Archive for the ‘Washington, DC’ Category

In a recent interview with a Hong Kong resident she expressed these thoughts:

Protesters are being criticized for disrupting commuters and vandalizing subway stations. This is wide open to agent provocateurs. Tsuen Wan is featuring in the news. The Chinese University of Hong Kong is a hot spot. It appears to be becoming increasingly violent. The protests are disrupting working people trying to get on with their day. It is unclear who the head is or if there is a head. There is a lot of volatility about it. Random reaction. Hong Kong-ers have never had to fight for anything! It is like they are being handed over to a biological parent. They are trying to be independent. The movement needs to be non-violent, Gandhian in nature. It has the appearances of anarchy. Hong Kong people are seeking emancipation. But they are not ready for self-government. China will not give up Hong Kong! Hong Kong is about commerce. When it comes to political training it is still in infancy.

November 12, 2019 – At this time, Hong Kong or HKSAR is understood to be the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the PRC People’s Republic of China – a sort of hybrid, ultra-heated commerce zone – for China to be able to carry out its principle of One country – Two systems

Hong Kong has its its own legal system unique from the Law of the PRC and based on the combination of English common law which has evolved over time in local cases and with local legislation coded in the Laws of Hong Kong. The Basic Law guarantees: The continuation of the English common law system (laws based on judicial precedent) that has been practiced in Hong Kong for more than 170 years. It is on this basis that the masses of Hong Kong people taking to the streets and current political upheaval must be understood.

Historically, the British occupied the island of Hong Kong in 1841 during the First Opium War. In 1841 China had to give Hong Kong up to the British, signing the Treaty of Nanking in 1842 and ending this war. Hong Kong was a British colony from 1841 onward Hong Kong was occupied by Japan from 1941 to 1945. When the Allies won WWII, Hong Kong was surrendered back to the British in 1945, until 1997. In 1997 Hong Kong was transferred (returned) to China.

Administratively, today, Hong Kong is described as devolved executive led within a socialist republic including, Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam; Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung; Council President Andrew Leung; and Chief Justice, Geoffrey Ma. Hong Kong’s legislature is called the Legislative Council. The region is nationally represented by National People’s Congress of 36 deputies and a Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference of 203 delegates.

Hong Kong has not historically been used to political demonstration like the kind the region is currently experiencing. In 2019, protesters in the #FreeHongKong movement have made the claim that, all told, it could be said that more than a million residents have been attracted to its genesis. The region’s emerging democratic personality has evolved over time, with the birth of the Umbrella Movement reported as 2014. There is a focus within the movement strategy on historic English common law having penetrated the psyche of Hong Kong-ers, with human rights, universal suffrage, rule of law and free and fair elections are part of their long-term freedom fight praxis.

The actual trigger for the current unrest is purported to have been the Proposed Extradition bill of 2019 which would allow China to target and extradite fugitives. The protests are believed to be a combination of well on-line organized demonstrations in Hong Kong against the Hong Kong government’s Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019. In part because it was a visible demonstration just how not-autonomous Hong Kong was seen to be by the Central Government in China. Democratic reform is a key component of the battle in the streets, spurred on by a reaction to Causeway Bay Books disappearances, some onlookers say. The Wikipedia on Hong Kong cities “nominee per-screening, discrepancies in the electoral registry and disqualification of elected legislators after the 2016 Legislative Council elections” as further reasons for the unrest.

The upshot, today, is democratic activists share the position that that China fully intends to micro manage nominee suitability and stop any kind of widespread democratic development and hence they’ve taken to resisting the crackdown unapologetically. Seemingly, the moment the world has started watching more intently and visibly lending support on social media for #FreeHongKong, media images of a man set on fire by a masked flash mob emerge on Nov 12, 2019.  “A man who argued with a group of rioters in Ma on Shan was doused with a flammable liquid and set alight” (scmp.com, Nov 11, 2019). The police are calling it attempted murder and have launched an investigation. It is difficult to find a cohesive statement anywhere. One would have expected a push-back from protesters distancing themselves from the violence. Most of the media reports share the institutional response. The Guardian is reporting that police are claiming that “protesters are pushing Hong Kong to the brink of collapse” (The Guardian, Nov 11, 2019). The timing is relevant.

“As Hong Kong’s protests rage on, Xi Jinping’s meeting with Carrie Lam and China’s fourth plenum promise more interference. The attention paid to Hong Kong during the fourth plenum and news that central government officials will come to the city to explain the meeting’s communiqué should arouse concern”. (Opinion: David Zweig, scmp.com, Published 9 am 12 Nov, 2019)

Seen by many democracy activists as China’s ‘appointed puppet’, Carrie Lam, Hong Kong Chief Executive, is said to have the confidence of Chinese leaders and the Chinese police (PLA) will not necessarily show their faces on the streets of Hong Kong. Others would like to see Lam on her way out and believe that the unity and confidence displayed by China is just a smoke-screen for the Western press to make it look as though a total crackdown by specifically China’s military/security/police forces is not yet in the cards but is veiled threat felt on the streets everywhere nonetheless. China displayed massive military might on social media on Oct 1, 2019 and the warning to Hong Kong was clear as day.

Chinese leaders say they expect the local government to prioritize dispersing the unrest. Local officials have clearly failed to calm the unrest. They have never been required to act politically. They are ‘newbies’ in that sense. Protesters in Hong Kong continue to show confidence in the Telegram app and Bridgefly, with the reported loophole now fixed.

Advanced technology to capture the movements and faces of protesters is being employed including the use of artificial intelligence by government, reported the BBC World News, BBCNews.com, on Sept 23, 2019. Protesters apparently sawed through traffic posts and found evidence of a surveillance company. The report went on to say, protesters are using lasers to disrupt sensors. Goggles and germ masks are being worn as self-protection from tear gas.  The Valiant and The First Aider is described as a key category of protester. The former raises the freedom banner and challenges authority putting herself or himself in harm’s way, and the latter swabs the injured and speaks with the liberal media as a both a nurse and an endorser. The Black flag is issued by police when they intend to use tear gas. In response, protesters have lit barricades on fire. Protesters claim they are following Bruce Lee’s mantra, “Be water”.

This has all the ingredients of an escalating crisis – use of water cannons by police and police kettling of protestors. On Nov 11, 2019 the hashtag #FreeHongKong on twitter includes video of the protestor that was shot close range by police.

Protesters are being criticized for disrupting commuters and vandalizing subway stations. In a recent interview with a Hong Kong resident she expressed these thoughts:

This is wide open to agent provocateurs. Tsuen Wan is featuring in the news. The Chinese University of Hong Kong is a hot spot. It appears to be becoming increasingly violent. The protests are disrupting working people trying to get on with their day. It is unclear who the head is or is there is a head. There is a lot of volatility about it. Random reaction. Hong Kongers have never had to fight for anything! It is like they are being handed over to a biological parent. They are trying to be independent. The movement needs to be non-violent, Gandhian. It has the appearances of anarchy. They are seeking emancipation. But they are not ready for self-government. China will not give up Hong Kong! Hong Kong is about commerce. When it comes to political training it is still in infancy.

BBC World News, Nov 12, 2019 at 5:45 pm PST reported on TV that the Hong Kong protests showed no signs of letting up. Markets are slipping and nervous investors look on. It all has the appearance as looking more like a conflict between the police and a growing protester intelligentsia. Protesters say they are being compelled to increase their precautions to self-protect.

Update: Nov 14, 2019 Reuters   ‪- ‘Flaming arrows and petrol bombs: Inside Hong Kong protesters‘  

           Nov 15, 2019 PBS News Hour ‪- ‘In Hong Kong, public outrage toward police rises as violence spreads’

                                 

Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation – @1globalwoman – As a member of the Awards Nomination Committee 2019, I have made my recommendation and submitted for consideration.  Ifrah Ahmed, Ifrah Foundation, Somalian-Irish Anti-FGM activist. Please stay tuned for logistical updates about the Walk and Award schedule.

WITH 57 DAYS TO WALK TO END FGM 2019, @1globalwoman says,  “LET’S REGISTER!!”

#Walk2EndFGM #AntiFGMGlobal

Update, August 31, 2010. Ifrah Foundation has announced that they will fund Ifrah’s travel to Washington DC in 2020 budget. Therefore, Ifrah Ahmed will be able to attend the 2020 nominated award ceremony with G.W.P.F.

The G.W.P.F. Nominating Committee 2018 brings you this year’s Nominees

https://www.wizathon.com/walk2endfgm/?id=3136

What the awards are all about http://globalwomanpeacefoundation.org/2018/09/04/explaining-the-global-woman-awards/

For more info on #Walk2EndFGM 2018 hashtag #antiFGMGlobal on Twitter

Direct campaign 2018 link here https://www.wizathon.com/walk2endfgm/?p=display&action=team_Page&id=4809 Team Anti FGM Global – Women and Men Together  against FGM  @dwalshmedia

Please visit my FGM News Blog Page for more information. I hope you will consider attending this important event in Washington DC.

Update Oct 27:

Photo credit @1globalwoman G.W.P.F, Oct 26-27-2018 Washington DC #Walk2EndFGM

Washington DC FGM Walk - Nov 8 2014 - GWPF (c) mediageode 2014 with permision (98) We are the ones who can’t be ignored – Walkers took to the U.S. Capital to raise awareness about Female Genital Mutilation By Diane Walsh Washington DC – A momentous event took place in the U.S. Capital city last weekend (Nov. 8) which, I can confidently describe as, nothing other than ground-breaking. A first of its kind in the Washington DC area was this remarkable ‘Walk against Female Genital Mutilation’ at the Washington Monument, hosted by the Global Woman P.E.A.CE Foundation. Full credit and accolade is due to GW-PF for the Walk’s bounding success. Its courageous aim was specifically designed to have Walkers circle the paths around the Washington Monument in the effort to raise profile, of the growing problem of FGM on Western soil. Washington DC FGM Walk - Nov 8 2014 - GWPF (c) mediageode 2014 with permision (89) The evidence of Female Genital Mutilation, as the imported but ‘unseen’ underground practice occurring as a result of international migration, continues to mount. Global Woman P.E.A.C.E Foundation is a well-vetted woman’s rights and peace organization with registered U.S. charity status and is based in Fairfax, Virginia. With its strong organizational reputation and with its links to the worldwide movement against FGM, the Walk was successful in being able to attract a diverse group of participants from all over U.S. (including Canada) agreeing to participate as Sponsored Walkers. Walkers raised their own sponsorship and joined in the cause on the freezing cold but sunny Saturday morning of November 8 2014 and, as one of the proud, I can say it was an incredible experience and a worthy measure to create globalized action with American leadership. Washington DC FGM Walk - Nov 8 2014 - GWPF (c) mediageode 2014 with permision (10) I met up with the tightly knit group of international anti-FGM activists who gathered together at the NW corner of the Point to raise needed awareness with a specific emphasis on the US situation. The event urged that immediate action be taken on U.S. soil to ensure complete prevention of FGM; the commitment of it never being able to take place in the U.S. Furthermore the Walk emphasized the need to secure the goal of a U.S. commitment to complete eradication worldwide; in concert with the 2010 UN resolution against FGM and associated solidarity activists. The Walk itself on the day of, may have been missed by, a seemingly sleepy, Washington Post, seen omitting to provide coverage of the event despite its global importance – but that’s not to say they can’t make up for it! Washington DC FGM Walk - Nov 8 2014 - GWPF (c) mediageode 2014 with permision (85) Nevertheless the Walk was indeed picked up repeatedly by the international press and news spread on social media with exuberance. Here in this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIJBdzv2ISU, is one the speakers invited as a key note, Barbara Mhangami. She is a feminist poet and researcher who travelled from Michigan. She, among others, is an example of the shinning talent and commitment of the some of the ‘Activist Walkers’ who sought to promote GW-PF’s aim to open a Crisis Centre right in DC. Guaranteed preventive action against FGM for girls living in the U.S. in addition to service provision for post-FGM women, is, key. More pictures of speakers and attendees here. Global Woman P.E.A.C.E Foundation is committed to real action on the ground and has now raised leading awareness in the Capital. The Walk succeeded in pushing strongly against Female Genital Mutilation, focusing on exposing incidents of the practice on U.S. soil and, importantly, recognizing working in collaboration and in solidarity with a global alliance of activists against FGM to build identification and response services (#IDRS on twitter) to address the problem. FGM has spread to Western soil, this is undisputed in Europe. It has also leaked out recently that FGM has occurred in the U.S. – this must not be allowed to go unnoticed and unrecorded. Information is that family groups have joined with other family groups to raise money to ‘import the cutter’ to perform FGM in secret. No one can dispute that this is heinous and frankly ghastly that it happens in the West. The Walk’s acute profile is being recognized worldwide and is galvanizing efforts to put this issue at the top of the U.S. political agenda. Washington DC FGM Walk - Nov 8 2014 - GWPF (c) mediageode 2014 with permision (87) More information can be found on twitter, using hashtags #DC #FGM #GAFGM or follow me @dwalshmedia, hashtag #IDRS (Identification and Response Services) including #GAFGM #UN to learn more about global alliance anti-FGM solidarity links. Follow more updates on twitter @1GlobalWoman GW-PF’s Press Release is provided below: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE http://www.globalwomanpeacefoundation.org GLOBAL WOMAN P.E.A.C.E. FOUNDATION “WALK TO END FGM” A GREAT SUCCESS! November 12, 2014: Fairfax, VA. – Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation (GWPF) was joined by its partners and supporters on Saturday, November 8th on the Washington National Mall to “Walk to End FGM”.  The day began with music, as the crowd gathered to get outfitted in warm clothing and t-shirts.  Families and their children assembled in the chilly early morning sun but the atmosphere was positive.  Everyone was there to be a part of a memorable occasion; they were there to participate in the first annual walk to end female genital mutilation (FGM).  No other organization has ever held a walkathon against the practice of female genital mutilation in Washington, D.C. As the temperature began to rise, 14 teams of walkers lined up after bananas, granola bars, peanuts and water had been distributed to the crowd by many volunteers. The teams of walkers made their way up Constitution Avenue toward the memorials of World War II, Vietnam Veterans, Lincoln, Korean War, Martin Luther King and the Washington Monument.  The crowd returned with enthusiasm to the National Mall to listen to a series of speakers tell them about female genital mutilation.  Participants came from as far as Canada, Massachusetts, Florida, Arizona, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, Richmond, Virginia, Hagerstown, Maryland, etc. CEO and President of IMA World Health, Rick Santos shared stories of violence against women and girls in various countries he had visited. Dr. Martha Allen, Director of the Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press read a list of FGM survivors and activists around the world, while David Rawls, In-Country Director of Hope 2 Liberia recounted his trips to Liberia where his organization is building a school to help end FGM through education.  UniteWomen.org’s Board Member, Shannon Fisher told the crowd, “Female genital mutilation has been illegal in the United States since 1996, and transporting girls out of the U.S. for FGM is now punishable by five years in jail. But the procedure is still performed in private, and it has gone largely underground.”  Vice President and Co-Founder of We Are Woman, Alaina LaTourette talked about the violation of the female body and FGM, while Summer Pearson, Global Woman’s Board Member read a special message from Dr. E. Faye Williams, President and CEO of the National Congress of Black Women, “It is said that the civilization of a nation is determined by the way it treats its women and its children.  By that measure, most nations have a long way to go to be considered civilized.  Certainly no nation that permits mutilation of the genitals of its young girls can be called civilized.  This is one of the worst forms of violence against women.”  Barbara Mhangami-Ruwende, a Public Health Practitioner shared a special poem she and wrote and dedicated to all of the mutilated little girls, “Imagine a girl suddenly thrust onto a mat on a floor, in a hut in the forest, or on an operating table in a doctor’s office.  Imagine the shock, confusion and horror as she watches her mother, aunt and grandmother turn and walk away.”  The crowd did not expect what came next, when the President of Change Agent Network, Annie Wright took the stage and told her personal story through tears about how her mother died in childbirth as the result of FGM, and she too was taken at 7 years old to the ‘bush’ and was mutilated.  Annie stood tall on the stage and divulged to the public for the first time, “I can stand here today and say that I am a survivor of FGM.  I was told never to tell anyone, and I never told anyone until Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation invited me to their focus group meeting.” Entertainment was provided by local groups, the Liturgical Dance Group and the Chosen Generation Dance Group.  Media coverage was provided by PressThePresident, BRITE Radio, Loudon Woman Magazine, Diane Walsh and Alexandra Gerard. The program continued with Angela Peabody, President of the host organization reading a speech sent from Liberia by an FGM survivor, Eva Flomo. Flomo wrote, “America, do you want to be labeled as the nation that stood by and watched countless little girls get mutilated or die simply because it doesn’t affect you directly? You lead the free world; make it freer for little girls and women in Africa and other parts of the world actively practicing FGM.” In conclusion, Peabody announced the 3 winning teams.  The Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press team took the first prize for raising the most money, the FGM No More team walked away with the 2nd prize, while the BRITE Peace Walkers team took 3rd prize. The proceeds raised from “Walk to End FGM” will help establish a special support center in the Washington, D.C. metro area, expected to open in 2015.  The support center is expected to include a hotline with trained phone counselors, career assistance and capacity building for the girls and women affected by FGM. To learn more about Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation and future events or to make a donation, visit http://www.globalwomanpeacefoundation.org.  Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation is a registered 501c3 non-profit organization with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.  As such, your donations are tax deductible to the maximum extent required by law. — Lydia Sherwood, Presto Public Relations

Amtrak is doing its best in the face of challenges presented by fracking boom in North Dakota and beyond. https://harpers.org/archive/2013/03/bakken-business/ 
In Wisconsin, there have been previous reports of freight train crews coming to the end of their shift and simply abandoning a train on the rail line when done their shift with – no one scheduled to take over from them.

A parked train! All rather frustrating to Amtrak. The effect of this kind of brazen blockage is that Amtrak’s passenger train (honourably trying its best to keep to schedule) is simply unable to pass, left hostage to the theatrics of industry giants.

One wouldn’t think that freight-train shortage-of-staff would be Amtrak’s problem but there have been instances of Amtrak actually having to call someone and plead to get a parked freight train moved so its passengers can get by.

Further reports, only very recently, are that more freight staff have since been hired.

On Saturday, Nov 1st, 2014, just before midnight, there was another rather odd incident. 10-15 minutes out of Spokane going east, en route to Idaho, Amtrak’s Empire Builder was delayed behind a freight train which had collided with an unoccupied SUV. The freight train was going about 60 miles an hour needless to say demolishing the vehicle right its track. It is unclear why it the vehicle was on the track and what the circumstances were around the incident.

The Amtrak passenger train, the Empire Builder, was behind the freight train and therefore was halted for three hours while emergency services, the Sheriff and 20 BNSF staff swarmed the area. Cleaning up a big mess of debris enabled both the freight train and the Empire Builder to then continue.

Incidents off this nature are apparently not that uncommon.

Even more troubling however is the impact of – 3x more freight trains running on the tracks in the last two years on – Amtrak’s ability to gauge how long any particular journey is going to take. Amtrak is beholden to, freight priority traffic.

The boom is North Dakota is creating enormous freight traffic. Doubtless Warren Buffet who owns BNSF is delighted; mounds of money are pouring in – with a cool $1000/a car to move oil and up to 100 oil cars per train.

Capitalism steals the day as wheat farmers – are taken – second priority. It’s $200/ a car to move wheat. So it seems right at the moment it’s tough times for the wheat farmer.

The bottom line means that ‘choice’: oil brings in more money.

Amtrak passengers are delayed by the increased freights traffic be it CSX, BNSF or whatever, industry freight has the right of way. Amtrak is paid a fee for any delay; which is part of the contract.

No incentive on the part of Warren Buffet to support alternate routes for moving the oil because the numbers *are working* in the current situation.

Some Williston North Dakota landlords who see dollar signs bouncing everywhere have reportedly racked up rents and are housing fracking boom-business workers whilst uprooting long term residents in favour of those whom can pay exorbitant rents.

Still 300+ men to one woman, isn’t much fun for barmaids!

The damage that can be measured is the boom’s impact on Amtrak schedules. Amtrak trains have for years and years been able to say that they’ve had a 90% record of being on-time. But now through no fault of their own, they are late more often than not as a direct result of the freight cars moving oil tripling in the last two years.

Thousands of black stealth oil cars are dominating the railway line. Amtrak merely gets to ‘use the railway line’ and be at the behest of industry’s priority needs. And there is nothing customers of Amtrak can do about it. The oil boom may actually be said to be culpable in the unintended consequence of virtually ending on-time-commitment passenger rail travel. Amtrak has to tell its passengers it has to play it by ear. Literally.

How slick is the oil boom after all?

Maybe Warren Buffet should be made to be stuck behind a freight train and told “too bad sir, sit and wait”.

Further reading: https://www.grandforksherald.com/news/3875858-bnsf-helped-lead-fight-delay-train-safety-technology