THE BLAME GAME

We live in a culture that is obsessed with the idea of blame. There always has to be a scapegoat. How did we ever get this way as a country? The United States is supposed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave. Instead we have become a society that is not only hypocritical, but also judgmental and at many times unfair.

Whatever happened to the old adage of just fixing a problem. Does there always have to be blame attached to the event or story. For example, let us look back at 9/11. After the horrific attacks, it became clear that the Terrorist Group Al-Qaeda had been responsible for the worst attack on American soil in history. Ok, so Osama Bin Laden and his group of Muslim extremists were behind the attack. But instead of just coming together as a country and trying to get these bastards, who were clearly responsible for the thousands of deaths, instead the American people began to look at every avenue and pass blame on numerous sub groups and even individuals.

C’MON, seriously! Do you think that it matters if the CIA had intelligence that these attacks were imminent. Do you think that if the CIA had acted more quickly that 9/11 could have been prevented. Lets face it, some things are just destined to happen. Yes, maybe there was some negligence on the part of the CIA. However, the CIA is not to blame for 9/11. Instead of blaming them and having a war of words between politicians, government agencies, etc., why could they not just focus on solving the problem and moving on.

The reason that the “Blame Game” has become so ingrained in our culture is that no one likes to be wrong. Criticism is not taken very well, so it’s much easier to point the finger at the “other” person. I would argue that blame and judgement could be a very dangerous path and that this type of behavior could truly ruin our country and what it was founded on.

Let us also look at the Benghazi Terror Attacks on September 11, 2011. Now these attacks were carried out overseas instead of in the United States, but they definitely affected our country the most in terms of lost lives and fear. Once again, a Jihad Terrorist Group claimed responsibility for the attacks. However, instead of just taking the information and running with it, the people had to find another scapegoat or “patsy.” This time, the Government including President Obama and Hillary Clinton were blamed. It was stated that they were aware of this threat and once again did nothing.

The “Blame Game” is not relegated to the Political Sector. Blame is used everywhere everyday. In schools. In the workplace. In Sports. On the Roadways. Blame and Judgement are two dangerous tools that can really wreak havoc if not used in the proper way. God tells us not to judge others because we are just as bad.

The latest Terror Attack at the Boston Marathon brought back memories of 9/11, and although no specific group has taken responsibility, it is thought that the perpetrators were somehow tied into a terrorist network. Here we go again. Instead of coming together, sharing our intelligence, sharing our tools to get these terrorists we continue to place blame on whoever is in the way.

This time the blame is being placed on the FBI. Really? Ok, so you are going to sit here look me in the eye and say that the FBI definitely knew these Attacks would happen and they failed to react even a little bit? I would strongly disagree. Had the FBI had intelligence that the Marathon was a terrorist target, they would have reacted right away. I mean no agency, no network, no group is infallible. Mistakes are made. We are all human beings. Instead of standing around debating who is at fault here and who we should blame, can we please look at the facts.

The fact is that two Muslim extremists planned and carried out a terrorist attack in Boston at the marathon. That much we do know and one of the suspects is dead and the other one is in custody. Well, don’t you think that all these agencies should be sharing their intelligence, resources, and plans to find out how deep this plot runs. Are there any other people involved? Was Al-Qaeda responsible? How about Hizbollah? No, instead the American people as well as the Government is crucifying the FBI.

Maybe the FBI was Nieve and negligent, but they are definitely not to blame. Let us please focus on the tasks at hand. Find out who is responsible and get the people that did this to you. The FBI should be addressed but that should be something that is done behind closed doors. Blame is a very serious and dangerous tool that has become all to coon in our society today. The World would be a better place without blame. Instead of blame, how about connecting the dots and finding facts. This is a much more efficient way to get to the bottom of a problem and correct it. Just saying, this “blame game” must stop. Blame the terrorists. Blame the Haters. Blame the real people who are responsible for these heinous crimes. Until next time, have a great weekend everyone!

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TERROR, VIOLENCE, And The MEDIA

There are numerous definitions of Terrorism. In 1989, the United States instituted a definition which states that terrorism is premeditated, politically or religious motivated violence that is perpetrated against non combatant targets by sub national groups or Clandestine groups. After 9/11, it was added that a major characteristic of terrorism is the aim or ability to intimidate a population.

Early Terrorism included the Gun Powder Plot, which was an attempt to destroy English Parliament in 1605 and the Boston Tea Party, which was an attack on British property by the Sons of Liberty in 1773. Terrorism escalated with the invention of more affordable explosives including dynamite.

A very early form of Terrorism in the United States was the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) who used such ideas as white supremacy, anti-semitism, racism, anti-Catholicism, and nativism. In Europe the IRA (Irish Republican Army) used bombings and assassinations to try to free Egypt from British control. The first major terrorism act was the 1946 bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem killing 96 people and wounding 46.

During the 1980’s and 1990’s, Islamic militancy in pursuit of religious and political goals increased. In 1985, Air India Flight 182 was blown up killing 329 people, mostly of Indian descent. This was the beginning of terrorism through the air. On April 19th, 1995 the Oklahoma City Bombing was directed at the US government by Timothy McVeigh that killed 168 and wounded 800 people. During his trial, McVeigh cited revenge against the US government for his motivation.

Hezbollah, a Middle East group bombed the Beruit Barracks which killed more than 200 US Marines. The Muslim Brotherhood was formed and led by Abdel-Rahman who was responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. In 1988, Al Qaeda (Islamic Jihadist movement) was created by Osama Bin Laden.

Al Qaeda has been responsible for many terror attacks including the dual simultaneous bombing of two US embassies in Africa, which killed 224 people. In 2000, the USS Cole was bombed killing 17 US sailors. And in the most heinous act of terrorism ever committed, on the morning of September 11, 2001, 19 Hijackers affiliated with Al Qaeda hijacked four US commercial passenger jet airliners crashing two into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon, and one that was taken down by the passengers that may have been heading to another US city. In all, 2,973 people perished in those attacks, the worst terrorist attack to date.

Of course, on this past Monday two Russian immigrants set off two bombs at the Boston Marathon, which killed 3 people and wounded 176. The perpetrators went on a rampage after US security leaked pictures out to the public showing who was responsible. The older brother was killed in a Gun Battle after killing a police officer and the younger brother was taken alive and still remains in critical condition.

So this brings us to the major debate regarding terrorism. Since 9/11 the Patriot Act has made it easier to prosecute and charge groups with terrorism. However, what most people in the US do not understand us that not all terrorists are these Muslim Groups. In fact, today there are so many groups and subgroups of terrorists. Also, there are many homegrown terrorists that work alone. Remember the Beltway Sniper…now him and a not killed over ten people in a one month period of terror before they were caught.

Terrorism is a very real aspect of society today. But what really separates terrorism from just normal violence. Terrorism is violence. Violence is terrorism. When the Boston bombings occurred, everyone in America assumed that this had to be an Al Qaeda attack. Of course, the 24/7 media coverage does not help. I mean, the stories kept changing. Well, the perpetrators happen to be Chechnyan Immigrants that had been living in the US. Only time will tell if they were funded or affiliated by radical groups. It really does not matter…the people that are dead are not coming back. No matter what information is found, these families, town and community was devastated.

In my opinion, the media actually propels American thinking and makes people assume the worst. As evidenced by this weeks events, the 24/7 coverage of the bombings and fallout was in excess. Some of the video and audio was disturbing. And what’s worse is that now the Right Wing Gun Movement is stating that the lockdown in Boston is just another example of why guns should not be banned. Even worse, anti-police blogs were arguing that the Government should not have searched all the homes that they did. C’MON…are you kidding me. People need to have respect for all of the people including first responders that were affected by this terror attack. Wether these bombings are labeled “Terrorism” or not is not important. What is important is that we learn from each type of violent incident that occurs in our nation. The Media needs to use more caution while covering these issues as well. More to Come.

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BEGINNING 2013: LOOKING BACK TEN YEARS 2003

We are only Nine Days into a New Year, 2013. We all hope that 2013 will be a positive memorable year. Each and every new year brings the hope for a better tomorrow and some years are good and some are bad. Unfortunately, the bad years seem to be remembered more easily than the good ones.

For instance, 2001 will always be remembered for September 11th and the terrible tragedy that occurred that day. 1986 will always be remembered for the Challenger Disaster which saw the Space Shuttle Challenger Explode right on National Television. 1963 will always be remembered for the John F Kennedy Assassination. The list can go on and the years where tragedies occur usually are brought to light much more than the quiet years.

Without further adieu, let’s go back Ten Years to the year 2003. We will start off with the sports news of 2003. On January 26th, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers one their first ever Super Bowl beating the Oakland Raiders 48-21. The Raiders were favored but Tampa dominated the game. Tampa Bay Defensive Back Dexter Jackson took home MVP honors. In the NHL, the New Jersey won their Third Stanley Cup in Eight Years, beating the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in 7 Games. Anaheim Goalie John Sebastian Giguere took home the Conn Smythe Trophy for MVP of the players despite playing for the losing team.

In the NBA, the San Antonio Spurs beat the New Jersey Nets in six games 4-2 as Tim Duncan won his second MVP. In MLB, The Florida Marlins upset the New York Yankees in the World Series 4-2. The Marlins had the leagues smallest payroll and were able to slay the Giants of the MLB circuit. The Yankees were heavily favored, but they were shut out in Game Six. And in NASCAR…Jimmie Johnson won the points total again.

In the Movies, “The Lord of the Rings- Two Towers” won the award for best picture, While Eminem won for best male actor in “8Mile” and Kirsten Dunst won for the best Female Actress. In music, Norah Jones took three Grammys for best New Artist, Best Album “Come Away With Me”, Song “Don’t Know Why”, Best Female Artist. John Mayer won for best Male Vocalist. No Doubt won an award for best group with vocals for “Hey Baby”, and Korn won Best Metal Performance and the Foo Fighters for best hard rock song, “All My Life.”

George Bush was still the President of the United States and the official end of the Iraq War was declared in 2003. Sad am Hussein was also captured this year. The population in the World at this point was 6.31 Billion! Wow…this number keeps rising. There were all kinds of war time news stories as the battle in Afghanistan to fight terrorism was in full gear.

There were many people in the news this year as always. Some notable stories included Kobe Bryant being charged with Sexual Assault, Tennis star Serena Williams win her first Wimbledon tournament edging out her sister, Martha Stewart was indicted on 9 counts of security fraud, Arnold Shwarzenager was elected Governor of California, Former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge was sworn in as the first ever Director of Homeland Security, Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs was suspended for having cork in his bat, and Scott Peterson was charged with two counts of murder for his wife Lacey and his daughter.

The most notable disaster was the Space Shuttle Columbia, which exploded on its way back into the atmosphere, killing all 7 astronauts in February. In January, a US Airlines 5481 crashed moments after takeoff. 2003 can also be remembered as the Year of the Tornado. The US weather system sighted over 80 tornadoes alone in the Midwest in May killing 47 people. In October 2003, the Staten Island Ferry crashed killing 11 passengers and injuring many more. Bob Hope both passed away in 2003.

Well, 2003 was a year of good and bad. The capture of Sad am Hussein was probably the biggest story of 2003. Of course, the end of the Iraq War came along with it. However, the fighting in Afghanistan continued. President Bush remained in power and vowed to catch the perpetrators of terrorism. He was able to catch a few but the big fish Osama Bin Laden escaped. In Sports, A team won its first Superbowl (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) another team won its second World Series (Florida Marlins), yet another team win it’s third Stanley Cup (New Jersey), an a basketball team it’s second NBA title (San Antonio Spurs).

Ok, so what will the big stories be in 2013. Hopefully their will be minimal tragedies, an end to the poor economy, the rise in property values, some new blood to win some championships in sports, and much more to come. Enjoy the ride and get your pop corn ready.

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OK…well I normally blog about Sports and Heavy Metal, but I feel compelled to write about the devastation and destruction of Hurricane Sandy.  First of all, I was born and raised in the Tri-State area.  I have lived in South New Jersey since 2002, over ten years.  Over the years I have observed many tragedies in the area both on a personal level and on a community level.  New Jersey and New York have had many disasters both natural and human inflicted.  911, The Twin Towers, Washington D.C. under siege.  This seems like it just happened yesterday.  Well I cant help but wonder why we as Americans (Country) always invest so much time and effort into helping out other countries with their tragedies both monetarily and socially.  However, when it comes to our Government helping “our own” they always seem to come up short.  Even more disturbing is the fact that these other countries that we assist fail to return the favor.  No one has “our” backs.  Now I have never been a Political Analyst or Theologist, but it seems like this is a problem, a travesty.  When Iraq was in trouble, we sent our innocent men there who shed their blood for what???? Oil!!!!! Money!!!!!! We still haven’t found weapons of mass destruction.  A few years back, when Hurricane Katrina made a direct hit on New Orleans, Louisiana where were these other countries knocking at our doors to help???  Oh thats right, no one did.  As it was, we had a hard enough time finding the proper resources to help our own people that were in trouble.  New Orleans has since been rebuilt, but the city will never be the same.  This brings me to Hurricane Sandy.  It has been a horrible week for the Tri-State Area and entire East Coast since Sandy made it’s way from the Atlantic Ocean to the mainlands.  So many people have been affected by this storm in so many ways.  The deaths, injuries, property loss, loss of power, starvation, gas shortage, generator demand, downed trees, no traffic lights, gas rations, curfews, Halloween being changed to today….the first time the holiday has ever been celebrated in November, the millions of people who have tried to lend their support and hand with the cleanup effort, the list goes on and on.  Governor Christie really has handled this disaster with the best of them.  I put his efforts so far, right up there with Mayor Julliani after 911.  My beef is not with the states and their government agencies.  FEMA has even been tremendous in the past week.  My beef is with our Federal Government, President Obama who seems to be more worried about helping other countries, while our country continues to struggle financially, socially, economically, etc.  There are millions of people with mental illness, addiction, drug addiction is rapidly increasing both in the inner city and the suburban communities.  We are always trying to help these other countries with their issues.  My problem is not that we help others, that is what God would want us to do.  However, we neglect our own people in the face of dishonesty and political gains.  Obama has really not helped these people who have been destroyed by this storm.  I heard it said that this is the fifth highest tragedy in America’s history both financially and effects on the population.  We have all saw the pictures by now….the Atlantic City Boardwalk that you and I always traveled each summer going from casino to casino ripped apart, the roller coaster in Seaside Heights covered by water, the Ocean meeting the Bay in Bayview County, Long Beach Island (LBI) ruined, Hobokken New York devastated, the other North Jersey towns that were ravaged by Sandy, etc.  My best friend and his family have been uprooted from their home in Freehold, New Jersey.  Their property is fine but they are like millions of others who are being told they do not know when power will be restored.  Their are gas rations.  This is a lot worse than most Americans realize.  And this is the part that really irks me, President Obama could do more for the situation if he wanted to, but he is more worried about his damn campaign.  There should be more help and this area should be a lot further in the aftermath, much further in the moving forward process.  But no, we will continue to spend billions of dollars on space exploration, millions on our military, sons and daughters traveling overseas only to come back in a closed casket.  I ask the question, how much more will this country sacrifice until it begins to help itself.  At this rate, some other country is going to take us by surprise. We should demand much more from our neighbors.  LBI was a favorite place of mine to go every summer.  I even took my family their this past summer for the first time.  Its so sad what these people are going through.  And as I think of the millions of our own people struggling, I keep seeing that picture of America extending its arms to every other country in need and then the yellow flag raising saying that we do not have the resources to help ourselves.  Something is wrong with this picture.  I do not care who wins the election, whoever does better get a better grip of our own problems and stop helping other countries.  We need to protect our own.  God bless all of those families that have been touched by this tragedy.  My prayers and thoughts go out to all of you.  Oh, and Washington, get your head out of your ass and start taking care of you….America that is.  Millions of Americans are pleading for your sense of urgency and a blind eye to other foreign issues and political emphasis.  Obama, you are a coward.  You have not done anything for this country in your time of office.  I have only saw job loss, home loss, record deaths, murders, rapes, school shootings, violence, thefts, raised taxes.  Take Heed…..look at the Eastern Coast Brothers and Sisters  banding together to help one another.  Follow the Leader!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!ImageImage