UPDATED (2x): Police Conduct House-by-House Searches In Tibet As Protest Spreads

From today's Wapo - I've highlighted a chilling part of their report:

Vowing a harsh crackdown, Chinese police conducted house-to-house searches in central Lhasa Monday and rounded up hundreds of Tibetans suspected of participating in a deadly outburst of anti-Chinese violence, exile groups and residents reported.

The large-scale arrests and official promises of tough reprisals suggested the Chinese government has decided to move decisively to crush the protests despite calls for restraint from abroad and warnings that heavy-handed repression could taint next summer's Olympic Games in Beijing.

The Tibetan regional governor, Champa Phuntsok, said detainees who show remorse and inform on others who were part of the week-long unrest would be rewarded with better treatment. But Buddhist monks and other Tibetans who participated in Friday's torching of Chinese-owned shops and widespread attacks on Han Chinese businessmen would be "dealt with harshly," he told a news conference in Beijing.

link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/con tent/article/2008/03/17/AR2008031700575. html?hpid=moreheadlines

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In Honor of Women's History Month

Most people don't realize the struggle American women faced to earn the right to vote.

March is Women's History Month

Women's suffrage advocates waged a hard fought war for decades to earn American women the right to vote.  Some of you may know that many suffragists were also abolitionist.  Many of them felt ignored and abandoned when abolitionist movement leaders accepted the language of the 14th Amendment that sought to ensure "male inhabitants" had the right to vote (the first time the word "male" entered the Constitution), and once again women had been felt out in the cold.

In November of 1872, Susan B. Anthony and 15 other women were arrested for attempting to vote in Rochester, New York.  Anthony was the only woman brought to trial.  This is the only case I am aware of where someone was actually tried in the United States for being a woman.  In the prosecution's opening statements, he argued Anthony was guilty of voting illegally because "At that time she was a woman".  The judge was staunchly opposed to women voting.  He shocked the nation when he denied Anthony the right to take the stand in her own defense and actually instructed the jury to find her guilty.  Even some who were against women's suffrage were shock at the complete disregard for Anthony's right to a fair trial by jury.  At sentencing, a determined Anthony uttered her famous words "resistance to tyranny is obedience to God".      

The struggle continued for decades:

In 1914 WWI began, many thought it unseemly of women to continue to press for the right to vote with war looming, but many suffragist pressed on unwilling to halt the battle again as they had during the Civil War only to be forgotten in the aftermath.  After all when asking Congress to declare war, President Wilson himself proclaimed "we shall fight for the things which we have always carried nearest our hearts--for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own governments".  It did not go unnoticed by the suffragist that this was a right which American women had been denied.

In 1917 Alice Paul and her followers began standing outside the White House holding banners directed at President Woodrow Wilson.  One such banner read

"Kaiser Wilson Have you forgotten your sympathy with the poor Germans because they were not self-governed? 20,000,000 American women are not self-governed. Take the beam out of your own eye."

Eventually police began arresting the women for "obstructing traffic", and they were ultimately sent to the Occoquan Workhouse.  The conditions there were deplorable, and the women suffered brutal treatment.  One workhouse employee would later testify that

"The beans, hominy, rice, corn meal . . . and cereal have all had worms in them. Sometimes the worms float on top of the soup. Often they are found in the corn bread."

And even worse came on November 15, 1917 known as the Night of Terror:

Under orders from W. H. Whittaker, superintendent of the Occoquan Workhouse, as many as forty guards with clubs went on a rampage, brutalizing thirty-three jailed suffragists. They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head, and left her there for the night. They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed, and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate Alice Cosu, who believed Mrs. Lewis to be dead, suffered a heart attack. According to affidavits, other women were grabbed, dragged, beaten, choked, slammed, pinched, twisted, and kicked. (source: Barbara Leaming, Katherine Hepburn (New York: Crown Publishers, 1995), 182.)

Eventually news of the women's treatment created such an outcry that even the White House called for their release.  In the face of such an uproar, Woodrow Wilson had no choice but the lend his support to the 19th Amendment to grant women the right to vote.  This was just the catalyst the Amendment needed, and women finally gained the right to vote in 1920.  Almost 133 years after the Constitution was adopted.

Unfortunately our history books do little to teach us about all the many women who sacrificed, suffered, and fought for the right to vote that all American women enjoy today.  We honor their memory and renew their voice each time we vote.  So no excuses ladies.... GET OUT AND VOTE!

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They're Our Troops Even When It's Their War

     By the singular act of following just one lawful order, our soldiers defend you and me, the sovereign people of these United States.  This following of a lawful order is not a small thing.  If the terrible happens, if our soldier is lost, even if the war is unjust or the conflict is "small", the essential foundation of our democracy, of us The People, is defended as have been few others in the world or even in history.  Please consider my arguments.
     In the first days of January 49 AD, Rome was still a democracy, granted, a rowdy ill-formed Republic, but a recognizable democracy.  It was against the law of that democracy for Roman soldiers to be stationed in Italy.  On January 10, some soldiers of Rome were asked to break that law, to cross a little stream, the Rubicon, into Italy.  It was the acquiesce of Romes' soldiers to Caesar's invitation, their loyalty to a person, rather than to their lawful orders, that soon ended the Republic in Rome.
     Here, in this United States, it is the people who are sovereign, not the congress, the president, or any part of government, The People, us, you and me.  The founders feared greatly for that sovereignty, and most from lawless soldiers, armies, that tended to steal that sovereignty, a pratice of governments around the world, then and now.  So they built into our Constitution checks, controls on standing armies, especially lawless ones.  And our United States grewup without the presence, the intimidation's of lawless soldiers, somewhat unique in the old world.  We just assume our soldiers are professionals that bend to the sovereign will of The People, us.

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Emerson Prof. Bemoans Lack of March Coverage

This professor recently wrote an Op-Ed for the Christian Science Monitor about the MSM blackout on the huge anti-war protests. CBS PubliEye just Interviewed the Professor, who had some interesting things to say.

Some snippets:

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Books for Burma


Having a mutual interest in a free Burma, you may have come across our website for the Books for Burma Project ( http://booksforburma.org ) before. If not, allow me to tell you a little about what we do. We work in conjunction with Burmese activist and refugee organizations across Asia. We collect book donations, mostly here in the United States, and thanks to generous cash donations ship our books to each organization based on request and priority. What we essentially do is build libraries for these organizations so individuals who have difficulty acquiring an education in their host country have something to turn to. Our collections include children's books, political studies, ESL, social sciences and human rights.

We are reaching out to those with an interest in a free Burma, like you, to help our cause by simply placing a link and providing a little information about us on your website. There are many ways to contribute. We have been hurt by recent changes at the US Postal Service, our international shipping costs have gone up. It now costs $37 US to send one package that used to cost around $13. We are working on developing alternative digital materials that are more cost effective, but in the end, there is no substitute for a good book.

Again, we are hoping you can help the cause by linking to our site and telling your readers a little about us. Any cash donations by your readers will be processed safely via PayPal. Any book donations can be mailed to either of our two locations, which ever one is closest to you. Our Director, Tara, has seen first hand what good this can do in her work with refugees in Thailand and Malaysia. If you can help in any way, we would be endearingly grateful.

If you choose to help with our campaign, then thank you. If you have any other questions please feel free to contact us about anything at booksforburma@gmail.com

Thank You,

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