our tax dollars at work

by twit

The Raw Story reports on March 28, 2008:

“The 22-year-old Florida man who allegedly provided old, substandard Chinese-manufactured ammunition to troops in Afghanistan as part of a nearly $300 million Pentagon contract also started a private company that specialized in selling foreign munitions to civilian gun enthusiasts, according to public documents”

aaaand:

“The company’s Web site was taken down after RAW STORY began asking questions.”

But they were able to find at least one naughty picture from the now-defunct site:

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you go, girls

by twit

Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey Jr. has attributed part of his recent endorsement of Obama for the Democratic Party nomination to his four daughters, who have apparently taken their earlier campaign message on behalf of their dad to heart:

From the Associated Press on March 28, 2008:

“I really believe that in a time of danger around the world and in division here at home, Barack Obama can lead us, he can heal us, he can help rebuild America,” Casey told the crowd in Pittsburgh.

Wait, you mean Hillary Clinton might be an ineffective leader for this country?

When asked if the three presidential candidates could be successful in uniting the country if they were elected president, 60 percent of all voters believed Obama could be successful at doing this, 58 percent of all voters said McCain could unite the country while only 46 percent of voters said the same about Clinton.

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superdelegate de ja vu

by twit

Hooray! Pelosi tells the big-time Clinton donors that the Democratic nomination is not for sale.

Which really is stating the obvious, but these are big-time Clinton supporters we’re talking about…

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has reaffirmed her position that superdelegates should not “overturn the will of the voters” in the face of criticism from top donors to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).

but will somebody send a nasty letter to the Washington superdelegates, please…

Look, it’s already started, just add an address:

“The Speaker believes it would do great harm to the Democratic Party if superdelegates are perceived to overturn the will of the voters,” Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly said in a statement late Wednesday.

Tibet Protest News

by twit

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/44508000/jpg/_44508208_44503124.jpg

Protests are happening throughout China but information is difficult to find.

This post collects news reports about recent protests in China by province.

Comments with updates and links are welcome and appreciated.

Map via the BBC. A detailed map of China and its provinces is available via Wikipedia.

(Updates continue at Tibet Protest News Update, including this link to the ICT map of Tibetan protests from March 10, 2008 through March 25, 2008)

Tibet

On March 10, 2008, an estimated 300 monks march to the center of Lhasa from Deprung monastery. On March 13, monks begin a hunger strike and other protests as Lhasa’s three main monasteries are locked down by Chinese authorities.

On March 14, violent protests occur in Lhasa. On March 15, there are reports of crowds of protesters being shot by police during the March 14 demonstrations.

On March 14 and March 15, 2008, demonstrations take place in Penpo, near Lhasa. An estimated 3,000 Tibetans then join demonstrations demanding the release of detained protesters. Most monks from the Penpo Ganden Choekor monastery are then detained by Chinese authorities.

On March 16, 2008, tear gas, electric batons and gunfire drive back Tibetan protesters in Lhasa. On March 17 and March 18, widespread arrests are reported in Lhasa, as well as hundreds of deaths since March 10, 2008.

By March 19, 2008, Lhasa is reported to be quiet, with a heavy Chinese military presence.

On March 27, 2008, thirty monks disrupt a carefully coordinated tour of Lhasa in view of several journalists. On March 28, there are reports from Lhasa of hundreds of prisoners being forced into trucks and onto a train.

On March 29, 2008, there are reports of several ongoing demonstrations in Lhasa, coinciding with the visit by foreign diplomats. On March 30, “panic” is reported in Lhasa near security checkpoints.

Sichuan

On March 15, 2008, monks and other people demonstrate in Ngaba county. On March 16, an estimated 7 23 30 protesters are killed and hundreds wounded by Chinese authorities, including monks from the Kirti monastery, during a protest involving thousands of people marching towards Ngaba county government headquarters. Additional protesters are reported shot by Chinese authorities on March 18, 2008.

On March 20, 2008, widespread arrests, detentions and a ‘massacre‘ are reported in Ngaba county. On March 22, monks protest in the Chabcha area of Amdo. By March 23, food shortages are reported in Ngaba county due to the restrictions imposed by Chinese authorities.

On March 24, 2008, police fire on crowds of protesters attempting to march to a government office. On March 25, there are violent protests and reports of Chinese authorities firing on crowds of protesters in Garze, including monks from the Trehor Draggo monastery.

On March 29, 2008, it is reported that over 500 monks have been taken away from the Kirti monastery in Ngaba. On March 30, mass arrests of monks are reported at the Amdo Ngaba Buddhist School of Dialectics, Amdo Ngaba Gomang monastery, Amdo Atob monastery and the Tatsang Lama Kirti monastery.

Qinghai

Protests in Qinghai began in late February, 2008 with hundreds of people, including monks from the Rebkong monastery, demonstrating until tear gas was used by police to disperse the crowd.

On March 16, 2008, hundreds of monks march towards the government headquarters of Rebkong county and are joined by additional protesters until paramilitary troops detain the monks and use tear gas on the crowd. On March 17, China is reported to engage in ‘suppression on the run’ to contain the spreading protests and demonstrations. On March 18, monks at Rebkong monastery continue to protest by burning incense in violation of orders from Chinese police.

Thousands are reported as continuing to participate in protests as of March 20, 2008.

Gansu

On March 14 and March 15, thousands of Tibetans demonstrate in Xiahe near the Labrang monastery. On March 16, protests are reported in Machu county, including the destruction of the doors to the county government offices.

Days of unrest are reported in Hezuo, Gannan and Maqu county, including student protests and clashes with police.

On March 18, hundreds of monks and Tibetans protested in Sangchu county. On March 19, hundreds of Tibetans, including some riding horses, are reported as attacking a government building in an unnamed town.

Detentions and arrests of an estimated 20 Tibetans are reported in Sangchu county on March 21, 2008.

Beijing

A small student-led vigil is reported on March 19, 2008 to be the first reported protest in the Chinese capital.

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The Middle Way through Tibet

by twit

There won’t be a massive boycott of the Beijing Olympics. Whether individual athletes and other participants will boycott remains to be seen.

The Dalai Lama has suggested a “middle way” through the crisis in Tibet. The Associated Press reports on March 24, 2008:

“DHARMSALA, India (AP) – Nearly six decades of struggle against the might of China has taught the Tibetans one thing: Ask the world for little, expect less.

… They know few countries have the appetite to cross China, particularly at a time the world is counting on the emerging superpower to keep the global economy ticking as the United States appears headed into a recession.

… From the exiled Tibetan leaders, there were no calls for sanctions, like those imposed when Myanmar suppressed pro-democracy protests last year, or even a boycott of this summer’s Beijing Olympics.

It’s an approach that reflects the pragmatism of the Dalai Lama, who has long sought an accommodation based on his “Middle Way” dialogue with Beijing aimed at autonomy for Tibetans under Chinese rule.

Instead, the Tibetans appealed for international pressure on China to act with restraint, to open the area to international investigators and the media and for organizations like the International Red Cross to be allowed in to ensure wounded Tibetan protesters get treatment.

“Specific things are very difficult. No one is going to send in a peacekeeping force,” said Taklha.

The Tibetans have, however, won the moral support of many nations.

… Some argue that only international pressure has stopped China from completely crushing the Tibetans long ago.”

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our surge can beat up your surge

by lestro

With all the talk about the great effectiveness of “the surge” in Iraq, one little important bit of evidence is always left out when discussing the reduction in violence: the Mahdi Army’s decision to lay low since last summer.

However, this week Moktada al-Sadr – a guy who went from a terrorist who needed to be killed into a political leader we deal with – decided to reassert himself:

Moktada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite cleric who commands the Mahdi Army and initially called for a suspension of his militia’s activities in August, called on Monday called for a nationwide civil disobedience campaign, beginning in Baghdad, in response to what his followers say is an unwarranted crackdown.

and what happened?  all hell broke loose.

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nuclear fuses? what nuclear fuses?

by lestro

oh! you mean the ones we didn’t even know we lost?

“The U.S. Air Force mistakenly shipped fuses that are used in nuclear weapons to Taiwan in 2006, believing the crates contained helicopter batteries, officials at the Pentagon announced this morning.

The error — undetected by the United States until last week, despite repeated inquiries by Taiwan — raises questions about how carefully the Pentagon safeguards its weapons systems.”

I am at a complete loss on this one. Yet not surprised. Goooooo Romper Room!

and this is obviously a lie:

“There are multiple players, there are multiple parties involved,” said Ryan Henry, principal undersecretary of defense policy. “We’ll do a thorough investigation, and those who are found responsible will be held accountable.”

No one has EVER been held responsible for ANYTHING in the Bush administration. With the possible exception of Brownie, who was doing a heckuva job until a scape goat was needed.

But luckily, the US moved quickly when it realized its mistake, right?

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