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calendar   Sunday - June 04, 2006

On This Day In History

June 4, 1989 - Tiananmen Square Massacre

Chinese troops storm through Tiananmen Square in the center of Beijing, killing and arresting thousands of pro-democracy protesters. The brutal Chinese government assault on the protesters shocked the West and brought denunciations and sanctions from the United States.

In May 1989, nearly a million Chinese, mostly young students, crowded into central Beijing to protest for greater democracy and call for the resignations of Chinese Communist Party leaders deemed too repressive. For nearly three weeks, the protesters kept up daily vigils, and marched and chanted. Western reporters captured much of the drama for television and newspaper audiences in the United States and Europe.

On June 4, 1989, however, Chinese troops and security police stormed through Tiananmen Square, firing indiscriminately into the crowds of protesters. Turmoil ensued, as tens of thousands of the young students tried to escape the rampaging Chinese forces. Other protesters fought back, stoning the attacking troops and overturning and setting fire to military vehicles. Reporters and Western diplomats on the scene estimated that at least 300, and perhaps thousands, of the protesters had been killed and as many as 10,000 were arrested.

The savagery of the Chinese government’s attack shocked both its allies and Cold War enemies. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev declared that he was saddened by the events in China. He said he hoped that the government would adopt his own domestic reform program and begin to democratize the Chinese political system.

In the United States, editorialists and members of Congress denounced the Tiananmen Square massacre and pressed for President George Bush to punish the Chinese government. A little more than three weeks later, the U.S. Congress voted to impose economic sanctions against the People’s Republic of China in response to the brutal violation of human rights.

Source: The History Channel

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Tank Man

I was watching it from the Beijing Hotel, where we had rented a room that looked onto the north side of the square. That morning, I remember, my husband said to me, “You’d better get out here.” I rushed out onto the balcony, and I saw this lone person standing in front of this long column of tanks. … The young man—… I couldn’t see his face but I think he was young because of the way he moved, he was very fluid, he didn’t move like an older person. … He tried to step in front of the tank. … The tank turned to go around him; the tank did not try to just run him over. I thought, “Wow!” So the tank is turning and then the young man jumps in front of the tank, and then the tank turns the other way, and the young man jumps down this side. And I thought, “What’s going on?”

They did this a couple of times, and then the tank turned off its motor. … And then it seemed to me that all the tanks turned off their motors. It was really quiet; there was just no noise. And then the young man climbed up onto the tank and seemed to be talking to the person inside the tank. … After a while the young man jumps down and the tank turns on the motor and the young man blocks him again. … I started to cry because I had seen so much shooting and so many people dying that I was sure this man would get crushed. [And] I remember thinking, “I can’t cry because I can’t see; I want to watch this, but I’m getting really upset because I think he’s going to die.”

But he didn’t. … I think it was two people from the sidelines ran to him and grabbed him—not in a harsh way, almost in a protective way. … Then he seemed to melt into the crowd. Then the tanks, after a moment, just started up the engines again, and then they kept going down the Boulevard of Eternal Peace. That was the end. It was amazing. …

… I think that the people who took the Tank Man away—I call him the “Tank Man”—were concerned people. I’ve thought about this, and given the timing, I don’t think the security forces had kicked in that fast. … I think that was still too early. That’s one reason … the timing. The second reason is the body language. If you’ve ever seen security people manhandle a Chinese citizen, they’re really brutal. … They twist your arm, they make you bend over, they punch you a few times, they kick you. … So to me, I think he was helped to the side of the road. He wasn’t being arrested.

I think that he is [still alive] … I think the chances are pretty good … that he’s in China because if he had left—and many people have left China—he might have felt free to talk. The fact that we have not heard from him since that amazing incident tells me he’s still alive, he’s still there. He has not been caught, and he’s certainly not telling anybody.

Jan Wong - Author and former Toronto Globe and Mail Beijing correspondent.

Fast Forward To June 4, 2006 ...

Security Tight for Tiananmen Anniversary
June 4, 2006, 11:56 AM EDT

BEIJING (AP)—Chinese police tore up a protester’s poster and detained at least two people on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on Sunday as the country marked 17 years since local troops crushed a pro-democracy demonstration in the public space. An elderly woman tried to pull out a poster with apparently political material written on it, but police ripped it up and then took her away in a van.

A farmer tried to stage a protest apparently unrelated to the 1989 crackdown, but he also was taken away in a van. After dawn, a group of tourists tried to open a banner while posing for a photo, catching the attention of police, who quickly forced them to put the nonpolitical material away. They were not detained. Discussion of the crackdown is still taboo in China outside of the semiautonomous regions of Hong Kong and Macau. Chinese television news and major newspapers did not mention the anniversary.

In Hong Kong, several hundred people holding candles gathered at Victoria Park, creating a sea of lights covering four soccer fields. They observed a brief silence and organizers laid wreaths at a makeshift shrine dedicated to “martyrs of democracy.” China’s authoritarian government has stood by the suppression of what it has called “counterrevolutionary” riots, saying it preserved social stability and paved the way for economic growth.

Chinese police monitored Tiananmen Square closely Sunday. About 2,000 police were on guard in and around Beijing’s “petitioner’s village,” a cluster of cheap hostels popular with people from the provinces who have come to the capital to complain to the central government.


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 06/04/2006 at 02:46 AM   
Filed Under: • HistoryOppression •  
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calendar   Wednesday - May 03, 2006

Censor This!

Imagine if you will, a United States where bad news is never reported, every TV show has George Bush’s picture locked in one corner of the screen, newscasters referred to Dubya as a “god”, no criticism of Bush is allowed and Bush remained in power forever.

I apologize to any Liberal or Leftist readers out there who just went into shock at that picture. Don’t worry my little pinheaded friends. It won’t happen here in the USA, thanks to all of us “gun nuts” that you seem to hate so much. A well armed populace keeps government honest. Remember that.

The really painful part of this story below is that several of these countries serve in the UN on committees for Human Rights and other “watchdog” groups whose mission is to stop their kind of behavior. Yep, that would be the very same UN that your tax dollars help to support. Feel better now ... ?

North Korea Tops Most Censored Countries List
May 3, 2006, 4:37 AM EDT

UNITED NATIONS (AP)—North Korea’s media praises “Dear Leader” Kim Jong-Il every day but never reported the country’s famine in the 1990s. Myanmar bans anti-government sentiment in the media. Turkmenistan’s dictator approves the front pages of major newspapers—and they always include a photo of him.

The three nations topped the list of “10 Most Censored Countries” issued by the Committee to Protect Journalists on the eve of World Press Freedom Day. The other countries were Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Eritrea, Cuba, Uzbekistan, Syria and Belarus.

“People in these countries are virtually isolated from the rest of the world,” CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper said Tuesday. “They’re kept uninformed by authoritarian rulers who muzzle the media and keep a chokehold on information through restrictive laws, fear and intimidation.”

“We call on the leaders of these most censored countries to join the free world by abandoning their restrictive actions and allowing journalists to independently report the news and inform their citizens,” she said.

The list is the first on censorship issued by the committee. Its regional staff, which researches press freedom abuses around the world, rated the degree of censorship according to 17 different benchmarks, including censorship regulations, jamming of foreign news broadcasts, imprisonment and harassment of journalists and the degree of state control of media.

The report noted that Equatorial Guinea’s state-run radio has described the president as “the country’s God,” and its only private broadcaster is owned by his son.

In Libya, which has the most tightly controlled media in the Arab world, no news or views critical of Moammar Gadhafi are allowed, and one critic who wrote for a London-based opposition Web site was killed last year, it said.

Most countries on the list are ruled by one man who has remained in power by manipulating the media and rigging elections, the report said. Cooper said the media fosters personality cults in Equatorial Guinea, North Korea and Turkmenistan, where President Saparmurat Niyazov’s image is constantly displayed in profile at the bottom of television screens.

- More censorship news here ...


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 05/03/2006 at 07:19 AM   
Filed Under: • InternationalOppression •  
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calendar   Monday - April 17, 2006

The Taxman Cometh

For those of you who waited until the last minute, time is running out. Your government needs a large chunk of your hard-earned money to continue operating at its normal level of efficiency for another year. As you sit there and laboriously fill out those forms that only an accountant, a lawyer or “Rain Man” could figure out, keep this in mind: About 250 years ago, our ancestors were screaming “NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION”. You can thank them for the really first-class “representation” we’re all getting in Washington these days. Especially those of you being represented by the likes of Cynthia McKinney and Ted Kennedy ...

imageimageAt Long Last, Tax Day Is Here
April 17, 2006: 10:48 AM EDT

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Papa John’s is offering pizzas for $10.40. Staples has copy machines located on street corners. Activists are picketing at the post office. Tax day is here and although e-filing has cut down on the number of people lining up at post offices across the country, the deadline has lost none of its impact for citizens of a nation where tax protesting has a longer history than public education (remember the Boston Tea Party?).

Some 74 million taxpayers out of 135 million—or nearly 55%—are expected to e-file this year, according to the IRS. That’s up from 51% last year. This year, however, there are some exceptions to the traditional April 15th Deadline, which fell on a Saturday this year. Filers in Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and the District of Columbia have until April 18th because the IRS processing center serving those states is located in Massachusetts, which will be observing the state holiday, Patriot’s Day, on Monday.

Along the Gulf Coast, taxpayers in Louisiana and Mississippi’s hardest hit areas have had their deadline automatically extended by the IRS until Aug. 28th. The agency has made similar provisions for evacuees filing from the places they’ve relocated to across the country. A group called Harlem Grandmothers Against the War will be picketing the IRS building in that storied neighborhood in New York City Monday before joining with the New York Chapter of Grandmothers Against the War to protest in front of New York’s central post office in midtown. The group has plans for similar events across the country.

Vinie Burrows of Harlem Grandmothers Against the War said the group is protesting because it’s “unconscionable that our tax dollars are going to the invasion and destruction of Iraq while we have so many needs here in Harlem and all the Harlems of the country.” Even corporate marketing specials are adapting to the times. Papa John’s is offering online customers large pizzas at the “less taxing” price of $10.40. And Staples said it has copiers and attendants stationed outside post offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Philadelphia. Well aware of the growing popularity of e-filing, the office supply retailer “stresses the importance of keeping hard copies of important documents.”


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 04/17/2006 at 10:52 AM   
Filed Under: • Oppression •  
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calendar   Tuesday - March 07, 2006

NJ Sinks Even Lower

Found this on Drudge this morning.  Apparenty, Assemblyman PETER J. BIONDI (from my former home district) has introduced a bill to stop people from getting their feelings hurt.  This bill is summerized thus:

Makes certain operators of interactive computer services and Internet service providers liable to persons injured by false or defamatory messages posted on public forum websites.

So the ISP would be liable if someone was injured by false or defamatory statements made on a public website.  What a crock.  How deeply do these people want to get in our lives?

Here’s the key paragraph:

This bill would require an operator of any interactive computer service or an Internet service provider to establish, maintain and enforce a policy requiring an information content provider who posts messages on a public forum website either to be identified by legal name and address or to register a legal name and address with the operator or provider prior to posting messages on a public forum website.

The bill requires an operator of an interactive computer service or an Internet service provider to establish and maintain reasonable procedures to enable any person to request and obtain disclosure of the legal name and address of an information content provider who posts false or defamatory information about the person on a public forum website.

In addition, the bill makes any operator or Internet service provider liable for compensatory and punitive damages as well as costs of a law suit filed by a person damaged by the posting of such messages if the operator or Internet service provider fails to establish, maintain and enforce the policy required by section 2 of the bill. [Emphasis mine -FC]

So now, ISP (and blog operators, presumably) would have to maintain a database of users, complete with real name and address so that the state of NJ can easily find them if someone gets harmed.  Good grief.  I’m out of words.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 03/07/2006 at 09:07 AM   
Filed Under: • InsanityJudges-Courts-LawyersOppressionOutrageous •  
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calendar   Monday - February 20, 2006

The Last Wall

The ChiComs are fighting a losing battle. They are doomed. Remember, you heard it here first. For a generation after WWII, this nation slept, tightly wrapped in the tentacles of Mao and his successors, going through one “cultural revolution” after another. Now, the sleeping giant is awakening but not thanks to Karl Marx. China is emerging as a world power thanks to its embracing capitolism, free markets and free thought - albeit in a limited way so far.

That is all about to change over the next five to ten years and the Communist Party in China has to be aware of it. The old leaders of the ChiCom Party seem intent on plugging the leaks of democracy into their country only until they die, thus preserving their power only a short time longer. It is too late even to withdraw into a shell as the Chinese have done in the past. No Great Wall will keep out the barbarian invaders this time ... for there are no barbarian invaders. 

The enemy of the ChiComs is an idea. An idea of freedom. Freedom to think and say what one wishes. Freedom to live without fear of one’s own government. Freedom to be as real (or as unreal) as one wants to be. The ChiComs’ problem is that ideas don’t tear down walls, defeat armies or sack governments - at least not directly. Indirectly though, ideas are more powerful than any invading army and freedom is the most powerful idea of them all. More powerful than kryptonite even ... which is why I say to the Chinese President ... Mister Jintao, TEAR DOWN THAT WALL ...

imageimageReference Tool On Web Finds Fans, Censors
After Flowering as Forum, Wikipedia Is Blocked Again
Monday, February 20, 2006

BEIJING (WASHINGTON POST)

When access to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, was disrupted across China last October, a lanky chemical engineer named Shi Zhao called his Internet service provider to complain. A technician confirmed what Shi already suspected: Someone in the government had ordered the site blocked again. Who and why were mysteries, Shi recalled, but the technician promised to pass his complaint on to higher authorities if he put it in writing.

“Wikipedia isn’t a Web site for spreading reactionary speech or a pure political commentary site,” Shi, 33, wrote a few days later. Yes, it contained entries on sensitive subjects such as Taiwan and the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, but users made sure its articles were objective, he said, and blocking it would only make it harder for people in China to delete “harmful” content.

Shi was hopeful the government would agree. When the site was blocked in 2004, he had submitted a similar letter, and access had been quickly restored. Since then, the Chinese-language edition of Wikipedia had grown, broadening its appeal not only as a reference tool but also as a forum where people across China and the Chinese diaspora could gather, share knowledge and discuss even the most divisive subjects.

But today, four months after Shi submitted his letter, Wikipedia remains blocked. The government has declined to explain its actions. But its on-again, off-again attempts to disrupt access to the site highlight the Communist Party’s deep ambivalence toward the Internet: The party appears at once determined not to be left behind by the global information revolution and fearful of being swept away by it.

Officials tolerated Wikipedia at first, perhaps because it seemed to be exactly what the party had in mind when it began promoting Internet use 11 years ago—an educational resource that could help China close its technological gap with the West, encourage innovation and boost economic growth.

But as the Chinese Wikipedia flourished, the authorities apparently came to see it as another threat to the party’s control of information, and an example of an even more worrying development. The Internet has emerged as a venue for people with shared interests—or grievances—to meet, exchange ideas and plan activities without the party’s knowledge or approval.

With 111 million people online and 20,000 more joining them every day, the landscape of Chinese cyberspace resembles a vast collection of new and overlapping communities. Although Chinese write less e-mail than Americans, they embrace the Internet’s other communication tools—bulletin boards and chat rooms, instant-messaging groups and blogs, photo-sharing and social networking sites. A popular feature of the Chinese search engine Baidu lets users chat with others who have entered the same keywords.

Studies suggest this digital interaction is changing the traditional structure of Chinese society, strengthening relations among friends, colleagues and others outside family networks. In a multinational survey, a much larger percentage of Internet users in China than anywhere else said online communication had increased their contact with people who shared their hobbies, professions and political views.

The Communist Party polices these emerging Internet communities with censors and undercover agents, and manages a Web site that it said received nearly a quarter-million anonymous tips about “harmful information” online last year. But the methods the party uses to control speech and behavior in the real world have proved less effective in cyberspace, where people get away with more, and where the government is often a step behind.

- More on Commie futility here ...


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 02/20/2006 at 11:39 AM   
Filed Under: • Oppression •  
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calendar   Wednesday - January 25, 2006

Of Dogs And Men

Ancient Chinese Proverb: “If you lie down with dogs, you’ll get up with fleas.” Start scratching, Google ...

imageimageGoogle Agrees to Censor Results in China
January 25, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (AP)

Online search engine leader Google Inc. has agreed to censor its results in China, adhering to the country’s free-speech restrictions in return for better access in the Internet’s fastest growing market. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company planned to roll out a new version of its search engine bearing China’s Web suffix “.cn,” on Wednesday. A Chinese-language version of Google’s search engine has previously been available through the company’s dot-com address in the United States.

By creating a unique address for China, Google hopes to make its search engine more widely available and easier to use in the world’s most populous country. Because of government barriers set up to suppress information, Google’s China users previously have been blocked from using the search engine or encountered lengthy delays in response time.

The service troubles have frustrated many Chinese users, hobbling Google’s efforts to expand its market share in a country that expected to emerge as an Internet gold mine over the next decade. China already has more than 100 million Web surfers and the audience is expected to swell substantially _ an alluring prospect for Google as it tries to boost its already rapidly rising profits.

Baidu.com Inc., a Beijing-based company in which Google owns a 2.6 percent stake, currently runs China’s most popular search engine. But a recent Keynote Systems survey of China’s Internet preferences concluded that Baidu remains vulnerable to challenges from Google and Yahoo Inc. To obtain the Chinese license, Google agreed to omit Web content that the country’s government finds objectionable. Google will base its censorship decisons on guidance provided by Chinese government officials.

Although China has loosened some of its controls in recent years, some topics, such as Taiwan’s independence and 1989’s Tiananmen Square massacre, remain forbidden subjects. Google officials characterized the censorship concessions in China as an excruciating decision for a company that adopted “don’t be evil” as a motto. But management believes it’s a worthwhile sacrifice. “We firmly believe, with our culture of innovation, Google can make meaningful and positive contributions to the already impressive pace of development in China,” said Andrew McLaughlin, Google’s senior policy counsel.

- More ChiCom Sucking-Up By Google Here ...


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Posted by
The Skipper   United States  on 01/25/2006 at 06:12 AM   
Filed Under: • Corruption and GreedOppression •  
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
  1. Keep a firm grasp of Right and Wrong
  2. Stay involved with government on every level and don't let those bastards get away with a thing
  3. Use every legal means to defend yourself in the event of real internal trouble, and, most importantly:
  4. Keep talking to each other, whether here or elsewhere
It's been a long strange trip without you Skipper, but thanks for pointing us in the right direction and giving us a swift kick in the behind to get us going. Keep lookin' down on us, will ya? Thanks.

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Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
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