Also, check out this great post from Mike Turton.  It appears more and more like the KMT decided in 2008 that it would use prosecutions as a way to discredit the opposition in the public’s eyes.  It certainly felt that this strategy worked excellently in the case of former President Chen (they couldn’t go after Lee in the courts but sure as hell wanted a way to historically slur and forever blacken the name and reputation of the first DPP President who dared to wrest from them control of THEIR nation).  This may have backfired though by a) making the public suspicious of further prosecutions that are increasingly later found to be false and b) undermine the reputation of the ROC judiciary and the public’s trust in it despite having claimed on entry to office that they would restore its honor and neutrality.  

Result: more and more Taiwanese are now of the opinion that the ‘we’re not the same old party’ KMT are in fact both untrustworthy and unreformed.  If democracy is a choice between the lesser of two bad choices then perhaps Taiwanese will at least choose the candidate and party that genuinely has Taiwan at its heart rather than the one that merely says it does.  


The Edwardian Era: A Decade of Elegance

The Edwardian period in the United Kingdom is the period covering the reign of King Edward VII, 1901 to 1910, and is sometimes extended beyond Edward’s death to include years leading up to World War I. The death of Queen Victoria in January 1901 and the succession of her son Edward marked the end of the Victorian era. The Edwardian Era is overlapped by “La Belle Époque" in France and "Progressive Era" or "Gilded Age" in the United States.

While Victoria had shunned society, Edward was the leader of a fashionable elite that set a style influenced by the art and fashions of Continental Europe — perhaps because of the King’s fondness for travel. The era was marked by significant shifts in politics as sections of society that had been largely excluded from wielding power in the past, such as common labourers and women, became increasingly politicised.

The Edwardian period is sometimes imagined as a romantic golden age of long summer afternoons and garden parties, basking in a sun that never sets on the British Empire. This perception was created in the 1920s and later by those who remembered the Edwardian age with nostalgia, looking back to their childhoods across the abyss of the Great War. Among of the best literature of the era were children’s classics, such as J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden and A Little Princess, and Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

The period saw thrilling technological advances and it featured many innovations. For the first time ever, the air was dominated by the newly invented airplanes and giant vessels mastered the vast seas. The most famous ship of the era was the tragic R.M.S. Titanic. As we all know the story, the passenger liner struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean and sank on its maiden voyage, taking more than fifteen hundred souls with it. This era also saw the collapse of the hundreds-year-old monarchies, which was the most common form of government in the world.

The Victorian Era: The Beginning of the Modern Times
The Catherinian Era: Russia’s Golden Age

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Racism heavily politicised, say Malaysians

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 18, 2014:

Racism among Malaysians has been something widely debated and talked about in recent times.

Something unheard of in the past, this evil has slowly, but surely been creeping up on us.

The Rakyat Post spoke to a host of Malaysians on what they felt about racism in our multi-racial society.

A number of those interviewed felt it was mainly the lawmakers who used the race card for their own political agendas.

Syasri Baheramhasa, 67, self-employed.

“The race card is something our Malaysian politicians use to stroke their egos. For the intellectuals, racism and religion is thrown out of the picture when it comes to progressing together as a nation. I was only 10 years old when the country achieved independence. I have very vague memory of that day, but what I can remember is the fact that the spirit of being Malaysian was very strong. I am disappointed that the independence of the country is now being taken for granted.”

G.S. Lee, 50, consultant

“I feel it is mainly the lawmakers who rely on racial issues to get by. It is not something felt between me and my friends. When I read what they say or do, harping about religion and race, and when I sit down with my multi-racial friends, it is a whole different story altogether. What the media, social media and lawmakers portray about Malaysians being racist is incorrect. Why is the racial card being played now when nothing of such is really taking place?”

Razali Ahmad, 28

“Based on my observation, these racial issues began the moment the 13th General Election ended in May last year. After that, with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s call on “what else the Chinese wanted” led to several other politically affiliated non-governmental organisations (NGO) to join the racist bandwagon. There is definitely a hidden agenda behind the recent racial calling between lawmakers from both divides. In Sabah and Sarawak, racism has no place as we all see each other as equals. It is a different story here in the peninsula.”

Shanmuga Devi, 69, housewife

“To me, racism is prevalent but in a very subtle form. She explained her difficulties in obtaining a Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) trust fund which she claimed catered only to the Bumiputeras. While Najib calls for 1Malaysia, here we have trust funds being given to only the Malays. I find it unfair as I’m not a well off person. Poverty transcends racial and religious barrier. The racial card is also played when my friend’s son tried applying for a job where they only preferred Chinese. In the end, if you remove the identities given to the body, we’re all souls who would go back to God when we die. So why the need to label one another.”

Prabakaran Velautham, 30, technician

“The best method to nip the issue is by introducing lessons on every race’s culture. Education is key if we are to move together as a nation. There should be focus in teaching every Malaysian about each others’ religion and culture so that we find the similarities with one another.”

Izzat Farhan, 18, student

“Vernacular schools should make way. Everyone is welcome to learn whatever language they wish to learn, be it Chinese, Tamil or even a foreign language in a national school.”

Betty Lim, 60, housewife

“Despite what is being reported by the media and said by politicians, Malaysians are generally a united lot. I think Malaysians generally aren’t as racist as what the media makes us to be. There are many of us who silently know and understand that the racial and religion cards have to make way but it has to start with the lawmakers themselves first. Focus on pertinent issues such as education, health, infrastructure and not petty ones such as racism and religion.”

Diana Ramzah, 14, student

“I am worried racism becomes a big deal in the future. There are many young ones like us who can tell that this is all politics in the end. But if not curbed, it can be very dangerous for my generation in the future.”

Taiwan's Political Polls

There’s a delightful example of the hilarious use of polls in Taiwanese politics in the news today.  The context is the recent scandal surrounding the lifting of restrictions on the import of US beef, alleged to contain unsafe levels of ractopamine.  Two polls were published related to this.  First, the Taiwan Brain Trust, a well known think tank broadly allied with the opposition Democratic Progressive Party published their poll showing a large drop in support for the recently reelected President Ma:

The Taiwan Brain Trust think tank on Monday released a poll on the performance of Ma’s administration that showed the president’s disapproval rating had reached 62.1 percent in the wake of the government’s plan to erase a ban on US beef containing the controversial feed additive. Taiwan Brain Trust chairman Wu Rong-i (吳榮義) said such a high disapproval rating for the president at the start of his second term illustrated the president’s incompetence 

Naturally the KMT came out guns blazing accusing the Taiwan Brain Trust of being a stooge of the DPP and tarred it by associating it with now jailed former DPP President Chen.  For good measure they suggested the public take any TBT polls with a pinch of salt as they were obviously produced to provide political capital for the DPP.  For good measure they also hacked at TBT’s criticism of government polls showing public support for US beef. Which brings us to the the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission under Taiwan’s Executive Yuan (Cabinet) poll:

A survey by the commission, which polled 1,084 adults from March 6 until Friday, showed an increase of 22 percentage points in support of imports of US beef containing ractopamine when four conditions established by the government were factored in, while the disapproval rate declined by 19 points.

What I love about this poll is the sneaky 'four conditions' element. They didn’t just ask the public what they thought. No, that would be too risky.  Instead they chose to ask the public whether, in the event of the Government putting in place four conditions (e.g. regular safety checks, greater oversight, tighter import controls, higher standards), the public would like US beef imports to resume. The Government get’s the polling results it wants, gets to look like it is serious about protecting the public’s health and is under no political obligation to follow through on said conditions.  This could well be a play book for later polls:

In the event of political negotiations between the ROC and the mainland area do you, given four conditions of eternal peace and prosperity, protection of sovereignty, retention of freedoms of movement and speech and defence of democracy, agree that President Ma should sign a peace treaty allowing the Taiwan area to join the PRC in a political framework akin to the Hong Kong model?  

63% say yes? Yay! Unification here we come!

obesity is a class issue and a race issue and all sorts of stuff 

it has to be possible to politicise this shit without somehow being fatphobic tbh 

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Govt told to step up GST awareness drive


With the goods and sales tax (GST) scheduled to be implemented on April 1 next year, the government needs to be more aggressive in holding information campaigns on the matter to consumers.

Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association (PPIM) chief activist Datuk Nadzim Johan said so far the information dissemination programme on GST was seen as not being implemented extensively.

“In addition, the GST issue is politicised by the opposition as a tax system that is a burden to the consumers and, hence, the relevant authorities must intensify efforts to provide indepth information to the community on its implementation,” he told Bernama here today.

He said PPIM was also organising information programmes concerning the new tax for consumers and hoped the community would not hear rumours or be influenced by the negative perception that was being brought up by irresponsible quarters.

The media reported that many of the participants who gathered at Dataran Merdeka to protest against the GST implementation on Thursday did not clearly know or understand it.

Many participants, when asked, said the GST implementation would only raise prices of goods and suppressed the low income group.

Meanwhile, Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations (Fomca) Communications Director Mohd Yusof Abdul Rahman said the government should issue a list of the goods and services that were charged with GST and those exempted as well as an accurate comparison on price changes before and after its implementation.

Mohd Yusof said during a seminar, organised by Fomca recently, participants were still confused on the goods that would be imposed with GST and the changes on price of goods after the implementation.

“Previously, the GST information programme only emphasized on the advantage of the system on business while focus on the consumers were given less attention,” he said.

Young Malay Generation Force (Agenda) president Mohamad Zaidan Abdul Rahim said the GST implementation was vital in the development of the country, which was currently moving towards achieving developed nation status by 2020.

“If this matter is being continued to be politicised by the opposition, which is trying to fish in murky waters, it will cause the people to be confused and give rise to other problems.

“Even though the GST implementation is viewed by the people as a less popular move by the government, it must be insistent and respond to every allegations by the opposition on the matter,” he said.

As such, he said a comprehensive information needed to be implemented in stages to give a better understanding to the people nationwide.

“We will support every campaign that is conducted by the government relating to this GST implementation,” he said.

Kelantan Graduates Assembly (Himsak) President Mohd Faizal Daud said Himsak would be holding several roadshows to provide information to students at public and private institutions of learning on GST.

“We will go down to the grassroots level, especially among the students to provide information that is easily understood to them on GST,” he said.

He said Himsak would try not to emphasize on the technical aspects of the GSP implementation during these ongoing programmes.

When presenting the 2014 Budget in October last year Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced a rate of 6% for the GST to replace the existing sales and services tax with an overall rate of 16%.

do we really. do we really have to politicise the germanwings plane crash. like I was surprised I saw zero posts about it UNTIL today when I saw all the “if he was a muslim they would call it terrorism” posts. like I get your point but when has that ever actually happened. like do you know that would necessarily happen?? and like. pilots crashing planes like this to suicide is actually a phenomenon that I know I was personally aware of before this crash. like it’s…something that happens sometimes sadly. like when men kill themselves and decide to murder their children and spouse first, another phenomenon. I don’t get why anyone would do that but it is something that happens. so they’re treating this crash like what it is, rightfully so. and I think the guy is an absolute scumbag. and I don’t think this has anything to do with islam or terrorism. please just mourn for the 150 people who died and were screaming for their lives and knew they were going to their deaths because of this scumbag. 

A politics of diversity within unity of a central strategy of global mobilisation is now necessary to capture the multiple effects of power relations that emerge as social dynamics in bodies that are frequently represented as impairment. This is a deeper, richer disability politics [than the hegemonic disability rights discourse], as it not only acknowledges but also recognises the multiplicity of disabled identities, alongside impaired identities. Further, it can penetrate other global social movements, such as the women’s movement, in both the global North and the global South.

More significantly it also acknowledges that impairment is not, in fact, always ‘natural’, but the outcome of deeply politicised processes of social dynamics in bodies, that then become medicalised and then normalised through a raft of moral discursive and real practices. The use of depleted uranium-tipped bombs in Iraq and their evident implications for women’s fertility and reproduction, and the introduction of alcohol in white colonial settler societies used as a deliberate form of social control over ‘the native’ are clear cases of a broader politics of impairment that needs to be given greater recognition within the disability rights movement.

—  Helen Meekosha & Karen Soldatic, “Human Rights and the Global South: The Case of Disability,” in The Global Politics of Impairment and Disability: Processes and Embodiments

the crux of art / politics / gender is so complicated tbh i dont want my art to be inherently gendered and i dont want my gender to be politicised but it is and i care more about protecting trans sisters than i do about like whatever tired point someone is tryna make about blood 


Spy Cables: Greenpeace among intelligence targets

Secret documents leaked to Al Jazeera reveal a routine practice among intelligence agencies to seek the cooperation of their peers in other countries to curb political dissent.

The Spy Cables reveal a torrent of politicised requests to South Africa’s State Security Agency (SSA) for information on “rogue NGOs”, politicians and exiled groups from intelligence agencies around the world - many of them declined as inappropriate by the South Africans. They include:

  • An application from South Korea for a “specific security assessment” of Greenpeace Director Kumi Naidoo, a South African citizen;
  • A request from Cameroon to spy on an opposition leader just weeks ahead of elections;
  • An attempt by Rwanda to list “genocide fugitives” and “negationists” as targets for surveillance;
  • A deal with Zimbabwe to spy on “rogue NGOs” whose activities are “aimed at subverting constitutional order,” including think tanks and media, including social networks.
  • Continuous demands from Sri Lanka for South Africa to spy on Tamil diaspora groups, with Colombo making ongoing, unconfirmed allegations that separatists had run military training camps in South Africa since 1998.

Full story

Any group of human beings which operates outside the law will abuse that position, full stop. At least it’s not all bad - South Africa declined to assist with some of the more revolting requests.


When we talk of peace we immerse ourselves in a debate that is laden with linguistic problems. First of all the word peace has become synonymous with the counter-culture activists of the late 60s and early 70s, roused by the legacy of an iconic protest strategy employed by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi to facilitate lasting independence from British colonial rule in India. This meant that as a result, like the counter-culture became, so to peace became, a symbol of commercialism.

The ideal of peace has been problematised by theories of human nature for centuries. From Hobbes to Freud, Darwin to Dawkins, rationalists and empiricists have cast the human in a state of dialectic violence. Two impulses, the free human will, and the individual’s self-mitigation of that will, causes tension in the person between their wants and their abilities. This becomes politicised when societies provide opportunities for will to be enacted and oppressive. The dialectic becomes furthermore antagonized between the realms of science and spirituality, as both offer aid whilst viewing each other as the perpetuators of violence; science creating death machines, with spiritual healthcare seen as dangerous and seductive.

For Reves, the solution to these issues of violence and their imposition on freedom is to enshrine them in law, and as situations arise and the social world changes, new laws and new restrictions create new freedoms. For Reves then, freedom and peace are not innate within us but the result of our social contracts. But this notion is deeply problematic.

- See more at: http://zodculture.com/peace/

“Rangers too are a party to the whole conflict and share dividends from this whole enterprise. Hence, these developments have consolidated their negotiating powers in controlling distribution of water in a city that faces a chronic water shortage. 

At the end of the day, the resolve on the part of LEAs to pressurise political elements to isolate themselves from violence is indeed the way to go. But demonising political parties and politicising this whole action may push the militants among their ranks to join hands with sectarian and jihadi elements, causing more deaths and mayhem.”

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Don’t politicise water issue, urges Selangor Sultan

SHAH ALAM, March 30, 2015:

Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah today ordered the restructuring of water issue to be handled immediately and not politicized by any party.

This was to ensure that the people of Selangor  have enough clean water to meet their needs both domestically and industrially.

He also urged Selangor Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali to prioritise the interests of the people on the issue.

“We want the Menteri Besar to be firm in defending the people’s interests. We hope that the restructuring of the water in Selangor will be finalized soon in the spirit and terms of the agreement which was signed on Sept 12, 2014.

“We call for the matter not to be politicized by any party so that it can be implemented properly to meet the developmental needs of the people,” said the Sultan in his opening address at the third sitting of the 13th State Legislative Assembly.

He said that a face-to-face approach may be an effective way to ensure success in the crisis.

He was also confident that discussions between the two sides would yield positive results.

“We are confident face-to-face approaches and discussions can be resolved in a fair manner to ensure treated water services that are efficient and people-friendly to Selangor citizens”, said the Sultan.

Aside from Mohamed Azmin and wife, Shamsidar Taharin, also present were Speaker Hannah Yeoh, her husband and the Selangor State assemblymen.

The State Assembly will begin tomorrow and is expected to end on Friday.

The Sultan had arrived on the grounds of the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah building at around 9am.

Uhuru tells Raila to stop being a hypocrite

Uhuru tells Raila to stop being a hypocrite

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 1 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has asked opposition leader Raila Odinga not to politicise the corruption fight.

President Kenyatta who spoke on Wednesday at the opening of the Kenya Diaspora Easter Investment Conference said Odinga and a section of the civil society were being duplicitous when they criticised him for demanding that members of his Executive under investigation…

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Palestine formally joins ICC

Palestine has formally attained membership of the International Criminal Court, a move that could open the door to possible war crime indictments against Israeli officials despite uncertainty over its wider ramifications.

The accession on Wednesday is another landmark in the Palestinian diplomatic and legal international campaign, which gained steam in 2014.

The Palestinians moved to join The Hague-based court on January 2, in a process that was finalised on Wednesday, setting the scene for potential legal action.

“Palestine has and will continue to use all legitimate tools within its means in order to defend itself against Israeli colonisation and other violations of international law,” said senior Palestinian official Saeb Erakat.

Al Jazeera’s Jonah Hull, reporting from The Hague, said despite their membership, the Palestinians may still have to wait for the ICC to begin investigating Israelis accused of war crimes.

“This is such a heavily politicised case, that the court will have to think hard before taking action against the Israelis. It may be years before we something.”

Diana Chehade, a former ICC official, told Al Jazeera, preliminary examinations could be completed by the end of this year, but the court would not investigate cases already being looked in to by other judicial institutions.

“Based on the principle of complimentarity, the ICC would not investigate if an Israeli judicial institution is investigating a war crime to ICC standards,” Chehade said.

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