Saturday, June 4, 2011



( Saturday, June 4, 2011. Royal Oaks, MI) He was neither kook nor crank, criminal or quack. His quirks, eccentricities and unusual media moments aside, he was, more than anything a crusader. Dr. Jack Kevorkian came to define what was arguably the most heated and controversial medical ethics issue of the 1990’s. He died at age 83 two days ago in a suburban Detroit hospital.

Dr. Kevorkian, a retired Pathologist, first broke into the national conscience and media spotlight in 1990 after having assisted a chronically ill woman to die by utilizing a machine of his own design and construct which came to be derisively known as his “Death Machine”. His device allowed the “patient” to self administer a lethal combination of narcotics that would guarantee a painless and rapid death.

Perhaps the entire odyssey of Kevorkian would have played out differently today in this world so connected by the various social media that have the proven strength to topple governments, promote issues the main stream media ignores, and connect like minded people globally as never before. At the time he first drew national attention he was a “lone wolf” advocating a position which was poorly understood by many across the country and commonly wrongly defined by his opponents and the media.

Kevorkian did use the technology available to him at the time. He video taped long interviews with his “patients” and their families documenting their desire to “die with dignity”. Each of the deaths he assisted in was also video taped. Kevorkian proved to be equally adept at using the media to his advantage and once he retained the services of a flamboyant, opportunistic but shrewd Attorney, Geoffrey Fieger, he and his crusade remained on the public stage until he was eventually sentenced to prison in 2000. He served seven years of a possible 25 year term.

Before the human genome project was complete, prior to the promised potential of stem cell research, genetic manipulation and the other ethical issues that came about due to the incredible advances in all medical / biological disciplines, there was just Dr. Kevorkian and his passionate arguments for a person’s “Right to Die”. Even while he was lambasted in the press, caricatured, derided, and often had his sanity questioned, he never wavered from his central, core belief that a person can make a logical, rational decision to die and should be permitted to be assisted in their desire by a physician. He was extremely selective in choosing his “patients” employing a strict, objective criteria that left no ambiguity in his mind or the minds of those he assisted as well as in the minds of their families. He refused to even speak with over “99 out of 100 of those” who sought his services. His strict criteria accounted for a host of variables including the potential patient’s mental health status and a rigorous scrutiny of their medical records.

“Death (or) Dying with Dignity”. “The Right to Die”, “Physician Assisted Suicide”, are terms that became part of not only the debate of those days, but have been integrated into our American lexicon thanks to this one courageous man. And let there be no doubt about it, he was a very courageous man driven by the courage of his convictions and the frustration of having a very serious issue mocked, assailed or simply dismissed. It was easier to make fun of him than it was to honestly debate and discuss the very real, profound if not fundamental issue that he’d adopted as his mission in later life.

Perhaps what we as humans fear most about death is not the unknown or its inevitability, but rather that it will be painful, protracted and we will find ourselves in a position of being trapped in a body, conscious of what is going on around us but unable to communicate with that world around us. Those suffering from chronic, degenerative, progressive diseases are much more attuned to these possibilities than are the unafflicted. The vitriolic opposition to Dr. Kevorkian’s beliefs often came from those in politics who, on the opposite end of the continuum advocate vociferously for “The Right to Life”. Many of those zealots claimed to have the “responsibility” to “speak for the unborn fetus” while hypocritically dismissing the adult who sought to end their suffering with the assistance, compassion and professionalism of a physician such as Dr. Kevorkian.

As is all too often the case in America, what began as a matter of medical ethics it soon morphed into a legal, political, social issue with all the accompanying politicos, pundits, activists and talking heads of every stripe. However, in some State’s the issue managed through grass roots organizers to find its way onto ballots in the form of “initiatives” in several Statewide elections. The polls results were mixed but a certain measure of insight was gleaned from the places where the ballot initiatives failed as well as where they passed. The American public, the voting public, was becoming engaged in the debate and did not see it in the stark “black and white” terms our politicians so cherish. This was an issue that any American could identify with in some way or another.

The issue made for some strange political and social bedfellows. Right to Die groups sprang up around the Country and were often joined by staunch Libertarians, privacy and limited government groups; not the usual suspects one would find similarly aligned in such a volatile matter of morals and ethics, of religion and science, pro-life and pro-choice, personal liberty and government intrusion, of life and death itself.

The reader so inclined to learn more about this infamous yet enigmatic man might find some of the links below this article as informative, enlightening and interesting as anything they may have read or learned about Kevorkian before. He was a gifted child, by some accounts a “genius” and possessed by an always curious, restless mind. He was a “Maverick" at a time in medicine when such mavericks were dismissed as fools or worse. He was a “Renaissance Man” , a very talented painter, musician and writer and a deep, creative, innovative, brave thinker.

His memory will fade with time but he does leave a powerful legacy. Not many people can have such a claim stated about them posthumously. Dr. Jack Kevorkian singlehandedly brought the issue of Death with Dignity out of the stifled shadows of the chronically, fatally ill into the harsh light of day and was more than willing to do so, not for fame or fortune, but for principal and a cause.

TAGS: Dr. Jack Kevorkian, The Right to Die, Death with Dignity, Physician Assisted Suicide, patient’s Rights, End of life issues, Personal Liberties, Death and Dying.


Copyright TBC 2011 © All Rights Reserved

Thursday, May 5, 2011



In a nondescript building in the meat packing district of Lower Manhattan

an elite team functions as NYC’s own CIA

(Thursday, May 5, 2011. Westside, Lower Manhattan, NYC) Just a short walk from what has been referred to as “Ground Zero” after the al-Qeada attacks on America at the World Trade Center in September 2001, is another “Ground Zero” that is the polar opposite of the Site just a few blocks away.

In the most nondescript of buildings in a neighborhood of remarkably nondescript structures, an elite force of under 50 NYPD Officers work in a hi-tech, dimly lit space tracking via high tech wizardry and high level intellect, potential threats to this City. The NYPD Intelligence Unit is among the most closely guarded, uniquely tasked and analytically capable of any Intelligence Unit on the planet. The men and women who staff this ultra-secret Unit are not assigned here by accident. They have all been “hand-picked” by the Deputy Police Commissioner for Intelligence and Counter-terrorism, David Cohen. And make no mistake about it, Mr. Cohen knows, intimately, the machinations and labyrinthine underworld of terrorism and intelligence gathering, analyzing and dissemination.

David Cohen was a CIA Officer for over thirty years. His career spanned some of the most tumultuous times and global events of the latter decades of the last century. He was an analyst who always seemed to “fall upwards” in his career, rising to a top level position in the Directorate of Operations at a relatively young age.

After the abysmal failures of the entire federal and military intelligence apparatus that came to light in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, Cohen came to New York City and offered his services. He would go on to create one of the mot sophisticated, effective, efficient and capable “intelligence units” in the world. No other City on the planet can boast of a comparable entity. Cohen realized all too well that New York City would remain the primary “target rich environment” that would attract terrorists of every stripe and inclination.

While this Unit has been functioning in its current iteration since 2003, the death of Osama Bin Laden at the hands of Navy SEAL Team Six in his heavily fortified private compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan last Sunday, has people asking if there is a greater threat to New York City as groups or individuals may seek “retaliatory strikes”. The simple answer, according to one Intel Unit Officer is “Yes. Obviously the threat has been constant since 9-11 but with Bin Laden's death, we have ramped up some of our activities here and obviously, out in the field”.

The business of intelligence is as much science as it is art. This is true of any endeavor that must account for the unaccountable, for an amount of variables and a level of complexity that eludes quantification. The men and women of the NYPD Intelligence Unit must try to extract from a veritable ocean of “raw data” those few drops that constitute real “actionable intelligence”. This is a daunting and often frustrating task. However, the payoffs, when they are correct, can yield enormously significant results. The killing of Osama Bin Laden is a case in point. Years of intelligence data was collected, sifted through, analyzed, interpreted, vetted and put under intense scrutiny while even more information was sought to corroborate what the raw intelligence was beginning to reveal to the CIA and Pentagon.

That very same process is employed here in the NYPD Intel Unit but on a much smaller scale. Certainly, this Unit does not operate in isolation from other intelligence agencies around the world but their primary focus is to identify that one in a million ‘imminent threat’ to the City and residents of New York. Everything from information available in the media and in the public domain, to a very select and fine balance of information sharing with very specific, trusted sources is studied, looking for what? For signs, either covert or intuited, either from within the Five Boroughs or, perhaps from Scotland Yard, Interpol or some other valued, proven to be reliable source, that stands up under the scrutiny it must to be deemed “actionable”.

“We read everything from the local papers, foreign papers and magazines to intelligence reports from our own people stationed overseas as well as those working the streets here in New York”, commented one Intel Unit member who, due to the nature of what he and his colleagues do, cannot be publicly identified. “Actually”, continued the same Officer, “my own wife does not fully know what I do. She is aware that I am involved in something ‘different’, something sorta ‘top secret’ but, that’s about it.”

To enter the loft-like work space of this secretive Unit one is struck by the number of members who just “don’t look like cops”. One senior NYPD Officer who has been assigned to the Intel Unit for the last 6 years continues that, “some of these people were recruited right out of college and I mean the best colleges. They are classic computer nerds. They may have gone to Columbia, MIT, or some Ivy League university and majored in computer science or information technology or some related field. They went to the Police Academy so they could officially become active members of the NYPD but, they have spent their entire careers till now hacking, I mean the ‘good kind’, the ‘white hats’ type hacking and are truly talented and particularly well suited for what we do”.

Other members have long tenure in the NYPD; some started their careers in a radio cars in the Boroughs, on the streets and worked their ways up to higher rank, some had made Detective in their former Commands. It can be an odd mix but, given the mission they have been tasked with, they appear to work cohesively. The sense of “mission” is palpable among them. “I know what I am doing may help save lives of New Yorkers, maybe members of my own family or friends. I was on duty on 9-11-01 and responded. Since then I have been, in a way, obsessed. I have felt it necessary to try to understand our adversaries, the ‘nature of the threats’”, commented one female analyst who began her NYPD career in a rough Precinct sector in the Brooklyn South Patrol Command. She added with a wry smile, “everyday I walk in here I know I’m not in Brooklyn anymore”. Besides her experience on the dark and dirty streets of Brooklyn South, her degree from a prestigious university, her mutli-lingualness and her passion for “The Job”, attracted the attention of David Cohen. With little fanfare or paperwork she was suddenly reassigned. “One day I’m working cases in Brooklyn, two days later I’m here and beginning my ‘immersion training’. It was like, ‘Whoa. I knew we (NYPD) were on top of things but I never realized to what extent our Intel and Counter-terrorism Units functioned”.

Although this tightly knit Unit may have been the “brainchild” of David Cohen, it was NYPD Commissioner, Ray Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg who recognized the value of creating such a Unit and saw that the “return on the investment” would, potentially, be enormous. As Commissioner Kelly himself commented in an interview not that long ago, “We are doing all these things because New York is still the No. 1 target. We have been targeted four times, twice successfully, and the city remains the most symbolic, substantive target for the terrorists. These are cunning, patient, deliberate people who want to kill us and kill us in big numbers."

Lydia Khalil, former counter terrorism analyst with the NYPD Intelligence and Counter Terrorism Units, knows all too well how "cunning, patient and deliberate" the people are who truly seek to do us harm. Currently a Fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations, Khalil has spoken publicly regarding the Intel Unit’s efficacy since she resigned from her position with NYPD to pursue other opportunities. She is an internationally recognized expert on the Middle East and, in particular, on the conditions in Middle Eastern countries that foment hatred of the West among the largely disenfranchised youths. While with The NYPD Ms. Khalil focused on international terrorism trends and terrorism cases in the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

According to Khalil, we , as a Nation and as a City, must strive to understand the true nature of our enemies. Khalil has also been an outspoken proponent for the American Muslim / Islamic communities. She has written that some of the most “valuable, actionable intelligence” NYPD has obtained over the last 9 plus years has come from within the New York City Metropolitan Area Muslim community.

“This is an important thing to remember. The Muslims that live among us here in New York City, who pray at Mosques in all five Boroughs, have a vested interest in providing us with information. Some good, kind hearted Imam out in Queens sees a few members who show up regularly for prayer suddenly become hostile and isolated. He senses something not right. He calls us. The people of New York City are among the most understanding and accepting of each other because we really don’t have a choice. But, the Muslim community has felt a particular brand of hostility, even hatred, since September 11, 2001 and they want to help us more than anyone. After all, it is their very religion, their faith, that is called to question, that has raised suspicions. I give them all the credit in the world for stepping up as they have”, explained an Intel Unit Officer who identified himself as Jack.

If an average New Yorker could walk in off the street and spend some time in this place, they would, no doubt , leave here feeling that much better about their City, that much better about their NYPD and about their security.

The Feds created the Department of Homeland Security in the wake of fear and embarrassment. It has been a colossal failure, at least as seen by NYPD. Our entire federal intelligence apparatus was a colossal failure and dropped the ball regarding September 11, 2001. That is precisely why NYPD is doing what they are. " We won’t be fooled again".

As Jack told us, as he concluded our conversation, “Our Town, Our People, Our Business. We’ll take care of our own. I promise you that”.

Tags: NYPD Intelligence Unit, NYPD Counter terrorism Unit, Deputy Commissioner Cohen, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, Lydia Khalil, Securing NYC, Target Rich Environment, Homeland Security.


Copyright TBC 2011 © All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, May 3, 2011



Cynyc would like to express here our tremendous sense of gratitude to the members (active and retired) of the FDNY, NYPD and PAPD who responded to the World Trade Center Site on September 11, 2001 and have been gracious enough to share their thoughts with us.

We are equally respectful and appreciative to those who lost husbands, wives, fathers, sons and daughters, their friends and relatives at the WTC and those whom have generously and candidly agreed to share their thoughts, open their hearts and answer our questions to make the following Post possible.
All of these people who have shared with us did so with the understanding, by their own requests, that their identities would remain private for their own personal reasons. We have promised each of them that they would remain anonymous.
At the end of this post the reader will find a partial list of links to some of the FDNY , NYPD and PAPD Memorial Pages for some of those who spoke to us for this post as well as some of the last duty assignments for those they spoke of and for.

(Tuesday, May 3, 2011. New York City) There was not much cheering or celebrating, no buoyant chanting of “USA,USA, USA”, in the Firehouses and Police Precinct Station Houses as word spread that Osama Bin Laden was dead. Most of the cheering, oddly ebullient crowds were out on the streets in places like Times Square, Battery Park and up and down the corridors of Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and The Bronx. Most of the celebrants hooting and hollering, wildly waving American flags probably had few real memories of that day in September 2001 when our City, our Country and our World changed.

As the local TV news began to confirm the initial reports, before President Obama addressed the Nation from the East Room of The White House, a certain, distinct silence ensued in apartments and houses across the Tri-State Area, in the residences that had been homes to so many of the thousands who perished on that bright September morning almost ten years ago, victims of that man, so recently killed by United States Navy SEALs half a world away.

The world’s most wanted man did not die the noble death of the warrior he claimed to be. he did not go out in a blaze of glory. Rather, when the SEALs entered the room in which he hide, he grabbed one of his wives and a firearm. Using this particular wife as a human shield he chose not to obey the orders shouted at him to surrender. His death was a cowardly act, perhaps a true reflection of the devious mind and darkened soul who ordered and financed the attacks on America in 2001.

His death came by way of two bullets, as has been reported by the Pentagon. Likely the first shot, the one that pierced one of his eyes before exploding his cranium and brain into a cloud of bloody mist and fragments, killed him instantly. Perhaps, if he had a nanosecond to have a thought, it might have been that the Americans have found me. He chose not to surrender and was summarily killed quickly, cleanly, efficiently in a manner far more merciful than those who perished on 4 hijacked airplanes, at The Pentagon, in an unremarkable field outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania and in our Twin Towers.

Maybe he was welcomed to Paradise by 72 virgins. Maybe he was well received in Hell. Who knows. One beefy FDNY veteran from Ladder 24 commented,”It don’t really matter does it? I mean, okay, the scumbag is gone but, we got a wall full of pictures of guys we lost that day. Engine 1 lost that day. Am I glad he’s dead? Sure. But what does it mean?” As humans we are wired to search for “meaning” in events large and small particularly when they have forever altered our internal conscious landscape.

“I went down there with my guys to do whatever we could. I remembered the bombing in 1993, I was on the job then, in Patrol in the 13th Precinct. September 11 will always be something I can’t get outta my head. No, it doesn’t get in the way or, at least not very often. So, this piece of shit is dead? Good. I believe in hell because I grew up believing in it and I saw it on that day. I hope Bin Laden is there”, said a 28 year veteran of NYPD who assisted in the evacuation of the South Tower.

There is a story for every person who was in those buildings, in The Pentagon and on those doomed jets. There are amazing stories of self sacrifice and heroism, some known, some known only to God. Each of those who was present that day and survived has spent at least a portion of the past 3521 days seeking answers, searching for meaning and, oddly perhaps, living with some sense of guilt, with some part of their innermost self wondering how and why they survived while so many didn’t.

***** ***** *****
Not every women is cut out to be the wife of an NYPD Officer or an FDNY Firefighter. The stress of “the job” takes tolls on relationships and marriages that is often too much for a spouse to bear. “I always knew when my husband walked out the door to go to work there was a risk...a chance, he would not come home. I came to dread the phone call in the middle of the night telling me which hospital he was in. It didn’t happen that way. I’ve raised our three daughters these last ten years. Our youngest was born on September 21, 2001. She never knew her Dad. That breaks my heart sometimes but, then I realize, my heart is already broken. It can’t get broke more than it is but sometimes it just does”. Those are the words of a beautiful, intelligent widow who has nothing left of her husband except memories and “three wonderful girls”, who was last heard from as he approached the 78th floor of the North Tower. “All they ever recovered to identify him was his service piece. His gun. I have it and keep it wrapped up and hidden. I never did like the fact that he had guns in the house. Bin Laden, I do believe with all my heart that I could have shot him had I had the chance. What he took from me is something I can’t fully explain”, she continued before her tears began to flow.

***** ***** *****

Most of the members of Service from the FDNY and NYPD who survived that event will say that “only in New York” could such an amazing amount of “citizens", civilians, calmly, orderly and with an absolute absence of fear or panic evacuate those Twin Towers as they did. “Sure, the training after the February 1993 bombing was crucial to the fact that so many of us survived”, said an accountant who made his way down from the 59th floor of the North Tower. “We had Fire Marshals. Each company on each floor had someone who was the designated Fire Marshall. Shit, we’d drill...kinda like in grade school..we actually had fucking fire drills. Those drills, my fiend, saved thousands of lives”.

One third generation NYPD Detective noted that, “As New Yorkers, we are used to things fucking up. The subway suddenly stops in a tunnel, no air conditioning, no lights. We give it a good 15, 20 minutes tops before we start to wonder. We’re used to things going wrong. After all, we live in a city of 10 million with God knows how many visitors and tourists in town a day. Had we known the North Tower was hit intentionally by a commercial jet and that the South Tower had already collapsed, I don’t know, honestly, if we would have made it out”. “Literally, after the dust and debris settled it dawned on me I was still alive. I was shocked. I could hardly breath and really couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. But, after awhile, I don’t know if it was 30 minutes or an hour, I heard sounds...I heard voices...I heard sirens. I crawled towards the sounds I heard. I found a guy under a car. I grabbed his hand, drug him out from under the car and told him, ‘Listen to me cuz, we’re okay. Now, let’s move our asses outta here’. We walked west. Suddenly after walking like what seemed a mile, we ran into some other guys from the job. After that, I think I passed out for a few minutes. Next thing I remember was waking up with (name with held) tossing bottled water in my face”, said a MOS of FDNY from a Ladder Company in Brooklyn that lost many members.

***** ***** *****

343 members of FDNY were killed on September 11, 2001. 23 MOS of NYPD lost their lives and 37 PAPD Officers also perished. Some Firehouses lost entire companies; others suffered losses in double digits. As Mayor Guiliani later answered a reporters question saying “ The loss of life will probably be more than we can bear, we can only imagine. It is beyond our grasp at this time”. The innocent civilians: the brokers and traders, the cooks, custodians and window washers; the secretaries, executive assistants, CEOs, VPs, CFOs who were killed were, in a way, sadder losses to the Tri-State Area than were the tragic deaths of the MOS.

Cops, Firemen and other First Responders are expected to run into environments from which everyone else is frantically running out of. They sign on to that the day they take the oath. Those people who showed up for work, on time, that gorgeous New York morning probably never gave a moments thought to their own mortality or the random nature of chaos and evil as they commuted by bus, subway, bike and walk to work on that morning. “I remember thinking to myself”, began a veteran Homicide Detective assigned to the recovery effort, “that the parts of these people we were finding, the ‘biologics’ as they were called, ever gave a moments thought that morning that that day could be their last. At least, as a cop, I was in touch with how quickly my life and the life of my family could change. I don’t know how to explain it to you, ya know what I mean”?

***** ***** *****

Life has gone on. Tens years is a long time especially in the life of a child. So many children across the Tri-State don’t have clear memories of their Moms and Dads, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles. Many of those children whose lives have been defined by the events of September 11, 2001 were those who took to the streets in NYC and DC while their surviving parent stayed home watching the news and, of course, searching for meaning. Each has their own private pain, each, their own private mechanism that has allowed them to cope and function from that day until today. Will the death of Osama Bin Laden somehow provide them “closure” or a sense of justice, retribution or solace? Only they can answer and their answers are probably as diverse as they are disparate.

***** ***** *****

Sadly, 9-11-01 is still killing. Hundreds of First Responders, the underpaid MOS from FDNY, NYPD and PAPD as well as the hundreds of steel workers, welders and construction workers who toiled at “The Pile” for months after 9-11-01, have died from exposure to the toxins in the air at the WTC Site. Odd malignancies and other respiratory and autoimmune diseases plague them and some are so sick that their deaths are immanent. Many have had to swallow enormous lumps of pride and accept disability retirement because they could no longer function in the manner their jobs, jobs they devoted their lives to, requires. Still others, haven’t the energy to swallow their pride. They live their lives in the shadow of sites, sounds, smells, sensations and memories. Several have found the intervening years too tough and have taken their own lives. In a sense, each one of us who has survived exists with the profound sense of being on “borrowed time”.

So be it. Some of us may, on occasion believe, at least on some spiritual or neural level that our survival was meant to be. Again, who knows. We talk and debate in hushed tones on the phone about the death of Osama Bin Laden. We disagree about aspects of it from its overall significance in America’s ongoing battle against terrorist elements seeking to inflict us harm. We wonder what his capture might have meant. we ask each other how we feel about his death and if it really makes any difference in what we lived through and live with. We are permitted our disagreements; we’ve earned them. We speak with the wives and children of the men we once called Brothers and do what we can for them.

We all realize that they have the strength and resolve to do fro themselves what non of us could ever do for them. We mourn our friends and strangers alike. We think about the people we carried on our backs from one floor to the next in the North and South Towers. Some of them, we know their status; others of them, we haven’t a clue. All we know is we got out while some of the best of the best, civilian and public servant did not.

The Obama Administration reports that Bin Laden’s corpse was given up to the sea. New York City is a port town, a coastal city. We understand the power and infinite depths of the waters that wash with amazing regularity on our shores.

Life has gone on and will continue to do so. The moon will wax and wane and induce our tides accordingly. Perhaps, someday, years from now, a young child will find a sun and salt bleached bone fragment out in Coney Island or Jones Beach. Who knows whose bone that may be?

If cosmic justice exists in some form or any fashion, the child who finds that bone fragment will toss it back into the surf.

The sea tells know tales.

To all of those who died on September 11, 2001, we wish you a peaceful rest Safely Home.
God Bless.


Posted Tuesday, May 3, 2011 @ 5:45PM EST
Copyright TBC 2011 © All Rights Reserved

Monday, May 2, 2011



(Monday, May 2, 2011. NY, NY) After being the most wanted fugitive in the world and the very face of radical extremist Islamic terrorism for nearly the past ten years, the man who masterminded the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City and at The Pentagon, Osama Bin Laden, has been killed in a daring operation carried out by US Special Forces and CIA Operatives. The particulars of the raid that resulted in this much celebrated milestone in our on-going “War on Terror” are headlines around the world and dominating cable TV news coverage.

The news considered so important to our government and the American people that President Obama made a late night, unscheduled televised address to report the news from the East Room in the White House. The President's quote that “Justice has been Done” has appeared in bold headlines all over the world. As word spread last night that Bin Laden had been killed in a camp in Pakistan, crowds gathered at various sites in New York City and Washington,DC to mark the occasion. There was an odd “carnival like” atmosphere reported by some present in the cheering, chanting throngs outside the White House last night while at the site where the World Trade Centers stood, the mood was mixed.

During most of the last decade, actually since October 16, 2001 when CIA Operatives and Special Forces were first covertly inserted into Afghanistan to capture or kill as many members of al Qaeda and their hosts, The Taliban, our intervention there has been full of irony. In a matter of weeks after our official military campaign began, in earnest, in Afghanistan, is has been widely acknowledged by military and government officials, that the titular head and spirit leader of al Qaeda – Bin Laden – was “trapped” in the rugged mountains of Tora Bora and was able to slip across the border into Pakistan. “We had him and we let him get away”, commented a top ranking CIA Operative who had been there. Then President George W. Bush refused the military's and CIA requests to insert a larger troop force to seal the Afghan – Pakistan border. Instead, Bush “outsourced” the Pakistani border mission to Pakistani forces many of whom had tribal and ideological sympathies with both Bin Laden and his “mujaheddin” forces and The Taliban.

Since that time Bin Laden's whereabouts had been a “huge mystery” and a “constant reminder of our lost opportunities” according to the same CIA Operative. In the intervening years our military efforts to secure Afghanistan and allow for some sort of homegrown government to “step up” and secure their own Country have been noteworthy only because of their many victories, though most were merely Pyrrhic at best, and constant set backs our military have experienced. It has become a high stakes game of cat-and-mouse as, over the years first The Taliban fell from power, al Qaeda was in disarray only to watch as both entities have seen resurgence in recent years and have proven to be more tenacious than initially expected.

The puppet regime of Afghan “President” Harmid Karzai, hand picked by the Cheney / Bush Administration to take over in the wake of the Taliban's retreat in late 2001 has been an abject failure in every measurable way. If anything Afghanistan today, despite the billions of US dollars we've poured in to that perpetually corrupt, lawless, failed Nation / State is not all that much different that it was prior to September 11, 2001. This fact is not a reflection on our dedicated and brave troops but rather on the Cheney / Bush Administration and civilian Pentagon and State Department leadership from 2001 through the inauguration of President Obama in January 2009.

But now, 3519 days since the 9-11-01 attacks, Osama Bin Laden is dead; killed, according to military after action reports, by a bullet to the head. His body was recovered and was allegedly positively identified using comparative DNA analysis. Since the elite United State Navy SEALs, arguably the most capable of all our Special Forces Troops, conducted the raid and scored “the hit”, Bin Laden was “buried at sea” and done so within 24 hours of his death in deference to Muslim tradition. It is also important to note that only three other people are reported to have been killed during the raid on his 8 acre compound just outside the Pakistani city of Abbottabad. “This was a precision strike, a surgical operation with a singular focus and mission objective”, commented a senior Pentagon official speaking anonymously due to the sensitive nature of the raid into Pakistan.


Posted Monday, May 2, 2011 @ 9:11AM EST

Copyright TBC 2011 © All Rights Reserved

Sunday, May 1, 2011


“Mayday - an internationally recognized distress signal”
 (From the Oxford English Dictionary)


(May 1, 2011. NY, NY) Their names and locales are as diverse as is our Country and the jurisdictions they serve. Men and women from the largest, sprawling urban megalopolises to the smallest rural counties and towns are part of a tragic litany. That they are being killed, murdered actually, at an alarming rate seems to not have the newsworthiness the media animal requires to be fed. While each of these heartbreaking fatalities individually have been headline news in their respective localities, collectively they have yet to resonate nationally.

No sector of the Law Enforcement Community (LEC) seems to have been spared. Agencies and Departments at the federal, state, county and municipal levels have suffered in the "Line of Duty” (LOD) deaths; so far, this year, alone, 65 Members of Service (MOS) have died “On The Job”; (OTJ) 32 of these fatalities were from gunshots. No, this is not going to be a rant about “gun control” or access to firearms. Neither will this be a sweeping indictment of the failures, in many cases, in mental health availability and affordability. Those are valid topics for another time, another discussion but not at all relevant to this particular discussion of facts.

This is more about society, our society, America's society as of late April 2011 - where we as a society have been, currently are and, perhaps, in certain respects, where we are going.

There is inherent in our society a contract, a compact or, perhaps a covenant that we collectively abide by. We are a nation of laws and, as such, most of the populace abides within the constraints of that concept. Most folks don’t steal, rob, assault, rape, murder or otherwise “break the law” not because they are disinclined. No. Most live their lives within the well defined boundaries of “The Law” for fear of getting caught. Some might argue that this sentiment is a poor reflection of our society. Those that would argue that most people are disinclined to break the law are so predisposed not for fear of discovery but rather because they are simply disinclined - they are “good, honest people”. It’s a tough task to argue to the contrary but, given the tone and tenor of today’s America, it has become more difficult to believe. Those in the LEC struggle mightily with this issue, daily, sometimes hourly.There exists among members of the LEC the notion that we constitute a “Thin Blue Line”. This notion or, actually, a belief, is that given the size of our population juxtaposed against the size of the LEC, the ratio is so disproportionate as to be as frightening as it is perilously inefficient. The concept of “The Thin Blue Line” is representative of the fact that the LEC constitutes the fabric of our society that connotes “The Law”. It is this knowledge of the existence of “The Law” as an intricate component of our society that maintains the level of order that permits us, collectively and individually, to live out our daily lives free of the burden of fear, of impending anarchy.The stark fact is that roughly 10% of our population is responsible for 100% of the crime that plagues us. Perhaps that fact makes the challenge to the LEC a fairer fight. Who knows. Crime is more familiar than it is random. The overwhelming majority of homicides, for example, are perpetrated by people known to each other. Stranger on stranger murder is far rarer than TV shows and popular novels lead us to believe. Yes, oh yes, there are predators, serial killers, sexual predators and every variety of emotionally deranged persons (EDP’s) who roam our streets in communities large and small. They will always be there, they always have.

America today is home to almost 310 million people. The LEC numbers approximately 600,000 members. If you add in all the non publicly oriented-Law Enforcement Agents employed by the federal government such as the Sate Department Security Unit, The Secret Service, and the like, the total number of sworn LEO’s approaches 800,000. Roughly calculated, for every 400 American residents there is a single LEO. Not a good ratio particularly in some of the more densely populated areas.

So the fabric of our Thin Blue Line is already stretched pretty thinly from coast to coast. Each death of a MOS of the LEC is one less fiber in an already threadbare fabric, the fabric that we all rely on, take for granted or merely presume to be “out there”. And, that we are. The Members of Service of every Law Enforcement Agency in the Nation are “out there” 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. It has been horrifying to read at least weekly so far this year, of the death of another MOS. The scenarios that have claimed their lives have run the gamut from the “routine” traffic stop that goes bad quickly, to shoot-outs, standoffs between lone gunmen and Deputies, Border Patrol Agents working one of the most treacherous beats on our southern border and other incidents with unique details but all with a similar outcome. One less fiber of our fraying Thin Blue Line fabric is “out there” doing what they have each sworn to do.

A Part of America Died
Somebody killed a policeman today, and a part of America died. A piece of our country he swore to protect, will be buried with him at his side. The suspect who shot him will stand up in court, with counsel demanding his rights, While a young widowed mother must work for her kids, and spend alone many long nights. The beat that he walked was a battlefield too, just as if he’d gone off to war. Though the flag of our nation won’t fly at half mast, to his name they will add a gold star. Yes, somebody killed a policeman today, It Happened in your town or mine. While we slept in comfort behind our locked doors, a cop put his life on the line. Now his ghost walks a beat on a dark city street, and he stands at each new rookie’s side. He answered the call, and gave us his all, and a part of America died.

- Deputy Sheriff Harry Koch, Maricopa AZ County Sheriff, Retired

Copyright TBC 2011 © All Rights Reserved

Saturday, February 5, 2011



(Saturday, February 5, 2011. Fort Worth, TX) The contenders have been here for over a week. In approximately 26 hours the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers will meet here on the field at the North Texas Stadium to play in what is arguably the single biggest sporting event in America - the NFL Championship Game - The Super Bowl. This years version of the Super Bowl will showcase two of the most storied franchises in NFL history and two of the most evenly matched teams in recent years.

For two weeks now members of each organization have spent countless hours involved in photo ops, endless interviews and press scrutiny usually reserved for Presidential candidates on election eve.

The story lines coming out of each camp have been as diverse if not disparate as any however, due to the unusual attention this past season has invited regarding the safety of the players (particularly head-to-head contact and concussions), the short and long term affects of playing such a violent game, a great deal of the focus has been on these rather sensitive issues rather than the usual X’s and O’s of the contest itself. Some of the NFL’s biggest “hitters” will take the field. Both of the quarterbacks who will be leading their respective offensives tomorrow have suffered head injuries and concussions over the course of their careers. The signal caller for the Packers, Aaron Rogers will be wearing, for the fourth consecutive game, a specially modified helmet to protect him from sustaining yet another concussion; he missed several games this year as a result of not being able to pass the newly implemented “post concussive” medical examinations developed by the medical consultants to the NFL.


Any boy who has ever put on a pair of shoulder pads and the rest of the standard equipment required to play football on every level, has, at one time or another, dreamed of playing at “the next level.” High schoolers want to play big time collegiate ball while those fortunate, talented and physically gifted enough to play the college game on the highest level all inevitably desire the money, fame, fortune, glory and sense of competition, of being among the small elite fraternity of NFLers playing this immensely popular sport professionally. Few, at any time in their playing days; be they in high school, college or on the professional level, give serious consideration to the potential for sustaining acute, chronic and / or life altering physical and neurologic injuries that may result in varying degrees of impairment once their playing days are over.

If the sense of indestructibility is common among young men it is taken to an entirely uniquely lofty apex among the men playing in the NFL considered to be among the best athletes in the world, bar none. Even as evidence mounts correlating certain forms of degenerative brain disease from the thousands of “sub-concussive collisions” a football player encounters from the time he first straps on a helmet, to the well known potential of life long chronic musculo-skelatal problems, arthritis, chronic pain and a list of symptoms, syndromes, diseases and disabilities that is far too long to list here, one would be hard pressed to find a football player, particularly an NFLer prepared to walk away from the sport that defines him or has become his chosen profession.


The harsh facts of life are that less than 99.9% of boys who play college football will never even have a remote chance of playing football professionally. Those who manage to actually graduate from college with a degree may have opportunities to make a comfortable living and carve out a decent life for themselves and their families without football.

Thus far no professional football player has received a fatal injury on the job.
The professions listed above, however, are well represented among the most dangerous jobs in America.

All the rest, whether or not they ever played a down in a college football game will go on into the workforce just as their peers who never strapped on a football helmet. But, many men do indeed put helmets on everyday they go to work. They may be men who walk high steel, coal miners, firefighters, construction workers and tradesmen, welders or sandhogs. Most won’t wear helmets of any kind as they earn their livings in every type of blue collar job there is; some, far more hazardous on a daily basis than any minute on a football field.

The average salary for an NFL player this season is $1.8 million - quite an “average” income for any profession. That average salary is at least three times higher than the average salary for those who work in professions with far greater instances and potentialities of injury and even death. Commercial fisherman, truck drivers, ranch laborers, garbage men, cops, highway road crew workers, high voltage electrical repair and installation workers - these are the workers, toiling for annual wages that range from the mid $30,000 range up to the high end of their neighborhoods near $88,000. The statisticians and labor demographers out there can argue the ratio of and per capita representation of all the other hazardous professions in America compared to the small number of professional football players and still not have a valid argument when it comes to risks and rewards. Indeed, this year their were 1,696 men playing in the NFL.


Enough has already been made about how we as a society, a culture put our athletes on pedestals from the first time they show any real promise. Everyone who has been in High School recalls that the athletes, the members of this or that team had been treated differently, “specially” in comparison to their non-athletic classmates. In college, especially in the big, major conference universities where head football coaches salaries are measured in the millions of dollars, this coddling and special treatment of athletes is taken to an entirely new plane of apartnessness, privilege, uniqueness and entitlement. That is not the argument here.

What is at the heart of this discussion and the disingenuous “concern” expressed by the NFL hierarchy regarding players safety and health as well as their long term medical problems, is that this elite group of 1, 696 men have made their choice. They have chosen to follow their dream, some one else’s dreams for them, the money and all that attaches to them as professional football players. Money is no small motivator and the promise of ever increasing sums of money in higher salaries, incentives and endorsements in the present tense certainly obscure whatever risks they may be taking as well as the chance they might end up seriously impaired after their careers end.

Careers end quickly in the NFL, sometimes in the blink of an eye. The specter of a wrong turn or cut, a twisted knee with torn ligaments and cartilage, broken, dislocated bones, degenerative structural ailments of all kinds roam the sidelines of every game as phantom menaces not to be seen, thought of or acknowledged in any way.

Careers and sometimes lives end in similar nanoseconds for underground miners, law enforcement officers, oil rig workers and others. Many professions carry with them a deadly legacy by way of the various toxic and carcinogenic exposures workers incurred while on they way to a pension.


The last few years has seen a massive amount of data assembled from research and medical surveillance programs that track the health and well being of men who have retired from the NFL. The conclusions drawn from much of this data regarding the long lasting affects of repetitive head trauma alone is sobering. Tissue samples examined microscopically from brains donated by the families of retired NFLers show neuropathological changes in their brains suggestive of the same type of degenerative processes seen as markers for Alzheimer's Disease and Parkinson's Disease.

Other long term medical surveillance programs have tracked lung disease in miners, factory workers from a wide range of industries, and a veritable medical encyclopedia of ailments many of which will prove to be fatal for some of those affected. Many professions in this country are hazardous on a daily basis and still others bring with them the possibility of chronic conditions that will alter the quality of life long after their workers have punched the clock at the end of their last shift.

Tomorrows game will go on as scheduled and each man that takes the field will, no doubt, look back when questioned sometime years from now as his Super Bowl experience as one of the highlights of his life. Many of the former NFLers who have been interviewed admit that the quality of their day to day life is a direct result of the years they played football. They all cite examples back to junior league and their high school careers when they sustained injuries, sometimes severe concussions, yet chose to “walk it off” and get back in the action. Imposing fines and penalties will not alter the way the current NFL players play the game.

As Drew Breese last seasons Super Bowl winning quarterback of the New Orleans Saints noted on ESPN earlier this week, the “improved equipment meant to protect the players’ has actually made the players “more” dangerous, more lethal. The NFL stresses player safety but everyone involved in the game on any level and certainly all those even on the periphery realize that money is the bottom line, the only bottom line that counts. As long as the NFL produces a product - highly competitive football played by the world’s greatest athletes - there will continue to be violent collisions, injuries and long term repercussions for these men when they ultimately leave the game.

The same can be said for so many hundreds of thousands of American workers from every corner of the workforce, every sector of the giant apparatus that is American production, industry, manufacturing, construction, transportation and distribution. According to the Occupational safety and Health Administration (OSHA), everyday 16 men and women who punched a clock in the morning did not return home from work as the result of a workplace injury or death. That is reality.

TAGS: NFL, NFL Player Safety, Concussions, OSHA, Football, Risks, Rewards, NFL Head Injury Advisory Committee, Super Bowl.


Originally posted on & Saturday, February 5, 2011 @ 12:30PM EST

Copyright TBC 2011 © All Rights Reserved

Thursday, February 3, 2011



Antigovernment protesters clash with regime backed thugs
Tahrir Square on Wednesday.

(February 3, 2011. Washington, DC) Dawn broke on Cairo, Egypt hours ago after yesterdays violence raged on through the night between the antigovernment protesters and “bands of armed thugs” allegedly doing the dirty work for the embattled President Mubarak as his Army has apparently taken a neutral position amid the escalating tension and violence. It appears that Egyptians have had enough of the 30 year reign of the oppressive Mubarak regime. The last 30 years has seen the 80 million plus population of one of the oldest civilizations on the planet struggle with 40% unemployment, poverty, human rights violations and a host of societal ills that has spawned everything from high infant mortality to the radical Muslim Brotherhood.

It is difficult to witness the live footage airing since earlier yesterday on MSNBC of the scenes in Cairo without hearing the words that Thomas Jefferson wrote in our own Declaration of Independence in 1776. The “self evident” truths that motivated our own struggle to be free of the tyranny of the British Empire resounds with millions and millions of people today living under varying degrees of modern day tyranny and rigid, strong-armed regimes deaf to the plight and problems plaguing their own citizenry.

Yesterday saw the widest scale escalation of violence as armed marauding bands of Mubarak’s “Secret Police” and other factions loyal to and paid by the 82 year old President went on the offensive against the huge crowds that have been gathered in and around Tahrir Square within stands the Egyptian National Museum. As fires blazed and automatic weapons fired echoed off the ancient streets, tanks of the Egyptian Army stood idle apparently manned by personnel unwilling to engage their fellow countrymen with the armed might at their disposal.

Just as all Americans since our founding have valued and often died for the noble, inspired concepts that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”, the world is standing witness to the latest assertion of these concepts. Contrary to reports from the right-wing media outlets in the United States crassly using the “distinctly secular” uprising in Egypt to somehow promote their own narrow-minded political ideology and label it as a “radical Islamic movement”, the images broadcast via satellite tell a vastly divergent truth. It is a simple truth, a resounding truth and a truth our own freedoms are founded on. The Egyptian people are standing up and bravely proclaiming their desire to join with their global democratic brothers and sisters as they seek Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. It is that simple and, due to the geopolitics of the last 50 years in the Middle East, that complex.

Obviously, America, the Obama Administration, and our incredibly inept “intelligence community” were “caught flat-footed” by the rapidly developing events in Egypt that ultimately may topple the regime of one of our oldest “allies” in that perpetually and perplexingly troubled region. Further complicating this powder keg, Israel, one of Egypt’s neighbors allowed 800 pro Mubarak forces to move into a strategic position in the Sinai Desert. Israel signed a peace treaty with Egypt in 1979 when President Anwar Sadat shook hands over the historic Camp David Accords brokered by then US President Jimmy Carter and Israel's Yihtzak Rabin. Mubarak came to power after Sadat was assassinated in 1981 by factions of his own military incensed by the peace treaty with the “Zionist State.” Since that time Mubarak has been a key US ally in maintaining a “cold peace” with Israel as well as playing a vital yet controversial role in supporting George W, Bush’s “War on Terror.” So, for the Obama Administration and other Middle East nations Egypt and her erupting internal conflict is not an easy matter to assess or intervene.

Yes. This is about as complicated a situation as can be imagined rivaling the byzantine tensions between our “partners and allies” in the Afghanistan-Pakistan-Indian rim. We used Mubarak’s secret Police to aid in the CIA’s “Special renditions” and sent more than a few of those we rounded up on the plains and in the mountains of Afghanistan post September 11, 2001 to Egypt for the sort of special interrogation tactics W. claimed we’d not engage in. Oh yeah, oh yeah. That old wheel is going to turn around once more.

It is literally anyone's guess what the Egyptian dusk of tomorrow will bring or not bring.

Not matter. People the world over hold certain truths to be self evident. Many have died for that just cause and many more will. Hopefully we will not see massive chaos and death live on MSNBC. But, we might.

TAGS: Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, Thomas Jefferson, Cairo Uprising, The Declaration of Independence, Barak Obama, Secular Protests, Mubarak’s Thugs, Inept CIA, MSNBC, Democracy.


Copyright TBC 2011 © All Rights Reserved

Saturday, January 29, 2011



Egyptians protest for sixth day defying government imposed curfews and
restrictions. Many Egyptian Army troops appear sympathetic to protesters

(January 29, 2011 - NY, NY) Last Tuesday night as President Barak Obama, stood before a joint session of Congress and the American people delivering the annual State of the Union address, half a world away one of our oldest “allies” in the Middle East, Egypt, was beginning to feel the rattle and hum of a populace fed up. By today the rattles and hums have exploded into full blown revolt with the very real threat of being able to bring down a government.

After 30 years of tightfisted rule over the largest Muslim Nation in the world and respected by all Muslim countries for their place in world history, President Hosni Mubarak has unleashed his police and military forces to quell the increasingly vocal, unruly and, in some locations, violent protests. It appears that a “tipping point” may have arrived for Egyptian frustration with their government and the social ills that Mubarak has done little to address since becoming President in 1981. He succeeded Anwar Sadat who was assassinated shortly after normalizing relations with Israel in the famous Camp David Peace Accords brokered by then President Jimmy Carter making Egypt the first of Israel’s neighbors to recognize her tight to exist.

Mubarak, a crafty international figure and consummate Washington inside has long enjoyed extremely close relationships with the United States and our Presidents. In some cases the relationships Mubarak used to his advantage were more than diplomatic - they were personal as with the Bush family. On average the United States provides Egypt with almost $2 billion annually in financial and military aid. As with so many other Middle East nations who repress their people, the ruling regimes have been so heavily reliant on the United States that it can be said such regimes would not have lasted this long without the direct aid of the United States. Now, Egyptians seemed poise to oust Mubarak and make an effort towards some form of self determination and a more “democratic” form of governance.

While most Americans would have been hard pressed to locate Tunisia on a map a few weeks ago, it was in that northern African country where a very similar uprising by millions of frustrated Tunisians led to the toppling of the long time regime there. In Middle Eastern nations from Yemen to Syria, Iran and Lebanon, grass roots protests are threatening other US backed, long time regimes. So, what does it all mean? What has this got to do with us?

The answers to these questions are not black and white and, at this point in time, extremely difficult to even speculate on due to the fluid nature of the events in Egypt which is the current and perhaps most unstable epicenter of what are secular expressions by long suffering people; the millions upon millions who want unrestricted entry into the 21st century.

A report released earlier last week noted that the world wide Muslim population is increasing at twice the rate of the non-Muslim world. We already know about the “youth bubble” in Muslim countries where the bulk of their populations are under 30 years of age. These might be ominous signs for the rest of the West and America in particular depending on how the Obama Administration chooses to navigate the roiling waters in an already unstable region of the world that does, whether we like it or not, is vitally important to our national security concerns. The apparent intractability of the Israeli - Palestinian issue has always made the Middle East a powder keg. Now, with the rising tide of discontent and open, hostile rebellion taking on a viral component, President Obama must make some very difficult decisions regarding who are “true” allies are in that region and just how long we can remain “loyal’ to what are essentially American backed leaders who have done nothing to address the endemic ills of their own countries. Despite the billions of US tax payer provided financial support we have thrown into these countries for decades, we are learning the hard way that America’s voice does not carry the clout, moral authority or authenticity it once did. Muslim, the proverbial “Arab Streets” from Cairo to Tunis has no trust that the United States can or will do anything to really support their efforts other than offer hollow, token, tired rhetoric they’ve all heard before.

The “global economy” just barely showing some signs of having been resuscitated after the near collapses from 2008 until now is already reacting negatively to the unrest in Egypt. We have been militarily involved in Iraq since 2002, engaged in an escalating, odd and hazardous game of chicken with Iran regarding their nuclear ambitions among other things, and have vocal enemies spread across the region like clusters of chicken pox. Some are state-sanctioned players with terrorism ambitions while others, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Queda and its bastard off shoots enjoy safe havens from Sudan, Yemen and into Iraq. When the US Stock Exchange opens tomorrow look for a tumultuous day as investors find the instability in Egypt generating a ripple effect throughout the already shaky global economy. One way or another, acknowledge it or ignore it, everything is connected. The happenings in Cairo, Egypt will, in some way or another effect the happenings, at least financially as in the price of gas in Cairo, Illinois.

In the wake of September 11, 2001, Americans learned the consequences of “blow back”. This is not to imply that the secular unrest in Egypt and elsewhere will once again bring radical elements with terrorist intents to our shores but, there is more than one way to impact a country, there is more than one way to inflict critical wounds on America in this all too connected world.

Hopefully the events in Egypt will bring about some positive, tangible changes for those long suffering 80 million human beings. Hopefully transitioning from brutal semi-dictatorship will not be the result of massive bloodshed. Maybe Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the vast electronic / cyber landscape will be able to usher in a era of change using the power of social media, thoughts, ideals, words and free expression and take the place of the bullets, bombs, grenades and mortars of the last century. It would be fitting and just if this were to turn out to be so.

Let us hope, wait and see.

TAGS: Egypt, Cairo Demonstrations, Secular Uprising, Hosni Mubarek, Muslim Discontent, Tunisia, Middle East Instability, Democratic Aspirations, US Support, Israel - Palestine Conflict, Iraq, Iran, President Obama

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