to killing us goes far beyond what my generation has ever
known.  It is a belief out of convenience.

It’s easier to believe your government did this because you can vote them out
of power, they can be held accountable, you can scream, spit venom, and call for
impeachments without fear of retribution. It is easier to sleep at night when
there really aren’t fanatics waiting to blow your morning flight out of the sky.

Fighting radical Islam is a daunting task that in even the best estimations
will take decades and cost many lives. This is hard to grasp, hard to live with;
it takes will. A will few Americans have anymore.  And fortunately for
them, if it is real, they can still blame the government for not doing enough to
protect them.

 

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I Remember September 11

Posted on 11 September 2006 by Ed Z

The sky was so clear and the depth of blue so infinite you could lose your
balance staring into it. Later that day I would remember how hot the sun felt on
my head, and if not for the t-shirt wrapped around it, it would have burned.

I remember wishing I was a bird, just to fly off without effort. I hated
being grounded, I felt helpless.

I remember seeing abandoned baby strollers; mothers choosing to grab their
babies and run to whatever end. A single shoe, then others, heels, dress shoes,
all left in favor of the speed of the bare foot.

I remember the wall of debris rushing towards us. People jumping in the
river. Panic.

I remember looking at a patch of grass and thinking it was a fine spot to
die, if that was what had to come.

I remember listening to music, dozing quietly, the motion of my morning bus
rocking me to sleep.

I remember my mother’s voice on the telephone, at first abated my fears as
only a mother can do, then later, when she was at a loss; I knew I was in
trouble.

I remember the man I saw who jumped. I don’t know who he was. He was wearing
a suit and there was a part of me lost with him.

I remember the fear on all the faces around me. We were all children, lost in
the supermarket, stumbling around the aisles looking for mommy. That fear slices
right through you, fills the air, and spreads quickly.

I remember asking a cop what to do and realizing he was just as likely to ask
me what to do, but he didn’t and that was good.

I remember at an abandoned hotdog cart handing out a few bottles of water, one
to a woman covered in ash. She said ‘thank you’, but I don’t think she really saw
me.

I remember walking, and walking. I swore never to be without comfortable
shoes ever again.

I remember men and women in front of a synagogue in Brooklyn, handing out
food and drinks to weary walkers. I sat on a bench, and a man sat next to me and
said, "I had a job interview in the WTC and I just got out." We sat
there for a few minutes, silent, he got up to find a phone. We wished each other
luck.

I remember the ride home with my parents, when everything that held me
together came unglued. And I cried.

I remember finally seeing my wife Michelle and our embrace lasted forever.

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New York Wants Left-surance

Posted on 06 June 2006 by Ed Z

When riding a New York City subway, you have about the same likelihood of
hearing a foreign language as you do hearing someone bashing the President. You
might see the random "Impeach Bush" button as well as other merriments
pasted, scribbled, splattered and posted on public transportation.

In fact, you could make a decent living setting up shop in Union Square
selling anti-Bush merchandise. And even though you’ll have some hefty
competition, there will be no shortage of buyers.

Its no secret, New York is a liberal city. I’ve grown accustomed, though not
indifferent, to people assuming my political beliefs are the same as theirs, and
in most cases I’m met with a mix of shock, disgust, horror, anger and fear when
they learn I’m not in complete and unwavering agreement.

Hey, that’s all good. It comes with the territory. But, lately I’ve been a
bit confused. You see, in the past few years, many conversations I’ve had on the
topic of homeland security have included phrases like "fabricated
threat" and "no real terror". Some have gone as far as to say
that it is all just a way of instilling fear into the public to strip us of our
civil rights and invade our privacy; to read our emails and listen in on our
phone calls.

So you would expect after it was announced last week that New York’s terror funding
would be cut
, New Yorkers wouldn’t care. I mean, it’s an imaginary threat
anyway, conjured up by the evil Bush administration. Hmm, not so.

I guess some people need to hedge their bets. Even the casual observers of
public sentiment would have noticed the outrage over the funding cuts.
Newspapers were filled with articles demanding answers. A postcard campaign
began where residents were encouraged to send pictures of familiar New York
landmarks to DHS Secretary, Michael Chertoff, to remind him of the targets
terrorists salivate over.

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-Harlem) was quoted in the Daily
News
saying the funding is mismanaged. "It is true that many of them
look upon this as a pork barrel, and they wanted their share, even though they
don’t have their share of the risk"

This, the same risk, just over 3 months ago Rangel doubted
even existed
. "We just take for granted that there is an Islamic terror
movement because we do have some fanatic people who come from Islamic
countries."

So, as some of my fellow New Yorkers like to repeat the words of Michael
Moore
, "There is no terrorist threat in this country. This is a lie.
This is the biggest lie we’ve been told." They would also like to take out
an insurance policy… you know, just in case.

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Moussaoui Verdict: A Crack in the Cellar

Posted on 04 May 2006 by Ed Z

Life in prison. "America, you lost. … I won", his words as
exiting the courtroom after the verdict had been reached. Some think the jury’s
decision against the death penalty prevented him from becoming a martyr. It may
have, though some may argue death at the hands of western lawmakers, not in
battle, would have achieved the same goal, but I’m sure his masters would have
made an exception.

I fear however, that we may have done something far worse than making him a
martyr, and that is a folk hero…a celebrity; a living icon for hatred, still
capable of thinking, speaking, and touching.

At first, he will be sent to a Colorado supermax, where he will be cut off
from the outside world and as U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema said today,
he’ll "die with a whimper". But time changes all things. Even now,
before they’ve turned down the bed in his cell, the French government is
preparing a request to have him serve his sentence there.

As long as he is breathing, as long as he is alive, there is a chance — as
time puts the memory of 9/11 behind us, as our children grow up never knowing
the World Trade Center, as history is re-written by apologists — that he can
claw closer to the living world.

It happens all the time with serial killers, as the distance from their
horrors grow so softens the general opinion. And their aged faces make us think
of our grandfathers, not murderers. Maybe 20 years from now, people will start
wondering, "What did he do that was so bad? He wasn’t on any of those
planes?" "Hasn’t he paid his debt?"

We’ve left a crack, seemingly microscopic now, but any fracture left
unattended for several decades has the chance to facilitate a collapse. It is
our duty to prevent this. We must remember the evil he embraces and pass it
down. Even if time heals our personal wounds, we can never, should never, hide
the scars that remain.

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