By Ron Hertz: Our people have become comfortably familiar with government lies.

Our people have become comfortably familiar with government lies. Vietnam, Watergate, Iran-Contra, election fraud and the weapons of mass destruction Iraq debacle — we're so used to political deceit, we're almost numb to it. While we know a democracy cannot thrive on pandemic lies, perhaps the grossest deception in our history, the fabricated official story of the 9-11 attacks, has yet to be exposed on a massive scale.

The prolongation of an untruth does not make it any less fraudulent — it only increases the pain. Insider-controlled investigations with pre-determined conclusions are not real investigations, whether it's the Warren Commission or the "Independent" 9-11 Commission. Calling people names like "conspiracy nut" or "Bush-hating radical" does not address the factual evidence of their claims.

The inexplicable collapse of World Trade Center 7 is a gigantic piece of evidence that shatters the official explanation of 9-11. Why has only a small fragment of our population ever heard of this 47-story tower whose six-second implosion that day clearly reveals a planned demolition? Not struck by any aircraft, WTC 7 becomes a catalyst for a revised look at the twin towers themselves. If explosives were set in one building, surely they could have been set in others.

Re-examining the disintegration of the twin 110-story monoliths provokes a myriad of evidential problems for the government's version of 9-11. Consider a few. The towers were designed specifically to withstand the impact of large jets. The relatively small fires in the towers could not generate nearly the heat required to weaken substantially the buildings' huge steel beams. The free-fall speed collapses defy the laws of gravity, engineering and historic precedent. Numerous witnesses heard huge explosions in the basements of the towers. The evidence of an inside job is abundant; we have only to confront it.

The myth of 9-11 propelled our country into new heights of aggression against other peoples and ourselves. The attacks were used to rationalize oil-grabbing wars, exorbitant weaponry, humiliating tortures and unconstitutional surveillance, helping to nearly bankrupt us, financially and morally. Once again, human needs like health and education had to be sacrificed for the sake of our "dire" defense necessities.

George Orwell warned that he who controls the past, controls the future. For the sake of our children and grandchildren, we must expose the lies of 9-11. It might be just the painful medicine we need to tame our cancerous military-industrial complex and awaken our leaders, our media, and our citizenry to higher levels of awareness and responsibility.

Matters of gravity (a poem)

Wake up, fellow citizens! Wake up America!/Been lied to before, but not with such hysteria/Our freedom's not secure if we can't detect a lie/Big as a skyscraper forty-seven stories high.

Gone to sleep, our nation — even lost our sense of laws/Blind in the elation of uniting for a cause/9/11 scared us like nothing we've ever seen/Even making us forget principles of gravity.

When towers built with miles of steel in 10 seconds drop to dust/And they rush the fallen beams to China, are we supposed to trust?/And you don't find molten metal as they did at the site/Unless perhaps the towers fell from dynamite and thermite.

So many people testified they heard huge explosions/So many survivors paid off to cause no commotion/Two million each if they will pursue the case no more/When families get just 10 grand to lose a son in war.

We've lost our reasoned way, our sense of who we are/Swallowing the government tale, no matter how bizarre/Consider, for example, Pentagon or United 93/Those odd, huge jet crashes that somehow left no debris.

But of all inexplicable acts of Sept. 11/None stand as gross as collapse of Building 7/Watch it in slow motion and see if you're not riled/The official story crumbles like lies of a child.

The most horrific part is the villains still run free/How can we let them get away with such atrocity!/We must confront the truth — face down this bloody complex/Or God only knows what the boys will do next!

Their global domination project caused global rampage/The victims of 9/11 were just collateral damage/Like victims of our new wars — our unfurled hunger/It never could have happened without our new Pearl Harbor.

Where should it all begin? How can it ever end?/We should start by learning actually what happened Sept. 11/Need to convene a grand jury in order to stop being dummies/Demand sworn testimony from Cheney, Bush and Rummy.

We must assert our right as citizens to hear publicly/Why on 9/11 there was no ordinary national security/No air defense at all — and why, if there's no evasion/Did military change three times their flimsy explanations?

So many questions all these years somehow ignored/As if all our talking heads are merely fools or whores/It's up to us the people to find truth and justice/Or else just be puppets manipulated with disgust.

Should we rise from this dream — we could be reborn/We've had enough lies, enough martyrs to mourn/JFK, Bobby and Martin Luther King/All dying so strangely, but oh not from conspiracy!

Ike warned us of the danger, yet we failed to heed/How much longer will we let our country bleed/From this dark killing fungus we must set ourselves free/To discover among us our own worst enemy.

We can handle the truth, we should not be afraid/To face our history honestly — to reveal, not evade/For integrity and honor, we must have real investigation/To find the cruel traitors and begin to heal our nation.

Wake up, fellow citizens! Wake up America!/Been lied to before, but not with such hysteria/Our freedom's not secure if we can't detect a lie/Big as a skyscraper 47 stories high.

Ron Hertz taught English in California public high schools for 30 years. He's been visiting Ashland since 1973 and moved here four years ago.