The sniper part of The Last of Us is fun.
Don't shake small Korean men in delis and wander down the middle of the street afterwards.
Start shooting again in nyc before state trip.
There's no such thing as a bad fried wanton.
The establishment media has declared U.S. President Barack Obama a failure in foreign policy. He is worse than George W. Bush, say some journalists; he is worse than Jimmy Carter, say others. In much of this criticism there is a phenomenon operating in the background that goes unmentioned: The opinion pages of the large circulation dailies in New York and Washington are either liberal internationalist or neoconservative, meaning they all have a bias for action, for doing dramatic things to make the world a better place. Realism, which has a sturdier pedigree -- going all the way back to Thucydides' The Peloponnesian War -- encapsulates how most people in government and business actually think, but it has relatively few followers in the major media. And realism counsels caution, because a bias for action can often lead to disaster. Because Obama has had until this recent Iraq crisis the opposite -- a bias for inaction -- the major media simply hate him.
So let's see how he is doing.
Though the defense budget has been cut rather dramatically, the United States under Obama still deploys its Navy and Air Force in the four corners of the world, protecting sea lines of communication as well as the balance of power in the major geographical theaters. This is doing something on an imperial scale. Nevertheless, passively accepting America's worldwide military armature is a far cry from trying to shape events, which a president is expected to do and which Obama is not doing. You can shape events without military intervention, but Obama is not even doing that.
Though Obama has not put troops in harm's way in any significant measure, he has been unusually aggressive in the use of drone warfare to hunt down and kill terrorists, in Yemen, the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, and elsewhere. This, too, constitutes doing something, and dramatically so. One could easily argue that Obama has been more successful in hunting down senior al Qaeda leadership than his predecessor. And don't forget, it was Obama's decision to kill Osama Bin Laden in a risky special operations forces attack.
Obama is likely doing more in Ukraine than meets the eye. Putting troops on the ground would be irresponsible given that Ukraine matters much less to the United States or even to Western Europe than it does to Russia. But how many people have noticed how much more disciplined, efficient, and methodical the Ukrainian military has become in recent months, evinced by its recent offensive? It is as though its officer corps suddenly got a crash course at Fort Leavenworth. That, I would be willing to bet, is the upshot of American military advisers dispatched to Kiev by Obama. Obama prefers quiet, lethal action -- witness the drones -- while the media often prefers noise.
True, Obama has not acted dramatically in Syria. The media narrative is that had Obama taken military action of some demonstrable sort early on, in order to aid the opponents to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, al-Assad's regime would have fallen by now and Syria would be more peaceful and stable. But given the plethora of armed groups in Syria even early on, there was no guarantee of this. Doing something in 2011 might have toppled the regime but also midwifed to power an al Qaeda state, and that's if the country had not descended into worse anarchy than it has now, with even more killing. The idea that the United States could have controlled or steered the direction of Syrian politics in a war-torn, post-Assad era is perhaps naive. The United States could barely do so in next-door Iraq with more than a hundred thousand troops on the ground.
In Iraq, meanwhile, the choice is between Sunni extremists in the northern and western parts of the country who murder and torture people -- and cleanse their territory of indigenous Christians -- and a Shiite regime in Baghdad that has murdered and tortured people, albeit on a less demonstrable scale and intensity. But non-intervention is risky, since if a radical Sunni state can take hold across parts of Syria and Iraq, that poses dangers to the United States, as well as to its Middle Eastern allies like Israel and Jordan. So Obama has now ordered limited airstrikes, using the rhetorical trigger of humanitarian action. That's doing something. Of course, one might also argue that while Obama's secretary of state, John Kerry, was apparently wasting months of his time trying to establish a peace between Israelis and Palestinians, an Islamic state was coming into being right under his nose between Damascus and Baghdad.
Obama did do something in Libya, helping along the overthrow of dictator Muammar Gaddafi with air, logistics and special operations units. The result has been sheer chaos in Libya itself, the destabilization of Mali that the French military had to fix, and a dispersal of weapons throughout the Sahara region. Here is a case where Obama's doing something may have constituted doing too much.
Then there are the nuclear negotiations with Iran. Given how unpalatable military alternatives are, entering into talks with Tehran made sense. But extending the talks past the deadline for several months entails risks that might in the end determine the reputation of the Obama administration. If the negotiations collapse, and Iran marches on toward a greater nuclear capability, Obama could credibly be declared a failed foreign policy president.
This leads to Obama's fundamental problem. Actually he is not a realist, at least not in the vein of a Henry Kissinger, James Baker or Brent Scowcroft. Yes, Obama understands restraint. He rushes in with drones and advisers rather than with ground troops. But that is only the beginning of realism, not its culmination. Realism, when it works well, requires patriotism. It requires a profound loyalty to the patria -- a specific geographical ground and its storied history, which the realist feels deeply in his bones -- and whose basic interest is then pursued by the realist, often very aggressively. Baker and Scowcroft had this, and Kissinger, while an immigrant, had it as well. They all probably would have negotiated with Iran rather than pursue a military strike -- but they also would have applied brinksmanship and other means to prevent being taken to the cleaners by the Iranians. In addition to sending military advisers to Ukraine, they would have challenged Vladimir Putin's Russia in other ways. They would have declared the Baltic states hallowed NATO ground, and would not have advertised in advance that the United States would not be sending troops to Ukraine: they would understand that you never tell your adversary what you are not going to do. Let your adversary worry about what you might or might not do. In all of this, Obama and Kerry have failed.
This is all intrinsically connected with optics: America's reputation for power as perceived by its friends and enemies. To wit, the Israelis might not have liked Kissinger or Baker, but they feared them. They neither like nor fear Kerry. Though sly and deft in instances, Obama has simply not projected power in the manner of a Nixon, Reagan or the elder Bush. Thus, America risks being further humiliated around the world.
Now all this could suddenly change if, say, for example, the separatist rebellion in eastern Ukraine were to collapse and Putin would be revealed as weak, instead of Obama. But if the current trend continues, one has to wonder: what, for example, will the Chinese do?
So far the Chinese have elegantly asserted power in the East and South China seas through so-called salami slicing, moving forward only by single steps. But what if, say, in the final year or so of Obama's presidency they perceive the White House as so disengaged internationally that they decide to be truly bold?
Let's first see how Ukraine turns out. Let's see what the Chinese do. Let's see what happens in the Iran talks. Let's see how much this limited air campaign in Iraq can accomplish, both in a humanitarian sense and a
strategic sense. Obama's legacy is only partially written. It could get better. But it could also get worse [Stratfor]
* Start off the special day right with McMuffin ! and Shamrock Shake.
* Fill empty shake cup with whiskey and march in parade.
* Leave parade after 10 minutes. Enter favorite Irish bar. 57/64
* Call "Sully" & "Murph" to let them know just how wasted you already are.
* Clap at the wrong times while singing along with "The Wild Rover."
* Aggressively tongue kiss fat drunk girl in between bites of corned beef sandwich! .
* Do "Cabbage Patch" dance over and over until somebody gets the Irish reference.
* Keep your shtick going and bust out your funny "Riverdance" routine.
* Due to exhaustion, pass out in alley behind bar, reappear in bar one hour later completely invigorated.
* Strategically place "Kiss Me I'm Irish" pin on fly. Harass every female within 20-foot radius.
* Instigate a donnybrook.
* Nod your head as friends discuss Shane MacGowan and act like you know who the hell he is.
* Acquire brogue. Pretend you're from Ireland. Fool no one.
* Not bat an eye at the plastered woman holding a 4-month-old in the smoky, crowded bar.
* Hunt down actual Irish person, proceed to bore him to tears with your strikingly limited knowledge of the Emerald Isle, including the mispronounced names of the counties where your great great 57/64grandparents might have lived.
* Thoroughly enjoy every Jim McGreevey joke you hear.
* Spout anti-English sentiments and proclaim your admiration for the boys in "The I.R.S." (you mean I.R.A.).
* Act like bagpipes aren't the worst sound you've ever heard.
* Spill entire pint of Guinness on stranger. Get in fistfight with stranger. Hug stranger. Introduce stranger to everyone as your new best friend.
* Wake up in puddle of puke (not your own) and realize its only 3:00pm. Leave Men's room and continue drinking.
For those unfamiliar with these awards, they are named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued the McDonald's in New Mexico , where she purchased coffee. You remember, she took the lid off the coffee and put it between her knees while she was driving. Who would ever think one could get burned doing that, right? That's right; these are awards for the most outlandish lawsuits and verdicts in the U.S. You know, the kinds of cases that make you scratch your head.
Here are the Stellas for year -- 2013:
Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas was awarded $80,000 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running inside a furniture store. The store owners were understandably surprised by the verdict, considering the running toddler was her own son.
Carl Truman, 19, of Los Angeles , California won $74,000 plus medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord.
Truman apparently didn't notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbor's hubcaps.
Terrence Dickson, of Bristol , Pennsylvania , who was leaving a house he had just burglarized by way of the garage.
Unfortunately for Dickson, the automatic garage door opener malfunctioned and he could not get the garage door to open. Worse, he couldn't re-enter the house because the door connecting the garage to the house locked when Dickson pulled it shut. Forced to sit for eight, count 'em, EIGHT days and survive on a case of Pepsi and a large bag of dry dog food, he sued the homeowner's insurance company claiming undue mental anguish. Amazingly, the jury said the insurance company must pay Dickson $500,000 for his anguish. We should all have this kind of anguish.
Jerry Williams, of Little Rock, Arkansas, garnered 4th Place in the Stella's when he was awarded $14,500 plus medical expenses after being bitten on the butt by his next door neighbor's beagle - even though the beagle was on a chain in its owner's fenced yard. Williams did not get as much as he asked for because the jury believed the beagle might have been provoked at the time of the butt bite because Williams had climbed over the fence into the yard and repeatedly shot the dog with a pellet gun.
Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania received 3rd place because a jury ordered a Philadelphia restaurant to pay her $113,500 after she slipped on a spilled soft drink and broke her tailbone. The reason the soft drink was on the floor: Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument.
Kara Walton, of Claymont , Delaware sued the owner of a night club in a nearby city because she fell from the bathroom window to the floor, knocking out her two front teeth. Even though Ms. Walton was trying to sneak through the ladies room window to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge, the jury said the night club had to pay her $12,000....oh, yeah, plus dental expenses. Go figure.
This year's runaway First Place Stella Award winner was: Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma City , Oklahoma , who purchased a new 32-foot Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home, from an Okla.Uni. Football game, having driven on to the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver's seat to go to the back of the Winnebago to make herself a sandwich.
Not surprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed and overturned.
Also not surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not putting in the owner's manual that she couldn't actually leave the driver's seat while the cruise control was set. The Oklahoma jury awarded her, are you sitting down?
$1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home. Winnebago actually changed their manuals as a result of this suit, just in case Mrs. Grazinski has any relatives who might also buy a motor home.
The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away
You have two cows.
You sell one and buy a bull.
Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows.
You sell them and retire on the income
ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND (VENTURE CAPITALISM)
You have two cows.
You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows.
The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company.
The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more.
You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States , leaving you with nine cows.
No balance sheet provided with the release.
The public then buys your bull.
You have two giraffes.
The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.
AN AMERICAN CORPORATION
You have two cows.
You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows.
Later, you hire a consultant to analyze why the cow has dropped dead.
A GREEK CORPORATION
You have two cows.
You borrow lots of euros to build barns, milking sheds, hay stores, feed sheds, dairies, cold stores, abattoir, cheese unit and packing sheds.
You still only have two cows.
A FRENCH CORPORATION
You have two cows.
You go on strike, organize a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.
A JAPANESE CORPORATION
You have two cows.
You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk.
You then create a clever cow cartoon image called a “Cowkimona” and market it worldwide.
AN ITALIAN CORPORATION
You have two cows, but you don’t know where they are.
You decide to have lunch.
A SWISS CORPORATION
You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you.
You charge the owners for storing them.
A CHINESE CORPORATION
You have two cows.
You have 300 people milking them.
You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity.
You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.
AN INDIAN CORPORATION
You have two cows.
You worship them.
A BRITISH CORPORATION
You have two cows.
Both are mad.
AN IRAQI CORPORATION
Everyone thinks you have lots of cows.
You tell them that you have none.
No-one believes you, so they bomb the ** out of you and invade your country.
You still have no cows, but at least you are now a Democracy.
AN AUSTRALIAN CORPORATION
You have two cows.
Business seems pretty good.
You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.
A man received the following text from his neighbor: I am so sorry Bob. I've been riddled with guilt and I have to confess. I have been tapping your wife, day and night when you're not around. In fact, more than you. I'm not getting any at home, but that's no excuse. I can no longer live with the guilt and I hope you will accept my sincerest apology with my promise that it won't happen again. The man, Bob, anguished and betrayed, went into his bedroom, grabbed his gun, and without a word, shot his wife and killed her. A few moments later, a second text came in: Damn autocorrect. I meant "wifi", not "wife".