The Gypsy's Caravan

Friday, June 30, 2006

Wisdom from a Mother

When I first went to school, my mom gave me this piece of advice: One way to know where a person is at is by studying their friends. Who do they hang out with, who do they defend, and what kind of people are they??

If you were to apply that to President McChimpy on a worldwide scale, you would see a very long list of totalitarian governments. Possibly the worst of the lot would be Uzbekistan.

Ted Rall has this to report about our earstwhile ally:

Exceptionally violent and corrupt even by Central Asian standards, the government of Uzbekistan is proof that a ruler can remain in power despite the near-universal contempt of his subjects."

Karimov's police state is pervasive and brutal. Torture is endemic; the battered bodies of political prisoners are returned to their families showing clear proof that they have been boiled to death. Only one candidate, Abdulhasiz Dzhalalov, was allowed to run against the autocratic Karimov in the most recent presidential "election." Dzhalalov announced that he had voted for Karimov.

After 9/11, however, the U.S. ignored numerous reports of Uzbek atrocities--some authored by its own State Department--and began paying Karimov millions of dollars in exchange for hosting a permanent American military base on Uzbek soil. "The expanded relationship," writes The New York Times, "was both praised as realpolitik strategy and criticized as a shortsighted gesture of support for a dictator with a chilling human rights record."

Bush's pact with the devil came due on May 13, 2005, when thousands of protesters gathered in Bobur Square in the southern city of Andijon to complain about corruption, the shattered Uzbek economy and to demand the release of political prisoners. "We hoped the local government would come to hear our grievances," a man named Dolim told The Guardian. "People said even Karimov himself would come. We went because of unemployment, low salaries not paid, pensions not received."

Indeed, Karimov did go to Andijon--to personally supervise the massacre of the demonstrators.

Uzbek security forces firing automatic weapons killed an estimated one thousand people over the course of 90 minutes. "The dead were lying in front of me piled three-thick," said a survivor. "At one point, I passed out. When I regained consciousness, it was raining--on the ground, I could see water running with blood." He survived by hiding under corpses. "Dead people everywhere, and some alive, just moving. I felt sick, because of all the things splattered on my clothes. I went into the college and saw the armored personnel carriers moving over the bodies. They wanted to kill anyone who was wounded. Soldiers walked down the sidewalk, firing single shots at anyone moving."

If these are now our FRIENDS.....

Ted Rall's article is here

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Green Yellow and Bed

We've had a couple of hot days in a row, and the primrose just burst into bloom

This weekend I was carrying something, and a part of it let go, so I tried to catch it. I made a quick twisting motion, and felt something "let go" in my hip. It felt like a muscle pull, so I just assumed that it would go away...

It's been steadily getting worse and worse. So, today, after waking up at 1am with my hip on fire, I called and made an appointment with the doc. He gave me an exercise, some good drugs, and told me to go home and get some rest. I'm going to bed now. Please stay and enjoy the pics. *limps off to bed*

This is a strange looking fern

Pachysandra on the rocks

*as always, click the pic for a larger view. If you'd ever like a full size file (3-6 MB)leave me your email addy & I'll be glad to send one

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Must See Film

Robert Newman's History of Oil is a 45 minute extravaganza that you must not miss, entertaining as well as informative.

* hattip to Rockergirl, who posted the link on the Dark Wraith's message board.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

John Kerry's Speach

They say that America is so weak that it must sacrifice it's principles in order to pursue the illusion of power...

Go see the whole thing here.

*hattip: Huffpo

Sen Hillary Clinton: "I have introduced legislation that would tie the minimum wage to Congressional Salaries."


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Connecticut Farm

Monday, June 12, 2006

More from the garden

Wooo Haaa, I have a poppy! (the peachy orange one right in the middle.) I've been trying for the last three years to get poppies in my garden. Some gardening magazine has been sending me red flanders poppy seeds, along with with white baby's breath. I threw them in where you see that lone poppy, and this is the first time they've come back, though this one's not red, so it must be a re-seed.

This yellow flower was given me by a neighbor here at work. I have no idea what it's called, but it's thriving, so I just enjoy it. Sometimes you see it with a chocolate center.

These wild roses seem to grow all over the place, around here. They are pretty in the spring, and fragrant, but they end up overwhelming anything they grow over, and the prickers are just wicked! They've been taking over the little area in back of the shop, and crowding out the dumpster!
They sure are prettier than that old dumpster.
To the left, and below is our Connecticut state flower, the mountain laurel. That's about as big as it gets. It's about the height of a rhododendron, but never gets as massive as a rhododendron can get.

And if anyone knows what this is below, let me know, I'd like to get one of these - isn't it pretty?

The high cost of the Iraq war

Retired General Barry McCaffrey being interviewed by Russert:

..we require a long-term strategy to deal with the so-called long war with foreign jihadists. In the case of Iraq, though, we’re losing basically a battalion a month killed and wounded. It’s probably $10 billion dollars a month to prosecute this conflict.

MR. RUSSERT: You said this to Time magazine: “We are in trouble in Iraq. Our forces can’t sustain this pace, and I’m afraid the American people are walking away from this war.” Explain.

GEN. McCAFFREY: Well, if we had 10 years to work the issue, there’s a 99 percent probability we’ll achieve our objective. But I don’t think we’ve got that much time. So it seems to me, in the next couple years prior to Mr. Bush leaving office, it has to appear to the American people this thing is working. And therein lies the risk. Because—so we’ve got to hurriedly transfer security arrangements to a force that’s ill-equipped, the Iraqi security forces, and is yet probably inadequate to stand on their own.

Plus, I think the United States Army and Marine Corps, and elements of the Air Force—C-17 lift, special operations command—cannot maintain this pace of deployment. But we’ve got to draw down, and pretty soon, maybe 50 to 100,000 troops by next summer. But otherwise, we risk breaking the force.

It makes me wonder just how he thinks the force would have lasted if they had the 10 years he thinks it would have taken to achieve our objective. And - we note that the objective seems to have been to relieve Iraq of most of it's treasure, leaving a shell of a country that is broke and jobless.

They pretty much have done that, but the oil unfortunately did not pay for it, and is not and will not be pumping anytime soon.


Sunday, June 11, 2006

OK, How Far Out (of their minds) are our Military Commanders??

Two men from Saudi Arabia and one from Yemen were found dead shortly after midnight Saturday in separate cells, said the Miami-based U.S. Southern Command, which has jurisdiction over the prison. Attempts were made to revive them, but they failed.

"They hung themselves with fabricated nooses made out of clothes and bed sheets," Navy Rear Adm. Harry Harris told reporters in a conference call from the U.S. base in southeastern Cuba.

"They have no regard for human life," he said. "Neither ours nor their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation but an act of asymmetric warfare against us."
*emphasis mine*

I didn't think I could be more sickened by our present leadership, but this takes the cake. But then, it's just the extreme logical extension of this administration's habit of blaming the Democrats and the media for anything and everything they don't like in the world.

When a person's defense of his life, his liberty, his home become an act of war against the biggest bullies on the planet(our dear leaders), when a simple act of despair becomes an affront to a general who commands the most deadly military on the face of the earth, there's something wrong with their logic.

May I remind them of what one Connecticut Yankee said:

"I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country"
~ Nathan Hale 1755 - 1776

The rest of this nonsense (literally) reads about at the same level of stupidity as has gone on months without end.


Saturday, June 10, 2006

What Really Happened to General Garner? (Remember Him?)

...A phone call to Baghdad to Saddam's Palace on the night of April 21, 2003. It was Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on a secure line from Washington to General Jay Garner.

The General had arrived in Baghdad just hours before to take charge of the newly occupied nation. The message from Rumsfeld was not a heartwarming welcome. Rummy told Garner, Don't unpack, Jack -- you're fired.

What had Garner done? The many-starred general had been sent by the President himself to take charge of a deeply dangerous mission. Iraq was tense but relatively peaceful. Garner's job was to keep the peace and bring democracy.

Unfortunately for the general, he took the President at his word. But the general was wrong. "Peace" and "Democracy" were the slogans.

"My preference," Garner told me in his understated manner, "was to put the Iraqis in charge as soon as we can and do it in some form of elections."

But elections were not in The Plan.

The Plan was a 101-page document to guide the long-term future of the land we'd just conquered. There was nothing in it about democracy or elections or safety. There was, rather, a detailed schedule for selling off "all [Iraq's] state assets" -- and Iraq, that's just about everything -- "especially," said The Plan, "the oil and supporting industries." Especially the oil.

There was more than oil to sell off. The Plan included the sale of Iraq's banks, and weirdly, changing it's copyright laws and other odd items that made the plan look less like a program for Iraq to get on its feet than a program for corporate looting of the nation's assets. (And indeed, we discovered at BBC, behind many of the odder elements -- copyright and tax code changes -- was the hand of lobbyist Jack Abramoff's associate Grover Norquist.)

But Garner didn't think much of The Plan, he told me when we met a year later in Washington. He had other things on his mind. "You prevent epidemics, you start the food distribution program to prevent famine."

Seizing title and ownership of Iraq's oil fields was not on Garner's must-do list. He let that be known to Washington. "I don't think [Iraqis] need to go by the U.S. plan, I think that what we need to do is set an Iraqi government that represents the freely elected will of the people." He added, "It's their country … their oil."

Apparently, the Secretary of Defense disagreed. So did lobbyist Norquist. And Garner incurred their fury by getting carried away with the "democracy" idea: he called for quick elections -- within 90 days of the taking of Baghdad.

But Garner's 90-days-to-elections commitment ran straight into the oil sell-off program. Annex D of the plan indicated that would take at least 270 days -- at least 9 months.

If anyone still thinks we're there to spread peace and democracy to a gratefull populace, please go read this article.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The World Championship Sand Sculpture Competition

.................. * How could I resist a Sand Castle Dragon!! *

Harrison Lake, Vancouver - Click the title to go see all of them.

Monday, June 05, 2006

The garden at work has finally kicked in.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

A Nighttime Dragon

Friday, June 02, 2006

Antiterrorism funds choked off for NY City

The federal agency distributing $711 million in antiterrorism money to cities around the nation found numerous flaws in New York City's application and gave poor grades to many of its proposals.

Its criticism extended to some of the city's most highly publicized counterterrorism measures.

In a report that outlines why it cut back New York City's share of antiterrorism funds by roughly 40 percent, the Department of Homeland Security was so critical of some highly viewed local measures — like Operation Atlas, in which hundreds of extra police officers carry out counterterrorism duties around the city each day — that the Police Department and other city agencies must now seek further federal approval before drawing on the money they were given to pay for those programs.

full story

I find it hard to believe that they actually are witholding funds because of bad planning and lame proposals. I watched the 60 minutes segment last fall that showed what some cities and towns are spending their windfalls on: full chem suits for east bumf*ck, and search and rescue dogs for west bumf*ck. (west bumf*ck doesn't even have a building over 2 stories...)

This is just another episode of blame the victim, and starve the blue states.

The Nest Outside Our Window

This nest is in the hedge that's against the building where I work. It had four robin chicks in it, but they were getting very big, and yesterday two of them disappeared. They had feathers, and though they looked a little ragged (some pin feathers still showing) I'm hoping they flew away, and are alright now. The two remaining chicks you can just see if you enlarge the photo - they may be gone tomorrow...


The last two chicks disappeared friday afternoon... hopefully they flew away...

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Bring 'Em Home

"...If any question why we died

Tell them, because our fathers lied..."

~ Rudyard Kipling

Hattip: Blondsense

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