Review – Beginners

david_prown_120I had seen a preview or 2 for “Beginners” starting Ewan McGregor and the iconic Christopher Plummer and was not overly excited.

But when Joan Ellis loves a movie (joanellis.com), you go.

Didn’t get in my pre-movie nap and the 5 hour energy drink just didn’t do it for me – I still snoozed a bit.

Just not my kind of movie. I like movies with anguish, family issues and complexity of sort, but I just could not connect with this one.

Well cast, well acted and loved how the dog  was the only issue-free character and the “glue” between all characters.

Playing at White St. Red Bank – I would go see and discount my review. I was not on my A game.

Review – Beginners

david_prown_120I had seen a preview or 2 for “Beginners” starting Ewan McGregor and the iconic Christopher Plummer and was not overly excited.

But when Joan Ellis loves a movie (joanellis.com), you go.

Didn’t get in my pre-movie nap and the 5 hour energy drink just didn’t do it for me – I still snoozed a bit.

Just not my kind of movie. I like movies with anguish, family issues and complexity of sort, but I just could not connect with this one.

Well cast, well acted and loved how the dog  was the only issue-free character and the “glue” between all characters.

Playing at White St. Red Bank – I would go see and discount my review. I was not on my A game.

Steamed!

woody_zimmerman_118_2007President Obama is steamed – I mean, he is really steamed this time. Last Friday he stood up and railed against his country’s enemies as a president hasn’t done since President Roosevelt denounced the enemies who had “suddenly and deliberately attacked” us at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. FDR used the word “dastardly” to describe that attack, and he vowed that “…the American people, in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.”

That was then, and this is now. On Friday, July 22, 2011, the “enemies” our president was denouncing were the American people – part of them, leastways. Mr. Obama railed at Republicans, who (he said) were blocking an increase in the federal borrowing limit to let the country pay its bills – including payments to Social Security recipients, military people, and interest on the national debt.

Mr. Obama singled out House Speaker John Boehner for special criticism, claiming that he had “walked away” from a “balanced” deal that provided for more budget “cuts” than Republicans had asked for. The deal called for$2 trillion in (future) cuts and $1.2 trillion in new “revenues” – i.e., additional taxes on “millionaires and billionaires” who, Mr. Obama says, “…have done extremely well, and can afford to do a little more.” Mr. Obama acted amazed, disappointed, astonished, and (finally) angry. I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen a president so visibly furious in a public appearance. He was clearly not amused.

Mr. Obama delicately omitted mentioning that the national debt already stands at $14,200 billion ($14.2 trillion), and is growing at a rate of $1,700 billion a year, which amounts to $194,064,000 an hour or $3,234,000 a minute. The omission really doesn’t matter, for most Americans cannot comprehend amounts like these. The numbers mean nothing. Unfortunately, the money is real enough. They and their descendants will never pay off that debt, but they will bear its cost in huge interest payments that will eventually dwarf the rest of what is hilariously called The Federal Budget. (I say “hilarious” because, clearly, no one in our governing bodies is doing anything that resembles budgeting.)

In other public comments, the president has appealed to the American people to pressure their congressmen to accept a “balanced” approach to raising the debt ceiling. The word “balanced” is Obama-speak for tax-increases. He wants new taxes, but Republicans will not accept them. They want only cuts in spending from current levels of $3,700 billion a year.

Amidst the blizzard of gigantic numbers it’s useful to realize that politicians are talking “apples and oranges” when they speak of cuts/revenues vs. the annual budget. As noted, the federal budget currently stands at $3,700 billion ($3.7 trillion) per year. But when senators, representatives and the president speak of $2 trillion in cuts, they are speaking of cumulative cuts over a 10-year period. The numbers look big, but in reality this amount to only a $200 billion cut in each of those ten years. $200 billion is huge money, of course, but hardly a dent in $3,700,000,000,000 annual expenditures. In fact, it’s a cut of only 5.4%. This mixing of 10 years and one year is so confusing that even reporters who should know probably don’t truly grasp it. Sometimes I wonder if congress-people even understand it. Putting everything on the same scale would mean placing $2 trillion in cuts in the context of total 10-year federal expenditures of at least $37 trillion. (I can sense readers’ eyes glazing over as I write this.)

To hear or read accounts in the Mainstream Media, one might conclude that Mr. Obama is running this game and is, in fact, winning it. But one would be wrong. Republicans are hanging tough because they sense that the public is behind them. Little by tortuous little, Mr. Obama and the Democrats have retreated from positions they stoutly demanded at earlier times. In April 2011, the president said he wanted a “clean” debt-ceiling increase – i.e., one including no budget cuts. He pressed for additional “revenues” – i.e., tax-increases – and he insisted on a debt-ceiling increase to carry into 2013. All of these requirements have now been abandoned, save the 2013 date. Mr. Obama is still fighting like a tiger for a debt-ceiling extension large enough to carry him past the 2012 elections. He has nailed himself to the mast on this. He must have it, for he knows it will be political death for him to renew the public’s awareness of the gigantic debt during the 2012 campaign.

Mr. Obama speaks loftily of Americans staying true to their principles and keeping faith with their vision of caring for the least fortunate, sickest and oldest among us. He admits that we need to reform federal expenditures, but offers no specifics for where he would cut back our stupendous level of spending. So far, he has only denounced actual budget plans put forth by Republicans, and proposed new taxes on “millionaires and billionaires” whose entire incomes could not wipe out the deficits we are running. Mr. Obama has no real plan of his own. He is an “empty suit” in all of this. His words are “…full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Americans are catching onto the fact that all the president cares about is getting the debt ceiling raised high enough so we won’t have to hear about debt, deficits or budgets again, during the re-election campaign.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geitner has set August 2nd as our turn-into-a-pumpkin date for federal borrowing. He says no more money can be borrowed to fund federal operations and pay obligations after that date. I have no reason to doubt his calculations. If anyone knows, he should. But the government will not exactly be out of money on August 2nd. Revenues continue to stream into the treasury every day from taxes paid – close to $8 billion per day of a typical month. Some of that revenue comes from payroll taxes (i.e., FICA taxes), in more than enough quantity to pay Social Security benefits (Mr. Obama’s ominous warnings notwithstanding). There will also be plenty of cash flow to pay the interest on our national debt (approx. $25 billion/month). Pay and provender for our military forces can also be easily covered. Beyond those items, however, funds will run thin, and many other federal obligations will go unpaid.

President Obama and many in his party claim that we must keep fiscal order by raising the debt ceiling before August 2nd. They say that the Tea Party is too dumb to understand the “catastrophe” that will result from even a partial shutdown of federal services. They have a point about the effect of a shutdown. Without a doubt, it would be extremely disruptive to the country. “Catastrophic?” I don’t know.

But millions of ordinary Americans – Tea Partiers or not – understand that we cannot continue on our current fiscal path. Whether we raise the debt ceiling or not, our boat is headed over the falls, absent some action to erase the huge gap between federal expenditures and revenues. We must cut or pay up. It is an extraordinarily clear choice between two visions for the country and our children’s future. If ordinary Americans didn’t see it before, I hope they see it now: there is nobody else to pay the bill.

You can get steamed about this; you can stomp around and kick things over; you can shout yourself hoarse. Yet the fact remains that we have to choose, and we have to do it now. Despite our many mistakes and misjudgments, I still have faith in the American people. I believe we shall do the right thing.

“God bless us all, every one.”

Steamed!

woody_zimmerman_118_2007President Obama is steamed – I mean, he is really steamed this time. Last Friday he stood up and railed against his country’s enemies as a president hasn’t done since President Roosevelt denounced the enemies who had “suddenly and deliberately attacked” us at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. FDR used the word “dastardly” to describe that attack, and he vowed that “…the American people, in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.”

That was then, and this is now. On Friday, July 22, 2011, the “enemies” our president was denouncing were the American people – part of them, leastways. Mr. Obama railed at Republicans, who (he said) were blocking an increase in the federal borrowing limit to let the country pay its bills – including payments to Social Security recipients, military people, and interest on the national debt.

Mr. Obama singled out House Speaker John Boehner for special criticism, claiming that he had “walked away” from a “balanced” deal that provided for more budget “cuts” than Republicans had asked for. The deal called for$2 trillion in (future) cuts and $1.2 trillion in new “revenues” – i.e., additional taxes on “millionaires and billionaires” who, Mr. Obama says, “…have done extremely well, and can afford to do a little more.” Mr. Obama acted amazed, disappointed, astonished, and (finally) angry. I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen a president so visibly furious in a public appearance. He was clearly not amused.

Mr. Obama delicately omitted mentioning that the national debt already stands at $14,200 billion ($14.2 trillion), and is growing at a rate of $1,700 billion a year, which amounts to $194,064,000 an hour or $3,234,000 a minute. The omission really doesn’t matter, for most Americans cannot comprehend amounts like these. The numbers mean nothing. Unfortunately, the money is real enough. They and their descendants will never pay off that debt, but they will bear its cost in huge interest payments that will eventually dwarf the rest of what is hilariously called The Federal Budget. (I say “hilarious” because, clearly, no one in our governing bodies is doing anything that resembles budgeting.)

In other public comments, the president has appealed to the American people to pressure their congressmen to accept a “balanced” approach to raising the debt ceiling. The word “balanced” is Obama-speak for tax-increases. He wants new taxes, but Republicans will not accept them. They want only cuts in spending from current levels of $3,700 billion a year.

Amidst the blizzard of gigantic numbers it’s useful to realize that politicians are talking “apples and oranges” when they speak of cuts/revenues vs. the annual budget. As noted, the federal budget currently stands at $3,700 billion ($3.7 trillion) per year. But when senators, representatives and the president speak of $2 trillion in cuts, they are speaking of cumulative cuts over a 10-year period. The numbers look big, but in reality this amount to only a $200 billion cut in each of those ten years. $200 billion is huge money, of course, but hardly a dent in $3,700,000,000,000 annual expenditures. In fact, it’s a cut of only 5.4%. This mixing of 10 years and one year is so confusing that even reporters who should know probably don’t truly grasp it. Sometimes I wonder if congress-people even understand it. Putting everything on the same scale would mean placing $2 trillion in cuts in the context of total 10-year federal expenditures of at least $37 trillion. (I can sense readers’ eyes glazing over as I write this.)

To hear or read accounts in the Mainstream Media, one might conclude that Mr. Obama is running this game and is, in fact, winning it. But one would be wrong. Republicans are hanging tough because they sense that the public is behind them. Little by tortuous little, Mr. Obama and the Democrats have retreated from positions they stoutly demanded at earlier times. In April 2011, the president said he wanted a “clean” debt-ceiling increase – i.e., one including no budget cuts. He pressed for additional “revenues” – i.e., tax-increases – and he insisted on a debt-ceiling increase to carry into 2013. All of these requirements have now been abandoned, save the 2013 date. Mr. Obama is still fighting like a tiger for a debt-ceiling extension large enough to carry him past the 2012 elections. He has nailed himself to the mast on this. He must have it, for he knows it will be political death for him to renew the public’s awareness of the gigantic debt during the 2012 campaign.

Mr. Obama speaks loftily of Americans staying true to their principles and keeping faith with their vision of caring for the least fortunate, sickest and oldest among us. He admits that we need to reform federal expenditures, but offers no specifics for where he would cut back our stupendous level of spending. So far, he has only denounced actual budget plans put forth by Republicans, and proposed new taxes on “millionaires and billionaires” whose entire incomes could not wipe out the deficits we are running. Mr. Obama has no real plan of his own. He is an “empty suit” in all of this. His words are “…full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Americans are catching onto the fact that all the president cares about is getting the debt ceiling raised high enough so we won’t have to hear about debt, deficits or budgets again, during the re-election campaign.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geitner has set August 2nd as our turn-into-a-pumpkin date for federal borrowing. He says no more money can be borrowed to fund federal operations and pay obligations after that date. I have no reason to doubt his calculations. If anyone knows, he should. But the government will not exactly be out of money on August 2nd. Revenues continue to stream into the treasury every day from taxes paid – close to $8 billion per day of a typical month. Some of that revenue comes from payroll taxes (i.e., FICA taxes), in more than enough quantity to pay Social Security benefits (Mr. Obama’s ominous warnings notwithstanding). There will also be plenty of cash flow to pay the interest on our national debt (approx. $25 billion/month). Pay and provender for our military forces can also be easily covered. Beyond those items, however, funds will run thin, and many other federal obligations will go unpaid.

President Obama and many in his party claim that we must keep fiscal order by raising the debt ceiling before August 2nd. They say that the Tea Party is too dumb to understand the “catastrophe” that will result from even a partial shutdown of federal services. They have a point about the effect of a shutdown. Without a doubt, it would be extremely disruptive to the country. “Catastrophic?” I don’t know.

But millions of ordinary Americans – Tea Partiers or not – understand that we cannot continue on our current fiscal path. Whether we raise the debt ceiling or not, our boat is headed over the falls, absent some action to erase the huge gap between federal expenditures and revenues. We must cut or pay up. It is an extraordinarily clear choice between two visions for the country and our children’s future. If ordinary Americans didn’t see it before, I hope they see it now: there is nobody else to pay the bill.

You can get steamed about this; you can stomp around and kick things over; you can shout yourself hoarse. Yet the fact remains that we have to choose, and we have to do it now. Despite our many mistakes and misjudgments, I still have faith in the American people. I believe we shall do the right thing.

“God bless us all, every one.”

Flaws with Middletown BOE Drug Policy

Dear Editor,

The Middletown School District has had a drug testing policy since 2006, which requires all high school students participating in extracurricular activities and/or with a parking space at school to face mandatory drug tests.

Even though this policy may have been enacted with good intentions, there are a number of serious flaws in it that must be addressed.

1) Students who are subject to random drug testing may opt to use dangerous hard drugs such as heroin (which is highly addictive and currently the most popular illegal drug in New Jersey) instead of the soft drug cannabis, which is non-addictive and has never resulted in a single death. The reason for this would be the fact that while cannabis can show up in a urine test for 30 days or more, heroin as well as other opiates such as OxyContin usually become undetectable within a few days.

2) Drug addiction is a medical issue and therefore it is inappropriate to use school disciplinary procedures against students found to be suffering from a medical condition. While the handbook states that they do not impose disciplinary measures against students who fail to pass such tests it later reads, “students will be removed from co-curricular activities, sports, and parking privileges as set forth in Board Policy.” Additionally, because drug addiction is a medical problem, the results of any such test are a personal medical record that need to be kept private in compliance with HIPPA and limited to licensed medical professionals consented to by the student and their parent(s)/guardian(s).

3) Research shows that students who are involved with sports and other extracurricular activities are less likely to use drugs and are more likely to disapprove of drug usage. Therefore, it seems counterproductive to remove students experimenting with drugs from a peer group that would discourage them from using drugs.

While there are clear questions over the scope of government intrusion and parental rights when your local public school is running what amount to mandatory medical tests on students, it would be highly irresponsible for the Middletown Board of Education to fail to at minimum correct the flaws noted above prior to the start of the 2011-2012 school year.

Eric Hafner

Red Bank, NJ

Flaws with Middletown BOE Drug Policy

Dear Editor,

The Middletown School District has had a drug testing policy since 2006, which requires all high school students participating in extracurricular activities and/or with a parking space at school to face mandatory drug tests.

Even though this policy may have been enacted with good intentions, there are a number of serious flaws in it that must be addressed.

1) Students who are subject to random drug testing may opt to use dangerous hard drugs such as heroin (which is highly addictive and currently the most popular illegal drug in New Jersey) instead of the soft drug cannabis, which is non-addictive and has never resulted in a single death. The reason for this would be the fact that while cannabis can show up in a urine test for 30 days or more, heroin as well as other opiates such as OxyContin usually become undetectable within a few days.

2) Drug addiction is a medical issue and therefore it is inappropriate to use school disciplinary procedures against students found to be suffering from a medical condition. While the handbook states that they do not impose disciplinary measures against students who fail to pass such tests it later reads, “students will be removed from co-curricular activities, sports, and parking privileges as set forth in Board Policy.” Additionally, because drug addiction is a medical problem, the results of any such test are a personal medical record that need to be kept private in compliance with HIPPA and limited to licensed medical professionals consented to by the student and their parent(s)/guardian(s).

3) Research shows that students who are involved with sports and other extracurricular activities are less likely to use drugs and are more likely to disapprove of drug usage. Therefore, it seems counterproductive to remove students experimenting with drugs from a peer group that would discourage them from using drugs.

While there are clear questions over the scope of government intrusion and parental rights when your local public school is running what amount to mandatory medical tests on students, it would be highly irresponsible for the Middletown Board of Education to fail to at minimum correct the flaws noted above prior to the start of the 2011-2012 school year.

Eric Hafner

Red Bank, NJ

County 4-H Association is Busy at the Fair

Annual event is a culmination of year-long activities 

FREEHOLD, NJ – For the Monmouth County 4-H Association, the annual Monmouth County Fair is a showcase of the many achievements and skills that 4‐H members have learned throughout the year.

“Participating in the Monmouth County Fair is a highlight in the lives of many 4‐H’ers,” Freeholder Lillian G. Burry said. “I’m sure that they will create memories and make friendships that will last a lifetime.”

mc_fair_4h_ambassador
Monmouth County Freeholder Lillian G. Burry crowned the 2011 Monmouth County 4-H Ambassador Victoria Rodriguez at the Monmouth County Fair on Wednesday, July 27. 

4-H involves children from kindergarten through one year passed high school (grade 13) in dozens of clubs and activities. Traditional clubs involve livestock and farming activities. But some of the less traditional clubs, like herpetology, care for arachnids, newts and salamanders and snakes. Other clubs develop skills in crafts, art, photography, writing, dance and theater arts.

Continue reading County 4-H Association is Busy at the Fair

County 4-H Association is Busy at the Fair

Annual event is a culmination of year-long activities 

FREEHOLD, NJ – For the Monmouth County 4-H Association, the annual Monmouth County Fair is a showcase of the many achievements and skills that 4‐H members have learned throughout the year.

“Participating in the Monmouth County Fair is a highlight in the lives of many 4‐H’ers,” Freeholder Lillian G. Burry said. “I’m sure that they will create memories and make friendships that will last a lifetime.”

mc_fair_4h_ambassador
Monmouth County Freeholder Lillian G. Burry crowned the 2011 Monmouth County 4-H Ambassador Victoria Rodriguez at the Monmouth County Fair on Wednesday, July 27. 

4-H involves children from kindergarten through one year passed high school (grade 13) in dozens of clubs and activities. Traditional clubs involve livestock and farming activities. But some of the less traditional clubs, like herpetology, care for arachnids, newts and salamanders and snakes. Other clubs develop skills in crafts, art, photography, writing, dance and theater arts.

Continue reading County 4-H Association is Busy at the Fair

How Obama Killed the Anti-War Movement

mikolay_headshot_2011_120During the 2008 presidential election, voters headed to their polling places in droves, ready to cast their vote for Barack Obama. The Illinois Senator, who had been billed by the media as the only hope to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, rode into the White House on a wave of anti-war fervor and unprecedented support amongst American youth.

It is no surprise that voters viewed Obama as representing the last chance to bring peace to the United States. After-all, on the campaign trail the Democratic contender appealed to those who sought to bring about an expedient end to the United States’ military involvement abroad. The Democratic Party’s leadership boasted that he was the “peace” candidate while his opponent, John McCain, was a bloodthirsty GOP contender who wanted to add new fronts to our already macabre “War on Terror.”

Voters were assured that Obama’s promises of “hope” and “change” would signal an end to the failed Bush Doctrine and the return of US troops to American soil. Anxious to avert further carnage, many American youth viewed Barack Obama as a political messiah, the individual who would single-handedly undo the damage that had been done during Bush’s eight years in the White House.

Now, three years into the presidency of Barack Obama, it has become apparent that the American voters were duped yet again. The Democratic Party tricked thousands of well meaning (yet wholly naïve) Americans into believing a false message and promises they never intended to deliver. And now even more troops are going to die because of it.

One would assume that after eight years of neo-conservative wars of aggression and failed attempts to export democratic ideals to uninterested regions of the world, Barack Obama would recognize the importance of scaling back our involvement overseas. However, rather than ending the wars and restoring America’s reputation abroad, the President has taken the exact opposite approach.

Under the Obama Administration, the United States has added a new country, Muammar al-Gaddafi’s Libya, to their growing list of active military campaigns. Nobody seems to be sure exactly why America is involved in this conflict, and even fewer are certain as to what our ultimate end goal really is. That hasn’t stopped the United States from spending taxpayer money to wage battle in Northern Africa.

While it is true that the current Commander and Chief has moved to drastically downsize the United States’ role within Iraq, one must remember that he has upped the ante in Afghanistan. And with this increased involvement came escalated casualties: nearly two-thirds of Americans killed in Afghanistan lost their lives under Obama’s watch. That certainly is a change over the previous statistics, but it doesn’t exactly give Americans hope that peace is any closer.

Given the increased calls for additional war, one would assume that the once-mighty anti-war movement, which was so quick to condemn President George W. Bush for his involvement in Iraq, would once again rise and attack Obama’s military crusades. In reality, the large-scale protests, peace vigils, and letter writing campaigns that had characterized the opposition to the Republican wars have yet to materialize.

And it doesn’t seem like they are ever going to.

Apparently, despite the current president’s tenacity for waging war, the once thriving anti-war left is uninterested in opposing him. Why? Were the peace-seeking activists of the past decade motivated more by a hatred of George W. Bush than they were a love of human life? Perhaps they believe that, unlike his predecessor’s wars, the current president’s are somehow morally justified?

Whatever the case, opposition to American interventionism seems to have gone the way of the Furby or the Pet Rock, meaning President Obama can wage as many wars as he likes with minimal criticism. That is a truly frightening realization. Who will the United States wage war with next? Iran and Syria seem likely contenders for that dubious honor.

One must wonder how much blood must be shed before the American public demands a revamping of the “War on Terror?” How many Americans have to die before voters turn their backs on both the neo-conservative Republican and Progressive Democratic war machines?

Given the neutralization of anti-war sentiment in the United States, coupled with the lack of viable Republican presidential contenders, the probability that the United States will remain engulfed in war until at least 2016 is becoming increasingly likely. The sad moral of this entire affair, however, is that by casting their ballots for a pro-war candidate the American public got exactly what they asked for. And they don’t even seem to realize it.

How Obama Killed the Anti-War Movement

mikolay_headshot_2011_120During the 2008 presidential election, voters headed to their polling places in droves, ready to cast their vote for Barack Obama. The Illinois Senator, who had been billed by the media as the only hope to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, rode into the White House on a wave of anti-war fervor and unprecedented support amongst American youth.

It is no surprise that voters viewed Obama as representing the last chance to bring peace to the United States. After-all, on the campaign trail the Democratic contender appealed to those who sought to bring about an expedient end to the United States’ military involvement abroad. The Democratic Party’s leadership boasted that he was the “peace” candidate while his opponent, John McCain, was a bloodthirsty GOP contender who wanted to add new fronts to our already macabre “War on Terror.”

Voters were assured that Obama’s promises of “hope” and “change” would signal an end to the failed Bush Doctrine and the return of US troops to American soil. Anxious to avert further carnage, many American youth viewed Barack Obama as a political messiah, the individual who would single-handedly undo the damage that had been done during Bush’s eight years in the White House.

Now, three years into the presidency of Barack Obama, it has become apparent that the American voters were duped yet again. The Democratic Party tricked thousands of well meaning (yet wholly naïve) Americans into believing a false message and promises they never intended to deliver. And now even more troops are going to die because of it.

One would assume that after eight years of neo-conservative wars of aggression and failed attempts to export democratic ideals to uninterested regions of the world, Barack Obama would recognize the importance of scaling back our involvement overseas. However, rather than ending the wars and restoring America’s reputation abroad, the President has taken the exact opposite approach.

Under the Obama Administration, the United States has added a new country, Muammar al-Gaddafi’s Libya, to their growing list of active military campaigns. Nobody seems to be sure exactly why America is involved in this conflict, and even fewer are certain as to what our ultimate end goal really is. That hasn’t stopped the United States from spending taxpayer money to wage battle in Northern Africa.

While it is true that the current Commander and Chief has moved to drastically downsize the United States’ role within Iraq, one must remember that he has upped the ante in Afghanistan. And with this increased involvement came escalated casualties: nearly two-thirds of Americans killed in Afghanistan lost their lives under Obama’s watch. That certainly is a change over the previous statistics, but it doesn’t exactly give Americans hope that peace is any closer.

Given the increased calls for additional war, one would assume that the once-mighty anti-war movement, which was so quick to condemn President George W. Bush for his involvement in Iraq, would once again rise and attack Obama’s military crusades. In reality, the large-scale protests, peace vigils, and letter writing campaigns that had characterized the opposition to the Republican wars have yet to materialize.

And it doesn’t seem like they are ever going to.

Apparently, despite the current president’s tenacity for waging war, the once thriving anti-war left is uninterested in opposing him. Why? Were the peace-seeking activists of the past decade motivated more by a hatred of George W. Bush than they were a love of human life? Perhaps they believe that, unlike his predecessor’s wars, the current president’s are somehow morally justified?

Whatever the case, opposition to American interventionism seems to have gone the way of the Furby or the Pet Rock, meaning President Obama can wage as many wars as he likes with minimal criticism. That is a truly frightening realization. Who will the United States wage war with next? Iran and Syria seem likely contenders for that dubious honor.

One must wonder how much blood must be shed before the American public demands a revamping of the “War on Terror?” How many Americans have to die before voters turn their backs on both the neo-conservative Republican and Progressive Democratic war machines?

Given the neutralization of anti-war sentiment in the United States, coupled with the lack of viable Republican presidential contenders, the probability that the United States will remain engulfed in war until at least 2016 is becoming increasingly likely. The sad moral of this entire affair, however, is that by casting their ballots for a pro-war candidate the American public got exactly what they asked for. And they don’t even seem to realize it.