I’m not talking about Commander in Chief Obama, recently signing the National Defense Authorization Act, enabling even U.S. citizens to be detained indefinitely by the military if suspected of some terrorist doing, and without evidence, a trial, or an attorney. Then there’s Jon Corzine, former captain in the U.S. Senate, Captain of New Jersey, Captain of Goldman Sachs for so many years, jumping ship on $1.3 billion dollars of MF Global funds, among which his client’s funds were completely comingled with his own.
No I’m talking this time about Captain Francesco Schettini of the $450 million Costa Concordia cruise ship that went off-course and smacked the island of Giglio, carrying more than 4,200 passengers and crew. AP reports the captain was found in a lifeboat and resisted returning to the ship. He claimed he was directing the situation from the lifeboat. He is now in custody and faces criminal charges of manslaughter and 12 years in prison near Naples, Italy. Bona fortuna!
The AP Article about the disaster was brought to my attention by a reader simply named Gregg who wrote, “It seems all Captains have abandoned ship. Everyman for himself; screw the women, children and the elderly. This is the new reality.” And that statement would be hard to argue with given the Captains of Industry we see jumping ship every day. The Republican candidate-hopeful refuses to submit his tax returns. But more importantly, Mitt Romney, and Bain Capital which he formerly captained, owns Clear Channel Communications, employers of (Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, etc., reported in an article from endoftheamericandream.com.
This gives Mitt Romney complete control as the captain of conservative radio, even as a retired partner. In fact, “some of the prominent hosts are earning tens of millions of dollars a year. And they have repeating guests who are actors and used for their skills of persuasion on a repeating basis. They pose as listeners who call to give their scripted opinions. This kind of right-wing media clout, via Premier Radio Networks, a subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications.
“Premier Radio syndicates 90 radio programs and services to more than 5,000 radio affiliations and reaches over 190 million listeners weekly. Premiere Radio is the number one radio network in the country and features the following personalities: Rush Limbaugh, Jim Rome, Casey Kasem, Ryan Seacrest, Glenn Beck, Bob (Kevoian) & Tom (Griswold), Delilah, Steve Harvey, Blair Garner, George Noory, John Boy and Billy, Big Tigger, Dr. Dean Edell, Bob Costas, Sean Hannity and others. Premiere is based in Sherman Oaks, California, with 13 offices nationwide.”
The former Bain Hedge Fund Captain Romney also brought his list of biggest Wall Street donors to his campaign. From opensecrets.org . . . .
Goldman Sachs $367,200
Credit Suisse Group $203,750
Morgan Stanley $199,800
HIG Capital $186,500
Kirkland & Ellis $132,100
Bank of America $126,500
EMC Corp $117,300
JPMorgan Chase & Co $112,250
The Villages $97,500
Vivint Inc $80,750
Marriott International $79,837
Sullivan & Cromwell $79,250
Bain Capital $74,500
UBS AG $73,750
Wells Fargo $61,500
Blackstone Group $59,800
Citigroup Inc $57,050
Bain & Co $52,500
Nice work if you can get it, Captain Romney. The thing is do we really need you? We were looking for a president that can create jobs, is sympathetic to labor, and knows how to properly tax the rich according to their wealth.
We don’t need another Captain Francesco Schettini, who managed as said to smack the $450 million Costa Concordia cruise ship into the Island of Giglio, carrying more than 4,200 passengers and crew, with the death toll as of Tuesday standing at 11. Twnety-four of the passengers are still missing. The missing includes 13 Germans, six Italians, four French, two Americans and one person each from Hungary, India and Peru.
In fact, the back and forth between a coast guard official demanding that Schettini re-board his listing ship has a tragic-comic Federico Fellini feel to it . . .
“You go on board! Is that clear? Do you hear me?” the Coast Guard officer shouted as Schettino sat safe in a life raft and frantic passengers struggled to escape after the ship rammed into a reef off the Tuscan coast. “It is an order. Don’t make any more excuses. You have declared ‘Abandon ship.’ Now I am in charge.”
“The officer confronted him with an expletive-laced order to get back on board, which has quickly entered the Italian lexicon. The four-word phrase has become a Twitter hashtag and Italian media have shown photos of T-shirts bearing the command.
“Schettino, later in the same exchange, denied having abandoned the ship, replying that he had tripped and fell.” And, probably the dog ate his maps.
“I did not abandon a ship with 100 people on board, the ship suddenly listed and we were thrown into the water,” Schettino said, according to a transcript published Wednesday in the Corriere della Sera paper.
“Jailed since the accident, Schettino appeared Tuesday before a judge in Grosseto, where he was questioned for three hours. The judge ordered him held under house arrest—a decision that federal prosecutors are planning to challenge.
“Schettino’s lawyer, Bruno Leporatti, told a news conference Wednesday in Grosetto that house arrest made sense given there was no evidence the captain intended to flee. He cited the fact that the captain coordinated the evacuation from the shore after leaving the ship.” Hello, I thought it was from the lifeboat?
“‘He never left the scene,’ Leporatti said. ‘There has never been a danger of flight.’
“Leporatti added the captain was upset by the accident, contrary to depictions in the Italian media that he did not appear to show regret.
“‘He is a deeply shaken man, not only for the loss of his ship, which for a captain is a grave thing, but above all for what happened and the loss of human life,’ the lawyer said. . . .”
So, from Sea Captains to Captains of Industry, Captains of Politics, even the military, we see them bailing on their duty. Like the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, leaving us with “Corporate Personage,” money as speech for corporations to spend as they see fit on candidates, totally corrupting the democratic voting process and bailing into their expensive private lives.
This not so different than the Captains of Congress, taking their insider trading tips to turn their six-figure incomes into seven, eight, nine figure star-spangled (and annual) payola. So, without a proper captain, how can you run the Ship of State, unless it’s into the ground?
In fact, let us turn to Walt Whitman and his poem, “Oh Captain, my Captain,” mourning the assassination of the heroic Abraham Lincoln, a man who never bailed on tough times throughout the rocky course of the Civil War.
O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
These sentiments sound curiously familiar to those expressed after the death of JFK. I hope I never hear them in that context again.
Right now I would urge the captains of the military and its industrial complex to go slow and not jump ship to war in the Iranian Straits of Hormuz. We’re up to facing down Iran, including Russia, “over the sale for Iran to build 50,000 centrifuges for refining Uranium 235 to fuel rod purity (3% to 5% U235) for power reactors for Russia. By way of contrast, the US produces all the uranium nuclear fuel it needs with only 3,000 centrifuges.” This chilling piece is written by nuclear expert Bob Nichols, and is titled Iran Signs its own death warrant. That is, in attempting to challenge U.S. super-power and biddy buddy Israel.
So. Let’s all stop, take a deep breath and think of this beautiful planet and its varied and beautiful people and not let the worst among us have the day. Let us act as responsible captains in each of our lives and do the right thing and chose life over death. Beautiful, everlasting (we hope) life! And not jump ship on planet earth either. So Gregg, hang in there. We need all the thoughtful captains and hands we can find.
Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer, life-long resident of New York City. An EBook version of his book of poems “State Of Shock,” on 9/11 and its after effects is now available at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com. He has also written hundreds of articles on politics and government as Associate Editor of Intrepid Report (formerly Online Journal). Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.