My Resolve Resolved: New Year resolutions are pointless

Don’t be fooled by the title, I’m not saying resolutions are pointless.  Rather, I’m saying that if something’s worth changing or starting, do it now.  Waiting for a specific day is just procrasinating.

The only reason to make a resolution on New Year’s is because you thought of it on New Year’s.  A good idea is worth starting now, regardless of the date.

It Was The Unexpected, I Expect: Excuse my silence

Hi all,

My absence was unplanned, unwanted and probably unnoticed.  It was a mix of work related Saturdays (a speaking contest), non-work related activities (multiple parties) and a landlord who views reliable internet service for tenants to be not that important.

Give me five to twenty five , and I’ll be spamming FTB with multiple posts today.

Music Rules: Walking on sunshine

Saturday was too good a day.  First came the overwhelming and popular public support for marriage equality, an event only a week in planning by the organizers.  Then came the LGBT party that night, an event planned over a month ago.  I had to much fun that I didn’t mind being hung over at home all day Sunday.

 

Shutter Bugs: Photos of the rally from street level

As promised (but did anyone notice?), here are photos from the Marriage Equality rally in Taipei on December 17th.

People started gathering about 1PM and events started at 2PM, running until well into the evening.  Unfortunately, I was only able to stay until 4PM because of another commitment.  Many of my friends and other people have posted more pictures on facebook and elsewhere.

Taiwan’s Marriage Equality Rally on facebook.

dsc01184 dsc01191 dsc01200 dsc01214 dsc01222 dsc01223 dsc01226 dsc01229 dsc01232 dsc01239 dsc01243 dsc01245 dsc01249 dsc01255 dsc01256 dsc01260 dsc01264 dsc01269 dsc01272 dsc01273

We Showed Up: Two hundred and fifty thousand

On Saturday December 10th in Taipei, Taiwan, the LGBTQIA community and its allies held a rally in favour of marriage equality.

Two hundred and fifty thousand people showed up to defend and advocate human rights and equality, showed up to oppose hate and ignorance.

equal-marriage-protest-2 equal-marriage-protest-1

(The drone photos come from facebook, the protest’s page and a friend’s.  I’ll publish my street level pics in another post.)

The religious bigots spent weeks in preparation of their anti-LGBTQIA protests and could barely manage 20,000 at one feeble protest, and were likely shipping people place to place and other protests to make their numbers appear larger.  (I’m intentionally quoting “lifesite”, a rightwing US hate site, because they would want to inflate their numbers to further their bigoted cause.)

Saturday’s pro-equality protest was first organized last Monday, and we showed up with 250,000 people.  Even if it was “only 75,000” as Taiwan’s police claim, that still dwarfs the bigots’ feeble attempts.  And then there’s the LGBTQIA pride parade in Taichung next Saturday, which will mostly include new people, not those who showed up in Taipei. (I wish I had time to attend that one, but I have to work that day.)

We showed up in numbers the theocratic bigots could only dream of.  We showed up the theocratic bigots, period.

Counter Protest: Saturday December 10, in Taipei

Saturday afternoon in Taipei, there will be a public counter-protest to last week’s marches by jackbooted thugs that have happened in Taiwan recently.  The bigots shipped people city to city to pretend there are more of them than actually exist (claiming “200,000 people!” while double and triple counting).

Now it’s the turn of those wanting marriage equality to be heard and show our true numbers. I most definitely will be in attendance tomorrow, along with most of the people I know, non-binary and binary. Next Saturday’s LGBTQIA pride parade in Taichung will also be a counter-protest, though I regret that I won’t be able to go.

Unlike the theocrats who had weeks to organize their hate campaign, this protest has only been in the works since Monday.  Thus far, the numbers of people “Going” on facebook are comparable to the numbers at the bigots’ events.  And then there’s the unknown number of people who aren’t on facebook but will show up as well.

“Let Life Go No Longer, Stand Up for Marriage”

December 10 (Saturday) 1:00 pm admission, 3:00 pm start

Ketagelan Boulevard in Taipei

As so often happens, the anti-LGBTQIA bigots have been using “think of the children!” as their rallying cry, inferring that non-binary people are somehow a “threat” to kids rather than the priests who have been molesting them.  As I said the other day, religious hypocrites and zealots call LGBTQIA people “promiscuous”, yet it is the religious who are so promiscuous that they will get into bed with anybody to further their agendas.  If they cared about children, they would be acting to keep kids safe, not endanger them with more home and school abuse which has long been a problem in Taiwan’s socially conservative culture.

Mind Bends: Mini-Cryptic Crossword #4

It’s Mini Cryptic #4 because Mini Cryptic #1, #2 and #3 appeared on my previous blog first.  I’m a fan of cryptic crosswords and might do a post on them (like those sudoku a few months ago over on PZM’s blog).

mini-cryptic-04

Across

1 Time: Mistake ideology for political violence (9)

5 Dean sat not confused, explains in words (9)

7 Melinda Clarke’s TV show was sexy…then religion took over (9)

Down

1  Difficult situation without the first attribute (5)

2 Street taken from far away is still far away (5)

3 You’ve got some nerve, looking at me…. (5)

4 Within, within words (5)

5 It’s moldy.  Do we have to?  Yes. (5)

 

The answers appear under the fold.

[Read more…]

Tax Shelters: How to save money by spending money

In light of my other posts today about LGBTQIA rights legislation in Taiwan, and the enlightment of its politicians, here’s a foreign amateur’s Recent History and Economics in Taipei, 101.  (Sorry, I couldn’t resist the play on words and numbers.)


 

Back in 2008 as the economic meltdown hit worldwide, governments reacted in different ways, some horribly.  (For example, the US which copied its plan from the Great Depression: Cut off spending and trade, then wonder why there’s no spending and trade.)  Taiwan’s ruling party at the time was the conservative Kuomintang (KMT) party.  They didn’t cut trade or spending because Taiwan is dependent on it.  They didn’t want to spend billions on bailouts, a politically untenable policy especially when smaller parties were making political gains.

They chose instead to stimulate the economy, but not by giving it to corporations.  Instead, the KMT government gave out NT$3600 in coupons (approximately US$107 in 2008) to elibigle Taiwanese citizens, every individual and household.  (Foreigners like myself didn’t get any.)  The coupons had a short time limit, until September 2009, which encouraged people to spend them as fast as possible.  This money drove the economy, preventing business closures and keeping people employed.  In time, the extra tax revenue generated from spending coupons and respending regular money (the multiplier effect) meant the government roughly broke even, which isn’t a bad thing during a recession.

It was a publicly popular decision and a low-risk both politically and economically.  Most importantly, it worked.  While there were job losses, bank closures and a shrinking of trade and GDP, it wasn’t anywhere near as disastrous or damaging as in the US, Europe or other Asian countries.  Taiwan’s economy recovered quicker than most countries’.

The KMT eventually lost power in later elections, but public opinion of them is still positive and they remain the second most popular party in Taiwan.


 

Everyone to get NT$3,600 bonus

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Premier Liu Chao-shiuan formally announced yesterday a government plan to distribute NT$3,600 shopping vouchers to each of the nation’s citizens early next year. He expects the NT$82.9 billion program will help stimulate domestic spending and economic growth.

The plan received highly positive responses from both the business community and the public as it imposes on restrictions on the status of the recipients regardless of income level.

Liu told a news conference that the program is expected to raise the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth by 0.64 percentage point for 2009 if all the coupons are used for shopping.

Under the program, each citizen holding the nation’s ID card will get NT$3,600 in coupons that will be valid until the end of 2009, to purchase goods, Liu said.


 

Taiwan: Consumer Vouchers Issued as Part of Financial Stimulus Package

(Feb. 4, 2009) On December 5, 2008, the Special Statute for Distributing Consumption Vouchers for Revitalizing the Economy was promulgated and took effect in the Republic of China (on Taiwan) (ROC). It will remain in force until September 30, 2009. According to ROC President Ma Ying-jeou, “Taiwan is the first country in the world to distribute consumer vouchers since the onset of the global economic downturn.”

[…]

Under the Statute, each individual who is eligible for collecting a voucher as stipulated by the Ministry of the Interior may collect an NT$3,600 (about US$107) consumption voucher to be used for purchasing merchandise or labor services or for making donations. The vouchers are exempt from income tax.


 

Taiwan and the Global Economic Storm (Wilson Center, PDF)

Taiwan Progresses: The first transgender government minister

I’m embarrassed to say I missed this story when it happened.  I’ve known since early November, but not gotten around to posting until now.  Unfortunately, I don’t watch TV and don’t read the daily English newspapers.  (They’re both fairly objective, I just don’t buy them.)

Taiwan’s new digital minister is a transgender software programmer who wants to make government more open

The Taiwanese government has appointed Audrey Tang, a transgender software developer and self-described “civic hacker” to its executive council to head digital policy. Tang, 35, will be the youngest and first transgender official in Taiwan’s executive government, known as the yuan.

Tang will be tasked with making the government more transparent, and making data about how it works available to all, as well helping form Taiwan’s “Asian Silicon Valley,” a new tech zone devoted to the “internet of things” industry. On Facebook on Aug.25, she said that her mission was not to do propaganda but to “serve as a channel” that combines “intelligence and power.”

Tang wasn’t appointed because she’s transgender, she was appointed because of her technical ability.  It’s a big poke-in-the-eye to anti-trans bigots, and I hope a good sign for employment equality elsewhere for Taiwan’s transgender community.

(Personal anecdote on attitudes towards transgender people in Taiwan: In almost two years of being out, the only antagonism I’ve experienced has been from the foreigners.   A few Taiwanese have looked at me and gone silent, but none have harassed me.  Only a few filthy waiguoren.)

Taichung Parades: December 17th, 2016

Here’s another sign of how Taiwan is leading the way on LGBTQIA rights in Asia.  Saturday, December 17th is the date of the LGBTQIA parade in Taichung, Taiwan.  In preparation for it, Taichung’s civic government is going fly the rainbow flag for a week.

Again.

 

Taichung city hall to raise rainbow flag

The Gender Equity Committee of Taichung City Government passed a resolution to have the city government raise a rainbow flag for a whole week beginning Dec. 10, ahead of the city’s Dec. 17 gay pride parade.

The city government said that the flags will be raised at Taichung City Hall, Taichung City Government Yangming Civic Center, and Taichung Old City Hall. Rainbow giveaway stickers will also be available at 1,655 city service centers.

The act of flying a rainbow flag at the local level is not the first time in Taichung. Taichung City Hall raised the rainbow flag in October of last year in support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community during the gay pride parade, and this year, the city hall will fly the flag again from December 10 to December 17 for a whole week in support of the city’s gay pride parade.

Some protestors gathered Tuesday at the plaza of the city hall to rally against raising the rainbow flags. However, the city government responded that the passing of the resolution by Gender Equity Committee was to respect different groups in the society, and have the public to face the same sex marriage issue in the right attitude.

Much to my regret, and as much as I want to, I won’t be attending the parade due to a work-related commitment in the afternoon.  Ah well, at least I have a job.  I should get around to posting the rest of those pride parade pics from October….

Rally Cries: A buzzing fly pretends to be important

A tiny group of far right bigots (so desperate for attention that they welcome “support” from now IN the US) is pretending to be louder and more numerous than they are by riding cheap trains and buses to various cities in Taiwan.  It’s the same few people at all of their rallies, not wide support from the 24 million citizens.  (If Taiwan weren’t so physically small, they couldn’t afford to travel and raise such a stink.)

Compare this with the October LGBTQIA pride parade in Taipei which is completely separate from December 17th’s LGBTQIA pride parade in Taichung.  They are two separate large groups and organizations, though undoubtedly SOME participants will be the same people.  (Sadly, I won’t be able to attend.)

Thousands protest gay marriage in Taipei

Coalition for the Happiness of Our Next Generation, which organized the protest, said 80,000 people attended the demonstration,

[…]

Leaders from a cross-section of Buddhist, Daoist, Christian and other religious groups, which have joined the anti-gay marriage National Religious Alliance, were also featured.

Ain’t it funny how religious hypocrites call LGBTQIA people “promiscuous”, yet it is the religious who are the most promiscuous and will get into bed with anybody to further their bigoted agenda? How they always talk about “protect the children!” (as if the religious weren’t the sexual predators) while advocating hate against children?

These bigoted clowns are such a minority that even the rightwing KMT party don’t take them seriously.  The KMT are writing their own pro-equality legislation.

Civil Protest: How a lousy idea became a great idea

This story speaks for itself.  I had both fists in the air as I read it.

mic.com: Girl told to dress “like an Indian” for school assignment made a statement on #NODAPL

Usually, parents encourage their children to follow through on a school assignment. But this was no ordinary assignment.

Earlier in November, Louisiana resident Tremeka Greenhouse saw that her 5-year-old daughter, Nyemah, had been told to attend school dress like an “Indian,” — meaning Native American — for school. Nyemah’s older sister first shared news of the assignment on her Twitter account on Nov. 9.

“I was kinda shocked,” Greenhouse said by phone. “I was like, ‘We’re not doing this project,’ but Nyemah, she didn’t want to get into any trouble.”

Greenhouse and her daughter agreed that Nyemah should attend school as a protester against the Dakota Access Pipeline,  a crude-oil pipeline stretching form North Dakota through southern Illinois. Since August, authorities have arrested over 500 protesters hoping to shut down the project, which runs through Native American land and has potential environmental repercussions, including potentially tainting locals’ water supply.

“I told her what’s going in with their water,” Greenhouse said.

When Nyemah wore the outfit to school, her older sister shared photo of Nyemah on Twitter. The tweet featuring Nyemah has been retweeted over 1,000 times.

Not So Far, Fetched: Is a military coup possible?

I had the strangest thought yesterday….

The US Army Corps of Engineers has been hestitant and given warnings about the poorly planned pipeline route.  They gave the Bush mis-administration warnings about the levees in New Orleans before Katrina, so clearly they know what they are doing.

US military veterans are now on site at the protest, while the cowardly never-weres and gun happy thugs stand on the other side.  The far right mouthpieces who spewed the line, “Support the troops!” will no doubt be silent now or engaging in hypocritical weasel words (e.g. “They’re not soldiers!”).

I’m beginning to wonder if it’s beyond possibility (hope?) that some modern day Smedley Butlers in the US military say, “Hell no” to Trump and take action.  Think back to multiple military coups in Thailand, the 1992 coup in Algeria, or recently failed coup in Turkey – these were not as much power grabs as attempts to prevent anti-democratic forces from taking power.  (Since there are some who will falsely claim othewise if I don’t issue a caveat, No, I don’t necessarily see those coups as good things.)  There’s rumours that a similar coup may happen soon in the Philippines.

The US is not “too big to fail” or overthrow.  Nobody thought the military would turn on the hard line Soviet communists in 1991, or that generals and soldiers would refuse orders during the Tiananmen Square uprising.  And nobody thought Prescott Bush and the far right would attempt a coup in the US in 1934.  It’s not impossible until it’s physically impossible.

All it would take is US military leaders demanding the electoral college go with the popular vote, refusing to obey Trump if they don’t.

Things Unsaid: Yes, Castro was a dictator, but…

…Who put him in power? It wasn’t the Soviet Union.

For most of the 20th century, the United States supported, backed and imposed fascist dictatorships across Latin America, the Carribean, Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania. Overthrowing democratically elected and popular governments was standard practice, all on the name of “US interests”, which inevitably meant corporate business interests.  Most of those fascist dictators were trained at Fort Benning, Georgia.  The US taught them not just methods of torture and oppression, but how to quell and destroy those opposed to them – including, and especially, pro-democracy activists.

Fulgencio Batista of Cuba was one of those dictators.  For years he received support from the US government (financial, logistics, weapons, etc.) which helped him arrest, imprison, and kill tens of thousands of Cubans in order to retain power.  And while he did it, US corporations and 1%ers of the day were turning Cuba into what the US is becoming now, a country of financial extremes, the very rich (mostly foreigners) owning nearly everything, and the poor barely surviving.  Is it any wonder that the Cuban people turned to communism, turned to Castro to save them from fascism?  It was the only option they had when the US intentionally destroyed attempts at a peaceful change to democracy.

It is hypocritical to criticize Castro’s actions between the revolution and now without addressing how he came to power.  That’s akin to criticizing Saddam Hussein while washing away the US’s history of supporting, arming and training him.  Or the Shah of Iran.  Or Somoza in Nicaragua.  Or Pinochet in Chile.  Or Marcos in the Philippines.  Or Suharto in Indonesia.  Or the Duvaliers in Haiti.  Or Syngman Rhee in South Korea.  Or the military junta in Greece.  Or….  The spread of communism during the Cold War and islamic extremism since the 1960s have one commonality: they were both backlashes against dictatorships imposed by foreign colonialists. The US even backed communists, such as the Cambodian dictatorship responsible for the Killing Fields.

People always prefer to be free, but when forced to choose between two oppressors, they will always choose “the devil you know”.  Criticizing that decision is telling them to choose “the devil you don’t”.

Alternet: 35 Countries Where Us Has Supported Fascists, Druglords And Terrorists

And to anyone who says, “Castro destroyed the Cuban economy”, go blame US trade embargoes instead.  Nicaragua can tell you all about the effects of embargoes (read: anti-capitalist activities), and of giving in to the US (vis-a-vis the election of a right wing government so corrupt that right wing politicians supported the re-election of Daniel Ortega).

 


 

Justin Trudeau has been vilified for his words on Fidel Castro by those who support and are seeking a push to the far right (politicians and corporate media), in some cases pushing for fascism within their own borders.  Justin’s (*) comments were mealymouthed (no surprise there), but at least he acknowledged the fact that there were two sides to Castro’s story, unlike those who want to rewrite and ignore history.  Unfortunately, that’s the only positive I can say about Justin.

Fidel Castro attended the funeral of Pierre Trudeau in 2000, standing alongside Jimmy Carter and a wide variety of political figures from many countries, and of many ideological stripes.  Justin has shown again that he is not half the man his father was, announcing he will not attend Fidel Castro’s funeral.  His father would have not given a damn about popular or media opinion and gone anyway if the situations were reversed.

(* When I speak about people, I refuse to use titles but will use their surnames out of respect.  Referring to him only as Justin is a sign that I don’t due to his actions and failures to act.)

Whims Whimper: Left over ideas, episode 2

There’s something I forgot to say this when I did my “hello world” post, to identify myself.  I have been around FtB for several years as a commenter, using the handle left0ver1under.

I chose the name Intransitive for the blog for reasons I gave in my first post, being transgender (and using intransitive verbs in the post titles).  I didn’t know then I would only show up at Intransitive, not with the other name.  I know I can change it, I’m still learning the ins and outs.  If you’re curious as to where I got left0ver1under, think Super Mario Brothers.


I linked to my original blog in my first post, but for anyone who didn’t see that and didn’t dig back that far, here again is a link to the content.  I still need to get my rear in gear and move those posts over here.


Science is why dental problems don’t kill people anymore (unless you’re poor).  Anaesthetics prevent patients from feeling pain, antibiotics prevent and cure infections, and dental treatment (from filling cavities to straighenting to removing bad teeth) can save lives.

But that doesn’t make going to the dentist any less terrifying.  I’m a white-knuckle flyer, but I’m a big baby in the dentist’s chair, a constant cold sweat all over my body.  I sat through an hour of torture fourteen hours ago for one reason: the only thing worse than going to a dentist is not going to a dentist.

The dental medication and post-surgery discomfort are why I’m still awake and posting at 6:30AM on a Sunday, between bouts of fitful sleep.  At least I’m not feeling groggy anymore.