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.

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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.

Don’t Steal: The Indian government hates competition

The Indian government of prime minister Narendra Modi is currently engaged in imposing a half-truth upon the country and betraying those who voted for him.  He is stealing and destroying the savings of the working people for the benefit of the banks and government, under the false claim of “clamping down on tax fraud”.

The government has claimed that people are “avoiding taxes”, so what is Modi’s solution?  To immediately declare all 1000 and 500 rupee notes as “invalid” and no longer currency.  The now defunct bills can no longer be used in stores nor to make payments, and can only be exchanged at banks for smaller denominations.  Panic has set in and massive lines have appeared at banks.  Most people do not have the time to stand in line for days and change their money, but risk losing all of their savings if they don’t.

This borders on a deliberate act of violence against the working class and the poor.  It will, of course, have absolutely no effect on the wealthiest tax dodgers whose money is already in the bank.  It will only affect those living day-to-day on cash.

This wouldn’t be a problem if this were a gradual currency change, such as in the Philippines which gave citizens more than two years’ notice.  But the Indian government gave the country’s citizens four hours’ notice, a move of such incompetence that one would expect it from the Zimbabwean government.

Why India wiped out 86% of its cash overnight

On 8 November, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave only four hours’ notice that virtually all the cash in the world’s seventh-largest economy would be effectively worthless.

The Indian government likes to use the technical term “demonetisation” to describe the move, which makes it sound rather dull. It isn’t. This is the economic equivalent of “shock and awe”.

Mr Modi’s “shock and awe” declaration meant that 1,000 and 500 rupee notes would no longer be valid.

These may be the largest denomination Indian notes but they are not high value by international standards – 1,000 rupees is only £12. But together the two notes represent 86% of the currency in circulation.

In response, many Indian people have resorted to and started a barter economy.  Vendors (who do have time to go to banks and exchange larger bills) are accepting them and giving out cash, or even loaning money in some cases.  This sort of private economy (which the government is trying to stifle) is saving people’s life savings.

Cartoons of how ‘cashless’ Indians are coping

A tweet by a journalist that she had managed to buy vegetables after topping up her local vendor’s phone went viral over the weekend, with many extolling the virtues of good old-fashioned bartering.

India is a largely cash driven economy and many cities still rely on notes for essential transactions such as transport, buying fruit and vegetables from neighbourhood vendors and employing the services of plumbers, carpenters and electricians.

[…]

Many people are functioning on what some pundits are calling an “economy of trust” – that is they are providing goods and services and telling people to pay them later.

This is reminiscent of 1988 when the US tried to destroy Panama’s economy, an attempt to destablize Manuel Noriega’s hold on power.  People resorted to bartering and honouring cheques as a short term means of economic flow when there was little or no physical cash to be had.  (Panama has its own official currency, but the US dollar is the day-to-day cash used in the country.)

Cash Crisis Shuts Banks in Panama : Financial Dilemma Blamed on U.S Economic Pressure

PANAMA CITY, Panama — International banks fearing a run on deposits closed their doors Friday and anxious customers lined up outside, demanding their money. The National Bank accused the United States of crippling Panama’s banking.

“No one, not even in his blackest nightmare, could have imagined we’d be in such a state: The banks closed, no money. People are getting desperate,” said national assemblyman Mario de Obaldia. “We can’t go on like this.”

A general strike ended Friday, with opposition leaders saying the financial crisis would continue the pressure on the regime of Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega.

[…]

The National Bank of Panama issued a communique advising local banks that it could not meet their requests for money because U.S. authorities had prevented the shipment of $10 million from the Republic National Bank in New York.

Facts Abandoned: Corporate journalism fails again

Quickly and predictably, Justin Harris of Atlanta, Georgia, has been convicted of murdering his two year old in 2014.  Harris intentionally left his son Cooper inside a car for hours on a day where temperatures were 30-35°C.  He will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.

Before and during the trial is came out that Harris was “sexting” during the hours he waited for his son to die, that he had been divorcing his wife and communicating with numerous teenagers and women from age 16-30.  He was found to be researching how to survive in prison and how long it would take to kill his son, among other topics.

One thing that has bothered me is the media’s obsession and repetition of “Harris’s interest in the child free lifestyle”. [Read more…]

Flounderers Field: Another year of poppy fascism

The US has flag fascists, and Canada (and other countries like England) has poppy fascists who say, “Participation is NOT optional.”  If you exercise your right not to wear a poppy, you’re “an enemy of freedom”…never mind the fact that the poppy is as much a symbol of colonialism, racism and christian ideology.

From blogger Yves Engler:

A day to remember

While there’s some criticism of the nationalism and militarism driving Remembrance Day, the organization sponsoring the red poppy campaign receives little critical attention. Incorporated by an act of Parliament, the Canadian Legion of the British Empire Services League was formed in 1926. Renamed the Royal Canadian Legion in 1960, from the get-go it was designed to counter more critical veteran organizations. In The Vimy Trap: or, How We Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Great War, Ian McKay and Jamie Swift write, “benefiting from government recognition, the Legion slowly supplanted its rivals. It was consciously designed as [a] body that would soothe the veterans temper and moderate their demands.”

[…]

The Legion has also espoused a racist, paranoid and pro-Empire worldview. In the years after World War II it called for the expulsion of Canadians of Japanese origin and ideological screening for German immigrants.

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Voting List: The US is now so tilted, reality is sideways

I am infuriated beyond words at the ignorance and incompetence of US voters more than I am towards the fact that Trump, like Shrub, got less than 50% of the vote.  This was preventable, and the DNC actively did things that caused it to happen.

What could have been, and now will never be.  Sorry, Bernie.

A few months ago, PZ Myers asked everyone to hold their nose and support Clinton because not doing so or criticizing her helped Trump.  While I agreed with that assessment, I chose silence.  (I’m Canadian, so I’m not a voter.)  But now that the election is over, it’s time and important to talk about how things came to be and what needs to be done.

The democratic party “leadership” needs to be held accountable, and probably removed.  Bernie Sanders’s candidacy was a protest against the establishment, against Clinton who was the choice of the 1%ers and Wall Street.  The DNC “leaders” actively acted against him in favour of Clinton, perhaps engaging in actual sabotage of his campaign (financing, publicity, support, etc.).

How many millions of protest votes went to Trump because Clinton was forced upon the populace?  How many might have voted for Clinton if she had won legitimately over Sanders and the DNC had not shown deliberate bias?  We will never know, but we do know that the DNC’s decision to foist Clinton on US voters and prevent any other candidates from winning is likely what killed any chance for her to win, not her scandals.  As some republicans openly stated early this year, the democrats had an open door to the White House and threw it away by choosing Clinton, the least viable candidate.

One of my biggest fears is that Trump will quickly realize how overwhelmed and incompetent he is for the job and quit, handing the presidency to Pence.  That would mean three or seven years of extremism that makes Shrub look like a moderate.  Or worse, if Trump quits after two years, Pence could be elected twice, meaning as much as ten years of his “leadership” if the US swings that far right.

In the 1990s, common rightwing rhetoric said, “Communism was the 20th century experiment that failed”.  One could now say that the US is the two century experiment that failed.  Like the Soviet Union, the US may soon be wiped from the page of time and have to start over again.

Music Rules: Because enlightenment no longer does

As a way to vent my frustration at the US debacle…I mean, election, here are five Canadian political songs from the past for your commiseration, since we can’t say enjoyment.  Lyrics (with selected highlights) and links to youtube videos can be found under the fold.

Rush, “Beneath, Between And Behind” (1975)

Rough Trade, “What’s the Furor About the Fuhrer?” (1981)

Bruce Cockburn, “The Trouble With Normal” (1983)

Bruce Cockburn, “Call It Democracy” (1983)

Red Rider, “Lunatic Fringe” (1981)

No, posting Cockburn’s lyrics doesn’t violate of my “no profanities” rule.  I’m quoting him, not saying it myself.

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