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October 18th, 2006

English language video of Nangpa Pass Shooting

The Romanian TV video of the Nangpa Pass murder of two Tibetan refugees by Chinese border soldiers is now viewable on YouTube. Again, I warn that this news report includes video of Kelsang Namtso, a seventeen year-old nun, shot and killed in cold blood.


Posted in World News, China | No Comments »

October 12th, 2006

Kelsang Namtso, Murdered by Chinese soldiers

Bodyofnunshotatnangpapass

This is a picture of Kelsang Namtso, a seventeen year-old Tibetan nun who was viciously murdered by Chinese troops while she was making her way through Nangpa Pass to escape into exile. The photograph was provided by a Slovenian mountaineer, Pavle Kozjek, who witnessed the shooting and submitted the picture to Explorersweb.com (Found via the International Campaign for Tibet).

Kozjek also took and submitted this picture of Chinese soldiers with a group of Tibetan captured refugee children, all aged between six and eight. The children were among a group of eight to ten kids marched through the Cho Oyu advance base camp shortly after the Chinese troops opened - and sustained for at least fifteen minutes - fire on a group of at least seventy Tibetan refugees. The children were arrested and held at gunpoint. There whereabouts are currently unknown.
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Posted in World News, China | 5 Comments »

October 9th, 2006

Unmitigated Atrocity: China murders Tibetan refugees in plain view

It’s truly hard for me to adequately express the outrage and horror my colleagues and I at Students for a Free Tibet are feeling as more details emerge about the murder of at least two Tibetan refugees as they and over seventy others tried to cross the Nangpa Pass from Tibet into Nepal. Their journey was one borne out of their desire for freedom from Chinese oppression, attainable only through escaping their homeland along a dangerous high altitude, snow-packed route. Chinese forces opened fire on a caravan of seventy Tibetans, including children as young as ten years old, and deliberately shot to kill, never giving warning of the coming onslaught. Here are two passages from International Campaign for Tibet’s (ICT) report on the shooting. Be warned that they explicitly describe the cold-blooded murder of these innocent Tibetans.

“I saw a line of Tibetans heading towards the start of the [Nangpa] pass - a common sight. Then, without warning, shots rang out. Over, and over and over. Then the line of people started to run uphill. Watching the line snake off through the snow, as the shots rang out, we saw two shapes fall. The binoculars confirmed it: two people were down, and they weren’t getting up.”

The British mountain guide, who was summiting Cho Oyu at the time, told ICT: “There could have been as many as 60 climbers at Advance Base Camp who witnessed the incident. They could see Chinese soldiers quite close to Advance Base Camp kneeling, taking aim and shooting, again and again, at the group, who were completely defenceless. We didn’t know what the targets were but the climbers could see they were human beings. A couple of hours later, a caravan of yaks came along the pass from Nepal and there was no shooting. Clearly distinctions were made between intended targets. This was a deeply shocking incident for all of us.” [Emphasis added]

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Posted in World News, China | 3 Comments »

October 3rd, 2006

Shameless self promotion

The Baltimore Group is excited to announce a long-awaited addition to our team over at Emboldened. Antonino D’Ambrosio started posting yesterday. His primary area of expertise is political popular culture, though he will be contributing in other areas as well.

Antonino D’Ambrosio, a writer, filmmaker, photographer and musician based in New York, is the author, most recently, of the critically acclaimed Let Fury Have the Hour: The Punk Rock Politics of Joe Strummer – now in its fourth printing. Chuck D of Public Enemy describes D’Ambrosio as “the voice of a new generation whose work educates and inspires.” His writing appears in The Nation, Monthly Review, The Progressive, among many other publications. A frequent guest on TV and radio, D’Ambrosio has hosted a radio show on WBAI and East Village Radio. He has lectured at universities all throughout the country.
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Posted in Weblogs | No Comments »

October 3rd, 2006

Constituent emails not reaching legislators

The Washington Post has a deeply disturbing article in Monday’s paper about the shockingly high number of constituent communications submitted electronically that never reach their intended representatives and senators. Legislators have put barriers in place to stop emails from reaching them or once they arrive, they aren’t given the respect due to correspondence sent from constituents to their representatives. Quite simply, this is an unacceptable response to the uses of technology. Electronic communication should allow for more communication between legislators and their constituents - and, on one side, it has. But the same technology that allows constituents to send more communications for less money now seems to stand in the way of response: emails are considered spam and programs that facilitate communications between the constituent and their rep are stymied with devices that try to block advocacy.

Congress has had an e-mail problem for years. It is deluged with an estimated 200 million constituent messages annually, the vast majority of them electronic. The number is so large and is growing so quickly that lawmakers are desperate to find ways to throttle the volume.

The number of e-mails has mushroomed in part because of the now-common practice among interest groups to rally their troops via cyberspace. Generally, a lobby will send an e-mail to its most eager members, which directs them to a Web site. Once there, the members fill out a form that routes to lawmakers e-mails that advocate whatever it is the group is pressing for at the moment.

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Posted in Politics | 3 Comments »

October 1st, 2006

Words To Live By

Retardo Montalban:

Take names. Next time these so-called Democrats run for office, throw everything you have to their opponents in the primary. Memory and ruthlessness is all we have; I suggest we use them. [Emphasis added]

Call it our accountability bloodlust. Part of the netroots’ success as a movement will be determined by our ability to maintain a broad vision of where we want to go and an accurate memory of who’s stood in our path along the way. Those who undermine our efforts to enact a progressive vision of American politics must be held responsible for their actions. Voting in favor of granting Bush authoritarian powers strikes against both the seemingly low aspiration of preserving American democracy and the chances for Democrats to present themselves as a legitimate alternative to the corrupt fascism of the Republican Party.

I’ve said in the past, we need to deploy a two-part strategy:
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Posted in Politics, Weblogs, DailyFeatured | 3 Comments »

September 28th, 2006

Harry Reid

Harry Reid on the Bush authoritarianism bill:

I strongly believe this legislation is unconstitutional. It will almost certainly be struck down by the Supreme Court. And when that happens, we’ll be back here several years from now debating how to bring terrorists to justice.

History will judge our actions here today. I am convinced that future generations will view passage of this bill as a grave error. I wish to be recorded as one who voted against taking this step.

I agree Senator, but where was the filibuster?


Technorati Tags: Harry Reid, torture

Posted in Politics, Police State | 1 Comment »

September 28th, 2006

Stop the horse race

To the Editors of the New York Times:

Can we please stop the horse race coverage of domestic politics for one day? Your editorial on the authoritarian Bush anti-terror bill was fantastic, but no where on the front page of your website (as of 8:00 AM EST) is there a link to a news article of the same subject.

Instead, the top headline reads “New Hope for Democrats in Bid for Senate.” While I’m glad that you’d think the country’s dissatisfaction with the Republican Party and subsequent electoral opportunities for Democrats warrants serious attention, I wish your news department had checked in with your editorial department. There is no editorial on Democratic chances for gain in the Senate. There is, however, one of the most strongly worded condemnations of the Bush administration and the Republican Party over a bill that stands to cut into the moral underpinnings of the American project.
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Posted in Politics, Police State | 6 Comments »

September 26th, 2006

CYA Condi tries to spin Clinton’s attacks, fails

Bush administration officials have a long standing tradition of leaving me scratching my head at the obtuseness of their comments. Cheney’s undying commitment to the falsehood that Iraq and Al Qaeda had ties before the US invaded, Rumsfeld’s “stuff happens” attitude towards war planning, and Gonzalez’s quaint-ification of the Geneva Conventions have all left me wondering how it is possible to be so thoroughly disconnected to reality and so resistant to anything that whiffs of empathy. Condi Rice has pushed the bar of what constitutes unreasonable analysis beyond what even the Bush administration is capable of in her attacks on Bill Clinton and her flailing defense of Bush’s record on terrorism.

Condi’s statements in the New York Post combine vicious invective against Clinton with the most ignorant, disingenuous representations of Bush’s record fighting terrorism.


Technorati Tags: BIll Clinton, Bush, Condoleeza Rice, National Intelligence Estimate


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Posted in General | No Comments »

September 24th, 2006

”Single-Issue Solipsism”

I’ve obviously taken issue with the decisions single-issue groups like NARAL and Planned Parenthood to support of anti-choice candidate Joe Lieberman in the Connecticut senate race, both before and after his loss in the Democratic primary. Katha Pollitt’s column in The Nation this week takes a big stick to NARAL and other single-interest groups that have elevated political positions on their discrete issue over any recognition of the partisan parallels to success on their issue.

Last week I wrote about my belief that we need to deploy a two-part strategy to effect progressive change in America. First we elect Democrats, then we elect better Democrats. Inherent in the recognition that “we’re at war with the candidates we have, not the candidates we might want” is that having a Democratic majority is crucial to protecting reproductive rights, environmental rights, labor rights, and the rule of law. Gaining Democratic control of House and Senate committees ensures that we can control a legislative agenda that protects all liberal single-interest groups from watching their past achievements be eviscerated by the regressive Republican agenda.

Technorati Tags: 2006 election, Katha Pollitt, reproductive rights


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Posted in Politics, Campaign News | 1 Comment »

September 24th, 2006

The Roots Project hits the traditional media

Perry Bacon Jr.’s notably mediocre article on the netroots in Time.com contains what I believe to be the first traditional media reference to the Roots Project.

What’s more, the Netroots are, paradoxically, attempting to maximize their effectiveness by going off-line. MoveOn is organizing its members to make a combined 5 million phone calls before Election Day, asking people to vote for Democrats. Markos Moulitsas, who runs Daily Kos, is talking about building real, bricks-and-mortar gathering halls where progressives can meet and organize political activities in person. Jane Hamsher, who runs the piquant online hangout Firedoglake, and other bloggers have started the “roots project,” in which they employ nonweb political tactics like writing letters to the editors of their local newspapers. “We can hammer the New York Times and the Washington Post forever,” Hamsher said, but “candidates are more influenced by what we’re doing in their own backyards.” [Emphasis added]

I don’t see any paradox in using online political organizing tools to conduct offline political activism. A paradox would be if we had access to blogs, email lists, and social networking sites yet did not deploy them to expand our influence into traditional avenues of grassroots advocacy like letters to the editor and meetings with elected officials.

Technorati Tags: Roots Project


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Posted in Politics | No Comments »

September 21st, 2006

Review: Wait! Don’t Move to Canada!

Bill Scher of Liberal Oasis has a new book out titled Wait! Don’t Move to Canada! A Stay-and-Fight Strategy to Win Back America (Amazon link). Scher aims to provide readers with a vision for how liberals can reverse America’s political course and offers up a series of tactics on how we can reframe the debate on crucial topics like national security, taxation, religion, and media bias. Beyond explaining how we’ve arrived at where we are today, Scher walks liberals back from the proverbial window’s ledge and gives us hope that we can act to save America from ineffective governance by regressive Republicans.

Though Wait! Don’t Move to Canada! is a relatively quick read, Scher economical style conveys a great many points of action and frames for liberals to use in our fight to win back America. Many pages have been devoted to framing as presented by the likes of George Lakoff, but Scher repeatedly succeeds at reframing every issue he addresses in simple terms that any progressive activist can deploy into daily use without having to get a PhD from Berkeley first. I cannot understate how invigorating Scher’s casual insistence on reframing every issue he discusses is.


Technorati Tags: Bill Scher, Wait! Don’t Move to Canada!


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Posted in Weblogs, Gonzo's Grab Bag | 2 Comments »

September 19th, 2006

We’re at war with the candidates we have, not the candidates we might want

This may be a difficult concept for many people to understand, but we go to war with the candidates we have, not the candidates we want. The war - as represented by the diction of Bill Scher, John Javna, and Armstrong/Moulitsas - is the struggle to return control of America to people who hold strong progressive values with the endorsement of the people. Were we to start from a position where we were not already at war, were the midterm elections were not seven weeks away, we might try to select different candidates than those running in critical races around the country. But the time to pick dream candidates from the populace to step forward and run has passed. Now we must work for Democrats, including those who are not progressives and are by no means perfect.

Progressive bloggers - or rather, the netroots - finds themselves in a position where we are investing a great deal of our energy into helping candidates win who we will likely be railing against for their conservative stances and DLC messaging soon after they start their terms. Two clear examples from this election cycle are James Webb and Bob Casey. These moderate Dems hold positions that may make them subject to similarly justified blogospheric scorn as we have seen levied against Barack Obama and Ken Salazar. Does it make sense to work for someone now who we will likely have to work against in four months?
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Posted in Politics | 11 Comments »

September 14th, 2006

America under Bush: Less safe, less secure

Shorter Bob Geiger: The Bush administration’s handling of the war on terror has produced a swinging dickfest of carnage.

The statistics on terrorist attacks, suicide bombings, and Al Qaeda’s size all are indictments of the Bush administration’s failure to make headway in their so-called war on terror. Contra Bush’s assertions that “Today, we are safer, but we are not yet safe,” we are in fact less safe than we were five years ago if the effectiveness, capacity, and presence of our enemies are any indication of progress towards the unachievable goal of Complete And Total Safety, which would likely require child-proofing every bottle, padding every corner, and federally mandated helmets for drivers and pedestrians alike. Leaving ergonomics aside, Geiger provides a stark picture of where our efforts to combat terrorism we have gone in the last five years.

* A 150 percent increase in the number of Al-Qaeda members in the world while we’re focused on a civil war in Iraq* Attacks on U.S. troops, Iraqi forces and civilians are skyrocketing, despite assurances from the White House that things are going just fine in Iraq

* Our neglected troops in Afghanistan are facing a 1,200 percent increase in Taliban attacks and a 600 percent jump in suicide bombings.

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Posted in Middle East, Homeland Security | 2 Comments »

September 14th, 2006

Accurately describing Lieberman’s candidacy

This is the first time I’ve seen a journalist covering the Connecticut senate race accurately describe the current state of Joe Lieberman’s candidacy.

[Lamont’s] advisers say they are also trying to force Mr. Lieberman, who is now running in the general election on his own party line, to defend his support of the war.

That comes from Jenny Medina of the New York Times. I’m not saying it’s the first time Lieberman has been accurately described, but it’s the first time I can recall his candidacy not being falsely labeled as “independent,” “independent Democratic” or accurately, but hardly the whole story, “unaffiliated.” You’d the the Connecticut for Lieberman party would be up in arms about how rarely it is cited by name in the press, despite the fact that their only member leads in most polls.


Technorati Tags: Angela Carter, Jennifer Medina, Joe Lieberman, Ned Lamont


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Posted in Campaign News | 1 Comment »

September 12th, 2006

Not ready for a female president?

David Lightman of the Hartford Courant has an interesting article today about the lack of interest in Hillary Clinton in Iowa. Presidential campaigning is already heating up among Democratic candidates and though Hillary is widely recognized as the candidate to beat by Beltway Insiders - a clause rising from the Land of For What It’s Worth - she does not yet have people out working for her in Iowa. I think it’s too early for Democrats in Iowa to pass judgment about Clinton’s intentions, as she does have a primary to win today and a general election to win in November, but some in Iowa seem to have their minds made up already. Lightman presents four problem areas for Clinton in Iowa: gender, John Edwards, ideological positions, and historical baggage.

“I’ve worked for women. I’d have no problem accepting her. But a lot of people would,” said John Bush, a Marshalltown retiree. “The country just isn’t ready for a female president.”

Thomas C. Wynia, a Story City attorney, pointed out that “Iowa is pretty conservative,” and has a long tradition of electing men to top offices. “I’m not sure this state is ready for a woman,” he said.

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Posted in Politics, Campaign News | 6 Comments »

September 9th, 2006

Dead wrong

Just a reminder that whether or not the Bush administration lied about connections between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda (the whether or not part is purely rhetorical, there was no nconnection according to the CIA), the most important thing is what we’re doing in Iraq now. Whatever It Is, I’m Against It:

The Pentagon touted an astounding 50% drop in civil war-related deaths in Baghdad, thanks to Operation Forward Together, but then the Iraqi Health Ministry revised its figures up drastically, showing the number of deaths basically the same. Not that the Pentagon is admitting it, as shown by that hapless general on McNeil-Lehrer yesterday, still saying “well that’s not what our numbers show.” Dude, their numbers come from the Baghdad morgue. They get dead bodies, they count dead bodies. You’re not disputing numbers, you’re disputing the existence of 750 corpses you evidently didn’t know about. So the next question is: we’re occupying their country, we have responsibility for security, we’re running a major operation to reduce sectarian violence in the capital… and we don’t know how many fatalities there are in the capital to within plus or minus 50%?

Best line in the WaPo story: the Health Ministry is planning to build some more morgues, get more refrigeration units and hire more personnel to cope with the influx of dead bodies, but said it had “nothing to do with the violence and killing.”


Technorati Tags: Iraq, Whatever It Is, I’m Against It


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Posted in Middle East | 4 Comments »

September 8th, 2006

Plus, the movie sucks

This is hilarious. Unlike Alessandra Stanley’s Kool-Aid swilling review of “The Path to 9/11″, Doug Elfman of the Chicago Sun-Times takes the movie apart for being in itself a craptastic movie.

Controversy could boost viewership, except “Path” is the dullest, worst-shot TV movie since ABC’s disastrous “Ten Commandments” remake. It substitutes shaky handheld cameras and dumb dialogue for craftsmanship. It could not be more amateurish or poorly constructed unless someone had forgotten to light the sets.

An appalling secondary concern is the tone makes almost every pre-9/11 American look like a fool.

Look, there’s a security guard yawning while terrorists plant the 1993 bomb at the World Trade Center. How dare a security guard work while tired.

Oh, hey, there’s an airline agent checking in a 9/11 terrorist even though he has a carry-on bag. Stupid airline agents.

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Posted in Television | 6 Comments »




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