ABE IS TRASH. this is indisputable. i’m glad to hear that a large number of japanese ppl think the same. however, the post below is kind of a mess in some points, particularly the bit about china and territorial dispute:
China, as many of you may know, has been…
Hong Kong’s unprecedented protests & police crackdown, explained
September 29, 2014
Protest marches and vigils are fairly common in Hong Kong, but what began on Friday and escalated dramatically on Sunday is unprecedented. Mass acts of civil disobedience were met by a shocking and swift police response, which has led to clashes in the streets and popular outrage so great that analysts can only guess at what will happen next.
What’s going on in Hong Kong right now is a very big deal, and for reasons that go way beyond just this weekend’s protests. Hong Kong’s citizens are protesting to keep their promised democratic rights, which they worry — with good reason — could be taken away by the central Chinese government in Beijing. This moment is a sort of standoff between Hong Kong and China over the city’s future, a confrontation that they have been building toward for almost 20 years.
On Wednesday, student groups led peaceful marches to protest China’s new plan for Hong Kong’s 2017 election, which looked like China reneging on its promise to grant the autonomous region full democracy (see the next section for what that plan was such a big deal). Protest marches are pretty common in Hong Kong so it didn’t seem so unusual at first.
Things started escalating on Friday. Members of a protest group called Occupy Central (Central is the name of Hong Kong’s downtown district) had planned to launch a “civil disobedience” campaign on October 1, a national holiday celebrating communist China’s founding. But as the already-ongoing protesters escalated they decided to go for it now. On Friday, protesters peacefully occupied the forecourt (a courtyard-style open area in front of an office building) of Hong Kong’s city government headquarters along with other downtown areas.
The really important thing is what happened next: Hong Kong’s police cracked down with surprising force, fighting in the streets with protesters and eventually emerging with guns that, while likely filled with rubber bullets, look awfully militaristic. In response, outraged Hong Kong residents flooded into the streets to join the protesters, and on Sunday police blanketed Central with tear gas, which has been seen as a shocking and outrageous escalation. The Chinese central government issued a statement endorsing the police actions, as did Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing chief executive, a tacit signal that Beijing wishes for the protests to be cleared.
You have to remember that this is Hong Kong: an affluent and orderly place that prides itself on its civility and its freedom. Hong Kongers have a bit of a superiority complex when it comes to China, and see themselves as beyond the mainland’s authoritarianism and disorder. But there is also deep, deep anxiety that this could change, that Hong Kong could lose its special status, and this week’s events have hit on those anxieties to their core.
This began in 1997, when the United Kingdom handed over Hong Kong, one of its last imperial possessions, to the Chinese government. Hong Kong had spent over 150 years under British rule; it had become a fabulously wealthy center of commerce and had enjoyed, while not full democracy, far more freedom and democracy than the rest of China. So, as part of the handover, the Chinese government in Beijing promised to let Hong Kong keep its special rights and its autonomy — a deal known as “one country, two systems.”
A big part of that deal was China’s promise that, in 2017, Hong Kong’s citizens would be allowed to democratically elect their top leader for the first time ever. That leader, known as the Hong Kong chief executive, is currently appointed by a pro-Beijing committee. In 2007, the Chinese government reaffirmed its promise to give Hong Kong this right in 2017, which in Hong Kong is referred to as universal suffrage — a sign of how much value people assign to it.
But there have been disturbing signs throughout this year that the central Chinese government might renege on its promise. In July, the Chinese government issued a “white paper” stating that it has “comprehensive jurisdiction” over Hong Kong and that “the high degree of autonomy of [Hong Kong] is not an inherent power, but one that comes solely from the authorization by the central leadership.” It sounded to many like a warning from Beijing that it could dilute or outright revoke Hong Kong’s freedoms, and tens of thousands of Hong Kong’s citizens marched in protest.
Then, in August, Beijing announced its plan for Hong Kong’s 2017 elections. While citizens would be allowed to vote for the chief executive, the candidates for the election would have to be approved by a special committee just like the pro-Beijing committee that currently appoints the chief executive. This lets Beijing hand-pick candidates for the job, which is anti-democratic in itself, but also feels to many in Hong Kong like a first step toward eroding their promised democratic rights.
Starting on Monday, thousands of university students in Hong Kong have been gathering at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Tamar Park (outside the government offices) to protest the National People Congress (NPC) of China’s decision to restrict the right to vote for…
Ok kids, listen up. I’m about to explain to you, to the best of my ability, why there are 40,000 people protesting in Tokyo’s Nagata-cho as I type this, why it matters, and why you should be talking about it, too.
What Started This Protest?
The short answer —> Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has proposed a round-about way of changing Article 9 of Japan’s constitution, which basically states that Japan will never go to war ever again. This constitution was written by US officials in Japan after WW2 and is actually more balanced than America’s own constitution in certain ways (there is equal pay for women, for example). There have been various Nationalist (think Japanese Tea Party-esque displays) public demonstrations supporting Japan having the ability to go to war again- usually subtly, or not so subtly, naming out potential foes such as China and Korea. But none of that compares to what’s going on right now in Nagatacho AGAINST any changes to Article 9. Last Sunday, a man sat himself on top of a bridge in Shinjuku, protested the changes, and then set himself on fire over all this.
(The man survived. He’s now being sued by the government for damage to public property)
The long, complicated answer —> Japan has had problems with its top government officials for nearly 10 years now. After a long string of PMs resigning, Abe (who was originally one of those resigning PMs) was reelected and has stayed in power this time the longest in the past several years. Until this issue with Article 9 came about, the biggest issue was the Fukushima nuclear plant, which is still hemorrhaging radioactive water to the point where workers have temporarily given up trying to stop it and recently told everyone that they were now ‘purposefully’ dumping contaminated water into the pacific ocean (although now the current plan is to create an “ice wall” - yes “ice wall”- around the affected ground water in an attempt to stop it. Somehow). TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company), who owns the plant and has been responsible for the cleanup, has failed repeatedly to do their job and has consistently rejected outside international help for reasons, at this point, that can only be attributed to hurt national pride.
At the beginning of this year, Abe’s administration passed a ‘State Secrets’ law which forbade any publishing of Japanese ‘state secrets’ which conveniently included anything to do with nuclear sciences (this would included Fukushima). Not only is this bill extremely vague, leaving it open for the government to essentially call anything they want a state secret, but as I recall, about three days after this was passed, the news was suddenly reporting that all was well at the nuclear plant.
At the end of LAST year, Abe announced that he purchased some battleships- specifically aircraft carriers- that had actually been seen floating off the coast of different parts of Japan up to a month before they were publicly announced. On a personal note, I have seen those ships, and last month I saw one other as well floating off my local waters. Below is a picture I was able to grab while on the train:
While the state secrets law riled up academic circles who claimed that the government had just eliminated the right to free speech, it didn’t gain a lot of news coverage and eventually faded away. It might be worth noting here, too, that NHK (Japan’s BBC, essentially) is chaired by government officials- some of whom Abe seems to have personally appointed.
With the state secrets law now in place, which has limited what one has to assume are more ‘negative’ stories and updates about the Fukushima nuclear plant issue (which its admitted failure by the government would oblige Abe to step down as prime minister), we’re brought to the main course- significantly altering/reinterpreting/removing Article 9 of the Japanese constitution:"The Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution Chapter ii. Renunciation of War Article 9. Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. the right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized."
Now, Japan DOES have what is essentially a National Guard, which participates in non-combat efforts in both their own country and abroad, so Japan is not totally helpless here- they’re just confined to their own borders when it comes to personally rolling out ammunition (which happens whenever North Korea makes a missile threat where the path of the missile is supposed to go over Japan- the US military assists in this temporary defense bubble whenever it has to go up).
What Abe wants to do, however, is “reinterpret” this article in a way that allows Japan to expand and use their military like any other respectable country does. That seems fairly reasonable, right? Except that Abe’s chosen route to accomplish this goal is to go around the Democratic process, ignoring the public’s opinions, and holding what are basically closed-door votes amongst a group of people who are already on his side, instead of, say, passing an actual constitutional amendment instead. This has made people angry- people that might agree with having the military restored are angry because of how shadily it’s being done, and people who *don’t* agree are angry because they don’t want Japan to go back to war and they *don’t* like Abe’s tactics.
Then there’s the potential US angle to all this. Paranoia over China seems to have gotten so high that there’s the rather strong theory going around that it was actually the US behind the state secrets bill getting passed and that it’s the US again behind trying to restore military rights to Japan. While that seems like a giant big ball of irony and contradictions, this handy image popped up on Twitter:
(I’m so sorry- there’s such a rush of info going on right now that I’m not sure where this diagram came from but it makes a point.)
China, as many of you may know, has been relentlessly heckling neighboring countries such as Japan, Korea, and The Philipenes over who has rights over tiny islands (some of them literally just rocks jutting out of the sea) that nobody lives on. Even the largest of these islands (Japan was particularly riled up over an island it has dubbed “Takeshima”) are uninhabited except for wild goats. Japan has unfortunately taken the bait over what has been a magnificently farcical dispute and decided to engage China over these useless islands. At the height of the Takeshima dispute, NHK took to telling you the weather for the island with the regular forecasts (remember- nobody there but wild goats), and airing documentaries about the occasional Tokugawa-era fishermen who used to camp out for the day to fish there before going home again. One of these, which I caught, consisted of nothing but old guys sitting around talking while background footage perpetually looped showing nothing but these goats frolicking around on the rocky terrain of the island. That one went on for at least an hour. It was, in a word, ridiculous. So while China has even started going so far as trying to “reinforce” its claims and even “create” new islands by dumping sand in the ocean, Japan hasn’t exactly been mature about the situation either.
(“Stop war!” “Protect Peace!”)
Basically, guys……I could go on, but it would probably just end up going in one big circle. Maybe I’ve not presented this the best way possible, and I truly do apologize for that, but hopefully this has helped to explain a few things. What I will say, though, is that after everything I’ve mentioned above, things have piled up so badly and so messily that for at least the second night in a row, 10,000, and now reports say around 40,000 people have taken to protesting outside government offices in Tokyo, and other smaller demonstrations have taken place in at least Osaka and Nagasaki as well. They’re fed up, they’re chanting for Shinzo Abe to leave Article 9 alone and to resign. They’re calling him a facist. They’re mocking him with Nazi symbols. Japan- today’s Japanese- which is a people of almost bottomless patience and calm and who will go out of their way so that you never have to feel awkward or uncomfortable about anything- these people are out there and they’re fed up. They’re doing these things which are radical for them because they don’t want this to happen. And the media here is in such an iron grip that the guy who set himself on fire on Sunday in Shibuya and these protestors are lucky to get even a brief mention on the nightly news. 40,000+ people out there. And they need more people to spread the word.
ALL PROTEST IMAGES (**EXCEPT for the individual being carted off by police- that one came from a friend who does not wish to be named) USED WITH PERMISSION AND BELONG TO @KjeldDuits AND @asianskys ON TWITTER. These two people are on the ground posting live updates so go follow them for more info and even more pictures.
＊＊＊＊UPDATE POST 9/27/14 :: >CLICK HERE<
Climate change is war - and Wall Street is winning
September 22, 2014
Among the most iconic images to emerge from Hurricane Sandy’s assault on the Eastern Seaboard in 2012 were those of the Goldman Sachs building lit up like a torch by its own generator while a blackout left the rest of lower Manhattan in the dark. This proved a sign of things to come: Within days, the financial district was back to work, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg seemed far slower to notice what had befallen other areas of the city. He sought to go through with the annual New York Marathon just a week after the storm, until residents and runners rallied to inform him that coastal neighborhoods of his city had been devastated.
The images stuck in my mind from that period are of the devastation: Whole blocks burned down by electrical fire, overturned cars in the streets, sick people trapped in pitch-black buildings without medication, ruined furniture stacked in the front yards of uninhabitable homes, neighbors uniting around makeshift supply depots in church halls.
I no longer saw the warming oceans that exacerbate storms such as Sandy as abstractions or a matter of merely the environment or nature. Climate change is a crisis of justice among human beings. We all depend on this planet, but some are more insulated from its undoing than others. Some will be bailed out, but most won’t. Some will find a way to profit as the waters rise, but many more will drown. The challenge of stemming climate change is not just a matter of raising consciousness and spreading awareness; it is a struggle for democracy and survival.
This weekend New York will host the largest climate-related march in history, with 100,000 people expected to take the streets on Sunday to call for meaningful action to come from the United Nations Climate Summit on Tuesday. The march boasts more than a thousand sponsoring organizations and has been aggressively publicized with subway advertisements and a documentary film. It could be a decisive moment to rally support for policies that will keep our planet habitable. But we need more than a festive march. That’s why the next day in the financial district, not far from where Goldman Sachs lit up the post-Sandy night, I’m helping organize a smaller action: Flood Wall Street.
I will be among the crowds of people on Monday morning dressed in blue (to mirror the rising tides) and interrupting the workday by bringing the crisis to its cause. The action was inspired by a call from communities at the front lines of the climate crisis to take nonviolent direct action against the corporations driving the extractive economy. To that end, we’re planning a mass sit-in at the symbolic center of the global economic order.
For years now, entrenched corporate interests have ensured that U.N. meetings on climate change accomplish next to nothing. The names of host cities have become a litany of false starts: Rio de Janeiro, Kyoto, Copenhagen, Cancún, Durban, Doha. This month’s meeting in New York is a prelude to a more ambitious session next year in Paris. Corporate lobbyists will be close at hand — through the mechanisms of the U.N. itself and by buying the inaction of leaders. Combating climate change means transforming an economic system based on short-term corporate profits and a political system that is all too eager to furnish them. And it all starts by taking on Wall Street.
Corporate America wants to claim that it’s coming around, that at long last it is going green. Lockheed Martin, whose hardware helps make the U.S. military one of the world’s top polluters, is a sponsor of Climate Week events surrounding the United Nations summit. So is Bloomberg, the former mayor’s company. Michael Bloomberg recently garnered headlines for co-organizing a report, “Risky Business,” on climate change as a threat to corporate bottom lines.
“It is our hope,” the report states, “that it becomes standard practice for the American business and investment community to factor climate change into its decision-making process.” One subway ad on behalf of the climate march asks, rhetorically, “What puts hipsters and bankers into the same boat?”
What we need now, though, are neither spectacle-seeking hipsters nor bankers in search of safe investments but for all human beings to band together to defend our right to subsist. We shouldn’t have to wait for the investor class to agree; the purpose of business is to meet our economic needs not to dictate them. That’s basic democracy. The climate struggle is a chance for the commoners of this planet to show what it means to be good stewards of creation. If the Goldman Sachses of the world try to stand aloof, we need to take their crisis to them.
The night that Hurricane Sandy struck New York City, Kalin Callaghan huddled with her husband and two young sons in their fifth-floor apartment. They live in the Rockaways, a narrow strip of land along the Atlantic Ocean at the far end of Queens. “We watched the entire peninsula submerge,” she remembers. In the months that followed, her neighbors mobilize to empty out ruined homes, get supplies where they were needed and clear hazardous mold. Politicians were slow to help, while real estate developers descended on the ravaged areas. She heard scientists explain the connections between Sandy and climate change; the unprecedented storm the Rockaways suffered was a sign of things to come.
Callaghan teaches at a local arts organization, and in recent weeks, with memories of the storm in mind, she has turned her art toward the climate. She has been helping create enormous banners and props that will adorn Sunday’s climate march, where she’ll be part of a oceanfront contingent of Sandy-affected New Yorkers. On Monday she’ll be wearing blue at Flood Wall Street.
“We learned that it wasn’t going to be the government coming to our rescue,” Callaghan said this week outside a planning meeting for Monday’s action. “It needs to be the people leading the charge.”
sometimes tumblr’s US-centric social justice makes me so fucking frustrated. Right now sweden’s third biggest party are literally neo-nazis and our elections couldn’t even get onto trending tags today, goddamit.
Okay, so the post is gaining notes and…
The FCC sided with Comcast and decided to let ISPs censor the internet. The Internet needs to stop this from happening: http://cms.fightforthefuture.org/tellfcc/
Last Wednesday, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced a proposal for new rules that would allow for a “ fast lane” of Internet traffic for content providers who are willing (and able) to pay a fee.  The proposal reverses the FCC’s previous commitment to net neutrality and open internet and allows ISP’s like Comcast or Verizon to slow down and censor services that don’t pay the toll.
We have to be totally honest, this situation is seriously grim. But there is still hope. The FCC already knows that the Internet community wants net neutrality, but they think they can put their spin on these new rules and sneak them through. If we can prove them wrong right now with a massive public outcry, we can literally save the Internet once again.
We need to stop the FCC now. Big business groups are already ramping up lobbying efforts with the FCC in swarms since Wednesday’s announcement in support of censoring the open Internet and to ensure this dangerous proposal moves forward. 
This is a critical moment. In the last few weeks more than 65,000 people have taken action with us. Can you help us get to 80,000 by the end of the day today?
 Gautham Nagesh. “FCC to Propose New ‘Net Neutrality’ Rules”.
 Edward Wyatt. Edward Wyatt. “Lobbying Efforts Intensify After F.C.C. Tries 3rd Time on Net Neutrality” http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/25/business/lobbying-efforts-intensify-after-fcc-tries-3rd-time-on-net-neutrality.html?hpw&rref=politics
we’re almost 3/4 of the way there!! c’mon guys, every bit counts!
will it ever stop
fucking signal boost
IF YOU ARE NOT SIGNAL BOOSTING THIS YOU ARE NOT PAYING ATTENTION.
IF THE U.S. FALLS TO THIS IT WILL OPEN OTHER DANGEROUS DOORS INTERNATIONALLY.
Last one, SIGNAL BOOST!!!
Yet food pantries remain full of the same canned pumpkin and expired boxed meals they always have. Obese people are shamed and told what to eat, while people deemed skinny enough to have an eating disorder are also shamed for not taking care of their “health.” There is a serious disconnect here that should tell anyone who’s paying attention that this is not about justice or health in any form––it is about vanity.
When asking the server how the animal being served was prepared, no one seems to wonder whether that server has basic health insurance or whether that server is affected by the fact that the restaurant industry has one of the highest rates of sexual harassment and lowest rates of pay. When waxing poetic about the “salt of the Earth” farmers from which they buy their unpasteurized milk, no one seems to worry that an estimated 10 percent of American farm workers are children. When pearl-clutching over the things we “don’t know” about GMOs, as Kavin pointed out, no one seems to be concerned about their presence in groceries found at Price Rite––only products sold at Whole Foods.
If you are not as concerned about the people handing you your food in the restaurant as you are about the pigs on the farm where it was grown, your approach is classist….If you start telling someone all about your new trendy diet or asking them about theirs without knowing if they have an eating disorder that may be triggered by your prattle, your approach is ableist. If you tsk-tsk at people who are overweight for what they are eating and claim you’re concerned about their health, yet you’re not actively campaigning to make healthy food more accessible and affordable, your approach is sickening and I don’t want you in my activism.
Here’s a sure-fire way to know that you hate women: when an incident of intimate partner violence in which a man knocks a woman unconscious gains national attention and every question or comment you think to make has to do with her behavior, you really hate women. Like, despise.
There is no other explanation. There is no “I need all the facts.” There is no excuse. You hate women. Own it.
Now, you probably don’t believe you hate women. You probably honestly think you’re being an objective observer whose only interest is the truth. You are delusional.
We have this problem in our discourse around the most important challenges we face where we feel we have to be “fair to both sides.” But sometimes, one of those sides is subjugation and oppression. If you’re OK with legitimizing that side in the interest of “fairness,” you’re essentially saying you’re OK with oppression as a part of the human condition. That’s some hateful shit.