Dockworkers against the War

For someone who witnessed all the confrontations between anti-war protestors and “hard hats” during the Vietnam War, this blows me away:

Thousands of dockworkers at West Coast ports stayed off the job on Thursday in what their union said was a call for an end to the war in Iraq.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union said more than 25,000 members in 29 ports stayed off the job. The action came despite an order issued Wednesday by an arbitrator directing the union to tell its members to report for work as usual in response to a request from employers.

“Longshore workers are standing down on the job and standing up for America,” Bob McEllrath, the union’s president, said in a statement. “We’re supporting the troops and telling politicians in Washington that it’s time to end the war in Iraq.”

The walkout was held in spite of orders from an arbitrator (the International Longshoremen’s and Warehouse Union is in negotiations in a soon-to-expire contract) that the Union stop workers from taking action.

Here in the Portland area, the walkout essentially shut down operations.

The Port of Vancouver shut down all of its terminals Thursday and the Port of Portland closed its key Terminal 6 as longshore workers took the day off in protest of U.S. military action in Iraq.

Bruce Holte, secretary/treasurer of the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union Local 8 in Portland, said his 1,300 workers from ports in Portland, Vancouver, Astoria and Longview are part of 25,000 ILWU at 29 West Coast ports who are standing down in protest of the war.

“We’re taking a stance for the majority of Americans who oppose the war in Iraq,” Holte said.

The longshoreman conduct most of the work in loading and offloading cargo at port terminals. Holte said workers are scheduled to return at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Nelson Hanover, a spokesman for the Port of Vancouver, said all terminals would be closed Thursday as a result of the protest. The most important of those is the port’s grain terminal, which handles 16 percent of the country’s annual wheat exports, Hanover said.

Richard Nixon was highly successful pitting working people against the antiwar movement, but the Bush administration has so thoroughly and blatantly screwed the Occupation and the economy that it’s not a strategy that works well for Republicans 40 years later.

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Worst. President. Ever.


A new poll suggests that George W. Bush is the most unpopular president in modern American history.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday indicates that 71 percent of the American public disapprove of how Bush his handling his job as president.

“No president has ever had a higher disapproval rating in any CNN or Gallup poll; in fact, this is the first time that any president’s disapproval rating has cracked the 70 percent mark,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

“Bush’s approval rating, which stands at 28 percent in our new poll, remains better than the all-time lows set by Harry Truman and Richard Nixon (22 percent and 24 percent, respectively) but even those two presidents never got a disapproval rating in the 70s,” Holland added. “The previous all-time record in CNN or Gallup polling was set by Truman, 66 percent disapproval in January 1952.”

CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider adds, “He is more unpopular than Richard Nixon was just before he resigned from the presidency in August 1974.” President Nixon’s disapproval rating in August 1974 stood at 67 percent.

The Mayor of London Race

The British are known for a very specific sense of humour and they honor the eccentric. You only have to watch Monty Pythons movies if you doubt what I say. While some Americans get their knickers all in a bunch, because Barack Obama is so different, they should have a look at who the English have running for mayor of their capital, London. Remember London is one of the most powerful financial centers in the world.

Ken Livingstone: He is over his firebrand days, but still so far to the left of anything American, he’d fall from the face of the earth. He gave London the congestion charge.

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson: Young and eccentric a very fine intellectual and great speaker. He is the candidate of the conservatives, although you’d find it hard to believe. Some think, he is quite dangerous in his eccentricity, but Londoners may well think differently.

Brian Paddick: A former assistant commissioner and Britain’s most senior openly gay cop, who is soft on cannabis and wants to protect civil rights. A little less flamboyant than the former two, but definitely unconventional.

One of the three men will be elected Mayor of London tonight. All of them are brilliant personalities and no, I don’t think they’re too exotic to run one of the world’s most powerful cities.

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Brian Williams’ “Response” to the Military Analyst Story

All cartoons are posted with the artists’ express permission to TPZoo.
Paul Jamiol
, Jamiol’s World

Common Dreams

by Glenn Greenwald

It has now been more than ten days since the New York Times exposed the Pentagon’s domestic propaganda program involving retired generals and, still, not a single major news network has even mentioned the story to their viewers, let alone responded to the numerous questions surrounding their own behavior. This steadfast blackout occurs despite the fact that the Pentagon propaganda program almost certainly violates numerous federal laws; both Democratic presidential candidates sternly denounced the Pentagon’s conduct; and Congressional inquiries are already underway, all of which forced the Pentagon to announce that it suspended its program.

Still, there has not been a peep from the major news networks at the center of the storm, the integrity of whose reporting on the Iraq war is directly implicated by this story. Even establishment media defender Howard Kurtz called their ongoing failure to cover this storypathetic.”

Like Fox and CBS, NBC News outright refused to answer any questions about the allegations when asked by the NYT’s David Bartsow, and its prime time anchor, Brian Williams, has delivered seven broadcasts since the story was published and has not uttered a word to NBC’s viewers about any of it. Yesterday, I wrote about an entry on Williams’ blog — which he calls “The Daily Nightly” — in which Williams found the time to mock one frivolous cultural puff piece after the next in the Sunday edition of the NYT, even as he still had refused even to acknowledge the expose in last Sunday’s NYT that calls into serious question the truthfulness and reliability of his “journalism.”

After I wrote about Williams’ blog item yesterday, his blog was deluged with commenters angrily demanding to know why he has failed to address the NYT expose. In response, Williams wrote a new blog item last night in which he purports — finally — to respond to the story, and I can’t recommend highly enough that it be read by anyone wanting to understand how our establishment journalist class thinks and acts.

Read entire article…

This is a long article, but an important read. I hope Glenn stays on this.

Mandela a terrorist..?

Is there anyone left anywhere who ISN’T on the U.S. Terrorist Watch List..?

USA Today

Nobel Peace Prize winner and international symbol of freedom Nelson Mandela is flagged on U.S. terrorist watch lists and needs special permission to visit the USA. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calls the situation “embarrassing,” and some members of Congress vow to fix it. More…

UPDATE: I should have added this earlier..

As of February 27, 2008, there were over 900,000 names on the U.S. Terrorist Watch List. The ACLU actually has a Watch List Counter.. They say the list grows by 20,000 names a month.

“Mission Accomplished”

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On May 1, 2003, George W. Bush pretended to land a fighter jet on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, announcing that major combat operations in Iraq were at an end.

In the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.

Complete bullshit, of course. Although he never spoke the words “Mission Accomplished,” there was the biggest banner on the planet screaming the words behind him. The White House later tried to say that it was the crew members of the Lincoln celebrating their mission being accomplished. Nice of the White House to provide the sign, eh?

To the date, approximately 213 of our troops had died in Iraq. Now there are 4063 dead, and counting.

There is no “Mission Accomplished” for the men and women whose lives George W. Bush has wasted in this illegal war. No 21st birthdays, no falling in love, no wedding days, no babies, no grandchildren, no career, no retirement or growing old.

Our troops deserve better than this. Will they ever forgive us?

From ThinkProgress: Emanuel: On baseball and Iraq, Bush is ‘0 for 2.’

Juan Cole of Informed Comment remembered today with a number of quotes from Bush’s now-famous (or ‘infamous’) speech.

Continue reading

Excuse me….who’s an elitist?

Wow. Just wow. Hillary Clinton must have known she was on the teevee, right?

“Rich people, god bless us. We deserve all the opportunities to make sure our country and our blessings continue to the next generation.”

Don’t get me started on the word “deserve.”

TheZoo got a heads-up about this from Willy at the American Everyman.
Check out his post here.


From Op-Ed News: Hillary Clinton To Bill O’Reilly, “Rich People: God Bless Us;” Elite? Hmm

From Daily Kos: HRC: “Rich People, God Bless Us”

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General Happy Swellspin

Another great animated cartoon by Mark Fiore!

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(Click on cartoon to go to source to view.)

Below is an article on the issue of the retired generals who went on several major news networks as “military analysts” in the run-up to the Iraq War, only coming out now that they were working with the Pentagon to spread propaganda to the unsuspecting American public. After the initial story broke out, there has been virtually NO reporting on it in the MSM.. Why is that?

Last night, on Dan Abrams’ show on MSNBC, a panel guest brought it up when discussing the Rev. Jeremiah Wright story, and Abrams cut him off before he could say anything about it. (I do have a lot of respect for Abrams for putting so much effort into the Don Sieglelman story and going after Karl Rove.) The panelist persisted and Abrams talked over him, cut him off completely, and totally changing the subject. Abrams said something like ‘I’ll talk to you later about this offline’.. (Did anyone else pick up on that?)

What’s the message here? This is HUGE news, but the news commentators and journalists aren’t allowed to speak of it. Is it embarrassment? Or is it the fact that all the networks are owned by corporations that are part of the military industrial complex..? Did the orders come down from above that they needed to shut this story down?

I hope people continue to push to get this story out.

Below the fold is a story about a reporter for Raw Story who, after being totally snubbed and ignored by Dana Perino at White House Briefings, got his shot at a question. Guess what that question was.. Note that he was sitting right next to Helen Thomas in the front row. (Dana definitely didn’t look happy.. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her so flustered and ‘pissy’).

Continue reading

Happy Beltane, One and All

When I was a child, I remember celebrating May Day at school. It was a big event and I never understood what it was all about. Well, this year, the awakening has happened. May Day is actually Beltane which is the Gaelic word for the month of May.

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Wikipedia has a lot to say about Beltane. You can read about it here.

The information below was copied from Circle Santuary.


Also known as May Eve, May Day, and Walpurgis Night, happens at the beginning of May. It celebrates the height of Spring and the flowering of life. The Goddess manifests as the May Queen and Flora. The God emerges as the May King and Jack in the Green. The danced Maypole represents Their unity, with the pole itself being the God and the ribbons that encompass it, the Goddess. Colors are the Rainbow spectrum. Beltane is a festival of flowers, fertility, sensuality, and delight.

Prepare a May basket by filling it with flowers and goodwill and then give it to someone in need of healing and caring, such as a shut-in or elderly friend. Form a wreath of freshly picked flowers, wear it in your hair, and feel yourself radiating joy and beauty. Dress in bright colors. Dance the Maypole and feel yourself balancing the Divine Female and Male within. On May Eve, bless your garden in the old way by making love with your lover in it. Make a wish as you jump a bonfire or candle flame for good luck. Welcome in the May at dawn with singing and dancing.

Beltane Custom Notes
from a Workshop by Selena Fox presented at 1997 Beltane Festival at Circle Sanctuary from a work in progress © 1997, Selena Fox, PO Box 219, Mt. Horeb, WI 53572 USA

Sacred Time
Going A-Maying & Bringing in the May — Merry-making and Nature communion. * Midpoint between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice. * In Pagan Rome, Floralia, from April 27-May 3 was the festival of the Flower Goddess Flora and the flowering of Springtime. On May 1, offerings were made to Bona Dea (as Mother Earth), the Lares (household guardian spirits), and Maia (Goddess of Increase) from whom May gets its name. * Roman Catholic traditions of crowning statues of Mary with flowers on May 1 have Roman Pagan roots. * Marks the second half of the Celtic Year; one of the four Celtic Fire Festivals. Complement to Samhain, it is a time of divination and communion with Fairy Folk/Nature Spirits. * Pastoral tradition of turning sheep, cows, other livestock out to pasture. * In Pagan Scandinavia, mock battles between Winter and Summer were enacted at this time. * Building on older tradition of this time being a holiday for the masses, in the twentieth century, May Day has been a workers’ holiday in many places. * Some say that Mother’s Day, in the USA, Mexico, and elsewhere has Pagan roots.

Forms include pole, tree, bush, cross; communal or household; permanent or annual. * In Germany, Fir tree was cut on May Eve by young unmarried men, branches removed, decorated, put up in village square, & guarded all night until dance occurred on May Day. * In England, permanent Maypoles were erected on village greens * In some villages, there also were smaller Maypoles in the yards of households. * Maypole ribbondances, with two circles interweaving; around decorated bush/tree, clockwise circle dances.

Flowers & Greenwood
Gathering and exchange of Flowers and Greens on May Eve, pre-dawn May Day, Beltane. * Decorating homes, barns, and other buildings with Green budding branches, including Hawthorn. * Making and wearing of garland wreaths of Flowers and/or Greens. * May Baskets were given or placed secretly on doorsteps to friends, shut-ins, lovers, others. * May Bowl was punch (wine or non-alcoholic) made of Sweet Woodruff blossoms.

Beltane Fires
Traditionally, sacred woods kindled by spark from flint or by friction — in Irish Gaelic, the Beltane Fire has been called teine eigin (fire from rubbing sticks). * Jump over the Beltane Fire, move through it, or dance clockwise around it. * Livestock was driven through it or between two fires for purification and fertility blessings. * In ancient times Druid priests kindled it at sacred places; later times, Christian priests kindled it in fields near the church after peforming a Christian church service. * Rowan twigs were carried around the fire three times, then hung over hearths to bless homes. * In the past, Beltane community fire purification customs included symbolic sacrifice of effigy knobs on the Beltane Cake (of barley) to the fire, or, in medieval times, mock sacrifice of Beltane Carline (Hag) who received blackened piece of Beltane Cake; Maypoles in Spain were each topped with a male effigy which was later burned. Contemporary Pagans burn sacred wood and dried herbs as offerings in their Beltane fires.

May Waters
Rolling in May Eve dew or washing face in pre-dawn May Day dew for health, luck, beauty. * Getting head and hair wet in Beltane rain to bless the head. * Blessing springs, ponds, other sacred waters with flowers, garlands, ribbons, other offerings. * Collecting sacred waters and scrying in sacred springs, wells, ponds, other waters.

Sacred Union & Fertility
Union with the Land focus, often with actual mating outside on the Land to bless fields, herds, home. * May Queen (May Bride) as personification of the Earth Goddess and Goddesses of Fertility. * May King (May Groom) as personification of Vegetation God, Jack-in-Green — often covered in green leaves. * At Circle Sanctuary, in addition to May Queen & May King, is May Spirit Couple, an already bonded pair. * Symbolic Union of Goddess and God in election/selection, crowning, processional, Maypole dance, feast. * Morris Dancers and pageants (with Hag & Jack-in-Green) to awaken the fertility in the Land.