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grandforksnorthdakota:

Sept. 11 Sen. John Hoeven voted Nay on the “Democracy For All” amendment that would limit the influence of corporate money on government. The bill was co-sponsered by 48 senators including: Sen. Heidi Heitkamp [D-ND], Sen. Al Franken [D-MN], and Sen. Amy Klobuchar [D-MN].

(via Voting History: John Hoeven - U.S. Congress - OpenCongress)

humanrightswatch:

Political Earthquake in Hong Kong

A political earthquake is underway now in Hong Kong. On the streets of Central over the last two days, the tectonic plate of pro-democracy protests has ground up against the plate of police in riot gear, rupturing what had been an uneasy calm in the wake of Beijing making clear its disdain for its treaty promise that Hong Kong would have a “high degree of autonomy.”

Some of the images of large numbers of students, assembled calmly, arguing for the merits of democracy and transparency, expressing fears of corruption and loss of political rights have been eerily reminiscent of Beijing in the spring 1989. But the hope in Hong Kong has been that a very different outcome can be accomplished: quite simply, to allow people in Hong Kong to retain control over most decisions affecting the territory. 

The proximate struggle now is for popular nomination for Hong Kong’s highest position, which Beijing has resisted because democrats and populists critical of the central government have always been among the most popular political figures in Hong Kong. Some protestors are now demanding the immediate resignation of Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung; others are sticking with their original demand for reform of the electoral and political systems.

But the jarring photos of police using tear gas and pepper spray on protestors, as well as the fact that Joshua Wong, a 17-year-old democracy supporter, has now been held by police for two days, suggest that authorities’ responses in the coming days and their larger consequences are far from clear. It is uncertain precisely what has been explicitly dictated by Beijing, but it is difficult to imagine mainland authorities giving in to this kind of public pressure.

They may now find themselves wishing they had accepted the prospect of a pro-democracy chief executive in Hong Kong as the lesser of two evils, but now the stakes are that much higher: is Beijing ready to let people across China see that large-scale demonstrations will elicit key political concessions? This seems inconceivable.

The tectonic plates aren’t done shifting yet, and protestors remain on the streets. Much in the longer-term will depend on police exercising restraint in the use of force, and refraining from detaining demonstrators who pose no real threat to public order. But even if that is achieved, the aftershocks are likely to hit—wave on wave, in Hong Kong and the mainland and beyond—for a long time to come. 

Photo: Riot police fire teargas to disperse protesters after thousands demonstrated in the main street to the financial Central district. © 2014 Reuters

The police crackdown Sunday not only failed to dislodge protesters from a major thoroughfare in the heart of Hong Kong but appeared Monday to have motivated more people to join the student-led protests. A government announcement that the riot police had been withdrawn from the protest centers also seemed to open the door to growing demonstrations. The number of protesters, which had ebbed overnight, swelled again by midday Monday, as office workers in slacks and dress shirts mixed with crowds of students in black T-shirts.

Many of the new arrivals said they were angered by the police’s actions on Sunday, which they called excessive.

“This morning I was happy to see that they stayed and insisted on continuing the protest,” said Cindy Sun, a 30-year-old bank worker who joined protesters in the Admiralty district during her lunch hour.

“What they were doing was not appropriate, especially the tear gas,” she said. “The students were completely peaceful.”

Chloe Wong, 46, a mother of two, said she was inspired to join the protesters in Admiralty by the scenes of tear gas being fired the day before. She said she could find time to participate for only an hour but wanted to show her support.

“The protesters, they are so young,” she said. “They are fighting for our future, for my children’s future.”

Hong Kong Residents Defy Officials’ Call to End Protests - NYTimes.com (via jenn2d2)

PLEASE HELP US: SPREAD THIS SHIT LIKE WILDFIRE

tartarsaucegaryen:

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 Chief Executive, the city’s highest political leader in 2017.

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Article 45 of the Basic Law (Hong Kong’s own mini-constitution implemented after the handover from Britain to China in 1997) states that the Chief Executive should be chosen by universal suffrage as an eventual goal. Time and time again the Communist Party of China have dodged/shut down any democratic progress. Last month the NPC announced that they would continue using the 1200-member committee, consisting of members loyal to the Communist Party, to vote for our CE. THIS IS ILLEGAL. THIS IS SHAM DEMOCRACY AND SHOULD NOT BE TOLERATED.

The sit-in of university students belongs to a movement called ‘Occupy Central with Love and Peace’ and is led by The Hong Kong Federation of Students (schedule and declaration of the strike included). This act of civil disobedience consists of absolute non-violence. It consists of free public lectures offered by university professors and writers on topics like Orwell’s ‘1984’, history of Hong Kong’s struggle for democracy, Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s fight to end injustice etc etc. I was one of the students sitting in Tamar Park on Tuesday and Thursday and it was one of the most rewarding, educational and, I must emphasise, peaceful political activities I have ever witnessed.

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On Friday, high school students led by the student group Scholarism joined in the protest. They marched to Civic Square, pleading for our current CE to come out of his offices and listen to their requests, just like he promised during his ‘campaign’ in 2012. More and more citizens joined in the protest after work.

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The police started cutting off access to Civic Square, which is a publicly owned area. They used shields to form a blockade against the protestors and started pushing them back. When people resisted with umbrellas, they started using clubs and pepper spray on the protestors, who started putting both of their hands up to show they are unarmed. Many students who managed to rush in Civic Square are arrested, including the leading of Scholarism. Many of them have visible injuries caused by police brutality and some of them still haven’t been released from police custody.

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THE FIGHT IS STIL GOING ON. PEOPLE ARE STILL CROWDING OUTSIDE CIVIC SQUARE AND TAMAR. Resources are running thin and the police are still threatening violence. Some of my friends are at the protest and they are continuing the struggle despite the risks. It is predicted that the police will escalate their brutality with tear gas, more pepper spray and water cannons against innocent, peaceful protestors, many of them teenagers.

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You can watch Occupy Central live here: x (Apple Daily livestream)

I know tumblr is a US-centric place but PLEASE PLEASE SPARE A SECOND TO REBLOG THIS POST. Hong Kong is a tiny city. We are anything but a formidable force in international politics. The only thing we can do is raise awareness among the world and force our corrupt government to answer to our protests. 

PLEASE HELP US. 

Articles on Occupy Central (English): x (The Economist), x (BBC News), x (Mail Online), x (Newsweek), x (CNN), x (Right Now I/O), x (NY Times)

Updates (Chinese): x (Campus TV, HKU), x (Apple Daily), x (Amnesty International Hong Kong), x (InMedia HK), x (926政總現場消息發佈)

5 Crucial Lessons for the Left From Naomi Klein’s New Book | In These Times

circlingtheroundabout:

In her previous books The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (2007) and NO LOGO: No Space, No Choice, No Jobs (2000), Canadian author and activist Naomi Klein took on topics like neoliberal “shock therapy,” consumerism, globalization and “disaster capitalism,” extensively documenting the forces behind the dramatic rise in economic inequality and environmental degradation over the past 50 years. But in her new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate (due in stores September 16), Klein casts her gaze toward the future, arguing that the dangers of climate change demand radical action now to ward off catastrophe. She certainly isn’t alone in pointing out the urgency of the threat, but what sets Klein apart is her argument that it is capitalism—not carbon—that is at the root of climate change, inexorably driving us toward an environmental Armageddon in the pursuit of profit. This Changes Everything is well worth a read (or two) in full, but we’ve distilled some of its key points here.

Naomi Klein, one of my all-time favorite activists/journalists (and all-around brilliant person) is finally releasing her new book in September. My favorite Socialist rag In These Times got an exclusive look.

I can’t wait to read this one.

policymic:

Tracking US drone strikes? Now there’s an app for that

Last week, New York-based web developer Josh Begley answered that question with the launch of “MetaData+,” an iPhone app that sends an alert to your phone every time the United States conducts a drone strike.

He created the app in 2012 under the original name Drones+, but Apple rejected the app five times, taking nearly two years for the app to be available to the public.

The App Review Board claimed that Begley’s app was “not useful or entertaining enough” and something that “many audiences would find objectionable.”

Begley even spoke with a representative from Apple on the phone, who said that if the app was about drones, it just wasn’t going to be approved. Finally, after he removed the word “drone” from both the name and the description, the app was accepted.

Read more | Follow policymic

(Source: micdotcom)

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