10/23/06 10:16 - 39ºF - ID#21754
From a soldier
America's shame should be glaringly obvious to all of us. If you are a patriot, you should have your fist in the air demanding a regeme change in this country. I'll let Kevin Tillman explain why...
After Pat's Birthday
Posted on Oct 19, 2006
By Kevin Tillman
It is Pat's birthday on November 6, and elections are the day after. It gets me thinking about a conversation I had with Pat before we joined the military. He spoke about the risks with signing the papers. How once we committed, we were at the mercy of the American leadership and the American people. How we could be thrown in a direction not of our volition. How fighting as a soldier would leave us without a voice... until we got out.
Much has happened since we handed over our voice:
Somehow we were sent to invade a nation because it was a direct threat to the American people, or to the world, or harbored terrorists, or was involved in the September 11 attacks, or received weapons-grade uranium from Niger, or had mobile weapons labs, or WMD, or had a need to be liberated, or we needed to establish a democracy, or stop an insurgency, or stop a civil war we created that can't be called a civil war even though it is. Something like that.
Somehow our elected leaders were subverting international law and humanity by setting up secret prisons around the world, secretly kidnapping people, secretly holding them indefinitely, secretly not charging them with anything, secretly torturing them. Somehow that overt policy of torture became the fault of a few "bad apples" in the military.
Somehow back at home, support for the soldiers meant having a five-year-old kindergartener scribble a picture with crayons and send it overseas, or slapping stickers on cars, or lobbying Congress for an extra pad in a helmet. It's interesting that a soldier on his third or fourth tour should care about a drawing from a five-year-old; or a faded sticker on a car as his friends die around him; or an extra pad in a helmet, as if it will protect him when an IED throws his vehicle 50 feet into the air as his body comes apart and his skin melts to the seat.
Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes.
Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground.
Somehow those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started.
Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated.
Somehow profiting from tragedy and horror is tolerated.
Somehow the death of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people is tolerated.
Somehow subversion of the Bill of Rights and The Constitution is tolerated.
Somehow suspension of Habeas Corpus is supposed to keep this country safe.
Somehow torture is tolerated.
Somehow lying is tolerated.
Somehow reason is being discarded for faith, dogma, and nonsense.
Somehow American leadership managed to create a more dangerous world.
Somehow a narrative is more important than reality.
Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.
Somehow the most reasonable, trusted and respected country in the world has become one of the most irrational, belligerent, feared, and distrusted countries in the world.
Somehow being politically informed, diligent, and skeptical has been replaced by apathy through active ignorance.
Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country.
Somehow this is tolerated.
Somehow nobody is accountable for this.
In a democracy, the policy of the leaders is the policy of the people. So don't be shocked when our grandkids bury much of this generation as traitors to the nation, to the world and to humanity. Most likely, they will come to know that "somehow" was nurtured by fear, insecurity and indifference, leaving the country vulnerable to unchecked, unchallenged parasites.
Luckily this country is still a democracy. People still have a voice. People still can take action. It can start after Pat's birthday.
Brother and Friend of Pat Tillman,
Location: Buffalo, NY
10/18/06 07:28 - 56ºF - ID#21753
Tyranny in America.
Back in the 11th century civilized peoples realized that there was a need to limit the power of the king. One of the most basic limits to this power, was the right to know why you are in jail, and to challenge that detention in court.
The power of Kings, and Presidents must be limited, because they will throw you in jail just because they do not like you. Annoying the president is not a crime, but if you are never allowed to have a trial, you can rot in jail for the rest of your life, for nothing.
Does it get any more basic than that? I don't think so.
The law now says "Enemy Combatants" can be locked up without charge, and they can be condemned to death without knowing why they are in jail or what evidence there is against them.
So who is an enemy combatant? Anyone. No Bullshit.
A "Combatant Status Review Tribunal" can declare anyone an enemy combatant, citizen or not. Forgive me if I don't trust an appointed tribunal with no legal mandate, to decide who can be stripped of all their rights and held indefinitely without charge. Every American should be in the streets demanding that the president stop pissing on the document he swore to protect. THE CONSTITUTION!!
The beauty of America is that we are ruled by a set of laws, not by the whims and suspicions of tyrants. Had we been living by that standard and the rest of the constitution, we would have never gotten to this point.
What can I say. This is the exact opposite of America. Bush is an Outlaw. We must impeach him before any more damage is done to this country. This is an abomination.
90% of those in Guantanamo have been held without charge for over 4 years. Many, if not the Majority of them are innocent. People were turned over to the US by Afghan warloards just so they could get the $5,000 reward.
By the way, there is something inherently wrong with declaring somebody an "Enemy" BEFORE having a trial.
Video: Olbermann; The Day Habeas Corpus Died:
The President Gets His Wish: He's the Dictator:
Shame on Us All:
NY Times, Rushing Off a Cliff:
Location: Buffalo, NY
10/13/06 01:29 - 37ºF - ID#21752
October Snow... UPDATED
More Pictures from Buffalo Residents on the Flickr Buffalo Group.
Morning, October 13 2006
Location: Buffalo, NY
10/08/06 12:43 - 62ºF - ID#21751
Storytelling with Pictures
As most of you know I am a photographer, I work in the studio during the week and do weddings on weekends. This picture is from a wedding I did last week.
When I do military weddings I tend to get emotional. Not because of anything that is said, or any ceremony or anything else. There's just something in the room. This is one of the few weddings where I actually saw the emotion in the room and captured it on film.
Check out some more stuff at Flickr , there are a few more of this couple dancing, and a bunch of other stuff.
Location: Buffalo, NY
10/02/06 12:11 - 58ºF - ID#21750
1) Frank Sinatra - My Way the best of
2) Bruce Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions (bluegrass)
3) Bad Religion - The Process of Belief (Punk Rock)
What an odd snapshot of my musical tastes. Basically I like anything good, genre doesn't matter.
Location: Buffalo, NY
10/01/06 03:07 - 52ºF - ID#21749
They were Warned
Below in this news article we find out a few things.
Condoleezza Rice was directly warned by the Director of the FBI George Tenet that he was concerned about imminent danger of terrorist attacks inside the US. The meeting happened on July 10, 2001 Months before the attack. they "came away from the meeting feeling that Ms. Rice had not taken the warnings seriously."
The 911 commission had no knowledge of this meeting untill this week when Bob Woodward's new book came out "State of Denial" Commissioners are suggesting a coverup. A serious crime.
Also "Mr. Woodward writes that in the weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. Tenet believed that Mr. Rumsfeld was impeding the effort to develop a coherent strategy to capture or kill Osama bin Laden," That's a bad sign.
See the entire article at Raw Story
They keep updating the article at the end as news breaks about this.
a 911 Commissioner speaks out here at Think Progress
State of Denial: Two months before 9/11, Rice gave the 'brush-off' to 'impending terrorist attack' warning
(Update: Former Counsel to the 9/11 Commission suggests that "[v]ery possibly, someone committed a crime" by engaging in a "cover-up" of the warning)
According to a new book written by Washington Post investigative reporter Bob Woodward, two months before the September 11 attacks, then National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice gave the "brush-off" to an "impending terrorist attack" warning by former C.I.A. director George J. Tenet and his counterterrorism coordinator.
An article in Friday's New York Times first mentioned the warning, and a front page book review of Woodward's State of Denial in Saturday's edition provides more details.
"On July 10, 2001, the book says, Mr. Tenet and his counterterrorism chief, J. Cofer Black, met with Ms. Rice at the White House to impress upon her the seriousness of the intelligence the agency was collecting about an impending attack," David E. Sanger reported on Friday. "But both men came away from the meeting feeling that Ms. Rice had not taken the warnings seriously."
Sanger also reported that Tenet told Woodward that before 9/11, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was "impeding" efforts to catch Osama bin Laden.
"Mr. Woodward writes that in the weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. Tenet believed that Mr. Rumsfeld was impeding the effort to develop a coherent strategy to capture or kill Osama bin Laden," wrote Sanger. "Mr. Rumsfeld questioned the electronic signals from terrorism suspects that the National Security Agency had been intercepting, wondering whether they might be part of an elaborate deception plan by Al Qaeda."
Saturday's New York Times review claims that in Woodward's book, Rice "is depicted as a presidential enabler, ineffectual at her job of coordinating interagency strategy and planning."
"For instance, Mr. Woodward writes that on July 10, 2001, Mr. Tenet and his counterterrorism coordinator, J. Cofer Black, met with Ms. Rice to warn her of mounting intelligence about an impending terrorist attack, but came away feeling they'd been given 'the brush-off' - a revealing encounter, given Ms. Rice's recent comments, rebutting former President Bill Clinton's allegations that the Bush administration had failed to pursue counterterrorism measures aggressively before 9/11," writes Michiko Kakutani.
Saturday's Washington Post has more details regarding the meeting.
"The book also reports that then-CIA Director George J. Tenet and his counterterrorism chief, J. Cofer Black, grew so concerned in the summer of 2001 about a possible al-Qaeda attack that they drove straight to the White House to get high-level attention," Peter Baker reports for the Post.
"Tenet called Rice, then the national security adviser, from his car to ask to see her, in hopes that the surprise appearance would make an impression. But the meeting on July 10, 2001, left Tenet and Black frustrated and feeling brushed off, Woodward reported," the article continues. "Rice, they thought, did not seem to feel the same sense of urgency about the threat and was content to wait for an ongoing policy review."
Location: Buffalo, NY