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A sign for a Bank of America branch is shown in downtown Philadelphia, Thursday, May 7, 2009. Some of the nation's largest banks will be scrambling to demonstrate that they can raise capital after results of government stress tests leaked out, showing many need more funds. The Treasury Department will officially release results later Thursday. (AP)

A sign for a Bank of America branch is shown in downtown Philadelphia, Thursday, May 7, 2009. (AP)

Stress tests, infidelity, job loss and Manny Ramirez in the news this week.

The Obama administration put a positive spin on what they found in the big banks’ books. But losses could still hit $600 billion. Job losses last month: another half million-plus. But that’s a lot better than the month before.

Afghan and Pakistani presidents in Washington. Elizabeth Edwards on Oprah with John’s wayward ways. Santa Barbara burns. And another Major League Baseball slugger up on drug allegations and out for 50 games.

This hour, On Point: Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

What’s your top story this week? Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.


Joining us from Washington is David Leonhardt, economics columnist for The New York Times and staff writer for The New York Times Magazine. His recent interview with President Obama was the magazine’s cover story last Sunday.

Also from Washington we’re joined by Perry Bacon, national political reporter for The Washington Post.

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst and senior editor at The Atlantic.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Lilya

    Afghanistan Pakistan

    We are transferring just “another” $96,000,000,000 of tax payers’ money to defense contractors in order to fuel civil wars in other countries between Corrupt Governments and the Popular Conservative Ideals.

    This transfer of money is to be initiated by our Mr. Change Obama and his neo-zion advisors and supported by Republicans who are bought by defense contractors.

    What a Mess!!!

  • Felipe

    Have a question to members of this forum:

    Regarding Afghanistan
    What do you think. Is it time to question why we are in Afghanistan?
    Maybe the answer lies in finding out more about what happened on Sept 11.
    Is it time to look into 9/11 with a real investigation?
    Will the members of this group support a plea to the producers of this program to dedicate at least one hour to 9/11?
    If you have been going to protest activities during Bush years 9/11 Truth movement has always been in the forefront. After Obama is elected, 9/11 Truth Movement has even more questions about what we were told to assume by the people who have been lying to us just about everything else.

    If not now, when? If not under Obama, under Jebb Bush or Romney?
    What if we rushed to judgement to prosocute an entire nation for all the wrong reasons?

    Would you post your support without the baggage of what we have been told over the years since 9/11?

  • dianna a

    I agree with Felipe 100 percent. We are subconciously conditioned not to question the events of 9/11.

    Listen to this stunning fact that I just learned. The “box cutters”.

    You cannot board an airplane with boxcutters (as if we always used to do), because to hijackers used box cutters. Everybody on the planet knows that. But in reality, even that was totally false and made up.

    If you do the research there is one and only one source of the word “boxcutters”. It is Bush’s Solicitor General Theodore (Ted) Olsen, nothing else. His repeated interviews on the afternoon of 9/11. The story is that his wife called him from the plane with her “cell” phone and told him that the hijackers had box cutters.

    Since then Ted Olson changed his story a few times, but the image and the idea of box cutters is stuck with us as believable Hollywood fact that we never question. Moreover, FBI agents who studied all the calls of the involved parties have factual report documenting and claiming that Theodore Olson never ever recieved such called on any of his phones from anybody.

    The question is: how difficult can it be to pit FBI against Ted Olson? Obviously somebody is “lying”.

    Please note that nobody knows what happened to Ted Olson’s wife who allegedly was on one of the planes. However, Ted Olson is the guy who argued Florida Election Case in front of the Supreme Court which gave us our President Select Bush. Additionally he was the Attorney who defended the Israeli Spy Jonathan Pollard.

    All Europeans are strongly convinced that the facts and the government’s storty on 9/11 do not match at all.

    I support Felipe’s posting with all my heart – we should take the time and energy to clean up our dark past before we move on.

  • JP

    Every person in retail or shipping calls their utility knife a “box-cutter.” I’ve worked in a grocery store for 26 years, and we’ve always carried a “box-cutter” in our apron pocket.

  • david marcus

    I support the idea of looking into 9/11 with On Point’s Tom Ashbrook.

    There are fascinating parallels and connections between 9/11 and Torture/Iraq. The characters sort of fit like a glove to both of the topics and the possible cover-up events.

    Still remember vividly about Ted Olson that afternoon. The guy supposedly lost his lovely wife suddenly, but yet was giving interview after interview how America was attacked with a poker face. If I were to lose my wife, I would be overwhelmed with grief and perhaps will go into isolation for a while. Later I heard that Ted Olson got the highest amount of money between the survivors of victims from the government and then within a year he married a much younger women in one of the carrabian islands somewhere. The whole thing looks very fishy to me.

    I think we should “force” Obama administration (Eric Holder) to solve such mysteries once and for all by asking the first and subsequent questions under oath and in public about 9/11

  • david

    obama’s plan to save the auto industry failed.

  • Alex

    Get out of foreign wars and create national universal healthcare. That to me will be a successful presidency. Why do I get a feeling that neither will happen?

  • Felipe

    We need more support for 9/11 and a second look into Why We are in Afghanistan.

    It is an undisputed observation (Frontline/Woodward) that on the night of the 9/11 one wing of the neocons (Pearle, Wolfowitz camp) wanted to attack Iraq and pressured the others about the urgency of such actions before the dust settles. Then comes the motives torture to extract evidence that there was a connection between 9/11 and Saddam. According to the script we invaded and introduced Osama bin Laden as temporary target and the party to blame. Everything does make sense now.

  • JP

    No, Bush and the Republican congress failed to save the auto industry… they should have upped fuel efficiency standards long ago!

    Maybe it would have made a difference to the companies who cannot sell the gas guzzling monstrosities that are now the only cars they know how to make.

    That goes for ALL car manufacturers, not only American companies.

    These car companies had a foot in the grave long before anyone heard the name Obama.

  • JP

    And let’s not forget that they not only failed to pass higher fuel efficiency standards, they thwarted such attempts at every opportunity.

  • Stan Duncan

    From Braintree, Massachusetts
    This past week Secretary of State Hilliary Clinton said that the US would pick up the tab for the outstanding debts owed by Haiti to Multi-lateral banks while they linger on and on about following through on canceling them outright. Also this week the IMF agreed to finally selling off some of the ninety billion dollars in gold that they’ve been hoarding since back when gold was the monetary standard, and will use a portion of it as grants and loan cancellation for other poor countries.

    These are huge stories and will literally save hundreds of thousands of lives and allow millions of children to go to school, who wouldn’t have before. I’d like to hear your panel, perhaps especially David Leonhardt, say a few words about its importance. The poor and developing countries will be hit and hurt far worse than we will by the crisis.

  • Mike

    The time is good and appropriate for invagating 9/11

    Such a truthful investigation will give some meaning to Newspapers and Investigative Reporting.

    I support the idea that OnPoint should devote an hour for 9/11 events and where Obama Administration stands on the Mother of All Accountability issues.

  • Deborah

    Hello — What about the people who were tricked into buying homes they couldn’t afford? While I understand the feelings of those who were responsible, bought homes within their means, and have paid their mortgages faithfully (I am one of them), I think it is important to remember that many, many subprime mortgages were sold by unscrupulous and dishonest brokers who knew these people could not possibly meet their mortgage obligations. These mortgages were sold to unsophisticated people who did not or could not understand that they were being deceived and taken on a path of financial ruin. They deserve redress.

  • Arnold

    Why is Obama killing innocent Afghans? Afghanistan will be his Iraq/Vietnam.

  • Jeff

    Right, Toyota and Honda are doing so well. US carmakers would have been saved by making more Pintos. Please. Blaming politicians for poor decisions by auto execs and union leaders is beyond ignorant.

    Mortgages are sold and bought. To blame only the seller is pathetic. Take responsibility for your own stupidity.

  • JP

    Read the full post before commenting, please. Did I not say “not only American companies?”

  • Joseph Bennett

    Regarding Single Payor, our current inurance companies use the same “evidence based guidelines” to decide what health care services are allowed or not allowed for patients as the National Health Plans or Socialized Medicine Plans of Canada and Europe. Difference is, our insurance companies do it with financial bottom line in mind, while the other countries do it make sure there is enough health care to go around. Since this undermines the free market system (all insurance companies use the same evidence based guidelines to make decisions and rationalize care) shouldn’t we just do away with the insurance companies? They’re rationalizing care for profit, instead of rationalizing care to make sure it’s distributed fairly.

  • Lux I


    Sometimes you have to regulate stupidity before it brings everybody down with it. Imagine if there were strong propaganda laws. Would we be in these wars and run by banks, health care and defense contractors? Can the population be responsible for their stupidity when they are being educated by the ones making them stupid?

  • Felipe

    I agree with Lux I – if he/she supports 9/11 to be discussed on OnPoint.

    Here is my theory on 9/11.

    Group A: This group decided to have an Attack on America, from which they and their sect and their friends were going to benefit. They wanted something spactacular, but they did not want to know the operational details.

    Group B: Some of the members of Group A approached Group B. They focused on the Venue and the degree of action. Group B was to benefit from the action in real money.

    Group C: (not necessarily American citizens and don’t care about loss of American Lives) implemented a plan with the help and assist and approval of Group B. Immediately after 9/11, members of the Group C left United States.

    Speculation: Group A did not know that the buildings WTC1 + WTC2 and “WTC7″ were going to come down – in other words “wired with explosives”. After the first day and the initial shock, terrorists attacking the buildings from inside just did not make sense. That’s where the cover-up comes in. After the first day, the media was pressured from the top down. Commission was resisted. Commission report omitted any kind of explanation about the collapse of the buildings.

    And just like Lux I said, we bought the story: office fires may bring down steel framed buildings and we just don’t want to talk about the issue “especially” Building 7. If we do, it is “disrespect” to the victims.


  • Frederic C.

    The reason there is not an investigation into 9/11 is the same reason there is not investigation into Elvis sightings or U.F.O. sightings, you just end up arguing with a crazy person.

    The reality of the situation is mind-blowing as it is without tuning into the impassioned rhetoric of conspiracy theorists with personality disorders.

    9/11 Truth people need to investigate their own psycho-emotional constitution.

    The answer lies within!!!

  • Joe B.

    It’s only obvious that Obama is in way over his head. He looks like a lost puppy.

  • Putney Swope

    I agree with Frederic C, the US government might be a lot of things, but the idea of crashing planes into buildings and that it was government conspiracy is so far fetched.

    First off, we are not living a episode of 24, second something like that would very very hard to cover up.

    Also Lylia neo-zion advisers? How do you know they are zionest? If there are some, so what? The other thing is I notice you also blame the republicans. How is it that now that they are in the minority and seem pretty neutered in any policy decisions made by the Obama administration that what they think or say matters.

    I ma amazed at the complete lack of rational thought by some of the people who post here.

  • Putney Swope

    Beam me up Scotty! Oh wrong program…

  • Mark S.

    So true, Frederic and Putney. Whenever I hear somebody seriously assert that an entity as incompetent and leaky as the federal government engineered 9/11, I wonder whether sales of tin foil just went up. You’re right. You just end up arguing with a crazy person. Jeez, I own every season of The X Files on DVD, but someone I know it’s sci-fi, not reality. And 24 is just hysterical and silly. But try to tell that to Tin Foil Americrazies…

  • Mark S.

    Er, that’s “somehow I know it’s sci-fi…” My bad.

  • Putney Swope

    Sorry typo, I have to stop doing that…
    I ma amazed at the complete lack of rational thought by some of the people who post here.

    Should read: I am amazed at the complete lack of rational thought by some of the people who post here.

    Now were is that aluminum foil hat…

    Spock analysis!… It seems captain that the some earthlings think that the Klingon’s are reasonable for 9/11… or was that the Romulans… Or it was Khan in a Chrysler cordoba with soft corinthian leather. It seems that the so said earthlings are living on what is known as “Fantasy Island”…

  • Felipe

    Who said Federal Government had anything to do with it with executing or planning?

    If Federal Government is as bad as you said it is (actually it is), then it is easier for a certain group to fool the Federal Government more easily, isn’t it?

    If we, the nation, are so smart and not be fooled, then how come we are still paying for an illegal war/occupation that none of us would have voted or agreed?

    If we were so smart, how come we “re-” elected this puppety clown and the criminal gang “twice”?

    Didn’t OnPoint have about over 1000 programs during the last 8 years about the lies that were authored by Bush Administration? So, the assumption is that they started lying to us after 9/11. Pleaaaaaaase…

    Take the time and do some research. For about 6 years, I could have been saying “exactly” the same things as you have been saying; until I spent about 20 min. I really thought 9/11 Truth people would object to anything or they were extremist or they were angry left. Now I can bet my house and marriage that we were fooled about 9/11.

    Your assumptions and reality are two different things.

  • Mike

    The problem is that American people have been conveniently told something or a story over and over again. We are so content with what we believed once.
    It is very comfortable. Getting rid of that, and looking at events differently is so difficult mentally.

    We are just too lazy. Outside of very few, we are just two lazy.

    Shanksville plane: 32 passangers + 5 crew. Exactly 16 passangers had no booking records. Everything is documented and time stamped Sept 2001 by major news agencies. According to official statements 16 of the passangers had no intention of being on that flight. They were last minute hop-on type of passangers. When was the last time, you had 50% ratio of last-min standby passangers. Additionally, “all” of the passangers who have fought with the terrorists or made cell phone calls [every single one] were standby last min passangers.

    There are bizzare hundreds and hundreds of fine coincidences like these. Of course, you can discount one, two, five, twenty of them independently; but you cannot assume that hundreds of them all happened on the same day. No way, nooooooooo way.

    Just start Gooling without your mental baggage. Follow the links, be skeptical – but don’t discount everything without putting some work into it.

  • Felipe

    Nobody expected anybody else to believe anything.

    All we are saying is this:
    If Congress has allocated $48 million to investigate Bill Clinton and Monica Lewisky….

    How much was the original budget of 9/11 Commission?
    $3 million + some additional funding.

    How low can we get?

    If European people were to vote more, than 90% of them would have said Events of 9/11 needs a new and independent investigation. Why them, but not us?

  • Felipe

    In case you think Bush and Cheney were honest about 9/11… think – use your 6th Grade logic

    Why would they argue for about 3 weeks and make conditions
    - We will not testify
    - We cannot testify seperately
    - OK we will testify, but not under oath
    - If we testify, it has to be closed doors
    - No cameras, no recordings
    - Nobody will write down notes [not kidding!!!]

    Why, why, why. If I were the Prez, if you were the Prez, wouldn’t you volunteer to tell the world what you know and what you don’t know before you were asked 55 times with public pressure?

  • Mark S.

    Yup. Tin foil…

  • Frederic C.


  • Carlos Salinas

    I loved the way Lux described above. We are being conditioned not to ask any questions.

    If you don’t believe me, check it out yourself. Richard Haas, one of Bush’s International Hawks was being interviewed on Hardball with Chris Mathews. He clearly claims that before the invasion of Iraq, George Bush never had a single meeting about the war and invasion. He really expects us to believe this crap. No meeting, no minutes; therefore no accountability. In Arlington country here, we have meetings and minutes and even taped arguments about the color of the high-school teams jerseys.

    The sad part is this guy, Richard Haas, probably getting paid for each lie on TV from Council of Foreign Relations – one of the obscure think tanks which thinks and tells us not to think.

    We just are supposed to be quiet and not ask questions.

  • Carlos Salinas

    The bottom line is asking questions equals being better citizens. The more questions we ask, the better democracy and a better country we are going to be.

  • Maureen

    Tonight I am having a rate fit of patriotism. This is not because of the state of the union, my representatives, or U.S. policy.

    It is because in the calls and comments on this show there are people speaking to how defense contractors buy out the government, the need for single-payer health care, and a desire for new investigation into 9-11 (I am not espousing a conspiracy theory, but it is indisputable that the 9-11 commission was inadequate). And this IN SPITE of the fact the media seems almost intentionally to divert our gaze from these very issues.

    Yet consistently, the American public does demand attention to the issues most concerned with civil liberties, transparency, and basic human rights.

    Earlier this week we heard Judge Richard Posner scoff at the idea of changing politics with the ballot box as “naive.” These evening we heard candid commentary on “the sound of money” drowning out “the sound of voters.”

    I am wondering what we have to do to resuscitate democracy? Where is its bailout?

    As Ralph Nader has said, Democrats and Republicans are two heads of the same party. Yet I could not vote for him because I live in a swing state and have a deep, dark fear of John McCain.

    Finance reform is not going to come through the hands of politicians benefiting from the system that elected them.

    Simply put, what are we to do?

  • Maureen

    PS. For those dismissive of further inquiry into 9-11, I recommend the documentary Press for Truth (http://www.911pressfortruth.com/#). It does not put forward any alternate views of reality, it simply reports the gaps in the many official versions of reality we have been handed.

  • Putney Swope

    It’s interesting how people cherry pick information to support their agenda. Bush and the Neo-cons where looking for excuses to invade Iraq and take down Saddam months (years really) before 9/11. 9/11 gave them an excuse to act on their misguided belief’s. They used 9/11 to bully the congress to get behind any agenda they wanted to act on, as well as making the presidency a stronger one. This is something that Cheney and Rumsfeld and all of the players from the Nixon days had been thinking about for decades. If I would accuse Bush and Cheney of anything here it is the callous use of 9/11 to forward their own agendas.

    For those of you who believe that 9/11 was a conspiracy ask your self this question. Why would any government plan something so absurd and costly and also so risky? Why? Think about what the cost was here in human life and the economics and so on. Why would you crash a plane into the Pentagon, the very center of war planing and the chain of command. It does not make any sense whatsoever. It would have been easier to have staged an event such as the attack on a Air Force plane by Iraq in the no fly zones. There were countless ways to cook up negative information Iraq and build a case for taking Saddam and his regime out without crashing planes into buildings and killing thousands of people in the US.

    If that is not convincing then think about all the people in the government who had to be involved in a plan of this scale and magnitude. Do people really think that if this is what went down that not one single person involved would not blow the whistle on something so absurd.

    Now where is that tin foil hat…

  • Putney Swope

    Maureen when you say further inquiry into 9-11 what exactly do you mean?

    Are you talking about how the FBI and the CIA both dropped the ball in dealing with the all the red flags that were happening prior to 9/11?

    Or how the Bush administration down graded the threat of Bin Laden and Al Qaeda and by doing so enabled them to caring out the worse terrorist act in the history of the modern world.

  • Joe B.

    I really enjoy listening to On Point, but Jack Beatty calling Ronald Reagan a “Bolshevik” was probably the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. He should be censured from this program for making such an outrageous, false, hateful, and mis-informed statement.

  • Maureen


    Yes, I think those very things the most likely motivation for not having a completely unbiased panel, refusing to declassify information, and as someone earlier mentioned, Bush and Cheney acting downright odd about their testimony.

    But due to the lack of transparency, people have simply filled in the gaps themselves.

    I agree a lot of the conspiracy theories are implausible, but I do think they at least point to the fact we have not been given enough information. I don’t believe the government waged war on its citizens, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were many unknown and highly inflammatory pieces of information withheld from us.

    Exactly what they would point to, I don’t know (didn’t someone once brilliantly point out that we don’t know what we don’t know…?)

    At a minimum, I don’t think we have anything to fear from at least airing these views, and I think tarring doubters with the brush of Elvis-sighters is simply counterproductive.

    As long as the families of 9-11 victims are unsatisfied with the way the investigation was handled, I am unsatisfied. I think we at least owe them that much.

  • Maureen


    Yes, I thing those very things are the most likely motivation for not having a completely unbiased panel, the refusal to declassify information, and as someone earlier mentioned, Bush and Cheney acting downright odd about their testimony.

    But due to the lack of transparency, people have filled in the gaps themselves.

    I agree many of the conspiracy theories are implausible, but I think they at least point the fact we have not been given enough information. While I do not believe the government waged war on its citizens, I wouldn’t be surprised to find there many critical and highly inflammatory pieces of information withheld from us.

    Exactly what they would point to I do not know (didn’t someone once brilliantly observe that we do not know what we do not know?)

    But I don’t think we have anything to fear from airing these views, and I believe tarring doubters with the brush of Elvis-sighters simply counterproductive.

    As long as the 9-11 families are unsatisfied with the official investigation, I am unsatisfied. I think we at least owe them that much.

  • Brianna


    Gob bless you. We need more of you here.

    Just look at the numbers. If we spent $3 million for 9/11 non-investigation committee, we spend that kind of money every 20 minutes in Afghanistan.

    Trust me folks, before the time passes by, it is our duty to find out what really happened on that day. Even if you discount any other idea or doubt, we have to understand why tall buildings collapse at free-fall speeds in New York City on the same day on the same spot and all belonging to the same person, but not anywhere else on the planet for any other reason.

  • Brianna

    Eric Holder is not going to lift his finger. Obama cannot even talk about 9/11.

    We, the people … OnPoint and Tom Ashbrook and Jack Beatty and other patriotic journalists should take the lead and corner Obama and Holder and force them to take action and ask the “first” question under oath about the events of 9/11.

    If we don’t do that, @ year 2050 … Where the Hell is Osama bin Laden?

  • Felipe

    Thank you for the support.

    For those of you who make smarty pants comments about the Elvis-Sighting and UFO’s:

    Please give one, just as single one, negative outcome of looking into 9/11 with unbiased eyes. What can be the harm?
    - Less national security
    - Division of the Nation, polarization?
    - Learning absolutely nothing over and above what we know
    What is the harm?

    If you think we already know everything, can you tell me what was the content of the five page “suicide mission”? Why John Ashbrook locked it up and never shares it with us? It was supposed to be 100% authored by off-the-street individuals who have nothing ot do with Security Clearance. Isn’t it dumb, that we were “allegedly” attacked and we don’t even know Why? And we are not allowed to know.
    What kind of dumb nation we have become?

  • Putney Swope

    Brianna you have got to be kidding.
    Here’s what your saying, that the owner of the World Trade Center buildings used that day to set off explosions in his buildings, that he happened to have rigged up with enough explosives to get bring down buildings of that size and was waiting for this very moment. Sorry this is beyond the pale of believability in any way or form. Your just giving credence to people like myself who think that conspiracy theorist are completely nuts. There was plenty of investigations into what went wrong with WTC and why it they collapsed.
    The design flaws, the fireproofing of the steel was 30 year old technology. The building was designed to withstand being struck by planes from the 70′s which were smaller. There are plenty of engineering reports out there that give rational reasons as to what happened after those planes hit the buildings loaded with fuel.

    As far as Bush and Cheney not wanting to testify and declassify information, I tend to think this more due to them not wanting to open up the can of worms that made up their government.

  • Felipe


    There is a problem with your posting. The biggest problem is that I am a Structural Engineer.

    The calculation of trusses, joints and beams in steel structures have been pretty much well understood and since 1950′s. No surprises there, since the structural properties of high-grade steel hasn’t changed at all during the last 70 years.

    One special thing about WTC towers is that because of the shear force of wind, structural strengths of these buildings have been boosted with generous allowance of steel to stand category 7 hurricane. In other words, these two buildings were virtually industructible structures that were bolted to the ground. Additionally, there was not supposed to be any kind of damage in the lower 80% of the building.

    Steel structures do not chop themselves (think of a bird cage). Under extreme, very extreme cases they bend, twist and may gradually fall to one side, but they do not chop themselves in to pieces (especially not at reinforced joints) like “glass” structures.
    Definitely at near free-fall speeds, and definitely not on their foot prints.

    But we are not even arguing about the two WTC towers, 1 and 1). Our big deal is WTC 7. Please read about it, OK? Please find out what the fight is about. http://www.HumanGenome.org/MITBeijing.htm

    Almost all of the papers explaining the collapses are done by hired guns to create theories to fit predetermined conclusions. And most of the authors have connections to previous defense/government work; and would write anything on anything in exchange with money.

  • Felipe


    When I took the time 60-90 minutes in 2007, I was more surprised to the fact that I missed all these observations and discounted 9/11 Truth people than the actual events of 9/11. I was merely ashamed of myself.

    What the movement has been asking all along is not to prove a theory or conspiracy, it is just there has been unreasonable and weird disconnect between the size of the event + what followed afterwards and the efforts of understanding what the event was about in the first place. Some of it was due to anger and instigation, but since things have calmed down, it is time to go back to our principles and look at the event with calm, intelligent and unbiased brains under a different administration. That’s all. Where is the harm, here?

    Maybe we should not build anymore high-rise buildings, where 3 million people live and work everyday, instead of 2700 victims of 9/11? How about asking the Saudi’s for compensation? Maybe Osama had nothing to do with 9/11?

  • Putney Swope

    Felipe if your a Structural Engineer then you would know that the building had faults in it. It was also not designed to deal with the amount of heat generate explosion and fire by the amount of fuel that was in those planes.

    In your last post you suggest that Bin Laden maybe had nothing to do with it. Like I said when people start going done this path conjecturing and conspiracies about the “government” or the owner of the building blowing it up you lose me. The 9/11 Truth people do make some interesting points but them cloud it with paranoid speculation and absurd conspiracies.

    As for WTC 7 I have heard plenty of sound explanations as to why it fell. You see this can go both ways.

    To many seem already convinced that this was some huge conspiracy and that it was planed by the government.
    To me this seems absurd, I am sure that there is plenty of fault to go around on the lack of scrutiny in the intelligence leading up the the attacks, but a huge government plan to do this? You give them way to much credit. Witness the complete break down of control in the aftermath. How unprepared the Air force was for such an event. The 9/11 Truth people spin this into some kind of ruse, but it’s points more to the complete ineptitude on the part of our national defense people.

    I was flying back from Japan right after 9/11, about a month after and I arrived in the airport in Detroit.
    To get onto the connecting flight we had to go through security again, it was staffed with complete idiots. There was a 19 or 20 year old kid form the national guard who looked as if he was ready to shot anyone at the drop of a hat. The flight had a a lot of Japanese nationals making connects to other flights.

    Did they have an interpreter? No, almost every Japanese person was humiliated and made to go through the most outrageous BS due the language issues. At one point the poor business man was having a lot of problems because he did not understand what the security people wanted him to do. It became very tense as he had this bag this small bag with a computer in it that for some reason they could not communicate to him to take out.

    I was behind him and behind me were these jerks making insulting remarks and yelling that he should be arrested or taken out the line. It was getting weird, the National guard kid was starting point his weapon at this poor man who remained very calm. My wife is Japanese and was in the next line over and she did not see what was going on. I yelled to her to help this guy. She came over, kept a safe distance so as not to make matters worse and with one sentence resolved the issue.

    This is the kind of ineptitude I am talking about.
    It happens time and time again every time I fly.
    I see old woman in wheelchairs undergoing security checks as if they were criminals. The lack of training these people have is scandalous.

    In comparison when I went through security in Japan all the people spoke english and were extremely polite and professional.

  • Maureen


    I think perhaps the problem is your idea of the “9/11 Truth people” as a homogenous group. There are a number of people from different backgrounds and perspectives who are unsatisfied with the official version of events. As a result, some have presented alternate–and a few far-flung–theories. I personally am in a camp that does not believe in drawing any conclusions without sufficient information, but I can appreciate the desire to speculate over the unknown.

    Rather than criticize “them” or “us” for these imagined scenarios, it would be better to look into the information that has led many to the point of drawing them. I am hardly an expert on this issue, but I can recommend Press for Truth as a primer into why these questions continue to linger.

  • Felipe

    Well said Maureen.

    Great story. Maureen is 120% right. One person with a mission and a computer anywhere on the planet can write day and night, to spread weird pretend conspiracy stories deliberately so that average people, like you, will call 9/11 Truth people strange and dillusional. And this is exactly what is happening.

    Example: Nobody in the 9/11 Truth people says that 9/11 Events were planned and/or executed by US Government.

    Please read the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. interview with Lee Hamilton. [Why Canadian, instead of the US media?] As far as I know, Hamilton is supposed to be one of the two most knowlegable people on the planet about the investigation and the outcome of the 9/11 commission. Read it carefully and how many “obvious” points he should have known, and he either has no clue or cannot remember (right after he wrote the book). This coincides with the fact that he, Lee Hamilton, member of the opposite party to Bush Admin, has been showered with High-Level advisory positions and with serious monetary compensation, even though his knowledge (based on that interview) about National Security is very comparable to an informed average citizen’s without Hamilton’s title.


    Look at the obvious uncertainty and doubt and confusion in his answers. He got more items wrong than he got it right; and he does not “remember” unbelievably crutial points. He is out there, as the prominent author of a book, “Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission” and he never ever had a 45 minutes to watch a darn DVD – countering the Commision? Please…. this is not an ordinary event about a petty incident!!! If I were the co-chair of such an important commission, there would not have been a single question that I cannot answer with absolute certainty.

    - Solomon: I wouldn’t mind just.. there’s a few things, but I want to know, interestingly enough, if you’ve seen a film that’s so popular now on the internet, ten million people apparently have seen a film called Loose Change, which makes some startling allegations. It’s a film made by three very young students out of a New York University. Have you seen that movie, and if so, what are your thoughts on it?
    - Hamilton: I have not seen it.

    Just like most of the American people, as a structural engineer, I believed in the offical storty for 6 years 100%. But now, I can bet my profession that structurally, there is absolutely no way those three buildings could have come down “the way they did” from: a) fire b) planes c) for any reason that does not invlove horizantal/diagonal “cutter charges” at lower lewels of the buildings.

    All we say, is just because something called “9/11 Investigation” took place, it does not mean that it really happened.

  • Maureen

    Hm. I had never read that interview before but it is indeed amazing. Either this man is evasive or just plain dumb, either scenario striking me as rather terrifying. The real question is not whether the commission could answer all the questions but whether he can answer a single one.

    The most bizarre moment is after dismissing the journalist’s inquiries into weighty issues–lacking investigation, structural issues, discontent among the public–he diverts the conversation into what he believes would be “a good topic for investigative reporters”:

    “… Well, at the top of my list happens to be … I could never figure out why these 19 fellas did what they did … In one or two cases, they were apparently happy, well-adjusted, not particularly religious – in one case quite well-to-do, had a girlfriend. We just couldn’t figure out why he did it.”

    Because of course we all know no “fella” with a real, live girlfriend would ever think of completing a suicide mission. Now, the very idea does strike me as a serious threat to national security. So sad that the investigative reporters failed us in this regard.

    Perhaps Mr. Hamilton will write another book on this tragic love story.

  • millard-fillmore


    How much (kilogram) explosives are we talking here, to bring down the two WTC buildings?

  • Felipe

    You are it. Finally somebody who can see through things. The funny thing is that “he” is the one who wonders “Why they did it”. Even that “curiosity” cannot be true… remember, the hijackers left a five page suicide mission statement in the trunks of rental cars. Even though they kept it hidden from us (why? Nobody Knows)[except one paragraph citing religion], Hamilton was supposed to have “full” access to it. Think….what else would have been in that Suicide Mission Statement other than “why” they were carrying out the mission.

    How many kilogram of explosives needed? I personally don’t know. Nobody knows. They are not the bomb type explosives. Don’t know why you are asking, but quantity it is not that relevant. All we know from the chemical traces collected after the event shows that they supposedly used stronger type with WTC 1 and WTC 2 and more common and commercial type in WTC 7. (perhaps Termite and Thermate)

    They are called cutter charges. Tubes that are filled with chemicals and connected to detonators tied diagonally around structural columns where they are exposed. When they get the spark of electricity, they create instant small explosions. The goal is to create a reaction that ends with exreme intense heat (4500-5500 degrees F). This intense heat instantly melts/weakens even the best steel, usually at bottom floors. Then the building “walks” in the direction of diagonal cuts and collapses on its own foot-print.

    OUtside of that, regular fires, jet fuel, petroleum products on fire does not do a dent in structural steel. Steel companies gave up on testing weakening of steel due to regular office fire (1000-1400 F) many decades ago. It just does not get hot enough.

    One good indication is: whenever Thermite is used, there is always sulfur oxide corrosion, when it is not used there is absolutely no sulfur oxide corrosion. It is that easy, it is that black-and-white. Even FEMA documented the sulfur oxide corrosion around Sept 14, 2001.

    Additionally, when Silverstein took over the two towers + his own WTC 7 in July/Aug 2001, the entire Maintenance + Security contracting companies were replaced entirely; with some serious monkey business, drills and revelations right up to Sept 11.

  • Phil

    Herve’ Villachaize “dies,” and the next year, all of these “chupacabra” stories are in the news. Coincidence? *You* decide.

    Herve’ Villachaize: diminutive creature.
    Chupacabra: diminutive creature.
    Both electable to public office, and better friends to the people than Bush and Cheney.
    Both friends of Khan.

    World Trade Center attacked. Worse atrocities now possible. Conspiracy theorists dissatisfied with complexity of WTC plot, desire more complexity, more complicity. Attention distracted from potential for worse disasters. Eye off ball. *hrm* Coincidence? *You* decide.

    Tinfoil stocks to rise, monotonically. Can’t lose on this one. ‘Scuse while I call my broker. Be seeing you.

  • Brianna

    Clarification for Putney:

    I personally have not heard your claims from anybody saying that the wiring-up of the three wtc buildings were prepared under complete secrecy. Please note that the Management of the Buildings (Larry Silverstein and Frank Lowy) have cleared billions of dollars from 9/11. As of July 2001 Silverstein Properties had absolute control of access to these buildings, not New York Port Authority.

    Additionally, heard from many people who researched the subject that Frank Lowy had very tight connections to a group of commandos (non-american) from his previous life. Just like Silverstein, partner Lowy has doubled his fortune (2.5 billion) in a matter of months in 2001.

    If you study the bidding process, it looks as if New York Port Authority almost planned to give the buildings to Silverstein’s control before the bidding has started. Not only Vornado Realty mysteriously withdrew after agreeing to the weird terms and actully winning the 99 yr contract to the WTC complex, Lewis Eisenberg [head of NY Port Authority] has further sweetened the financial terms for Silverstein after the contract was given to Silverstein.

    Needless to say, the entire bidding process was highly secretive and to date nobody knows why Steven Roth, the CEO of Vornado, decided that Vornado withdrew (with penalties?) its name on March 2001, 1-2 days after they won the contract, at the end of months of hard work.

    Why New York Port Authority decided to outsource the management of WTC complex, at the end of 2000, to a private sector after 30 years since its construction?
    It is just another mystery.

  • Maureen

    [Why Canadian, instead of the US media?]

    Just a final note to say i think this question reveals why this conversation remains so muddled and antagonistic.

    There is no doubt the American media failed us after 9/11. (One more example of this recently came out in a NYTs investigation, though the mainstream media is largely, and conveniently, ignoring it. http://i4.democracynow.org/2009/5/8/pentagons_pundits_ny_times_reporter_david)

    And so instead of questions surrounding 9/11 being examined in the analytical light of day by trained reporters, they went viral. And naturally a lot of people do hesitate to believe stories whose primary outlets are blogs and youtube.

    Now, there were a number of scientists and other experts who came out quite strongly with criticisms or simply disbelief over the official story, but they were largely sidelined as well.

    They wrote themselves, but it was always in terms of “The observed acceleration, 9.1 m/s2, if maintained, would bring the roof to the ground in 6.2 seconds, very close to free fall in a vacuum, 6.0 seconds”–taken from a paper by Dr. Frank Legge in what has apparently become a peer-reviewed Journal of 9/11 Studies.

    Usually between the blogosphere and the peer reviewed stands the press. We depend on them to translate disparate, technical, and competing voices into a common language. We need them to get access to the professionals we cannot access, and to spend the time most working people cannot devote to sifting through every detail.

    I think what we witness now is what happens without such a service. 9/11 remains a swamp of primary sources and amateur interpretation. It has been ironic, and embarrassing, to see foreign media step in to examine inconsistencies while the American press stands silently by.

  • Felipe

    Take that American Journalism and Press.

    I have no doubt that OnPoint producers will be seeing Maureen’s final posting regarding the dangers of American Press ignoring such important and scientific evidence.

    For those of you who did not follow the “acceleration” topic…. WTC 7
    A huge building in the heart of downtown Manhattan. It is so big, enough to qualify to be the largest office building in more than half of our states.

    It collapses all by itself at free-fall speed due to small office fires (the building belongs to the operator of WTC towers, Silverstein Properties).

    Science and Civil Engineering says: No Way. Even if the script may fit a great Hollywood script, the structure should have shown some resistence.

    U.S. government says, we don’t care, we will manufacture some story and excuse why the building collapsed the way it did. [We have the frame by frame video captured as evidence] They try for 6-7 years. Spend about $30 million to write report after report, simulation after simulation, powerpoint after powerpoint.

    Every theory they tried via paid consultants, eventually fails. Even their own people [NIST] do not believe what they are saying. At the end, they publish the final report to close the case. It gets disputed. They exclude some more made-up parts of the report, and republish it again.

    Where is the Media while all this is happening?

    In the meantime, the actual reason of why a bridge in Minnesota collapses, the lab analysis in hangar, government officials giving interviews about the bridge is covered, end to end.

  • Felipe

    Request to OnPoint producers:

    Please bring Richard Gage

    Why? Because it is your Job!!!

  • Felipe

    In addition to Architect and Engineers

    Look at this from Slate (brand new April 2009)

    Now is the time: Let’s bring Richard Gage on to OnPoint and let’s rock the world of mainstream media.

  • Putney Swope

    Felipe your asking people to believe that someone wired termite charges around structural columns where they are exposed in all the WTC buildings. The reason for doing this on 9/11 2001 and not on any other day is what?

    Also how does one plant so many charges without being detected? Why would Silverstein want to blow up his own properties? Also your leaving out the two planes. What your suggesting is that Silverstein saw this moment as an opportunity to blow up these three buildings. This is what your alluding here, at least that is how it seems.
    I think your giving Mr.Silverstein way to much credit.

    Brianna seems to me that Felipe is saying just that, don’t you think.

    I went to the 9/11 Truth site and frankly they are all over the map. Every conspiracy theory that anyone can think of is on that site. I don’t believe much of it, and I also am skeptical of what the government says. However to keep harking on that this is some kind of huge conspiracy doe not add up, in my view.

    The stuff about Silverstein makes no sense whatsoever.
    From a business stand point if he wanted to get rid of these assets, why not just sell them.

    Felipe I have to ask, what is your agenda here?

  • Felipe


    Great line of questioning. Shows your innocence and open-mindness. Here are some tips; hopefully you can run with it.

    In general, for a massive incident like this to take place, there has to be meeting of the minds of few people. Different motivations: Money, Religion, Ideology, Nationalistic (not American) garbage; Sick personalities. They all benefit, and they all act in harmony to keep it secret (cover-up).

    Here is a specific answer to your question about Larry Silverstein: Would you believe or be more skeptical about the whole issue if you learn this:
    At the end of 2000 overall total casualty/replacement insurance of two WTC towers were: $1.5 billion. Silverstein took the buildings over in July 2001, and on August 2001 he increased the policy: $3.55 billion “per” terrorism incident.

    His own building WTC 7 could have taken him into bankruptcy. He could not find good tenants other than federal and state agencies through his dirty connections. Why? Because WTC had the most evil word in the heart of New York Financial District: Asbestos

    On Sept 12: WTC 7 was in ruins at a cost of virtually $0.00. And he secured $860 million insurance replacement, I think.

    Drum-roll: from WTC Complex
    Silverstein and Lowy contractually obligated to put down $800 million for 99-year contract; it was sweetened to $42 (or $14 million) and on Sept 12 they had an insurance claim for a cool $7.1 billion friging dollars.

    Insurance Companies said, it was a “single” terrorist event and at the end, they settled for over about $5 billion.

    From about $1 billion liability to quarateened demolotion of WTC to over net $5.0 billion profit in about a year …. if this is not the perfect $torm, I wonder what is.

    So, the demolition experts that were brought by Frank Lowy from outside of United States had many many days to wire all the buildings at nights before 9/11 under routine maintenance/security operations.

    Hope this helps….ok, back to work.

  • Putney Swope

    hmmm… It helps my skepticism. Your trying to tell me that the Mohamed Atta and company were communicating to Silverstein and that he knew in advance of these attacks.

    I’m not an innocent I’m very wary of all this talk of conspiracies without any real proof, just a lot of theories.

    OK if this was the case people had better come up the very solid evidence of this conspiracy. As if it were true on any level it would be one of the most amazing scandals of our history.

  • Maureen

    Oh dear; I didn’t mean a slap in the face to American journalism generally or On Point specifically, but it is occurring to me that nuance is not necessarily the speciality of internet discussions.

    I can only hope that in some brighter future when our troops are not at war and our economy is not collapsing another generation will examine these issues with the attention they deserve.

    Until then, I think we’ve effectively turned this forum into the Week of What Was Not in the News.

    But cheers to all who were involved.

  • Felipe


    I don’t have all the answers. However, people who have studied everything in detail have mind boggling scenarios that makes sense. When you check their claims, almost everything checks out. Simply these people do not have any stake in the outcome.

    When you devote some time, you will be shocking weird coincidences, almost endlessly. One quick example: the highjackers randomly picked a city at the end of August. To get ready and work on their strategy. The city they picked is Laurel, Maryland. Of course, totally coincidently, NSA’s headquarter is also in Laurel, MD. The author of the book (NSA: Spy Factory) calls this and “irony”. I am sorry, this coincidence alone should be enough to conduct an investigation.

    As an engineer, the facts I know is this:
    There are 10-11 characteristics of a controlled demolition of a typical high-rise building. On 9/11 all of these characteristics were in full affect. If the buildings have collapsed due to any other reason except Controlled Demolition, none (absolutely none) of those 10-11 characteristics would surface. Please check out: http://www.AE911Truth.org
    I woke up around Sep 2007; even though I was aware of the theories and the Truth Groups. Simply ignored them until focused on the collapse of the buildings. The looked at the associations between the characters; there it was…The Motive.

    I have met Richard Gage. He was just an prominent SanFran Architect minding his own business, until he heard an interview with Steven Jones on his way to a construction site, talking about the Collapse of the Buildings. Richard is a very geniuine guy (Republican), just like you and me. Once you get this buy, it is very diffucult to keep quiet. As far as I know, his marriage was falling apart because he was so involved in 9/11.

    To answer your question (Silverstein – Atta), I am 100% speculating with what I have heard. If a commission was given the right to extract answers under oath with the fear of treason/electric chair, within the first day of investigation, we should get answers to most of the questions.

    Caution (this is purely speculation):
    We all know that there were “war games” happening on 9/11. Some of the exercises were about Hijacking airplanes. Don’t think Silverstein was too involved in the Hijacking part – however, he was involved in the buildings part. There is a good chance that the hijackers were part of the exercise and perhaps paid NSA actors that were killed in the process. One of the key planners of this event was Dov. S. Zakheim. His specialty was providing and pitching systems called “Flight Termination System”. When a commercial airplane is highjacked, the ground crew takes the control of the plane away from the cockpit and can do anything they want – landing it safely, or crashing it into a pre-specified coordinate. You get the picture. This theory may explain why the passenger manifesto were not so typical for mid-week busy routes.

    We do not want to concentrate on finding scenario’s that can explain the series of events with out a formal investigation.

    OnPoint Producers: are you listening?

  • Frederic C.

    Hilarious stuff!

  • Putney Swope

    Like I said, all this increases my skepticism on conspiracy theories. I need concrete proof, speculating is not going to cut it.

  • Felipe

    When fire destroys a neighborhood, you investigate what has happened. You do not become conditional saying “if there is a concrete evidence that there was an arsonist, then we will investigate.”

    From the horses mouth Lee Hamilton:
    (nobody can dispute the fact he said it + he is the “co-chair” of the commission not an outisde observer)
    - 9/11 Commission was set up to fail, from the start
    - We could not get the facts straight, it will be up to the historians to get it.
    - We have so many “obvious” question that are not answered.
    - We were not given enough money

    Don’t forget, it it were not to four women (New Jersey Girls) and their outcry in the media made Bush Admin to cave in. Otherwise, they would not have done anything. What happened, they fooled us and still did not investigate anything.

    No, no, no. Are we that much of a little nation? We cannot independently investigate our own thing, even if the event is the biggest event in our modern history? Is our Justice Department that incompetent? Are we that Corrupt?

    Please find out Why Vornado Realty withdrew from the Managing the WTC Towers on March 13, 2001 Tuesday and agreed to pay millions of dollars of fine after they were awarded with the contract on March 12, 2001 Monday morning….then I will rest my case.

    (there are literally hundereds of questions waiting to be answered). Let us just investigate. How about Building 7? How about the huge blast in the lobby of the (South?) Tower, “before” the plane hit.

    The only comment was by the CEO of Vornado: “Our Board voted against it”. Meaning, Vornado’s Board decided to vote on the biggest contract of the company’s history, after it was awared. Pleaaaaaaase.

  • http://www.missionep.com/ Defense Contractors

    There are plenty of opportunities out there in the defense sector.

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