Dead Lions, Tigers and Bears, Oh My! (and one Dumbass Governor)

Welcome to Ohio. Please don't step on the dead lions and tigers.

Hi.  Welcome to Ohio.  Our governor is a dumbass..

That’s not exactly a controversial remark.  Republican governor John Kasich is only one dumbass governor among a host of dumbass governors.  He’s got plenty of company and competition for who is the Biggest Dunbass Governor with Scott Walker (Wisconsin), Rick Scott (Florida) and Rick Perry (Texas) all putting in work to claim the crown but for downright dumb assery to the power of 10, you have to go some to be a bigger dumbass than Kasich was a few weeks ago when due his stupidity Ohio became the big game hunting Mecca of the Midwest.

ZANESVILLE, OhioAuthorities in Muskingum County say they have recovered most of the exotic animals that were running loose since they were set free, apparently by their owner, last night.

The owner of the exotic animal farm, Terry Thompson, was found dead yesterday in his house. Sheriff Matt Lutz said Thompson apparently opened the cages to release all of the animals, then committed suicide. He died of a gunshot wound. Lutz said Thompson’s body was “bothered” by the animals.

Thompson not only opened the cages, but cut the cage wire so the animals would escape again if returned to their cages.

Lutz announced that authorities believe only two animals remain missing this afternoon — a monkey and a wolf. The sheriff previously said a grizzly bear and mountain lion were missing. Today, authorities confirmed they killed the bear on the property last night. An officer wounded the mountain lion, which staggered into a neighbor’s property and died.

Some animals were still in cages at Thompson’s farm when authorities arrived. Some of those animals, including three leopards and some primates that were living in the house, are being taken to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

At one point, Thompson took three lion cubs to New York City for a photo shoot with model Heidi Klum. On another occasion, he brought animals to a 2007 community pet fair in Muskingum County. Thompson and his wife brought bear cubs, lions cubs and a baby ape, Hostetler said.

He said the wild animals disrupted the fair because they weren’t friendly.

“We had to change the advertisement in following years to say bring your domestic pets,” Hostetler said. “He was a piece of work.”

I strongly disagree with this characterization of the late Mr. Thompson.  He wasn’t a “piece of work.” He was a piece of shit and our governor is a total dumb-ass.

It’s a real tragedy. You hate to think of these animals being gunned down, but the irresponsible prick who owned them (or caged them might be a better word), had a history of not caring for them.  Ohio has no rules regulating the sale and ownership of exotic animals.

An executive order that Kasich allowed to lapse after taking office would have prevented Thompson from owning exotic animals. The order, issued by Gov. Ted Strickland but permitted to expire by Kasich last spring, prohibited anyone who had been “convicted of an offense involving the abuse or neglect of any animal pursuant to any state, local, or federal law” from owning exotic animals.

Thompson, the owner of the more than 50 animals set free in Muskingum County, had an animal cruelty and two other related convictions in 2005.

What began as a tragedy turned in a farce and it was preventable.  Ohio became the object of scorn from around the nation and beyond the nation for what happened in Zanesville. There were even death threats made against Columbus Zoo director emeritus Jack Hanna for not providing tranquilizer guns to the deputies.  Hanna explained wild animals can still be dangerous after being shot with a tranquilizer, but he was still criticized by animal lovers horrified at the slaughter of 48 lions, tigers, bears and wolves.

This is blaming the wrong person.  What are small town cops in a rural part of the state supposed to do with  wild animals on the loose?   I doubt they enjoyed having to kill them, but protecting the citizens from being mauled by a grizzly bear or tiger had to be their first priority.  It was a dirty job but thanks to Kascih’s stupidity, they had to do it.

Criticism for Kasich came from both the expected places (PETA, Humane Society) and the completely unexpected in unapologetic hunter and Right wing rock n’ roller, Ted Nugent.

Nugent, who is known for his support of gun ownership and hunting rights, said Kasich should never have ended an executive order from the previous governor that banned exotic animal ownership.

“These are real, wild, dangerous, capable and dangerous animals and they belong in the wild,” Nugent told The Detroit News Wednesday.

“I think it’s a downright tragedy when people attempt to keep dangerous wild animals in captivity — I think it should be criminal,” he said.

Nugent is as far to the Right as I am to the Left, but he knows all Kasich had to do was leave Strickland’s executive order in place and this all could have been averted.  Alas, he didn’t and once again Ohio makes headlines again for all the wrong reasons.

Kasich’s stupidity literally reduced the world’s tiger population.   This isn’t the kind of story that costs politicians their jobs, but you sure get a sense of how well or poorly they do their jobs.

The right thing to do would be to man up and admit he screwed up, but Kasich comes from the school of “Never Apologize, Never Explain.”  And never admit it’s your fault when you can pass the buck.  That’s what a dumbass does.

Welcome to Ohio and don't feed the wild animals..

Speaking at a conference in Canton, Ohio, today, Kasich called the situation “a mess” and a “ terrible thing,” but took no blame for allowing Strickland’s order to lapse.

He added: “This has to be fixed.”

“This is unbelievable that this even existed, and what’s hard for me to understand is why Ohio over time didn’t deal with this, but we’ll deal with it now.”

Kasich said he would push a task force working on an exotic-animals law and regulations to move more quickly. He said the state also should deal with animal auctions being held around the state and do background checks on exotic-animal owners.

“If there’s some way I could’ve prevented it, I would. But what we have to do is move forward and make sure we can clearly limit anything like this in the future.”

The buck doesn’t stop at Governor Kasich’s desk. He just keeps on passing it.   Next week he’s going to be on the receiving end of a major humiliation when his signature legislative act, the anti-union Senate Bill 5 is defeated in next week’s elections.

It’s hard to stand out from the idiocy of the many dumbasses driving down the I.Q. of the states they’re running into the ground, but John-Boy is no ordinary dumbass.  He keeps finding new ways to prove it’s hard to top his special brand of stupidity.

The NBA Lockout: Who Loves This Game?

Take it like a man!

The latest round of negotiations between the NBA players and owners broke down after they failed to reach an agreement.   Commissioner-4-Life and all-around tool David Stern canceled all games through November.   Having already lost the pre-season, there will not be a regular 82 game regular season.

Can’t you see how upset I am about this?  I feel bad for the fans, the people whose livelihoods depends on the NBA and the cheerleaders and the groupies and baby mamas.   I don’t feel bad for the players or owners at all.  They made this mess all by themselves and they will be the ones who will have to clean it up.

Mostly though it’s David Stern’s mess.

As currently the longest-serving commissioner in pro sports (27 years), Stern has gone from presiding over the rise of the NBA when Magic Johnson, Larry Brown and Michael Jordan entered the league to the mouthpiece of a bunch of greedy and stupid owners who bitch about the inflated contracts they give to marginal players and then demand those same players give them a bail out to save them from themselves.

“Stop me before I spend again!”  is the mantra of the NBA’s brain-dead owners.

The NBA is a league where superstar players are emphasized and great teams are not.  That’s fine when there are enough superstars to go around, but there aren’t as anyone knows who has purchased an NBA League Pass to watch a dog shit team like the Minnesota Timberwolves grinding it out against the Toronto Raptors.

The only thing worse than your average NBA game is the dishonest scheming of Stern and the 30 morons whose rank stupidity has made the regular season an unwatchable slog.

Writing in New York magazine Will Leitch said:  Actually, what Commissioner David Stern (who represents the league’s owners in their ­collective-bargaining dispute with the players) is up to might be even more audacious than what your Citigroups and AIGs got away with. Because at least we know that those companies did lose a ton of money. While the league asserts that its teams lost a collective $300 million last year, the NBA’s finances are opaque. It’s very much up for debate whether the league is losing money at all. Its self-reported revenues are rising faster than player salaries, and it’s hard to see why other expenses would be so onerous—of the nearly $2.1 billion spent on stadium construction and renovation since 2000, a Holy Cross study found, $1.75 billion was financed by taxpayers rather than ownership. And every time someone sells an NBA team, he sells it for much more than he bought it for. (A guy named Chris Cohan bought the Golden State Warriors before the 1995 season for $119 million, guided the team to the playoffs exactly once over the next sixteen years, then sold the team for $450 million two summers ago.) It seems that what losses there are would have to be largely the result of individual owners’ incompetence.

Despite all that, according to writer Tom Ziller, the league’s most recent offer calls for a permanent yearly cut to player salaries of either $240 million or $280 million, depending on which beat reporter’s version of the owners’ offer you’re using. The players, then, would be locked into essentially paying for 80-plus percent of the owners’ losses, which may not actually exist and, if they do, owe at least partly to the awfulness of an economy that will eventually improve. (It will!) Meanwhile, bear in mind that owners do not have to give out big contracts to bad players if they don’t want to. Any team losing money can cut payroll. And that won’t necessarily affect on-court performance, because, as always in sports as in life, you don’t have to spend the most to be the best: The Oklahoma City Thunder paid its players $58 million and won 55 games last year, while the Toronto Raptors paid $70 million and won 22 (financial data provided by ShamSports.com).

So here’s what the owners are saying to the players: “We’ve made so many poor spending choices lately that we’ve lost money, even without having to pay for our own facilities and even as the NBA has grown more popular. And we’d like you to give up enough money to make it almost a certainty that we never lose money again, even if we make all these same mistakes for a second time and the economy never improves.”

Unlike the NFL Lockout there’s no sense of urgency to the NBA losing regular season games in November.  Who pays any attention to pro basketball when the NFL is going strong?   I know I don’t even think about the NBA until the Super Bowl is over.  There’s no reason to.  Everybody the players don’t start playing hard until after the ridiculous All-Star weekend of tired jerk-off “events” like the Slam Dunk contest.

David Stern: Super Tool.

These kind of bouts between players and owners are usually described as a fight between millionaires and billionaires, but in the NBA where the average salary is $4.79 million per year or nearly $92,199 per week.

I’m trying to feel bad for someone scrub trying to eke out an existence on a measly $5 million, but somehow I just can’t seem to work up any sympathy for them.  Not that I’m worried about those impoverished owners when 12 of them can be found on Forbes’ 400 wealthiest Americans.

Here’s what I want from the NBA:  Nothing  Go away and stay away.  I’m tired of the tedious regular season as the bricklayers laughingly called “the best athletes in the world” can’t knock down a jump shot, swish a free throw or execute a two-on-one fast break.  I’m even more tired of Stern, the little tyrant who covers the asses of bumbling owners and outright racists like Donald Sterling, a lifetime member on any list of the worst owners in professional sports.

Come back when you’re fixed your insane salary structure and stopped screwing over the fans with poor play watered down by too many untrained players with no fundamentals, dull and unimaginative coaching, obscene ticket prices and screwing fans over with too many games that mean nothing and too many franchises that could disappear tomorrow and most fans would never know they’re gone.  Yes, I’m looking at you Clippers, Kings, Warriors, Raptors, Wizards and Timberwolves. You’d all be gone with the wind and by dispersing your rosters it would help replenish the league’s shallow talent pool.

The owners run the commissioner and the agents run the players and all of them are running what once was a great game right in the ground.   I’m not even mad about it.  I don’t care enough to get mad.  It doesn’t matter  Stern cancels the whole damn season because I don’t love this game.  I don’t even miss this game.

Pat Buchanan Worried America Is Running Out of White People

White, but not right

We like to tell ourselves only stupid people are stupid enough to be openly racist these days.  Things have changed and we’re all so much more enlightened and past all that tired old prejudice thing.   Some of us even got ourselves believing its racism by Blacks against Whites that’s the real problem now.

Then there are the few and the proud who know better.  They’re few because their old school brand of bigotry has diminished and dimmed over the passage of time.  But they’re still proud to be White, Right and on top and they aren’t going to fade quietly away when they perceive their standing is being threatened.

MSNBC (y’know, the supposed “liberal” network) political commentator Pat Buchanan isn’t even pretending he’s not a ranting racist anymore.

He’s putting on his Paul Revere gear to warn of the dire consequences that will happen to America when Whites are no longer the majority race somewhere around 2041.

John Hope Franklin, the famed black historian at Duke University, once told the incoming freshmen, “The new America in the 21st century will be primarily non-white, a place George Washington would not recognize.”

In his June 1998 commencement address at Portland State, President Clinton affirmed it: “In a little more than 50 years, there will be no majority race in the United States.” The graduates cheered.

The Census Bureau has now fixed at 2041 the year when whites become a minority in a country where the Founding Fathers had restricted citizenship to “free white persons” of “good moral character.”

What are the seemingly inevitable consequences of an America where whites are a shrinking minority?

First, the end of a national Republican Party that routinely gets 90 percent of its presidential votes from white America.

California is the harbinger of what is to come.

Carried by Richard Nixon in all five presidential elections when he was on the ticket and by Ronald Reagan all four times he ran, California, where whites are now a shrinking minority, is a state where the GOP faces extinction. John McCain’s share of the California vote was down to the Barry Goldwater level of 1964.

When Texas, where two-thirds of the newborns and half the schoolchildren are Hispanic, goes the way of California, it is the end for the GOP. Arizona, Colorado and Nevada, also critical to any victorious GOP coalition, are Hispanicizing as rapidly as Texas.

In every presidential election since Bush I in 1992, Hispanics have given 60-70 percent of their votes to the Democratic ticket.

For Hispanics, largely poor and working class, are beneficiaries of a cornucopia of government goods – from free education to food stamps to free health care. Few pay federal income taxes.

Why would they not vote for the Party of Government?

Second, the economic crisis of California, brought on by an outflow of taxpayers and a huge influx of tax consumers – i.e., millions of immigrants, legal and illegal – will be mirrored nationally.

For though the majority of immigrants and illegals comes to work, and work hard, most now come from Third World countries and do not bring the academic or professional skills of European-Americans.

Third, the decline in academic test scores here at home and in international competition is likely to continue, as more and more of the children taking those tests will be African-American and Hispanic. For though we have spent trillions over four decades, we have failed to close the racial gap in education. White and Asian children continue to outscore black and Hispanic children.

Can the test-score gap be closed? With the Hispanic illegitimacy rate at 51 percent and the black rate having risen to 71 percent, how can their children conceivably arrive at school ready to compete?

Should this continue for three decades, what will it mean for America if Asians and whites occupy the knowledge-industry jobs, while scores of millions of black and Hispanic workers are relegated to low-paying service-sector jobs? Will that make for social tranquility?

Affirmative action is one answer. But this is already causing a severe backlash, and the reason is obvious.

When affirmative action was first imposed, whites outnumbered blacks nine to one. The burden of reverse discrimination on the white community was thus relatively light. Today, however, not only blacks, but Hispanics and women – two-thirds of the entire population – qualify for affirmative action in hiring and school admissions.

Those who hold the white race responsible for the mortal sins of mankind – slavery, racism, imperialism, genocide – may welcome its departure from history.

Those who believe that the civilization that came out of Jerusalem, Athens, Rome and London to be the crowning achievement of mankind will mourn its passing.

I’m not going to say I’m looking forward to the 72-year old Buchanan’s passing, but I won’t lie and say I’m going to be upset when it happens.  Here we have a former Nixon speechwriter, failed presidential candidate, sexist, homophobic, anti-Semitic, Nazi sympathizing, Holocaust denying, racist, xenophobic scumbag who revels in being angry and outspoken about who he loves (White people) and who he hates (everybody else).

I’ve said it myself: Hitler comparisons are weak. Most of the time they are made in error and are applied inaccurately.

But not in the case of Patrick J. Buchanan.  In this dude’s case you’d be hard pressed to find a mainstream commentator more likely to cut Hitler slack than Prejudiced Pat.

His anti-Semitism is well-established as well as his passionate defense of accused Nazi war criminals. Buchanan doesn’t apologize for it and he’s not going to run away from his racist and supremacist beliefs I’m not going to shy away from calling him out on it.

Here are more of Uncle Pat’s musings about what’s wrong with America.

Obama’s White House thus enlisted in the long and successful campaign to expel Christianity from the public square, diminish its presence in our public life, and reduce its role to that of just another religion.

The white population will begin to shrink and, should present birth rates persist, slowly disappear. Hispanics already comprise 42 percent of New Mexico’s population, 37 percent of California’s, 38 percent of Texas’s, and over half the population of Arizona under the age of twenty. ……. Mexico is moving north. Ethnically, linguistically, and culturally, the verdict of 1848 is being overturned. Will this Mexican nation within a nation advance the goals of the Constitution—to “insure domestic tranquility” and “make us a more perfect union”? Or has our passivity in the face of this invasion imperiled our union?

Not until the 1960s did courts begin to use the Fourteenth Amendment to impose a concept of equality that the authors of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, The Federalist Papers, and the Gettysburg Address never believed in. Before the 1960s, equality meant every citizen enjoyed the same constitutional rights and the equal protection of existing laws. Nothing in the Constitution or federal law mandated social, racial, or gender equality.

If [conservative political commentator Heather] Mac Donald’s statistics are accurate, 49 of every 50 muggings and murders in New York are the work of minorities. That might explain why black folks have trouble getting a cab. Every New York cabby must know the odds, should he pick up a man of color at night.

Two things smell like pork and one of them is pork.

Then there’s my favorite “OMG/WTF” quote.

Perhaps some of us misremember the past. But the racial, religious, cultural, social, political, and economic divides today seem greater than they seemed even in the segregation cities some of us grew up in.

Back then, black and white lived apart, went to different schools and churches, played on different playgrounds, and went to different restaurants, bars, theaters, and soda fountains. But we shared a country and a culture. We were one nation. We were Americans.

For some reason I have this sudden urge to start whistling “Dixie.” What a mind-boggling confessional of sheer paranoia, hatred and outright lunacy.    When I read some delusional bullshit where a some Irish asshole like Buchanan longs for the days when the darkies knew their place and stayed there I wish I had the opportunity to sit down with Mr. Buchanan so I could look him directly in the face and say, “Hey, Pat?  Go to hell, you racist punk “

Buchanan is crazy as the day is long but he’s also well-paid and has a high-profile to air his bigotry against Blacks, Latinos, gays, Jews, women and anyone else who isn’t straight, White, male and Irish Catholic. He is Archie Bunker without the laugh track.

Shame on MSNBC for turning a blind eye to this evil old bastard’s hatred of everything that isn’t White, straight and Christian.   These kinds of expressions of bias is nothing new from Buchanan, but MSNBC seems content to allow him to go on vomiting up his provincial   Left to his own devices, Buchanan is nothing to get excited about.   He might have another ten years of hate speech left in him and then he’s gone like a bad odor.  His racism is indistinguishable from that of a David Duke, but because he has some credentials he has credibility Duke can only dream of.

It’s easy to dismiss Buchanan as an aging anachronism soon to disappear in the tar pits with all the other dinosaurs whose brains were too small to adapt to a brave new world.   It’s a mistake to think what he says doesn’t resonate in the corridors of power where the decisions are made to support or oppose people
of color rising up to assume their rightful place in this country.

Forget about Occupy Wall Street.  Let’s Occupy Pat Buchanan’s brain.  We just have to find it first.

Buy it for that racist in your family who's worn out their copy of "Mein Kampf"

Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Journalists

If you're in journalism you're on your way up or on your way down.

On the last night of this year’s National Association of Black Journalists convention my wife and I were sitting in the lobby of the Philadelphia Marriott hotel chatting and having drinks with from some colleagues commiserating about the sorry state of journalism and our place in it.

One subject that invariably comes up during these gatherings of the journalistic tribes is how hard it is to make a living as a journalist anymore.  Newspapers have gutted their staffs, the number of places where you can go online to write for are tightening their belts and the ones that pay for content are tougher than ever to break into.   It’s a buyer’s market and a lot of journalists are being shut out of it.

The cliche was “last hired, first fired” but now there’s no security for anyone.  Whites are just as likely as Blacks and Latinos to be shown the door when the next series of cuts, layoffs, buy outs, early retirements and firings come along.   Maybe it used to be the bottom feeders were the ones who had the most to worry about when they were called into the boss’ office on Friday, but now anybody can get kicked to the curb at any moment.  Job security is a joke and the few left standing doing double and triple-duty are like the last survivors in The Walking Dead.  Their time is coming soon and they know it.

I got a good laugh at the convention when I was informed the title “freelancer” is passe.  Now the vogue term is “entrepreneurial journalist” and your business is selling Brand You.  You have to have a blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter and Linkedin account.  You should have streaming media of your television and radio appearances and you should be ready to strut your stuff and show you’re a 21st Century Renaissance Man ready, willing and able to navigate the brave new world of the new media world.

Which is a crock.  You can paint your body red, white and blue, stick a flag in your navel and call yourself Yankee Doodle Dandy.  It matters less what title you go by than it does whether there are any opportunities available.  If there aren’t does it really matter what’s on your 500 free Vistaprint business cards?

There’s still work for journalists, but what work there is may not be permanent, may not be where you want to go or the type you want to do.

Listen to the optimists and the great recession sounds like a great opportunity. This is the time for the creative class to brand itself! A day job, they say, is so 20th century – as quaint and outdated as tail fins and manual sewing machines.

Thanks to laptops, cheap Internet connections and structural changes in the world economy, we’re living in a world of “free agents” – “soloists” who are “self-branding” and empowered to live flexible and self-determining lives full of meaning. We are all citizens of Freelance Nation — heirs not to the old-school stodgy, gray-flannel-suit Organization Man but to the coonskin-capped pioneers and rugged, self-made types who built this country.

Maybe Clark Kent should be Superman full-time.

But for those who must actually scrape together work in this new “gig economy” – architects, filmmakers, writers, musicians, bookstore managers, graphic designers and other downsized members of the creative class, folks made obsolete by the Internet and the current predatory style of corporations – Freelance Nation is a place where they fight to keep a home or medical insurance.

Some are losing their houses. Others are watching marriages go up in smoke or falling into heavy drinking. Still others are couch-jumping for months or years at a time. Or they’re veering close to bankruptcy because of the risk of living without medical insurance. Call it the new creative destruction.

Matthew Wake had paid his dues. Post-college, he’d worked as short-order cook, waited tables, worked construction and clerked in record stores. While he was living in New Orleans, playing guitar in bands, a girlfriend suggested he might try something less financially risky than piling into a van to play small clubs across the South: music journalism.

Wake didn’t walk right into a staff job – he wrote copy for a bank, freelanced for papers for free, sold ads and sat through three-hour town-planning meetings, all ways to break in. But after a few years he became a writer, and later editor, at several Southern papers. For his latest job, he was a staff writer at a weekly in Greenville, S.C. The paper was owned by Gannett – a famously profit-driven company. “Every quarter was like a Friday the 13th horror film,” he recalls. “‘Am I gonna be the guy that Freddie gets?'”

One day in June, he and his colleagues were called into a room and told the paper was eliminating its arts and entertainment staff: The weekly would recycle copy from other papers in the chain. It was one of about 20,000 layoffs at Gannett under former CEO Craig Dubow, who retired last month due to medical issues and left the company with a $37.1 million golden parachute.

“First,” Wake says of his life post-job, “I went through my savings the way Jane’s Addiction goes through bass players. I hit up tons and tons of publications – local, regional, national. What I’ve observed is that as times get tough, freelance is the first thing they cut.” And publications are shrinking. “Spin just went bimonthly. The Rolling Stone I get in the mail is about as thin as a brochure. There will be more rats fighting for that same piece of cheese.”

Unpleasant as working for Gannett could be, Wake lived in a three-bedroom house, buying CDs or heading to bars when he wanted to. Now, he’s moved back to his hometown – Huntsville, Ala. — and has taken a room in the house he grew up in, now owned by his attorney brother. He writes for pay when he can, and lives off what he makes taking care of his 91-year-old grandmother. “It gives me something to do so I don’t have to go back to waiting tables,” he says. “I just turned 40.”

It’s hard not to feel like he’s going backward. When Wake had a job, he was able to make some forays into collecting art. “Now I have the same Stones poster I had in college… Do I go into PR? Marketing? I go from interviewing Slash to writing copy for a Denny’s menu? It’s gonna be a weird world for a while.”

As long as there are people willing to read, there will always be a need for people willing to write.  Whether or not anyone will pay you for your words is another matter.  There will always be a place for writers, but I’m not so sure there will always be one for journalists.   It feels like an endangered profession.

This month counts as a good one for me.  I submitted an article to The Root and they published it.  It only took ten months since the last one they accepted.

You owe anyone money they’re willing to wait ten months before they get it?  You can make a nice living as a freelancer, but it’s going to take a lot of writing for $25 bucks here and $100 bucks there before you make any money at it.   That is if you can find a publisher who doesn’t expect you to write for nothing.

I wouldn’t tell a student today looking at a career to consider journalism.  No way.  If they ignored my advice and pursued the profession anyway, I’d tell them they better have a strong minor to fall back on.  Clark Kent needs Superman more than the other way around.

Reporters should be considered an endangered species.

Mission Over, Nothing Accomplished

Did we win? Do you care?

President Obama announced last week he was bringing all the troops home from Iraq and effectively end the nearly nine-year war.

“As promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year,” Obama said. “After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over.”

“Today, I can say that troops in Iraq will be home for the holidays,” Obama said.

Predictably, the Republican presidential candidates squawked like irritated chickens in response to the president’s announcement despite the Obama Administration simply fulfilling an agreement that was struck by President Bush with the Iraq government to withdraw the troops.

Despite their inability to agree on the economy or much else, Republican presidential candidates spoke with one voice in reaction to President Obama’s announcement of a full U.S. withdrawal from Iraq this year.

They were against it.

It was an “astonishing failure” that risked all the gains made “through the blood and sacrifice” of thousands of Americans, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he was “deeply concerned” that Obama had put “political expediency ahead of sound military and security judgment.” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) cited it as another example of the president’s foreign policy weakness, and Jon Huntsman, Obama’s former ambassador to China, called it a “mistake.”

Herman Cain let stand his assessment of last weekend, in which he announced that withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan were “a dumb thing to do.”

This is the GOP plan for dealing with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: stay the course no matter how disastrous or how much the American people dislike the course.   Not a one of them has any better ideas than to gripe, whine, bitch and complain.  Over 4,400 have been killed in Iraq with thousands more wounded.  The number of Iraqis dead is somewhere over 100,000, but nobody knows for sure.

But nine years of blood, death and billions of dollars wasted isn’t enough for Mitt and the Seven Dwarfs.

Don't be afraid kid. We're liberating you. Don't you feel liberated?

I guess the better option would to allow thousands of American troops to stay in Iraq and pouring billions of dollars into rebuilding their infrastructure while allowing this country’s to crumble. Oh, and by the way? That Sharia law thing American citizens want no part of here? Let’s allow our soldiers to be subject to it there.

Sorry kids. You hoped Daddy would be home for the holidays? BZZZZZTTT!!! He has to stay in Iraq because the Republicans say the process that led to their exit is flawed.

Wherever the American flag is planted the Right-wing insists it must remain there in perpetuity. Before the corporations and contractors can safely move in to profit from the wars, the grunts have to bleed out and die off.

First we’re liberators. Then we’re occupiers. We’re always capitalists.

The politicians like things as they are just fine. The people have rejected it. They want the wars ended and the troops home.  Now who’s gonna tell the GOP?

I don’t give a damn about whether the troops are coming home because Iraq wants the right to make American soldiers subject to their laws.

I definitely don’t give a damn whether any Republican presidential candidate has “concerns” or not.

I don’t want to spill another drop of American blood on Iraq soil and I don’t want to spend another dime propping up another corrupt government.

It’s their country. Let them work out their own problems for a while. Push come to shove the U.S. knows the address if they need to return.

Bring the boys home for Xmas and tell the last one out of Iraq turn off the lights

Declare victory and come on home.

Leading From Behind, Coming Out Ahead

Need a nap Gaddafi? Take one. Forever.

There’s no trophy room in the White House, but if there were one, President Obama could add Libyan dictator Mohammar Gaddafi’s pelt to the wall next to Osama bin Laden and the radical American-born cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, spiritual adviser to Major Nidal Malik Hasan whose shooting spree at Fort Hood, killed 13 people and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the failed Christmas Day bomber.

Libyan rebels found Gaddafi hiding in a drain pipe and shot him.  No big loss to the world.

While elitist jerks like Mitt Romney sniff, “It’s about time” in response to the news Gaddafi is finally cold meat and neo-cons refuse to give the president any credit for the part the U.S. played in bringing a dictator down and isolationists like Ron Paul would have had simply sat on the sidelines and watched with disinterest, a larger principle was served here.

A measure of justice for the relatives of the 259 people killed when Pan-Am 103 was blown out of the sky over Lockerbie, Scotland on orders from Gaddafi.

Cape May Courthouse, NJ — Susan Cohen, mother of Syracuse University student Theodora Cohen who died in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, was watching reports of Moammar Gadhafi’s death this morning on CNN. Cohen was waiting for confirmation of the death, but she was fairly confident.

“I think it’s marvelous,” Cohen said. “This will be the happiest day of my life since Dec. 21, 1988. I owe it all to the Libyan people.”

Cohen said she would open a bottle of champagne today and raise a glass to the people of Libya.

“You could not deal with him,” she said of Gadhafi. “He was a ghastly tyrant.”

“It’s just absolutely marvelous. It’s a day of joy.”

Cohen said that it was absolutely horrible that 35 Syracuse University students, “young people with futures, their lives ahead of them,” were among the 270 who died in the bombing of Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

Cohen blamed Gadhafi for her daughter’s death.

“I hope he suffered,” she said.

“I’m going to celebrate his death. It should have happened earlier by the hand of the United States,” she said.

Gaddafi finally pays in full for the bombing of Pan-Am 103.

The neo-con job artists, led by Evil Dick Cheney will claim it was George Bush’s intel that led the Navy SEALS to bin Laden’s address, but it was also Bush’s bungling at Tora Bora that allowed bin Laden to get away and inspire more terrorist attacks around the world.

Intelligence without a Commander-in-Chief to differentiate between what is actionable and what is not is the difference between invading Iraq looking for weapons of mass destruction that didn’t exist and successfully ending the evil of a murderer who killed innocent American citizens.

Without question it’s the Libyan people who rose up against Gaddafi who deserve the lion’s share of the credit and all the responsibility to go forward in the aftermath of the tyrant’s demise.

Obama recognized that fact when he said, “Today belongs to the people of Libya. This is a moment for them.”

But the steadfast refusal on the part of some of the usual suspects to give Obama any credit for ordering the killing of Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki and now the successful topping of Gaddafi can be explained in two words: sour grapes.

It’s not enough to have the military bullet in the gun. You also need someone with a steady hand to aim it. Presidents don’t personally take out the garbage, but they have a lot to say in deciding who deserves to go out in it.  The president saw an opportunity to get rid of Gaddafi and he took it.  Good for him.  Obama was roundly criticized from all sides of the political spectrum with a few nuts like Dennis Kucinich suggested bombing Libya was an impeachable offense.   The president’s “leading from behind” strategy was vilified at the time, but it got the job done.

You don’t have to give Obama credit and he’s not going to parade around waving the bloody shirt or the head and horns. He could have taken a “hands-off” and this day still might have happened anyway.

Or it might not have happened at all.

Reagan wanted Gaddafi. Bush wanted Bin Laden.

Obama got ‘em both.

When one has made a decision to kill a person, even if it will be very difficult to succeed by advancing straight ahead, it will not do to think about doing it in a long, roundabout way. One’s heart may slacken, he may miss his chance, and by and large there will be no success. The Way of the Samurai is one of immediacy, and it is best to dash in headlong.

~ Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

Samurai Obama Bags Another One

Up Against the Wall Street

I wanted to say something about the Occupy Wall Street movement.  I admire the activism and the energy being exhibited by people whom are fed up with being part of the many who don’t benefit while a select few make out like bandits.  There’s plenty in America to make it a better place for everyone.  But there are those who are greedy and have no intentions of giving up anything they have so others can have something.

When the mainstream news media isn’t ignoring the demonstrators, it’s ridiculing and sneering at them as being too White, too liberal, too motley and too unfocused.  What do these over-privileged, pampered and spoiled hippie liberal brats and ragged Socialists want anyway? is the message coming from CNN, Fox News and others.

It seems to me those that are pissing all over the Wall Street protests the most are the same ones rushing to defend the Tea Party raising hell.

Apparently its fine to challenge the status quo when it’s the right-wing doing the challenging. Not so much when it’s coming from the left though.   Double standards and situational ethics are fun to watch. The stench of rank hypocrisy does get to be a bit much though.

Why is there so much criticism levied at the protestors for lacking specific demands?  I don’t remember Fox News bitching about this when it was the Tea Party raising hell.  What did they want?  Take back our country?  From who?    What makes you think it only belonged to you in the first place?

You are not rich.
You do not get bailed out.
You do not own politicians.
There are no tax loopholes created especially for you.
You may work hard for what you have and you may hate to associate yourself with dirty liberal hippies, but guess what?

You are the 99%!

It’s amazing how many of yesterday’s radicals are today’s conservatives. I suppose they had to come from somewhere. If they had started off as conservatives and ended up even more conservative look how much evolving they would have missed out on since 1968.

When the Tea Party raised seven different kinds of hell at the town hall meetings of some scared Congresscritters, they were derided as loudmouthed bullies, kooks and worse. I know because I was one of those deriding them.

I could not disagree more with the Tea Party’s principles. However, I support their right to organize and raise seven different kinds of hell because it got results. If anything the Left has watched and learned.

Wall Street is not going to crumble and fall because of these protests. Capitalism isn’t going to crumble and fall because of these protests.  So what the hell are so many in the media and elsewhere so worried about? At some point the protests will pass and we all get back to our football games and the new fall television seasons. Maybe some talent deprived pop tart will get out of a car without her underwear on and we can have a good old scandal to amuse us for a while. Maybe somebody famous will die and that can distract us for a weekend or so.

And maybe we can let the bankers and the brokers and the dealers and hustlers and smart guys get back to business of nickel and diming the rest of us when they aren’t robbing us blind with billion dollar bailouts to get them out the messes they made for themselves.

If what’s happening on Wall Street is just street theater by a handful of malcontents, posers, anarchists and spoiled rich brats, what is there to be afraid of? One might think the charade might not simply collapse, but blow away by one stiff breeze out of sheer weightlessness.

It seems the rich and powerful don’t like being reminded just how well things are working out for them when compared to everyone else.

Every movement starts with a few dissatisfied souls. It’s only from them reminding the rest of us how dissatisfied we should be too that anything ever changes around here.

Dissent is not only the highest form of patriotism, it’s as American as the flag and mom’s apple pie. Faced with a broken system where no one is held accountable and nothing seems to work for the people, you can hardly blame the occupy Wall Street groups for finally saying, “Enough! No more!”

This isn’t about covering Obama’s ass for his failures and coziness to Wall Street. It’s about a general sentiment of “mad as hell and not going to take it anymore” types and all politicians are being held equally accountable for the state of the economy.

If you want the rulebook changed you go to the guys who paid off the officials and gave them their jobs in the first place.

I have no idea why Americans cheer on protests in Middle East countries against elitist oligarchs over there and sneer at them as being smelly hippies here.

Maybe it’s simply easier to dismiss them as malcontents than concerned citizens who give a good goddamn about the raw deal everyone but the bankers and brokers got with their Wall Street bail out while everyone else just takes the assault and bleeds out quietly.

It’s a terrific story. I just wish the corporate media cared about covering it as much as they do about some fucking English twit getting married.