Oh man… what a week it has been. After Morey’s tweet in support of Hong Kong creating such a backlash, Blizzard, not wanting to be left behind, bans a Hearthstone player for his support of Hong Kong. And then… Apple, also not wanting to be outdone, acquiesces to Chinese demands and pulls apps from the iTunes store.
What’s with all the news in Hong Kong?
Vox has a really good article. But here’s my summary…
A little background if you don’t know where Hong Kong is… it’s located in the southern part of China. It was an important entry point into the “China Market” as well as a financial center back when Hong Kong was under British rule. Since the British handover in 1997 back to China, the “one country, two systems” was Communist China’s temporary stop-gap measure to appease the capitalistic and democratic opponents of a communistic government. In essence, this system allowed separate economic and governmental sovereignty within Communist China. In my opinion, this incompatible system is really at the crux of these protests.
A few years ago, the Yellow Umbrella movement was a political protest movement that protested Communist China’s “meddling” with HK government affairs. In summary, it was opposition to the Chinese Communist Party selecting the candidates that the HK population would then vote and appoint to the HK legislation. In short, it very subtly bypassed the HK Basic Law which was “guaranteed” for 50 years post handover. I’m not sure this ever fully got “resolved” but looking back, this was the Communist party’s initial skirmish to “test the waters” on HK sentiment probably paving the way for future political schemes.
Fast forward to 2019, Hong Kong has new protests. These protest were originally against an extradition bill in the HK legislature and has now morphed into more demands mainly to try to protect and define the language behind the idea of “protest vs riot.” Admittedly, it’d devolved into a situation where protests, counter-protests, government plants to incite protester violence, and government collusion with HK Triads. It’s not going to end well for Hong Kong.
But here’s a possible solution that a friend of mine mentioned. Would HK people be opposed to this solution? Chinese Communist Party grants universal suffrage to all HK people allowing them to vote for any legislative candidate. Any law passed by the legislature must be approved by the Communist Party before coming into law.
I think that 90% or even 95% of the time, a normal person would generally figure out the cost of the service or item that they want before actually buying that service/item. Would you buy a car without first researching the car and how much it costs? Would you purchase a home also without researching the neighborhood? When you go to a grocery store, would you buy something without at least acknowledging the price first before buying?
But healthcare… healthcare is a totally different beast. A person goes to a doctor, gets a check up with blood work, and comes back in for a follow up. How much does it cost? Apparently depending on whether or not there’s insurance, the insurance company and the type of insurance coverage (Link1, Link2, Link3). All these factors will vary from person to person. The last link is pretty useful to understand the current state of what I think is a horribly inefficient system. What frustrates me is that I don’t know what anything costs. I get bills after the fact telling me I have to pay $X amount because that’s what I owe. Does this not frustrate anyone else? It’s like going to a McDonald’s asking for a Value Meal #2 and not knowing what it will cost you until after you’ve eaten it and 20 days later the bill comes for you to pay.
Now when the US presidential candidates talk about healthcare, medicare for all and single payer system, what will inevitably be part of the conversation would be discussions of “death panels” (#fakenews from Obamacare)” and “freedom of choice” (a google search has quite a few links on this topic). Why don’t the candidates frame as a “Constitutional Right” similar to the “Right to Free Speech” or “Right to Bear Arms”? Isn’t promoting the welfare of the people similar to promoting the health of the people?
In the Preamble of the Constitution… “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Something to Think About…
Before Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, there was a group of activists called Justice Democrats who were looking for promising candidates that could primary Democratic incumbents in Congress. They are looking for change.
The film crew recorded many of the scenes prior to the 2018 elections including interviews with the candidates and their opinions. By showcasing the candidates, Netflix’s Knock Down the House is one of the most interesting behind the scenes political documentary. I think the best quote from the documentary was “after 2016, nothing is for certain.”
This documentary really shines a light on the Ocasio-Cortez as a “rising star” and her opinions and activities going into the primary. It’s fascinating.
She is the face of the new Democratic party. Her story is amazing. And her experiences will undoubtedly influence her political decisions.
Michelle Wolf (wiki) has a Netflix comedy show called The Break similar to Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. However, her show is much more experimental, edgier and I think talks about random topics that she probably cares about. And I also don’t think she cares what other people thinks about her topics considering how she roasted Huckabee-Sanders at the White House Correspondents dinner.
So I’ve been watching her show on and off. But her Season 1 Episode 7: How Dare You? had a segment about pro-life supporters. She goes on to comment that if a person was truly a pro-life supporter, then it would be logical to also assume they would also support healthcare, childcare, education, gun control and the environment. The conclusion being that these other policies promote human life through a variety of different means.
Her bit starts below at the 35s mark.
It’s interesting to think about.
So I stumbled upon a Washington Post article that documented all the false statements Trump has made in the 1st year. Likewise, they’ve continued to document all the statements made into a nifty graph. It’s amazing how the President of the United States is able to get away with saying so many false statements with very little repercussions. To break the 2000 statement mark in one year is amazing yet scary.
I feel like the 2016 election would be a great backdrop for a new spy movie genre.
So the Mueller indictment charged 13 Russian nationals and 3 Russian organizations with conspiracy to defraud the US. Listening to the various news sources and podcasts, these Russians released propaganda in support of Trump and against Clinton in an effort to influence the Presidential election. In fact, the propaganda actually sounds very familiar to what a Political Action Committee (PAC) does when a PAC tries to influence elections too.
Which got me thinking… what’s the difference? After some Internet research, a Newseek article described why the Russian propaganda to influence the elections is illegal. A federal law found in regulation 110.20 “prohibits any foreign national from contributing, donating or spending funds in connection with any federal, state, or local election in the United States, either directly or indirectly.” Another law also requires foreign “agents” to register with the US in an attempt to minimize any influence from non-American sources in elections. What’s interesting is that US has also meddled in the political affairs of other nations too according to a a New York Times opinion article. But I actually already knew that. In all honesty, I was amused at the Russian interference. It’s like US getting a taste of their own medicine. But at the same time, I understand why US will want to try to influence foreign elections in order to have a more pro-American official leading the nation. It’s the same reason Russia did what they did in 2016.
When you think about all that’s happened during the 2016 election, what’s disturbing is that Russian misinformation became the defacto truth creating even more divided America. There was never any questioning of the misinformation. The proliferation of #fakenews and #alternativefacts by even those in the Trump campaign is disturbing. Do you remember when Kellyanne Conway termed the coin “Alternative Facts” for Sean Spicer’s “biggest audience to witness an inauguration. Period!“? Compare that to these videos (here, here) of what the National Mall looked like from the previous President. And then with #fakenews, incidents like Pizzagate makes you wonder why people aren’t thinking for themselves.