Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Piracy off Somalia! A new threat? Not really...

I get a kick out of all the sudden clamor over piracy off Somalia. Those waters have been dangerous for a very long time. As an example here is the story of the greatest act of piracy in history. Note that the money values were in current English pounds of the later 17th century and do not reflect today. These numbers would be vastly larger. Somali pirates of today are actually quite gentile compared to the raiders of the past.
The nature of Piracy is to attack a ship, seize it, plunder what it holds, then sink it, sell it, or use it for future profit. Piracy has been going on for as long as humans have traveled the seas. Julius Caesar spent time as a captive of pirates. The story to be told takes place in the Golden Age of Piracy.

"In August 1695, the English Pirate Henry Every, or "Long Ben" and his ship the Fancy reached the Mandab Strait (where the Somali pirates operate now), where he teamed up with four other pirate ships, including Thomas Tew's sloop Amity. Although a 25-ship Mughal convoy bound for India eluded the pirate fleet during the night, the following day they encountered the greatest ship in the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb's fleet, the Ganj-I-Sawai, and its escort Fateh Muhammed, both passing the straits en route to Surat. After a protracted battle they took both ships.

The victorious pirates then subjected their captives to several days of horror, raping and murdering prisoners at will, and using torture to force them to reveal the location of the ships' treasure. Some of the Muslim women committed suicide to avoid violation or humiliation. Those women who did not kill themselves or die from the pirates' brutality were taken aboard the Fancy. The other survivors were left aboard their ships, which the pirates set free.

The loot from the Ganj-I-Sawai totalled between £325,000 and £600,000, including 500,000 gold and silver pieces. Every and the surviving pirate captains set sail for RĂ©union, where they shared out £1,000 and some gemstones to every man in the crew."

So how did things end for Henry Every? Well he was one of the few pirates to escape the noose. He went to Ireland and was never seen again. What ended the Golden Age of Piracy was the rise of national navies. Pirates were mercinaries who were contracted by governments to fight for them. Once the contract was up they just kept on fighting. After all what else can you do? Become a farmer? Starve? Governments created the pirates of old, just like we do today. Where did all those Somali pirates learn to fight? In the Somali wars. Who supplied them? Who helped train them?

To stop the Somali pirates of today we probably need to kill a lot of them. Thousands of happless pirates were hanged. Almost all the famous pirates of old met a bad end.

Black Beard: head cut off after being shot
Bart Roberts: Shot in face with grapeshot
Captain Kid: Hanged
Calico Jack Rackham: Hanged
Stede Bonnet: Hanged
Sir Henry Morgan: died broke, and drunk (prophetic since Henry Morgans is a famous Rum)
Sir Francis Drake: died of dysentery

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Who does Zawhiri fear most?

I would say that Zawahiri and Bin Laden fear Obama more than God. They feared Bush more than God too. They talk tough, but live in hiding. Who are they hiding from and why? They are hiding because they do not want to die. They are hiding from that which they fear. They fear the US. So when the two of them weigh their faith in God and their fear of the US, the scale tips toward fear of the US. Obama does not live in hiding. Neither did Bush. America is confident while her enemies live in holes, sitting next to rusty guns used as props, making pronouncements. America knows that Zawahiri and Bin Laden, and their followers hate it.
So again why do they hide? They do not want to die? If they are confident in their service to God then why should the fear? Maybe they fear the US and God. They fear the US for its ability to kill them and they fear God in His ability to lay vengeance upon them for killing in His name.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Well the country has spoken again. The same nation that put Clinton in the White House twice, the same nation that put Bush in the White House twice, has now sent Mr. Obama to the White House. It is historic for the precedent it sets and for the fact that he won the popular vote by 4 million votes, and that it was not even close.

The Republicans are catterwalling about how Palin sunk the ticket, or how McCain was not a true believer of American conservatism. But one this is clear. The Republicans need to do some drastic house cleaning. If the reason your ticket "lost" was Palin, the one person to galvanize you base, then that does not say much about your coming chances to take back power. McCain was given such a terrible hand to play that even if he had chosen better for VP he was in trouble from the start.

Even if McCain had not been dealt a stinking mess to run with, he was in trouble because Obama simply ran a superb campaign.

Hopefully what comes out of this election is an abandonment of neoconservative dung. If America ends up with two parties who think and can have candidates who like to think, then we will all be better off. If the Republicans think Palin is their future then they should save themselves a lot of grief and jump off the bridge to know where. Because that is all Palin represents.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Final Poll Crunch for Bush

We love the little guy! 25%
So long and no need to hang around! 69%
Have no clue: 7%

In all the years of my poll crunching for W' I have had very few surprises. The poll crunch has been going on since 2004. On this his final day as a President without a President elect, he is in the tank as he has been for years. Leadership, to be sure, is not only shown in poll numbers, but if you are loathed for years and years and make your people hurt that pretty much says it all.

Goodbye Mr. Bush.