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Twin Towers Bulletins

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Michelle Jahn
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« on: February 09, 2011, 01:22:10 pm »

1/30/11 — “The Sounds of Silence…” It was announced this week that Jon Stewart has joined the board of the National September 11th Memorial & Museum. Stewart was instrumental in bringing attention to the languishing 9/11 First Responders Bill, for which we should all be grateful. But we cannot help but be concerned that a voice that has been fearless in exposing official arrogance and misconduct may now start pulling his punches.

We hope not. If anyone is above getting sucked into Bloomberg’s orbit, it’s Jon Stewart, who pointed out in an interview in the fall with Rachel Maddow on MSNBC that the problems in our country are not a matter of right vs. left, but of “corruption and not corruption.” But the credit he is due for embarrassing lawmakers who were ready to defeat the James Zadroga Act into doing the right thing, doesn’t change the fact that it was years past due. If all it took was a spotlight, better late than never, but in the meantime, years of suffering and hardship were borne by those who should not have had to ask twice for help.

Now that our debt to the first responders is finally going to be paid, it does not remove the black mark that years of default left on our nation’s credit report. But it is a giant step in the right direction. Another tremendous debt we owe is to insist on moving the final resting place for those who were killed on 9/11 out of a dump. That is another example of vital information that has been kept out of the nation’s bloodstream. WTC Families for Proper Burial fought all the way to the Supreme Court to remedy the insult of leaving what remained of the Trade Center and the 9/11 victims in a landfill. But Michael Bloomberg has a right to be small-minded and opinionated. The courts can’t do anything about that. They would have a much better chance of making their case before the court of public opinion instead — and still can.

The victims’ families suggested remedies that included moving the tons of WTC “debris” to a spot elsewhere on Staten Island — they weren’t asking for the moon. After all, the site was cleared months ahead of time — at a tremendous savings. It is only right that a small portion of the money workers saved would be available to correct something so indecent. In any case, the price tag does not always trump everything else — which Michael Bloomberg must believe since he is backing a billion-dollar memorial, that many 9/11 families find disturbing and inappropriate, when a far more uplifting memorial would cost a fraction as much.

The media has often obliged officials by mischaracterizing the victims’ families to take the heat off themselves. But this travesty is particularly egregious. If it really doesn’t matter where people are buried, as Michael-I’m-giving-my-body-to-science-Bloomberg apparently believes, then there is no reason for anymore cemeteries – an unmarked dumpster should do. But most of us don’t share his care-less philosophy and would be revolted to learn that under the topsoil of the now-closed Fresh Kills dump, mixed in with the garbage, is the DNA of our countrymen who died horrible deaths only because they were Americans.

Which brings us to the inevitable corollary to Ground Zero: Just imagine how much different the landscape at the site would be today if only Jon Stewart and others in the media had put a klieg light on the World Trade Center instead of leaving David Shuster to do the heavy-lifting alone. How can the media spend hour after hour debating health care and “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” but never give the debate on Ground Zero a hearing? It is much easier to repair a bad bill, than it is to correct a bad building. All we have ever asked for is due diligence and it is certainly not too late to subject the current plan to that.

If officials had their reasons for defeating the will of the people back in 2002, those reasons had evaporated by 2005, when “Twin Towers II” was first brought to the public’s attention. And there was certainly no justification in 2008, when Chris Ward chose to ignore the superior claims of “Twin Towers II.” But regardless of what officials were up to, where was the media? And where are they now?

The countdown to the tenth anniversary of the attacks has begun. The first of the 10th anniversary tributes, “”Rebirth,” just premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The documentaries and publications to follow will give important perspective to our still searing pain – but how will self-respecting journalists and filmmakers explain the deafening silence surrounding the movement to rebuild what the People Want, New York needs, and America deserves?

One person should not be able to get away with undermining the aspiration of millions of people, just because he does not share their hopes. No doubt the mayor thinks that he is doing what is best for the people, but when he is wrong there is no one willing to tell him so. We have been told, off-the-record, by everyone from regularly published journalists to senior Congressional staffers, that no one wants to cross Michael Bloomberg. And that has played an incalculably decisive role in defeating the will of the people for the World Trade Center.

The defining face-off that is now taking place over the treasured Central Park landmark, Tavern on the Green, could shed a lot of light on the struggle for Ground Zero. Once again, Donald Trump has come forward with a vision to bring a legendary part of the city back to life, by making the shuttered restaurant — which was the second-highest-grossing restaurant when Windows on the World was the first — better than ever. And once again, Mayor Bloomberg is playing the spoiler.

That prompted a great fan of the Twin Towers to write in “BLOOMBERG STARS IN ‘HONEY, I SHRUNK (THE SOUL 0F) NEW YORK CITY:’”

“A battle may be brewing between billionaire heavyweights Mike Bloomberg and Donald Trump over their divergent vision for the former ‘landmark New York restaurant and watering hole of the rich and famous’ known as Tavern on the Green. This is, however, not the first issue over which these two titans have clashed… Say what you will about Donald Trump but every time politicians have reminded us what can’t be done and exhibit a serious lack of the ‘vision thing’ Donald Trump reminds what can be done, what should be done and why someone should just maybe give him the damn keys and get out of the way.”

Mayor Bloomberg: Thanks for “311″ but please stop doing our thinking for us. That’s not your place. New Yorkers know what they like. Try asking for a change.

Mr. Trump: Don’t cave in to the Bloomberg machine. The people are counting on you…

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