Category Archives: Tyranny

Yikes!! AI Is Coming for My JOB — Even Though I’m Already Retired!

Tom Edsall writes a very valuable  weekly column in the New York Times, and he’s paid a lot of attention to the rise of Artificial Intelligence. Like other observers, he’s particularly concerned about AI’s developing impact on jobs and society, present and future.

In his June 5 column, Edsall picks the brains of several scholars who are delving deeply into these matters. One piece of what he found jerked me upright. Continue reading Yikes!! AI Is Coming for My JOB — Even Though I’m Already Retired!

Tiananmen Square, China: Remember

CNN: Tiananmen Square timeline

April 15, 1989 – Hu Yaobang, a former Communist Party leader, dies. Hu had worked to move China toward a more open political system and had become a symbol of democratic reform.

April 18, 1989 – Thousands of mourning students march through the capital to Tiananmen Square, calling for a more democratic government. In the weeks that follow, thousands of people join the students in the square to protest against China’s Communist rulers.

May 13, 1989 – More than 100 students begin a hunger strike in Tiananmen Square. The number increases to several thousand over the next few days.

May 19, 1989 – A rally at Tiananmen Square draws an estimated 1.2 million people. General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, Zhao Ziyang, appears at the rally and pleads for an end to the demonstrations.

May 19, 1989 – Premier Li Peng imposes martial law.

June 1, 1989 – China halts live American news telecasts in Beijing, including CNN. Reporters are prohibited from photographing or videotaping any of the demonstrations or Chinese troops.

June 2, 1989 – A reported 100,000 people attend a concert in Tiananmen Square by singer Hou Dejian, in support of the demonstrators.

June 4, 1989 – At about 1 a.m., Chinese troops reach Tiananmen Square. Throughout the day, Chinese troops fire on civilians and students, ending the demonstrations. An official death toll has never been released.

June 5, 1989 – An unidentified man stands alone in the street, blocking a column of Chinese tanks. He remains there for several minutes before being pulled away by onlookers.

Tiananmen Square History

While the events of 1989 now dominate global coverage of Tiananmen Square, the site has long been an important crossroads within the city of Beijing. It was named for the nearby Tiananmen, or “Gate of Heavenly Peace,” and marks the entrance to the so-called Forbidden City. The location took on added significance as China shifted from an emperor-led political culture to one that was governed by the Communist Party. . . .

On the 20th anniversary of the massacre [June 2009], the Chinese government prohibited journalists from entering Tiananmen Square and blocked access to foreign news sites and social media.

Still, thousands attended a memorial vigil in honor of the anniversary in Hong Kong. Ahead of the 30th anniversary of the event, in 2019, New York-based Human Rights Watch published a report detailing reported arrests in China of those associated with the protests.

The 1989 events at Tiananmen Square have also been highly censored on China’s tightly-controlled internet. According to a survey released in 2019 by the University of Toronto and the University of Hong Kong, more than 3,200 words referencing the massacre had been censored.

Tiananmen Square Censorship

It wasn’t until 2006 that Yu Dongyue, a journalist arrested for throwing paint at a portrait of Mao Zedong in Tiananmen Square during the protests, was released from prison.

On the 20th anniversary of the massacre [2009], the Chinese government prohibited journalists from entering Tiananmen Square and blocked access to foreign news sites and social media.

A famous statue at the University of Hong Kong marking the Tiananmen Square massacre was removed late on Wednesday [December 22, 2021].

The statue showed piled-up corpses to commemorate the hundreds – possibly thousands – of pro-democracy protesters killed by Chinese authorities in 1989.

The “Pillar of Shame” Tiananmen Memorial at Hong Kong University – officials removed it in December 2021

It was one of the few remaining public memorials in Hong Kong commemorating the incident.

Its removal comes as Beijing has increasingly been cracking down on political dissent in Hong Kong.

The city used to be one of few places in China that allowed public commemoration of the Tiananmen Square protests – a highly sensitive topic in the country. . . .

“The dissident Fang Lizhi, holed up at the United States Embassy in Beijing, in 1990, to avoid arrest after the Tiananmen crackdown, composed an essay titled “The Chinese Amnesia.”

“About once each decade, the true face of history is thoroughly erased from the memory of Chinese society,” he wrote . . . .

“This is the objective of the Chinese Communist policy of Forgetting History. In an effort to coerce all of society into a continuing forgetfulness, the policy requires that any detail of history that is not in the interests of the Chinese Communists cannot be expressed in any speech, book, document, or other medium.”

New Yorker, 10/02/23

Rushdie on “Free Palestine,” Speaking in Germany

Writer Salman Rushdie: “Free Palestine would be a Taliban state”


Märtyrer der Freiheit: Schriftsteller Salman Rushdie wird seit Jahrzehnten von Islamisten mit dem Tod bedroht. 2022 attackierte ihn ein Mann lebensbedrohlich mit dem Messer, stach ihm das rechte Auge aus. Jetzt präsentierte Rushdie in Berlin sein Buch „Knife“, in dem er den Mordversuch literarisch verarbeitet
[NOTE: This text was published by Die Bild, a German newspaper, and machine-translated from German into English. ]

May 19, 2024

Martyrs of freedom: Writer Salman Rushdie has been threatened with death by Islamists for decades. In 2022, a man attacked him life-threatening with the knife, stabbed him with the right eye. Now Rushdie presented his book “Knife” in Berlin, in which he processes the murder attempt in a literary way.

Continue reading Rushdie on “Free Palestine,” Speaking in Germany

AFSC: When the Slides Went Awry, And The Key Questions Weren’t Asked . . .

Brian Blackmore

Last month I attended two presentations by the new AFSC Director of Quaker Engagement, Brian Blackmore, at Durham and Chapel Hill Meetings here in North Carolina.

Blackmore, just a year in the job, is the successor to Lucy Duncan, a longtime AFSC staffer who was unceremoniously fired in early 2022 when she tried to start a staff uprising to stop a major internal reorganization. Continue reading AFSC: When the Slides Went Awry, And The Key Questions Weren’t Asked . . .

Wake Up! New Political Ad Heralds a Year of Urgent Political Action

My favorite political campaign strategist & tactician is Sarah Longwell, who runs The Bulwark, and the Republican Accountability Project. She’s a former Republican campaign operative turned resolute & relentless Nevermore Tr*mper. More about Longwell here.

But enough about her. Longwell’s goal for 2024 is not self-promotion, but mounting a guerrilla media campaign that can keep the GOP front-runner OUT of the White House. Continue reading Wake Up! New Political Ad Heralds a Year of Urgent Political Action