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Saturday Open Thread: What’s Happening?

Captain Richard Phillips

Captain Richard Phillips

I’m not usually the bloodthirsty type, but I’ve been feeling pretty angry lately about the Somali pirates who have been holding an American ship captain hostage. Yesterday, when I heard he had tried to escape and then been recaptured, my head just about exploded.

The captain of the Maersk Alabama, Richard Phillips, tried to escape from the lifeboat he’s sharing with four pirates in the Indian Ocean and was quickly recaptured, a pirate said yesterday. Two U.S. warships in the waters off East Africa are monitoring the pirates.

“Negotiations are under way to free the American captain and the discussions are continuing,” a man calling himself Da’ud, who identified himself as one of the pirates, said yesterday in a telephone interview from the area of Eyl, Somalia. “The captain is unharmed and at this stage we aren’t going to hurt anyone.”

WTF?! Where is “President” Obama? Why doesn’t he want to answer questions about this situation? Yesterday, reporters asked him about it, and Obama gave a typically snotty response: “Guys, we’re talking about housing right now.”

You know, I would like an explanation. I understand there are U.S. Navy ships near the scene of these events. Why don’t they have sharp shooters to pick off the pirates in the lifeboat? Or Navy Seal types swimming under water to aid Phillips’s escape? How must Phillips feel knowing that even if he courageously tries to escape again, no one will come to help? Isn’t that what happened in Somalia during the “Black Hawk Down” incident–no one came to the rescue? Exactly how are we going to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan if our military can’t deal with some pirates? Is it too bloodthirsty for me to want to bomb the hell out of Mogadishu after this pirate incident is resolved? I don’t get it. And I’m willing to be educated. I heard on a radio last night that the fear is the pirates could kill Phillips if any attempt is made to rescue him through firepower. That’s probably true, but why can’t I hear an explanation from the U.S. President?

In line with the pirate standoff, how come Dear Leader isn’t doing anything about North Korea? They shoot off a rocket and what does the O-man have to offer in response? “Just words,” as far as I can tell. I found this hilarious commentary by a British Conservative in the comments from last night’s cocktail post. He refers to Obama as “President Pantywaist.”

Then came the dramatic bit, the authentic West Wing script, with the President wakened in the middle of the night in Prague to be told that Kim Jong-il had just launched a Taepodong-2 missile. America had Aegis destroyers tracking the missile and could have shot it down. But Uncle Sam had a sterner reprisal in store for l’il ole Kim (as Dame Edna might call him): a multi-megaton strike of Obama hot air.

“Rules must be binding,” declared Obama, referring to the fact that Kim had just breached UN Resolutions 1695 and 1718. “Violations must be punished.” (Sounds ominous.) “Words must mean something.” (Why, Barack? They never did before, for you – as a cursory glance at your many speeches will show.)

Is it wrong that I somewhat agree with this guy?

In other news, there are rallies around the country this afternoon, organized by A New Way Forward. William Greider and other former koolaid sippers are all thrilled about these actions. I still love Greider, but I’d feel a whole lot better about his judgment if he hadn’t fallen for Obama’s lies the first time.

Apparently the leaders of ANWF are Joe Trippi and Mike Lux, who as far as I know are still on the koolaid. Am I wrong to be a little bit suspicious? Another Conflucian suggested to me that this could be an “Obot army” effort to take the focus off the Obama administration’s complicity in the financial crisis and put it all on the bankers. Is that too tinfoil hat? After reading this article last week, I really don’t think so. Obama and his Axelrodian puppetmasters are some very manipulative M-Fers. Paging Cinie! If anyone could scope this out, she could!

So what are you reading/hearing/watching today? Please share your links. Our commenters are the best researchers evah!!

124 Responses

  1. I also wondered why Navy SEALs weren’t in the area to grab Phillips when he escaped and then kill the pirates.

    • I heard that he was in the water only seconds, at the most minutes. Krauthammer, who is definitely not an Obotomy, says Obama is doing the right thing by keeping a low profile. He says presidential prominence in this case elevates the situation and makes the hostage far more valuable—better to keep out of the limelight, let the services handle it and have presence when Phillips has been freed. Also suggested that they may be buying time to get their assets to the scene (I guess the Indian Ocean is a pretty big pond).

      All that being said, the longer this goes on this way, the worse for Obotomy.

      • This is basically a police matter. If some robbers in LA had taken a hostage when their robbery attempt failed, no one would expect the President to get involved.

        The Somali pirates do not represent Somalia (no one does)

        What’s Obama supposed to do, get on the phone and negotiate?

        • I don’t know what happens in CA, but in Boston if a criminal took hostages, the criminal would probably end up dead if he didn’t give up the hostages in a reasonable period of time. We’re going on four days with this situation. No, I don’t expect Obama to negotiate. But he is commander in chief of the US military.

          Most Presidents would be engaged with the situation. If Obama isn’t, I see that as a problem. I also see it as a problem that he can come up with a better response to direct questions from the press.

          I think it’s very likely (and WMCB’s husband does too) that Obama has given orders that no one is to be killed, including the pirates.

          • I’m thinking that BO may remember the fate of Jimmy Carter who became deeply engaged in a hostage situation.

        • Piracy on the high seas is not only a police matter. Certainly not like a bank robbery in LA. The Marine Corps hymn begins

          From the Halls of Montezuma
          To the Shores of Tripoli;

          for a reason. Pirates were some of our first enemies post Revolutionary War. These Somali pirates need to be taken down, hard if necessary.

        • In the water it goes to federal jurisdiction, the Navy and Coast Guard, and so the President has to do SOMETHING.

  2. tin foil hat? not even.

    they are hiding in plain sight.

    this organization will get plenty of media coverage.

    they’ll use it (either right away or eventually) to support Obama and his re-election.

    please see comments and links on previous thread.

    and don’t shoot the messenger.

    • Catarina,

      In the case of Ho on the previous thread, he is from one of the anti-puma blogs, not trying to help. He was trying to make fun, thinking we didn’t know who the organizers were. We have discussed it here before. I’d like to look into this further though!

  3. ohyeah
    and about those pirates.

    give them the damned two mil, rescue Captain Phillips, and blow their asses to smithereens.

    • Why the hell couldn’t they blow them away while Phillips was in the water?

      • My hubby, former Naval Commander and sharpshooter medal recipient, says that they dropped the ball on that one (whether on orders from higher up we may not know.)

        They should have had men in position and guns trained in case something broke (like the captain’s escape attempt.)

        • May I add that he says “going in guns blazing” is a stupid idea, but yeah, they should have been ready when an opportunity like that for a surgical response presented itself.

          • Does your husband think some crew members on these ships should be armed? Why should they have to go into dangerous waters with no way to defend themselves? I heard it has to do with the cost of insurance for the ship owners. It’s never about the workers, is it?

          • bb, he says that arming the crews might help, but not by much. The pirates often have RPG’s, etc. Unless you are going to arm the commercial ships with big far-reaching deck guns, etc, arming the crews with small arms is not going to help much.

          • That’s hoping for too much competence….if Barry says he’s ” watching the situation” , you know they aren’t.

          • Thanks, WMCB. One of the excuses I heard was that the crew members might try to steal the cargo if they were armed. I certainly wouldn’t want one of my family members going into a hellhole like that.

        • My guess is if Obama is even involved, he probably gave “no shoot” orders. Same with North Korea rocket. Obama is a complete wimp unless he’s beating up on women.

          • That’s hubby’s guess. He can’t imagine that they would not have sharpshooters in place – so thinks they likely were either told not to position them, or they were there, and not allowed to fire

          • I hate that Hillary is associated with him now, because he does not have the cajones to handle these kinds of situations, and it will blowback on her. She would not be ambivalent and we would be getting regular updates, not more pontificating.

        • The report I read said they are out of shooting range and couldn’t do anything, because they don’t want to be fired upon…

      • why not pay the ransom?
        what’s two million (that’s what I heard they asked for)
        after the ransom money the bankers got?

        Give em the damned money, save the captain, and then let the guns can “blaze”…

  4. Well, I am going to check it out and I’ll report back to you guys as to whether it is legit or not. I also have an app on my iPhone to post directly to wordpress. I hate using it because it means I have to type with one finger. But it is a small sacrifice I am willing to make.

  5. There are also Russian, German and Filipino hostages near the Somali coast — an ongoing, international situation.

    And it’s a small number of low-tech ships causing such havoc. “Somali pirates hold about a dozen ships with more than 200 crew members, according to the International Maritime Bureau, a piracy watchdog group based in Malaysia.”


    • Yes, and Denmark has sought – in vain so far – to get the Americans to engage in trying to solve this problem. Which is a huge international problem.

      When the hijackers are captured, no one seems interested in bringing them to court back in their own countries, neither the countries of the captured ship, or of its crew, or of the vessel who captures them.

      So what’s left is to release them, and send them back home, where no judicial system is in place … and then wait for the next time they strike.

      The Danish Defense Minister predicts, that it will take years to solve.

      • There need to be serious efforts to prosecute these criminals in some international court. If there isn’t one now, start one. Where is the UN? My guess is world leaders will only start to care when one of them or some billionaire banker is taken hostage.

        • They can’t do that because then some countries’ secrets will be out like the dumping of chemical toxic waste in Somali waters which has began to affect the people.

          USACC Appeals to U.S. Secretary of State Clinton to Address International Maritime Law Violations off the Somali Coast

          The U.S. African Chamber of Commerce (USACC) is appealing to United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to address international maritime law violations off of the Somali coast. These violations include piracy, illegal dumping of chemical toxic waste, illegal fishing, illegal trafficking, travel by unregistered vessels, unauthorized militarization and command centers, and the development of risk management and business for nuclear waste.
          The explosion of piracy and illegal activity off of the coast of Somalia in recent years began with the U.S. supported overthrow of the Somali government by Ethiopia. The previous government provided Somalia with rule of law and a functional society. Since it was overthrown, Somalia’s new central government has struggled to maintain the rule of law and the economic infrastructure has severely broken down, leaving the people of Somalia in dire conditions. It has also left the Somali coast unprotected. As a result, international vessels have taken advantage of the lack of enforcement and have engaged in the dumping of chemical waste, and the numerous other activities described above. Without employment options, some local people have engaged in piracy both as a means of income and to protect the coast. Operating from remote fishing communities in northeastern and central Somalia, pirates have earned tens, perhaps even hundreds of millions of dollars in ransom.
          The piracy and illegal activity off the coast of Somalia has exposed a weakness in the United Nations maritime law that makes high seas piracy illegal throughout the world.


          • I heard about that. That could have something to do with the lack of push back, all right.

  6. I’ll give Obama a pass for not saying anything about the hostage situation.

    The people on the scene should be handling things without interference from Washington.

    SOP in hostage situations is to slow everything down and wait them out. They will negotiate for as long as it takes.

    Going in with guns blazing is a last resort.

    Once the situation is resolve he better speak up about what we’re gonna do to put and end to these pirates.

    It’s not like this was the first time the pirates have done this, it’s just the first time it was one of our ships..

    • A-Z, myiq!

    • I’m aware of that, but I think there are ways that Obama could explain that without hurting the situation. I’m not suggesting going in with guns blazing. However I do think this makes the U.S. look extremely impotent, and it’s embarrassing. The French have apparently decided that they aren’t going to fool around with these criminals. I want the rescue of Phillips to be the first priority, but after that there need to be some stronger efforts to deal with this situations.

      Unlike you, I don’t believe the claim that Obama is following this minute to minute. I think he has simply delegated everything and he is more interested in what he’ll serve at his next WH lunch or dinner party.

      • From what I’ve seen on tv, the French waited until they felt they had no choice. The pirates were moving toward the coast and the French intercepted transmissions which indicated that the pirates were going to kill the hostages.

        “Is it too bloodthirsty for me to want to bomb the hell out of Mogadishu after this pirate incident is resolved?”

        I understand the sentiment but that would be a very bad idea. While Mogadishu is the capital city, Somalia is pretty much a totally failed and lawless country. Bombing Mogadishu wouldn’t stop the pirates at all and would kill random, and mostly innocent, Somalians

      • I don’t believe he’s following it, either. I do believe he’s been told to keep his yap shut about it.

        What he should have said, was “I can’t speak to that right now due to the sensitivity of the situation and our concern for Captain Philips’ safety.” Instead, he blew off the reporter like the rude adolescent he is.

    • Last year about this time the pirates captured a Jordanian ship.
      I was following it in the Jordanian press for a while. Eventually they got it back. Somalia is a failed state, a war zone. Planes landing at the main airport in Mogadishu have to land in a special evasive pattern, like the plane that carried Hillary to Bosnia. I would imaging the pirates want ransom money to continue to finance their military ventures.

    • Actually it is a Danish ship.

      But the crew is American.

    • Actually it is a Danish owned ship.

      But the crew is American.


  7. Right now I ‘m watching Blade Runner and before that 2001 and 2010. If I turn on any of the cable news channels I put the remote thru the screen.

    • Sounds like a good thing to do on a Saturday, especially if it’s raining cats and dogs like it is here.

  8. Hi, just wanted to let every one know I haven’t fallen over a cliff, my daughter wanted to cut her spring break in Florida short and come home. So I went to get her and I’m going to take her out and around the French Quarter Fest today.

    I’m still filtering through the planning threads and will have some threads open once she gets back to campus tomorrow sometime.

    • Hi Dakinikat,

      I figured you were still sorting through those hundreds of comments, but it sounds like you’re even busier than that. I hope your daughter is OK. Was something bad happening at her spring break location?

      • no, she said she was tired of all the girls getting into fights and wanted to come home and study for her philosophy test on monday

    • Enjoy the Fest for me, d’kat. An old friend who had a restaurant in the Quarter was one of its major organizers. I used to enjoy the Fest until it got so crowded (typical NOLA plaint). Hope your daughter’s okay now.

      • Yup, I lived down there like 10-15 years ago and it was great when it was small. Now it’s feeling like jazz fest — getting way too big and way less New Orleans.

  9. This Pirate thing has to leave every American wondering what would Chicago Slim do if a major “man made” (I think that’s what their calling terrorism in the BO Adminstration) catastrophe happened here at home.

    His reaction to North Korea was so lame it was laughable. It amounted to nothing more than a pathetic finger wagging “we’re going to the UN”

    When I first heard his limp warning to North Korea I was reminded of the Gomer Pyle, “Citizens Arrest, Citizens Arrest” that Gomer lobbed at Barney for parking the squad car illegally. I pulled this You tube video and it gave me a good laugh because Barack Obama is GOMER”

  10. The rain in NYC will lessen the crowd and allow the bare bones of A Way Foward to be bettered displayed. It has ALL the emarks of Obotdom. I await RD’s report with interest

  11. There’s a really interesting story at the NY Times today about the Banks v Treasury over the TARP. TARP has about run out of funds. Many banks want out of the program because of the recent GM handling by the administration and the executive pay restrictions, but I guess paying the funds back comes with a huge penalty.

    Very interesting reading.

    • This should put any bank earnings announcements in question:

      “Economists at Goldman Sachs estimated recently that banks were valuing their mortgages at about 91 cents on the dollar, far more than investors are willing to pay for them. “

  12. The administration is likely all concerned about doing this with no loss of life.
    Wouldn’t want to spoil Obama’s popularity in the global community, dontcha know.

    If our military is hampered by having to be concerned about the scum terrorist pirate’s lives too, then their options are limited. I say let ’em operate with NO consideration for those dirtbags, just the captain.

    • Agree!

    • Agree. Chance are their current rules of engagement suck though. Else I doubt they would have missed the opportunity provided by the captain’s escape attempt.

  13. with berry not even makeing a stament it just shows just how much of a wuss he really is…

  14. I’m interested to hear the reports on ANWF. As things spiral for BO and the Dems, I’m seeing more and more desperate deflecting. On the Obotia boards, I’m seeing a core of faithful throwing plates of blame spaghetti at the wall in order to see what sticks. What distracts? What deflects? Bankers are good. RW talk show hosts are good. Sarah Palin is still great. **Anything** to avoid a hard look and hard questions.

    You know, it’s not even that they refused to vet BO. It’s that they demonized us when we did and even now, they refuse to take responsibility.

    • I’m seeing a core of faithful throwing plates of blame spaghetti at the wall

      😆 Terrific phraseology, alice.

    • Chris Bowers of Open Left has a piece at Real Clear Politics (I will not link pro-Obama propaganda) that cheerleads: “Reasons for Progressives to Trust Obama,” or some such nonsense. His argument? It’s the Senate’s fault.

      They will NEVER blame Obama–it would mean a major mea culpa, and they do not have the humility or integrity for that.

      • Bower is choosing to be ignorant. Which is far worse than being just plain ignorant.

  15. I know Pirates area all the rage these days – but few seem to sport Johnny Depp’s eyeshadow or hair beads. Nonetheless, I can’t be the only one asking “What the heck are we doing talking about REAL Pirates in 2009?”

    I mean it’s all over the news – PIRATES for Christsakes!

    I would’ve expected from the most technologically-advanced-President-Evah that we would be facing a more modern crisis – that’s all.

    Having said that – shouldn’t the most-technologically-advanced-President-Evah be able to squash them with his Blackberry powered Laser Beam or something? ‘Cause what ever he is doin’ now (read: not talking about it) seems pathetically un-techno.

    Even better – in this day and age – Somali Pirates have been able to hold hostage enough booty to get $50 million dollars from Governments and Corporations.

    Is it just me, or wouldn’t someone figure a way how to defeat Pirates (I mean PIRATES!!! for Christsakes again!) without losing that kind of money???

    • How about all these new “non-lethal” weapons they are developing to control American citizens?

    • Here is some Wiki-info on what’s been done re Anti-piracy Operations by the Combined Task Force 150.

      • This makes it even worse – I mean Denmark patrols the water, captures some pirates and lets them go back because they would be subject to the Death Penalty in other countries.

        Ship after ship seized even with these patrols.

        Kudos for their efforts and all, but as Gary said downthread, it’s a bit embarrassing isn’t it? – With all our might and power a band of 4 or 5 thieves can hold an entire vessel and crew of 20 hostage – and then be rewarded by having the ransom paid…. Ransom in the millions.

        With things as bad as they are here with the US economy, if people thought they could be rewarded with million dollar paydays for seizing ships cargo – and that just a small band of thieves can get away with it – with seemingly little in the way of repercussions/punishment, I’m surprised we haven’t had a run on eye-patches and parrots (I need to call my broker). Of course, these are million dollar paydays from Corporations and Insurance companies – that can simply get a bailout from the gov’ment to make up for it (see – somehow you and I are paying for this too!).

        Oh yeah – did I say the most ridiculous thing about this whole scenario… PIRATES!??

    • Dsperate people do desperate things. People gotta eat.

  16. I hate to say it, but I am embarrassed to be an American. Here we have all the power and might (and we pay out the ass for it as well) and then our leaders don’t know how to start and finish a job.

    I was pleased when we invaded Iraq. Both times. But when it comes to execution, our leaders our whimps. I don’t advocate the nuclear option but let’s face it, when we bombed Japan (we flexed our true muscle), the game was over.

    I think that in the end, we are just pawns supplying the dollars to the war mongers. They don’t ever want to succeed in having a victory. The longer we can drag out the wars, the more money the Halyburtons and other war profiteering comanies can profit.

    How sad the whimpiness of our leaders. Thought things would change but my optimism is gone.

    • Are you seriously advocating using nuclear weapons?????!!!!! 👿

      • Yeah, that’s a little bit over the top for me. And I didn’t support going into Iraq at all. I didn’t even think we should attack Afghanistan. I thought we should use special forces to capture bin Laden and his crew.

        • I was not in favor of going into Iraq on the intelligence we had, because so much of it was suspect (as was later confirmed), and because there was no real exit strategy.

          That is not to say that I can say for certain that it would have never been necessary to go in. Maybe it would have, eventually, had Saddam stayed in power. He may have eventually done some bad shit and forced the issue. But we’ll never know that now, will we? The point is we should not have gone when we did, the way we did. It was premature.

          I’m actually fairly hawkish where US interests are concerned, and have no qualms with protecting them, even if that interest is sometimes oil or trade or shipping access related. Do I like the fact that those interests exist, and are what they are? NO, not at all. But I am pragmatic enough to realize we need to a) protect them for now, and b) find ways to shift our energy policy, diplomatic efforts, etc so that it’s not an issue in the future. We need to do both.

  17. States are slashing social programs.


    Surprise, surprise, surprise!

    • That was for you, Carolyn KB.

      • If we could just photoshop Chicago Slim’s face onto Gomers body, saying “citizens arrest” to the North Koreans or “surprise, surprise, surprise” to the Somali Pirates, we could send it along to Jon Stewart, he needs some relevant material.

        • LOL! I wish I knew how to do it. Maybe SOD could do it with still pic and a word bubble.

  18. I was amazed that no one was there to help the captain when he jumped overboard. Didn’t they see him go into the water? Don’t they have lights trained on that life boat at all times?

    They say the life boat is covered so it’s hard to tell where everyone inside is. But our navy should have been prepared for a contingency such as an escape attempt. It was so disheartening to find out that the attempt failed. He probably won’t get another chance. There’s also a possibility that the captain might be injured since one of the pirates shot at him in the water. Lets all pray for a good outcome. Happy Easter and Passover to all Conflucians

  19. The captain has more principals and guts then the backtrack bunch.. He is willing to put his life on the line for his crew.
    Backtrack orders pizza. Backtrack does not even have courage to talk to the Captain’s family. He is too busy bowing to a muslim leader. Backtrack in less than 100 days shamed the office of the President of the United States.

    go to the rally and see what is backing backtrack.
    I had a history teacher in high school that had us study communism because you can not fight what you don’t know. In the 1950s that was considered radical.



  20. I’m so disgusted with his attitude. In the past we have negotiated, etc. but haven’t seen the sort of indifference this ass is displaying…

    This is why I need to take breaks!! If you need a break too, today’s SS will help…

    Saturday Sanity: The Antidote to the Madness (April 11, 2009) Carnage in the Garden; Blossoms; Harvesting Water; Empty Clouds; Spoiled Squirrels


    You will ADORE the squirrel bit….!!!

  21. Tangential, but just to follow up on some of the background other commenters have mentioned re Somalia:

    1) They haven’t had a central government since 1991 or 1992.

    2) The pirates operate out of the quasi-autonomous region of Puntland, and their main town is Eyl. If you bombed Eyl, you’d kill a lot of non-pirates. Although I doubt the pirates would care very much.

    3) Myself, I don’t see what’s preventing the navies from stopping and searching every boat out there, and blowing up the ones that don’t pass. They’ve got the wussiest rules of engagement you ever heard of. With some exceptions, everybody seems to be waiting for a UN resolution of something. I think in this case that’s code for, “Let somebody else do it.”

    4) Interesting factoids re the pirates, via the BBC. They have three classes of people: Guys with guns. Fishermen — squeezed out of a living by big-nation trawlers — who supply all the maritime knowledge needed. And (this is the one that got me) nerds who are absolutely critical to maintain all the electronics, satellite communications, advanced weapons they buy with the ransom money, and so on.

    And as for why Big O says nothing. . . . He’s a Big O.

  22. This is a lousy day for a protest. It’s really cold and rainy in NYC.

  23. Not there yet. Still on the train.

    • Rain is dying, it will stop by 4pm. Looking for parking, but people seem to be gathering at southwest corner of the Square. Bonus is the always terrific farmers market in the Square as well. If you’re already making the shlepp, come on down. City is always nice after a rain.

      • Guess we arrived a little late. But it was good talking to everyone including the organizers. A lot of Jane Hamsher’s people. Told them I was Hillary all the way, and a freelance PUMA. They were actually pretty cool with that. Don’t worry, I didn’t mention any PUMA blogs, association, etc. Did a couple of video tapings on the banking issues. Talked about the need for Obama and Geithner to regulate and break up the large banks, pronto, and the reasons why that was important. There’re apparently organizing a march to Wall Street in the coming weeks. Not exactly the psycho Obots I expected, though I missed the crowd because I was late. They had set up their speakers infront of the BofA building. They said turnout had been disappointing because of the rain. Anyway, we’ve left them now, and we’re now chowing on some delice Japanese at Shabu Tatsu on East 10th in the East Village, if anyone else is still downtown, please join. We’re talking about going to listen to some live music later. Cheers. 🙂

    • I’ll be interested to know if the tell- tail yellow school bus fleet is around. When MO was at a local university , during the campaign, I saw about 50 parked two miles away. It was only later I realize what they were.

  24. I don’t understand the entire thing with the pirates and letting them have their way. From what I saw, that lifeboat is a closed thing so they can’t see who is in it and where they are sitting.

    If the Seals could have figured out how, I’d imagine they would have tried to get into the boat to grab the captain, or put in a smoke gernade to force them out or something..

    In the meantime there’s this:

    MOMBASA, Kenya – Cheering and guarded by Navy Seals, the crew of an American ship reached a Kenyan port Saturday evening without their captain, still held hostage by Somali pirates in a lifeboat hundreds of miles from shore.

    Even as the Maersk Alabama pulled into port, the crew of an Italian-flagged tugboat was being held by pirates who seized it in a new attack.

    It crossed my mind about possibly mining the ports in Somalia but the boats those pirates use are shallow draft boats and the mines probably couldn’t be set high enough to sink them.

    It’s galling that the U.S. is the “mightiest nation” and we are helpless it seems to end this thing.

    If anyone is a history buff, might be a good thing to check out the USS Pueblo incident with the North Koreans, way back when.

    • I remember that. It was like real life Manchurian Candidate stuff.

      When you really think about it, the last time we won a real war was WWII. Since then it’s been quagmires and “the sorrows of empire.”

  25. USS Pueblo:

    Not the same as this incident but still a U.S. vessel being taken.

  26. This is way off topic


    May all here have the fun and freedom that this video makes me think of



  27. Now, now, let’s be fair. I heard the Carter/Obacrats are boycotting the Olympics, and bringing Ted Koppel back to Nightline.

  28. Hello,

    I know that the brainstorming thead is closed but a conservative friend of mine who has been a lurker of this blog, posted on the brainstorm thread.

    I just want you to know that there ARE conservative women like us who would like a place in PUMA but are unsure what our involvement would entail.

    I am reposting Roses post:

    Rose, on April 10th, 2009 at 5:14 pm Said:

    Thanks for the reference, Afrocity. I have always appreciated your presence here. And it has been fun getting to know your further.

    I’ve been coming here since sometime before the election, here, and Hillbuzz and a few others.

    I believe partisanship will destroy our country. I’m a Republican, but I do not vote party lines, nor do most of the (mostly liberal) people I know.

    I hate seeing Legislative votes go down along party lines, as they have been doing for years. There is no point in our elected representatives even bothering to go to work if they cannot think apart from the party. We can just fill in the yea or nay vote for them based on their party.

    Your PUMA movement gave me hope that we could all find and get back to that common ground, away from divisive polarizing destructive political hatreds. I’ve posted comments to that effect here many times.

    I don’t know if we will ever get there, because Obama, rather than working to heal the divide, propagates it because he thrives in the angst, he profits from keeping us in turmoil. That is the activist way, and that is the sewer from which he emerged.

    We’re going to have to stand together to protect our homes, our families, our incomes, our rights and our freedoms. I hope that’s what comes out of your brainstorming. We’re not that far apart.

    Let’s go through the star-belly removal machine until we come out and recognize that fact.

    Sorry for the long comment. Something I feel strongly about. Love your blog. And your voice.

    • Thanks, Afrocity. Dakinikat is going to put up another brainstorming thread once she goes through all the comments on the previous two.

    • Afrocity, thanks for your insightful comments. In 2008 I (finally) realized how I’d been stereotyping people by party and how stooopid that was. So I am with you and others in wanting PUMA to be an umbrella for all of us.

      Thanks to your friend for her comments too!

    • Let’s go through the star-belly removal machine until we come out and recognize that fact.

      LOVE the star-belly reference! One of my favorite Seuss stories that I often cite as a perfect metaphor for human nature and political absurdity.

  29. obama has pissed away trillions, not to mention all the money he has wasted flying 500 lackeys, his limo and a pizza across the world for gods sake .give them the 2 million ransom (such a puny sum in comparison to what he spends on himself) and then blow them out of the water. knowing how much obama loves polls, maybe someone should take a poll to see how many americans feel the same way. or could it be that 0bama is afraid to alienate his african brothers?

  30. Obotomy and the Pirates: Actually, if it were not for the anxiety and pain this is causing Capt. Phillips and his family, I would like for Obama to stay in the background. Actually, I think in the bigger picture that is the better thing to do because POTUS should not be front and center over pirates when he has working for him one of the most skilled miliary forces in the world. Also, it is clear to me that this hand full of pirates may have a small hand to play in the moment but it is not going to last over time and time is definitely not on their sides. They tried to send out rescue support and failed and every moment they lose. But in my micro mind I know that millions of Americans are getting more p#$##d by the moment at how this is unfolding and this is clearly an Obotomy event; not Bush. And everyone sees this Dear Leader not doing anything—we can only imagine what an agony it is for him to stay out of the headlines of these events.

    I think Americans see that it was an American crew who took back that ship even though they were unarmed. We can see that it is an American Captain that put his life on that lifeboat and freed his ship and crew. The man knows his duty, he has his priorities in order. They are true American heroes. They are a huge contrast to Obotomy Chicago Skinbody. And this contrast I love and the longer it goes on the better the contrast becomes. But I restrain myself because I really care about that one brave American out there on that boat. They will not hurt him because as long as he lives; they live. IF he does not live they are gone.

  31. Have you noticed those photos of the Somalia pirates? They are a very skinny, ill fed lot. Desperation is written all over them. I am not trying to raise sympathy for them or excuse them but you can visibly see how close to the edge of life they are. Isn’t Somalia the country that is written about in the book, “A Long Way Gone”. It is the story of a young boy caught up in the Somalia civil wars. I think if you want to have an insight into what is going on there and what the inner workings of the pirate operations are, that book is a must read.

  32. uh oh
    im in moderation
    i said O*ama?

  33. Some info about the vessel that was hijacked


    [“The capture of US nationals is already being seen as potentially significant, given that Washington has a tradition of muscular responses to incidents that involve American citizens being taken hostage,” Lloyd’s List said.]

  34. I have to get ready to go to work but I found this post
    I thought maybe this would be a good start to making PUMA voices heard in the 2010 election. We could start with dodd and look at other states where the congressman and senators forgot who they represent.



  35. Sorry
    I found the article at Daily Puma under catsden.wordpress.com/feed/
    We do need to start now to see what races we can impact.



  36. Why don’t they have sharp shooters to pick off the pirates in the lifeboat?

    That was my first question. I read an article that said the US warship is several hundred yards away “out of gun fire range,” so they don’t get shot. WTF? I’m not surprised he is completely out of his depth and ineffectual, but it’s embarrassing for the US. Another point is that we are somewhat restricted because of engagement rules in international waters involving civilians. Still, WHERE is he? He’s always shooting his mouth off, except when it would actually be helpful.

    Meanwhile, even Newsweek is reporting that the taxpayers are taking a bath while the bankers rake it in:

    Wall Street Digs In
    The old system refuses to change. Is Obama getting the message?

    With the financial markets seeming to stabilize in recent weeks, major Wall Street players are digging in against fundamental changes. And while it clearly wants to install serious supervision, the Obama administration—along with other key authorities like the New York Fed—appears willing to stand back while Wall Street resurrects much of the ultracomplex global trading system that helped lead to the worst financial collapse since the Depression.

    At issue is whether trading in credit default swaps and other derivatives—and the giant, too-big-to-fail firms that traded them—will be allowed to dominate the financial landscape again once the crisis passes. As things look now, that is likely to happen. And the firms may soon be recapitalized and have a lot more sway in Washington—all of it courtesy of their supporters in the Obama administration. With its Public-Private Investment Program set to bid up and buy toxic assets, the administration is handing these companies another giant federal subsidy. But this time the money will come through the back door, bypassing Congress, mainly via FDIC loans. No one is quite sure how the program will work yet, but it’s very likely going to make a lot of the same Wall Street houses much richer at taxpayer expense. Meanwhile, the big banks that still need help will almost certainly get another large infusion once the stress tests are completed by the end of the month.


    • Great; he wants to change the banks, just not too much.

      That’s Backtrack for ya.

    • Fif re the hijacking, it actually seems, that B0 is right about this one.

      So far negotiations about ransom have been “non-governmental” – strictly between the hijackers and the shipping companies. And the companies have been very low key about it.

      When a government intervenes it turns into a whole other ballgame. The kidnapped will become more valuable, the hijackers will expect bigger ransoms and eventually the lives of the kidnapped wil be in greater jeopardy.

      I’m actually a little disturbed over the reaction from so many here along the lines of “Why don’t they just shoot the motherf@ckers already and be done with it!” I’m afraid that attitude brought to fruition will only escalate the violence and the deathtolls.

      And I say this with all due respect to you all. It just seems, that there is an American way of viewing matters, that often contrasts to the rest of the World’s.

      Please note absolutely no offense ment!

  37. There is an article posted on NQ stating that the Republican Party is dead and doing a pretty good job of describing why. It takes the position that the party has been dead for 70 some years mainly because it clings to rhetoric that pampers the rich and puts down the common man even though such positions are not the postions of the party of Lincoln. Although the article is more rhetoric than real analysis, it does hit a core point. If you know history and know that the Republican Party was founded on the philosophy, principles and practice of Abraham Lincoln, you can only wonder how in the world it posits and postures the positions it takes today. I suspect there is hardly a person on this blog who would not follow Abraham Lincoln. Does anyone know a really good source book on the Republican Party of Lincoln?

  38. Jangles,
    I think the book “A long way gone” by Ismeal Beah was about a Sierra Leonean child soldier. Still a good read.

  39. An interesting article on pirates.


    Did we expect starving Somalians to stand passively on their beaches, paddling in our nuclear waste, and watch us snatch their fish to eat in restaurants in London and Paris and Rome? We didn’t act on those crimes – but when some of the fishermen responded by disrupting the transit corridor for 20 percent of the world’s oil supply, we begin to shriek about “evil.” If we really want to deal with piracy, we need to stop its root cause – our crimes – before we send in the gunboats to root out Somalia’s criminals.

    The story of the 2009 war on piracy was best summarized by another pirate, who lived and died in the fourth century BC. He was captured and brought to Alexander the Great, who demanded to know “what he meant by keeping possession of the sea.” The pirate smiled and responded: “What you mean by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, while you, who do it with a great fleet, are called emperor.”

  40. WTF?? THIS is what we HAVE SEALs for!!!!

    I’m a pacifist at heart, but we have a military and some things call for a military solution. Lets HOPE O isn’t as much like Bush as we think or he will invade Peru!

    • Larry Johnson has a good post about his training by a SEAL who specializing in naval maneuvers like this, and what they are doing right and what is lacking in terms of interagency cooperation. Sheds some light on the possible strategies.

  41. […] was hard to find one dominant story today, so here’s a mix: As the pirates demand ransom and Obama avoids answering questions, we are being reassured by Politico that POTUS is updated on the […]

  42. Pirates can be dealt with very simply, if we have the nerve:

    1) merchant vessels and crews in pirate prone areas should be armed (with cannons like in the olden days)

    2) pirate vessels should be shot on sight… okay, give them a warning first so they can exit their boat, then blast it the h3ll out of the water

    3) These crimes occur in international waters and the perps are therefore operating outside of the rule of law of any sovereign state. We need to grow a pair and deal with them.

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