The Gypsy's Caravan

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

No Peace, No Work :

ILWU to Shut Down West Coast Ports May 1, 2008 Demanding End to War in Iraq, Afghanistan

In a major step for the U.S. labor movement, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) has announced that it will shut down West Coast ports on May 1, to demand an immediate end to the war and occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan and the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Middle East. In a February 22 letter to AFL-CIO president John Sweeney, ILWU International president Robert McEllrath reported that at a recent coast-wide union meeting, “One of the resolutions adopted by caucus delegates called on longshore workers to stop work during the day shift on May 1, 2008 to express their opposition to the war in Iraq.”

This is the first time in decades that an American union has decided to undertake industrial action against a U.S. war. It is doubly important that this mobilization of labor’s power is to take place on May Day, the international workers day, which is not honored in the U.S. Moreover, the resolution voted by the ILWU delegates opposes not only the hugely unpopular war in Iraq, but also the war and occupation of Afghanistan (which Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and Republican John McCain all want to expand). The motion to shut down the ports also demands the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the entire region, including the oil sheikdoms of the strategically important Persian/Arab Gulf.

The Internationalist Group has fought from the moment U.S. troops invaded Afghanistan in September 2002 for American unions to strike against the war. Despite the fact that millions have marched in the streets of Europe and the United States against the war in Iraq, the war goes on. Neither of the twin war parties of U.S. imperialism – Democrats and Republicans – and none of the capitalist candidates will stop this horrendous slaughter that has already killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. The only way to stop the Pentagon killing machine is by mobilizing the power of a greater force – that of the international working class.

The action announced by the powerful West Coast dock workers union, to stop work to stop the war, should be taken up by unions and labor organizations throughout the United States and internationally. The ILWU should be commended for courageously taking the first step, and it is up to working people everywhere to back them up. Wherever support is strong enough, on May 1 there should be mass walkouts, sick-outs, labor marches, plant-gate meetings, lunch-time rallies, teach-ins. And the purpose of such actions should be not to beg the bourgeois politicians whose hands are covered with blood, having voted for every war budget for six and a half years, but a show of strength of the working people who make this country run, and who can shut it down!

Hell yes, I'll be staying home on Thursday!!!

Solidarity allowed Poland to defeat the USSR. It's time for workers to stand up to these ridiculous politicians who only want to hear from you on election day. It's time to end the forever war, dismantle the military industrial beast, and liberate the funds that we would be spending on DEATH in order to spend them on LIFE.

Make Love not War.

We want quality, free education, health care that all can afford, safe neighborhoods, clean air and water, and inexpensive clean power. We could be doing all of this with the money we're spending dealing out death and destruction all over the world. I don't want my beloved United States to be an empire, that's the antithesis of everything we stand for.

It's time to stop it.
Before it's too late for our world to heal.

Click here for the full article.

3:19 UPDATE:


Montpelier, Vermont –The Executive Board of the Vermont AFL-CIO, representing thousands of workers in countless sectors across Vermont, have unanimously passed an historic resolution expressing their “unequivocal” support for the first US labor strike against the war in Iraq. The strike, being organized by the Longshore Caucus of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU), will seek to shutdown all west coast ports for a period of 24 hours on May 1st 2008. The Vermont AFL-CIO is the first state labor federation to publicly back the Longshoremen; other state federations are expected to follow.
click here to read the whole thing.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Fiscal disaster

It is virtually impossible to overstate the profligacy of what our government spends on the military. The Department of Defense’s planned expenditures for the fiscal year 2008 are larger than all other nations’ military budgets combined. The supplementary budget to pay for the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, not part of the official defense budget, is itself larger than the combined military budgets of Russia and China. Defense-related spending for fiscal 2008 will exceed $1 trillion for the first time in history. The U.S. has become the largest single seller of arms and munitions to other nations on Earth. Leaving out President Bush’s two on-going wars, defense spending has doubled since the mid-1990s. The defense budget for fiscal 2008 is the largest since the second world war.


Such expenditures are not only morally obscene, they are fiscally unsustainable. Many neo-conservatives and poorly informed patriotic Americans believe that, even though our defense budget is huge, we can afford it because we are the richest country on Earth. That statement is no longer true. The world’s richest political entity, according to the CIA’s World Factbook, is the European Union. The E.U.’s 2006 GDP was estimated to be slightly larger than that of the U.S. Moreover, China’s 2006 GDP was only slightly smaller than that of the U.S., and Japan was the world’s fourth richest nation.

Worthy article, if a little depressing. Go there and read. I've always liked dandilion salad. Yummm

Joke of the Day:

McCain calls Obama insensitive to poor people

I just laughed out loud when I read that headline (click it for the article).

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Police Athletic League

The National Police Athletic League just called for a handout. I felt like saying: "You backed Bushco in the last election, why don't you go ask him and his cronies for some bucks... Oh yeah, they're right in the middle of CUTTING your funding!

I guess that's working out well for you now... Not so much?

Ted Rall:

...Have we, at long last, any decency?

In one respect, the three remaining presidential candidates say, "Yes, we do." They've promised to close Gitmo.

What ought to happen to the nearly 300 detainees is obvious. Hand each of them an apology, a bag of cash--a million bucks wouldn't be nearly enough for what they've been through--and a plane ticket home. Those who can't return to their countries of origin because their U.S.-backed dictatorships would murder them receive a penthouse suite in the U.S. city of their choice.

I'd let them switch places with their guards and 300 top-ranking members of the Bush Administration for a couple of days first. No questions asked. Just get on the plane, and don't forget your bag o' cash.


Right ON.


Whew! we're finally getting some spring flowers and some leaves starting on the bushes. It was a long, long winter for me this year.

Now we have some birds (probably robins) who are trying their darndest to build a nest over our air conditioner at work. Every day I get to work and there's a mess of sticks and dried out leaves all over the front entrance, and a scrabble of stuff up on the AC. Every day we clear it away, and hope they find a better place. They sure are persistant!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Quote of the day

McCain’s health care plan is centered around the idea that we’d be better off if more Americans bought health coverage on their own, rather than receiving it through a job or government program. But maybe since he has never purchased insurance in the individual market, he does not know the challenge it presents for Americans with preexisting conditions.
~ Elizabeth Edwards

Saturday, April 19, 2008

More Spring Pics

Friday, April 18, 2008

Friday Pics

The weather finally broke yesterday, we had sun and temps into the mid seventies. Today it might touch the eighties! Whew, it sure seemed like a long, long winter.

We opened up the pond last weekend, the fish are fat and happy. We have nine in there right now, all about a foot long.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Why's that Pedophile on my TV?

I'll probably offend a whole bunch of innocent people with this one, so my abject apologies to start with... but:

Last night I caught a snippet of the news between arriving home and jumping in the shower. I had paused in front of the TV whilst the segments were changing, and then the announcer came on with a guest, who was wearing a priest's collar and talking about the pope's visit. So help me, the first thing that came welling up out of the lizard depths of my brain was "Why's that Pedophile on my TV?".

Then I thought - you don't know, he could be a perfectly nice person. Just because he has on a priest outfit, that doesn't automatically make him a pedophile.

The fact that Cardinal Law was taken back to Rome, welcomed with open arms, and given high office there leads me to believe that the powers that be in the Catholic Church don't think that pedophilia in the church is really a problem. Until he and all the rest of them who had the power to stop it and instead betrayed the trust of their flock by giving these criminals access to MORE children rather than retiring them to a monastery where they could meditate on their sins.... until they are all reviled and punished I will always look at priests as possible pedophiles, and will never trust them at all.

Now we find that the highest officials in our government have committed the worst crime that we can think of: knowingly and enthusiastically planning torture for other human beings - in the White House no less.

I'm here to say that until and unless we round them up and put them on trial for war crimes, we will all be painted with that brush. We will not be trusted, our shit will stink to the heavens, and rightfully so.

After Nixon we swept it under the rug, for the sake of "healing the partisan wounds".

After Reagan's Iran Contra, we were treated to Ollie North's innocent baby blues as he spouted righteousness and looked all spiffy in his uniform with all the salad on the chest. The war crimes and the torture under Paul Bremmer (familiar name?) were swept under the rug, and Reagan was crowned prince of the sunrise and gumdrops trickling down a rainbow.

Li'l Bush on a silver spoon slid out from under that rug.

Until we prosecute the gang of torturers, and put them in chains where they belong, people all over the world will be asking themselves every time they see our politicians on the news... "Why's that war monger torturer on my TV?"

and rightfully so.

[disclaimer: I am not now and never have been a christian, but my ex-husband was an ex-catholic who was an altar boy when young; and learned from an early age that it was a good idea to avoid being alone with a priest.]

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Explanation? Go see skippy

Monday, April 14, 2008

What Tristero Said

There is no longer the shadow of a doubt that the torture of prisoners was planned at the highest levels of the US government with the explicit knowledge and approval of the president. How do we know this? Bush himself admitted it.


Friday, April 11, 2008

Breaking: The Bush Adminstration has Sh** for Brains

Bushco has decided that our famed Homeland Security Department (you know - the one that let New Orleans drown) is capable of running a research facility dedicated to Foot And Mouth Disease in the near vicinity of cattle farms.

A simulated outbreak of the disease — part of an earlier U.S. government exercise called "Crimson Sky" — ended with fictional riots in the streets after the simulation's National Guardsmen were ordered to kill tens of millions of farm animals, so many that troops ran out of bullets. In the exercise, the government said it would have been forced to dig a ditch in Kansas 25 miles long to bury carcasses. In the simulation, protests broke out in some cities amid food shortages.

"It was a mess," said Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., who portrayed the president in the 2002 exercise. Now, like other lawmakers from the states under consideration, Roberts supports moving the government's new lab to his state. Manhattan, Kan., is one of five mainland locations under consideration. "It will mean jobs" and spur research and development, he says.

The other possible locations for the new National Bio-and Agro-Defense Facility are Athens, Ga.; Butner, N.C.; San Antonio; and Flora, Miss. The new site could be selected later this year, and the lab would open by 2014. The numbers of livestock in the counties and surrounding areas of the finalists range from 542,507 in Kansas to 132,900 in Georgia, according to the Homeland Security study.

Foot-and-mouth virus can be carried on a worker's breath or clothes, or vehicles leaving a lab, and is so contagious it has been confined to Plum Island, N.Y., for more than a half-century — far from commercial livestock. The existing lab is 100 miles northeast of New York City in the Long Island Sound, accessible only by ferry or helicopter. Researchers there who work with the live virus are not permitted to own animals at home that would be susceptible, and they must wait at least a week before attending outside events where such animals might perform, such as a circus.
The new facility will add research on diseases that can be transferred from animals to humans. The Plum Island facility is not secure enough to handle that higher-level research.(emphasis mine)

The idea that they are going to combine research on diseases that can be transferred from animals to humans with research on one of the most devastating animal viruses on the face of the earth - one that can be spread on the BREATH of a researcher... the mind boggles.

Umm Hello... With the track record that this administration has on safely and professionally completing just about any task... I don't THINK so!

Congress is rightly concerned, and I hope this gets shitcanned asap.

Read the rest here

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Cumulative Job Gains

And I thought Clinton was the one with the sideways bend.

* Heh heh heh *

hattip to Krugman

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Think of it as Storage...

In the future, all those DVDs you buy could be made from air pollution.

If plans to remove carbon dioxide from smokestacks succeed, the gas could be harnessed and turned into plastic products, new research claims.

Sucking the carbon dioxide from smokestack emissions could enable a process by which the heat-trapping gas would be turned into a raw material for making polycarbonates, a type of plastic, and keep it from raising global temperatures even more...


Carbon dioxide is also cheaper and less toxic than other starting materials traditionally used to make plastics.

Polycarbonates, which are easily worked and molded, are used to make many transparent materials, including CDs and DVDs, eyeglasses and drinking bottles. Both teams are developing methods to transform carbon dioxide into the starting materials for polycarbonates and expect that people could be watching movies on waste-carbon dioxide DVDs sooner than they think.

"I would say it's a matter of a few years" before these waste-derived polymers are available to the public, Müller said.

If we thought of all the CO2 in the atmosphere as kind of being in a bank, and easily available to use, we'd be surprised by how fast we clean it out of the air

Olympic Torch being Guarded in US by Chinese SS

Read the whole thing at Fire Dog Lake

Monday, April 07, 2008

So much for The Party of Family Values

An internet agitprop artist publishing the website “Republican Offenders dot com” has produced a list of 272 Republicans charged with criminal activity, 60 of which are pedophiles.
Hattip to Crooks & Liars...

Mmmmmm Leek Soup!

One of the easiest soups to make, and it not only sounds special, it tastes just out of this world.

You need three medium potatoes and a couple of big fresh leeks, rinsed and chopped into bite sized pieces. Throw them into the big steel pot that you've preheated to medium hot -enough to sizzle onions- and drizzled with olive oil. Let them saute for about two minutes (the potatoes get a little sticky, with a trace of browning on the corners.

Douse with two cups of organic chicken stock, turn down to low, and simmer with the lid on for another 20 minutes.

When the veggies are tender, you can eat it just as is, or you can blend part or all of it 'til smooth. Add anywhere from a half to whole cup of either milk, half and half, or cream for a rich finish.
Serve with your favorite bread

I like to make it with a cup of half and half, and leaving some of the veggies chunky, to define the soup. Besides, the leeks are just so tender and buttery on the tongue, with a mild onion flavor. Delicious!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

First It Was Aloha Air..

Then it was Southwest

Now it's American Airlines.

CHICAGO — United Airlines temporarily grounded 11 percent of its fleet and cancelled 31 flights Wednesday while it tested dozens of Boeing 777s to make sure components of a cargo fire suppression system were operating effectively.

The inspections are the latest to affect the U.S. airline industry and its passengers, roiled by a series of similar moves in recent weeks as carriers review their maintenance records in an atmosphere of increased regulatory scrutiny.

The Chicago-based airline said testing would be done on 52 777s over a period of 36 hours.

... and Hubby wonders why I refuse to get on one of those death traps.


UPDATE: OK, now it's Southwest -again-, with cracks in the fuselage!

From DDay over @ Hullabaloo:

Spencer Ackerman posted an email from a junior officer in Iraq that is as level-headed as you can get.

In my opinion, what everyone fails to realize is that this is not a counterinsurgency. If we wanted to stay in Iraq, then it would be a counterinsurgency. But it is clear that our goal is to turn over power and pull out. So, in building our strategic endstate, it's pointless to set goals that relate to our presence in Iraq. If the "insurgency" is a function of our being there, then it is not an insurgency in terms of our endstate. For example, if one of our goals is to stop IED attacks on US forces, that is pointless. When we leave, there will be no more IED attacks on us forces. So our endstate needs to be different. We need to ask "if we left tomorrow, what would happen in Iraq?" and from there, we need to determine which of those anticipated results are unacceptable to us. Then we must aim our efforts on making sure those unacceptable results do not occur.

When I look at the problem that way, it becomes almost impossible to find a purpose in what we do. Regardless of what we do, the Shia are going to take control. They have completely infiltrated all the security forces. The only kind of leader who could keep them in check was a tyrant like Saddam. And when the Shia take control, as soon as we leave, they are going to be as brutal as they like against the Sunni and there will be little we can do about it. That is what will happen whether we leave tomorrow or in ten years. As far as the foreign fighters, they will leave Iraq when we do. So what are we trying to accomplish here? Train the Iraqi forces? History shows that training forces in the Middle East can backfire. Any training we offer these people will find its way to our terrorist enemies.

All you get from ReThugglikkin's is "We hafta be there because we hafta be there! Do you want chaos there? If we leave there'll be chaos"

I say, maybe Cheney and Bushco and Rummy should have thought of that before they went in and busted up the place.

Exxon Explains

“Our earnings, although high in absolute terms, need to be viewed in the context of the scale and cyclical, long-term nature of our industry as well as the huge investment requirements,” said J.S. Simon, senior vice president of Exxon Mobil Corp., which made a record $40 billion last year.

“We depend on high earnings during the up cycle to sustain ... investment over the long-term, including the down cycles,” he continued.

How's this for a down cycle: The Era of Big Oil is ending, and why should we give you 18 Billion dollars for scouting out nonexistent new fields? It's time to invest in our post oil future, and jump start the solar/wind/H2O generator industry. You know, create some jobs here in the US, invest in LIFE instead of death.

“Why is Exxon Mobil resisting the renewable revolution,” asked [Rep] Markey, noting that the other four companies together have invested $3.5 billion in solar, wind and biodiesel projects

Why? Because Exxon Mobile is about the most evil corporation on the face of the earth, and it's executives are greedy and selfish. Simple. As. That.

Besides, it's an OIL company, fer crumb's sake, what did you expect - that they'd want to dump oil right in the middle of the biggest free for all of profit taking just before the wells run dry?

Congress Questions Big Oil's Big Profits

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