…The Bleacherman has entered the conversation…

The world, which always seems to be on the brink of some cataclysmic or apocalyptic disaster,  somehow keeps from blowing itself to pieces by living within and following a tenuous but certain order of life in the political fast lane.  Although at times it is most difficult to believe that hidden behind the chaos and confusion the rules the day,  there is a very well defined path that is being followed.  It seems that politics – both domestic and foreign – depends on a absolute obedience to a science of laws that govern most actions and reactions.  Beyond the madness, there is a logic.  

There is a guiding logic that allows for the insanities and atrocities of nationalistic and religious malfeasance.  When God created the heavens and the stars, the earth and the moon, he also created a bountiful and plentiful gene pool that has spawned – and will continue to  spawn – madmen and murderers who kill, torture and loot in the name of a perverse political ideology or religious theology.

Wars and genocides dominate the landscape of history yet mankind and the world it lives on always seems to survive.  Because the order of things is complex with millions of sets and subsets all working in sync, like gears in a massive machine.

But today, part of that order is being challenged and compromised. It seems the boys in the sandbox have decided to let their testosterone-throbbing penises do the thinking.  They play a  do it my way or I’m taking my toys home with me game which has somehow elevated into conventional wisdom.  

This all begins with Israeli Prime Minister ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu’s obsession with opposing Iran’s development of nuclear weapons.  Although the thought of Iran possessing such  nuclear bombs scares most of the world, Israel’s fear – justified and valid – borders on the brink of absolute paranoia.  The majority of Israel’s leaders sincerely believe that Iran would surely not hesitate to use such a weapon on the Jewish State.

Whether such thinking is realistic is a question open to debate.  Given just the geography of the region, it is hard to imagine that anyone would even consider using such a powerful and destructive weapon on Israel given its proximity to the West Bank, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon.  Surely, any nuclear attack on Israel would produce radioactive fallout that would adversely affect the population of its neighbors.  Israel is a small country. It stretches about 250 miles from North to South and from 9.3 to 71 miles east to west.

Attacking Israel would be like dropping a nuclear bomb on Los Angeles.  Cities like San Diego, Anaheim, Las Vegas and San Francisco would be subject to the affects of nuclear fallout as well.  So  the question must be asked:  Even if Iran had to capability and wanted to attack Israel; would it do so knowing that such attack would endanger the entire West Bank, most of Jordan and large portions of both Lebanon and Egypt?  Can a country be that obsessed with destroying its perceived enemy that it would be willing to sacrifice the lives of hundreds of thousands of its own people?

For this blogger, such thought is pure insanity.  But then, again, world history is dominated  by similar episodes of insanity so who is to say the current situation is so different?    Who is to say that such a war, such an outrageous attack is impossible?

Certainly not this blogger.

So Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu comes to Washington to, in theory, speak to a joint session of Congress.  He was invited not by the President or a member of his administration but by Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner; which, of course, pissed the President and his friend off.  The President claims that with Israeli national elections only weeks away, Netanyahu’s speech in front of Congress can be interpreted by some as America’s involvement in Israeli politics.  Boehner claims the speech is all about Iran’s nuclear threat and how important it is for the United States to prevent Iran from ever achieving nuclear weapons.

And  so it has started: the crumbling of the order of things.  What was once sacrosanct is now under attack and political stability is losing the fight.

Obama, Netanyahu and Boehner are in a sandbox waving their dicks at each other and acting like spoiled children engaged in a winner take all size-does-matter contest.  Democrats are boycotting the speech.  The House Black Caucus is criticizing the speech.  Talking puppets sent out by the Obama administration are saying that this whole mini crisis is significantly hurting American-Israeli relations.  This ego-driven dance across strategic chess boards is destroying long standing alliances.

Israel needs America’s economic and military support.  America needs an ally like Israel in the Middle East.  Israel needs Congressional Democrats support.  Democrats need the support of Jewish voters.  

Israel needs the support of the Israel-loving religious Republicans.  Republicans need the political donations offered by Jewish elitists.  

The Democratic Black Caucus, which is boycotting Netanyahu’s speech, needs the support of Jewish donors as they are compelled to resurrect a new version of the 1965 voting rights appeal.  

So maybe it is time for all of our leaders to act as big boys and big girls and lead our respective countries during times that can best be described as dangerous and frightening.  Let long standing coalitions and alliances continue and lets at the very least tune down the rhetoric and pubic posturing.  Let’s let the Speaker of the House and the Israeli Prime Minister have their moments.  Let Boehner play his anti-Obama political game.  Let Netanyahu warn the Congress, this Nation and the rest of the World of the dangers of ever letting a country like Iran obtain nuclear weapons.

And then let’s us go back and expend energies and resources on the real issues of the day.  Let us go back and continue to strengthen the order of things that has functioned so well over the past six decades.

With the right to vote being compromised by pseudo Patriots and partisan zealots, let us join together to insure that the bells of freedom will continue to ring.

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I don’t get it. I just don’t get it.

On numerous occasions, President Obama has emphasized that he is against Iran obtaining nuclear weapons. However, now it appears that what the President was really saying is that he is against Iran becoming a nuclear power for the next ten years. After that, what? Oh well.

Now it seems as if the Obama administration will be happy if Iran waits ten years before it begins readying a nuclear attack on Israel.

According to numerous reports, the end goal of the 5+1 talks with Iran is to delay Iran from becoming a nuclear threat for ten years. I guess, a lot can happen in ten years. Iran could learn to live in peace with Israel. Israel could build a impenetrable air defense system. And my Cubs could win a World Series.

It could happen.

But why ten years? Why not twenty? Or forever?

I voted for Obama not just once, but twice. But time and time again he has fallen short of expectations and has forgotten about the pledges and promises that he has made. I have given him my vote. At least give me the courtesy of an honest answer to this question: How does giving Iran nuclear weapons after then years making Israel and the United States any safer?

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Over the years I have watched with disgust how the price and value of American patriotism has fallen to lows unthinkable only decades earlier. I thought the debate over the legitimacy of the Viet Nam war had taught this country a lesson on what really is the true meaning of patriotism. I thought that there was so much more to this country than just its military might. I thought that we understood that political dissent over foreign and domestic policy was a valued and vital part of the American political landscape and should not be dismissed, condemned nor labeled as a threat to the security of our nation.

Apparently, they were lessons either never learned or quickly forgotten.

It is now overwhelmingly evident that America has become a discount warehouse selling once proud and noble nationalistic values for marked down fire-sale prices in the name of partisan expediency. Once, patriotism was easy to define. It was easy to identify with and could be worn as a badge of honor.

Today, American patriotism has become nothing more than a cartoonish manifestation of a long abandoned purely fictional superlative. It has been devalued and degraded to a point where it is nothing more than symbolism without substance, words without meaning, actions and reactions void of any real purpose or national value.

Today, American patriotism is a flag lapel pin worn while denying a fellow American’s right to vote. It is loudly banging the war drums from the safety of knowing that it is someone else who will be doing the bleeding and the dying. It is typing out a Facebook message from a consequence-free bunker of anonymity.

Today, it takes very little effort to become a self-proclaimed, flag-waving, song-singing, chest-beating proud American. One does not even have to get off their couch, eat a hot dog or a large, calorie and sugar filled piece of apple pie, call their mother or root, root, root for the home team. Now one merely has to take ten seconds to concoct a one-hundred and forty character tweet promoting American exceptionalism and advocating the bombing of any country whose population does not pray to our Christian God.

“Let’s Do War!”

It has become our new national motto. And we don’t even have to translate the words into Latin to add an affirming religious righteousness to the context of the message. If we are killing non-Christians, God is automatically on our side.

We, citizens of a self-proclaimed God-fearing country, seem to love war. We love building machines of war. We love watching made in USA missiles and bombs blow the shit out of our enemies. We cheer the nightly news when enemy body counts are announced. And, in the shadows of a fading conscience, when no one is looking, we pause for but a short moment and then simply shrug our shoulders and turn away rather than watch American flag-draped caskets being marched out of the bellies of huge flying machines.

Our solemnity and concern over those that have fought and died in our wars is always short lived. Our tears end quickly as our television screens break away from an image of rolling hills scared by endless rows of gravestones and quickly and thankfully changes to an close-up picture of a scantily dressed young nymphet devouring a gushy, greasy cheeseburger. After all, what is more patriotic than lusting over a pair of over exposed, well-endowed, American manufactured breasts?

So we no longer rally around flag. We no longer ask God to save the Union. Today, the uniting cry is about cleavage and breasts. Today, American patriotism has all the earnestness and sincerity of a thirty second television commercial.

We have regressed into becoming a nation of war and warriors. America is now being defined by its military might. The epicenter of American patriotism is focused and promotes conflict and combat. Americans-in-Combat is now the core value that drives the engine of national loyalty and pride.

We no longer have to flock to the Roman Coliseum to cheer on the gladiators to feed our lust for death. In our modern world, we can demand the thumbs-down verdict of death from the comfort of our own living room. War is easy to start and even easier to support. And it is easy to condemn and attack. Because most Americans sit in the cheap seats far removed from the consequences of combat. The horrors of war are no more real than the graphics vomited from a video game. There is nothing real or personal to most because it is always someone else doing the fighting and the dying. It is always someone else who has to bear the pain and sacrifice of giving one’s life for one’s country.

We are the reincarnation of the Romans who from the seats high above the arena demanded and cheered for death. War became a game. When one has no skin in the game, when one has nothing to lose or sacrifice, all it takes to be a self-proclaimed patriot is to send off a few one hundred and forty character tweets filled with rah-rah fighting words.

Patriotism is cheap. Our values have been bankrupted.

Hemingway summed it all up best. He wrote than in the old days, to die for one’s country was sweet and fitting. But in modern war, there is nothing neither sweet nor fitting in dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason.

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So it seems as if Palestinian President Mahmound Abbas is hell bent on taking Israel to the International Criminal Court so his antagonists can be, in his eyes, held accountable for their atrocities against the Palestinian people and the residents of Gaza.

Boy, talk about driving the wrong way down a one way street. I hate to dwell in cliches but hasn’t President Abbas ever heard the statement, ‘what goes around, comes around?’

I am sure that in the heat of battle and conflict, some Israeli soldiers probably acted in a way that even they, themselves in retrospect, would find out of character and most inappropriate. It happens in war.

War strips away every shred of human decency and dignity. Primal instincts and uncontrollable emotions gush to the surface of a soldier’s cognitive mind. In war, in and of itself an atrocious way of settling differences, there will aways be individual acts of atrocity. It is the nature of the beast.

But President Abbas cannot believe that he is walking into the international court process as an innocent victim. He has as much blood on his hands as anyone.

How does he defend the act of blowing up civilian buses, schools and night clubs? How can he defend knife attacks on individuals whose only crime was to be standing at the wrong bus stop at the wrong time?

How can he defend his alliance with Hamas; yes, the same Hamas that fired thousands of rockets at Israeli population centers? Yes, the same Hamas that uses tunnels to infiltrate and attack small Israeli settlements. Yes, the same Hamas that wants to destroy Israel.

Mr. Abbas, you, yourself, are not an innocent man. Accept that fact and then return to the negotiating table willing to seek a fair and just COMPROMISE.

Then and only then will you get your much desired and much deserved independent Palestinian state.

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I feel compelled to offer what amounts to almost an apology for what I am about to write. As I review my notes for this blog I am overwhelmed by how they represent and reflect the rawest of my emotions. Today I was driven more by anger than by intellect and logic. And what I produced shocked me. The inner voice in me screamed, “this can’t be you writing this blog.”

In my youth, I lived in a wonderful time and place where ideals were important and dreams seemed almost reachable. It was a time when the youth of America were challenging long held repressive traditions and entrenched and antiquated social attitudes. It was a time when I (and my generation) rejected the world that was being forced fed to us by our parents, neighbors, clergy and teachers.

My generation, referred to as “baby boomers,” opposed racism and marched through the cities of the south demanding equality and equal opportunity. We opposed a senseless war that wasted the lives of over fifty-five thousand Americans in an effort history refers to as a great debacle. We rejected the arbitrary imposing of a platitude of inhibitions and prohibitions that were no longer valid nor useful. We marched down city streets. We shut down universities. We were labeled as ‘communists’ and ‘anarchists.’ We were cursed at, we were beaten and killed, we were called traitors and shunned by our won families.

So now, this once ultra-liberal, progressive thinking individual finds himself confused by the killing of Michael Brown and the circus that has followed. Maybe as I am getting older, my politics are migrating to the center. Maybe not? Maybe I have evolved (devolved?) into a Republican (God Forbid!).

No matter how you cut it, no matter what you choose to believe, what happened in Ferguson, Missouri, was a tragedy.

But the bigger tragedy is what has followed Michael Brown’s death. It took but a moment for the cameras to begin to roll, the lights turned on and in the shadows, the great manipulators yelled, “action.” The circus quickly came to town and brought with it a freak show of agitators, lawyers, reporters, self-promoters and profiteers.

In the rush to condemn and convict Darren Wilson, lost in the aftermath of this tragedy was “the truth.” From cesspools and sewers came the night crawlers; the men and women of society, media and politics that sought the spotlight in order to advance an agenda that, often times, was and is not consistent with actually finding out what really happened that afternoon in Ferguson.

What we do know is that Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown. That much is certain and indisputable. What we don’t know is whether this death was the result of a racist and violent outburst of personal anger or was the ugly and regretful outcome of a series of events where the escalating emotions of two highly charged individuals collided in an social environment rich with the potential for over-reaction, distrust and anger.

I am not one who can or even wants to litigate this conflict nor do I have the skills to deduct or induct a pathway to hopefully reaching a fact-based conclusion of what happened and why did it happen. To obtain a better understanding of the complex nature of the controversies surrounding Michael Brown’s death, I strongly recommend readers of this blog to read an article that was published in Mother Jones and written by Jaeah Lee and AJ Vicens. It provides a wonderful overview of the testimony given by numerous witnesses and highlights the numerous discrepancies and contradictions reflected in their descriptions of the accounts of that day.

It should also be noted that even the interpretation of forensic evidence is in dispute.

So it is easy to see why the Grand Jury simply punted and did not indict Officer Wilson.

Demonstrators say they want justice but just exactly is justice? I fear that no one wants to find out the truth; most want to construct an ending that fits the story that they have been shucking down our throats for months now.

There is only one way out of this mess. Someone must appoint a special prosecutor who then must convene an inquiry that is open to the public and broadcast on television. Let the world hear the testimony of all those who claim they witnessed the shooting. Let the world hear the scientists interpret the forensic evidence in hopes of painting an objective picture of what possibly happened between Office Wilson and Michael Brown.

And then let the world draw its own conclusions. Not everyone will go home happy. Justice is now a subjective observation. It will not be beyond comment or criticism. And somewhere along the way we will answer the question: Is justice a process or an outcome?

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Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who will never be mistaken for being either articulate or intelligent, blessed us the other day with her comments on President Barack Obama’s plan to use an executive order to try to impose some limited fix to this country’s very broken and self destructing immigration policy.

Like her sister in the political manifestation of the Dumb and Dumber movies, Ms. Bachmann joins Sarah Palin in elevating innuendo and deceit to an art form. Neither one cares little about things like ‘truth,’ ‘facts,’ and ‘accuracy’ Their main concern is to attack their target – most often, President Obama – spread their venom over as wide a field as possible and willingly manipulate and mislead their flock of followers into a mindset void of logic or reason.

Without going into detail, President Obama’s executive orders will do more more than just shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. It will give those people, who have been living in an underground economic environment, the opportunity to become part of our society and to positively contribute to our economic growth by getting jobs, freely interacting in our social and economic landscape and by paying local, state and federal taxes.

The President’s executive order did not give anyone amnesty, it did not open up our borders to a tsunami of illegal immigration and it did not bestow citizenship on any undocumented workers. The President’s Executive Order only relaxes the threat of deportation for a specific and defined demographic that are here illegally.

But Ms. Bachmann, never one to dabble in details, cranked up the old fear-mongering machine and put it on steroids. She claimed that the President’s actions would eventually create a new class of “illiterate” Democratic voters. How insane. How utterly and totally moronic.

In Ms. Bachmann’s rambling of fiction and lies, she applauded and championed her congressional Republican colleagues for their fight against “unskilled, illiterate foreign nationals.”

Of course, she never gave acknowledgement nor applause to our own screwed up educational system and social infrastructure that is producing a class of our own unskilled, illiterate American citizens?

And, true to her nature as innuendo and fact-less purveyor of bullshit, Ms. Bachmann asserts that,“People do vote without being a citizen. It’s a wink and a nod, we all know it’s going to happen.”

But it doesn’t happen. Study after study has shown that the number of non-citizen voters is almost immeasurable. Bachmann has adopted the Palinesque doctrine of ‘lying is better politics than silence.’

What Ms. Bachmann should have done is to articulate the Republican plan on resolving the immigration issue. Oh wait; the GOP HAS NO PLAN. Gee.

To her and her wonderful GOP colleagues, immigration reform is defined by how high a fence should we build from California to Texas and by how many armed Border Police does it take to make sure that not one single undocumented individual steps foot on our sacred soil. To the GOP, we do not need any more unskilled laborers. Our national educational system is turning the unskilled out by the hundreds of thousands each year.

Times have changed. We have no railroad to build so we do not need the Chinese and we have enough Latinos – over eleven million – to pick our strawberries, harvest our crops, mow our lawns and undertake what ever low paying job corporate America creates.

So even though the system is broken, why fix it if good old American citizens are profiting from its transgressions and degradations?

To those readying to impeach the President, if you don’t like what Mr. Obama is doing; get off your butts and offer a viable solution. Or is that too democratic for you and your friends on Capital Hill.

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…the Bleacherman has entered the discussion…

It has taken me four full days to try to absorb Ambassador Bolton’s absurd, totally partisan op-ed piece published by the Los Angeles Times on November 14th. His neo-conservative, All-Hail-America, Obama-can- do-no-right gibberish clearly shows that there are many in our country who insist that America must reclaim its title as the world’s Number One superpower regardless of the amount of money it would have to spend and cares little about the number of its children it has to sacrifice to obtain and defend such title.

Mr. Bolton lays out a three point check list to guide the next Congress in preparing our country for the next Republican, warmongering President.

His first point calls for a broad national debate to articulate what America’s place in the world should be. Bolton criticizes Obama let’s-not-be-stupid policy and praises Ronald Reagan’s vision that only through a strong and well armed America can we bring order and stability to the world.

But what did our strength and a plethora of weapons accomplish when we paraded our Marines ashore in Lebanon to only a short time later, after the death of hundreds of our children, did we pick up our tails and run home crying “mommy.”

His second point was a warning that Obama, a lame duck President, would exceed his constitutional authority and do something reckless and try to, through international treaties, combat the effects of global warming and climate change. After all, in Mr. Bolton’s narrow mindedness, it is perfectly acceptable to have man, god’s second greatest achievement, destroy his first greatest achievement -Earth.

His third point, which is the most ludicrous and misinformed and misleading dogma offered by the former Ambassador, blames Obama for the massive reductions in defense spending. Obviously, Mr. Bolton never heard of Republican supported sequestration and the spending cuts that if forced upon this country.

Bolton’s foreign policy check lis is an obscene manifestation of the philosophy of shoot first, negotiate second mentality. Victory, in his mind, is the visual of a soldier standing in a field surrounded by the graves of his fallen comrades yelling, “we’re Number One” and holding up one of those “we’re Number One” hands we see at sporting events.

America’s greatness cannot be measured by how many of the world’s problems we have solved by warfare. There are many regions of the world where our military might is ineffective as a deterrent to religious and ethic-driven conflicts.

Holster those guns, Mr. Bolton. Open you’re eyes, close your mouth and stop blaming everything that is wrong in this world on our President. If you want to fight a war, I recommend you picking up a gun and go fight the war yourself.

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