Thursday, May 29

Unwelcome Mat

Spotted in Northern Virginia earlier this month:

It is on the stoop of a very welcoming house.


Ford F-150 Truck - 'Not for Britain' (Video Review)

Here is an amusing review of the Ford F-150 truck, from a British point of view:



Great presentation. He pans the truck, but that's OK. The comments really balance it out. Like this one:
I actualy like that show but that was a poor review. All the fit, finish, and steering issues were caused by the RHD conversion. I've been an F-150 owner a long time, F-150's are great rucks, Lighting's are awesome trucks. The truck wasn't built for their gay country anyways.

First I must say That I'am Canadian. Secondly the reason english peoples dont buy trucks is because gas is expensive they have no need for them because England is small ugly and kinda a shitty country conpared to canada or the usa...but english people are cool...but their country sucks...sorry
And just think, nobody is going to get their head chopped off over this...

Ford F150 Pickup Truck - YouTube


Monday, May 26

Memorial Day - 2008


There was a time when the whole country needed to go to war to ensure victory.

Nowadays the US can be at war and most of the population can continue on their daily lives with little sacrifice on their part to ensure victory. So with that in mind, it is all the more important to take a moment to remember those who volunteered to put their lives at risk, especially those who have done so over the last couple of years.

Maritime Monday 112 Posted at gCaptain

This week's edition of Maritime Monday has been posted at gCaptain.

You can find last week’s edition here.

You can find Maritime Monday 62 here. (Published 4 June 2007). Here is another chance to catch the photos of what we send back in some of the containers returning to China.

Previous Editions:
As linked below or click on the label ‘MaritimeMonday’:
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 - 18 - 19 - 20 - 21 - 22 - 23 - 24 - 25 - 26 - 27 - 28 - 29 - 30 - 31 - 32 - 33 - 34 - 35 - 36 - 37 - 38 - 39 - 40 - 41 - 42 - 43 - 44 - 45 - 46 - 47 - 48 - 49 - 50 - 51 - 52 - 53 - 54 - 55 - 56 - 57 - 58 - 59 - 60 - 61 - 62 - 63 - 64 - 65 - 66 - 67 - 68 - 69 - 70 - 71 - 72 - 73 - 74 - 75 - 76 - 77 - 78 - 79 - 80 - 81 - 82 - 83 - 84 - 85 - 86 - 87 - 88 - 89 - 90 - 91 - 92 - 93 - 94 - 95 - 96 - 97 - 98

gCaptain editions: 99 - 100 - 101 - 102 - 103 - 104 - 105 - 106 - 107 - 108 - 109 - 110 - 111 - 112 - 113 - 114 - 115


Sunday, May 25

North Korean Snipers Killing Refugees Along the Chinese Border

As the world still whines about 'US cruelty' at Guantanamo, they continue to ignore the crimes against humanity taking place in North Korea. Perhaps because they are all accomplices in sustaining the North Korean regime. Well, as things normally go when going badly, they get worse:
Credible reports of “shoot-on-sight” order given to NK border patrol re: NKRs trying to cross the border illegally. One activist reported that snipers are now being posted at elevated positions above the river, giving them a wider view and a longer time to train their scopes on fleeing NKRs. This same activist reported finding several NKRs floating in the Tumen River with telltale small bullet holes in one side of the body at the entry point, and a much larger hole at the bullet’s exit. Even in the five days I stayed near the river, I saw ample evidence of high-powered searchlights at night on the NK side and was later informed by local CN [Chinese national] residents that the searchlights are used to detect NKRs seeking to approach the river under the cover of darkness. - One * Free * Korea
The North Koreans are doing this because they know that they can. Because they know that no one is going to stop them. They know this because EVERY SINGLE TIME they have been caught red-handed, whether counterfeiting currency, smuggling drugs, selling weapons to rogue states, even killing US soldiers without being subject to any sort of punishment that meant anything to the country's leadership. It is that country's leadership that has held its citizens hostage. It is a relationship that has worked pretty well for them to this point, even getting the US to start delivering food again to them recently. This of course was out of some misguided attempt to try and save the North Korean people. As I pointed out before, you cannot save the North Koreans as long as the current Government remains in power.

This is what I wrote early last year:
Now I am going to make a safe guess and say that none of the UN Programs in North Korea have benefited anyone other than North Korea's leadership. Sure, you can point out all the food aid that has been delivered to the country, but you can't prove that it actually made it to the people, instead of say, being diverted to their army. Even if the food did make it to people last year, what about this year? The aid is just delaying a poor outcome. - 1 Feb 07
I guess that this is what I meant by delaying a poor outcome: Most of the population starving and those desperate enough to try and escape to China are being shot down like dogs.

The US, UN, South Korea and others might as well be giving the North Koreans the bullets to do it. Because giving the North Korean Government food, is freeing up food to feed the shooters.

NOTE: Read the whole story at the link below, including information on how the Chinese are aiding the North Koreans, partly to protect the Olympics.


Most Disturbing Part of North Korea-Syria Connection - 29 Apr 08
Anchor Countries - 27 Sept 07
The UN Cannot Save the North Koreans (So Stop Trying) - 1 Feb 07
Unconditional surrender – The only way to end Military Operations - 1 May 05
Seeing things in Black and white instead of in shades of gray. - 19 Dec 04


Saturday, May 24

Tractor Eggs - Finland

Just sorting through lots of photographs this afternoon prior to heading out for a Saturday barbecue. The sorted was prompted by an upcoming trip to Finland.

So here is a photo of wrapped hay, which I have heard called tractor eggs.


Friday, May 23

What Happened To The Democrat Party?

There was a time where the Democrats were living in their glory. From what I can gather, it's high-point was during John F. Kennedy's Inauguration Address where he said:
In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility—I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it—and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.

My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own. - John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address

Link: Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You! - YouTube

This was not a message of take, but one of giving. I just have to wonder, just what happened to the Democrats, where they have turned into a machine, showering aid and support on people who do little to get themselves out of welfare and whose Government does little to encourage them to try and better themselves, instead telling them that nothing is their fault. Worse, they fight against any attempts to ensure that those receiving aid are not abusing the system, which has the effect of growing the number of people who are dependent on Government assistance while doing little to get people off of aid program.

This is most likely some sort of evil act to keep people down and poor so that they continue to vote for the very Democrats who are keeping them poor. After all, who is better at giving to the poor? With that in mind, all you ever hear from Democrats concerning Domestic programs is how they intend to give more to people, in exchange for votes, mainly by taking more from people who actually manage to support themselves.

Talking about giving your money away, take at look at the financial crime of a Farm Bill that Congress is getting ready to unload on America:
The USDA reports that if crop prices fall from these highs to their norm over the next five years, farm payments will surge. For example, if corn prices return to $3.25 a bushel from today's $6, farmers would get $10 billion a year in support payments. If bean prices fall to their norm, they'd get $4 billion. Thus, if farm prices stay high, consumers face higher grocery bills and farmers get rich. If farm prices fall, taxpayers kick in the difference and farmers still get rich.

Sugar producers also make out like Beltway bandits, receiving the difference between the world price of sugar, which is now $12 per pound, and the guaranteed price of about $21 per pound. That's a roughly 75% subsidy for already wealthy cane growers and a nice payoff for the $3 million they contribute to House candidates each year.

All of this is a status quo that both political parties can believe in. More than a few liberal Democrats are privately embarrassed by this corporate welfare spectacle. But they've been mollified by Speaker Pelosi, who spent the last week assuring her left that the bill also includes another $10.4 billion for food stamps and nutrition programs. This entitlement expansion comes only days after the Congressional Budget Office reported that paying the bills for existing entitlements could require tax rates to climb to 80% in the future. - WSJ
To show just how much of a joke Congress is, at the same time that they are passing this multi-billion dollar giveaway to farmers, they are grilling oil companies over why gasoline is so expensive. All this while they continue to ban oil drilling from much off offshore America and Alaska. Why? Well, by making farm products and gas much more expensive, their actions will help prevent Democrat voters from becoming more self-sufficient and being temped to vote against democrats once they get to a point where they actually have to start to pay taxes to give to the rest of the people they just left behind. As a bonus, they get to drag down a couple of Republican supporters in the process as well.

It seems that I am not the only who has noticed the downfall of the Democrat party. This week's Wall Street Journal has an editorial also asking what happened to the backbone of the Democrat party, especially when it comes to foreign policy:
How did the Democratic Party get here? How did the party of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy drift so far from the foreign policy and national security principles and policies that were at the core of its identity and its purpose? - WSJ
From Roosevelt to John Kerry and Barack Obama. There has been lots of talk about the Republicans needing to get back to their roots. That can be said too about the Democrats. Sure, their roots have big problems as well, but moving back to the party of the late 30's and 40's would be a big step forward for them and the country. The Democrat party today is a sham and after this next election is going to suffer a crippling case of McCain Derangement Syndrome coupled with a repeat case of P.ost E.ection S.election T.rauma. I would say that this is what the Democrats need, but it seems that they as a group are really starting to enjoy the pain!

Democrats and Our Enemies - Wall Street Journal

Update: 23 May 08
I found this at Last of the Few:
It is a nice summary of what I was trying to explain above.


Thursday, May 22

Blackberry Declined

Well, seems that my 'opportunity' to get drawn into the sphere of Blackberry has come as I was recently offered a Blackberry at work.

Luckily, I managed to escape from being tied to my work email by declining the offer. Thankfully, it was not forced on me. Oddly enough, I was at least the fourth member of senior management, who didn't already have one, to decline the offer of getting hooked up to a Blackberry.

Not that it would have been very useful to have me attached to that device, as it probably would spend most of it's time ignored in a pocket or backpack which is where you can find my current mobile phone most of the time. The way I see it, my mobile phone is for my convenience, not for the convenience of others to find me.

Monday, May 19

Rep. Tom Davis - Good Riddance

I have said before that the road to victory in the next election for Republicans does not start with trashing President Bush.
The path to the White House does not include stabbing the current President in the back. Leave that to the Democrats. - FFI 1 June 2007
Apparently someone forgot to tell Virginia Representative Tom Davis:
Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) thinks that President Bush is "absolutely radioactive" and that any Republicans close to the him will suffer electoral consequences.

Davis, who made waves for a shockingly bleak memo about the electoral outlook for the GOP this fall, tells Bloomberg TV in an interview that will air tonight that GOP members have "got to get some separation from the president." - The Hill
What Republicans really need is a separation from earmarks, not the President. Speaking of earmarks, seems that this Congressmen is a real porker:
Representative Tom Davis (R-VA) is requesting the House of Representatives to consider an amendment (H.R. 3496, as revised) to the Deep Water Energy Resources Act (H.R. 4761) that would divert $1.5 billion of federal revenues earned through offshore drilling to subsidize the deeply troubled Metro transit system serving the nation’s capital and his congressional district. If enacted, this earmark would be one of the largest ever passed—seven times larger than Alaska’s “Bridge to Nowhere” and twice as large as Mississippi’s “Train to Nowhere.” This earmark would reward Metro’s poor performance with an astounding sum of money while enabling the system to put off essential reforms. - Heritage.Org
This Congressman is one of the reasons why Republicans in Congress are having problems. Others in Congress see what this clown has been up to for years and they quickly say 'me too!' This guy doesn't get it that the real problem is that the reason Republicans are losing elections is that they are acting like Democrats, so the voters are merely voting for the 'better' Democrat.

I would like to think that this guy is going away, but then I read this:
Davis has been mentioned as a possible replacement for current NRCC chair Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) following three straight special election defeats for the GOP. - The Hill
Wow, what a bad idea. Definitely, not the direction to move in if the Republicans want to regain control of Congress. Also, this is clearly a sign that the Republican leadership still is not listening to its constituents. They need someone who is going to control spending and kill Republican earmarks so that the abusive act can be used as a whacking stick against Democrats. This guy is not that person.


Maritime Monday 111 Posted at gCaptain

This week's edition of Maritime Monday has been posted at gCaptain.

You can find last week’s edition here.

You can find Maritime Monday 61 from last year here. (Published 28 May 2007)

Previous Editions:
As linked below or click on the label ‘MaritimeMonday’:
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gCaptain editions: 99 - 100 - 101 - 102 - 103 - 104 - 105 - 106 - 107 - 108 - 109 - 110 - 111 - 112 - 113 - 114 - 115


Friday, May 16

President Bush Enters 2008 Race with Direct Hit

In case you were asleep, President Bush while speaking in the Israeli Knesset, enters fully into the 2008 election battle with a direct hit:
in a speech to Israel's Knesset, Bush said: "Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along.

"We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is—the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history." - Breitbart
We here at Fred Fry International fully condemn all acts of appeasement. As you can see, the footer of this blog has long carried the statement that 'Appeasement is for suckers'. I don't care who you are. Giving tyrants what they want is the wrong policy, even if it is the option that costs the least in the short-term, as your bound to pay much more over the longer term. North Korea is a perfect example of that.

Almost immediately, the Democrats pop a blood vessel by correctly linking (my opinion) the comment as criticism against Barak Obama, who has said repeatedly in the past that he was willing to negotiate with madmen like President Ahmadinejad of Iran who threatens to wipe Israel off the map just about every other day.
“Nothing has changed with respect to my belief that strong countries and strong presidents talk to their enemies and talk to their adversaries,” Obama told reporters at a press conference after receiving an endorsement from the New York City Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association. - CBS News 24 Sept 07
Now maybe Senator Obama and the other Democrats have been refraining from criticizing foreign leaders who are enemies of the United States in some bizarre attempt not to damage their credibility with them if he gets to be President and decides to give them a call. If that is the case, then perhaps he should say so, because the only time he opens his mouth to complain, is against other Americans.

So anyway, maybe Senators Obama, Joe Biden (who accused the President of long-distance swiftboating), John Kerry, Clinton, Congresswoman Pelosi and the others can explain how meeting with our enemies is a good idea. They should know. For starters, perhaps they could explain how all those meetings with Syria were a good idea. Especially considering that Syria was building an illegal nuclear reactor in secret at the same time.

DAMASCUS -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi challenged the White House on Middle East policy yesterday, meeting with Syria's leader and insisting "the road to Damascus is a road to peace." - 5 April 2007

Senator Kerry meeting with nuclear criminal and Syria'a President Bashar al-Assad.
Here is Senator Kerry said just over a year ago about appeasement meetings:

"It's important to engage in some kind of discussion," added Kerry, on a nine-day tour that also includes stops in Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, and the West Bank.

"It's important to ask questions, to probe, and to get a feel for what the dynamics are, and I'm confident that I can share those with the administration." - 15 Dec 06

Related to this is North Korea being caught spreading their nuclear technology to Syria. The two countries were so intent on making this happen at high levels that one of the senior North Korea scientists participating in the Syria nuke project was also one of the senior negotiations at the six-party disarmament talks. Appeasing people on the other side of the table only gets you blindsided later.

Funny thing, is, with all these Democrats beating a trail to Iran's doorstep through Syria, it is not hard to Swiftboat a Democrat, when swiftboating is merely pointing out the obvious. That these guys are not much more than useful idiots. The problem is that they are dangerous persons to let run the country.

This incident brings another player into the 2008 campaign. Like it or not, the Democrats just realized that they have a huge campaign problem in the form of President George Bush. Clearly, the President is not going to sit this election out. Hell, he has stated before that he loves to campaign. The problem for the Dems and specifically Obama, is that Bush can give John McCain all the space he wants to run a clean and positive campaign, while all the time delivering broadsides against Obama with little options for them to fight back at him. After all, he is not running for re-election. He is not concerned about his approval rating dropping any further. And he is not worried about any direct attacks, as the Democrats have basically thrown everything they could at him already, including fake documents and fabricated stories intended to discredit him. Even better is that President Bush can and has denied that the attack was an intentional attack or an attack at all. Given that Democrats have hammered home the point that the President is an idiot, then of course anything seen as an attack must be pure coincidence. After all, he's not bright enough to do these things on purpose, right?

Most Disturbing Part of North Korea-Syria Connection - 29 Apr 08
Traffic on the Useful Idiot Highway to Syria - 17 Dec 06
Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. - 23 Aug 05


Tuesday, May 13

Maritime Monday 110 Posted at gCaptain

This week's edition of Maritime Monday has been posted at gCaptain.

You can find last week’s edition here.

You can find Maritime Monday 60 from last year here. (Published 21 May 2007)


Apologies for posting this notice a day late!

Previous Editions:
As linked below or click on the label ‘MaritimeMonday’:
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gCaptain editions: 99 - 100 - 101 - 102 - 103 - 104 - 105 - 106 - 107 - 108 - 109 - 110 - 111 - 112 - 113 - 114 - 115


As Expected, Finnish Triple-Murderer Runs Away Once Freed

You know, you really can't make this stuff up. There is no way that anyone responsible for the handling of this criminal didn't see this coming:
Convicted triple murderer Nikita Fouganthine, formerly Juha Valjakkala, was arrested in Saariselkä in Finnish Lapland, said Helsinki police on Sunday evening. The 42-year-old Fouganthine had been on the run from an experimental release programme for less than 24 hours.

Police made the arrest on the basis of tipoffs from the public. Fouganthine and his wife were reportedly arrested in a stolen van after being chased by police for 30 kilometres. - Helsingin Sanomat
He was released in February on some sort of parole. The idiot could have just waited until September, where he could have just took off and not be concerned about the police wondering where he was. This is nothing new, given the number of escapes he has already attempted.
Valjakkala was given a life sentence for the murder of three people in √Ömsele, Sweden, in 1988. He spent 19 years behind bars. He has made a number of escape attempts.

In 2004 he failed to return from a prison furlough, and in 1994 he escaped with a hostage. Other escape attempts took place in 2004, 1997, 1991 and 1989. News of the experimental release programme was met with dismay and anger in Sweden. - Helsingin Sanomat
The Finnish prison system thought that less than 20 days additional prison time was the price he had to pay for four previous escapes, one kidnapping and at least one stolen car. Don't expect him to get much more than a revocation of his parole, until about August or September when you can bet that they will let him loose to prey upon the people once again. Keep in mind that this guy killed three people a couple months after being released from prison. If he can't follow some simple instructions in order to stay out of jail, then he deserves to stay in jail. (Forgetting that he is a murderer and should have never been let out of prison.) Finns, really don't have too much to fear, because this guy keeps trying to get out of the country. Maybe the Finns should let him. It would give another country a chance to finish the job.

Finnish Triple-Murderer Freed From Prison - 26 Feb 08
Finnish Triple-Murderer to Go Free - 5 Dec 07
Finnish Triple-Murderer Escapes from an 'Open Institution' - 29 Nov 06


Monday, May 12

Anchor Countries - Burma (Myanmar)

I originally wrote about Anchor Countries last September here. One anchor country I failed to list was Burma. Actually it is unfair to use the country's proper name in this case as a properly run Burma would most likely never end up on a list of anchor countries. Instead, the country, and its population have been held hostage by a military dictatorship that prefers to call itself Myanmar.

So now as everyone knows, Myanmar has been hit by a devastating cyclone. For those who are not familiar with cyclones, think hurricane and typhoon. They are all the same type of storm. Being a low lying country, much of the coastline has been swamped and remains underwater. This leaves over a million people in desperate need of aid and rescue.

As bad as the storm was and the number of deaths caused by it, the total is going to pale in comparison to the deaths that the Government of Myanmar is going to be responsible for, caused in one of the most insidious ways possible, through inaction.

It seems that the Government of Myanmar is out to prove that inaction is one of the most effective and deadliest forms of mass-murder. Well, it is not exactly true that they are doing nothing, as they are working hard to keep foreign and UN aid workers out of the country. This kind of puts the military rulers of Myanmar in a class all to themselves. Hell, even Iran let US Aid workers into their country after they suffered a devastating earthquake in 2003. Myanmar is letting almost nobody in. They just want donors to fly aid in and leave it for them to distribute as they see fit. Unfortunately for them, no one thinks that they will do anything to help the majority of people in distress, mainly because they do not have the resources to do so. Needed most are helicopters, but the only country ready to offer helicopter relief flights is the US, which is not welcome, even if it means the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.

Most unfortunate is that only recently has the UN bothered to be seriously concerned about the state of the country. This is where other anchor countries quickly came to their aid: (Noted anchor countries marked with an '*')
In January 2007, Russia* and China* vetoed a draft resolution before the United Nations Security Council calling on the government of Burma to respect human rights and begin a democratic transition. South Africa* also voted against the resolution, arguing that since there were no peace and security concerns raised by its neighbors, the question did not belong in the Security Council when there were other more appropriate bodies to represent it, adding, "Ironically, should the Security Council adopt [this resolution] ... the Human Rights Council would not be able to address the situation in Myanmar while the Council remains seized with the matter." The issue had been forced onto the agenda against the votes of Russia and the China by the United States (veto power applies only to resolutions) claiming that the outflow from Burma of refugees, drugs, HIV-AIDS, and other diseases threatened international peace and security. - Wikipedia
Speaking of the United Nations:
This is the one entity that was supposed to help lift the world towards the 'modern society'. Instead, it is helping countries drift down to the lowest common denominator. This is the Organization that protects the 'rights' of Myanmar and the other anchor countries to abuse and hold hostage their own populations (In violation of UN Conventions) as well as abandon them while their leaders suck these countries dry of assets. This is great for the UN, which can then better reinforce its own need by assuming the responsibility to provide for these people, through the World Food Program and UN Development Program. This may even give those causing the tragedy another income source if the aid agencies pay bribes or facilitation fees to get aid to those they wish to help. Worse, a good portion of the aid may never reach those they intend to help, instead being diverted, again to Government authorities. (Paraphrased from my post here)

One surprising part of this whole disaster is the relative silence of the international community. Sure, some western Governments and the UN are voicing concerns and even outrage that aid workers are being prevented from gaining access to the area, but where is the voice of the rest of the planet? Look at how much outrage the global community mustered against the US over Iraq and still is able to harness over the detention center in GITMO. Those are trivial issues compared to this disaster which seems to leave activists unmoved. That is a shame, because the leaders of Myanmar should be charged with crimes against humanity, or at the very least removed from the leadership of their country or simply eliminated. This is a case where dropping bombs will save many more lives than they will take. The planet will truly be a better place without them. Too bad the UN will never garner up the will to go after the criminal that run the country. Criminals who, while still refusing most aid and offers of assistance, continues to export desperately-needed rice.
The military regime of Myanmar will stick to its commitment to export rice to Sri Lanka, despite having its main rice-producing region severely damaged by the Nargis cyclone a week ago, the Burmese Media reported.

This comes in the light of foreign media reports that thousands were left starving and homeless by the cyclone and farmers have been left desperate for food. The reports quoted civilians who said that all they received from the government was half a pound of rotten rice. The military junta which has a monopoly on rice export will proceed with the exports to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh as arranged previously. - Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)
Maybe the price the world has to pay for a better planet is the deaths of the neglected in Myanmar. Maybe this act is the driving force that removes a murderous dictatorship from yet another country. Shame on Myanmar. Shame on China. and most of all, shame on the UN and those member state who protect criminal regimes such as this one. It is the UN who is ultimately responsible for this humanitarian crisis, for protecting bad governments from any serious pressure to change.

Anchor Countries - 27 Sept 07

Tuesday, May 6

Merchant Mariners "Validated for Emergency Service"

Last week's ILWU strike of US West Coast Ports reminded me of my uncle's Merchant Mariner Document. You see, there has been a longstanding issue of securing ships and ports from domestic enemies, such as communist sympathizers. So, some ships needed for the war effort required that seafarers be "Validated for Emergency Service".

Here is a short summary I found on how this vetting worked:
The Coast Guard adopted separate but similar procedures for the seagoing trades and waterfront employees. Since seagoing personnel already were required to hold a federal license of certificate, the regulations provided a method for stamping these documents "validated for emergency service." The normal validation procedure required the seaman to apply at any Coast Guard Marine Inspection office. The office would forward the application to the Commandant in Washington, where it was checked against the files to see if it disclosed derogatory information about the applicant. The Coast Guard did not employ its own investigators in this program, nor did it attempt to verify information that may have been reported by other agencies. The Marine Inspection officer was then notified of the Coast Guard's decision and either prepared validated documents or a form letter of rejection. While awaiting clearance, the applicant could not sail in any restricted ship unless he could get a "trip letter" from the local Coast Guard Marine Inspection office. - U.S. Naval Institute
So it seemed a good time to share this old Z Card.

There have been some comments that most of the longshoremen who were striking last week really could care less about the proclaimed reason for the strike, which was to display opposition to the war in Iraq, but I wonder how true that is, especially after seeing these photos today of ILWU workers marching. Scary aren't they? (Not for anything, but it seems that all the clowns were there: Cindy Sheehan, Danny Glover, Cynthia McKinney. Their photos here.)

Anyway, don't let this call for peace from the ILWU fool you. They have protested against peace before as well.
Bridges (Note: Head of the ILWU) had "not only been a secret party member but served on the CPUSA national Central Committee under a pseudonym," according to research conducted in recent years at the Comintern archives in Moscow.[1] Nonetheless, the United States government lost every effort it made to deport Bridges, revoke his naturalization, or prosecute him for denying that he was a member. The CIO, on the other hand, did not consider itself bound by the decisions of the courts or administrative agencies on this issue; after Bridges came out, along with other CP-allied labor leaders, against the Marshall Plan and for Henry Wallace's presidential campaign, the CIO expelled the ILWU in 1950 for being dominated by communists. - Wikipedia
These idiots have also been pro-war as well, at least as long as the Soviet Union was threatened:
Bridges soon took the union in a wholly different direction after Hitler attacked the Soviet Union in June 1941. Having opposed the United States' entry into the war, Bridges now urged employers to increase productivity in order to prepare for war. - Wikipedia
I almost ended up on the West Coast for work. While out there for an interview, I visited with some friends who were working in the Port of Los Angeles. They told me about how I had it easy working in Charleston because there was no ILWU there. They then gave me a couple examples of union demands and oddities including telling me about the 'ILWU ice cream truck'. No, they don't get free ice cream. It was their nickname for the union rep truck because whenever it appeared the longshoremen acted like kids do when the ice cream man shows up. Apparently in these cases, their excitement is due to knowing that the job was about to be closed down/delayed by the rep, providing them with some break time. Luckily for me, as I was flying to the West Coast, my company was announcing that they were merging with another line. So by the time I got to my interview, the regional head didn't know if the job I was interviewing for would be around after the merger, which was excuse enough for me not to take it. Good thing too.


Monday, May 5

Maritime Monday 109 Posted at gCaptain

This week's edition of Maritime Monday has been posted at gCaptain.

You can find last week’s edition here.

You can find Maritime Monday 59 from last year here. (Published 14 May 2007)

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Sunday, May 4

Hawaii SuperFerry Update: From Protests to Pleas!

As everyone knows, when the Hawaii SuperFerry initially started service it was met with violent, irrational and demanding protesters when it attempted to call at the island of Kauai. The end result was that the ferry service decided to skip the island entirely, instead deciding to build up the company's business servicing the island of Maui instead, to the point of offering two trips a day instead of one trip to each island. As their website notes, service to Kauai is suspended indefinitely, despite having all the legal barriers preventing them from sailing there lifted:

Kauai Service

A date for commencing service to and from Kaua‘i has not yet been determined. We are working with the community on Kaua‘i and listening to their concerns. We will make our decision about when we commence our Kaua‘i service once that process is completed. - HSF
They are probably still interested in avoiding the type of circus that went on the last time the ship visited the island, or at the very least, are not interested in offloading their passengers into a crowd of violent protesters. I don't blame them. Take this from a commenter left on my original post on this matter:
Why would you encourage people to get in the middle of a pitched battle?

We don't take this whale killing military project lightly. And we don't feel too friendly to anyone who rides it to our island. - FFI

Typically, this would be the end of the story, however Kauai is now facing serious cargo supply problems as one airline has gone bankrupt as well as reduced service by a second airline. That is a real problem since, being an island, it can't be supplied by road or rail. To make matters worse, their ocean cargo is transshipped from Honolulu.
LIHUE » Dick Botti, president of the Hawaii Food Industry Association, said his constituents are already feeling the pressure of Aloha Airlines' cargo service shutdown in their grocery aisles, especially on Kauai. That is why he is pushing for a return of the Hawaii Superferry to Kauai, something executives at the company would not rule out last night.


Starting today, companies with direct shipping of perishable goods such as bread and milk will have to pay more to bring their goods to Kauai or do without, he said. Anything with a finite shelf life that has to be rotated on a regular basis will eventually be affected by the closure, as higher shipping prices and a lack of space squeeze the market, said Botti. - Star Bulletin
Something tells me that most of the original protesters would still be against the return of the SuperFerry, which appears just fine with other Hawaiians who in the comments of the story both offer no sympathy for Kauai inhabitants while pleading for the SuperFerry to consider servicing the Big Island instead. The comments for the story above are really amusing to read. This one really gets to the heart of the issue, in that at the end of the day, what do you really consider important:
Kauainas you no like SF, how do feel about toilet paper! - Star Bulletin Honolulu Commenter 'Hardcore'
The next couple of months should be interesting. How long before there is a lawsuit against SuperFerry demanding that service to their wacky island be resumed?

Update: Hawaii Superferry to Sail - 25 Nov 07
Hawaii Superferry to Sail - Tickets on Sale! - Nov 17 07
Coast Guard Threatens Hawaii Superferry Protesters with Serious Fines and Jailtime - 5 Sept 07
Econuts and Moonbats Stop Hawaii Superferry (For Now) - 31 Aug 07